Starfighter: Research and Development
Growing up in the age of Pong and the original Atari, I have a true appreciation for small byte games. The graphics are simplistic and often require you to use your imagination but the story and quality of many of these games, far exceeded what modern games give us. While poking around on Twitter a few weeks back, I stumbled upon Starfighter: Research and Development. The base concept of this game is that you are a scientist/engineer working for a company that use to be the best in the field of spacecraft development. Now your company has fallen on hard times and it is up to you to create the next new ship that will bring the company back into the forefront of the industry.
Your resources starting out are virtually non-existent. You get an old escape pod with no weapons and you have to use it to defend against an alien attack. Obviously your little ship dies in a fiery explosion rather quickly. The poor pilot goes to a frozen grave but you back in your lab learn from the experience. You get another pod and pilot and crank on a machine gun and send it back into space. That pilot makes it through a few of the enemy but he to dies. You check out your data and see more ways to improve your ship. Mods done, you get another pilot and send him into the fray. This goes on indefinitely and while I am not sure if there is an upper limit to what you can do,
I can tell you that in my first six hours of the game, I was thoroughly entertained. I love this simple game. The concept is sound, the mod system for improving your ship works well, and the game is simply fun. The game is excellent as a demonstration of how research must be done in order for scientific advancement and shows how you can learn through failure. I wrote Gordon Little, better known as @G_O_R_D on Twitter, and asked him a bit about the game.
What inspired you to create Starfighter: Research and Development?
My friend @somepx created a set of pixelart spaceship parts that you could mix and match located here: http://somepx.itch.io/look-spaceships. I said it would be cool to make a game based around his art and Starfighter: Research and Development (SRD) was born. Gameplay wise, it’s inspired by a couple of mobile games like “Earn To Die” and “Bitcoin Billionaire” in which you repeat the same game loop to earn money which lets you buy more things to enable you to earn even more. It’s an intriguing positive feedback loop that I wanted to explore. But instead of repeating the exact same action, my game is randomly generated to always be a little different each play.
SRD has three sections. First is the Simulator where you fly your ship in a top down shoot-em-up style game to earn Research Points (RP). Second is the Ship Designer where you choose which parts to build your ship from. Each part can add weapons, extra health or faster movement speed. Third is Research where you spend your earned RP to unlock new Starfighter parts.
What game features are you most proud of?
I am most proud of the ship builder in which you can customise your ship based on unlocked parts. Behind the scenes I’m very happy with the randomized elements of the Simulator, which spawns enemies based on how advanced your Starfighter is.
I have a few more enemies and a couple more bosses I’d like to add to increase the Simulator’s variety.
You can visit the store page at http://gordgames.itch.io/starfighter-research-and-development and download the free demo for the OS of your choice (Windows / OSX / Linux).
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