Top-down 2.5D action that combines old-school shooters like Star Control, action-RPGs like Diablo, with a system that evolves unique weapons to player preferences. Single-player and 32-player online coop and PVP.
User reviews: Mixed (59 reviews)
Release Date: May 31, 2014
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Recommended By Curators

"If you read any academic paper about procedurally generating game content then you're bound to see something about this game."

About This Game

Pilot a gun ship and battle aliens, pirates, and other villainous enemies, to gain levels, skills, and most importantly, discover unique and potentially more powerful weapons. Through the unique cgNEAT content-generation technology, new weapons are constantly created by the game automatically.

Experiment

A key objective of this game is to explore the potential for automated content generation technology to intelligently create content for games. In GAR, all player weapons are generated by the cgNEAT algorithm based on weapon usage statistics. However, cgNEAT does not simply respawn weapons that people like. Rather, it creates new weapons that elaborate on those that have been popular in the past.

Game Mechanics

GAR combines elements of old-school space shooters like Star Control, action-RPGs like Diablo, and open-world space adventure games like Freelancer. The graphics are fully 3D but in top-down or "2.5D" mode. The chase camera and movement interface is similar to many online RPGs such as WoW. Earn ranks and credits by completing missions and destroying enemies. Use the credits earned to upgrade and customize your gun ship.

Galaxy

The game progresses through different and increasingly challenging solar systems. Throughout the galaxy are various factions, both friendly and hostile.

Game Modes

GAR game modes include (1) single player campaign mode, (2) instant-action system defense mode, and (3) multiplayer mode for up to 32 players with both coop and PVP. You can run your own Galactic Arms Race galaxy by downloading the standalone server. A simple windows GUI makes it easy to administrate your galaxy.

System Requirements

    Minimum:
    • OS: Windows XP
    • Processor: Core 2 Duo
    • Memory: 256 MB RAM
    • Graphics: Direct X 9 compatible graphics card
    • DirectX: Version 9.0c
    • Network: Broadband Internet connection
    • Hard Drive: 160 MB available space
Helpful customer reviews
1 of 2 people (50%) found this review helpful
11.8 hrs on record
Posted: July 6
Great game that has a lot going for it already and a bunch of future potential. Not only does it implement procedural generation, it utilizes evolving content generation that is influenced by the players preferences. This game is as much for the computer art connoisseur as it is for those looking for a unique, evolving game to play.

Anyone who enjoys games like borderlands and minecraft for their content generation would enjoy this game.

Overall, I have bought it for multiple friends already, and would recommend it to art lovers and hipsters in addition to gamers who love finding new novel things on a regular basis.
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99 of 142 people (70%) found this review helpful
1.7 hrs on record
Posted: June 6, 2014
It is the exact same game in pretty much the exact same state that was free 4 or so years ago.
The only thing that they seem to have improved in any way is the UI.
All the outstanding issues, such as enemy bases spontaneously spawning behind you exist.
They just took what was version 1.1 alpha back then, added some buttons for facebook and whatnot, and slapped a pricetag after changing the versionnumber to 1.0 release.

The game disappeared off radar about 4 years ago, with no signs of updates or whatsoever after 1.23 hit (which changed next to nothing, by only adding a pointless arena mode, but took down the official servers). There were talks also of the university where they developed this game actually actively denying them the possibility to go on Steam, or offer the game away, but i can't find the archived version of that.
Here's proof of it being just that old, and being offered for free: https://web.archive.org/web/20090719201120/http://gar.eecs.ucf.edu/

As far as the procedural weapon generation, it's in its alpha state still, and nothing has changed for that. There are just a few different subtypes of weapons you can get, of which one in a hundred are plausibly usable. The hands down best weapon types for everything still are the starting weapons, or weapons with even tighter grouping of bullets than that.
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32 of 45 people (71%) found this review helpful
4.4 hrs on record
Posted: June 7, 2014
Disclaimer: I was in beta.

What the game is: Old school space shooter but in 3D with evolving weapons and WASD movement. Has a decent amount of ship customization but mainly it is just mindless fun blowing stuff up, getting levels, getting upgrades, and getting weapons. The core gameplay is pretty satisfying and and the music is awesome. It is casual friendly at the start but gets pretty difficult later on.

What the game is not: It is not an in-depth space sim. There is no RPG space-opera story line (although there are structured missions). There are no Eve-Online bottomless skill trees or crafting. You are not going to start a trade empire or negotiate peace treaties with alien races.

Bottomline: Certainly worth the price ($3.99) just for the COOP. The multiplayer is more fun than it should be.
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9 of 10 people (90%) found this review helpful
7.5 hrs on record
Posted: November 10, 2014
I think this game is best summed up as a very competent, fun little time sink. The visuals are far from HD, the RPG elements are by no means expansive or deep, the narrative is nothing noteworthy, but all the mechanics are solid and it’s a great bit of fun.
I could easily pick at this game for tons of little issues like the ship sizes being a bit small, the difficulty being inconsistent at best, or the solo campaign being nothing more than a to-do list; but regardless of it’s shortcoming, it has a very rare charm to it, and is a perfect title to pick up on sale and save for one of those gaming droughts.
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9 of 12 people (75%) found this review helpful
1 person found this review funny
11.6 hrs on record
Posted: October 27, 2014
Galactic Arms Race,
Players fly a space ship, destroy enemies, earn money and experience, gain levels, find items, and upgrade their ships.

PRO:
+ Easy to learn how to play it
+ Achievments for steam
+ Leaderboard
+ Cheap game for
+ Servers for up to 32 players
+ Challenging shooter
+ Level up
+ The galaxy map is based upon levels, so, if you are at level 4, you cannot warp to another sector until you reach level 5
+ System Requirements(only 256MB RAM) can be played fro old systems

CONTRA:
- The graphics are more functional than fancy
- free only in 2010
- The game runs on Windows only

CONCLUSION:
At present it is a fun simplistic 2D shooter, with the potential to have a lot more depth added in later versions
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