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It’s always nice to have a demonstration what a complete fool you are and how poorly you think things through. Humbling. Gratuitous Space Battles offered that experience with huge spacefights where your input ends as soon as the battle begins, and all you can do is watch as the plans you laid, the issues you ordered, and the ships you designed failed spectacularly to deal with the enemy’s far superior plan. Or maybe you were good at it. I don’t know.
I ve never much thought about what goes into the little white tablet I swallow when I m hungover, have the sniffles or another bout of Geek s Disease.* It s just chalky magic, right? Well, no: it s the result of millions of dollars, aggressive R&D, production facilities of breathtaking size and precision, ruthless marketeering and impossibly sinister downplaying and mitigation of side effects. While medicine-themed management game Big Pharma doesn t go for pharmaceutical industry s jugular, Goldacre-style, its pills-as-merciless-industry approach is certainly a welcome change from the bland, smiling, comfortable> faces that advertising tells us medicine are all about. … [visit site to read more]
I’ve spent untold hours watching back replays of my own Supreme Commander games, taking the opportunity to slow-down or speed-up time, watch maneuvers by my opponents I missed the first time around, and to marvel at the bombastic laser wars that eventually decide each match.
Gratuitious Space Battles is that whole process as an entire game: you build a fleet, design the ships, and then click go to watch a spectacular hands-off space battle. The sequel seems determined to make those battles more spectacular than ever, as demonstrated by this new trailer. Such pretty lasers and explosions.
The conflicts in Gratuitous Space Battles 2 are certainly deserving of the adjective applied in the game’s title but the new video below brings several other descriptives to mind. ‘Colourful’, ‘cunning’, ‘extravagant’, ‘fabulous’ and more besides. Like it’s predecessor, GSB 2 is a game in which players construct fleets, position them and then watch as they do battle. Remember the text crawl that sucked all the excitement out of you like a joy vampire at the beginning of The Phantom Menace? “The taxation of trade routes to outlying starsystems is in dispute”, says Star Wars. GSB says, “BOY HOWDY THE PURPLE SHIPS ARE SHOOTING THE EVER-LIVING CRAP OUT OF THE GREEN SHIPS YOWZERS!”
Gratuitous Space Battles was not a game of masterful tactics. It didn’t allow damn fool gambits. GSB was won or lost long before then. GSB is played in the planning, the design and customisation of a huge space fleet and the careful behaviours you order them to follow. Once your ships are ready to launch, it could run the numbers and say if you won or lost, but that would be somewhat against the name. The eponymous space battles are> gratuitous, with cruisers and fighters and lasers and missiles and drones and so many explosions for you to simply watch.
Expect more explosions, as sequel Gratuitous Space Battles 2 is now officially announced.
I know many of you will be spending the weekend tending to your winter-blasted shoots as you celebrate the feast day of Serenus the Gardener, or perhaps remembering Red Army Day by engaging in tabletop recreations of the Battle of Kiev or, for the more ambitious, Operation Bagration. Commendable pastimes, I’m sure, but if the dusty red blocks that represent Soviet armoured divisions are lost in the attic, or Serenus’ spirit is locked in the frozen turf, then you may be interested to hear that Gratuitous Space Battles is free to play on Steam until Sunday 9PM GMT.
The release of the conquest mode for Gratuitous Space Battles caused me to reinstall and lose a couple of weekends plotting and planning. Conquest provided a campaign to sit alongside the standalone bouts of ship wrecking and, lo, it was good. A few months ago, unbeknownst to me, a clever sort who goes by the name Pendra on the Positech forums released a random galaxy generator, providing Endless Consecutive Contextual Gratuitous Space Battles. There was an update to the generator this morning, which Cliffski mentioned in the Twittersphere, and I’ve copied some details into the emptiness below.
Gratuitous Tank Battles returns to the beginnings of the war that has raged for more than two centuries with The Western Front expansion. Eight new maps form the terrain for a new singleplayer campaign, the first half of which limits technology to the metal monstrosities of 1914-45, removing the lasers, mechs and shields of future times. Thankfully, the Tigers, Shermans and other tanks added to the game will find themselves embellished with the weapons of tomorrow, with the second half of the campaign allowing the use of advanced technology. The trailer details the expansion’s contents very well and The Western Front is available now for less than a fiver, with a second copy available at a 50% reduction.
The point of Gratuitous Space Battles was that it was a fleet manager, not an RTS. So while you watched the space battles play out, you didn’t actually influence them – you were the admiral who had designed the ships and decided upon the tactics. And that made the actual battles gratuitous in terms of the gameplay. That, however, is no longer necessarily true. Cliff from Positech has sent word that he’s continued fiddling with the game, and has released a free patch to allow players to get involved with the battle-action. Cliff says: “It’s only an ‘optional’ feature, and only works in single-player offline games, but from patch 1.60 (which is now live, steam copies will be updated soon), the player can select ships and issue movement and fire orders mid battle, and even edit the ‘standing’ orders for ships in the middle of an engagement.” There’s a video, which explains it in a bit more detail, below. (more…)
Cliffski’s game of tank (and mech!) battles now has a demo, as per his strict policy of producing a demo for every game he puts out. You can pick it up from the game’s own site, or from the GTB page on Steam. The demo contains a sample of the game’s two-way tower defence action, where you can choose to build the defences, or to drop waves of soldiers and armour into the trenches of an alternate World War I. It’s worth playing the demo, because this one’s not for everyone, as Tim’s verdict concluded.
Trailer below! (more…)