Reply To: First impressions

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I’ve just spent a big chunk of my bank holiday Monday playing Starflight. Far longer than intended in fact so it clearly has that addictive quality.

You definitely need to read the manual on this one. There is no indication as to what you are supposed to be doing in the game itself. Actually, I’ve been playing for hours and I’m still not sure myself. The only real brief is to boldly explore the galaxy. I figured I should treat it like an RPG and start out sticking close to home to earn money and beef up my ship and crew. I’ve spent my time mining minerals on planets and doing a tiny bit of exploring. I’ve yet to meet any alien life forms friendly or hostile.

What I’ve seen so far doesn’t really resemble an RPG as there has been hardly any combat. It’s seems to be more about exploring all the planets and driving the little vehicle around trying to find minerals or alien ruins. There is certainly no shortage of planets to be going at and the universe makes Elite look small. I’ve raked in a decent amount of cash through mining. I think I’ll save a bit more up for some lasers then head out further afield.

Considering how repetitive it is, I should be getting bored with the gameplay. I’m not sure why but I’m finding the mineral mining and learning how the game works strangely compelling. I am catching up on podcasts at the same time but I’m really liking this so far. I could see myself losing a whole lot of free time to Starflight this April.

Some advice for anyone playing this. The save game system is seriously old school. The game doesn’t have any data files but essentially has an executable for each of the 5.25 floppies it came on. As you play, these executables are updated with the current state of the universe. The one and only savegame you get is apparently also stored in these executables and needs to agree with the universe state. The result of all this is that if you die in the game or want to load a savegame having cocked up, you can’t since the two states will vary. The hd installation from the two floppies actually creates two directories and you are supposed to manually copy the entire game into the save directory every time you save, then copy it back again if you want to load your game.

If that sounds bad enough, anyone playing this on a floppy disk originally would presumably have to copy their disks every single time they saved their game. At least it’s nice and quick on a hard disk.