Did you ever look at Minecraft videos or hear your friends gushing about it, and thought “I’d totally love to play a game where I can craft stuff and build things, but it’s all fantasy land and primitive stuff. I’m not into that right now.”?

Maybe your friends are all up into Minecraft, hear your words and start telling you how you can TOTALLY play Minecraft with modern weapons and high technology and all this super awesome stuff, you just have to load special mods and make sure everyone you play with runs the same mods and know which ones are the cool ones and understand how they work and make sure yuo’ve got the right update for your game version….” and you want to scream at them to shut up, you’ve GOT a job?

Maybe you’re still on board with the Minecraft because it is such a great game, and then they tell you that you just have to make sure you’ve got the latest and greatest Java updated and installed, because it’s all Java based and lags bad, but it’s still cool, and that was the deal breaker that made you run screaming into the night?

Well, this isn’t that game.

This isn’t a Minecraft mod. It’s not a Minecraft anything.

What it is, is Star-Made.

In summary, it’s a crafting game similar in feel to Minecraft, but built from the foundations up to be a universe-spanning starship and space station game.

Its single player, and it’s multiplayer. It’s also in my home experience completely lag free.

And at the moment, it’s a rock-solid free to play Alpha. Free to play as in “free to play, no money, no cash store, no microtransactions, no bullshit”.

You download it, you play it, you submit bug tickets if you find something wrong. So far I’ve played two solid days with my son, and we’ve found nothing wrong with it at all. I’m looking, I want to help with the bug reports, so far I’ve got nothing.

I also bought it. Right now it’s a pre-order of $6, and you know what, after the weekend I’ve had playing with it, I feel like I ripped them off. They didn’t even make me pay it, I wanted to, and I still feel like I ripped them off only paying $6 because I wanted to help.

Freaking game is amazing.

I’m not going to sell it to you anymore, you’re (mostly) adults, you can watch Youtube videos as well as anyone. you can see for yourself if it looks interesting.

What I’m going to do is lead you through two days of gaming bliss with my son.

Here is the tagline for the damn game; My son just turned to me a few minutes ago after we both logged off and he said to me, “I really had a great time playing Star-Made with you this weekend, it was wonderful.”

That’s a tagline.

Here are a few links in sequence to give you everything I’ve used all weekend to get this thing going and answer all my questions on the fly.

The link to Star-Made the game.

A link to a Youtube video on how to set up a local server and connect using LogMeIn Hamachi. Worked perfect for me.

A link to a basic video on how to group weapons on your ship so they’re more effective.

A link to the Star-Made Wiki, which has answered most of the questions I’ve come across, mostly about Faction Modules so we could make our own faction with a name (The Destroyers) and claim a captured space station as our invulnerable home-base.

There. Those are all the tools I’ve used to have tons of fun, so now let me get on with the recap.

I never heard of Star-Made before, but my son loves watching the Yoggscast videos on Youtube, and he started watching a series from June of 2013 (yes, a year ago!) that they did about Star-Made.

“Dad, I’d love to play this game, and it’s free to play.”

I’ve heard this before, and as usual, I began to do my research on just how ‘free’ this is going to be. Yoggscast is usually really good about the games they spotlight, so I’m curious. He’s in the same office playing side by side with me, so I get to hear all these videos. I’ve been hearing the Yoggscasters playing together in the game for a few hours. They sound like they’re having fun.

On the other hand, it was free to play a year ago. What’s up with it now? Does it even exist, and if it does, why have I heard nothing?

A million and a half people have watched the Yoggscast video about it, you’d think I’d have heard something from someone.

I found the Star-Made website, downloaded the game, installed it, fired it up. Plays fine. I installed it on my son’s computer, plays fine.

I let the Cub go nuts on it, and went back to reading back issues of Ultimate Spider-Man.

He logged in, and the game starts you floating in your space suit next to a big Trading Post Space Station (shaped like a hell of a long cigar, distinctive silhouette to find when you’re thousands of kilometers away), with $25,000 bucks in your pocket and all the basic parts in your inventory needed to build a ship. It runs you through a tutorial, and then you’re free to do… well, whatever.

He did the tutorial, built a ship from scratch having a ton of fun putting all the pieces together exactly like blocks from Minecraft, linked weapons, attached his scavenging cannon (which you use to mine out asteroids, space stations and planets from inside your ship) and then moved off to starting mining a nearby asteroid for resources to buy more ship parts and armor from the Trading Post.

Five minutes later a swarm of fast-moving pirates pounced on him and destroyed his ship, causing him to lose his ship, a small amount of cash, and respawn next to the Trading Post where his spawn point was set.

Where he got to watch as the pirates noticed him, came swarming after him there, and killed him again.

Keep in mind, this was with enemy AI set to ‘easy’.

So I found the option in settings to reset your universe, wiping everything, and let him start over, hopefully with pirates spawning MUCH farther away so he has a chance to build something with armor.

I went out to the TV, popped in the first Sherlock Holmes movie starring Robert Downey, Jr and started to enjoy the snarky asides with Jude Law. I love the layers of that film.

The Cub comes out about 30 minutes later to tell me the pirate swarm happened again and he lost everything, so thank you very much but he’s choosing to rage quit.

That’s what he called it. Rage quit. Most polite rage quit I’VE ever seen. It was more of a zen retreat. “I choose to withdraw my forces, good day to you sir.”

Off he went to bed, highly frustrated.

I stayed up to investigate.

I was certain there HAD to be some trick to the pirates, otherwise who would play the game? Kinda hard to get anywhere if a swarm of pirates mobs you 15 minutes into every game.

I logged in myself, made a ship, moved about 100 yards towards an asteroid and suddenly a small fleet of five pirate ships appeared and destroyed me.

I felt violated. I’d just spent some lovely time hand-crafting my ship, and then boom!

I re-spawned, and I was so close I got to watch them salvaging the ruined remains of my jaunty craft. Then they turned and blasted me from space. Again. In my space suit.

Well, that’s just bullshit.

I searched the good old internet looking for ways to turn the pirates off or make them actually easy, or something.

The first thing I found was the video about making better clusters of weapons. So I tried that.

The pirates thought my little ship with my itty bitty wittle anti-matter cannon were cute, in the seconds before they destroyed me. I couldn’t afford any damn armor, so they were shooting a clay pigeon. Also, outnumbered much?

Finally I found a page on the Star-Made Wiki that detailed the server.cfg file, and showed one of the lines was to control enemy spawning.

One problem. Server.cfg files would be for a server, right? So to do this I’d have to run a server. OMG time to vapor lock.

But wait, I searched for how to set up a Star-Made server, found the Youtube link above, and I already had LogMeIn Hamachi installed from a previous attempt at networking Minecraft.

I followed the instructions. I ran the server startup on my computer, little window showed up. What, that’s it? Apparently so. Server running on my computer, just like that.

I started the game through the launcher to actually play, selected Network, then copied my IPv4 address from the LogMeIn window as directed, pasted it into my single player Star-Made network as shown in the video, boom, I logged my game into my server. Looked at the little server window, showed me right there online.

I went over to the Cub’s computer, fired up LogMeIn Hamachi, logged into the network with my computer, started the single player Star-Made game… and used my common sense to type in the network address from my computer instead of his, since my cmoputer is where the server is running. I swear, I almost typed in HIS IPv4 address instead of mine to try to connect to MY computer. Geez.

Hey look at that, he’s there right next to me next to the Trading Post.

Just like that, five minutes in setup and we were LAN linked on a home Star-Made private server using LogMeIn Hamachi. Which is also free.

That’s when I logged us both out of Star-Made, went to my install directory, found the folder for the server, and used a text editor to change the server.cfg file from ENEMY_SPAWNING = true //Enables enemy spawing to instead show as ENEMY_SPAWNING = false //Enables enemy spawing.

Started the server back up, logged my game in, and started playing.

From that moment to this, I have never seen a pirate ship again. Little bastards.

This morning, the Cub got up and I introduced him to the world of multi-player Star-Made on a private server with no pirate ships.

We both logged in, and spawned beside each other automatically. We both made ships, moved out and messed with asteroids.

No pirates.

I saw a space station floating nearby to the Trading Post, so I flew over towards it.

I promptly got blown out of the sky.

Turns out, setting the server.cfg file to stop enemy spawning does not prevent pirate-faction-controlled SPACE STATIONS from being in the game.

With turrets. Armed turrets. Turrets armed with anti-matter cannon.

SHORT RANGE anti-matter cannon.

It’s the best of all worlds for a father and son. No sneaky pirate ships to ambush us while we slowly craft our ships and fortify our bases and harvest resources, and armed space stations filled with loot to test our ship weapons on. It’s so much more fun when the targets shoot back.

The Cub felt sorry for me that I was blown up, but I simply shook my fist at the stars and began construction of the grand ship Revenge.

I am certain that I am the first person that ever considered naming his ship the Revenge. The very first.

The Revenge is a good ship. It’s the ship I’m still piloting now. I started with two layers of hardened hull armor around my core, followed by multiple stacked rocket launchers, anti-matter cannon and scavenger cannon. Then I covered it with more hardened hull armor. Then we scavenged a derelict space station, and I covered the ship with shield modules.

See, what we found was that there are plenty of space stations out there that are unarmed, and plexiglass windows sell for a mint at a Trading Post. A little scavenging without having to worry about pirates netted us a fine haul of booty to sell at the Trading Post, and the post sold us plenty of hardened hull armor and weapons.

The problem I had was visibility. My ship core was in the middle of all the armor, so my view looked like, well, this;

Starmade-piratestation1

All those weird green angles and shadows are hull armor showing around and in my view, because I’m looking through the hull.

That picture shows our second run against the pirate-controlled space station. You can adjust the ratio of your guns so if you want a bigger radius of explosion, you can reduce something else… like reload speed. Or range. Or damage.

I upped the range to keep me out of the turret’s anti-matter envelope, increased the reload time, and fired my missiles as long shots. Kind of like dropping rocks in their gravity well, they couldn’t reach me from their fixed positions with beam weapons, and I proceeded to teach the pirates that all those years of reading David Weber books about Honor Harrington didn’t go to waste.

The view was annoying, so I did some reading, and found that by adding a cockpit module to the hull I could move my viewpoint elsewhere on my ship… multiple elsewheres, and I could flip between them with the arrow keys.

So I was able to put cockpits centered between my various gun systems, and get really nice views. Without jaggies.

Starmade-openstation1

That is a view from my ship, while floating inside a captured space station we are converting into a Death Star, with my sons’ ship floating just outside.

Orientation bothering you? Just remember, the enemy gate is down. Only orientation that matters.

After a bit, my son did something to his guns that knocked his scavenging cannon out of sync with his scavenging computer. He wasn’t sure what to do to fix it because his computer was in the middle of his ship, so he’d have to take half the thing apart to get to it.

This led to my finding out I could save a blueprint of my ship to the server catalog, and the game put a dollar amount on it. All he had to do was get close to a Trading Post, open the catalog, have enough money to buy it, and poof! Instant copy of my ship. The Trading Post did NOT have to have every block used in the design in inventory before selling it, the dollar amount bought the whole thing, fabricated and complete.

So the very next pirate space station we found, there was the Revenge, and the Revenge Mark II. I’d added a computer AI-controlled turret to the top since my first run.

Starmade-piratestation2

That is me scavenging the ship with my cannon, while the Cub is in a duplicate of my ship off the port bow firing his scavenging cannon clear through the station superstructure.

So what, I like big guns. Really big guns.

Like I said, it’s ugly, it’s a big green box. I used plenty of angle pieces and green lights to dress it up so it looks like a ship, even if it does have the lines of a tugboat.

And the acceleration to match, damn but she’s a slow beast.

We’ve found that Navigation around the star sectors is pretty easy. The display shows you what sector you are in, and as long as you keep a journal of the sector coordinates of cool places you’ve found, you can bring up the navigation menu and create a waypoint to that location when you want to go back later. We’ve used it a ton to travel all over space roaming at will without fear of getting lost or being unable to find each other.

It’s always nice after a day of raiding to now how to get back home.

The Cub is working on a pet project of his, he is building a scale model Star Destroyer. With AI-controlled turrets.

I’m working on building a Death Star. And I intend to build a carrier, with AI-controlled ships. I have been looking into it, and I think it is possible to have AI-controlled small fighters as parasites to your capital ship.

We’re going to take our time, have fun building an empire, and when the time is right we’ll modify that little server.cfg file and let new pirates spawn in to join the party. See how they like it when we can hunt them back in ships that have actual armor and shields.

Oh, and in the blueprint catalog, the ships the pirates use are in there too. So you can buy them and check out their design, suckers are fast, have strong shields, but popguns for weapons. No missiles. If you have a chance to armor and shield your ship before they swarm you, you might even be able to take them down.

This has been a long post, and I’m not covering everything because who knows if this sounds like your thing. If it does, you’ll find out soon enough, everything you could want to know is out there, usually in a Youtube video.

Here are some serious incentives to try it.

It’s free.

It’s quick to set up, especially for a local network.

It’s well-documented on Youtube and on the Star-Made Wiki.

There are many multi-player servers out there you can log into to try, most with actual experienced players that I’m sure will be happy to show you a thing or two… and teach all about the importance of factions and faction modules and forming alliances and having a home-base you can dock your ship in to be invulnerable to attack.

You can make your own custom-designed star ships, seek out new life and new civilizations, and nuke them from orbit.

Great game. Just, great game.

I hope that you have a chance to try it with your kids, or with your friends, and see what it’s like. Building your own ships immediately and going after each other in dogfights, having design decisions MATTER to ship handling and weapon stats, it’s just an amazing feeling.

FYI, this isn’t Eve Online. Try it yourself, but just because it has spacecraft building, space stations, PvP, factions and pirates, and an economy and Trading Posts doesn’t make it Eve. It’s definitely it’s own thing.

You just gotta try it. You’ll see.

And say goodbye to the rest of your weekend.

3 Responses to “Star-Made Is Almost too Awesome To Exist”
  1. Tesh says:

    Bookmarked for something to come back to… when I have time. I was busy before, but now that I’m unemployed, I’m even busier.

    Still… this looks *really* good. Thanks for sharing!

  2.  

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