Heard of Starforge? I hadn’t either. But after the developer, Codehatch, dropped the trailer on Reddit, Starforge’s website has been swamped, and downloads for its first release have been restricted to torrents because of the massive demand.
The basic premise is similar to Minecraft. Defend your base against attacking monsters while constructing defenses block-by-block. Except the engine uses procedural 3D tilesets to create realistic surfaces, avoiding the samey appearance of Minecraft structures. Also, rather than using tacky torches, the player can place enormous pivoting spotlights which highlight monsters and make dark spaces look even darker by contrast. Add in the automated turrets, and the differences between Minecraft begin to stack up.
Also, helicopters in space.
More Starforge, and the trailer, after the break.
Two game modes are planned for Starforge. The first is Survival World, which pretty much does what it says on the tin. The player and a couple of friends have to gather resources and create a defensible base in order to survive.
The second is Fort Wars, and is derivative of the RTS, FPS, and tower defense genres. Rather than defending against monsters, the player has to defend against an opponent, while managing the creation of workers and gathering of resources.
Both modes are planned to contain character growth, as well as a variety of weapons which can be constructed using resources gathered.
Starforge boasts an impressive physics engine, although it still looks very in-development so far. The player character reacts as realistically as a ragdoll can when being whipped by a rotating arm, although at that speed, the engine should probably just skip the physics and turn the character into a soggy paste.
Before Mojang raised the world ceiling for Minecraft, Starforge could have boasted that it played in the sky where Minecraft played in the ground. But even both games now have access to the far reaches of the atmosphere, Starforge still lays claim to vastly superior graphics and one hell of a skybox. Apparently, the player can use the voxel-based construction applied only for land design to create mountains which reach all the way past the clouds.
According to the website, it looks as though there are a lot of features Codehatch is still sitting on for later releases. Since Starforge is going to be free, Codehatch is setting up the foundation to sell alternative skins and characters with different stats and access to different tilesets.
The game is not well-optimized yet, and may not run on low-end computers. Direct downloads for the first release of Starforge are scarce right now, but Reddit’s Starforge community will likely be maintaining accurate torrent information if you want to try it for yourself.