E3 Impressions: Star Trek: Infinite Space Bringing Casual Gaming Fun To Trek | TrekMovie.com
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E3 Impressions: Star Trek: Infinite Space Bringing Casual Gaming Fun To Trek June 22, 2011

by Anthony Pascale , Filed under: DS9,Games,Interview,Review , trackback

Last week TrekMovie reported on E3 first impression of the exciting new video game tied to the new Star Trek movie universe. Gameforge was also at E3 showing off a pre-alpha build of their free to play multiplayer browser game Star Trek: Infinite Space. See below for first impressions, plus exclusive gameplay video and interview with game consultants Mike and Denise Okuda.

 

First Impressions of Star Trek: Infinite Space

Gameforge, who are Europe’s biggest online game publisher, is developing a new free-to-play browser game set during the Dominion War of Star Trek: Deep Space Nine. Gameforge was at E3 showing off a "pre-alpha" build for "Star Trek: Infinite Space," which is now set to be released in the fall of 2011. Gameforge are working with award-winning developer Keen games and they have also brought in Star Trek screenwriter Lee Sheldon to develop the story and Star Trek design veterans (and overall Treksperts) Mike and Denise Okuda as consultants.

The game is played entirely through your PC web browser, which requires you to download the Unity3D plug-in to play the game. At the start of the game you can choose between two factions – the Federation or the Klingons. Players can create their own personal avatar and choose from a range of races (such as Human, Andorian, or Bajoran). You can also individualize your outfit and equipment. After a tutorial you enter a starbase and you start picking up missions. Each player is issued their own ship at start, with the ships getting better as you progress in the game. You can choose to play on your own or cooperate with up to four other players at a time. From what I saw of Gameforge’s approach, everything is designed to make it easy to get started playing Star Trek: Infinite Space.

The first thing that strikes you about Star Trek: Infinite Space is how intuitive the game is. Once you exit the social environment of the starbase, the game takes you and your ship into space where the bulk of your time will likely be spent. Movement is based in 2-dimensions which is easy to grasp for casual gamers. You move your ship with the mouse or keyboard, and movement was very intuitive. Gameplay is simpler than MMORPGs like Star Trek Online, but that is the point as this is more of a casual game. The focus from Gameforge is to make the game accessible to as many people as possible.

However, Star Trek: Infinite Space is not overly simplistic. There are lots of options on modifying your ship, something important to do before missions to make sure you have the right systems for the mission at hand. And just like in real Star Trek, you need to pay attention to the weapon and shield arcs while you are playing the game to protect your ship and target your enemies. While the emphasis of Star Trek: Infinite Space is combat, however the game includes an ongoing storyline and parts of each mission includes non-combat as well as combat.

Another thing that was impressive about the E3 demonstration was the look of the game. It was hard to imagine that this was a browser-based game not requiring a big download. Also at the demo the mission loading screens were very quick – hopefully that will be the case when the game is out in the wild of the Internet. And while we have seen it before, Gameforge has also done a good job enhancing the Trek experience with using the TNG era LCARS interface for the game navigation, no doubt helped by LCARS designer Mike Okuda.

Star Trek: Infinite Space even comes with its own custom score by veteran game composer Chris Hülsbeck. While it is original music, it is still evocative of Star Trek, especially the music of Deep Space Nine. One curiosity for the pre-alpha build shown at E3 was that it didn’t include standard Star Trek sounds, but more generic video game sounds for things like phasers, photons, etc. Gameforge said that was something they should be addressing as they get closer to release.

As you progress through the game you move up levels and get more equipment and systems and of course bigger and better ships. Star Trek: Infinite Space is a free-to-play game, which means exactly that. You can play the game and not pay a penny, but you also have the option for micro-transactions in the game. However, Gameforge are adamant that you cannot buy an advantage in the game. Gameforge’s Product Director Holger Zimmerman explains:

You cannot buy anything that gives you an advantage. Free-to-play is not about paying to get anything you want. If you invest money into the game you might be able to level up a little bit faster, when you get loot you might get a little bit more loot or some things might be a little bit easier, but we really care about the balancing. Paying money should not take away the fun of leveling up. You cannot buy yourself success in the game.

Overall the E3 demo of Star Trek: Infinite Space was a delight. The game looked great and was easy to jump in and have some fun. Much has been said on if this game competes with Star Trek Online, but these are really two entirely different types of games, possibly calling for different types of gamers. Infinite Space is likely for more casual gamers who just want to have fun. There is no commitment to a monthly fee and you can play as little or as much as you like. Of course the tradeoff is that it is a simpler game. I could even imagine some gamers enjoying both, depending on their mood.  

Like with Paramount’s upcoming Star Trek game, the final determination will be made once we see the final game and get a better sense of the story and how it fits into Star Trek. But Gameforge appear to be on the right track.

E3 Demo of Star Trek: Infinite Space

While Gameforge wanted to limit video of their pre-alpha build of Star Trek: Infinite Space, they did let TrekMovie shoot a couple minutes at the beginning of our demo.

Mike and Denise Okuda on Infinite Space

Veteran Star Trek designers (and keepers of the canon) Mike and Denise Okuda are consultants for Star Trek: Infinite Space. The spoke to TrekMovie at E3 about the contribution to the game and how they are keeping it Trek.

Stay tuned to TrekMovie for more updates on Star Trek: Infinite Space.

Comments

1. Crusade2267 - June 22, 2011

Looks really good! More to do during my lunch break!

2. somethoughts - June 22, 2011

gonna check this out too, can’t wait

3. Duncan MacLeod - June 22, 2011

Is that interior shot from the game? There is no caption for context.

4. Commodore Mike of the Terran Empire - June 22, 2011

Looks like it is going to be fun.,
Or as Kirk said. Sounds like Fun!!!!!!

5. OfficialSpudUk - June 22, 2011

The interiors look better then they do in STO, certainly normal height ceilings!

6. ensign joe - June 22, 2011

good questions Anthony

7. N - June 22, 2011

@3 I think it’s probably an example of an avatar as mentioned above

8. Robman007 - June 22, 2011

Looks fun. I tired STO and found it to be repetitive and at times silly…like beaming into your bridge when you want a bridge view, then beaming out when you want to go back to Starship view. I did love the space combat but dreaded the ground combat. Was fun, but not worth paying $15 a month for. The bane of all online multiplayer games is that pay to play. Makes me mad.

9. Victor Hugo - June 22, 2011

Looks great! Just now i tried the Galactica browser game, terrific quality, it´s like a PS2 game.

10. Excelsior - June 22, 2011

Just glad this is still coming out – after IDW’s shift away from ‘prime universe’ comic titles to focus on the JJ-verse, I was starting to worry that new ‘classic Trek’ stuff was going to go the way of the dodo…

Looks very nice, and the Okudas’ input is a really exciting prospect. Must give this a go when it comes out.

11. They call me Stasiu - June 22, 2011

I’m amazed that the game is carried out through a browser window.
And it’s great that the Okudas are the torchbearers and public faces of classic/contemporary Trek continuity.

12. Mikey1091 - June 22, 2011

STILL looks like a Trek DAC ripoff to me, and I couldn’t stand that game.

13. PEB - June 22, 2011

@10 what ever happened to odo by the way? not being sarcastic or anything. i mean i know at the end of ds9 (tv) kira dropped him off and he joined the great link and that was that, but in books that came after….did anything ever come of that? for some reason, odo always urked me. he was the cyclops to worf’s wolverine on ds9.

14. sean - June 22, 2011

Looks like it won’t give me motion sickness like STO tends to. Sometimes when you’re in combat there’s a tendency for ships to just circle and circle and circle and circle and…hang on, I need a trash can.

15. sean - June 22, 2011

#13

Dodo, not odo. “Going the way of the dodo” means something is becoming obsolete and on its way out.

16. AwesomeJohn22 - June 22, 2011

i like gaming, but have never had the attention span (what with the ADD and all) or the budget to commit to a MMO, so this is the perfect trek game for me. it is simple and casual like my favorite combat based trek games or old, and modern enough to have some serious potential.

17. Andrew - June 22, 2011

@13

Actually, Odo is running the Dominion now with just himself and Laas, who we met in the seventh season that was one of the hundred changlings like Odo the Great Link sent out. Apparently, the changlings of the Great Link believed in a changling ‘God’ and when they discovered it was killed by some bad guys in the books they got depressed and broke up the Great Link going their separate ways leaving Odo and Laas in charge of the Dominion.

18. PEB - June 22, 2011

@15 …wow i dont know how i screwed that up in my brain. i know what the phrase means i just for some reason thought you typed odo and not dodo. my mistake. oh and thanks @17

19. Captain Dan - June 22, 2011

Looks pretty good, can’t believe it’s a browser-based game! WIll have to try it out. I’m guessing there’s accounts to set up and all that though so you can save your progress?

Only thing I noticed (and I’m sure others have) is the uniforms are wrong if this is set during the Dominion war :)

20. Jon Spencer - June 22, 2011

I HATE HOW THIS IS PC!!!! Isn’t trek supposed to be the future? GET ON MAC. For heaven sakes. I’m the biggest trekkie ever, but quit being stupid.

21. Jon Spencer - June 22, 2011

The guy on the video sounds like a moron, but the game looks interesting!

22. Will_H - June 22, 2011

Not gonna lie, this looks more enjoyable than STO. And 20, hopefully they’re using the term PC loosely. I’m not sure exactly what it runs on, but I was able to play BSG Online with no problems on my Mac and seems like a similar setup.

23. Luke Sutton - June 23, 2011

@Jon Spencer

lol… Whilst I’ll be sitting here at home with my Windows computers and enjoying every moment of this game. Heh.

Isn’t Trek supposed to be the future? Where diversity is infinite? As well as operating system choices?

24. NickC - June 23, 2011

i read somewhere that it WILL be available for the Mac!
Think it was an interview with GameForge!

25. Mr.T - June 23, 2011

Great article! Looking forward to the game…
It´s a browser game and uses the Unity engine – so I guess it should run on a Mac as well as PC.

26. Calbie - June 23, 2011

Jon Spencer.

If you want to play games, don’t buy a Mac. I learned that when i was 5.

27. Pensive's Wetness - June 23, 2011

@20. looks like someone is jealous… pity! :D

im still dubious of the game itself…

28. Praetor Tal - June 23, 2011

I imagine this will be like Ambrosia Software’s Escape Velocity, and sequels.

29. Cheezyspam - June 23, 2011

from what I’ve seen so far the game looks incredible (if not a little too simple). The aim is for casual gamers to be able to pop-in and play at any time, which works great for me as I have 1 hour lunch breaks everyday that I could easily do a mission or 2 a day.

I’m also interested in the social aspects of the 3rd person walk around. That to me is an added bonus.

The only thing I’d say I’m kind of disappointed in is the top down space battles. The past several games have been that way. I guess I keep hoping for more of a 1st person bridge simulator where you fly using the view screen and give orders to your command posts… kinda like a faster paced, better working TNG SNES game? I want to FEEL like I’m really in charge of my own star ship and be able to walk around freely in it on my down time.

30. HARRISON!!! - June 23, 2011

@20. Jon Spencer – It *will* be available for Macs – if you look on the download page:

http://unity3d.com/unity/download/

There’s a link that says “Developing on Mac OS X?” and if you click that the download changes from a Windows EXE file to a Mac DMG image.

After you’ve got the game engine, it’s all browser based – and even if it doesn’t work on Safari for some reason, you can just use Chrome / FireFox / Opera / etc…

31. cjc960 - June 23, 2011

Looking forward to trying this game!

32. Anthony Pascale - June 23, 2011

Spencer
Warning for flaming. And yes you can flame the subject of an article.

We bring exclusive video of this game and that is all you can come up with? Just because English is someone’s second language, doesn’t make them worthy of ridicule.

33. Jon Spencer - June 23, 2011

@32. My apologies. Wasn’t trying to ridicule. I love this site and am grateful for your content. Keep up the good work.

34. Jon Spencer - June 23, 2011

@23, I agree with you. The future is choices. Not just PC. I’m glad to see it will be browser based. Missed that last night for some reason.

35. Duruibe patrick - June 28, 2011

i want to pay as long as you pay me

36. Captain Malcolm Reynolds - July 26, 2011

This game looks sooooo good, especially since it’s free and I can play it on my Mac!!! I’m gonna be spending lots of hours in front of the screen this summer….

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