Space Station 13

by Exadv1
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ID:14787
 
Keywords: game, review
I hate Space Station 13. There. I've said it. It started simply enough -- a shared space station simulation where people take on the roles of a futuristic crew and attempt to survive against various disasters.

The direction it should have gone: a cooperative roleplaying game where everyone performs research and tries to keep a complex, superbly intricate piece of machinery from falling apart around them, meanwhile enduring the occasional visit from hostile personnel with an agenda.

The direction it went: a completely non-cooperative roleplaying game where the space station doesn't even usually play into the game at ALL -- players drift around at random shooting one another, attempting to shoot one another, attempting to blow up said space station, or anything else completely not conducive to performing research and trying to keep a complex, superbly intricate piece of machinery from falling apart.

Space Station 13 is rife with player politics. Not character politics. Player politics. Players own special space stations in the game, administrators have access to features that they have no business having access to, hosts rampantly abuse their hosting privileges (hosting is not a right), and there is a Central Command station which has everything anyone could ever want -- to the point that no one even needs to bother with the actual namesake of the game.

When players aren't busy yelling at each other or killing each other, they're busy accusing one another of being poor roleplayers. I have a newsflash: you all suck at roleplaying. Get used to it.

Just thought I'd share.
Yet, people enjoy playing it.
I just think the game sucks regardless.
Yet, people enjoy playing it.

People also enjoy playing Zeta rips.
Yeah. If something bad EVER happens to someone, it's instantly "GRIEFER BAN HIM!"

On the other hand, people think that they can roleplay being idiots. Most of the people from SomethingAwful gave up on the game because of the players.
Here, here.

SS13 is on my 'top 3 (potentially awesome) BYOND games gone wrong' list. Alongside it are MLAAS, and Hedgerow Hall. In all three cases there were/are key game mechanics - mostly simple adjustments - missing that allowed a mostly immature player base to take the games in directions that fail to connect back to the game's basic theme, as it were.




...Meh.
Well, it's a good game, with a nice point..but it just doesn't work without a good community.
"administrators have access to features that they have no business having access to"

I forgot where I heard this, that they can "blow up" the whole station or however that works. Not totally sure; but that sounded pretty pointless to me. :)
Yet, people enjoy playing it.

There's people who abduct and sexually molest babies, too.
In fact, there's more sex offenders out there than there are Space Station 13 players; what does that tell you about the sick fucks logged in to SS13?
I play SS13 too i think the game is good people work with each other better when its Classic meteor join the game when its that because you need more people to help
I love that line, Elation. Normally I'd be pissed about the language on my comment thread, but man, that's great. ;-)
You are a god! Excellent, excellent post. Last summer sometime I went to play SS13 (not that it was my first time playing it) because so many people play it all the time. That must mean it's a good game, right? Wrong. Open PvP makes players go crazy, and everyone starts accusing everyone of "griefing." NEWSFLASH! If the game was supposed to be a strict roleplaying game, the developer would have made it that way! There wouldn't be "classified" things like bombs, electric chairs, and there wouldn't be easily abusable admin powers and "secrets" that can do very strange things... Most players that stick around and play it like the open PvP, or the "openess" of the game... translating to do whatever you want, in good OR bad ways.
the game is good its just nooby players and admin
SS13 is an awesome game, and your review thats bashing SS13 does no justice to it's unique game play, and its storyline. You simply focus on the community thats behind it. Do something like Data did, if you don't like the community, then don't bash the game, include it in the Review. This is an incredibly bias review and I will be sure to ignore your future reviews.
SS13 in itself is an awesome game. It could be taken a whole different way and would certainly be much better.

The key thing that went wrong here is: You don't actually need to upkeep the station. If you don't start the engine, there's nothing bad that will happen. Electric doors still open. There's light. The captain doesn't need to steer the ship. If there are no heads, the ship is perfectly fine. If players actually had a reason to do their assigned jobs, the game would be a lot better. Justin's game about submarines has this key feature, I'm not saying I like his game, but he has handled it well and if he wasn't overly paranoid about PvP (there's no reason to take it out entirely, Justin. That robs the game of a lot of its fun) and other things it would be a very fun game.

That said, the community is, has, and always will be part of the problem. In fact, I admit to being part of the problematic side of the community. But overall, despite the fact that nothing is needed to run SS13, that doesn't mean players can't pretend there is. The fact that the community refuses to roleplay will always cripple the gameplay of SS13.
I think it was a wonderful game. I say "was" because I knew it's community was going to shit (excuse my french) several years ago.

With the right people, it's still an excellent game. However, Exadv1 did go in the wrong direction with it. He started developing it as a sandbox game rather than a roleplaying game. That's where the problems are coming from.
Sandbox-to-Game designs can be quite successful, you just have to be aware that you're making one. Jt's right on the money when it comes to direction - Exadv1 went the wrong way with it. Although, I should point out that the game is in active development again, and the new developers (Exadv1 is still among them) are trying to add in features that should've been there from the start.

Research, for instance, is going to play a larger role. I've heard they'll be adding unique chemicals (hydrogen, potassium, etc.) that can be manipulated and combined. Of course, there are other items on their agenda I disagree with (adding more support for large population games?). Either way, I think it's a wonderful game for what it is (the complexity behind the cellular automata system is nothing short of inspiring), but the developer and community took it and turned it into something less than desirable.
Mostly oriented towards Strawgate:

What I should point out is that this review was written quite a long while ago, and I haven't played it since then. I only thought of tying the review to SS13 using the newly-added review functionality since right now there's such a huge curfuffle about Yurgeta and negative reviews that I figured I'd put my money where my mouth is/was.

If you want to write a review that's positively biased in favour of SS13, go right ahead! That's the value of the review system. Mine stands as fair warning to anyone that the community will ruin the game. If you want to review the gameplay itself, that's your prerogative.

If you don't realise the community is rotten from the moment you step through the door, you'll learn it sooner or later; this is the same reason that I stopped visiting 3000AD and stopped supporting the various BattleCruiser/Universal Combat games in 2002. The BattleCruiser games are, in a word, awesome. But Mr. Smart spoils all hope of the games ever being good, by removing interesting features, calling some bugs "not-bugs" because he just doesn't want to fix them, and going on whine crusades against so-called griefers (sounds a lot like the author of a certain other popular sci-fi game on BYOND).

I'll pop into SS13 some time in the near future to see what's what, but in irc://irc.worldirc.org/bay12games I chat with a lot of SomethingAwful goons who are also Dwarf Fortress fans, and most of them seem to agree with my assessment of SS13.


Oriented towards Evre:

I'm a little skeptical about the "research" part. Does this mean that the players learn the interactions in a sandbox-style research environment, or do the characters perform research by investing time towards XCOM-style research projects? 'Cause if it's the former, that's no different than what's already there, and the whole problem of hiding knowledge from the newbies will continue to be epidemic.
I agree fully with the review.

An awesome game ruined by a completely horrible community.

I wish someone competent would get hosting powers and actually run a good, organized server for once.
There are good servers all the time. For example on my server I've got around a 95% rate of banning the griever before he can do any real damage. But on a lot of servers there is no observing admin, which causes grieving to be rampant.

Mechana2412 wrote:
I agree fully with the review.

An awesome game ruined by a completely horrible community.

I wish someone competent would get hosting powers and actually run a good, organized server for once.

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