Space Station 13

by Exadv1
Space Station 13
Stay alive inside Space Station 13

Thief Jack Score:


Space Station 13 provides the groundwork for an exciting role-playing experience but certain aspects prevent most rounds from ever really taking off.

Space Station 13 seems, at first glance, to be a game offering countless hours of enjoyment.
How many games are there where you're on a space station and must survive a menacing trouble? Let's se-oh wait! Space Tug! Anyone remember the game where a Critter was roaming the corridors, preying upon the lives of a crew? Hopefully this game can measure up to its bloody counterpart.
Unfortunately, it's shortcomings are glaringly visible upon entering the game.

You enter the game with a blank character, in a waiting room, before rounds begin. You are allowed to edit your character's template with a variety of different choices. However, editing most of them is trivial as they have no impact on your gameplay whatsoever. It seems as if the useless attributes were added to enhance the player's roleplaying experience but nobody actually edits their traits and in the end they're just there for show.

One of the few oddities that does have some impact on your experience is the ability to edit your illnesses in the character creation screen. It seems as if disabilities were added to help the role-play factor but they end up being far greater nuisances than a helpful addition. It's doubtful anyone wants to gain epilepsy so that they may go unconscious every few minutes for a round that may take hours to end. Good attempt; bad execution.

The interface also affects the game by a large degree. Changing your shirt ends up being rocket science and finding where certain pieces of clothing go ends up in frustration. The game has a really steep learning curve when it comes to knowing how to properly use the HUD which is most likely why most new players end up causing mayhem.
They can only decipher how to pick up, oh let's say, an oxygen tank. They then find out how to attack so they do what they do best. Attack with an oxygen tank. The game does provide some mediocre documentation on how to equip things but fails to note that there are more slots available upon clicking the nearly invisible 'OTHER' tab. You have to spend hours trying to place a helmet in the mask section only to find out it has to go in the head section. I have a head section? Where? Let me spend another five hours trying to find the damn thing.

There's too many unneeded slots. Left hand? Check. Right hand? Check. Torso? Check. What else do I need? Apparently a feet slot (What was the point of this? Does my character really need to change shoes that often? Will I catch some sort of feet stink plague?) and an ears slot (Do I need to use cotton swabs to avoid ear infections?) were necessary additions to keep the game balanced and healthy. Yes, these are real slots. There are several useless slots and they just add to the junk the HUD doesn't need.

Space Station 13's saving grace, however, is it's entertaining modes. It sports five different scenarios for you to role-play in, including traitor, sandbox, blob, nuclear, and monkey mode.

Traitor mode requires no in-depth explanation. There's a traitor onboard the station and you've got to get him before he steals vital documents or weaponry and escapes. This provides one of the best role-playing experiences than the rest of the modes.
Monkey mode has around three players go ape (literally) and wreak havoc upon the station and you've got to contain them before they get you and escape, unleashing their virus upon Earth.
Nuclear mode is a close-relative of traitor mode. A few operatives are sent to the station to retrieve a research disk, destroy the station and escape.
Meteor mode is the useless of all modes as recent patches fortified the station, basically nullifying their destructive power.
The worst mode of all, however, is blob mode.
Blob mode releases a growing organism onto the station that causes horrendous lag that leaves you crying, "Why has God forsaken me!?"
Each mode provides a good base so that role-playing may start up, but it usually ends up in some idiot running amuck killing everyone.

Oh, how the griefers grief.

Roleplaying fails to take place for various reasons but one big, big reason is that the game is way too fast-paced for any role-playing to occur naturally. It's usually very forced and provides little to no enjoyment. Why force yourself to talk when you could just shoot the guy and bash his head in. Come on... the toxin laboratory is just a few feet away. He doesn't need his skin... When role-playing does take place, it is extremely entertaining. It just doesn't happen often enough.

Personally, I've managed to role-play a few times but it's either interrupted by some idiot with a taser gun or the game just gets too fast paced as the meteors tear apart the station. If you can find a good group of people to play with then the replay value skyrockets to the top. You can have a role-play, a doctor can actually take test subjects by force without being banned for griefing, or you can have a grief-fest. You won't find that group anytime soon, however. Most of the public servers are filled to the brim with idiots running amuck, causing frustration to all who enter to the station with an oxygen tank. Space Station 13 is the type of game where you look at it and realize, "Hey, this game has potential. Too bad this and this is wrong with it."

Sunday, March 23, 2008
Following reports about the lag being on my end, I changed a few things on my computer and went back on a random server. No more lag! The game has earned 1 point in gameplay and the overall score has changed to 5.5.
Amen, tells the truth like mad. As a long-time SS13 player I quit for the reasons listed. It's just not the RP place it used to be.
Lulz, that was me dragging him!
I think the community is more on trial than the game most of the time but this is a pretty fair review. It sounds like you made a real effort to experience the game compared to the other two reviews. The community currently has a pretty big number of players who get alot of enjoyment out of the numerous ways to kill and die this game supplies but if enough players show interest in RP it will happen and there actually have been and probably still are restricted servers where RP is strictly enforced.
Why don't we make enforced RP servers more often? The big problem is this is a community game and currently the community is as I said lacking, a traitor can't hide in a crew of 4, monkey mode doesn't work without a lot of players, nuke same, blob..?. blob is a joke most of the time because it obviously lags and it's fun to take drastic measures to try and buy more time.

I would be happy to try and direct new players to a good server and to help them learn the basics.

I have to disagree about the programming being shoddy, I find it works smoothly and is quite advanced and that steps have actually been taken to avoid some catastrophic lag events, An example is explosive decompression which is actually quite slow and steady.

I personally think the graphics are fine, there was a version with 'better' graphics and more roundness to the shapes of objects but it never caught on because it made objects disperportionate to eachother and made the playable characters look like football players rather than crewmen. I will admit tho, direction of face in the players could be a nice addition.

I agree that the learning curve is very steep and a tutorial would greatly help the beginner experience. The random slots don't serve much perpose normally but when there is good rp they have their uses. Someone is likely to make a tutorial soon enough.

If you force yourself to stick to the game and try different hosts there is at least one good server which has enough admining to keep the griefers tollerable and enough bandwidth to keep the lag down.

Unfortunately you said every server lags, so I now think its fair to counter with the fault could lie somewhere along your connection. I personally rarely have that problem unless it is a noob host on narrowband, (when you want to play, a poor host is still better than none) or the admins are trying to force an RP reset by 'sudden unexpected meteor storm'.

Again I think we need a tutorial or mentor program, someone took the time to walk me through the rocket science of putting a shirt on and I would be willing to do the same to others. Hmm in fact, Someone make me a tutorial mod and I'll try to host it or just make a tutorial room somewhere off the pregame lobby or maybe sleeping quarters and I'll volunteer to teach in it if asked.

The diseases are from WAY back in the day when they were a strange but acceptable roleplay feature, they used to be randomly assigned, it gave the medical doctor and DNA researcher a bit of work every round and built some good friendships for me. (I drag you to medbay one round, you do it for me next)
It honestly wasn't too bad, we had skilled doctors who could treat it easily or even cure it. Also I think it served to delay the extreme free time that leads to rp collapse but the RandomDiseaseGenerator as I and some others call it had to be removed when nuke was added because the syndicate wouldn't be able to function if any of them had something worse than poor vision.

The community kinda died when we lost regular updates but now that we have more frequent updates again, I think there will be some new life in the community, while the griefers are busy trying to learn about the new stuff so they can f it up, new players can learn the basics in greater peace. If more RP players arrive the community will improve and likely branch into more serious RP where there will not be tollerance for the tom foolery of the non-rp players. I like the new power system immensely because aside from being new and cool it also helps keep people busy because idle hands are the devils play things.

Again I would be glad to try and invite you (the review) and anyone else who is interested to some rounds on a good server when there are some proper admins policing and try to walk players through the interface because once you are used to it you can change outfits pretty quickly and easily unless there is the rare lag.

In the course of writing my responce to your review I thought of some interesting suggestions that might make it harder to grief repeatedly by some of the simple means.

P.S. I think that picture is out of context, dead bodies in the pregame start lobby are often AFK or willing observers.

To close we must work together for the community.
Heh. That's not most of it. The programming's cool...

We just gotta have a way to manage everyone at once.
The slots you call useless are used, if albeit very rarely. That's why they're in the 'Other' tab, so you don't have to stare at them all the time.

Most of the problems with SS13 are with the community, not the game. Most people are content with just random killing and annoying others who attempt to RP. Either very strict admins or you host the game privately and only invite trustworthy people.

As for your complaints of lag, Hobnob's work has GREATLY reduced much of it. If you're suffering so much lag on every server, it has to be on your end.
I've tried to play this on several ouccasions in the past and to be honest it's one of the worst byond games ever. This review above pretty much explains it all. I've tired to enjoy it, but it's just plain terrible.
EPSIL0N wrote:
It sounds like you made a real effort to experience the game compared to the other two reviews.

Heh. I can only chuckle at that. I played SS13 for years before I finally got fed up and wrote that rant... in 2006.

A couple years later, I then flagged it as a review in light of Yurgeta's hissy-fit about having a negative review; I said that reviews, even negative ones, are a critical part of the new review system on the site, and made good on my opinion.

Just because I didn't expound on the actual gameplay components doesn't make it any more or less of a review: it's still a review. Were I to write it from scratch today, of course, especially in light of the new review features, I would certainly make it comprehensive. However, Thief Jack seems to have done a pretty good job already.
Zero Ziat wrote:
The programming's cool...

I've not looked at the source, but I've heard from multiple sources that it is quite god awful.
Popisfizzy wrote:
Zero Ziat wrote:
The programming's cool...

I've not looked at the source, but I've heard from multiple sources that it is quite god awful.

Where it came from is a factor into what caused that. As it is now, it certainly is god awful.
Finally, a reviewer who doesn't have his head up his ass.
Neo Shadow X wrote:
Finally, a reviewer who doesn't have his head up his ass.

That's TJ for you.
Shoes are to feet
Gloves are to hands
Griefers are to SS13
Didn't read this, but I read something about grief, community sucking, etc.

Lol oh wait, that's in all of them.
ANiChowy: I didn't read your comment, but I assumed it was glib.
Jtgibson wrote:
ANiChowy: I didn't read your comment, but I assumed it was glib.

I really have nothing against the reviewer or the reviews themselves, it just seems all of them have to do with those points.
Heh, I can understand that. But if every review of the game says "the community sucks", chances are the community sucks. ;-)
Jtgibson wrote:
Heh, I can understand that. But if every review of the game says "the community sucks", chances are the community sucks. ;-)

The reason the community sucks is because it's barely a roleplaying game anymore. Now it's more action based, and players expect roleplaying, but they get tased in return, thus, complaining.

I was inspired to find you, because I was looking at archived images of the first website on the Wayback Machine!

Space Station 13 was fun at times, but even I don't play anymore because of the players :-p

I miss playing with you, linky, geocat, Ter, Ex, Blu, JONJON, etc.

All the old boys (and Blu :-p )

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