ID:40354
 
Keywords: review
Space Station 13 by Exadv1
Stay alive inside Space Station 13
25655 fans · Created Feb 16 2003
I feel like the gameplay failings on SS13 are like the giant purple elephant in the room that nobody is noticing but me. Whenever an argument is made about game quality on BYOND, SS13 is inevitably drawn up as a high quality game. Its been driving me absolutely insane every time i play it because i keep expecting to uncover some form of coherent gameplay element that doesn't exist.

First of all, everybody on BYOND will go off and criticize any other shoddy game that has such unintuitive verb use abuse and clunky GUI. For instance, if you want to pick up a shirt, you click on it. It goes into your right hand and then you have to click it in your right hand, and click it onto your body. I spent the first 15 seconds trying to drag and drop expecting a game that is heralded as well programmed to have such simple features. It takes basically 3-4 attempts before a shirt will be equipped and thats just the tip of the frustration for any new player. Joining the game gives you a pretty good feel for what a letdown the game will be. You pick your name and if you feel like it you can even chose to give yourself a debilitating illness for some reason. No actual character stats or class or anything like that is assignable at creation. Only poor vision, epilepsy and such. Why? when i first played I thought itd be funny to give myself a few illnesses but all it did was confuse the heck out of me. I would pass out, be unable to talk and couldn't see anything. Attempt two would come a week later. I would walk around and try and catch a roleplay, those who play CowRP will tell you that you'll easily get swept up into some sort of story-tangent but in SS13 there isnt anything like that at all. Everybody is going off doing science experiments (a redeeming feature) however theres a huge lack of actual player interaction. The closest thing to player interaction is when i for no reason whatsoever found myself being cracked on the head by a guy wearing guard apparel and being welded into a locker. That really sucked, i had to come back a while later to bother giving the game another chance.

I'll evaluate the graphics quickly because its easy to. The graphics in SS13 are the worst graphics i have ever seen in a game that has more than 3 players on at at a time. I really thought the zeta rips would have been tacky enough, however SS13 is the epitome of lazy when it comes to graphics. The GUI is all grey gradients with terribly drawn symbols. There are no directions for the characters and the turfs are all solid colored shapes and really the ugliest imaginable on a game. Heres a tip guys, if a game gets even modestly popular, see if theres somebody who isnt ridiculously bad at drawing to do your graphics for you. I know that this game is full of people who think graphics dont matter, AT ALL, however it actually detracts from the enjoyment of the game when it gets this bad. It is simply laziness considering the street credit the game has, recruiting icon help would have been a breeze.

Now to code, since most people who play SS13 will almost certainly argue that code makes up for a game i think its important for me to address the fact that this game is incredibly lazily coded. There is nothing about this game that is impressive in terms of its code. You always find situations where somebody who was good at BYOND code would have made it more convenient or more effective, but no. Joining a game shouldn't be a matter of walking up to wall, getting a done verb, pressing it and getting a enter game verb. Thats garbage! for gods sake why isnt there any sign of game design in that at all? The code is poor but it works I guess, the problem then becomes the lack of game design. The game is supposed to be RP, however the game doesn't play like an RP game. There are hundreds of ways to grief somebody and the incentive to do it is there as there is no entertaining alternative to finding an excuse to putting somebody in a straight jacket, injecting somebody with plasma or putting them in a airlock chamber.

The game is by no means the worst, obviously there is some fun to it but the content and entertainment in the game is buried and hidden and it requires a huge time investment to really get into it, and even when you do you can expect the majority of players to just ruin it for you anyway because the game really lacks any sort of guidance to keep new players from doing anything more than bashing each other with crowbars.

Now, the game is original i suppose. I don't really see why people think it is so impressively original however. The game basically is sci-fi, your in a space station and while it hasn't been done much on BYOND, what makes it really original? Its just a generic space themed game with an absence of ingenuities in the game play department, so originality is more than a binary evaluation, its not a it isnt based on something or it is. This game doesn't really break any molds, it doesn't do anything that made me think, oh thats neat. And it wasn't even fun. I think SS13 is pretty much just a big chat room.


The initial spawn point, where you build your character.


Inside the space station!
Alright, to give the gameplay a two you obviously didn't play it for very long.

Yes, the community is one of the worst on BYOND, but the gameplay is excellent when you actually play in a good game.
elaborate please. I tried playing the game on 4 separate occasions and i didnt find the gameplay impressive at all.
Masterdan wrote:
elaborate please. I tried playing the game on 4 separate occasions and i didnt find the gameplay impressive at all.

It takes quite a few more plays then four. I do agree, there is a massive learning curve and most new players will quit after a few tries. But if you actually force yourself to learn how to play and the tricks of the game, you will start to enjoy it. The game consumed literally months of my life.

There is also much more to the code then what you had seen. There are somewhat advanced DNA sequences, really bizarre teleporters, chemical reactions, and various other things like that. You just have to give the game a chance.
Well i heard about that stuff, and its really why i gave the originality score a 7 because i thought it was interesting. However i personally wasnt able to enjoy these features as i couldnt figure any of the stuff out! Massive learning curve is right, and i think a review that goes to the mass public should be indicative of what somebody who is only willing to invest 3-5 hours of their life to a game before seeing signs of fun or gameplay.

I would like to say, this is my review, my opinion. If somebody wants to write up a review explaining the merits, go right ahead!
Masterdan wrote:
Well i heard about that stuff, and its really why i gave the originality score a 7 because i thought it was interesting. However i personally wasnt able to enjoy these features as i couldnt figure any of the stuff out! Massive learning curve is right, and i think a review that goes to the mass public should be indicative of what somebody who is only willing to invest 3-5 hours of their life to a game before seeing signs of fun or gameplay.

BYOND RPG isn't the mass public. It's a small portion of BYOND who who enjoy RPGs, and I know a very large portion of the BYOND RPG community has hung around SS13 at one point or another.
as far as an RPG game goes, SS13 does a poor job being one. So i think my review is relevant. And i personally like RP games, CowRP is my favorite game on BYOND besides my own obviously. I put hours and hours into that sucker. However SS13 is by comparison a very lame game.
Thank goodness, finally a well-written SS13 review on BYOND RPG. The last one was a complete waste. I have no experience playing this game myself, but I did pop in once early in development and saw the graphics issues you mentioned, plus the incredible lack of guidance as to what to do. But that was when it was still unfinished and I figured the author had a plan to make it more of a playable game at some point. Looks like gameplay kinda fell by the wayside there.

I think ExAdv1's problem was, he seems to have started out with a premise something like Spacetug, and he inherited all of that game's worst problems. SS13 really isn't a role-playing game in my mind, but a long-term action game. Which is just fine, because I like action games with long play times like Lode Wars, but Lode Wars has the advantage of being relatively easy to learn. Also the graphics are awesome. It's a pity Hobnob and Slurm didn't decompile that instead, so someone could at least get the savefile bug fixed, but I digress.

On another note, you might want to consider uploading some screenshots since they'll illustrate your point about the graphics. Also, screen shots are always great.
Lummox JR wrote:
Thank goodness, finally a well-written SS13 review on BYOND RPG. The last one was a complete waste. I have no experience playing this game myself, but I did pop in once early in development and saw the graphics issues you mentioned, plus the incredible lack of guidance as to what to do. But that was when it was still unfinished and I figured the author had a plan to make it more of a playable game at some point. Looks like gameplay kinda fell by the wayside there.

I think ExAdv1's problem was, he seems to have started out with a premise something like Spacetug, and he inherited all of that game's worst problems. SS13 really isn't a role-playing game in my mind, but a long-term action game. Which is just fine, because I like action games with long play times like Lode Wars, but Lode Wars has the advantage of being relatively easy to learn. Also the graphics are awesome. It's a pity Hobnob and Slurm didn't decompile that instead, so someone could at least get the savefile bug fixed, but I digress.

On another note, you might want to consider uploading some screenshots since they'll illustrate your point about the graphics. Also, screen shots are always great.

Just wondering how you could call it a fitting review when you hadn't played the actual game.. >_>
Ryokashi wrote:
Just wondering how you could call it a fitting review when you hadn't played the actual game.

Because I saw the game in its early stages, and saw these problems that have widely been identified as having continued (Spuzzum went off on the game too).

But I said "well-written", not necessarily "fitting". What I've seen agrees with the analyses by Masterdan and Spuzzum. My own comments about the game's conceptual similarity to Spacetug come from my brief experience with it, and others' descriptions of its gameplay. But when I said the review was well-written, I was in particular referring to the fact that it's informative, especially when compared to that other post.
I cant edit the review lummox, if you could edit it to have the following pictures:
http://www.byond.com/members/Masterdan/files/SS13%2D1.png
http://www.byond.com/members/Masterdan/files/SS13%2D2.png

Then thatd be great :3
Thanks for the high praise by the way. Negative reviews tend to just get angry critisism.
You're totally overlooking the massive amounts of fun that can be gleaned from beating ignorant newbies over the head with a crowbar, putting them in a stright jacket, injecting them with plasma and then welding them into a locker! At least, until you get the air lock ready...

Sounds like the perfect game for griefers. And we all know the anime community is full of them.

However, while the graphics might be primitive, aside from the stars (ugh!) I don't think they're all that bad. Not for a BYOND game, anyway.
the anime community doesnt know what the word griefer means man. SS13 is full of griefers but anime games at least have game design set up in such a way that the objective of the game is in tune with how people play it, aka PvP is the objective and theres no constant strife between administrating and greifing. Greifing means you did something wrong.. the word doesnt exist in the vocabulary of the PvP heavy anime guild enthusiasts.
So what you mean is anime games typically cater to griefing to the extent that "anime guild enthusiasts" consider it normal? Sounds about right to me.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Griefer
Do you know what a PvP game is? Thats all i meant, while i wont defend that anime guild players are incredibly frustrating people on average. I was not aware that the word griefer was akin to the word troll. I thought it was just somebody who broke the rules by killing.
Without the Wikipedia definition, in my mind at least a griefer is someone who's goal is to make other people's playing experience suck in order to enhance their own. PvP or not.
Needs screenshots.
Look about 7 comments down.
Yammen wrote:
Masterdan, you fail. If you would of played SS13 back in the good ol' days you'd understand why many old players still like it.

If the game is only fun for people who played it in the good ol' days, then maybe it doesn't deserve a great rank?

I don't know about SS13, I haven't had a chance to play it.
I'm not saying it's bad or anything.
Just thought I'd say that.
I'll add the pictures if you scale 'em down by ~25%. Right now they don't work too well with the thumbnail viewer, which is my feature of preference. =p

And on a side note, I deleted all of the flame-baiting and irrelevant posts. Please keep this on track.
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