Frustrations of a Space Gaming Nerd

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A few months ago, I wrote about how uneasy I felt about David Braben’s Kickstarter. As someone who still plays Elite II, I didn’t like how he had seemingly followed Chris Roberts there, and was asking for money when he literally had nothing to show except a few concept art images. Braben got his funding, and towards the end of the Kickstarter he showed some more footage.

I feel quite confident now, and have actually pledged a lot more than I originally did via the portal on their Web site. But, all is not sitting well with me right now. I’m really disturbed that the people who have really kept the genre alive while both Braben and Roberts ‘wandered in the desert’ have been abandoned.

Right now, there is another Kickstarter effort going on for Rogue System, and it’s looking like it’s going to fail without a significant change in contributions. I’m shocked by that. It has all the elements that I’ve seen countless Space Gaming Nerds like myself asking for, it has way more game footage and images than Braben provided during his, and the author has personally answered every single question he has received.

It is an incredible piece of software, and it is software like this that really kept us going, kept us hoping, during the years where neither Roberts or Braben were paying attention. Games like Pioneer (which has been in development forever, always showing promise, never getting there) that we kept playing, hoping and dreaming would eventually replace games like Elite II.

Now we have one of those games asking us to support it, and what do we do? Nothing. We do nothing. Why is this? Because the author isn’t called Braben or Roberts? Because he had the misfortune to do his Kickstarter after they did?

The simple fact is, the fans are at fault here. They’ve abandoned those truly giving them what they want. This isn’t new, it happens in every genre where a game is instantly considered better because it looks more flashy, has a big name attached, or was released more recently. But with this particular genre, it irks me greatly…

As I said above, this Kickstarter doesn’t have the Braben or Roberts name on it. You know whose name it does have? Michael Juliano. His name is as well-known as the name Braben and Roberts were before they released their first Space game. Think about that.

This Kickstarter did start after both the Roberts and Braben campaigns, but has still shown more game footage than Braben has to-date. How this can truly be counting against him, I really don’t know.

I’ve always felt that competition (in any genre) is a good thing, and to have a choice of Space games is ideal. That’s why I backed both Star Citizen and Elite Dangerous, because even though I didn’t like the way Braben jumped on the bandwagon, I love the genre too much to not support it. It’s a shame I am so alone in that.

2 thoughts on “Frustrations of a Space Gaming Nerd

  1. “I’m really disturbed that the people who have really kept the genre alive while both Braben and Roberts ‘wandered in the desert’ have been abandoned.”

    Michael Juliano kept the genre alive during Braben and Roberts’ protracted absence? Really?

    Sorry mate, but that’s news to me.. if anything, the people who kept the space-sim dream alive for the last decade have been the Oolite developers and fans.

    Unlike Braben’s Frontier Series, Oolite stays faithful to the spirit of the original Elite. As such, it could well be referred to as Elite II, whilst Elite: Dangerous could more accurately be called Frontier III, rather than Elite IV.

    What Oolite has, that SC and ED will never have, is the ability to be easily modded by fans (currently there are well over 500 fan-made expansion packs available for Oolite) and as development is constantly ongoing, feature requests are often implemented within days.. try getting that with any commercial game.

    On top of which, Oolite is both opensource and free.

    You really ought to come and check us out.

  2. Michael Juliano kept the genre alive during Braben and Roberts’ protracted absence? Really?

    No, at no point was that stated or even suggested. “People” is plural. Michael is singular. The people that you’re raising are exactly the ones I’m talking about, as are Egosoft, Pioneer, etc.

    Feel free to misunderstand again if you wish to, although I would recommend giving it another read, because although I am disappointed to not see a smalltime dev (like Michael) make something happen, and be dropped in favor of these big guys the instant they crawled back into the genre, that doesn’t mean that at any time did I hold him up as a singular example. I actually pointed out many others quite clearly.

    It kind of sounds like you came here to toot your own community horn and actually ignored the content of the post.


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Space Gaming Category Information

My first space game addiction was with David Braben's 'Frontier - Elite II' released in 1993 on the Commodore Amiga. This game actually gave me so much of what I wanted in a game that I continued to play it until the 'Elite - Dangerous' release in 2014.

I also played through the 'Wing Commander' series from Chris Roberts, enjoying them immensely. This led directly to my support of his 2012 crowdfunding campaign for the Star Citizen and Squadron 42 games that are still in development.

These days I use gaming to try to escape from the pressures of real life. I also occasionally upload or stream gameplay to YouTube and Twitch, and rather than doing this to instruct others of the best way to play, I do it because of the social interaction with viewers and other gamers.

Left: Hires redraw I did of a 'Frontier - Elite II' Eagle ship with Merlin and Aster planets visible.


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Tim is British and lives in the United States with his wife and kids.

He works for software developers Image Space Inc. and Studio 397 on their racing simulations, and is a fan of Gaming, Motorsports, and photography.