Captain Forever

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Fshhhhhhh.

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Boop boop boop boop boop!

sleek

Pkow!

This is Captain Forever, a free web game where you shoot ships, and bolt bits of the debris onto your own. I was put off it before because when people were pimping it, you had to pay to get in on the beta. The other ways Captain Forever tries to persuade you not to play it is by making the game’s site confusing and devoid of information about the game, and releasing a similarly named sequel almost immediately, which isn’t free. It needn’t be so hard, just click this link to play secretly free now forever my lord.

I’ve been playing it secretly free now forever my Lord all day – my new year’s resolution was to design more space ships, so the year is shaping up well already. If you’d crashed your time machine into my Lego space police set when I was a kid and told me that in the year 2010, I’d be able to snap together my own little craft then fly them around and blow bits off other spaceships to make my spaceship bigger, I’d have been all, “What use is that information realistically of to me at this stage?” But it’s cool.

Since space is dangerous and there’s no separate screen for ship design, you don’t always have time to optimally rebuild your ship after a fight to incorporate all the cool new parts you’ve salvaged. Thus, you scoot wonkily away from the fight with a hastily cobbled space hulk like this:

jumble of parts

And find a quiet corner of the galaxy to take yourself apart and build something a little more like this:

killing machine

My logic with that design was to protect my parts: obviously it’s counter-productive to cover your guns entirely, but by giving them ‘barrels’ like that most incoming fire would hit the tough, functionless hull pieces instead of my fragile weapons and engines.

The same logic applies when attacking: you’re trying to destroy their core piece without damaging too much of the rest of them, because anything they have left when they die simply falls off for the taking. It’s glorious when a lucky shot nails their core module and a whole vast battleship made of tier-5 parts just gently disintegrates into a nebula of fatal freebies.

Chronobubble

This one… is harder to explain. I made this after buying Captain Successor, esentially the registered version, and as you can see it adds some stuff. The quivering pink lozenges are Blurst Shields: they bounce back enemy fire. The U-shaped piece is a Chrono engine, which accelerates the operating speed of anything attached to it. The circles are all translocators, a weird direction-agnostic propulsion device that lets you strafe and reverse as fast as you move forwards, but is useless for turning sharply. And the big circle is just a bubble shield: it gets taken down easily, but regenerates, meaning small clashes do no lasting damage.

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This is the fastest ship I’ve built so far, structured to allow two racks of India-class engines to max out propulsion without making me dangerously wide. When most of it got smashed to bits by a Kilo craft, I downsized to this:

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Slight, but my most powerful ship – and also my most musical. It’s the only time I’ve lasted long enough to scavenge some Prismatic Juliets (white guns), the second best in the game, and I’ve backed them up with a chorus of India and Hotel lasers – the next two tiers down. This is significant a) because a laser hotel would be awesome, and b) because your fire in Captain Forever doesn’t sound the same with every shot: the tones progress through a musical sequence, so your selection of guns and their different fire rates combine to make every ship play a different tune. The three-layered rhythm of this one is awesome – if you do get Captain Successor, try it out here.

At the end of a game, you can go back through every form your ship ever took during it, and save any as a link anyone can click and play with. It’s one of the neatest content sharing systems I’ve seen in a game, better in some ways than Spore’s. Most people will only be playing with the free version of course, so here‘s the one design I did save while playing that – the gun barrels one. Slow, but safe.

If you get Successor, which is $20, my others are here, here, here, here, here and here.

three shield double boost

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26 Replies to “Captain Forever”

  1. That musical India-class ship is wonderful. In what other game can you explode hostile spaceships and lay down some sexy beats with the same button?

  2. I can’t get past the first loading screen either. It fills the bar then just goes black. This is disappointing because Pentadact’s post got me all pumped up and excited for a new space game.

  3. Some people, Like Tom and the RPS guys manage to find awesome games from the internet while simultaneously removing all of my free time. How do you do it? Thanks for the link Tom.

  4. Changed the links in the post to have wwws as well – let me know if that fixes it, Bret and Nate. If not, it’s a cliche, but maybe update Flash?

  5. Works like a charm, thanks.

    And, having played it now?

    What Calhoun said. It’s great fun, but twenty I can’t swing at the moment.

  6. Great!

    Strategically, I agree – I think he’d make more if he charged 10. Worth 20 to me, though. We may even have been given some free accounts, but I’m keen to support it.

  7. What I’m kinda wondering about is the picture that lights up in the background when you shoot. It looks like it changes color based on what guns you use. Maybe if you get enough types of guns it becomes full color?

  8. It’s supposed to be your pilot’s face reflected in your cockpit (though why he’s seeing a top-down view is unclear). If you have a webcam it can apparently snap your face and use that as the reflection image.

  9. I’ve found stripping down to an engine and a gun sometimes can save your life. Let me slip into a more powerful ship’s blind spot and slowly shoot it to death with the default gun.

    Slow, but so satisfying.

  10. Amazing game, though can’t really afford the 20 quid right now.

    Still, managed to ”beat” the free version with this hideous monstrosity:

    http://www.captainforever.com/captainforever.php?cfe=nqlbqnnagkdxa2ft1vwmnlcefh2vyurlpqxo2iiqv1lcjpjkh2vjdrlsjyo2iyqv1odjpjvi2vjrrll4xbyui1wlmt2pdfhn5yuolp4xa5fgdxziut1skmbh0hol3qynrzxdxzfct15ahbv0folg5zbyijdxvrei11rid5y4ols2za2v11wljd2pdjhn5jeol30xnrrtdxvnbas0jlbryp3lpuwa5u3cxz32n1srlbr033lpdva2fw0wwrpas0ofn21kyhij5hooh0wlooqp53fbvj03lisvnoa10w0rqn1dignew2ths5wa5f2cxvibqp5og2ax25lrqvo2up0vlfa1p0rl2rwlils0vo2ry0vloq1p0ok2rj0ils55o2ri0v03bn15agbf

    Design and symmetry kind of go out the window when you’re being hounded by hulking great juliet-class battleships. in the late game, my design philosophy boiled down to ”engines in back, lasers in front”. Which actually proved quite effective.

  11. Been playing this a lot over the holidays. Usually I don’t get further than a little ship – I never get to build the bigger versions (as seen in the ship repository http://vcd.phuce.com/ ) as there are never enough engine bits. I must be doing it wrong.

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