Captain Forever!
December 11, 2009 6:59 AM   Subscribe

Ship designation: Nemesis. Captain: Forever. (Flash, audio, outer space shoot-em-up fun.)

Designed by that guy who quit. Video of gameplay.
posted by steef (32 comments total) 16 users marked this as a favorite
If you register you get access to Captain Successor, which adds long range guns, ramming spikes, guided missiles, shields, engines that go in lots of different directions... a lot of other things as well. I've been liking it much better than Forever, though I'm terrible at both.
posted by Rinku at 7:07 AM on December 11, 2009

posted by WinnipegDragon at 7:41 AM on December 11, 2009

I assumed $5-$10 and was ready to jump in. $20? For a vector flash game? pleeeeease.
posted by datacenter refugee at 7:54 AM on December 11, 2009

I am pretty much addicted to this game. I spent much of last night playing this while listening to classic country (space and twang, what a soothing combination)

Anyway, the secret to success is to protect your lasers from the sides with blocks, and to flank enemy ships from the sides. The biggest pain in the ass is trying to rebuild after a "fresh kill" and the dead guy's buddies show up. In this situation scurry off and come back to the debris. Sometimes enemy ships will inadvertently kill their own, so take advantage of this. Finally: throw two opposing thrusters onto the front of your ship when it gets bigger, this makes rotation much easier.
posted by hellojed at 8:09 AM on December 11, 2009

See also Capt. Forever strategy and tactics.

I played this a few days ago and was somewhere between loving it and hating it. The core game design is awesome: build your own ship with scavenged parts, blow up ships to scavenge their parts and upgrade your ship. But the gameplay itself, so far, is not so fun. Other than the ship simulation there's precious little game, nothing to structure the encounters. I kept getting killed while I was trying to juggle my bulkheads. Hopefully with some support he'll flesh out a full game.

The strategy guide really shows how much depth there is to the game. Different ship geometries, symmetric or asymmetric, tradeoffs between armor and handling. And I love the idea of building a ship designed to capture and pin other ships, using their guns to fight for you.
posted by Nelson at 8:12 AM on December 11, 2009

I like the idea, but I find it too difficult to build a ship that's really fun to fly. It has to be perfectly balanced, or else it maneuvers terribly. Plus, it's near impossible to get a good gun unless you're extra careful so that you slowly work up to killing red ships.

I'd really like it if it had an option to build a demolition derby style ship. Like you could stack on a bunch of modules, get a blade or wedge, weld on a bunch of engines, and ram into other ships.
posted by mccarty.tim at 8:14 AM on December 11, 2009

The strategy guide is interesting, but it doesn't include the design for the Chinese spinning firecracker I built. It's an asymmetric shape with a bunch of thrusters on one side and a bunch of blasters. Ram it to the left/right and peg down the space bar.

Not very effective, but fun to watch.
posted by mccarty.tim at 8:19 AM on December 11, 2009 [1 favorite]

I find it incredibly difficult to preserve my lasers. They seem to get destroyed almost immediately, leaving me to peck away at the enemies with my peashooter. Then a red or purple guy shows up and obliterates me.

Hard to stop playing, though.
posted by Fleebnork at 9:39 AM on December 11, 2009

Why hello there, massive time-sink.

The leap from green to yellow and orange seems easy enough, but I can't for the life of me make even a single dent in the red ships. Obviously I need to devote every waking minute to this game.

Also, this needs to me MMO.
posted by lekvar at 10:57 AM on December 11, 2009

I actually ponied up the $15 back in the pre-release phase (what can I say, I've been a sucker for inertial space shooters since the days of Asteroids, and the concept intrigued me.) just so I could play Capt. Successor. Love the atmosphere and overall metastory to the thing -- after a while, you do feel like a great white shark crossed with a Borg crossed with Galactus, grimly lurching from one hit and run to the next.

I'm surprised that nobody in the thread has mentioned one of my favorite features: You can set up your webcam to superimpose a simulated reflection of your face on the screen, so you see yourself whenever you fire your weapons or explode. It seems like a throwaway at first, but after playing for the last month, I think it's absolutely essential.
posted by Strange Interlude at 12:43 PM on December 11, 2009 [3 favorites]

It should be mentioned that this guy, Farbs, is also the creator of ROM CHECK FAIL and the PyCap system for connecting Python up to PopCap's graphics framework.
posted by JHarris at 1:30 PM on December 11, 2009

nthing the addictiveness. My most successful games involved finding gigantic lumbering blues, paring my ship down to nothing but an engine, and darting to-and-fro until one kills the other. Inevitably, the winner slumps away leaving a bevy of juicy upgrades.
posted by Loser at 1:53 PM on December 11, 2009

What do you do when the peace keepers come (other than die) ?
posted by mr dodo at 6:43 PM on December 11, 2009

wow. That was great. I managed to build up from nothing, get a decent ship, then get obliterated. I ran into this giant purple monstrosity that was just a long line of guns, but no side fire, and just parked my little box on its wing, keeping with it's spin. I just kept my pea shooter going until I got the command module, and I had a giant purple ship all to myself. I was lord of the quadrant. Then I found out what blue was. Of course, I could have had him if a purple and a red hadn't shown up. Then I was dead.
posted by Ghidorah at 6:48 PM on December 11, 2009

Fantastic. I already know I'm going to spend way too much time on this. Most natural "upgrading" technique of any game I've seen. And some fun mental imagery around stealing components before the big guys show up, even if it means awkwardly welding it to your hull to put in place properly once you've escaped. Feels very Firefly like. Erm. Except with guns.

Just an amateur here, but wrt losing lasers, I like to set up blocks alongside to shield.

And I love the idea of building a ship designed to capture and pin other ships, using their guns to fight for you.

That is sweet! I did something similar half-accidentally when a purple monster showed up and my weight-thrust ratio was greater than usual. I scooped up the hapless yellow in front of me and rammed ahead, using him as a shield. Bought me my escape.

Now to add a little soma fm to the experience...
posted by Durn Bronzefist at 9:23 PM on December 11, 2009

Now there's the sign of a budding addition. I'm just about to head back in to the game and I nervously glance at the clock, like "What's this going to read next time I set eyes on it???"
posted by Durn Bronzefist at 9:26 PM on December 11, 2009

Er, addiction, that is.

Ok, that was amazing. I got my command module up to five blue asterisks before getting crippled during a re-fit from which I never recovered. Taking on purple wasn't so bad once I got myself a red gun. That got me a purple gun and two purple thrusters. I protected the purple gun with the long red bulkheads and away I went.

One tip: watch the hell out when you need to do a swap of integral parts. I like a scoop-shape at the front of my ship (because I have bulkheads protecting guns from the side). This also lets me scoop components and run off to some quiet corner so I can properly refit. I was at the point where I still had two green blocks near the centre of my ship. Nearly everything was attached to them. Pull one and half the ship flies apart. I managed to swap both for orange, but later trying the same with blue is what killed me. Oh, and engines don't weight much. Keep spares on the sides of your ship and you'll have plenty to lose or swap out.

One problem I encountered, though, was that enemies seemed to be scaled to my command module level. So once I lost much of my ship, I kept wandering around looking for someone I could take on, and it was only a sea of blue.

Oh, and one very cool little thing I stumbled on. Keep a couple of spare bulkheads without much attached to them on the sides (maybe, again, engines). Then when going up against an enemy with kick ass frontal power, rip one of those blocks off. They're ballast, baby! Suddenly you can whip circles around this guy effortlessly while pointing guns dead at him. So very sweet.
posted by Durn Bronzefist at 10:16 PM on December 11, 2009

Finally: throw two opposing thrusters onto the front of your ship when it gets bigger, this makes rotation much easier.

This is the way to go. Forget what I said about ballast. That is all. I, ah... I have to go.
posted by Durn Bronzefist at 10:50 PM on December 11, 2009

Durn, your ballast idea has some potential. Ballast when speeding into a fight, or chaff when speeding away from one. Spread a big debris field behind you, like a sea cucumber.
posted by lekvar at 12:23 PM on December 12, 2009

I just sprung $20 for the full game. It's definitely more interesting, there's a variety of different weapon types with different properties. Slow loading torpedos of doom, long range sniper rifles, etc. And bubble shields, which give you a 3 module in diameter shield to safeguard your most important stuff. Also lots of mysterious modules whose purpose I haven't figured out yet, which is fun.

Also there's an HTML exporter. Here's my completely useless ship with three Chrono Gear Alpha modules on it, which I gather from reading spoilers on the web are actually quite useful if you don't do something stupid like this.

                | @ |    <*>         
    |--------   |---|   --------|    
    | /----\|   | O |   |/----\ |    
    | |     |---\---/---|     | |    
    | |    <| /   v   \ |>    | |    
    | |     | |       | |     | |    
    | \----/| \-------/ |\----/ |    

Pilot this vessel
posted by Nelson at 1:31 PM on December 12, 2009


Link didn't work for me, Nelson. I'm not a registered member (yet). Can you not pilot other people's ships if not, or did you make one using goodies from the registered player's set?

Here's mine for the day. Lovely!

Pilot this vessel
posted by Durn Bronzefist at 12:00 AM on December 13, 2009 [1 favorite]

Ah, you do (have registry set gear on it). Missed that. Oh well.
posted by Durn Bronzefist at 12:02 AM on December 13, 2009

Oh man, I've been playing this on and off today and I managed to get white thrusters and a white laser before being taken out by the police. Awesome. I find that I like fast, maneuverable ships with guns on the sides. That way I can sidle up alongside a ship and take them out without worrying about their main guns. Nelson's description has convinced me to purchase Captain Successor because. Mysterious modules!

It very much appeals to the part of me that liked to build intricate Lego space ships as a kid and have space battles with my friends... except you actually get to blast apart the enemy ships.
posted by Mister Cheese at 1:20 AM on December 13, 2009

Yeah, this is a rare game that gets more fun the more I play it. Some of the things that I thought were weaknesses in the game turn out to be strengths. I was annoyed that you had to hit the enemy ship in the heart module in order to steal its stuff, but now I see that's the primary fun challenge. And I was frustrated that the game never left you alone to assemble your ship, but now I understand the frantic scavenging or reconfiguring before someone comes to blow you up is the big dramatic tension in the game. It's fun.

I hope he fleshes this out into a full game instead of a sandbox demo. In Successor you run into spacestations, big ships with no thrusters, just weapons. Nothing different about them except they can't move, you blow them up just the same. But what if you could dock! And trade! And run missions! Think how much fun Elite would be with this sort of gameplay engine.

Sorry about the Successor-only ship, it's nothing remarkable, I'd thought the HTML export was unique to the for-pay version. Some other sources for ships: TIGForums, reddit.
posted by Nelson at 7:41 AM on December 13, 2009

I was frustrated that the game never left you alone to assemble your ship, but now I understand the frantic scavenging or reconfiguring before someone comes to blow you up is the big dramatic tension in the game. It's fun.

You may or may not have noticed, but the first time you take out a ship of a new colour and thus graduate to that level (or be nearby when one is destroyed, actually), you have a bit of time for a re-fit. If you zoom out you can actually see other ships clear the area momentarily (or if big and slow, at least attempt to do so). It doesn't last long, mind. And the 2nd+ times on each colour, no such relief.

The re-assembly challenge feels like it's included a Rampart-like mechanic. Love it.

I'm gonna have to go ahead and register for this thing, though, because as much as I like working my way up to the glowing x-girder ships again, I want to see what else is out there...
posted by Durn Bronzefist at 12:32 PM on December 13, 2009

Good lord Durn, that ship you linked to is a monster. I've managed to get though a couple waves of Peacekeepers but I've never managed to assemble a ship from the remnants. Even my six-year-old is unstoppable with that thing.

I've used the ballast/chaff gambit to good effect, especially when going against the bigger Peacekeepers. The debris field shields the command module while I grab the nearest free gun and thruster and haul away.

Actually the unshielded command module is pretty ideal if you're getting two big ships to fight each other. The thrust-to-weight ratio and maneuverability is pretty hard to beat.
posted by lekvar at 12:42 PM on December 13, 2009

Hehe. It was fun building and even more fun using.

But I've just noticed a major design flaw -- the front-facing forks get hammered when I fire while turning, because the thing is fast enough to turn and catch fire from the main guns on those forks. I wondered why I kept having to replace 'em.

Hey, where'd the "Peacekeeper" terminology come from? I looked at the flight manual and the strategy guide and didn't see any mention of types other than colour. I'd love a bit more storyline material.

I'm going to try to get better at surgical strikes. It's a beautiful thing when you can pull apart a big powerful ship by taking out that cm. I've been playing vulture a bit lately, hanging around and provoking crossfire between ships and then tractoring one or two key pieces away when the losing ship is, literally, blown to pieces.
posted by Durn Bronzefist at 2:39 PM on December 13, 2009

"Peacekeeper" comes from from one of the info buoys that shows up just as you reach the last star. I spent some time messing with the buoys... if you blow one up, two more get sent out telling you to stay in the area for investigation.

I've started into playing Captain Successor, and I'm finding the new modules to be awesome. I'm happy there are the traditional sort of Star Trekish shields, but there's also this bouncy type shield that reflects lasers back. Missiles are a bit tricky to use if you've got a big ship, since you run the risk of smacking into the them. The Peacekeepers in Successor freaked me out in a good way. I won't spoil it for people, but it's given me what is hopefully a genius idea for making them easy to deal with.

I'm super excited about the possibilities for this game. Successor is really fun right now; I was worried it'd be easy to get a handle of like in Forever, but it seems to mix up the availability of each module type during each reset, which means your strategy has got to adapt for each session. Some of the space station module names are very enticing. Hydroponics bays and laboratories. Multiplayer would be awesome, especially if there were a way to create a team and you could make strategies where you'd have tank like members, and swifter fighter type members and then you'd go raiding and such.
posted by Mister Cheese at 10:39 AM on December 14, 2009

Yeah, finally started paying attention to buoys and noticed the Peacekeeper messages this time. I also built myself a ship with two meagre white pieces (one long bulkhead and one thruster) and got chased by what seemed like 20 Peacekeepers from all directions. Relentless. I eventually nailed one and got the rainbow strobe effect again (see the movie link above) which I didn't understand the first time I saw it but I guess it's a Peacekeeper cm in its death throes.

Definitely confirmed the rebuild time on reaching each new colour -- coinciding with the "this would be a good time to rebuild" message, and other ships back off, even if already hostile. Which makes it a terrible thing if you graduate a level and have little in the way of new pieces to show for it, cause that's re-assembly time you're not going to get again (on that colour).

Good to hear the good review of Successor. Reviews on the net seemed mixed (compared to Forever). I will definitely be picking that up.

Multiplayer would be flat out amazing.
posted by Durn Bronzefist at 8:33 PM on December 14, 2009

I've managed to get though a couple waves of Peacekeepers but I've never managed to assemble a ship from the remnants.

Had fun building up another monster. I think this one is even better. Progression: (sorry I don't know how to do a time lapse capture like above)

A decent fighter
A little better
Peacekeeper parts
Unwieldy spare parts beast
The slow comeback
Back to spare parts
Isn't that sweet :)

"oops" was losing 2/3 of my ship when I tried to replace a couple of integral girders with x-beams and a white monster flew up suddenly. Tons of thrusters and guns left behind, but a much lighter ship leftover. Those Peacekeeper parts sure are light.

A few extra guns mounted for effect. I wouldn't swing around wildly firing or the shots are going to take out some neighbouring hardware. If I were seriously using it, I'd keep two or three white or rainbow guns on each side for precision cm shots and the rest of the batteries (including spreaders) only to the front and rear. But you see you can just keep on building engine compartments one after another... I started throwing x-girders away.

Ok, the full game is my Christmas present to myself. Can't wait!
posted by Durn Bronzefist at 9:05 PM on December 15, 2009

Ok, permit me one last ship, because it eventually occurred to me that ships (without "shields") having no armour is madness. Hits take out critical bulkheads holding guns, thrusters... So here's a nicely armoured beastie I put together. By far my fave so far and better suited to specific tasks.
posted by Durn Bronzefist at 4:21 PM on December 17, 2009

Holy moly, that's a real beast. You're going to have real fun with Captain Successor. There are more than a couple of ways to preserve your structural integrity.
posted by Mister Cheese at 11:20 PM on December 21, 2009

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