Starship Corporation by Coronado Games is a mix of a puzzle game and spaceship simulator that is looking to also expand into a business management. The primary focus of the game revolves around designing the interior layout of ships, testing them, and selling those blueprints. Like many other Greenlight and Steam Early Access games, it is ambitious but only time will tell if it is able to live up to that ambition.
Current State of the game
Starting up a campaign, you decide the state of both the galaxy and your company which affects your starting money. In the universe of Starship Corporation, bitcoins( or ‘btc’ for short ) is the standard currency in the game. There are three winning conditions that can be chosen from: amass 10,000,000 btc (which can seem to be an unattainably large sum at this stage of development), unlock all tech (which is likely an inevitability), and win ‘TransOrion Racer’ contract (which can hold some challenge if you are trying to achieve it in the least amount of time). Though once you get into a campaign, Starship Corporation is divided up into seven menus referred to as Modules.
Galaxy Map – Currently the only mechanical function this module has is to build your headquarters which has a construction and upkeep cost.
Market – This is where bids are placed on contracts that you have a working prototype for. It should be noted that, unlike more traditional bidding process where each company secretly places a single bid, each company in Starship Corporation bids publicly and can bid multiple times. That isn’t to say the traditional way is better, however, this way ends up leading to both the AI and player undercutting one another by 1 bitcoin every few game hour or days. Significantly larger cuts only stretch the process from a few days at a time to a week which ends up cutting substantially deeper into the player’s profits as opposed to under cutting by 1 each time.
On a more positive note, the bids look at the value proposition (worth minus cost) of a ship instead of just the cost. However, it should be noted that the value proposition only takes into consideration the testing scores of a ship in a linear and unweighted fashion. This means that the most optimal course of action is to meet the bare requirements of a contract and over engineer to maximize the SOP/ERS/HEP scores (see Crew Management for description) regardless of the ships function.
Ship Design – As one would think, this is the primary entry into designing the ships. It is where you can choose from the contracts in progress and from among the researched hulls. You can also pull up blueprints from earlier or from other save files.
Crew Management – Ships that have made it to the point of being functional can be saved and tested here. There are 24 tests scattered among three categories ; ‘Standard Operating Procedure’, ‘Emergency Response Strategy’, and ‘Hostile Encounter Procedure’ , commonly shortened to SOP/ERS/HEP. The type of contract will dictate different score threshold that must be met and each point that exceeds the thresholds increases the value of the ship.
Currently this area of the game is fraught with issues ranging from the crew having inconsistent responsiveness to a lack of clear information. Luckily, this whole module can be sidestepped by setting the auto-resolve to easy, allowing the AI to resolve them in a near perfect manor for most cases. While some might consider this a copout on the part of the player, keep in mind that every minor variant of a ship will need to be run through each of those tests again.
During the tests, you can slow and speed up time anywhere from a pause to x2. Each of the 24 tests at standard speed can take 2 to 10 minutes to complete or you can auto-resolve all the missions simultaneously in about of 4 to 10 seconds.
Research – In the current version of the game, you start and are stuck with three research stations each of which acts as research slot. Researching ships and rooms help the player fulfill contracts that are just on the cusp of their ability to fulfill and it unlocks new contracts. In multiple starts I had, I’ve never been in a situation where I was avoiding research and was completely unable to do any contract for more than a game-week.
The research system is divided into component types and progress is linear which is by no means exceptional. However, what Starship Corporation does slightly different from most is that you set a monetary amount to be spent by a research station. They will start working toward that amount at the station’s set rate, assuming you still have the money in the bank.
There have been a couple reoccurring issues that have come up. There are times that research will stop 1 bitcoin short of its goal without notification. The other reoccurring issue has research finish and gives the player access to the component without notifying them they have unlocked that component until they have spent 1 bitcoin over the said required amount. I know experience can differ greatly from computer to computer, but I was experiencing this once every 5 to 6 researches completions.
Financial Overview – No current mechanical function
Communications – No current mechanical function
Shipyard – No current mechanical function
This is pure speculation, but if :
- There are no major design changes,
- The rate at which new ships are being release stays consistent (about two ships every two months),
- There isn’t a break from the pattern of three fuselages per ship classification,
- There isn’t an increase in the number of any classification that a ship can be under,
It could be extrapolated that the following 6-7 months could see a few more bug fixes and the finishing of the fuselages. From there possibilities start opening up, but I wouldn’t want to go to radical with any speculation. Regardless, Starship Corporation’s concept has potential and is a game worth keeping on the radar.
Ease of entry
For those who would want to proceed in getting Starship Corporation, here is some info I would have liked to have before going in the game ; Invest in connections. You can pipe electricity and all of the other resources between decks. You don’t start out with those connection pieces and they are buried in the back research list. Search for them first.
If you want a challenge, avoid getting the storage rooms labeled “compressed”. While they do free up a large amount of space, there isn’t a drastic increase in price compared to other storage rooms. By some this could be seen as unbalanced, at least for the early to mid-game.
If you are on the fence about getting Starship Corporation, I would only recommend buying in at this stage of development if the game’s near singular appeal to you is the puzzle aspect of placing rooms and you are willing to put up with a clunky bidding system and poor optimization.