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Sunless Skies [GOG, Steam, Official Site], the steampunk exploration RPG from Failbetter Games is to officially leave port in September.

It hasn't been smooth sailing for Failbetter, as they announced back in early February how they had to let a few people go as a result of underwhelming sales. Thankfully they've still been able to continue developing Sunless Skies into a full game.

Most recently (today), they've released quite a big patch (live on both GOG and Steam) that does a rework of combat to make it "fun and accessible". This includes a rework of the heat mechanics as well, where heat no longer builds up just from forward thrust, instead it will build up from strafing and firing weapons. If you overheat, you will be unable to strafe and you can now fire weapons while overheated, but you will take damage. Weapons will also now fire continuously while you're holding the button down, as soon as the cool-down ticks over that is.

They've also added full gamepad support, so you can kick back and relax with a pad in your hands if that's how you prefer to play your games. The developer said it was a "phenomenal amount of dev work to get it working correctly within Skies" and so there might still be some issues with it right now. I tested out the new gamepad support myself today and it was really quite nice. Piloting my space-faring locomotive with triggers for thrust and brakes, with A and X for weapons actually felt perfectly natural. It's a game that feels like it was really made for gamepads.

Movement has also been tweaked, to allow you to get up to maximum speed faster and they've given us a little more control when strafing. In addition, they're planning to add some difficulty modes which will adjust movement, but that's not due until closer to the full launch.

You can read more about the latest update here, there's quite a bit to this update that's worth taking a read.

You can grab it from GOG and Steam right now.

GOG links are affiliate links.

Article taken from GamingOnLinux.com.
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TheSHEEEP 5 March 2018 at 4:52 pm UTC
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Great news, can't wait.
Although too grindy, I really loved Sunless Sea.
razing32 5 March 2018 at 7:17 pm UTC
For how little I played Sunless Sea , the atmosphere was thoroughly enjoyable.
Hope they capture that once more.
Sad to hear they've been having trouble.
anewson 5 March 2018 at 7:22 pm UTC
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It took me a long time before I gave Sunless Sea a proper play, and while it was a little grindy and static, I thoroughly enjoyed the experience overall.
Beamboom 6 March 2018 at 2:49 pm UTC
But how can this be called a RPG? We don't even have a friggin' character to play, only a boat? What is it about this game that qualifies as "RPG"? Because it contains exploration? I mean... Come on?

Sure, the developer can market it however they like, but do you think this is a RPG, Liam?
razing32 6 March 2018 at 8:57 pm UTC
BeamboomBut how can this be called a RPG? We don't even have a friggin' character to play, only a boat? What is it about this game that qualifies as "RPG"? Because it contains exploration? I mean... Come on?

Sure, the developer can market it however they like, but do you think this is a RPG, Liam?

Their previous game , Sunless Sea had your captain have stats and you also got a crew.
Wondering if they did the same here.
Also you could handle encounters in the game world quite differently whether you had a perk or not.
I guess that counts ...
TheSHEEEP 7 March 2018 at 6:34 am UTC
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BeamboomBut how can this be called a RPG? We don't even have a friggin' character to play, only a boat? What is it about this game that qualifies as "RPG"? Because it contains exploration? I mean... Come on?

Sure, the developer can market it however they like, but do you think this is a RPG, Liam?
If it is anything like Sunless Sea (which is probably safe to assume), you have:
  • One or more characters with stats (your main character likely being the captain)

  • A ship with stats and equipment

  • Lots of choices to make and consequences to bear

  • Outcomes of actions are primarily dependent on stats (in the text passages) and very much influenced by stats and equipment in combat


I'd call that a prime example of RPG, even if not a pure one (the combat is still primarily player-skill based).

RPG does NOT mean you play a person, which would be a terribly narrow-minded and misleading definition.
If that was the criteria, Doom would be an RPG.
If you WOULD play the ship (again, I'm certain you actually play the captain), it would still be an RPG - and the ship would have some kind of intelligence of its own.


Last edited by TheSHEEEP at 7 March 2018 at 6:40 am UTC
Beamboom 7 March 2018 at 1:56 pm UTC
TheSHEEEPRPG does NOT mean you play a person, which would be a terribly narrow-minded and misleading definition.
If that was the criteria, Doom would be an RPG.


If that was the ONLY criteria, yes. But I do think that a Role Playing Game at least should be about playing a role, in addition to the technical features expected (many of which you do list). Yes, skill trees, exploration, stats, buffs, XP, all that mechanical stuff that makes a good RPG.

Character, relationship, choices, quests, storyline, unique items and outfits, all that stuff... That's really what RPG is about in my book. In a RPG I expect to play a character, a ship should be a mount and not the other way around. But of course, what's the difference between controlling a team and a ship with a crew? One could argue.

Could a rally game be called a RPG? well, it has customisation, stats and items that affect performance, there can be both "quests" and a storyline in them too. So, RPG? Nah.

A genre is more than the technical feature list, imo.
TheSHEEEP 7 March 2018 at 3:37 pm UTC
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BeamboomIf that was the ONLY criteria, yes. But I do think that a Role Playing Game at least should be about playing a role, in addition to the technical features expected (many of which you do list). Yes, skill trees, exploration, stats, buffs, XP, all that mechanical stuff that makes a good RPG.
As I said, it would have to be an intelligent ship to make it capable of behaving like a person. Playing just a chunk of steel indeed wouldn't be possible.

BeamboomCould a rally game be called a RPG? well, it has customisation, stats and items that affect performance, there can be both "quests" and a storyline in them too. So, RPG? Nah.
A rally game cannot be a pure RPG because the player skill is the all-deciding factor (at least in all rally games I played).
Would you not drive yourself, but rather the driving would be mostly done for you, and the quality of it influenced by character statistics, then yes, a rally game COULD be an RPG. Interesting idea, actually. A rally RPG for people who hate driving ;)

Customization is irrelevant if it does not affect actual gameplay other than by visuals. The fact that you can put wigs on does not define or change a genre.
Neither do quests and a storyline. Pretty much every game gives you a story and objectives to follow, so that can't be it.
There are even (rare) RPGs completely without a story, yet they are RPGs and nobody would doubt it.

BeamboomA genre is more than the technical feature list, imo.
What else would it be?
There's a list of "conditions" that make an RPG, the more of these are fulfilled, the more the scale points to it being an RPG.
What exactly that list is, is probably debatable, but it would certainly include the ratio of player skill vs character stats and the fact that you need to play a role (or even multiple ones).

If you can or can not immerse yourself in the role, just because you have trouble identifying as a ship (you wouldn't be the only one, me too ;) ) is irrelevant to the definition as it is purely subjective.

Definitions must function without subjectivity or they are useless as definitions. That includes genres.
Everything else leads to bollocks like people claiming only fantasy games can be RPGs (yes, I witnessed such a "notion" ).


Last edited by TheSHEEEP at 7 March 2018 at 3:45 pm UTC
Beamboom 7 March 2018 at 9:46 pm UTC
TheSHEEEPWould you not drive yourself, but rather the driving would be mostly done for you
Now you're narrowing RPG down to be of really really oldschool dice throw type things. Most modern RPGs do combine stats and player ability. And that's exactly what a rally game does too

And the deeper into the "action RPG" realm we go, the more player skill focused we get. Still, I'd say they are still indeed RPGs! Why? Cause you just know it when you see it.

TheSHEEEPCustomization is irrelevant if it does not affect actual gameplay other than by visuals. The fact that you can put wigs on does not define or change a genre.

Oh there's PLENTY of gameplay-related tweaks in racing games! Tyres, brakes, engines, wheels, gear box, steering wheels, all adding some to the stats of the car.

TheSHEEEP
BeamboomA genre is more than the technical feature list, imo.
What else would it be?
There's a list of "conditions" that make an RPG, the more of these are fulfilled, the more the scale points to it being an RPG.

And my point with comparing the technicalities with a wildly different genre (rally racing) was to point out that there ARE more than just sheer game mechanics that differs a genre.

Most games today that contains a character and a story - heck, most genres whatsoever! - has adopted some mechanics that used to be the hallmark of a RPG. We see it everywhere.

Still, when you see a RPG, you know it is a RPG. And this game here, is not a rpg.

TheSHEEEPWhat exactly that list is, is probably debatable, but it would certainly include the ratio of player skill vs character stats and the fact that you need to play a role (or even multiple ones).

It's still not that easy Cause in a rally game you play the role of a rally driver, don't you agree? Or a FPS - you play the role of a soldier or whatever.

TheSHEEEPIf you can or can not immerse yourself in the role, just because you have trouble identifying as a ship (you wouldn't be the only one, me too ;) ) is irrelevant to the definition as it is purely subjective.

LOL!

TheSHEEEPEverything else leads to bollocks like people claiming only fantasy games can be RPGs (yes, I witnessed such a "notion" ).
Yeah that's bollocks. But I would draw one definite line on whether or not you're an actual character, and not an item.




Last edited by Beamboom at 7 March 2018 at 9:49 pm UTC
TheSHEEEP 8 March 2018 at 6:58 am UTC
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Beamboom
TheSHEEEPWould you not drive yourself, but rather the driving would be mostly done for you
Now you're narrowing RPG down to be of really really oldschool dice throw type things. Most modern RPGs do combine stats and player ability
Just because lots of people repeat something wrong all the time, doesn't make it true.
At some point, lazy marketing folks/devs started calling everything with stats just an RPG, which is as clueless as calling everything an RPG that lets you play a role.
The "oldschool" definition is indeed the correct one. Being old doesn't make it wrong, and people using a wrong definition nowadays quite often doesn't make that one right. Just like people using "literally" wrong a lot doesn't make it right.
And those of us with actual standards won't really stand for it.
The whole thing comes from PnP and that's where the purest definition should remain.

TheSHEEEPAnd the deeper into the "action RPG" realm we go, the more player skill focused we get. Still, I'd say they are still indeed RPGs!
Partly, yes. Nobody is arguing that. I think.

BeamboomMost games today that contains a character and a story - heck, most genres whatsoever! - has adopted some mechanics that used to be the hallmark of a RPG. We see it everywhere.
Which is precisely what makes a definition of RPG that applies to practically every game out there completely useless.
It is as if you'd call every movie an action movie just because a person in it does an action.
It is ridiculous and should make it obvious something is wrong with your definition.
However, I do agree that by now a lot of games have very slight RPG elements to them - I guess because devs figured out getting new abilities and improving them is fun?

BeamboomStill, when you see a RPG, you know it is a RPG. And this game here, is not a rpg.
Honestly, this makes you come off as incredibly narrow-minded.
A game that fulfills all the conditions I posted earlier should not be an RPG just because the visual representation of travel & combat in the game is that of the ship instead of its captain?
Despite the captain being a very tangible character on its own with stats in dialogues, portrait, etc.?

As I said, it may not be a pure RPG, sure. Pure RPGs are games like Caves Of Qud (or pretty much all turn-based roguelikes), Underrail, Age Of Decadence, etc.
While games like Skyrim, Deus Ex, Dishonored, Sunless Sea/Skies are mixtures of RPG with something else.

Beamboom
TheSHEEEPWhat exactly that list is, is probably debatable, but it would certainly include the ratio of player skill vs character stats and the fact that you need to play a role (or even multiple ones).

It's still not that easy Cause in a rally game you play the role of a rally driver, don't you agree? Or a FPS - you play the role of a soldier or whatever.
Again, it is a list, and playing a (or multiple) role is one of the conditions, not the only one.
The more conditions fulfilled, the more of a pure RPG.

Besides, yes, you arguably do play the role of a driver, but in what game does that driver actually have (increasable) stats, abilities, etc.? What rally games I know give cars stats, but not the driver.
Hence that rally example you try so hard to dismantle the correct definition of RPG with is just not working, as it is the car that has the stats and all of the gameplay attached to it, not the driver.
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