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Thread: Lunar Flight

  1. #1
    Knows his stuff
    Registered: Mar 2001
    Location: Finland

    Lunar Flight

    This game needs some love, so I'm making a thread. Lunar Flight is a space flight simulator where you complete missions in 3 different areas of the moon. It's made, as far as I can tell, by one guy. He calls himself sh0v0r, and the dude has a connection to his audience that puts the PR departments of most major developers to shame, actively posting on both the Steam and the Shovsoft forums. I've been playing Lunar Flight for the past few days, and I find the best way to enjoy it is late at night, with the soundtrack to the movie Moon playing in the background.


    The game is brutally difficult at first. Flying a lander on the moon, it turns out, is not much like flying an airplane, or a helicopter. There's no air-resistance so every little adjustment you make to your rotation or speed is going to keep going until you apply the same force in the opposite direction or crash into something, option B being much more likely early on. But after finishing a few missions and making some money you can get gyro-stabilizer upgrades for your craft which slows down your spinning gradually, and helps a lot. The physics side of the simulation is quite hardcore, though thankfully everything else isn't. You won't need to go through any complicated pre-flight checklists or whatnot, just make sure your hull is repaired, your gastank is full, and off you go.

    It's playable with a gamepad but I found keyboard to work better. Controlling the sidethrusters with the gamepad's joysticks was more precise but it also meant you could accidentally press them slightly sideways when you only meant to press forward. And in this game, any small change in rotation can severly fuck you up. You might not notice it at first, and later on when you try to correct it while landing it's easy to overadjust the other way. Before you know it your craft is spinning like crazy and you're about to crash into the radiotower, or you end up drifting right past your landing platform while trying to bring your craft around to the correct rotation. I'm 5 hours into it now and I think I'm getting a hang of it. No severe fuckups or crashes in my recent missions at least.

    The mission types include transporting cargo, surveying sites, and retreiving lost cargo. The last one is the most difficult, and also my favourite. In it you need to first find the cargo, using a transponder as well as just keeping your eyes open, then load it onto your lander and fly it back to the designated base. The cargo is usually quite heavy though, meaning it'll give your lander more momentum when you've gotten up to speed, but even worse it means you'll burn through your fuel much faster. It's usually best to go for a surveilance run first, make a note of the location of the cargo, then head back to base to refuel before going out on a second trip to retreive the load.

    Lunar Flight is 10 bucks on Steam. I got it when it was cheaper but knowing how much I'm enjoying it I'd gladly pay 10 euros for it.

    edit: also I can't go without mentioning the thread on the Steam forums where someone recommends smoking pot before playing this game. Apparently, playing it while high makes you feel like you really are on the moon. Man.
    Last edited by henke; 29th Jul 2012 at 12:52.

  2. #2
    Member
    Registered: Nov 2003
    Location: Gibsonia, PA
    I thought it looked interesting when it was released, but I figured it was more of an update on the classic Lunar Lander arcade game than a sim. I'll have to check it out whenever it's on sale again.

  3. #3
    Member
    Registered: Jul 2009
    Dunno what to think of this. I'm a hardcore sim junkie, and space travel is fascinating on the surface. But, well, space travel in reality is horribly boring, with none of the freedom of atmospheric flight (in a suitable airplane). "I see something white." "Star." "Yup." I approve of any hardcore-physics space simulator being made, but they really aren't my thing.

  4. #4
    Knows his stuff
    Registered: Mar 2001
    Location: Finland

    I gotta post this video

    There are time trials in the game as well, checkpointed runs between the different stations, and pretty much all the leaderboards are dominated by this guy:



    The fastest I've managed to do this run in is close to 4 minutes, this guy does it in 1:32. It might be difficult to appreciate the skill on display here if you haven't played the game, but keep in mind that the sidethrusters have very little effect and are really only good for small adjustments, so he basically has to do all the steering by rotating the craft and using the main thruster, as well as using it to accelerate and brake. And that landing? Madman.

    Sg3, I'm not sure what you're on about. Did you even look at any gameplay footage? I assure you this is not a game where you just float around in space and don't have anything to do but look out the window at the stars.

  5. #5
    Member
    Registered: Jul 2009
    Quote Originally Posted by henke View Post
    Sg3, I'm not sure what you're on about. Did you even look at any gameplay footage? I assure you this is not a game where you just float around in space and don't have anything to do but look out the window at the stars.
    Yeah, I watched the movie and was impressed. I didn't mean to bash the sim/game or anything. It looks pretty cool, and if I had the cash I'd buy it just to support the fellow's creativity, but space sims aren't my thing. Even in atmospheric flight sims, once I've figured out the basics, I require a combat element in order to not become bored; "just flying around" is seriously cool when you're flying a real airplane, and aerobatics more so, but P.C. flight sims are (by necessity) missing most of the elements which make real flying cool. For example, the truly awesome view, the physical sensations, and the psychological appreciation of freedom and control, just to name a few of the more obvious ones.

  6. #6
    Knows his stuff
    Registered: Mar 2001
    Location: Finland

    Multiplayer

    So, the latest Lunar Flight patch added a Multiplayer mode. I had some trouble getting in on, let alone finding, a server at first, but once I got into a game I was pleasantly surprised. I wasn't expecting much from a mode that just bolts missilelaunchers on these landers and calls it "Deathmatch", but what I discovered was an experience that was both beautiful and thrilling. But also, just like the singleplayer, not without a feeling of isolation and sorrow.

    Three clips from a match I played today:


  7. #7
    Moderator
    Registered: Jan 2003
    Location: Yangon, Burma
    Thank goodness people haven't forgotten gameplay minimalism.
    Looks about as authentic as a game can get.

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