A spaceship can be of nearly any construction, shape or purpose. Depending on the type of game, spaceships can be the central quest hub
for players or just function as a classy way to get around. Space Simulation
games go a step further and make the ship the central part of the gameplay experience.
In the words of Douglas Adams, Space
. And you'll need a fast spaceship to get around. However, the way you navigate varies drastically from one genre to another. Games like Knights of the Old Republic
let players browse through a galaxy mini-map
while on the ship and directly jump from planet
to planet with absolutely no real time control of the actual vehicle. Simulation games like FreeSpace 2
let players take direct control of the ship with full yaw, pitch and roll rotations. Strategy
games like Sins of the Solar Empire
achieve something like a middle ground by providing real time control of spaceships with a more accessible
point and click control scheme.
Another common use of spaceships is in space battles
. Action oriented games like the Star Wars: X-Wing
series put players directly in control of smaller, more maneuverable space fighters like the titular X-Wing
in a full 3D
space. Real time strategy
games approach combat on a much larger scale and give players control over several ships at the same time and the gameplay emphasis is more on the proper management of resources
and tactical play.
model restricts ship movement to only the X-axis in a top-down 2D
space. Another classic 2D system is seen in Ikaruga
where players can move their ship along both the X and Y axis and the gameplay combines fast paced action with puzzle solving
elements. The key mechanic here is that players can switch the polarity of their ship to either absorb incoming fire or deal extra damage to the enemies.
As a Location
Some games let you explore
the insides of your ship and make it a location in itself. In the Mass Effect
series, the Normandy
serves as the central quest hub and lets the player interact with it's crew. In addition, it also functions as a research lab and a way to upgrade your playable character. In Star Trek Online
, players have access to just the bridge section of their ship. System Shock 2
went the full distance and set the entire game inside the Von Braun
. Dead Space
follows a similar trend, as players explore the derelict USG Ishimura
Notable Spaceships & their Science
Given the size of space, most science fiction franchises explain space travel using technology that allows faster-than-light
travel. The following list provides a brief explanation of how this is achieved within each franchise with a few notable examples.