Video Game: Spacebase DF-9



Spacebase DF-9 is a Dwarf Fortress-esque sci-fi Space Management Game by Double Fine. Originally conceived as a prototype during the company's 2012 Amnesia Fortnight, this standalone version, released on Steam's Early Access program in mid-October 2013, expands on the prototype in ways such as an isometric perspective, more detailed character sprites, more environmental hazards and many more to come.

The story starts after a massive galaxy-wide socio-economic collapse, where a plan to recolonize the galaxy is put in motion. The idea is that multitudes of "seed" units are sent to various points in the galaxy to start construction of various residential outposts. You take on the role of looking after one of these seed crews, assigning them tasks and making sure they're kept safe against various hazards, be it pirate-related, or a meteor shower, or a sudden influx of space-parasites.

This game contains examples of:

  • Abandonware: The version on Steam is unfinished, and Double Fine ceased development as uneconomical at the same time they put it up for sale.
    • Subverted Recently a group of coders who call themselves "Derelict Games" have openly "Taken up the mantle" and have already released an unofficial version 1.07.
  • Asteroid Miner: Your primary means of income as of Alpha 1.
    • In the amnesia fortnight version you could destroy asteroids with your mouse (also for income).
  • Art Evolution: Compared to the original Amnesia Fortnight prototype.
  • Artificial Stupidity: As of Alpha 1b, low-skilled technicians can subtract from the damage percentage of an object just as often as they can add to it. Cue exploding oxygen recyclers and a lot of frustration. Thankfully, this particular issue was fixed in Alpha 2.
  • Character Blog: Each resident has a "SpaceFace" feed to give an insight into their lives and feelings.
  • Crapsack World: The entire galaxy. Hence the attempts at recolonization.
  • Defeat Means Friendship: Potentially, anyway. The prerequisites are that you have a brig zoned, a few citizens as doctors, and your security policy set to Non-Lethal. With that, once raiders board your space station, if you act fast to assign a brig to the raider(s) after incapacitating them, they will eventually pull a Heel-Face Turn and integrate into your base as useful crew after a stint in the brig.
  • Future Food Is Artificial: Played straight and subverted. The straight examples come from food replicators that change matter into mediocre food, while the subverted examples come from the option to grow organic food on board your station for serving in pubs.
  • Game Mod: After abandoning the game, Doublefine released the source code under an extremely liberal license and the result was...
    • A group who calls themselves "Derelict Games" have started adding to the game again by modifying the source code itself.
    • an "Officially Unofficial Version 1.07" has been released.
  • God Mode: Debug mode. Activating it also activates a plethora of cheat keys you can use.
  • I'm a Humanitarian: Corpses (from dead colonists and raiders) get recycled into matter. Food replicators consume matter when used. It's literal Fridge Horror when you make the connection.
  • Isometric Projection: As opposed to the top-down perspective of the Amnesia Fortnight prototype.
  • Lost Colony: Derelicts - empty bases that show up nearby every now and then, which may or may not contain hostile lifeforms hell-bent on attacking any security staff you send their way.
  • Killer Robot: As of Alpha 2, derelicts can be infested with these.
  • Morale Mechanic
  • Nobody Poops: Seriously, there's no option to building johns in your space station. No wonder they all become grouchy fast!
  • Oxygen Meter: Entering space (While wearing a suit, obviously) gives a resident around 8 minutes of time before they have to return to the airlock to resupply.
  • Planet of Hats: There are already entire races of frog and chicken people living alongside humanity as of Alpha 1.
  • Shout-Out:
    • "DF-9" is a triple pun - not only does it reference the fact that the game was inspired by "Star Trek Deep Space Nine" and "Dwarf fortress", but it shows and abbreviation of the name of the company.
    • One possible hazard involves a resident complaining about feeling pregnant (Regardless of gender), and then a parasite suddenly bursts out of them. In the same vein, one possible name for a resident includes the name Ripley.
    • Speaking of Alien, one of the types of organic foods, the "Icky Pod", even bears a strong resemblance to a Xenomorph egg.
    • the BGM during the map select screen bears heavy resemblance to the opening riff of Star Man.
  • Space Station: The game is all about building a working (Though somewhat doomed) spacestation with a huge variety of alien species as citizens and numerous possible random disasters that you as the player have to deal with.
  • Suspiciously Specific Denial: One hail transmission goes all out to assure you that the approaching vessel are not filled with pirates and that the transmission is not artificially jammed. Telling them that you have no resources either causes them to leave you alone, or if you're unlucky, to forcefully attach to your base and raid you.
  • Thrown Out the Airlock: Can be accomplished by forcibly opening the airlock doors.
  • Video Game Caring Potential: Honestly, you want your base to flourish and grow.
  • Video Game Cruelty Potential: See Thrown Out the Airlock above. Another popular method is to disable all the oxygen recyclers and watch everyone suffocate to death, or to remove a wall on the station and let the people inside be sucked into space. Or set all your defense turrets to "attack everyone mode" and tell people that they're welcome when they hail. Double Fine made very sure that even the sadists can have fun too.
    • Also, one way to safely tackle derelicts is to order the vaporization of them- not only do you get any hostiles (and innocents) in there sucked into space, those that didn't will die of asphyxiation and eventually get recycled into matter instead. And the derelict itself gets recycled too. A win-win situation.
  • Unobtanium: Matter. This wonderful multi-use material can be processed into metal, concrete, wood, cotton, plastic, glass, all forms of semiconductors, food, and even organic lifeforms like plants!