A veteran space sim and Genre Mashup, Shores of Hazeron sends you out upon a galaxy of hazards, where you can expect to experience not only death by pirate, death by decompression, death by black hole and death by parasitic chest-burster (implanted by another player), but also death by walking too quickly into a sailboat, all in delicious first person.
Core gameplay involves nurturing a city from nothingness into the Space Age, designing, improving and battling unique spacecraft, and spreading your civilization throughout the stars, whether alone or as part of a great, massively multiplayer nation. From rooms to buildings, buildings to cities, cities to planets and planets to star systems, the transition is fluid and seamless.
Though the game shares ideas with the late 2010s space sim generation, such as Star Citizen, Elite: Dangerous, StarMade or Dual Universe, it is actually of the same vintage as Noctis, displaying both the high ambition and the low gloss of that era. Developed by Software Engineering and overseen by the mysterious architect Haxus.
The game entered open beta around 2010. It used to be free-to-play; then it died and was resurrected by popular protest in February, 2015. Since then, it operates on a pay-to-play model, driving a somewhat accelerated development cycle.
Shores of Hazeron contains examples of the following tropes:
- Arbitrary Maximum Range: Your three weapon types rely on energy, ballistic projectiles and missiles. Energy weapons can hit any target within sensor range, but their focusing lenses cannot keep the beam cohesive beyond a certain distance. Shells can be evadednote with enough reaction time and missiles run out of fuel, essentially becoming supser-slow projectiles. So far, so good, but the c.65km max effective range for every type seems an arbitrary number - though a high one, when planets are seldom more than 20km across.
- Artificial Gravity: You need special technology to give your ships artificial gravity. With it, you can orient your gravity fields in whatever size, shape and direction you like. Can be abused for fun and profit, often to the dismay of boarding parties. You can also tie the field to a door switch, producing complex and possibly deadly interactions.
- Artificial Stupidity: AI crews used to have huge problems avoiding stellar bodies like planets, gas giants and even suns. Patches have increased the AI so far that such "dives" have become rare, even if they still happen occasionally. Then collision damage was added and now the AI crews end up bumping into each other on a regular basis instead.
- Awesome, but Impractical: Ships crewed entirely by players. It is a great source of hilarity to have all roles on a ship filled by players, but with the exception of the commander and possibly the helmsman all roles are more effective when assigned to the AI crew.
- Big Dumb Object: Ringworlds
- Beam Spam: It is possible to equip starships with a lot of small cannons or lasers instead of the usual single huge one. This makes it more likely to destroy enemy equipment while sacrificing weight efficiency and range.
- BFG: The way most players design their warships main weaponry. A single huge cannon/laser that offers high range and damage per shot.
- Boarding Party: easily employed against a stationary target. Against a moving one...good luck. Downing the shields allows you to board using the transporter, which makes this much easier.
- Breakable Weapons: All handheld equipment has gradual wear-and-tear from repeated use or damage. Rifles, for example, will fall apart after a few dozen to a few hundred magazines depending on the tech level. Armor will degrade from damage. However, all handheld equipment can be repaired if you have the right tools; glue guns repair plastic, wrenches can fix moving components, et cetera.
- A Commander Is You
- Deflector Shields
- Design-It-Yourself Equipment: The game carries an integrated CAD modelling suite, for the player to create anything from milk bottles and rifles to palaces and battleships. Perhaps mercifully, a public design library comes with the game.
- Early Game Hell: Sometimes when forming a new empire, you'll get placed in the middle of nowhere with a low amount of resources. Wild animals will kill you left and right when you make your town.
- Faster-Than-Light Travel: Usually ships are limited to light speed and wormholes, but high-tech empires can gain access to warp drives that allow ships to reach between 10 to 90 times the speed of light.
- Hyperspeed Ambush: a skilled player with fast reflexes can pull this off, allowing ships with a range disadvantage to close the gap. Add a big enough capacitor, and both the hit-and-run and Teleport Spam variants become possible. For the less skilled tele-fragging is a likely outcome.
- Inventory Management Puzzle: Players have a fairly large inventory for carrying goods. It is not, however, very voluminous, requiring players to craft backpacks or crates in order to lug around high-volume goods (such as fuel canisters for ships or land vehicles). Micromanaging a crate-laden inventory allows a player to carry around a ridiculous amount of high-volume, low-weight goods.
- Loophole Abuse: The game normally requires a ship to have thrusters in order to move, making "gun platforms" (a box covered in weapon systems) pretty useless. However, the Facepunch / NeoCAS empire found out that one can simply stuff the gun platforms inside a large ship's hangar - and still fire the ridiculously power cannons - with no reduction to the large ship's speed or capacitors. It was quickly fixed.
- Made of Explodium: Unarmored low tech space ships and stations will violently explode at the slightest provocation, including if you walk into them too fast.
- More Dakka: Sea Beam Spam, above.
- Older Is Better: After the disappearance of the Toucans (the largest player faction by far), their ships became extremely sought-after for their durability, speed, and firepower. A salvaged Toucan ship is far more valuable than most modern player ships.
- Outgrown Such Silly Superstitions: Averted. No matter how advanced a civilization is, their worlds need churches or the population gets angry.
- Point Defenseless: Averted. Assuming roughly equal tech levels defensive turrets mounted on starships and stations offer protection from infantry assaults, boarding parties and hostile small craft.
- Used to be played straight. Before the march 2014 combat overhaul infantry armor used to absorb truly ridiculous amounts of damage, making infantry almost immune to any weapon that can be used against them.
- Portal Network: Naturally formed wormholes create shortcuts between star systems, usually with a range under 4 parsecs. Any ship with a wormhole drive (and enough capacitor) can use the wormholes to travel quickly between systems. The other alternative is to slowboat with standard engines - taking something like 8 hours to get 4 light years - or to build a ship advanced enough to use the warp drive.
- Power Armor: The aptly named Power Armors. Offering high defense values and the ability to survive in space.
- Ramming Always Works: Played straight. Collision damage ignores all shields and deals damage depending on the armor levels and velocities of the involved ships. Accelerating a small ship with heavy armor directly into an enemy ship is an effective, if wasteful, way to destroy them.
- Ring World Planet: Systems have a 2% chance of having a Ringworld in them. Ringworlds are extremely valuable for their massive potential population. Ringworlds come with 5, 10, 15 or 20 arcs, the total amount is depending on their diameter, and each arc counts as a separate planet offering 2 ressource zones with up to 1000 population and one potential officer per arc.
- Scenery Porn: While the game has graphics reminiscent of 1998, it definitely has its moments, especially while exploring planets on foot at night, when the stars and nebula are burning in the sky.
- Early 2013 an update overhauled the planets and created much smoother terrain with better textures. Subsequent patches over the next few months added more terrain features, diversity and changed the way clouds are rendered. The engine, while still simple in presentation and low-poly, is now capable of creating quite beautiful planets, especially when viewed from space.
- Schizo Tech: Your empire may have warp drives and an interstellar empire, but apparently the telephone hasn't been invented yet as you need to physically walk to a building to change what in produces.
- Telephones have finally been invented. Since the start of Universe 5 the capitol building has gained the ability to access the production lines of every building in the city.
- Space Fighter: The imaginatively titled Space Fighter F1 and F2. They're small, cannot be targeted by the main weapons of starships, and their weapons penetrate shields. The downsides to them being that they have no sensors (making them useless until you get visual on the enemy ship), and the manned turrets on starships will shoot at them.
- Space Friction: If you use Unobtanium eludium in your engines, your velocity is always conserved relative to the facing of the ship, which takes some getting used to. Thrust is therefore required to slow down, but you can turn instantly and even spin in a tight circle. Rocket engines, however, provide a straight aversion. All ships will drift realistically when power is lost.
- Space Pirates: Pirates starships will randomly spawn near ships that have a player on board and as part of their command roster. They take their designs from the published ship libraries, making it rare to see the same ship twice. Pirates will order any ship they find to open their doors (to steal their cargo) or be destroyed.
- Wide Open Sandbox