Vega Strike allows players to explore a vastly dynamic universe where frontiers collide and you're just a pilot trying to make ends meet. How? That's your decision. Vega Strike is designed as a non-linear gaming experience, where you choose what action you want to take.
Vega Strike features a dynamic trading economy, allowing your character to operate as a merchant. Discover what trade routes bring in the most profit, what commodities make you the most money given your ship's cargo space limitations, accept cargo missions and learn to avoid areas of danger (repairs eat into your profits!).
If you are tired of making money on milk runs, or want to try something different, then there are other paths to success. Vega Strike features a mission generator, providing multiple missions to the experienced (and not so experienced) pilots. Engage in bounty hunts, patrols, battles and escort missions. Feel like travelling? Explore the dynamic universe and see the farthest reaches of known space. Want a walk on the wild side? You could always turn pirate! Just be prepared for the consequences.
Your ship just not doing the job you want it to? Vega Strike gives you the ability to purchase from a wide variety of ships capable of doing different jobs. Want to haul cargo? Fight battles? There's a ship for you. Your ship is fully customizable, so if you've got the credit, outfit your craft with the right tools for the job at hand.
Have a chat with the bartender or view the news broadcasts to find out what's going on in the universe. While you're there, talk to the fixers, they may have a job that only you can do. But be warned, you never know where it may lead...
Vega Strike uses Open GL and runs on Linux, Mac and Windows platforms, though as of July 2021 the Mac and Windows releases are several versions behind. Can be downloaded from the main Vega Strike site or one of updated repositories.
This game contains examples of the following tropes:
- Alliance Meter: Long, long list — see some in "Factions" below.
- Alphabet News Network: GNN, procedurally generated News readable on base computers, on current events mostly concerning space fights between factions, with occasional mentions of privateers' help (completed Player Character missions).
- An Entrepreneur Is You: You start the game with a small amount of money, and you need to increase it to get better gear, better ships, etc.
- Antimatter: Not as ship fuel, but present as AM Cells in "power utility" goods and in weapons starting from heavy fighters — Reaper shells are conversion bombs and there are antimatter-based light capship guns.
- Arbitrary Weapon Range: Mostly for performance, since non- shell based weapons have dissipation anyway.
- Awesome, yet Impractical:
- Capital Ships. They are the largest and most powerful ships in the game, and they have a side effect of also being the most obscenely expensive ships ingame.
- Aera Ships, too: they're really, really powerful, but they're also rare outside of Aera Imperial space and, like the aforementioned capital ships, really expensive.
- Beam Spam: If you have enough space on your ship and enough money in your account, you, too, can have this wonderful form of overkill. With the right ship and tracking equipment, they won't escape. See above picture for more details.
- Stations with a dozen or so turrets with twin guns are even more flashy.
- Boring, but Practical: The ship you start out with (a Refurbished Llama-class transport you inherited from your Klk'k friend in the backstory) certainly isn't flashy or nice-looking, but with proper upgrades is still a viable ship in the long run, especially if you're just going to be doing cargo runs (its cargo bay can hold 20,000 tonnes of materials, compared to the Plowshare-class transport (which is classified as medium-tier)'s maximum cargo bay capacity of 10,000 tonnes) or running small-scale bounty hunting, clean-sweep/patrol, or rescue missions (it's no starfighter but it can hold its own against most small craft), and it can be outfitted with tractor beams and autotracking with the right mods.
- Bottomless Magazines: It varies.
- Cherry Tapping: You don't want to kill anything with something like, say, the Grav Thumper, because it's very short range and the explosion of anything worth firing this at and its likeliness of being hit have a good chance to destroy your ship too. So the safest way to use these is one mighty hit point-blank and then finishing off from afar with your missile-popper of choice. The same to a lesser degree applies to Ktek bolts (slow, dissipating, power-hog), Razors (obscenely expensive) and missiles (it's better to use them early on approach).
- The Plasma Plume. Shields stop it cold. It's ineffective at long ranges. And it's saying something about your ability if you can score a kill with nothing but them.
- Continuing is Painful: At the beginning, at least, if you lose your ship, you can eject and escape death, but there's not much else you can do with what little money you have left. Once you have a better bank balance, this aspect eases off. Averted if you go down with your ship and load your last save (though the universe will not change with you when you load).
- Copy-and-Paste Environments: Base screens seem pretty... identical, regardless of race or faction. Though the development continues.
- Correspondence Course: A taunt."So, flying by Correspondence Course, I see."
- Defeat Equals Explosion: So far, at least, killed units invariably blow up in a fireball and debris cloud (though these look different depending on what it was). The radius is proportional to the killed unit's size and damage to maximum shields (a roundabout measure of power), so being caught in a capship explosion can be lethal even for ships with strong shields.
- Deflector Shields: Stops plasma or disruptors (shield-based weapons) completely, but kinetics, lasers and particle beams only partially.
- Dialogue Tree:
"You look especially cute and squishy today!"
- "Blind Idiot" Translation: Rlaan have several linguistic problems when badmouthing humans.
"And I ain't gonna sell you a new one, neither.""I'd be scared, but that was incompetent!"
- Bond One-Liner: Every communication tree has an entry for the case a unit scores a kill. Some are pretty good, too.
- EMP: Present, but weak — at least until a better repair system is implemented.
- Escort Mission: You can take these missions...
- Bodyguarding a Badass: ...which are to protect superiority fighters.
- Faster-Than-Light Travel: The SPEC drive drive will multiply the engine speed at a rate inverse to the area gravity. Around wormhole anomalies and gravity wells of planets or stations you are limited to your thrusters, but as you move away, the rate of multiplication increases geometrically until you zip around at 100 c.
- Hyperspace Lanes: Inter-system travel is practicable only via jump points scattered around each system. These are stable wormholes that open between solar systems if a ship is equipped with a jump drive.
- No Warping Zone: SPEC gradualy grinds to x1.0 speed in vicinity of massive objects and wormhole anomalies. Which is the only reason you can approach capships in the middle of nowhere in reasonable time with current autopilot — as long as they doesn't SPEC themselves. Some ships (such as pirates' destroyer) and stations have enhanced interdiction effect.
- Humans Are Special: Several factions. Luddites has distinct Manifest Destiny vibe. Shapers see in a very different light dominating with pre-spaceflight aliens and designing human-based slave species.
- Hyperspeed Escape: Averted. Better hope your engines are fast enough; if you upgraded them and they're not damaged, then you've a good shot of getting away. As long as a planet or jump point is not too close. But don't count on any of the hyperspeed escape routes for a clean getaway — the enemies will follow you, in SPEC, and through jump points, and their mass may be enough to suppress your SPEC drive. With slow enemies it's possible to fly by and get away before they accelerate enough, but they can pursue anyway.
- Hypocritical Humor: Luddites and Homeland Security are pretty funny guys. GNN with its flexible standing on the issue of shooting at escape pods.
- Kinetic Weapons Are Just Better: Depending on the ship and purpose. While heavy beams are better for sniping, "warhead-assisted" kinetics (Razor, Reaper and variants of Photon) can be devastating, and even "normal" autocannons and rocket packs are very good in close encounters. Mass drivers are relatively weak, but cheap.
- Lead the Target: There are ITTS radars and even mount Autotracking to assist with this. They help a lot, though not always.
- Loading Screen: Appear only on start, but lots of them. Some give the setting's flavour, some are funny, and others are concept art.
- Macross Missile Massacre: Rocket packs are fairly widespread. Interceptors and light fighters have them because this gives respectable firepower (at least for some time) without a good reactor, Pacifier have a pair perhaps just for extra punch.
- More Dakka: Oh, yes.
- Vendetta is a fairly good Fighter despite being armed only with light guns because there are 8 of these, with built-in autotracking — of course, that it allows very good reactor and shield counts too.
- Multiple Life Bars: Sectored shield, then sectored armor, then hull.
- Hull hits have a chance of semi-random (e.g. the main thrusters are hit only from behind) Subsystem Damage.
- Nuclear Weapons Taboo: None as such. You can fire little (0.17t equivalent) fusion devices at 300 RPM if you have a Medium mount and enough money — one Razor shell is worth more than a good fire&forget missile. Of course, there's also a Reaper for Heavy mounts that shoots at 100 RPM smaller, more powerful and more acceleration-tolerant conversion shells. "Fraternal War" loading screen is one Set the World on Fire image — granted, it's called so because no one's particularly happy about it, and "clean" fusion blasts, while leaving some induced radioactivity, are not nearly as bad as a nuke's fallout.
- Old-School Dogfight: Possible, but far from obligatory.
- Organic Technology: Mostly Rlaan, and they use it anywhere short of hermetic enclosures and high-energy devices. They also like "organic" look, so their bases tend to resemble fun-sized starfish or radiolaria.
- Wetware CPU: Everywhere. And your little repair robot too. Because true AI is just too expensive and computers without it tend to be dumb appliances. Also, Hellspawn.
- Our Wormholes Are Different: Jump points are effectively locations in space that a jump drive can use to create a wormhole.
- Painfully Slow Projectile: Projectile velocities are averaged by default. If you turn this off gun_speed_adjusted_game_speed, some are really fast and some are really slow. The slowest of them all is Crippler (allows to incapacitate a ship without making a kill), disruptor and Ktek (Rlaan disruptor) bolts. The latter also dissipates very quickly, but by raw Rate of fire X Damage (at point blank range) is the most powerful weapon a light ship can mount. Rlaan "Mini Grav Thumper" weapons are even slower (400 m/s!), but hideously devastating.
- Scripting Language: Python definitely adds a lot of possibilities. Also, currently a ship can be launched with a special Python script AI, but only from XML mission profiles (it's too slow to have many instances all the time), but the stock hard-coded AI, as well as missiles, use XML-based behaviour scripts. Obviously, this makes the engine more mod-friendly, if too convoluted for an easy start.
- Shout-Out: Unit models are inspired by Elite, Homeplanet (see this, for example), Starship Troopers and whatnot. And, if you have sufficient knowledge of how to code in Python and have a good amount of experience in 3D Modeling, you can make things based on FreeSpace, Star Trek, Star Wars, or any other science-fiction work imaginable.
- Attack Drone: 3 major space races have drones launched from some stations and large ships: Human Seaxbane (disabling weapons), Rlaan Hellspawn (strong beams), Aera Porcupine "mines" (shield-piercing shells, explosion).
- Cool Ship: The beginning Llama ship is not a bad-looking ship at all.
- Lancelot is state-of-the art in all senses. The price is fittingly outrageous, of course.
- Anything from light fighters to utiliary capships (Cultivator!) a Shaper developed — or will deign to fly at all — is bound to look pretty cool.
- Naturally, most playable sub-capships and capships (except Kierkegaard rocket barge and huge shuttles) give you several on-board beam weapons and turrets dealing with missiles or other gnats — and typically look well too. They are among the coolest ships around by definition.
- And then there are Aera's ships (pictured above)...
- Rlaan assault ships aren't bad either. Look cool, have good maneuverability and can carry lots of equipment and big weapons. Lancelot is quite fanciful, but if you don't mind lack of missiles, Taizong has same two Heavy main guns and a few lesser mounts, but with more than twice its lateral acceleration (to dodge what shields can't stop), twice its upgrade space (for better shields and reactor they need), more than time and half of its hull durability in case all this was not enough — and is cheaper at that.
- Eldritch Starship: All those Rlaan fish-ships. Also, Beholder probe.
- Escape Pod
- ISO Standard Human Spaceship: At least, factions have their distinctive styles.
- Shiny-Looking Spaceships: Sometimes — especially Highborn whose interceptors are built in the ways usually reserved for luxury yachts. In others... much less so.
- Space Mines: Aera mine Porcupine, in fact a small and sluggish Attack Drone that explodes if anything approaches too close.
- Space Trucker: A lot of these.
- Space Is Noisy: Averted. Even when you take damage, what you hear is the hull ringing from the impact.
- Spiritual Sequel: To Wing Commander: Privateer (and through Privateer to Elite).
- Tactical Rock–Paper–Scissors: AI roles have tables of priorities and actions that dictate their preferences for engaging each other. When they correctly correspond to stats, AI takes Tactical Rock–Paper–Scissors into account. E.g.:
- Bomber * attacks Base/Capital/Carrier > EscortCap > Mine >> turret (any) > Bomber > Interceptor/Fighter/Scavenger >> Shuttle.
- Fighter: * attacks Interceptor/Fighter/Scavenger > Bomber >> turret (any) >> Shuttle.
- Interceptor: * attacks Bomber > Bomb > Fighter/Scavenger > Interceptor > turrets (any) > Mine >> Heavymissile/Shuttle.
- Much the same for unit-launching weapons. Missile: Bomber > Bomb/Fighter/Scavenger > Interceptor > Mine/Heavymissile > turret (any) > Shuttle. HeavyMissile: Capital/Carrier > Escortcap > Base > Bomber/Mine >> turret (any) > Shuttle. Bomb: Base > Capital/Carrier > Escortcap; HeavyMissile: Capital/Carrier > Escortcap > Base > Bomber/Mine. Mine: any light craft > Escortcap > Capital/Carrier > Shuttle >> Base. Plus launchable Interceptors.
- So, missiles and everyone else but another Shuttle, Fighter Turret or Scavenger give shuttles very low priority, even though Llama or Plowshare can be decently armed.
- Squad Controls: The game has basic commands for the flightgroup, since there are both hired guns and extra ships one can purchase, carry and launch.
- State Sec: Subfaction Homeland Security (subtle), which theoretically "exist for internal policing and control, especially in cases crossing between the jurisdictional boundaries of member states of the Confederation". On our side of the Fourth Wall, it exists to feed Black Comedy with its unsubtle creepines, especially IntelSec. Like this or this (DXT images). To see the humourous part, consider that propaganda they intercepted may be sent and received because of malware in the first place (Luddites are big on Hypocritical Humor too). In chat, they say things like "Wrong-thinkers are everywhere, keep a lookout, friend", or (almost verbatim) Move Along, Nothing to See Here.
- Tractor Beam: Used to pick up salvage / dropped cargo or Escape Pod — the latter is a part of Rescue missions. Also, the reverse version — repulsors. Either way, needs a reinforced hardpoint.
- Used Future: Very much.AI Pilot: "They say paint job is a structural component."
- Sometimes literally so — design of some ships (e.g. Plowshare, Thales) is clearly inspired by Starship Troopers (compare with ships in the trailer) — the one that was clearly made as an insult to Heinlein. This provides "gritty" side just fine.
- Variable Mix: lots of these, depending on who owns the place, threat presence, or type of the host unit when docked...
- Wide-Open Sandbox: There is no specific plotline to follow; it really is completely wide open. There is the "plot" line of quests — given by non-random fixers (starting with that unshaved lad in the first station's bar). But it can wait until you have a better ship, or be ignored altogether. Though so far not all is scripted anyway.
- Would Not Shoot a Civilian: ISO shoots at most Confed subfactions, but ignores civilians. Rlaan see the difference between civilians and combatants since they have them as different subspecies. The Aera don't — they just don't trust anyone.
Factions:Humans and associates:
- Confed (Confederation of Inhabited Worlds): Humans, The Federation.
"Ah, isn't war glorious? The front is where I belong.""Oh, bother. What a chore to be in a cockpit that can't fit my entire entourage."
- Andolian: Mental Fusion — brain-networked from before birth.
- Andolian Protectorate: associated aliens including Klk'k (the Player Character inherited his ship from his Klk'k friend) and some humans.
- Highborn: Feudal Future. Like to play Knight in Shining Armor, though grew too opulent.
- Homeland Security: State Sec, with IntelSec as Secret Police.
"It's getting harder to make a killing making a killing these days."
- Hunter: Bounty Hunter
- Andolian: Mental Fusion — brain-networked from before birth.
- Merchant Guild: Intrepid Merchant with guts to supply planets under blockade.
"Your emotional arithmetic is flawed." <BLAZzz>
- LIHW (League of Independent Human Worlds): The Alliance, formed from variety of independents banded together upon the founding of Confederation to avoid being overrun or assimilated.
- Privateer: Player Character is one of these. Take a Bounty Hunter or Intrepid Merchant career, if you chose to.
- Purists: Borderline Space Amish — highly conservative especially about non-medical body modifications, but generally keep up and are sort of cool. Their vessels tend to be large, powerful, but have aesthetics and maneuverability of a brick with thrusters. The brick trend is exemplified by Plowshare, square box with cabin and thrusters welded on. The Mighty Glacier trend is exemplified by Pacifier and Admonisher: other folk build superiority fighters by moving from basic fighters up and equip them with a pair of Heavy weapons and one torpedo, but not Purists. They shrink a bomber for greater maneuverability to 1/2 equipment and 1/4 hold volume, yet only slightly decreased hull durability, remove rocket pods, but leave all four Heavy mounts, both Light guns, bays for 3 of 4 torpedo — and triple medium missile magazines.
- Luddites are the extremist branch and Homeland Security hunting these is recruited also mainly from Purists.
- Shapers: Doing It for the Art — In-Universe and out. As the whole faction of borderline Mad Artist superhumans.
- Unadorned: Straw Vulcan.
- Forsaken: Formed from pre-FTL colonists who arrived only to discover their destinations are already claimed and developed, and Nanoplague is eating much of their equipment. They didn't receive help, and now really don't care about Confed in turn.
- ISO: Dirty Communists. Though they aren't aggressive toward civilians and factions they don't see as parts of the oligarchy (such as privateer).
- Lightbearers: The Missing Faction, wiped out (mostly by Andolians) for their shenanigans. Which in turn led to the creation of Confed.
- Luddites: Evil Luddite. "Interstellar Church of True Form's Return" whom everybody else calls "Luddites" are extremist offshoot of Purist faction.
- Ludd Was Right subverted with the Luddites-they're called that-it's about the way of life—as far as technology itself goes, they don't mind it at all.
- Pirate: Space Pirates. There's really not much to say about them. Mostly ride Hyena or Plowshare. Sometimes manage to lay their hands on an old frigate, sometimes a bulky, but almost hapless transport.
- Transhuman / Human Subspecies has whole factions composed mainly of them (while e.g. Hunters by all accounts include lots of cyborgs, it's not the defining trait):
- Mechanists — Homo Sapiens Cyberis ("It goes the way of all flesh!")
- Andolian — Homo Sapiens Pluralis
- Lightbearers — Homo Sapiens Suprahomo (extinct)
- Shapers — Homo Sapiens Superioris
- Spaceborn — Homo Sapiens Cosmonatalis
- Pro-Human Transhuman — They tend to stick with the rest of the humanity about as much as other factions. In VS history, when Lightbearers uplifted and oppressed aliens, Shapers were indifferent and held them as at least better than Andolians, but the moment variant human (Spaceborn) slavery was discovered, switched from support to hatred.
- Aera: Crazy Survivalist/Proud Warrior Race Guy - they have more "stand against the Universe" hair-trigger attitude than "proud warrior" style, but the result is much the same."A superior display—may we both be remembered..."
- Rlaan: A borderline case Hive Caste System—they have "worker" and "warrior" subspecies, with administrators mostly being sterile hybrids of these. Sometimes can be goofy. Surprisingly, some lines in Rlaan communication are of the Warrior Poet sort."Roll your eyes again, it looks so funny!""Hulls pop like vibrant seeds. Splashing photons in a void. I am sticky."
- Uln: Boisterous Bruiser fences."You and I should beat each other up some time. It'll be lots of fun."