Captain Forever


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Rating: 4.3/5 (125 votes)
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Captain Forever

JamesIn space, nobody can hear you scream. But that doesn't stop you from tearing around, blowing up other ships, and slapping their debris onto your rig before running away from some angry bogeys flying in on your six. When a sleep-deprived pilot puts you in charge of his ship, you have to navigate the depths of Captain Forever, fighting other pilots for pieces of their ships to build the meanest spacecraft on the galactic block. And survive you must, as there is no "triple A" in space...

Captain ForeverThe latest game from indie-maverick Farbs is a build-your-own-spaceship experience, but instead of trawling through shopping menus and tweaking your jalopy to a mean pirate-killing machine, you run-and-gun between the stars, blowing up other ships and taking what's left. To beat a ship you have to eliminate its core, a red square surrounded by a clutter of other blocks, guns and boosters. Once the core is turned into space dust, the remaining parts float free, allowing you to to grab and slap them onto your own ship wherever you like. There is no economy, just nab, stash, and run. Nab with the left mouse button. Stash by pulling pieces near your ship (they snap on like magnets). Then run by not being where you were when the looting took place.

When attaching pieces to your ship, you have to take physics into account. Your ship must be streamlined, else it will veer to one side when flying around space. Booster placement must be balanced or the ship will chug along like a learner driver on a highway. Even the guns have to be distributed evenly. But these are not decisions to be made at the scene of a massacre, mainly because other ships eager to take you apart tend to hover around. Often you swoop in like a vulture, circling a battle between more superior ships and quickly snatching parts before running off to a quiet corner and re-arranging yourself. The maxim that a coward lives longer is at the core of the Captain Forever experience.

Eventually you gather enough firepower to take on other ships, tearing them to pieces and grabbing any surviving parts. But tactics (and by tactics I mean flying in circles and taking cheap potshots at the other guys before they can fire at you) continue to apply as more powerful ships arrive. Different colours signify higher tech levels in Captain Forever: a purple ship has better armour, more powerful guns and stronger boosters than, say, the puny green class. That means you want the purple stuff. But since you are largely decked out in sub-purple gear, a head-on attack will leave you with very little intact. And in Captain Forever, when you lose your boosters you are dead in space. Done, over, finished. There are no second chances in the world of space scavengers. That makes for a very addictive and pretty difficult game.

Captain ForeverAnalysis: The first thing you notice about Captain Forever is how little it explains anything. Apart from a brief plot to why you are blowing up other ships and a small screen outlining the controls, nothing is really revealed. For the first few minutes you will not know what to do. For the first few games you will be the saddest space vulture around, getting blown up easily as you struggle to figure out a working configuration. It's a given that your initial attempts at engineering will boil down to grabbing anything you get your pointer on and slapping it all together.

But soon you grasp the nuances of the game. You learn that boosters should be arranged in certain ways for good speed and turning. You discover that keeping a ship lean and mean by dropping inferior blocks instead of just throwing everything together is the way to go. Ultimately you start to tailor a ship that suits your style of play. My eventual designs eventually reflected old war galleys, with all the guns on the sides so I can sweep past targets and pummel their blindsides, with boosters arranged for quick cornering and even quicker getaways. The whole process is very intuitive and surprisingly addictive. Eventually you learn to reconfigure on the fly, especially when a tail booster has been blown off and you are moving with the grace of a car which had its wheel-alignment set by a curb.

Even though the game has no end, eventually you hit a technology limit, gathering the strongest guns, blocks and boosters the game has to offer. At this point you are also public enemy number one, and everyone is gunning for you. It takes a while to reach that level, because to get there you need to beat superior ships, then rebuild your own craft on-the-fly. The margin for error gets smaller and smaller as you progress, but you get better and better.

Fortunately for us, Farbs is planning a number of episodes in the Captain Forever series, each with feature upgrades to make ship scavenging more interesting and fruitful, even for veterans. A once-off $20 registration gives you instant access to Captain Successor, the sequel to Captain Forever, as well as access to all future episodes in the series. The ship scavenging will never end.

Captain Forever is a blend of tactics, cunning and patience, sweetened by the retro graphics and squawking robot banter from other ships. I could also steal a description from another site: it's Meccano Asteroids. Now doesn't that just sound awesome?

Captain SuccessorJohnBCaptain Successor, Captain Forever's more mature expansion, is a huge improvement over its predecessor. The basic gameplay mechanics are the same, but the differences lie in ship modules, enemy ship constructions, complexity, and lots of little refinements. New parts include boosters that help you turn, a sniper laser that's slow but has a long range, ramming horns that let you crash into other ships, torpedoes, missiles, repair tools, mods that increase the speed of attached parts, and massive girders that not only provide considerable defense but also give you more room to attach things. The Captain Forever wiki has a complete list of parts in Captain Successor, and you can see it's much more varied than before. Now, instead of just looking for bigger and better pieces, you have to employ a strategy when building your ship. It's more challenging to get a design right, but when you do, you're a force to be reckoned with.

A feature present in both Captain Forever and Captain Successor is the ability to save and share ship designs. Press [P] to access the stasis menu, then [X] for the export screen. Cycle through which of your ship designs you want to save, choose how to export it (plain text, HTML, Facebook Twitter, or a JIG-friendly URL), and you're good to go. The export option is a massive boost for the Captain games, moving it from a short, build-die-rebuild arcade game to something that gives you a long term goal. It's such a great thing to be able to log in, scavenge a few neat parts, work on a ship design, then save it for later tweaking. Captain Successor has so much more stuff to build with than Captain Forever, I can't wait to see what future installments will add!

Play Captain Forever

Buy and Play Captain Successor

42 Comments

This seemed oddly short. Maybe it's just aggressive tactics.

It seemed easiest to stay very small, load the front/sides down with weapons, and load the back down with boosters. Some of the large ships are designed so that you can pretty much just sit in front of their face, and their guns will be far enough apart that they won't be able to touch you.

With a game that brief, I don't know how $20 would be justified, but it was fun while it lasted.. the radio was a nice touch.

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CatalystParadox Author Profile Page January 3, 2010 10:38 PM

Augh.... Couldn't get into it. Seemed like putting a ship that didn't fly like a sack of wet mice was more trouble than it was worth (and you're sure to have all your thrusters blown up by the time you get it in a sensible arrangement anyhow) and I spent a good 10 minutes flying around trying to get a weapon after the initial one was blown up on me... only to keep it for all of 30 seconds.

Too frustrating - not for me.

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CatalystParadox Author Profile Page January 3, 2010 11:03 PM

Second try - slightly better, enjoyed 2 minutes of a powerful ship, but the instant it takes damage, one can no longer fly at all due to unbalanced engines, and forced to attempt to dis-assemble and re-assemble mid-combat - which is of course hopeless.

I really love the concept, and aesthetics, and may even give this a third chance after another break, but I am not finding this game playable.

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Man, I really want to like this game, but ...... And the guns get destroyed so easily!

Still, I think I will try again, when I am less angry at it.

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This game could not hold my interest for more than a minute. Too difficult in the beginning stages, controls are too complex, and the gameplay was boring.

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It's challenging to figure out a good configuration, but the game is strangely fun. I just wish I was better at it. Still haven't gotten the hang of rebuilding on the fly yet after a few games. Plus, the controls get kinda wonky, especially when your thrown-together ship starts coming apart. In two of the games, I managed to get away from a dogfight with just my core ship, and rebuilt from there again.

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Just a helpful hint for those of you starting out- If you press 'P' then 'X' you will be taken to the export menu, which will let you save the design of your ship. I would use this feature frequently, it takes away quite a bit of the hassle of having to rebuild your ship every time after dying.

And as someone who has played captain successor, the new items included really bring it to a whole new level.

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I really enjoyed this game, although it's kind of discouraging when some hulk gets a quick shot with their purple cannons and obliterates half of my ship. I'd have to rip of the other half and ram my ship into their core. More than once I've been able to destroy the hulk and completely rebuild with purple parts, but it would only be a matter of time before another hulk gets a cheap shot, and there would be a good chance I'd die trying to take it down.

This game is well made, but it would be nice if there were some goal. The sandbox style ship building is limited when you realize it's easier just to avoid most combat, and when any megaship you build ends up getting destroyed after a few tough battles. Once I found a good strategy and ship design to survive, I couldn't find a reason to keep playing.

The ship blowing up nearby ships when it's destroyed is a very encouraging feature though.

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Anonymous January 4, 2010 10:28 AM

I'm going to have to agree with the negativity. This effort is pretty much garbage as far as execution and playability goes, though the ideas are solid and could be reworked.

Ultimately, the controls and balance are way, way too frustratingly broken for fun to be had.

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in the uk, we just call it AA

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Anonymous January 4, 2010 1:09 PM

The controls are a disaster to begin with, it's tough to get any fire down where you want. Having one component of your ship blasted off doesn't help either.

Open world gameplay doesn't suit a game like this, bubble tanks was a far better executed version of this idea, although there wasn't this degree of customization there. I might consider playing this if there was at least some semblance of progress in playing, or a more playable customization precedure. Let me save up some parts and put them on when I want, and let me save the results. Then this might be playable to some degree.

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fattywads Author Profile Page January 4, 2010 3:54 PM

It might help if you guys


ignore the green parts you start out with (excepting 1 engine). Stick that one engine on the back of your pod. The pod laser is 2 levels better than green. Ignore the crappy green ships and go after a yellow or orange one (they will ignore you until you attack). Ultimately, you want to have red or purple guns or engines. If you get messed up, strip down to the pod with a single, powerful engine and a purple gun.

the game takes time to get used to but once you do, its awesome! Also, turn your webcam on!

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Anonymous January 4, 2010 4:13 PM

Question about exporting ships:
am I right to believe you can't save after using an exported link?

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Anonymous January 4, 2010 4:38 PM

sound just like... Warning Forever (if you watch this site you know it's not the first time this happens with this game)

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reminds me of another game that i cant remember...

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Wow is this game bad! The attachments have the durability of tissue paper. If I get in a fight with just about anything my attachments die and then my ship becomes unbalanced and I can't control it. How the heck did this get a 4/5 rating? Because it looks pretty? It just blows my mind how some games that are just horrid get very high ratings.

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I really like the customization and sandbox flavor of this game. However, I agree with earlier comments that the ship building is needlessly difficult. It would be nice to be able to pause the game and re-assemble your attached mods into a workable configuration. It sucked getting a booster or two shot off in the middle of a fight and not being able to get away, just spin in circles until being finally completely destroyed.

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Purple is nice, until you come up against a ship with BLUE parts. Especially the cannons. Oh. Em. GEE. "Fiery devastation" doesn't quite begin to cover it. Anyway, this game has serious potential, but needs a lot of work.

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Flaming_torch_120 Author Profile Page January 4, 2010 9:53 PM

Why a Webcam?

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OMG this game is awesome.
I finally really got the hang of it.
Going with a two tiered construct of booster compiled in the back and a laser array on the front. You can set up the back boosters so you have full mobility even though they're all in one place.
When i died i had one kilo laser and one juliet laser as well as a few indias (juliets and kilos are pure white, you cant get kilo till after you kill one of the containment guys and your heart is healed.) Only reason i died was that the ship i was taking down got a lucky shot and took out my heart.
You almost have to get lucky to get far in this game. I managed to get a golf ship blown up by another huge one and salvaged parts from that. Once you get really nice lasers its more strategy of maneuvering than anything else to take out foes that are about the same level as you. Just 2 juliet or kilo lasers have enough range and firepower to rip a hole through the massive laser arrays that you often run into, while taking them head on. Its nice to finally be able to tear through those guys.
I guess the moral in the end though is to make sure your heart is protected.

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Okay I've given this game another chance, and I am getting a bit better, so I like it more. I like it a lot, actually. But I still think there is too large an element of chance - too often a single lucky shot from a higher level ship will totally destroy your carefully constructed masterwork, unbalancing you so you have to deconstruct totally to escape.

This could be totally averted by a tweak to the export system - as it stands, it isn't a save system, since you can't export ("save") exported ships. So it's more like a "one more chance" system. Except that if you use it like that, then you can't use the export system as it was intended (to show off your beautiful ship to other people) because you can't export your ship again, even if it's heavily modified.

Simply allowing you to revert your ship upon your death to an earlier version, without involving exports at all, would make this game much more fun and less frustrating to me. I would actually pay for that, rather than a whole bunch of extra parts I probably won't live long enough to use. :)

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Thank you do much for mentioning the wiki, it might inspire a few more people to help out, which is great news! (I started it :) )

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ok my opinion on this game

OPENING: MY-OPINION.TXT

the concept is great with the whole building your own ship thing, it's like if spaceships in the future where made of giant lego

i dont feel there is enough time to build your ship before stuff comes and blows you up, and you cant even get away becausethe pieces just stay in place, i wish you could collect them and then add them to your ship when needed, but what very little realism is there would be lost.

ummm, oh yeah, i hate how, i had an red-purple ship, but i moved too near to something and i was straight back to having to kill puny green things, because all my weapons where blastedededed off, and then i inevitably got killeged, it does as people have put it, "have potential" its has so freakin much potential.

BUT MUST BE DEVELOPEDEDEDEDED TO BE EPIC!!!!!!

MY-OPINION.TXT: TRANSMISSION ENDED

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Anonymous January 5, 2010 7:18 PM

To play as one of my dudes I made...
http://www.captainforever.com/captainforever.php?cfe=nqlbqfa2lmiwnrvqcxktbqppnmbngnuhiixnofn1ww0bn1jqgbf
Using the extract to html you can find a url at the end. The url is your ship.

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:O

On my own computer I've got pages and pages typed up as planning for a game with basically the exact same premise as Captain Forever. I've been beaten to the punch!

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http://www.captainforever.com/captainforever.php?cfe=nqlbqda2lfiwbjympw5daqpj1lahc23ghiwnoyqcxzcbd15mgbadnagfixbyydqw4dt2pjdmarctolhixnoyndxzcne15nhbvib3lt

my little guy :)

have fun! this game keeps bringing me back although I it took a few days of playing before I started getting into it.

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First of all, the game is amazing. Only thing it is missing is some sort of purpose or challenge, so you have to create those for yourself. But maybe that will come with time.

Begining is hard, my ship ended up in pieces few times before I learned the basic rules and how to build your ship.

Simple rules, that will help you get around:
- Don't mix more than two tiers of parts. By the time you get Echo parts, the Charlie ones are useless, etc.
- Don't be too big. Agility is the most important thing, being able to turn quickly and not get hit too much.
- You don't have to slap you find everything on your ship. Plan ahead, choose just the parts you need and choose the ones in best condition.
- You can build a "scoop" ship, wait for two megaships to fight it out, then collect the parts into your scoop, run away and build a ship you want. Or just collect few pieces, slap them randomly on your ship and get away and rebuild. Don't EVER rebuild in the middle of fight unless you know what you are doing.
- When rebuilding, zoom out often, so some fast big ship does not surprise you. It happens.
- User other ships to your advantage. AI is pretty predictable.

Here is a result of my sixth or so game, when I finally got the hang of it. It is a huge all KILO ship, it should give you a ship to be reckoned with or at least a plenty of parts to play with and try different builds.

Have a look

[Edit by Kayleigh]

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TheAnnouncer January 6, 2010 5:24 AM

hey i figured out that if u switch the first letter in the url after php?cfe= it changes what the heart thing is. an o makes it one of those info bots. an f makes it some weird shield or circle. got it to glitch so it would move the chip with the mouse... interesting... im a play around with it a bit more. great game

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@gASK:

All I can say is WOW. I could only get to Kilo level by using a single laser and single booster stuck directly on the command module.
I would honestly never have had the patience to build a monster ship like that, but thanks very much for sharing as I have had a lot of fun driving it around shredding everything in sight!

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I tried messing around with the save code and ended up with this:

http://www.captainforever.com/captainforever.php?cfe=nqlbq2nagg

On the left side of the ship you have an "invisible" laser, but you can still pull it off. If you pull if off an reattach it you now have a 3-way ultimate laser with way more damage and fire rate than it should have.

This will make it extremely easy to defeat any kind of ship

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Hey guys, a dumb question. How do I play this thing?
I mean whenever I open the website there are no 'Play' button or anything what starts the game. The only thing you can do is login, and you have to pay 20$ for that.

So is there a way to login to Captain Forever, and not to Captain Successor? Or somehow start the game?

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I figured it out by myself. It was a firewall, which prevented website from loading the game.

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Markonite2 Author Profile Page January 7, 2010 6:35 PM

You guys have it all wrong.
You CAN take parts to add on later.
Build a ship designed to carry other parts,
and scoop them all up after battle.
Build in negative space,
and put the boosters INSIDE.
Then they can't be hit.
Pile on every block you get,
as that will give your ship added hits.
Every layer of extra bricks,
is one more lucky shot required to destroy.

Once you get the hang of this,
it's fun to capture other ships,
by locking up against them,
and building parts to hold them in.
Then you can carry them away,
systematically disable them,
or just leave them on as added coolness.

At one point I had two identically
configured enemy ships built into the sides of my ship, with careful planning.
Each of them had their own lazers.
Not really a point to it, just fun.

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I made it all the way to the flashing color ships which seem to have the best weapons and kit. This could really use a radar... I can't tell you how many times I ran into a great big ship that wasn't aggressive until I smashed into it.

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messed with the url. made my ship non- existant

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The export format permits parts of up to level 15 ("Papa" parts). The game will still label them as "Kilo" parts, but their stats continue to increase. "Oscar" lasers are probably the best, though, since they are 4Hz instead of 1Hz and each laser bolt can only destroy a single part.

Here is an incredibly powerful ship to play with. The lasers except for the center one are "Oscar", all the other parts are "Papa".

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Well i was about to suggest that i had built the biggest baddest ship possible for the free version until i tested the ship above.

My god that thing is insane, did you build that? cause i set out to make the most baddass ship and it took me an hour for this one, i cant imagine what that one took.

Anyways.

Its a little big so piloting is interesting but nothing flanks faster and the thing speeds like crazy. Firing is like launching a wall of nukes.

The ship above just sheds pure energy into the face of its opponents.

I didn't realize that the kilo set upgraded whithin itself, i cant imagine how long it took to get all those prismatics.

Usually my ships are designed for precision destruction. This one is just built to see how big it could get before i got bored.
http://www.captainforever.com/captainforever.php?cfe=nqlbqrbthgexturc1xzrte10zmnijgumgeztury1xkoetqjrinwjhums5znarl1xvrfcd1zit5j4ums50nar2dxlogtq1kit5jwrhij0uoit5xxrhe11frtej0rhij1uorcex0oitqjurnwjzumi5zurrj1xzoue1johnwjeumieyuoridxlrce11ahtejnrhi2xuorgdxlrttq0olncjaihi5wurr30xvr2u41rgt5jltmgj5tkrgcxlronqjofnwjjtmgj4tkrecx0omd1jaet5jytmse4narbuxwrlu41oetejsihiesurrpzxkoknq1venwjvtmsesnvrt0xzr3d1jvftej1ihij5urrs0xkrqnqjfgngj3ihsjvnary0xzopd11vgt5jptmsewnasb0xvobqp0ol2rjpilsewo2rp0vlrb1pjvga4jqygs5wq3r2cwkr2ks0um2hjcrlsjxo2rc1vlrnjpjvha4juzgs5xq3rtdwkrulcjag2a1nagr2xa2re1wlon2pjuhbvjtuhsexnoi2pwjo2qpjzgbvj23lsjwa2rpcxkrbn1

wait... you cant save a ship after reload....

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This game is great, but needs some improvement. Firstly, it's hard to make a ship that will actually survive AT LEAST 5 seconds against a next-level ship. Next, it's extremely hard for begginers, but gets increasingly easy as you get used to the controls. Finally, I think this should be multiplayer. I would agree to a 4/5 rating. Here are my tips, if you want to survive:

1.If you're about to lose a fight, strip down to your Command Module (Red core) and have nothing but the strongest booster you have (Also put on your strongest gun, anything above Bravo will do. If not, put a Bravo Prismatic Laser Module or just leave your ship's built-in gun.) and RUN. I mean RUN. use your ship's built-in laser (Or the laser you mounted on) to destroy any Alpha (Green) ships. Use them to try and regain lost modules.
2.Use premade ships. Many ships can be found here. Another good ship is this one.
3. Read the Flight Manual. Seriously. Even if you're familiar, Farbs actually left a few tips in there. Be sure to read them.

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