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Airships: The beauty of chaos in the clouds

With so many building and crafting games coming out each month, and with many, many more in development, it can be tricky to truly bring something new to the table, that captures attention and rises above the rest.
With so many building and crafting games coming out each month, and with many, many more in development, it can be tricky to truly bring something new to the table that captures attention and rises above the rest. Airships, currently in pre-alpha, is a real-time strategy game that centers around building your own air-based warships from scratch, then sending them up into the sky to do battle with other players. While the building elements are in the forefront of this experience, it's the personality that the game exudes that really makes it notable. Little pixelated men dash around the insides of your ships, firing cannons, stoking fires and fixing up walls that have been battered by the enemy. It's incredibly hypnotic to simply watch them stumble around, tending to whichever duties they believe are currently the most important. The panic as their ship begins to go down gives the entire experience a very "real" feel. "The game's built in Java, on top of Slick2D, which is more of a graphics/sound layer on top of OpenGL/OpenAL than a full engine," developer David Stark tells me. "I've been working on it part-time for a little over a year, doing contract work to support myself." "I definitely wanted a game that had a feeling of lots of things happening at once," he continues, "and a degree of chaos and personality to make it more than just a game about two blobs going 'pew-pew-pew' at each other, and simulating individual crew makes that work." As he's been putting the game together, these chaotic elements have definitely come to the foreground as some of the most exciting, and as such, he's been altering his plans to incorporate as much of this feel as possible. "The physicality of the fights is what I find fun about the game," he notes, "so I've been adding ramming and boarding and plan to add ground infantry and tanks." With interest in the game building, Stark has laid out his approximate plan for how the next six months will look. "It will involve both a lot of polish and, well, a bunch of cool things like walking tanks and dragons," he laughs. "I want to end up with a game that's both lasting fun to play in single player and has a competitive multiplayer side - probably some kind of ladder system." Airships is currently available to purchase as a pre-alpha game for PC and Mac.

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