Friday Flash Fun: The Space Game

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The Space Game might not have the most inspired title, but beneath the nondescript exterior lies a jewel of a real-time strategy game with some interesting quasi-bioinformatics. Made by the Casual Collective for games portal Candystand, it runs in-browser and saves your progress as a cookie, and games last a nice 10-15 minutes - perfect for a short break.

The principle of the game is fairly straightforward - you control an asteroid mining company and your job is to extract as much mineral as you can whilst fighting off bands of space pirates. Enemies come in different flavours and you have three different weapon systems with which to fight them off (missiles, short- and long-range lasers). The rest of the time is spent balancing your mining machines, power supply, repairs and expansion.

The game has a set series of missions and two modes: survival and mining. As the name suggests, survival is a war of attrition whilst the mining mode is a challenge to see how quickly you can extract a certain amount of mineral. Playing both of them, it quickly becomes apparent how successful strategies mimic those found in real life, particularly those of infectious disease. In mining mode, it originally took me 14 minutes to pull out the requisite 30,000 minerals after I cautiously expanded my well-defended empire. Then I realised that I wouldn't be penalised for losing craft to enemy fighters. The second time round, I spread like a virus, leaving my miners to the mercy of marauding pirates, only defending my solar panels (available power determines both the ability to build new craft and the speed at which new craft are built). Sure, miners would be lost to pirates, but so long as each recouped the materials spent on it, the system would support itself. Rather than maintaining a single solar array (and therefore having to defend not just that, but the power lines spreading out to miners) I instead metastasised, building self-contained hubs of power near rich mining ground and abandoning old hubs once the minerals were exhausted. Result? I cut a third off my time, to 9 minutes or so. Can any epidemiologists out there suggest further developments to my strategy? And can anyone beat my 9 8 minutes 13 seconds?

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Damn you! Thanks to this game my whole Saturday has been a write-off, I've done nothing productive at all! Excuse me while I try to beat the final level again...

Danny:

I played both games until past 2AM here - started around 8-9.

7 min 52, and I am not playing that game again; too addictive