God save the Queen, and all thatI know, I know. The whole Diamond Jubilee thing is getting to be a bit of a drag at this point. Let’s just try and forget it’s happening with some completely Queen-free ramblings that vaguely continue onward from my last post!

Soooo. What was it… ah yeah, the thing! Yeah. With the planets and stars and groups of dreadnoughts firing barrages of laser death at each other. That thing. Endless Space! Did you know that it went into beta just a couple of paltry hours ago? You should really check it out on Steam and pay a visit to its homepage to see why it’s causing a fuss. Having played a few hours of the previous alpha version, I can surely say that this could very well be the 4X space strategy game that people have been waiting for since Master of Orion 2 - that is to say, it’s completely turn-based with an interesting 3-phase tactical combat system. Just look at it – even at this early stage, it has a UI that makes a strategy geek like me quiver in delight…

Endless Space - The galaxy view looks pretty whilst also telling you what you want to knowEndless Space - A typical star system will have several planets to developEndless Space - Researching into the warfare branch of the tech treeEndless Space - Just a small gunship. Good for weekend trips to the local wormhole

The developers Amplitude Studios are taking the time and trouble to interact with their fanbase as much as possible with a system they are calling “games2gether”, allowing fans to have a direct say on what the devs focus their efforts on at any given time. It’s an ambitious way of doing things but it certainly seems to be paying off so far, and is just another example of the increasingly popular trend of involving the players at an early stage of the development process.

Today’s beta update adds a cargo bay’s worth of bug fixes and tweaks, online multiplayer functionality, and the remaining 3 missing races, taking the total up to 8. All in all, it’s really quite good, and should only get better as the beta rolls along.