Shattered Suns puts players in control of a fleet of space ships and space stations. Game play takes place in a solar system with one star, various planets orbiting the star, and moons orbiting the planets. Space stations fill orbital slots around planets and moons, serving to consolidate control over territory. Space ships gather resources from planets and moons, form supply lines between space stations, build new space stations, and--of course--blow each other out of the sky in fully three-dimensional space battles.
According to representatives at Clear Crown Studios, input from beta testers is vitally important to the company. Input from beta testers during the first beta test for Shattered Suns in September of 2007 prompted the company to move the original release date into 2008 so that the company would have time to add a variety of new features the beta testers had requested. New features inspired by beta testers included a greater variety of weapon customization options and the introduction of supply lines to the game's economic challenges.
Now the company has asked beta testers for more input on the newest Beta2 version of Shattered Suns. One important feature Beta2 testers are getting a sneak peek of is a unique new style of single-player campaign. The campaign style breaks from what the company calls the "traditional style of RTS campaigns" which sandwiches game play in between opening and closing cinematic scenes. Instead, Shattered Suns uses a campaign style inspired by instant messaging, including a separate interface for the campaign allowing the player to chat with computer-controlled characters in the game's story line. The company claims that the IM-like interface offers them the freedom to create a truly epic storyline for the game, including non-linear story arcs, more realistic characters and more interesting plot twists.
According to Clear Crown Studios representatives, beta testers for the Beta2 release have given the new campaign style a thumbs up. As many as seventy-eight percent of beta testers surveyed like the new style of campaign in Shattered Suns as much or more than the traditional RTS campaign style.
The overall game has also gotten a thumbs up from beta testers. According to a recent public announcement from the company, an "overwhelming majority" of beta testers rank all of the major features of Shattered Suns as either "fun" or "great fun" on a five-point scale that also includes the rankings of "OK," "not fun," and "awful." The company also reports that the majority of beta testers favor Shattered Suns being released this summer over waiting for more features to be added.
The delay resulted from a second beta test that was launched later than originally planned. The Beta2 release, the second beta release of Shattered Suns, was launched on April 24, 2008. The Beta2 release is currently still open to the general public.
The recent positive input from beta testers has prompted the company to plan on a final retail release of Shattered Suns coming this summer.
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