Endless Sky is a game that made me ask the question: why is this free? That’s not happened often, but while I was whizzing around in my starship, picking up quests and fighting pirates I suddenly had a moment of bizarre realisation when I realised I hadn’t paid a penny for this, and I was loving it.
In Endless Sky, an open-source arcade space RPG, you start off as a wannabe pilot taking out a loan and buying their first starship. You are then dumped into the universe with your ship and a dream. What exactly you do from that point is basically entirely up to you, it’s a true sandbox in that regard; sure you’ve got that bank loan to pay off so you’ll need to find a way to earn money -- legally or otherwise -- but otherwise the galaxy is yours to make of what you will, and the story of your character is entirely yours to create from that point. Will you become a bounty hunter? A trader? A resistance fighter? Will you explore and try and find alien life? There’s an old veteran pilot waiting for you in the space-port to run you through the basics -- a cool little way of incorporating the tutorial into the gameworld -- but what you do beyond that is up to you.
One of the coolest things about this game -- apart from its free-ness in gameplay and price -- is the fact that it is open-source. This means anyone is free to contribute to the game and code their own little mods and resources. There is a passionate little community of players and modders and there are all manner of things you could add; be it quest-lines or new ships, and dependant on how experienced you are with programming, even if you’ve none, there’s all sorts you can put forward and add if you feel the creative urge. You can find the game’s GitHub page here if you’d like to contribute or just have a look to see what cool things the community is making at the minute.
Endless Sky is available for free on Steam