Captain Forever is the name for both a series of space shooter games by Australian developer Jarred "Farbs" Woods and the first iteration of the series. Its name stems from both its development process, with new versions of the game being continuously developed and released and its endless gameplay. There are four games in the series, the first of which is free and supporters, for a one time fee of $9, may gain access to any future sequels released without being required to make any extra payments.
A standalone version, Captain Forever Remix, was created by Pixelsaurus Games who worked in conjunction with Woods to bring the title to modern systems. Remix was released to Microsoft Windows, Mac OS X and Linux in March 2015.
In each game in the series, with the exception of Captain Impostor, the player pilots a ship with the ability to be expanded by attaching 'modules' (such as lasers or boosters) gained from defeated enemies to a command module, represented by a box containing a broken heart. The goal in the game is to keep your ship alive for as long as possible. As the game progresses, stronger enemy ships (labeled according to letters from the NATO phonetic alphabet) arrive. Destroying stronger ships increases the Law (levels within the game), until Protectors (Peacekeepers in the original game) arrive to attack. The game effectively ends after the first Protector is destroyed (replacing the command module's broken heart with a complete one) but the player may continue accumulating parts indefinitely. If the player's ship is destroyed, it explodes, destroying all ships in the immediate area and clearing the area for the player to begin rebuilding their ship from scratch. The default background is a grid of green lines over a black background with a faint image of a pilot's face in the middle. The background can be changed, however, to an image taken by the player's webcam.
Captain Successor: Launched for supporters in November 2009, as the original game was made freely available to all players. This new game introduces a variety of new weapons, propulsion and defensive modules, as well as more types of enemy ships.
Captain Impostor: Released in March 2010, but is only available to supporters. It introduced the Clone Drive which copies enemy designs entirely and cannot be constructed module by module.
Captain Jameson: A project that was intended to become a full-fledged RPG, it got scrapped in early 2013, but is still playable by Captain Forever supporters. The modern version of this is The Dawn Star.
The Dawn Star: Originally labeled "Captain Jameson Reboot", is a revision of the previous iteration. A commonly agreed origin of the name comes from a member page on the game's forums. The purpose is to further expand the game and to improve game mechanics and aesthetics.
Captain Forever won the Best Game award at China's first Independent Games Festival in 2009.
At its core, the Remix version is similar to the main Captain Forever games. The player controls a spacecraft which they can build from various modules, fighting against other spacecraft and using modules knocked off from those to expand their own. The Remix version adds a more direct goal - completing 10 stages as the player races to the end of the solar system, facing strong enemies in each turn. The game is structured as a roguelike, as the encounters at each stage are procedurally-generated, and should the player's core unit be destroyed, they must start the game from the start. Each stage is completed by meeting a specific goal, such as destroying a ship of a given level (as assigned by the game). A larger meta-game, based on progress during a given playthrough, unlocks new "starter kits" for the initial ship, such as ships geared for long-range attacks, or for close-range overpowered attacks. The starter kits can be upgraded as well in the meta-game, providing better modules within the kit at the start.
The game is framed around Natalie Norberry, a schoolgirl that imagines herself as a cartoon character, Captain Forever, fighting to race to the edge of the solar system against enemies set at her by her younger brother.
Captain Forever Remix was a project born out by Pixelsaurus Games, made up of Dean Tate and Brian Chan, who had met while working at Harmonix before moving on to other studios. Both had tired of the larger studio environments and opted to work together on an independently-developed title. While brainstorming ideas, they recalled fond memories of playing Captain Forever and started to work a pitch to approach Woods with.
They initially pitched the idea of Captain Forever HD, providing updated graphics and support for modern systems. Woods countered the idea, suggesting that they completely remix the game to keep the core gameplay but give it something new so that Tate and Chan's talents could be shown off. Encouraged, the two developed the Remix version under the idea of Saturday-morning cartoons to provide the childlike setting for the game. This direction allowed them to set the visual style for the game - where the backgrounds are inspired by a messy child's room - and to envision new module types they could include in the game. Woods was not directly involved in development but was kept apprised of the state of the game, and has seen ideas presented by Tate and Chan that he anticipates including into his own titles. Remix was developed in the Unity engine, which Woods noted took Tate and Chan time to recreate the core game play from the original Flash-based engine.