Starborne is a galactic-scale RTS that brings in elements of 4X and grand strategy titles and lets thousands of players together for online empire-building. Developer Solid Clouds calls it an MMORTS, and it’s created in part by some of the original folks behind Eve Online – and after six years in varied stages of development, it’ll soon hit beta.

The alpha is already open and free if you want to jump in, and next week will give you a pretty good starting point – Starborne runs on eight-week cycles, and the next is set to begin on November 7. That fresh start is important, since the whole game runs in real time, and it’s all about building an empire against a galaxy full of rivals.

You start with a space station, and start mining resources and constructing expansions to build your reach. Galactic space is limited, so once you come into contact with other players, you’ve got to decide whether you want to build alliances or go to war – or some combination of the two, with whatever deceptions and betrayals you decide to pursue.

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