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Old 07-03-2014, 11:24 PM   #1

Join Date: Mar 2014
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Default Shareware PC 4X(?) Realtime space game, similar to Stars!

So I was going along reminiscing old space games that I played back in the very late 90's/early 2000ish. 3 of them were Stars!, Stellar Frontier, and Starships Unlimited. The fourth one though.. eludes me.

-It was a shareware game that I thought I found on cnet downloads back around 2000, give or take a few years.
-As the title suggests, I -think- it was a 4X space game, almost similar to Stars! but it was realtime, not turn-based. It involved you starting with a single planet, you could research into different fields to make your ships move faster, better armor, etc, build additional research facilities on your planet to research faster, colonize other planets, and so on. There -may- have been other enemy races. If there was, I don't remember that too well. Due to the shareware time limit mentioned below, I probably didn't run into many, if any.
-I ran this on a PC with a Celeron 466MHz on Windows 98 OS
-I believe this was run in full screen mode. I can only guess at the resolution it ran at. Probably SVGA. I'm pretty certain it ran in 256 color mode, as I remember the colors didn't blend well from one color to the next.
-2D game, individual picture files for each of the objects in game (planets, buttons, backgrounds, etc). I don't remember any animations, aside from maybe a moving dot when a starship is moving from 1 star system to the next, or research progress bars. The pictures might not have used an alpha channel, since I believe the edge of some planets had bright green dots, where the solid green was supposed to mean it was transparent (essentially a rendering bug).
-It used your standard speakers for sound output. I believe some sort of background music continuously played in the background that resembled this. I could only make the sounds with my mouth, since I don't know of any easy to use music generating programs. Here is a link of my recording.
-There may or may not have been speech. If there was, I might vaguely remember a "Reasearch complete" voice, or something to that nature.
-While it had the same aspects as Stars! in that you started with 1 planet, could colonize other planets, research technologies to move faster/better weapons/etc, and you could run into other enemies, the UI was definitely not window-based like Stars!. I remember it being rendered in it's own way as described above. I distinctly remember the research screen having a static picture in the background while it showed what fields you could research in and current progress of research in, I think, the bottom right.
-The shareware limit was the game would terminate after something like 30 minutes or an hour of play. Otherwise, it was fully functional.
-I distinctly remember a bug that caused the game to crash after high levels of researching a certain field. There was no limit as to how far you could research something. While you could make something better repeatedly, it would take an exponentially large amount of research units, provided by research stations you build on your planet(s), for each following upgrade each time you re-researched that field. If the required research units exceeded something like 2^31 units, the required research units to research the next upgrade would appear negative, and cause the game to crash shortly after. I encountered this bug, because moving a ship form one star system to the next is painfully slow, unless you have the upgrades to make interstellar movement exponentially faster.

Doing my best to describe it here. I hope someone can find it! If you need more details, I'll -try- to help, but really that's about all I can remember. While it was a buggy game, it's bothering me to no end trying to remember the name of it! Though by the quality of the game, I doubt I'll be able to find a copy still floating around on the web...

Last edited by ssateneth2; 07-03-2014 at 11:49 PM.
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