Space Sims/Strategy Games Catch-All

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I did some searching and this thread may be a duplicate of other threads, but I'm hoping that we can turn this thread into a space-sim catch all that would be for conversations about space-based strategy and simulation.

I'll get the ball rolling.

Strategy:

Gratuitous Space Battles
Steam
Thread
IMAGE(http://games.download.ba/proimg/gratuitous-space-battles.jpg)

Sins of a Solar Empire
Impulse
Thread
IMAGE(http://pcmedia.gamespy.com/pc/image/article/850/850906/sins-of-a-solar-empire-20080124050637119_1202514335-000.jpg)

Galactic Civilizations II
Impulse
Thread (Do we have an official thread?)
IMAGE(http://pcmedia.ign.com/pc/image/article/750/750725/galactic-civilizations-ii-dark-avatar-20061212041844603-000.jpg)

Star Ruler
Steam
IMAGE(http://cdn.steampowered.com/v/gfx/apps/70900/ss_ce4ac5c73666cccf990966dd976749f45cbf35d3.600x338.jpg?t=1285781050)

Sword of the Stars
Impulse
IMAGE(http://cdn.steampowered.com/v/gfx/apps/42890/ss_6989f8244e2fff252fde7707bd2748dd97ed4c14.600x338.jpg?t=1279305970)

Star Wolves 3: Civil War
Steam
IMAGE(http://cdn.steampowered.com/v/gfx/apps/46260/ss_8aac1ea1c3de598fbe99a8db2282eafcfbaf45db.600x338.jpg?t=1277923093)

Master of Orion 1 + 2
GOG
Thread
IMAGE(http://lparchive.org/Master-of-Orion-2/Update%201/ORION95%202006-08-24%2019-14-12-90.jpg)

Aurora
Website
Thread
IMAGE(http://i282.photobucket.com/albums/kk270/Duelmaster409/AlienColony.png)

Armada 2526
Steam
Thread
IMAGE(http://cdn.steampowered.com/v/gfx/apps/46790/ss_12c59ed352317ef8311f5e65b6318c6ea9ef1943.600x338.jpg?t=1303253406)

****************************************

Simulation:

X3: Terran Conflict
Steam
Thread
IMAGE(http://cdn.steampowered.com/v/gfx/apps/2820/0000005346.600x338.jpg?t=1292342981)

Darkstar One
Steam
Thread
IMAGE(http://cdn.steampowered.com/v/gfx/apps/12330/0000003562.600x338.jpg?t=1270602381)

Evochron: Legends
Impulse
Thread
IMAGE(http://storeimages.impulsedriven.com/product_gfx/evochron4.jpg)

EVE Online
Steam
Thread
IMAGE(http://cdn.steampowered.com/v/gfx/apps/8500/ss_2f9e71c36b607213fee8b7d09c862e3741b12045.600x338.jpg?t=1295921883)

Miner Wars 2081
Impulse
IMAGE(http://3.bp.blogspot.com/_jp-Y_pSujQA/TOuQYvsBSVI/AAAAAAAA1-w/OYmtA-Uk298/s1600/minerwars0089_fullhd.jpg)

Those are just a sampling of the games that are out now. I know some of you may not think it's good to combine games like X3 in the same thread as GalCiv II, but I still feel like a thread like this could be useful.

So here's the first topic starter: Am I skipping anything critical in this OP? Are there gems out there that I don't know about? Anything coming out soon that deserves Goodjer attention?

Edit: A GREAT resource for all things Space Game: Space Game Junkie, by our very own Veloxi!

What about Freelancer? I'm not sure how much of a sim it might be considered but I feel like it would fit in here.

Is Freelancer available from a digital retailer? I tried to include games you could download. I've always wanted to try Freelancer too, especially since I really enjoyed Starlancer.

I've never seen Freelancer on any sort of digital retailer, but it's been a while since I checked. Freelancer is definitely one of the best space sims I've ever played, though, so I'll poke around and see if I can find it anywhere.

Freespace 2
GOG
IMAGE(http://www.mobygames.com/images/shots/l/4966-freespace-2-windows-screenshot-beam-weapon.jpg)
Freespace 2 is the last of the great old school space-combat simulations. The source code was released, and it is maintained and updated via the community-run FSOpen project. Notably, this means it runs on modern hardware, along with numerous visual enhancements. There are numerous mods which allow players to fly in the BSG or Babylon 5 settings, etc.

Freelancer is worth a mention, but mostly for the multiplayer/social aspect and not because of any gameplay or technical prowess.

X-Wing Alliance is also still around in some form. This last game in the X-Wing trilogy has been heavily modded over time, including a mod which allows the engine to run the old TIE Fighter campaigns.

Independence War 1 & 2 are also classics, because they have a very different feel to them. That is most space sims put you in the cockpit of a fighter, but the I-War games seat you at the helm of a small corvette, which operates on a very different physics model.

How did I forget this little treasure?

Nexus - The Jupiter Incident
Steam
Thread
IMAGE(http://www.pcreview.co.uk/forums/attachments/6888-nexus-jupiter-incident-1.jpg)

This is a really fun strategy game with a half-decent story and good gameplay. It's tactics focused, so it's hard to get overwhelmed. Highly recommended.

Add Distant Worlds to this promising thread. And Star Control 2.

As for space strategy, you can go way old-school with games like Star General, or maybe even branch out into the RTS genre with titles like Conquest: Frontier Wars or the Star Trek Armada games. I suppose you could even include the largely-forgettable Star Wars themed strategy games, like Empire at War. And then you have games like Wing Commander Armada (1994), which was a cute idea but ultimately a poor implementation because you would almost always win manually-resolved battles against the AI, no matter how outmatched you were.

I've cracked and purchased Distant Worlds - pics and some text to follow, but it's basically a Gal Civ blown up to massive size and with a customisable degree of automation.

Budo wrote:

Add Distant Worlds to this promising thread. And Star Control 2.

DW has a catch-all

Thanks for starting this topic. I mentioned it in one of the other topics recently. We need a place to compare/contrast all of these great games, somewhere we can recommend things to buy or avoid. Or at the very least an "if you like x, you should try y" recommendation thread. I hope this thread can do some of that.

we need more of those games

Tachyon: The Fringe which nobody cares about and nobody has played is on steam.

http://store.steampowered.com/app/32...

I'm gonna argue that this is the last best space game since it came out in 2000 rather than 1999.

Also, it has Bruce Campbell voice acting so it wins on that account.

Evochron Mercenary is actually the latest Evochron.

And Distant Worlds is such a cool game that I never play.

Itsatrap wrote:

I suppose you could even include the largely-forgettable Star Wars themed strategy games, like Empire at War.

Available on Steam. Has great space battles, although the unit cap is a little low. Can easily be edited to fix that, and raise the cap.

Go into lucasarts, EAW, Gamdata, data and then into XML files and right click on Factions,then go to open with and go to wordpad or notepad. find tactical unit cap in the rebel or empire part. It should be a few lines under Rebel or empire.

Increasing those from the default 20/25 to 50 makes a big difference and really lets you slug it out with some decent sized fleets and multiple cap ships.

Land battles, however are a slog. I see there are supposedly some mods to lessen humanoid hit points and make it better. Haven't really tried those, but I could see them helping.

The galactic conquest mode is much more simple than some of the other RTS games, which I enjoyed. Basically you capture a planet, and your ship count and income go up. No extra mining for resources. The tech tree is very simplified as well.

A fun game overall, just not as deep as many of the others in this genre.

Not mentioned so far: the Battlecruiser series - Derek Smart's magnum opus....for obvious reasons.

What about Space Rangers 2?
Impulse
Steam
and other sources.

rickyyo wrote:

Tachyon: The Fringe which nobody cares about and nobody has played is on steam.

Man...I bought that all those years ago and STILL haven't installed it!

Actually, that goes for numerous games named so far, like X3, Nexus, and Freelancer.

The Space Mod (I forget the name) from Civ 4 BTS. Also, an obscure game called Emperor of the Fading Suns. it could have been great, but was too big for the AI to handle.

MOO3 NEVER HAPPENED.

This one might be a bit obscure but I played the crap out of it when I was younger and really loved it:

Escape Velocity
IMAGE(http://macmedia.ign.com/mac/image/article/709/709115/EscapeVelocityNova_USERSUB_Screenshot_1147917966.jpg)

It's top down, the gameplay is really simple but it nailed the progression mechanic which is what keeps you hooked.

Someone should smack me for not immediately saying: AI War

Here's our thread. I honestly think it's one of the best scifi RTS games I've ever played. Ever.

While checking out one of these games on Steam, I saw the recommended titlse down at the bottom, and stumbled upon Project Freedom, a 2004 space sim. Apparently better known as Space Interceptor:Project Freedom, only rated 71 on metacritic. Sounds like the complaints are that it's only a short 21-mission story campaign and nothing else, no multiplayer or very little replay value.

Anyway it's $3 on Steam, so I'm thinking about giving it a whirl. Doesn't look like anyone else on my friends list has purchased it. Anybody heard of it?

EDIT: DEMO here. Even at $3, I might as well try it first and make sure it runs ok.

Stele wrote:

While checking out one of these games on Steam, I saw the recommended titlse down at the bottom, and stumbled upon Project Freedom, a 2004 space sim. Apparently better known as Space Interceptor:Project Freedom, only rated 71 on metacritic. Sounds like the complaints are that it's only a short 21-mission story campaign and nothing else, no multiplayer or very little replay value.

Anyway it's $3 on Steam, so I'm thinking about giving it a whirl. Doesn't look like anyone else on my friends list has purchased it. Anybody heard of it?

EDIT: DEMO here. Even at $3, I might as well try it first and make sure it runs ok.

Report back, Red Leader.

garion333 wrote:
Stele wrote:

While checking out one of these games on Steam, I saw the recommended titlse down at the bottom, and stumbled upon Project Freedom, a 2004 space sim. Apparently better known as Space Interceptor:Project Freedom, only rated 71 on metacritic. Sounds like the complaints are that it's only a short 21-mission story campaign and nothing else, no multiplayer or very little replay value.

Anyway it's $3 on Steam, so I'm thinking about giving it a whirl. Doesn't look like anyone else on my friends list has purchased it. Anybody heard of it?

EDIT: DEMO here. Even at $3, I might as well try it first and make sure it runs ok.

Report back, Red Leader.

Huh. I dunno what to think. It's pretty fun, but not exceptionally deep.

The controls I'm not sure about. It does detect a 360 controller (well my PS3 that is cloned as one), although it didn't default to pick up those controls, it stayed at mouse+keyboard, and I had to set up the pad myself. The mouse aiming is very solid, in a fighter. The gamepad aiming, even with analog, was way too loose. I could barely hit stuff right in front of me. Not sure if I can play with settings more, or if I should just stick with the mouse.

EDIT: After glancing at a few of the reviews listed by metacritic before, it looks like most of them played with mouse and keyboard and have no controller complaints. I guess my stubbornness to try the gamepad was a bad idea.

Graphics are satisfactory. It definitely looks 6 years old or whatever, but hell I was playing XWA a couple weeks ago and it's 12 years old. Some of the reviews at the time say it looks better than Eve did in 2004, so that's something.

The demo only has training and one campaign mission. Training is solid. The mission is a protect transport mission, which are always tough. Luckily it only makes you play on Easy. And despite my transport saying twice that they had lost something or something was destroyed, they still survived the mission. The goals were pretty unclear, and there wasn't really any targeting system for me to target the ship I was protecting or the enemies. Or any radar or map, until ships got within weapons range I guess. And then there was just an arrow on the screen edge pointing towards the nearest enemy/friendly, if I wasn't already facing them. Seems like they went for simplicity in the HUD and whatever, but man it feels bare.

You do get a lock-on icon with your secondary missile weapons, and you even get a missile cam that pops up in the top right corner so you can watch your enemies get destroyed. The flight physics feel good, there's some strafing, and increase/decrease thrust, as well as a speed boost that recharges. As far as energy, my lasers never ran low, and my secondary ammo stayed above 80% even though I destroyed nearly 20 fighters in that mission. I don't think my shields ever got below 75% or so either, and I was engaged with 5+ fighters at a time. Although again, the demo forces you to play Easy. With the imprecise gamepad aiming I had, I might have to stick to that.

3 gameplay videos here

You can see what I mean about the no radar and target icons in the 3rd video especially. There's like 30 red lines on the sides of the screen.

Anyway, apparently the game came out at $20 to start with, so it's not designed to be the greatest space fighter ever, that explains the lack of multi, achievements, statistics, etc. But it could definitely be a few hours of fun for only $3.

Thanks, Stele. I'll check out those vids. (Btw, isn't it time you went back to a proper avatar that, ah, fits your tag? ;))

I suppose we should mention the Precursors ...? It's got space flight once you get off the first planet.

Tagging.

Prozac wrote:

Tagging.

Is that any good? Screenshots and a description would help.

(I really shouldn't drink energy drinks no matter how tired I am. I just can't stop making comments. Be thankful we aren't hanging out tonight as I wouldn't be able to shut the f- up. :P)

There's really nothing in fiction that gets me more excited than spaceships. What a great thread.

Have a question about Evochron Mercenaries. Does it just encompass fighter sized craft for the player or can you control the full range? Any other general comments would be great too. I loved being able to have my own fleet of capital ships in X3. Speaking of which, I should probably boot that one up again.

I've also been meaning to delve into Distant Worlds for a while now. Three Moves Ahead had such a good podcast on it. Might be worth linking in the first post too.

kyrieee wrote:

This one might be a bit obscure but I played the crap out of it when I was younger and really loved it:

Escape Velocity

I have fond memories of the first two in the series (and even sorta tried modding the second), but the demo for EV: Nova failed to hook me, and I don't remember why.

Space Empires 4
Kind of old-school at this point and it feels a bit generic, but still really quite serviceable. Space Empires is one of the few strategy games that has the ability to research more than one thing at a time, which I really like.
Steam
IMAGE(http://cdn.steampowered.com/v/gfx/apps/1610/0000000246.1920x1080.jpg?t=1270602388)

Space Empires 5
The sequel. I liked it a bit less than 4, but cannot remember why that may be. I should look at it again.
Steam
IMAGE(http://cdn.steampowered.com/v/gfx/apps/1690/0000000648.1920x1080.jpg?t=1270602388)

Someone mentioned Emperor of the Fading Suns. Man, I loved that game, even though it was buggier than a nest full of hornets. There were some fan patches that fixed a lot of that, though. The neat thing about EotF was that it had a pretty deep planetary wargame-style segment as well as space strategy. Also, it was set in this weird pseudo-medieval post-apocalyptic universe.

Distant Worlds is probably my favorite space 4x game released in the past 5 or so years. It feels to me like playing Europa Universalis in space. The expansion tightened up some loose parts of the design and make the game excellent.

I still need to get back to the dev of Star Ruler with some criticisms I made of the game (I'm only putting this here because Garion semi-called me out on the Star Ruler thread, I just haven't had a chance to play it to give the details the dev was looking for).

I didn't call you out, I just wanted you to do the leg work for me.

Distant Worlds is very much like EUIII in space, but with the aspects of HOI3 where you could give the AI parts of your empire to manage added in.

Stuff to add:
Vega Strike, an Elite/Privateer inspired trading game, supposedly soon to have version 0.5.1 released.
IMAGE(http://i.imgur.com/bzJSI.jpg)

Star Control/Star Control 2 [GOG] (aka The Ur Quan Masters) One of the best games of all time.
IMAGE(http://i.imgur.com/nhIeN.png)

And just to be completionist, the original...Elite
IMAGE(http://i.imgur.com/B23v5.png)

Gremlin wrote:

Stuff to add:
Vega Strike, an Elite/Privateer inspired trading game, supposedly soon to have version 0.5.1 released.

Wow, did you see the news post on that site from Jan 20? Nice 3D display in the browser, with HTML5 and WebGL.

It's one thing to have that Unity player for the Cartoon Network game or the Tiger Woods browser game... but just running it in a browser without any extra stuff to download is that much cooler.

Anyone remember playing that old BBS game Trade Wars? That was so sweet at the time.

Anyway, space strategy should be my favorite genre, but I always just keep going back to MOO2. Seems like that game is near perfect for me and I doubt any will top it. Played a bunch of Galactic Civ 1+2 but it just didn't grab me.

But, I'm thinking I should try a new one and have been eying Sword of the Stars and Sins of a Solar Empire for a while. Anyone wanna tell me which is the better of the two?

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