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PC Games (Games) Sci-Fi Space Games

Sid Meier's New Game Is About Starships 227

jones_supa writes: The next game from the mind of veteran strategy and simulation game designer Sid Meier has been revealed. 2K and Firaxis Games have announced Sid Meier's Starships, a turn-based interstellar strategy game scheduled to arrive in early 2015 for Windows, OS X, and iOS (iPad). In the game, you control a fleet of starships as you journey through the galaxy to complete missions, protect planets and their inhabitants, and build a planetary federation. As you trek through the stars, you will be challenged to expand your federation's influence and reach. You shall also amass futuristic technology and take part in combat using a deep roster of customizable ships. When designing Starships, Meier was intrigued by the idea of exploring the next chapter in the story of Civilization: Beyond Earth. "What happens after we colonize our new home and eventually build starships to take to the stars? What has become of our long-lost brothers and sisters from the planet Earth," Meier asks. "My goal was to create an experience that focuses on starship design and combat within a universe filled with interstellar adventure, diplomacy, and exploration."
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Sid Meier's New Game Is About Starships

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  • by fuzzyfuzzyfungus ( 1223518 ) on Monday January 19, 2015 @07:58PM (#48852945) Journal
    I wonder if they'll find a way to keep it from feeling like little more than a reasonably ambitious Civ5 mod, notably unlike last time?
  • Wot? (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Greyfox ( 87712 ) on Monday January 19, 2015 @08:05PM (#48852969) Homepage Journal
    Kind of like Galactic Civilizations III? I'd guess they'd better hurry if they don't want Sid Meier to steal the wind from their sails.
    • by T.E.D. ( 34228 )

      The Gal Civ series is part of a long-existing genre of space-based 4x games. We even had them back in the day when we used ASCII characters for the graphics (stars of course represented by asterisks), and the games were typed in by hand from BASIC source code in books.

      The same goes for Civilization of course. At its heart, that series is just a re-imaging of classic Empire [wolfpackempire.com]. The trick is what new things can be done with the genre, and can it be made more fun. Sid's got a good track record with that, so it

  • by GoodNewsJimDotCom ( 2244874 ) on Monday January 19, 2015 @08:07PM (#48852985)
    I too am working on a space civilization style simulator for Ipad/Android tablet.

    My theory was that with all the fame of games like Clash of Clans, why not take competition one step further to games like Risk, Civilization, or Master of Orion?

    Touch pad is perfect for those turn based games like that. They're just a bit more challenging to write since you need to write a custom active server since P2P would just invite hackers to ruin your day.

    I could talk more on this project, but its so early in development that it isn't anything more than a hobby affair. I was thinking of taking my time on this one, sculpt it just right, and have good polish on it for 2-4 years out from now. One of the things slowing me down is that I can't seem to get Java to communicate with AS3 via sockets. So it is looking like I'll probably have to write my game server in C/C++ which will be a challenge without garbage collection, nice arrays, debugging, nice strings, an ide, and so forth.
    • by adonoman ( 624929 ) on Monday January 19, 2015 @08:26PM (#48853091)
      Why not write your game server in C/C++ with garbage collection, nice arrays, debugging, nice strings and an ide? Leaving those out seems like you're intentionally making things difficult on yourself.
    • by mjwx ( 966435 )

      Touch pad is perfect for those turn based games like that.

      Said no gamer ever.

      Sorry, but if you think touch is good for Turn Based Strategy games you haven't tried to play a touchscreen game for 3 hours and for a good TBS game, 3 hours is a short session.

      • I wasn't going turn based... But yes, the sessions are planned to be many hour events, but you don't need to play the whole thing. When you're not on, there's a small penalty in addition to custom AI taking over.

        Touch pad is perfect for games where you make choices in drop down menus like a turn based strategy game, or a game like Final Fantasy. The touch pad generally fails for action oriented reflex/twitch video games as the controls aren't crisp.
    • by Algan ( 20532 )

      Erlang. Write your game server in Erlang. It's made for stuff like this - look it up. A lot of high availability, very scalable server side stuff is written in Erlang. Including the servers for Clash of Clans. Did I mention that you should write your game server in Erlang? you really should :)

    • by gl4ss ( 559668 )

      you could just do the communication part in c/c++ if you really had to... a really minor thing in the big picture of things. and really minor compared to your choice of using AS3 for the game itself...

      you might be well better off just learning qml and javascript and doing it in that if you want use something like that which compiles nicely to a osx/ios/android/windows (qt has a nice c++ ide too..) application.

  • by Virtucon ( 127420 ) on Monday January 19, 2015 @08:14PM (#48853011)

    I've been gypped with Beyond Earth.. It's definitely crap at this point. Sorry Sid, the magic is gone.

    • by mjwx ( 966435 ) on Monday January 19, 2015 @08:44PM (#48853185)

      I've been gypped with Beyond Earth.. It's definitely crap at this point. Sorry Sid, the magic is gone.

      Its been bad since Civ V.

      Civ IV: Beyond the Sword was the high point of the Civ series, it's now in decline thanks to Firaxis chasing the casual dollar. The fact this new game is coming out for Ipads is a clear warning it's going to be seriously gimped. I dont think Sid Maier has much, if any input on the current games that carry his name, a lot like Tom Clancy.

      I took a pass on Beyond Earth because Civ V was so horrible. In fact I'm still playing Civ IV BTS over Civ V.

      • by qeveren ( 318805 )

        I'm still bewildered that Firaxis actually cannot find a way to make a turn-based game function in multiplayer. I'm pretty sure like every other developer on the planet has managed this feat, but somehow not Firaxis.

      • by Zedrick ( 764028 )
        > I took a pass on Beyond Earth because Civ V was so horrible. In fact I'm still playing Civ IV BTS over Civ V

        Same here. Civ V was the last game I bought without at least downloading a cracked copy and testing it myself - it was such a huge disappointment. I still suspect the reviewers were bribed somehow, or perhaps tested the game before it got radically dumbed down, just before release?

        It's not until recently that I dare buy games again, after watching reviews on youtube so I can see it for myse
        • by Daetrin ( 576516 )

          I still suspect the reviewers were bribed somehow, or perhaps tested the game before it got radically dumbed down, just before release?

          I think the glowing reviews of Civ5 are explainable without resorting to bribery or shenanigans by the developer as the cause.

          I am a long term but relatively moderate Civ player. I've been playing since the first Civilization and have played all of them since then. Including Civilization: Call to Power and Call to Power 2, plus Alpha Centauri. And all of the Master of Orion games (including 3, regrettably) Master of Magic, and GalCiv and GalCiv2.

          I am not an expert however. I can't beat any of them at t

          • One unit per tile (1UT) sucks on the Civ5 maps because the hexes are way too large for the scale. The only way 1 unit/tile would have worked well would have been to subdivide the hexes into 7 smaller hexes while keeping the cities the same size (taking up multiple hexes).

            The other major issue with the series is that instead of simply improving upon the Civ4 series (by adding hexes and fixing the stack of death issues and doing work on the AI), they brought in a brand new designer who threw out all the le
      • Civ 5 sure has problems, but it is a hell lot better than civ 4 mechanically. The abolition of the stacks of doom made the game so much more enjoyable.

        Honestly my main grip with all civs are the crappy AI, after you master the game mechanics the game either becomes too easy in the easier difficulties or unfair in the harder difficulties (requiring you to find the exploits the game tech tree and enemy AI).

    • I think his last really good strategy game was Alpha Centauri and it was Brian Reynolds who did most of the work.

      Beyond Earth is one of the worst he did. Trash. I thought it was even worse than the much maligned Pandora: First Contact that came out shorty before BE.

      Firaxis has done some good games though. Like XCOM. But once again its another rehash of an old game. Can't they think of anything new?

  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday January 19, 2015 @08:19PM (#48853039)

    Why is war an assumed mandatory condition for space travelers? This is patently absurd (though perhaps fun in a game). Don't ya think we would have already located some extraterrestrials if there were wars going on in space? Or is this war thing predicated on humans being out there?

    We are entrained to believe wars are inevitable, due to differences in opinion or scarcity of material. May I once again posit that war is not a natural result of being human, but rather one put upon mankind by strong, selfish, sociopaths that profit from it?

    • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

      by Anonymous Coward

      Why is war an assumed mandatory condition for space travelers?

      Because if you look at previous phases of human exploration, they all involved lots of fighting, too. There's no reason to think that exploring space will be any different - there's a lot of empty nothing out there, punctuated by a few hospitable pieces of rock. The first person to land on and claim a given rock for his own purpose damn well better be prepared to defend it from the next 30 guys who try to land and claim it for their purposes.

      Do

      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by blackbeak ( 1227080 )

        Previous phases of human exploration had a number of common or frequent driving elements that space exploration is not likely to have. Such as: zealous religious missionary activities, conquest at behest of the king, racist judgement and condemnation of indigenous cultures, imperialist overreach into another country for minerals, slaves or other goods, etc. Most of that ideology is driven by the social thinkers/drivers at the top (or the powers behind the throne) and the privileged class just below that, no

        • Most of that ideology is driven by the social thinkers/drivers at the top (or the powers behind the throne) and the privileged class just below that, not by the average citizens who prefer to just raise their families in peace.

          You under-estimate the desire of the average citizen to have his country win.

          To Godwin this thread immediately, consider that Hitler didn't have to convince his country to go to war.....he merely went along with a desire that already existed in his countrymen. This also goes along with his irrational hatred of the Jews.

          • You under-estimate the desire of the average citizen to have his country win.

            That need not manifest in the form of war. Think of sports, for example.

            To Godwin this thread immediately, consider that Hitler didn't have to convince his country to go to war.....he merely went along with a desire that already existed in his countrymen. This also goes along with his irrational hatred of the Jews.

            Really? So all those speeches were really just because he loved his own voice? Not to mention the rest of the Nazi pr

            • Really? So all those speeches were really just because he loved his own voice?

              Well, if you'd actually like to understand how politics works, you can start by realizing that people aren't going to vote for him if they don't A)know who he is and B) think he can accomplish what he promises.

              Surely you at least realize that the age old trick of politicians everywhere is to tell people what they want to hear.

        • by swb ( 14022 )

          Most of that ideology is driven by the social thinkers/drivers at the top (or the powers behind the throne) and the privileged class just below that, not by the average citizens who prefer to just raise their families in peace.

          Organized human civilization has been around, what, 10,000 years? How do you suppose bands of humans dealt with some new group that showed up and wanted their fishing spot or their hunting spot or women? Pretty much everyone had some stake in the outcome and hiring a "conflict resolution facilitator" wasn't really an option.

          Even a lot of Roman military activity up to about the Marian era wasn't necessarily expansionist but considered defensive against various Gallic and Germanic tribes who made incursions

      • Arguably, the question of whether there will be war 'in space'(as opposed to space travel, along with some messy little ground wars on inhabited planets and any sufficiently large habitable constructs; but minimal involvement between the two), depends pretty strongly on what assumptions you bake in about travel speed and cost, as well as those about the difficulty and cost of exploiting tricky objects like gas giants or very low density clouds of gas and dust.

        If travel is fast and cheap, the universe is
      • by qeveren ( 318805 )

        To anyone for whom interstellar travel is feasible, 'limited resources' isn't a thing that exists. There's literally nothing to fight over. Well, realistically speaking. A game in no way has to be (or should necessarily be) realistic.

    • Think about it, war is extremely unlikely among interstellar species. With that level of technology, you're not gonna be hunting for food. Nor will scarcity of materials be a problem. Come on, you can travel among the stars, and you're gonna find one particular solar system that you just gotta have, right? Because this one system is just soooo cool, and there are no others out there like it. So, you figure "I'll just kill off the other interstellar species using the planets there and it'll be all mine!"

      Or

      • by swb ( 14022 )

        Because this one system is just soooo cool, and there are no others out there like it.

        Well, you could say that about the Middle East vs. the Gobi Desert -- because that ONE patch of sand has something and no others out there are like it.

        As it turns out, some patches of sand in the Middle East turn out to actually have something no others out there like it have and that something (oil) turns out to be hugely important for managing and maintaining your inter(steller)national empire.

        Who's to say the same would

      • by rossdee ( 243626 )

        While it is unlikely that 2 different races would meet with similar levels of technology (at least similar enough to have a war rather than a massacre) Its more likely that humans could end up fighting other humans. Think of Star Wars )rebels trying to break away from the Empire)
        And habitable planets seem rare enough to fight over so far.

    • by Jeremi ( 14640 ) on Monday January 19, 2015 @09:33PM (#48853391) Homepage

      Why is war an assumed mandatory condition for space travelers?

      Nobody assumes it's mandatory for space travellers.

      Lots of people assume it's mandatory if you want to make a profit selling your space-themed video game. And they're probably right about that.

      • EVE seems to be doing OK, and while there's war to participate in if you want to, there are plenty of people making money from mining, research, logistics, and so on.
        • EVE seems to be doing OK, and while there's war to participate in if you want to, there are plenty of people making money from mining, research, logistics, and so on.

          All activities in EVE (other then agent-driven mission running) are PvP. Selling on the market? You're PvPing against the other sellers who want to undercut you and sell their product faster. Mining? You're competing to harvest before someone else comes and harvests the resource.
          • PvP is a lot different from war, though. Almost every board game ever made is PvP by that definition, and I don't think I'd consider Chutes and Ladders in the same category as Battlefield 4.
    • Why is war an assumed mandatory condition for space travelers? This is patently absurd (though perhaps fun in a game). Don't ya think we would have already located some extraterrestrials if there were wars going on in space? Or is this war thing predicated on humans being out there?

      We are entrained to believe wars are inevitable, due to differences in opinion or scarcity of material. May I once again posit that war is not a natural result of being human, but rather one put upon mankind by strong, selfish, sociopaths that profit from it?

      There is so much we don't know that we can't really assume one way or another. Face it, we don't even know if interstellar travel is even possible (and it is not at all clear that it is possible with our present technology, and reasonable travel times require technologies that we don't know about).

      The Earth seems to be at just about the minimum size needed to have plate tectonics, which is needed to keep the planet habitable long enough for complex life to arise. If that is the case most of the "habitable"

    • by barc0001 ( 173002 ) on Monday January 19, 2015 @10:35PM (#48853633)

      > Don't ya think we would have already located some extraterrestrials if there were wars going on in space?

      Why would you think that? Let's open with a quote from Douglas Adams:

      “Space is big. You just won't believe how vastly, hugely, mind-bogglingly big it is. I mean, you may think it's a long way down the road to the chemist's, but that's just peanuts to space.”
        Douglas Adams, The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy

      Our own galaxy is 200,000 LIGHT YEARS across. This means it takes light 200,000 years to cross from one side to the other. It's friggin' enormous. And what we can observe is only relatively large energy sources like stars. Let's presume for a minute that there are some ETs happily engaged in armed conflict with each other 500 light years from us, tossing around 20 megaton nukes all day long like they're NBA players at a strip club making it rain. Assume that they are using 10,000 of such warheads against each others ships every day engaged in action around a star system. That's a total energy output of 200 GT (Gigatons) per day. The STAR in that system if it's a star like Sol will be putting out 7890000000000 GT per day of energy. How are we even supposed to detect 200GT more on top of that load? That's like going into Giants stadium at night and staring at the light arrays from the pitchers mound and trying to pick out someone flicking a lighter for a half a second in the midst of one of the arrays.

      Secondly, I mentioned the "space is big" thing, right? Suppose these races developed doomsday devices that could actually kill stars and are happily wiping out each others' systems with nova-bombs. But they're fighting 500 LY away from us and their war only got really going 200 years ago. It's still going to be 300 years before we start seeing evidence of their handiwork.

    • by EzInKy ( 115248 )

      It is just that war is a natural state for humans. Just look at Europe today. No matter how open and welcoming a society can be, there will always come along someone who demands subservience to the will of their sky pixie.

      • No matter how open and welcoming a society can be, there will always come along someone who demands subservience to the will of their sky pixie.

        Which no doubt explains Ukraine and Russia nicely.

        Or not...

        Hint: most wars aren't about religion (though religion is often an excuse for war), they're about power. See WW1 and 2 for examples....

    • "Let's assume, that the human race manages to balance birth and death, just right to fit its own planets, and thereby becomes peaceful. What happens? Soon (about next Wednesday) the Bugs move in, kill off the breed which 'ain't gonna study war no more' and the universe forgets us"

      Though the best argument made in the novel is, 'juvenile delinquent' is an oxymoron.
    • by gl4ss ( 559668 )

      because it makes for a better space strategy game if you include the option for war between the factions.

      it's not simspace you know.

    • by Sloppy ( 14984 )

      May I once again posit that war is not a natural result of being human, but rather one put upon mankind by strong, selfish, sociopaths that profit from it?

      It's a natural result of life, apparently. Go look at some pictures of floppy-eared puppies, or fluffy kittens or fish or trees or algae or fungus: awwww, what cute warlike sociopaths. "You're eating my food, competing for my mate, or claiming my turf? Fuck you. DIE!!" Humanity is the only thing I ever heard of, who sometimes isn't sociopathic.

      One can hy

  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday January 19, 2015 @08:20PM (#48853043)

    I am not installing this! Out of respect for my starved turtle (RRtycoon), ex-girlfriends (Civ 1 to 4),...

  • If it's cross platform to iOS then it's almost guaranteed to be a bit lame for PC. Good for sid mier's bank account; bad news for PC gamers.
  • Linux support? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Eythian ( 552130 ) <robin&kallisti,net,nz> on Monday January 19, 2015 @08:40PM (#48853163) Homepage

    No Linux support? What is this? 2014?

  • by funwithBSD ( 245349 ) on Monday January 19, 2015 @08:47PM (#48853195)

    Master of Orion!

    • by creimer ( 824291 )
      My roommate loved that game (MOO2). His favorite tactic was to hold his enemies at bay long enough to build out 36 Death Stars that would systematically vaporize all the enemy planets. Having 36 Death Stars firing at once is enough to bring the CPU to its knees. He never got tired of wrecking the interstellar neighborhood.
      • by qeveren ( 318805 )

        I was always fond of playing the Scumbag Humans(tm), sucking up all friendly-like to whoever was in the lead and 'helpfully' placing 'defensive' fleets (strangely consisting entirely of planetary bombardment designs and troop transports) around my ally's planets. __

      • You only need like one or two Death Stars to win the game though.

  • In the game, you control a fleet of starships as you journey through the galaxy to complete missions, protect planets and their inhabitants, and build a planetary federation.

    That seems to be targeting only a subset of consumers(*).

    What if I want to build a totalitarian empire? Subjugate and control planets, turn their productive output towards my ever-growing fleet of interplanetary destroyers? Drive my enemies before me, hear the lamentation of their women, yada yada.

    Sort of like Ronan [wikipedia.org] from Guardians of t

    • It could turn out to be even worse: the description you quote sounds very similar to the hype for the unforgivably dreadful Spore's space stage. That was so awful that even genocide couldn't break the tedium, though it was possible.
  • I'm no Linux zealot but I guess I know where the money I could have spent on this game will be going, to a nice selection of European beer while I play the free Xonotic game.

  • by Vrallis ( 33290 ) on Monday January 19, 2015 @09:27PM (#48853361) Homepage

    *Please*, please, please...let this be what I always hoped Master of Orion would become...

  • A turn-based game? Flaw number 1.
  • With detailed diplomacy, exploration, colonization....so, basically, Distant Worlds Universe?

    Seriously, I've always liked Sid's games and I've been playing them for 30 years. But hey, DWU pretty thoroughly has that niche covered.

  • How much of this is really from his mind, vs just being paid sufficient sums to allow his name to be stamped on it?

  • Spore (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Jarik C-Bol ( 894741 ) on Tuesday January 20, 2015 @01:03AM (#48854145)
    Sid Meier is just re-making spore as 3 games, and skipping the weird creature creation stage. Seriously, at this stage we have a 'conquer the world' game, a 'conquer nearby star system' game, and now we have a 'conquer you local galactic arm' game? sounds like spore, only without the insane promises.
  • So it's a Star Traders knock off?
    • I LOVE that game!! Don't want to be a trader? Try being a smuggler!
      Don't like smugglers? Be a Bounty Hunter!!
      Fighting not your style? Play an Explorer!
      Maybe intrigue between factions is more your thing. Play a Spy!
      There are many ways to play Star Traders.

      Come to think of it, I play Star Traders on Android, so maybe that is why this new game is only for Windows, OSX, or iPad. The market already has this game (or a better game) on Android.

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