OK So everyone knows that when playing the legacy of games such as Wing Commander, Privateer and Descent: Freespace, we don’t want too much in the way of realism. There are some great real simulators for space which are tedious and take too much time. If you really want to fly the space shuttle, great. If you want shield management, missles, explosions and lasers that take their time to hit the enemy, then you want one of these games. Where they used to be common, there haven’t been many of them lately. This is the list of cockpit sims – so no Eve online, no Homeworld, allthough they are very well known and respected in their genre.
Microsoft Allegiance is all about multiplayer combat. MS is giving away the source code and has it’s gameplay server available for download. There are still some free public servers available online. Players have different ranks and can do different things. You can fly fighters, capital ships and bases. Build up your forces.
X3: Reunion is a beautiful space game built more on the lines of Elite. There’s not much in the way of storyline and what there is you kind of stumble upon. The universe is huge and very pretty with a massive variety of complex space stations and you can do what you like. Slower paced and more for the explorer.
Space Force Rogue Universe is a single player game where you choose a civilisation and command a squadron of AI aircraft and you follow the storyline. You can trade, craft, upgrade, and explore but the reviews suggest the universe becomes a bit samey and isn’t really that huge allthough the ’empty’ bits of space are gorgeous. This is more combat oriented. with some very imaginative models
Vendetta Online is an alternative to EVE online but with the space combat in the cockpit. It’s been developed by a bunch of four guys and they want to grow the world by changing the universe incrementally. Every Friday there’s an update and it costs $9,99 per month or $6,67 if you buy in blocks of 3 months. It looks good, especially considering the size of the company
Starwraith is an independant publisher with quite a history of space sims.
Evochron Renegades is the latest in the (long) line and has been reviewed very very well indeed. You can explore, trade, race, hide, spy, transport, etc etc, upgrade your ship and has a very nice multiplayer mode where you can go online with friends (up to 24) and take on missions together in your single player upgraded ship. It also features player controlled planet descents, stunning graphics and loads of objects in space you can visit and use as hiding places. It’s also trackIR compatible, with a fully 3D environment.
Sure there are others, but these are the ones I found most interesting. Have fun!
Jumpgate Evolution promises to be a beautiful space based MMO with some gorgeous screens so far. Very much in development, so no idea how long to wait untill we can play it, but you can sign in to the Beta allready.
Then there’s Starshatter which has been developed by one man(!) since 1997. So the graphics are directx 7, but they’re good enough for the job. The main claim to fame is that as you advance in rank, you get to fly and command more and more powerful ships – fighters, cruisers, destroyers, culminating in being in command of a carrier with wings of fighters and bombers and other capital ships to control. It also comes with a complete SDK allowing you to mod the game to your hearts’ content.