History: This is the company that brought you the Hive, a mega hit action combat cum flight action game. Windward Studios, who are developing Galaxis, is a game and multi-media software development company that creates products for leading publishers. Windward Studios was founded by David Thielen, a software developer in the vanguard of the PC industry since the days of the original IBM PC. Having recently ported Origin's Wing Commander Armada from DOS to Windows, Thielen previously was a member of the development team that created "Monty Python's Complete Waste of Time" for 7th Level. Prior to that Thielen was a senior developer at Microsoft for nearly four years where he worked on Windows 95, the Far East version of Windows 3.1, and other projects.
Plot: "You've transformed an un-evolved species and an un-charted planet into the pride of your solar system. You've branched into neighboring systems and expanded your workforce and resources through all means necessary. You're one of millions of master strategists on the World Wide Web vying for absolute control of the ultimate intergalactic empire." So begins Trimarks description of their soon to be released game.
And now, the real strategic thinking begins. In the far future, humanity, which has degenerated into inhumanity, finally proves Einstein was a chump, and develops faster than light (FTL) inter stellar travel. Like the classic boardgame, Diplomacy, which is one of my personal favorites the game involves alliances, betrayal
Game play involves combat, diplomacy, resource management, and research and development. Resource management is key to survival and triumph. Maximize your planet's manpower and raw minerals then colonize and expand your manufacturing base on rival planets. Take what's yours. Fail at this most critical step, and your species becomes endangered! Set your military engineers on overdrive--researching and developing an impressive star fleet. With 20 levels of increasingly sophisticated technology to master you'll have your work--and your warfare--cut out for you.
Combat: The highly sensitive turn-based combat challenges your skill as a supreme commander like never before. Carefully consider your short-term gains and their long-range implications.
Graphics: Because this is a multiplayer game the graphics will be continuously adjustable from eight-bit to 32-bit color.
Artificial Intelligence (AI): Computer combattants will also have the capability of having many players. The AI will use Windows 95 multithreading to free up the game players window so that there will be little or no waiting.
Multiplayer: This is a muliplayer game with as "Millions vie for control. Only one can claim victory." The basis of the game is multiplayer. Multiple computer and human internet players can compete on a world wide scale with a real-time feel but with turn based engine.
Since this is a strategy game, David wants to learn from the mistakes and successes of past games. The multiplayer game will keep going when you do not have time to continue on line. Success or failure in the game will not depend upon how long or how often you play. The game will be basically turn based waiting for you to make your decisions, while the other players moves are saved and they are permitted to keep going at their own pace.
The Windows MAPI mail system will form the basis of play by email games which will attach easily to the entire system. The concept to develop a real-time, turn-based, live and email game is a hard one to grasp since many of these concepts seem to be contradictory to most of the game designs seen today. The whole process sounds involved and difficult to implement, but we applaud David for his vision and hope he succeeds.
Trimark is planning an internet site to support play including simple one-on-one games and monsterous Earth-wide slug fests supporting as many as 200 players in one game. Team play is another possibility where you can come online and take over the duties of another game play with hierarchical command structures, a system that was recommended for Kesmai’s original Multiplayer Battletech but never implemented.
Voice communication among human players:
Cost for use of internet site:
Many issues remain unresolved and we have requested Trimark and Windwood’s input in these areas. Expect future postings.
Scott Udell, Computer Games Strategy Plus, issue 70, September, 1996, pg. 43-46.
Trimark press release, www.trimarkint.com/simple_file/pr005.html