Star Siege article by Al Giovetti


Preview and Review
By Al Giovetti and Blake Hutchins *
Genre:3D Action Shooter
Release:March 17, 1999
Public Relations: Tom Clancy, Strategy Associates<(650) 653-0456>, and Michelle Stephens, Dynamix Public Relations <(541) 334-4914> .
Lead Artist:
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A Whole New Universe of 3D Combat Sim


Tabletop Wargame

A Starsiege tabletop wargame, miniatures and all, is currently in development at an Ohio company called Agents of Gaming. The first public showing of the boardgame will be at Origins in July, followed by GenCon in August. Playtesters say the game plays fun and furious, while offering a variety of strategic and tactical challenges for the novice or the experienced player.

"It's got a unique and elegant combat system. The first giant robot game where you can fight huge 100 Herc battles and finish in an evening. Very cool!" - Jeff DeBraal, boardgame playtester

Boardgame Facts
Detailed miniatures represent a variety of Hercs, tanks, and flyers
Distinct feel and tactics for individual weapons
Close fit to the feel of the computer game
Variety of weapons, sensors, shields, and cloaking mechanisms offer new tactical challenges

Company Line

Starsiege is the result of a philosophical shift in game creation, from the open-ended, inclusive development process to the flexibility and customizability of the game itself. Starsiege aims at providing an immersive and exciting experience with many hours of replay value. This is only the beginning. JOIN US!


STARSIEGE™ TAKES RETAIL SHELVES BY STORM New Dynamix Title Sets New Standard for 3D SciFi Combat Simulations

EUGENE, Oregon (March 17, 1999) - Dynamix, a Sierra Company, today began shipping the eagerly-anticipated Starsiege to stores throughout the United States and Canada. The flagship title of the Starsiege Universe, Starsiege represents a breakthrough for science fiction combat sims and is being heralded as the frontrunner in the market due to its ease of play, the quality of its graphics and multiplayer gameplay, and the depth of its storyline.

Starsiege - which includes both single-player campaign missions, scripted multiplayer missions, and Internet play for two to 16 players - represents Dynamix's most intensive and technologically elaborate project in its 15-year history. Set 1,000 years in the future, the game tells the story of two brothers at war against each other and the sudden invasion of cybrids - mechanical beings seeking to destroy all humanity.

"Starsiege will revitalize the mechanical fighting genre because of its streamlined interface, the power of its vehicles and weaponry, and its instant-access Internet gameplay-and it blends all these with a truly compelling story line," says Jeff Tunnell, executive producer of Starsiege and co-founder of Dynamix. "Veteran combat sim fans will love its depth while newcomers will find it easy to play and endlessly challenging."

Some of the game's special features include: 1) Cloaking, which allows players' vehicles to take on the actual color and patterns of their surroundings so no one can see them; 2) a Video Tutorial designed to provide players of all skill levels with the tools and information needed to jump right into a game; 3) a 150-page "Compendium" which details the ever-expanding story of the Starsiege Universe in fiction and full-color graphics, and 4) Super-Realistic Graphics that let players seamlessly explore highly-detailed indoor and outdoor environments with unique gravity, weather and realistic physics effects.

Internet Gameplay and Community: Starsiege was built from the ground-up for ease of use. That includes a revolutionary Internet interface that lets gamers instantly find teammates and opponents to tackle online. No downloads are required -- players just click two buttons and they automatically join a game in progress. The hub of the Starsiege community is, where players gather to talk about their Starsiege experiences, write story line suggestions, and recruit squad members to play online. The website also offers game news, new vehicles and weapons, and gameplay hints and tips.

Additional Features With more than 34 campaign missions on seven different planets, the scenario possibilities are limited only to players' imaginations. Starsiege also features more than 25 vehicles to choose from including Hercs and that can all be customized with a host of internal components and 40 futuristic weapons. Players will also be able to create custom squadron logos and colors for their vehicle 'skins'. And, unlike some soon-to-be-released combat sims, Starsiege plays beautifully with or without a 3D graphic accelerator card (the game supports both 3Dfx Glide and OpenGL API's).

Starsiegeä is available in retail stores everywhere, including Best Buy, CompUSA, Electronics Boutique and Babbages, at a suggested retail price of $54.95. For more information on Starsiege, visit

About Dynamix: Located in Eugene, Oregon, Dynamix, a leading developer of entertainment software, delivers some of the industry's best in Action and Simulation gaming. Critically acclaimed Dynamix games include A-10 Tank Killer, Starsiege™, Starsiege™ TRIBES, Pro Pilot '99™ and Red Baron 3D™.

About Sierra On-line: Sierra On-Line, Inc. is one of the original developers and largest worldwide publishers of interactive entertainment and productivity software. Sierra is comprised of six brands: Sierra Attractions, Sierra FX, Sierra Home, Sierra Sports, Sierra Studios, and Dynamix, a Sierra Company. Sierra is a division of Havas Interactive, whose holdings also include Knowledge Adventure, Davidson & Associates and Blizzard Entertainment.

Game Play

Key Gameplay Features

Gripping Single Player Missions
In the single-player mode, you can play Starsiege from either the Human or Cybrid perspectives. A total of 45 single player missions promise a rich and challenging experience. The missions weave an intricate storyline taking the player across the solar system to battle across nine unique planetary environments. Sixteen squadmates will be available to choose from, individuals with extensive biographies and unique personalities that will bring a new edge to the immersive experience.

Fluid Multi-Player Missions
The menus allow hosts to set limits on missions by restricting access to technology levels, total vehicle mass, combat value, and vehicle type (herc, tank, or flyer) to further customize the on-line experience. Optional password protection for servers makes staging private Squad battles easy, and gives hosts the option to keep out disruptive players.

Innovative Artificial Intelligence
All too often, a game will suffer from AIs trapped in the tactics of simplicity. The player finds the battlefield a place where wingmen and enemy alike are easily confused or who seem to lack any "common sense." Starsiege will run an AI that constitutes a huge improvement over previous games. The AI uses a sophisticated technique incorporating probabilistic inference. This technique rivals neural networks in its ability to make decisions and is easier to teach. The advantage to using this technique is that programmers can take a huge number of unrelated variables and draw multiple conclusions using less CPU power than most traditional techniques. This innovation allows for an added complexity to game play.

Enemies are formed into squads, and each squad has a commander. Squads will patrol in formation. Squad commanders will assess the situation during an encounter and facilitate group tactics like flanking, sniping, etc. When choosing a target, the AI will take into account a large number of variables: distance to target, relative velocities, damage, threat, weapon availability, pilot morale, how many of the commander's squad mates have targeted it, piloting and gunnery skills, and other variables. This AI will be available to run the player's squad mates in the single player campaign as well.

Key Artificial Intelligence Features
Probabilistic inference engine
s Ability to process large amounts of data
s Draw multiple conclusions simultaneously
Squad tactics
Advanced threat assessment
Numerous of offensive and defensive maneuvers
Context sensitive weapon usage
Piloting and gunnery skills
Morale and Aggressiveness modeling

New Proprietary Game Engine

The programmers on the Starsiege and Starsiege TRIBES teams represent some of the best talent in the gaming industry. Over than two years ago, they set out to re-establish Dynamix as the technology leader in 3D-simulation. Instead of just giving the existing engine a face-lift, the team sought out the hottest technology and bleeding-edge techniques, and proceeded to develop from scratch what is now known as the Starsiege game engine, code named "The Core".

Supported Operating Systems
Starsiege will operate on all Windows platforms, including Windows 95, Windows 98, Windows NT version 4 with Service Pack 3, and Windows NT version 5 (which is still unreleased at this writing). From the hardware perspective, Starsiege will be fully Pentium and Pentium Pro optimized, fully floating-point optimized, and will boast full multi-processor support (which requires Windows NT). This means that no matter what operating system or type of machine you have, Starsiege will adapt and run well on that system.

Fully Customizable Input Controls
Once you have the perfectly decked out war machine, you need to be able to pilot it efficiently. Starsiege will allow the player to set personalized control configurations using combinations of keyboard, mouse, and joystick. Favorite configs can be saved and changed easily as the player tries to maximize control efficiency. Starsiege will ship with configurations for most popular peripherals as well as some fun devices like Head Trackers and trackballs.



The year is 2829, over two hundred years since the end of the Earthsieges. The malevolent robots called Cybrids wait with their leader Prometheus in bases hidden somewhere beyond Saturn, constructing another armada. Earth has rebuilt under the inspirational rule of an immortal Emperor, and the Empire works feverishly to prepare humanity's defenses against the next Cybrid invasion. Yet unrest and dissent divide the human commonwealth. The Empire's demands are harsh, its policies heavyhanded. The time is ripe for a spark to ignite a revolt. When Harabec, the greatest of the Emperor's knights, joins the rebel movement on Mars, the stage is set for a terrible confrontation. The Empire dispatches its greatest general, Harabec's brother Caanon, to put down the rebellion and slay his traitor brother. And as humanity consumes itself in civil war, the Cybrids see their chance....

The Starsiege Universe is an epic universe centered in a richly textured fictional environment that would continues to grow and evolve into an enormous stage for future games, products, and stories. Instead of developing just another game with updated technology, the design team set out to redefine the genre and create a deeper storyline with a sweeping scope – a multi-planet struggle between Cybrids, Rebels, and Imperial Terrans.

"We've worked hard to create a compelling setting. Starsiege is more than just blowing up Hercs, and that's where the universe comes in." - Chris Cole, Starsiege creative director and guru of the Universe storyline

In generating the elements that would form the cornerstones of the new universe, Cole researched deeply into myth and folklore, taking inspiration from exotic cultures and ancient stories. Since then, a battery of fiction writers – many of them game players from the web community - have added details and suggestions that have been woven into the background. Thus, the Starsiege Universe was born, and continues to grow daily. Check out the universe page at

"Our Universe website is designed to get people into the Starsiege frame-of-mind. You can submit fan fiction or art, and we try to post everything." - Chris Cole

Story Facts
152 page Compendium shipping with game will contain universe history and description, original fiction, and technical manual for vehicles and weapons
A game manual (separate from the Compendium).
Two campaigns available: Human and Cybrid
Sixteen squadmates with distinct personalities and detailed biographies
Exciting and diverse settings fleshed out by professional science fiction writers
Breathtaking AVIs and innovative storytelling
Epic plotline
Fight alongside heroes against enemy "aces"


Eye-Popping Graphics

Knowing there will still be a large percentage of users without 3D accelerators this fall, the development team chose to build as inclusive a game system as possible. Hence, Starsiege will sport a highly optimized software renderer as well as stunning 3D accelerator support.

"It's very tempting to go hardware only, but there are just too many people out there who still don't have 3D accelerators. We've been tempted by the dark side, but have remained faithful to our customers. Tell you what, though. If you do have a 3D accelerator, you'd better fasten your seatbelt, 'cause you're going to be in for the ride of your life!" - Rick Overman, Lead Programmer

Breathtaking Special Effects
Led by inspired art direction and talented programmers, the team has crafted a stunning visual experience. Breathtaking special effects are rendered in loving detail. Dynamic colored lighting shines everywhere, weapons spit a distinct muzzle flash, bullets ricochets strike sparks, rocket engines flare and hiss along a trail of smoke, explosions illuminate the surrounding terrain, and even street lamps cast a moody glow onto battle scenes. In addition, explosions aren't just the simple, projected 2D bitmaps used in most games, but instead blossom into fully modeled 3D clouds. It's a subtle effect, but the first time you witness a missile blast into a Herc and notice how the explosion envelops parts of the Herc while other parts protrude through the flame cloud, and you realize that the Herc is appropriately lit by the explosion, you'll thank us.

Another astounding feature is the terrain and interiors. The visible distance of most 3D combat sims tops out at 500 meters, whereas Starsiege has a visible distance that can be extended to more than 20,000 meters. Simply put, the worlds of Starsiege are huge. A player in a Herc can run in a straight line at top speed for up to 30 minutes before reaching the edge of the world. Plenty of room for virtual wars. But that's not all. Shadows appear in real-time, in exquisite detail. Players can enter and exit buildings and interior spaces smoothly, with no lag or load times. The interiors carry even more colored lighting. And the customizing featured in the missions and game play definitely extends here. A player can set the number of stars in the sky and the detail level of vehicle and building shadows. Exterior terrains can be folded into deep canyons or rolling hills.

Summary of Key Graphics Features
Detail is scalable
Highly optimized software-rendering engine.
3D Hardware accelerator support
Custom 3Dfx Voodoo, Voodoo2 and SLI support
Custom NEC PowerSGL support
Other custom drivers are being negotiated and will be released to the web for free download when completed.
Full Color Dynamic lighting on all objects in the world
Seamless interior to exterior transitions
Terrain visibility starts at 500m and extends well over 20,000m
Real time shadows
Multi-processor support with WindowsNT


Voice Actors

Music Score

State of the Art 3D Audio Subsystem

The Starsiege audio system supports a wide variety of 3D audio solutions to provide state-of-the-art audio on diverse machine configurations. On low end machines we utilize our proprietary 3D positioning algorithms that have minimal CPU requirements. On mid range machines or machines with MMX, Aureal A3D provides incredible software 3D positioning effects with full Head Related Transform Functions (HRTF's). If you're one of the lucky few with a 3D audio accelerator you can choose between DirectSound3D, Aureal A3D and Creative Lab's LIVE! Environmental audio for a mind-numbing audio experience including True Doppler, room acoustics modeling, and atmospheric effects.

Summary of Key Audio features
Scaleable to your machines speed and available 3D audio hardware
Supports DirectSound3D
Supports Aureal A3D
Supports Creative Lab's LIVE! Environmental audio extensions.
Supports our proprietary 3D positioning system
Doubly encoded CD audio tracks

Sound Effects


WYSIWYG Mission Editor

The addition of a mission editor provides endless mission possibilities. The mission editor in Starsiege is a first of it kind WYSIWYG 3D editor. It's just like you were in the game. From the menus select from hundreds of buildings, vehicles, triggers, skies, etc to place into the world. Use the mouse to grab objects and interactively position them. Double clicking brings up a property sheet to edit minuet details. Then go in add logic with the easy to learn 'C' like scripting language. Starsiege will ship with many classic multi-player scenarios, such as Deathmatch, Capture the Flag, Objective Raid. However, players are free to stretch their imaginations and create any type of mission they want, there are virtually no limits. Anything from race tracks to king of the hill games. The editor will be made available via the web when the game ships.

Convenient Mission Recorder
Built into Starsiege is a digital VCR called 'The Mission Recorder'. The Recorder allows a player to record a mission to disk and play it back any time desired. The files are extremely small, only 2k per second. A five minute movie would only be a 600k file. We also provide a set of simple editing commands to assist you in creating the ultimate short movie for later viewing...or taunting friends.

Customizable Vehicles and Skins
The flexibility of the game engine begins with the vehicles. A player will select his or her vehicle from over thirty-five Hercs, Flyers, and Tanks. Each vehicle is fully customizable, and may be armed with an array of weaponry ranging from the familiar auto-cannons, particle beams, and missiles to more exotic choices such as nanite cannons or radiation guns. The player will also select from a full spectrum of internal components and armor, including force shields, targeting computers, chameleon cloaks, engines, and nanite repair packs. Even the appearance of the vehicle is flexible, as the player can choose between the standard skins or create unique ones incorporating nose art and personal camo jobs.
"Starsiege allows players a choice of more than 40 weapons and 50 internal components," says Dave Selle, Starsiege Designer. "Our vehicle builder really puts the player in the driver's seat."

Customizable Heads Up Display (HUD)
Once the player has set up the vehicle hardware, the customizing continues into the game cockpit. The HUD is also flexible. The player can set HUD colors and rearrange the location of readouts as desired. Firing chains for the weapons can be set for sequential chains or devastating links.

Compare to

Multi-player Features

Advanced Rogue Server Networking
An interesting twist in the game's development is that the multiplayer code was released first to the public in the ATR for rigorous testing. The game has no hard limits as to the number of people who can play at one time; the only bottleneck is bandwidth. Over the Internet, dedicated ATR servers routinely support 12 players. On the Dynamix local area network, we have games with 20 people running Starsiege as smooth as silk.

Network architecture has benefited from the Alpha players' feedback, and uses a client/rogue server setup. The server is integrated into the game so anyone can setup a server and play. Unlike the commonly used peer-to-peer network architecture used by our predecessors, the Rogue server model is extremely difficult for hackers to break. The lack of cheaters makes the on-line gaming experience much more enjoyable. Machine requirements for a server are low, but servers do need adequate bandwidth to support large numbers of players.

The biggest difference between predecessor network architectures and the Starsiege architecture is that Starsiege can support multiple protocols at the same time. What this means is that a host can set up a server with 20 modems on it and that server can listen to and use all of the modems. Thus, you can have a server connected to both the Internet via TCP/IP and to another machine via a serial cable. Players from the Internet can join the server at the same time as players connected via the serial cable. A client and server can, and are designed to, run together on one machine. Finally, all network play is FREE.

Summary of Key Networking Features
Player limit is determined by available bandwidth, with no hard coded limit in the game.
Client/Rogue Server Architecture is difficult to hack.
Network protocols supported include:
Modem to modem
Direct Serial Cable
Servers support multiple protocols simultaneously
Including support for Modem pools
Support for 12-20 players over the Internet
All networked play is FREE

Multiplayer Technology Releases

FEBRUARY: Alpha Technology Release 1 In February 1998, the Starsiege Team took the unprecedented step of releasing an Alpha Technology version of Starsiege on the web. This multiplayer-only, Alpha version saw more than 125,000 downloads by June. The response and feedback from players has been absolutely unbelievable. The Dynamix development team set up a message forum at so fans could communicate directly to the Starsiege Team. And it was worth it! The Team sees 100-150 posts daily: questions about the game, suggestions for the final release, problem reports, squad tactics, and battle schedules. Fiction readers and writers contribute ideas and offer explanations and feedback on esoteric background questions.

"I'm consistently amazed at the endless creativity with which players use the few toys we give them in the ATR. I jump into games on the net and see people doing ingenious things with Hercs, artful maneuvers, stuff I never dreamt possible - and I wrote that code! I can't wait to see what they do with the full game!" -Dave Scott, Programmer

JULY: Alpha Technology Release 2 In July, the Starsiege team will release the second Alpha Technology Release of Starsiege to the public. New features include a greatly enhanced multiplayer waiting room, improved network performance, improved graphics, an ability to preview vehicle skins, introduction of tanks in addition to HERCs, and tons of improvements inspired by suggestions from fans of the previous release!

A Dynamic On-Line Community The Alpha Technology Releases and the Starsiege Players website have spawned a large online community and an exceptional, tight-knit fan base. The dialog between the development team and the players has driven the refinement and evolution of the game, a rewarding experience both for the developers and for the players who get to steer the direction of the game toward their dream product. The online community that the Alpha Technology Release has created extends far beyond the Dynamix forums. More than 45 (!) Starsiege fan sites have sprung up in the webring, twenty-five Squads have formed, reams of fan fiction has been written - and Starsiege doesn't even hit the shelves until September. Impressive for an Alpha release.

"Starsiege fans control the course of development through the boards more than they realize. We speak with them daily, we listen to what they have to say, and most important, we act on their suggestions." -Rick Overman, Lead Programmer

Here's a smattering of what fans are saying about February's Alpha Technology Release:

"Thanks again for the invite, the hard work, and the chance to take part in such a great project. I have never felt as fortunate and honored relative to game development before. Thanks for listening to all of our gripes, suggestions, and taunts. " -SR-71

"I must say that your Alpha release is the best game I have ever played, bar none." -John J., Attorney at Law

"Incredible job, guys! If I wasn't impressed before (and I was) I sure as hell am now. Many thanks to the team for hammering together this great alpha and you can be sure I'll be buying the final release the picosecond it's in stores." -Grendel

"I just want to say that I love the game. …this Alpha runs better than a lot of so called finished products." –Nord

"I am amazed that I am spending so much time playing a game that is an Alpha....I have played this demo more than I played Heavy Gear in Multiplayer." -WarWolf

"The game rendering you guys do is better than the drawings on the covers of lesser games. It looks absolutely phenomenal." –Jackel

"I would like to congratulate you on a exceptional sim, Starsiege is without a doubt the most intense mech sim to date." -Jeff M.

Rather than spending tons of marketing and PR dollars trying to convince our target audience that we'd already made the game they wanted, we give gamers the Alpha Technology Releases and ask them what they like and dislike. The Alphas are released early enough so there's time to implement hundreds of suggestions into the engine. As the suggestions and encouragement roll in, the Team finds itself caught up in a tsunami of enthusiasm. Starsiege is taking on the kind of momentum gamers and developers only dream of.

Cheats, Hints, Walkthrough

  1. StarSiege Walkthrough
  2. StarSiege Cheats


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From: Sandy Muller It's time to put down your mech and find out what an Emancipator cockpit really feels like, yes folks, STARSIEGE has just gone gold! This is not an official announcement. I'm in no way associated with Sierra or Dynamix, I'm just thrilled to see such a superior game hit the streets. The team behind Starsiege is truly sensational. They've worked super hard to make sure Starsiege is a great game and it shows. This game is totally awesome! The artwork is awesome, the music and sounds are awesome, the story line is awesome, simply put, and it is a masterpiece. You gotta check it out! Sandy Muller Starsiege Fan

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