One of Stellation's main differences is that it features real geography; a galaxy of about a hundred (currently) stars on a 2D grid. You can occupy as many of the stars as you wish, and have the military might to keep from the other players, of course.
Currently it is in alpha testing. You're welcome to create a player and play with it. However, large portions of the game aren't finished. In particular, game interactions with other players don't work terribly well: there is no combat system yet, for example, and trying to look at another player's units tend to fail.
Nevertheless, I welcome testers. The more people who play it, the sooner
the bugs will be found. The more people who tell me how great they think the
game is, the more encouraged I will get and the quicker development will
If you want to play, follow this link. You'll need a web browser that supports tables and Basic HTTP authentication (if you don't know what this means, don't worry; I have yet to find a browser that doesn't).
Stellation is open source. Where better to host it than SourceForge? If you want to see how it works, want to set up your own Stellation server, or feel like fixing something you think is broken, this is the place to go. You can also find the (currently unused) Stellation discussion forums and mailing lists here.
Stellation uses the LambdaMOO VM as its core run-time system. This gives us lots of nice features like persistant storage, an object-oriented garbage-collected byte-code interpreted language, incremental development so I can modify the system without having to rebuild the database, dead easy network interfaces, easy remote administration, and lots of other funky features.
Note that Stellation's database has been written from scratch; it doesn't share any features with LambdaCore. Stellation is not a MOO.
If you have enjoyed this program, you may like to consider others by the same author...
Speed of light constraints mean, of course, that you can only communicate with one of your units if there's an FTL transceiver nearby. These transceivers are housed in special units called jumpships. These ships will be crucial to your campaign. Not only do they provide communication to your units (you can't even see a unit unless it's in the same solar system as one of your jumpships) but they also provide the only means of transport: a fleet containing a jumpship can travel from one star to another, at the rate of one parsec per hour, and the appropriate quantity of fuel.
Which brings us to a major point. Consumables.
There are three kinds of consumable in Stellation:
Metal is refined from metallic asteroids by automated metal refineries. Most units don't consume metal as a matter of course, but you will need it, and plenty of it, when building new units.
Antimatter is produced from sunlight by antimatter distilleries. The quantity of antimatter produced, of course, depends on how bright the star is. Antimatter is used as an energy source; units will consume a steady stream of the stuff. It's also used as fuel by jumpships. The amount of fuel needed for a particular star jump depends on the geometry of the transit bubble required: in layman's terms, the mass of the fleet being transported and the distance required. Oh, did I mention that a jumpship's FTL transceiver doesn't work inside a transit bubble?
Organic material is required to maintain the crews of your units, and more importantly, their bioelectric control systems tend to die without it. It is made by hydroponics plants, which colonise carbonaceous asteroids with greenhouses. You need both the asteroids and sunlight to produce organics. Units require a small amount to run, and a slightly larger amount to build.
There are strict rules as to where units get their consumables from. Mobile units will always try to find a cargoship in the same fleet. If one of the cargoships can provide the material required, so be it. Otherwise, the material will be looked for in the free stocks in orbit around the current star.
Be careful. Unless you keep these rules in mind, you can be in trouble. For example: you've just jumped into a new star system. You create a new fleet, and transfer some of your units to it. The units promptly die. Why? Because the star has no resources of consumables, and the units in the new fleet can't access the cargoship that's in the old fleet, and will starve. Heaven help you if one of the units you transferred was your cargo ship... all the units in the old fleet will die, including your jumpship, and you'll lose track of both of them. The cargo ship will survive, though.
Got any advice? Think my game design sucks and want to suggest something better? Want to help? (I could realise use some artists and web design people.) Want to report a bug? Want to send me lots of money?
Email me at: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Or send me an FRM on Stellation itself. My player name is Hjalfi.
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