Misc: From X-Wing to X3: Space Combat Sim Timeline

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THIS LIST SUCKS BECAUSE IT DOESN'T INCLUDE THIS NICHE GAME THAT I PLAYED FOR A COUPLE OF WEEKS IN 1993

Nice to see the X series getting some love. It's a vicious thing (although if you think X3 has a steep learning curve you should try its predecessors) but so huge and open-ended that it really doesn't matter. I've sunk quite literally dozens of hours into X2 and X3 and probably haven't done more than a half-dozen plot missions in either of them. It's just so easy to explore, to trade, to probe deeper and deeper into space (no jokes please) that the plot is rendered almost meaningless. And I tend to cleave to plots pretty closely in games, but in the X games it goes completely out the window.

Magnificent soundtrack, too.

Jandau:
I find you lack of Independance War 1&2 as well as Nexus: The Jupiter Incident disturbing.

IW1&2 deserve a mention for being one of the very few space sims that had realistic physics, with things like acceleration and momentum playing an important part.

A thousand times this. I-War 1 & 2 were probably the best space sims ever released in my opinion, and I just want more in that style. Realistic physics, complex controls, a somewhat different take on the staples of the genre, like shields, mission types, etc.

Awww nice article. Still got my XvsTie pilot saved somewhere. You know, just in case.

TLS14:
No Freelancer or Black Prophecy? I am disappoint, Greg.

Damn you to the deepest pits of hell, I was gonna post that man... at least BP.

OT: What he said, what the hell guys? Also, does Descent work for this timeline or was it intentionally omitted?

Man, Colony Wars was amazing. I feel like playing them all again.

I have original elite on my laptop now. Not linedrawn monochrome though, no. This is shaded and it has FOUR colours!

Man I loved that game.

The X games are missing something. I can't quite pin it down, but its something to do with the very fixed economy that clearly has the NPCs opperating at a loss. That and the adjusting difficulty winds me up.

Andy Chalk:
THIS LIST SUCKS BECAUSE IT DOESN'T INCLUDE THIS NICHE GAME THAT I PLAYED FOR A COUPLE OF WEEKS IN 1993

Nice to see the X series getting some love. It's a vicious thing (although if you think X3 has a steep learning curve you should try its predecessors) but so huge and open-ended that it really doesn't matter. I've sunk quite literally dozens of hours into X2 and X3 and probably haven't done more than a half-dozen plot missions in either of them. It's just so easy to explore, to trade, to probe deeper and deeper into space (no jokes please) that the plot is rendered almost meaningless. And I tend to cleave to plots pretty closely in games, but in the X games it goes completely out the window.

Magnificent soundtrack, too.

I agree with this. The X games don't get pointed out much, and it's truly a shame. X3 is one of the most complex games I've ever played, both in controls and in the scope of its features, and I love it for that.

I just thought of another game you happened to leave out, Greg; Darkstar One. It's one of the best space sims I've ever played, even if it's voice acting is a little dodgy.

I see no-one's mentioned 1993's Protostar: War on the Frontier yet. It wasn't up to Privateer's standard but it's an interesting game to revisit.

Also, Star Wars: Battlefront had some space shooty bits.

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I think the genre has just been left behind. Elite had a simple, charming look to it's flight sections and, like the Wing Commander series, eschewed physics in favour of close quarters combat. Frontier introduced some lovely planetary environments but had terrible combat, crowbarring the old, FPS style of point and shoot into a realistic Newtonian physics engine. First Encounters was just plain ugly. When Doom arrived, it provided similar gameplay to flight and space sims, set in more interesting environments. The FPS has since taken over.

I loved these sorts of games back in the day but I've pretty much given up on the genre now. X3 convinced me that no-one knows how to make them any more.

I think a big part of the problem is to do with graphics. People expect a space game to be all about pretty space ships but the reality is that you rarely get close enough to anything else in space to get a good look at it.

This is where X3 went wrong. It looked too gorgeous. When you actually sat down and played it, you discovered that those lovely graphics had pretty much nothing to do with the actual game, which could almost have been written in Excel.

If the genre is to return, it needs serious reimagining.

If there's Sci-Fi within, it's great. A fitting rule. Even mediocre games like Freelancer seem to be much greater in the light of flashy space-explosions... :-)
It's sad that such games are so rare. Is there really no demand?

The lack of Tachyon: The Fringe makes me sad. It had Bruce Campbell voicing the main character for crying out loud! He also gave you grief for activating cheats.

Missed out Tachyon: Beyond the Fringe and Project Sylpheed.

I'll give you Sylpheed as it was for consoles.

SithDaddy75:
I noticed X-Wing Alliance wasn't listed (Although this might be the story based game mentioned in the X-Wing Vs TIE Fighter) I loved every one of the X-Wing/TIE Fighter series games and Wing Commander Privateer still ranks among my favorite games (Although I spent hours and hours on Privateer I never did figure out what the point of the game was) I miss this Genre of game and would love to see a HD reboot of any of them!

It was not. I found it odd it wasn't listed myself. It was the last Star Wars flight sim ever made and did cool things with the genre such as automatic turrets and mid mission landings and launches.

Andy Chalk:
THIS LIST SUCKS BECAUSE IT DOESN'T INCLUDE THIS NICHE GAME THAT I PLAYED FOR A COUPLE OF WEEKS IN 1993

Bah, Niche Game '93 is just a clone of Obscure German Title '91.

Nice to see the X series getting some love. It's a vicious thing (although if you think X3 has a steep learning curve you should try its predecessors) but so huge and open-ended that it really doesn't matter. I've sunk quite literally dozens of hours into X2 and X3 and probably haven't done more than a half-dozen plot missions in either of them. It's just so easy to explore, to trade, to probe deeper and deeper into space (no jokes please) that the plot is rendered almost meaningless. And I tend to cleave to plots pretty closely in games, but in the X games it goes completely out the window.

Magnificent soundtrack, too.

I wouldn't worry about the 'plot' to X universe games, they're pretty much uniformly shit and executed even worse... Not only that but from X2 on you're expected to go off and do things, building up your little empire, because if you don't you quickly end up getting your arse handed to you.

That said, though, the modding community for the X universe games is extremely good and probably the best around when it comes to additional coding work for a game modding community.

JaredXE:
You put in the WC Movie, but left out WC 4 (IMHO one of the best game stories written) and Tachyon: The Fringe? Bruce Freakin Campbell?

Was going to mention this.

I really loved Tachyon: The Fringe even though it felt like it needed a sequel. Jake Logan (Bruce Campbell) was pretty badass, felt like I was playing Duke Nukem Galaxy. Sort of surprised it wasn't on the list but it didn't really make as much of an impact as the rest of these. Good read.

I also really enjoyed Starlancer for the day or two that I played it. Wing Commander 3 I think is better than 4 but I'm surprised that Privateer 2 wasn't mentioned.

Andy Chalk:
THIS LIST SUCKS BECAUSE IT DOESN'T INCLUDE THIS NICHE GAME THAT I PLAYED FOR A COUPLE OF WEEKS IN 1993

That sums up this thread quite nicely.

TLS14:
No Freelancer or Black Prophecy? I am disappoint, Greg.

Ditto. Greg, if you are going to do a chronology on spacefight simulators, then you best go through the entire list, and not just ones you might know off-hand. It is unfair to the people who worked hard on those games, as well as to the people who played them(still play them, as I have Freelancer installed now).

And Wing Commander:The Movie, doesn't count for anything.

Where is Frontier - Elite 2 on this list? It is important for a number of reasons but I don't see it on your list.

No Freelancer? Last I checked there is still a large community around this game.

Andy Chalk:
THIS LIST SUCKS BECAUSE IT DOESN'T INCLUDE THIS NICHE GAME THAT I PLAYED FOR A COUPLE OF WEEKS IN 1993

Nah, I just like to pimp out one of my favorite series anytime the topic of space combat comes around, because it has such a great multiplayer community and the more people you add to an online community, the better it gets, right?

Also, I like to poke fun at Derek Smart, because that's always a fun time.

never been a fan of space fighter sims but wowzers, we've come a long way from those ugly line polygon things

Page 4 has all the typos.

For fans of the X series:http://forum.egosoft.com/viewtopic.php?t=310952

- X3 Albion Prelude released 15 December
- Bridging the gap between X3:Terran Conflict and the upcoming X:Rebirth
- Improved user interface
- New Stock Exchange feature
- A huge war and lots of new missions and ships!

Free to download from steam from the 15th if you own the X superbox or a boxed retail version for release early next year.

Egosoft's small marketing department loses profitsssssssss.

I loves me some X3 Terran Conflict. My first egosoft space sim was X2. I remember quitting the game in frustration a half dozen times while first learning to play it. It's the price you need to pay. In contrast, X3TC is much simpler to control, although I imagine it would still be overwhelming to new players. I appreciate how there are always at least three different ways to access information and commands in the game, but it does add to the learning curve.

Fr]anc[is:
I couldn't even figure out how to cheat in X3. I blindly flew handfuls of random stuff around for hours trying to accomplish something while wishing the NPCs weren't so lifeless. I like to believe I have a decent amount of patience for games, but that was just too much.

Yes... It's not the most forgiving of games... And I can say with all honesty it took me about a week to figure out what was going on,

And about 6 weeks (and that's playing 20-30 hours a week mind you.) to get even a modest trading setup going.

OK, so by that point I owned something like 5 factories, 6 mines, 10 small freighters of various types, a dozen fighter craft, and an Orca (one of the giant Station carriers - largest ships in the game.)

However, my net income was probably only 400,000 credits an hour. Now keep in mind this is after maybe 3-400 hours of game time...

And also keep in mind a fully equipped M2 (the destroyers) costs in the region of 120 million credits, and you can see why this game is such a problem for people that don't have serious patience and determination.

Could I have built up more quickly? I imagine so. Can you do better than that? Absolutely. I know there are people around that own dozens of large warships, and started building trading stations absolutely everywhere (those cost about 20 million each), to shift goods around just for the hell of it.

Terran Conflict has made it slightly easier to earn lots of money early on... (mostly through combat and salvage missions that pay a lot) But it's still not trivial.

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Meanwhile, how come the star trek games aren't on this list? (Not even one?) - I mean, Klingon Academy and Bridge Commander between them were among the better star trek games, and while they might not be quite what you're expecting if you're used to space dogfights, they do a pretty good job of capturing the feel of being in command of a much larger vessel...

Um... where were the I-war games, battlecruiser 3000AD and Project Sylpheed?

Andy Chalk:
THIS LIST SUCKS BECAUSE IT DOESN'T INCLUDE THIS NICHE GAME THAT I PLAYED FOR A COUPLE OF WEEKS IN 1993

Free/starlancer are hardly niche.

Also, the X series? Really? That would top the list of "try out a massive universe without any instructions and see how well you engage with our product".

I really think this list is missing the Escape Velocity series. That was a damn fine trilogy of space-sims. I played EV: Nova for countless hours back in "the day".

Many games are missing, most notably, as I'm sure many have already mentioned, Freelancer.
For serious, Greg, wtf.

Andy Chalk:
THIS LIST SUCKS BECAUSE IT DOESN'T INCLUDE THIS NICHE GAME THAT I PLAYED FOR A COUPLE OF WEEKS IN 1993

But this is fucking Freelancer!
FREELANCER!

CrystalShadow:
OK, so by that point I owned something like 5 factories, 6 mines, 10 small freighters of various types, a dozen fighter craft, and an Orca (one of the giant Station carriers - largest ships in the game.)

Heh.
An Orca is just a TL.
Obviously, you have not seen an M0.
There are ships that you can DOCK a TL into.

Roboto:

It was not. I found it odd it wasn't listed myself. It was the last Star Wars flight sim ever made and did cool things with the genre such as automatic turrets and mid mission landings and launches.

I finally played it for the first time recently and had a blast!

It had come in a bundle with X-Wing and TIE-Fighter many years ago, but the disk went missing before I ever played it - I still think to this day my sister had been going through my games but she denies it. It only bloody turned up when my Mum was clearing out her attic a few months ago.

Bunged in some graphics update mods I found, fired it up and played nothing else until I had completed it, then been back and played everything to death!

Man, they don't make them like that these days...

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