Back in the early 90′s I was an avid fan of BBS games. For anybody is too young, or actually had a life back then, BBS’s where basically the pre-Internet social networks. You dialed into them using a modem (this should make you cringe), so slow you literally could watch the individual characters rendering on the screen. Just like today’s social networks one of the most heavily used features of BBS’s (well, other than high schoolers downloading highly pixelated pictures of naked women) was online multi-player gaming.
One of the most popular games and to this day the most addictive game I ever played was a space themed, strategy game called Solar Realms Elite. It was turned based, so you got X turns each day to build your empire, attack other players and move up the high scores list. Everyday I sat at school, and all I could think about was getting home to play my turns for the day. Of course I would get home from school, and attempt to dial into the BBS to be met with that @*#$ing dial tone. Someone had beat me to it…
As the Internet and world wide web became more mainstream, the BBS’s vanished and so did my drug of choice. Over the next 15 years as I worked developing web applications, I frequently thought about building an Internet game based on SRE. While I spent lots of time thinking about how I would rebuild it and even starting on writing a port for it several times over the years I could never find the time that it would take to finish.
With the recent success of a multitude of social and MMO games, I decided to revisit the idea, as well as my high school passion for game development. After several weeks of brainstorming I began development of a prototype under the working name Starpires in March. It only took a few weeks to get a fully functioning, basic HTML prototype working and I was able to convince a few dozen friends to give it a try.The response was incredible and with the responses mirroring many of my own memories of how addicting the game was. ”I can’t wait for my next turn”, “Is there anyway to get more turns right now?” I decided it was promising enough to dedicate a substantial amount of time to turn Starpires into a polished game and launch it to a wider audience.
I was able to locate a very talented graphic designer (Nenad), who began working on a graphical skin to my basic text interface as I finished up the remaining features.Initial sketch of the proposed graphics. Of course like almost every development project, what I hoped would take about a month to complete up turned into two months and then three. Finally in July, I was able to find the time to finish implementing the graphical skin to the game and launch the beta version of Starpires to a wider audience.
From the start I didn’t envision Starpires being a static game, but rather one that evolves over time. Features will be added and game play will adjust to keep existing game players engaged and challenged. It’s my baby that I’ve thought about conceiving for nearly two decades now, and I’m really looking forward to seeing where it goes. So be sure to follow the Starpires blog for game and development process updates.
Play Starpires - Space Strategy Game