Hardwar (video game)
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American Interplay cover art
|Developer(s)||The Software Refinery|
|Genre(s)||Futuristic flight simulation|
Multiplayer over serial, TCP/IP or DirectPlay
Hardwar (sometimes stylized HardW[a]r or given the full name Hardwar: The Future Is Greedy) is a 1998 science fiction flight simulation computer game developed by The Software Refinery and published by Gremlin Interactive. In the USA, the game was distributed by Interplay under license. The box artwork and styling for game was created by The Designers Republic, who also worked on the Wipeout series. The music was created by artists signed to the Warp Records label.
Hardwar places the player in the role of a freelance "Moth" pilot in the city of Misplaced Optimism, a space colony located on Saturn's moon, Titan. The colony was once a profitable mining outpost, but the major corporations backed out, leaving the inhabitants without the capability of space travel. During two hundred years of isolation, neo-feudal systems took precedent on Titan, with a corrupt and inefficient police force maintaining little law and order.
It is at the discretion of the players as to how they will earn their living on Titan. They can trade honestly, having to be wary of pirates. They can choose to hunt Titan's outlaws, collecting bounties from the various police stations. Players may also be lowly scavengers like many AI moths, picking at the dropped cargo of panicked traders, or players can become pirates themselves.
Many AI moths flit about with valuable cargo, should the players decide to take this path; however, stolen cargo in the players' hands can be confiscated by the police, or they could become the target of other outlaws now that they are carrying valuable cargo.
Players may even attract the unwelcome attention of one of the main factions in the game due to their piracy.
Gameplay is against the backdrop of a plot involving the warring power groups on Titan, including the large factions of Klamp-G and Lazarus, and the player's eventual escape. The world is set inside craters on the moon's surface, joined together by a network of tunnels.
Players are able to buy many of the available hangars around Titan, making storage of goods and repairs much simpler. This also allows them to store extra "Moths" safely in one location, to set up trade facilities in different craters, and even purchase and install Clones, to ensure the players' continuance should they meet an untimely demise in the skies.
Alternatively, players can use a public hangar, such as one of the various businesses around the city to trade and repair their moths.
Players are able to trade goods from their hangar(s), and based on market forces such as supply and demand, as well as distance to the supply, players can set their own prices. Based on how good a deal the players make, AI moths will line up in droves to purchase goods, or fly on by for a better deal elsewhere.
Players can even set up manufacturing facilities in their hangars with the purchase of relevant equipment, to turn scrap metal into ship parts, to turn water and chemicals into alcohol, or any number of other products.
The atmosphere of the game is furtive, as the players' solar-powered "Moth" craft hovers underneath an energy well to recharge, the players must quickly plan the next leg of their route. Even when on the side of the law, players must be wary of enemies made along the way.
The Software Refinery was located in the north of England at Leeds, and several locations in the game were named after actual buildings near the company's offices. Hardwar's designer and producer, Ade Carless, plays the Police "uber-clerk" in several FMV clips, with the GMTV presenter Ben Shephard playing the important role of "Syd".
In 2002, The Software Refinery went into voluntary liquidation. Hardwar is no longer officially supported by its developers, and the game has not been patched or modified except by fans of the game. The Software Refinery has now been formally dissolved, as indicated by Companies House records.
In 2004, Andrew Fenn got in touch with Ciaran Gultnieks, the former CEO of Software Refinery and makers of Hardwar. They discussed the possibility of open sourcing the game. It is unknown who owns the original copyright on the game's source code making it impossible to release.