|Release date(s)||March, 1997|
|Genre(s)||4X, Real-time strategy, Real-time tactics|
Imperium Galactica is a computer game made by a Hungarian company Digital Reality that combines many of the features of 4X games with some of the features of real-time tactical games. The same company would later make its sequel, Imperium Galactica II, in 1999. Imperium Galactica was published and distributed by GT Interactive in 1997. The soundtrack is the work of Tamás Kreiner which was the basis of his reputation. Nexus: The Jupiter Incident, developed by the Hungarian based Mithis Entertainment, was originally planned and designed as "Imperium Galactica 3" but in development renamed and refocussed to a real-time tactics game.
Imperium Galactica is a single-player game developed by Digital Reality and released in 1997. It has both the combat and resource management elements of a real-time strategy game and the vast research tree and colony-building aspects of traditional turn-based 'space-empire-building' 4X (eXpand, eXploit, eXplore, and eXterminate) games such as the Master of Orion series.
The player, in the role of Dante Johnson, begins the game with command of a small capital ship - a Guardian-class Destroyer - and three Raptor-class Fighters (later in the game the player would command up to 28 capital ships and 180 fighters in one fleet), and three colonies, named Achilles, Naxos and San Sterling, unable to move beyond the boundaries of the small sector assigned for him to defend and expand. The story, concerning the Galactic Empire's current status in the 4th millennium, during the 3200's, serves as an entry point, gradually introducing the player to new concepts (planet management, space battles, ground battles, research, component & ship production, diplomatic functions) as he rises through the ranks from Lieutenant to Captain, Commander, Admiral and eventually Grand Admiral (where all functions are unlocked and the player has full control), all the while revealing the character's shrouded past, revealing that Johnson is the Galactic Empire's secret weapon that was created in desperation, an android, through flashbacks.
Interestingly, regardless of the player's actions, the galaxy outside his or her view continues to take shape even as they are completing the "training" ranks prior to being promoted to Admiral. In this way, a player who quickly defeats his initial enemies at early ranks might enter the larger galaxy before the other races have been too badly hurt by the antagonist species, the Dargslan Kingdom. A player might also take an excessive amount of time in these "training" missions and get promoted to find that the entire galaxy has been conquered, making the situation almost hopeless except by exploiting game bugs.
Alliance of Free Traders (AFT): "Once part of the Old Empire, the traders left to create a new empire for themselves. They are a peaceful race of traders and enjoy good relations with Ychoms."
- Human race
- Colour: dark blue
- Map location: centre middle
- Special vehicle: Behemoth Tank
- It is most unlikely that they will expand. With the smallest number of colonies (3), they are the weakest. If the player spends a lot of time with the Garthogs, they will likely die. In this case there is no opportunity to make contact with them.
Dargslans: "Very little is known about the Dargslans. Intelligence reports show that they have extremely powerful ground attack forces, as well as a competent space fleet."
- Colour: dark green
- Map location: top middle
- Special vehicle: Auto-Repair Tank
- Expand by invasion, not colonization. Although Auto-repair tanks are pretty tough, they rarely deploy them in volume. The main Dargslan ground advantage seems to be an uncanny ability to deploy all their forces right in front of yours at the start of a battle.
Dribs: "The Dribs are a proud race, with advanced knowledge of mechanics and architecture. They have known of the Dargslan race for a long time, since the Dargslans occupied some Drib territory."
- Colour: purple
- Map location: top left
- Special vehicle: Paralyzing tank
- Start very close to human colonies and are boxed into a corner. Very slight Human expansion normally causes them to attack planets like Earth.
Ecaleps: "With the rapid expansion of their empire, tax revenue has increased to a very high level. This partially explains their obsession with money..."
- Colour: light green
- Map location: bottom right - the Ecalep' empire can be find in the outskirts of the Andromeda galaxy
- Special vehicle: Anti-missile tank (immune to Rocket Sled attacks)
Free Nations Society (FNS): "Once part of the Old Empire, they declared themselves independent a long time ago. The Free Nations Society has developed rapidly, occupying territories with ease. The Society is well known for their arrogant attitude and contempt for the Empire."
- Human race
- Colour: medium blue
- Map location: centre right (the FNS controls the Magellanic clouds in the outer rim of the milky-way galaxy)
- Special vehicle: Behemoth Tank
Garthogs: "The Garthogs are a contemptible and un-trustworthy race, who implant their young with bio-mechanical devices. They have a special interest in mechanics and are renowned for stealing the technology of other races. It is rumored that they destroyed an entire race, known as the Nubs, to obtain their secrets. The Garthog Empire is close to the Human Empire and there has been conflict for 10 years."
- Colour: red
- Map location: centre bottom
- Special vehicle: Radar Jammer (disables your radar in battle)
- Aggressive early in the game.
Morgarths: "The Morgarths are an insular and hostile race...."
- Colour: white
- Map location: bottom left
- Special vehicle: Kamikaze tank
Sulleps: "The Sulleps are a warlike race with a very strict social structure. From a very young age, Sulleps are subjected to military training. Such is their code of combat, it is more honourable for them to die in battle than surrender. "
- Colour: Yellow
- Map location: bottom middle
- Special vehicle: Mobile artillery
- May be aggressive early in the game unless they attack the Morgaths first. They favour ground combat. Starts with the joint largest number of colonies (10, joint with Dargslans).
Ychoms: "A peaceful trader race that enjoys good relations with Alliance of Free Traders..."
- Colour: cyan
- Map location: centre left
- Special vehicle: Mine-laying saucer
- Vessels are weak, planetary defenses fairly strong.
Colonies, as in all 4x-games, play a central role in Imperium Galactica. They are the centres for production and research, as well your main source of income by way of taxes. Neutral computer-controlled traders found on the starmap generate additional income if a planet they land on has appropriate buildings, these being Trader's Space Ports and Banks.
A colony typically consists of the following buildings. Buildings require power and workers to function.
- Colony Hub - A colony hub is required on each colony. It provides power, shelter, and food for a small population. It also serves as a hangar for a small amount of tanks. It can never be powered down or demolished by choice.
- Power Plants - One of three types of power plants (Nuclear, Fusion, or Solar) which power the colony. These are required for buildings other than the Colony Hub to function. Solar and Fusion Plants can only be built on worlds populated by humans.
- Food Production Buildings - Hydroponic Food Farms and Phood Factories are required to feed the populace of each planet. Without them, your colonists will starve and die, lowering morale and the number of available workers.
- Ground-based Defences - Each colony can support up to five ground based cannons that will fire at invading alien fleets. In addition, each planet can support one planetary shield.
- Military Installations - Each colony can have a number of military buildings which are used to defend against ground-based assaults. Should a planet's orbital defences be breached, your fortresses will dispatch tanks and even function as towers which fire at any enemy tanks coming into range. In addition, each colony can have Military Spaceports, which are used to send ships and equipment into orbit.
- Research and Development Facilities - Each planet can support a single type of research structure. Which research structures you have on your planets determines what technologies are available for research. Some alien planets may have more than one research building constructed. In such a case, if either structure is destroyed, it cannot be rebuilt by either the AI or human player unless there are no other research buildings existing on the planet.
- Civilian Structures - Each colony can include banks, police stations, hospitals and recreational buildings designed to increase morale or increase income over time.
- Housing - Housing is required to support a growing population. If the population of a colony is not provided with adequate housing, morale will rapidly decline.
- Fire Brigades - Fire Brigades are civilian structures with a special purpose. Any damaged buildings in a colony will repair themselves to 50% for free if a Fire Brigade is active on the planet. Fire Brigades are often a primary military target for invading aliens.
Generically speaking there are two types of battles in the game: Space Battles and Planetary assault.
Space battles are exclusively fought by fleets of spaceships. A fleet in Imperium Galactica can consist of up to 28 capital ships and 180 starfighters.
- 3 Flagships - Flagships are the largest and most powerfully armed and shielded ships in your fleet. Each flagship can carry a payload of bombs and missiles, as well as a garrison of tanks for deploying during invasion efforts. Flagships are the only vessels in a fleet capable of carrying tanks.
- 25 Destroyers and Cruisers - These mid-sized ships make up the bulk of the firepower in a fleet. Destroyers are faster and more lightly armed than cruisers, but they are cheaper and easier to develop and build as well.
- 30 Fighters broken up in 6 fighter types. In the beginning the player only had two fighter types available, thus limiting him to a total of 2*30 fighters in the fleet. Later on, with research, the player could unlock four more fighter and bomber types bringing the fighter total to 180.
A space battle would last as long as either one side was completely annihilated or one side retreated from battle. However, the cap was not in effect when merging fleets.
The objective of planetary assaults were to take (or to defend) a planet from another civilization. Usually, especially in later games, a player would have to break through the planetary defenses first before being able to land tanks for the actual ground combat to take place. A planetary defense could consist of up to five planetary guns, a shield generator (essentially increasing the durability of planetary guns) and three starbases. If a fleet of the planet owner was nearby when the battle started, it would be present as well, greatly increasing the difficulty. Once a player (or the AI) had broken through this first line of defense, combat would move on to the surface. The attacker would place the tanks he brought along in the outskirts of the colony, while the defender placed them on the inside, usually nearby defense buildings as fortresses. The fighting would not stop until either side was obliterated.
Late game AI colonies tended to have a lot of defensive buildings, though, and even with a fleet with maxed out capacity of high-tech tanks would probably need multiple attempts to take a colony.
Research is a little different from the common "produce as many research points to get technology as fast as possible" theme like in most other strategy games; instead, there are five research centers for five categories (Computer, Construction, A.I., Military, Machinery); but on each planet you control you are only allowed one of these five categories, marked by a colored symbol on the system card. Each technology requires a certain amount of research centers in each of these five categories before it can be researched for trade goods or command counters(which required time and money). The player is forced to either demolish and rebuild research centers repeatedly, or gain new planets by either conquest or colonization (the latter becomes available relatively late into the game). A.I. players aren't bound to this limitation, because every A.I. has a fixed technology pool, which does not develop any further during the game. As a special exception, players may find in the beginning a single planet in Garthog space which has two research centers.
One builds production facilities for equipment (shipboard weapons & equipment), tanks and starships (fighters, destroyers, cruisers); and Flagships require their own production facility, an orbital station. Each factory contributes to a total factory capacity, which designates how fast the player can produce items (given the player has enough money to produce units).
Starships above fighter size come with basic equipment (e.g. a hyper drive and some of the weakest weapons); The player has to produce the desired equipment and manually reequip every ship in a fleet. While this works out fairly good in the beginning, it gets tedious in later stages of a game, when it's not uncommon to handle five or six fleets at once. It is unknown why Digital Reality went for this system instead of a generic blueprint design, which you can change in one place (much like in Master of Orion 2 or in Digital Reality's sequel game Imperium Galactica II - Alliances).
- Guardian - The first Destroyer and also the initial ship commanded by the player. Weakly armed.
- Warrior - A heavily rebuilt version of the Guardian. Slightly better armed but weak hull.
- Jabberwocky - An odd name for an odd vessel. Best weapons, weak hull, fast speed.
- Thunder - the initial cruiser class ship, and the next assignment after being promoted to Captain.
- Thunder II - a new design, but very slow.
- Cadhuri - Cruiser Type III was the strongest. Heavily armored and armed (comparable to a Kraken flagship, but less bombs / rockets)
- Mammoth - the first flagship design available to build. Rather weak compared to later designs, but the first unit able to carry tanks for invasions.
- Python - Flagship two comes with improved firepower and armour, but reduced speed. Has no lasers, and is therefore the ship best suited to destroying starbases.
- Kraken - The final and most advanced flagship design, equal to firepower and transportation capacity next to the Leviathan.
- Leviathan - a non buildable flagship type, and you get the only remaining Leviathan flagship, the Thorin, as command vessel once you reach the rank of Admiral.
- Colony ship - not a military vessel per se, it is the only ship able to build new colonies on uncharted worlds. Available rather late in game, so rather useless.
- Raptor - Fighter 1. Weak weapon, no shields. IG's TIE fighter.
- Valkyrie - Fighter 2. Double strength weapons, weak shields. First 'real' fighter and initially available.
- Hammerhead - Fighter 3. Increased durability and comparably heavy weapon.
- Streak - Heaviest 'Real' fighter.
- Wraith - 'Stealth' fighter, although the stealth ability had no effect ingame.
- Strike Bomber - A 'bomber', not living up to the name. Like the Wraith it is equipped with UV-Laser guns.
- Light Tank. Initial unit, you have twelve of them available before the production level of the game. Pretty much useless in later stages of the game.
- Medium Tank. Viable alternative once researched. Much heavier armor, and better firepower.
- Heavy Tank. Second-heaviest weapon available, but slow.
- Behemoth. Heaviest tank available, near-indestructible. The only option when invading Dargslan planets.
- Support vehicles
- Radar car. Provides Radar on hostile planets.
- Rocket Launcher. Ranged unit with HE rockets
- Hvy. Rckt. Launcher. Advanced Rocket launcher with more damage. Only good in combination with Behemoth tanks because of their weak armor
The game was generally given moderate to good scores. Critics enjoyed the game's unusual depth, replayability, colony management, and research system but found fault with the monotonous nature of the endgame and several major bugs, such as the ability to force an attacking fleet to retreat even if it is attacked by a single fighter, since the enemy fleet will return to restock missiles before making another attack. Other notable flaws were the 5,000-building limit which would prevent colony expansion late in the game (this was corrected in a patch), and that the game's most powerful ship could not be researched (this was explained as a design decision, as it would make the game too easy).
Despite the game's many flaws and limited distribution, it spawned a sequel, Imperium Galactica II: Alliances. A similar game also from Digital Reality, Haegemonia: Legions of Iron, is regarded by some as being a spiritual successor. A third sequel, known as Imperium Galactica 3: Genesis was in the works, but was later renamed Galaxy Andromeda and again to what is now known as Nexus: The Jupiter Incident. It has little to do with the Imperium Galactica franchise, and is actually a completely different type of game as well - what Mithis calls it a "Tactical Fleet Simulator". After GT Interactive's bankruptcy, the name Imperium Galactica was lost by Digital Reality and another Hungarian development studio called Philos Laboratories, responsible for Theocracy borrowed the title. This was Imperium Galactica 3. Later Philos Laboratories lost the title when the lease expired and renamed the development to Galaxy Andromeda. When the studio went bankrupt its successor, Mithis Entertainment, responsible for Battlestations: Midway continued the development and renamed the project to Nexus: The Jupiter Incident. Although it's considered not to do anything with original franchise, the game tells the story that happened before the original Imperium Galactica title as was planned from the beginning.
Imperium Galactica still has a very small but dedicated following, with efforts being made to remake the game in various forms. Most recently, this has been in the form of the Galactic Empire Mod project for the open-source Spring RTS engine. This effort, like several prior attempts, remains mired in "development hell", due to few skilled developers having both the time and interest to work on the project. Another group of fans works on open-ig and was able to achieve the permission of Digital Reality to reuse the original artwork to create an authentic remake.
- "Interview with composer Tamás Kreiner and Ervin Nagy". GSoundtracks. Retrieved 2010-01-26.
- James Yee (2012-10-10). "Nexus 2 Interview". kickstarter-conversations.com. Retrieved 2013-07-26.
Nexus had a long history already before it was published. The game was developed by Mithis, a Hungarian games development studio in Budapest. They had signed the game at the time with German publisher CDV. CDV decided that they wanted a license for the game and they acquired the license for Imperium Galactica. So, the game we know as Nexus would have been Imperium Galactica 3 as far as CDV was concerned.
- open-ig - Open source reimplementation of Imperium Galactica on sourceforge.net