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In Space Empires, the player assumes the role of the single leader of a race of intelligent beings that has recently acquired the technology required to build large fully space-based ships for interplanetary and interstellar travel.
Starting out with only a few possible hull sizes for his ships, on which he can place any number of components to essentially create a unique ship, the player can research new hull sizes and components to use with them, eventually being able to build ships ten times the size of his original hull size.
The components available to the player can vary greatly, from emergency supply components that, when used, will be destroyed but will allow a ship to continue moving for a longer time, ship bridges, long-range scanners and shield generators to weapons of various kinds, boarding parties, cloaking devices right up to Dyson sphere construction material and star-destroying devices.
Also, the player can meet extraterrestrial races (which will inevitably happen as the player expands his realm) and conduct diplomacy with them. Treaties can be signed between two empires, varying from the basic trade agreement to full-blown partnerships and even protectorates. The player can also conduct intelligence operations, also varying greatly, from simple information gathering missions to ship bombs to inciting revolt on a planet.
Interstellar travel in Space Empires is not faster-than-light drive based, but instead relies on anomalies called "warp points", essentially small wormholes between two star systems. Warp points are naturally occurring but a player can open and close these warp points if he has the appropriate technologies.
Games in the series
- Space Empires (1993)
- Space Empires II (1995)
- Space Empires III (1997)
- Space Empires IV (2000)
- Space Empires: Starfury (2003)
- Space Empires V (2006)
Space Empires' demise
In 2006, Strategy First, prior to publishing Space Empires V, acquired Malfador Machinations and the Space Empires intellectual property. After nothing happened for some time after Space Empires V, Hall wished to do another game and attempted to re-acquire the rights to his former franchise, but faced a steep buyback price of almost half a million. Strategy First still owns the Space Empires IP and has not developed another PC game.
Strategy First released an RPG board game based on the digital model of the Space Empires game, utilizing sprites and mechanics from Space Empires IV.
- Parrino, Scott (April 4, 2006). "Strategy First Acquires Malfador Machinations". The Wargamer. Retrieved December 28, 2013.
- Space Empires Universe site - Official community homepage
- Malfador Machinations official site - Series developer
- Strategy First official site - Parent company of Malfador Machinations (published Star Fury, Space Empires IV Deluxe, and Space Empires V)
- Shrapnel Games official site Previous publisher (Space Empires IV, Space Empires IV Gold)
- Interview with Aaron Hall, the creator of Space Empires