Star Trek: Starfleet Command II: Empires at War

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Starfleet Command 2: Empires at War
Developer(s) Taldren/Dynaverse Gaming Association
Publisher(s) Interplay Entertainment
Composer(s) Inon Zur
Platform(s) Microsoft Windows
Release date(s) December 20, 2000
Genre(s) Space flight simulator game, Real-time tactics
Mode(s) Singleplayer and Multiplayer
Part of the article series on
Star Fleet Universe
Games
Star Fleet Battles
Federation Commander
Federation and Empire
Prime Directive (role-playing game)
Star Fleet Battle Force
Star Trek: Starfleet Command
Star Trek: Starfleet Command II: Empires at War
Star Trek: Starfleet Command: Orion Pirates
Captain's Log

Star Trek Starfleet Command II: Empires at War is the sequel to Star Trek: Starfleet Command.

This 'real-time' version of the computer game based on the in-depth Star-Trek starship combat simulation game Star Fleet Battles is the closest of the Star Trek: Starfleet Command series to the original game in details and options.

As a result of strong sales of Star Trek: Starfleet Command, Interplay Entertainment announced that their division of 14 Degrees East would license out a multi-game contract to the newly created game developer, Taldren Inc., run by Erik Bethke the lead designer of the series. The first of these games would be the sequel to one of Interplay's best known Star Trek PC games: Starfleet Command.

Taldren gave the second outing of the Starfleet Command series a major overhaul with new graphics, new weapons systems, a completely updated music background, and readings from George Takei (Mr. Sulu from The Original Series). The most ambitious feature was the hybrid development of both a peer-to-peer combat simulation with a client-server MMO world server for strategic battles, ship repair, and upgrades.

The biggest visible difference of Starfleet Command II was the graphics.[1] Luminosity mapping, damage texturing, and shading were added to the graphical engine making Starfleet Command II. New races in the form of the Interstellar Concordium and the Mirak Star League were also added to the existing six races of Federation, Romulan, Klingon, Gorn, Lyran, and Hydran.

In 2001, a small development group composed of two fans of the game assumed responsibility for maintenance. KhoroMag, which is the combination of screen names for two fans of the game, Khoros and MagnumMan, received source code for the game after signing a contract with Taldren. This effort resulted in two official patches addressing over 150 bugs in the game, many of which were known, and some of which were discovered by code review. This was a great success, allowing Taldren more developer time to focus on their next release of Starfleet Command II: Orion Pirates.

Later in 2001, when Taldren California closed its doors, the non-profit organization the Dynaverse Gaming Association (who's parent company, XenoCorp Inc. is solely owned and operated by Frey Petermeier) took over running the online matchmaking services for Starfleet Command: Empires at War as well as continued development of Starfleet Command : Community Edition.

As of 2012, the DGA announced the open beta for Starfleet Command: Community Edition, as well as the possible development of Starfleet Command 4. The DGA owns the rights to the entire series of games, including Starfleet Command III.

Storyline[edit]

The game features 2 different storylines which can be played from the perspective of multiple races. Each storyline would take the form of several unique missions interspersed throughout general gameplay. A 'conquest' campaign was also included, where the player would compete to have their empire be the last one standing.

All of the eight races may play though a campaign involving the return of the Organians, whose departure was the catalyst for most of the events of the original Starfleet Command game. The Organians, wary of interspecies conflicts, return with a "galactic superpower," the Interstellar Concordium, who conduct a "war of pacification" by subjugating all other races into an enforced peace. In the missions, the player would attack ISC bases and sectors, eventually forging alliances with other races in order to push back the ISC. It is eventually revealed that the Organians orchestrated the entire ISC invasion in an effort to teach the empires (including the ISC) about how to unite against a common foe.

The other storyline involved a race to acquire artifacts belonging to an ancient race of telepaths. The Mirak, Lyrans, Klingons, and Hydrans could play this campaign, and it made no reference to the ISC war.

The game was to be followed up with a Starfleet Command Volume III which would have told the story of the invasion by the Andromedans, but due to changing fortunes at Interplay, that was not to be.

Notable features[edit]

  • The game included a similar combat engine to its predecessor, but with improved stability and better graphics.
  • The hex-based 'virtual universe' was introduced in this game, and was also adopted by Starfleet Command III.
  • Some editions of the game shipped with a special bonus CD containing conceptual artwork for the game along with special MP3 files of the in-game music. One of the extra bonus MP3s, entitled 'The End of the Federation', is virtually identical to a piece of music called "Duel of the Fates" from the film Star Wars Episode I: The Phantom Menace, this was an error stemming from a joke file.
  • Several Canon Movie-Era ships were included with the game, all with Phaser-1s, (usually) a pair of Phaser-3s, (usually) rear-firing photons (a rarity in the game), more power systems, and marginally improved shielding. The ships tend to play badly against many of the more advanced ships in the game.

Gameplay differences[edit]

  • One difference is the inclusion of fighters for almost all races. It matches Star Fleet Battles, which implemented fighters for most races. This has a marked effect on gameplay, as it provides a new offensive weapon and more moving units. This differs from the Star Trek 'world' itself, which rarely featured fighters (except in later episodes of DS9); the closest equivalent were the ubiquitous shuttles such as the Galileo 7 prominently featured in the original Star Trek series episode "The Galileo Seven" and the light spacecraft flown by Starfleet cadets in the ST:TNG episode "The First Duty."
  • Formations can now be set from the fleet control panel.
  • The fleet control scheme was redesigned, and certain orders (such as telling a ship to go a location on the map and hold position, or to attack cautiously instead of going in guns blazing) could no longer be issued.
  • Capturing a vessel in a single player campaign or skirmish mission now resulted in a ship being added to a players fleet (most of the time) for the duration of that mission (in the first game, a captured ship would simply attempt to disengage from the mission area).
  • The ability to recruit officers was eliminated from the single player campaign. As officers of higher ranks would have an positive effect on ship performance (and lower ranks had a negative effect), this had a noticeable effect on gameplay; for example, having an engineering officer of 'Veteran' rank resulted in repairs being accomplished quicker than an officer of 'Senior' rank (considered the baseline rank for effects on ship performance), and a 'Legendary' officer would improve repair times even further.
  • The elite organizations from the first game were eliminated.
  • The Gorn freighter and base were redesigned (in the first game, Gorn freighters used the Federation freighter model and skin, while the Gorn base was a re-skin of the existing pirate base model).
  • New ship models were added for certain Lyran, Hydran, Gorn, and pirate ship classes.
  • 'Base' stations (lower firepower compared to battle stations and starbases) now used a common model between the empires, with the only difference being the emblem on the station, depending on the faction the player chose.
  • Single player campaign games no longer ended when the final story mission was completed.
  • Unique menu designs for each race were dropped in favor of a single universal design; unique tactical interfaces remained.
  • Players could no longer purchase specialized versions of shuttlecraft at spacedock, they had to be converted during a mission, and would affect ship stores (for example, converting a shuttle into a scatterpack shuttle required six missiles from the missile rack stores of a ship, and a suicide shuttle required the use of a mine).
  • Asteroid models and skins were pared down from the first game.
  • Energy allocation could now be controlled by the player, and divided among propulsion, heavy weapons, shield reinforcement, tractor beams, and electronic warfare (in the first game, if a ship was attempting to use more energy that it was producing, the game would allocate energy automatically, without any player control).
  • Bases could be placed on the map by the player.
  • Bases could now be controlled by a player in certain mission types. Previously, all bases were computer controlled.
  • Two forms of anti-missile defense were added, depending on the race selected. Empires that used missiles (the Federation, Klingons, and Mirak) received a system that worked similar to an anti-aircraft gun, while plasma races (Gorn, Romulans, and the ISC) received a special type of plasma torpedo that functioned in a similar manner.
  • Hit-and-run raids could be paused if desired.
  • Players could no longer change the map for the 'Hostile Skirmish' skirmish mission.
  • Commando (marine) ships were marked as 'special' in the game operating files, and could no longer be purchased in single player campaigns.
  • Customization for come skirmish missions was taken to its logical conclusion: on the advanced setup screen, a player could choose which enemy and allied vessels would appear, and how they were equipped with things like missiles, marines, etc.
  • Single player campaigns became essentially self-contained multiplayer campaigns, with minor changes to reflect the lack of other human players (such as not needing to bid on a ship).
  • The use of the new Dynaverse engine for single player campaigns also meant that if a player failed a mission, or did not complete a mission to their satisfaction, instead of being able to start a mission over from the debriefing screen, a player had to re-load a saved game instead.

Problems[edit]

  • Persistent problems with the online universe meant that online dynaverse play wasn't available at launch. Although subsequent patching addressed many of these problems, Taldren and Interplay both failed to identify a monetization model that would have allowed for continuing maintenance of the first Star Trek MMO.
  • For competitive matches, certain BPV values gave others a huge advantage, for instance a common BPV and era agreed on for matches was 190 late, which provided users with access to higher BPV ships from some empires and restricted availability of ships for other races.
  • The cloaking device was not altered from the first game.
  • Starfleet Command's Multiplayer switched from Mplayer to Gamespy which was met with resentment by fans of the series.
  • Starlance League became the premier league for StarFleet Command, and most players would compete in "SL" Matches, these "SL" Matches would be posted to the now defunct Starlance.com, and users could compare statistics.
  • Starlance was the main influence behind the design of the Dynaverse, Starlance promised players a campaign similar to that Dynaverse for Starfleet Command 1, the campaign didn't last very long, and was shut down due to complications with running it.

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ http://pc.ign.com/articles/164/164614p1.html

External links[edit]