Federation II

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Federation II
Federation 2 Community Edition Logo.png
Developer(s)Interactive Broadcasting, F2CE
Publisher(s)Compunet, GEnie, AOL, independent
Platform(s)FedTerm, Platform independent
Release1988
Genre(s)Space Fantasy MUD
Mode(s)Multiplayer

Federation II is a free-to-play online text-based game also known as Federation 2 or Fed2. It was designed by British programmer Alan Lenton and developed by IBGames. It centers on the intergalactic trade and economy in the distant future.[1] It is coded in C++

History[edit]

In July 1987 Compunet had announced the return of MUD and a new multi-user game Federation II. Fed began as a single-player bulletin board demo, but gained popularity. The Adventure 87 Convention demonstrated the multi-user form, which was expected to run by that Christmas. After many delays, it officially opened on January 10, 1988 as the first MUD to have a non-fantasy setting.

In 1990, Federation II moved to GEnie and caused confusion as 'II' was assumed to mean the game was a sequel when in reality there was never a "Federation I". The "II" was slowly dropped. In speaking back about that period, it is generally referred to as GEnie/Aries Fed.

AOL Federation began testing in May 1995 and published the following month. Open beta began on June 21 which allowed AOL players in the game for the first time. [2]

AOL had changed its billing structure over the years, which affected Fed and its users. At the beginning of 1997, AOL moved to flat rate pricing which caused a dramatic spike in Fed players. AOL later wanted to cut ties with Federation, forcing the game to move to the web. Federation on AOL officially closed in August of 1997.[3]

The backups of Fed files from AOL were available for a brief time to allow users to migrate their characters to Web Fed, but were deleted in December of that same year.

In October Web Fed went into beta testing. FedTerm Loaded, a new front-end program was released in December 1997, and the game came out of beta testing. By January 1998, the last traces of Fed had been removed from AOL.

In the end of November 2003, a disk drive failed on the Federation server causing the site to go down. Although Lenton was able to get the game back up and running, it could not be relied upon for long-term use. Work began on Fed 2 in December, named so as a homage to the original version on Compunet. [4] On the morning of Christmas 2003, Fed2 officially went live. [5]

On Sunday, 2 September 2018, game staff announced that the game would close on 1 October 2018.[6]

A small group of Federation 2 players joined together to form the Federation 2 Community Team (F2CT) and revive the game under the name of "Federation 2 Community Edition" (abbreviated as F2CE). With the help of original programmer Alan Lenton, the game was re-launched the following month. Fed2 planet owners received their files from IBGames and were given the opportunity to have their ranks and planets transferred into F2CE. F2CE switched back to a free-to-play model allowing members to earn in-game premiums through game play rather than purchasing them.


Features[edit]

Platform[edit]

Federation II is a platform-independent game, accessible via multiple clients by directly connecting to the server.

FedTerm is an optional front-end program created and designed by Alan Lenton for use with Federation II. Unlike standard MUD clients, FedTerm has multiple view tabs that work specifically with the games unique elements such as planet information, mapping, and navigation. FedTerm is available for free on both the IBGames and F2CE websites.

The Fed2Workbench is a suite of programs that can be utilized to create planet locations, events, and objects. The LocEditor program is a visual editor that allows a player to map out and write descriptions for locations on their personal planets. The event, message, and object editors allow for further customization and allow more dynamic elements to be added to the planet. Each of the four editing programs create an XML file that a player can submit to the game staff to have uploaded to the server.

Free to play[edit]

Though the game has seen various pay models in the past, Federation II Community Edition is a free-to-play game. Prior to the 2018 launch of Community Edition, the game ran on a freemium model using “Slithies” as purchasable currency. Slithies are now free to acquire at a rate of 1 slithy for every 5 days of login. Players were previously allowed to donate to the game to become a "Sponsor" and gain access to a restricted game location, but the sponsorship ability has been removed.

Accessibility[edit]

F2CE is a completely text-based game and is 100% accessible to visually impaired players via the use of screen reading software. The game does not make use of auditory cues, so there is no disadvantage to players who may have hearing impairments. F2CE is compatible with MUD clients that make use of customisable user interfaces and can be used with assistive technologies, such as a footmouse.

Gameplay[edit]

FedTerm Front-End Program version 2.02 with Federation 2 Community Edition Login Introduction

Setting[edit]

In Federation II DataSpace, set 200 years after Classic Fed, most of the Solar System planets have been settled and the asteroid belt is being developed. In the days of the despotic Emperor Ming the Merciless - who had reigned as Emperor for so long that nobody remembers when he didn't rule, and who had altered all records so as to make it appear that there never was a time when he didn't rule - the Galactic Administration ensured that the day-to-day business of the galactic empire continued smoothly despite the excesses of the supreme ruler. Over the years, there were many conspiracies to overthrow or assassinate Ming, but it wasn't until the Galactic Administration bureaucrats were threatened that they sprung into action. With the resources available to them, the GA bureaucrats were able to overthrow Ming and have him removed. Ming was imprisoned on the planet Starbase1, but later escaped.

Players begin on the planet Earth, and may explore 14 planets in Sol, 4 asteroids, and a handful of event or task-exclusive settlements. Starting as a lowly hauler of commodities, players advance through the ranks into trading goods, owning their own company, colonizing up to nine planets, then ruling an intergalactic cartel of their own. They must navigate through the regulations of the Galactic Administration, and may chose to work in cooperation with others for mutual financial benefit.

Character Creation[edit]

When a player first connects to the game, they are prompted to select a name for their character. The player is then given the option to specify a race and gender. All characters begin the game with 140 points to split between 4 stats: Intelligence, Dexterity, Stamina, and Strength. Some stats are increased at various levels, and may also be purchased with slithies. Upon entering the game, the player can give the character a physical description that can be seen by other players. By default, the character description reads:

<Player Name> is dressed in a nondescript grey coverall, like most of the rest of the population.

Communication[edit]

Federation II uses a text-based style of gameplay. users enter various commands into the client, which are met with descriptions of the actions they have just commanded. For instance, to say something to the other players in the room, a player types "SAY <message>," which would produce the following output:

You say, "<message>"

Players may also communicate publicly with others in remote locations using the <COM> command or with others individuals privately through a “tight beam” message using the <TELL> command. A public message board is also available for all users to relay messages for others to read at any time. The board is cleared every morning.

Socializing[edit]

Social connections are important in the game. As players progress, they may receive help from those of a higher level. For example, a Manufacturer may choose to build their factories on an official planet in Sol, but it would be more beneficial for them to find a planet owner that could provide factories that would provide more financial rewards.

Most planets, both official and player-owned, have a bar of some sort that will provide visitors with food or drinks. It is common for players to use these locations for social gatherings. Two of the more popular locations are the simple Starship Cantina on Earth and the bustling vibrant Chez Diesel on Mars.

Combat[edit]

Fighting is not an integral part of in Federation, but non-peaceful areas are available for players wishing to participate is spaceship fights. Planets may also have locations that can cause players harm or death. Users begin the game insured against 1 death and may re-insure at any hospital. If a player dies while uninsured, they will die “dead-dead” (or DD) and the character will be permanently removed.

Ranks[edit]

Federation II currently has 16 ranks available for players to reach through various activities.

  • GroundHog

The entry level in Fed is the GroundHog. At this rank, players are limited to ground movement on Earth. The “Newbod's Guide” and cues within the game instruct players on how to obtain a ship permit and purchase their first ship to reach promotion.

Map of the planet Titan, one of the 13 planets in Sol accessible to players with a space ship.
  • Commander

Once a player has obtained a ship, they are automatically promoted to the rank of Commander. As a commander, the player begins working by hauling commodities within the solar system (“Sol”) in order to pay off the ship loan. After achieving 50 hauling credits the player may leave Sol and enter into player-owned systems which provide higher-paying jobs. Once the loan is paid off, the player promotes to the rank of Captain.

  • Captain

The rank of Captain is similar to that of Commander, however players no longer have to worry about paying off a loan. The rank of Captain also allows a player to purchase a larger ship which can be used for jobs or for fighting if they so choose. After completing enough jobs to enter the Adventurer's Guild, a player is promoted to Adventurer.

  • Adventurer

At the rank of Adventurer, players are now able to complete “Akaturi Jobs” with are similar to Fetch Quests. In these jobs, a player will be provided the description of a location from which to collect an item. Once collected, the description of the delivery location will be revealed. Completion of 25 of these quests and a bank balance of 55,000 ig will make the player eligible to promote to the rank of Merchant.

  • Merchant

As a Merchant, players can make money buy buying and selling commodities through exchanges, one of which is located on each planet in the game. Each successful trade awards Merchant Rating points. With these points and 400,000 ig, the player can visit an office on Earth to deposit a bond and become a Trader.

  • Trader

At the rank of Trader, players stop making money from buying and selling goods, and instead switch to buying futures contracts. The player's proficiency at this enterprise is measured with trading points which are awarded and taken away depending on how profitable each contract is. The goal as a Trader is to achieve a Trader Rating of 300, by making profits on futures contracts.

  • Industrialist

Registering a business makes the player an Industrialist, the CEO of a company which owns factories on other player planets. This rank is relatively free of pressures and the player can choose when to promote to Manufacturer at any time. However, it is recommended that players use the rank of Industrialist as a time to build capital in the business before proceeding to more complicated ranks.

  • Manufacturer

When the Industrialist launches an IPO they are promoted to the rank of Manufacturer and their business is changed into a public company. At this rank, player companies are eligible to have shares sold to other players within the game. The company also faces disaffection and maintenance needs, requiring more hands-on management.

Once the company has been run successfully for 4 weeks, the player is able to sell off all of the company's factories and warehouses to promote to Financier. Manufacturer is the first and only rank that has a minimum amount of time required to promote.

  • Financier

Financiers continue to run companies, but now they are financial instead of manufacturing companies. Groats are earned by bidding for shares in businesses and buying shares in other companies. Financial companies can also trade in futures contracts. The goal at this rank is to build a large company balance which will be used as the player's planet treasury at the next level. A player mau choose to promote form Financier to Founder at any time.

  • Planet-Owner: Founder through Magnate

At the rank of Founder, the player may create his or her own star system which begins with one planet. The player may choose to design their own custom planet or they may select one of five available stock planets which can be customized at a later time. As the player progresses through the planet-owner ranks, more planets can be added to the system, each one customizable.

Every planet has a financial economy run by the planet's “exchange” - a system of commodities the planet either produces or needs. The player needs to complete infrastructure builds to advance the planet's economy. Planets begin with an Agricultural exchange, and advance through Industrial, Technological, Biological, and Leisure exchanges. Player promotions occur when a specific number of builds is completed on any one of the player's planets.

Planet Exchange and Rank Advancements
Rank  Exchange Economy  Builds required for promotion
Founder Agricultural 0
Engineer Agricultural 30
Mogul Industrial 70
Technocrat Technological 125
Gengineer Technological * 200
Magnate Leisure 265

* At Gengineer, the planet remains a technological planet but the player is able to colonize a separate permanent biological planet.

  • Plutocrat

Once a player has 335 builds on a planet, they may promote to the rank of Plutocrat. The Plutocrat owns a cartel which is made up of their own system plus up to 14 additional player systems. Plutocrats may offer bonuses to recruit other planet owners to join the cartel. The Plutocrat continues to run a personal system of planets, and may continue to complete infrastructure builds on any one of those personally-owned planets.

Puzzles and Quests[edit]

Federation II contains optional puzzles and quests to enhance the user experience.

  • Magellan Society Quest

Named after the pre-atomic era Portuguese explorer Ferdinand Magellan, the Magellan Society in Federation II is open to players who have completed an entrance test administered by an NPC named Victor. The quest's only prerequisite is that the player have their own spaceship, and is available at any time.[7] Upon completion, the player's character description will include “a member of the Magellan Society.”

  • Trading Guild Mission

The Trading Guild Mission begins on Earth where the player is then instructed to visit the desolate planet Graveyard. Upon completion, the user's character description will be given the title of “A brave and resourceful member of the Trading Guild.”[8]

  • Holiday Puzzles

For some holidays, official planet puzzles will open for users to solve. Previous puzzles have included the Fool's Puzzle for April Fool's Day, the planet of Hunt which was opened for Easter, and Santa's Grotto which was released as a winter puzzle.

  • Player-Planet Puzzles

In addition to officially released puzzles and events, planet owners may create their own puzzles for users to solve. Like official planets, player planets may include objects, mobile characters or NPCs, and locations that may harm or kill another player. Though damage to a player is allowed in puzzles, “DD traps” or interfering with a player's ability to re-insure are prohibited.

Reception[edit]

Computer Gaming World in 1992 praised the social aspects of Federation II, stating that "the real center of the Federation universe is ... Chez Diesel". The magazine concluded that the game was "a marvelous social environment that uses simple, text-based game mechanics as an excuse to have an on-line party ... it's a cyburb where I wouldn't mind living".[9]

In a survey later that year of science fiction games the magazine gave the game three-plus stars of five,[10] and a 1994 survey of strategic space games set in the year 2000 and later gave the game three stars out of five. [11]

In a September 1995 article in Computer Gaming World, during the beta test phase of AOL Fed, Wyatt Lee referred to Federation as “one of the wildest cyburbs in the telegaming universe”, calling it “one of the most 'real' imaginary universes you can visit”.[12] In December of the same year, Electronic Entertainment published a review, calling Federation “The mother of multiplayer titles” with “Just about everything the power hungry could want”.[13]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Bartle, Richard (2003). Designing Virtual Worlds. New Riders. p. 8. ISBN 0-13-101816-7. A programmer at CompuNet, Alan Lenton, was moved to write his own virtual world, Federation II, which has the distinction of being the first MUD to have a non-Fantasy setting (it was Science Fiction).
  2. ^ "Federation AOL News Yearbook, June 1995". ibgames. Retrieved 21 April 2020.
  3. ^ "Federation AOL News Yearbook, August 1997". ibgames. Retrieved 21 April 2020.
  4. ^ "Federation 2's Designer's Notes Introduction". ibgames. Retrieved 21 April 2020.
  5. ^ "Web Fed News Yearbook, January 2004". ibgames. Retrieved 21 April 2020.
  6. ^ "A SAD ANNOUNCEMENT: FEDERATION 2 WILL BE CLOSING IN A MONTH". ibgames. Retrieved 12 November 2018.
  7. ^ "Encyclopedia Galactica: The Magellan Society". ibgames. Retrieved 21 April 2020.
  8. ^ "Federation 2 Idiot's Guide: Missions". ibgames. Retrieved 21 April 2020.
  9. ^ Wilson, Johnny L. (August 1992). "Genie's Federation II". pp. 98–99. Retrieved 3 July 2014.
  10. ^ Brooks, M. Evan (November 1992). "Strategy & Wargames: The Future (2000-....)". Computer Gaming World. p. 99. Retrieved 4 July 2014.
  11. ^ Brooks, M. Evan (May 1994). "Never Trust A Gazfluvian Flingschnogger!". Computer Gaming World. pp. 42–58.
  12. ^ Lee, Wyatt (September 1995). "A New Universe for Federation". Computer Gaming World. p. 48. Retrieved 3 September 2020.
  13. ^ "Games Go Online". Electronic Entertainment. December 1995. p. 100. Retrieved 3 September 2020.

Sources[edit]

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