- Reach for the Stars (computer game)
Infobox VG| title = Reach for the Stars
developer = SSG
publisher = SSG
Single player, Multiplayer
media = 5¼" disk, 3½" disk
MS-DOS, Windows, Apple II, Mac OS, Commodore 64, Amiga
"Reach for the Stars" is one of the earliest of the
4X games (Explore, Expand, Exploit, Exterminate), written by SSG of Australiain early 1980s for the Apple IIand Commodore 64platforms which used the MOS Technology6502 series microprocessors. Version 3 added a DOSport as well, though the DOSport did not share all of the features that the other platforms had. The game was eventually ported to pre-Mac OS X versions of the Macintosh operating system, such as System 6. It was also ported to the Amiga, though which version was ported is not known.
The game has a
science fictiontheme, in which players command a home star in the galaxy, and then expand to form an interstellar empire by colonizing far off worlds, building powerful starship, and researching new technologies.
"Reach for the Stars" was very strongly influenced by the board game
Stellar Conquest. Many of "RFTS"'s features have direct correspondence in "Stellar Conquest".
Graphics were minimal, yet the tactical and strategic elements provided countless rich combinations for colony development and interstellar warfare. The software's
AIalso offered a challenging opponent in single-player games. It is not uncommon for a "Reach for the Stars" game to take over twelve hours to complete in single-player mode and 24 hours with multiple players.
The game was re-written for the Windows platform in
2000. However, the new version was a commercial failure, as the new graphical interface detracted from the down-to-earth gameplay that made "Reach for the Stars" a gaming classic.
Basic Game Play
In Versions 1 to 3 the player starts off with one planet that has Level 1 technology and a middle level environment. Three types of ships ware available:
*Scouts - very inexpensive, incapable of fighting or carrying colonists. Used for scouting
*Transports - incapable of fighting, but can carry colonists
*Warships - incapable of carrying colonists, but can fight
Starting players have limited funds, and have to decide where to invest the funds (technology upgrades, ships,or environmental upgrades). Upgrading a world's planetary environment, for example, means that its population would grow, improving production; this was a mixed blessing, however, as if the population grew higher than the maximum allowed for that planet the costs to feed said population skyrocketed. Building a lot of ships early could win a player the game, if the player found enemies' home planets before they managed to upgrade their military technology; conversely, or it could lose the game if opponents upgraded first and attacked with superior ships.
Because players could upgrade several things at once, the apparently limited number of choices in effect was infinite. It was quite possible to save a game on the first turn, and have it play out differently each time it was restored.
Each turn was divided into two sections - a development phase, and a movement phase. In the development phase players worked on planetary production, deciding what each planet would produce that turn. In the movement phase players had the option to send ships to other star systems, to explore, colonize, or conquer.
A sequel to Reach for the Stars was released on September 14, 2000 by developer Strategic Studies Group and publisher
Strategic Simulations, Inc.. In 2005 Matrix Games working alongside Strategic Studies Group, updated the 2000 release; this updated version was released in 2005. [http://www.matrixgames.com/games/news.asp?gid=308]
A review in "
Computer Gaming World" found the game quite user-friendly and enjoyable, with the single flaw of a lack of notification of natural disasters, which couldn't fit onto the disk space available. The computer AI and customization of each game were particular highlights of the review.citation | date = December 1983 | last = Curtis | first = Ed | periodical = Computer Gaming World| title = Reach for the Stars | year = 1983 | pages = 27, 49]
name="Reach for the Stars"
* [http://www.gamespot.com/pc/strategy/reachforthestars/review.html Gamespot review of Reach for the Stars 2000]
* [http://www.matrixgames.com/games/news.asp?gid=308 Matrix Games website]
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