Got a few hours to kill and want to spend a little time in gaming history? Don't have anything else to do until 2013? Check out Anacreon: Reconstruction 4021
), one of the earliest 4X
games ever made, dating to 1987-88. The original version was DOS-based, but the creator, George Moromisato, released a Windows version in 2004 which has significant updates.
The premise of the game is fairly straightforward: you take on the role of the emperor/empress (the game permits you to select your gender, though it doesn't make much of a difference) of a fledgling interstellar empire. The goal is to conquer your section of the galaxy, which contains nineteen different planetary classes
and three species of nebula, using seven ship-types and four kinds of planetary defenses
with eight megastructures
thrown in to keep things interesting.
Of the four types of raw materials, three--metals, chemicals, and supplies--are available in functionally unlimited quantities, while the fourth--"trillum"--used as fuel for your starships, is exceptionally limited. The game can be viewed as a sort of long-term efficiency engine, where players try to maximize their allocation of trillum. Too much spent on planetary defenses and logistical matters and you won't have enough to move your fleets. Too little, and someone else will come around and ruin your whole day. More details
The original 1988 DOS version had one arguably crippling limitation: no more than 9999 of any given type of object could be present in one location. So a fleet with 9999 of the toughest kind of ship was almost impossible to overwhelm with larger numbers of weaker ships, because it was impossible to concentrate forces that way. Even worse, you could wind up losing vast quantities of precious trillum to the void if a planet produced more than 9999 units in a single turn: the excess was simply wasted. The 2004 re-release fixed that problem. Now, conquering undesirable worlds, stripping them of their trillum reserves, and casting them off is an entirely viable if not necessary strategy.
Moromisato is reportedly working on Anacreon 3
Moromisato is also the creator of Transendence
, game wiki
), an Elite
) with a decent amount of Nethack thrown in for good measure which is now in version 1.01.