A dreamable space simulation
July 10, 2005 9:53 PM   Subscribe

Noctis is a free space simulation program/game written mostly in assembly by Alessandro Ghignola, an Italian programmer. It is downloadable for Windows and MS-DOS, but be warned there is quite a learning curve. It features a planet lander, onboard ship computer, a Fido Net style method of communicating newly named and discovered stars and systems with other users, and a haunting sense of being alone in an immense universe. Fan fiction. Screenshots reveal the outdated resolution of the program.
posted by nervousfritz (19 comments total)
anywherebb blows.
posted by rolypolyman at 10:01 PM on July 10, 2005

screenshot links don't work
posted by quarsan at 10:03 PM on July 10, 2005

Just copy the screenshot URLs and paste them in your browser's location bar.
posted by Galvatron at 10:07 PM on July 10, 2005

actualy, all you have to do is highlight the URL, and then press "enter" after clicking a link.
posted by delmoi at 10:10 PM on July 10, 2005

Huh, I tested them in my browser they seem to work ok. Sorry!
posted by nervousfritz at 10:22 PM on July 10, 2005

Sounds intriguing, and the screenshots interest me. I wish I didn't have so many other things on my plate right now, but I'll give it a try soon.
posted by nightchrome at 10:46 PM on July 10, 2005


"In the Centre a Felysan sized coffin made out of black ice is standing on a rectangular stand made out of the same black ice. Feeling the need to stand on his hind legs seeing the grave Felnos walked over towards the coffin. Pawing at the Stand to move some of the frost he uncovers the words "Hear lies the body of Felfan son of Feldango born on epoc 5860 died in 6000. He travelled the star in the hope of finding his mate Isfentris."

I love fan fiction!

(Hey, isn't Felquatica still illegal in several states?)
posted by brain_drain at 10:51 PM on July 10, 2005

This game is insidious. I meant to just check it out quickly before I went to sleep. I spent several minutes complaining about the game controls and then another fifteen minutes telling myself that the game sucked and the last hour looking for planets to explore. Now it's starting to get fun. Thanks nervousfritz.
posted by LeeJay at 12:21 AM on July 11, 2005

I'm in love. This is a game I've wanted to make for so long, but I wasn't convinced anyone other than me would play it. But man, oh man, it's incredible.
posted by thethirdman at 2:14 AM on July 11, 2005

I found a new planet with life! Woohoo! This game gets better the longer you play it.
posted by LeeJay at 3:58 AM on July 11, 2005

This is really bloody good.

Those fuzzy assembly-driven VGA graphics kind of make it for me too - gives it a really spooky, futuristic mood, for some reason.
posted by Jimbob at 4:01 AM on July 11, 2005

I am considering calling in sick to work so I can stay home and play this some more.

Jimbob, you're right. The graphics make it. I love the in-game camera system. I've gotten some great screenshots after just a few hours of playing.
posted by LeeJay at 5:01 AM on July 11, 2005

Oh, no. I'm losing sleep with Moonpod's StarScape - I recently bought the full thing after playing the demo scenarios for 2 years, off and on. First game I've bought since Doom2. And it's sucked me right in.

Now this. I'm down to 4.5 hours sleep a night now - how much less can I get by on?

Have you gamers no mercy?!?! I've got to sleep SOMETIME...

Hey. Maybe at work? Nobody'll even notice, as long as I don't snore too loudly.

posted by JB71 at 7:21 AM on July 11, 2005

What's the trick to getting it running on Win2k boxen? It quits so fast I can't even see the error message. The website doesn't have any obvious help and google found nothing that looked relevant.
posted by five fresh fish at 6:48 PM on July 11, 2005

What's the trick to getting it running on Win2k boxen? It quits so fast I can't even see the error message

I don't know (runs fine on my XP), but have you tried running it from the command line?

(ie. from the Start Menu, run "cmd" - then navigate to the directory and run the executable. That way, when it quits, you'll be able to see the error message without the window closing)
posted by Jimbob at 8:56 PM on July 11, 2005

I've been avoiding Noctis IV in anticipation of the hopefully-not-vaporous Noctis V.

One time I did exploit a bug and I managed to get into deep, deeeeep, deeeeeeeep space, but eventually the lithium yielding stars got hella sparse and I got lazy and landed myself in the middle of nowhere. It'd take an unfathomable lot of calls for help to get back to anywhere sane.

Also, I don't recall having any problems running Noctis IV in Windows 2000...
posted by Skwirl at 9:39 PM on July 11, 2005

Okay, I just spent half an hour chasing alien butterflies during a thunderstorm before almost drowning while exploring some offshore islands.

Instead of working.

I'm surprised this game isn't illegal.
posted by Jimbob at 9:46 PM on July 11, 2005

That doesn't work, jimbob. Go.exe opens its own DOS window, which it promptly closes.

I can't think of anything I might have done to my system to render this application unusable. It's quite odd behaviour, especially considering I run several other cmdline apps regularly.
posted by five fresh fish at 9:48 PM on July 11, 2005

PS: I'm just throwing this out there because I'm too unambitious to do it myself. I imagine a Noctis-style game with more complex algorithms. I'm thinking quick, dirty genetic algorithms with known seeds, and no mutation so that we get the same explorable Universe for everyone but with more surprises and smarter flora and fauna. Throw in cooperative exploration and maybe some randomly generated artifacts that can be combined in interesting ways. I'm thinking more MOO than MMPORG, if you know what I mean.

I really want to be surprised when I land on a planet and I'm like, "holy smokes, I coded this but I had no idea this would happen" kinda game play. Noctis is hinting at that, but it's still mostly just tourism and nice pictures.
posted by Skwirl at 9:58 PM on July 11, 2005

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