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The Engineer

The Life and Times of Donald F. Simmons

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Master of Orion

Since I'm obviously not distracted enough, I managed to get the original Master of Orion working under Windows XP. It's the original conquer the universe game from 1992, and for my money still one of the best games I've ever played. I never warmed to Moo II, and now Moo III is out (for $74!) and getting mixed reviews.

I love the game so much because there is so much playability in it. You can play any of 10 races, all with different strengths/weaknesses, different sized universes, different number of opponents, different sorts of technology available each game, a strategy that worked great one game might be a bust the next because of different opponents/technology available/configuration of stars. I'm currently getting my ass kicked, so just have to try again.

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MoO was a very, very addictive game and I'd love to see the source code released so that someone could fix up an XP-friendly version with better AI, *multiplayer*, and a few interface fixes (ex: not having to build an entire planetary shield before you can start crash-funding some missile bases to fight that enemy fleet that's only four turns away). I haven't played Moo 3, but Moo 2 borrowed too much stuff from Master of Magic that just didn't fit. (My ships go faster than light but a third of my homeworld's workers need to farm to avoid famine? What?!)

- Paul Wuertz

Yeah, it's nasty that you have to complete a planetary shield before any further missile bases can be built. It's also annoying that you have so little control when you bomb a planet. There's no easy way to tell how much damage your bombing is going to do, you might wipe the planet out when you just wanted to soften it up before your troops invade.

I just played a game as the Alkari's where everyone got good missiles, poor beam weapons, and no anti-missile technology, so it's all heavy missile boats blasting each other. That what makes it so great, you never know how any game is going to play out. The Mrrshan's ultimately won that one. I mean, the Mrrshan's!

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