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Home » Stars! Clones, Extensions, Modding » FreeStars » Don't Let the Stars Fade Away
Don't Let the Stars Fade Away Sat, 27 January 2007 21:59 Go to previous message
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Officer Cadet 2nd Year

Messages: 233
Registered: January 2006
Location: Nevada, USA
I've been communing a bit with ken-reed about his Stars! clone Nova, and today I spent an hour and a half or so today scanning through some of the different threads in the Freestars forum. I'm trying to get a basic, "big picture" understanding of what's going on with Freestars and attempts to get a good Stars! clone up.

I guess I really don't understand. Browsing these threads and such, I've learned a few things at least. I may not understand the difference between the client and the server (I thought that refers to internet connections), or a client project, or a package, but I note that there's:

1. Zstars
2. Freestars
3. Craigstars
4. Nova
5. Thousand Parsec
6. Stellar Legacy
7. Hilton's Freestars Client
8. Gstars
9. My Own Stars
10. Frontier Project

and maybe others as well. I believe that Hilton's Freestars Client is gone, but I don't know much about the others, except Nova and Craigstars now. Maybe some of these "clients" and "servers" and such are dealing with different aspects of the actual game. Maybe the only solid things I really do know are that A. No fully functional Stars! clone or sequel exists, and B. There are close to a dozen different clone attempts. Am I right about these things?

I haven't really been with the Stars! community too long, but I looked around at lots of different sites a year or two ago and bookmarked a bunch. Every few months I'd go back to look at something, but somewhat often I'd find that the website no longer existed. I found gible's Cyberstrands site a few weeks ago. I went to the links section and clicked each one and found that probably 3/4 of them are gone, though I wasn't keeping track. It seems like more players are drifting off, more sites are going down, and those various Freestars, etc, clients are disappearing.

I got on mIRC a month ago after downloaded it again, hoping maybe to play a blitz game. I talked to Coyote there for a bit and later decided instead to try to start up my own game. I talked with Coyote a little bit, and he said that (not exact quote)


the Stars! community is just kind of fading away.


So what are we going to do about it?


I'm not blaming anyone. I don't know that there is anyone to blame, except perhaps simple "entropy." Everything dies. Everything has its time. Is this Stars!' time?

From what I've gathered, Stars! is the greatest strategy game ever created, or at least the greatest that I'm aware of. But it was never as popular as other games around it (probably because of its lack of graphics). I would consider it a shame to see it all disappear entirely, but that seems to be the trend that's taken root here, unless something changes. How long can we expect the relatively few remaining sites to last? How about the Autohost itself?

Chess has been around for thousands of years, and I think Stars! is far superior to it in terms of strategy and level of options, and in many other ways. But if things go the way they're going, can we expect Stars! to last into the 22nd century, or even to the middle of this century? That's the big picture I'm looking at. I'm seeing what certainly appear to be all the indicators of certain death—and if it truly is the case that Stars! is the best strategy game ever, or even in the top ten, shouldn't we ask ourselves if we're willing to see it disappear?

I'll probably get a few comments now along the line that I'm a doomsday sayer or something such, and that the Stars! community is "strong and growing," and all the Stars! clones are "just fine." Have you checked your old Stars! bookmarks lately? Have you clicked through the links in the pages that are up? Are you playing any of clones right now with real players, and if so are any of those clones really working yet? And how often do you see new people joining the Homeworld Forums even? I count 7 this year so far, 138 in 2006, 158 in 2005, 212 in 2004, 256 in 2003, and 86 in just the last two months of 2002 (which probably would have been around 500 had the SAH been open in the beginning of 2002). There are new people joining, but that number is falling off.

I'm not saying that Stars! is just going to disappear overnight. It will take years, maybe twenty or thirty or forty. That's what happens with something like this. Like with cities that are having big troubles with overcrowding, pollution, crime, bad politicians, etc, everyone says that the next generation will fix it. At this rate though, Stars! won't have another generation—and even if we thought it would, would we want to hand over any control over it?

I just don't want to see this game go down. I love it, even if almost all my playing has been against the AI. So if it is dying, what needs to happen? I don't have much, but I think I'm going to donate a few dollars to the Autohost, because this is truly an invaluable service Ron is providing, and I don't think we can thank him enough. Many games would have long since died without such support. What else?

I think a clone or sequel that does everything Stars! did and adds upon all its strengths would be fantastic. Perhaps it would bring new energy to what, in my eyes, seems to be a dying Stars! community. So what will that take? Right now we have a bunch of different developers on different development platforms with different ideas, all going in different directions. It's like those alliances I so often read about on Stars! game stories. The alliances die because they lack unity. Stars! needs unity.

I think we need to answer three questions:

1. Where is Stars! right now, and where is it going? Specifically, is it dying?
2. If it is dying, what can we do to prevent that?
3. What can we learn from the past to prevent the mistakes, disagreements, and other problems that contributed to disunity?

We need to bring new life, and new blood, to this game. We need to have a little bit of time for discussion (maybe a month or two) so that we can lay out a plan for this—not too long, since far too often such plans get bogged down and amount to many words but no action. Then we really need to take a course and stay it. Let's resolve whatever issues have prevented that from happening. Let's look at the big picture: keeping Stars! the "Orphaned Child" alive.

Don't let the Stars! fade away.

EDIT: One of my other favorite games, Chrono Trigger, also had a couple projects going: the Chrono Trigger Remake Project and Chrono Resurrection. They were full 3d and everything and had a lot of fan support. They didn't fade out in the end though--the original maker of the game, Square, hit them with a cease and desist order, so they're gone. From what I know though, the Jeffs have encouraged the idea of a Freestars effort. With that in mind, shouldn't we be able to succeed with the original creators behind us?


[Updated on: Sun, 28 January 2007 21:42] by Moderator





Yeah, bread too.

Don't Let the Stars! Fade Away

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