Star Trek: The Next Generation (video Game) - Starship Simulator Games

Starship Simulator Games

Starship simulator games which are set in the Star Trek universe occupy a large role in the history of video games. Some of the first real computer games were Star Trek games designed to run on mainframes. Starship simulator games create the experience of commanding and operating a starship, and usually allow the player to handle a variety of functions, and to allocate resources such as ship power and systems. Some early Star Trek games in this category have had a huge effect on subsequent games in their genre, often leading to new level of depth and complexity in programming and/or gameplay. This game category includes both computer games and non-computer board games, since the Star Fleet Battles game series provides a starship simulation, and is wholly a tabletop board wargame. As well as the Star Trek RPG by FASA which allowed players to take charge of specific areas of a ships functions (such as the engineer allocating power) during combat.

Star Fleet Battles is different from most other wargames, which usually indicate unit strengths with simple numerical ratings. SFB players are able to deploy and manage power for a variety of ship weapons and resources. This is done via an elaborate Energy Allocation mechanism where even partial points of energy can be allocated to a number of different systems. Federation Commander is the continued development of this system in a more fast-paced version. Instead of the Energy Allocation system it uses an innovative tick sheet system, which manages power use for each ship, and also tracks which weapons and systems are in use. The Star Trek: Starfleet Command computer game is based upon Star Fleet Battles.

In Star Trek: The Role Playing Game, produced by FASA, players actually had individual bridge functions during combat. This at one point became a separate game known as Starship Tactical Combat Simulator. The Captain determined the strategy, the Engineer was responsible for power management and allocation to different systems such as weapons and shields, the Helmsman for firing weapons, the Navigator for managing deflector shields, the Communications Officer for damage control and so on.

Some of the earliest and more influential space simulator video games were Star Trek games. One of the earliest games in this category was Super Star Trek, an early text-based, DOS-based game. This game created an impressive starship experience using only text-based commands and graphics. Another is the Star Trek (text game), which originated in 1971 and was ported to many different systems. Decwar was also a groundbreaking game. The game Begin is considered notable for having a convincing model of game dynamics, as it has very few random elements, and is highly mathematical.

Netrek was released in 1988, and was probably the first game to use both the TCP and UDP protocols, the first Internet-aware team game, the first Internet game to use metaservers to locate open game servers, and the first to have persistent user information.

In later years, fewer games were produced within this genre, and more games were produced in the adventure games genre. The first new recent game was Starfleet Academy, which incorporated many Star Trek elements, but was criticized for depicting starship operation as more akin to fighter planes than capital ships. A sequel, Klingon Academy, was actually quite different, and was one of the first games to depict starship operation with an appropriate amount of complexity.

The Starfleet Command game series released by Interplay was based largely on the tabletop game Star Fleet Battles, and comprised Starfleet Command, Starfleet Command II: Empires at War, and Starfleet Command III. It constitutes one of the most definitive current games, depicting a wide array of ship systems and Star Trek storylines. This series had a more naval flavor, and depicted a number of ship systems. This series spawned a very large multiplayer ladder competition first with the "Starlance" system, and later on the "GamerZone" ladder. The main multiplayer setting is the "Dynaverse," which began as an official server hosted by Taldren, and has continued as a private effort. (An earlier, unauthorized adaptation of Star Fleet Battles as a computer game was SSI's The Warp Factor in 1982.)

Star Trek: Bridge Commander was another addition to this genre, reflecting the more deliberative, command aspects of this experience.

In late 2006, Bethesda Softworks released several console games which carry on the tradition of classic Star Trek ship simulator/combat games, Star Trek: Legacy for the PC and Xbox 360, Star Trek: Encounters for the PlayStation 2, Star Trek: Tactical Assault for the Nintendo DS and the PlayStation Portable and Star Trek: Conquest for the Wii and PlayStation 2.

Several online games have appeared on the Internet. Vega Trek is a game mod which is planned to eventually become active as a multiplayer game. Flashtrek: Broken Mirror is one of the online Star Trek games, and is wholly browser-based. It has spawned two sequels, one by Vex Xiang(the original writer of Broken Mirror) which is unfinished and a Broken Mirror III which takes place before Broken Mirror One, it is being made by a man named Darkwing and is based at flashtrek.motionsforum.com. The site also gives a challenge for someone to finish broken mirror 2.

In May 2009, Star Trek DAC was released. This game is a starship shooter in a top down style based on the movie titled Star Trek, by J.J. Abrams and features the original score from the movie. Some reviewers do not consider it to be an effective simulation of starship operation.

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