Before I go on I should probably disclose the fact that I suck at video games. Always have. Probably a good thing, though, or I’d disappear into a digital haze of alternate realities and never be seen again. Nevertheless, I recently ran across some FREE sci-fi games that I found fun - even if I was quickly blown up.
Battlestar Galactica - Beyond the Red Line
A stand-alone mod of “Freespace 2″ that kicks butt! The fully playable “demo” was released just in time for the end of the current season of the tv series - so if you can’t wait until 2008 to see some Toasters get frakked up, this is worth a look. It also INCLUDES the “Mission Editor” so if you want to you can create your own missions - both single player and multiplayer. The included demo game and training sessions do a wonderful job of reproducing the distorted cockpit radio coms. Where audio files haven’t been created it can use the Microsoft Speech SDK to read the text. The contrails on Vipers and Raiders alone are worth sliding behind the joystick. (Hint: If you go to the game’s forums there is a “soundtrack” you can download, along with some add-on 3rd Party Missions if you don’t want to build your own).
Babylon 5: I’ve Found Her - Danger and Opportunity
A freeware space combat simulator based in the Babylon 5 Universe. “I’ve found her” is the last line Valen transmitted from Babylon 4. “Danger and Opportunity” is a prequel to the main game, which apparently isn’t finished yet. “D&O,” however, has eight fully playable missions (including 3 training missions). This game rivals a lot of commercial software - if you miss B5, and were ticked when the “Into the Fire” game was canceled, this just might be your game.
“Vega Trek” is a mod of the game “Vega Strike.” There are a lot of options on how to play the game from the predictable “I’m a Starfleet Captain” to “Maquis” fighter, or lowly “Cargo hauler” just trying to get by. This obviously isn’t a top-of-the-line game, though the graphics aren’t any worse than most of the commercial Star Trek games I’ve seen. Comes with a number of missions from which to choose.
And, lastly, this isn’t actually a “game” per se, but it’s a space flight simulator. Nothing is shooting at you, you don’t get to shoot at anything else, but you do get realistic flight characteristics, a gazillion controls and panels, and just about any sci-fi space ship has been modeled for it. Check it out at:
I mentioned this in a previous post, but it bears mentioning again: I’d highly recommend the “Firefly Jumbo 2006” add-on. You not only get a pretty darned good recreation of a Firefly class ship (it’s not actually supposed to BE “Serenity”), it also has a cargo “Mule” to play with and two shuttlecraft that can each be flown fully independent of the main ship. The downside of this simulator is that distances are as realistic as the flight physics - it takes FOREVER to get anywhere (even with a “Super Firefly Drive”) and once you get there about all you can do is offload your cargo. Then again, Firefly class ships don’t HAVE weapons anyway. At least there aren’t any Reavers after you.