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Starship Traders 3D game client released under GPL


The long-running free multiuser online strategy game, Starship Traders1, has long had both a telnet interface and a www interface . In March of 2001 an OpenGL-compatible graphical client was released to run under Linux. It was developed using portable graphics libraries so that Mac, Unix, and a Windows versions could easily be created. Time passed, and no Unix, Mac, or Windows versions were released.

In fact, the lazy developer (me) still hasn't even gotten access to a Windows PC with the Mesa3D libraries and a C compiler, much less a Mac, a Solaris box, etc. Therefore, this initial release will be of interest only to Linux users -- and to programmers capable of porting an OpenGL program to other environments. The code should be easily portable to other operating systems although big-endian hardware architectures may present problems.

The program is now available under the terms of the GPL v.2 in C source code form. A dynamically linked Linux binary is also available. A screenshot from the game running in its somewhat cluttered lowest resolution mode (640x480) is here.

[You might prefer a newer version extensively modified by Katrina Kirellii, slightly modified by me to compile cleanly under Linux. The source code is here and a dynamically linked Linux binary is here (right click, select 'save link...', then, from a command line, enter 'chmod 555 kir' to make it executable. Then, enter './kir' to run it.)]

The source code is here and a gzipped copy is here. The first few lines of the source are comments containing, among other things, the command I use to compile it under Linux. With the proper libraries installed on a Linux box, that command should work. A script with the compile command is here. After you compile it, run it by typing:


Usage documentation is included in the comments at the top of the source code and is also here. The Linux dynamically linked binary and instructions can be downloaded from this page.

(1) The game itself is a long-term strategy game, not a shooter. However, real-time battles are not uncommon. Although other players can attack your forces at any time, they have to find you first. In the old main game of Starship Traders, the universe was one million sectors in size. That universe was divided into 200 distinct galaxies of varying sizes and types, so avoiding other players wasn't horribly difficult. Large, wealthy galaxies, however, are places where you are quite likely to encounter other ships and forces -- some of whom are sure to be unfriendly. Players can create and join teams or play completely independently. Real-time communication, public and private, is supported via the ship radio.

5/12/2002: a slightly updated version is released, 0.12d, which includes the new commands for the new version and also has a bug fix or two.
mail this link | score:8380 | -Ray, September 17, 2001 (Updated: July 26, 2008)
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