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Download: Linux 3D Client for Starship Traders


[Note: Katrina Kirellii now maintains the Linux and Windows versions of the graphical client. The new code can be downloaded from this page.]

Linux game testers wanted

A new version of the Starship Traders multiplayer strategy game is under development. The new version, ST2, has a 3D interface and includes an X-Window-based client program. ST2 is considerably faster than its WWW predecessor and integrates a graphical display and point-and-click mouse controls with a complete keyboard interface. Linux users are needed to participate in the first test game since no other operating systems are yet supported.

The new server is up and running now and a Linux version of the client is available. The client is a dynamically linked Linux x86 binary and requires the Mesa3D or OpenGL libraries -- which should already be installed on most modern distros. Internet access is also required to play in the test game, of course.

To participate in the game you must download, gunzip, and run the Linux binary as described below. It should connect to the ST2 test game automatically and you will be prompted to log in.

[Here is a screenshot of a sector with a starbase, a planet, a tradingpost, some sector debris, a few fighters, a wormhole, and, if you look closely, a couple of small starships in the lower left quadrant intermixed with the text. This screenshot is with the window at 640x480. For a less cluttered appearance you can click resize -- while playing -- to expand (or shrink) the window.]

Download and setup instructions
  • Right click here
  • select Save ...
  • gunzip sst012.gz (your browser may do this step automatically)
  • chmod 555 sst012
  • ./sst012
... and you should be online.

The source code, released 17 September, 2001, can be downloaded from this page.

The Game

Starship Traders II is a trading and war game set in a universe divided into multiple galaxies. Individual locations within the game, called 'sectors', can contain ports, planets, nebulas, wormholes, and black holes, as well as objects owned by players. Players can park their starships, deploy their fighters, and build starbases in sectors.

Players can earn money ('microbots') by hauling commodities between ports and from planets. These microbots can be used as cash to buy equipment and military hardware at trading posts, or microbots can be used directly in combination with commodities to build fighters or starbases.

Players can deploy fighters and build starbases to guard prime trading territories and valuable sectors or they can use fighters to attack the deployed forces of other players. Players can also attack and destroy the starships of other players that they find.

Players can create teams which are ranked separately from the player standings. Players can apply to a team and the team captain can then either accept or reject the application. Team members can move safely through the fighter and starbase fortifications of their teammates and allied attack-mode starbases will not attack them.

Obviously, as in any multiplayer strategy game, politics and diplomacy can be important. Try to avoid making too many enemies early in the game!


F1 and F2 will scroll you back and forward in the scrolling portion of the heads-up display. F10, F11, and F12 will select different size windows. Running the client with a -w argument (eg.: sst012 -w) will cause it to load into a normal, resizeable window with the standard borders and window controls. Otherwise, it runs in a full-screen mode which may not include borders.

You can fly around within a sector using the arrow keys and pageup/pagedown. Don't do much of this or you may get lost. As you enter each new sector, you start out in the same relative position that you were in in the previous sector so it's possible to fly far away from the center of a sector and not easily find it again. If that happens, log out and back in to get back to the center of the sector.

Move the mouse over any clickable menu option (those that change color when the pointer is over them) and wait about 2 seconds for a popup tip about that menu item.

There is a log off (quit) command in the menu that logs you out, disconnects from the server, terminates the client, and closes the window. If you go link-dead while playing, however, or are otherwise left with an unresponsive client, press Escape to close the window and terminate the client.

Game play

Routine trading and galaxy exploration can be accomplished with as little effort as clicking Computrade on the heads-up display. You can also click on anything in the top half of the display to select that option. Note that options containing a capital letter can also be selected by pressing the appropriate key. Therefore, pressing the c key is equivalent to clicking Computrade.

Options without a capital letter generally have the hot key designated with parens. For example, "keyboard map (?)" can also be accessed by the '?' key.

Right click on any item in the top half of the heads-up display for a brief explanation of that menu option (and the corresponding keyboard key).


Starship Traders II is derived, through a long and meandering lineage, from The Last Resort, which evolved from Tsarwars, itself inspired by Czarwars. Czarwars was a DOS-based BBS game dating back to December, 1986. Czarwars was inspired by Chris Sherrick's version of Trade Wars, which drew it's inspiration from Hewlett-Packard's Star Trader, from The People's Book of Computer Games.


5/22/01, v.0.02: Lockup after 5 minutes idle bug fixed
5/24/01, sst004: Menu items change color, Star clusters added
5/24/01, sst005: Popup tips added on clickable items
5/24/01, sst006: Rotating ports
5/26/01, sst007: Bigger, moving fighters, more popup tips
5/26/01, sst008: Moving ships, more popup tips
5/27/01, sst009: All heads-up display items now have popup tips
5/27/01, sst010: Bug fix: resizable window works again
5/29/01, sst011: Colors won't wash out on some displays, cursor added, in-sector movement speed scales better on high-speed displays, bar charts work correctly, bottom line of text doesn't disappear on some window sizes
5/31/01, sst012: minor popup documentation changes
5/12/02, sst012d: bug fix, new menu options added
mail this link | score:8851 | -Ray, May 12, 2002 (Updated: March 21, 2007)
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