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"SpaceTrek: The New Empire" (STNE) is an interactive, online game played in a normal internet browser. It is generally free-to-play, and players can choose how much time to spend on it - several hours a day or just a few times a week.
The beauty of STNE is that it combines elements of several kinds of games together in a well-designed environment in a very entertaining manner:
Multiple Levels of Gameplay
1. To a large extent, STNE is an "economic simulation game" where players colonize and manage planets located in the galaxy. Your goal is to establish a well-running economy on each planet. This is accomplished by providing a steady supply of the resources and energy necessary to operate your planets while satisfying the growing population with sufficient food and comfort.
2. Players represent their very own nation of settlers and exchange roleplay messages with other empires in the galaxy - as a "roleplay game" or RPG). Whenever engaging one another through private or public communication channels, players are expected to represent their nation "in role." This includes everything from making political statements, to engaging in commerce, to narrating your people's adventures, and even to sharing personal experiences in bars and clubs. Though many names used by STNE's various settler nations have emerged from the fictional worlds of "trekkie" television series such as "Enterprise," "Deep Space Nine," and "Voyager," many other names have come from all manner of science fiction and fantasy fiction sources.
3. After beginner-protection expires (as decided solely by oneself), players compete in trade and, at times, in combat in a "strategy game" environment. One can build or purchase a variety of spaceships, including warships with defensive or/and offensive characteristics. Controls for facility management and ship operations are very detailed and interactive. Ships possess long-range scanners which allow them to search and safely move through local sectors, as well as short-range scanners which allow them to search nearby vessels. Other facility and ship controls allow players to manage their energy supplies, activate protective shields, and target a weapons on their opponents.
4. As a "multi-player game," STNE includes the added complexity of allowing your empire to establish its own diplomatic bureau through which you can transact political agreements and negotiate alliances with other nations. This is affected by a built-in system of measuring each empire's external reputation which determines its standing with neighboring empires.
5. Players can also expand their nation's technical abilities by using Research Centers to learn how to build improved production plants, larger and faster ships, and more powerful defensive facilities. The list of possible technologies is extensive, and guarantees your civilization's continued advancement. Empires can also learn how to construct new types of facilities - from space stations to advanced, interstellar telescopes which can scan the entire galaxy sector by sector. A player's continued economic activity is crucial for advancement towards projects such as these.
Thus, STNE is a combination of an economic simulation game, a role-playing game, a strategy game, and a multi-player game, all enhanced by research development. Gameplay is organized in "'rounds"' timed by '"ticks"' (i.e. "cycles") which occur 5 times a day. Resource and energy production are recalculated during these tick-timed events. Ticks are scheduled daily at 12:00 pm, 3:00 pm, 6:00 pm, 9:00 pm and 11:30 pm (Greenwich Mean Time).
During battle, combat actions are handled instantly. Once an aggressor targets and fires its empire's various weapons, its opponent can respond accordingly. Both sides are then provided a chance to decide their next move and re-evaluate their action plans (see Battle Tick). If a player is offline when attacked, his ships and colonies automatically respond according to the intelligent defensive measure settings placed in force.
STNE is not a mere war game since continued plundering (a.k.a. ""farming""), attacking, or bombing (a.k.a. ""nuking"") is strongly discouraged. Such practices tend to "outrage the public" of settler nations who take effective measures to protect the integrity of the people affected. STNE players are generally very friendly and helpful. There are often more than 100 players online who can quickly react if necessary. Nevertheless, a small number of active pirates will always find some way to survive in such an environment, always preferring to feed their populations and supply their means of production with foreign resources and food, and thereby enjoying "the fruit" of their dangerous lives.
STNE includes a number of registered players who actively role-play the game's default non-player characters (NPCs) who represent the known galactic powers. These include the people of the "United Federation of Planets" (who assist beginners), the trading people of the Ferengi (who operate a galaxy-wide commodities exchange), the pirating nation known as the Rhulaner, the nation of the Talaxians (who operate ship auctions), and even the Borg - the horror of all civilized peoples (This bio-mechanical collective torments all the galactic nations with its repeated attempts at assimilating all races equally!).
Help and Community
Alongside this highly detailed game exists a comprehensive online handbook (the "STNE Bible"), an encyclopedia (the "database"), a public game-help channel (with instant replies), a large forum, several outstanding IRC channels, and fast online support.
Notably, many females players develop an interest in STNE. Also, even peaceful nations can successfully develop and grow, at times without even joining one of the numerous cooperative alliances. Each player's part in the game helps create the actual atmosphere experienced. In the earliest stages, STNE activities are not particularly complex. However, as the game unfolds, many possibilities are encountered which provide engaging gameplay. If you eventually decide that your colonies take too much game time, you can direct them to self-supply so you can take on other activities.
For the most part, SpaceTrek: The New Empire is played part-time by many players over a long period. Moreover, it is constantly being improved and expanded. Each player has an equal opportunity at success, and the player community is both active and helpful, whether in-game, on the forum, or through the STNE IRC channel. Game administrators keep a close-eye on the observance of game rules while expecting players to always show respect towards one another .
Visitors who are not ready to register may login as "Guest" in order to discover STNE at one's own pace while exploring it in peace.