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Master of Orion 4 Cause

By on May 11th, 2012 7:57 am

There is no Master of Orion 4 in kickstarter, at least not yet to my knowledge. Yes, projects seem to open every 5 secs :)

The reason for this post is to explore what the community thinks of the possibility to have a new Master of Orion sequel come to life in the near future. Would you support such cause? If someone showed up on kickstarter proposing to make Master of Orion 4, with or without the IP rights (without it would be renamed to something else) would you back that up?

The question has been asked many times. “Why is there no Master of Orion 4 yet? Or even not planned?” The reasons are probably multiple. A combination of IP issues with lack of interest of the big publishers and the consensual conclusion that Master of Orion 3 was not that successful. And probably the understandable fear of not being up to the challenge.

A blog member said this today, in a of challenge to the community:

“It obviously became popular to ask the community for support and it feels like the site is full of those. I wonder why the community doesnt start a project on their own – paying a group to do what we like them to do. that would be the step that would make me pay aswell.

I want my real master of orion 3 with turn based combat which is the leading vote option for combat mechanics here aswell and it doesnt matter if everything is renamed due to copyright problems but i guess that would have a lot of followers.

this board might be the place to start something like that cause i am pretty sure everybody waits for the next moo2 for years now.” ~Cristo (SS blog member)

It’s a passionate thought. Wouldn’t it be great to have a new Master of Orion?

In a poll I run a year ago, people expressed their desire for a new Master of Orion to come to life. The question was “Is this how you feel about a next 4x sci-fi game? “Really, I just want Master of Orion 2 with better AI, graphics and LAN support””. There was a total of 133 votes. The answers were:

  • Absolutely! Give me Master of Orion IV or similar, quick! (99 votes)
  • Not at all. Done MOO2. Give me something different (15 votes)
  • I didn’t play MOO2 (10 votes)
  • I have mixed feelings about that. If it comes great if it doesn’t great also (9 votes)
  • I’m not familiarized with MOO2 (3 votes)

This is a tiny sample but it showed how the community felt back then (April 19, 2011 to be precise).
Note: The text of the question is from zigzag, a member here. That’s where I took the inspiration to make the poll in the first place.

And, there is already something like this called FreeOrion. These guys have a tight community that decided to make a new (free) Master of Orion type game. But, they are taking a long time to make progress (although good progress) because organization is difficult and money (and time) is a big problem.

So, what would be the right kind of model for making a MoO4 happen in the sort term? Is this a dream? A fantasy?

I imagine that one possibility (thrown by Zptr forum member) was to “call” Steve Barcia (Simtex founder and Master of Orion lead designer) to see if he’s interested in doing something. This is probably the best thing to do first since Master of Orion is his baby.

Or perhaps some should contact Atari to see what are the possibilities.

Or, the community gets together under the same roof and decides to launch a fund-raising campaign of some sort and then recruit a dev team to make the work? We could use space sector for this.

There are certainly positive and negative aspects to consider in this kind of endeavor. Here are a few examples:

Positive aspects

  • Benefit from today’s better technology
  • Take advantage from today’s new paradigm of games funding through crowdfunding platforms such as kickstarter or Indiegogo
  • Experience a new Master of Orion experience with all the mechanics and game design principles that Simtex used to make it great in the first place (such as deep customization, lots of trade-offs, ship design model, simple and clean UI, charismatic races, leaders and so many other great principles)
  • Benefit from the nostalgia effect (this one more on the marketing aspects)
  • Big community and fan-base

Negative aspects

  • IP aspects. Atari owns the rights and seems very reserved about them. Would the new game be successul without being a pure MoO? Something like XCOM: Enemy Unknown vs Xenonauts?
  • Organization aspects. If the community starts the project, “who is gonna decide what constitutes a worthy successor, 3D engine, 2D engine, realtime combat, turn based combat, ground combat, no ground combat, everybody will have different opinion”~Smight (blog user)
  • There is a substantial amount of space 4X games on the market of recent (Armada 2526, Star Ruler, Distant Worlds), and to come (Endless Space, Legends of Pegasus and StarDrive) And other indie titles on the making that we don’t know yet. Is it worthwhile to push for a new Master of Orion when practically everybody takes MoO as an inspiration to design new space 4X games?

So, what do you say?

Would you, in principle, support a cause to produce a true Master of Orion new sequel or a reimagined remake through a kickstarter campaign or any other type of fund-raising campaign?

The Designer – Steve Barcia

Here is the great Steve Barcia (Simtex founder and Master of Orion lead designer) interview to IE PC Game designer to put you on the mood (thanks to Zptr for the find) where Steve talks about Master of Orion and other things.

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89 Comments


  1. TimmY says:

    I won’t say no to a true sequel to MoO 2 or even a remake :)

  2. TheSisko says:

    Lets be honest here, noone would care if the game is called “bored to death in space while noone can hear you scream” as long as it gives us the same “feeling” we had when we played MOO2. Every game aftwerwards had some shortcommings compared to the “Holy Grail” of 4x space TBS ( either real ones or imaginary ones ,-) ). I wouldnt back it just cause its called MOO4, what i would back is a proper vision and plan for 4x space TBS, not just a name

  3. marabus says:

    I’ll definitely support such cause by any means necessary! And if you guys can contact Steve Barcia in this regard and get his opinion as well – that would be just terrific. Two thumbs up!

    P.S. And could you, please, ask him about possible Mater of Magic sequel? :)

  4. zigzag says:

    I think the name is important because it would encourage developers to remain faithful to the original. Brad Wardell mentioned that Stardock attempted to acquire the rights to “Master of Magic,” and that if they had been successful, they would have produced a game that was much more similar to it than Elemental became. There’s certainly room for innovation and modernization, but not at the expense of what made Master of Orion enjoyable for me.

    • Adam Solo says:

      If Stardock didn’t manage to get the Master of Magic IP from Atari (probably due to a money issue) why would the chances to acquire the Master of Orion one would be any better? Probably the best (and possibly only viable road) is to make a MoO faithful remake/reimagining like Goldhawk did with Xenonauts for X-COM: UFO Defense.

      But, I think the Xenonauts case is slightly different than the MoO one. There were no sci-fi squad-based tactical games of recent, at least that captured the essense of XCOM: UFO Defense. But regarding MoO we have some titles available and in the making that although not inspired in MoO they share many elements from MoO. So, what I mean is that Xenonauts filled a complete void, while a MoO remake would fill more a MoO void than a 4X space strategy void, you see what I mean?

  5. salvo says:

    well, I really don’t care how it is called, but I’d absolutely support the development of a 4x game in the spirit of the master of orion series.

  6. Zeraan says:

    With every new 4X game, people complain that it’s not like MoO 2. After observing such complains, I think it all boils down to this item:

    lack of tactical turn-based space combat

    Research tree, leaders, and other MoO 2 features are nice additions, but wasn’t critical. Many other games have those, but lacks the tactical turn-based combat, and this instantly fails the “MoO 2” test, including MoO 3 itself!

    In order to appease those fans, a 4X space strategy game will HAVE to include tactical turn-based combat. It’s kinda like X-Com Ufo Defense vs X-Com Apocalypse, the fans were sharply divided because Apocalypse supports real-time combat.

    I’ve seen many promising games, such as Endless Space, Distant Worlds, Armada, etc that features many wonderful gameplay mechanics, but they all lack the turn-based combat.

    You quoted: “It obviously became popular to ask the community for support and it feels like the site is full of those. I wonder why the community doesnt start a project on their own – paying a group to do what we like them to do. that would be the step that would make me pay aswell.”

    There is already a such project with turn-based space combat: Beyond Beyaan. But surprisingly, it don’t seem to attract much support as the other 4X games. Is it because of the 2D pixel art? Do the people want 3D fancy graphics? Is it because there’s only one lone developer for it (me)? Are people waiting to see it fail like other countless MoO 2 clones? Or are they waiting for it to flesh out more? This is kinda baffling me. Many people complain that there’s no real MoO 2 successor, yet there is one in the works, and most of them ignore it. If they can tell me why, then maybe I can fix that? So far, I’ve been losing money on this project (paying out of my pocket for the artwork).

    I challenge you to find me another 4X space game with tactical turn-based combat that’s under development, because I’ve been unable to do so. The “community” said they’ll support a game that has the MoO 2 features that they want, but so far, I’ve seen little evidence of that. As of today, I have only had about 50 customers who pre-ordered (including both paypal donations and desura pre-orders) over the past year. Yet I see StarDrive, and other 4X games on kickstarter that amass thousands of backers.

    There’s your answer, either the people who really want tactical turn based space combat are very vocal about it but are very few in numbers, or they want fancy graphics to go with it… I’m not trying to sound bitter, it’s just what I’ve observed. If I was working on Beyond Beyaan purely for monetary profits, I’d have given up a while ago. But the thing is, I want a new 4X with turn-based combat game, and nobody else seem to be willing to do it, so as the saying goes “if you want it done right, do it yourself”.

    • Adam Solo says:

      Could be the tactical turn-based combat but it’s other things. Look at 5:15 on the video above when Steve Barcia answers to “What was the original idea behind Master of Orion”. Very interesting.

      I mean, it’s not that easy as it looks to understand what made those games so special. We can say 20 things, but I would say the key is perhaps 2 or 3.

      Hard to tell but my 3 key MoO aspects probably go to races heavy customization options, with lots of tradeoffs with the possibility for a full customized race, your race. Never seen that after, don’t have a clue why. Ship design and then have the chance to see ships fighting with what we designed. Not just see ships blowing and firing everywhere but actually feeling the pleasure of witnessing a good death ray, or mauler device or plasma canon, with damage inflicted where we want when we want. That’s where the TBS tactical aspect comes in perhaps. But other people would have their own 3 MoO key aspects perhaps, I would love to know which would those be.

      • Zeraan says:

        I can’t watch the interview because I’m deaf, there’s no subtitles for me to read :( I would love to know what he said, only if someone’s willing to transcribe it for me…

        As for race customization, I think part of the problem is balancing. But MoO 3 has race customization to an extent as well, but yeah, I don’t see many 4X games with that option.

        • timonio says:

          It’s just a suggestion but maybe you can try to learn lip read (or how you say it in English). Deaf people I know have learned to. Maybe you already can but have problems with bad quality or something or other reasons why you can’t. But if you can learn it might be very useful.

      • Adam Solo says:

        Sorry Zeraan. I completely forgot. He said this: “We wanted a game with a lot of emphasis on your design, and … the combining the technology in the way and the fashion you want to, and the trade-offs, make sure there’s some tradeoff and some … steps you have to do to achieve, to attain a technology, and that was the basis for Orion, and the methodology for building ships and combining technology and go out there and fight it. Everything else came on afterwards”

        To the question: “What was the original idea behind Master of Orion?”

      • Zeraan says:

        Thanks for writing what he said! That’s funny, because when I was thinking about how to do Beyond Beyaan, I realized that the most important parts of Master of Orion 1/2 was the ship designing and space combat where you see your ship designs in action. So I made sure to support technology scripts and related support for ship design so that space combat will be a joy because you’re seeing your designs in action.

        It’s nice to know that my thinking is on the right track :)

    • salvo says:

      you are right, Zeraan

      as gamers, we are probably all spoiled with graphics and overlook the real value of a game, the gameplay. That’s really one reason I didn’t back your project, in addition to financial constraints, as I have supported so many projects lately – not only games – on kickstarter that I have to hold off a bit

    • Sledge Hammer says:

      Thanks for pointing your game out. I will try the demo soon. MoO 2 is one of my favorite game.
      Although I admit im a little reluctant on trying these early alpha versions of games who want to reinvent my favorite games.
      Like towns which wants to reinvent Dwarf Fortress with Stonesense grafix.

      Ive seen your game on Desura some time ago, and found it quite interesting, but forgot about it again, unfortunately.

      What makes MoO 2 different than any other game for me is the following:
      You research nice technologies which you can add to your ships later and it does not just give x% more firepower but something unique. Every technology Item had its purpose, even at the end the just miniaturizing…
      And then use the crazy whorm hole generator yourself, is just so satisfying.

      The only downside was the lategame, the planet management took forever if you have lots of planets. And the combat with large fleets took forevership movement especially of the enemy was way too slow.

      Anyway keep up the good work, and I hope it will be closer to release soon!

    • zigzag says:

      @Zeraan Yes, it is almost entirely because of the art. Remember how quickly Endless Space was able to generate attention even though very little was actually known about the gameplay? (Yes, the design documents were available on the website, but they weren’t publicized, much less publicized to the same extent as the screen shots.)

    • Adam Solo says:

      @Zeraan
      For me Beyond Beyaan is successful at capturing ship design fun from MoO and space combat when it’s finished (because it’s almost identical, the models are very look alike).

      But there’s no race tradeoff customization (will there be?) and not enough races yet, and technology doesn’t work yet, and space combat is still a prototype right? And still you talk about being done with the game soon, and say that it’s more like a framework for others to pickup?

      I hope I’m not being perceived as harsh, it’s not my intention at all, you know me. I’m trying to help you figure out why you may not be as successful as you thought you would be at this point.

      People need something to play (you delivered that) but they need to feel confident that you will deliver a finished product in due time in order to invest in masses. It’s how kickstarter works right? You need something to show off and you need to show credibility that you’ll take the project till the end. I know you don’t ask a lot of money, but still people need to feel that they’re investing their money and time in something that will be very close to MoO. When you say “inspired in MoO” the stakes get VERY high!!

      I know, it’s hard, you do this as a hobby. And alone. I’m surprised you did so much already with so limited time. Less than 2 years development right?

      • Zeraan says:

        You’re absolutely correct. Looking at my game as another person, I realize that it does look far from complete. I think I may have been a bit too optimistic about being done soon. I’ve underestimated the amount of work that the last 10% would take. As someone once said of game development, “Last 10% is 90% of the work”.

        Yes, there will be race tradeoffs in my game. If all goes well, each race would have its own script which would mean more flexible customization (different growth formula for each race for example, or maybe a race preys on one particular race, etc). I hope the other features that will make the game playable (fully working space combat for example, or prompts for selecting a new tech to research) will be done soon, but I’m starting to accept the fact that I underestimated the amount of work required.

        As for being successful, that would be nice. But the main reason why I’m doing this is to create a new game similar to MoO 1/2, so that I can enjoy it myself! I hoped that I don’t sound like I’m complaining about the lack of support, I just wanted to show how much attention/support this kind of game has been getting, as a basis for why it’s so hard to create a game like MoO 2. I’ve “lost money” on the project, but for me, it’s a personal hobby. Just as building a furniture for your personal use would cost you money, this game is for me personally, but I want to share it with others.

        I think that may be part of the problem why it’s not so successful, people see it as a personal hobby, which it is, so it may generate a feeling that I may abandon it at any time just because I feel like it. I don’t see any way to change that except actually finishing the game.

        Perhaps if a team developed a game with nice 3D graphics and give that “professional vibe”, people would throw them money. Some people said that artwork for my game is the reason they’re holding back, and I can see why. They want MoO 2 with upgraded graphics, and I’m delivering a MoO 2 clone with same graphics, but with modding support, which isn’t what they want. I would love to support 3D assets in my game as an option, something that looks like StarDrive, but I lack the know-how and funds for hiring a 3D programmer, so I’m content with just 2D (and besides, I prefer 2D, it feels nostalgic).

        Don’t worry about being harsh, how can I improve if nobody tell me what I’m doing wrong? Your feedback is always welcome.

    • Nori says:

      Hey Zeraan,

      I just wanted to write you and say why I haven’t gotten your game yet.

      First off I believe I found out about your game at the beginning of the year from spacegamejunkie.com. Since then I’ve been visiting your blog at least weekly and reading your progress updates.

      So far I think the direction you are going with the game is great. I think you have a lot of good ideas and you are obviously dedicated and putting a lot of effort into it. I could see some people being turned off by the art style. There is nothing wrong with it not being 3d, I mean look at Terraria. It looks nice and is 2d… Anyway, I think the graphics are fine, I have no problem with them. In fact outside of some color variations I think it looks a lot like Moo2.. :)

      Now the reason I haven’t bought it yet is two fold. First off from a cursory look at the game it seems to have a ways to go before it is gameplay complete. That combined with the plethora of other games on my plate means I’d rather wait until it is in a more complete state. I do think the game will be pretty sweet though and I do plan on buying it. :) Keep up the hard work and try not to get discouraged.

      • Zeraan says:

        Glad to know that you like the game’s artwork! Yes, the game still have a lot to be done, but it’s getting there… :)

  7. gunnergoz says:

    I’d love to see MOO done right but was around to experience the enormous disappointment felt my many when the almost-was MOO3 came out amid great hopes and hoopla, only to prove itself to be full of bugs and balance issues, then quickly abandoned by its developers.

    If you are going to do a sequel to a great franchise, do it right or don’t do it at all. For an example of how not to do it, see the forums over at Jagged Alliance: Back in Action’s developer’s site.

  8. Kyle "Lordxorn" Rees says:

    @Zeraan You bring up the controversy that splits the community in half, and I think Adam’s own polls in the past have shown this, but tactical combat is very hard to design for.

    You lumped Distant Worlds into the same vein as Armada, however you just compared a real time game to a turn based game. Distant Worlds has RTS like combat, with ships you can design, but not as well done as MOOs. Armada’s combat was horrible in my opinion while the turn based game was brilliant.

    I think throwing in tactical combat, real time or turn based, is not the simple answer. We have to analyze what made MOO2’s tactical combat so fun? Perhaps I will write something up breaking down the elements within in MOOs tactical combat and why it is so fun. =)

    As far as a MOO4, I would have been simply happy with a MOO2 with updated graphics. This is why I think the whole community was really disappointed with MOO3, which completely tried to redefine the series.

    Quicksilver should have just given us MOO2 with better graphics, and add extra elements like more races. Simtex did the same from MOO to MOO2 by adding the Antarans which was fun.

    • Zeraan says:

      Simtex didn’t just add the races and antarans when going from MoO 1 to 2. They changed a lot of things. Some of the changes includes:

      No sliders, rather you control production by moving “population units”
      Food was added, and defense, environment, and industry was removed, as output options for planets.
      Replaced factories with unique buildings (this introduced a lot of changes just based on this change, such as improved production output with automated factory)
      Replaced stacked ships with single ships that can be customized/refitted
      added leaders
      Revamped the research tree completely

      And so forth. It wasn’t a simple “graphics upgrade” that you suggested, it was an overhaul. The only things that remained the same was the fact that it’s still turn-based, both in strategic aspect and space combat.

      MoO 3 was another overhaul, just as MoO 2 was, but it changed one major feature: turn-based space combat is now real-time “strategic” combat (you can’t control single ships, you can only control task forces)

      The reason I lumped the other games together was based on their space combat. I haven’t played those games, but I think I understand correctly that none of them have turn-based tactical combat.

      • Kyle "Lordxorn" Rees says:

        Well forgive me for not elaborating every detail changed, the point made was exactly true. Graphics and some small improvements. MOO2 was an improved MOO, and not completely changed like MOO3. I will have to respectfully disagree with your premise that MOO3 was an “overhaul’. Moo3 was a complete re-design, and failure to capture the essence of the first two. If Moo3 was released under a different name no one would have compared it with MOO.

        As far your comments on games you have never played, they features tactical combat but in real time. However, that is not an accurate statement either because Armada strategic layer was turn based, while Distant Worlds was fully real time.

  9. shizo says:

    i’d actually love to see a 2D moo4.
    One where is put alot of work into the 2d icons, ship graphics and effects overall. The combat system should be the one from moo2, ship design similiar, but maybe also a rpg like elements beside the science tree.
    Ship Design should be like the old one, or maybe like gratious space battles.
    I’d love to have a threat like the antarans again and the exclusive technologies they offered, bringing some mystery and a greater picture to the galaxy as u explore it.

    btw moo3 with all patches+fanpatches+ultima orion was well balanced and good to play actually.

  10. TheSisko says:

    My guess is they want fancy graphics to go with it. I have to admit that i am in that category too… I grew up with stuff that wasnt much more advanced then pong from a purely visual point of view. I do however have games like battlefield 3 or to keep it in the space sector ( pun intended ) sword of the stars that have really high fidelity graphics.

    For me it mostly looks like it really is to much to ask to have great gameplay AND great graphics together in the same game, especially in the 4x area. People do expect a certain level of ..hm ..awesomeness when flying around with a fleet of spaceships and blowing stuff up. Even old dudes like me.. or especially old dudes like me who dont want to be thrown back 20 years but want to experience the sci-fi games in the sci-fi graphics they dreamed of when they where kids.

    I understand that the level of awesome I want is probably really prohibitive cost/manpower wise especially for a indie game, nonetheless I really have problems to overlook ancient graphics in a brand new game, even if the gameplay itself would be Gods gift to the gaming community.

  11. Brian Rubin says:

    This would have to be approached the same was as one might approach a Master of Magic remake, i.e. VERY carefully. MoO and MoO2 are highly beloved games in the genre, and I think any kind of new sequel or remake would need:

    1. People involved with the original project.
    2. People who understood what made the original games great.
    3. An understanding that this sort of project should fix what didn’t work and keep what did, not trying to reinvent the wheel.
    4. NOT people who want to make a first person shooter. ;)

    So yeah, it’s a very tricky question. While I’d love to see a new MoO game, I’d be VERY wary of it at first unless it had all of these elements in place from the beginning, and even then I’d still wait and see.

  12. Ermdog says:

    I would for sure support a project for a new MoO. They would have to stay to the MoO2 roots though. I still desire much new content and new things, but I wouldn’t want them to veer from what made MoO2 successful

  13. dayrinni says:

    The first step would be to see the status of the IP.

    (Assuming we could even get the IP…)The next step would be to come up with a basic design/business plan that is directly related to MoO2 to be pitched to Atari. I think, a modernized MoO2 would be the best way to go. When I say modernized, I mean graphics, quality of life improvements (due to having better technologies available to developers), tweak-age of features, and possibly an improved story/event system to allow for slightly more dynamic game play. The game should be similiar to MoO2, and someone who played that, should immediately think to themselves “WoW this is like MoO2, but better!”. The best way to achieve this is to use the features and philosophies that were used.

    The third step would be to get cash. Lots of it.

    Then execute!

    The main starting point issue is the IP.

    • Adam Solo says:

      I think we all slowly start to agree that we want a MoO4 that is very similar to MoO2 but with improved graphics. That sentence is key “WoW this is like MoO2, but better!” Now it would be a question of finding out what else we should improve/enhance (late game boredom).

      So, your proposal is to get a very good design/business plan and then go pitch Atari. They say, “let’s do it!” And then what? Who leads the design and development of the thing? Who shows face and goes to kickstarter ask for 1M bucks?

      In the traditional model the idea comes from the mind of a single dev team, they propose something and commit to it, the community hears and agrees or not to fund. Here we have a big community, but who represents the community? We create some kind of Republic? Orion’s Republic. And then in this community we elect a dev team from a series of candidates and that’s the team and shows face for the project? I’m just thinking loud.

      • dayrinni says:

        The design and business plan would have all of the positions and developers listed in it. This would include all of the money aspect, and so on and so forth.

  14. zigzag says:

    Step 1. Plot to take advantage of the fragmentation of the international trademark system.

    Step 2. File an intent to use application for “Master of Orion” in Kenya.

    Step 3. Move to Kenya.

    Step 4. ???

  15. Cristo says:

    Hello,

    I dont even know where to start. I guess i will be sleeping with eyes wide open this night.
    One of the bigger problems is that alot of people will have ideas and it will be impossible to find a common path so the only real way i can imagine is to create something like a clone of moo2 with up to date technology and with slight improvements to the various parts of the game if at all.

    For me and i think its the majority that likes moo2 the game is turn based tactical combat with custom ship design. I am sorry if i missed a game that is mentioned in this thread that has this feature but aslong as its not done i am not the kind of person to pay in advance except if its Master of Orion.
    I dont mind other changes or improvements but the basic things have to be in and can be tuned a little. the trick is to keep it little so everybody can identify the root and whoever will pay for “Moo4 project” wants to see the root in the finished product.

    i could write a lot more and and on detail about what i have in mind how to start the project but this thread might not be the place for endless text.
    Anyway….

    * Replayability by custom universe options – the new project could have more of them compared to moo2. a feature that can only be better with more options so it is hard to fail and find no common ground within the comunity.
    * custom race abilities – the new project could have a few more ofc.
    * tactical turn based combat – a point that should not be up for discussion really. There are tons of RTS games and we talk about moo4 here. IF we are talking about a sequal to starcraft it wouldnt be about turn based combat either.
    * shipleaders – can have improved or updated or simply same value like in moo2. i dont even care and i can imagine a lot people would have good ideas. fact is people need to relaxe when the list of features that should be included starts else nothing will happen.
    * systemleaders – same
    * food, industry, research, command points, cash – i am unsure. the original idea is nice and i fear this part can be talked to death and changed until nobody sees moo2 anymore but it can become deeper.
    * research – can be more ballanced. should have 3 or 4 or 5? options to choose from while all 3 would have an impact on the way you play.
    * diplomacy – well, it can have more options. i think there are games available that are a bit better on that subject.
    * graphics – i dont really care ? who does really care? aslong as i see more modern detailed gfx it can be in 2d or 3d. the pronounciation is on turn based tactical combat!!!! the ships are of more importance. the game can have an option to allow player created gfx designs or something similar. i am thinking about the poor looks of doomstars for example ;) i liked some of the battleship designs but not all i admit. nowadays there could be really cool military badass looking shipmodels.
    * AI – i liked the solo play eventhough if you really digged in to the game the AI wasnt a big challenge. it mostly played unfair but a reasonable improvement to the AI should be realistic in 2012.
    * custom events – yay why not keeping it.

    i think at start it is important to have a list of exactly these things and each subject with more details. then people know what they signed for. It will need a clear, strict moderation and structure and it might help to have a forum with subforums for it so subjects can be seperated. everything shouldnt be discussed to death either. the group of developers should do something for their cash too ;)

    @adam i am following your blog since it started really and you might remember me giving you heads up when there was tons of spam on the forum telling you to not give up etc.
    for all the old players that know the beginning of the genre with stars,spaceempires, spaceward’ho, Moo1, moo2, acendancy and the tons of names i forgot now i think we all have something in common. we never forgot moo2. its still on my harddrive ready to play with the fanpatch, dosbox emulator and so on. there is a playerbase reading your blog which is unique anyway and you would have the chance to unit them. sure it is pretty easy for developers preseting their game and ask for support and it is alot harder to do it the other way around with alot of people having wishes but i am the first to say if it stays turn based custom ship design and looks like moo2 then i am all fine. somebody has to take the lead and pull people back on track when the ideas/wishes get out of hand.

    this could be the deeper meaning of your blog ;)

    • Adam Solo says:

      Yes, the major pitfall is if people get in the endless loop of talking to death about things and then nothing is done. But, that’s not a problem as long as there’s a lot of voting. And, I have a feeling that people who played MoO and MoO2 share a very narrow point of view of what they want. Probably it’s easier to reach consensus as we think.

      I remember you Cristo. Yes, we have never forget about MoO2. But many of us also didn’t forget about Birth of the Federation or Space Empires IV, Stars, Ascendancy. But yes, many agree that MoO and MoO2 were special among the specials.

      Yes, the devs->goto->community->and ask for $$ -> works. But Community->goes to devs with a lot of ideas is tricky and what devs? Who commits? It’s a much different and new thing.

      Soon, after many more have expressed their thoughts we could start voting on the core features. I’m convinced that we all agree at least in 3 key core features that made Master of Orion great. I think it will be easy, let’s see.

      About taking the lead, I wouldn’t mind to take it if people want. But I’m not more entitled than you to decide what made MoO and MoO2 great in order to replicate it. So, I see a leadership in this context as a very democratic one. There can be a group of people leading, moderating but in the end all people have the same rights and would express such rights by voting everything. At least that’s one possibility.

  16. Adam Solo says:

    Two of other possible roadmaps:

    (using the X-COM example, which is a real example we have for comparison)

    1. Remake / Reimagining – PROJECT_ORION (Xenonauts model)
    a) Take the original core elements and replicate them
    b) Enhance aesthetics (with state of the art graphics, sound and music)
    c) Improve original pitfalls (late game tedium: space battles and planetary management)
    d) Possibly add more multiplayer options
    e) 100% community-based project
    f) A professional dev team is hired (or assembled)
    g) Kickstarter funding model

    2. Sequel – Master of Orion IV (XCOM: Enemy Unknown model)
    a) Entity backed by Atari OR IP bought from Atari (entity created after funds raised)
    b) Entity composed of ex Simtex/Microprose people and others elected by the community
    Example: Steve Barcia or others he recommends (if they want to join)
    c) People decide if they want a straight remake or something different, and more bold

    Is just me or the difference from 1. to 2. is just the name? If Goldhawk made it for X-COM: UFO Defense why can’t another entity do the same for Master of Orion?

    What do you guys think? Was this exercise useful? Is there another preferable road?

  17. caekdaemon says:

    People will probably think I’m insane for what I am about to say.

    I prefer MoO3 over MoO2. I played MoO2, and I did not enjoy it at all, and I loved 4x games, going back through Imperium Galactica and Galactic Civilizations.

    Eventually, my brother bought me Master of Orion 3 for Christmas. I could not turn him down, that would be rude. So I installed the game, and I loved it. It ranks as 2nd in my list of 4x games, the first of which is Imperium Galactica.

    • Adam Solo says:

      I don’t see any problem in using the best things of MoO3 into the new Master of Orion. The majority of people prefer MoO2 over MoO3 but nothing stops us from taking some good things from MoO3 and stick it in the new MoO.

      But probably many people can disagree. Because the argument is that MoO and MoO2 are more cohesive and MoO3 is seen as “new design”. Let’s see what others have to say.

  18. eleazar says:

    Before you start over from scratch, take a look at what we’re doing over at FreeOrion, an open source project:
    http://www.freeorion.org/index.php

    Everyone has their own opinion about what the good parts of MoO were, but if you think MoO2 and a bit too much micromanagement, and MoO3 had *way* too much, FreeOrion might be your kind of re-imagined MoO. We’re trying hard to eliminate the minor tweaking, and give the player only significant choices.

    We’re still in what you might call an early alpha stage– it’s playable but very incomplete. Check us out– we could use some more hands.

    And for those wanting to go a different direction, i don’t think the fact that Atari owns the IP is much of a problem. MoO’s strength is not it’s IP, story, or characters. The MoO name grabs attention, but “Space-Game Foo — inspired by MoO” grabs almost as much attention.

    • Cristo says:

      Hey eleazar,

      i visited Freeorion some time ago. The problem for me though is that it is a hobby for the developers to work on the programming and all this but the hobby to me is to play a finished product. How long is it now? 10 years and its ver 0.4 (0.6 to go still) so without beeing brilliant in math it will take like another 10 years at least. Its not ment offensive. i respect the work that you guys put in but as i have said my hobby is to play that stuff not to watch others develop it for years. i think and others can correct me here the idea is to have free independant developers that are payed for a project that can be finished within max 3 years better half of that time who at best dont have dayjobs or treat that project as their dayjob until its done i think. its same as http://openmoo2.org/en/. i am tired waiting and then people jump ships cause their life situation changed totaly and they do other things which also happened to freeorion devs if i am not wrong here. i gave up following alot stuff cause there is no realistic timeframe for me at least. Beside as far as i know i want full tactical turn based combat like moo2 not moo3 ordered half cinematic whatever that should have been. less to none RTS is a plus.

      • eleazar says:

        No offense taken. FreeOrion hasn’t broken any speed records. That’s largely a function of having few active contributors at any given time.

        I’m not asking everyone to sit around and rely on FO to create the next MoO.

        My point was, if your vision of the MoO successor coincides with ours, why not instead of trying to start a new project, come on over and help us finish this one.

        The scripting language is reaching a maturity so that the less technical (like me) can add/adjust a lot of kinds of content. The major differences you’ll notice when 0.5 comes out will largely be new/improved content, not code.

    • farcodev says:

      It’s always a recurrent problem in the open source scene, and also the indie scene, too much projects with the same goal or same inspiration are started and that scatter the resources and workforce.
      Cristo did a good post, but all these subjects were been already battered to death in the FreeOrion forums.

  19. Nick West says:

    Maybe we start with something we can all agree on, like kickstarting for a video of the MOO3 game designers getting punched in the gut. I’d pay a good $5 for that.

    • David Carron says:

      Welcome to the MOO4 Kickstarter!

      At 5$ we will send you a video of the MOO3 designers being smacked.
      At the 50$ level we will send you one of them being kicked.
      At $500 you can get your own kicks in.
      At the $5000 level we will even supply you with steel-toed shoes…

      (dibs on 5k for me.)

  20. Adam Solo says:

    So, are we all ready by now? What are your key Master of Orion features? The ones that made MoO and MoO2 so distinct? The ones you crave when you check a new space 4X game with MoO in mind (don’t worry, you can change your mind and edit later :) )

    • Adam Solo says:

      -> race trade-offs customization (bonuses / malus)
      -> ship design (arc, cost, modifications, shield, armor, drive, specials, …)
      -> turn-based tactical combat
      -> leaders / XP

    • Bynaus says:

      -> full race customization, no race-specific techs (which always struck me as implausible: you build a star empire, but you can’t get techs that others have?)
      -> it’s the ships, stupid! :) MoO2 was really about ships, designing them, building them, sending them around to explore and into battle. Turn-based tactical combat certainly also fits in here.
      -> backstory, events, leaders, monsters (one could do without the rather cheesy “space monsters”, but the concept of having suprises, traps, ancient history jumping at you (or your ships…) and the like on the map is intrigueing)

      For a new MoO game, esp. if its “indie”, I would say customization / modability would be an absolute must.

    • Sledge Hammer says:

      – Shipsssss – research, design, group in fleets, control in battle
      .
      .
      .
      – Planets – colonize, buildings, terraforming, ground combat, weapon platforms, convert gas giants or asteriods into planets
      – Space news
      – many races (+ custom)
      – Diplomacy
      – free roam without fixed routes
      – biiiig tech tree

  21. beml says:

    ok first of all moo2 is one of my all time fav’s, its what got me into turn based strategy, before that i was a westwood punk lol ;)

    I must say i also liked moo3 but only after mods and fixes, and after “getting it” as in its a different game. ive been trying to like as much as i did moo2, but i never could. now i understand why.

    you guys have really made some excellent points, and although i haven’t read them all i think i now understand why i liked moo2 so much.

    1) you’re guys comments about, using techs, trade offs and tough choices, combined with seeing the results up close and personal are spot on.

    I would like to add that for me the whole point of the game’s appeal was that i felt so satisfied to own big ass ships with the most advanced and kick ass techs around! It felt as if i started from dinky row boats at first, to mega murdering ass handing space hulks! and yes tactical combat was a part of it.

    BUT i think the point is that the turn base combat was not the fun part, it was very tedious for me. i loved the tactical part, and loved to see the weapon effects going back and forth. but with decent fleet on each side you were in for a long long long battle.

    I DO think the appeal came from how intimate we felt with each ship, it mattered when i lost one! almost as if it was a real ship lost in battle, so much work went into each ship, from gaining the right research, to making sure you have that super industrious world, to stealing that certin tech. heck even to choosing the right race picks.

    every choice we made in game was to get that new ship into battle to try it out… and when you find the right combo and use the design to win the huge battle against the rival empire, you feel pride, it all came together in that perect ship/fleet. then when you finished the first rival you plan the next design in anticipation of the same satisfaction, only with a bigger badder hull and better techs to boot :D

    And that brings me to moo3 (also SOASE and distant legends for that matter), as mentioned have some nice gameplay choices, but i dont give a shit about the ships!!! so why play in space at all?!?! am i right guys?

    Think about “Nexus: The Jupiter Incident” it was buggy at time and had a difficult interface, skidish mission design, but i endured it all in order to keep getting more ships to my modest fleet and using them to epically move to space ship warfare victory!!

    2) Story – The Orions as a common enemy, and master villians who pray on the weak empire’s with superior technology! i loved that at first i was like wtf?! these guys are so strong! go pick on someone your own size. but little by little, i learned more tricks and strategies, i restarted and restarted until i made them pay!! oh and felt so good to invade they’re homeworld and treat them with some of they’re own medicine (literally stole techs from captured ships) no other 4x space game has captured this since (afaik)

    3) Repeatability – i guess this is not really specific, more a result of everything coming together in a game. we didnt have multilayer, diplomacy was very basic, but we played again and again and again. and loved it :) imagine how good it would be with thise things!!!! omfg

    • Adam Solo says:

      I agree with basically everything you’ve said but I disagree slightly on your SoaSE assessment that we “don’t give a shit about the ships”. Maybe you don’t give a shit about smaller ships in SoaSE but capital ships are absolutely brilliant and gorgeous to build, play and watch in battles, and there’s a good layer of choice in those ships as they level up and have special powers. So, you feel that your decisions (colonize one more planet, build more extractors, build more defenses, invest more in tech, etc, etc) have a strong outcome on your ability to make these super ships. The new class Titan in Rebellion should enhance this even more. So, in my view, Stardock was listening and knows their game well. A bit part of Sins fun comes from the ships, but the big ones.

      In Distant Worlds I think your point is a bit more sound. I don’t really give much importance to ships but it is equally nice to see them use new weapons, fighters, repair modules, hard shields, etc. The same with starbases. But I don’t have as much fun as in MoO2 because you don’t have as much control since ships fight in real-time.

      I think you make a good point on “Story”. It’s not as crucial as other aspects perhaps but having a good backstory helps on immersion. The race were the Antarans by the way, not Orions :), a small imprecision. But the fact that you have two super races called the Orions and Antarans helps create a sense of awe. Little is known about the Orions but we know they were super advanced. But they disappeared mysteriously and left a guardian defending Orion. The Antarans (their arch rivals) seem to be as powerful. Lore says that the Orions have imprisoned the Antarans in a pocket world but they seem to have found a way to escape that. Now the Orions seem to be no more (really?) and the Antarans were vanquished by our superior strategy. Perhaps this backstory could continue in MoO4 (or MoO remake).

      The replayability comes from many things but as you say the most important thing is really because we loved to play the game. It’s hard to crack exactly what makes replayability so strong. I would say that the race trade-offs help a lot to this because there is a huge amount of different play style combinations you can achieve with them. REAL differences with implications. For instance Klackons uncreative ability would allow them only one random tech while Psylons would unlock all techs of a group, AND you would be allowed to choose one tech of a group of 2 or 3 each time you breakthrough a tech if you’re neither creative or uncreative.

      See what just happened? 1 trait (creativity) unlocked 3 completely different playing experiences. And MoO2 had tons of different meaningful trade-offs like these. I’m surprised that no space 4X game since MoO2 has used this “race trade-off with meaningful implications in game’s strategy” model. At least from what I remember no one has, but if you want to try an (almost) space 4X game called 10 Min Space Strategy (free!) you will have some of these to play with and then you tell me if that’s not important to have in a space 4X game. Looks like StarDrive is going to have that by the way. But, endless space doesn’t. And that’s a big minus for ES in my view. Meaningful and charismatic races? Good. Can’t customize my own race or at least tweak the predefined races traits? Bad.

    • zigzag says:

      @beml @Adam I think it’s fair to say that individual ships are less individually meaningful in SOASE than in MOO2 in the sense that they are much smaller investments in time and resources. I personally prefer games like MOO2 (or even Rebellion/Supremacy) in which ships are expensive, especially in terms of the time required to build them.

      • Adam Solo says:

        Not really zigzag. Capital ships in Sins are meaningful. In fact they are the battle queens in the sense that you only have a small bunch of them available and can’t afford to lose them most of the times. I have a sense that capital ships in SoaSE are not that easy/fast to come by, but as Sins is an RTS it always suffer from the same thing all RTS suffer, which is that usually things happen much quicker than in TBS games. And now in Sins Rebellion you even have a level further up, the Titans, that are colossal sized ships, those for sure very meaningful.

        Many of us don’t “give a shit about the ships in SoaSE” or other space games because those games don’t offer ship design, and so we don’t design the ships and we don’t identify so much with them. However that’s another story. Sins capital ships and Titans work because they are charismatic, interesting, big and gorgeous, but that has nothing to do with the topic at hand, that is the ability to design your ships and have control on how and when you use them. That Sins can’t offer while MoO2 is master at it.

      • zigzag says:

        @Adam I didn’t mean that capital ships weren’t meaningful in SOASE — although this has been true at various competitive levels at various points in the games development, e.g. before carriers and long-range frigates were nerfed. I just meant that, as you correctly pointed out, they’re easier to come by since SOASE is a real-time game and time expenditures are measured in minutes and not hours.

        Ships design is interesting. It doesn’t matter too much to me one way or the other. I’ve enjoyed games that offer it and games that don’t (SOASE, Armada, Conquest Wars, etc.), including more expansive 4x games (Rebellion/Supremacy again).

      • Adam Solo says:

        Well, as a matter of fact you didn’t say that SoaSE ships we not meaningful yes, you said that they were less meaningful than MoO2. But even there I’m not sure. Unless you want to reduce the argument only to how much time it takes to build a ship. I’m ok with RTS games that abstract that to you, as long as ships are costly I don’t have a big issue with capital ships taking 1 minute to build.

        Like you, I also like games that don’t offer ship design, it’s really not a must for me, although I do enjoy a good ship design system. Like the one in Star Ruler, MoO2 or GalCiv2. But I also like SoaSE and Armada that don’t offer ship design.

        Who didn’t like Rebellion? Well, perhaps many people, but Rebellion was indeed special. I would love to see it on GOG one day, just for old times sake.

      • zigzag says:

        @Adam Heh heh. Who didn’t like Rebellion? Probably everyone besides us and the folks over at swrebellion.com. I really would like to see another character-driven 4x game at some point. A Game of Thrones: Genesis comes the closest to this, at least in theory, but doesn’t capture Rebellion’s winning combination of low polygon models and tedious, window-based interface design.

      • dayrinni says:

        Man I LOVED Rebellion. I would go crazy playing it, haha.

      • Adam Solo says:

        @zigzag
        :)
        The “most disappointing game award” in gamestop of his time. Not entirely bad, could be “worst game of the year”. But no, far from that. Well, those were other times. I hope Lucas Arts does another 4X game, but with Empire at War (light-4X) probably they will not be doing another one so soon.

        I’ll bet you that almost all 4X gamers that played Star Wars: Rebellion have it in a special place in their hearts ;) Star Wars 4X? How could that be bad?

      • zigzag says:

        @Adam Unfortunately, I don’t think that LucasArts will be willing to take on any risky projects in the future. They really shouldn’t be in this position since the Star Wars brand is a license to print money.

        I missed your earlier reply to on the trademark issue. I’ll reply to that here. Stardock and Atari were close to a deal, but the negotiations collapsed because of Atari’s demands on compliance and code ownership. (http://www.gameshark.com/features/741/p_0/Elemental-War-of-Magic-Q&A-with-Brad-Wardell.htm) I don’t know enough about Atari’s current business and legal practices to comment on whether this would be an issue. However, I do think that you’re right that it would be impracticably difficult, if not impossible, to secure the Master of Orion license.

        Xenonauts is an interesting example. It’s one of the most conservative remakes of any title. I think one of the more underappreciated aspects of game design is that this amount of conservatism is hard to achieve. Creativity is hard to stifle. Yet, when approaching a game like MOO2 that does so much right, it’s absolutely necessary that this be done. I am skeptical that any developer remaking or reimagining MOO2 would be willing or able to do this. The use of the MOO trademark (although unlikely) could assist in encouraging this kind of conservatism.

  22. Cristo says:

    After reading bemls reply it hit me like lightning.
    In Sins capital ships do have value and you can level them up so adam has a point but it wasnt that obvious to me why i was so in to moo2 ships aswell.
    In fact you lvl up moo2 ships too via the experience of the crew plus on top of that you had the chance to hire shipleaders to make some of those ships unique.

    I am really surprised and shocked on how moo2 did so many things secretly correct and i only come across to notice that when i am really thinking about it 15 years later.

    • Adam Solo says:

      Yes, just amazing. And like you said it’s amazing the ton of things MoO2 did right that we are still discovering today. Is Steve Barcia a genius or was he lucky? Don’t think luck plays that much of a big factor here. That’s what happens when you have extremely talented people working on their passions, sometimes even at the side. Steve did mention to love all things scifantasy. These people can do wonders next to full time job people that do forced work. And that’s why the bet on the indie community is a sure one. Give these people the opportunity and they will do wonders. Sid was no fool to hire this man. Sid is no fool.

  23. beml says:

    First of love the site Adam, keep u the good work!

    You are right about SoaSE, i have enjoyed playing the game, and yes the Capital ships are awesome. but at the end it still feels like a “Cheat”. Your involvmeant in designing the beloved Capitol ships is very very minimal. Only choosing different skills at level up and at level 10 u max out all the skills. It is a simple and effective tool, but it feels shallow after a time.

    Combined with the small ships that are hard to manage in battle in big numbers, battles tend to get a bit boring for me.

    Im still not convinced that turn based battles are the way to go imho. We are talking about a space game after all. That means big to bigass fleets from mid game onwards. Giving each ship commands will be quite tedious. I’ve been replaying X-com EU, and i like using 14 soldiers instead of 10+tank, and i love the tactical aspect of battles, but it can be a bit tiresome to command each and every one of them, especially attacking bases or big ships, where there is a lot of opponents.

    Of course some people would love the idea of commanding a fleet of 100 ships against 100 more, in turn based tactical combat, but that would take the hours, if not days! so u can make it less ships per battle, but in my eyes this hurts the immersion of being a huge galactic empire.

    So I would like to see big fleets duking it out in game, preferably in 3d (doesn’t have to be top notch graphics, homeworld did that perfectly), I would like to see the 3d aspect be apart of the tactics involved (3d pincer attacks? yes please).

    2nd Several Ship classes (from corvette to Leviathan or beyond?) with the player influencing the techs and make ups of the ships, giving reason to pump up research for that new weapons tech to destroy are opponents.

    3rd Make it a big deal to make the very big ships, I think SoaSE did this very well with the upkeep system. I want my capitol ships to be unique amongst my fleet, to be the best and the biggest in the galaxy.

    How to do it? hell i dont know. I think Homeworld is a good example of a space battle in real time while still being fun. But it was less tactical than other games, so maybe slow its down a bit, and add the ability to pause during battle a la baldurs gate.

    Or the game would give us control of the big ships(or just the flag ship) giving commands to the AI destroyers and cruisers while manning the battle ship.

    Also there was a time that a Honorverse online game was in development, It had and idea about all battle being controlled by the AI (like using a leader like an Admiral). The cool thing was that you would have a simulation called “The Crusher” where you would ‘Teach’ your tactics to the commanding officers what tactics to use, and what style of battle to conduct. you could play out hundreds of scenarios in it with the ship designs you currently posses without using up any ships. But the real battles would be under your commanders captains and admirals against the other guy’s fleet. sounds hard to implement, but it could be a solution to lots of battle over a vast empire.

    This post made me realize that the whole reason i loved moo2 so much was the different ways (industry, techs, race choices, planets, strategy, ship design, ect) the player could achieve one goal, build your ‘dream’ ships to annihilate the enemy. try to remember your face after using the planet destroyer on an enemy planet!! thats what its all about. That in the presentation in moo2, the story, art, customization,(like you said the trade offs are important for this) all make it the classic that its is.

  24. Bynaus says:

    Regarding the original question: I would be ready to “pre-buy” a worthy successor of MoO2, perhaps in several steps, i.e. chip in some money so that this could be done, if an organization with a credible claim to develop it should arise. Of course, getting Steve Barcia to take a chief designer position, and acquiring the license from Atari would go a very long way building up that credibility.

    The safest approach in my view would be to just upgrade MoO2 to 1) modern (i.e., 3D) graphics, 2) modability and 3) a few candies like new races (e.g., the ones from MoO3 plus a few more), maybe colonizable moons and the like. I think, everybody can agree on that.

    But of course, if there was a big project website with many MoO1/2 fans, additional upgrades could be discussed and decided on until a prefixed date when actual developement starts, but always with the thought in mind that the more the new game evolves away from MoO2, the smaller the support base might get. Later, that same site could provide player-contributed mods and extensions, which could then be included in official extensions.

    • Adam Solo says:

      Yes, I think we are all getting to the same page here. For a MoO4 project (or MoO2 remake project) to kickstart properly you would need a credible organization behind. Original developers involvement some how would be a good plus with the cherry on the top of the cake being the acquisition of a Master of Orion license from Atari (as buying the IP itself you probably be insanely prohibitive, but a license probably would be ok).

      Anyone knows anyone at Atari? :) Or perhaps is a friend of Steve Barcia? If you could bring Steve here it would be an insanely fortunate day. I’m sure everyone (Steve included) would have a good time.

  25. MayPlayer says:

    What about http://www.morethegame.com ?
    It looks promising enough to be next MOO2..

    • Adam Solo says:

      Hi MayPlayer, good to see you here.

      The original idea for this article was to push for a new true sequel to Master of Orion (a MoO4) or a remake/reimagined title, something like XCOM: Enemy Unknown is with respect to the original X-COM: UFO Defense. The original idea was therefore to push for a true new Master of Orion game, Master of Orion 4.

      MORE looks very promising and probably it will be the closest we will get to Master of Orion mechanics any time soon, though there are other titles that may be running for the title of the “next MoO2”, like Star Lords for example.

      Being it a remake, reimagined version, true sequel, clone or inspired by title we need a new space 4X game that makes us feel like we did when we played Master of Orion 2. MORE is one possibility.

    • Tirasleen says:

      The game should have the same spirit, gameplay and atmosphere as moo2.

      And up to this day, i never expierenced a worthy successor.

  26. Jerry says:

    I support MOO4 100%, Only if they keep the same game play. All they need to do is turned ground combat and space combat to Real 3D fighting where the user will have control over the fighting: imagine something like Uncharted 3 fighting combat for space and ground. More Race, technology, even multiplayer, more leaders.

    We all have to admit that the came play of MOO2 is what so Awesome! If they can just make the keep the game play the same, but just upgrade everything to this generations game, that would be so cool.

    This is one of my best game ever! I still play MOO2 even right now. They needs to upgrade it to this generations technology.

    • Tirasleen says:

      100% TBS please no real time action. But simmultaneous turns are, ok to speed up the action.

  27. Bob Eaton says:

    I loved Masters of Orion II it’s my favorite game of all time would like to see a Master of Orion 4. Version 3 I didn’t enjoy because the planets constantly changed the levels of growth and had to be constantly changed back. Also new planets you couldn’t control till later on and sometimes lost them without doing anything to them. Combat scenes were pretty good though. Bring on 4

  28. Floyd says:

    Master of Orion II was the best. I would be very interested in see a 4th installment. I did not enjoy the 3rd installment but still bought in hopes that it would somehow be better than what my friends told me about it. I could give plenty of my opinions on how to do what but really what it comes down to here is weather I would pay to own it and I would. If you look at the community this game still has after all these years, the gaming industry has to know the fanboys are going to support it as long as they don’t tank it. :)

  29. Mogens Laursen says:

    GET MOO4 on KICKSTARTER NOW :o)
    Imagine a game that combines CIV and MOO!! First settle the world – then the universe <3<3<3

  30. Tirasleen says:

    After the decay of Bioware and bankruptcy of Timegate studios(developing the kohan strategy games) i wondered about simtex again. That dev studio simply disappeared after the big success that master of orion 2 was – it was so disturbing and uncalled for at that time. Well, it was due to the problems microprose had in that time, i guess.

    However, Steve Barcia never created another company to continue his TBS games, isn’t it? Like Sid Meyer wo created Firaxis and bought back his civ franchise from microprose/atari.

    Seems Steve Barcia had retired after moo2 for good. But maybe he changed his mind, as so many years passsed and is ready to return, it would be about time.

    There is not only a quite dedicated fanbase about moo2, but of master of magic, “mom”, as well. you know, age of wonders is based on mom and its totally TBS and the aow3 is about to be released at the end of this year after over 10 years when TS made aow2. They found big money support in a mine craft dev, too, Markus Perrson aka “Notch”. Since he likes TBS games based on mom, he probably likes moo, too.

    The moo franchise however, would be in a healthier shape, if moo3 never happened. Seems like this game was the killing blow to the franchise. Many fans did not like it and it wasn’t a commercial success, too. I mean this easily makes to contine this franchise more difficult and risky now.

    I am actually very interested, if someone is able to contact Steve Barcia and asks him what he thinks about moo3 and if he would like to participate in a moo4 sequel, that is hopefully more inspired by moo2, but still not just a facelift of it.

    The last news i heard about Steve Barcia was, that he worked for EA. But he really should develop TBS games again, especially with the fresh air coming with aow3 that is a bit related(inspired) by his works.

    • Adam Solo says:

      I tried to reach him. Tried LinkedIn, what I thought was his personal profile and tried to contact a company where I think he worked via facebook, but I didn’t get any feedback.

      I agree with your point of view regarding why there was no MoO4 and that Steve would do a great service if he decided to get back to turn-based, being MoO or MoM. Well, at least he would do a huge fan service, if it’s good for him personally at this stage or not, only he knows.

      Steve Barcia, like Sid Meier, is a gaming legend. I suspect he knows that by now but if he doesn’t know, then for gods sake someone quickly convince him of that. I mean, he’s one of the fathers of the best turn-based games as we know them to be: Heroes of Might & Magic and Age of Wonders series from MoM, and, basically almost every space 4X game after MoO.

      We need Steve to design more games. What is Sid waiting for? Hire the man again and let him do whatever he wants. Ha ok, Firaxis is owned by 2K and subsequently owned by Take-Two.

      Then, found a game studio of his own and label it: “We do the best turn-based games”.

      I sincerely hope to get a chance to contact or interview Steve Barcia in the near future and have a chance to ask him in person why hasn’t he done this already.

  31. Tirasleen says:

    Hey thanks for the quick reply!

    Yeah, it would be good to hear something of Steve…he is a bit hiding and thus hard to catch, i suppose. ;)

    In the meanwhile i found this interesting dev history of him:

    http://www.n-sider.com/personnelview.php?personnelid=1292

    Not sure, if the article is serious when they state moo2 lacked the spirit of moo1 and mom and just had stunning graphics. Thats funny to hear in the year 2013.
    And Steve Barcia was never involved in moo2. Looks like bad propaganda.

    But maybe there are other lead designers of moo2 to contact, too?

    Didn’t know Steve was involved in Metroid: Prime during 2003.

    Well, the future of tbs fantasy gaming is secured with aow3, but i get nervous about actually science fiction tbs gaming, the ones i tried after moo2, where disappointing, but i did not try hard, though.

    • Adam Solo says:

      In 1996, the sequel Master of Orion 2: Battle at Antares was released. Unfortunately the game — though quite enjoyable and visually stunning — didn’t deliver the magic of the previous games in the series. Coincidentally or not, Steve Barcia was not involved in the title first-hand.” from this source.

      What?? Now I didn’t see that one coming :) Actually, I do love the original MoO, and consider it one of the best games ever, but MoO2 was great as well. Probably not many know about the original Master of Orion’s brilliance though.

      Steve Barcia not involved first-hand? How so? He’s credited in the Design section (in the Manual), along with Ken Burd.

      I’m surprise to read that, and it could be bad publicity as you say. Steve is not credited in MoO2’s Programming section though while he was in the original MoO’s. But, I guess he had more boss duties by then :)

      Regarding future of TBS sci-fi after MoO2. Well, we would have a lot to talk about but I would say Sid Meier’s Alpha Centauri, Star Trek: Birth of the Federation, GalCiv2, Space Empires IV (to an extent) after that. But, they are a bit old by now yes. Newer ones you have Armada 2526 Gold Edition, a good TBS in my opinion (the strategic part). But now, only Endless Space is attempting the feat. We’ll see soon enough how good it really is (we should have a re-review up in one or two weeks).

      • Tirasleen says:

        As to the article stating steve never participated in moo2 i say only:

        Never trust the internets.

        Its not something they can proove easily.

        yeah, well Alpha Centauri is one of my favorites and i own the game, but its not the same as moo. Just a planet to colonize not a universe, no space combat, ship design anything like that.

        Tried GalCiv2, but it didn’t work for me.

        during the mid 90ies we had great options….there was civ2 and moo2, to choose from…..i never knew what to play cause both games were so good. But in the end my favorite was moo2.

        Thanks for to suggestions, though. Will look into it, after my nostalgica rage is over. :)

        • Adam Solo says:

          Yea, I know what you mean about Alpha Centauri. It’s not a space 4X like MoO2, it’s a sci-fi “planetary” 4X like Civ. I included it because I took your “sci-fi TBS” reference literally, and SMAC is, probably, the best. No ship design, but unit customization ;) GalCiv2, especially Dark Avatar is really something. But, I sense that you like your tactical combat, and GalCiv2 has none.

          I understand it’s your first day here at SpaceSector. Come back often.

        • TirAsleen says:

          Alpha Centauri is still one of my favorite games, though, even its not space tbs related as much as moo2.
          Not the unit design got me hooked, but the strong traits of the faction leaders, they realy feel diverse. It all got the spice that makes it special.

          You got really good senses. I am all about tactical combat. Used to play ladder games online in aow2. Got always the feeling TC is the core of that game and the rest is just generic building stuff. People know me well there. Its tactical combat is as good as moo2 ones. They really share a good designed TC.(yeah i know all the shortcomings and some game exploits especially in moo2, but its all about the fun and spirit)

          Btw, talking about moo2, would like to have more control of the surface battles and more complexity added. Maybe even a continental campaign if you really want to capture a big populated planet. Always felt, that part was implemented to simple. Resistence against mind control would be useful, too. Complexity is great in Single Player but unfortunately bad in online games.(PvP) When it gets out of hand and people cannot finish their game session. So, always a good idea to make game features an on/off option, so people of different kinds can customize the game better.

          Will be interesting to hear from Steve Barcia and if he has a vision and plans for this genre.

          Thanks for the invite. :)

  32. Tirasleen says:

    Btw, just out of interest look at this famous game developer: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Richard_Garriott

    He made the ultima fantasy series and is a medieval fan, then he, all out of the sudden he stopped developing games, and started to travel to space stations. If thats not a 180 degreee turn around, what is?

    But now it seems he returned to the gaming business and start to fund games via kickstarter.

    And about Steve Barcia maybe Sid Meyer made contact to him and he just refused to work for or with him…do not know him in person, maybe the guy is very pride. This kind of stuff certainly won’t be told to the public press.

    Any case, it seems odd to stop with such a passion he had with tbs games and science fiction and fantasy as he told in that youtube video that i just found before i got here to spacesector. Such a passion will always be in your heart, i believe.

    Seems cruel, he just stopped with his hobby and to forget about the big following of fans his games got over the time. He’ll better is up to something and surprise us, or we will find him and burn his house. :P

    • Adam Solo says:

      I agree, this kind of passions can’t/don’t die. I’m sure Steve still loves sci-fi and fantasy as much as he did back in the days. Well, I imagine people are caught by life at some point. But, maybe he’s through with that phase soon and will dedicate to designing games again when he retires. That’s what Sid did, although I’m not sure Sid “worked” an hour in his entire game design life ;)

  33. TirAsleen says:

    Hi, again.

    Kickstarter is really an interesting place to hang out.

    On another day i found this:

    http://www.kickstarter.com/projects/inxile/wasteland-2?ref=search

    Brian Fargo having success bringing back Wasteland, what just is the original fallout and the game will be TBS, have an tactical view and probably just like is fallout1+2.

    Interessting to note fallout1+2(no 3) was released in a similar time frame as master of orion2 during the mid 90ies, both games were good, but games had tactical turn based combat, that identified the genre, too.
    Allthough, master of orion is space strategy + TC and wasteland/fallout1+2 rpg + TC.

    So, i think, if a gread Designer as Brian Fargo with kickstarter is able to bring back one of the best game series, a series that is older than moo, as it started in 1988 5 Years before moo1 even, then… Steve Barcia, certainly is able to do so, too!

    The question for me now just is, what he is doing and if he got the rights back of Master of Orion? That would be important, before going to kickstarter. Just saying creating the game exactly based on moo1+moo2 without silly stuff in it, is absolutely possible, if some original Devs got the copyrights on the franchise.

    Unfortunately there is little room here for MoO as Brian Fargo was lucky he named his fallout 0, Wastelands. He had copyright problems with wasteland back then, so he used the name fallout, i suggest to watch the video, its very interesting and a bit a parody, too. You see all the drawbacks when a creative game designer is facing, when dealing with publishers and other game software studios that want to alter his game to a different one just for the money and the mainstream.

    I bet a serious attempt at kickstarter to remake MoO(no need to call it 4, even) in the spirit of the first 2 moos, would certainly bring at least 3 – 5 Million Dollars, but proably more. Wasteland, while the origin of a very good series, wasn’t that well known as MoO2, heck they even got at kickstarter over 4 Million Dollars for a Planescape Torment Sequel also created by Brian Fargo. They guy decided to be pretty busy to continue old successful games, suddenly. :)

    Sad there are absolutely no news on Steve Barcia, he just made the best science fiction space TBS and dissappears into another Dimension.

    Oh, just found out Steve Barcia, if he is doing the game, could probably just rename it back to Star Lords, that was basicly Master of Orion 0. Not sure if thats an good option though, it wasn’t as popular as master of orion, while the wasteland (fallout 0) tactic obviously worked for Brian Fargo.
    It got on Kickstarter, 3 Mio $, over 7 Mio $ if we count his other game Torment: Tides of Numenera, too.

    • Adam Solo says:

      Interesting stuff. Thanks for sharing.

      To my knowledge Star Lords is not a registered trademark at the moment, at least not in the USA. So, it would make perfect sense if Steve Barcia would go to kickstarter with that name for a MoO re-imagining/remake/inspired by whatever.

      It’s hard to know for sure but I suspect that Fallout is a better known franchise than Master of Orion, and perhaps with more reputation because almost all sequels (2 and 3 at least) were considered excellent games, while we can’t say the same for Master of Orion 3. Can’t tell how much, but I suspect so.

      You seem to disagree though and throw a range between 3-5 million. Well, Chris Roberts managed to get $2.1M, Planetary Annihilation $2.2M and David Braben got $1.5M for Elite. So, it’s clear that Kickstarters work very well when the original designers (or at least part of the core team) are involved in the kickstarter campaign for a classic game.

      On the other hand, Steve Barcia is not known only to Master of Orion fans but also to Master of Magic fans. Perhaps the two audiences combined (taking into account the clear overlap) would push the bar a bit higher.

      So, $2M seems to be a quite safe minimum. If you add paypal and other forms of donations (for gods sake, Chris Roberts already raised what? $10M?) perhaps you’re right, and a new Steve Barcia’s MoO would be able to raise between 3 to 5 million, if not more.

      I would love to see that happen.

  34. TirAsleen says:

    Yeah, with fallout3 and fallout: new vegas the fallout franchise got more popular, overall. But before fallout 3, i had the impression, master of orion2 was way more popular, especially 10 years ago. Everyone seem to know about that game and considered it to be pretty good. MoO3 did not a good job here to improve that reputation further. But wasteland should be completely unknown by todays people and still got 3 Mio $. I think thats most amazing for such an old title. Its not exactly ultima thats old too, but everyone heard from it, as it was allready a big series in the 80ies and early 90ies.

    I know quite some Master of Magic fans, the ones i met, now play Age of Wonders. As i told here part 3 is coming this autumn and is fully a TBS title in old tradition and this after 10 years of waiting time(!), together with wasteland 2 that should also come out this autumn and is based entirely on wasteland 1 and fallout1+2, after impressive 26 years of waiting time(!!!)
    I do see good times for TBS games in old tradition – previously that genre was considered almost dead or it got mutilated to a mess, for the mass audience.

    The successful return of these TBS games should convience Barcia to finally care about his baby again. But maybe he is allready up to something, developers play hide and seek with us customers all the time. Maybe he does not even need Kickstarter, what do we know? Sid did not need Kickstarter obviously and he is still making TBS games with success.

    • Adam Solo says:

      Yes, Sid is under the umbrella of 2K and Take-Two, the latter being one of the biggest game houses. So, yea, freedom is more limited in general, but Sid’s influence basically means he can do whatever he wants. And Civ is one of the most popular PC game series, if not the best ever. So, I guess the fate of Civ is tied to PC gamers forever, whatever the future holds.

      So, to make a big AAA space-themed 4X game these days you’d need what? $3-4M minimum? Not as much? But, where would Barcia get that amount of money if not on Kickstarter? From EA? Is he still there? Wiki says he was in EA Canada (this was around 2003), working on some Nintendo games? Well, Wikipedia isn’t fact anyway but it’s one of the best sources available. Well, in fact IMDB credits him for “SSX On Tour” as Executive Producer, on an EA Sports PS2 title (2005). And, that’s as far as I went…

      Maybe EA buys the MoO series from defunct Atari for Barcia. That would be one option. The other option is that Barcia goes to Kickstarter, possibly brings some of his old friends from MoM and MoO and decides to take the plunge. Or he’s happy in EA, doesn’t want to go on an adventure, and that’s it.

      I’m convinced that Barcia would be tremendously successful on Kickstarter with whatever title he wished to put there, as long as it’s TBS, which would be a surprise to me if it would not. I consider Barcia to be at the same level of genius as game designer as Sid Meier because I think they share the same rare skill to make strategy games addictive and fun like no other. But that’s me. Ok, I would say Julian Gollop also belongs to that list. Funny that all of them worked at Microprose at some point in time…

  35. Moo2fan says:

    Take my money now please…. Any progress on this???

  36. Vlad says:

    Horizon is much worse than original MOO2. Horizon doesn’t have even half features than MOO2 does. I tried Horizon for a few hours and I was disappointed. Than I played MOO2 and it was awesome. Much better.

  37. pertm says:

    I would like to see MOO4, but would be cautions after MOO3, but then they would have to really work on it to get a game worse than MOO3. MORE is coming soon and it might be something like MOO not sure until I see it.

  38. Billybot says:

    Take heart! Wargaming.net (those crazy russkies) bought the rights for the entire master of orion IP from Atari’s garage sale last year. They’ve got like nine studios running simultaneously now (paid for with cash from World of Tanks, no doubt), so it seems likely that one of them is at least looking at this.


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