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Starbase Orion Hits Kickstarter for PC, Android and Mac Ports

By on February 5th, 2013 5:29 am

Starbase Orion | Space 4X Game for the iOS

Chimera Software is on Kickstarter looking for support to port their iOS space 4X strategy game, Starbase Orion, to the PC, Mac and Android platforms.

Starbase Orion was one of the first space 4X games to hit the iOS AppStore. You can find our review here. At the time of the review, Kyle – our iOS hero – was quite pleased with what he found. He confirmed that Chimera succeeded on achieving its major goal, which was to provide “an experience similar to Master of Orion with better multiplayer”, but not without leaving out some features of the 4X classic, necessary in Kyle’s perspective to facilitate the multiplayer part.

Chimera Software now asks for $40.000 for porting Starbase Orion, which breakdown into software licenses costs, server costs and art and marketing expenses. They estimate that five months will be enough to complete the porting job. They also have plans to set some stretch goals along the way, “to be used solely for the purpose of improving Starbase Orion” for what Chimera is keen on hearing the fan base for what they want to get.

$8 will get you a copy for the platform of your choice in July 2013, while $24 will allow you to play Starbase Orion in all of the planned supported platforms, which if the Kickstarter campaign is successful, will be the iOS (already available), the PC, Mac and Android.

\Edit: Here’s a recent gameplay video.

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23 Comments


  1. Harry says:

    Dont they have enough money?

    Is it just for publicity to go to Kickstarter??
    The Source Code is there.. Just click on the compile button for Android..
    Cant be so hard..

    Is this game still without any tactical fighting system?

  2. Rocco says:

    Thanks for the post Adam!

  3. Mezmorki says:

    Great – I’ve been waiting for this one.

    Couple of comments as I’ve been watching this all closely.

    (1) The main reason the port is not so simple is that the Multi-player code needs to be completely reworked to allow for actual cross-platform multiplayer capabilities (so no more apple GameCenter). This of course requires a lot of other changes.

    (2) If you haven’t played or look ed at Starbase Orion in a while, definetly check out the changelogs on Chimera forums.
    http://chimerasw.com/starbaseorion/forums/forumdisplay.php?fid=7
    There have been a TON of improvements and additions since the initial launch and it’s really turning into an awesome and complete 4X experience.

    (3) Regarding tactical combat – there is tactical combat in that you assign orders to individual ships at the start of the battle, including targeteting priorities and movement orders. Then the battle resolves on the next turn. It
    isn’t a multi turn battle system (like Moo2) or real-time, but you can’t do that with a turn-based MP game without making significany sacrifices in other areas.

    Personally, I think the combat system is perfect. It requires you to make some toough choices up front and then see how it plays out.

  4. Ashbery76 says:

    I am interested but only having only three opponents is not epic enough in my view.I want at least 6 or more opponents in my 4X’s.I also think diplomacy is another must have feature for a 4x game.Without these features I cannot back it.

  5. Huio says:

    looking nice, but combat… sux.

  6. Jeff P says:

    Graphics are fine for an Android or IPhone, but a bit minimal for PC especially considering all the PC competition in the 4X genre that is on the horizon.

    As for the combat, I don’t mind generalized combat in a strategy game. The idea is that you are the emperor or leader of several planets, not the ship (or even fleet) commander. I find that tactical combat often introduces drudgery into the “big picture” strategic game rather than provide a satisfying experience.

    I’ll be interested to see how this one turns out.

    • Adam Solo says:

      I also don’t mind having abstract combat in strategy games. That’s probably my Civ background talking. But, these days people seem to favor more a strategy game with tactical combat. Part of the reason was Master of Orion I guess, and its tactical combat system combined with ship design. And, it’s like you can’t have one system without the other, I mean, ship design without tactical combat to experience it, or tactical combat without ship design to give it flavor.

      I think this happens much more in space strategy games, or sci-fi strategy in general, because there’s no lore or familiarity to back you up. Civ is very lucky about this. Who doesn’t know what a Longsword is? Who doesn’t know what an horse archer is? And, we love to play with those units.

      But, if you don’t have ship customization in space 4X games, and you’re not playing an IP game like Star Trek or Star Wars, you can’t establish a bond with your ships (or it’s very hard), probably the second most important game object after planets. Ship customization is a way to establish a connection between you and the ships, and the game.

      I think it’s a challenge to have a great 4X game without tactical combat and unit customization, but I wouldn’t mind to try such a game for a change. If done well, I’m convinced that it can work out as good as a game with both tactical and unit customization aspects.

    • Huio says:

      If im emperor looking at the big picture, then why i need to design my ships and even why i need to watch the battle? Emperors have generals, advisers and ect. to do this job. Emperors just make a major decisions. My point is: it cant be half-complex! It feels crippled…

  7. Mark says:

    No diplomacy? Tactical combat where you just put your feet up and watch? You can count me out. Luckily there will be more deserving 4x games this year to spend my money on.

  8. Kordanor says:

    I like how the combat is handled here. Actually I think for multiplayer games it is the best way possible. The Endless Space combat wasn’t that bad either if it had a fast forward button and more meaningful actions.
    While I think diplomacy is important, lots of games “overdo” it and it breaks the game if you want to master it. (is it really fun to ask all the leaders every turn for new ressources and technologies like in Civ4 to get the maximum out of it?)

    I neither own a Concole nor a mobile phone and I am looking forward to play this game with mouse and keyboard. It seems like it will get an appropiate interface for the PC and simultaneous turns would make it great for online multiplayer matches.

  9. XenoBrain says:

    There seems to be some misconceptions about the porting process, and why a Kickstarter is needed.
    In fact, Starbase Orion will be a more difficult port than most.

    It uses Cocos2D-iphone for rendering things such as the galaxy map and ship battles, set inside a UIKit interface which is used for things like menus (ship designer, colony table etc), textboxes and other UI tasks.

    Both Cocos2D-iphone and UIKit are written in Objective-C, use Apple APIs and OpenGL ES. The main issue here is the use of Apple APIs. A Cocotron port exists for most of them, but it is buggy and little tested at best.

    Porting could be a nightmare of bugfixing and incomplete implementations, not to mention porting OpenGL ES to desktop OpenGL which sounds simple on paper but can have some hidden complexities as well.

    I suspect the developers may in fact opt for a complete rewrite in C++, perhaps using Cocos2D-x and a new GUI system.

    Either way, the money is somewhat justified as the game was clearly not designed with multiple platforms in mind.

  10. Ashbery76 says:

    I think the game looks like the closest MOO2 style design I have seen.I was looking foward to playing this on a serious platform but it has no chance of making 40,000.

    Shame.

  11. Predictorian says:

    Rocco, do you have any prediction about when will your lovely game available for PC’s? I really like 4x MMO games, especially when diplomacy feature is on.

  12. jediwan says:

    does orion run faster on latest ipad? compared to 1st gen ipad? I have the firstgen iad and turns seem to be long and wondering if ts faster on newer ipads with improved core processors

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