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Star Trek: Starfleet Command

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Real World article
(written from a Production point of view)
Star Trek: Starfleet Command
Starfleet Command 1 box.jpg

Cover of the "Gold Edition" release

Publisher: Interplay Entertainment
Developer: Quicksilver Software, 14 Degrees East
Released: 31 July 1999
Stardate: Unknown (Unknown)
Platform(s): Windows 9x, ME
System Requirements: P200 MHz (P166 MHz with 3D accelerator), DirectX 6.1, 32 MB RAM, DirectX-certified video card, DirectX-certified sound card, 4x CD-ROM drive, 250 MB hard disk space
Rating(s): ESRB Everyone ELSPA 3 USK 12 OFLC G8
Genre(s): Strategy
Reference #: ASIN B00002EPYY

Starfleet Command is a computer game based on the table-top wargame Star Fleet Battles. It simulates fleet warfare in the Star Trek universe.

The player can play as one of six races:

Gameplay

It is divided into three main parts: a "Campaign" game, "Skirmish" games and a "Multiplayer" game. The "Dynaverse" campaign resembles an adventure in which the captain of the ship (the player) earns prestige by successfully completing missions. These prestige points can be used to 'purchase' new ships, as well as repair and refit them and assign crew members. The "Skirmish" and "play-and-forget" games are fast and self-contained and help the player become familiar with the game and the high number of missions available in the "Dynaverse". In multiplayer mode, the player connects via IP or using a game matching service (ex Gamespy) to challenge other human players instead of game AIs.

Popularity

Federation Battleship F-BB

Federation Battleship (F-BB)

Starfleet Command was released by Interplay at a time when the gaming franchise for Star Trek was at an all time high. Previously Interplay had released Star Trek: Starfleet Academy which placed Interplay on the top position with regards to the standings of the three main publishers at that time. Starfleet Command also spawned a massive new community due to the "modding" (a term used for fan made add-ons) ability of the game. Now the ordinary gamer was able to create his/her own ship and add it into the game.

Many new sites evolved around Starfleet Command itself just to cater for the ever growing numbers of new gamers which Interplay's latest game had brought into the Star Trek gaming community fold. Some "modders" of that time would later go on to work full time in the gaming industry. The release of Starfleet Command is considered in the Star Trek gaming community as the start of the "Golden Age" of the franchise; this was a period between 1999 and 2001 when Interplay and Activision started producing more and better games in the franchise, finally ending in 2001 when Interplay bowed out and Activision took over all of the main components of the gaming franchise.

To this day Starfleet Command is one of the longest running serials of Trek games, considered a mini-franchise, since it was followed by three sequels: Star Trek: Starfleet Command II: Empires at War, Star Trek: Starfleet Command - Orion Pirates, and Star Trek: Starfleet Command III.

Gameplay

Gameplay consists of maneuvering one's ship to approach enemy ships and assault them in the areas where various systems and ship's shields are vulnerable. It also consists of achieving various other objectives specified in mission assigments, which are provided at the beginning of each scenario. This can include interacting with various ships, aliens, planetary bodies, and other objects in space, depending on the specific assignment.

Controls and functions

Sfc1

Starfleet battle cruiser in open space

One major part of gameplay involves managing various ship systems which are accessed via an interface running up and down the left side of the screen.

In this screen shot, a Federation battle cruiser is facing an enemy frigate. In the upper left of the screen, the player has clicked the helm symbol to bring up the helm function. This displays multiple buttons labeled with arrows for maneuvering the ship, in various special maneuvers. (Standard maneuvering occurs simply by clicking the image of the ship in the main part of the screen.)

Below this is a schematic of the player's ship, with buttons on the left side for bringing up various ship systems. The function displayed is Weapons, displayed here by weapons type (the other view is by firing arcs). This view can be used to fire the weapons and to track their recharging status. Other functions which can be shown in this window section are shield, electronic counter-measures (ECM) and electronic counter-counter-measures (ECCM), tractor beam, transporters, and shuttles.

The function which is clicked on in the ship schematic will define the controls shown in the screen directly below the schematic. Since a weapon is clicked in this example, the screen shows controls for firing and related functions. This screen shows the button used to set photon torpedoes to "overload."

Below this is the tactical schematic, which will display any target or object which the player clicks on. In this screen shot, it displays the approaching enemy vessel, a Klingon frigate.

The top and bottom of the screen displays various aspects of the status report for the player's ship (and the target ship). These include speed, hull integrity, power available and used, alert status, weapons recharge status, and mission timer.

Gameplay dynamics

One central issue for Star Trek games of this type is the dynamics which define ship control and action, and what type of overall experience is created.

In this game, ships are treated as complex entities, with a variety of tactics and resources. Players spend less time aiming and shooting, as they might in simpler games, and spend more managing various resources, and allocating power. Starships are complex vessels which take a while to maneuver and to attack.

During a battle, various weapons and resources play differing roles, such as beam weapons, missiles, shuttles, marines and tractor beams. All of these must be used to maximize power availability. They also change in importance, based on the type of enemy faced.

One key aspect of ship combat is targeting the enemy's weaker shields, and also using the opportunity available when specific systems are damaged.

In other scenarios, objectives may range from defeating aliens, guarding artifacts, rescuing other ships, and a range of other scenarios. Each requires unique use of ship systems. For example, the tractor beam may be the only way to rescue other ships, or move items, while marines may be the only option when the player is assigned to capture another ship or a base.

Credits

Voice cast

Crew

Cover gallery

External links


Previous game:
None
Star Trek: Starfleet Command series
Next game:
Star Trek: Starfleet Command II - Empires at War

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