Hi Charles,
Well, the kinds of games Zack and I are talking about fit into the real time strategy genre. If you have ever played SoundRTS that's a simple example of what we are talking about, but, of course,the mainstream games of this type are far more advanced than SoundRTS. For example, let's look at Galaxy Civilization. In GC you start out by picking an alien race to rule. When the game starts you will have a few farms, a factory, and I believe a simple spaceship to explore the galaxy with. Basically, the very beginning of space exploration. As you play the game you basically have to build more factories, build research stations, build farms, create a fleet of starships, perform upgrades, make first contact with alien races, and settle colonies on alien worlds. Obviously your empire building will bring you in to wars and trade alliances with different alien species so you are really building a galactic empire up from the ground. You are literally playing hundreds of years of galactic civilization in a game form, and to do so it can take hours and even days some times to complete one of these games. I for one feel these games are really fun, because a game like that takes you from the age of rocket ships to warp drive technology in a matter of hours. As you play things like force fields, laser weapons, warp drive, cloaking devices, etc are all researched and added in stages. You might start out with one manned starfighters and eventually be able to build super battleships capable of leveling entire planets with super laser weapons. I do recall someone mentioning in the more advanced games they were able to build world ships, planet sized spaceships, with super laser cannons that remind any sci-fi fan of the Death Star in Star Wars. Bottom line, these games are very cool for the strategy and civilization type fan. As mentioned above these games are played in real time with AI commanding the various ships and stations under your command. You might order a fleet of cruisers to enter a certain sector of space and the AI handles the actual combat, and attack for you. In this respect you are more like a general who plans when and where to attack the enemies, land troops, whatever but each ship and station is commanded by an AI bot. You don't take turns, draw cards, roll dice, anything like that. It is all played in real time, and you have to pretty much tell the ships, factories, research stations, whatever to do and they carry out your orders as best as they can. Does that make sense? Put another way you know in GMA Tank Commander when you order a tank to enter the woods it just heads that way, and if it sees an enemy tank it automatically attacks it. Well, these real time strategy games work like that. You tell the ships where to go, what to do, and if an enemy is arround the AI takes over and engages the enemy forces without you needing to take direct control of the ships, stations, and planetary defences.


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