The Starscape mod, which has been slowly crawling through its initial beta test phase for the past month is now moving into a public beta phase, mainly due to the low number of internal testers and the need to get this done within a reasonable time frame.
Anyone who is interested in helping to test this mod should contact me at: firstname.lastname@example.org
Please include "Starscape Beta" or something similar in the subject heading, so your message doesn't get spam-handled.
I may not be able to accept every applicant, though there are only a few specific requirements, I can only have so many testers at one time.
Anyone interested in designing large shipsets (Starscape uses a bigger range of ship-sizes than vanilla SEIV) should contact me as well. Custom shipsets will not likely be accepted unless you are willing to expand them to fit the new system. Contact me for more information on that.
In order to qualify, you must have SEIV Gold patched up to the latest Version. Beta testing may not begin for another week or so, since there are still some things to work out.
The mod download will be made available soon. If there is space for a ~10mb file around here, I can make it available here. Otherwise it will be served through my own website.
Starscape was originally created as a mod for Stars!, but because of the limitations of Stars!, I've had to look elsewhere to continue the Starscape legacy. Eventually, my search led me to SEIV. The amazingly moddable SEIV engine, as well as the work of other modders, gave me an excellent idea of what could be done and what I could do with Starscape. That was more than half a year ago.
Starscape's development has been slow, but hopefully that will change soon. There are still new features that need to be added and it is by no means finished, but progress is being made, and every bug we eliminate brings us one step closer to final.
About Starscape: Starscape was originally designed as a sort of hybrid 4x/RPG. This combination was surprisingly popular and successful, but also a lot of work. The RPG element was handled similarily to tabletop RPG, with a game-master involved in the very intricate details of the game, often modifying things in order to progress the plot (in Stars!, this required actual hacking of the host-turn file). SEIV presents the ability for the game-master to powerfully interact with the universe without requiring any sort of hacking, and it's as easy as modding. This feature allows Starscape to truely ascend to a new level of gaming, and it is my hope that everything that was so popular about Stars! Starscape will be amplified by the SEIV mod, "Starscape: The Null Space Chronicles".
The Story: I can't tell you too much about the story as it involves something that will happen in the future of the currently running Stars! game, but as for the beta, it takes place in another galaxy, possibly even an alternate reality (nobody really knows). It has nothing to do with the main Starscape plot, or at least very little. In the Stars! mod, warp drives made travelling through space possible but only in areas where there was a particular abundance of trans-dimensional energy. Outside of these areas was normal space, though since very little actually occured out there, it was referred to as "null-space". In The Null Space Chronicles (TNSC), warp drives are no longer effective. Engines function only to move through star systems, and are no longer independently capable of deep-space travel. However, hyperspace technology (which was an experimental form of travel that was used to "skip" null-space, and allow ships to travel to other areas) has remained viable, though only in the form of "seeding bombs". These bombs are launched into a new area designated for colonization. When they explode, they "seed" the area with trans-dimensional perforations (ie: warp-points), which allow ships to jump to another warp point light-years away. The distribution of these perforations is somewhat random, but they end up forming web-like latticeworks of connections in space, making intersystem travel possible. Many of the warp-points end up in deep space, however. So oftentimes, ships will still need to travel through large expanses of empty space to reach another system, unless the other system is close enough that two linking warp points have appeared in adjacent systems. The addition of deep-space areas within a region (region: one game-area) creates a new strategy element allowing for the creation of deep-space stations (for all you DS9 fans), and adds the possibility of long space flights, and even a base ground for advanced races to create new star systems. As with the Stars! Version of the game, the galaxy is divided up into lots of regions, each of which needs to be seeded before it is accessable (giving the game-master control over how many games are running simultaneously).
The mod itself borrows a few things from other popular SEIV mods, but adds quite a bit of its own new material, and takes new and interesting approaches to existing ideas and concepts.
Hopefully, the beta will be as much fun as the final Version, though I'd advise not signing up if you don't like the idea of having to restart the game alot, although I will try to keep this to a minimum. Most of the minor updates and bug fixes can be done without restarting the game, but not all of them.