51 (edited by defender 2014-06-27 21:37:55)

Hi

So let me just start off by saying that I really like the game alot, and, in fact, I'll more than likely talk about it more later, when I'm more awake, but for now...

I feel bad, but I really couldn't help my self at all, I mean, you jokingly said your self that your sorry for the voicing, which by the way isn't bad either, but I just, think your voice is funny? sorry, I know that makes me sound like an ass, but, I think mine sucks personally, not like yours which is just unique, so, if people make fun of my voice work on games I don't mind, but you might be different and so if this upsets you I'll make sure to take this down, but your voice just, well, amused me, to be honest, even back when I heard you doing intros for TS2 cars.

So I just made this in fun and not to be offensive cause I was bored and it made me laugh when I made it.


https://www.dropbox.com/s/jkm0g5wb3mekkkn/PokingFun.mp3



Thanks for a really great game, I really appreciate all the work that went into it.
PS: Thanks allot for making it good, so that now I'm getting addicted to it. big_smile

This... -- Is CNN'.
Well Ted, it sure looks like there's been uh, quite a bit of violence around here
"aaoh, that violence was terrible'!"
Yeah it was, pretty bad.

Thumbs up +1

52

Defender,

I can't speak for Aaron.  It's Aaron that did the voice over for the game.  However, we are aware of the voice issues.  And frankly, if we can't laugh at ourselves occasionally, we're probably taking ourselves too seriously. 

Also too, there's a difference between laughing at someone, and laughing with them.  I hope we'll laugh with you:)

Take care,

Jeremy

Valiant Galaxy Associates Company, owned by Aaron Spears and Jeremy Brown develops and markets audiogames for the Blind and Low Vision markets.

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53

Hi

Yeah that's true, big_smile I just didn't want to upset anyone that's all, and it's not bad, in my opinion, just amusing.

Here's my game stats for my very first short game that I ever played, which also happened to be the very first one that I started the first time I launched the program, right after reading the documentation.


Statistics for Playthrough of Traders of Known Space - a free game from Valiant Galaxy Associates, on Version 4
The game lasted 1 hours, 14 minutes and 38 seconds and ended on Friday, June 27, 2014 at 3:11 PM - The player beat the game! woohoo!

In a career spanning 15 years (short mode), the player accumulated 364730 credits.
At career's end, the envy of all space merchants was trading in a vessel with the following capabilities:
Integrity: 28 / 28
Engine: 15 / 15
Gun: 7 / 7
Deflector: 25 / 25
Cargo hold: 530 / 530
Final score: 459030!


It was really fun

This... -- Is CNN'.
Well Ted, it sure looks like there's been uh, quite a bit of violence around here
"aaoh, that violence was terrible'!"
Yeah it was, pretty bad.

Thumbs up

54

@Defender, that was rather fun. I actually can't work out if that was a horrendously good impression or clever use of samples, but it did make me laugh.

I will say when I saw your joke topic I was a little concerned, sinse it has happened in the past that members have posted "supposed" jokes which were actually really offensive and required me to equip my +1 stick of moderation, but I'm happy to say not in this case, big_smile.

With our dreaming and singing, Ceaseless and sorrowless we! The glory about us clinging Of the glorious futures we see,
Our souls with high music ringing; O men! It must ever be
That we dwell in our dreaming and singing, A little apart from ye. (Arthur O'Shaughnessy 1873.)

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55

Haha! That is funny! I laughed for like 10 minutes! (I bet you can tell it is late and I'm very tired!) The voice isn't that bad LOL I've listened to it for at leaste 6 hours, so there must be something good about it... It is much longer than I have listened to Anna.

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56

Hi

Yes that was made with samples dark, and I'm glad it made you two laugh, it's always good to make people happy, especially when it's as a result of something you enjoy doing that comes naturally to you anyway.

Here's my stats for the second game I played, I'm getting better I think, though I had a horrible layout that time with hyperspace things and solar storms all over the damn place and planets helter skelter, also I had just picked up over 450 nano computers, so I actually ended up with less cash then I would have otherwise if I had delivered them, I had 702K before I bought those though.

Statistics for Playthrough of Traders of Known Space - a free game from Valiant Galaxy Associates, on Version 4
The game lasted 2 hours, 44 minutes and 36 seconds and ended on Monday, June 30, 2014 at 4:0 AM - The player beat the game! woohoo!

In a career spanning 15 years (short mode), the player accumulated 688741 credits.
At career's end, the envy of all space merchants was trading in a vessel with the following capabilities:
Integrity: 15 / 15
Engine: 15 / 15
Gun: 10 / 10
Deflector: 15 / 15
Cargo hold: 1690 / 1690
Final score: 774641!

Also I was very disappointed that VGA requires me to be online to play, even though at this point, there are no online scoreboards, there is no multiplayer mode of any kind, and as far as I know, 0 continued contact with a server to be able to play.
The only thing the game needs to be on the internet for is updating, and if that stops me from playing the game, then that's really upsetting considering that TKS is a single player game, and I rely on games like it to tide me over when I don't have internet access, such as when I was getting the new DVR Router Combo of death looked at pointlessly for the 8th time in the past 2 weeks, even though it still doesn't stop the TV portion of the box from cutting out after a few hours every night until they do a reset from the station for no apparent reason.


I would like the next version to not require internet access, please o please.

Thanks

This... -- Is CNN'.
Well Ted, it sure looks like there's been uh, quite a bit of violence around here
"aaoh, that violence was terrible'!"
Yeah it was, pretty bad.

Thumbs up

57

In regards to having to be connected to the net to play, we're aware of the issues this raises.  TKS uses the idea mainly for testing purposes: we're dry running some of the concepts and interfaces etc, to test them.  The main reason for using the online distribution service, and thus requiring connection, is to provide multiple services in one place.  You will eventually be able to buy the games, look at leader boards, get updates, perhaps even eventually send messages to other players of the game.  Right now we don't have many plans to go multiplayer with any of the current games, but there's even a possibility that something of the sort could eventually come along.  I'm not at liberty to go into much detail here, as we are cooperating with a third party on the distribution service.  That said, we are exploring a way to implement offline versions of TKS to facilitate the sort of use you were describing.  Take care, and thanks for the concern,

Jeremy

Valiant Galaxy Associates Company, owned by Aaron Spears and Jeremy Brown develops and markets audiogames for the Blind and Low Vision markets.

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58

Hi! These game is maybe alternate to Kitchen's starmule. I try It.

Music is the language of the universe.

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59

Hi.
Aaron here. Love your signature lol. Jeremy had it about right in his response to you in regard to requiring the game to have an active internet connection to run. The problem is, while his explanation is accurate, we haven't actually implemented any of the new activation system into tks yet, and I had not personally intended to do so. So we aren't actually dry running the code, especially since our end of that isn't created yet. That said, I'm not sure why you have to be online to play the game. The auto updater at the beginning should run the game in spite of lack of an internet connection, and this is the only code at all in tks that does, in fact, use the internet. Also, if you somehow got hold of Interceptor which we hope hasn't gotten out into the wild at this stage, the current private beta version of Interceptor also does not require internet access to run. It will, however, require internet access at least most of the time to run when we release it. Jeremy and I both agree with you on how unfortunate requiring internet access to play an offline game is. The registration system we will be using will be online however, there are a couple of advantages to this approach even for the player that we hope will outweigh most of the drawbacks. We'll see how it turns out in a few months when we finally get a commercial game out the door. It's sure to be a wild ride in any case, at least, we hope so.

I'm having an unusually busy summer though. In fact I stopped coding Interceptor completely last summer, though I am trying to keep going if at a slower pase this summer. Point is, I'm in and out of the house a lot and usually when I'm in I don't feel like a programmer at all. I'm riding home from a job at a not so local summer camp experience I just worked as I type this, and I have one more in 3 weeks, plus the county fair is right around the corner and we have reservations for a campground we will be taking advantage of in about a month if memory serves. But I am still excited about all the feedback we've gotten here and elsewhere with TKS, even the negative feedback we got wasn't too awfully bad, and we thank you all for your support. Jeremy and I have already pushed this thing a long ways beyond what we originally expected, so we hope to keep the momentum going.


defender wrote:

Hi

Yes that was made with samples dark, and I'm glad it made you two laugh, it's always good to make people happy, especially when it's as a result of something you enjoy doing that comes naturally to you anyway.

Here's my stats for the second game I played, I'm getting better I think, though I had a horrible layout that time with hyperspace things and solar storms all over the damn place and planets helter skelter, also I had just picked up over 450 nano computers, so I actually ended up with less cash then I would have otherwise if I had delivered them, I had 702K before I bought those though.

Statistics for Playthrough of Traders of Known Space - a free game from Valiant Galaxy Associates, on Version 4
The game lasted 2 hours, 44 minutes and 36 seconds and ended on Monday, June 30, 2014 at 4:0 AM - The player beat the game! woohoo!

In a career spanning 15 years (short mode), the player accumulated 688741 credits.
At career's end, the envy of all space merchants was trading in a vessel with the following capabilities:
Integrity: 15 / 15
Engine: 15 / 15
Gun: 10 / 10
Deflector: 15 / 15
Cargo hold: 1690 / 1690
Final score: 774641!

Also I was very disappointed that VGA requires me to be online to play, even though at this point, there are no online scoreboards, there is no multiplayer mode of any kind, and as far as I know, 0 continued contact with a server to be able to play.
The only thing the game needs to be on the internet for is updating, and if that stops me from playing the game, then that's really upsetting considering that TKS is a single player game, and I rely on games like it to tide me over when I don't have internet access, such as when I was getting the new DVR Router Combo of death looked at pointlessly for the 8th time in the past 2 weeks, even though it still doesn't stop the TV portion of the box from cutting out after a few hours every night until they do a reset from the station for no apparent reason.


I would like the next version to not require internet access, please o please.

Thanks

Valiant Galaxy Associates Company, owned by Aaron Spears and Jeremy Brown develops and markets audiogames for the Blind and Low Vision markets.

Thumbs up

60

Aaron again. By the way, I forgot to say in my last post that we'll look at this and see if we can figure out why TKS may not be working with no internet, because for this particular game, this should not be an issue.

Valiant Galaxy Associates Company, owned by Aaron Spears and Jeremy Brown develops and markets audiogames for the Blind and Low Vision markets.

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61

I personally like online registration best, sinse it doesn't require you to muck about with activation codes but does deter piracy (dolphin have been using it for years for the Supernova screen reader).

As for constant internet requirements to run and offline game, well while not intrinsically problematic since most people will likely have a net connection anyway, it might be good to run the game without for times when a net connection isn't possible, eg, if I were playing the game on a train with no wifi (or more likely, one where the wifi is stupidly expensive).

If however it is an absolute requirement of the game to need the net, well it would be nice if the game could take advantage of this. Score posting and reqding of online scoreboards within the game at the least, but maybe some other things like statistics tracking or  achievements too.

Have fun at the camp and the fare.

With our dreaming and singing, Ceaseless and sorrowless we! The glory about us clinging Of the glorious futures we see,
Our souls with high music ringing; O men! It must ever be
That we dwell in our dreaming and singing, A little apart from ye. (Arthur O'Shaughnessy 1873.)

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62

Agreed with dark. if an internet connection is required for anti piracy, then its much more acceptable if its used for things like scoreboards, or perhaps multiplayer modes in the future. That said though, I've had bad experiences with things like ILM for jaws, as it really does inconvenience legitimate users way more than software pirates. If the will to crack antipiracy protection for anything is there, someone will find a way to do it.

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63

Well victorious, I sort of view antipiracy the same way you might view having locked doors on cars. It is quite possible to get into a locked car if a person tries hard enough, it's just a case of detering people from trying.

In the same way things will always be pirated, (there are some people who will just crack things for the hell of it), but antipiracy reduces the ease of doing so, which is again why we have such a major anti audiogame cracks policy on the forum.

Not being a jaws user I don't know about the jaws thing you mention, but as I said when I've seen online registration used in the passed by supernova or Blastbay it's been the least intruisive, and rather less inconvenient than hardware specific keys, however if the game is online anyway i do think the user should get some bennifit to that.

Regarding multiplayer, well I'm less of a fan of multiplayer in something like tks, because there are already a great deal of online space trading games accessible. Federation 2 mud, black nova traders, Ashes of angels, core exiles, Space odessy etc, indeed virtually any online empire building game will have trade as a major component too.

This is why I find the idea of a single player game where the player is rying to make a prophet against the environment a much more interesting one, just as I would be far more interested in a single player exploration and empire building game than a single player one, sinse fundamentally to me it's much more interesting to see how I can do against the ever changing environment and circumstances of the game than to be at the mercy of hundreds of other players who have spent time learning the game backwards, have all the best combinations and like nothing better than destroying people without that knolidge.

So, while I wouldn't be aversed to multiplayer in tks, I'd prefer that A, it was optional, and B, that the single player mode of the game didn't get neglected. Ditto for the exploration and empire building games mentioned on the site when they are eventually released.

With our dreaming and singing, Ceaseless and sorrowless we! The glory about us clinging Of the glorious futures we see,
Our souls with high music ringing; O men! It must ever be
That we dwell in our dreaming and singing, A little apart from ye. (Arthur O'Shaughnessy 1873.)

Thumbs up

64

Hi.
This is Aaron. It has come to our attention that there is a newly recognized problem with our Traders of Known Space game where jaws isn't losing keyboard access when focus is on the TKS window, so JAWS is introducing strange sluggishness to the arrow keys and saying selected and such as that when it didn't used to.

It appears after hours of slogging through windows updates one by one that a windows 8 and 8.1 update has broken the bgt keyboard hook that allowed us in the past to have games be playable with jaws running without the need to set jaws to go to sleep. The knowledge base number for this update is kb2973201. If you have been playing TKS and notice extra sluggishness. the easiest fix is to sleep or shut down the screen reader as is necessary in most other games, or try uninstalling this particular update. At the moment, we have no idea if or when this problem will be solved. At the moment, we are only aware of this issue in windows 8 and 8.1.

Valiant Galaxy Associates Company, owned by Aaron Spears and Jeremy Brown develops and markets audiogames for the Blind and Low Vision markets.

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65

Hi

Sorry I didn't reply sooner, you guys really seem on top of this and that's great, I really wish you luck with your other projects, especially interceptor as well, though I know nothing about it, seems like you put allot of work into it.

I also hope that thing I made didn't make you feel bad, lol, I just thought it'd be funny, since you already said something amusing about it in the documentation, and I couldn't help my self.

I like TKS allot, and hope it gets added to in the future despite your being busy, also, making accounts like GMA Games and Aprone are doing, while also offering the free version to everyone, could help with anti piracy enough so that you may not need to have constant online checking if you put a good registry system on top of that,and that way people could request replacement keys, post in a forum etc as well and you'd be able to keep track of everyone's information more easily in a database.

This... -- Is CNN'.
Well Ted, it sure looks like there's been uh, quite a bit of violence around here
"aaoh, that violence was terrible'!"
Yeah it was, pretty bad.

Thumbs up

66

Aaron here.

I'm hoping to finish up the next release for TKS in a couple days. I did pretty much everything we had on the to do list for the free tks except a couple that we elected to skip. It's done we just need to make sure I didn't break anything else.

defender wrote:

Hi

Sorry I didn't reply sooner, you guys really seem on top of this and that's great, I really wish you luck with your other projects, especially interceptor as well, though I know nothing about it, seems like you put allot of work into it.

I also hope that thing I made didn't make you feel bad, lol, I just thought it'd be funny, since you already said something amusing about it in the documentation, and I couldn't help my self.

I like TKS allot, and hope it gets added to in the future despite your being busy, also, making accounts like GMA Games and Aprone are doing, while also offering the free version to everyone, could help with anti piracy enough so that you may not need to have constant online checking if you put a good registry system on top of that,and that way people could request replacement keys, post in a forum etc as well and you'd be able to keep track of everyone's information more easily in a database.

Valiant Galaxy Associates Company, owned by Aaron Spears and Jeremy Brown develops and markets audiogames for the Blind and Low Vision markets.

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67

Valiant Galaxy Associates is happy to announce version 5 of Traders of Known Space.  This version incorporates a number of player convenience changes, as well as addressing some minor issues.  These include:
1.    X and Y axes have been fixed. X is now horizontal and Y is vertical as expected.
2.     You can change settings so that the map will read both X and Y coordinates when you move.
3.    Numerous additional commands to make exploring the map faster and more effective.
4.    Numerous informational changes within menus.
5.    Addition of the M hot key for more information about hazards, planets, upgrades, and products.
6.    The game will now work without internet connection.
More changes are available in the change log, accessible with f4 from the game itself.  We hope that you will enjoy this iteration of TKS as much as the original release.

Valiant Galaxy Associates Company, owned by Aaron Spears and Jeremy Brown develops and markets audiogames for the Blind and Low Vision markets.

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68

Yeah! I've already played it and it is awesome!
2 comments though:
1. is there a key command to tell you how much money you have and how much fuel you have?
2. Can the option be added to shut up the voice with ctrl please?


Have you considered putting in achievements?
successful trader: Get 100 of any item
medicine man: sell 200 of the med kit things
Earth-bound: make 50 transactions at earth
local man: only trade on 2 planets the whole game.
galaxy master: trade at least twice at every station
frontier supporter: trade at least twice at every space station and only trade at the space stations.

Frankly I could totally see this being really big as an IPhone game... see if a sighted person could help create graphics and whatnot.

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69

Hi.
Aaron here.

Glad you like it. At the moment there are no plans to get our games working on other platforms, but we haven't hardly even gotten started on this one yet. If we do port to something else, it'll be someone else doing it for us. The achievements request sounds like something for the commercial version. We do have both of the hot keys you asked about. C and f, but please check out the documentation, there's a whole section listing a whole lot of hotkeys, many of which might be quite useful. The section is most imaginatively called hotkeys, and there's a heading for it, so just using the heading navigation key, probably h, for one's screen reader should get them there with ease.

The control key to silence speech was on our to do for this release, but we put it aside. It'll eventually get put in, after we improve the code such functionality is involved with, something we have on the radar for another game. Things like that will apply to all our games, including this one. We have it in Interceptor already, but it's messed up in how the game behaves. But you can be pretty sure it'll happen eventually, especially since Jeremy has it pretty much a top priority.

frastlin wrote:

Yeah! I've already played it and it is awesome!
2 comments though:
1. is there a key command to tell you how much money you have and how much fuel you have?
2. Can the option be added to shut up the voice with ctrl please?


Have you considered putting in achievements?
successful trader: Get 100 of any item
medicine man: sell 200 of the med kit things
Earth-bound: make 50 transactions at earth
local man: only trade on 2 planets the whole game.
galaxy master: trade at least twice at every station
frontier supporter: trade at least twice at every space station and only trade at the space stations.

Frankly I could totally see this being really big as an IPhone game... see if a sighted person could help create graphics and whatnot.

Valiant Galaxy Associates Company, owned by Aaron Spears and Jeremy Brown develops and markets audiogames for the Blind and Low Vision markets.

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70

Hi from Aaron here at VGA!

We just released Interceptor, and Yellowbonnet, a western style game we developed in the meantime, was released shortly before. We are now planning to update TKS in the next couple of months. Do you folks have any more suggestions for it? We've pretty well got things planned out, but just checking.

Valiant Galaxy Associates Company, owned by Aaron Spears and Jeremy Brown develops and markets audiogames for the Blind and Low Vision markets.

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71

vga wrote:

For questions, complaints, hate mail, bug reports, personal invitations, etc

Compain, Hate, Gi5tch, Piss, Moan.... <Just kiding>

This sounds like a game I played *all* the time on my Apple 2 back in the 80s called Elite. I absolutely loved that game! Downloading now...

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72

@Gene, Tks isn't exactly like Elite sinse the combat is a fairly minimal part of the game and it'sall about the random ports and trading, and as I understand Elite made combat and buying weapons and upgrades a major thing (plus of course it had full 360 spaceship movement).
If you want something a bit more combative, try the smugglers games, especially smugglers 5. tks however is great for being different in that it's all about the trading and the routes and hazard avoidance, and is quite a different experience in those terms.

I think I made all the appropriate suggestions more recently, so I'll look forward to the upgrade.

With our dreaming and singing, Ceaseless and sorrowless we! The glory about us clinging Of the glorious futures we see,
Our souls with high music ringing; O men! It must ever be
That we dwell in our dreaming and singing, A little apart from ye. (Arthur O'Shaughnessy 1873.)

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73

@Dark;

I know, I wrote that message after reading the first message in this thread, as I read through the rest of the thread, I realized that combat was a background activity in TKS where as it was frequent in Elite. Still, flying around in a freighter, buying and selling goods between planets was/is a major part of both games.

I noticed several people saying that space games didn't appeal to them that much. I'm not so picky about a game's environment, though I will admit, I've seen some games that looked interesting except for their environment. What I'm mainly interested in, is a good game with good gameplay mechanics? To me, a poor game in a favorite environment isn't as much fun as a good game in a not so appealing environment.

For an incentive to upgrading your ship, in Elite, the stronger you got, the stronger your enemies got. The bounties you got for each kill grew as the enemies got stronger, also, when you destroyed an enemy, their ship would drop several containers of cargo which you could pick up if your ship was equipped with a cargo scoop, as the enemies grew in strength, their dropped cargo grew in value.

In Elite, the prices of the various commodities that each planet bought and sold wasn't allowed to be transmited out of the planet's star system. To help tradors know what to take to a planet, they could look at a galactic map to see what type of planet it is, do they mine minerals or do the grow plants and animals for food, and so on. Using this, you might find two planets close to each other that you could go back and forth to and make a nice profit, or you might find two neighboring planets that dispite being different have closely matched prices so making a decent profit is a lot harder. This kept trading iffy and interesting.

The urge to explore is created by a backgroud story. I remember flying to a planet where somebody told me, "A unusual ship was here a few days ago, they didn't stay long, when they left they headed towards <some planet name>". You are expected to eventually find your way to that planet where another hint might be dropped, or it might be dropped on one of that planet's neighbors.

I'm not suggesting you make a clone of Elite, that's already been done, including an MMO (massively multiplayer online) version. I'm just recalling what the developer of Elite did. Maybe there's a nugget of an idea here, or maybe not.

On the JAWS keyboard issue, I suspect the same update was applied to Windows 7 as it has the same keyboard laggyness you mentioned occurring for people running Windows 8. There have been over 200 updates to Windows 7 since service pack 1 was released, and no way to do a search, but, I'll try to find it and remove it, to see if that solves the problem, however; I believe that configuring JAWS to go to sleep when TKS is active is the simpler and better approach, as it allows you to leave what Microsoft considers a needed update in place.

I'd love to say I'm going to go play a round of TKS, but since it is around 5:30 in the morning, it'll have to wait until tomorrow, I'm going to try and get at least a couple of hours of sleep. But I am looking forward to this game.

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@Gene, what you describe of Elite is very much the style of thing in the Smugglers games which have been described by other reviewers as turn based elite, plus they have a war, faction system, and different professions as well as unique economics and ship upgrades and some awesome turn based combat.
For more information see The smugglers 5 database entry, and there is a podcast by muggins which you can Download here from sendspace

I'm a big fan of the series in case you haven't guessed big_smile.

In addition, there is Star traders on Ios see db page here a more recent game that works slightly differently to smugglers, (much more complex crew management an factions but slightly less story). 

And in addition there are some accessible online games of spaceship trading, most noteable and imho bestt being Core exiles 

So, lots of choice in the genre, though it's a genre I like big_smile.

Traders of KNown space however is a different type of game, it's much quicker, has just ten planets, really requires you to watch prices and doesn't have a huge element of combat, likewise in traders it's all about the trading! Even the tactics are different sinse where in star traders it's all a matter of exploring the planets for prices and taking note of things like trade wars between factions or different surpless events, while smugglers has a full galactic economy with different events that happen according to both the war and different news items that occur, Tks is much more where you need to carry different resources and watch for deals, indeed the economics there suit the game rather than being realistic.
Where as games of smugglers or star traders can take days, you can finish a tks game in half an hour if you like.

My only major cryticism and what I'd like to see expanded is currently the early game is much like the late game, and the only upgrade that really affects your ship and what you do is the size of the cargo bay.
While I don't particularly fancy the idea of Tks becomming a big combat fest, some sort of rewards or chances to gain rewards for say more deflectors or engines or guns might be nice, as would be some ways of changing how you move around the map so the information you recieve about distant planets is a bit more useful as right now Tks as I said above seems to work on pretty strict trade routes.



On theme, I agree.  I've often seems games with weerd ideas that I like because of how they're constructed. That being said, I do enjoy scifi settings myself anyway, as you might have guessed big_smile.

With our dreaming and singing, Ceaseless and sorrowless we! The glory about us clinging Of the glorious futures we see,
Our souls with high music ringing; O men! It must ever be
That we dwell in our dreaming and singing, A little apart from ye. (Arthur O'Shaughnessy 1873.)

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75

@Dark;

Really!? I'll have to take another look at the smugglers games then. Something about the name put me off on them, I think I had the impression the game was about smugglers at sea, which didn't exactly pique my interest.

So, TKS is rather small compared to Elite, you sound like you're familiar with the game (Elite). Elite was massive, it took me about a year of devoting what free time I had to finishing it.

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