Damian Walker

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Updated Astrowar PBEM Game Available

Monday, 17th August 2020

I've updated the source code to Astrowar, my play-by-email space conquest game from 1996. Last touched in around 2000, the ravages of time hadn't been kind to Astrowar. Changes in gcc, my compiler of choice, meant that parts of the game would no longer compile cleanly. I've fixed them, so anyone who is interested can download the latest version and set up a game if they so desire.

Astrowar is one of a once-popular genre of games called Play-by-Mail (PBM). In traditional PBM games, you would receive a printed report each turn, giving the details of your empire and its environment. You'd write your orders, send them off, and they'd be processed centrally before the next set of reports were sent off to the players. This genre suited strategy games best, though there were also role-playing games. PBEM is a variation using email instead of the postal service. Reports and orders are still text-based, but can be processed automatically and don't involve paper and printing costs.

The current version of Astrowar and its utilities is an interim release. While getting it working again I noticed that the documentation refers to many resources that no longer exist - including my own Fidonet Bulletin Board that closed down in 1999! I want to tidy up the documentation and upload the results to Github at some point.

In the mean time I'll be looking at setting up a running version of the game. I'm aware that the 20 year old email processing side of the game will choke on HTML emails, so that will need fixing before I invite the public to join a game again.

If the game becomes moderately popular again I might expand its online resources, so keep an eye on these pages!