This is a screen shot from Space Madness. The player's ship is in the center (the player's ship is always in the center -- as the ship flies through space, everything else moves around it). Here the player has just blown up the enemy base (upper left), and the explosion is spewing chunks of the base and a few 'yummies' that the player will be able to pick up. The ship is surrounded by enemy ships firing photon pellets, plasma torpedoes and guided missiles at the player. The ship has just been hit by a torpedo, and its 'auto-shield' has been activated to protect it from the blast. The ship's long range scanner (upper right) is showing this scenario in a tiny area in the center of the display, along with two rows of enemy mines, several enemy ships not visible in the main display, and some asteroids and yummies scattered around the region. The ship's status display is showing Condition Red, as it always does when enemy ships are within firing range. Several of the ship's systems have been damaged to varying degrees, and are in the process of being repaired by the ship's autonomic maintenance system. The maintenance system's molecular transmogrifier, which creates the parts needed to repair the ship, is starting to run a little low on raw material. The ship is running very low on fuel -- when the ship runs out of fuel, it's only a matter of seconds before life support ceases to function and the player dies. The ship is carrying 49 torpedoes and 17 guided missiles. It has also picked up several pieces of alien machinery found floating in the debris from destroyed enemy ships, and the autonomic maintenance system has learned how to interface with them. It has 3 automatic shield activators, which activate the shields just long enough to repel destructive forces, thereby saving fuel; one cloaking device, making the ship invisible across all wavelengths; two alien mine detectors, allowing the long range sensors to see alien mines at a greater distance; and one long range sensor adaptor, increasing the resolution of the long range sensors to detect small items floating in space at greater distances.

The Story

In 2293, a small ship returned from scientific exploration in the outer regions of the galaxy with news of a previously unencountered life form. While collecting samples of space debris for testing, the ship had been approached by an alien vessel. The crew was unable to establish communications with the ship, but it showed no hostility and eventually left the area.

A few hours after the first incident another ship appeared. This vessel was larger and slower than the first, but it was decidedly more hostile. Without attempting to make contact, the alien vessel opened fire. The science ship, although equipped with only minimal defense systems, returned fire and eventually managed to destroy the alien.

After repairing minor damage the science ship headed for home. When the captain gave his report, he admitted that the retrieval of space debris may have been interpreted as an offensive act. As a result, a fleet of ships accompanied by a small military escort was sent to contact the aliens and establish diplomatic relations.

Three months later a single fighter returned to report that the fleet had been destroyed by the alien forces. The pilot described the aliens as a vicious military race from a neighboring galaxy, invading our galaxy on a mission of conquest and destruction. The aliens are establishing military colonies at thousands of locations on the opposite side of the galaxy. At the current rate of growth, they are expected to reach Alliance territory within a year. It is therefore imperitive that the invasion force be repelled as quickly as possible.

Millions of gallant fighter pilots such as yourself have volunteered to defend the galaxy against this dreadful enemy. Because of the large number and alarming growth of the enemy bases, and because of the tremendous amount of space to be covered, each pilot is being assigned his or her own sector of the galaxy. You will be completely isolated from your fellow warriors, and because of the extreme distance from Alliance territory you will not be able to communicate with Alliance outposts.

Recent probes have reported that each enemy base acts as a subspace gateway to the aliens' galaxy, allowing the invaders to travel the great distance between galaxies in a very short time. Clearly, destruction of these bases is paramount to the success of your mission. The probes have also discovered a system of local 'vortexes' that connect the bases to form a sort of subspace highway system. You will use the vortexes to travel from one base to the next.

Although two-way communication with Alliance headquarters will be impossible, our scientists believe they have discovered a way for you to transmit information to the Alliance while you are travelling through a subspace vortex. Your ship has been equipped with a special transmitter that activates automatically when you enter the vortex and relays all information gained since the last transmission. Hopefully this will result in a more complete set of information about the enemy so that future soldiers will be better prepared for their mission.

On the following information screens you will find all information currently available on the enemy fleet. Unfortunately we know very little at this time. Part of your mission is to survive as long as possible to gather information and relay it back to Alliance command.

We are required to inform you that you are not expected to return from this mission. Since you are strictly a volunteer, you may choose to abort your mission at any time. Nothing will be said.

The Alliance is proud to have you as part of our team. Good luck!

The DS27-E

Your ship was designed specifically for extended long range missions. Almost every system on the ship is completely automated, eliminating the need for extra crewmembers while leaving the pilot free to navigate.

The damage control systems on the DS27-E are capable of adapting its systems to incorporate alien technology. After you destroy an enemy ship, you should be able to make use of any machinery that remains intact. If an installed alien machine becomes damaged, it will be replaced if there is an identical piece of equipment in the cargo bay. Alien machinery cannot be repaired, and machinery can only be replaced when the damage level of the system that it modifies is in the green range. The cargo bay can hold as many as ten extra pieces of equipment.

The DS27-E also carries a state-of-the-art molecular transmogrifier, allowing it to turn space debris into parts that it can use to repair itself. The transmogrifier is designed to hold up to 3,000 pounds of raw material. You should try to keep the amount of raw material as close to maximum as possible.

The ship will automatically retrieve any object that comes within range, so to collect alien machinery and raw materials you just need to fly close to the object.

If you are trying to pick up alien machinery and your cargo bay is already full, the ship will discard the item that you have the most of to make room for the new item. If you are trying to pick up fuel, raw material or weapons, and you are already carrying close to the maximum amount, the ship will pick up as much as it can carry and discard the rest.

Only three types of reuseable alien machinery are known at this time. We hope to update this database as more alien machinery is encountered and analyzed. After you have encountered a new type of alien machinery, your analysis will be automatically recorded by your ship and sent to Alliance Command when you enter the subspace vortex.

The DS27-E Long Range Scanner

The DS27-E long range scanner uses the latest sensor technology. It is able to detect objects as small as a few feet in diameter within a distance of 9600 kilometers, and larger objects within a distance of 320,000 kilometers. It can differentiate between larger objects to some extent. For instance, it can tell the difference between another ship and an asteroid, but it can't differentiate between ships.

Ships appear on the scanner as red dots. Asteroids and other unidentifiable objects appear brown. Small objects are orange, and fast moving small objects are yellow. The enemy base is indicated by a large red dot, and the subspace vortex is shown as a large purple dot.

If the enemy base is beyond scanner range, its estimated direction is shown by a large blinking red dot on the outer edge of the scanner circle. Once the vortex has been detected, if you fly so as to put it beyond scanner range its direction is indicated by a large blinking purple dot.

The DS27-E will always appear in the center of the scanner circle, indicated by a small green dot. The DS27-E long range scanner has both a directional indicator and a motion indicator. The directional indicator, which appears on the scanner boundary as a large green dot, specifies which direction the DS27-E is pointing. The motion indicator, which appears as a small dark green dot, represents the actual direction and velocity of the DS27-E. Velocity is indicated by distance from the origin, and direction is indicated by direction from the origin.