Vintage spaceship FPS-RTS Allegiance free on Steam

Microsoft’s vintage multiplayer spaceship FPS-RTS Allegiance [official site], which I’m told is one of the best space games, is now up free on Steam for your convenience. This is really FreeAllegiance, the version which fans have maintained since Microsoft open-sourced the game in 2004, so this being free isn’t new but it is handy. Hopefully exposure to a wider audience will help rebuild the playerbase too – which has dwindled but impressively is still kicking after 17 years.

What’s it about? Richie Shoemaker explained in his top spacelist:

“Having sold just 29,000 copies in its first year – a sadly unremarkable figure for space games at the time – in its second Microsoft decided to shut down the Allegiance servers, bringing to an apparent end an innovative mix of space sim combat and escalating strategy which its easy to see living on today in the modern MOBA.

“Allegiance was more than a simple game of zero-g team deathmatch. AI collectors – minions essentially – ferried minerals from asteroid fields to home base across a network of sectors, each haul adding to a team’s ability to invest in new ships and equipment. The assigned commander was the strategist, directing the AI miners, watching for enemy incursions, building replacement ships. It was the pilots’ job to respond, to protect the team’s precious resource fields and its fluctuating borders, and to strike at the enemy team when the opportunity presented itself. The game was multiplayer RTS and FPS in near-perfect gameplay unison. Too complex and demanding for its own good, certainly, hence why it was played by just a few thousand and subscribed to by mere hundreds.”

If you have trouble finding players, the FreeAllegiance gang suggest that peak times are Saturdays and Sundays from 9pm UK time (1pm Pacific).

8 Comments

  1. dashausdiefrau says:

    This sounds fantastic, however… Urban Assault next please!!!!

    • haradaya says:

      There’s an open source in the works of that. Played it briefly a few months ago. UA:Source on the metropolisdawn forums.

  2. Ossian says:

    This was one of the first multiplayer games I experienced, and I have to admit it was a lot of fun, according to my memory. I think I played for maybe two or three months before becoming distracted with something else.

    I checked it out again maybe five-years ago when I read somewhere that the community was still supporting it and it was free. I think I only played 2 or 3 times, before I was booted for supposedly doing something silly and egregious according to the leader who booted me. I decided not to go back after that.

    Still, I have fond memories and it’s worth checking out for free if you at all like space combat. Several ship types, equipment progression, battling for sectors, mining, scouting, team vs. team. I remember the combat being fun. Eventually your team gets capital ships and you can play as a turret gunner. Good times.

    • wonboodoo says:

      I too have very fond memories of the game. At one point however I tried to be a commander for the first time and being a novice was overwhelmed. It resulted in a lot of frustration & complaining from my team and made me shy away from trying commanding again. The game really needed a tutorial. Lots of fun being a minion though, but I can see after the commercial game withered that any die-hards still playing would probably be too demanding with newbies or rusties. Hopefully they can be a little more welcoming as they’ll want an influx of players to keep the game healthy.

      • Asurmen says:

        Last time I played this under FreeAllegiance, there were servers set aside to learn how to command. They weren’t any different than normal servers. It’s more of a warning to other players to expect a bad Commander experience if they join the server.

  3. Asurmen says:

    There’s several important things to know from memory:

    Scouting. Don’t bother shooting when you start. Just keep jumping and laying down probes. If you see a possible gap in your sensor network, grab a scout and put probes down. Getting caught with your pants down is not good. Shooting enemy probes is usually a good thing.

    The game has stealth mechanics. Your visibility % is shown somewhere on the UI. A lot of new players will shoot on sight and it’s not always a smart idea as firing weapons increases your radar visibility. You can absolutely ruin an attempt at a stealth bombing run if you’re in a turret and just decide to take a pop shot. Likewise, moving in a straight line from one jump point to another might be a bad idea. There’s always a chance the enemy can see you and you can’t see them. If in doubt, take a longer route through to your next jump point.

    Combat has no firing solutions or lead indicators (a piece of research does give lead indicators eventually). You will lose to an experienced player in combat.

    If the enemy is about to construct something, you can ram the construction ship to knock it off course to prevent it from landing on an asteroid. Doesn’t have to be fast either from what I remember. Once construction starts, you can’t stop it.

  4. racccoon says:

    This game looks like a bloody good laugh ..:)

  5. bill says:

    This game is really really good… though sadly back in the day I never really had decent enough internet to be able to properly enjoy it.

    It did a great job of taking basic space-sim multiplayer and making it a more tactical thing.

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