Planet X3 is a brand new CGA DOS game in development

Planet X3... and yes, this is VGA. Read more if you want your magenta & cyan hell.

Among the folks I follow on YouTube, I tune into The 8-Bit Guy whenever I feel like seriously learning about retro computer history. On top of his hardware breakdowns and restoration projects, he semi-recently made a strategy game for the Commodore 64 called Planet X2. For some time he’s been working on a PC-based sequel designed to support even the most ancient of IBM-compatible machines, and recently launched a Kickstarter to further fund development, which hit its target within mere hours.

Before anyone gets smart in the comments, yes, the screenshot above is from the planned VGA mode of the game. In fact, it’s technically not even a gameplay screenshot, just a mock-up, as right now the game only goes up to EGA graphics. Planet X3 is designed to scale down to run on nearly any early PC, and be fully playable in four-colour CGA, as you can see in the Kickstarter pitch/work-in-progress gameplay video below.

Planet X3 is a a base-building RTS game, designed around a keyboard-only UI and featuring direct unit control. I especially like the Starcraft-styled missile silos that you can flatten enemy bases with, once you’ve scouted their territory out well enough to know the exact X and Y coordinates on the map to shoot at. It’s perhaps a bit limiting by modern standards, but this is a game designed to fit into a tiny RAM-space and run on 286-era hardware, playable direct-from-floppy.

This is obviously a project for true retro-heads. The kind of people who collect and restore ancient computers themselves, and still have a chunky old CRT or two in stock, but want something a little fresher to play on their ancient hardware. There’s no shortage of projects like this lately, with dedicated hobbyists still churning out Sinclair Spectrum and C64 games on the regular, while others create new 16-bit console titles on authentic-looking reproduction cartridges. Limited run collectors items, essentially, but they’re keeping the past alive.

The original Planet X2

Those wanting to get a taste of what to expect can pick up the original Planet X2 (pictured above) off The 8-Bit Guy’s store here, although it does cost $20, it does at least come on an authentic floppy disk and come with a full-colour manual. Unfortunately the full boxed version is no longer available. Those backing Planet X3 on Kickstarter get a similar deal – $20 for just the disk and manual – but with $10 download-only options and a $35 tier to get you an authentic DOS-styled big-box edition of the game.

17 Comments

  1. jj2112 says:

    Meh, no Amiga version. My 1200 still works.

  2. aircool says:

    Retro games aren’t as much fun when you are old enough to remember what they actually used to be like. Great at the time…

    Was anyone else here alive when men walked on the moon? Makes you think doesn’t it?

    • Ghostwise says:

      Was anyone else here alive when men walked on the moon?

      Yes. A lot of video game-playing folks aren’t particularly young, and those who comment on RPS often seem on the hoarier side.

    • DefinitelyNotHans says:

      Makes me think “why does this person think that question has any relevance to anything?”

      Congratulations on your parents fucking sooner than mine did though. Very impressive.

      • phlebas says:

        Are you asking why it would be relevant whether someone’s old enough actually to remember playing games in CGA as opposed to just thinking retro stuff is cool? Or just questioning how walking on the moon ties in?

    • syllopsium says:

      Quite a few of us were alive when men walked on the moon, although admittedly I wasn’t around when they walked for the *first* time.

      I see where you’re coming from – many games of any era aren’t that great, and modern games are generally much easier to control.

      However, a decent game often remains a decent game, that’s why I have a number of retro computers. The difference is I only play the ones that are fun to play, and also play modern games.

  3. marach says:

    Small correction it hit funding in less than a day it only went up a few hours before this article.

    • Dominic Tarason says:

      Ha, when I first saw the kickstarter today it was *just* shy of being funded. It probably went over the time during the time I was writing.

  4. Spacewalk says:

    It looks beautiful, especially the alternate CGA palette.

  5. Premium User Badge

    Drib says:

    Dangit, I came in here just to moan about that screenshot not being CGA, and then noticed that I was pre-empted in the article. How dare you!

    But really, this is a neat idea. I like it when people go whole-hog on retro, instead of just using chunky sprites in Unity.

    • ansionnach says:

      Well, they did leave something in there for us to find. Probably not really designed for 286-era hardware since he mentions getting it to run on XT machines.

      The CGA title screen looks great. Never knew there was an extended 16-colour CGA. Haven’t come across a game that uses it. Does anyone know of one? Looks superb.

      I’ll have to check out more of this guy’s videos. The one on getting a laptop for DOS games is pretty good. Used to have a 486DX2-66MHz desktop for this until it was thrown out (with my AWE32 sound card and Yamaha DB50-XG daughterboard).

      • syllopsium says:

        There’s a number of other CGA composite games including Kings Quest, and Burger Time. Really though, it’s barely worth it, unless you had a CGA adapter at the time.

        I’m pretty keen on retro games, but not keen enough to bother with that limited a selection of games.

  6. DeepFried says:

    Looks a little Dune 2 clone like to me, but yeah nice palette.

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