E3 2002: O.R.B. preshow report

Strategy First's space strategy game will be on hand at this year's E3.

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O.R.B., which stands for "off-world resource base," has been in development at Strategy First for some time now and will be on display at this year's Electronic Entertainment Expo. The game will bear some resemblance to Sierra's 1998 space strategy game Homeworld, although this upcoming PC game was actually in development before Homeworld.

O.R.B. is an ambitious game that will take place far in the future, in the far reaches of space. In the game, two warring factions fight to take control of a gigantic asteroid belt. To achieve its goals of dominating the galaxy, each side is equipped with powerful fleets of starships and space-age technology. But you won't simply achieve victory through military conquest. O.R.B. will also have a full resource management system and technology research system. To truly seize control of the galaxy, you will need to quickly lay claim to resource deposits scattered throughout space before your opponents do. And in order to outgun and outdo your opponents, you'll also need to conduct research to scramble up the game's technology tree to access the most powerful weapons and upgrades. You will also be able to scrounge the remnants of a mysterious and extinct alien civilization, whose technology far outclasses that of either faction. In addition, you can salvage the remains of any enemy fleets you defeat and steal any technological advances your enemies' ships possessed.

Strategy First will attempt to make the actual fights in O.R.B. as in-depth, or as hands-off, as you want them to be. The game will let you meticulously design and equip your starships--each faction has about 20 kinds of ships in all--set them in formation, and let the computer handle the battles. However, O.R.B. will also let you take direct control of each ship in battle and play out conflicts tactically, in real time. O.R.B. is currently scheduled for release at the end of the summer. We'll have more information from the show floor.

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