Best Space Exploration Games for PC

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#1 Posted by tnminutmen (25 posts) -
Need help from the group! I am looking for a great space exploration game. One that will allow me to explore new worlds, mine planets for resources when needed, interact with other civilizations and fight the good fight! I hear great things about Starcraft I and that Starcraft II is in the works.... does this game fit the mold? Anything else?????
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#2 Posted by Nitrous2O (1813 posts) -

 

Oh man, it sounds like you are describing Star Control II. It's such an old game, but I loved Star Control II on the 3DO :D

There is a remake/update available for the PC The Ur-Quan Masters

 

 

 

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#3 Posted by mismajor99 (5661 posts) -
Keep your eye out for Spce Force: Rogue Universe. It's coming out at the end of the month. It looks like a promising space sim, combat and economy based.
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#4 Posted by andthrax (25 posts) -
nope definitely not starcraft; galactic civ 2 maybe
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#5 Posted by Dracunos (1154 posts) -

Need help from the group! I am looking for a great space exploration game. One that will allow me to explore new worlds, mine planets for resources when needed, interact with other civilizations and fight the good fight! I hear great things about Starcraft I and that Starcraft II is in the works.... does this game fit the mold? Anything else?????tnminutmen

No!!!!! It doesn't!!!!!!!!! Sorry!!!!!!!!!!!

It's an RTS, and it's not free-roaming, meaning the exploring new worlds thing won't work.. Not many games really do that exploring thing very well, but the closest thing I can see is space sims. X3,  Freespace, Space Rangers, Eve, and Galactic Civilizations are the only ones that are popular that I know of.. They are all pretty different, so you can look them up in gamespot and see which are most appealing.

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#6 Posted by Xcelerate (599 posts) -
X3 Reunion is a great space exploration game (no colonizing planets though), but it has a steep learning curve.
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#7 Posted by basersx (6222 posts) -
Star Trek Armada I & II are like that.
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#8 Posted by occidental (101 posts) -

Space rangers 2 was allot of fun and pretty humorous as well, with quirky side quests and even some cheesy-cool RTS mech battles that are optional.  You pick a race, a class and then you are off in a mostly non-linear universe where almost anything goes.  You can be a do-gooder ranger, a mercenary, a pirate, a trader or any combination of these.  Ships and equipment can be upgraded and the universe slowly advances scientifically so you will never have all the best gear until you have been playing for a while.  Even then you are always looking for smaller components or bigger hulls w/ good stats because 'size matters', as your excess hull space will carry your weapons, loot and tradable items.  It was developed in Russia, so the translation isn't always great.  I think the game would have been allot smoother and even funnier if they paid some American college kids a few bucks to do the translations correctly.  SR2 is totally open ended except for a final series of missions to fight against AI invaders whenever you feel compelled to have your character do so.  There is lots of replayability because the universe respawns with different system configurations every time you start a new game.  Download the walk-through from gamespot and it will explain allot of the game's mechanics that are left out of the abysmal manual (such as using the media search tool while docked to locate the best parts). 

Space Force: Rogue Univers looks promising too and seems to be fairly similar to the SR2 formula.  However, I looked at the officicial website and the grammar is awful... like allot worse than Space Rangers 2 (check out the factions profiles to see what I mean).  The developers must be in another country as well; I hope they correct the translations by the time they publish the game.  We will find out in a few weeks. 

The translation problems in SR2 make getting really into the story/plot line a pain sometimes.  This was a little off topic, my response is to try Space Rangers 2.

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#9 Posted by eitremn (806 posts) -
i just looked up "space force: rogue universe."  this game looks great, why isn't this being advertised more.  this thread is the first i've heard of it.  and it's close to relase and there isn't any info on it really?  also, "sins of a solar empire" looks pretty promising as well.
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#10 Posted by bogaty (4750 posts) -

Space Empires V

 

X3: The Reunion

 

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#11 Posted by occidental (101 posts) -

On the games website, Paradox (the developers) posted a news bulletin in March 2007, only a few months ago, that they had finaly located a publisher (JoWood Games).  This seems odd considering how far along the game was in the development pipline.  Maybe that is the reason for the lack of advertising... 

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#12 Posted by eitremn (806 posts) -
maybe that is the reason for the lack of advertising.  but they better get on it if they expect this cool looking game to sell well.
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#13 Posted by mrbojangles25 (39157 posts) -

Need help from the group! I am looking for a great space exploration game. One that will allow me to explore new worlds, mine planets for resources when needed, interact with other civilizations and fight the good fight! I hear great things about Starcraft I and that Starcraft II is in the works.... does this game fit the mold? Anything else?????tnminutmen

No way does Starcraft 1 fit the mold, and SC2 problably wont either.  Great games, but they lack the depth I think youre looking for since there is in no way "exploration" in the game.

Are you talking about simulations?  If you are then you get three good options: Darkstar One, Independence War 2, and X3: Reunion.  Darkstar One is easy to get into and immediately satisfying, though its gameplay isnt as deep as the others, while X3 is extremely complex yet is insanely deep...you can own factories, fleets of spaceships, and pilot the weakest transport to the largest battleship.  I-War 2 lies somewhere in between, but its my personal favorite because youre space pirate and its got a great story.

If you want other space games, I recommend Galactic Civilizations 2.  Its an awesome turn-based strategy (think Civilization 1-4) with a great sense of humor, and it requires interacting with other races through trade, politics, and eventually war if you cant get along.  Its really cool and the hours will fly by like minutes!

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#14 Posted by mismajor99 (5661 posts) -

i just looked up "space force: rogue universe." this game looks great, why isn't this being advertised more. this thread is the first i've heard of it. and it's close to relase and there isn't any info on it really? also, "sins of a solar empire" looks pretty promising as well.eitremn

It's a small developer but the game looks great so far. I hope it gets more attention next week when it releases. I'm most likely going to pick this up regardless, as I'm itching for a space sim.. 

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#15 Posted by eitremn (806 posts) -

[QUOTE="eitremn"]i just looked up "space force: rogue universe." this game looks great, why isn't this being advertised more. this thread is the first i've heard of it. and it's close to relase and there isn't any info on it really? also, "sins of a solar empire" looks pretty promising as well.mismajor99

It's a small developer but the game looks great so far. I hope it gets more attention next week when it releases. I'm most likely going to pick this up regardless, as I'm itching for a space sim.. 

same here.

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#16 Posted by adammale (25 posts) -

Space games rules! Everytime I went to the game store, a new space game will always get my attention first. After watching Star Trek the movie last night, I'm really looking forward to play some great space games. Perhaps I should replaySpace Empires Starfury, Space Ranger, Freelancer, Freespace, Darkstar One, X3, Space Force Rogue Universe, Star Control & EV Nova that have been collecting dust for several months/years already! Need new good space game ASAP!

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#17 Posted by kemar7856 (11743 posts) -

maybe homeworld?

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#18 Posted by bloodnut (37 posts) -

maybe homeworld?

kemar7856
YES YES AND ONCE AGAIN YES! I played a lot of space games and this was true exploration RTS. if your interested in MMO games EVE-Online is the best recommendation i can give you (over a year in the game and it rocks)
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#19 Posted by psn8214 (14930 posts) -

X3 Terran Conflict. I played for about 5 hours last night, just exploring and taking the odd mission here and there...

The graphics are awe-inspiring too... wait until you fly by Jupiter for the first time... its amazing...

Alternatively, you could play Freelancer, the best game of all time imo. The exploration in that game is genuinely rewarding and fun. I have puts 100s of hours into that game easily.

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#20 Posted by lettuceman44 (7971 posts) -
X3 Terran Conflict. Enough said. One of the best games I ever played. You can get freelancer, but I like x3 more :P
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#21 Posted by psn8214 (14930 posts) -

X3 Terran Conflict. Enough said. One of the best games I ever played. You can get freelancer, but I like x3 more :Plettuceman44

It really is amazing, I never seen a more open-ended game. But it still hasn't replaced Freelancer as my all time favorite game yet. :P

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#22 Posted by mrbojangles25 (39157 posts) -

Need help from the group! I am looking for a great space exploration game. One that will allow me to explore new worlds, mine planets for resources when needed, interact with other civilizations and fight the good fight! I hear great things about Starcraft I and that Starcraft II is in the works.... does this game fit the mold? Anything else?????tnminutmen

Galactic Civilizations 2...it is a turn-based strategy, but it has everything you asked for and more!

I am not the biggest fan of turn-based games but when the occasonal gem comes along I lose hours in it lol...this is definately one of those gems.

You start off with maybe a planet or two in a galaxy, expand, discover or capture more planets, build structures on them (markets, mines, factories, etc), conduct research, and interact with other species through war or diplomacy.

Its a lot of fun.

If youre looking for something a little more direct and first-person, I recommend X3: Terran Conflict. It has an extremely large learning curve but its well worth it. While you dont own planets and build mines, what you can do is build space stations that produce various resources, sell them, and build an empire. You can build ships and command them in battle or station them as defense, and you can build freighters that conduct trade.

X3 isas much a trade and exploration game as it is a space combat game, perhaps more so. And the scenery is simply beautiful

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#23 Posted by madmenno (1528 posts) -
Definatly Eve-online, PM me if you want a 21 day trial instead of a 14 day. It's a very deep game with a somewhat steep learning curve.
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#24 Posted by lettuceman44 (7971 posts) -

[QUOTE="tnminutmen"]Need help from the group! I am looking for a great space exploration game. One that will allow me to explore new worlds, mine planets for resources when needed, interact with other civilizations and fight the good fight! I hear great things about Starcraft I and that Starcraft II is in the works.... does this game fit the mold? Anything else?????mrbojangles25

Galactic Civilizations 2...it is a turn-based strategy, but it has everything you asked for and more!

I am not the biggest fan of turn-based games but when the occasonal gem comes along I lose hours in it lol...this is definately one of those gems.

You start off with maybe a planet or two in a galaxy, expand, discover or capture more planets, build structures on them (markets, mines, factories, etc), conduct research, and interact with other species through war or diplomacy.

Its a lot of fun.

If youre looking for something a little more direct and first-person, I recommend X3: Terran Conflict. It has an extremely large learning curve but its well worth it. While you dont own planets and build mines, what you can do is build space stations that produce various resources, sell them, and build an empire. You can build ships and command them in battle or station them as defense, and you can build freighters that conduct trade.

X3 isas much a trade and exploration game as it is a space combat game, perhaps more so. And the scenery is simply beautiful

Actually you can build mines.
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#25 Posted by mrbojangles25 (39157 posts) -

[QUOTE="mrbojangles25"]

[QUOTE="tnminutmen"]Need help from the group! I am looking for a great space exploration game. One that will allow me to explore new worlds, mine planets for resources when needed, interact with other civilizations and fight the good fight! I hear great things about Starcraft I and that Starcraft II is in the works.... does this game fit the mold? Anything else?????lettuceman44

Galactic Civilizations 2...it is a turn-based strategy, but it has everything you asked for and more!

I am not the biggest fan of turn-based games but when the occasonal gem comes along I lose hours in it lol...this is definately one of those gems.

You start off with maybe a planet or two in a galaxy, expand, discover or capture more planets, build structures on them (markets, mines, factories, etc), conduct research, and interact with other species through war or diplomacy.

Its a lot of fun.

If youre looking for something a little more direct and first-person, I recommend X3: Terran Conflict. It has an extremely large learning curve but its well worth it. While you dont own planets and build mines, what you can do is build space stations that produce various resources, sell them, and build an empire. You can build ships and command them in battle or station them as defense, and you can build freighters that conduct trade.

X3 isas much a trade and exploration game as it is a space combat game, perhaps more so. And the scenery is simply beautiful

Actually you can build mines.

oh ya forgot about the asteroids and stuff

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#26 Posted by denter21 (1283 posts) -

DEAD SPACE! It's totally what you're looking for :P You explore a mining ship floating above a strange alien planet. There are asteroids and a strange new alien race (ok so its just an obelisk) but it totally wants to be your friend and everybody has lots of fun. There is a lot of hugging and other friendly exchanges.

On a more serious note, Freelancer is a great Space Combat sim.. there's no mining to speak of, and you can't really explore the planets (the landing areas are pre-specified and only consist of a few areas you click between) but there is a huge amount of space, not to mention there are mods that expand the game literally lightyears beyond the original. The combat is fun, the systems are detailed, and the ships look sweet.

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#27 Posted by NamelessPlayer (7729 posts) -

Oh man, it sounds like you are describing Star Control II. It's such an old game, but I loved Star Control II on the 3DO :D

There is a remake/update available for the PC The Ur-Quan Masters

Nitrous2O
Seconded oh so very much. Everyone with a working computer should at least try it. Also, Starflight and Starflight 2, which basically introduced the formula that SC2:UQM would use a few years later. (Paul Reiche III even worked on both SF and SCII...) (And while this is OT, props to you for having a Rocket Jockey avatar. It's not often that I run into other people who even know what that game is.)
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#28 Posted by 3abden (5315 posts) -

Have you tried Mass effect ?

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#29 Posted by tony2077ca (5242 posts) -

i miss good space games haven't seen any lately

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#30 Posted by cybersleuth58 (37 posts) -

Check out the Star Wraith series online. I think his first three games are even free as downloads. www.starwraith.com Some of the best space sims ever made.

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#31 Posted by IronValoR (49 posts) -

From Space Force-Rogue universe website:

What areas of space will I be able to explore?

After creating your character, you will be in your new ship, orbiting your home space station. Player can visit 46 star systems throughout our Milky Way galaxy. Every system in the galaxy has its own specificity: different star base, buildings, NPC enemies, black holes, asteroids.

Will you be able to travel and explore space in any directions ? Will I get to choose where I go next?

Player has complete freedom in movement and choices. How would you reach your objectives is all up to you. Space Force - Rogue Universe is completely non-linear game.

Looks like you will visit space stations all over , but no planet surfaces.

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#32 Posted by flipin_jackass (9765 posts) -
[QUOTE="kemar7856"]

maybe homeworld?

bloodnut
YES YES AND ONCE AGAIN YES! I played a lot of space games and this was true exploration RTS.

Yep. Homeworld is awesome. +1
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#33 Posted by andovar1 (25 posts) -
[QUOTE="NamelessPlayer"] Also, Starflight and Starflight 2, which basically introduced the formula that SC2:UQM would use a few years later. (Paul Reiche III even worked on both SF and SCII...)

Yes, Starflight was a great game back in the day. That and the original Wizardry were my two favorites. Anyway, If you're interested, I recently stumbled across an open-source remake of Starflight. It's sort-of like Starflight 1 and 2 merged together, but it was rebuilt from the ground up. It's still in beta, but pretty close to a final release. http://starflt.com/starflt.php?ID=SF1Univ
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#34 Posted by Wasdie (53467 posts) -

maybe homeworld?

kemar7856
Not exactly but he should buy and play it anyways.
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#35 Posted by naval (11109 posts) -
Like people said, there are quite a few good space exploration games like X3, Gal Civ 2, Sapce Rangers 2 etc among the newwer ones. Another one I woukld add is Sword of the stars. It's a pretty decent game
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#36 Posted by kozzy1234 (35966 posts) -

- Freelancer was epic fun

- sins of a solar empire is also good

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#37 Posted by Ontain (25501 posts) -

Oh man, it sounds like you are describing Star Control II. It's such an old game, but I loved Star Control II on the 3DO :D

There is a remake/update available for the PC The Ur-Quan Masters

Nitrous2O
SCII and Master of Orion 2 come to mine as well.
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#38 Posted by DigiTM73 (801 posts) -

X3 Reunion is a great space exploration game (no colonizing planets though), but it has a steep learning curve.Xcelerate

The best space exploration game by far. Well worth the learning curve.

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#39 Posted by Flanker15 (1526 posts) -

[QUOTE="Nitrous2O"]

Oh man, it sounds like you are describing Star Control II. It's such an old game, but I loved Star Control II on the 3DO :D

There is a remake/update available for the PC The Ur-Quan Masters

Ontain

SCII and Master of Orion 2 come to mine as well.

Yep Star Control 2 would be worth a look and given it's free now you've got nothing to lose, even though it's gameplay is very simple the alien characterization is fantastic and it's hard so you'll be stuck on it for a while.

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#40 Posted by psn8214 (14930 posts) -

I still think Freelancer is the epitomy of the genre... its a pity we will never see a proper sequel...

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#41 Posted by Mazoch (2469 posts) -

[QUOTE="Nitrous2O"]

Oh man, it sounds like you are describing Star Control II. It's such an old game, but I loved Star Control II on the 3DO :D

There is a remake/update available for the PC The Ur-Quan Masters

NamelessPlayer

Seconded oh so very much. Everyone with a working computer should at least try it. Also, Starflight and Starflight 2, which basically introduced the formula that SC2:UQM would use a few years later. (Paul Reiche III even worked on both SF and SCII...) (And while this is OT, props to you for having a Rocket Jockey avatar. It's not often that I run into other people who even know what that game is.)

I'll second (or third or..) that. Star Control 2 (or Ur-Quan Masters nowadays) fit's what your looking for like a boot. Also already mentioned in the thread is Space Rangers one of the overlooked gems out there. However, one word of warning regarding space rangers, at least one of the versions of the game was released with, one of the most aggressive and invasive forms of DRM made (Starforce if I remeber right).

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#42 Posted by Lordmalik13 (25 posts) -
Might be a little late on this reply but the game you are looking for is Spore Galactic Adventures...watch this...http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Zv6LUtjaDyQ. It is exactly what you explained. It is made from the creator of The Sims....You start out as an amoeba floating in an ocean on a planet... You choose to be an Omnivore, carnivore, or herbivore according to what mouth you put on your creature. You grow then evolve to a land walking animal. BTW the creatures are fully customizable from the backbone structure to looks to color. You eventually keep evolving to a tribal stage where you can hunt and work on relations with other tribes. After that stage you get to a colonial stage where it kind of reminds me of StarCraft or WarCraft ..... you try and get to your planets minerals first to finally become the supreme race either by befriending the others or all out war.. After that you get to the space age ... which is exactly what your looking for. You start with your home planet then can colonize other planets within you solar system and your moon.. then the next star closest to you all while you money comes from the minerals you are mining on these planets. Eventually you have to start terra forming planets so you can mine them. Once you leave your star system you start to realize the vastness of the game your star system is only one tiny dot in an arm of a huge galaxy. You start to meet other races on other star systems and can either befriend them or dominate them and take over. You constantly keep hearing about a mysterious race called the Grox that live near the center of the Galaxy and are sent into the unknown to investigate into the unknown where you will find black holes that can transport you across long distances Quasars and of coarse the real unknown "the center of the galaxy"...I have had tons of fun playing it and I believe this is the game you have been looking for. Have fun Gaming
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#43 Posted by lordreaven (7239 posts) -

I'm going to be an Oddball here but why not try Spore? Its space stage my be lackluster compared to X3 but i love teh Terraforming concept (turned an alien homeworld into a shattered frozen rock in space because they looked at me funny:D).

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#44 Posted by howlrunner13 (4408 posts) -

Only one I know of is Independence War 2.

Perhaps Galactic Civilizations 2.

Also Homeworld is not what you are looking for (or any RTS for that matter) but it is an excellent game.

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#45 Posted by Acemaster27 (4482 posts) -

I guess galactic civilization II. That was a pretty sweet game.

And sins of a solar empire. Sins is about the greatest game in the world.

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#46 Posted by pelvist (6651 posts) -

Id have to go with X3:Terran Conflict. Its the best (recent) space exploration game iv played, I also enjoyed X3:Reunion aswell and Freelancer was a very good game. I just wish there would be a remake of the Frontier games.

On a side not Infinity: The Quest For Earth is looking pretty amazing! It will be an MMO though unfortunately. :cry:

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#47 Posted by Jd1680a (5958 posts) -
Spore has some space exploration.
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#48 Posted by MangaJ (1435 posts) -

Google /v/lancer. Go to the wiki. Celebrate the dawn of a new era of happiness in your life.

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#49 Posted by norolim (133 posts) -

I just wish there would be a remake of the Frontier games.pelvist

It's a sequel not a remake, but it looks like we might see Elite 4 in the near future. And while waiting for that, u could try Oolite.

The OP probably doesn't follow this thread any longer, but if any of u are still looking for some space exploration games, here is what i'd recommend checking, that hasn't been mentioned yet:

The Elite series - the original space exploration, trade and combat sims: Elite, Frontier: Elite II and Frontier: First Encounters. The graphics may be crude by todays standards (esp. Elite I), but the gameplay is unrivaled.

Protostar: War on the Frontier - Starflight and Starflight 2 have already been mentioned, but everyone seems to be forgeting about this unofficial Starflight 3 game. The name couldn't be used 'cause the rights to Starflight franchise were held by Electronic Arts.

Planets Edge: The Point of no Return - in this RPG oriented game you explore planets, engage in both space and ground combat and attempt to solve a mistery behind the disappearance of your home world.

Sentinel Worlds I: Future Magic and its sequel Hard Nova in which u can explore both in your spaceship and on foot.

There is also a ralatively new Russian game called The Precursors, but it has never been released outside Russia, probably due to the numerous bugs it had. But if ur willing to look beyond its flaws (some of the problems have been fixed with patches), its worth a go 'cause the game attempts to do sth very ambitious: to blend FPS, RPG and Combat Sim into one story driven package. I haven't tried this one myself yet but if u are thinking about it u'll need an unofficial English translation patch (the game is in Russian). I think u can find it on the official forums of the game.

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#50 Posted by NickVanran (25 posts) -
I find that I like http://cosmicsupremacy.com . It is set in a 3D galaxy, and there are a verity of ways to play the games. If you have ever played MOO or Civilization you will enjoy CS. Types of games : Team Galaxies, Single man against man galaxies, Mali team galaxies, and speed galaxies. If you reach rank 3 then you are allowed to create galaxies for the community to play. And the game is supported by donations from that community. Hope to see you there. Nick Vanran