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Friday, December 20, 2002

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Hands-on Preview of Master of Orion 3
10:20 AM | Mike Apps | Comment on this story

Gamespot recently got a chance to take a look at the latest build of the upcoming space strategy game, Master of Orion III. For those unfamiliar with the Master of Orion Series, it is a series of turn-based space strategy games in which players expand their civilization in an attempt to control the universe. The latest title in the series features brand new graphics and a slew of new features. Gamespot's hands-on preview of the game goes into these features, along with some history of the series.

Here's a snippet:

Part of what has made the new Master of Orion game such an ambitious project is that it includes all the gameplay elements of the games that have come before it and has added extra layers of realism to nearly every part of the formula. Given the sheer number of planets that you're likely to control on a medium-sized map, some might theoretically expect that it's difficult to keep track of what's going on. However, after getting past the initial learning curve with the help of an in-game tutorial for each of the game's many screens, it's not hard to use a light hand to keep an empire running smoothly while the turns fly by.

One interface element that helps is the SitRep, or situation report, screen that opens at the start of every turn. Events that occurred during the turn are classified as being of red, yellow, or green importance, and if you want more detail on an event or want to act on it, there's usually a hyperlink embedded right there that takes you directly to the screen you need. Many turns won't require much player intervention at all, as the game often seems paced to make each turn like a baby step and keep you clicking through turns in rapid succession. What makes this possible is the automation that helps run your empire at many levels of the game, including planetary management, research, and combat. However, such important tasks as diplomacy, spying, designing ships, and creating new groups of starships are left completely up to you.

Master of Orion III is currently being developed by Quicksilver Software, with the PC version to be published by Infogrames and the Mac version by Macsoft. For more information, or to read the whole preview, follow the links below.

Hands-on Preview of MOO3
Quicksilver Software
Master of Orion III
Buy Master of Orion III

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