This site provides historical information on past and present space combat game projects by SW3DG.

Star Commander 1 and 2 (1989-1994)
Star Commander was my first official space combat game designed with a cockpit perspective. It featured very limited 3D graphics and sound. It supported 4-color CGA graphics and used very simple arcade style controls. While the game was simple overall, it was the project that helped me learn programming and game design.
Raven (1994-1996)
Raven was developed around 1994 and featured extensive use of 256 color VGA graphics (at the 'high' resolution of 320X200). It featured WAV based sound effects, 3D star motion system, advanced missile tracking system, and probably some of the best graphics achieved in the QuickBasic programming language. You can start to see some of my design preferences reflected in this early game, including the traditional blue heads-up-display.
Star Wolf (1996-1999)
Star Wolf advanced on the Raven project in several ways. The low 320X200 resolution was dropped in favor of 640X480 and although the palette was limited to 16 colors at the higher resolution, dynamic palette management allowed for improved color support to help make up for the limited number of colors. The cockpit was dropped in favor of more advanced ship graphics, explosions, and HUD details. This was the first game to support wingmen and 3D projectile weapon effects. This was the last project I developed in QuickBasic and the last to run in DOS.
Star Wraith (1999-2000)
Star Wraith was my first 3D capable space game. It took about 6 months to develop the project from a simple tech demo with a space background and one planet to a playable game. It was written entirely in DarkBasic and featured fully animated explosions, 3D spherical radar display, 3D textured models, and a dynamic campaign. Because this game used DirectX, it also supported a variety of game controllers and ran in Windows. I made this game when I decided to start working more on game development and SW3DG was formed.
Star Wraith 2 (2000-2002)
Star Wraith 2 expanded the game's concept in many ways. This was the first game of mine to include a mercenary mode, where players accepted contracts for money that they then used to upgrade their ship and their wingmen's ships. The campaign in this game was linear, providing about 25 missions spanning a variety of locations. This was also the first game of mine that featured planetary surface missions. Cockpit structures returned in this game, providing a sense of being in the cockpit of a spacecraft. Explosion animation was dramatically improved via high resolution textures and debris effects.
Star Wraith 3: Shadows of Orion (2002-2004)
Star Wraith 3 took the graphics and gameplay to an entirely new level. This was the first game to feature multiplayer, players of the game could connect to each other over the internet or a LAN and test their skills with real people. The cockpit was revised to present a more enclosed structure with better textures. Players could also descend into planets to attack targets on the surface and a new asteroid cave environment was added to provide a 'hide-n-seek' arena for multiplayer battles. The campaign in this game was dynamic and player directed (developing based on both their mission choices and their performance). The 3D spherical radar was enhanced in this game with an orientation globe and directional blips instead of boxes.
Star Wraith 4: Reviction (2004-2005)
Star Wraith 4 brought new features, gameplay, and effects to the game. This was the first game to feature a mining and tractor beam along with new mission objectives to go along with it (pilot rescue and asteroid mining). Capture-the-Sphere was added to multiplayer (requiring a player to retrieve the opposing team's sphere from their base and return it to their own). The campaign in this game was linear, consisting of just over 25 missions. Beam weapons were added to capital ships, which frequently engaged each other in battle while other conflicts were taking place. Control binding options were improved along with new textures for ships, larger asteroid fields, improved planetary terrain, and enhanced HUD graphics.
RiftSpace (2004-2005)
RiftSpace introduced freeform gameplay by letting the player select contracts, travel to other planets, and customize/upgrade their ship and their squadron's. A non-mandatory story was mixed with the freeform gameplay and gave clues to the player on how to locate a mysterious system known as RiftSpace. Otherwise, gameplay was entirely up to the player on where they wanted to travel and what objectives they wanted to complete. Players could also assign members of their squadron to complete objectives for them. This game also let players load beam weapons in addition to the particle weapons onto their ship simultaneously.
Evochron (2005)
Evochron was technically a sequel to RiftSpace and was largely designed around the feedback received from the original game. Freeform gameplay was expanded substantially by allowing the player to transport and trade commodities and mine material from asteroids. Gameplay was also entirely real time, so there were no cut scenes or menus that suspended the game's universe. Seamless planetary descents were introduced with Evochron, allowing players to travel from space to stations on a planet's surface and back again without cut scenes, immediate scene changes, or loading screens. Long distance travel was managed with built-in jump drives rather than jump gates, giving the player control over when and where they travelled from system to system. Ship-to-ship trading and multiplayer were also introduced.
Evochron Alliance (2005-2006)
Evochron Alliance was the sequel to the original Evochron. It featured several major improvements requested by players, including a new shipyard that lets the player customize their ship for offense, defense, exploration, and/or speed. New modification options allow players to customize many aspects of the game's design from the cockpit to the ships themselves. A new dedicated interactive training mode helped introduce players to the game. The Newtonian physics were adjusted to a more manageable system by player request. New objects were also introduced such as hidden storage containers with free items, planetary moons, particle nebula clouds, and wormholes. Many new systems were also introduced, including three Vonari systems.
Evochron Alliance 2.0 (2006-2008)
Evochron Alliance 2.0 implemented a new 3D cockpit and HUD system while also introducing all-new ship models. 2.0 also added support for TrackIR and panning first person view control. Directional shielding was added along with several improvements to customizing options, gameplay, and control options. This game also featured an early preview of some of the new ships that were used in Evochron Renegades and included new graphics effects.
Arvoch Conflict (2006-2008)
Arvoch Conflict was a major revision to the graphics and gameplay system used in the earlier games. It was technically 'Star Wraith 5', but carried a new title to further distinguish it from the series. Rather than the traditional old fashioned 2D graphics layer for the Heads-Up-Display, virtually everything was rendered as part of the 3D scene. Taking gameplay beyond just the shoot-n-destroy combat, AC also featured objectives such as defense shield network construction, reconnaissance, resource mining, and pilot rescue. Real time strategy and decision making was a big part of AC's gameplay. The player must constantly adapt to changing mission conditions and give appropriate orders. Complimenting the full 3D cockpit system was support for TrackIR and panning first person view control. The player could also adjust mission parameters through the customizable single player campaign.
Evochron Renegades (2007-2009)
Simply put, Evochron Renegades set out to be the only freeform space-sim with a seamless universe (including planet descents), single player and multiplayer (including progress saving in both modes), complete freedom of movement control, and gameplay beyond just combat and trading, all in one game. Such gameplay elements included buying, trading, negotiating, bribing, spying, racing, transporting, mining, exploring, cleaning equipment, clearing paths through asteroid fields, recruiting, protecting, hiring crew members, fuel harvesting, and designing your ship (using an all-new component based shipyard). Cooperative contract objectives expand multiplayer and greatly improved graphics enhance the visual details.
Evochron Legends (2009-2011)
Evochron Legends was the sequel to Renegades. It's design focused on the most common player requests including improved graphics, military ships/role/ranks, improved AI, new contract objectives, new weapon and equipment technology, and expanded multiplayer capabilities. New objectives introduced in this game included passenger transport, capital ship escort, military war zone missions, multiple waypoint patrols, and planet atmosphere combat. Legends increases multiplayer capacity by 50% for both human payers and AI controlled ships. Entirely new stations were also added and featured shape specific collision detection which lets players fly through their structures for the first time in the series. New capital ships included Cruisers, Battleships, Command Ships, and Destroyers that could also participate in battles complete with beam weapons, missiles, and particle cannons.
Evochron Mercenary 1.X 'Classic' (2010-2012)
Evochron Mercenary rounded out a trilogy in the series and introduces many new gameplay directions and technological advancements. An online territory control system let players cooperatively work toward taking over parts of the game's universe. Players could also build their own stations to expand the game's universe as well as deploy temporary objects for extended sensor detection, refueling, repairing, recharging, mining, and shielding. A new command system allowed a lead player to issue orders to their human wingman as well as NPC/AI wingmen including in war zones if their rank was high enough. Mercenary featured twice as many ship frames to choose from, both civilian and military. A new graphics engine included a high-detail 3D cockpit, normal mapped ships and stations, advanced particle/impact/shield effects, and a new planetary system with far more detail. New ship technology included an afterburner overdrive, anti-missile system, cannon heatsink, and specialized mining beams. New weapons, a gun turret mode, a lobby mode for stations/cities/carriers, and in-game voice chat also helped round out the extensive new feature set.
Arvoch Alliance 1.X 'Classic' (2011-2015)
Arvoch Alliance was the next title in the StarWraith/Arvoch line of space-sims featuring mission based gameplay. It's graphics engine was largely based on Evochron Mercenary's, although it included several new effects and options. Players took on the role of a squadron commander and engaged in a story that developed over 30 missions that include objectives such as patrolling, escorting, mining, spying, search and rescue, and even building space stations. As the commander, the player directed the pilots in their squadron with command directives and could monitor the conditions of the battlefield via a new tactical console. The game included three single player gameplay modes, Campaign, Custom Campaign, and Instant Action. Four multiplayer modes were also available, Cooperative Campaign (where players can take on the main campaign together), Dogfight, Squadrons (a team-vs-team mode), and Strike. Unlike its predecessors, Arvoch Alliance supported a new mission structure that can be either time or event driven. Players could even design their own dynamic campaigns in branching mission structures using the optional mission editor.
Evochron Mercenary 2.X (2012-2015)
Evochron Mercenary 2.0 was an expansion for the original game. The expansion included many new graphics for in-game elements including the HUD (which also had directional weapon impact indicators), user interface, spacecraft, cockpit, and stations (featuring enclosed docking hangars with five optional entrances). A new planet engine was introduced featuring far higher detail levels, selective elevation based texturing with normal mapping via shader based rendering, variable weather, and rotations providing day and night cycles along with sunrises and sunsets. Gameplay was also significantly expanded with smarter AI, new hardpoint items, new weapon lab for custom designing cannons and missiles, random lost cargo containers for planet explorers to find, new contract objectives, information and contraband retrieval options from NPC ships, terrain walkers for exploring planet surfaces 'on foot', and many other new options. A new flight/event log helped the player keep track of transactions and events. Multiplayer also featured improvements including sector and clan text chat modes, player-to-player contract options in the trade console, and performance improvements.
Evochron Legacy 1.X 'Classic' (2015-2021)
Evochron Legacy is the sequel to Evochron Mercenary and includes new gameplay options, more advanced graphics technology, and new universe scaling as its primary focus. A new distress call system is now integrated into the game's contract/mission system while new objectives include meteor intercepts, emergency delivery, orbital imaging, animal specimen recovery, satellite retrieval, and module deployment. New in-game equipment technology includes shield enhancers, repair beam, and target scanner. The shipyard has been heavily revised and expands on configuration options. Remote commodity price checking and market event log helps the player keep track of price changes and values to plan trade routes in advance. New faction system features dynamic territory control for Alliance and Federation forces. New fleet command system lets the player issue orders to specific ships and monitor fleet status. New build and deploy system features a dedicated console and advance placement system designed to work with both open space for stations and planet terrain for cities. All in-game station and city structures are destroyable and can be added onto by the player. A new engineering lab lets the player craft equipment items from raw materials. A new quest option lets players design their own adventures using a simple script system.
Arvoch Alliance 2.0 (2017-2020)
Arvoch Alliance 2.0 updated the original game to better align with the latest in the Evochron series in appearance, graphics/special effects, HUD/display systems, sound, sector scaling, planetary terrain engine, and combat dynamics. It also included a heavily revised multiplayer system for improved performance and smoother object movement as well as AI ship selection options available to the host. Some missions were also updated to accommodate changes in scaling/spacing and timing.
Arvoch Alliance SE (2020-Present)
Arvoch Alliance SE is a complete rewrite of 2.0 in a different development language with the goals of reducing the game's reliance on aging dependencies, changing rendering API's from DirectX to Vulkan, moving to 64-bit, and implenting some core gameplay changes along with adding several new effects. Rather than being a complete replacement update as with previous updates, SE can be installed alongside 2.0 and run separately. So players can still continue to play the original while trying out the new version. Key improvements include larger cockpit display and HUD readouts, directional sound effects, revised debris effects, and opening the default campaign up to modification.
Evochron Legacy SE (2021-Present)
Evochron Legacy SE (much like Arvoch Alliance SE) is a complete rewrite of the original game in a different development language with the goals of reducing the game's reliance on aging dependencies, changing rendering API's from DirectX to Vulkan, moving to 64-bit, and adding some new options and effects. The update also includes some new weapons (rail cannons, rockets, and torpedoes), new explosion effects, directional audio for external sound effects, new lighting effects, comets, and terrain rovers. A few other changes include a 50-100% increase in overall thruster and engine output for faster course correction and higher agility, 25K radar range, and many UI improvements.

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