Another gray area: Ascii Sector

Speaking of gray areas, I never know whether I should jump for joy or just raise a minor ruckus when I find a game that runs in textmode under SDL.

Dwarf Fortress is one example, although Dwarf Fortress qualifies as something beyond “game.” The complexity and detail and variety push it to something … something beyond “game,” anyway.

Ascii Sector is probably another, although this one incorporates a striking amount of action — more than I would expect from a textmode game, anyway.

As I understand it, Ascii Sector attempts a faithful rendition of Privateer, which you might remember as an evolution of Elite … which I have now mentioned twice in the space of a month.

I’ll be honest and say I only played Privateer well after its heyday, and at the time didn’t see much that hadn’t been touched on when I was still using a C64.

Ascii Sector amuses me though, mostly because it captures a lot of the space trading genre, without ever needing much in the way of graphics.

And of course, any time you can strip away graphical requirements and still have a speedy game with depth and action, I’m all for it.

Which makes this one a lot like Dwarf Fortress to me: It relies on a measure of graphical power to run — to wit, SDL and therefore Xorg. Your mileage may vary, but I’m thinking something even as slow as a Pentium III can do this.

But there’s another reason Ascii Sector (and Dwarf Fortress, of course) is dangerous: It’s far too engrossing to be left alone with. Don’t say I didn’t warn you. … :twisted:

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6 Responses to “Another gray area: Ascii Sector”


  1. 1 Vicente Manuel Muñoz Milchorena 2011/05/22 at 1:47 PM

    Both are excellent games and I remember being addicted for weeks to Dwarf Fortress.

    Strike the earth!

  2. 2 Lnxr0x 2011/05/23 at 1:47 AM

    I’ll definitely be checking this out ! I’m currently using an old 600x thinkpad as my “main” PC (PII 400Mhz 256mb RAM, Crunchbang Linux) I’m always looking for some good ASCII games.

    I’m currently playing DoomRL http://doom.chaosforge.org/ It’s awesome for some quick run and gun text based action.

  3. 3 ing 2011/05/23 at 4:15 AM

    Actually, dwarf fortress can be run completely inside the terminal using the curses interface if you change “[PRINT_MODE:2D]” to “[PRINT_MODE:TEXT]” in “data/init/init.txt”.

  4. 5 cthulhu 2011/05/24 at 10:46 PM

    Awesome, I’ve been enjoying Asciisector for a long time. There is so much you can do, far more than in the original, you can disable ships, and board them, you can pursue a military career or/and be a merchant, or a bounty hunter, or smuggle contraband, assassinate people, or hunt down fugitives, organize convoys, etc. The list goes on, and the developer is always quick to reply to any bug reports, or other problem.

    What sucked me in was when I realized I wanted to buy other ships, and eventually you end up[ with having capital ships (larger than on ascii-character).

    The latest updates to the game consists of fleets, and what not.

  5. 6 Calabane 2011/05/26 at 6:53 AM

    Have you seen the terminal emulator game at telehack.com you can telnet to it and play. It is like an idealized snapshot of the internet circa late 1980′s to early 1990′s. I’ve been burning a lot of free time in it recently and also sometimes have at least screen devoted to it when I am doing work.

    It is a dangerously good time.


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