These next couple of sections talk about some of the changes we've made to Spaceward Ho! over the years. If you haven't seen an older version of Spaceward Ho!, these sections will baffle you. Don't read them.
We incorporated the planet, budget, and fleet windows into the map window and moved them to the left to save screen space. We added message passing and communication. We went to full color for the ships and planets. The computer strategies were rewritten from the ground up. The "slow game" option was removed; games are now between the old slow and fast speeds. We went to a log scale spending window to allow for better resolution at the lower spending levels.
We made the computer players name their ships and fleets (and themselves) the same way people do. We added a "master player" (Game Administrator) who can force an update to the next turn in a multi-player game. We got rid of the timed turn features, since we couldn't adjust for people with different clock settings. We changed the cost of the Technologies to balance out the game, and we made Speed affect combat. We made printing work.
We made spending based on income, rather than total money supply. We made ships get built the turn you ask for them, instead of the old shipbuilding queue. We allocate money to your planets automatically, so you can't accidentally underspend on them. We added the Graph History chart, so you can see your long-term trends. We added several gratuitous graphics and sounds. We added some new galaxy types.
We also added a bunch of new messages, made the computer players deal with friends and enemies, and made the computers send semi-intelligent messages to everyone. You can now give money and metal to your friends (or enemies), or surrender to them.
We made the multi-player game much better. The turn clock made games progress at the right rate, Best-buddies alliances were added, battle luck was made optional, we added a Chat Window and Text Messages. Turns are updated locally now, instead of on the master machine, so network updates are much faster. We allowed players to join games after they've begun.
We improved usability: Several dialogs (especially Build ships) were fixed, help messages were added, and we made the terraforming a slider instead of the old pie chart. And, of course, the graphics and sounds were greatly improved.
Seven years is a long time to go between revisions, so you might say that under the hood, Spaceward Ho! was getting a bit long in the tooth. Not for general use, as you can still play version 1.0 in the latest version of MacOS X (what other apps can do that?), but when we decided we wanted to add a bunch more features, it, well, needed a rewrite.
So for those of you who like acronym-compliant applications, version 5.0 is now PowerPC, Carbon, multi-threaded, TCP/IP, and OS X-friendly.
Feature-wise (on top of the hood), there's an awful lot of new stuff in version 5.0 of the Ho! Even so, if you're familiar with 4.0, you'll be able to play with the new one and figure everything out. However, we're providing this handy list of new features so you'll know what you're getting.
Spaceward Ho! 5.0 is bigger than ever, and requires some 20 megabytes of hard disk space, 10 megabytes of RAM, and OS 8.6 or later.
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The computers can now use biological and tanker ships, can make multi-planet attacks, and are better at preserving their metal in the endgame.
If several players arrive at a star at the same time, there's now a single large battle, with allies joining each other in combat. (Sometimes two people allied with you will shoot at each other, too.)
You can group several ship types into a single fleet, for ease of movement and so that fleets of different speeds will stay together.
You can give different battle options to each ship type in a fleet, so that some go all-out offensive (giving a weapons bonus and shields penalty) or defensive. And you can have some ships - usually your colony ship - follow behind the main fleet, not coming in until the main battle is over.
You can now option-click a long route for a fleet, so it will visit a sequence of stars as fuel allows.
New Radical Techs
These include improving research, improving savings interest, decreasing the borrowing interest, and lots more.
Faster and Easier
We're proud that, contrary to the universal tendency for software to bloat, Spaceward Ho! has gotten easier to play and faster with each version. Version 5 is the fastest yet.
New User Interface
Each fleet has its own dot on the star map, and you can just drag a fleet to its destination to move it. Contextual menus are also available.
OS X Native
Spaceward Ho! 5 is Carbonized for optimal use on OS X or OS 8 or 9.
Multiplayer games can automatically pit all humans against the computers, for fun and friendly games.
New Easter Eggs
But we can't tell you about them here. You'll find them, or hear about them on the net.
You'll be able to find software updates to Spaceward Ho! (as we release them) at our web site at http://www.deltatao.com
Thanks to everyone who sent in suggestions, whether in person, on their warranty registration, on comp.sys.mac.games, or on the phone. We considered everything everyone suggested, and, although we couldn't incorporate every new idea, we think you'll find a lot we did.