Tenth Anniversary

Today is MOO2's birthday. Master of Orion II was released exactly 10 years ago: October 31, 1996. I have to admit that I actually can't remember that day: (a) Halloween was no issue here at all and (b) here in Germany, MOO2 was released roundabout 6 weeks later.

In the recent weeks I have mailed further MOO2 devs, unfortunately most seem too busy to respond. It also seems that the devs besides Steve Barcia (Metroid Prime, SSX on Tour) and Ken Burd (Dungeons & Dragons Online) left the gaming industry and were simply uninterested. Rob Corell is one exception. Here are some parts of our mails:

Rob: Sorry for the delay, but I've been trying to hit a milestone on my current project, Adobe Bridge.

I'm pleased to hear that people are still playing (and patching) MOO2, though I didn't have much involvement in it other than the awful network support (sorry!), sound, and a a few special effects. I was the head of a project called "Guardians: Agents of Justice" that was busily failing at the end of MOO2 development.

I wish Steve would make games like that again. Even though he fired me, I'd be happy to play his next turn-based game.

Ken Burd still lives pretty close to me and, last I heard, he was working on Dungeons & Dragons Online.

Hello Rob,

thanks for your reply. About the network performance: There is huge difference between DOS and WIN version here. So we have accepted to use the DOS version and the WIN version doesn't bother us much. But we have one hypothesis to explain the difference and I want to know if it is true:

MOO2 was first developed for DOS and in an later stage it was made (under time-trouble) compatible with WIN95?

Rob: It was definitely developed under DOS. I did the DOS network support, and don't even remember any Win95 testing for MOO2.

Further Mails from:
Russ Williams (AI)
Nieya Anjomi (QA)

Tenth Anniversary BattleTournament

Here are the final resuls (click it to enlarge). Congrats ALEXD! His EMG design dominated.

Evaluation round:
First duels
Further duels
Results (screenshots of successful designs)
Groups (videos of ALEXD's battles, save files)
Further Results (video: ALEXD vs. Cabman)
2nd week (YouTube video)
First Results (save file)


Battle Contest - Final

The final has started:

Download: Save


Battle Contest - Qualifying: Results

Results - (click it to enlarge):

The following designs are qualified:


The finals will start next weekend. The finalists are allowed to update their designs until this friday 1200 CET. (But no relocation of invested RPs.)


Map Mod: Decent Rocks

I.) Introduction
This map mod creates the maps used in the DC mod for regular MOO2. This mod is called DecentRocks since the tiny and small rocks (i.e. Barren, Radiated, Toxic etc.) have now a decent size. See III. for details. Since StepNRazor had asked for it (see comments), I added an ORIONDR3 mod in IV.

II.) Installation
1. Find the Install.exe on your Moo2 CD and double click it to start the DOS installer. (i.e. INSTALL.EXE. If u dont have install.exe on your Moo2 CD use the win-installation and copy this rkernel.com file in your moo2 directory and proceed.)
b) Apply the v1.31 patch
c) Apply the v1.40 patch
Unzip the DecentRocks.zip into your moo folder. NO BACKUP IS NECESSARY! The new file (different file name) can coexist with the 1.40 patch.

Test the Oriondr.exe ---> Singleplayer should work already.

2. Multiplayer via DosBox:
Instead of orion2~1 (last line of step 8 in this guide, btw that is the exe name of the1.4 version) you can simply paste the exe name of the mod:

III. Map Balance
The Orange Mod is quite popular among Aqua-Players. But obviously, those players who prefer Sub, Tol, Lith or Cyber dislike the increase of foodplanets. Therefore just the moderate change under a):
a) Brown Stars are defacto Red Stars now. This mod doesn't change any climate probability of any further star color!
b) I have removed all unguarded UltraRich planets. (They are rich or abundant now.)
c) UltraRich planets have now a basic prod of 7 per worker instead of the previous 8.
d) Tiny and small planets are now slightly larger. Basic Gaia size for tiny and small are 5 and 10 in regular moo. In this mod they are 8 and 12.
e) I have slightly increased the climate modifiers besides Terran and Gaia.
The effects of the modifications d) and e) are summarized in the following table.

MaxPop Values (click it to enlarge):

See this post for details how the max pop values are calculated.

IV.) Decent Rocks Planet Mods
Each system has exactly 1 or 2 or 3 planets in the following 3 mods. Asteroids and Gas Giants are removed.
OrionDR3.zip (contains OrionDR1, OrionDR2 and OrionDR3 mod)


Battle Contest - Qualifying: 2nd Week

This Battle Contest is heavily influenced by so called Rock-Paper-Scissors effects. Many good and playable designs are knocked out by specialized taskforces. One good example is ALEXD's NeutronBlaster/Transporters tactic against Seb79's unshielded titans. ALEXD has initiative and a sufficient ground combat value to raid and destroy these titans in the first combat round. See the YouTube video of this massacre:

You can also download the DOSbox video of this battle. (DOSbox videos have far better quality than YouTube.) But you need to install DOSbox (and its codecs) to watch it (see Battle Contest post below).

ALEXD has also recorded his other duels:
If you want to watch them in better quality you can ask him on our IRC Channel. See the sidebar to join there.

Further results - Update 17.10. (click it to enlarge):


Lord Brazen embedded PJIRC (an open source Java applet IRC client) on his blog. By using it you will directly connect to our MOO2 channel: irc.quakenet.org#moo2. You can also enter from this blog here (and ALEXD's site): Just enter your nickname in the sidebar and hit the chat button. See also Stem's post for details and alternative IRC clients.


Battle Contest - Qualifying: Current Standings

Another close battle in Group B:
cab_vs_alex.zip (20 min)
AFAIK you need DOSbox and you have to install the codecs provided by DOSbox to watch these videos.

Further results - Update 9.10. (click it to enlarge):


Battle Contest - Qualifying Groups

Saves Group A-C: Download

ALEXD also provides two videos of the first duel between his both designs in group C:
AFAIK you need DOSbox and you have to install the codecs provided by DOSbox to watch these videos.

Further results (click it to enlarge):

MOO2 10 years later: QA

A few days ago, I received the following e-mail from Nieya Anjomi who is mentioned in the credits (Quality Assurance):

Hi Siron,

Just wow. It's great to know that people are still following this great title after so many years. I am indeed one of the original testers from the project, and unfortunately, I don't keep in contact with any of the original programmers. In fact, the QA was done in Alameda California, a seperate location than the development, so I've never actually met any of the developers.

Personally, MOO2 was the only game that I tested for pretty much an entire QA cycle for a game. I was a tester on several other games, but this was my first and last complete game tested as it was basically an extended summer job while I was going to school full time. I quit microprose during my 4th year of college, where I went on to get my B.S. and M.S. in computer science. I originally wanted to be a game programmer, however after I graduated I was facinated by network security and ended up working at SONICWALL for the next 4+ years. Like Russ Williams, this game took a lot out of me, regularly working 50-60 hours a week while attending full time classes, teaching me the way the game industry is based on demand and the development cycle.

I remember that all the testers on this game were heavily addicted to QUAKE which was our game of choice to be played during lunch and after hours.

I hope this helps, feel free to blog it, and I wish I had more to contribute. It's been a lifetime for me since I tested this game or was involved in the game industry itself.