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aka: Hardwar: Die Zukunft ist gierig, Hardwar: The Future is Greedy
Moby ID: 1991

Description official descriptions

The craters together is named Misplaced Optimism... And it's completely appropriate. Located on Titan, one of Saturn's moons, the colony started as a mining colony. As the wealth of mineral discovery spread, gangs moved in... until the whole place is held by two rival gangs, some misc. factions, and a lot of people caught inbetween, with no way out.

You are just one of the "moth" flyer owners, and you want to get out of this godforsaken hellhole, and the only way to do is to play the game... a mean game of survival.

Hardwar is a free-form and plot-driven game that was inspired by Elite and Privateer. Entire Misplace Optimism is simulated with other crafts moving about their own business, from transport to piracy to bounty hunters and more, and you can join them. Transport your own goods from source to destination to earn a profit. Chase down helpless merchant moths and cut them apart with your weapons and then retrieve their cargo. Chase down pirates and other evildoers on commission of the local police. Upgrade your craft with better components, software, or even new moth models. You can even own buildings in this game world, and charge others for repairs and such. Follow through the plot, where you need to undertake a few special missions, and you may even get a chance to escape this hellhole once and for all...

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Credits (Windows version)

79 People (76 developers, 3 thanks) · View all

Developed by
Creative Manager
Quality/Systems Manager
Technical Manager
Executive Producer
Sound Effects
Producer/Director (Video)
Camera Operator
Lighting Camera
Prop Construction
Make-up Desginer
Make-up Assistant
Costume Stylist
Scenic Artist
Sound (Video)
[ full credits ]



Average score: 73% (based on 12 ratings)


Average score: 3.1 out of 5 (based on 35 ratings with 2 reviews)

The Future of 1998

The Good
Hardwar came and went, and is mostly forgotten now. There was a lot of promise, and the game looked fantastic in the magazines, but it is gone. I am surprised to learn that it was released outside the UK, but it certainly wasn't a big hit. Both Gremlin and the Software Refinery, who published and developed the game respectively, have subsequently bitten the dust, so good luck finding a copy on sale. The game was another go at recreating the open-ended gameplay of classic mid-80s vector graphic space trading game 'Elite', but this time set in a series of 'G-Police'-esque cities on a moon of Saturn. Amusingly, Hardwar is actually the name of a real city, in India, although it's pronounced "hadwah", I think. The game still seems to have an online following, who should really be introduced to the online following of 'Falcon 4.0', 'Trespasser' and other prematurely-abandoned eccentricities; they would get along well with each other.

The graphics were very nice, in their day. The feeling of moving through a large, functioning city is well done, and the atmosphere - literally, the fog and clouds, and the night-time with its oil refinery lights - added to the effect and made sense, rather than seeming like the standard fogging used to reduce the rendering time of distant objects. It was, for a time, great fun to just fly around aimlessly, watching things happen; far better than the empty, sterile 'X: Beyond the Frontier', which emerged a couple of years later. The decals and so forth were designed by the Designer's Republic, and the game was at the height of trendy graphic fashion circa 1998; the game is faintly nostalgic of the dot.com boom. I don't know if the Designer's Republic is still going. The game's soundtrack was composed of tracks by artists on Warp records, and I can envisage the producers of the game eyeing the success of 'Wipeout'.

The cut-scenes are decent, too. Remember them, remember cut-scenes? Back in the past, games used to have bits whereby the game would stop, and there would be a video sequence with cheap actors such as Clive Owen or Mark Hamill, or simply computer-generated mannequin people, and you would press the spacebar several times and the cutscene would go "LOADING..... It's good to see you Capt- ... LOADING" and then the game would carry on. Ah, back in the past.

The Bad
Ah, well. The game was reminiscent of 'Privateer 2' in this respect, but with a much more obtuse and hard-to-follow plot. And there were elements of what would become 'X: Beyond etc' etc later on. Simply put, after a day or two it became clear that, although it was briefly interesting to watch the outside world move of its own accord, to look at ships flying past and so forth, it quickly became as dull as... real life, in fact. As with 'Privateer', the environment is surprisingly small and limited, in that it is restricted to a series of domed cities, in which there are only a limited number of buildings with which you can interact (shades of the ancient 8-bit number 'Tau Ceti', which had large outdoors environments which were nonetheless mostly empty and ornate). There was potential for long-term trading and ownership of garages, from what I recall, but it would have required hours and weeks and months of hoarding money and, as with most other 'Trader'-style games - the genre goes back to the 1970s - the gameplay ultimately devolves into flying backwards and fowards between two or three locations, watching your money increase with each trip. There weren't enough ships or weapons or things to justify the effort, and ultimately it's like watching the odometer on a car; the numbers go up, slowly. A certain personality type might enjoy this empty feeling of achievement, but then again some people like to memorise the telephone book.

And really, you are fighting an AI which is masquerading as humanity, and after a while you think to yourself "what is the point of all this, all this time I have invested? I'm pretending to fly an imaginary aircraft against imaginary opponents, in a generally tedious imaginary environment in which I earn imaginary money which I can spend on imaginary equipment which will help me fight imaginary opponents and so forth". At least a game such as 'Doom' gives the player a charge of adrenalin, and a feeling of satisfaction at having defeated overwhelming numbers of tough enemies and a series of clever puzzles set by a human being.

Unlike 'Elite', the combat isn't much fun; it's not detailed enough to pass as a flight simulator nor is it kinetic and exciting enough to work as a thrill. Until you have a powerful ship, which takes ages, there's not much point anyway.

The plot is tortuous. I can barely remember it, but it ends with the whole place blowing up, and there was something about radiation experiments on people, and you have to find a nuclear missile. And shoot something with it, probably.

The Bottom Line
I may seem harsh. At the time I found the game enthralling, for a week or two, and then I put it away and didn't play it ever again. The plot isn't really immersive enough to bring you along with it, the combat is unexciting, the trading aspect is tedious and the environment isn't large enough to sustain interest. It has all the strengths and flaws of 'Frontier', but it is smaller and less ambitious.

With extra development it might have been a monster - if the game had been huge, with locked-off areas, dozens of ships, free cocaine, free meals at Weatherspoons etc - and I admit to never having played it online, in which case it might take off (although it would quickly become very crowded). The game is essentially unavailable today.

Windows · by Ashley Pomeroy (225) · 2005

massively multiplayer sci-fi game

The Good
The freeform style of the world you play in.Upon completing the plotline I instantly started a new world with no intention of playing through the plot again. The ai pilots act intellegently and in a totally non-scripted way.They actually react to things you do and changes in the gameworld. I'd say it was the open ended nature and amount of ways to play the game I found so attractive.

The Bad
The network support for the release version of the game was generally laggy,sometimes to the point where it would become unplayable but this was resolved after the U2.0 update pack.

The Bottom Line
The sheer richness of the gameplay really leaves no need for the linear plot,there's enough to keep you occupied for many,many months,even years.As soon as you start a new game the first thing that hits you is the feeling of a vast living,breathing world with many things going on all over the place.Everything seems totally dynamic,whatever applies to the player also applies to the ai pilots.Another great thing about the game is the massive amount of ways you can play the game. Some players opt for the combat orientated style,looking for bounties,killing and looting to make their way in the world.Others may make their living by trading in the many products of the city,and opening up their own businesses.The latest version of the game even promises to allow players to go as far as opening up their own factories. The network option enhances things further,power struggles often emerge between two powerful players and from looking at the way the online community is heading as well as the additional options that appear in every new update pack,the game is gradually evolving from it's humble "single-player-with a couple of network options thrown in" title into something far greater.The future of the game lies in it's growing multiplayer support and options.It may well become the sci-fi equivelent of ultima online.

Windows · by zero@titan (35) · 2001



Designer & Producer, Ade Carless actually appears in the game's videos as the Police Über-Clerk. The character Syd is played in the FMV clips by British television presenter Ben Shephard, early in his career.


The demo (while timed and limited to the Alpha crater) has a unique scenario


Some US releases included a Fragile Allegiance CD (full version - just a CD in a slip case) inside the box.


The Software Refinery released a small utility called "Hardluck" that toggles a 'Misc' tab on the main launch menu. There's several options available from this tab; For example you can browse for and play the videos from the game cd's("Spoiler Warning!"), enable some useful and fun Debug Keys, or create a text Log File for each game played which details all activity in the world


You can actually purchase buildings in each of the craters by locating the real estate agent's location. You can also call for a taxi, buy new "moths" (the crafts you fly), get new weapons and equipment, smuggle (illegal substances of course), be a vigilante (track down/kill wanted moth drivers for police) by visiting the police HQ and get the wanted list, salvage dropped merchandise (if you have a retriever drone), borrow money from loan shark(s), pay fines (to clear your record with the police), trade with various enclaves and shops, hire on as mercenary for one of the factions in the game, upgrade your computer systems in the moth by finding a software house, and much more...


Some of the AI Pilots are named after the hacker aliases from the film Hackers (1995) starring Jonny Lee Miller and Angelina Jolie - Acid Burn, Crash Override, Zero Cool, Lord Nikon.


The radio station in this game, HardWarp FM, is based on Warp Records, an independent electronic music label who did provide the tracks. Both CDs have five full length tracks and eleven short tracks. Here are the names and artists of the full length tracks:


Track 2: Black Dog - Raxmus 3:05

Track 3: Black Dog - Chase The Manhattan 5:45

Track 4: LFO - Tied Up 5:21

Track 5: LFO - Shut Down 4:50

Track 6: Autechre - Second Bad Vilbel 9:43


Track 2: RAC - Nine 3:47

Track 3: Autechre - Second Scepe 6:41

Track 4: Autechre - Clipper 8:12

Track 5: Squarepusher - Chin Hippy 3:16

Track 6: LFO - Tied Up 5:21

The last track on CD 2 is a recording of a group of the game's creators singing along to the final cutscene There's also this comment: "Right, so it's like, 3 in the morning, and we've like, finally finished the final version, er, oh hang on there's that singing bit..."

Information also contributed by Jack Lightbeard, Kasey Chang, neotiger and Zamppa

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Contributors to this Entry

Game added by cuchulainn.

Additional contributors: Vance, Rebound Boy, jnik, Kasey Chang, zero@titan, Jack Lightbeard, Patrick Bregger.

Game added July 18th, 2000. Last modified October 4th, 2023.