Imperial Space Command (DOS)

Imperial Space Command DOS Starting up the Game Generator for a new game


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You command the Imperial Fleet of the One True Civilization - the descendant of a legendary Empire which once united mankind in a galactic Golden Age, but perished in a horrifying civil war. As interstellar travel ceased, the struggling, isolated remnants descended into a Dark Age, and the knowledge of old was gradually lost. However, on your planet conditions were favorable, and untold generations later, a new culture has dawned. Artifacts from the ancient Empire were unearthed and studied, forgotten arts relearned, and space travel reinvented.

But as the first test flights began to explore near space, a terrible truth was unveiled: there are Others out there. Your planet was not the only one to rediscover lost technologies and embark on a new space age; multiple competing empires are on the rise, with each laying claim to the same Imperial legacy. A new galactic conflict is brewing, and only one outcome can prove the legitimacy of your claim - complete and total victory.

Imperial Space Command is a turn-based game of interstellar war for up to 8 players (any of which may be human or computer-controlled). Multiple human players can play without communicating between them at all; they make their moves using separate player diskettes, and a Game Master processes the disks after each turn, as well as the "robot" (AI) players' moves. Non-player (renegade) forces also exist. The complex rules involve many variables, adjustable from the Game Generator at the start of each game.

One long-lost but crucial technology cannot be duplicated by any side: the mighty engines that powered the Imperial starships of old. These indestructible marvels of engineering have survived intact throughout the ages, but their inner workings remain impenetrable, and new ones cannot be constructed. Ships of different sizes and capacities may be built, but only a limited supply of existing engines can be used to drive them.

The path to victory will entail exploration and colonization of planets, setting up governmental units to cement the allegiance of your colonies, and production centers to gather wealth; tax collection and a repository/treasury system to manage that wealth; constructing, equipping and managing ships and fleets; and engaging in ship-to-ship combat, planetary bombardment and invasion to overcome rival empires and renegade forces. If that wasn't enough, your colonies run the risk of plagues, revolutions and states of anarchy.


Imperial Space Command DOS It's the robot player's turn to move
Imperial Space Command DOS Report of the previous turn's movements and events
Imperial Space Command DOS Starting up the Game Generator for a new game
Imperial Space Command DOS The scrolling map screen (EGA/VGA) showing data for the selected grid position

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Ed Kiser wrote an initial rough version of ISC in BASIC on the IBM 5100 (an early, pre-IBM PC portable computer), then ported it to TRS-80 BASIC. From 1983 to 1986, Kiser rewrote it for the IBM PC using Structured BASIC while Scott T. Jones contributed the user interface and computer player code.

Imperial Space Command is a fun sci-fi wargame designed as an internal game for IBM’s employees. The game is a novel multiplayer game that lets up to 8 players (any of whom can be computer controlled) compete in the race to conquer the galaxy. According to Scott Jones, the designer, ISC is “…a multi-player game of space exploration, colonization, and conquest based on my own design of a paper and pencil game that was frequently played by the IBM Simulation Games Club in Boca Raton, FL. A crude version of the program was developed in BASIC on the IBM 5100 and ported to BASIC on the TRS-80 by Ed Kiser of Coral Springs, FL. He later redesigned it and wrote it in Structured BASIC for the IBM PC.”

If you have trouble getting the game to run, here are some tips from Ed Kiser, one of the game’s designers: “It must run under [pure] DOS; not any good in the DOS virtual box under Windows. The DOS must be booted to bypass any windows stuff that normally boots. The latest hardware is advancing to the point that even DOS 6.xx does not run completely properly, and so neither will ISC. My Pentium IV will not support DOS nor ISC. I run ISC by booting from a DOS 6.xx diskette from my older Pentium II machine, and since DOS 6 does not understand 32 bit FAT, that means the hard drive “does not exist”, so the whole game has to be played on a RAM DRIVE, with a SAVE to DISKETTE at the end of the session. I still get hours of pleasure of playing ISC; hope others will also.”

Unfinished Follow-Up

Jones worked on Imperial Space Command 2 from 1992 to 1994, using the C-Set++ development package for OS/2. This was a complete redesign, including its own game definition language that could implement other games of the same type. Due to the author's priorities in the OS/2 Warp development team, ISC2 remained unfinished.
vileyn0id_8088 (21096) added Imperial Space Command (DOS) on Mar 20, 2014