The Universal ...
Windows PC / DirectX 9, 2003-...

The Universal has been my primary spare-time project for the past few years - I just love tinkering with the big old codebase, and there are always plenty of interesting things on the to-do-list.

It started off by taking the game engine and world server from 'A tractor' and expanding it with an Elite-style environment of space trading and exploration. The big idea being that each of the planets in the galaxy is a unique and customisable game-server featuring whatever gameplay people could make.

Its a rather big game - over the years its acquired its own scripting engine, modelling tools, music streaming systems, etc etc - and its never quite got to that sweet spot of being advanced, well-balanced and manageable enough at a point when a suitable number of people were around to play it - a brief attempt at marketing it in 2005 got rather messy when 10,000 people turned up in half a day and I realised that 1 part-time coder probably wasn't enough to make a properly scalable realtime universe at the time.. Or at least, not the way I was writing it.

Lots and lots of stuff in The Universal has been made by other people - Adam Theirault and Fooli did a load of quality artwork, many others have helped with modelling, 2d graphics, website, community management, moderation and world building.

Its getting on a bit now and perhaps not built for the modern age of HTML5, Flappy Birds and indies making casual games with Unreal Engine, but there's still plenty of depth and potential in this old beast so who knows, maybe one day some sort of divine inspiration or intervention will get it working just right.

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