Universal Combat CE "remastered" and released for free on Steam

Universal Combat

Even if you've never played Battlecruiser 3000AD, you've almost certainly heard of it: It was famously ambitious, famously broken, and it's creator, Derek Smart, spent a lot of time being famously angry at the internet for lipping off about it. (I think he once actually called me an unhappy name on the Blue's News forums.) It went through a number of iterations over the years, but eventually Smart and his 3000AD studio moved on to a follow-up, Universal Combat.

Like Battlecruiser, Universal Combat was dogged by bugs and controversy, and didn't go over well with critics. But it too went through a number of updates, the last one a version 2.0 Collector's Edition that was released in 2009; and now that version has been "remastered" for a free release on Steam, to mark the 25th anniversary of the original Battlecruiser concept and "introduce a new generation to these highly advanced capital ship combat games."

"Like them or hate them, my games have come a long way. In an industry where most of the guys and games have come and gone, making it this far is testament to my vision of catering to and being focused on an exclusive and dedicated audience of like-minded gamers. I never set out to win them all; just the select few who liked these sort of high-end complex games," Smart said. "By releasing this compendium for free, now that space combat games are apparently making a comeback, my goal is to introduce a new generation to these highly advanced capital ship combat games which still have no equal. My games did it first; and they’re still doing it."

Now, I haven't played Universal Combat and so I cannot attest to its quality, but free is free, as the saying goes, and this is. Believe it or not, 3000AD is also working on yet another "refresh" of the game, Universal Combat Advanced, that will completely overhaul its graphics engine and upgrade its models and art with assets from the more recent Line of Defense MMO. (You remember that one.) The studio said it doesn't plan to add any features to the game, but also said that it's "working on a surprise feature that will completely blow your mind." Looking forward to it.

Andy Chalk

Andy has been gaming on PCs from the very beginning, starting as a youngster with text adventures and primitive action games on a cassette-based TRS80. From there he graduated to the glory days of Sierra Online adventures and Microprose sims, ran a local BBS, learned how to build PCs, and developed a longstanding love of RPGs, immersive sims, and shooters. He began writing videogame news in 2007 for The Escapist and somehow managed to avoid getting fired until 2014, when he joined the storied ranks of PC Gamer. He covers all aspects of the industry, from new game announcements and patch notes to legal disputes, Twitch beefs, esports, and Henry Cavill. Lots of Henry Cavill.