Independence War II mod Torn Stars: Unstable Space hits beta

Stirrings in the galactic graveyard that is the Independence War II mod scene! Long-thought-dead mod Torn Stars: Unstable Space, has seen a beta release, as of today!

Unstable Space adds a whole host of functions to the minimalist, elegant HUD already present in Independence War II, including email, buying and selling, hiring and firing, factional reputations, and more.

How dead was/is it? Last noise was of an Unstable Alpha, sometime around 2007. Holy cats. And according to the developer,

“I am utterly exhausted. Even writing this post is tough. The beta is far from perfect. It is a sandbox adventure, devoid of any scripted events or story line. It contains a simulated star cluster, along with all the ships, stations, asteroids, planets, stars, factions and battles that go along with that. Expect bugs, and imperfections aplenty. I am not sure how much support I can give fixing them.”

But eh, what the heck. I’m downloading mine right now from torn-stars.com. And even now, he seems to be doggedly responding to posts.

After a few minutes of play: It seems clear that this mod was intended to bring to Independence War 2 what it ultimately lacked in the minds of many: a broad, plotless, Elite-like universe of trading, missions, fighting, and struggling to work your way up from a beat up scow to a powerful… well, whatever you want to be. You’re not going to just jump in and start fighting (for that, turn to the stock game’s campaign, or the venerable Freespace series). Unstable Space is an attempt at an open-world RPG in a varied and interesting universe, and how well it succeeds won’t be clear to me until I log in quite a few more hours. Which I certainly intend to do.

Bring your big boy pants, because starts in Unstable Space are spartan indeed.

You can get your copy of the excellent space sim Independence War II from GOG.com for six bucks. Install it fresh, then install Unstable Space. Though the plot lines are unrelated, you may wish to play the main campaign first, because it’s just a swell game. Once you get ready for Unstable Space, though, be prepared for a learning curve!

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