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Rocket Club (tm)
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Synthetic Reality

Rocket Club is a multi-player, on-line, real-time, team and tournament-based, multi-terrain/space action/adventure/strategy game/simulation with RPG elements and an extensible open-ended design for player customizations. (yep, another one of those!). And it's FREE!

The slightly better than vaporware version can be obtained Here:

Current Rocket Club Installer

Even better, it is 98% vaporware, and will remain so for a year at least. Though you can see an early 3D test demo here:


Rocket Club A37 A newer version (2009), requires DX9, Microsoft DLLs, supports Vista, multithreading
Rocket Club 6 This is actually the final DX7 version, kept around for historical purposes.

This is the newest one... This is the first networked-version. So, if there is a Hub running (and there may not be one regularly) you can play in HUB mode and see other players... but that's about all you can do with them. Try chatting with them.

Rocket Club Demo This is the installer for the Rocket Club Technology Demo.
Download and run it to install the demo.

This version lets you fly around a bit, using your joystick. Use PgUp and PgDn to change your speed. Hold down button2 on the joystick to roll. (except in Chase Plane view, then it changes your view angle).

Again, not much going on this demo, since I am mainly just experimenting with Direct3D at this point.

Use Alt-ENTER to go between full screen and windowed modes. Menu commands only appear in window mode.

RocketClub Installer
This old demo is not much more than a screen saver with you floating through space near some random planets and looking at 'accurate' stars in the distance.Use the F3 key to toggle between space and terrain.

Use the F5 key to generate a new fractal terrain. Lots of other Fkey and menu options are available, so look around and experiment. Some features (fog) may only work when you are in full screen mode.

rocketClub.mp3 It occurred to me that it would be cool if Rocket Club could have sort of an anime feel to it. In that spirit, my daughter Lyssa has composed a theme song (and performed it) for us.

This is also the first MP3 file I have ever made, so life continues to be a grand journey.

I have *big plans* for Rocket Club, but it will be my first official 3D project (using D3D, I mean) so it could end up going in a totally unplanned direction. Check the Rocket Club Bulletin Board for daily details on developments.

~~~ Estimated Minimum Requirements to Play Rocket Club ~~~

* Pentium CPU 800 MHz
* 128M RAM (more the better)
* 500M Disk Space (10M download)
* DirectX version 9 or higher
* DX9-Compatible 3D accelerator card
* High-Speed Internet Access Desirable
* A Civil tongue.

Don't forget that while this is free, you are ALSO free to send me money anyway. Click here for details:

Donate $

The Plan:

The idea is that there is a universe of approximately 2 billion stars, most of which are uncharted. Players (goal: 1000 simultaneous players) develop their characters, eventually getting the ability to visit stars. Once visited, a star is no longer uncharted (it shows up in the central star registry and everyone in the game is now aware of its basic attributes). Most stars are losers, presumably.

But some stars have nice solar systems with the material resources you need to harvest, fight over, and build with. The design will be open-ended in that players may submit new 3D models (with some constraints) and textures from which building blocks are created. These blocks are then glued together (by the players) to form factories, vehicles, space stations, etc.

As far as the UI goes, my loose 'design spec' is that you have a body (custom 3D skin files with varying degrees of 'alien-ness' allowed) that you move around (think quake). You can walk on planet, into buildings, etc. It's full on 3D with various view options (first person, over the shoulder, spot plane, etc).

When you 'buckle into' a vehicle, you lose control of your body and those same UI commands now move the vehicle instead. You might drive a tank on planet, or a small spaceship up into orbit. Flight dynamics will NOT be designed to be overly realistic. For example, the trip to orbit will be very quick, and your rendevous with a space station will be very easy.

Once at a space station (for example), you unbuckle and float in your ship, go through an airlock into the station and float through it, perhaps getting on a larger ship. From there you might travel to a moon, another planet, another star, etc.

Each vehicle/factory/station has 'consoles' (which you can buckle into - one at a time) dedicated to piloting, weaponry, factory-control, or whatever. There might be multiple consoles on a single ship. (for example, the space station might have an astronomy module to be used in scanning uncharted stars, and a defense module or two, to fight off invaders).

Any console can be buckled into by a player with the requisite skills (RPG element) and ownership rights (integrated guild/club support - material objects are 'owned')

Any console without a human player is run by an AI bot, as needed.

Some functionality is via your PDA which you have with you at all times. This is your primary chat (radio) interface and is also used to fulfil the 'contract negotiation' aspect of the game.

Much of the game consists of making and fulfilling 'contracts' between yourself and other players, clubs, or bots. For example, as a ship pilot you would contract to buy resources, deliver resources, etc. You would be paid upon completion (or pay a penalty if you failed to fulfill your contract). (lots of other possibilities here - selling contracts, stock market, etc.)

At the beginning of the game, your character would be in some object somewhere (a factory?) with some menial job contract. You would have available skill training and an income (bank to borrow credit from as well, perhaps even from other players as 'loan contracts'). Eventually you would have enough money to get offplanet. Either on a ship of your own or as a passenger on some other player's ship (or a regularly scheduled bot ship)

You might later be ferrying modules to orbit, or assembling stations from modules, or prospecting new star systems, laying claims, exploiting resources, establishing factory planets, making flame tanks, etc. Perhaps you carry a load of robot colonists to do this for you or your club.

The goal of the game is: stay alive (some penalty for death), get rich, get skilled, build stations, protect stations, destroy stations, provide war material, fight in ground wars, dogfight in the air and in space. Advance in rank and status.

And, of course, to chat.

The Metaphor:

The universe consists of one or more Galaxies (players in one Galaxy cannot interact with players in another. I might allow you to host private Galaxies). For now, assume there is only one Galaxy.

Each Galaxy has a massive black hole in the center, which is called "The Hub" (this is actually a master server which coordinates activities within the galaxy).

Each Star in the Galaxy is connected via a worm hole to the hub. But like all good wormholes, they are not always open. In fact, each player's copy of the game is the Star Server for one star. And that star's wormhole is open whenever that player's copy of the game is running.

You may visit any open star.

Note that this means that your copy of the game is simultaneously a SERVER for your own star and a CLIENT connected to some other star. (the star that your character is visiting)

Each player gets their very own star system (plus there are 2 billion NPC stars to be used for scrimmage battle scenarios and scripted missions)

The Architecture:

The basic layout will be both similar to Well of Souls, and totally different from it. There will be only one universe (whether you are playing solo or multiplayer). I'm not exactly sure what the solo game is, other than you might be limited to a single star system which can subsequently be 'added' to the ongoing online game.

As an online game, there will be a few master servers, and as many 'star servers' as needed. Each star system will have its own server (possibly your own copy f the game if you are the only one near that star at the time). Each player is only near one star at a time and 'hops' from server to server as nevcessary

The star servers act mainly as a database synching tool, so all players agree as to the station configurations. Players act as their own database server for things like their personal appearance and that of their current vehicle.

A star server acts much as a source control system "checking out' a star when it starts up and 'checking it back in' when it is done.

When a player travels to a star, the master database informs him (or her) of the address of the relevant star server (or causes the player's own computer to become that star server).

I plan on using UDP as much as possible (with as few TCP connections as possible) with as much 'peer to peer' traffic as possible, with automatic generation of message servers for communications groups. While it is an online game, you will be surprisingly disconnected from all but a few players. A 'distress call' server will allow friendly (?) people to mnitor for global shouts for help. Global contract server(s) will manage binding contract negotiaions between players.

Highly interactive sequences (dogfights and ground wars) will be limited to a small number of players (32?) and managed by a server spawned on one of the player's machines (or several, as needed).

I plan to allow 'star servers' to easily compose simple 'quest files' (think Well of Souls, but simplified) which apply to people in their star space. (for example, radio messages asking for help in destroying something, recovering something, delivering something) which might be thought of as bot-initiated contracts.

People familiar with my previous projects might find this one substantially different. Part of that is enforced by D3D which makes it difficult to embed browser panels and other common control objects. I plan to solve that problem however, as I cannot live without my embedded browser! (for tournament control, etc).

Please note that even as a solo game, it may make extensive use of online servers. It may end up being impossible to play without a network connection, even if your goal is to play by yourself. Obviously I will try to make it work as well as possible as an offline game.


Not even out yet, and already Rocket Club is winning awards!

  Synthetic Reality would like to take this opportunity to thank all the people which made this award possible.  Especially to all the snerts which have diluted our programming efficiency by distracting us from new projects.  This ones for you, guys!    

Clearly, an amazing experience awaits us all!

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