I-War (Independence War)

I-War (Independence War)

Infobox VG
title = I-War, Independence War

North American box
developer = Particle Systems Ltd.
publisher = Infogrames
designer = Glyn Williams, Michael Powell
engine = BRender
released = vgrelease|Europe|EUR|November 1997
vgrelease|United States|US|August 31, 1998
genre = Space combat simulator
modes = Single player
ratings = ELSPA: 3 years
ESRB: Everyone
platforms = PC (Windows)
media = CD-ROM (3, or 4 for Deluxe/Special Edition)
requirements = Pentium 90 MHz CPU, 16 MB RAM
input = Joystick, Keyboard, Mouse

"I-War" (known as "Independence War" after the North American release) is a space combat simulator developed by English development house Particle Systems Ltd. The game was first published in 1997 in Europe by Infogrames as "I-War", and in late August of 1998 in North America as "Independence War". An additional campaign was designed, packaged with the original game and released in 1999 as "Independence War Deluxe Edition" in North America and "Independence War Special Edition" in Europe.

The sequel "" was released in 2001.


In the game, the player takes the role of an unnamed 23rd century spaceship captain in the Earth Commonwealth Navy. The primary opponents were rebellious insurgents called the Indies, a group distinguished by their elaborately and colourfully painted ships.

"I-War" was different from most other space combat games in that the player commanded a big, 162 meter long corvette named the "Dreadnaught", and because the space ships flew according to Newton's laws of motion. In other words, the flight model took into account inertia caused by a ship's mass and the absence of drag in outer space. In addition to common flight dynamics, the vessels could move and accelerate in all directions: up, down, forward, backwards and sideways. The piloting was however considerably eased thanks to a simulated flight computer with autopilot modes and an assisted flight mode.

The game had two options to play it - the campaign mode and a mode for immediate space battle with endlessly spawning enemies. The campaign was linear in nature and consisted of a series of about 40 different scripted missions. One or few were available at a time and after completing a key mission new one or ones would become available. Sometimes a different set of missions would be unlocked depending of the out come in the previous mission, thus setting the campaign to different directions. Three different endings to the campaign were possible. The nature of missions varied between various combinations of combat and problem solving. The puzzles often made use of the game's physics modeling.

Depending on the mission "Dreadnaught" could be acting alone, support another vessel or have a group of wingmen under her command. Commanding your companions well could be crucial to winning the mission. Other missions had various special equipment at the player's disposal, like for an example a reconnaissance drone.

Player ship

"Dreadnaught's" standard weaponry was two Particle Beam Cannons (PBC) and various kinds of missiles. For protection the ship had two energy shield projectors - one at the bottom and one at the top (LDA's) - that could each track and absorb cannon fire from a single ship at a time. Shields did not cover the aft part of most vessels, which was a divergence from other space sims in which energy shields covered the whole ship like another layer of armour. Thus player's standard tactics were to try to get behind enemy ship's rear and, if assistance was available, to concentrate allied fire on one enemy at a time. The energy shields could be boosted for a very short time to allow ramming enemy ships without damage to the player ship.

Most ships in "I-War" had three modes of spacecraft propulsion:
*Propellant ejecting thrusters, similar to real-life rockets, were used for combat and close-in maneuvering.
*Linear Displacement drive System (LDS), which allows very fast travel up to almost the speed of light, allowing for fast interplanetary travel.
*Capsule Drive, which was used for faster-than-light interplanetary and interstellar travel. It was restricted to using Lagrangian points L4 and L5 as jump points. When jumping the ship forms its own spacetime capsule, referred as 'capsule space', around itself. "See also: hyperspace (science fiction)"

During LDS-travel ships couldn't use weapons other than missiles designed to stop LDS-travel, but they couldn't be attacked either. For that reason engaging LDS could be an effective way to escape a difficult situation and to gain time to repair the ship. LDS Inhibitor missiles form an effective countermeasure against such tactics.

As the captain of "Dreadnaught" the player could assume the command of any of the four workstations on the command bridge. From the "command" station ("CMD") the player received his/her mission briefings and could sometimes control other ships through a remote link. The station also had access to an accurate star map. The ship was normally flown from the "navigation" station ("NAV"). From the "weapons" station ("WEP") the player had an outside view of "Dreadnaught's" wire frame model. Following a locked target, the angle of view could rotate 360 degrees on all . This workstation also had a ripple fire mode which allowed attacking quickly a large group of enemies. The fourth station "engineering" ("ENG") was for controlling the repairs when the ship was damaged by weapons or a collision with another object. However, the automated repair functioned well and player supervision was rarely needed. The station also had a fuel gauge which was nonfunctional because the game design was changed to give "Dreadnaught" limitless fuel.

The bridge of "Dreadnaught" was a small ship of its own, called the 'command section'. It could be detached from the main vessel. Some missions made a use of this feature.

CGI and cutscenes

The game began with a 14 minute long high quality CGI animation to introduce the game's setting and even some game play features through the story of Jefferson Clay and his last battle. Along the campaign, shorter pieces of CGI encoded in RAD Game Tools's Smacker video format would be shown within missions as cutscenes. These sometimes provided clues to solving some problematic aspect of the current mission. Simple CGI animations utilising wire frame models were used in mission briefings.

Occasionally external camera views were used for kind of real-time, game engine rendered, cutsenes. For example when "Dreadnaught" docked or undocked with another ship or a space station.

Characters, factions and spaceships

* Colin McDuff - A charismatic Indie leader. Also the captor and the captain of "Under New Ownership". McDuff was instrumental in exposing COSA.
* COSA - A conspiracy to perpetuate the war, that consisted of arms dealers, ship builders and others who profited from the conflict between the Indies and the Commonwealth. The faction had advanced technology at its disposal. COSA's defeat opened the possibility to a peace and creation of the New Alliance.
* CNV 301 "Dreadnaught" - "First in her class and the last ship of Jefferson Clay." The player's ship and the namesake of its class. Often called just "Dreadnaught".
* Earth Commonwealth - The player's faction in "I-War". The Commonwealth constitutes of Earth, the Solar System and the extrasolar colonies. Earth's need for resources has caused resentment and support of the Indies among the colonies. With its massive space Navy, the Commonwealth tries to keep order and maintain its own unity against the Indies.
* Indies - The player's faction in the expansion campaign "Defiance". The Independence Movement has fought a guerrilla war for self-determination against the Commonwealth for the last hundred years. The group is made of a mix of pirates, ordinary colonists and political activists. The Indies' fleet mainly consists of modified utility vessels and captured Navy ships. Indie ships were flamboyantly painted with graffiti and had whimsical names inspired in style by the Culture novels of Scottish author Iain M. Banks.
* Jefferson Clay - The hero and a casualty of the Battle of the Toliman Exchange. A digital recording of Clay's personality is retrieved by the player and this version of him provides commentary and advice throughout the game. He is somewhat annoyed by the fact that he has been revived without consent and his dialogue is often bitterly sarcastic.
* Nairnama - Aliens encountered in few missions. As a reward helping against Chaos - another alien entity - they fit "Dreadnaught" with a device which allows following ships through the capsule space. In a later mission this allows the player to find either the COSA or Indie base.
* New Alliance - The peace conference ended in a staged attack against President King's personal cruiser "Excalibur". Despite this most of the Indies and Commonwealth forces joined under the New Alliance in hopes to end the hundred year old civil war. The player could choose to follow President King or the New Alliance.
* President Harrison King - The president of the Earth Commonwealth. King gathered a group of other hard-liners to oppose the New Alliance. In the final mission of the 'New Alliance path' the player had to destroy the "Excalibur".
*Edison Hayes - A member of the Indies and captain of "Spartacus".
*"Spartacus" - The ship was originally the Navy corvette "Rome", but was captured and renamed by Edison Hayes and company in the Defiance intro.
* "Under New Ownership" - Abbreviated as "UNO". The ship was originally the Navy destroyer "Harvard", but was captured and renamed by the Indies in the intro video.
* "Year of the Dragon" - The Indie cruiser from Defiance campaign that the player helped to capture while it was being repaired at a shipyard. Its original name was "Washington".


The development of "I-War" was led by Particle Systems co-founders Glyn Williams (whose previous games include "Warhead" for Amiga and Atari ST) and Michael Powell (whose previous games include "Subwar 2050" for PC/DOS). With Williams and Powell included, "Independence War" had a development team of six men, which was the full personnel of Particle Systems at the time.

The game had some naming troubles. "I-War" was originally signed to Philips Interactive Media, Inc., who were moving into PC-games. At the time the game had merely a working title, 'big ships'. The first suggested name was "Dreadnaught", per the player ship, but it was considered to be meaningless to French and German audiences. The next name candidate was "Infinity War", which was found to be also a name of Marvel Comics comic book miniseries. Therefore the name was shortened to "I-War". At this time Philips Media was taken over by Infogrames, who became the publisher of the game.

"I-War" was first released in Europe in November 1997, under the label of Ocean Software. Ocean was acquired by Infogrames earlier that year. This version, having no 3D hardware support, had only software rendered graphics. The game was released in English, French and German languages. "I-War" was a critical success, but wasn't selling as well as expected.

In late August, 1998, the game was released in North America, but as "Independence War". The reason for the name change was that 'I-War' was already trademarked in the US by Atari for an Atari Jaguar game of that name.

Support for 3Dfx's Glide, at the time the dominant and best supported 3D-hardware accelerated graphics API for computer games, was added for the American release. The upgrade included support for the higher 800x600 resolution that the new graphics card from 3Dfx, Voodoo2, was capable of rendering. Additionally, some of the in-game 3D models were re-created with a higher number of polygons, making them more detailed. On modern graphics cards that support Direct3D or OpenGL for real-time 3D graphics, a Glide wrapper must be used for the game's hardware assisted visuals. The game can be problematic to run on modern hardware under the XP operating system. Use of all patches and a glide wrapper solves most problems. The graphics upgrade was made available as a separate Internet download for the owners of the original "I-War". This patch also changed the game's title into "Independence War" on the loading screen.

The American version was successful and won 'Space-Sim of the year' awards from many magazines and websites. Encouraged by this, an expanded edition was designed. "I-War" / "Independence War" sold around 250 000 copies worldwide. Including the special editions the total sales were about 300 000 [ [http://groups.google.fi/group/comp.sys.ibm.pc.games.space-sim/msg/23fda13dff5c3152?q=g:thl674830716d&dq=&hl=fi&lr= Stephen Robertson on comp.sys.ibm.pc.games.space-sim] ] [ [http://groups.google.fi/group/comp.sys.ibm.pc.games.action/msg/b2ed118a83bc0a49?hl=fi&lr= Stephen Robertson on comp.sys.ibm.pc.games.space-sim] ] [ [http://www.geocities.com/dreadnt/misc/Historyofiwar.htm Stephen Robertson on the official discussion forum (archived at Dreadnaught's www-site)] ] . Despite the relative success, "I-War" stayed merely a cult classic and was an underdog in comparison to such space simulation games as "" or "Wing Commander" series.


Later an additional campaign from the Indie side of the conflict, called "Defiance", was developed. The campaign consisted of 18 missions and it mirrored the "I-War" campaign. This time the player assumed the role of Edison Hayes, a captain of the Indie fleet and the "Dreadnaught"-class corvette "Spartacus". "Defiance" had three new features - in-mission savepoints, limited customisation of player ship's weapons and a zoom mode for longer range weapons fire. The campaign was designed for experienced "Independence War" players, and was generally considered more difficult than the original game.

Originally "Defiance" was supposed to be released as an expansion pack, but Infogrames decided they would prefer a special edition that would have both the new campaign and the original game in the same box. This special edition was released in the US as "Independence War Deluxe Edition" in 1999. The European version was released the same year, but was called "Independence War Special Edition" instead since it was reasoned that 'deluxe' doesn't mean much to the French or German audiences. The American version also included a $10 rebate for owners of "Independence War", but no rebate was included with the European version.

The development of "Defiance" was led by Stephen Robertson who also maintained a strong and long lasting on-line presence helping players of the "Independence War" series.


In late 1998 tools and documentation allowing "I-War" players to modify the game were released. The package only provided means to modify and create mission scripts and dialogue, as well to unlock some game's locked features like more free interstellar travel. To create and texture new in-game models, like ships and space stations, a 3D modeling software with support for NewTek's proprietary LightWave 3D-model format was needed.

Several fan-made missions and even full campaigns were made. These included "Buda5", a "Babylon 5" mod that replaced "I-War"'s own campaign, instant action and even game-selection interface with its own. The main impetus for creation of this mod was the cancellation of the planned "Babylon 5" computer game: "Into the Fire".


In July 19, 1999, Iwerks Entertainment and Infogrames jointly announced a long-term agreement "to develop and distribute ride simulation, theme park attractions and Large Format films based on popular Infogrames titles". The first project was to be a 3D simulation film based on "Independence War" [ [http://www.iwerks.com/notshocked/news/071999.html Iwerks and Infogrames Announce Long Term Agreement to Bring Games to Life] ] . It was scheduled to be released in the spring of 2000 [ [http://www.iwerks.com/notshocked/news/082599.html Iwerks Entertainment Announces FY 99 Fourth Quarter Results] ] . Apparently the project was cancelled at some unknown time.



*Glyn Williams - game design, art direction, script writing, manual, art and briefing animator
*Michael Powell - game design, technical direction, lead programming and project management
*Richard Aidley - programming and artificial intelligence, mission scripting
*Matt Clark - modeling, realtime modeling, graphic design and character design, art management
*Michael Todd - production design, animator, modelling, movie editing and storyboard artist
*Andy Turner - animator, graphic design, sound editor and movie editing

* Music by Kevin Saville

Voice actors: Corey Johnson ( [http://www.imdb.com/name/nm0424819/ IMBd] ), Stanley Townstead, Davis Jarvis, Aaron Shwartz, Alletta Lawson, Annie Tomkinson Jarvis, Billy J. Mitchell ( [http://www.imdb.com/name/nm0593165/ IMDb] )


*Stephen Robertson - project lead, game design, mission design and scripting, Internet support
*James Moore - mission design and scripting
*Richard Aidley - programming and script support
*Paul Clayton - animation and modeling, character design
*Tim Brown - animation and modeling, character design
*Richard Bentley - character animation

*Music by Christopher Mann

Voice actors: Bill Dufris, Paul J. Medford, Toni Barry, Tom Wessel, Ken Drury ( [http://www.imdb.com/name/nm0238636/ IMDb] ), David Jarvis, Stanley Townstead


External links

* [http://www.ataricommunity.com/forums/forumdisplay.php?s=&forumid=137 The official discussion forum]
* [http://web.archive.org/web/*/http://www.independencewar.com The defunct official "Independence War" page] archived by Wayback Machine
* [http://www.i-war2.com/ Independence War II - Edge of Chaos - Community]
* [http://gamespot.com/pc/sim/independencewar/ "Independence War"] at GameSpot
*moby game|id=/independence-war-the-starship-simulator|name="Independence War"
*moby game|id=/independence-war-deluxe|name="Independence War Deluxe Edition"
* [http://mods.firstones.com/buda5/ "Buda5"] , a "Babylon 5" mod for "Independence War" and its sequel
* [http://www.geocities.com/dreadnt/ "Dreadnaught's Independence War Page"] , I-War fan site with tactical guide, information and extensive collection of fan-made missions for I-War 1. Retired, but site runner is now the Atari forum moderator.
* [http://www.iwarpapermodels.org/content/index.htm "Independence War" Paper Models]

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