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Adding improvements and a greater opportunity for customization, Space Empires V offers players the chance to explore the far reaches of space while observing such natural occurrences as black holes, binary stars, asteroid belts, and cosmic storms. Galactic gamers begin by customizing the game conditions including planet atmosphere and type, victory conditions, unit capabilities, game and text fonts, score computations, damage type, ship experience levels, and then creating or selecting a ship that can be tested in a combat simulator. Players also select a race from 14 choices complete with their own research opportunities including organic, crystalline, temporal, and more.
There are a total of 6,000 tech levels, over 500 components, and facilities, and 100 solar systems with 15 planets each to research, build, and explore. Gamers can also customize the racial traits to coincide with their playing style, such as selecting a government that is not concerned with population happiness. All vehicles and ships can be altered through the text files, and experienced players can even create their own from scratch. Ships have three parts to them — the armor, inner hull, and outer hull — and players may alter all three. Components placed on the inner hull are the most protected while objects placed on the armor section are least protected, and will be the first items damaged in a fight.
After race, game, and vehicle selection, gamers can head out into the dark reaches of space to begin locating and conquering planets found within the system. Grey hexes found on the planet in question mean that it is unconquered, while green hexes on a planet belong to the player, red hexes belong to an opponent, and glowing hexes are warp points that transfer gamers to new solar systems. Earning credits to spend on such upgrades as weapons, energy shields, and more is accomplished by gaining control of a planet and the resources found there. Players may attempt to take over enemy planets, or use the diplomacy menu to keep the peace and barter with neighbors.
Multiplayer action is available in turn-based or simultaneous turn movement and files are transferable through a LAN, or TCP/IP. By visiting the Space Empires V website, gamers can download or upload customized and player created vehicles, ships, and more. ~ Gracie Leach, All Game Guide