Hard Vacuum

1993 Daniel Cook

Platform: PC

Inspired by the release of Dune 2 in 1992, artist Daniel Cook started creating his own RTS game design for a title called Hard Vacuum – intended for 386 and 486 computers of the time. The game was to be set in a science fiction world that is run by large corporations. You would be in control of a mercenary battle team, out for hire to the highest bidder and ready to go out and “kick ass”.

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There were elements of resource gathering from mineral deposits, base building and also fighting with a wide range of units that could be used to attack enemies and destroy bases.

Daniel had many ideas and innovations with the game which would eventually make it into future RTS titles, and also many which did not. These included features such as ‘Supply Lines’ (where mineral resources could be pipelined straight to your base), ‘Variable Height Terrain’, ‘Deformable Terrain’, ‘Walls’ and ‘Player-created landscapes’.

The game had a small team overall, consisting of Daniel as the main artist, Ryan Geithman as the lead developer and Patch who was involved in programming and game design. There were likely others involved as well.

At the moment, it isn’t known exactly how far along the game was before being cancelled, or why it was cancelled in the end. It seems clear that development was under way and that the game was fairly advanced at least in terms of the graphics.

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Daniel very kindly shared all of his game assets in a detailed post mortem blog post (which we’ve saved as a PDF in a zip file below – just in case it disappears). Daniel allowed others to make use of the art assets, of which many did for various titles over the years.

In later years, the game has been reconstructed with the OpenRA engine in the form of OpenHV (a mod for OpenRA).  You can find the GIT repository of this here, as well as an Itch.io page for the game.

It is hoped, however, that something from the original PC development can be found and resurrected, which could be valuable for future builds of OpenHV.

With thanks to LiqMatrix for flagging up and for his help with grammar tidy ups.



One Response to Hard Vacuum

  1. My question for Daniel would be: Since the art assets were created on an Amiga 1000, were there any plans for an Amiga version of Hard Vacuum? Would be interesting to know since Dune 2 was also developed for the Amiga.

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