Anyone ever heard of the game Hardwar (1998)? I first got a link to it while looking through the Vega Strike website, and it's rather reminiscent of Privateer (trading, shooting pirates, evading the cops, etc). Apparently it's got a small but dedicated fan base who play online fairly frequently. They have demos of the game posted all over the place and patches available to make it work like the retail version w/o the movies or music.

I guess it didn't do too well in US markets, I think the software firm that released it was originally in the UK. The firm was bought by Interplay but I don't think the game ever got re-released, so it's next to impossible to find in retailers. The demo with patches itself is pretty good, and its graphics are roughly equivalent to X-wing vs. Tie Fighter.

This might be as close as we get to Privateer Online for now...
Hardwar is a little slower paced. I haven't played it for years though, can't seem to get it working on XP like with most older titles.
I've got XP and the demo I downloaded seems to be working fine, just it crashes everytime it tries to access a video (which so far has been me getting killed).
Hardwar the game is quite similar to Privateer. It has a fully implemented trading system for goods and services, and allows you the unique experiance of buying a building through which to base your operations (And open your own store).

The game is not true space flight...it takes place in a series of craters across the surface of a planet that features it's own day/night cycle. The only reason this makes the game interesting is due to the fact that the ships you fly are solar powered...conviently located "Light Wells" can save you if you're caught flying around with low power at night.

The graphics aren't to bad at all, and I haven't had any trouble myself running the game in WINXP. It does support multiplayer, both across LAN and TCP/IP internet connections.

Players can "Host" their own worlds and send their friends the IP, and I believe up to 10 of you can fly around in the same world together, either killing each other or exploring as a group. The world map however, is not that large.

The entire game is available for free at ~~~~~~~~~~~~~, though it's a little bit tricky to install it all just right.

As I understand it, it's even possible to create your own skins for the ships you fly (stupidly called Moths...they could have been named something much cooler).

The plot explodes quickly and is hard to stay away from, and is done mostly in the form of Email-like messages that arrive while your in flight (and be careful, because your ship keeps flying while you're reading messages).

I suggested to LOAF a while back it might be worth mentioning on the CIC news page and submitted it as a suggestion (I thought people might be interested due to the fact that it is similar to Privateer) but never heard back from anyone. I've been playing for about a month now, so if anyone has anymore questions I'd be happy to answer 'em.
Hardwar is pretty damn cool, specially in that the economy is extremely dynamic. If the game world wasn't so damned small and if there were side-plots, it'd be an awesome game... as it stands, though, I think it gets old fast.
When/where does the machinery to make stuff in your hangar become available for you to purchase? I can last until about day 6 (offline) in a Silver Y scavenger Moth before someone puts me down, and I haven't seen anything.
Hardware was an extremely fun game that like others have mentioned had sorta a Privateer feel to it. I enjoyed playing it but I lost interest in the actual plot...not much to that. Still would be interesting to try the multiplayer option, I never played any of that.
Multiplayers is generic: shoot down the other guy before he shoots you. The only real perk is that you can can flame the higher combat-rated bounties.

Sycorax, what kind of game are you playing? If you stick with something simple like trading you should be able to make it pretty far beyond day 6...are you just killing everything randomly? Or the bounties?

I've actually found that if you resort to shooting every ship you come across, even the civilians, you'll kill enough bounties in the process to make it worth your while...and as a side note, the police will drop your fines whenever you do.

Never knew it wasn't Legal LOAF, that would probably be why the DL version doesn't have any of the game videos in it.
Don't worry about it. For future reference, "abandonware" is just the "24 hour trial version" of modern software piracy.
Jason_Ryock said:
Never knew it wasn't Legal LOAF, that would probably be why the DL version doesn't have any of the game videos in it.
What an odd thing to say. Warez usually doesn't have video or music. It's to keep the download as small as possible.
How could that possibly seem odd? The video files must take up hundreds of megabytes. Hard drives and bandwidth aren't free. Think, man.
i had played the demo ages ago when it first came out. i found it be be interesting, but hard. ignorance like this was common for space combat games when i was at that age.
Jason: I've only had the game a few days now, and I was having a little trouble getting used to the power management, so I kept getting killed early without power to recharge shields. The Silver Y sucks but the salvage drone can make some decent money in scrap metal early on (this Moth sucks at about everything else though). I've managed to make it to day 13 now but still no hangar equipment except the cloning device. I'm seeing laser prices in the $50,000 range and big missles in the $1,000,000 ballpark, but I can find narcotics around $65, so is there a better economy patch?

LOAF re "abandonware": I've seen this game for sale on Ebay, so it's not completely impossible to purchase it legally, unlike other old programs I've seen available.
Really bad fiction, at that. Like a Patrick Robinson "technothriller" (often not at all right in its tech, and generally not all that thrilling).
I think of abandonware as "warez light" or "guilt free warez". It's still as illegal as normal warez but people justify it by saying "It's so old" or "You can't get it anywhere else".

I'm not going to call the kettle black though, I've downloaded DOS warez before to play old games out of nostalgia, but that doesn't make it legal. Unless the company that owns the rights to the game specifically downgrades it to freeware (i.e. One Must Fall 2097) and tells people they can download it and distribute it then it's illegal.
What about the really good, really old games that would have been lost forever without abandonware.
HArdwar was quite fun until some AI pilot started following me and shooting me with those annoying gravitiy missiles.

As for abandonware, sure, it is 100% illegal. The problem really is in the model of game distributing we have nowadays. I spent a lot of money to get hardwar from e-bay, for instance, and I felt twice raped, for I couldn't buy it in brazil and I'm sure the developer and the publisher got nothing off my money.

It is a stupid lose-lose situation. Games should be PUBLISHED online, like Stardock does now.

I also hate stupid copy protection schemes that only serve to bother me, the person who bought the freaking game. Pirates don't sweat about it. cracks are available on day -10, sometimes. Games sell worse every day not because of piracy, but because publishers are always screwing their clients (us). you get incomplete games with copy protection that breaks it even more. you get no more manuals and cool things. the developer get fucked in the ass, and the publisher pockets the money. Tycho linked to a great article on online publishing from the point of view of the developer's POV. The same guys who got fed up from being robbed by big time publishers and decided to do something about it.

Regarding older games: So, if the publisher won't restock the game or release it for free, I am forbidden from playing it? sod off, I'll play whatever I want too. I spent weeks searching for MW4 and finally bought it for a lot of money, because I think it's a great game. But there are several times when it's nowhere to be found: MW4: Mercenaries was never released in brasil and is getting expensive in ebay.

I, for one, got fed up with this situation. I do buy games when they're cheap or when it is really good (I just bought Civ3, for instance), but I do get a lot of games with BT without feeling guilty. I know it's illegal, I create no fantasies about it. But I won't sit at home twiddling my thumbs because MS didn't want to release it here.

I'd be happy to buy all my games legallly and all. But I will resort to shady tricks to get them if necessary, and I won't preach to others that it is bad to pirate games.

But I really believe that the way out from this stupid situation is online publishing.