For the past 5 years I've been working on Ascii Sector whenever I could squeeze in some programming time. There's still a lot of work left before the game is complete, but I'm beginning to approach a point where the completion -- or at least v1.0 -- is no longer a far off dream, but actually somewhat within my grasp. This has set me thinking about what projects I'd want to work on when I finally reach that point. My big dream is to take the engine and underlying game logic that runs Ascii Sector and make a graphical, commercial game from it. But that's a big dream and an equally big project, so what I'll be doing before that is make a smaller, commercial game that'll have some similarities with certain aspects of the graphical, commercial Ascii Sector game (which, for obvious reasons, likely won't be called Ascii Sector!).
How this all will impact Ascii Sector is with regard to Ascii Sector's story, universe and setting. As I now hope to some day make a commercial game based on the thousands of hours I've put into Ascii Sector, I can no longer use an IP I don't own the rights to. That basically means the Privateer name and everything related to the Wing Commander universe. So what you'll be noticing after I release the first 0.7 version is that I'll be phasing out these elements. The first thing is that the game will no longer be called Privateer: Ascii Sector, but just plain ol' Ascii Sector. That's not much of a change. However, I'll then be changing the setting of the game. Stuff like the Kilrathi and Retros will sadly have to go, and I understand if players and fans of the game will become upset over this.
What you'll be getting in return, though, is an original setting and game universe that still feels like the game you all currently play, but is able to go in new and different directions. I've already written out design documents that detail the new factions that'll inhabit this "new" Ascii Sector -- all tied into the story and main arc of the game I have planned. These changes will not only mean that I'll no longer be infringing on the IP that Electronic Arts currently owns and Origin and Chris Roberts created, they also mean that I can already start building the original universe and story that I'll use for the future commercial graphical version of Ascii Sector.