Universe Schemes & Themes
Schemes in Universe allow for drastically different playing "rules"
that are chosen when the game starts. Schemes control many parts of
the game, including Race design, Ship design, Planet design,
Economics, Tactical combat, and much more.
Changes in schemes or new schemes can only be created by source code
Themes are implementations of schemes. For example, a theme will
contain the entire tech tree (which follows the rules defined by the
A theme is stored in a text file, and is easily modified. New themes
can be added to the game without code modification. See below for
information on theme creation.
Detailed descriptions of registered themes are listed on its scheme
Below are a list of current schemes. Click on the scheme name for
more information about each scheme.
||Simple scheme to get the system working.
||An upgrade to Scheme 001
If you are so inclined, you can create your own scheme to be
implemented later by a programmer.
The following guidelines must be used in any Scheme so that the scheme
can be fitted into the Universe Gaming System framework. Many of the
following are directly related to objects in the source code. There
are no limits to the number of attributes an item has.
The generic term for consumable resources in the game. This includes
intangible items such as "work".
The generic term for objects that can be lived on, mined, etc...
The generic term for technologies that can be researched by the
The generic term for the "parts" of stations. Consider these the
"buildings" of the station. Station modules are not limited to just
The generic term referring to any place that habitants live. This can
include colonies, space stations, etc... The station should be a list
of station modules.
The generic term for the "parts" of ships.
The different "types" of ships. A ship design should be a list of
On game start, the following items must be defined. These should be
put in the theme.
- Techs - known at start of game
- Ship Designs - known at start of game
- Station - station modules that are in the "first" station(s)
- Colony - station modules when a colony is created. There can be
different station modules based on different colony modules.
See the Distribution Type page
for information on distributions for different random elements of the
game that can be used in any scheme.
If you are so inclined, you can create your own theme file. The
modification of themes can compleetely change the rules of the game,
allowing for complete customization of the game.
All theme game files have to be in a specific format. The file name
must be in the format:
where SSS is the scheme number and
TTT is the theme number. For example, the file
001_002.ut represents a theme file for scheme 001 and theme
The format of the theme file is defined in the scheme definition. See
the table at the top of the page for scheme definitions. The parser
for theme files is very picky and will not be able to handle errors
very well, so please be careful when modifying a theme.
On the game startup, you will be give a choice on which theme to use,
If you select "Read from Theme file", you will be prompted for a theme
file name, which you can then use your own theme files for play.
Registered themes are theme files that are distributed with the
Universe executable and cannot be modified. You can copy registered
themes and modify them under a new theme number. Registered theme
files are available on the specific scheme page.
Someday, Universe will have a theme file editor... But that is not a
high priority right now.
Created: 28 Aug 1998
Updated: 15 Apr 1999
© 1998-1999 Universe Dev Team