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 modification.


Themes are implementations of schemes. For example, a theme will contain the entire tech tree (which follows the rules defined by the scheme.)

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 page.

Current Schemes

Below are a list of current schemes. Click on the scheme name for more information about each scheme.

ID # Name Designer Status Version available Description
001 Simple Sean Starkey Testing 0.8 Simple scheme to get the system working.
002 Unnamed Klaus Deckenbach Design Unknown
003 Simple, TNG Sean Starkey Design 1.0 An upgrade to Scheme 001

Scheme Design

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 player.

Station Modules

The generic term for the "parts" of stations. Consider these the "buildings" of the station. Station modules are not limited to just buildings.


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.

Ship Modules

The generic term for the "parts" of ships.

Ship Designs

The different "types" of ships. A ship design should be a list of ship modules.

Game Start

On game start, the following items must be defined. These should be put in the theme.


See the Distribution Type page for information on distributions for different random elements of the game that can be used in any scheme.

Theme Design

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 002.

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.

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Created: 28 Aug 1998
Updated: 15 Apr 1999

© 1998-1999 Universe Dev Team