Transcendence is a single-player, realtime game of space combat and adventure. You pilot a small starship, fighting enemies, looting wrecks, and trading with friendly stations. Your ship can be enhanced with new weapons, shields, and useful devices. The game is played in 2D top-down perspective with your ship in the center and with combat mechanics reminiscent of Star Control. The goal of the game is to reach the Galactic Core by traveling from star system to star system along a chain of stargates. In version 1.0, the game only goes as far as the edge of Human Space (one third of the main campaign), but subsequent versions are set to continue the adventure into the rest of the galaxy.
Transcendence draws immense inspiration from NetHack and is consired a RogueLike (at least by Wikipedia). For example, most star systems are randomly generated, with planets, asteroids, stations, items, friends, and enemy distributed algorithmically. Some items (such as barrels of armor paste) are randomly named, so the player does not necessarily know their effect when used.
Much of the game involves improving the capabilities of your ship. In a sense, your ship is your avatar: you upgrade it the way you might level-up a character in an RPG. Armor and shield generators protect your ship from attack; weapons deal damage to enemies; the ship's reactor provides power by consuming fuel; and myriad devices and items help you in your quest.
The game contains a large set of items with complex interactions between them. For example, some items can be used to enhance other items; some can be used to place static defenses around stations; some can even be activated to become robotic followers (known as autons).
Transcendence is set four centuries in the future, when humans have explored and colonized much of the surrounding star systems by following a network of stargates created by the Ancient Races of the galaxy. A hyperintelligence known as Domina summons you to meet her at the Galactic Core for an unknown purpose, and you must travel through dangerous star systems to reach her. Along the way, you encounters the full diversity of Human Space, meeting everything from common pirates, to slaver empires, to inscrutable alien races.
Transcendence was designed and created by George Moromisato. The first public version (0.7) was released in November 2003; version 1.0, which completes the storyline set in Human Space, was released in March 2010. As of the 29 August 2010 the current version is 1.03.
- Escort Fighters
- Mine Asteroids
- Trade goods
- Fight in battle arenas
- Black Market Trading
- Destroy Pirate Strongholds
- Join militias
- Rescue slavers
- Lead squadrons
- Leave human space