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Slacker Trek

Game similar to NES Star Trek, uses characters from the Slacker Trek story that I never bothered to finish. Uses NCurses graphics, characters are drawn in ASCII art. The game is meant to be played through SSH and be day-based like a BBS door game. Look at the source code for “sl” for help in drawing ncurses graphics.


Most of the action will be on the ground. There will also be starship fights, warping between planets, and interstellar diplomacy.

Ground action is mostly wandering around, collecting items, wandering around, finding a place to use the items, wandering around, and shooting stuff up. There'll be a lot more phaser fights than there were in NES Star Trek. You get to pick two of your crew to beam down with you. In space, you pick a navigation officer and a tactical officer, and backups for these in case the first two's terminals explode. At all times, you will need someone manning Engineering. Unused officers regain full health.

Development Roadmap

Current status: Tried drawing a character, failed badly.

Version 0.1

  • Draw a character
  • Bridge battle demo

Version 0.2

  • Phaser battle demo

Version 0.3

  • Small land map

Version 0.4

  • Popup messages

Version 0.5

  • Different crewmen, abilities

Version 1.0

  • Enough Plot for up to 40 Planets + Sideplots
  • Game keeps track of time



The Friendlies are a benevolent alliance of different spacefaring races, the good guys, your people. They have fairly advanced technology but don't use it for war because they are nice guys who try to get along with the other races. Accordingly, everyone abuses them. Average Friendly hitpoints is 6. They border all other races except the Borings.


A very intelligent and cunning race closely related to the Friendly race of Hephastians, of which crew member T'Zut is one. The Etruscites are your old-fashioned empire expanding for glory and wealth. The Friendlies handed the Etruscites' ass to them when they tried to expand in the Friendlies' direction, and a neutral zone of space was declared between the two. Average Etruscite hitpoints is 7. They border the Klinks, Gorp, and Borings.

Aggressive SOBs who will beat up people and fire on other ships for no reason other than because they can. Klinks enjoy a good fight and will often settle for a bad one. Average Klink hitpoints is 9. They border the Etruscites and the Hartakians.


Another cunning empire trying to expand, but they suck at it. Their technology is weak, so they build really big ships that can mount large power sources and take a lot of hits to destroy. One faction of the Hartakian government is the Obscenity Guild, whose name is an obscenity that cannot be said in a PG rated game, therefore no one can talk about them. Since no one talks about them, they've been able to create a shadow government with its own secret police and secret fleet and probably a few secret planets. Average Hartakian hitpoints is 5. The Hartakians border the Klinks, Fereagans, and Borings.


Egotistical lying, cheating, stealing bastards who claim their acts of piracy and theft as natural rights of people under the free market. They've done the fairly difficult task of making enemies of the Friendlies, not to mention just about anyone else who has come into contact with them; the Klinks shoot them for sport. A major exception is the Borings, to whom the Fereagans have sold several of their planets' mining rights and whose powerful ships act as a deterrent to foreign invasion. Average Fereagan hitpoints is 6. The Fereagans border the Hartakians and Borings.


A powerful race which is fairly detatched from ordinary Friendly life since their space is an empire or two away. They are allied with the Fereagans and their ships are often seen in Fereagan space. The Borings come from ice planets and possibly non-oxygen atmospheres, and are only seen wearing environment suits. Since almost all Friendly knowledge of them is secondhand from races that have had bad experiences trying to fight wars with them, the Borings have a fairly bad reputation as cheaters and traitors. Given their close relations with the Fereagans, this is not implausible. Average Boring hitpoints is 4, given that envirosuits are prone to breaking. They border the Fereagans, Hartakians, Etruscites, and Gorp.


The Gorp once were a plain evil race even more aggressive than the Klinks and more greedy than the Fereagans. Then they blew up a few Friendly colonies, and the Friendlies went into Gorp space and shot down everything spaceborne that they could find. Since then, the Gorp have been very xenophobic and little has been heard of contact between them and any other race. Their space is small and their power is unknown, but rumours have it that they have repelled a Boring invasion. There is evidence that since the Etruscites have expanded to border the Gorp and Boring, there have been attempts by both Borings and Etruscites to use the Gorps against the other side. Average Gorp hitpoints is 12. The Gorp border the Etruscites, Fereagans, and Borings.

International relations

How should international relations be?

  • Other races have a like/dislike of the Friendlies (in general) and you (in particular).
  • You can scuttle relations by doing bad things.
  • You can raise relations by doing good things.
  • Certain ship captains may have personal feelings about you.
  • If you cause enough trouble for a race on one planet they may send a battleship out after you, effectively sealing the planet for a few days until the ship leaves; This will piss off players so much that sidetreks are a necessity so they can do something while the planet where what they need is is under occupation.
  • Gorps are right off very untrusting and fearful of all outsiders.

Interstellar Warfare

The HMS William Henry Harrison is a fairly small, poorly armed ship. It can make an effort to fight other fairly small, poorly armed ships, but it will get clobbered by a battlecruiser.

If you lose a battle, Engineering will automatically engage the Lets Get The Hell Out Of Here Drive and retreat to Earth where the ship is laid up for repair, usually for two or more days. If you try to play before it's repaired, you see dancing klingons/romulans laughing and sticking their tongues out at you. The game can e-mail you when the ship is fully repaired. Having someone in Engineering will partially repair the ship each day in normal space.

Backup crew

Backups are used if someone gets KOd by exploding terminals. If both officers in either Nav or Tactical are KOd, the other station's backup will man the station. The Captain will man a Nav station if there is no one else is there to do this; If the last Tactical officer then gets KOd while the Captain is at Nav, the Captain will move to Tactical so that the ship can keep firing. If the Captain gets KOd, then the ship retreats back to Earth.

Someone who gets KOd needs a day to heal, two if the Doctor is KOd. Nobody dies openly, maybe the phaser settings should be Stun and Clobber.

Battle damage reports

  • Decks 4 and 6 have switched places!
  • I wouldn't want to be on Deck 5 right now.
  • Major damage to deck 2! That was too close for comfort.
  • Didn't we just have the ship washed, too?
  • Someone's going to need their crew quarters reassigned.
  • What was that, about 7 richter?
  • Our saucer section is turning into a colander section!
  • Suggest new strategy: How about we shoot them instead?
  • Don't these guys ever let up?
  • That shot took out your liqour cabinet, Captain!
  • Direct hit to the brig! Should we care?
  • They blew a big hole in our shuttle bay!
  • I don't think the ship liked that.
  • That sure didn't feel good. Or sound, or look…
  • The ship's resale value is dropping fast, Captain!
  • Let's not find out how many more of these we can take
  • Hey! You jerks! Knock it off!

When someone gets blown away by an exploding panel:

  • Captain: “Don't make me get out of my chair.”

There should be falling debris, fuzzy viewscreens, and fires on a badly damaged ship

Enemy ships

You can also fire your limited stock of Torpedoes for extra damage. Some enemy ships can fire torps back.

If you have your best Nav and Tac officers on board, and you dump all your torps on it, this should raise your chance of beating a Hartakian battlecruiser to around 60%.

Different ship data are:

  • Shield value
  • Hull integrity value
  • Crits value (affects the terminals exploding)
  • Evasion
  • Main weapon firepower
  • Main weapon accuracy
  • Main weapon recharge rate
  • Missile firepower
  • Missile accuracy
  • Number of missiles

Main weapons best to worst:

  • Boring (partly due to shields not being well tuned against)
  • Etruscite
  • Klink
  • Gorp – About equivalent to yours
  • Hartakian
  • Fereagan

Missiles best to worst:

  • Klink
  • Etruscite – About equivalent to yours
  • Gorp
  • Boring
  • Hartakian
  • Fereagan

Ship mass on average (more crits, less evasion to opposite):

  • Hartakian
  • Gorp
  • Klink
  • Etruscite
  • Boring – About equivalent to yours
  • Fereagan

Shield technology best to worst:

  • Etruscite – About equivalent to yours
  • Boring
  • Klink
  • Fereagan
  • Gorp
  • Hartakian

Targeting best to work

  • Etruscite
  • Klink – About equivalent to yours
  • Fereagan
  • Boring
  • Gorp
  • Hartakian


Captain Bob Roberts the Third

  • Specialty: Diplomacy

Main character. Always beams down. Gets most of the good lines.

He is actually a Lieutenant Commander, but is the ranking officer on the Harrison and so is called Captain. Roberts is relatively young for a senior officer (early 30s), having risen on wisdom, an ability to delegate work to subordinates and take credit for it, and the benevolence of the few admirals who don't hate him for pointing out when they're wrong (an early habit he has since dropped). His crew sees “Captain Bob” as a focused, stern man who always has the right solution for a problem, but Roberts secretly holds the same vices as the title slacker characters.

Lieutenant T'Zut

  • 2nd in command
  • Science officer. Strong, well-rounded science skills.
  • Main navigator. Boost to maneuverability in shipfight.

T'Zut is a young Hesphastian woman with a natural talent for flying spaceships, but who majored in the sciences at Starfleet Academy instead. She is highly intelligent and has the prospect of a great career ahead of her. The slackers constantly try to pick her up, often intentionally mispronouncing her name as “Toots”, but she is very chaste, particularly around them.

She may be authorized to finish a mission if the captain is injured.

Lieutenant Benson Burner

  • 3rd in command
  • Chief Engineer and Head of Security
  • Good at Tactical
  • Strong engineering skills
  • Shoots anything that appears hostile.
  • Extra HP (can take extra hits)
  • Anti-diplomatic. Can screw up Captain's diplomatic efforts.

Burner is a hard-nosed, no-nonsense authoritarian officer who runs Engineering strictly by the book unless he feels the book is not strict enough. Applying his harsh discipline to his own studies, he has made himself one of the top engineers in the Fleet, but his complete lack of tact has caused his career to suffer, leaving him a Lieutenant on a small, unimportant ship under a captain more than a decade his younger. Burner learned the value of intimidation at a young age, and has kept himself strong and alert to keep any of his underlings from getting any ideas. Burner also happens to be a decent tactical officer.

Junior Lieutenant Michael "Doc" Hawthorne

  • Ship's Doctor
  • Strong Science skills

Doc Hawthorne is a large, burly man who would look more at place in a pub than an operating room until one notices his kind face. Doc is the friendliest character on the ship.

Junior Lieutenant Jake Peck

  • Ship's Sysadmin
  • Electronics expert
  • Mechanics and light Science skills
  • Nearly rivals Benson in Engineering

Peck is an up-and-coming engineer who knows starships' mechanical and electronic systems (and whatever replaces mechanics and electronics in the future) inside and out, and is prone to tinkering with them without permission. Peck is the oldest and most experienced of the slacker gang, and is apt to come up with technical solutions to problems or to implement or refine someone else's idea.

Ensign Aaron "AJ" James

  • Works in Tactical, Engineering, and anywhere else he's needed

Clever, charismatic, and self-assured, AJ is the de facto leader of the slacker gang. It is usually AJ who comes up with a clever idea. He can hold conversations with both the other slackers at the same time without missing a beat. In the game, AJ warns when you try to do something stupid.

Ensign Benjamin "Bennie" Hightower

Bennie is the “new guy” on board, the youngest and by far most inexperienced crewman and member of the slacker gang. Ben is usually the one to come up with a completely crazy outside-the-box idea that just might work or is ridiculous on its face. Ben hangs around the other slackers to leech from their experience, and sometimes helps Doc in the infirmary. In the game, he is mostly useless but there are times when you need an extra body. Ben also makes a decent navigator.

Skillset table

Tactical Navigation Engineering Medical Diplomacy Gunfighting Mechanics Computers Health


The best ship layout

  • Navigation: T'Zut with Bennie as backup
  • Tactical: Burner or AJ, with AJ or Jake as backup
  • Engineering: Burner or Jake
  • Captain's Chair: Bob
  • Unused: Doc

Skill notes

Tactical is for manning the gunnery station on ship, and counts toward rate of fire and accuracy in ship to ship combat. Navigation counts for offsetting the enemy's tactical skills in ship to ship combat.

Engineering counts for mechanics as well as futuristics. On ship, Engineering counts for keeping the ship's shields up and increasing the power of the ship's guns.

Gunfighting is related to maximum rate of fire since shooting will be nothing more than up-down-left-right (unless there is a way of detecting diagonal keypresses).

During the maintenance run, the net Medical skill of uninjured characters will help heal injured characters.

There are a few places in game where it will be useful to have pointy ears.

One character with Command skill is required to be on the bridge at all times.

If there is another person with Command skill in an away team when the captain is injured, the player may continue playing as this character.

A “Common Sense” flag is used during certain events to warn the player not to do something stupid. Only a couple of characters have it.

Klinks may react positively to Burner's absolute lack of Diplomacy.

Star Map


There is a small patch of unexplored space just beyond Gorp space. There are no known spacefaring races there, and it is unknown why the Gorp have not expanded into it. Even stranger, the Borings have avoided colonizing it since their empire reached it, instead choosing to go around. Space maps of the area simply and curiously note, “Here There Be Dragons”.


Planets to Visit: (just listing names)

  • Factorial Prime,
  • Falfa Alpha
  • Pasteur Prime
  • Perpetual Beta
  • Kurokuro 5
  • Bust
  • Priohm, Zibbilbibb, Aiobheil, White Star 2, et cetera
  • Cetera 8
  • Krowtadero B, Grehurler D, Flufigru, Regaya, Inoshiro, et cetara
  • Wally World
  • Optimus Prime
  • Oxrib Prime
  • Boondock
  • Venivid E
  • Stay Away
  • Grendeigh, Bornoz E, Bongiovi, Jyenar, et cetera
  • Vorbis G
  • Teegeak

Addendum: More names are in the file Stars.txt

Each planet has a map with useful things to do. Except for rare plot-advancing items, the items found on a planet are only used there and aren't made available for use on other planets.

The Friendly headquarters is on planet Oith.

Fun stuff

This is yet another humour-infused game.

The star map has a region with “Here There Be Dragons” printed. Dragons are on the planets there, too.

When you get shot on an away mission: “Aw, crud, the Captain bit it again. Beam us up…”

One of the planets has an area with a button labelled Do Not Push. Pushing it drops a 1-ton weight on you for an instant KO.

Lawsuit Deflection Shields

Swap the following :

  • USS - HMS
  • Federation - Friendlies
  • Romulans - Etruscites
  • Vulcan - Hephastian
  • Klingons - Klinks
  • Ferengi - Fereagan
  • Cardassian - Hardtackian
  • Breen - Boring
  • Gorn - Gorp
  • Phasers - Weapons
  • Stun - Maim
  • Kill - Clobber
  • Photon - Fullerine Missile
  • Earth - Oith
  • Tricorder - Scanner
  • Transporter - Teleporter
  • Shields - Force fields

The opening is still going to be lawsuit-vulnerable, but can be chalked up as parody rather than copying trademarks for competition. The biggest vulnerabilities will be the name itself (Slacker Trek) which I'm not going to change, and the ^ caret mark on the characters' chests.



The generic Slacker Trek introduction:

  • (View of stars)
  • “Space… is big. Really big. These are the voyages of the USS William Henry Harrison. Her mission..”
  • (inside bridge, nav guy is sleeping at the console)
  • “To explore strange new worlds…”
  • (planet on viewscreen gets closer. Cut to the navguy when the clouds part and farmland is visible)
  • (Navguy wakes up, panics, and lunges at the console)
  • (Cut away to guys outside a building labelled “ALIEN XXX”)
  • “To seek out new life, and.. ahem.. CIVILIZATION!”
  • Guys (and ticketalien): “Awww.”
  • (Cut back to space)
  • “And to boldly go.. ”

Game Introduction

  • ” … on transport escort missions?”
  • (in space, we see the USS Harrison with a larger Feddy ship and a transport)
  • Admiral: “Captain Robertson, your ship is going to escort this transport of prophylactic filaments to Cetera 8.”
  • (the transport ship explodes.)
  • Bob: “Apparently we're not.”
  • Admiral: “Wha…..”
  • Bob: “Is there any chance this ship was carrying something other than prophylactic filaments?”
  • Admiral: “Not if prophylactic filaments explode like that, which they generally don't.”
  • Bob: “Do you happen to know where this ship came from, and since we no longer have an assignment, maybe we could do a little looking around?”
  • Admiral: “It's listed as coming from… Cetera 8? That can't be right.”
  • Bob: “Cetera 8 seems like a good place to start. Admiral, by your will?”
  • Admiral: “Go ahead. I'll see what I can find out back on Oith.”

Story notes

Somewhere along the line T'zut is going to need to pass off as a Etruscite, Burner is going to need to get in a bar fight with Klinks, Jake is going to fix a computer or dozen, and the Doctor will need to come planetside to heal someone.

slacker_trek.txt · Last modified: 2013/12/01 04:01 by deltatango