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Microsoft Allegiance: The Best Game You've Never Played

Quick Take

Coming Soon : Gameplay Video

Courtesy of the ZD Soft Game Recorder, I'm planning to post some in-game footage at Google Video in the near future. Links will be posted here and on the Allegiance forums.

Stop reading this and start downloading the game from the web site. While it downloads, come back here and read on...

Part space sim, part real-time strategy, Allegiance has a steep learning curve, a rabid community, zero cost of entry, and full open source code for anyone who cares to download it.

Microsoft produced Allegiance a few years ago; I was on the early beta tests. Sadly, Microsoft had a lot of difficulty getting the game balanced and preventing cheating. I lost interest in Allegiance shortly after it went gold, but the feeling that Something Really Cool was going on would not go away.

Then, one fateful day, I stumbled across the website of the Free Allegiance Zone, a group of Allegiance devotees who are keeping Allegiance alive. In a stunning move, Microsoft released the game to the player community for free.

On the surface, it's just another space shoot-em-up a la Wing Commander. Under the hood, Allegiance sports complex ship upgrade paths, a fully-developable tech tree, bandwidth-friendly network code, and a new twist: you must play as a team. It isn't possible for a lone hotshot to swoop in and save the day.

Allegiance hardware requirements are low: any 400Mhz Pentium system with a 3D accelerator can handle it. Download it! Now!

GamePlay Videos

Here are few I've assembled:

Tech Tips

  • For best results you need to know how to forward ports through your Internet router.
  • Forward ports 2302 to 2311 to your Allegiance system.
  • For more consistent results, run DXPort from PuffinSoft.com; pick File/Port Range and pick the 2302 to 2311 port range. Minimize it and play.

Newbie Tips

Stuff I learned the hard way.

  • Sign up for a forum account at www.freeallegiance.org. The material is essential to enjoy the game and understand the community.
  • Good at circle-strafing in first-person shooters? You can configure sidethrusters in Allegiance to slide sideways, similar to a helicopter or hovercraft.
  • Situational awareness is essential. Think like a commander, and you will become valuable to your commander.
  • Know when to run. If you are outnumbered 4 to 1, you will die. Unless you have a definite mission to finish, run.
  • Manage your signature; master stealthiness. Enemies cannot kill you if they cannot see you.
  • The training missions are bare-bones but essential.
  • Some of the pilots you encounter in Allegiance have been playing for years; you will be crushed very often at first.
  • When the combat training simulation destroys you in the first wave or two, you can expect similar results in a real game.
  • When the combat training simulation destroys you in the first wave, it's because
    a) you are outnumbered 2 to 1 and didn't realize it and
    b) went running in guns blazing without realizing you've got medium range missles.
  • When the combat simulation training mission becomes boring after 4 waves, you are on your way to being a good pilot.