Transcendence Game Design

Happy 5th Anniversary, Transcendence!


Five years ago today I released Transcendence 0.7, the first public alpha release. Since then, we've gone through seven major releases and eighteen minor releases. No, we haven't reached 1.0 yet, and yes, we are running out of pre-1.0 version numbers, but five Terran orbits later, I am very proud of all that we in the Transcendence community have accomplished

Five years seems like a long time, but believe it or not, the development of Transcendence began much earlier. On May 1st, 1995, the following post appeared on

In case anyone is interested, I've just uploaded a beta version of a game that I've been working on. Right now, the game only runs on Windows NT (not Windows 95) and has only been compiled for Intel platforms. Please try it out and let me know what you think (by e-mail). The file is and I put it up on under the /pub/msdos_uploads/nt directory. I imagine that eventually it will get moved to the win/nt directory.

Frontier is a game of both skill and strategy in which you explore the various star systems of the Frontier while seeking to increase your income and pay for improvements to your ship. Throughout the game you will fight increasingly more powerful enemy ships and stations, and, by looting their remains you will be able to equip your ship with better armor and weapons.

-- George Moromisato

Sound familiar? Frontier was my first attempt at creating a cross between Nethack and Star Control II and as you can see from the description, Transcendence is Frontier's direct descendant.

To celebrate the 5th anniversary of Transcendence's first public release, I've dug through my archives to find the original release that I posted in 1995: Frontier 0.5.

Transcendence has come a long way since then, and I have no doubt that the game will continue to improve and evolve in ways that we cannot yet imagine. Happy 5th anniversary!