Introducing Space Colony: Steam Edition

Space Colony fans rejoice! Space Colony: Steam Edition launches April 30. Here are some of the features you can look forward to in this updated version:

  • New official mini-campaign
  • High-res graphics (up to 2560x1600 resolution)
  • Steam Achievements
  • Trading Cards
  • Workshop support for custom maps
  • Steam Cloud for saved games
  • Alien Horde mini-game
  • HD wallpaper
  • Digital manual
  • Soundtrack
  • New and previously released user-created campaigns—including a few from!

A previous HD version was released in 2012 through GOG, Amazon, and other online retailers.

If you already own the original Space Colony, you can upgrade to the HD version by downloading the FREE Space Colony HD Patch from Firefly; however, this does not include some of the Steam exclusives, such as the new 'Obar Dheathain' campaign, Steam achievements, trading cards, etc.

Space Colony: Steam Edition Developer Q&A

To celebrate the re-launch on Steam, the crew at Firefly Studios agreed to answer a few of our questions about the game.

The original Space Colony team at Firefly Studios
The original Firefly Studios Space Colony team. Back L-R: Rob (artist), Simon (designer/programmer), Mike (artist), Eric (Producer). Front L-R: Andy (programmer), Jorge (artist), Darren (artist). Simon, Eric, Andy and Jorge all still work at Firefly.

The original Space Colony came out in 2003. Why has Firefly decided to re-release Space Colony so long after launch? Not that I'm complaining in any way. ;)

Since day one we have wanted to do two things, tweak the gameplay based on player feedback and change the logo! Although much of the gaming press and many players, all of whom have exceptional taste by the way, really enjoyed the game it was something of a sleeper hit for us. Particularly so when compared to our two previous releases, Stronghold and Stronghold Crusader. Among the core team there has always been a strong desire to revisit and tweak certain gameplay elements, things like the relationships between colonists in the game's easy mode, but also to give the Space Colony another shot commercially.

Back in 2003 once a game was out it was, for the vast majority of people, a finished product. There were very few easy or fast ways to get an update out to most players and while you could release a patch, the number of people who actually went and downloaded it was always low. With the modern Steam client that's no longer the case and we are taking this opportunity to release a freshly balanced game mode in the new Easy setting, one informed by years of feedback from players.

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Space Colony: Steam Edition screenshots. Click to enlarge.

Will the Steam version include the same special features as the previous HD release, such as wallpapers, soundtrack, avatars, Alien Horde mini-game, 8 new official bonus campaigns, and user created missions, including some of the ones featured on this site,

The way Steam is set up and the things they want to focus on as a service means these little extras, specifically things that exist outside the game, are more difficult to add. In terms of in-game content the Steam Edition features everything bundled with the HD release on GOG, but extra files and mini-games are being left out. For us the important thing is that we carry across support for higher resolutions and the bonus missions you mention. The good news is that there will be completely new Steam-exclusive features and because we're adding Workshop support all those fantastic user-created missions can be uploaded to and downloaded directly from Steam. We also have new Steam avatars in place of the GOG ones for use in the community, in case anyone wants to pretend to be a Venusian Slug while talking to their friends.

Will there be any features unique to the Steam release, such as achievements and trading cards?

The HD release on GOG was akin to a 'greatest hits' collection of features and extras, but with the Steam Edition coming a little while after that we wanted it to offer players something new. First we have a brand-new campaign designed by a senior member of the team, then there's Steam achievements, Workshop support for custom maps, Trading Cards and Steam Cloud for saved games. We feel those Steam extras are really the baseline of content for a Steam re-release, with the new campaign being a special treat for fans who were skilled enough to complete every mission in the original game.

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Space Colony: Steam Edition screenshots. Click to enlarge.

Will the game run on Mac OSX as well as Windows systems?

Unfortunately the Steam Edition won't run on Mac OSX. We didn't develop the original Mac port, otherwise we'd consider it, but the idea here is to give Space Colony a new lease of life as a PC game on Steam and see how people respond to it. We have several other games which people are requesting Mac versions of so there is activity on that front, including a future Mac version for Stronghold Crusader 2 and Stronghold Kingdoms which was recently-released on the Mac App Store. Hopefully the Steam Edition shows people that we really do care about Space Colony.

Which languages will be supported?

English, French, Italian, German and Spanish.

What are some of the similarities and differences between Space Colony and the Stronghold series?

One thing people should take away from Space Colony is that we have always enjoyed coming up with interesting characters! These characters are usually introduced to make the player laugh, but occasionally it's more than just a funny voice over and we create characters people really adore. This is probably the most obvious overlap between the two series when it comes to gameplay, where they share some DNA. Once you start playing the Steam Edition you quickly realize that there's also common ground when it comes to base management. Specifically the challenges posed by various different resource chains and aspects of base management, all vying for your attention at the same time! So players who enjoy the difficulty of the classic Stronghold games and want a change of pace or setting would enjoy Space Colony.

I guess the main difference is that there's a lot of interaction with these characters in Space Colony, where you rely on them throughout the game rather than in specific instances such as a skirmish match. Obviously one is set in medieval England and another in space, but as games it is the characters and perhaps also the combat is where they diverge. With reference to the latter, Stronghold and particularly Crusader are more aggressive RTS games. The combat in Space Colony is challenging, but it's more about defending your colony and protecting the crew than knocking down the opponent's castle and burning everything to the ground!

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Space Colony: Steam Edition screenshots. Click to enlarge.

Why was the sporty female character Ashia only included in the Galaxy Mode and Sandbox Mode missions and not the main campaign? She's a fan favorite and also one of the few all-around useful crew members. Did she unbalance the game?

Honestly that decision was made a while ago, so it's quite hard to remember! Looking into it this wasn't something noted down in the design doc, but it is likely because Ashia was a late addition to the cast. This grew from an initial selection of just a handful of colonists to the final 20-strong personnel roster, some of those being last minute suggestions that we couldn't just leave on the cutting room floor. It could well be that she was introduced at a point in development where the main campaign had been fully designed, tested and balanced without her.

The good news is that Ashia features in the new Steam-exclusive 'Obar Dheathain' campaign. Given that we haven't changed anything related to individual characters, leaving most things outside Easy Mode untouched, this suggests that it wasn't a balancing issue specific to her but a more general one related to production. Either way we're very glad to hear fans will appreciate seeing Ashia in the new campaign.

The Wikipedia page about Space Colony includes a list of crew members with last names. Is this official? Most of the characters' surnames aren't mentioned in the game.

Yep! If you check the digital manual, currently available with the game on both GOG and Steam, you will see full names listed in each of the character's profiles.

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Space Colony: Steam Edition screenshots. Click to enlarge.

Is there any chance we'll ever see a Space Colony 2? I know it's hard to convey puppy-dog eyes over email, but just try and imagine it.

Never say never! We began our move to self-publishing in 2010 with the release of Stronghold Kingdoms and one of the most liberating things about this has been the ability to choose exactly what games the company works on. The caveat of course is that we can't work on certain games simply because we want to, as there has to be an audience for the game. Ask us again after Space Colony: Steam Edition has had a chance to shine on this new platform :)

Special thanks to Nick and the rest of the crew at Firefly Studios for the interview and for bringing this wonderful, classic game to a whole new audience. Be sure to check out the Space Colony: Steam Edition trailer and Space Colony HD dev diary videos below and visit for all the latest news.

Text and site design copyright © 2004- Stellalune. Game art, screenshots, Space Colony name and logo copyright © 2003- Firefly Studios. All rights reserved. See the main page for copyright guidelines.