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Box artwork for Stellar Frontier.
Stellar Frontier
Developer(s)Doug Hendrix
Year released1997
Designer(s)Doug Hendrix, Neil Hillis, Brad Wardell
ModesSingle player, Multiplayer
Latest version1.2 rc5, 6, & 7
1.3 (unofficial)
LinksOfficial websiteStellar Frontier ChannelSearchSearch

Stellar Frontier is a multiplayer space strategy/shooter game made by Doug Hendrix in 1997 and later licensed by Stardock. It was one of the first games on the subscription package. The main nexus run by Stardock was shut down as of August 4, 2006. The source code was released on November 18, 2008 and is available through the official website.


Stellar Frontier is a free (unless you want lasers and better ships), fast (local play), and fun top-down space shooter where you are in command of your own starship. You choose a race (the four standard races are: Arcean, Drengin, Terran, Pirate) and the objective is to "conquer the system" by taking control of the key planets. However, many players enjoy playing the game just to fight other players; these players usually do not bother to "conquer the system." Stellar Frontier can be played offline (against the computer), on a local intranet, or on the Internet.

The "warp drive" in this game is called Q-drive. Q-drive stands for Quantum Drive. Speed is calculated by c (EX: 0.65c, Q-drive speed ranges around 1.00 to 3.00, 3 being the max in the stock game.)

Lag can be a big factor on "Player VS Player" fights. Lag is factored on ms (EX: 062ms, usual server lag level). Extensive Lag coverage is on GAIN.

There can be as many as 100 AI on the server. When the game was released, many said that the AI was the most advanced of the game's genre (Sci-Fi RTS).

The current version/revision is 1.2RC (5,6 or 7). Any 1.2RC# will work to be able to play online. Older versions will tend to process errors since those versions are heavily outdated.

Table of Contents


Internet play[edit]

Players play in servers that are hosted on the "Nexus". The main online nexus is served by Stardock. The nexus's address is Anybody can join in the online game at any time.

If the nexus happens to be off-line, there are 2 choices: Stardock's Backup nexus (, or the 3rd party SFDC (Stellar Frontier Development Center) nexus ( Players can switch nexus if there are no servers on that particular nexus they are on. Another way to play is keep one's stats on one nexus, and then change the nexus address, then select server, then change nexus address again without pressing Refresh, then press OK.

On August 4, 2006, Stardock Systems turned off the NEXUS at permanently.


The game uses Bitmaps as the main source of pictures. Usual game space would take up 70 MB HDD space. All the ships are made out of a long bitmap file (EX: The Drengin Marauder uses the file SF-D-MA.bmp), which builds the frames required to make the ship look like it's turning direction. (36 frames). Planets do not have a 36 frame count, but Asteroids do have frames. The starfield is a 1024x1024 bitmap.

Servers are made from a .DAT file, and is semi-complex to build a "mod" out of these files. It is required that port 20001 is to be open while hosting servers. Ports 20001 to 20009 have been reported to be used as server ports as well.

Ship BMP Build:

  • SF-R-##.BMP (This is the ship's frames) Sizes are 32, 36, 40, 48, 56, 64, 80 + the 36 frames.
  • SF-R-##-F.BMP (This is the ship's "Boost" frames)
  • SF-R-##-3.BMP (This is the computer display/3D angle view) (96x96)
  • SF-R-##-S.BMP (This is the Wireframe) (64x64)

R = Race (D,A,T,P are the stock race letters)
Number symbol = The 2 initials in which some of the scenario files call (EX: SB is a Base)