MegaWars III

I found a nice article on MegaWars III the other day.  MWIII was the CompuServe version of the GEnie game Stellar Emperor. (MWIII came first.)  The article is a good (better than my own) overview of the game.

My only nit with the article is that it refers to the games being different on the two services.  I played both games during the 1986-1989 time frame and I would disagree.  They were identical at that point.  The author may have been confusing Stellar Emperor with Stellar Warrior on GEnie, which was a simplified, ship combat version of the game which was not available on CompuServe or he may be referring to developments in the game past the time with which I am familiar.  I recall going back to GEnie in the early 1990s and finding Stellar Emperor had been changed quite a bit, but not for the better.  Perhaps CompuServe kept it in a more pure form until its demise.

The article, by Maury Markowitz, is available here.

[Edit: The original site is gone, but has been backed up at the Internet Archive.]

Between the two services, GEnie and CompuServe, I preferred playing on GEnie.  At first the pricing was better, but later on I had built up a network of friends on GEnie, and that is a big reason I play any online game.

29 thoughts on “MegaWars III

  1. omnivore

    i was a megawars iii addict for a while in the mid-late 80s and it was totally different from stellar emperor in terms of play. megawars iii was text-based with an optional gui, stellar emperor was gui only. i know there were gameplay differences too but i didnt hang around on stellar emperor long enough to find out what they were.


  2. Wilhelm2451 Post author

    I have to disagree to a certain extent. In 1986 and 1987, when I was playing both, they were identical. As I recall, in late ’88 or ’89, they began to diverge and by 1990 when I went back for a peek, they were considerably different.

    I will say that even when they were identical, the actual game play was different on both services. It was a lot more cut-throat on CIS because there were a lot more players and some very hard core teams (Dorsai, JRB). Also, the full duplex mode of CIS versus half duplex on GEnie made ship combat feel very different.

    But in that time frame (86-87) they were the same game. I’m sticking hard on that piont, as I’m not that old and forgetful yet. :)


  3. Klunker


    I had played both games over time. In the end MW3 and SE were two different games. However, in the beginnning they were the same game.

    In the early 90’s there was a rewrite of SE which merged some of Stellar Warrior with some MW3 features. Previous to this Stellar Warrior contained no Plantary Management.

    As far as skill goes, the new Stellar Emperor required less skill than MW3 especially when using the text interface.

    There is feature that SE offered that MW3 never did. The ability to play people from other online services. There was a point in time when players on Delphi, GEnie and CRIS all competed in the same game. While this was not internet gaming, Kesmai was probably one of the first to test online gaming outside of a closed network.

    Because Delphi offered lower online connect rates, you saw some players switch from GEnie … but some stayed put wanting to keep their old ‘ship number’

    I also had the opportunity to user in Stellar Emperor’s internet period when GameStorm was launched.

    Going from a charge per hour to a flat montly fee for unlimited play changed the nature of the game completely. The game saw more ‘casual gamers’ when previously the high cost only attracted the serious online gamers.



  4. Arachnid (2273 in MW3)

    Hey guys, does anybody know who bought and currently has the old MW3 code?

    I had talked to Kelton about buying it years ago and he was kind of incredulous about it running on any machine because it was archaic basic code. I think an emulator for that machine probably exists or could be written, or the code converted.

    For purely nostalgic reasons I’m sure several of the former players would like to see it run once more. Please pass along any information you might have and I’ll try to track it down and work up something to get it running again. Thanks.


  5. Wilhelm2451 Post author

    The various companies (Kesmai, Gamestorm) who owned the code ended up being purchased by Electronic Arts. (Try going to any of the obvious domain names, you’ll end up at EA.)

    I wish the code was out there, it would make a nice little text game to compete with the remaining MUDs!


  6. Klunker

    Arachnid & Wilhelm

    There was an attempt to purchase the code a while back and there was a short lived hope of a revival.

    You might poke around at this site .. not visited very much anymore .. however Crimson and others was trying to either recode the game from scratch or buy some of the code.


  7. Cory

    I do wish someone would get the code that would actually do something with it. I can see EA just sitting on it, and never doing anything with it.

    Thank you for this post. I search the internet every so often to see if anyone has started an emulation project on MWIII. I never played it on GEnie, only on CIS…that game has so many good memories for me.


  8. Scott Ross

    Hi all. I used to played SE on Gamestorm under the alias WaLL. Klunker — a well known name. Hows it been going? Are there any simulation games out there for SE/MegaWars III? What ever happened to the sim game Crimson was heading up in the early part of this decade? Has anyone ever heard from that project again? I find it very interesting that there is even an interest in this game anymore.

    If anyone wants to discuss a possible project (open source maybe?) contact me at


  9. Perry M

    I would love to see this back and running and would work on it.
    Anyone have a copy of the source code from the original dec days?

    you can contact me at
    p( remove this part)minyard ( a t ) g(google’s)mail .com


  10. Antari(6675)

    Greeting Klunker, et Al

    Hope all is well. Glad to see there are still some people interested, in mega III. I still wish we could get that code and work it over to a server or emulate it.

    Will check back here time to time.


  11. sgm

    The CompuServe players know that we just owned your asses almost every single time :)

    Dauntless (D!) 2677

    Shai Dorsai!


  12. Scurge/4324

    Actually working on a hybrid of MW3 and Ultracorps. I’ll post the trac page once there’s some critical mass.


  13. GUN/1061

    I played MW III as well as the early text-only version of SE. They looked the same and the mechanics were very similar, but the games were NOT identical. Building hullers was faster in SE, for example.

    Building hullers was my thing and I quit playing SE when Kesmai took that aspect of the game away in SE II, or whatever they called it.

    I am extremely interested in seeing SE or MW III back online. I have significant time and resources I can add to such a project. I have all the SE docs as well, including the maps.

    -Shan (GUN/Polecat 1061/1016)


  14. Willis (Caleb - 324402)

    Greetings fellow pilots!

    It certainly seems this topic has been picking up lately. Figured I’d make a post stating that I’ve started a forum as a basis for a MW3/SE community, which, along the way is also reviving the SEMW3 project if any of you are familiar with it. The old website now forwards to the new community forums.

    The forums can be found at

    Hope to see some familiar names there (and even new ones from before my introduction to the game)!


  15. Polecat

    I try to sign up but keep getting an “invalid password message.” I am eager to test and do whatever else I can to help!


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