Supernova is a text adventure video game designed by Scott Miller for DOS and published by Apogee Software. The game's text was co-written by Scott Miller and Terry Nagy. Although Supernova's plot is unrelated to that of Miller's previous text adventure Beyond the Titanic, its game engine and look and feel represent an evolutionary development from the earlier game. No images accompany the game's textual descriptions, but a variety of colors are employed to enhance the layout of the game's text. A panel near the top of the screen continuously displays the player's score, location, number of moves thus far, and the player character's condition (e.g. thirsty). Also included is the ability to save the game and restore a previously saved game. Miller wrote that the game features over four hundred sound effects, 16-color ASCII graphics, a hint command and a parser which recognizes over a thousand words. The game begins with the player character seeking employment on the surface of a barren mining planet. As the game progresses, the player discovers that an imminent supernova is threatening to destroy a planetary civilization and that he or she can act to save it. Doing so is the basic goal of the game.
Originally released in 1987 before Miller founded Apogee, the game was later branded and advertised as an Apogee product. Both it and Beyond the Titanic are the only two games published by Apogee as traditional shareware. Miller permitted the full game to be freely copied and distributed by its users, but they were encouraged to "register" it by sending him a cash donation to compensate him for his effort, to "encourage the author to make new and better games" and to qualify for "telephone support and clues". Although he had hoped that donations accompanying user registrations would become a significant source of revenue, this expectation failed to be realized as most users did not register the game. He concluded that this strategy "was not the way to go." It seemed to him that gamers were "more apt to simply take what they could get for free" and that he needed to introduce a greater incentive to get users to register his games. Miller's experience with Beyond the Titanic and Supernova led him to develop the Apogee model which would become Apogee's standard method of marketing future releases.
Apogee also sold the game's Turbo Pascal 3.0 source code and marketed it to "novice programmers trying to learn the 'tricks of the trade'"
Supernova was re-released as freeware by Apogee on March 26, 1998. The source code for the game was released under GPL on March 20, 2009.
This Video Game contains examples of:
- Freeware Games: Supernova became freeware on March 26, 1998.
- Scoring Points: You get points for achieving goals and advancing the story.
- Text Parser: The game has one that supposedly recognizes 1000 words.