Steel Shadows is a standalone RPG set in the epic universe of Ancient Frontier. Take command of a rag tag band of pirates and outlaws as you fight your way across the Frontier for treasure and glory. Delve into our latest turn based tactical RPG.
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Release Date:
December 11th, 2018

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Available: December 11th, 2018


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October 29

Unit Preview - Interceptor Light Fighter

The Interceptor is a surprisingly high tech light fighter that is heavily deployed by pirates on the frontier. Ripper guns are short range high fire rate weapons that allow the Interceptor to take down fighters or escorts that might protect valuable merchant convoys. The Interceptor has good straight away speed but is not as agile as other light fighters. It can hold its own in a dogfight against enemy light and even heavy fighters.

The Interceptor fits perfectly with the design philosophy of most ships that make up the pirate fleet - it's fast and does damage. The Interceptor is capable of outputting significantly more damage than either the Federation Sabre or the civilian Explorer light fighter designs. It sports a bare bones shield system and the sleek design and sudden bursts of speed can make them very difficult to target. They won't win a race against the other light fighters, but can easily outpace civilian convoy and escort ships that they seek to ambush.


It is unknown who produces the Interceptor for the Pirate fleets. What can be said for sure is that the design has only started to appear recently, and that it is very technologically advanced if not quite military grade. Unlike most light fighters that are primarily designed to scout and escape engagements, the Interceptor is clearly designed instead to be a combat machine.

A light fighter is a strange choice to be used as a combat craft as traditional wisdom is that such a chassis is too small to pose a serious threat. The only weapon system installed is a set of Ripper Guns. Ripper technology was developed on the Core Worlds, and is generally the highest tech weapon available to craft that don't have access to military grade lasers. Ripper guns are short range, high damage weapons that fire charged ammunition. They are very power efficient and do not suffer from the limitations of heavy ammo or jamming that can plague older autocannons.

The Interceptor was designed to make maximum use of its Rippers. This starts with the engine system that uses an incredible six engines on such a small craft, where as most other light fighters use only two or three. The engine feeds into the weapon system are extensive, ensuring that the guns are always charged and available to fire, even while the ship is engaged in high speed maneuvers that would tax most engines. This allows the pilot to both operate at full speed while continually firing all weapons with no loss to either system. The downside of this prioritization of the weapon power supply is that the Interceptor cannot maintain its high speed for as long as other light fighters, and instead it must rely on shorter bursts of speed.

The Interceptor also managed to install a targeting computer system. This makes the already deadly weaponry even more accurate in short bursts, and allows the Interceptor to reliably hit enemy light fighters. It is a marvel of engineering managing to craft a targeting computer system in a ship that is so small, and no doubt the technology alone justifies the cost of the chassis.

The rest of the design is clearly focused on survivability. The sleek wing construction gives the fighter a very flat profile, making it extremely hard to hit. The ship itself is covered in a dark sensor resistant coating which helps to hide the fighter from both visual and automated scanning systems. While not as capable of agile turns, the quirky, irregular speed boosts preferred by most pilots make the Interceptor very difficult to hit. The base design also comes with a very limited shield system, making the ship considerably more survivable than the Explorer class light fighters. This shield system is not as sophisticated as the military versions used by the Federation, but is still considered a welcome addition by pilots that use it.

The engine and weapon systems take up a lot of space on such a small, sleek vessel and so the Interceptor does not have a lot of armor. The ship is not designed to take hits, but is instead designed to kill its target quickly while dodging the few stray shots that come its way as it closes.

Interceptors are most likely seen in packs, often with many squadrons working together. They are very cheap to field as their fuel consumption is surprisingly good considering the heavy reliance on engines. The typical tactic is for all of the squads to overdrive their engines, gaining a terrifying burst of speed as they close on softer targets with their short range guns, and then shredding the opponent in a streaking blaze of ripper fire. The Interceptor understandably excels in these sorts of hit and run strikes, and Interceptors deal the highest damage of any light fighter found across the Frontier. The pilots of these craft generally are renowned for their daring and bravery as Interceptor squads don't hold up for long against dedicated anti-fighter weapons.


The Interceptor is generally too new of a design to have seen much variation. That said an enterprising pirate or bounty hunter is always making slight tweaks to their gear. Interceptors have been seen with modifications to the shield system to make it more powerful. Others have disabled the safety restrictions on the engine systems, allowing for even more speed and agility. Some have been known to install additional targeting systems to increase the accuracy even further, making them especially deadly to other light fighters. A few have even been known to mount a dumbfire torpedo, although the extra weight and cost of this armament means that this is very rare.

Steel Shadows:
The Interceptor is one of the first units available to purchase. The Interceptor has three equipment slots and a single pilot slot allowing you to make further small customizations to fit your playstyle.
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October 3

Unit Preview - Smuggler Light Escort

The Smuggler is well named, and often used for moving illicit cargo or breaking blockades. Surprisingly fast for her ship class the Smuggler is also well armed. Three Ripper guns allow her to quickly dispatch fighter patrols that may try and stop her, and ion cannons and short burst quad auto cannons make short work of escorts. Long range sensors allow her to pick her battles, and the Smuggler is likely to rely on her speed to outrun and avoid larger capital ships.

Smugglers are found in fair numbers in pirate fleets. The Smuggler is a versatile escort that can pose a threat to fighter squadrons or single escorts. Smugglers don't normally hold up well against capital ships, but they are fast with a good evasion ability for their ship class.


The original origin of the Smuggler design is unknown, however the current version is produced by half a dozen different manufacturers on the Core Worlds. The Smuggler is an odd mix between combat craft and civilian vessel. While it won't win a gunfight with a military ship, or move as much cargo as a dedicated hauler, there is apparently a large market for pilots that would like to do a little of both.

The foundation of the Smuggler is built around its engine system and cargo space. Unlike other ships of a similar size the Smuggler is built to handle with extreme weight for her size, expecting large amounts of cargo to be stashed within. Because of this designers gave up on focusing on straight up speed. Instead, the decision was made to focus on agility, allowing the ship to avoid incoming fire while looking for a good place to hide or to make it to a nav beacon to jump out of a system.

The rear fuselage has a semi circular design, allowing the craft to make quick lateral movements at a moments notice. The weakness of the design is that the full engine power can never be focused in a single direction. This does give a fully loaded Smuggler which is overdriving its engines the agility of a fighter craft, making them exceptionally hard to hit and able to maneuver through very small spaces. A smuggler can still outrun a larger capital ships that might carry boarding marines.

The lack of incredible speed and only a modest shield system meant that the design needed to account for the many smaller and faster fighter craft and escort the Smuggler might encounter. The weapons systems needed to be designed to take out smaller escorts and fighters quickly, as these are the craft that could give it the most trouble if it tried to run. The main armament of the Smuggler is a trio of Ripper Cannons. Ripper technology is not as sophisticated as lasers, but it excels at dealing high amounts of accurate damage at very close range. Almost useless against capital ships, the Ripper Cannons can make quick work of enemy fighters.

The Ripper Cannons are backed up by a Quad Light Autocannon Turret. Light Autocannons specialize at taking out smaller escort craft, and do give the Smuggler at least one weapon option to hurt larger prey. Autocannon turrets are often unreliable and subject to jamming, so often can only be used in short bursts. Still, the sudden amount of focused firepower can often surprise and disable an enemy escort. With sparse and judicious use of the autocannon turrets a Smuggler can stretch its limited ammo capacity for some time without needing to resupply.

The final weapon system on a Smuggler is a pair of Ion Guns. Ion technology drains shields and can disrupt engine systems. This weapon is often used offensively, to drop the shields of a civilian ship before boarding it. It can really excel, however, in the primary role of taking out smaller craft, as it can not only quickly drain the feeble shield output of smaller ships, but it also disrupts their computers and engines reducing their ability to dodge, making the other two weapon systems even more effective.

While only effective at short range and for short engagements, the overall weapon loadout of the Smuggler works perfectly for most pilots. It deals high burst damage against smaller targets that can't be outrun. The weapons are not designed for fighting against larger ships, but against larger enemies the Smuggler's speed and agility let it escape from most encounters.

Finally, the Smuggler packs one final trick up her proverbial sleeve. Most Smugglers come equipped with a small supply of sensor drone probes. Along with superior radar technology that already gives the Smuggler a larger detection range than most ships, the sensor drones allow a Smuggler to get a really clear picture of their surroundings. Whether used as sentry drones to cover a flank, or used offensively to spy on shipping lanes, the Smuggler with its sensor probes will typically give its crew a great deal of information of what threats they are facing, letting them plan the best mode of attack or escape.

All this does not come without some cost, however. The Smuggler is notorious for the amount of fuel it consumes, and this is made even worse when it is hauling cargo. Pilots find that they often are forced to return to a station or trading hub to store up on ammunition and fuel in between cargo runs. Also, because of the large engine drive train and ample cargo space, most Smugglers run on a very small crew. This has the effect of reducing the overall survivability of the ship as in a tough firefight critical personnel might become injured.

Overall, despite its downsides and hybrid nature, the Smuggler has endured as a smaller civilian hauler, a scout, and an anti-fighter specialist. There is no doubt that there will continue to be high demand for this ship across the galaxy.

Where there is access to a sophisticated civilian docking yard, you will find as many variations of the Smuggler as there are pilots and weapon systems to go with them. The Smuggler is a highly customizable craft. The only pieces of the design that are difficult to remove or modify is the unique engine system and the central shield coil.

On the Core Worlds, therefore, it is fair to say that probably no two Smugglers a pilot encounters will be quite the same. Out on the fringes of space, like the Frontier, where there is little access to advanced weaponry or shipyards, the majority of the Smugglers found will meet the "stock" design parameters.

Steel Shadows:
The Smuggler is one of the first units available to purchase. The Smuggler has three equipment slots and two crew slots allowing you to make further small customizations to fit your playstyle.
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About This Game

A new chapter in the world of Ancient Frontier!

Steel Shadows is a standalone RPG set in the epic universe of Ancient Frontier. You do NOT need to own or have played Ancient Frontier to enjoy this content. Take command of a rag tag band of pirates and outlaws as you fight your way across the Frontier for treasure and glory. Delve into our latest turn based tactical RPG.

You play as Rogan Harker, a recently freed convict. He travels to the Frontier to find old friends and start a new life. But the overpowering Federation still controls most of the Frontier, and the new and budding Alliance is no fan of outlaws. Hated and feared, the pirate life is one of constant danger. Friends and allies are hard to find and harder still to keep. Beset on all sides can Rogan find fame and fortune with his fledgling pirate fleet?

  • A full campaign with over 20 story missions
  • Over 50 procedurally generated side missions
  • Dynamic initiative-based turn-based combat
  • Purchase, outfit and control the unique Pirate faction ships
  • Hire and assign crew members that gain experience and power along with your ships
  • Hidden unique mercenaries and ships to add to your fleet
  • Experience over 50 random events
  • Customize your play style by unlocking technologies in an extensive Tech Tree
  • Large, detailed space maps to fight across
  • Three different strategic resources to manage
  • Dozens of different weapon systems and abilities to control
  • Includes both free DLCs; Ancient Frontier - The Crew and Ancient Frontier - Quests and Events

Will you survive the frontier?

Do you like Steel Shadows? Check out the original Ancient Frontier for more!

System Requirements

    • OS: Windows XP or newer (may not work on all 32 bit systems)
    • Memory: 8 GB RAM
    • Graphics: Must be able to display 1024x768 resolution or higher.
    • Storage: 8 GB available space
    • Additional Notes: Ensure your Microsoft Visual C++ Libraries are up to date if you get runtime errors.
    • OS: Windows 10 (64 bit)
    • Memory: 16 GB RAM
    • Storage: 8 GB available space
    • Additional Notes: Ensure your Microsoft Visual C++ Libraries are up to date if you get runtime errors.
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