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Last Updated: Tuesday, 1 July, 2003, 10:54 GMT 11:54 UK
Galactic glitch for Star Wars game
Screenshot of Star Wars Galaxies, Lucas Arts
Galaxies is populated by strange creatures
Budding Jedi knights, Wookiees or roguish smugglers have been forced to wait a little longer to discover their destiny among the stars.

Players could finally sign up for the Star Wars Galaxies game last week as Sony opened up registration to the public.

But software problems meant that, for many people, signing up took several frustrating hours.

Once players got in to the game they found that the game servers were offline because of database problems.

Interstellar war

Star Wars Galaxies lets people live, adventure and explore the worlds depicted in the films and has been eagerly awaited by both players and pundits.

The game is set in the classic era of the Star Wars Universe during the star-spanning war kicked off by the destruction of the first Death Star.

Concept art for Star Wars Galaxies, Lucas Arts
Mon Calamari
The game has been tested by a few lucky players over the past few months, but last week the first proper players got the chance to sign up and start living in the Universe of Luke, Leia, Han and Chewbacca.

A copy of the game, which is currently only on sale in the US, costs $50 (30). Players must also pay a monthly fee of between $12 and $15.

British fans will get their chance to sign up later in the summer.

But eager players keen to get to grips with Galaxies found that the futuristic world suffered some very old-fashioned problems.

On the first morning that the registration servers went live a series of bugs meant that many people had to try for up to five hours to complete the sign-up process.

Some players spent hours tuning their in-game characters only to find that crashes deleted all their hard work.

Sony put the problems down to the huge number of people registering.

The problems did not stop once people completed sign up and finished creating their characters.

Online barometer

The servers that sit behind the Galaxies game Universe had database problems which meant that some people had to delay their first foray into space.

Screenshot from Star Wars Galaxies, Lucas Arts
Some Galaxies locations look familiar
Sony said all the problems were cleared up by Friday morning and it then had more than 17,000 people playing the game simultaneously.

The huge following that the movies enjoy is likely to mean that the game will be hugely popular and lead to many thousands of people spending weeks of their lives immersed in it.

Industry watchers are also keeping an eye on Galaxies and see it as a barometer for the future of the online gaming.

Many thousands of people play net-based, multiplayer games such as EverQuest but the staying power of such systems is yet to be proven.

The sheer number of people in the EverQuest world has made it a frustrating experience for many players and many are forced to queue to complete certain quests and adventures.

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