(written from a Production point of view)
Prime Directive is the role-playing game extension of the long-running Star Fleet Battles wargame series created by Amarillo Design Bureau. Prime Directive allows you to create actual crewmembers for the ships of the SFB universe.
The original version ["1st Edition"] focused on on small, specially trained and equipped "Prime Teams" who were sent on exceptionally dangerous missions. It featured its own unique RPG "engine" which many players found confusing and limited in its character development abilities.
The more recent versions of the RPG allow for more flexibility in character creation, as the game's base format has been licensed in four different gaming system versions:
- A "GURPS"-based version, licensed from Steve Jackson Games, centered on realistic gameplay using the "Fourth Edition" rules engine;
- A "d6 System"-based version, licensed from West End Games, focusing on more "cinematic" gameplay (similar to the original Star Wars RPG they produced in 1990s);
- A "d20 System"-based version, produced under the d20 open gaming license from Wizards of the Coast, which focuses on heroic class-based gameplay (like the company's Dungeons & Dragons RPG); and
- A "HERO System"-based version, licensed from HERO Games, which is a multi-genre system allowing for (presumably) extremely flexible gameplay.
Each version has its pros and cons in gameplay options, but all allow for more than just the basic "shoot-em-up" characterizations of the original version.
- NOTE: At this time, ADB has materiel for the 1st Edition, GURPS and d20 versions of the game available. The d6 and HERO versions are planned for future release, depending on how soon the writers complete the needed information. In addition, an alternate "d20 Modern" edition of the rules has been produced, which supercedes the original d20 edition and allows for more accurate gameplay than the base d20 system.