I'd say this needs to be fixed.
Absolutely. But realistically this requires much more info.
This game has been unplayable for some time now (months).
Way too vague to be of much use.
Unable to initialize universe.
Single most important bit of info here. This means the game can't find something it needs. As soon as that is known the problem can be fixed. Any other error messages seen?
I'm downloading it from the link George posted in this thread.
Some are Windows 7 some Windows 10. 64bit.
Also tried running as admin.
the older versions work fine up to 1.04 at least.
The only thing I think the other systems have in common that the last one didn't is that they required a login to use them.
Excellent. This is the sort of info that really helps. What OS version is the computer that will run the game? Still 64-bit?
From what I've seen George is really clever and can fix this but will need to know what the problem is.
What exactly happens with 1.8b2? Extract the game, double-click Transcendence.exe... then what? Does the same thing happen every time? If not, what are the different outcomes you have seen?
Can you provide the same info for the previous versions you mention where you could start the game and/or log in?
Tried a debug game?
Are there any debug logs available from any of the versions which have problems?
Do you get the same problems with the last stable release, version 1.7?
Is there a Microsoft error message when the game crashes?
Which is the last 1.8 version that would load but then crash on login? If the version isn't known then how long ago? Be as specific as you can.
Where are you extracting the game? Program Files? Desktop?
Anything special or different about any of the computer hardware?
What percentage of tries either
gave an error message,
started then crashed or
did something else.
ANY other info whether it seem relevant to you or not. I once included "Using the up arrow seems to sometimes trigger the crash" in a bug report even though I couldn't see any possible way this could be useful info. But it was!
I'll bump the game version archive topic (again!) and maybe you can get a more updated version that works as a temporary measure but it really is worth putting in some effort to get 1.8b2. The improvements are excellent.