The Ur-Quan Masters Discussion Forum

The Ur-Quan Masters Re-Release => Starbase Café => Topic started by: Startropy on May 21, 2017, 05:47:46 pm

Title: Startropy - A SC2-like Sci-Fi Adventure Game
Post by: Startropy on May 21, 2017, 05:47:46 pm
Update 27/05/2017 - Demo now available - (

Hi all,

My name is David and I'm the developer of Startropy, a new sci-fi adventure game that's heavily inspired by SC2.

My background is in AAA games where I've worked on a couple of big games like Batman: Arkham Knight and Grand Theft Auto V, but I've left the scene about 2 years ago to pursue a personal passion project which is to become this game.

Startropy puts you in the role as the captain of humanity's first starship capable of FTL travel. Your task will be to explore the universe to discover strange new worlds, and then befriend (or blast) the aliens you meet.

  • A graphic adventure type setup where you can explore, talk and interact with the world.
  • Away team missions will have you assign different crewman to explore hostile planets to gather resources and sometimes enter “dungeons.”
  • Space combat that emphasises tactical choices over twitch reflexes, and sometimes feature environmental hazards and other quirks.


Expand for screenshots:
(click to show/hide)

The game flow should feel pretty familiar to SC2 players here: You will freely explore the universe gathering up resources so you can upgrade your ship in order to explore further out, and on the way you will encounter alien civilisations that will have a major “quest” involving them.

How it differs from SC2 however is that the more action-ey based gameplay of space melee and planet exploration has been replaced with a more methodical RPG-like approach. The idea I wanted here was to try and create tense situations that stem from strategic planning (think of that long internal debate you have with yourself whether its worth trying for that 60% shot in X-COM or whether it would be better to retreat!)

I've mentioned that this game is a passion project. Well Startropy is basically my attempt at trying to put together a lot of the fantastic experiences I've had that made me go “wow, this is a great game!” That got me into computer gaming, and that I hope will bring joy to others as well.

Growing up I was a big fan of Lucasart style adventure games, but it wasn't until my college years when I found out about SC2 (via the Ur-Quan Masters port no less!) that I was blown away by the sheer depth and charm of that game.

So I'm pretty happy with how my game is shaping out, but recognise that it is a niche game. If any of what I wrote sounded mildly relevant to your interests, then please help me try and reach others that might also be interested, by voting for my game on Steam Greenlight with the link I have conveniently pasted for you below: (

Thanks for reading guys. Let me know what you think. If you have any questions please ask and I'll do my best to answer.

The usual links: ( ( (

Title: Re: Startropy - A SC2-like Sci-Fi Adventure Game
Post by: Krulle on May 21, 2017, 09:57:21 pm
That sounds indeed very inteesting!
Alas, I can't upvote or do anything on steam for you. as I do not subscribe to steam....

I'll folow you on that bird song service, though.

Good luck!

PS: there's also the UQM independet Star-Control forum, where you migt want to advertise too:

Title: Re: Startropy - A SC2-like Sci-Fi Adventure Game
Post by: Startropy on May 22, 2017, 11:01:50 am
Aha, thanks for the tip! :)

Title: Re: Startropy - A SC2-like Sci-Fi Adventure Game
Post by: Death 999 on May 22, 2017, 01:44:38 pm
At what stage of development is this? I don't see how to get it, so I guess you're still testing/developing? I don't know enough about how Steam Greenlight works for that to be very illuminating.

Title: Re: Startropy - A SC2-like Sci-Fi Adventure Game
Post by: Krulle on May 22, 2017, 02:18:14 pm
As far as I understood the Steam Greenlight program: it is a tool for developers to test acceptance of a proposed new game.
In a very early stage you can show off your ideas to the steam community, and if enough people say "I like this, please develop a full game" steam gives you "green light" to continue developing.
You can also enroll in news, and possibly buy early access, but you can say "yes please" without commiting any money. Once enough people say "yes", the steam algorithm says that you might have enough customers to have the full development being a worthwhile investment. Otherwise steam advises you to stop pouring time and money into a project that will (in their opinion) likely be a commercial failure.

It's a kind of market evaluation...

Also, steam greenlight FAQ:

Title: Re: Startropy - A SC2-like Sci-Fi Adventure Game
Post by: Startropy on May 22, 2017, 09:00:25 pm
Hey all,

Krulle is partially correct. The idea of Steam Greenlight is to basically leave it up to the players to decide what kind of indie games they want to see appear on the platform by voting on possible candidates.

For Steam it's a way to see what kind of game their users would be interested in seeing. For developers as Krulle says it can be a useful way to gauge the interest people potentially have for your game idea.

Just to clarify though:
- Being "greenlit" just means that Valve will allow me to distribute my game on their Steam platform when the game is finished.
- The game is still getting made even if I don't make it through Steam Greenlight. If it comes to that I will look into entering their new submission process which is supposed to happen sometime this summer, as well as different distribution platforms. Greenlight is a bit of a special case since it's better to enter it midway through development rather than once you are near completion.
- The reason why getting on Steam is such a big deal is because they are basically THE platform for PC gaming. Their install base is massive and create a domino effect where one person can see what their friend or favourite curator is playing/following and so really helps to create visibility for smaller games. You may also be surprised to hear there are people who will refuse to play a PC game unless it's on Steam.
- Voting for my game in no way commits you to getting/purchasing the game.

But to answer your question Death: The game is still in development and I'm currently working on releasing a playable demo for it soon, once I clean the game up a bit for general public consumption and also figure out the best way to distribute the demo.

Title: Re: Startropy - A SC2-like Sci-Fi Adventure Game
Post by: Startropy on May 27, 2017, 07:59:21 pm
Hey guys, I'm back with a playable demo! :)

You can download it here: (

Title: Re: Startropy - A SC2-like Sci-Fi Adventure Game
Post by: Death 999 on May 28, 2017, 12:14:07 am
If this is exe only, you're about to find out if it works in wine.

Title: Re: Startropy - A SC2-like Sci-Fi Adventure Game
Post by: Startropy on May 28, 2017, 12:53:02 am
Hmm, let me know. The demo is built on an older version of AGS. I hear the new engine is linux compatible which I'll hopefully be able to port the game onto.

Title: Re: Startropy - A SC2-like Sci-Fi Adventure Game
Post by: Death 999 on May 28, 2017, 02:22:17 pm
Works through wine on mac. Not sure how to check if cmd-click or fn-click is being read as right-click, since I don't know what examining as opposed to acting would do on anything.

Seems fine so far. Most of the quality in the end will come down to the storytelling and puzzle quality, which is a little hard to gauge from the demo. I did like how the captain doesn't go down right away.

Tiny note - when I was trying to scan one of the museum plaques, the click registered as being on the translator guy, or perhaps the background. You might want to make their hitbox a little larger.

Title: Re: Startropy - A SC2-like Sci-Fi Adventure Game
Post by: Startropy on May 29, 2017, 02:05:13 am
Thanks for playing it Death! :)

Yeah the hitboxes are a bit off in the demo, but it'll be fixed in the game proper.

Title: Re: Startropy - A SC2-like Sci-Fi Adventure Game
Post by: Startropy on June 08, 2017, 10:35:48 am
Startropy has now been greenlit! Thank you so much for your support everyone!  :)

Title: Re: Startropy - A SC2-like Sci-Fi Adventure Game
Post by: Startropy on October 05, 2017, 06:11:06 pm
Hey all, I hope everyone here has been doing well. I've been tinkering away at the game still, though I realise I should probably post a progress report lest people think the project has been abandoned.

Aside from rewriting the code after the demo I released, the big feature I've been working on has been the star map:

Initially the idea was to base the map on an actual face-on map reproduction of the Milky Way. The game's premise will have mankind moving on from the sector of space that contains our solar system, further outwards on our local arm.

Researching into the matter, I found out that nobody has an accurate idea what our galaxy really looks like, and that reproductions using the best estimates creates an almost scattershot map, where stars are either evenly spaced out across large distances, or many are packed in as clusters.

After some internal debate and looking into how other games and properties have approached map creation, I've decided on creating a starmap similar in style to SC2, which sets star systems out in constellation style groupings. SC2 smartly got around this by calling it a “hyperspace” map and therefore not subject to how stars would be set if we got a tape measure out.

Grouping them as constellations is great from a game perspective, as you get that feeling of risking an unknown voyage across large distances of empty void so you can go explore that “island chain” of stars, and the groupings are more human friendly for our brains.

So that's the plan for Startropy, and the authenticity of the star arrangements is getting hand-waved away as it being a new and uncharted sector of space.

The other hefty task was in the system of generating the planets that would orbit a star. The star systems are randomly pre-generated and I then go in to hand tweak some variables if needed to provide a better play experience, though not much tweaking is really needed so far as the system has created some pretty interesting arrangements (plenty of relatively pleasant planets that players can explore, as well as resource rich hell-worlds that players will be praying to the RNG-gods for protection if they dare risk it). For plot planets like the ones used in the demo, those are crafted by hand and then placed in a system where it makes sense.

There's fair bit of number crunching behind the scenes to determine what planet types or other objects are likely to appear given various factors within the star system (though not quite as hardcore as what the Starflight programmers created). These variables then get simplified to more game-relevant details which are presented to the player:

Typical planet report (gameplay effects are subject to change):
- Average temperature: Frozen worlds may add a fuel tax to keep the away team alive. Hell worlds are suicidal without special gear and only somewhat suicidal with it.
- Volcanic activity: The higher the level, the more resource rich the planet is but also more dangerous.
- Tectonic activity: Higher it is the more dangerous.
- Atmosphere: Toxic atmospheres will increase the likelihood of the away team dying if injured (to simulate their environment suits getting breached).
- Gravity: Affects fuel consumption.
- Resource value: The main reason for your expeditions! Precious metals, radioactives, etc are abstracted into resource units which acts as a universal currency amongst the races.

Life on other planets:
There will also be other details which may or may not be explicitly outlined in the report like alien life. You stand a good chance of finding life on a garden world (though garden worlds are uncommon) but you may find it in other exotic locations too.

Hope you guys found that interesting!

Title: Re: Startropy - A SC2-like Sci-Fi Adventure Game
Post by: Krulle on October 13, 2017, 09:55:46 am
Indeed. Sounds good!

I also like the SC2 maps very much. As you say, the Human mind works in grouping things together.

Title: Re: Startropy - A SC2-like Sci-Fi Adventure Game
Post by: Startropy on October 21, 2017, 06:44:23 pm
Update: Been working on the structure of the main quest and various sidequests. I'm pretty happy with the plan laid out for the main quest, and think I would like to make a separate post about quest structures after playing around with it some more and can talk about some various and definite examples. For now I'll say that the main quest is left open in that you must collect X amount of macguffins through various means available to you (mine, trade, plunder, etc) which will be the hook for you to meet the various races in the game and engage in the sidequests.

Instead this will be a lore update on some of the races you'll meet in Startropy. So far I've written out 9 races you'll meet in the game, and various interactions and quests involved with them. At the moment I'm thinking of rounding it up to about 12 different races/factions when I'm done.

Race: Glutonians
A savage race that fanatically worship a chaos god of gluttony and excess. This race is a relative newcomer to the space-age, when an unfortunate scouting ship crash landed on their homeplanet. Perceived as a divine miracle when the race was close to extinction from famine, the Glutonians devoured the ship's crew before slowly exploring the rest of the ship, catapulting this once primitive race to an advance one in an incredibly short amount of time.

The Glutonians are mostly an unknown to the other advance races, but they know enough to avoid their region of space as ships passing through have a tendency of never returning. Unfortunately for Humans, nobody gave them the memo. Mankind has taken up residence in what seemed like a cozy and undisturbed sector of space, in close vicinity to them.

Race: Tradashi
Most humans agree that this somewhat shadey race bears an uncanny resemblance to the raccoon in old Earth records. They are one of the most prolific races due to their natural affinity for trade, get rich quick schemes, and scavenging junk (anything that isn't bolted down and guarded by kill-drones is considered “junk” to the Tradashi).

With that said, the Tradashi are a good source of information for the location of any sites rich in resources or salvage, or information on any of the other space-faring races they have had dealings with. You can always count on a Tradashi when you need to trade for goods on your journey. Just be sure to check the quality, and the legality too if you care for that sort of thing.

Title: Re: Startropy - A SC2-like Sci-Fi Adventure Game
Post by: Death 999 on October 22, 2017, 02:50:31 am
I'd rename the Tradashi. It's distractingly close to a very dissimilar race from SC2.

Title: Re: Startropy - A SC2-like Sci-Fi Adventure Game
Post by: Startropy on October 22, 2017, 11:38:29 am
Hah! You're maybe right. :p

Title: Re: Startropy - A SC2-like Sci-Fi Adventure Game
Post by: Startropy on November 12, 2017, 09:54:38 pm
Hey all, an update on the game:

Been working on rewriting the code and fine tuning some of the mechanics for the game's starmap, away team, and space combat systems.

The starmap work was basically to try and ensure I can support the number of star systems I want for the game, and UI stuff to support visiting a planet's moon(s).

Related to that was some rework on the away team mechanics. I'm planning to add a bunch of scenarios you may randomly encounter when you away team explores to break up the monotony of players harvesting every planet they come across. They're CYOA style, where you'll be presented with situations with multiple choice, and your success is decided with a roll against your team's stats.

Also, I'm planning to remove the injury timer that was in the demo: You'll basically just have to roll once to see how unscathed your team is during a bad situation, with an extra save chance when you bring along a medic.

The final and big update is space combat: I took the opportunity during the code rewrite to play around and redesign the combat to be turn based(!)

If you played the demo you'd have seen that space combat was originally real time, but slowed down a bit to allow some deliberate, but pressured decision making, as part of my goal to recreate battleship style scenes in sci-fi.

I've had some posters ask me why not just make it TB then, which was a fair point. It also felt slightly strange that space combat is RT while  the away team stuff which also has combat was TB. So I played around with trying to reproduce my above goal, and to preserve the spirit of the advantage system which I quite like, into a TB format.

So this is how spacecombat currently works in Startropy:
- Participants regenerate energy at the end of every turn. Most ships will not be able regenerate enough energy to attack on every turn, but I am considering to allow players to be able to build their ship to do that at the expense of other stats.
- Previously, the advantage mechanic was a resource that quickly reset itself to equilibrium in RT. It gave you advantages to hit and increased your crit chance, and you got it for doing “good things” (hitting the enemy, dodging an attack, etc.) and lost it for doing the opposite. In TB, it will now slowly move towards equilibrium at the end of the turn.
- In the old RT version advantage gave you a flat bonus to hit and to crit, with the benefit of having a larger advantage was just the increased time you spent in the state. In TB you will gain escalating to-hit/crit bonuses or penalties depending on the size of the advantage, until you hit a cap.
- A new ability called Manoeuvre has been added to shake up the TB combat. This is a low cost option to gain 1 point of advantage.

Right now, space combat feels similar to a tug-of-war, where both sides are splitting their choices between blasting each other, or gaining more advantage so they can more efficiently blast each other. The fights are interesting, and I think I have retained the tense deliberation I wanted players to have. More work needs to be done to balance it, but overall I'm very pleased with how it has turned out.

I'm gonna be away from my computer for a few weeks, so expect my next update maybe late Dec/Jan.  :)

Title: Re: Startropy - A SC2-like Sci-Fi Adventure Game
Post by: Startropy on January 12, 2018, 11:21:23 pm
Hey all, hope everyone had a pleasant time over the holidays.

An update of what's been happening on Startropy:

Away Team changes:
-Technicians have been renamed to scientists, they still serve the same purpose as before but the term is probably better for the wider range of skills they cover.
-Added different scenarios when an earthquake occurs. Previously, triggering an earthquake would just directly harm your away team. It was a bit vague why they were getting injured during the earthquake before, but since SC2 did it similarly I hand-waved back in the demo build. Now an earthquake will produce various dilemmas that depending on your team's skills (and some luck), you may escape with zero or minimal loss. Some examples:
 -Earthquake causes a nearby landslide, you need to make a roll using the combined skills of your explorers to avoid being crushed.
 -Your vehicle gets damaged during the quake. Make a roll using your scientists' skills to see how long it will take to repair it.
-The chance of an earthquake occurring is tied to the planet's tectonic activity score.
-Volcanic disasters will work similar to earthquakes, but these are tied to the planet's volcanic activity score.
-Also since I already go to the trouble of noting how much of a planet's surface is covered in liquids, I've added a feature so that there's a chance for an earthquake to trigger a tsunami, with the chance of encountering a tsunami being greater the more the planet's surface is liquid.
-There is a small chance whenever you explore a planet that you will trigger a special encounter. These range from anything like trying to survive a passing storm, to stumbling on an alien artefact.
-TLDR: Hope you guys brought a medic on the team.

Speaking of medics, their function has been reworked:
-The injury timer mechanic from the demo build is gone. Injured crewman will no longer slowly “bleed” to death until they get back to the ship. Instead they will either be injured (alive, but cannot aid in any tasks until they receive proper treatment back at the ship) or simply drop dead.
-The reason why the timer mechanic was dropped was that it was kind of messy in practice, and I felt the timer provided limited urgency when it will be possible to explore tiny-sized planets in a few turns.
-On the plus side medics have now been made to be a more useful part of the team composition: Whenever a team member receives damage, they will automatically treat them on the same turn. If successful they can revert an injury to a fully functional crewmember, or prevent someone from being killed on the spot.

Scientists will now provide a bonus to the loot you collect when gathering resources or collecting scientific data.

Explorers will now improve your odds of your team running away from an encounter (if the lifeform is inclined to give chase).

Security can now also defend the party from the attacks of hostile lifeforms. Allowing you to avoid damage altogether.

The “stun” setting on your away team's weapons have mysteriously disappeared into the ether. If you feel inclined to play pacifist, you will now have to try and run away from any hostiles instead (the reason why this was removed, was that the whole thing seemed a bit *too* Star Trek, and I want pacifist gameplay to feel different and less straight-forward than the plain shooty option).

Added a Science Scan option for the away team. This will allow you to collect scientific data (which can be used as a form of currency) when scanning native lifeforms or anything else that's applicable. You also gain additional data when you defeat a lifeform. So for those that want to maximise profit, you will want to scan first (while being attacked if the creature is hostile) before taking down any lifeforms.

The party order of the away team is set so that the “hardier” crewman will automatically take damage before the more vulnerable members. The order goes security > explorers > scientists > medics.

The idea of the away team re-balancing was to give players the option to arrange the team to however they feel will maximise their chances for a particular expedition, given the known variables of the trip, but also give the sense that every class can meaningfully contribute in some way, especially when you never completely know what they may come across. Having security is a no-brainer when you are expecting a fight, but they will also sacrifice themselves to protect others during non-combat disasters too. Explorers will provide the biggest benefit navigating hostile environments, but they can also help you to avoid combat situations. Scientists will maximise your loot-gain, and their skills will frequently get brought up when your team faces a situation that requires technical expertise. Medic gives you a second chance where your explorers and security fail you, and their medical knowledge may be called upon on occasion.

So that's it for this update. The away team was the last big overhaul I wanted to do on the game system. I'll be having a think on what's next to work on.

Title: Re: Startropy - A SC2-like Sci-Fi Adventure Game
Post by: Krulle on January 13, 2018, 05:19:24 pm
Dang, I may need to get my new PC machine earlier...
My sons start complaining about the load time, and the machine is so old, that I do not wan to install new games.

But this sounds good. And better and better.

Title: Re: Startropy - A SC2-like Sci-Fi Adventure Game
Post by: Startropy on April 11, 2018, 01:57:53 pm
Thanks Krulle! :)

New update:

Just finished adding all the stats for the game's star systems last night. This update took a fair bit longer than I anticipated, as I went about generating these details via random values and then prodding some aspects by hand, and I also wanted to expand upon the astronomical features player can find which took some time to implement.

So right now there are 83 explorable star systems in the game with features like resource-rich asteroid belts (already seen in the demo) plus the addition of giant stars, white drawfs, binary, and trinary star systems.

Title: Re: Startropy - A SC2-like Sci-Fi Adventure Game
Post by: Startropy on May 13, 2018, 09:44:50 pm
Hey guys,

Been working on quest ideas and fleshing out the aliens since the last update. On the side I've also been making some reusable sprites to build the star systems with.

As an example, I've created the player's home system from a set of planets and asteroid tiles:


Title: Re: Startropy - A SC2-like Sci-Fi Adventure Game
Post by: Startropy on October 27, 2018, 01:53:56 pm
Hey, I'm just done with the artwork for the game's starmap. Went through a few different styles before finally this one, lemme know if you guys approve.


Title: Re: Startropy - A SC2-like Sci-Fi Adventure Game
Post by: Death 999 on October 27, 2018, 04:09:04 pm
I like less nebula.

Title: Re: Startropy - A SC2-like Sci-Fi Adventure Game
Post by: Krulle on October 28, 2018, 10:21:34 am
I saw it oass by on Twitter, and like it.
Willthe nebulae influence the travel speed?

Title: Re: Startropy - A SC2-like Sci-Fi Adventure Game
Post by: Startropy on October 29, 2018, 01:23:53 pm
Just decorative. I put them there as part eye candy and part to help lead the player's eye around the map.

Though I am planning to put some travel obstructions on the map actually.

Title: Re: Startropy - A SC2-like Sci-Fi Adventure Game
Post by: Death 999 on October 29, 2018, 04:39:09 pm
If you want them to be landmarks, less might be more. Also, you could do more with star color.

Title: Re: Startropy - A SC2-like Sci-Fi Adventure Game
Post by: Startropy on March 16, 2019, 01:22:16 pm
First alien (more or less) done:


Title: Re: Startropy - A SC2-like Sci-Fi Adventure Game
Post by: Krulle on March 16, 2019, 07:13:50 pm
I guess the snail-like one on the counter is the trader, and the other the pet, or muscle working in the storage...

Title: Re: Startropy - A SC2-like Sci-Fi Adventure Game
Post by: Startropy on March 18, 2019, 03:19:49 pm
Haha nah. The slug is just one of those collectable figurines people love to put on their desks, but there's a reason why it exists.

Title: Re: Startropy - A SC2-like Sci-Fi Adventure Game
Post by: Krulle on March 18, 2019, 04:41:53 pm
So, it's the merchandise you want to sell to get rich, once the game really hits? *

BTW, loved the pre-early access version. Did not find much time to play it (less than two hours), but got the key for the teleporting portal. That's where my game ended.
Seeing the runs of updates on my twitter feed, I love the evolution seen so far.

It's on the list of games to keep track of, for a time when I might have time to play again.
Or as game for my kids....


* joking, It's surely a hint for a quiz somewhere....

Title: Re: Startropy - A SC2-like Sci-Fi Adventure Game
Post by: Startropy on March 20, 2019, 08:58:31 pm
You caught me. I'll be bundling the little mascot in disgustingly overpriced collector's editions.  8)

But in seriousness I appreciate the continued support! :)