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Zelnik
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My take on Stardock
« on: November 03, 2017, 04:08:44 am »

Okay, my take is pretty negative but I really want to frame this as best I can.


I have been playing Stardock games since Galciv 2. That is to say, while I was waiting for Sword of the Stars , I played Galciv 2. Besides it being a desperate rip-off of Civilization 2 without water to stop your scouts.  The artistic style ranged from really nicely made to looking like something out of the muppet show. It was a weird combo of cartoon and utility and it just didn't work. The combat was just DREADFUL.  Part of the problem with Stardock is that ALL of their games looked just like this. They never innovate and they never try something new.

Them taking up the Star Control franchise shows they have learned nothing. The art style isn't reminiscent of prior games, it's just another Galciv game. Even the space map looks like Gal Civ's galaxy map!

The worst part are the aliens. Everything looks like they took the Disturbing-cute look of the Orz and used it on EVERY ALIEN RACE.  There is no pulp-60's sci fi to be found, it's all deranged muppets.

Now, amusingly enough, the lead of the new project is vocal on his own message board  (before he starts banning people for not praising his creative talent).

He tried to explain the lack of time honored characters and themes (beyond the legal ownership still being in Paul and Fred's hands) to make the argument that "Humans exploring space is what makes a star control game."
By that argument, Sonic the Hedgehog is Super Mario Bros because both involve jumping on enemies to beat them. 

Star Control (especially Star Control 2) was never about just "exploring space".  In fact, I would argue that exploration was one of the LEAST defining concepts of the game. The 60's sci-fi apocalyptic adventure, the balance between light hearted and truly brain meltingly disturbing, the rich characters and the omnipresent threat of something truly horrible on the horizon. You didn't explore space because you wanted to... you explored space because you HAD to.

I usually never hope for the failure of a company, but Star Control is a twisted mutated zombie of what it formerly was. It's sad. I hope I am wrong, but Stardock is as predictable a company as Paradox is as a developer.


thoughts?

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Re: My take on Stardock
« Reply #1 on: November 03, 2017, 08:11:44 am »

Quote
  In fact, I would argue that exploration was one of the LEAST defining concepts of the game.

We'll agree to disagree there.

Exploring was my sole drive when I was still playing Star Control 2. Now it's my sole drive when fudging with its source code.

Exploring star systems to find that one planet full of life forms or a treasure world and getting that excited message from the Commander when I brought home a veritable mother-lode.
It was never out of necessity as I would start a new game to explore even more if I came near the time limit.

Now it's finding new ways to make the game more interesting, testing my limits on what I can or can't do with the code.
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Re: My take on Stardock
« Reply #2 on: November 03, 2017, 01:24:56 pm »

Exploring was my sole drive when I was still playing Star Control 2. Now it's my sole drive when fudging with its source code.

Sure, but I doubt you would find exploration so fun, unless you found lots of interesting aliens (and other stuff).  What I liked about SC2 compared to SC3, was that it actually took a lot of time to go from one solar system to another solar system far away. This made the SC2 universe seem much bigger. Sure, you can jump to other places when you get the portal spawner, but I had to play for a long time before I found the Arilou home world. Also, since this was before Internet, I couldn't just google "Where is the Vux Beast?". I remember spending lots of time, before I eventually found that beast.
« Last Edit: November 03, 2017, 01:27:41 pm by Zanthius » Logged
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Re: My take on Stardock
« Reply #3 on: November 03, 2017, 03:01:21 pm »

I liked the feeling of travelling too.

I also liked the ressource gathering element of the game.
I always wanted to take the time and mine ALL ressources sometime.
Never really did it, but my OCD always made me far too much for far longer than necessary.

I like the mix SC2 has, and I fear if you take something out of the mix, you'll loose more than it seems at first. Just like I missed the mining in SC3.
I also missed the round-based turns of SC1 in SC2....
But then, there were other parts in SC3 I liked. Like the Ortog and the XChagger. Partly even the Lk. Both races' background stories. (The Vyro-Ingo/Vux I hated as storyline. And the Doog I found unbelieveable. Too dumb to become star-faring.)


But Star Control games have been so different from each other so far, that the only thing I require is a general common timeline and common events. Which Star-Control Origins will likely not have.
It may still make a good game, htough. So I'll be waiting for a real release befroe I diss their game. (Or say that I likes it)
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Re: My take on Stardock
« Reply #4 on: November 05, 2017, 05:40:27 pm »

Creativity isn't something tthat can be learned, it is in you from childhood onwards, and although it changes a little during your lifetime and also due to cultural changes, it remains roughly the same throughout your entire life.
That's why you see echoes of the past in music, art and games. And it also causes a feeling of nostalgia every time you see a new product by the same artist.
Because creativity is something that resonates within you, it will resonate within others as well. People might feel that  they have been 'touched in the heart' by a certain song, game, movie, series etc.
But because this is the case, people also get really offended when the thing that touches you in the heart is changed in such a way that it does not resonate as well anymore.
They see it as a criticism on themselves as a person.

When a franchise gets bought, music bands change their composition or their work gets covered by others, or a game gets developed by someone else there are bound to be people who are offended.
The saddest I heard thusfar was a favorite singer of me that got death threats just because she left a certain band and wanted to pursue a different path in music.

Anyway, that's why stardock created the founders program. So that you can influence the direction of the game. Apparently you didn't join it. Maybe because it is too expensive or for some other reason, but doing so shows their good intentions in making this a quality game, or atleast a game that is as good as it can be. To me, your topic seems like you didn't vote but complain about trump anyway Wink.

I did join the founders program and although I didn't always feel that they did something with our feedback (but really often they did listen to feedback) I realize that creative processes should also be left alone enough to make something Stardock itself is interested in making.
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Re: My take on Stardock
« Reply #5 on: November 08, 2017, 02:05:48 am »

Generally speaking, the goal was to make the look "cute" in order to create that same disonnance we felt during Star Control II.  That is, it's so cute but the subject matter is so horrifying.

The Star Control: Origins story isn't a happy, go lucky place.  There are beings who see us humans as a serious threat and want us exterminated.

From their perspective, humanity is very dangerous.  In the blink of a cosmic eye we have gone from hanging out in the trees to interstellar travel.

Part of the goal of the story is to make the case that yea, the "bad" guys probably have a pretty sensible reason for wanting to exterminate us.  Not because of ideology but maybe we really are pretty dangerous.
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Zelnik
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Re: My take on Stardock
« Reply #6 on: November 08, 2017, 03:41:19 am »

Generally speaking, the goal was to make the look "cute" in order to create that same disonnance we felt during Star Control II.  That is, it's so cute but the subject matter is so horrifying.

The Star Control: Origins story isn't a happy, go lucky place.  There are beings who see us humans as a serious threat and want us exterminated.

From their perspective, humanity is very dangerous.  In the blink of a cosmic eye we have gone from hanging out in the trees to interstellar travel.

Part of the goal of the story is to make the case that yea, the "bad" guys probably have a pretty sensible reason for wanting to exterminate us.  Not because of ideology but maybe we really are pretty dangerous.

Firstly, I admire your willingness to come to a hostile space to protect your game. You have banned me in two places because I called you for what you were.

A scam artist and a liar.

You in fact, blocked me when you made the statement "Buy star control 1 2 and 3, fred and paul will get royalties" and I said, openly with a link, that they released the game for FREE.  Sucks when the truth cuts into your profits. You can't ban me here.  If it wasn't you, it was someone from your team with the same exact slimy excuse.

The fact that you are even defending the art style really shows you just don't understand what is going on here. You don't understand why the aliens in Star Control looked the way they did, or the art style, or why they were so loved. The argument I saw in your forums said "look at the orz! they are so cute, but so horrible!"...Are they? Firstly, I never viewed the Orz and cute. I viewed them as incredibly alien, even with the voices given to them in the 3DO release. They were rolling around in the Uncanny Valley of something who had no idea how to make something appealing to another alien race with no research. Also...Fred and Paul never officially explained the Orz, so calling them "horrible" or "Terrifying" is a misnomer. 

It's so strange of you, to focus on the orz, but forget the important species of the game.  The Khor-Ah were SIX EYED DOOM CATERPILLARS THAT HUNG OVER THE DEAD SKELETONS OF EXTINCT SPECIES EACH CAPTAIN PERSONALLY KILLED.  Where is your cute here?  The Ilwrath were -literally- psychotic, sociopathic, evil worshipping spiders without a lick of 'aw it's cute!"  No word on the Chenjesu, towering cybernetic crystals that practically scream 1960's Sci-fi magazine cover art? The bombshell space babes of the Syreen? You never really played this game, did you?

Amusingly enough, the argument was made that "humans exploring space" is star control.  I want you to know that literally every other space exploration game called and demanded you stopped plagiarizing them.

Given how this game looks from it's demos and shoots, you scraped assets together from the floor of your prior Galciv games and smashed them together with the name of a game that holds a special place in Video Gaming history.

Frogboy, I will say it here, loudly and proudly, where you CANNOT ban me for speaking ill of this project, and criticizing your bad behavior:

Your game is not Star Control. You will never change what Star Control means to its fans. You have insulted the fans and they will not support you until you stop. Your company is acting like a warped mixture of EA games and Michael Bay when it gets it's hands on an IP.
 We do not appreciate what you are doing to something we love.



Now, I get it. It's your job to shill your game. You want it to succeed. You want to make money and that's all well and good. I really hope your game succeeds better than your previous endeavors, which on the whole range from "Par" to "Sub-par in quality. I know you will defend your game voraciously because it's your JOB to do so.

But if you come here, you don't have your magic ban button. We can call you out for what you are, which is a salesman for your game who likely never played the original beyond super-melee. We can call your game for what it is, a desperate attempt to cash in on nostalgia while lacking everything that made Star Control....Star Control.   

We can't change the culture of evil space spiders because of a convoluted prank of mischevious space blobbies.

We can't fall in love with a beautiful blue skinned psychic bombshell in space.

We can't trade with the truly hilarious and entertaining Melnorme...while shudder at the nature of the Keel-Verezy.

We can't look in disgust at the true nature of the Druuge.

We cannot see the true maddening horror of how far the Ur-Quan fell from grace.

What we CAN see, are muppets that belong in a children's TV show who are super scared of humans because humans are dangerous and stuff (not like any of them aren't dangerous but somehow we totally are).

Your plot premise is so depressingly contrived and predictable too. It makes you sound like a "HUMANITY F*CK YEA!" type with a guilty conscience.  "Humanity is advancing so fast and so well the aliens just gotta  stop em" is such a stupid plot point that just makes no sense in any sort of narrative.  There is no depth, there is only ONE solution (which is we fulfill their terrible prophecy, advance fast enough and prevent our extinction) and humans go on to rule the galaxy as number 1. Compared to TUQM, where humanity are, at best, bit players in the war, with ships that are sub-par at best and only shine because they had ONE shot, with ONE ship. Any other race could have done it, we just got it at the luck of the draw.


You can do better than this. You know it and I know it.
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Serosis
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Re: My take on Stardock
« Reply #7 on: November 08, 2017, 04:15:35 am »

Dude. You need to chill out.

Stop being hostile and disrespectful and learn to speak your opinions without attacking people.
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Re: My take on Stardock
« Reply #8 on: November 08, 2017, 09:53:05 am »

Zelnik, I will say it here as well Smiley

Zelnik, you don'tt represent me or the opinion of the star control community, of which I have been a part since +/- 1999. Your comment is childish and one of the reasons not that few companies bother anymore to re-create games of the past.
« Last Edit: November 08, 2017, 09:55:01 am by Scalare » Logged
Krulle
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Re: My take on Stardock
« Reply #9 on: November 08, 2017, 12:19:15 pm »

I also do not support Zelnik's view.

I am happy that someone takes a shot at creating a Star Control game, just like I was happy for SC3.
I will wait and see how Origins turns out before dismissing it as a "non-game".

SC1 to SC2 included so many changes, that I think in other times they would not have been grouped as a series.
SC3 remained within the timeline and stories provided, so I was happy for that.
I did like SC3 aspects, and I did dislike other aspects. ("ICOM online")

I will see how Origins will fit.
Of course, story-wise I am happy that FF and PR3 will take a shot at continueing the SC2 story.
But it may well be that I will decide that "Ghosts of the Precursors" is so weak, that I will disregard it when talking about my favourite PC-game.
I will wait and see.


And modern business simply means using names you have available.
Stardock now legally owns Star Control. Good for them.
Star Control is a simple and short name, and very suitable for many space-related games.
Heck, all Civ-in-space games could use that name.

Story-wise, SC1 was about the fleet management of the Alliance, of which the UN-organisation "Star Control" was the part of Humanity.
In SC2, this "Star Control" organisation was non-existent, as the Ur-Quan forbade any form of space-ships for Humanity. Yet, the game was still called "Star Control".


What I need from "Star Control" named games, is either the storyline and preferably most of the races. And Frungy, the sport of kings.
Or the combination of starting sub-par with others, collecting ressources to improve my ship, weapons, technology, and ultimately being able to solve the quest(s) posed.

Yes, indeed. I would not mind playing a game fully outside of the currect story of Star Control, but being playstyle wise close enough to be the same category of games.
Although I am unhappy that things will change (my personal resistance that good memories of the past must remain unchanged).
I fear, that SC2 so perfectly combined the many aspects and open-ended stories that this is not recreatable within the same universe. The balance of solved mysteries with unsolved mysteries is hard to hit.

(actually, SC3 did a pretty good job at hitting the SC2-feel, while introducing fitting new races (computers having become intelligent and misinterpreting their tasks; intelligent bacteria living inside other organism), solving a few mysteries, leaving some open (those they did not touch remained open). What I really lacked was a tangible opponent (really, the Eternal Ones were not), and new unsolved mysteries which were only hinted at. And SC3 tried to explain too much (like they tried to make the Arilou explain themselves). - All in all I found SC3 enjoyable, despite some sub-optimal elements, and the game becoming unplayable when done in the wrong order)



Finally, I don't like your tone, Zelnik. It comes over as extremely aggressive.
This has not been called for, and is not helpful in your argumentation.
And what you've been screaming around actually made me slightly more curious about the upcoming Origins. Because now I want to play it to see how your rant fits with the game, and to make my own personal opinion.
(SC2 is a "Humanity-fuck yeah!" game too. And our speed of development may indeed be a real concern for others. Especially when you look at how we achieve it (through lack of respect for nun-Human requirements (e.g. tipping the current equilibrium of Earth's nature to be very unfavourable for many species))


Final question: a game where you are a person working in the diplomatic areas for the UN, and in which the world is as it is now (war in Syria, increasing instability in the middle-East), and you have to guide the decision progress when a crisis happens. In this case a short nuclear war of several nations versus Israel and among each other.
Goal: unite the big military nations to work together, joing their armies and pacify the region; ultimately resulting in removing all nuclear weapons from the hands of "Nations" and storing them in "peace vaults" sueprvised by the UN; and forming a new UN-agency tasked with supervising the militaries, peace, and space.
This game would fit the "Star Control" universe perfectly. But it would likely not feel like a "Star Control" game, because you are not exploring space. you are exploring diplomacy, talking to other delegations from different Nations, ... But all on Earth. Likely all inside one big building.
I fear that Star Control 2 is so good, because it is a one-shot in that universe (really, story wise Star Control 1 adds nothing to the experience, since it lacks details. It is just a series of battles. All SC1 tells you is, that there was a war, which is already explained in SC2 anyway, during the first few sentences of Cmdr. Hayes).
« Last Edit: November 08, 2017, 12:50:50 pm by Krulle » Logged
Zelnik
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Re: My take on Stardock
« Reply #10 on: November 08, 2017, 05:30:41 pm »

Dude. You need to chill out.

Stop being hostile and disrespectful and learn to speak your opinions without attacking people.

You and my other critics are right, I am very hostile and I am rather shameless with my attacks. Normally I would be far more level and polite...if everything I said Frogboy and their devs wasn't 100% true

Sometimes yes you can be level and calm about it...but when you are level and calm where Frogboy has control, he bans you. He doesn't stand for even level or honest criticism for what they are doing and silences people.

So I am done with being 'nice'.  I am not going to be silenced by him. Sometimes you have to make noise before people get the idea that what they are doing is wrong.   Please be my guest and disagree, but "calm down" is not something I will do to this individual.
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Zanthius
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Re: My take on Stardock
« Reply #11 on: November 08, 2017, 05:50:43 pm »

So I am done with being 'nice'.  I am not going to be silenced by him. Sometimes you have to make noise before people get the idea that what they are doing is wrong.   Please be my guest and disagree, but "calm down" is not something I will do to this individual.

I disagree. I think people are much more open to hear what you are saying when you are nice. And since I often feel a great need to tell people how stupid they are, I am usually trying very hard to be less hostile and more diplomatic, since I know it is a much more efficient form of communication. People tend to shut their ears when you are hostile, and they just delve deeper into their confirmation biases.

I strongly recommend this course about intellectual humility: https://www.coursera.org/learn/intellectual-humility-science/
« Last Edit: November 08, 2017, 08:17:59 pm by Zanthius » Logged
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Re: My take on Stardock
« Reply #12 on: November 08, 2017, 06:42:10 pm »

Quote
You in fact blocked me when you made the statement "Buy star control 1 2 and 3, fred and paul will get royalties" and I said, openly with a link, that they released the game for FREE.  Sucks when the truth cuts into your profits. You can't ban me here.  If it wasn't you, it was someone from your team with the same exact slimy excuse.

If your posting style on Stardock's forums is anything like here, you probably weren't banned for saying that UQM is available free. Much more likely you were banned for extreme hostility.

Anyway, you've misunderstood this. They released the 3DO version's source to the public, and it has been ported, modified, and improved from there by the UQM dev team. The one on Steam and GOG is the unmodified DOS version, which can still be legally sold and Fred and Paul still get royalties. Stardock is not doing anything wrong here, even if there is not much reason to play the original version of SC2 now. Plus it also includes SC1, which is not open-source.

In fact, whatever reservations we have about Origins (I'm a founder and have some), Stardock has actually been quite respectful to Fred and Paul. They have communicated with them regularly and took a generous interpretation toward the legal ambiguities about the rights, for example. Not messing with the SC2 universe and keeping it in FF/PR's hands was the right decision. If Stardock had done things differently we might not be getting Ghosts of the Precursors. And since we are getting Ghosts, I don't see the point in getting so upset about Stardock.


As for the rest...well, to make a long story short I disagree with your portrait of the SC2 universe as an overwhelmingly dark and horrible place. It has elements of that to be sure, but having recently played it again there are also a lot of parts that are outright silly - I would even venture to say muppet-ish. It's part of the game's charm. The Zoq-Fot-Pik are a very lighthearted race for the most part (any serious moments with them are like 10% of the time).

And I think "cute and horrifying" makes a good description of the Orz. They look pretty cartoony to me, and even if their mystery isn't fully resolved they're obviously disturbing and dangerous (whether they're outright evil is still an open question though). Star Control's tone is a mix of serious and heavy stuff like the Ur-quan, dark satirical humor like the Thraddash and even Ilwrath, and wacky silliness like the Spathi and ZFP. Overall it both has a lot of unsettling stuff and takes itself less seriously than the average sci-fi universe.

I don't think Stardock can duplicate SC2's style, but maybe they can make a good game inspired by it. SC3 came close to doing this in some ways, and yet fell so short in others. I am not 100% on board with Stardock's vision but still cautiously hopeful.
« Last Edit: November 08, 2017, 10:44:23 pm by Mormont » Logged
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Re: My take on Stardock
« Reply #13 on: November 08, 2017, 06:47:35 pm »

Zelnik,

He cannot ban you, but I can.

That said, I'm not - not from that, if it's isolated.

Yes, there are obvious deficiencies in the ability to recreate Star Control without the core assets. And Yes, they aren't FF&PR3. I also recognize that SC2 had so many great things about it that different players will value different parts and think those are most important. SC:O will probably manage to be some of those things, and will probably satisfy some… and definitely not others. We don't yet know the balance of those two camps.

You presume to speak for everyone.
« Last Edit: November 08, 2017, 09:43:21 pm by Death 999 » Logged
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Re: My take on Stardock
« Reply #14 on: November 09, 2017, 03:30:58 am »

I appreciate your temperance.


However, my last point is this thread will be this.

Mostly people are annoyed at me for being hostile. I reiterate, I wasn't hostile to start, until they started banning anyone who questioned things or pointed out this website exists. I don't really tolerate people who have a Bioware/EA games mentality of customer-relations. For what it's worth, I am sorry for my over the top hostility.   

This man is not your ally, nor is he your friend. It is more likely that Stardock wishes we didn't exist because the very existence of TUQM cuts directly into their profits. If they could shut this down they would. Basic business strategy.

If they could stop FF and PR3, they would. Kudos to them for being -very- smart with their legal work. The final note is, they can't so they try to muddy the waters.

You are right, I did presume to speak for everyone, and I am by no means a representative. My experiences with other fans of this game are anecdotal, no matter how many of them have looked at SC:O and turned away in disgust.

However, you could call me an example of a fan who was spurned, silenced, and ultimately, will speak out non-stop against this Michael Bay level corruption of something important, and do everything I can to make sure everyone knows the kind of tactics Stardock is using to sell something they have already warped beyond recognition.

Have a great night all.

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