The Ur-Quan Masters Discussion Forum

The Ur-Quan Masters Re-Release => General UQM Discussion => Topic started by: timofonic on December 24, 2005, 02:21:57 pm



Title: Improving the original? What to improve to do the game even better?
Post by: timofonic on December 24, 2005, 02:21:57 pm
Hello,

I was knowed the game recently, I like it a lot, I was liked to know this game a lot before.

It seems people says negative points about SC2, I agree about few variety in planets and raw materials missions, they need to be too different each one of them.

What about putting very different stuff in each one of planets, a lot of "surprises" (creatures, very rare and extremely impressive phenomenas of all kind...) and all that? Giving variety to them could make it a lot more funnier and the game with one less of his few weak points :)

All this need GFX designers collaborators, of course, I'm not one of them but I want it! ;)

Yes, I want SC2 even being better, to the full perfection, to the evil, lol.

Some reviews:
http://www.mobygames.com/game/star-control-ii (specially "A very disappointing masterpiece").

Misc stuff:
http://www.classicgaming.com/starcontrol/scwc/old_scwc_bios.htm


Title: Re: Improving the original? What to improve to do the game even better?
Post by: Megagun on December 24, 2005, 04:19:57 pm
What that "a very dissapointing masterpiece"-guy said in his "the bad" part of his review, should probably the focus of improving SC2..

First of all, a hint towards the QuasiSpace Portal Spawner would be helpful..

Another way to improve the game would be an idea SC3 had: Colonies...
Drop down a colony of bulldozer bots (on Luna. "Scientists were able to modify the bulldozer bots so that they are able to perform many different tasks, in many different and more hostile environments", or something along those lines) somewhere to mine the hell out of a planet, giving you income and removing the tedious mining (which can be killed by visiting Delta Tauri, ofcourse)... Maybe even have outposts manufacture you ships or fuel.. The Colony thing was probably the only thing I really liked a lot about SC3, and I think it'd fit well in a possible REAL sequel to SC2....


Title: Re: Improving the original? What to improve to do the game even better?
Post by: NamelessPlayer on December 24, 2005, 09:39:53 pm
Hmmm...tweaks to an already-awesome game...

-Possibly have more control over what info you want from the Melnorme, so you don't waste credits? I found it annoying when I already encountered the ZFP ship in Rigel, and then asked for race info only to get what I already knew. Such a thing may not be part of their nature, though.

-Planet-side life that replenishes itself provided that there are at least two of each creature to reproduce(getting into male, female, and asexual stuff would problably overcomplicate things)would be nice, but it might take a bit of tweaking to make sure they don't multiply too fast.

I can't comment on SC3's gameplay elements, since the only SC game I've played is UQM(and maybe I'm better off for it, considering how most fans would rather have the current SC3 not exist).

Coming up with tweaks is hard...and I'm currently pondering about how a bunch of humans, before having ANY alliance(there can't be any other explanation when there are no aliens that have allied with Earthlings in this given scenario), could just waltz into, say, Fwiffo's Eluder and perform perfectly...certainly, it'll be quite a bit of stress for the ship's captain, who is the only member of the race that designed the craft, to have to work all the race-specific elements of the craft(maybe I ought to get a good look at that Precursor computer and find out how the hell Zelnick mastered it-I mean, it's built for huge, shaggy creatures! The switches and such would likely be HUGE!)...however, that could very well overcomplicate things again.


Title: Re: Improving the original? What to improve to do the game even better?
Post by: Censored on December 24, 2005, 11:33:02 pm
Another way to improve the game would be an idea SC3 had: Colonies...

That's actually more of a re-take of a Star Control 1 feature.


Title: Re: Improving the original? What to improve to do the game even better?
Post by: Censored on December 24, 2005, 11:42:49 pm
-Planet-side life that replenishes itself provided that there are at least two of each creature to reproduce(getting into male, female, and asexual stuff would problably overcomplicate things)would be nice, but it might take a bit of tweaking to make sure they don't multiply too fast.

I can give two reasons why this shouldn't be implemented;
1) life in an entire planet can't multiply fast enough for the game time - all in all the game lasts about 3 'game years'. Even if life does multiply super-fast you'd think only micro-organisms can do that and you can't zap those with the lander :P
then again, the Shofixti were pretty fast ;)
2) the more important reason is that it would make the player stand guard on one planet - and if you don't explore the quardant, it's not really a fun game.

if you look for a pattern you'll see certain solar systems formations or different sun colors can hint you on the lifeforms potential.

Coming up with tweaks is hard...and I'm currently pondering about how a bunch of humans, before having ANY alliance(there can't be any other explanation when there are no aliens that have allied with Earthlings in this given scenario), could just waltz into, say, Fwiffo's Eluder and perform perfectly...certainly, it'll be quite a bit of stress for the ship's captain, who is the only member of the race that designed the craft, to have to work all the race-specific elements of the craft(maybe I ought to get a good look at that Precursor computer and find out how the hell Zelnick mastered it-I mean, it's built for huge, shaggy creatures! The switches and such would likely be HUGE!)...however, that could very well overcomplicate things again.

Actually the idea is that you need the race's pilots to fly the craft, otherwise you can't use it (or build it in the starbase, for that matter). It's also mentioned in the conversation texts.

Also, the Precursor vessel was built on Vela by the Hunams there, so I suspect in the 25 years (I think) they've been there, they might've learned quite a lot and customized the vessel.


Title: Re: Improving the original? What to improve to do the game even better?
Post by: NamelessPlayer on December 25, 2005, 12:21:38 am
Coming up with tweaks is hard...and I'm currently pondering about how a bunch of humans, before having ANY alliance(there can't be any other explanation when there are no aliens that have allied with Earthlings in this given scenario), could just waltz into, say, Fwiffo's Eluder and perform perfectly...certainly, it'll be quite a bit of stress for the ship's captain, who is the only member of the race that designed the craft, to have to work all the race-specific elements of the craft(maybe I ought to get a good look at that Precursor computer and find out how the hell Zelnick mastered it-I mean, it's built for huge, shaggy creatures! The switches and such would likely be HUGE!)...however, that could very well overcomplicate things again.

Actually the idea is that you need the race's pilots to fly the craft, otherwise you can't use it (or build it in the starbase, for that matter). It's also mentioned in the conversation texts.

Also, the Precursor vessel was built on Vela by the Hunams there, so I suspect in the 25 years (I think) they've been there, they might've learned quite a lot and customized the vessel.
Quote
I understand about the "native race pilots" thing, but what would humans be doing on a Spathi Eluder, for instance? The ship would certainly appear and function almost totally alien to humans. Of course, the captain would pilot the thing, but the rest of the crew that make up the ship's HP-what would they do that's not restricted to the race of the craft's designers?

Maybe explanations for this sort of thing would add unnecessary complications-I don't know. All we know is that crew apparently are not a specific race and can operate in any vessel with ease-they just can't command it, as you need a native captain(hence why you won't get to build any more Eluders after Spathiwa is slave-shielded).

As far as your comment on the Precursor craft, it does make sense-after all, one of the major modifications we all know about was the base's computer, which was installed on the Vindicator to make it much easier to pilot under a skilled operator like Zelnick.

Anyway, it's hard to improve a game as awesome as Star Control II. The only way I can think of to possibly improve it would be to develop an entirely new game within the universe, possibly expanding into the third dimension, among other things. However, that would be like changing the GURPS-based combat in Fallout-it seems to be part of what defines the series. Change can be good just as much as it can be bad, and I'll save myself the trouble of judging what changes are good and bad.

Side note: What if the hottest Christmas gifts were all Star Control-related? For some reason, I just can't stop thinking about taking over the world with Fwiffo plushies or similar items.


Title: Re: Improving the original? What to improve to do the game even better?
Post by: Data on December 25, 2005, 11:58:33 am
It would be great if you could just leave the ship stationed at the starbase. When you think about it, it's more then logical since at first you don't know will the Ur-Quan retaliate. Plus, you wouldn't have to loose ships that you got as a present (like Umgah drones or Pkunk furies). Not only that, what would the Spathi captain do after his ship has been sold and Spathwia slaveshielded? He would have to remain at the starbase,, so why not build another Eluder after some time? Giving missions to other ships (like to explore some cluster) would definiatly be great, but that would need a log to and starmap wiht planets and recources (in those sistems that you visited on planets scanned)


Title: Re: Improving the original? What to improve to do the game even better?
Post by: Draxas on December 26, 2005, 08:26:34 pm
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I understand about the "native race pilots" thing, but what would humans be doing on a Spathi Eluder, for instance? The ship would certainly appear and function almost totally alien to humans. Of course, the captain would pilot the thing, but the rest of the crew that make up the ship's HP-what would they do that's not restricted to the race of the craft's designers?

Maybe explanations for this sort of thing would add unnecessary complications-I don't know. All we know is that crew apparently are not a specific race and can operate in any vessel with ease-they just can't command it, as you need a native captain(hence why you won't get to build any more Eluders after Spathiwa is slave-shielded).

Funny thing there, and probably a bad example. If you read the Star Control 1 manual section about the Spathi Discriminator (Trivia: Only ship to have its name changed between games. This has been another (THOOM) Useless Fact.), it says something to the effect of the ship having as many crew crammed into the crew compartment as possible, all running around in a panic and not accomplishing anything much. Seems like everything onboard IS done by the captain (and maybe the co-captain, according to the ship's race animation), and the other crew are just there as "armor."

However, a more logical explanation is this: In early conversations with the starbase commander, he actually admits they could probably reverse-engineer the Hierarchy designs they have in the databanks, but they don't have the essential element of the native pilot. However, once you sign a treaty with those races, what's to stop them from modifying all the other crew positions to something more amenable to a Human or Shofixti?

Quote
Anyway, it's hard to improve a game as awesome as Star Control II. The only way I can think of to possibly improve it would be to develop an entirely new game within the universe, possibly expanding into the third dimension, among other things. However, that would be like changing the GURPS-based combat in Fallout-it seems to be part of what defines the series. Change can be good just as much as it can be bad, and I'll save myself the trouble of judging what changes are good and bad.

Another useless fact: Fallout did not actually have a GURPS based system, Steve Jackson Games (the makers of GURPS) pulled out of the deal at the last second. The designers had to reengineer the system pretty quickly to avoid lawsuits. I say, having attempted to play GURPS campaigns several times in the past, that the game is almost certainly better because of that. GURPS is an extremely complicated, slow, and often awkward system to use.

I don't see why major changes couldn't be worked into the franchise. Think about the changes that were made between 1 and 2. The original was a turn-based strategy game with melee-based combat. About the only things that were retained between the two games were the combat system and the background story and characters. Everything else was completely reworked for 2. Major changes are not necessarily a bad thing.

Then again, SC3 teaches us that major changes are also not necessarily a good thing, either. :-\

Quote
Side note: What if the hottest Christmas gifts were all Star Control-related? For some reason, I just can't stop thinking about taking over the world with Fwiffo plushies or similar items.

I would totally buy a Fwiffo plushie in a heartbeat. I could easily see a whole line of them: Melnorme, Slylandro, Mycon, Umgah, Thraddash... Collect them all!


Title: Re: Improving the original? What to improve to do the game even better?
Post by: Obsidian Razor on December 26, 2005, 10:31:29 pm
Another "good" thing about SC3 that could be used in SC2 is "in system movement", that is, in non dangerous systems (witout enemy ships) you could just choose a planet and autopilot the ship into it's orbit... I found REALLY anoying having to navigate into every planet on a system I wanted to explore.


Title: Re: Improving the original? What to improve to do the game even better?
Post by: NamelessPlayer on December 27, 2005, 05:11:47 am
Quote
I understand about the "native race pilots" thing, but what would humans be doing on a Spathi Eluder, for instance? The ship would certainly appear and function almost totally alien to humans. Of course, the captain would pilot the thing, but the rest of the crew that make up the ship's HP-what would they do that's not restricted to the race of the craft's designers?

Maybe explanations for this sort of thing would add unnecessary complications-I don't know. All we know is that crew apparently are not a specific race and can operate in any vessel with ease-they just can't command it, as you need a native captain(hence why you won't get to build any more Eluders after Spathiwa is slave-shielded).
Funny thing there, and probably a bad example. If you read the Star Control 1 manual section about the Spathi Discriminator (Trivia: Only ship to have its name changed between games. This has been another (THOOM) Useless Fact.), it says something to the effect of the ship having as many crew crammed into the crew compartment as possible, all running around in a panic and not accomplishing anything much. Seems like everything onboard IS done by the captain (and maybe the co-captain, according to the ship's race animation), and the other crew are just there as "armor."
As weird as that sounds, I guess that crew could act as maintenance people or something...though I don't know how that really would fit in with the whole "crew are HP" thing.
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However, a more logical explanation is this: In early conversations with the starbase commander, he actually admits they could probably reverse-engineer the Hierarchy designs they have in the databanks, but they don't have the essential element of the native pilot. However, once you sign a treaty with those races, what's to stop them from modifying all the other crew positions to something more amenable to a Human or Shofixti?
Makes sense.
Quote
Anyway, it's hard to improve a game as awesome as Star Control II. The only way I can think of to possibly improve it would be to develop an entirely new game within the universe, possibly expanding into the third dimension, among other things. However, that would be like changing the GURPS-based combat in Fallout-it seems to be part of what defines the series. Change can be good just as much as it can be bad, and I'll save myself the trouble of judging what changes are good and bad.
Quote
Another useless fact: Fallout did not actually have a GURPS based system, Steve Jackson Games (the makers of GURPS) pulled out of the deal at the last second. The designers had to reengineer the system pretty quickly to avoid lawsuits. I say, having attempted to play GURPS campaigns several times in the past, that the game is almost certainly better because of that. GURPS is an extremely complicated, slow, and often awkward system to use.

I don't see why major changes couldn't be worked into the franchise. Think about the changes that were made between 1 and 2. The original was a turn-based strategy game with melee-based combat. About the only things that were retained between the two games were the combat system and the background story and characters. Everything else was completely reworked for 2. Major changes are not necessarily a bad thing.

Then again, SC3 teaches us that major changes are also not necessarily a good thing, either. :-\
I didn't know that-now I might have to kick myself for spreading misinformation. But if the changes really do improve Fallout, then is that a bad thing?
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Side note: What if the hottest Christmas gifts were all Star Control-related? For some reason, I just can't stop thinking about taking over the world with Fwiffo plushies or similar items.
I would totally buy a Fwiffo plushie in a heartbeat. I could easily see a whole line of them: Melnorme, Slylandro, Mycon, Umgah, Thraddash... Collect them all!
Quote
I now thought of a plan for making a living off of selling SC race plushies:

I'd start with Spathi, of course, finding the right material and such, and actually going on to make the thing-then I'd focus on the weird eye effect, problably with LEDs or something similar(might be hard to program to act accordingly, though). Or maybe I'd focus on voice modules first-ones that I could easily insert the customer's desired voice clip in. The real question is how I should model their lower body-use the SC1 manual art, or those reduxes by one of the fellow forum members(overhauled a BUNCH of races, I know that)

Then I'd problably move on to the Slylandro. The question is whether a fuzzy texture really fits them, considering that it's have to be a plush-then you also have to think about the glowy bits. I'd probably have holes in the appendages and such, with a transparent film underneath and a light to represent the all-important glowy bits(as well as the dialogue you get from asking, "What are those glowy bits inside of you?").

Melnorme...well, they'd be one of the easiest provided I had a full body structure(as usual with SC2 pictures and their lack of showing the whole body).

Thraddash would be somewhat easy as well, considering that I have a good idea of what their body structure looks like from the "cockpit" melee image-in other words, not much aside from a pair of legs. I'll have to improvise on those without battle armor, though(as in the image you see during conversation-they don't wear armor, or at least a helmet).

Mycon...well, it'll be weird working with the fungi(and now I'm suddenly wondering, "What the hell IS Juffo-Wup?")in plush form. Fuzzy materials don't suit them, let alone the Supox(they're living grass! Since when do you have fuzzy grass?), and don't even bring up fuzzy-textured Chenjesu or Mmrnmhrm(they just HAD to make that difficult to spell). They'd have to be made out of transparent rubber or Jell-O, but they wouldn't be plushies now, would they?

Umgah...fuzzy clothing wouldn't suit them-oh, wait, I'm thinking Utwig(get those two confused a lot). I guess I could slap on a bunch of eyes, mouths, random limbs, and be set, since those blobs don't have much in the way of biological structure(probably not, though-study that SC2 image!).

The more evil bastards-the Ur-Quan and the Dnyarri that proceeded them-would definitely have to be "plushified", and with whole-body art readily availible, wouldn't be too hard.

Oh, and all of them would have accesories. For instance, you could have a basket filled with stones of the right size and shape, as well as your choice of aqua, mauve, magenta, or an assorted mix of the above colors for your stones; it's perfect for a Spathi plush! Ur-Quan Kohr-Ah could come with bone pits(not qure how to do that, though), and...well, I'm kind of lost as far as most of the other races(save for the Utwig, who could have the Ultron or the Precursor bomb; Druuge could have the Trident and the Rod...what else?).

...This amounts to one ridiculously long post, and my plans for achieving domination of Earth through Star Control-related plushies might be de-railing the thread a bit. Still, do all plushies have to made out of materials with fuzzy textures? Guess I better visit Wikipedia to answer yet another question.


Title: Re: Improving the original? What to improve to do the game even better?
Post by: Serosis on December 27, 2005, 08:28:31 am
I would love to have a plush kohr-ah with bone pit, but you have to include a dnnyari translator as to keep it complete.

And what about the Shofixti and the Yehat?

I wanna shofixti to insult people as they walk by it.

You should also start an action figure line of toys, it'd be easier to do ships and stuff...


OOOH imagine a Scale Model of the Vindicator that lights up and has sounds, dude i would literally shit my pants if i saw that in stores.

Although i would probably die if i saw a kohr-ah ship in stores, nothin beats the kohr-ah ;D

god see what you did to me, dammit, now i want all this shit that's never coming out ;D


Title: Re: Improving the original? What to improve to do the game even better?
Post by: Death 999 on December 27, 2005, 07:02:36 pm
As for mining, there were a bunch of elaborations on the mining theme I thought of that would make it more interesting and challenging... and allow for quite a bit more variety.

In any case, that review sounds like he spent a LOT more time mining than most people spend. Was he mining high-G acid worlds?

That said, it would be excellent to be able to send your fleet's ships out scouting to see what kind of worlds the various planets are (is that a ruby world, or a dust world? Auric or Urea?) Even if they couldn't do the scans, if they could just tell you what TYPE it was, that would be good.


Title: Re: Improving the original? What to improve to do the game even better?
Post by: Draxas on December 27, 2005, 08:37:33 pm
Quote
Oh, and all of them would have accesories. For instance, you could have a basket filled with stones of the right size and shape, as well as your choice of aqua, mauve, magenta, or an assorted mix of the above colors for your stones; it's perfect for a Spathi plush! Ur-Quan Kohr-Ah could come with bone pits(not qure how to do that, though), and...well, I'm kind of lost as far as most of the other races(save for the Utwig, who could have the Ultron or the Precursor bomb; Druuge could have the Trident and the Rod...what else?).

...This amounts to one ridiculously long post, and my plans for achieving domination of Earth through Star Control-related plushies might be de-railing the thread a bit. Still, do all plushies have to made out of materials with fuzzy textures? Guess I better visit Wikipedia to answer yet another question.

Yeah, you've pretty much derailed the thread. Not that that's bad; why try to fix something that's as not broken as SC2? One bad review is almost a certainty, because some people are just never happy.

As for accessories, try this on for size:

Humans: A plushie Commander Hayes, with small planet lander and radioactives deposit in glow-in-the-dark orange
Pkunk: The clear spindle, for lack of anything else
Ilwrath: Not really sure... The Umgah 'Caster, perhaps? Maybe they should be double-packed with a Thraddash...
Thraddash: Why, a cigar, of course! Throwing in the aqua helix would make sense, too
Slylandro: Double-packed with a plushie probe controller
Arilou: Include a portal spawner. Possibly the Ur-Quan warp pod, too.
Umgah: Double-packed with the Dnyarri
Spathi: I love the idea of the multicolored stones. You could also throw in one of those teddy bear things from Spathiwa, so they have a monster to throw them at!
VUX: The ZEX beast, of course
Shofixti: Maybe the stasis pods for the maidens? Hmm, maybe that's a bit much.
ZoqFotPik: Well, they're already triple-packed... But you could also add a burning stone wheel!
Supox: The broken Ultron
Utwig: The repaired Ultron, and the Utwig bomb
Mycon: The sun device
Syreen: Egg case fragments. You could also have a removable dagger on the costume! ;)
Druuge: You could make a case for the trident and the rod, but there's also the rosy sphere and the Burvix 'caster to consider, too... These guys have too much stuff.
Orz: The Taalo device.
Yehat: Well, now I'm stumped. I suppose you could double-pack them with the Pkunk or Shofixti. Perhaps you could shuffle around some of the other accessories to give them the maidens instead (perhaps giving the Shofixti the Bomb, and just leaving the Utwig with the Ultron?)
Ur-Quan: A little Talking Pet, plus one of those command rods you see in the ship animation. Launch Fighters!
Kohr-Ah: Also a Talking Pet, plus the bone pit
Chmmr: The Utwig bomb with crystal amplifiers

Every race has SOMETHING important (or silly but memorable) attached to them in-game, so it's just a matter of accessorizing the right stuff.

Then again, why are we all prattling on like this about something that we're not likely to ever see? :(


Title: Re: Improving the original? What to improve to do the game even better?
Post by: k776 on December 27, 2005, 10:35:05 pm
Hmm. I guess it all depends wether the current developers are willing to make the changes or if they want to keep as close to the original as possible, in which case, UQM+ could be released ;) And although UQM is great as it is now, there is much room for improvment. Here are the main things I'd like to see:

Graphics and Graphical Interfaces
I guess the main thing that would make the game far better is a better graphical interface. Afterall, that design was made nearly 10 years ago? The new setup style implemented in SVN is a huge step up from the old, ugly one in 0.4.0. Congrats to the people who have worked on it. However, more needs to be done in game play.

The next thing is images. They are rather old and boring dont you think? Some, if not all, should be redone. For eg, minerals that you mine from planets are not round. They should be irregular shapes and sizes. And the different races also need redrawing or at least some touchups.

Fonts also need rethinking. They are rather bulky. Something smaller and tider would be nice.


Gameplay
Several things need improving here. Firstly, planets. The whole concept needs rethinking. Its rather dull at the moment. The 2d view for the lander is old. Something 3d or are advanced would be very neat here. Some clifs and stuff that you have to go around or use fuel to get past would be cool also as not all planets would be smooth. Maybe even the ability to get out of the lander and go into caves to get more hidden minerals?

The next thing is hyperspace. When black dots on the rader are approching you, you can never tell if they are a friend or enemy. Perhaps green dot = met and they were friendly, black dot = have not met yet, red = met and they were hostile.

Credits need to be easier to get from Melnorme. Atm only rainbow planets and planets with lots of life forms get you credits. But things like different mineral names and alien teritories could also get credits.

Finally, you should be able to select what upgrades you want from Melnorme so that you dont have to buy everything else to get the last one etc....


Bugs
This goes without saying. The less bugs there are, the smoother and more enjoyable the game will be.


Anyway, thats just my 2 cents. Can't wait for 0.5.0 and hopefully some more new things will be in it :D


Title: Re: Improving the original? What to improve to do the game even better?
Post by: Ograbme on December 28, 2005, 01:11:39 am
Read the review linked and emailed the following thoughts to the review's author.  Thought they might be worth tossing out here.  Snipped bits on either side.

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I wonder how much of the game's weakness would have been solved simply by having your ship process the minerals onboard (easy enough to have some game fiction about an internal automated factory), rather than having the starbase mechanic.  The mineral gathering wasn't so bad, except that you had to ferry them back to the base, which meant a hefty quantity of wasted fuel (and thus, much more mining than you really should've been doing).  Moreover, the ferrying approach always left me feeling tethered to the starbase.  I was never really exploring in a Star Trek fashion (or fleeing a relentless enemy in a Battlestar Galactica fashion, or waging a vigilante war in [what I gather to be] a Firefly fashion).  Rather, I had my narrow (though slowly expanding) area of space, which was strip-mined, and then a vast empty galaxy that I never had to explore because I bought all the information I needed from the Melnorme traders and thus was able to launch surgical voyages to specific stars.
 
Maybe this simply reveals my character flaws (obsessive, risk-averse behavior) rather than the game's design flaws, but I really do think it would've been a wildly different (and more pleasant) experience with that modest change.  I'm sure there would've been inevitably necessary balance changes once you got rid of the starbase, but I don't think it would've been *that* tough.

A few points to add to this.  From a story-telling perspective, the starbase also strikes me as problematic.  Certainly it provides a helpful rallying point for the New Alliance of Free Stars (or whatever you call your rebellion) and serves the useful role of keeping you apprised of galactic developments, but I think these plusses are outweighed by the following negatives.

First, the failure of the Ur Quan (or one of their thrall races) to deal with the starbase makes the entire Hierarchy seem unthreatening and irrelevant from the getgo, which makes the whole "even worse threat" storytelling structure fail (to some extent).  At the very least, the Ilwrath know that something is going on at the starbase and they have more than enough firepower to take it out.  As the player goes galavanting around the galaxy, he's broadcasting the fact that humans are still at large (which the Ur Quan already knew via the Vela discovery -- surely, with application of the excruciator, they could get someone there to talk??), and all of the thralls must've known where Earth was.  If the Hierarchy took out the starbase early on, it strikes me that the player would get an immediate striking sense of how bad things really are.

Second, it's hard to feel like you're in charge of the New Alliance when Hayes controls the purse and the soldiery.  The explanation for why he's controlling the purse is cute, and almost works, but comes across as fairly suspect when minerals like silver -- which is fairly useless for manufacturing materiel -- is worth more than steel.  It makes sense that the soldiery would follow him, not you (a fact conveyed when the price of soldiers goes up as Hayes feels you're using them inappropriately), but even if it makes sense, it doesn't make for fun.  I wound up feeling like a scout in the New Alliance, not its Supreme Overlord.

Third, the starbase pushes the story in the "recreating the Alliance" direction, which the gameplay simply cannot support.  The rare instances when you get a sense that your allies are actually fighting a war (when you send them to be slaughtered by the Quans) never seem like the coordinated assaults of a single alliance.  Rather, they feel like the haphazard, desperate moves of individual, though vaguely aligned, species.  Notably, the fact that the player is still a miner / explorer 3/4 of the way into the game, even when he has entire species on his side, undermines the story's suggestion that this a grand alliance as opposed to a shoestring rebellion.  If the starbase were cut out, it would make a lot more sense that the player still was gathering material, since the Mark I would be the hub of the Alliance and thus the center of its economy.

Anyway, obviously this sort of change is impossible in a remake of SC2 (and ill-advised), but it strikes me as one that would've made the game more fun.


Title: Re: Improving the original? What to improve to do the game even better?
Post by: Death 999 on December 29, 2005, 06:24:13 pm
Why do the hierarchy races not react? Various reasons. The only one I can't work out is the VUX, but they could be thoroughly cowed by the Ur-Quan's order not to go anywhere.

As for Hayes: the whole resources of the starbase are available. The value of the various resources is due to the precursor fabrication capabilities. It likes exotic materials like aguuti nodules and neutronium. And, for whatever reason, Silver and Gold are more useful than Iron or Bismuth. Certainly they are more useful in real life for electronics. And in World War 2, what metal did the US government run so short of that they stopped using it for currency? Copper. What metal did they replace it with? Steel. Go figure.

Your apparent hypothesis that he is charging a FEE is ridiculous. Sure, we have to suppose some weird things about precursor fabrication techniques, but it makes more sense than to suppose that he's trying to make a profit. What good is a kiloton of silver if all you can do is trade it to one of nearly 2000 other people on a space station?

As for sending races -- If the Thraddash go, they do NOT join the alliance.

If the Utwig and Supox go, it is because the Ultron told them to, not because of a strategic plan.

Your points to have some merit, but they're not incontestable.


Title: Re: Improving the original? What to improve to do the game even better?
Post by: youBastrd on December 29, 2005, 08:47:21 pm
Consider:

Idea: Prevent the user from leaving the Sol system when game starts.† When the player has completed at least the first set of tasks inside the Sol system (Pluto, Luna, defeat crippled Illrath, introduced to Hayes), then allow the user to leave the system.†

Motivation: Usability, approachability

Pro:
* Makes the game much more approachable.† Leaving the Sol system without any means of getting fuel or understanding what the game is about puts the player in a very difficult situation.†

Con:
* This might confuse users as to what the game mechanic is to leave star systems in general.† (see below)
* Hard-code players might not like this change
* Restricts the user's choices, which doesn't match the open exploration aspect of the game.†

Notes:
* At the very beginning of the game, new users will have no idea what hyperspace is or how to access it.† The intro hints at it, but doesn't show how to access it in-game.†



Idea: Provides in-game tips that introduce game mechanics.† The first time the user is expected to do something, explain how to do it.†

Presumably, this is implemented by displaying text directly on the screen for a few seconds, or providing some kind of GUI pop-up (like a Tip-Of-The-Day thingy that most software has).†

Example: when leaving Sol for the first time, show text that says, "Enter hyperspace by flying piloting to the edge of the screen," or "Press <button> to select a star system to auto-pilot to."† (This is best when coupled with the idea above)

Example: When entering a planet's orbit for the first time, explain to the user about how to scan, land on its surface, etc.† Keep it concise!†

Example: When selecting a ship for combat for the first time, explain what the selection of ships will do.† Explain that losing your main ship will lose the game.†

Example: When starting combat for the first time, display the current key selection. (?)

Motivation: Usability, approachability

Pro:
* Makes the game more approachable for new users.†

Con:
* Somewhat patronizing for hard-core players.†

Notes:
* See the game Escape Velocity: Nova for great examples of this.†


Idea: While the user is doing the first few missions in Sol, give the player free landers and fuel if they are exhausted.† It is possible that the user exhausts their fuel supply by repeatedly landing on planets.†

To implement, add a conversation bullet that says, "We're out of fuel, can you spare some just this one time?"† Hayes should tell the user that they are out of fuel and can't complete the missions without more.† Hayes should inform the user that he is giving the command ship more fuel, but "just this once".† Moreover, Hayes should also clearly and concisely reitereate the current objectives, as the user is probably frustrated at this point.†

Not sure if this is already implemented or not.†
Motivation:Approachabilty
Pro:
* Makes the game easier for new users
Con:
* Seeing the text "We're out of fuel, can you spare some just this one time" might confuse users that the fuel is always free...
Notes:


Title: Re: Improving the original? What to improve to do the game even better?
Post by: k776 on December 29, 2005, 09:20:50 pm
Idea: Prevent the user from leaving the Sol system when game starts.  When the player has completed at least the first set of tasks inside the Sol system (Pluto, Luna, defeat crippled Illrath, introduced to Hayes), then allow the user to leave the system. 

Motivation: Usability, approachability

Pro:
* Makes the game much more approachable.  Leaving the Sol system without any means of getting fuel or understanding what the game is about puts the player in a very difficult situation. 

Con:
* This might confuse users as to what the game mechanic is to leave star systems in general.  (see below)
* Hard-code players might not like this change
* Restricts the user's choices, which doesn't match the open exploration aspect of the game. 

Notes:
* At the very beginning of the game, new users will have no idea what hyperspace is or how to access it.  The intro hints at it, but doesn't show how to access it in-game.


Idea: Provides in-game tips that introduce game mechanics.  The first time the user is expected to do something, explain how to do it. 

Presumably, this is implemented by displaying text directly on the screen for a few seconds, or providing some kind of GUI pop-up (like a Tip-Of-The-Day thingy that most software has). 

Example: when leaving Sol for the first time, show text that says, "Enter hyperspace by flying piloting to the edge of the screen," or "Press <button> to select a star system to auto-pilot to."  (This is best when coupled with the idea above)

Example: When entering a planet's orbit for the first time, explain to the user about how to scan, land on its surface, etc.  Keep it concise! 

Example: When selecting a ship for combat for the first time, explain what the selection of ships will do.  Explain that losing your main ship will lose the game. 

Example: When starting combat for the first time, display the current key selection. (?)

Motivation: Usability, approachability

Pro:
* Makes the game more approachable for new users. 

Con:
* Somewhat patronizing for hard-core players. 

Notes:
* See the game Escape Velocity: Nova for great examples of this.
Both of these ideas, if implemented, could be turned on and off using a Tutorial/First Timer Mode (which both ideas fit under)  for beginners that is set either by changing settings, or asking when they start a new game if it is their first time playing. This would seriously help newbies!


Title: Re: Improving the original? What to improve to do the game even better?
Post by: youBastrd on December 29, 2005, 10:53:12 pm
Right.† Other games have a user profile built into the game, and keeping this data there would be one way to do it (example Prince of Persia: Sands of Time).† Most just have the ability to skip a tutorial quickly (Example EV: Nova), or make it fast enough that power users can finish it in no time at all (Example World Of Warcraft, City of Heroes, Call of Duty).† Other games just have the help/tutorial text unobtrusive, so that there's nothing to do to avoid it (StarCraft).†

Each method has its advantages/disadvantages.† One consideration is how long do we expect users to play the game?† Is it worth having a 0.5-hour tutorial for a 15-hour game?† Is the same "user" the same physical person?† Is the player's style more to try everything possible right away, then go through tutorials; or is it to go throught tutorials first?† Has this user played the game back in the 90's; and how much does she remember?† How could the software know?†

A curious statistic is that only about 60% of game players actually finish modern games.† (Source: a Ubisoft game designer at a presentation here in T.O. this summer -- whose name escapes me right now.)

I believe UQM could use unobtrusive (that do no interrupt the player) text tips that are shown once per instance of a "full game."† Most of the time, Hayes and other NPCs explain what to do in reasonable detail, but there's often just that one little bit of info users need to actually execute something.†

Your suggestion about choosing this option someplace is great.

Side note: would users get confused about whether it's safe to collide with a planet?† In melee, colliding with the planet damages your ship.† In a star system, colliding with a planet lands on it.† Ambiguous interface. A fix might be to convey how to land when the player first visits the star exploration screen such that we're looking at a single planet (ie when you get close enough to land on it).† Still, in the star system view, you'll have to collide with a planet just to get to this view.† Gah!†


Title: Re: Improving the original? What to improve to do the game even better?
Post by: Deus Siddis on December 30, 2005, 04:36:15 am
New users are more resourceful than you think. When I first started with UQM, I didn't have any trouble navigating. I didn't have a manual, or hints or anything. To have been given so many tips would also have taken away from the idea of being a seasoned veteran commander, who knows how to get around space. In addition, having pop-up hints all over the beginning would ruin that wonderful feeling of helplessness you feel, exploring your abandoned home system and then the intimidation of the UQ buoy's warning message.

One thing that would be useful though, is to have a constellation overlay that you could access in the starmap. It would connect the constellations with lines and label them. Without the old starmaps that came with SC2, many of the in-game references to the constellations cannot be decoded. I know there are copies to download, but I'm not sure who owns the rights to them and they don't come with the current package (so many newcomers don't know about them.)

I've also heard people talk of adding a system that allows you to type in the name of a system and then the nav cursor moves to it. That would probably be useful to cadets as well.

The final hurdle is the wrong and missing lines that were inherited from the 3DO version, especially the Mycon/Syreen one.


By and large though, UQM is easy to pick up and learn the basics of. Only the plot related issues listed above and the short time limit will really kill the new-bes.


Title: Re: Improving the original? What to improve to do the game even better?
Post by: Ograbme on December 30, 2005, 05:58:09 am
Quote
Your points to have some merit, but they're not incontestable.

Especially when you convert them into strawmen . . . .

::)

I've got responses below, but I think you're missing the overall point, which is that the Starbase makes the player feel tethered and subordinate, rather than feeling like a free captain leading a rebellion.  It makes the central gameplay mechanic ferrying metals back for a bounty.

Quote
Why do the hierarchy races not react? Various reasons. The only one I can't work out is the VUX, but they could be thoroughly cowed by the Ur-Quan's order not to go anywhere.

It doesn't matter that you can create ad hoc explanations for why the Hierarchy races fail to launch a reprisal on the Humans.  Scifi / fantasy nerds love to justify the plot holes in their pet universes, and that's all well and good, but the fact that you can explain them away with effort doesn't solve the fact that they look like plot holes to anyone who isn't that indulgent.

By midway through the game, a clearly human force was launching raids deep into Hierarchy-race territory, destroying dozens of ships and slaughtering hundreds of crewmen.  The Hiearchy knew where Earth was.  With the least bit of poking around, they would realize the human fleet was striking from the human homeworld and was reliant on the starbase there.  It just makes *no sense* that none of them would launch a reprisal mission.  You can try to explain it away all you want, but you just come across as a fanboy when you do.

Quote
The value of the various resources is due to the precursor fabrication capabilities. It likes exotic materials like aguuti nodules and neutronium. And, for whatever reason, Silver and Gold are more useful than Iron or Bismuth. Certainly they are more useful in real life for electronics. And in World War 2, what metal did the US government run so short of that they stopped using it for currency? Copper. What metal did they replace it with? Steel. Go figure.

That rationale fails on silver.  Silver, unlike copper and gold, is not used in electronics.  Moreover, aluminum, not copper, was the most valuable metal during WWII -- hence the invention of Saran Wrap to replace tin foil -- because of its used in airplane construction (among other things).  Regardless, if someone had said to FDR, Stalin, and Churchill, "Uhh, for your war effort, I'm going to bring you only gold and diamonds, but no steel," I don't think they would've said, "That's a great haul, Captain!"

Quote
Your apparent hypothesis that he is charging a FEE is ridiculous. Sure, we have to suppose some weird things about precursor fabrication techniques, but it makes more sense than to suppose that he's trying to make a profit. What good is a kiloton of silver if all you can do is trade it to one of nearly 2000 other people on a space station?

I never said he was charging a fee.  Rather, it feels like he's giving you a bounty based on the value of the metals in some exchange system.


Title: Re: Improving the original? What to improve to do the game even better?
Post by: Captain_Smith on December 30, 2005, 07:29:42 am
Quote
I've got responses below, but I think you're missing the overall point, which is that the Starbase makes the player feel tethered and subordinate, rather than feeling like a free captain leading a rebellion.† It makes the central gameplay mechanic ferrying metals back for a bounty.

It's just realistic is all.  No matter whether you're the greatest power in the universe, you ain't getting anything done without materials to put into it.  You can have 100 billion dollars, but you aren't getting anywhere in builiding the tallest building in the world without getting your hands on some steel.

Besides, as I continue to point out in here, most people seem to have the huge problems with mining simply because they choose to mine unprofitable planets...and even after Hayes tells you what to do.  Most games have what's called a "learning curve".  After a while you should be figuring out how to handle the game to do whatever you would like by mining only 6 months to a year game time.  For example, I end up with a decked out starship, my choice of escorts, and about 100K RU left spending that kind of time mining.  Or if I want to be minimal, all it takes me is 2-3 planets.  Because I surpassed the learning curve and know the game.

And what of the starbase?  What do you have on your ship?  Not much space.  In fact, getting space to ferry those minerals back is an issue.  So how are you going to have the foundries, processing plants, and so forth on your ship to do things?   It's just not realistic.  And who else in space is going to handle that for you?  Most of the other races don't know how to handle your ship or are too scared to.  So guess who that leaves?  Hayes.

And I should address something else in that pointed-out review.  It seems that he/she (that wrote the review) has no clue of the existence of the Arilou portal spawner.  With that, transportation should be little issue.


Title: Re: Improving the original? What to improve to do the game even better?
Post by: Death 999 on December 30, 2005, 06:05:24 pm
Quote
Your points to have some merit, but they're not incontestable.

Especially when you convert them into strawmen . . . .

It would help if they weren't straw to begin with.

I've got responses below, but I think you're missing the overall point, which is that the Starbase makes the player feel tethered and subordinate, rather than feeling like a free captain leading a rebellion.

Commander Hayes is inferior in rank to the captain. He is a resource; he is not your boss. You only think of him as controlling things because of your bizarre 'bounty' conclusion, which is nonsensical.
Additionally, the starbase serves as HOME, as a center. Many players like this.

t doesn't matter that you can create ad hoc explanations for why the Hierarchy races fail to launch a reprisal on the Humans.† Scifi / fantasy nerds love to justify the plot holes in their pet universes, and that's all well and good, but the fact that you can explain them away with effort doesn't solve the fact that they look like plot holes to anyone who isn't that indulgent.

The justifications are BUILT INTO THE GAME. It's not like I'm wildly rationalizing here.
First, recall that the Ur-Quan haven't said a word to the thralls for somewhat over a decade. So, the yoke is somewhat light for the moment.
Then, there's the EarthGuard. Recall that Sol is supposed to be a heavily fortified system. If the VUX, say, give the Spathi a call and ask them if Earth has broken free, they would NOT be inclined to say, "Oh, of course, we just left it to be taken." They'll say, "Oh, it's fine. Why do you ask?" and the VUX will figure you are operating out of a base elsewhere. In their slow ships, going to check on Sol would be a long trip; and with the probes around, a small mission would be suicide. Do they really want to dedicate a task force to verifying the word of their allies the Ilwrath and Spathi, who agree that Earth is totally under control?

That rationale fails on silver.† Silver, unlike copper and gold, is not used in electronics.†

Funny, I use it all the time in my electronics nanofabrication projects. And I understand it is used widely.

I'm going to bring you only gold and diamonds, but no steel," I don't think they would've said, "That's a great haul, Captain!"

And neither would Hayes. Diamond is an allotrope of carbon, which is a common.
;)
He might be happy with the gold alone, which does imply strange things about the precursor fabrication tech.

I never said he was charging a fee.† Rather, it feels like he's giving you a bounty based on the value of the metals in some exchange system.

And this is the most ridiculous part. We know that we don't know how Precursor fabrication works; but we know how human nature works.

Human nature tells us that HAYES IS NOT WITHHOLDING RESOURCES FROM YOU. For him to do so would, on the whole, be suicide. The only exception may be in the event of slave-trading; but even then it may be that he has a harder time recruiting and training when the crew are disinclined to get on board.

That leaves precursor fabrication tech having some strange properties. Or they're using electronics to create force fields to replace sections of the starbase hull, thus freeing up more steel than would be if they were to bring in steel itself.


Title: Re: Improving the original? What to improve to do the game even better?
Post by: Ograbme on December 30, 2005, 07:16:22 pm
The speed even VUXes travel on the starmap is more than fast enough to get to Sol without encountering more than a probe or two. †The Ur-Quan have enough manpower to fly out to Vela, but don't bother double-checking on Sol? †Shrug. †Maybe that works for you. †Whatever floats yer boat.

Quote
Commander Hayes is inferior in rank to the captain. He is a resource; he is not your boss. You only think of him as controlling things because of your bizarre 'bounty' conclusion, which is nonsensical.
Additionally, the starbase serves as HOME, as a center. Many players like this.

Right, his rank is inferior. †But unless I missed out on the part of the game where the "captain" enlists in Star Control, his title isn't a mililtary one, but rather an honorific given to anyone who "captains" a vessel. †In the backstory, we learn that the "Captain" is "a precocious young genius . . . born on Unzervalt - the son of an officer from the Tobermoon and a Research Team engineer." †No mention at all is made of him being an enlisted officer, and in fact the backstory strongly suggests otherwise by failing to mention any rank and treating him as an outsider to the military hierarchy. †After all, he receives his comission not as an order, but as a "plan" that he is free to "accept[]."

So start with that fact, which explodes your reductio, and then look at the following dialogue:

"Captain. Bringing these small amounts of minerals is not cost-effective. Try getting larger loads."

"Not a bad job, Captain."

"A fine job, Captain!"

"Captain, you are to be commended. Keep up the good work!"

"A race of plant creatures called the Supox have arrived in your absence, Captain. †They offered use of their ship designs and will supply as many starship captains as we require. †I, of course, accepted their offer immediately."

"Discover who is producing those probes and stop them from creating any more."

"[E]xpect me to bring charges against you when this is all over."

"You must assure me that you will NEVER do this again! †Even with that assurance, great damage has been done. †With the word out on what you have done, it's going to be pretty damn hard to recruit volunteers for your next trip. I expect the RU cost for crew will sky-rocket."

[note that elsewhere, this is how the Crew RU is explained: "However, each hand we lose to your ship means less manpower here at the starbase
and this is reflected in the Crew RU cost."]

Now, why would the Captain need "volunteers" if he outranked the Commander, who was the military officer in charge of the base? †Perhaps Star Control works differently from every other military ever in existence, but normally, a Captain doesn't request "volunteers" from his lower officers, and his lower officers don't reply by saying that he'll need to offer them more of a bribe if he hopes to get them.

None of this sounds like a subordinate talking to his superior. †At most, it sounds like a sometimes deferential, sometimes condescending coequal. †

Again, though, you're missing the point. †These are all weaknesses in the plot, but more importantly, they're weaknesses in the gameplay. †Whatever mealy-mouthed excuses you want to gin up for the storyline, they don't change the fact that the game *plays* like you're a mercenary doing missions for the military, not like you're in charge of your destiny. †Want proof? †Compare the gameplay to any of the other space exploration games in the genre. †Mining / selling has always been a classic gameplay mechanic; so has purchasing ship upgrades from a central station (see Star Flight, Elite). †Likewise Hayes's occasional mission assignments (although I'll concede these are less common).

The gameplay clones Star Flight pretty closely, but there was no *storyline* need for it to do so, since, as you note, it's the precursor fabrication technology that's doing the work. †A better gameplay decision would have been to have that stay on your ship and let the player process the minerals himself. †Then he would feel free and self-sufficient, rather than like Hayes's "work-horse." †The main interaction with Hayes will always be him praising or ridiculing you for your resource hauls, and so the player's main experience vis-a-vis the station will be that of a miner, not that of a commanding officer.

Star Control II is a very solid game, but I rather feel like the gameplay and story don't quite mesh. †The story is meant to place you as the head of the New Alliance, a captain like Kirk or Adama or whoever. †But the gameplay inexorably leads back to feeling like a subordinate doing milkruns and a prospector hoping to find the big haul.

I think that feel could have very easily been improved by having the player process the minerals on board his ship. †This is a fairly tiny change, but one that I think would really make for a better game. †(There would be some other adjustments I'd make, like having a build time for modules, since you could now make them onboard.) †Another possible change would be to make modules require certain *specific* minerals, rather than breaking everything down for value. †(But let anything be broken down for fuel.) †Then, rather than feeling like a vacuum cleaner praying for gold or exotics, you would feel like you were searching for *specific* minerals. †By having the player process minerals on board, he would be dissuaded from stockpiling (after all, that would waste cargo space), and thus you'd spend much less time mining overall. †I'd probably throw in a few more options to streamline exploration -- like letting the player scan planets from the solar system screen, rather than the planet screen.

The result, from a gameplay perspective, would be to shift the player's time from primarily mining and ferrying to primarily exploring. †Untethered, the player would be much more likely to poke about and discover things on his own, rather than relying on buying the info off the Melnorme or (worse) consulting an FAQ. †I know my experience was a mix of buying from Melnorme and getting the various clues in game (I did using the FAQ once or twice), but the whole time I felt like I couldn't really explore freely until the very end (at which point I knew exactly where I had to go) because fuel was so expensive.

As I said initially, the mining mechanic made me basically explore in an outwardly expanding spiral from Sol, which meant that I got bio data (and thus upgrades and hints from the Melnorme) almost as quickly as I got minerals, and thus was able to leave my mining trip suped up and certain of where to go. †This further frustrated the gameplay, I think, because it meant that my flagship was always so good that I never used support ships as anything other than crew mules (thus defeating the wonderful action sequences, which I've played PvP for years).

I'm sure your play experience was different, and maybe you had none of these problems. †But I just don't really see how having the starbase as a hub improves the game at all. †And you could leave it there as a crew factory if you absolutely needed it (I might use a few such crew factories, maybe one or two for each allied race). †Speaking of -- is there any reason we can't recruit other races as crew when we're at their homeworld? †I guess the flagship is tricked out only for sentient mammals?



Title: Re: Improving the original? What to improve to do the game even better?
Post by: Novus on December 31, 2005, 11:32:30 am
Hayes' title of "Commander" also appears to be a similar honorific, as the following Hayes quote suggests:
Quote
The next time I saw the stars was 8 years ago, when I was transferred up here to be the new commander of this starbase.

The Ur-Quan are also known to prefer to pick commanders (seemingly) at random. This leads me to believe that if Hayes has a military rank, it's an Ur-Quan one; the Kzer-Za, not Earth, the Alliance or Star Control, put him in charge of a starbase.

This means that neither Hayes nor Zelnick is in any externally defined way subordinate to the other; their own behaviour, status and resources determine their positions relative to each other. Zelnick has a really big starship and can easily save the starbase from death by power failure; Hayes has a starbase full of people and construction equipment. Both need each other to survive and execute an effective rebellion (barring, of course, Zelnick "beating the game differently"). It's only natural then that Hayes criticises a person he considers an equal for failing to acheive their common goals in a sensible manner.

The division of responsibility is also quite simple; Hayes keeps the starbase running and Zelnick handles everything outside the base. For example, Hayes doesn't have anything to do with what ships are constructed, as he doesn't have anything to do with how they're used. His main concern is keeping the starbase going, which means that in order to construct a ship, module, fuel unit or whatever, Zelnick has to provide the required raw material (apparently, the ship designs allow for great flexibility in construction materials or some really creative rebuilding of the starbase is being done).


Title: Re: Improving the original? What to improve to do the game even better?
Post by: Megagun on December 31, 2005, 02:01:06 pm
What avout adding another little slide after "TFL - FRUNGY LEAGUE PRESENTS" saying "Note: This game has a timelimit. If you don't complete the game within 5ish game-years, you WILL get annihilated" or something along those lines.. It seems as if the timelimit bugs most people, simply because they don't know about it (even though they CAN know about it, just ask 'em ZFP)...

A tutorial could -ofcourse- also be done with a simple slideshow, but I think that'd be worse than having in-game pointers to things.. If those in-game pointers get added, make them so that a player can decide to NOT read them.. As in they appear, and then just dissapear without actually bothering the player himself....


Title: Re: Improving the original? What to improve to do the game even better?
Post by: Culture20 on December 31, 2005, 05:16:26 pm
The speed even VUXes travel on the starmap is more than fast enough to get to Sol without encountering more than a probe or two.  The Ur-Quan have enough manpower to fly out to Vela, but don't bother double-checking on Sol?  Shrug.  Maybe that works for you.  Whatever floats yer boat.
Most races are either paralyzed by the Ur-Quan absence or are taking advantage of it:
*The Ur-Quan have something a little more important to do; when they are done with the Khor-ah, they will use the Sa-Matra to make sure that Humans are in line.  Not to mention that they "know" that Earth is secure and that you came from Vela.
*The VUX (already explained) would rather not deal with the humans if they don't have to, so the Spathi and Ilwrath would be believed.  A slightly better rendition would be if Orz were actually battling the VUX for asking too much about the Androsynth, giving them a stronger rationalization for ignoring a rogue human.
*The Androsynth are kinda busy too...
*The Ilwrath don't know about the humans being free (the Spathi should be guarding them, and the Ur-Quan drone was intercepted by a single Ilwrath craft that you turn into slag.  Even when you meet them later, you're a rouge, not the leader of a rebellian.
*The Umgah wouldn't care one way or the other, nor would the Spathi, Thraddash, or Mycon.
  *The Umgah are also busy with something else
  *The Spathi probably started working on the slave shield idea long before they were allowed on the starbase.
  *The Thraddash are "rear-guard"
  *The Mycon are busy with spreading Juffo-Wup, and Earth is slave shielded, so it's not a good target
*The Yehat give me the most trouble.  The Queen seems keen on being subserviant to the 'Quan, so you'd think she'd mount an expedition to Sol when they find you (the Yehat don't know about Vela).  The only reason I can come up with is that they still like the humans, but are honor-bound to the 'Quan (they'll act against the Humans only when ordered).

Quote
Additionally, the starbase serves as HOME, as a center. Many players like this.
You blatantly ignored this comment, despite its importance.  People like having a place to belong.  If Earth were the final goal of the story, there would be no place for the Captain to rest his head.  It also makes the map feel less restrictive.  If I could go anywhere I pleased, it would seem odd that I was barred crossing an invisible barrier.  It's still slightly annoying, but much more tolerable when considering that you _are_ tethered to home.

Again, though, you're missing the point.  These are all weaknesses in the plot, but more importantly, they're weaknesses in the gameplay.  Whatever mealy-mouthed excuses you want to gin up for the storyline, they don't change the fact that the game *plays* like you're a mercenary doing missions for the military, not like you're in charge of your destiny.  Want proof?  Compare the gameplay to any of the other space exploration games in the genre.  Mining / selling has always been a classic gameplay mechanic; so has purchasing ship upgrades from a central station (see Star Flight, Elite).  Likewise Hayes's occasional mission assignments (although I'll concede these are less common).
The game plays like a mercenary because that's what you are.  The storyline never assumes you're the boss (unless you choose the "Empire of <the Captain>" name; even then, it's only because you have the big ship).

The gameplay clones Star Flight pretty closely, but there was no *storyline* need for it to do so, since, as you note, it's the precursor fabrication technology that's doing the work.  A better gameplay decision would have been to have that stay on your ship and let the player process the minerals himself.  Then he would feel free and self-sufficient, rather than like Hayes's "work-horse."  The main interaction with Hayes will always be him praising or ridiculing you for your resource hauls, and so the player's main experience vis-a-vis the station will be that of a miner, not that of a commanding officer.
It's not the Precursot matter fabricators, it's the Ur-Quan fabricators on the starbase, that can convert one form of matter into another:
Quote
The Ur-Quan were supposed to resupply this base at regular, five year intervals
but we haven't received anything in almost eight years!
What we don't recycle we can usually synthesize
but to do so, we need replacement radioactives for our generators' energy cores.
If you could bring us some radioactive elements, we can fabricate the cores ourselves.
They could create radioactives to power the generators out of other things (bulkheads), but apparently didn't think of the need until the generators didn't have enough power to do so.  Catch-22

Star Control II is a very solid game, but I rather feel like the gameplay and story don't quite mesh.  The story is meant to place you as the head of the New Alliance, a captain like Kirk or Adama or whoever.  But the gameplay inexorably leads back to feeling like a subordinate doing milkruns and a prospector hoping to find the big haul.
This is the Straw-man Death_999 was talking about.  You're _not_ the leader (not Mon Mothma, not Bail Organa), you're the principle do-er (Luke Skywalker, Admiral Akbar).

I think that feel could have very easily been improved by having the player process the minerals on board his ship.  This is a fairly tiny change, but one that I think would really make for a better game.  (There would be some other adjustments I'd make, like having a build time for modules, since you could now make them onboard.)  Another possible change would be to make modules require certain *specific* minerals, rather than breaking everything down for value.  (But let anything be broken down for fuel.)  Then, rather than feeling like a vacuum cleaner praying for gold or exotics, you would feel like you were searching for *specific* minerals.  By having the player process minerals on board, he would be dissuaded from stockpiling (after all, that would waste cargo space), and thus you'd spend much less time mining overall.  I'd probably throw in a few more options to streamline exploration -- like letting the player scan planets from the solar system screen, rather than the planet screen.
Why not scan the galaxy from Sol?  There needs to be a reason some of the powerful/cool energy signatures you find aren't already scooped up by other races (especially in their sphere of influence).

As I said initially, the mining mechanic made me basically explore in an outwardly expanding spiral from Sol, which meant that I got bio data (and thus upgrades and hints from the Melnorme) almost as quickly as I got minerals, and thus was able to leave my mining trip suped up and certain of where to go.  I'm sure your play experience was different, and maybe you had none of these problems. 
You also mentioned that this was more of an indication towards your own character than the game.  I was guilty of this when I first played SC2 as well.  I also turned Lord British's throne room into my treasure chamber in every Ultima I played.  Slow and steady wins the race (unless the Khor-Ah are looming).

But I just don't really see how having the starbase as a hub improves the game at all.  And you could leave it there as a crew factory if you absolutely needed it (I might use a few such crew factories, maybe one or two for each allied race).  Speaking of -- is there any reason we can't recruit other races as crew when we're at their homeworld?  I guess the flagship is tricked out only for sentient mammals?
This apparently was overlooked story-wise, considering SC1 colonies could recrew your vessels.  From a game-play perspective though, you could say that having only one source for crew ties the Captain to the StarBase more (A Good Thing ™ ).  It also gives a good reason for the Shofixti-quest (who cares about a few more shofixti if you get crew for 0RU already?).


Title: Re: Improving the original? What to improve to do the game even better?
Post by: Culture20 on December 31, 2005, 05:25:45 pm
Idea: Prevent the user from leaving the Sol system when game starts.  When the player has completed at least the first set of tasks inside the Sol system (Pluto, Luna, defeat crippled Illrath, introduced to Hayes), then allow the user to leave the system. 
The Probe appearance value is set to 100% (which means 1 probe a day) until you reach the Starbase.  Add this to the intro (you're returning to Earth), and the fact that you start pointing _towards_ Sol, and you've got enough indicators to go to Earth that a 10 year old couldn't mistake.  When you find out Earth is all red and glowy, your next stop would likely be the moon or that fancy space station...

Idea: While the user is doing the first few missions in Sol, give the player free landers and fuel if they are exhausted.  It is possible that the user exhausts their fuel supply by repeatedly landing on planets. 

To implement, add a conversation bullet that says, "We're out of fuel, can you spare some just this one time?"  Hayes should tell the user that they are out of fuel and can't complete the missions without more.  Hayes should inform the user that he is giving the command ship more fuel, but "just this once".  Moreover, Hayes should also clearly and concisely reitereate the current objectives, as the user is probably frustrated at this point. 

Not sure if this is already implemented or not. 
Yep:

Due to an unforeseen fuel shortage, we are unable to complete our mission.
We do have a small amount of Starship fuel which is of no use to our power systems.
We will now transport 5 units to your vessel.
This should be sufficient for a trip to the surface of Mercury.

Boy, mileage sure does vary. Could you spare us some more fuel?
We are almost out of fuel now, but we do have a BIT more.
You will have to be more careful with this supply.
Transporting fuel now.

Moreover, if you get stuck in hyperspace, the Melnorme eventually make a surprise visit and transfer fuel for a nominal fee (surprisingly, for material goods if you have no info).


Title: Re: Improving the original? What to improve to do the game even better?
Post by: Ograbme on January 01, 2006, 10:46:37 pm
Sigh.  I'd written out a longish reply, only to leave the computer and come back to find it gone.  But it was irrefutable!  So just concede!

The gist was:
(1) You and Death are take contrary positions, Death claiming that the Captain is in charge and you and that the game reflects this, and you claiming that the Captain is a coequal (or even subordinate!) and that the game reflects it.
(2) Luke Skywalker was never a "doer" for the Rebellion -- he's never assigned missions by a higher up, he never does grunt work like gathering resources.  And that's why the movie follows Luke and Han -- who are not constrained by tedious adminstrative tasks -- rather than Admiral Akbar, who would just be blubbering about paperwork and supply requisitions the whole time.  There's a reason why movies and TV shows are made about people who don't sit around doing grunt work -- it's boring.  If 3/4 of Star Trek was about the Enterprise ferrying dilithium crystals from planets back to DS9, I doubt anyone but hardcore trekkies would watch it.
(3) I assume that the game was supposed to feel like a scifi adventure, where the captain usually controls his own destiny, explores strange places, and does exciting things.  There has never been a scifi adventure that contained heavy amounts of mining -- even including Dune!  The mining was included as a mechanic to let players interact with planets.  It was lifted out of Star Flight (which had a far more elaborate and interesting lander mechanic) and was also meant to reflect the trade component of games like Elite.  That's why the pricing matches standard "rare = more valuable," even though that makes no sense in the context of the game, where the station would logically need lots of commons and only a few rares.
(4) Given that I think it was meant to *play* as an adventure, I think untethering the player from the station would've been a good idea.  It would have reduced mining, made exploring easier, and given a greater sense of freedom.
(5) Maybe some players like doing primarily ferrying missions (they presumably are the same type that loves RPG FedEx quests).  But I don't think most do and I don't think it was necessary for the game.  I think if the game had been made as I described it, none of you would be saying, "I wish I had to go back to the Starbase to process minerals.  I wish fuel were more expensive.  I wish it were more difficult to explore."
(6) To the extent that the station is meant to act as a "home," that aspect is *not* reflected in gameplay.  Your only interaction with the base is superficial and annoying.  If the game was meant to capture the DS9 / B5 type atmosphere (obviously that's anachronistic, but so what?), then there should've been more to do to make the base feel like you were a part of it (and vice versa).  Like, let the player choose how to allocate resources on the base, have it go from broken down to built back up, add more characters there, etc.  Right now, the player never feels attached *emotionally* to the base, even though he is attached *physically* to it by the need to ferry stuff back.
(7) To argue that a mineral processor would take up too much room on the ship is juvenile.  Realism has nothing to do with games like this -- the quesiton is whether what the game tells you is going on accords with how it plays.  The game makes its own reality.  If they said, "The ship built itself, and if we can keep giving it the materials it needs, we can build it up even more," we'd buy it and there'd be no questions asked.  Once you did that, you could make certain components need certain materials (the high end stuff could require lots of rares), which would make mining feel more interesting.  Currently, as I said, you just vacuum, always prefering fancy stuff to normal stuff, which makes everything on every planet seem alike.
(8) I'm sure my strip-mining tactic did, in part, reflect my personality.  But I don't think I was unique in doing it that way, and in any event, that doesn't excuse the game for channeling players in that direction (i.e., by not making clear to them that there's an alternative option of being picky on planets).  The fact that after someone has played the games tons and knows where everything is, he can avoid stripmining is so stupid as to not be worthy of a response.  Still, I'll respond: gameplay should not be determined by what will be fun for a hardcore replayer.
(9) I only said it was  Precursor fabricator because Death999 did.  I don't know the game lore that well.

I just get the sense that you defend the game because you love the game and can't imagine having the audacity to change it.  But if you were designing it from scratch, I just have a hard time believe that you -- or anyone else intelligent and thoughtful about game design -- would've done the Starbase mechanic the way the game has it now.  The proof of this, I think, is that no contemporary game has a hub system like that.  The closest you get is the Diablo-type town, which avoids the problem through town portal scrolls.  And in Diablo, the loot that you ferry back and forth is primarily generated by doing the fun core stuff in the game -- killing enemies -- not a relatively tedious and mindless mining mechanism.  Most RPGs, which would be the only type of game to have this kind of slogging, have multiple towns (rather than a single hub) and give you most of your loot in the form of gold, which you don't need to ferry.  The also reward you with XP, which doesn't need to be ferried back to a town, except in rare games like Avernum / Exile, which just removed the "train in town" element from Avernum IV.  Game designers now realize that the player likes to feel like he's going ever outward into new territory, not merely going back and forth through the same area he's seen before.

Happy New Year.  I'm done on this thread. :)


Title: Improving the original? OK, but make the original available
Post by: Vela on January 02, 2006, 03:20:08 pm
Well...
There are a lot of ideas on this thread, some of which are really interesting. I don't see any problem in implementing them. But first, I think it would be better to finish the original (fix the few remaining bugs, a Remix Pack 4, etc...). Then, add the new ideas to the game. But leave the original version downloadable.

Happy 2006.


Title: Re: Improving the original? What to improve to do the game even better?
Post by: Death 999 on January 03, 2006, 06:21:47 pm
(1) You and Death are take contrary positions, Death claiming that the Captain is in charge and you and that the game reflects this, and you claiming that the Captain is a coequal (or even subordinate!) and that the game reflects it.

Either way, we agree that the game does not place Hayes in a superior role.

Response 2 is irrelevant.


(4) Given that I think it was meant to *play* as an adventure, I think untethering the player from the station would've been a good idea.† It would have reduced mining, made exploring easier, and given a greater sense of freedom.

You know, freedom in games is not necessarily a totally great thing.
If you could build as you went and just mined as you needed to refuel, you could work your way all the way around the galaxy, meandering all over the place.

I think making things just that little bit inconvenient that you need to return home HELPS FOCUS THE GAME. Once you have your ship built up, you have places to go, and you don't want to dilly-dally getting there, because if you plan it wrong you'll be out of fuel away from home.

(6) To the extent that the station is meant to act as a "home," that aspect is *not* reflected in gameplay.† Your only interaction with the base is superficial and annoying.† If the game was meant to capture the DS9 / B5 type atmosphere (obviously that's anachronistic, but so what?), then there should've been more to do to make the base feel like you were a part of it (and vice versa).† Like, let the player choose how to allocate resources on the base, have it go from broken down to built back up, add more characters there, etc.† Right now, the player never feels attached *emotionally* to the base, even though he is attached *physically* to it by the need to ferry stuff back.

Maybe YOU don't feel attached... but I always sighed relief when I made it home. Sure, you can't customize the place, but why would you? It's set up fine as it is. Like, my parents' house. I never customized the place outside my own room, but man that place is indelibly burned into my psyche.


(7) To argue that a mineral processor would take up too much room on the ship is juvenile.

When did I argue this?


(8) I'm sure my strip-mining tactic did, in part, reflect my personality.† But I don't think I was unique in doing it that way, and in any event, that doesn't excuse the game for channeling players in that direction (i.e., by not making clear to them that there's an alternative option of being picky on planets).†

It is clear that you did not actually read the in-game advice that Cmdr Hayes gives, then! Well, well, well...
Also, if you took spiral courses, that's... really... inefficient. No wonder you spent hours and hours mining.

The fact that after someone has played the games tons and knows where everything is, he can avoid stripmining is so stupid as to not be worthy of a response.

And your assumption that best mining practices have anything to do with foreknowledge is false. Every time I play, outside of hitting the nearest stars (which yields great stuff) I basically mine according to Hayes' advice. I don't memorize mother-lode positions other than Alpha Centauri, but any player would run across that one soon, experienced or not.

Read Hayes' mining advice; it's good, for the most part. If anything should be changed about this game in the direction you're going, it would be making Hayes' mining advice more prominent.

As for the comparisons to other games:
well, you're entitled to like other games, and not like this one; but make your judgement of this one actually be based on full information.


Title: Re: Improving the original? What to improve to do the game even better?
Post by: Draxas on January 03, 2006, 11:27:06 pm
I think there's one important thing everyone is overlooking here about the Starbase, probably because we've all beaten the game backwards and forwards a hundred times now (I know I have): The science team. You get so many artifacts of varying obscurity in the game, that it's nice for someone to give you at least a little insight into what they might do, even if it does tend to be a bit cryptic. I would never know the 'casters had a use outside of impersonation of deities if it wasn't for the folks at the starbase telling me to try it out. That's just one example (probably the best, but still).

Of course, it could be argued that you could centralize a science team to analyze artifacts on your vessel as well. And hey, why not add in a comm system, so Hayes doesn't have to give you important bulletins either, you can just randomly be notified of them as you fly around! And hey, while we're at it, why don't we just consolidate all these functions into a single computer with a glowy red eye, and name it fricking ICOM! ::)

And you wonder why people argue so hard against these ideas. That's just one of the things that I found irritating about SC3; since you're not "tethered" to any centralized location for any reason, you basically just wander pretty much aimlessly through most of the game, and wind up feeling lost as you try to pinpoint the ONE star system the game wants you to explore to set things in motion again.

Here's another oft-overlooked thing: the mining system is not "perfect" because it was a last-minute addition to the game. On my original disks, there's a text file with the "what's changed since we published the manual" set of release notes. It seems that the majority of the document's introduction is the author, bitching about how the programmers cloistered themselves away for a short while (I think 6 weeks?) just before release, and came back with a whole new set of planet lander mechanics... Point being that the entire lander exploration setup that we all have come to associate with the game was probably not tested very thouroughly as to how the playtesters liked using it to mine planets. More likely, was included because it added a lot to the game (would this game be better off if, for example, you just issued a command to send an away team to a planet, and it simply returned a message stating what you found or that your team was killed, without any opportunity to interact with the planet directly? I doubt it), and it was rushed through testing to ensure it worked correctly and didn't crash the game. It's probably a pretty ad-hoc system, and wasn't thought out terribly thouroughly, which is likely why the mineral classifications seem a little odd.

In this day and age, it's easy to say what could be improved, and what could be scrapped, etc. But bear in mind that this game was made almost 15 years ago. How many of the improvements that you're suggesting hadn't even been thought up by the other games you cite yet? I know when I saw SC2, I thought it was amazing; it was like no other game I had ever seen before (suffice to say, I played the original some time later). I can barely remember what PC gaming was like otherwise back in 1992 (though Sierra was pretty prominent, and Dune 2 had just spawned the RTS genre, if I recall correctly), so maybe someone with a better memory can fill in whether or not many of these mechanics had been done before.

Should I have even bothered with this? Seems like the one it's directed at probably won't even bother to read it now.


Title: Re: Improving the original? What to improve to do the game even better?
Post by: Ograbme on January 04, 2006, 11:19:37 pm
Only because you seemed to want a response, Draxas.

(1) I would be in favor of moving science to the ship, as well. †If I had my druthers, I'd probably have the Sol station wiped out after the player leaves the system, fairly early in the game, to let the player know that the Quan mean business and that defying them has consequences. †(As it stands, nothing in the game has consequences until races starting dying off to the Kzer Za, though I suppose you can get the Pkunk wiped out, too.)

I haven't played SC3, so I can't say whether centralizing it on the ship was the problem. †It sounds like the problem was more that there was only ever one place where the story could be advanced, whereas in SC2 there were always several quests going on at once.

Your parade of horribles for centralization ends with putting a comm on the ship, and, actually, I think this, too, would've improved things. †Not finding out that the ZFP were in trouble until I got back to the station seemed kind of lame, and I can't help but feel like it would've been more dramatic if you'd gotten a message directly from them, rather than having it relayed. †A matter of taste, to be sure.

(2) Fair point regarding the mining, and that may explain the weaknesses of the system. †It does seem somewhat unfair to present the alternative as being a team of commandos, though, given that the older Starflight games actually had more involved landing mechanics (so did another space exploration game the name of which I'm forgetting -- it wasn't Elite) that involved dealing with natives, etc.

But my beef isn't primarily with the lander mechanic itself (which isn't *that* bad). †I think most of the problem comes from having to ferry stuff back to the station and the way the resource model works. †As I said before, I think having it done on the ship and having modules cost *specific* resources would've been a more interesting way of handling it.

(3) Sure, the game deserves credit for what it did and for when it came out. †Again, though, it's important to compare it with Star Flight II, which predated Star Control by three years. †(Three years is the length of time between, e.g., Warcraft II and Starcraft.) †Star Control was, depending on how you look at it, somewhere between the third (Star Flight, Star Flight II, Star Control II) and the sixth game in that space exploration genre (Elite, Star Flight, Star Flight II, this other game I can't remember*, Star Control I, Star Control II). †I happen to think SC2 is the best game in the genre, but it *was* a genre before SC2 got there. †SC2 is mainly an incremental improvement on things that were already there. †The exploration / alien interaction / item usage elements were in SF2. †The melee was in SC1. †That leaves, really, only the fleet control stuff as an innovation.

* Maybe Space Rogue. †Star Command also falls into this category.

Anyway, the larger thing, though, is that this thread is entitled "Improving the original? . . . " †Some posts earlier I noted that the suggestions I was making were outside the scope of what I think should be done in this project. †But I don't think they're outside the scope of the question "What to improve to do the game even better?" †It seems a little weird to join a thread with that title and then write, "In this day and age, it's easy to say what could be improved, and what could be scrapped, etc. But bear in mind that this game was made almost 15 years ago."

Of course, the argument could be made that my suggestions go so far beyond what SC2 was that it would no longer be *improving* the game but merely making a new game with the same plot. †I don't think that's so, but it's not worth debating and I really am done with this thread, I just felt bad b/c of your plaintive cry. :)


Title: Re: Improving the original? What to improve to do the game even better?
Post by: Draxas on January 05, 2006, 12:47:31 am
Hold! Why you are leaving is wrong! Why do you do this thing?

You are correct, of course, in saying that remarks about what was done 15 years ago don't have much of a place in an improvement thread for today. Then again, as you said, the suggestions you're making are pretty far outside the scope of simply improving the game, and really moving into the realm of a "retelling" of the story.

While I could go on for hours about what was wrong with SC3, I do indeed feel that one of the biggest problems was the complete decentralization of the game. ICOM essentially acted as a "portable Hayes" in that game, in that it served the combined functions of advisor, science officer (sort of, but those science teams you occasionally got reports from were also centralized), law enforcement, resource administrator, comm officer, etc. etc. etc... At some points in the game, it feels like you have absolutely no control over what happens, until ICOM arbitrarily pops up with a bulletin allowing you to pursue a new path. True, this does speak of deeper flaws with the way the game progressed, but in SC3, ICOM really does impress upon you the idea that it is your "Commanding Officer." Even when there are multiple missions you could pursue, ICOM chooses only a single one and reminds you of it incessantly until you drop what you're doing and follow up on it (usually just the get the blasted thing to stop anooying you every 5 minutes). It also threatens to essentially strip you of command every time you destroy an alien you're not explicitly at war with, regardless of whether the attack was provoked or not (Battles with the Daktaklakpak early in the game are a prime example). You really do get the impression that ICOM is humoring you, at times, and is really in control. Meanwhile, if you want to ask a "human" for advice, most of them will tell you to go to the human command colony (which is no different from any other colony, save the dialog), and once you get there, they rarely have anything good to say. The net effect is that ICOM knows all, guides your actions in the direction of its choosing at times of its choosing, and you're really just along to fly the ship, attempt to negotiate treaties, and blow up hostiles (but only if they've declared war, otherwise you'll get a stern warning again).

Enough about that travesty. What would a lack of centralization do for SC2? Let's assume you have the "miracle module," that allows you to refine raw materials, build components and landers, analyze your artifacts, receive incoming messages, synthesize fuel, construct escorts, etc. What now? It's already easy to build a monster flagship with a horde of powerful escorts with the current mechanics, so this would completely strip any semblance of difficulty from the game. Can this module also recrew your ship? If not, how do you plan to manage that one? Allied homeworlds and starbases? Considering that more than a few of your allies refuse to even send starship captains and designs, this seems unlikely... Then again, by the end of the game, you would easily have your pick of races to supply you with crew. Speaking of crew, what about those revived Shofixti? They have... Well, nothing. I'm sort of under the impression that once you finish their sidequest, the majority of the species heads to Earth to live on the starbase while some scouts start looking for a new homeworld. Where would they be without the starbase? On the flip side of this coin, what if your super module CAN recrew your ships? If that's the case, you become even more of a one-man army than before; why even ally with anyone at that point, besides to steal (erm, sorry, "be gifted with" or "borrow") essential artifacts from them?

Cutting out the resource system really eliminates a lot of the other, more interesting, dynamics that are in place. Why bother trading for fuel with the Druuge or Melnorme? Just visit some planets and make it on the fly. Why bother with the Portal Spawner (and consequently, the Arilou at all)? You don't really have any reason to worry much about fuel consumption, since you can just mine out stars on your way to wherever you're going. In fact, the only reason to bother with most aliens under this mechanic is to either get their escorts, get their artifacts, or establish a crew factory.

Then again, how could you have universal crew stations for every race in the quadrant? We've already discussed how it's possible under the current system, but it implies that the engineers at the starbase are doing some creative reverse engineering for humans or Shofixti. It's simply not possible to design a crew station that would be amenable to both a human and, for example, any member of the ZoqFotPik race. So would each race only be restricted to its own ship type now? And would you never be able to replace lost crew on the Flagship?

Maybe the removal of the starbase makes sense from the one angle you like to examine it from. But if you take a look at the big picture, it totally screws a lot of the other underlying mechanics of the game, not to mention at least some of the plot.


Title: Re: Improving the original? What to improve to do the game even better?
Post by: Ograbme on January 05, 2006, 07:37:19 am
Sigh.  Really, no more after this.

I haven't played SC3 and so the ICOM complaints are hard for me to follow.  It's not clear to me how ICOM is any different than having Hayes in your ship, so it's not clear how feeling railroaded from place to place would be any different if you had to go to the human colony to advance the plot, rather than just receiving instructions on ICOM.  Sounds like ICOM cut down on the relay-racing aspect of the game, which exposed other flaws.  Often, cutting out reptitious game elements reveals deeper problems.  (For example, if you let the player teleport wherever he wants in a Sierra adventure game, rather than needing to slowly walk from room to room, the horrible gameplay becomes a lot more obvious.)

I'll respond, then, to your more general point about how SC2 would be harmed by letting the ship do stuff.

First, a quick response to:

Quote
It's simply not possible to design a crew station that would be amenable to both a human and, for example, any member of the ZoqFotPik race.

Err, but that's exactly what we've got, no?  The ZoqFotPik ships are being manned with Shofixti and humans, right, and just a ZFP pilot?  That implies that it's quite possible to make a ZFP / human friendly ship.  (Either everyone but the pilot is human / Shofixti or the whole crew is ZFP.  But if it's the latter, that means you can transfer ZFP into the precursor vessel, which means the system works anyway.)

Here are three ways to do it:

(1) The simplest option is to leave the starbase intact, but move mineral processing to your ship, so you don't have the problem of needing to go back and dump.  This would remove cargo bays from the game, but that seems a fairly modest change.  Cargo bays are a relic of trade-heavy games like Elite and were, I think, fairly vestigial in a game with only one port of call.  This would not cause any plot problems; it would simply mean that the player would return only to refuel, recrew, and buy components, rather than to dump ore.  (It would be a modest change, but still a good one.)

(2) The ship process minerals, can generate fuel and build modules, but cannot build ships or recrew.  Modules require specific sets of minerals (100 commons, 20 radioactives, etc.).  I would reduce the types of minerals to four, maybe five.  The player still goes back for plot, science, crew, and ships, so you still have a major starbase mechanic.  But the player is no longer tethered to it.  The station becomes more of an upgrade point than a maintenance point.  The player can also crew up at allied worlds.

(3) The station gets wiped out, the player recrews at allied worlds and builds his own ships (or buys them from allies).

I would probably go with #2, which I think makes for a more interesting set up.  One reason to make the player buy fuel from Melnorme and Druuge would be to make fuel relatively expensive to synthesize.  Obviously you'd need to tweak stuff like that to make it work out, but it just seems fairly ridiculous to get so hung up over fuel.  I mean, the whole game basically boils down to doing mining relays to buy fuel, finding alien races to buy fuel, etc.  For God's sake, this is a space opera, not Syriana.

Have to Druuge sell something other than fuel (like, rare resources that you need to build key modules).  The Melnorme still sell tech and knowledge.  I don't think either would be much diminished.  The Portal Spawner was mostly a speed thing, not a fuel thing, for me, because by the time I got it fuel wasn't much of an issue.  But even under this system, it would reduce the hassle of having to strip planets, even if you didn't have to ferry back to Sol.

The problem with your position hinges, I think, on this misconception:

Quote
Let's assume you have the "miracle module," that allows you to refine raw materials, build components and landers, analyze your artifacts, receive incoming messages, synthesize fuel, construct escorts, etc. What now? It's already easy to build a monster flagship with a horde of powerful escorts with the current mechanics, so this would completely strip any semblance of difficulty from the game.

But the starbase doesn't add *difficulty* to the game, unless you're horribly bad at husbanding your fuel.  What it adds is *downtime.*  In that sense, it's like the super easy random battles of jRPGs, the back-and-forthing of adventure games, etc.  It's like saying, "If we took leveling out of Final Fantasy, it would take all the difficulty out because you could just go straight through and kill the boss."  Well, sure, if you left the basic combat model identical.  But that's because the current model creates fake difficulty by requiring you to perform repetitive, mindless tasks.  Taking those tasks out is like adding hotkeys, queues, and macros to an RTS -- it doesn't add difficulty, but rather removes stupid obstacles.

My feeling is that if you cut out the relaying aspect of the mining, the game would get a lot shorter, and suddenly you'd start rethinking other aspects, such as whether combat needs to be tougher, the flaghship weaker, the AI better, etc.  (Just as cutting leveling out of a jRPG would force design *improvements* by revealing the underlying design weaknesses.)

In fact, my experience was that SC2 was much, much too easy, precisely for the reason you mention: the flagship's power.  By the time I was doing any real fighting, I had my ship tricked out to the point that using my escorts was a waste.  A good part of that was that I only spent biodata on technology and given how much time I had to spend mining, I got lots of biodata before I felt fuel comfortable for long voyages.

Anyway, I don't think much interesting is left in this discussion.  :)


Title: Re: Improving the original? What to improve to do the game even better?
Post by: Death 999 on January 05, 2006, 04:27:47 pm
Quote
I mean, the whole game basically boils down to doing mining relays to buy fuel, finding alien races to buy fuel, etc.

If you think that, you haven't been playing right. Or some prankster upped the fuel cost to above 20 RU.


Title: Re: Improving the original? What to improve to do the game even better?
Post by: Deus Siddis on January 05, 2006, 04:51:43 pm
"I mean, the whole game basically boils down to doing mining relays to buy fuel, finding alien races to buy fuel, etc."

I take it you have not yet discovered New Scottland. ;)

Seriously though, I do think SC ran the fuel costs a little high, considering you had to go further and further out to collect resources, plus you were already pressured by the shortage of the other resource you couldn't get enough of-- time.


Title: Re: Improving the original? What to improve to do the game even better?
Post by: Ograbme on January 05, 2006, 06:25:09 pm
A nice test would be how long the game takes to beat with limitless fuel versus the current model. †I would guess that at †least a quarter the game time would be shaved off for a normal player.


Title: Re: Improving the original? What to improve to do the game even better?
Post by: Draxas on January 05, 2006, 08:31:53 pm
That's a pretty easy test to do if you played the original PC version and exploited the lander selling glitch. It does make the game noticably shorter, but that's not because of fuel. It mostly has to do with the ability to max out your flagship and escorts in whatever manner you like as soon as you have access to the shipyard. Whether I'm playing normally or cheating my way through the game really determines whether or not I'll max out immediately and go flying off to do the most annoying quests first, or whether I save up some so I can buy those hellbores one at a time, and maybe visit some less hazardous aliens as I build up my resources. But, barring maybe your first 1 or 2 trips out of Sol, the sticking point is never about the cost of fuel; it's always the more expensive modules or escorts that you're saving for.

Quote
Err, but that's exactly what we've got, no?  The ZoqFotPik ships are being manned with Shofixti and humans, right, and just a ZFP pilot?  That implies that it's quite possible to make a ZFP / human friendly ship.  (Either everyone but the pilot is human / Shofixti or the whole crew is ZFP.  But if it's the latter, that means you can transfer ZFP into the precursor vessel, which means the system works anyway.)

This is where the starbase comes in. The assumption is that all of the crew for your escorts, save the requisite alien captain, is assembled from humans from the starbase, or Shofixti once you've revived them. Now, if these craft are being built at a starbase that can reverse engineer the crew positions for use by bipedal mammals, rather than mollusks, giant fish, or whatever the hack the ZFP are, it's no sweat. If, however, you're recrewing all over the place, and building vessels on the fly or only at their homeworlds, this whole idea hits a major snag.

Quote
It's like saying, "If we took leveling out of Final Fantasy, it would take all the difficulty out because you could just go straight through and kill the boss."

I've heard of people who have finished FF8 at level 5, by running from every non-boss enemy. Since the monsters level up at the same pace as the player, it's the only one in the series where this is viable. However, that game is horrible for all kinds of different reasons, and the complete inability of the player to ever be anywhere other than on even footing with every monster in the game is only a minor nuisance.

Quote
But the starbase doesn't add *difficulty* to the game, unless you're horribly bad at husbanding your fuel.  What it adds is *downtime.*

Maybe that was the wrong term, but still, I'd like to propose a hypothetical situation. Let's say we have a new game mechanic in SC2: The starbase is destroyed by the Ur-Quan after a period of 1 year. Now, the first time I played the game, I had no idea that the lander consumed fuel until I looked really carefully at the lander deployment screen after a lot of my fuel went "mysteriously missing" during some trips to high-G worlds. As such, it took me the better part of a game year to finally get underway and follow up on the tips about aliens I hadn't met yet. After one year, I had made only 1 alliance, and it was with the Spathi, so suffice to say that the terms of our agreement had "expired." The only other races I had even met were the Ilwrath, the Melnorme, and the ZFP scout at Rigel.

I think if I had come home from a mining trip at this point, and found the starbase had been blasted into space junk, I probably would have erased the game in frustration. Maybe not, but you get the idea.

One of the most common questions I've seen posed on these boards is "How do I remove the time limit?" I can relate to these folks; on that same first playthrough, the Kohr-Ah had eliminated about half of the races in the galaxy before I finally was able to finish the game. As I understand it, I was lucky; most people find that their first game is a wash.

What you're proposing here is an even shorter "Genocide timer." While an experienced (or lucky) player might know where to go to keep themselves afloat after the starbase is gone, most new players are going to be dead in the water, I'd bet. Because even with the ability to make your own fuel, it's pretty likely that if you don't finad an ally to help with recrewing FAST, you're going to eventually end up probe-bait. Blowing up the starbase may be good for the narrative, but it's BAD for gameplay.

I think I just described how the starbase makes the game *easier* just now.  ::) Nice debate technique I've got, eh?

Anyway, I realize most of these responses are rambly, and often don't respond effectively (or at all) to the points raised... So seriously, feel free to tell me to just shut up at any time. I won't be offended, and you shouldn't feel obligated to come back to this thread to respond to me unless you actually want to.


Title: Re: Improving the original? What to improve to do the game even better?
Post by: Data on January 05, 2006, 09:27:57 pm
OK, I am not realy debating about this starbase thing because I don't have a strenght for debate, but why don't add new starbase to game since it's only logical if your starting an rebellion. It would be interesting if you could recrew, buy ships and fuel etc. at Syreen and Chrmm starbases (it always bugged me why Chrmm don't reoccupie their old starbase). Minning is kind of boring, but I mannaged to pass the game with it. But, my strategy was dealing with Melnorme for fuel and I did that with an old SC2 walkthrough (OK, it isn't fair and I do regret it now, but it is too late)
That leads me to my next idea: starmap randomizer. It would randomize stars and spheres of influence (unless two of them are connected) and then make a new game. Stars should have the same names so dialogs don't get messed up ( implementing this into dialogs that give you coordinates would be hard) and it should happen with some kind of rule (like that you should have at least one potentila allie near you).


Title: Re: Improving the original? What to improve to do the game even better?
Post by: Draxas on January 05, 2006, 10:40:32 pm
The Chmmr don't reoccupy their old starbase because it's not theirs. Every starbase you see in the game was built by the Ur-Quan for one of the fallow races to maintain incase a Hierarchy vessel is passing through and needs supplies. Why would the Chmmr want to reoccupy a station like that, when they apparently have an armada of Avatars on the surface of their planet?

As for a starmap randomizer, I can't help but feel that it might make the game extremely chaotic. I have enough trouble trying to find "that one particular star," even when I know the general neighborhood it's in. I can't imagine what it might be like if the starmap changed every time you started a new game. Then again, maybe it would lend a lot more variety to the way things are done in the game, since nobody would be able to tell where any given race or special location would be until you ran across it or someone told you.


Title: Re: Improving the original? What to improve to do the game even better?
Post by: Ograbme on January 05, 2006, 11:11:34 pm
I would posit that the reason a lot of players find that the game spontaneously ends with genocide and are upset about the timer is that the current game model discourages exploration (through fuel cost, the need to return to process minerals, and the need to return to build modules). †The result is that many players probably haven't gone far enough away from Sol to meet the races who would clue them in to what's going on. †If the player didn't keep relaying to Sol, he'd wander much more, meet the races, and have more of a clue what's going on. †So I would say that people's surprise counsels in support of my position.

There's certainly no reason why Orz (encounter suits) and Syreen couldn't recrew. †Presumably, the Yehat are airbreathers, or else they would've had a heckuva tough time forming a close relationship with the Shofixti. †They have hands with opposable digits. †The Arilou are basically humanoid, so I don't see why they wouldn't be able to crew up. †There's at least some suggestion that they're airbreathers (given that they stand in for "Grays" who are usually depicted as coming to Earth w/o breathing aparatuses).

Of course, as I've said earlier, I think this kind of "realism" discussion is just plain silly. †Every scifi series out there has crews of diverse aliens onboard one ship. †There's no reason not to do that in the SC2 universe, unless gameplay benefits from it. †(FWIW, Star Flight, the inspiration for SC2, used heterogenous crews.)

The way fuel cost inhibits the player is that it discourages frivolous journeys, which are the heart of exploration. †Fuel costs enough that if you waste it, you take that much longer to get those upgrades you need. †My recollection, too, was that I was burning a fairly noticeable percentage of the income from each mining mission on fuel (not like 50%, but something significant). †If fuel were free, I would have been more selective with which worlds I mined (since I could've gone anywhere), I would've met more races earlier, etc.

Now. †No. †More. :)



Title: Re: Improving the original? What to improve to do the game even better?
Post by: Draxas on January 06, 2006, 12:15:56 am
Now. †No. †More. :)

Keep telling yourself that, and someday you might just believe it. ;D

I could easily see Syreen recrewing, though all the backstory seems to imply that humans are driven totally to distraction by them. Wonder why that is? ;) I suppose you could make a case for the Orz, if those suits are constructed right. Arilou and Yehat, no way; they won't even send a delegation of captains and ship designs, why would they offer to recrew your vessel?

Then again, they do give you free ships during the game, which presumably have all alien crews. So do the ZFP. And you can freely transfer the crew between these vessels and your flagship. I think I just jabbed a big hole in my own argument. Go me!

Once again, I never felt that (once I had figured out that landers eat fuel) I was being held back by the cost of fuel during the game. How many cargo bays are you using? I tend to use two at all times; one is not really that cost effective on its own, but three is a bit too restrictive for the way I like to outfit my ship. Two strikes a good balance for me, and I'll usually come out several thousand RU ahead of where I was after refueling and recrewing. Have you only been using a single cargo bay? If so, I think I begin to understand your frustration.

Anyway, this topic is not supposed to be about game strategy. I think, at least under the current mechanics with RU, that free fuel will only accelerate the flagship's progression to the only ship you'll ever need. Tell me something, though. Would multiple "tethers" solve your concern as effectively as having a floating fuel lab? Say you were able to refuel and perform any other typical starbase functions at any allied world or base, at the usual RU cost. Does this mitigate the problem to an acceptable degree? If so, I really think this might be an issue with needing to tweak your gameplay style, rather than needing to tweak the game.

I understand the desire to explore; I know I found a lot of neat stuff that way. But realistically, there's not too much you CAN explore easily. There's quite a lot of black space on the map, and I personally will avoid most hostile SOIs, especially the two huge Ur-Quan ones, unless there are places I absolutely must go to within them. This really reduces the amount of area it's safe to be poking around in.


Title: Re: Improving the original? What to improve to do the game even better?
Post by: Bongo Bill on January 06, 2006, 09:17:37 am
Idea:

Some of the allied races, the ones who agree to provide ship captains at least, might be used as refuel/recrew/outfit stations. One bit of technology to purchase from the Melnorme might be a Fabricator module. If you have it (very expensive), you can use the ship to turn minerals into fuel and modules - however, this would cost more (say, 25% more) than doing so at a starbase.

Each of the allied starbases can recrew the flagship (at varied costs - they're not all Shofixti, remember). Ships can be constructed at (some of) their shipyards - but only that species' vessel. You can only get Eluders by going to Spathiwa, for example, though there might be a few concessions made for the species without homeworlds. They can build ship modules as well.

Ships, modules, fuel, and perhaps even crew require certain specific mineral combinations to attain. A new crew member might cost 2 tons of Common in order to keep him fed. Fuel would justify the use of rare minerals - say, for example, that it needs some silver dissolved in it, and some corrosives (and of course common). Base metals would be vital for building ships and components. Don't scrap RUs altogether; keep them as a general guideline for the value of things to buy - but don't ever make the player use them ever.

This might come at a price, however: each time a new ally is made, you'll have to wait two weeks to use it (though you wouldn't have to lose that time) while they adapt it to work with Precursor technology. They don't all have to be orbital platforms, of course.

In this model, Sol becomes just one of several starbases. This also makes it somewhat expendable.... The Spathi won't be too keen on destroying a starbase with a working shipyard, but if you screw things up with the Ilwrath or the VUX (for example, if one sees you, a certain conversation path might lead them to hyperspace out of the area, or they'll try to escape to warn the others if you take too long to kill them when you fight) (The VUX might need a different reason), you run the risk of having the Sol starbase destroyed. Similar possibilities may be added for the other species' starbases - you can only use the Thraddash starbase while you're their friend, for example, and while the Utwig are out on their mission against the Kohr-Ah, you can't buy ships from them and their crew will be extremely expensive. The Zoq-Fot-Pik homeworld could be discovered, in which case you'll have to blow up a Dreadnought or Marauder or three in order for it to keep working (and to keep them from being wiped out!). The VUX might also be tipped off about the Syreen starbase.

The Druuge starbase, of course, would be outrageously expensive, but you would be given the option to redeem your crew for any type of mineral.

Some, but not all of the starbases would be equipped with science teams. You could also buy from the Melnorme a Science bay, which contains 20 crew instead of the usual 50, but lets you examine some artifacts without having to return to a starbase. Each science team could inspect the artifacts with a rather different outlook, not always producing useful information. The Pkunk, for example, might not recognize the significance of the Mycon Deep Child Egg Fragment, but amusing sequences could result if you give them the Taalo Device or the Talking Pet.





There's always room for a more in-depth planetary exploration system - but you'd have to make sure that it's still as accessible as the current one. Deploy the lander to the planet, and the lander then navigates to objects of interest that the scanner picked up. Once it gets to one, you deploy a crew of commandos to that region to extract the minerals, examine the source of the energy readings, or hunt the wumpus. The VUX Beast becomes much more of a boss fight in this light. Make it as deep or as simple as you can pull off. The Melnorme technology might have to be revised to accomodate this new style of play.




Let's see, what else.... A tutorial mode would be a big plus. Rather than integrating it into the game, make it a menu option accessible at any time - even during gameplay. It'll give you an unrestricted area to practice anything (except combat - that's what Super Melee is for) in. It'll explain game mechanics, too, and give a few very basic strategic pointers ("Planets with higher mass consume more fuel when you land on them," or "Select a planet in your starmap in order to travel there on autopilot").

You can warn the player of the time limit in a rather simple manner. Rather than counting down ten years from the start of the game (or however many it was), you can instead start the count down a shorter time to the end of the game from the moment that the Captain is warned of the Kohr-Ah's intention to exterminate all life. This would be an optional setting, of course. For the inexperienced player, it provides plenty of time to explore without having to suddenly wonder why everybody's dead - a purist would simply turn it off. It's not so much altering the course of the story as it is making concessions to the fact that it is, in fact, an exploration-driven video game, and people want to explore god damn it.



Which brings me to my next suggestion. After the game is cleared, a bonus Exploration Mode should be added - the Captain is the savior of This Area Of The Galaxy, and whatever the rest of his adventures are haven't started yet. He doesn't need to be the head of the Alliance any more, now that the Chmmr are here, and since he's no longer instrumental to the defeat of whatever threat is being faced, he doesn't get unlimited resources from the Alliance any more. There'll be a few quests in this unlimited play mode, of course. The open-ended ones might be more exploring, finding the rest of the Rainbow Worlds, building a fleet (fleet ships are all you have to go off of now - though would it be a good idea to allow the player to acquire another modular Flagship from Unzervalt?), and hunting Ur-Quan stragglers. Scripted quests might include such things as finding a new homeworld for the Shofixti and other various loose ends. Who knows; there might even be a call for a whole new storyline afterwards - new aliens, new ships, a whole new region of space.







Also, I agree; a search by name feature for the starmap is essential, and perhaps a system that automatically records notes on the planets in a given star, so that when you examine a star in the starmap it'll tell you which planets you've explored, what you found there, and anything else of note (like being a species' homeworld, or there's a starbae there, or This Is Where I Found That Keen Artifact, or anything else).

Higher-resolution graphics and a larger (in terms of content, not merely screen size) window would also be a good thing. Just keep all the graphics 2D - 3D would ruin the artistic style you're inheriting.


Title: Re: Improving the original? What to improve to do the game even better?
Post by: Data on January 06, 2006, 01:16:11 pm
I just noticed that, with all great ideas on this topic we still don't have anyone who said: "Hey, I'll do the programming, just give me some time." And, don't look at me, my porgraming skills are limited to BASIC and I'm STILL having trouble with it.


Title: Re: Improving the original? What to improve to do the game even better?
Post by: Draxas on January 06, 2006, 05:42:00 pm
I'm pretty sure this discussion is meant to be purely hypothetical at this point; some of these requested changes are so drastic that it would be closer to writing a sequel than making adjustments to the original. Of course, some of the other suggestions have already been executed; I think there is an addon somewhere that allows you to search for star systems by name.

Regrdless, I think this thread is more about ideas, and less about executing them... Though I wouldn't be averse to the suggestion that someone is interested enough to try to implement these changes, I don't see it as likely that anyone actually will.


Title: Re: Improving the original? What to improve to do the game even better?
Post by: Data on January 06, 2006, 09:15:00 pm
But then what's the point in making all this ideas? I mean, doesn't ANYBODY wanna make at least some ideas possible? In his mod? Or as a patch? Do I really have to go to all the trouble of learning to moddifie the game myself? I don't even know in wich programmnig language was it written or HOW was it mad for that matter. Sigh.


Title: Re: Improving the original? What to improve to do the game even better?
Post by: JonoPorter on January 06, 2006, 09:52:48 pm
I donít think anyone relishes the idea of making major changes to the original code (at least I donít), but since Iím writing a remake I could incorporate the changes when the game gets the point where this is relevant.


Title: Re: Improving the original? What to improve to do the game even better?
Post by: Clay on January 10, 2006, 06:26:48 pm
Forgive me if I missed something integral, I passed over some of the plot debates because I don't think they're really necessary.  SC2, as fun, and in ways, deep, as it is, is not a serious story.  If you pick at it long enough, there are going to be loopholes of logic.  But does it really matter when you have sentient plants, paranoid muskellids, and multicolor lifeforms obsessed with an obscure sport of FRUNGY all battling in space?

Some things that might be cool to fix in the actual game...

1) Graphics.  I don't think this can be stressed enough.  SC2 is OLD and it shows quite badly.  I do some design-work as a side-job, but I don't think a snazzier interface will be worth much if the aliens still look like bad VGA art from yesteryear.  But in earnest, it wouldn't be hard, or cost too much, to hire an illustrator for that sort of thing.  I did publish an entire Pen and Paper RPG with 60 odd illustrations, so I know that much.

2) Old-school.  SC2 harkens back to a day when taken notes with a pen was a perfectly viable option when playing a computer game.  I only played the game a little when I was younger; I mainly watched my brother.  When I played the UQM version in the last year or two, it was a wonderful journey of nostalgia, and the note-taking was a very fun part of that.  It reminded me of RPG mapmaking and such.

Still, to a virgin gamer, this isn't quite so cool.  If UQM could incorporate an online "notebook" of sorts that copied down every key piece of information.  (For example, if an alien points out that so and so's homeworld is at coordinates X, it will be listed in the notebook under locations.  Likewise, if someone mentions a strange Vux captain with a liking for humans, this tidbit will be added to the notebook.) I think this'll make the game a lot more user-friendly.  (I think someone mentioned in this thread, or another, about a tutorial to also help this.)

3) Missing Dialogue.  This still baffles me.  The missing dialogue may make the game harder for some, but to me, it's just plain odd and confusing.  Searching 50 odd planets for the Supox is not cool.  The Metachron story is a sad omission, too.

The problem is, I seriously doubt any of the original voice actors are still available.  But faking it might be plausable... I'm gonna give the Metachron story a stab sometime, but don't hold your breath.

4) Revoicing the Spathi and the Orz.  They're just SO BAD.

That's all I can think of offhand.  Of course, it's not outside the realm of possibility to hold some sort of fundraiser to HIRE artists/voice actors/ and the like.


Title: Re: Improving the original? What to improve to do the game even better?
Post by: Halleck on January 11, 2006, 03:02:41 pm
Forgive me if I missed something integral, I passed over some of the plot debates because I don't think they're really necessary.  SC2, as fun, and in ways, deep, as it is, is not a serious story.  If you pick at it long enough, there are going to be loopholes of logic.  But does it really matter when you have sentient plants, paranoid muskellids, and multicolor lifeforms obsessed with an obscure sport of FRUNGY all battling in space?
I absolutely agree. In the end, it's the overall experience that matters, not the nitpicky details.

Quote
Some things that might be cool to fix in the actual game...

1) Graphics.  I don't think this can be stressed enough.  SC2 is OLD and it shows quite badly.  I do some design-work as a side-job, but I don't think a snazzier interface will be worth much if the aliens still look like bad VGA art from yesteryear.
I also agree that a project to create new game visuals as an add-on pack (much like the precursors project to create new music) is in order. This will help heighten the appeal of the game for modern audiences (excluding the retro gamer crowd).

Quote
But in earnest, it wouldn't be hard, or cost too much, to hire an illustrator for that sort of thing. I did publish an entire Pen and Paper RPG with 60 odd illustrations, so I know that much.
Hiring people is not an option. This project is completely developed and maintained by volunteers- this includes the precursors remixing team.
If you are experienced with graphic design, why not start a graphics revamping project yourself? I'm sure you will get plenty of support from community artists, and can potentially make use of material already developed (3d fan-made ships/TimeWarp sprites, etc.)
This is the open-source way. Almost all great advances in open source come from people "scratching their own itch". (FYI, the development team has promised to give high priority to expanding the graphical capabilities of the game engine if someone starts such a project).

Quote
2) Old-school.  SC2 harkens back to a day when taken notes with a pen was a perfectly viable option when playing a computer game. . . Still, to a virgin gamer, this isn't quite so cool.  If UQM could incorporate an online "notebook" of sorts that copied down every key piece of information.
Not a bad idea, but this will not happen unless someone writes an unofficial patch (or until the project reaches v1.0 at least). The developers generally adhere to the "straight-port" doctrine, which means that UQM versions 0.x will be direct ports of the game, excluding add-on packs like the remixes.

Quote
3) Missing Dialogue.  This still baffles me...
I absolutely agree, this creates far more trouble than it's worth. The text should be inserted into the game immediately... players using the voice pack will just have to deal with a few seconds of silence for the time being.

Quote
The problem is, I seriously doubt any of the original voice actors are still available.  But faking it might be plausable... I'm gonna give the Metachron story a stab sometime, but don't hold your breath.

4) Revoicing the Spathi and the Orz.  They're just SO BAD.
ChampionHyena started an effort (http://uqm.stack.nl/forum/index.php?topic=2294.0) to re-voice ALL the characters, but I don't know what's come of it. I offered to voice the Slylandro and he accepted, but I haven't heard from him since July.

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Of course, it's not outside the realm of possibility to hold some sort of fundraiser to HIRE artists/voice actors/ and the like.
From whose pocket will these funds come?
And of course, hiring people is not the open source way. (see my response to point 1) ;)


Title: Re: Improving the original? What to improve to do the game even better?
Post by: Deus Siddis on January 11, 2006, 03:58:14 pm
"FYI, the development team has promised to give high priority to expanding the graphical capabilities of the game engine if someone starts such a project."

Don't new, higher resolution ship graphics count? (I though there were a whole bunch of those made for the TW projects.)


"ChampionHyena started an effort to re-voice ALL the characters, but I don't know what's come of it. I offered to voice the Slylandro and he accepted, but I haven't heard from him since July."

Did you ever make any samples of your new Slylandro dialog? If so, what software did you use?


Title: Re: Improving the original? What to improve to do the game even better?
Post by: Death 999 on January 11, 2006, 05:39:42 pm
Hiring people CAN be the open-source way, so long as whoever is doing the hiring wants the product to be open-source.


Title: Re: Improving the original? What to improve to do the game even better?
Post by: NamelessPlayer on January 11, 2006, 09:52:20 pm
Forgive me if I missed something integral, I passed over some of the plot debates because I don't think they're really necessary.† SC2, as fun, and in ways, deep, as it is, is not a serious story.† If you pick at it long enough, there are going to be loopholes of logic.† But does it really matter when you have sentient plants, paranoid muskellids, and multicolor lifeforms obsessed with an obscure sport of FRUNGY all battling in space?

Some things that might be cool to fix in the actual game...

1) Graphics.† I don't think this can be stressed enough.† SC2 is OLD and it shows quite badly.† I do some design-work as a side-job, but I don't think a snazzier interface will be worth much if the aliens still look like bad VGA art from yesteryear.† But in earnest, it wouldn't be hard, or cost too much, to hire an illustrator for that sort of thing.† I did publish an entire Pen and Paper RPG with 60 odd illustrations, so I know that much.
I guess higher-resolution images and the like won't hurt, but it is paramount that THE DESIGNS REMAIN THE SAME. It looks like SC3 is guilty of breaking this unwritten rule.
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2) Old-school.† SC2 harkens back to a day when taken notes with a pen was a perfectly viable option when playing a computer game.† I only played the game a little when I was younger; I mainly watched my brother.† When I played the UQM version in the last year or two, it was a wonderful journey of nostalgia, and the note-taking was a very fun part of that.† It reminded me of RPG mapmaking and such.

Still, to a virgin gamer, this isn't quite so cool.† If UQM could incorporate an online "notebook" of sorts that copied down every key piece of information.† (For example, if an alien points out that so and so's homeworld is at coordinates X, it will be listed in the notebook under locations.† Likewise, if someone mentions a strange Vux captain with a liking for humans, this tidbit will be added to the notebook.) I think this'll make the game a lot more user-friendly.† (I think someone mentioned in this thread, or another, about a tutorial to also help this.)
It would be nice, though the next problem we're going to get to may pose problems with this. Let's make this a switchable option for the hardcore gamers out there.
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3) Missing Dialogue.† This still baffles me.† The missing dialogue may make the game harder for some, but to me, it's just plain odd and confusing.† Searching 50 odd planets for the Supox is not cool.† The Metachron story is a sad omission, too.

The problem is, I seriously doubt any of the original voice actors are still available.† But faking it might be plausable... I'm gonna give the Metachron story a stab sometime, but don't hold your breath.
Seconded. I'm still wondering just what the hell is the MetaChron. I remember hearing about a device that grows darker as its supposed destruction draws nearer-is that the MetaChron?
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4) Revoicing the Spathi and the Orz.† They're just SO BAD.
I haven't finalized my decision on the Orz voice, but I think that the Spathi accent really contributes to their charm. Let's leave that alone. That said, if there are any recording errors(like breathing or background noises), those should be fixed.


Title: Re: Improving the original? What to improve to do the game even better?
Post by: Halleck on January 11, 2006, 11:13:44 pm
Did you ever make any samples of your new Slylandro dialog? If so, what software did you use?
I did make some samples that I sent to ChampionHyena, recorded on a crappy internal mic and effect-ized with audacity. I don't know what I did with the files, though...

Also... I was sort of embarrased about publishing them.  :-[


Title: Re: Improving the original? What to improve to do the game even better?
Post by: Clay on January 11, 2006, 11:23:43 pm
I guess higher-resolution images and the like won't hurt, but it is paramount that THE DESIGNS REMAIN THE SAME. It looks like SC3 is guilty of breaking this unwritten rule.

Agreed.  Making it better doesn't mean reinventing the wheel.  Though you have to realize certain designs, when ported to hi-res, will require SOME modification to continue looking spiffy.  As we can see from Time Warp's lifts of the Druuge and Yehat ships.  Though, personally, I think just reworking the interface might do wonders.  The combat sequences don't look TOO bad.

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It would be nice, though the next problem we're going to get to may pose problems with this. Let's make this a switchable option for the hardcore gamers out there

No harm in that, I suppose.  I doubt anyone would want to program such a feature, anyway.

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Seconded. I'm still wondering just what the hell is the MetaChron. I remember hearing about a device that grows darker as its supposed destruction draws nearer-is that the MetaChron?

Indeed.  Blueish (or was it Greenish?) of the Melnorme is in possession of this artifact.  It apparently can predict its own demise by changing color as the likelihood of such a fate increases.  As such, the Melnorme is fairly confident that something will come to pass that will destroy all life in the local sector.


Title: Improving the original? What to improve to do the game even better?
Post by: Deus Siddis on January 12, 2006, 05:04:22 am
The Utwig and Orz voices should be redone, but the rest should be left alone.


Title: Re: Improving the original? What to improve to do the game even better?
Post by: Draxas on January 12, 2006, 08:45:12 am
The Utwig and Orz voices should be redone, but the rest should be left alone.

With the exception of removing the very loud breathing on the Ur-Quan's voiceovers, I rather agree. I have appreciated most of the voices I've heard in the game so far (still haven't encountered the Thraddash, Umgah, Dynarri, Utwig, or Chenjesu/Chmmr yet, though); they add a lot of charm to most of the races. The only exception is the Orz; I think it says a lot that I like their voiceovers from SC3 better, considering how I blast that game on nearly everything else. The translation computer interjecting every time they said one of their *asterisk* phrases lent them a much creepier disposition, and I thought it was a neat effect.

Though from what everyone has been saying about the Utwig voiceovers lately, it sounds like they need to be redone as well. I never envisioned them as whiny emo teens, and I can't figure why they were interpreted that way other than for some rather misplaced humor value.


Title: Re: Improving the original? What to improve to do the game even better?
Post by: Megagun on January 12, 2006, 03:58:30 pm
To anyone who's going to remake the Orz voice: play Star Control 3! It's actually got GOOD Orz voices in there!


Title: Re: Improving the original? What to improve to do the game even better?
Post by: Clay on January 13, 2006, 08:56:23 pm
Sorry, Halleck.  By some unknown means, I totally missed your post.

Hiring people is not an option. This project is completely developed and maintained by volunteers- this includes the precursors remixing team.
If you are experienced with graphic design, why not start a graphics revamping project yourself? I'm sure you will get plenty of support from community artists, and can potentially make use of material already developed (3d fan-made ships/TimeWarp sprites, etc.)
This is the open-source way. Almost all great advances in open source come from people "scratching their own itch". (FYI, the development team has promised to give high priority to expanding the graphical capabilities of the game engine if someone starts such a project).

I've never really done much open source stuff, just a lot of creating projects.  But I'll take your word on it...for now. ;p

If I have time, I'll to do a revamp of the basic interface (essentially, take a screencap of, say, space navigation and take it to hell and back in Photoshop) and see what happens.

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3) Missing Dialogue.  This still baffles me...
I absolutely agree, this creates far more trouble than it's worth. The text should be inserted into the game immediately... players using the voice pack will just have to deal with a few seconds of silence for the time being.

A possibility....Remember the "crew" chats that pop up occassionally?  Since MOST of the missing dialogue refers to space coordinates, we could have a computer readout from a random crew member stating "We have received a set of coordinates from the Utwig.  They are apparently the Supox homeworld, sir."

Not quite as good, but we could even voice those without worrying about matching naything, since no crew chat was ever voiced.

Edit: What would be a good resolution for a new high-res interface?


Title: Re: Improving the original? What to improve to do the game even better?
Post by: Clay on January 13, 2006, 08:59:27 pm
With the exception of removing the very loud breathing on the Ur-Quan's voiceovers, I rather agree. I have appreciated most of the voices I've heard in the game so far (still haven't encountered the Thraddash, Umgah, Dynarri, Utwig, or Chenjesu/Chmmr yet, though); they add a lot of charm to most of the races. The only exception is the Orz; I think it says a lot that I like their voiceovers from SC3 better, considering how I blast that game on nearly everything else. The translation computer interjecting every time they said one of their *asterisk* phrases lent them a much creepier disposition, and I thought it was a neat effect.

Though from what everyone has been saying about the Utwig voiceovers lately, it sounds like they need to be redone as well. I never envisioned them as whiny emo teens, and I can't figure why they were interpreted that way other than for some rather misplaced humor value.

The Thraddash and Umgah totally rock everything.

Chenjesu is passable.  Nothing spectacular, but not too annoying.  Dynarri is....interesting to say the least.  It's actually voiced by Paul (or was it Fred? one of the two)...It's at least very animated.

The Utwig are completely and utterly terrible.  I tried to give it a chance, since half the point of the Utwig is there terribly painful monologues, but somehow it's just too masochistic with those voices...

The Orz from SCIII do indeed rock.  I also vastly prefer the Spathi voice.  The Spathi in UQM just seems like reading lines of a page and running it through a high pitch filter....


Title: Re: Improving the original? What to improve to do the game even better?
Post by: Draxas on January 13, 2006, 10:05:51 pm
I wasn't super-keen on the Spathi voiceover, but it has a certain "reedy" quality and that weird accent that made it charming, rather than annoying. I dunno, they seemed a little bit too calm at times, though. Still, I like it overall.

I'd continue my playthrough just to hear some of the other voices, if it wasn't for Dragon Quest 8 sucking up all my free time. :P


Title: Re: Improving the original? What to improve to do the game even better?
Post by: ILuvCheese on January 14, 2006, 06:48:17 pm
something i wanted to do since SC2 first came out...

how abt allowing one to import the precursor ship so you can use it in supermelee? i'd code it myself but my skills leave much to be desired.

i wanna see how my customized ship stands up to an avatar.  ;D


Title: Re: Improving the original? What to improve to do the game even better?
Post by: Draxas on January 14, 2006, 07:37:57 pm
Your customized ship would blow an Avatar clear out of the sky before it could hit you. Same story with nearly every standard vessel in the game (Maybe not a Jugger; that's the only exception, though). The precursor ship is broken in terms of game balance, which is why so many people stop using their escorts after a while.


Title: Re: Improving the original? What to improve to do the game even better?
Post by: Halleck on January 15, 2006, 11:23:01 am
Sorry, Halleck.  By some unknown means, I totally missed your post.
I've never really done much open source stuff, just a lot of creating projects.  But I'll take your word on it...for now. ;p
I actually stand corrected on that point- open source projects sometimes do pay people as Death 999 pointed out (ubuntu linux bounties, the lead developer of medawiki, etc.)
Rather, I'll say that hiring people is not the UQM way. The coders, testers, composers, documentation writers, etc. all work for free. I see no reason why this should change for artists.

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If I have time, I'll to do a revamp of the basic interface (essentially, take a screencap of, say, space navigation and take it to hell and back in Photoshop) and see what happens.
A mockup of what you have in mind would be interesting, certainly. I believe that a full overhaul of the interface would require a good deal of code overhauling to support it- as far as I know, the current interface is completely hard coded, except for maybe the 3d0 style menu icons.

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A possibility....Remember the "crew" chats that pop up occassionally?  Since MOST of the missing dialogue refers to space coordinates, we could have a computer readout from a random crew member stating "We have received a set of coordinates from the Utwig.  They are apparently the Supox homeworld, sir."

Not quite as good, but we could even voice those without worrying about matching naything, since no crew chat was ever voiced.
That is one possible solution, yes. Personally, though, I think that any information presented in the PC version through dialogue should also be presented in UQM through dialogue.

There's no reason to write new text in order to sneak bits of info back in if the text has already been written- besides, it would fall outside the 'straight port' doctrine.

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Edit: What would be a good resolution for a new high-res interface?
Mock it up in any size you like. For the target size, probably 1024 x 768, since that's the current maximum resolution. I think it will be easier to start high-rez and scale down as opposed to starting low-rez and scaling up, correct?


Title: Re: Improving the original? What to improve to do the game even better?
Post by: Megagun on January 15, 2006, 02:35:52 pm
All UQM images are scaled so that they fit in a 320x200 window perfectly.. The resulting frame gets resized to the resolution you play UQM in.. right?

So I'd guess that you'd make the new interface in 320x200, then upscale it and retouch it, save it again, repeat.. So that for each and every possible resolution, you'd make a new interface, so it looks best on all possible resolutions..
Someone correct me if I'm wrong, though... :P

And yes, the interface is currently hardcoded in the game itself.. It doesn't use images, it just places lines of various colours which eventually make out the interface....


Title: Re: Improving the original? What to improve to do the game even better?
Post by: Clay on January 16, 2006, 03:34:16 am
A mockup of what you have in mind would be interesting, certainly. I believe that a full overhaul of the interface would require a good deal of code overhauling to support it- as far as I know, the current interface is completely hard coded, except for maybe the 3d0 style menu icons.

Of course, I am told this too late. 9_9

(http://www.wiseturtle.com/sc2redo.jpg)

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That is one possible solution, yes. Personally, though, I think that any information presented in the PC version through dialogue should also be presented in UQM through dialogue.

There's no reason to write new text in order to sneak bits of info back in if the text has already been written- besides, it would fall outside the 'straight port' doctrine.

There IS reason.  It's called "the real voice actors aren't available."  And I say a quick hack like this is a LOT less lame than the NPCs randomly not talking to give this information.  Certainly less distracting to newbie players.

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Mock it up in any size you like. For the target size, probably 1024 x 768, since that's the current maximum resolution. I think it will be easier to start high-rez and scale down as opposed to starting low-rez and scaling up, correct?

Not always.  Scaling down is prone to losing key details and such.  But if you do a 1024x768 design with scaling down in mind...should work.  It's what I did, anyway.


Title: Re: Improving the original? What to improve to do the game even better?
Post by: Clay on January 17, 2006, 03:53:56 pm
Well, since the interface is likely not going to happen any time soon, how do the ship graphics work?  Can hi-res versions be plugged into the game, or do these require programming overhauls, too?

Just checking before I go and do it  ;D


Title: Re: Improving the original? What to improve to do the game even better?
Post by: Novus on January 17, 2006, 06:38:24 pm
Well, since the interface is likely not going to happen any time soon, how do the ship graphics work?  Can hi-res versions be plugged into the game, or do these require programming overhauls, too?
Some programming work is necessary. Luckily, the original code is designed for ship graphics in multiple resolutions, so it shouldn't be too hard for someone familiar with the graphics code.


Title: Re: Improving the original? What to improve to do the game even better?
Post by: Burb on January 18, 2006, 02:43:50 am
Your customized ship would blow an Avatar clear out of the sky before it could hit you. Same story with nearly every standard vessel in the game (Maybe not a Jugger; that's the only exception, though). The precursor ship is broken in terms of game balance, which is why so many people stop using their escorts after a while.

Silly.

Put in the option in melee to choose a flagship. Once you've chosen it, you customize it by adding varying amounts of crew, pdls, hellbores/the other two types of weapons, dynamos, shivas, tracking systems, turning jets and the booster things.

This way, you can test out which configuration lets you fire the most rapidly or what does the most damage, how many pdl's you need vs this ship's projectiles, etc. All this stuff can already be found on the forums, but it's not very easy to find, and it'd be fun to do that. Different builds can be tested versus different ships without wasting gametime and finding resources. Plus, friends can compete and see whose flagship is better for fun :).

Of course, it is very possible to simply put a fully upgraded flagship, not bothering to get fuel tanks or cargo modules and just beat the computer all day long, but so what? Just because you can do it doesn't mean that putting in the ability to use a flagship is BAD.

Well, from your quote it appears that you assume that only a flagship from a save file can be used, but that's sort of narrowminded. Think outside the box  ;)


Title: Re: Improving the original? What to improve to do the game even better?
Post by: Clay on January 21, 2006, 02:26:03 am
Random Q, is there even any interest in better graphics for UQM?  It's quite a bit of work, so if the reaction is gonna be lukewarm at best, I'll probably pass for, I dunno, stuff I'm SUPPOSED to be doing.  *laughs*


Title: Re: Improving the original? What to improve to do the game even better?
Post by: Halleck on January 21, 2006, 09:03:56 am
I personally find the graphics to have a certain "retro" charm at this point, but updating them would probably broaden the appeal of the game as mentioned earlier. What I might find charming (and another fan might find nostalgic) could be seen as crude or primitive by a more contemporary gamer.

I do quite like your interface mock-up, though... it would be best to have a serious talk with the core dev team about supporting it.

Even if this were the only new graphical addition to the game it could certainly be the start of a future project.


Title: Re: Improving the original? What to improve to do the game even better?
Post by: Clay on January 21, 2006, 11:06:43 pm
I know where you're coming from, Halleck.  I always insist on playing the original versions of games before playing any remakes.  I also played SC2 without any of the additional remix packs.

But at the same time, might be interesting to kick it in high gear.  I think I was a bit too ambitious though.  As if it wouldn't trying enough, the menu is supposed to be transparent, and various screens will appear by ribbed dark grey side bar pulling out like a drawer.  In a word, not happening, I'm sure. ^_^

But I might take a stab at a Yehat ship.  Time Warp's version is so dreadful I just feel like it needs it.


Title: Re: Improving the original? What to improve to do the game even better?
Post by: Bongo Bill on January 22, 2006, 04:04:36 am
Maybe integrate with (or steal from) Timewarp? That seems to support higher resolutions for the battle scenes at least, and it does look and sound quite nice.

Granted, that wouldn't solve any problems with the space travel or planet lander parts.


Title: Re: Improving the original? What to improve to do the game even better?
Post by: Halleck on January 22, 2006, 06:44:54 am
I don't think that anyone in their right minds would touch the source of time warp with a ten foot pole.

If we were to steal anything, it would probably be the ship sprites.


Title: Re: Improving the original? What to improve to do the game even better?
Post by: JonoPorter on January 22, 2006, 09:43:37 am
Or we could start from scratch like I have. Not that I am trying to hog the spotlight.   ::)


Title: Re: Improving the original? What to improve to do the game even better?
Post by: Clay on January 22, 2006, 09:02:03 pm
I don't think that anyone in their right minds would touch the source of time warp with a ten foot pole.

If we were to steal anything, it would probably be the ship sprites.

Which are mostly stolen from Star Control III anyway, which means they're almost certainly not within Toys for Bob's ability to let us use.

And those that aren't are usually dreadful.  (Again, Yehat, ugh.)


Title: Re: Improving the original? What to improve to do the game even better?
Post by: Clay on January 23, 2006, 01:09:01 am
Okay, here's my hi-res take.  Hope it's not too heretical?

(http://www.wiseturtle.com/sc2yehat.jpg)


Title: Re: Improving the original? What to improve to do the game even better?
Post by: Halleck on January 23, 2006, 02:29:22 am
WOW!  ;D

That looks really, really great. I never liked the TW yehat much either, but this is fantastic.


Title: Re: Improving the original? What to improve to do the game even better?
Post by: Clay on January 23, 2006, 02:36:04 am
Thanks, I appreciate that ^_^

Some notable problems though:

1) It looks very...painty.  This in itself may not be such a bad thing, since most of the alien conversations and cutscenes were, actually, paintings.

2) As a consequence of being hand-drawn, in order to change the light source would require redrawing it for all 12 (or so)  angles.

3) the neato ribs in the magenta marks disappear when shrunk to other res's...waaaah :'(

4) Oh yeah, and it doesn't work in UQM yet. ;p

Anyway, I don't know if this is going anywhere, but if anyone has a favorite ship they want redone, I can give it a shot.  Gotta make sure I'm not a one hit wonder, here.  ;)


Title: Re: Improving the original? What to improve to do the game even better?
Post by: Halleck on January 23, 2006, 03:35:18 am
Personally, I think that the "painty" or cartoony look is somewhat desireable, especially because of the feel of the game.

Something along the lines of Arne's style (http://www.itchstudios.com/psg/main.php?id=sce) would be cool IMO (perhaps a little bit less "painty".)


Title: Re: Improving the original? What to improve to do the game even better?
Post by: Clay on January 23, 2006, 04:30:33 am
I suddenly feel very outclassed.  Arne's done some really neat stuff.  If anyone were ever to do a Star Control pseudo-sequel, I really like the "Throw all caution to the wind!" approach he's taken to the characters.

His ship designs seem to be very blueprinty though...reminds me of about a thousand "ship map" supplements you see for sale for various RPGs.

The character sketches are greatly charming, though.  Certainly makes me consider whether I should be manning any sort of graphical overhaul at all.  *laughs*

Edit: Browsed the site some more...I really love his plot ideas...I wish it weren't just another of those really great ideas on the internet that never go anywhere...


Title: Re: Improving the original? What to improve to do the game even better?
Post by: Halleck on January 23, 2006, 06:01:42 am
I was referring mostly to his painting style, and not his redesigns. I do think that they are great in their own right, but art that is intented to replace that of sc2 should be more faithful.

I don't think he wants to redo the sc2 graphics, though. If he did, he probably would have said so a while ago.


Title: Re: Improving the original? What to improve to do the game even better?
Post by: Clay on January 23, 2006, 06:12:01 am
Yeah, he seems to really like overhauling stuff.

That said, it should be noted that, were an implementation of better graphics to be successful, it could open the doors to UQM spinoff projects.

Then again, maybe not.

So, Halleck, pick a ship, any ship.  I'm bored. ;p


Title: Re: Improving the original? What to improve to do the game even better?
Post by: Serosis on January 23, 2006, 06:40:08 am
OOH OHH! *Raises Hand*

i wanna request the Kohr-Ah Morauder (is that how you spell it?)  ;D


Title: Re: Improving the original? What to improve to do the game even better?
Post by: Draxas on January 23, 2006, 07:59:30 am
It's spelled Marauder. No Os anywhere.

And I'm going to throw my vote towards the Utwig Jugger or Chmmr Avatar. If there are any ships that could manifest a lot of neat details on a hi-res redo, it's those (or the Marauder, but I'm not that much of a fan).


Title: Re: Improving the original? What to improve to do the game even better?
Post by: Halleck on January 23, 2006, 08:38:08 am
I would vote for either of the 'quans. I never liked the TW dreadnought, it was too SC3ish for my tastes. Marauder would be good too.  ;D


Title: Re: Improving the original? What to improve to do the game even better?
Post by: Clay on January 24, 2006, 06:22:14 am
Of course, you guys decide to pick some of the most complex ships in the game -.o  Perhaps good for testing my skills though!

I think first I'm gonna try another simple one though, the Arilou(laleelay) Skiff.

However, I find myself at an impasse.  My original concepts were going to be based on a combination of the original sprite and the SC1 data file image.  There is a significant difference between the two: The sprite has a solid red bar as its rear portion, while the illustration clearly displays three red "tail lights"  Actually, the SCIII version of the Skiff seems very faithful to the SC1 illustration.

Regardless, I'm gonna borrow the bluer color for the ship from the original illustration, but I don't know which way to go for the red part.  What's the general preference?


Title: Re: Improving the original? What to improve to do the game even better?
Post by: Draxas on January 25, 2006, 02:58:24 am
I always thought that red bar was some sort of engine port... That seems silly now that I think about it some. In fact, I bet it's a red bar simply because they didn't have the resolution to make it more faithful to the illustration (or didn't have the illustration yet, but that's another story for another day, perhaps).

I guess my non-point is: Do whichever one you think will turn out better. ;)


Title: Re: Improving the original? What to improve to do the game even better?
Post by: Clay on January 25, 2006, 05:10:26 am
(http://www.wiseturtle.com/sc2arilou.jpg)

There.  Went with bar. ;p


Title: Re: Improving the original? What to improve to do the game even better?
Post by: Halleck on January 25, 2006, 06:38:16 am
Fantastic, Clay!
I think you have yourself another hit.  ;D


Title: Re: Improving the original? What to improve to do the game even better?
Post by: Serosis on January 25, 2006, 08:53:31 am
These are awesome, i would love to see these implemented some day ;D


Title: Re: Improving the original? What to improve to do the game even better?
Post by: meep-eep on January 25, 2006, 01:27:42 pm
Nice. I personally would love to have an official graphics update pack, but unfortunately, the UQM code is not ready for this. (Though progress is being made.)


Title: Re: Improving the original? What to improve to do the game even better?
Post by: Halleck on January 25, 2006, 08:44:25 pm
Nice. I personally would love to have an official graphics update pack, but unfortunately, the UQM code is not ready for this. (Though progress is being made.)
Can this be given higher priority now that somebody is actually working on the content?


Title: Re: Improving the original? What to improve to do the game even better?
Post by: Draxas on January 26, 2006, 02:23:56 am
Those pics are quite impressive. I always wanted to see those ships with less pixel blur. Nice work!


Title: Re: Improving the original? What to improve to do the game even better?
Post by: Clay on January 27, 2006, 03:59:46 am
Not happy with this one...

(http://www.wiseturtle.com/sc2avatar.jpg)


Title: Re: Improving the original? What to improve to do the game even better?
Post by: Deus Siddis on January 27, 2006, 04:43:00 am
How could you not be happy with that?!

I think you should give yourself a lot more credit.


Title: Re: Improving the original? What to improve to do the game even better?
Post by: NamelessPlayer on January 27, 2006, 05:00:47 am
How could you not be happy with that?!

I think you should give yourself a lot more credit.
Quoted for truth.


Title: Re: Improving the original? What to improve to do the game even better?
Post by: Serosis on January 27, 2006, 06:01:39 am
i'm lovin it ;D


Title: Re: Improving the original? What to improve to do the game even better?
Post by: Halleck on January 27, 2006, 06:31:53 am
Hm... it does look ever so slightly lopsided, but I still like it a lot.  :)


Title: Re: Improving the original? What to improve to do the game even better?
Post by: bpoint on January 27, 2006, 07:26:30 am
I agree... your work is impressive, Clay.  Keep it up and hopefully one day UQM will have some new, updated ship graphics.


Title: Re: Improving the original? What to improve to do the game even better?
Post by: Draxas on January 27, 2006, 08:24:15 am
I think he's not happy, because he wasn't able to highlight very much fine detail on this one, unlike the others. However, I think it looks great! Keep up the good work!


Title: Re: Improving the original? What to improve to do the game even better?
Post by: JonoPorter on January 27, 2006, 08:38:32 am
Even though i cant see it. (All i see is a big red X)
I know it has to be good based of previous work so good job!


Title: Re: Improving the original? What to improve to do the game even better?
Post by: GeomanNL on January 27, 2006, 12:24:06 pm
Imo you shouldn't add too many details to the models, to avoid aliasing when someone zooms out and the ship graphics shrinks. In the Chmmr model, you have made the red stripes and the spikes at the front thinner than the "original", imo it should be about as thick, or if possible, thicker... unless it would look bad that way.

I am not fond of the back of the Chmmr that you have drawn - I think the shadow just below the bottom blue gem is the wrong way around. Also, the curvature at the back interrupts the symmetry of the ship.

For the rest it's fine. Fyi, I requested detailed ship graphics a while back on these forums, and now you're making them... can i have a copy when you're done ? I'm mostly interested in SC1 ships, but also SC2 ships (for use in my own project).

edit:
I also have a comment on the Yehat graphic, I think the colors you've used are too darkish. For the rest it looks nice.


Title: Re: Improving the original? What to improve to do the game even better?
Post by: Megagun on January 27, 2006, 03:27:07 pm
Nice stuff, Clay, but about the Yehat: it's *NOT* angular at the front.. It's a smooth curve.. See http://starcontrol.classicgaming.gamespy.com/sc2/shipspecs/yehat-spec.jpg


Title: Re: Improving the original? What to improve to do the game even better?
Post by: Clay on January 27, 2006, 09:33:58 pm
Hm... it does look ever so slightly lopsided, but I still like it a lot.  :)

Yeah, I'm not quite sure WHY either.  I flipped the left side to make the right, just coloring over it.  I think the lopsided-ness is mostly an optical illusion.  I did have to redraw the bottom point, so that might also be a reason.

I think he's not happy, because he wasn't able to highlight very much fine detail on this one, unlike the others. However, I think it looks great! Keep up the good work!

Yeah, Nothing I tried looked right.  The Avatar was already a complex design that made added detail look cluttered.  Certainly nothing I can do and keep when the graphic is scaled down.

As it stands, it looks MUCH better when changed to its 640 x 480 size.

I am not fond of the back of the Chmmr that you have drawn - I think the shadow just below the bottom blue gem is the wrong way around. Also, the curvature at the back interrupts the symmetry of the ship.

Like the Precursor remixes, I'll never please everybody.  The dark area below the gem was part of my fancy of that gem being the source of the ship's propulsion, and thus needed a vent backwards.  It also gave detail where there was little.  As for the curve...you might have a point.  I debated myself, but the ship just seemed TOO angular otherwise.  Maybe it'll be worth another look later.

Nice stuff, Clay, but about the Yehat: it's *NOT* angular at the front.. It's a smooth curve.. See http://starcontrol.classicgaming.gamespy.com/sc2/shipspecs/yehat-spec.jpg

Depends on who you ask.  As illustrated earlier in this thread, the SC1 spec image of the Skiff does not match its sprite.  In Star Control II, if you look at the blown up Yehat graphic that appears between your CREW and FUEL, you'll see that the graphic artist very clearly includes that angular shape.  With the large size, he could've very easily made a smooth curve (Something that would be difficult with the original tiny sprite) but chose not to.  If you look at the other spec sheets, you'll see similar incongruities.

I find the spec graphic for the Yehat hideous, so I went with the newer SC2 illustration.  And come on....would you rather fly a boomerang...or a BATARANG?  That's what I thought! ;p

Edit: To address concerns about too much detail, I went ahead and resized the Avatar.

(http://www.wiseturtle.com/sc2avatarsmall.jpg)

As you can see, the points and the stripes are still plainly visible.


Title: Re: Improving the original? What to improve to do the game even better?
Post by: Halleck on January 28, 2006, 10:06:09 am
Looks fine to me- it's nearly identical at that resolution.


Title: Re: Improving the original? What to improve to do the game even better?
Post by: GeomanNL on January 28, 2006, 10:22:51 pm
Quote
As you can see, the points and the stripes are still plainly visible.

Sure, but imo the colors of the red stripes are averaged out (by the grey surroundings) and have lost their brightness. Such a thing can be avoided by choosing a reference color for a feature, and to apply detail using small color variations to the average.

However, imo it's a cool picture for use as background for some information screen, where one doesn't have the problem of scaling down to miniature size.

Anyway, this is all imo - don't let it spoil your fun.


Title: Re: Improving the original? What to improve to do the game even better?
Post by: Clay on January 28, 2006, 10:48:56 pm
I think you forget that the original game was VGA, and most of the sprites scaled down were hardly recognizable...

I think losing the saturation of the stripe is not such a big deal. ^_^;


Title: Re: Improving the original? What to improve to do the game even better?
Post by: GeomanNL on January 28, 2006, 10:55:12 pm
I know ... but I still think it's a shame, because it's unnecessary, and because I liked the brightness of the SC2 ships which is lost in a teeny weeny bit now. Anyway, I'll stop complaining now, because apart from this minor point, I like your work.


Title: Re: Improving the original? What to improve to do the game even better?
Post by: Clay on January 28, 2006, 11:56:43 pm
Eh, I'm just being contrary anyway.  Because UQM uses three steps of sprites between sizings (as a legacy from the three-step view in the old PC game) I see no reason why I couldn't touch up sprites in 3 sizes.  That way, I can rebrighten blurred stripes and draw in bigger details when aliasing obscure them.

So fret not, I'll make sure they look as good as they can be, should it happen someday.


Title: Re: Improving the original? What to improve to do the game even better?
Post by: Clay on January 29, 2006, 12:00:38 am
Oh great teacher, look what we found *snort*!

(http://www.wiseturtle.com/sc2thraddash.jpg)


Title: Re: Improving the original? What to improve to do the game even better?
Post by: Clay on January 29, 2006, 12:43:39 am
Through some Photoshop wizardry, I've managed to make the Avatar spin and keep the light source to the right.  It's not as precise as current sprites, but it takes 30 minutes as opposed to 30 hours to do.

(http://www.wiseturtle.com/sc2avatarspin1.gif)


Title: Re: Improving the original? What to improve to do the game even better?
Post by: Deus Siddis on January 29, 2006, 02:19:50 am
Cool! It looks like a winner to me. Drawing each one by hand would take forever and probably have some inconsistencies in certain frames, anyway.


Title: Re: Improving the original? What to improve to do the game even better?
Post by: Halleck on January 29, 2006, 02:28:23 am
Cool cool cool!

I love the thraddash- although I'm a bit surprised by the pink trim.

Perhaps this is from the hypothetical "syreen culture" discussed previously?  ;D


Title: Re: Improving the original? What to improve to do the game even better?
Post by: Vee-R on January 29, 2006, 05:04:39 am
Any help needed with photoshopping hi-res ships?   I can do a few - should be fun.


Title: Re: Improving the original? What to improve to do the game even better?
Post by: Clay on January 29, 2006, 06:12:11 am
Cool cool cool!

I love the thraddash- although I'm a bit surprised by the pink trim.

Perhaps this is from the hypothetical "syreen culture" discussed previously?  ;D

Haha, maybe so.  I was actually inspired by their VERY PURPLE in-game pilot graphic.  The stripes were originally blue, but seemed flat and dull.  The purply-pink really pops, and is a kinda funny contrast against their UBER MACHO demeanor.

Any help needed with photoshopping hi-res ships?   I can do a few - should be fun.

Hey, I don't have dibs on this train-ride.  I may end up doing them all myself anyway, but I don't see why anyone who wants to can't join in on the fun. ^_^


Title: Re: Improving the original? What to improve to do the game even better?
Post by: Draxas on January 29, 2006, 11:01:54 am
The Torch looks quite good, stripes and all. Personally, I'm going to call them "tribal markings" and be done with it. Never mind the color, it's to distract opponents so the Torch can close distance without retaliation!

...Or something.

Anyway, here's a random thing I've always wondered: Just what are those orbs on the corners for, anyway?


Title: Re: Improving the original? What to improve to do the game even better?
Post by: Censored on January 29, 2006, 11:48:19 am
Anyway, here's a random thing I've always wondered: Just what are those orbs on the corners for, anyway?

Anti-gravitational power discs?
Electromagnetic trans-conductor flux discharges?
Radioactive Torch exhaust radiation?
Highly condensed gaseous emission?

NO!

These are car lights. only they put the red ones in front and the white ones in the back. Silly Thraddash!


Title: Re: Improving the original? What to improve to do the game even better?
Post by: Serosis on January 29, 2006, 12:32:39 pm
Anyway, here's a random thing I've always wondered: Just what are those orbs on the corners for, anyway?

heres the PNF description;
 http://starcontrol.classicgaming.gamespy.com/sc2/shipspecs/rw-thraddash-spec.jpg


Title: Re: Improving the original? What to improve to do the game even better?
Post by: meep-eep on January 29, 2006, 01:18:53 pm
The Thraddash have different colour receptors. To them it looks very macho. ;)

The whole Thraddash ship has always looked a bit like a water strider (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Water_strider) to me. The globes would be the impression in the water.


Title: Re: Improving the original? What to improve to do the game even better?
Post by: Clay on January 30, 2006, 03:42:10 am
The whole Thraddash ship has always looked a bit like a water strider (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Water_strider) to me. The globes would be the impression in the water.

Very interesting comparison! I think I felt this too, on a subconscious level.  At the very least, it immediately made sense when you suggested it.  Torches even dart around quite a bit like pond skaters...

But yeah, definitely differing color receptors. >_>


Title: Re: Improving the original? What to improve to do the game even better?
Post by: Deus Siddis on January 30, 2006, 06:03:36 am
Hmm, perhaps thraddash would not do so poorly in synchronized swimming events as one might believe.


Title: Re: Improving the original? What to improve to do the game even better?
Post by: DwD on January 30, 2006, 06:32:15 am
I've already made a few changes to my own version of UQM. 

I've buffed all the ships a bit.  I didn't turn them all into super ships, just made them more equal to the Presursor ship once you begin adding modules to it.  They were just too easy to beat.

I've also added life to Mars and to Ganymede in the Sol system.  I remember when I first played the game how completely disappointed I was to not find life on Mars.  The life on Ganymede is just to give you enuff bio data to make your first purchase from a trade master when you meet one.  For me it was very early in the game, when I visited Alpha Centauri.  That BIG red sun is just SO close and irresitable.

 ;D


Title: Re: Improving the original? What to improve to do the game even better?
Post by: Deus Siddis on January 30, 2006, 04:51:39 pm
It might be more accurate if you put life on Europa. Especially aquatic looking life.


Title: Re: Improving the original? What to improve to do the game even better?
Post by: DwD on January 31, 2006, 01:24:00 am
True about life on Europa, but was it even included in the game?  I don't remember it.  Oh well, if it's not there, maybe I can add it.

 ;)


Title: Re: Improving the original? What to improve to do the game even better?
Post by: Deus Siddis on January 31, 2006, 04:13:53 am
Wow, no Europa? I had forgotten.


Title: Re: Improving the original? What to improve to do the game even better?
Post by: Zieman on January 31, 2006, 11:22:33 pm
All the Galilean moons are there.
No ife on Europa was always a big disappointment for me.


Title: Re: Improving the original? What to improve to do the game even better?
Post by: Death 999 on February 01, 2006, 09:41:07 pm
How about, it's there, but the lander can't get a stunner blast down through the kilometers of ice.

Or, it was there before the industrial accident of 2067...


Title: Re: Improving the original? What to improve to do the game even better?
Post by: Draxas on February 02, 2006, 12:04:20 am
Or maybe it's just a bit hard to hit microscopic organisms with a stunner. Just because you don't see critters running across the surface of a planet, doesn't mean nothing lives there; do you really have the time to study every single random planet's fossil record and current state for signs of life?


Title: Re: Improving the original? What to improve to do the game even better?
Post by: Censored on February 03, 2006, 01:22:39 am
no.

you click the scanner ;)


Title: Re: Improving the original? What to improve to do the game even better?
Post by: Bongo Bill on February 03, 2006, 01:33:07 am
Where in the source code does one find the data for life forms on specific worlds, anyway?


Title: Re: Improving the original? What to improve to do the game even better?
Post by: Clay on February 03, 2006, 07:08:41 am
We did.  You did.  Yes we can.  No.

(http://www.wiseturtle.com/sc2kohr-ah.jpg)


Title: Re: Improving the original? What to improve to do the game even better?
Post by: Halleck on February 03, 2006, 07:15:25 am
Ooooooooooooooooooo.
It's even more lurk-y and menacing than before.

You've got yourself another hit, clay!


Title: Re: Improving the original? What to improve to do the game even better?
Post by: Serosis on February 03, 2006, 08:56:54 am
We did.  You did.  Yes we can.  No.

(http://www.wiseturtle.com/sc2kohr-ah.jpg)

I love it, it looks even more sinister than before ;D


you don't mind if i use this for my avatar do ya? ;D

.:: EDIT ::.
Actually could you send me the original so i can resize it without losing quality?

and another kwestion, what did you use to make these?


Title: Re: Improving the original? What to improve to do the game even better?
Post by: Serosis on February 03, 2006, 08:58:28 am
Where in the source code does one find the data for life forms on specific worlds, anyway?

yeah, i've been looking for about 2 minutes and i gave up cause my A.D.D. saw somethin else that was interesting ;D


Title: Re: Improving the original? What to improve to do the game even better?
Post by: JonoPorter on February 03, 2006, 09:24:45 am
Cool Kohr-ah.
But I always though the kohr-ah's ships were inspired by the movie aliens. So I was expecting a Spine running the length of the ship, with protruding backbones.
They even have a bone pit below them in the communications so that gave me more of  that impression. 


Title: Re: Improving the original? What to improve to do the game even better?
Post by: Clay on February 03, 2006, 03:20:43 pm
Cool Kohr-ah.
But I always though the kohr-ah's ships were inspired by the movie aliens. So I was expecting a Spine running the length of the ship, with protruding backbones.
They even have a bone pit below them in the communications so that gave me more of  that impression. 


Well, I dunno about Aliens, since I've never seen it.  *Blasphemy!* But I actually did take their bone-fascination into account.  I did my best to include pits and slopes and divits reminescent of bone structure.  You'll probably most see the human pelvic bone, but there's notes of the skull and various carapaces too.  I did try to make the bumps on the back very spinal, but what you see is what you get. ^_^;

It still doesn't seem quite as organic as I wanted it to be.  The old sprite seemed so oddly detailed, despite its low resolution.  But this is what I could do. ^^;

Kohr-Ah Death: Sure! Go for it; I'd be honored.  Unfortunately, this is the best version you're going to get.  I do the sprites based on the size of the ship image above the pilot animation x 400% (If I recall)   This should be more than enough to create a 1024x768 res game, if not better.  However, this doesn't make it very printable or anything.

But fret not, I could always resize and doctor it to look good at larger sizes/higher resolutions.  If I worked at that size to start with, these would take me much longer to make.


Title: Re: Improving the original? What to improve to do the game even better?
Post by: Serosis on February 04, 2006, 07:08:07 am
Kohr-Ah Death: Sure! Go for it; I'd be honored.  Unfortunately, this is the best version you're going to get.  I do the sprites based on the size of the ship image above the pilot animation x 400% (If I recall)   This should be more than enough to create a 1024x768 res game, if not better.  However, this doesn't make it very printable or anything.

But fret not, I could always resize and doctor it to look good at larger sizes/higher resolutions.  If I worked at that size to start with, these would take me much longer to make.

cool, i'll get to work on fitting this for the avatar size, and tilt it at least 45 degrees  ;D


Title: Re: Improving the original? What to improve to do the game even better?
Post by: Megagun on February 04, 2006, 03:02:36 pm
Oh god.. How much I hate images in signatures...

*Imageblocks*


Title: Re: Improving the original? What to improve to do the game even better?
Post by: DwD on February 06, 2006, 12:55:24 am
Most of the systems are generated at random, I think.  The only ones with specific generation instructions, that I have found,  are key to the storyline.
Thay are located in the "uqm-0.4.0\src\sc2code\planets" folder.


Title: Re: Improving the original? What to improve to do the game even better?
Post by: taltamir on February 06, 2006, 09:13:52 am
Most of the systems are generated at random, I think.  The only ones with specific generation instructions, that I have found,  are key to the storyline.
Thay are located in the "uqm-0.4.0\src\sc2code\planets" folder.

wait what? I thought ALL Systems were predefined... I definatly recognize certain useless systems to be completely identical every time... furthermore, there is a PDF provided with the DOS Game bundled with SC3 which details the exact amounts of minerals and biomatter in all systems...

If there is any randomization then its news to me, and possibly an addition made when 3do messed with the code...


Title: Re: Improving the original? What to improve to do the game even better?
Post by: meep-eep on February 06, 2006, 11:25:51 am
Planets on SC2 (and UQM) are generated using a pseudo-random number generator, but the seeds are fixed. So they are not stored as is, but they come out the same way every time.
The exception are the quest systems, where the generated system is sometimes modified, or (like for Sol) is hard-coded from scratch.


Title: Re: Improving the original? What to improve to do the game even better?
Post by: WhiteNoiz on February 07, 2006, 09:50:56 pm
Not sure if this has been mentioned since I didn't feel like reading the entire thread, but here goes:

I think this is general to all 'old' games but SC2 moves very slowly compared to modern games. If there were a way to speed up travel between stars and even between planets it would be welcome. The whole process of going to a planet, scanning it, getting the minerals, etc can be tedious as well. The joy of exploring is what makes SC2 fun, but maybe the process can be streamlined. Also, combat is *hard*.. Old games required much better reflexes than today's games. That's fine, but maybe a more gradually increasing difficulty would make the experience nicer. Finally, there's no autosave. So you can get stuck in a situation where you have to replay a large portion of the game if you are not careful. An option to automatically save each time you get to a new system might be nice.


Title: Re: Improving the original? What to improve to do the game even better?
Post by: Censored on February 07, 2006, 10:09:52 pm
Not sure if this has been mentioned since I didn't feel like reading the entire thread, but here goes:

I think this is general to all 'old' games but SC2 moves very slowly compared to modern games. If there were a way to speed up travel between stars and even between planets it would be welcome. The whole process of going to a planet, scanning it, getting the minerals, etc can be tedious as well. The joy of exploring is what makes SC2 fun, but maybe the process can be streamlined.

the travel speed - perhaps you're right about that (though enemy "holes" should be sped up accordingly). However, I think mining planets is an integral part. If you want to cut some time from there too, perhaps a scanner for an entire solar system - with potential bio/minerals on each planet would be nice, and I don't think it would deminish gaming quality. This could also be an expensive module bought on the Starbase / from the Melnorme, that you have to install on the flagship to use.

Finally, there's no autosave. So you can get stuck in a situation where you have to replay a large portion of the game if you are not careful. An option to automatically save each time you get to a new system might be nice.
If I remember correctly, you can win the game even after the time limit is reached; even if you don't get the Sun Device when the Mycon move their sphere. In fact, the only reason why you would *have* to reload the game is if you don't have enough time to complete the required tasks to win the game (and in that case you would have to restart the game, actually).
Remember that you don't have to do that much. You could wait for the time limit to be reached, hop to the planet of the Bomb and get it after the Kohr-Ah are done with the Utwig. Go to the Sun Device and take that (after they are annihilated too), then reach Procyon, then the Sa Matra (this is all in theory, never tried it, not sure if there's enough time before the Kohr-Ah reach Sol).


Title: Re: Improving the original? What to improve to do the game even better?
Post by: Halleck on February 08, 2006, 03:24:19 am
I've tried it, that's how I beat the game my first time through. There is enough time, but not for aimless exploration- you need to have a clear goal and an idea of how to accomplish it.

Still, there are other undesirable situations where autosaves might help- blunders in diplomacy, selling crewmembers in excess to the druuge, etc. can create situations where a revert could help things.


Title: Re: Improving the original? What to improve to do the game even better?
Post by: Terrell on February 11, 2006, 01:18:13 am
In SC 3 there were artifacts that could be used to improve escort ships. They had to be analyzed and they'd only make 1 improvement to one specific type of ship.  Though overall SC3 was a disappointment I liked this specific feature.  You could upgrade existing ships for a RU cost, but after you had the artifact you could build better ships (but they'd cost more than the originals so an Earthling Crusier that was upgraded could cost 1500 RU instead of the 1100 RU that an unmodified one costs)

Some have mentioned how the flagship is too powerful after you power it up, but since it's a Precursor ship it should be more powerful than the others.  I don't think we should mess with that, it could go too far in the wrong direction.  Think of how useless the Colony ship in SC3 was in combat, it was slow, it's weapon weak, it's point defense was a little better though than the packs used in SC2. 

A better option to weakening the flagship might be that those ships that are your enemies get some ability to upgrade their ships (like the artifacts in SC3). 


Title: Re: Improving the original? What to improve to do the game even better?
Post by: Clay on February 11, 2006, 03:07:48 am
Despite days of tinkering, I have to relent that the Druuge Mauler is a complete failure.

Here it is anyway.  Moving on to Shofixti before I have to submit myself to a Spathi stoning.

(http://www.wiseturtle.com/sc2druuge.jpg)

They tell me that'll cost you roughly 40 of your crew...


Title: Re: Improving the original? What to improve to do the game even better?
Post by: Deus Siddis on February 11, 2006, 06:27:49 am
I'm not sure I see exactly what is so horribly wrong with it. It appears to be a good fit to me. Perhaps you've just been looking at it too long.


Title: Re: Improving the original? What to improve to do the game even better?
Post by: Censored on February 11, 2006, 07:41:49 pm
I always thought of the green light there as light, not some orb or a structure.

thinking of a sniper rifle with night vision, that's where the green light comes from.


Title: Re: Improving the original? What to improve to do the game even better?
Post by: Draxas on February 11, 2006, 10:52:02 pm
Yeah? Until I saw those schematic drawings (which I understand were fanmade for the SC2 ships), I always thought it was the cockpit. Especially with that convenient linkage right into the furnace...

I think it looks pretty good overall, I'm not sure why you think it's a failure. It could use a touch more consistent lightsourcing on the engine, but other than that, I think it looks rather nice. This may be a case where the artist is never happy with their own work...


Title: Re: Improving the original? What to improve to do the game even better?
Post by: Clay on February 12, 2006, 02:52:55 am
I think the main issue I have is the base...I was attempting something "gothic" as a tribute to their dark nature, but I don't think it's carried out very well.

Despite its simplicity, the Mauler was a difficult design to spice up.  (I don't care for the fan schematic at all, which is why I largely ignored it.)

On a lighter note, I became a FRUNGY CHAMPION with my Druuge post!  *Dances*


Title: Re: Improving the original? What to improve to do the game even better?
Post by: Captain_Smith on February 12, 2006, 04:15:40 am
You're doing well with the pictures, keep it up.

(and actually I think what's going to be more interesting is if someone decides to redo the ship captain pictograms - it'll be interesting the interpretations that come from those)


Title: Re: Improving the original? What to improve to do the game even better?
Post by: Clay on February 12, 2006, 04:42:56 am
If I ever finish the ships, that's my next target.  Some DESPERATELY need overhauls.  (5-legged illwrath, anyone?)


Title: Re: Improving the original? What to improve to do the game even better?
Post by: Censored on February 12, 2006, 04:47:08 pm
may I interest you in drawing texture maps for 3D renderings of the captain 'pictograms' and conversations instead?
alas we'll need quality 3D realizations of the captains first..


Title: Re: Improving the original? What to improve to do the game even better?
Post by: Clay on February 12, 2006, 05:09:25 pm
I've never done much texturing, but I'd be willing to give it a shot.  However, I think the odds of anyone doing 3D renderings of aging pilot graphics are near zero.

Also, call me an old fogey, but I'm not sure if I'd even WANT them to be 3D rendered, unless good texture techniques disguised it as much as possible.


Title: Re: Improving the original? What to improve to do the game even better?
Post by: Vee-R on February 12, 2006, 08:19:11 pm
What about aspect ratio?

I mean, the actual ship graphics were originally created for use in a 320x200 resolution (PC version), which makes them appear slightly 'squashed' in 320x240 (3DO and UQM).  This isn't that much of a problem, but when you create higher-resolution versions, based on the ship images with the "new" aspect ratio, it becomes a problem to rotate them while still keeping the same proportions (this is most evident with circular ships; Mycon, Arilou).

This isn't petty criticism, mind you - I'm asking since I offered to help out myself... wondering how to get around this.


Title: Re: Improving the original? What to improve to do the game even better?
Post by: Halleck on February 13, 2006, 03:14:43 am
Also, call me an old fogey, but I'm not sure if I'd even WANT them to be 3D rendered, unless good texture techniques disguised it as much as possible.
I'm with you one hundered percent. The intro/ending slides and conversation graphics were based on paintings (ex: The Sa-Matra (http://www.fortunecity.com/tatooine/wilhelm/330/page77.htm), Zelnick and Talana (http://www.fortunecity.com/tatooine/wilhelm/330/page73.htm), and the Chmmr (http://www.fortunecity.com/tatooine/wilhelm/330/page80.htm)), and the whole game feels more like a series of drawings/paintings/cartoons than photorealistic depictions.


Title: Re: Improving the original? What to improve to do the game even better?
Post by: Vee-R on February 14, 2006, 12:12:07 am
Okay - in the meantime I went ahead anyway and worked on a new Avenger. Two versions, not sure which one I like best; I think the texture on #2 makes for some nice extra detail, but also makes it less "smooth" and slightly more amateruish-looking than #1.

(http://209.200.79.64/temp/ilwrath.png)


Title: Re: Improving the original? What to improve to do the game even better?
Post by: Clay on February 14, 2006, 01:27:44 am
Wow, awesome.  The clean lines are very nice...much cleaner than mine. I think I actually prefer the textured version, but both are great.  If I had to make a criticism, the red bumps on the neck are a tad too perfect compared to the rest of the curvy design, but that's just me.

Certainly kicks the mess out of my Druuge...


Title: Re: Improving the original? What to improve to do the game even better?
Post by: Deus Siddis on February 14, 2006, 04:27:10 am
Very Cool. One thing you might want to do though, is make the wing tips symmetrical, to better match the original.


Title: Re: Improving the original? What to improve to do the game even better?
Post by: Vee-R on February 14, 2006, 04:39:01 pm
Wow, awesome.  The clean lines are very nice...much cleaner than mine. I think I actually prefer the textured version, but both are great.  If I had to make a criticism, the red bumps on the neck are a tad too perfect compared to the rest of the curvy design, but that's just me.

Thanks, man. Yeah, I relied on the dreaded SC1 ship-specs for what the red bumps should look like, more or less... initially I tried to have them a little more spiky and ominous, but it didn't quite work. hahah.

Quote
Certainly kicks the mess out of my Druuge...

Hah. Well, if it helps, I think the Druuge is your lone misfire so far. You seem to have a somewhat more "comic book"-like drawing style, which has worked VERY well for all the other ships. The Druuge, I think, just needs some smoother gradients, maybe some extra (subtle) detail.

Quote from: Deus_Siddis
Very Cool. One thing you might want to do though, is make the wing tips symmetrical, to better match the original.

Maybe. Although, with such a low-res original model, you can take small liberties like that and still have it matching very closely; the combination of curvy lines with a few uneven, slightly asymmetrical spikes sort of fits the Ilwrath's dark/volatile nature, if that makes any sense.


Title: Re: Improving the original? What to improve to do the game even better?
Post by: Dillrat on February 14, 2006, 07:22:51 pm
I like the second one a bit more than the third one actually. 


Title: Re: Improving the original? What to improve to do the game even better?
Post by: meep-eep on February 14, 2006, 08:08:15 pm
I suspect it would look quite threatening with a bloodshot eye as the middle circle.



Title: Re: Improving the original? What to improve to do the game even better?
Post by: Death 999 on February 14, 2006, 09:47:26 pm
clay, about the Druuge:
I think the only thing I'd change would be to make the body texture less ridged. Otherwise great.


Title: Re: Improving the original? What to improve to do the game even better?
Post by: Serosis on February 14, 2006, 09:54:23 pm
Wow, awesome.  The clean lines are very nice...much cleaner than mine. I think I actually prefer the textured version, but both are great.  If I had to make a criticism, the red bumps on the neck are a tad too perfect compared to the rest of the curvy design, but that's just me.

Thanks, man. Yeah, I relied on the dreaded SC1 ship-specs for what the red bumps should look like, more or less... initially I tried to have them a little more spiky and ominous, but it didn't quite work. hahah.

you could try downward "scythes" or in other terms: curved downward spikes that gradually get a little bigger.

i think that would add to the look, and bring it out of the "pink klingon" look  :D


Title: Re: Improving the original? What to improve to do the game even better?
Post by: Censored on February 16, 2006, 10:52:58 pm
Maybe. Although, with such a low-res original model, you can take small liberties like that and still have it matching very closely; the combination of curvy lines with a few uneven, slightly asymmetrical spikes sort of fits the Ilwrath's dark/volatile nature, if that makes any sense.

That sounds like a very noble excuse. However, in the end, people who haven't read your post would still comment "this is not right.. it's flawed!".



Title: Re: Improving the original? What to improve to do the game even better?
Post by: guesst on February 16, 2006, 11:12:41 pm
Okay - in the meantime I went ahead anyway and worked on a new Avenger. Two versions, not sure which one I like best; I think the texture on #2 makes for some nice extra detail, but also makes it less "smooth" and slightly more amateruish-looking than #1.

(http://209.200.79.64/temp/ilwrath.png)

I disagree. It think the texturing on the last one makes it look more professional.

Now, on these ones that you've done, have you done the total rotation or just the 12 o'clock position?


Title: Re: Improving the original? What to improve to do the game even better?
Post by: Jeff Graw on February 17, 2006, 02:12:51 am
Wow, awesome.  The clean lines are very nice...much cleaner than mine. I think I actually prefer the textured version, but both are great.  If I had to make a criticism, the red bumps on the neck are a tad too perfect compared to the rest of the curvy design, but that's just me.

Thanks, man. Yeah, I relied on the dreaded SC1 ship-specs for what the red bumps should look like, more or less... initially I tried to have them a little more spiky and ominous, but it didn't quite work. hahah.

you could try downward "scythes" or in other terms: curved downward spikes that gradually get a little bigger.

i think that would add to the look, and bring it out of the "pink klingon" look  :D

I liked the pink klingon look  :'(


Title: Re: Improving the original? What to improve to do the game even better?
Post by: Vee-R on February 19, 2006, 03:23:43 am
Now, on these ones that you've done, have you done the total rotation or just the 12 o'clock position?

Just the 12 o'clock position, for now. Most of the lighting/shadowing is in separate Photoshop layers or layer styles, though, so it should be relatively easy to make the rest of the images later.


Title: Re: Improving the original? What to improve to do the game even better?
Post by: Serosis on February 19, 2006, 03:31:14 am
Wow, awesome.  The clean lines are very nice...much cleaner than mine. I think I actually prefer the textured version, but both are great.  If I had to make a criticism, the red bumps on the neck are a tad too perfect compared to the rest of the curvy design, but that's just me.

Thanks, man. Yeah, I relied on the dreaded SC1 ship-specs for what the red bumps should look like, more or less... initially I tried to have them a little more spiky and ominous, but it didn't quite work. hahah.

Well it'll still look like a "pink klingon" but it'll have a more ominous look and since 4 on each side it'll be like the ship has spider-legs and that'd be perfect since the species is 'spider' like.
you could try downward "scythes" or in other terms: curved downward spikes that gradually get a little bigger.

i think that would add to the look, and bring it out of the "pink klingon" look  :D

I liked the pink klingon look  :'(


Title: Re: Improving the original? What to improve to do the game even better?
Post by: Vee-R on February 19, 2006, 04:44:35 am
Well it'll still look like a "pink klingon" but it'll have a more ominous look and since 4 on each side it'll be like the ship has spider-legs and that'd be perfect since the species is 'spider' like.

Nice idea... I might try it out later. You could also explain that as consistent with the appearance of some other ships (the configuration of an Earthling Cruiser's four thrusters could be said to resemble the four human appendages). :)

In the meantime, I threw together a quick Mycon - not much detail, but I don't really think this ship needs much detail....

(http://209.200.79.64/temp/mycon.png)


Title: Re: Improving the original? What to improve to do the game even better?
Post by: grayfox777 on February 19, 2006, 08:55:47 am
I think they're all great so far!  ;D


Title: Re: Improving the original? What to improve to do the game even better?
Post by: Vee-R on February 19, 2006, 09:06:40 am
And it moves, too!

(http://209.200.79.64/temp/myconrotating.gif)


Title: Re: Improving the original? What to improve to do the game even better?
Post by: ^Nytro^ on February 19, 2006, 03:46:44 pm
I too must claim that I've completely loved almost all the re-do's that appeared in this thread.
all are very accurate, high-detailed, imperessive and yet very source-reliable, in my opinion. And I think all of them are more than worthy to make it into the game, or better-wise into BioSlayer's UQrM project. I think it couldn't be better for that project if those ship graphics were in it.
Of coarse, I'm not saying it's easy. it would require hell lot of efforts as we all know, but I think it worths the try since eventually this is the known goal. if every talented artist could contribute to the making of the ships collection and maybe the whole graphic interface, we'd be watching a complete game, counting on BioSlayer's progress.
If I get it right the drawings aren't currently suitable for implementing as 3d models for UQrM but I like to believe it is all possible, though all it requires is the cooperation of all, and some time.


P.S: I can't see the Podship's animation. how frames are in it?
and Bioslayer, how many rotation steps for the ships are in your engine?


Title: Re: Improving the original? What to improve to do the game even better?
Post by: Clay on February 19, 2006, 08:16:43 pm
Here, you Dirty Ur-Quan Carapace Lickers!

(http://www.wiseturtle.com/sc2shofixti.jpg)


Title: Re: Improving the original? What to improve to do the game even better?
Post by: Draxas on February 19, 2006, 08:26:50 pm
Both Mycon and Shofixti are most impressive. Keep up the excellent work, fellas!


Title: Re: Improving the original? What to improve to do the game even better?
Post by: Deus Siddis on February 19, 2006, 09:33:23 pm
Wow, they're coming in fast now. :)

You both might want to post what you are and will be working on in the near future, so that you don't each end up recreating the same craft.


Title: Re: Improving the original? What to improve to do the game even better?
Post by: Clay on February 19, 2006, 09:39:59 pm
True, thought it might be interesting to see the same ship done side-by-side.

I really don't know what I'm going to tackle next, though. ^_^;


Title: Re: Improving the original? What to improve to do the game even better?
Post by: Censored on February 19, 2006, 10:03:00 pm
let's see.. what's left?

if I'm not mistaken:

Syreen
Earthlings
VUX
Ur-Quan Kzer-Za
Supox
Utwig
Slylandro
Pkunk
Zoq-Fot-Pik
the Flagship
the Sa-Matra

pick your favorite ;)


Title: Re: Improving the original? What to improve to do the game even better?
Post by: JonoPorter on February 19, 2006, 11:00:52 pm
Bioslayer, how many rotation steps for the ships are in your engine?
As many as the number of floating point numbers you can represent by a double between 0 and 2PI. So effectively infinite.

 If I were to do 2D ships I would probably use bump mapping (http://web.cs.wpi.edu/~matt/courses/cs563/talks/bump/bumpmap.html) to do the shadows. Instead of pre-rotated images.


Title: Re: Improving the original? What to improve to do the game even better?
Post by: Clay on February 20, 2006, 12:12:56 am
let's see.. what's left?

if I'm not mistaken...
LIST
...pick your favorite ;)

Hrm...I was about to say we were a lot further than I thought, but you left out quite a few unfortunately... the Umgah and the Androsynth for two.

Gonna make a complete list, along with a note with which I'm personally interested in trying...

- Androsynth GUARDIAN
c Arilou SKIFF
- Chenjesu BROODHOME
c Chmmr AVATAR
c Druuge MAULER
- Earthling CRUISER
v Ilwrath AVENGER
c Kohr-Ah MARAUDER
- Melnorme TRADER
* Mmrnhrm X-FORM
v Mycon PODSHIP
* Orz NEMESIS
- Pkunk FURY
c Shofixti SCOUT
- Slyrandro PROBE
- Spathi ELUDER
- Supox BLADE
- Syreen PENETRATORv
c Thraddash TORCH
- Umgah DRONE
- Ur-Quan DREADNAUGHT
- Utwig JUGGER
* VUX INTRUDER
c Yehat TERMINATOR
- Zot-Fot-Pik STINGER

c's me, v's Vile, and * means I may try it soon. ^^

One thing that worries me though is if our designs are compatible.  Vile's are so much...cleaner!  And probably much better for use in a game.

But maybe that's insecurity talking. ^^;


Title: Re: Improving the original? What to improve to do the game even better?
Post by: HalfShadow on February 20, 2006, 12:16:45 am
To be honest, something I'd like is the ability to keep playing after you finish the story.

Or can you do that anyway? I haven't played this game in years.


Title: Re: Improving the original? What to improve to do the game even better?
Post by: Clay on February 20, 2006, 12:22:33 am
I'm pretty sure the game ends.  But if you use that "De-clensing" Mod, I suppose you could play indefinitely before taking out the Sa-Matra.

Side note: I tried running a quick "Sharpen" filter on my models.  IMMEDIATELY looks much more in line with Vile Rancour's.  So that's good. ^^


Title: Re: Improving the original? What to improve to do the game even better?
Post by: HalfShadow on February 20, 2006, 12:24:26 am
It would be kind of nice to be able to keep playing; there are a lot of stars in the galaxy.

I wonder how hard that would be to code?


Title: Re: Improving the original? What to improve to do the game even better?
Post by: Clay on February 20, 2006, 12:28:19 am
I doubt it would be hard to code.  The problem is half of the alien conversations will cease to make sense.


Title: Re: Improving the original? What to improve to do the game even better?
Post by: Vee-R on February 20, 2006, 12:44:19 am
P.S: I can't see the Podship's animation. how frames are in it?

16, same as in the game. (Hmmm, it should be working... Try refreshing or copy-pasting the link.)

Quote from: Clay
* VUX INTRUDER
c's me, v's Vile, and * means I may try it soon. ^^

Heh, I was thinking of trying that one next.  Oh well, there's more than enough to go around, I suppose. :)

Quote from: Clay
One thing that worries me though is if our designs are compatible.  Vile's are so much...cleaner!  And probably much better for use in a game.

Don't talk nonsense - yours are perfectly fine. Well, the Druuge could benefit from being redone... but at any rate, I imagine that all of these designs would have to be downsized a bit, even for the highest zoom level, so that any perceived lack of "cleanness" would be straightened out. Not that I think it's needed, but just to quiet your fears. :)


Title: Re: Improving the original? What to improve to do the game even better?
Post by: Clay on February 20, 2006, 12:50:47 am
Eh, go for it.  The Vux is too shiny-smooth for my style anyway.  Seriously, do it. :)

Besides, X-Form is one of my favorites in Super-Melee  ;D And I'd rather tango with Zex than pilot an Intruder...


Title: Re: Improving the original? What to improve to do the game even better?
Post by: Vee-R on February 20, 2006, 01:48:54 am
Thanks. The VUX is a bit of a challenge I think, since the shape, detail, and even the color  vary wildly between the in-game sprite, the big icon and the ship-spec graphic. Gonna give it a try though...


Title: Re: Improving the original? What to improve to do the game even better?
Post by: Clay on February 20, 2006, 01:55:57 am
I tend to use the SC2 portrait as the most canon.  Though occassionaly I take notes from the original ship specs.  (like the darker Shofixti top and the kill paws...)

Be interested which color you pick. ^^


Title: Re: Improving the original? What to improve to do the game even better?
Post by: Censored on February 20, 2006, 01:55:40 pm
Hrm...I was about to say we were a lot further than I thought, but you left out quite a few unfortunately... the Umgah and the Androsynth for two.

right.. sorry about that. didnt concentrate very well, had a test the day after.



It would be kind of nice to be able to keep playing; there are a lot of stars in the galaxy.

I wonder how hard that would be to code?

what do you expect to do after the Sa-Matra? mine planets and squish everyone in super-melee with double hellbores and the tracking device?

if it's the melee you're after, you could just play Super Melee


on the other hand, one feasible way to continue the game would be just as the ending says - destroy the remaining Ur-Quan fleets, together with the Chmmr and the rest of the gang. all the spheres of influence would advance to the middle.. perhaps add a few harmless tasks to the captain.. might be nice and completely in-line with the story, no need to make up new plots.


Title: Re: Improving the original? What to improve to do the game even better?
Post by: Vee-R on February 20, 2006, 05:19:42 pm
Alright - I ended up going with the blue color, for two reasons. One - you can see, the in-game sprite has about as much detail as a Thraddash has subtlety, so it was easier to just work with the larger icon. Two - an aesthetically-obsessed species like the VUX wouldn't really paint their ships an ugly teal color picked out of an artistically-challenged EGA palette. ;)

(http://209.200.79.64/temp/vux.png)


Title: Re: Improving the original? What to improve to do the game even better?
Post by: Censored on February 20, 2006, 06:25:10 pm
impressive!

nice touches there on the details!

maybe you should consider adding a bit of ambient light on the ship's hull near the.. exhaust pipe (seeing as the afterburner's aura should reflect on the metal hull)


Title: Re: Improving the original? What to improve to do the game even better?
Post by: guesst on February 20, 2006, 06:58:43 pm
Alright - I ended up going with the blue color, for two reasons. One - you can see, the in-game sprite has about as much detail as a Thraddash has subtlety, so it was easier to just work with the larger icon. Two - an aesthetically-obsessed species like the VUX wouldn't really paint their ships an ugly teal color picked out of an artistically-challenged EGA palette. ;)

(http://209.200.79.64/temp/vux.png)

This sort of thing has, I think, merited it's own thread. You guys are totally going to town on those. I'd love to see more of the rotating pictures too, tho.


Title: Re: Improving the original? What to improve to do the game even better?
Post by: Censored on February 20, 2006, 07:59:39 pm
btw, are you guys using a Wacom pen or some other instrument?
how the hell do you do it?  :o


Title: Re: Improving the original? What to improve to do the game even better?
Post by: Deus Siddis on February 20, 2006, 10:38:49 pm
Great work! I think you made the right choice in making it dark blue, it looks a lot richer.


Title: Re: Improving the original? What to improve to do the game even better?
Post by: JonoPorter on February 21, 2006, 01:39:02 am
It looks nice to humans but how would it look to a vux?


Title: Re: Improving the original? What to improve to do the game even better?
Post by: Clay on February 21, 2006, 02:52:14 am
Horrific!  Terrible.  This is just plain DISGUSTING Vile!  I can't believe I gave you the chance to create this repulsive, grotesque ABOMINATION.

Translated from the VUX, good job, Vile!  It's a shame some of your finer details will be lost in game.  But that's what the ship portrait is for, eh? ^_^


Title: Re: Improving the original? What to improve to do the game even better?
Post by: Mayweather on February 21, 2006, 03:25:19 pm
Hey, what do you think of the following game improvments ?

- you discover a androsyn-ship, a leftover from the war against the orz, crashed on a planet near their former homeworld. You could repair it and add it to your fleet
- you discover a wreckage of a mrhmnrn-ship (how the hell is their name) in Illwrath space. You could get a hint about the Illwrath homeworld or Proceyn


Title: Re: Improving the original? What to improve to do the game even better?
Post by: Draxas on February 21, 2006, 07:50:55 pm
The VUX looks superb, Vile. And I personally laud your decision to use the darker blue; I think that's the color most people feel the ship should be anyway.

Looking forward to the next!


Title: Re: Improving the original? What to improve to do the game even better?
Post by: Censored on February 22, 2006, 07:58:54 am
just my two cents here, if you don't mind :P

had a bit of time off (for the next two weeks) of the semester tests, so I decided to try my favorite - the Broodhome.

not sure about the DOGI, and the DOGI controllers might need a makeover (though I tend to like them this way).

comments are welcome.


(http://img504.imageshack.us/img504/4800/chenjesu76vc.png)




Title: Re: Improving the original? What to improve to do the game even better?
Post by: Megagun on February 22, 2006, 08:22:18 am
Brilliant! All of what I've seen here!

Just one comment about the Broodhome, though... In the original x5 image, it seems as if the octagon diamonds are in some kind of "pit" in the main hull.. As if their base is slightly lower than the actual top of the hull.. I'm talking about the little grey lines around the octagon diamonds in the original image..

But then again, it's really fine as it is just now.. :)


Title: Re: Improving the original? What to improve to do the game even better?
Post by: Censored on February 22, 2006, 08:25:55 am
Just one comment about the Broodhome, though... In the original x5 image, it seems as if the octagon diamonds are in some kind of "pit" in the main hull.. As if their base is slightly lower than the actual top of the hull.. I'm talking about the little grey lines around the octagon diamonds in the original image..

hmm.. I didn't even think about it that way - but then again, I was using the SC1 specs as a reference -

(http://uqm.stack.nl/wiki/images/7/71/Star_control_i_chenjesu_broodhome_databank.png)

in the beginning I even made the border purple, but I figured it's just too weird :P


Title: Re: Improving the original? What to improve to do the game even better?
Post by: Halleck on February 22, 2006, 12:21:19 pm
Very nice, although it appears a little flat (I'm used to seeing the shaded ones.)
I'd always imagined the DOGI to have a bit more of a solid border, but your interpretation is perfectly valid.


Title: Re: Improving the original? What to improve to do the game even better?
Post by: ^Nytro^ on February 22, 2006, 03:40:33 pm
It's quite a nice work on the broodhome, but still,
-I think a bit more shadowing in the "white-spaces-between-the-diamonds" would definately improve them, and generally add some depth to the model (which is what I think it lacks the most).
I think it'll look even better if every diamond will be "embedded" seperately within the white stuff.
Just like Megagun mentioned. (and it's really somewhat opposes the SC1 diagram).
finally about this- and this is inspired from the SC1 diagram- what about some contour at the edge of the ship?
bottom line:  gotta have the feel of a 3d ship there, over a flat, emm... thing.

-those "Resonators for D.O.G.I control" (meaning the little front cannon-things) seem to have been forgotten a bit, it looks like a bunch of diagonal lines as each of them. improvement will be recomanded.

except for this, it's a great work, and don't get me wrong- I admire the graphic makeovers all around here, keep it up.


Title: Re: Improving the original? What to improve to do the game even better?
Post by: guesst on February 22, 2006, 04:40:54 pm
The ship lacks depth, no fault of the rendering. That's one of the faults of a 2-d developed game. None of the ships have any dimension to speak of. Not that that's a bad thing, it's just a thing. SC3 tried designing ships with dimension and many of them IMHO sucked. Not just when viewed from above either. It may just be a fault I have with the depressing color scheme, but that's what happens when they take something too seriously.

Now, personally I'm all for artist liberties and spicing up the original designs, but without a major overhaul, guys, this is probably the best we can expect from the Chenjesu Broodhome.


Title: Re: Improving the original? What to improve to do the game even better?
Post by: Censored on February 22, 2006, 04:45:35 pm
Thanks for the comments. I've updated it a bit, as you can see.
I agree there's some more work to do, alas (fortunately? ;)) I think I've caused enough damage and I still have that 'real life' heaving down my neck.

which is why if Vile or Clay are interested, I'd be happy to turn the helm (and PSD) to their capable hands!


Title: Re: Improving the original? What to improve to do the game even better?
Post by: Censored on February 23, 2006, 05:56:15 pm
just for fun - DOGI animation (give it a second to load):

(http://img228.imageshack.us/img228/8310/anidog5020sk.gif)

not exactly what I wanted, but don't forget that in the game it's smaller and moves around.
I made the 'lightnings' with simple lines and blending effects (glow). I know there should be some plugin out there that makes a much more realistic effect, but on second thought, realism is not what we really want here.




Title: Re: Improving the original? What to improve to do the game even better?
Post by: Juffo on February 23, 2006, 06:23:44 pm
The revamped version is impressive! As the rest of your work.

I find the "DOGI" a bit weird as just a diamond, what about encapsulating it in a white support like the ship?


Title: Re: Improving the original? What to improve to do the game even better?
Post by: Censored on February 23, 2006, 06:27:46 pm
yes, the DOGI is a bit problematic. I've tried a few ideas but nothing really seems fitting. I'll try your idea though, it sounds like it could work.

*edit: hey, not bad :P also, that occasional illumination is a glitch, but after looking at it - it could be used to when the DOGI hits the enemy ship for energy. also updated main image.


Title: Re: Improving the original? What to improve to do the game even better?
Post by: Vee-R on February 24, 2006, 02:57:13 pm
which is why if Vile or Clay are interested, I'd be happy to turn the helm (and PSD) to their capable hands!

Hmm, just to make it known beforehand - if I do decide to do a Broodhome, I'll probably start from scratch; not because of anything related to your design, mind you, I just like working from a clean slate. :)  The DOGI turned out quite well, though.

And by the way, what's with this SC1 screenshot of the Chenjesu specs?  It doesn't look like the one in the game - for one, the font is heavier; the colors also seem slightly off, and the body of the ship looks too smooth, not gradiented and dithered like the actual image in the game.  Strange...

At any rate, what next?  I'm thinking of working on a Supox, for a change, just to take a break from SC1 hierarchy ships.


Title: Re: Improving the original? What to improve to do the game even better?
Post by: evktalo on February 24, 2006, 04:58:07 pm
I'm a little late, but..

I liked the interface mock-up, Clay. Wow! It really *tingled* :)


Title: Re: Improving the original? What to improve to do the game even better?
Post by: ^Nytro^ on February 24, 2006, 09:29:09 pm
I'm eager to see a well-done Pkunk.
I think the following 3D render by Kris Hauser (all rights reserved!), is a very good one, and still- I'll be thrilled if I see even more detailed one, even if it's from top view.
anyway it can make a very good inspiration source (the linear markings on the wings rock..)
(http://starcontrol.classicgaming.gamespy.com/fan/images/pkunk.jpg)

Plus I'm waiting for the probe which is very different then any other, and also Utwig- with some new details, if possible.

Censored- I think the D.O.G.I is the better feature in your Broodhome design.


Title: Re: Improving the original? What to improve to do the game even better?
Post by: Clay on February 24, 2006, 11:32:10 pm
Sorry for the absence and lack of ships, guys.  Seems I'm really falling down on the job. -.o

Chenjesu's nice!  For some reason, I always pictured a more organic interpretation (like the dogi's having short tentacles) but that really makes no sense at all, them being crystaline beings and all.  The lightning makes more sense, and looks like it'd be interesting in game.  (All together! BIG SHOCK EFFECT WHEN DOGI TOUCHES SHIP! WOO!)

Pkunk is by far my favorite, favorite ship to fly.  With that in mind, maybe I should give it a shot.  That or the Mmrn-hrrm. ;D

And thanks for the compliment on the interface! However, from what I've heard, it's much less likely to happen than the improved sprites.  Seems the frames are all drawn through code.


Title: Re: Improving the original? What to improve to do the game even better?
Post by: Halleck on February 25, 2006, 08:18:57 am
New DOGI is much improved. Mega props Censored!


Title: Re: Improving the original? What to improve to do the game even better?
Post by: ^Nytro^ on February 25, 2006, 04:40:40 pm
I agree there's some more work to do, alas (fortunately? ;))

I just have a minor suggestion if you don't mind, really you can feel free to ignore it.
But as I suppose you used photoshop with this model, and for the "revamped" version you applied a "drop shadow" on the diamonds. maybe you can try to apply a "Bevel And Emboss" style instead, with the the "Outer Bevel" or "Pillow Emboss" type, and play with parameters a bit to create an effect of the embedded diamonds. And if you already have another B&E style you know you can resterize the layers and apply a new one just for for the sake of trying.


Title: Re: Improving the original? What to improve to do the game even better?
Post by: Censored on February 25, 2006, 11:23:38 pm
Sure thing, I'll try that.

I would like to point out that I like hearing and working with people's comments, so if anyone has a comment, suggestion or criticisem, feel free - you're more than welcome to send it to me privately or post it here. I appreciate it very much.

*edit: image updated, hopefully to its final form.


Title: Re: Improving the original? What to improve to do the game even better?
Post by: Deus Siddis on February 26, 2006, 06:08:14 am
A few further changes might be making the resonators blue and not spiraled but ringed, and make them and the border thingy more opaque (being blue or purple depending on which you think looks better.)


Title: Re: Improving the original? What to improve to do the game even better?
Post by: Censored on February 27, 2006, 02:22:20 am
Good luck to you both on the Supox and Pkunk!  :D
I've started work on the Slylandro Probe. I've come to realize that it's a very, very special vessel, in the sense that it does not have different frames for turning angles. In fact, it doesn't turn at all - it actually keeps looping the frames (alternatively changing loop direction).
Due to the nature of the two small orbs spinning around the middle shaft, making it "3D"-like, it's a bit of a hassle. I've finished the main frame (looks quite good, with lightnings and 'quasi-reflections' 8)), but before I continue through the animation,  -

I have a questions to the core team, though it might benefit everyone at work on the graphics (also, it might have already been answered, so people can enlighten me)-
considering the appropriate changes to the engine will be made to be able to use the graphics -
what are the plans for graphics, in general?
will the ships be able to turn smoothly (code will rotate the image) or should we make individual frames for each angle?
can/should we add more frames over what there are now?

I hope to post a few examples during the weekend.


Also -
A few further changes...
I've updated the Chenjesu with your recommendations. So much for liberties ;) though it does look more.. conformative. See page 14 of this thread or click (http://uqm.stack.nl/forum/index.php?topic=2666.msg35431#msg35431).


Title: Re: Improving the original? What to improve to do the game even better?
Post by: Deus Siddis on February 27, 2006, 06:10:08 am
Yea, good luck with the probe, it might be a challenge to paint.


"will the ships be able to turn smoothly (code will rotate the image) or should we make individual frames for each angle?"

I think this came up recently and the answer was the 16 frame system will remain in place for the core UQM. Offshoots might use engine rotation perhaps, but as D999 said, changing this would affect the balance of gameplay, as dumbfire weapons would be greatly more effective, especially at close range.


Title: Re: Improving the original? What to improve to do the game even better?
Post by: ^Nytro^ on February 27, 2006, 08:21:40 pm
In this matter we see a big difference between UQM and Bioslayer's UQrM:

the 16 frame system will remain in place for the core UQM.
Bioslayer, how many rotation steps for the ships are in your engine?
As many as the number of floating point numbers you can represent by a double between 0 and 2PI. So effectively infinite.

 If I were to do 2D ships I would probably use bump mapping (http://web.cs.wpi.edu/~matt/courses/cs563/talks/bump/bumpmap.html) to do the shadows. Instead of pre-rotated images.



I've started work on the Slylandro Probe.
good luck with the probe. If you'd ask me what ship you Censored should try, I'd actually say probe for the resemblance to Broodhome, and the "Aura" that you drew around the D.O.G.I. this element repeats in the Probe though it's more important and primary this time.
But I also think it's one of the hardest ships to do, if we're talking about doing it WELL.
So as I said good luck...... ;)


Title: Re: Improving the original? What to improve to do the game even better?
Post by: Vux_Brush on February 27, 2006, 08:32:15 pm
Hi

I come from a new thread I made  (http://uqm.stack.nl/forum/index.php?topic=2821.0) , and was pointed here ;)

Yet to read the long long thread (it's a pleasure, btw, just lack of time)  ...but those recently posted questions by Censored are of great interest.

Well, as I said, now in quite of a crunch time in several fronts, but would be nice to know bout those matters. I have seen those revamped ships are quite hi res...i suppose for 16 directions...While can be used vectorial layer effects and all..I may just bang a quick 3d model, do the rendered rotation animation with a light source, is faster for me when getting certain number of pixels  (anything above 50x50 in a ship ) and too many angles, lights, etc. While human or creature art, the lower, the better, and better in old school painted  pixel art. Anyway I am used to keep style consistent no matter if 3d(strongly 2d touched) or 2d. It all is possible to look same "family".

Anyway, Censored or someone told me the sergeant conversation and all conversations maybe hi resed...that'd mean more work, specially if plans are on doing some more elaborated animation than what is just animating now (small elements. Looks like the work was done in ye good old great Deluxe Paint...)
When I proposed my possible work (in a future day with more time)I thought the plan was keeping at low res like original sc2 game. Lower res is less work, faster output so more number of graphics, and usually 100x times easier animations, as usually are few frames, and DA style, usually quite minimal animation, just expresive.Anyway, by no means I plan to revamp all race animations. I aim to play a bit just with "mir" station sergeant art, more for fun than...That's why I mentioned finally better not disturb the developers. Or if there's some specific graphic/animation needed, be posted, so for if some of us are in the mood or have the time to do a nice work :)

However, the art of these revamps is simply great, even more seing those old ships I liked so much in sc1 long years ago, revisited now in this way...




Title: Re: Improving the original? What to improve to do the game even better?
Post by: Vux_Brush on February 27, 2006, 08:51:17 pm

energizing thread.

Just looking at the pics and reading some comments.

it really makes me wish pick the wacom(2d) or Wings3d+Blender+xsi , and do my top with them.

But...I'm starting to see the danger. I'd easily run wild instead of keeping loyal to reference...Or maybe not. Is as much pleasure to do an strict hi res revamp as to go wild...

Argh.Wish I had not so much gig$(small $) pending :s

Anyway...what's left?  (ships, other art)I have seen here the chenjesu, vux, arilou, ilwrath,mycon...some more.


Well, I'll guess myself...I am suspecting if I do something gonna do "certain" interpretation of the thing...more to decorate even more a thread than other thing... ;)




Title: Re: Improving the original? What to improve to do the game even better?
Post by: MasterNinja on February 28, 2006, 11:38:04 pm
What I wanted in this game since I first played it: REVERSE THROTTLE!

What do you think of that? Would change melee a bit, I think, but do you think, it will destroy the balancing?
Surely it will make navigating in solar systems MUCH easier.

By the way, there is no apparent reason, why the starships should not have this.


Title: Re: Improving the original? What to improve to do the game even better?
Post by: Clay on March 01, 2006, 01:20:51 am
Arguably, there's no reason why underwater ships shouldn't have reverse throttle EITHER.  Doesn't mean they do.  At least, I don't think most of them are capable of substantial speed in reverse.


Title: Re: Improving the original? What to improve to do the game even better?
Post by: 1ceph on March 01, 2006, 04:33:50 pm
Reverse throttle will change the combat a lot. It will be a lot easier to dodge, a lot easier to make hit&runs, etc. Maybe it should be disabled in melee, but why not make allowed in hyperspace/star navigation.


Title: Re: Improving the original? What to improve to do the game even better?
Post by: Megagun on March 01, 2006, 04:39:10 pm
Let's think about this for a while..

What type of engines do most of UQM's ships use? Right! Rocket-style populsion systems (read: squirting out hot gas (mass!) to go forwards)! Can you reverse those? Nope, you can't!

Ofcourse, you can still put those propulsion systems to the front of the ship, too, but would that be practical? You'd basically have TWO large energy-consuming engines, just to for going backwards.. They're heavy, too.. Not really practical, and it'd probably only degrade the ship's performance in battle...

So there you have it. Not really a great idea...

And underwater ships, well, it makes sort of sense for them to DO have reverse throttle.. After all, they don't use rocket-style propulsion, right? For underwater ships, it'd be an EXTRA to have it, without the need to add extra systems to the ship to be able to do that...


Title: Re: Improving the original? What to improve to do the game even better?
Post by: Death 999 on March 01, 2006, 05:25:52 pm
I think that slight side and reverse jets would make sense; but they should be for subtle adjustments, not main thrust. Much less acceleration; half at most, balance could push it to be less. It would certainly make the Druuge much more powerful.

Supox special would then be that its side-thrusters are just as strong as the main ones...


Title: Re: Improving the original? What to improve to do the game even better?
Post by: guesst on March 01, 2006, 06:40:02 pm
Reverse throttle will change the combat a lot. It will be a lot easier to dodge, a lot easier to make hit&runs, etc. Maybe it should be disabled in melee, but why not make allowed in hyperspace/star navigation.

Suppox have reverse throttle. And strafe throttle too. Give that to everyone and what's the suppox got?

If you want a whole world of ships that do reverse throttle play subspace.


Title: Re: Improving the original? What to improve to do the game even better?
Post by: ^Nytro^ on March 01, 2006, 10:44:41 pm
Sure, we can add reverse throttles! and then we'll just move on to Built-in teleporters, and on and on until all the ships get the same... Space Equality I say...... :D


Title: Re: Improving the original? What to improve to do the game even better?
Post by: MasterNinja on March 02, 2006, 03:42:10 pm
Other useful things would be:

Like already mentioned I would like that kind of (semi-)automatic-log, so you don't have to take that much notes... And to display the Location with moon, like someone also said, e.g. Planet IIIb if it's the second moon of the third planet.

Other useful things would be a possibilty in the cargo-view, to let calculate how many RUs to expect from the currently stored minerals (thus doing all the multiplying of the numbers and summing them up). And to set waypoints (rather than a straight course) for autopilot, e.g. to avoid a sphere of influence. Perhaps also the possibillity to speed up game speed in hyperspace, so longer journeys don't get boring ;)

It could be useful, if you could determine, in which direction the planet-lander will point after landing... Also the autopilot could be reprogrammed to leave a solar system on the shortest way AND turning the ship (without throttle) before pushing into hyperspace, so it will point in the direction you will travel off, so you it doesn't have to turn in hyperspace (which may be risky if enemies are chasing you).


Title: Re: Improving the original? What to improve to do the game even better?
Post by: Censored on March 02, 2006, 05:30:35 pm
Welcome Earthlings!

May I interest you in our latest technology in deep-space reconnaissance ?
presenting -

(http://img476.imageshack.us/img476/568/slylandro7poster7sd.png)

The Probe, model 2418-B.

It comes in various customaizable versions:

1. Model 2418-B2. Model 2418-B
(http://img317.imageshack.us/img317/2196/originalanimation0303036lo.gif)(http://img476.imageshack.us/img476/852/slylandro7animationtest06bg.gif)
3. Model 2418-B4. Model 2418-B
(http://img357.imageshack.us/img357/6342/slylandro7animationtest20lo.gif)(http://img476.imageshack.us/img476/7730/slylandro7animationtest35pa.gif)

Of course, they're all the same model, so to distinguish, we've given them numbers..



a few points -
  • these are animated GIFs, if you disabled animation, re-enable it for the Probe's sake :P
  • the small orbs are 'encased' in blue shine, which is why they're a bit more.. shiny. that's logical. but logic doesn't always look good, so I might make them as reddish as the big orbs. what do you say?
  • please pick your favourite out of 2, 3, or 4, meaning blue light, white light or no glow.
  • no, you can't pick number 1.
  • I tried making the lightnings intersect '3D-ish' with the orbs - i.e. not only from the sides. you may not like it (I'm not sure I do).
  • I realized the only logical way for the mechanics to work is if the middle rod is installed in the middle of the sphere (not above, not below), and the sphere is slightly transparent, showing the edge of the rod. That's my interpertation of the all-powerful pixels.

comments are welcome, and expected..
remember that each change must be done 16 times (one per frame), so don't exaggerate ;).





Title: Re: Improving the original? What to improve to do the game even better?
Post by: Megagun on March 02, 2006, 05:53:05 pm
Awesome!

I like them all, but I think that nr 3 is the best one of them.. Just looks better..

Also, some people suggested that the Slylandro middle rod is actually TWO rods. One on top, one on bottom, like this:
(http://home.deds.nl/~megagun/temp/slyrods.png) (side-view)...

Also, there are these tiny little white "lightpixels" of white near the four "corners" of the red orbs' glow..
(http://home.deds.nl/~megagun/temp/slyglow.png)

I can live with that, though, and this remake is certainly extremely neat..

Edit: what about nr 4, but instead of the "white glow" have it "blue glow"? So it looks just a bit more like the original?


Title: Re: Improving the original? What to improve to do the game even better?
Post by: Censored on March 02, 2006, 06:23:00 pm
Also, some people suggested that the Slylandro middle rod is actually TWO rods.
how can the middle rod spin, in that case?

Also, there are these tiny little white "lightpixels" of white near the four "corners" of the red orbs' glow..
ha! that's the last thing I thought someone would comment about. I put them there on purpose.. you can see they're linked to the blue 'vain' inside the surronding donut. call them thrusters if you like. I like :P

Edit: what about nr 4, but instead of the "white glow" have it "blue glow"? So it looks just a bit more like the original?
whatever most people like..


Title: Re: Improving the original? What to improve to do the game even better?
Post by: Serosis on March 02, 2006, 08:08:06 pm
well you could always take a look at what the SC2 Ship spins look like

(http://uqm-mods.sourceforge.net/uqm%202006-03-02%2010-51-20-53.PNG)

see how there is only a rod on top of the probe
of course in that render the middle rod doesnt spin

(i hope i aint infringing the copyrights by posting that pic  ;D )


Title: Re: Improving the original? What to improve to do the game even better?
Post by: Censored on March 02, 2006, 08:14:33 pm
yes I know about this idea. This is a fan-made render though, don't forget.

I think my marshmallow stick interpertation is better ;)



Title: Re: Improving the original? What to improve to do the game even better?
Post by: Vux_Brush on March 02, 2006, 09:09:59 pm
actually, when you are told "hey lets do a remake of.." "...but in 3d and..."  You end up trying to respect faithfully the source, but usually pixels didn't contain that much info, and 3d allows way more, and today's screens...So you invent a lot...SC seem to me a very humoristic game concept , a lot in the graphic adventure type of plot of those days...  I gues those 3d versions of sc  needed the realistic twist to sell, but what an artist does of other work, is allways an interpretation, as valid as any other, but needn't be considered more reliable than the pixel art source...or that I think...at this moment. ;)
Even more, fan art is sometimes better than comercial companies work: is not same what is done for pleasure, than what is done at hi speed, no matter the skills sometimes.



Title: Re: Improving the original? What to improve to do the game even better?
Post by: Serosis on March 02, 2006, 09:51:37 pm
yes I know about this idea. This is a fan-made render though, don't forget.

I think my marshmallow stick interpertation is better ;)



yes the 'marshmallow' stick IS better, but i was just throwing that out there so as to show that there are other interpretations.

plus i can see why the little light pixels are there, just look at the original more closely, it has 4 points on both spheres.  ;)


Title: Re: Improving the original? What to improve to do the game even better?
Post by: Deus Siddis on March 02, 2006, 11:22:44 pm
Very Cool. :o

"the small orbs are 'encased' in blue shine, which is why they're a bit more.. shiny. that's logical. but logic doesn't always look good, so I might make them as reddish as the big orbs. what do you say?"

Yea, making the smaller spheres red would be an improvement, I think. I vote for number 3.


Title: Re: Improving the original? What to improve to do the game even better?
Post by: ^Nytro^ on March 03, 2006, 01:50:10 am
Excellent work.
I vote 2, blue light.
and I also think the little spheres should be as red as the others.

and this is a a note regurding the future- whoever tries to implement this model to the game, or betterwise to UQrM, will face a problem about the lightning aura- it needs to be non-rigid. that means Bioslayer- maybe thare's a problem with the probe when coming to 3d models in your project.


Title: Re: Improving the original? What to improve to do the game even better?
Post by: Clay on March 03, 2006, 03:19:56 am
I happen to think 3 is far and away, the best, and as your co-conspiritor, I hope my opinion matters more to you.  *Slips Censored some cash*

In all seriousness, this is TOTALLY awesome. I'm very impressed.

3Dizing the lightning was also a nice touch.

So, great job! (Pick 3, pick 3, pick 3...)


Title: Re: Improving the original? What to improve to do the game even better?
Post by: evktalo on March 03, 2006, 11:07:36 am
Really Impressive Sylandro Probe!! They're all good, let's keep them all and change the code to randomly pick one before each melee. ;)

Well done, Censored!

--Eino


Title: Re: Improving the original? What to improve to do the game even better?
Post by: Vee-R on March 03, 2006, 09:25:09 pm
Hey, the Probe rules. Another vote for #3 (with red smaller spheres) here.


Title: Re: Improving the original? What to improve to do the game even better?
Post by: guesst on March 04, 2006, 01:11:11 am
It looks to me like the animation on #2 is wacked. #3's defonately it, but can you turn up the glow just a bit, you know, to make it look less like 3-d and more like lightning?


Title: Re: Improving the original? What to improve to do the game even better?
Post by: Zarla on March 04, 2006, 06:41:39 am
Wow, the probe animations are really cool! I vote for 3, but 4 is good too...I think I like 3 best though.


Title: Re: Improving the original? What to improve to do the game even better?
Post by: Censored on March 04, 2006, 05:02:27 pm
Thank you for your purchase! as soon as the credit transfer is complete... there!

Congratulations! you are the proud owner of the Probe model 2418-B!

(http://img353.imageshack.us/img353/4771/slylandro8presentation9ea.png)
(http://img439.imageshack.us/img439/2499/slylandro8032js.gif)

Changelog:
  • class-3 lightnings
  • softened lightning intersections in certain places
  • small orbs are now reddish and darker when 'behind'. to be honest, this feature was in the original animation as well.


Title: Re: Improving the original? What to improve to do the game even better?
Post by: Censored on March 04, 2006, 05:16:53 pm
P.s.,

With the last sale we Melnorme have finished a very profitable yearly cycle, thanks to you! Making you our.. Client of the Year!
Which is why we've decided to grant you a freebie... A poster of our all-powerful space vessel!

(http://img439.imageshack.us/img439/9282/melnorme50gj.png)

Enjoy!


Title: Re: Improving the original? What to improve to do the game even better?
Post by: MasterNinja on March 04, 2006, 07:19:01 pm
The Melnorme vessel is awesome!

The probe is also very good.


It would be cool if some day these ships can be implemented in the game!



Title: Re: Improving the original? What to improve to do the game even better?
Post by: guesst on March 04, 2006, 11:49:17 pm
The trader's kinda... off. Defonately not on par with the others. Looks like you took a flat texture, bubbled it in the middle, cut out the shape, and tried applying shading to what was left. Unfortunately the result looks like the whole thing was cut out of a piece of wrapping paper and bent to give it dimension.

I like the texture. Try to be sure the black stripes between curve with the texture, not just cutting through it. Also, something in the black stripes so it doesn't just look like the ship is made of unrelated pieces. Then put the fins on last behind everything else. Sharp edges there.

Sorry, I usually try to be positive, but I think you need to go back to work on this one.


Title: Re: Improving the original? What to improve to do the game even better?
Post by: Censored on March 04, 2006, 11:59:43 pm
Quote
Looks like you took a flat texture, bubbled it in the middle, cut out the shape, and tried applying shading to what was left.
Why, that's exactly what I've done! and personally I think it's not that bad.  ;)

About the dark swaths - I looked at it again and again and I think I found the problem. When I edit it, I zoom in so it's all over the screen - then it's easy to see 'through the cracks'. Looking at the image after posted - not only is it smaller, but the background is purple (the forum background). So the contrast kills it completely.

I've made them even brighter now.


Title: Re: Improving the original? What to improve to do the game even better?
Post by: Bongo Bill on March 05, 2006, 04:27:24 am
I like the detail. I'm still not sure about the black lines, though. They might be better if they were some sort of differently-colored mechanical component rather than paint or a shadow or whatever that's supposed to be. Also they should follow the curvature of the vessel.


Title: Re: Improving the original? What to improve to do the game even better?
Post by: JEdi_Man on March 05, 2006, 07:32:06 am
Has anyone considered uploading these remakes onto the Ur-Quan Wiki? They would a wonderful look to a lot of the articles. The slyladro probe for example: http://uqm.stack.nl/wiki/Probe (http://uqm.stack.nl/wiki/Probe)


Title: Re: Improving the original? What to improve to do the game even better?
Post by: ^Nytro^ on March 05, 2006, 06:35:13 pm
The trader's kinda... off. Defonately not on par with the others. Looks like you took a flat texture, bubbled it in the middle, cut out the shape, and tried applying shading to what was left. Unfortunately the result looks like the whole thing was cut out of a piece of wrapping paper and bent to give it dimension.

I like the texture. Try to be sure the black stripes between curve with the texture, not just cutting through it. Also, something in the black stripes so it doesn't just look like the ship is made of unrelated pieces. Then put the fins on last behind everything else. Sharp edges there.

Sorry, I usually try to be positive, but I think you need to go back to work on this one.

Sad, but Unfortunately very true. I agree with guesst's point and I really was going to bring it up myself. I wanted your works to keep being great like the probe, but I definately urge you'd go back to the drawing table with the Melnorme.
just as said, except for that texture which is fine and suitable, a 3D model is not what I see there. also, all these "side-components" are re-done in the same method like you did to the main body. In a re-do of this kind NEW details must be inserted, those side-components need it badly. and the texture of the body is the only real fine detail I see.

Again, please Censored I want this post to be taken an encoaraging feedback and not an elimination. don't be offended because we know you're capable of more, and I'll just feel better if you'd fill this potential. And i'm also sure that the other skillful artists here wouldn't mind doing this too, in case you wouldnt want to.


Title: Re: Improving the original? What to improve to do the game even better?
Post by: meep-eep on March 05, 2006, 06:39:19 pm
Fan-made material, however pretty it may be, should not be mixed up with canon, as it would confuse the unsuspecting reader. So it wouldn't be at its place on a Probe article. Perhaps there could be a page about fan-made material, like there is for the music remixes, if people want it.
There's also the issue of copyright. All images submitted to the Ultronomicon are "Copyright TFB unless...". We don't have any tags for any other (Creative Commons?) licenses, and if we do, we should decide what copyrights are acceptable for image to be included in the Ultronomicon.


Title: Re: Improving the original? What to improve to do the game even better?
Post by: Censored on March 05, 2006, 09:21:02 pm
..a 3D model is not what I see there.
That's because it was 2D, and I didn't use 3DS MAX to make this.

...In a re-do of this kind NEW details must be inserted...
"must" is a subjective concept.

Again, please.....
As I said a few pages earlier, I don't mind comments and criticism. I never trust my own judgement so I like working with feedback. In fact, you may consider every first-post as a sketch.
So, lay 'em on me! come on! all those harsh words! let them out of your system!!

:P



I don't know if much more work should be put into the Melnorme. After all, what you see here is 500% the original *largest* size (when zoomed in for maximum). You can imagine, or simply decrease the size and see it.
(given screen resolution of UQM v1.0)

In any case, school started again (@)#*%@#*%)@) so this will have to wait a bit.



Title: Re: Improving the original? What to improve to do the game even better?
Post by: Vux_Brush on March 05, 2006, 09:40:39 pm

The melorne of censored is good, just could be added some sharpening detailing, to make a bit more solid borders in the edges (if it's painted bands...Well, the prob here is...the pixel art I'm 95% sure it was supposed to be hollowed sections, not painted bands...otehrwise a red color would have been choosen generally by the 199x artists, or other bright color so to distingish from a hollow/carving/shadow area) so it'd have more the "3d feel". The more detail on the sides, well, just some sharpening, less organic shapes in those sticks.  The texture pasted into is very nice, just adding some spheric volume shadowing with the wacom, and maybe playing with  distort of the pasted texture, to fake how the sphere volume does the volume(as what ppl notice is that the texture projects in all parts the same. You can use "Liquify" of Photoshop in just that layer, to make the texture a bit on arc shape. Or apply an sphere distortion from filters, how you would like).

With all this I mean, is a correct work, just two touches would improve it.  But I'd agree with censored is a lot of work already done freely ;).   By all means, is work made and given free... So I usually don't say any suggestions, as the man already is working very generously...




Title: Re: Improving the original? What to improve to do the game even better?
Post by: Clay on March 06, 2006, 12:35:52 am
I think I might give the Melnorme a try myself.  That is, if Censored doesn't mind.  I don't wanna step on toes, here.


Title: Re: Improving the original? What to improve to do the game even better?
Post by: Draxas on March 06, 2006, 03:48:57 am
That probe looks fantastic, especially with that last round of revisions. My only beef (and it's a supremely minor one) is that the cross-piece doesn't appear to be rotating, as much as spinning 1.5 turns in one direction, then reversing direction and spinning 1.5 turns in the other direction. It lends it a different look than the one I expected, but isn't bad, per se. I'd guess it's probably a side-effect of looping the animation in a particular way.

The Trader... not so good. I can't shake the feeling that it just doesn't look right. The prongs on the nose-piece aren't pronounced enough, and the front side fins are too rounded and lack the "spikes" (or whatever they are) from the original sprite. Worst of all is the black bands, since I definitely feel they should be less "paint" and more "groove." It particular, the front section of the original looks as if it should be segmented, with furrows running inbetween sections of the ship where the black bands are. Also, I like the highly detailed texture, but it gives the ship a "hodge-podge" sort of look that seems to run counter to the original intent; after all, a salesman won't make much of a good first impression if his ship looks like it's cobbled together from scrap metal.

As always, take my criticisms with a grain (or entire shaker, as appropriate) of salt. My depressingly minimal artistic talents would certainly never allow me to do any better.


Title: Re: Improving the original? What to improve to do the game even better?
Post by: Censored on March 06, 2006, 11:47:15 am
...doesn't appear to be rotating...

It's not supposed to rotate, at least not around the center of the rod-axis.
this is the way it animates in the original, and this is exactly what gives the Probe that special movement in the game.

I think I might give the Melnorme a try myself.  That is, if Censored doesn't mind.  I don't wanna step on toes, here.
take her away  :D

indeed, I did not have much time to do the Melnorme, and on a more personal note, I won't be here as much for the next five months. Blame the University.

Have fun everyone! I know I won't  >:(


Title: Re: Improving the original? What to improve to do the game even better?
Post by: Vux_Brush on March 06, 2006, 02:37:45 pm

lol, my university was less time consuming....Fine arts, but allways one did well  the drawing exams, was safe, so not more extra work at home...not much, that is. And after all they gave me a title...I had been drawing like 27 years (so I don't count childhood , or just half of it. ) so is more like one have to do little to pass... Anyway, is my saying: you pay sooner or later..if u study a lot, and suffer, later you get better jobs...i had to suffer AFTER getting out the university...




Title: Re: Improving the original? What to improve to do the game even better?
Post by: guesst on March 06, 2006, 07:08:58 pm
About the dark swaths - I looked at it again and again and I think I found the problem. When I edit it, I zoom in so it's all over the screen - then it's easy to see 'through the cracks'. Looking at the image after posted - not only is it smaller, but the background is purple (the forum background). So the contrast kills it completely.

I've made them even brighter now.

*sigh* I hate bing the bad guy, but you're not done. They still just cut straight across while the texture curves. Curve the ridges man, it looks retarded.

And where the body goes to the fins there needs to be a sharp change in shadows, not that fuzzy one you got there. That's where it looks like curved paper the most.

Keep going, don't give up, and don't let me get you down.


Title: Re: Improving the original? What to improve to do the game even better?
Post by: Vux_Brush on March 06, 2006, 09:03:29 pm
euhm, he has no time now with University , he just said ...


Title: Re: Improving the original? What to improve to do the game even better?
Post by: guesst on March 07, 2006, 12:06:14 am
Yeah, I know. But if he's anything like me he won't let a little thing like education get in the way of dinking around.


Title: Re: Improving the original? What to improve to do the game even better?
Post by: Vux_Brush on March 07, 2006, 12:50:35 am
haha


Title: Re: Improving the original? What to improve to do the game even better?
Post by: ^Nytro^ on March 13, 2006, 10:43:23 pm
hey, this thread is sinking down in the list as no new progress is going on the ship redrawing field.

or is there?

we ordinary people can't quite know, so please you artists, share us with any new stuff or thoughts. even if there's no new complete ship. It'll be nice to know that we'll still, after all, see all the ships re-done soon.


Title: Que "Gonna Fly Now"
Post by: Deus Siddis on March 14, 2006, 05:22:23 am
Yea, don't lose you're momentum. You've all made great progress on this.


Title: Re: Improving the original? What to improve to do the game even better?
Post by: Clay on March 14, 2006, 10:07:11 pm
I'm afraid I don't have quite the drive I did at the start.  I do have a half-finished version of the Melnorme.  To Censored's credit, it's a lot harder than it looks.  When I finish it up, I'll post it.


Title: Re: Improving the original? What to improve to do the game even better?
Post by: Vee-R on March 15, 2006, 12:13:19 am
I've sort of lost motivation as well, but that's mostly because I've shifted my attention/creativity to a different graphical project. Then again, this new one is also Star Control related, so... stay tuned.  8)


Title: Re: Improving the original? What to improve to do the game even better?
Post by: guesst on March 15, 2006, 02:58:51 am
Let this thread die. (What did I just do?!!)

When someone has something new that can start their own thread, as opposed adding more to the most popular off topic I've ever seen.


Title: Re: Improving the original? What to improve to do the game even better?
Post by: Vux_Brush on March 15, 2006, 03:26:31 pm

But the redoing of the ships would actually make into a game (be it the oficial or another already functional one(at least melee working))?

I don't ask for the quality. I have seen many with a load of quality, surpassing all expected.

here are many valid ships. IMHO is been a very productive thread.

But I had understood this thread all is about fan art, but wont actually make into a game..I can mod in 3d or 2d into any other game comunity, but only if my art makes its way into the game, at least, and if I like a lot the game, then small collaborations can happen. But if all is closed to existing old art(which have a lot of sense in today's Urquan Masters, as is using old res for all, this ships are probaly whole screen size...and the rest of graphics will be seen really weird when put aside new ones), no motivation ;)

I have done recently like a pack of ships for $, recently. So, doing one for free to add to my portfolio wouldn't be so  much of a waste.



Title: Re: Improving the original? What to improve to do the game even better?
Post by: MasterNinja on March 17, 2006, 07:30:10 pm
Quote
A similar project as with the music could be started for the graphics. This would mean an optional pack with updated graphics. However, there are a couple of obstacles for this:

    * No people have yet stepped forward to start this project.
* The code can still only use 8 bit graphics. This problem will be addressed at some point in the future, and it would get a higher priority if there were actually people interested in redoing the graphics.

So it seems to be quite propable that those graphics make it into the game  :)


Title: Re: Improving the original? What to improve to do the game even better?
Post by: guesst on March 18, 2006, 04:36:38 am
Wouldn't there be an issue with resolution? The game is still running 320x240 (or so) scaled up with various shaders. Can it be easily adapted to use graphics of 4x+ the resolution?


Title: Re: Improving the original? What to improve to do the game even better?
Post by: Novus on March 18, 2006, 09:41:26 am
Can it be easily adapted to use graphics of 4x+ the resolution?
Can it be adapted? Yes. Can it be easily adapted? No. Will someone try to do it if high resolution graphics are available? Probably. I seem to recall meep-eep talking about something like this (e.g. bug 488 (http://uqm.stack.nl/cgi-bin/bugs/show_bug.cgi?id=488)).


Title: Re: Improving the original? What to improve to do the game even better?
Post by: Halleck on March 18, 2006, 11:01:35 am
Will someone try to do it if high resolution graphics are available? Probably. I seem to recall meep-eep talking about something like this (e.g. bug 488 (http://uqm.stack.nl/cgi-bin/bugs/show_bug.cgi?id=488)).
This has been said... but isn't the whole point of this thread now to produce said graphics? It might help to collate them somewhere, but I think there's enough momentum (and critical mass) here in order to warrant higher prioritization of the neccessary graphics work, unless I'm misunderstanding the criteria.


Title: Re: Improving the original? What to improve to do the game even better?
Post by: Vux_Brush on March 18, 2006, 02:01:28 pm
Having a working engine so that artist sees his work ingame as he produces, is what , provided one is fan enough of the game, pays for the non having $ income of it, for a gfx people (all which i know call me crazy for working in free projects. yet though...well, not all.One of those that worked with me had worked also in mods. But while he was learning.never more. I am part of probably a rare specie XD )

But there, I put myself in the developers place. While they surely love the game, their in similar situation. Witha difference. They have made *tons* of work already, just for the passion about a game. Who can tell them to work on graphic features when is unsure graphic people would work enough. For hwat I know ,most of us are lazier when no income is there. And now again to defend that point, usually the artist decides close to nothing. While usual free projects on inet, the coder decides the world, the idea, the specs. It's by its nature, yep, but then artists prefer to do hi res moview where they are the directors of their own ideas. There you see a nice movie collection been made by someone (movie 4 thread) Which is a considerable amount of work alone.(I know it is)

So, dead point. Ones wont work more for nothing, and the other rarely will do when: usually the fans of a game, if very fans, cant stand their fav ships just a bit different or a bit worse than original...think of the guy making the art...he made his best already, or his/her best for teh available free time...and as also, they'r doing gfx that probaly will just end as a thread fo rthe memories...and just that. Ascii piles, as I call em ;)

IMHO, the thread is indeed the best hope for a future res improve of the game. Some artist will drop aorund here witha new ship redrawn in hi res 2d, or rendered but as 2d hi res output, trying to mach the already done thread gfx style...
perhaps then, you find it in a point some day, where all are allmost all ships are done. there are a bunch already. Programmers  then have the gfx needed, and is way easier to code so.

I have been to mods, and skinned already done games. Is WAY less frustrating for the artist. there so many games that never get ended...A good case is the hard worked space ship that I showed here and that i had to eat myself as coder did preferred other projects suddenly. Just when ship was carefully done and textured, and in record time for what is a free project.


Conclussion,  this thread is the hope for a hi res version.

One clever thing to do for any artist working on this is...if has 3d knowledge, do a mid poly version of the ships, prepared to be easy to be drastically lowered in polygon count. This way would have a version valid for a 3d starcontrol (of the several from scratch initiatives out there) which rendered and some polishing, will work for doing the hi res 2d version here, 3d has the lights advantage, plus no extra work for infinite angle (render to movie or frames button, hehe)

And here there's some realy cool gfx done, in this thread.

Or those are my 2 cents of an euro, again.




Title: Re: Improving the original? What to improve to do the game even better?
Post by: GeomanNL on March 18, 2006, 02:06:41 pm
It's not that bad, vuxbrush: UQM is working, there is already a complete plot, gameplay is all done - everything is done, except the graphics (from your viewpoint). So, it's not a very risky investment, imo, at least not compared to lots of other free projects, where most or all aspects of the game are unfinished, or in development.


Title: Re: Improving the original? What to improve to do the game even better?
Post by: Vux_Brush on March 18, 2006, 02:12:03 pm
you mean is not that bad for contributing...
(as the urquan project  is incredibly good however one looks at it)


Well, indeed, I would have done weeks ago if weren't that have a crazy labour day hours -doing exactly these sort of things-  , and that occurs the coincidence I have started work for extra income outside my job. Anyway, I do plan to do work for something of this, 3d and/or 2d.


Title: Re: Improving the original? What to improve to do the game even better?
Post by: Decebal on March 19, 2006, 08:42:51 pm
Well I'd like to see:
1. Battles with multiple ships at once. It's pretty boreing when you battle a homeworld and you have to beat them one at a time. though it's easer, it's sure irealistic. I would be awsome if you'd stay back and have commands so you can send 5 pkunk ships at once and see them getting torn to bits.
2. Minerals and gas to acumulate again after about 3-5 years.
3. Life forms to reproduce at a bealiveable rate.
4. It would be much easer if you could just send the aliens a msg (hyperwave) message instead of traveling the galaxy to just talk to them.
5. Though very hard to achieve, it would be cool if you could build other starbases, given the right metarial, tools and engineers.
6. To be able to integrate alien weaponary into your ship


Title: Re: Improving the original? What to improve to do the game even better?
Post by: Halleck on March 20, 2006, 02:02:29 am
I think a new thread for high-rez graphics only may be in order.


Title: Re: Improving the original? What to improve to do the game even better?
Post by: guesst on March 20, 2006, 07:02:06 pm
I've said that twice already! New thread for improved graphics when the next one gets done. But does anyone listlen to ol' guesst? Nooo.


Title: Re: Improving the original? What to improve to do the game even better?
Post by: Clay on March 20, 2006, 11:40:02 pm
If I ever finish the Melnorme Trader, guesst, I promise I'm gonna post it in a new thread, quickly followed by all the previous designs stuck into one nice concise little spot. ^_^


Title: Re: Improving the original? What to improve to do the game even better?
Post by: NanoGator on April 15, 2006, 06:16:21 am
Greetings!  My name is Brian.  I'm a 3D Artist and a big fan of Star Control II.  I wanted to pop in and offer some input.  Hopefully it'll be of use...

Having a working engine so that artist sees his work ingame as he produces, is what , provided one is fan enough of the game, pays for the non having $ income of it, for a gfx people (all which i know call me crazy for working in free projects. yet though...well, not all.One of those that worked with me had worked also in mods. But while he was learning.never more. I am part of probably a rare specie XD )

This is a tough problem.  You need the content, but it's time consuming to create and .. well... as you said, people can be lazy.  (I'm no exception...)  The engine problem is an even bigger one.  There are a variety of tools for making 3d Models.  You could have two different guys working on models both using different apps.  This one's solvable.  If you stick to a standard format (.obj, for example with .PNG for the textures), and prescribe a few limitations like "Stay within 2,000 polygons"
There's a bigger problem, though.  These ships all have effects like thrusters, weapons fire, etc.  How do you give the artist control over these effects? I have a feeling, as you've mentioned, a development tool will be needed.  Ouch.

Rare species?  Well.. I think that's a matter of how you go about recruiting them.  Most of the artists that would find interest in working on this game would love to work at a place like Zoic doing space shots for Battlestar Galactica.  This industry is hard to enter, though.  You have to be able to demonstrate you can handle the work.  To do that, you have to be motivated to push your own boundaries and do something truely amazing.  One of my biggest hurdles was my lack of direction.  I'd start one project one evening, then a new project the next evening, and so on, until my hard drive was filled with un-showable half-baked models.  It wasn't until I was challenged to raise my own bar that I really started producing anything.  I did a few 3D illustrations for a web based game, trying my best to show off.  And it worked!  I ended up with several usable pieces, and the rest is history.  The pro-bono work I did ended up paying off big time.  I think that if this project could offer some challenging work, you could get some talented people generating new artwork.  (Just last night I was imagining how I'd approach a short 3d movie of an Urquan for use in the conversation screens...)

But there, I put myself in the developers place. While they surely love the game, their in similar situation. Witha difference. They have made *tons* of work already, just for the passion about a game. Who can tell them to work on graphic features when is unsure graphic people would work enough. For hwat I know ,most of us are lazier when no income is there. And now again to defend that point, usually the artist decides close to nothing. While usual free projects on inet, the coder decides the world, the idea, the specs. It's by its nature, yep, but then artists prefer to do hi res moview where they are the directors of their own ideas. There you see a nice movie collection been made by someone (movie 4 thread) Which is a considerable amount of work alone.(I know it is)

Good point, particularly the last couple of sentences.  This begs the question, though:  Is there something that can be done to make the work more glamorous?  I thought about this quite a bit last night.  Why make it a 3D polygonal game?  Why not keep it 2D like it is now and use hi-res pre-rendered sprites?  Not only would this simplify the pipeline for recieving artwork from artists, but it also allows them to flex their artistic muscles and get the most out of their apps.  (seems to me that game development would be simpler, too...)  It would definitely open the doors to a truely unique style to the game that's still in-line with the original.  The artist would have more control over his work and the programmers would have less to do.  Thoughts?

So, dead point. Ones wont work more for nothing, and the other rarely will do when: usually the fans of a game, if very fans, cant stand their fav ships just a bit different or a bit worse than original...think of the guy making the art...he made his best already, or his/her best for teh available free time...and as also, they'r doing gfx that probaly will just end as a thread fo rthe memories...and just that. Ascii piles, as I call em ;)

People will always complain about things being a little different.  It's a law of humanity.  Hehe.  But you know what?  They already have the original game to play.  So why not try for a reimagined version? 

I'm an admin for a 3D forum of scifi artists.  (www.scifi-meshes.com, if you're curious.)  A few years ago, we ran a couple of contests to challenge people.  I have to say, I was AMAZED at the entries.  Several people stepped up to outdo the other, and well it ended up a good experience for all. Funny enough, we even had prizes for the contest. We were suprised at how many companies were interested in the idea of giveaway contest.  We didn't run out and spend $1,000 on stuff, it was provided.  Who's to say this project couldn't suffer a similar success? 



Conclussion,  this thread is the hope for a hi res version.

One clever thing to do for any artist working on this is...if has 3d knowledge, do a mid poly version of the ships, prepared to be easy to be drastically lowered in polygon count. This way would have a version valid for a 3d starcontrol (of the several from scratch initiatives out there) which rendered and some polishing, will work for doing the hi res 2d version here, 3d has the lights advantage, plus no extra work for infinite angle (render to movie or frames button, hehe)

And here there's some realy cool gfx done, in this thread.

Or those are my 2 cents of an euro, again.


Oopsie, I hadn't read this paragraph when I wrote the earlier one about the sprites.  Sorry. :)

I'd like to add, though, that there are plenty of tricks that can be done with 2D images mapped onto 3D planes.  I think if a hybrid 2D/3D approach similar to the one I mentioned before were implemented some really creative ideas could be brought forth to really push the boundaries of the graphics for this game. 

Anyway, just thought I'd drop by.   This is a great project and I wish it success.  Cheers, guys.