The Ur-Quan Masters Discussion Forum

The Ur-Quan Masters Re-Release => General UQM Discussion => Topic started by: Angelfish on September 14, 2009, 03:04:25 pm

Title: How to create a 'limited' Star Control game?
Post by: Angelfish on September 14, 2009, 03:04:25 pm
One of the main problems people will face when trying to create a star control game, is how to make the game true to the star control universe. To be true to the star control (TFB's SC1 & SC2, let's disregard legend's SC3) universe, you practically need to include all the stars, planets and aliens etc that were present in SC2.
However, creating conversations for these aliens, making quests all over the universe, and in general giving the player enough to do in such a massive universe is a task that can only be completed by people with extreme amounts of time on their hands, people who don't need sleep or people who do game developing for a living.
That's why I'm looking for methods that SC clone developers can use to 'limit' the universe of Star Control 2, while still remaining true to it. Because when you include for example the vulpeculae constellation, the Orz have to be there and you have to be able to talk to them. If you don't have conversations there or bland generic conversations the universe will feel 'empty' to the player.

Some of the ideas I personally have are:

- Physically limiting the universe to a certain sector of the map. Making a 'hard limit' just as there was in SC2. But explaining to people why you can't visit the druuge or the supox or the utwig will be hard.
- Limiting how far the player can travel. This can be done by having the race your playing not allow to travel further than the edge of the Sphere of Influence. This is in line with SC2, because you won't likely encounter for example.. mycon, outside their sphere. Some kind of conversation might happen where your commanding admiral orders you to return to base.
Another solution would be to requisition fuel. This was an Idea I got from some game, that was reviewed on It had a generic name like Space empires or something (edit: actually it's called Space Exploration:serpens sector, go download it!). This way you can limit where the player can go.
- Making the game take place in a different sector of space. SC3 did this and failed miserably. Timewarp's plot also tries to do pthis, but I think this will be a bit more succesful if it ever came to a finished game, because it has a 'new sector' and an 'old sector' so the old races don't travel with the captain to the other sector.

Any other ideas are ofcourse welcome :).

Title: Re: How to create a 'limited' Star Control game?
Post by: Arne on September 15, 2009, 10:44:20 am
I've had similar ideas. I wanted to do something with the Black Spathi (or a ZFP scout) exploring some far away galaxy cluster, meeting new species and perhaps a few familiar faces.


As for ideas of how to limit the player's reach using fuel:

Limiting the player to certain kind of fuel only available on the home world would produce a natural radius (sphere of influence). If you run out you are slowly towed home.

Alternatively the warp drive (or an energy transfer device) could be located on the home world, and the ships can ride it if they are within a certain distance.

In Master of Orion you can only go a certain distance from your colonies (depending on fuel cells iirc). However, I like to imagine that each colony has some kind of massive beacon / warp mapper which ships must be near or they'll get lost forever in the intricacies of warp space.

If the player is limited to a certain region of space with an AABB, it's best to just crop the rest of the star map out so you don't tease the player with places he can't go. It's easy to accept playfield edges in 2D games since you can't see outside.

In Star Trek there's an impenetrable barrier around the galaxy. A similar thing could be used for the plot in a SC mini game. Some nasty entity/artifact (gigantic slave shield?) has been erected around a group of stars and imprisoned the [protagonist species], and now they have to find a way to disable it. Once they do the game is over.

I find it rather annoying to be herded around in games, so I wouldn't like a solution where someone forces me to turn around.

Title: Re: How to create a 'limited' Star Control game?
Post by: Alvarin on September 15, 2009, 03:12:35 pm
I have liked the solution in "Reunion" game - you could get to planets/systems only discovered by your colonies . This way , you can limit the game span .

Title: Re: How to create a 'limited' Star Control game?
Post by: Angelfish on September 15, 2009, 04:19:22 pm
Ofcourse, exploring a new sector with black spathi or something is a great idea :).
In general I like your ideas, though I think that the 'slaveshield around star clusters' idea will not be so original if it's used in multiple star control minigames ;). But it could be a viable thing if it's used for hierarchy races that have been defeated in SC2. Who knows, when playing a Kohr Ah you might very well be trapped in such a shield, erected by the CHMMR!

I know the idea of being 'herded' around doesn't help much, but I believe that this is canon with the rest of Star Control.. You don't see ships acting on their own outside their sphere of influence, except the Precursor starship ofcourse. But the Precursor ship was destroyed when it attacked the sa-matra, and the factory on Vela was destroyed aswell or seized by the Ur-quan. I also don't believe that being allowed to explore only a certain section of the map means that you're being herded around.. because technically no one tells you where to go except when you go too far.

Alvarin: What's this reunion game you're talking about? Could you provide me a link to more info or perhaps a download (if it's freeware ofcourse)? I like this idea, and it also gave me another idea.
We know that the starmap was provided by the Chenjesu to the Alliance of free stars, though the member races could decide for themselves which parts of the starmap to 'distribute' to the starship captains. Ofcourse, since Hyperspace is extremely vast it would require a map to travel properly and that's why distribution of starmap data would be a viable way to limit the universe :).

Another idea is one I got from Spore: Make the edge of the explorable universe be teeming with life.. hostile life that intends to kill you ;).

Anotehr idea could be to have the player traveling as an attachement to a starship carrier, such as happened in SC2 with the precursor flagship carrier. There could be various missions in each area that the carrier is traveling to.

And then there's another idea: Making the game take place before the Chenjesu gave the Earthlings the starmap ;).

Title: Re: How to create a 'limited' Star Control game?
Post by: Alvarin on September 15, 2009, 07:37:03 pm
For the "no ships outside sphere of influence" - there were Druuge ships in Utwig space , ZPF on rigel , Earthguard , Tanaka was away ...
And here is a link to information page . The download is on the bottom of the screen .

Title: Re: How to create a 'limited' Star Control game?
Post by: Data on September 15, 2009, 07:48:11 pm
Just be careful with Reunion, it's very easy to make the game unwinnable. The game had great potential, but this made it a bit strange.

Title: Re: How to create a 'limited' Star Control game?
Post by: CelticMinstrel on October 16, 2009, 04:51:39 pm
For the "no ships outside sphere of influence" - there were Druuge ships in Utwig space , ZPF on rigel , Earthguard , Tanaka was away ...
The point is that it's rare for ships to leave their sphere.