The Ur-Quan Masters Home Page Welcome, Guest. Please login or register.
Did you miss your activation email?
September 30, 2023, 02:31:41 pm
Home Help Search Login Register
News: Celebrating 30 years of Star Control 2 - The Ur-Quan Masters

  Show Posts
Pages: 1 [2]
16  The Ur-Quan Masters Re-Release / General UQM Discussion / Re: new comm voiceovers? on: August 05, 2004, 05:22:16 am

This problem could be solved through bittorrent.

I'm confused.. bittorrent will make people confident in joining?  Bittorrent will save the need for a nice fast host for the resulting package, but I don't think hosting is the issue so much as somebody official pointing to the project from an official place and saying "hey, check this out".  That would make people confident that joining would get them some recognition, since the project itself would have some recognition from the official blessing.  Also, such a blessing would generate enough traffic and interest that we should be able to find somebody to host the file at any rate.
17  The Ur-Quan Masters Re-Release / General UQM Discussion / Re: the Ur-Quan theme on: August 05, 2004, 04:54:49 am
I'm writing this from work, so I'm going to comment just on the Ur-Quan theme, which I have listened to a lot and am pretty familiar with; I'll save commentary on the rest until I'm home and can listen to them more.  A disclaimer: I'm going to comment on this piece as if it's not finished and suggest ways to improve it; I realize that this is meant to be an official release and that the track has already passed the 'beta' stage, so take what I say with a grain of salt.  I don't expect you guys to go back and redo it based just on what I say.  Smiley

There's been some discussion about whether the Ur-Quan's theme should be 'scary' or not - the Ur-Quan, after all, are the slightly more compassionate ones who sorta care about us lil' guys, in a weird, patronizing kind of way.  In that sense, I agree that their music should have some of that compassion/menace ambiguity.  On the other hand, that interpretation of the Ur-Quan only makes sense after you've played the game through - for someone who's currently playing it through, having a noticably compassionate-sounding theme for the Ur-Quan would just be confusing.  When a new player runs into that probe right off the bat, they should hear something to tell them, right off the bat, that THESE are the guys they should be afraid of.  So if you put some compassion into that theme, make sure it's subtle enough that you only notice it after you've played through the game and understand the Ur-Quan better; at first listen, I really think it should sound menacing and imperial.  Better yet, it should sound like it belongs to someone so menacing and imperial and powerful that they're not even really paying attention to you while they talk to you, and that's a good thing, becuase if they were, you'd just be dead instantly.  I'm thinking, Sauron-type menacing.

That said, I think it does sound menacing and imperial, and I like that.  In fact, I think it should sound more menacing and imperial, both by making the main violin line louder and maybe adding some more depth and orchestra-hall-style-reverberation - really make it dominate the piece.  In any other imperial-sounding track, the drums would be leading, but in this one it should be that violin - always there, leading a legion of soldiers as they march to battle and a sure, unavoidable victory.  I would almost compare this track to the Star Wars Imperial March - in that one it was the horns that led, but they led so commandingly that every time you heard that song, you immediately envisioned thousands of armed stormtroopers marching in lock-step, with some AT-ATs behind them and maybe a Star Destroyer just visible in the sky, and it scared the hell out of you.

I don't like the voices.  As a stand-alone song, that chorus in the middle is kinda nice - it's a little chilling, and a chorus usually does a pretty good job of adding that little extra kick to an already commanding piece of music.  But in this case I think it's out of place, and by 'this case', I mean background dialogue music for SC2 in general: I don't like the 'we come in peace' in the Slylandro theme, either (but I'll comment on other tracks later).  I just think it's out of place when there's already spoken dialogue being played on top of the music; as one of the remixers already commented, this is supposed to be playing behind the dialogue, so it shouldn't be too intrusive - I think having human voices in theme music is intrusive when combined with other voices reading dialogue.  Not a lot, but enough for me to wish it wasn't there.

Finally, I'll add my $.02 about the 'knife drum' or whatever we're calling it now.  When I first heard this track I played it over and over because I love it (in fact, my ultimate frisbee team has entered our tournament season and I listen to that track 2 or 3 times on full blast before every game, because it really pumps me up) - and at first, I didn't notice the knife drum.  But once I came here and read people's reaction to it, I listened again and now that I hear it, I don't like it either, but I'll tell you why, and maybe this will be a little more illuminating: I don't accept it as a conscious choice by the composer.  When I listen to old game music (of the MIDI-game-music era, before even the original SC2), my ear has the following internal monologue:

Hmm.. this music is very low-quality.  I think that sound is supposed to be a piano, but since this is an old game and they couldn't really synthesize good-sounding piano music at that point, it sounds like a stopwatch gone mad.  But I know it's supposed to be a piano, so I'm just going to fill in the missing sample depth and quality before I pass it along to the brain.

My ear has the same reaction to that knife sound.  It doesn't sound like a sample that was chosen willingly - it sounds like a sample that was chosen because the composer wanted to use something else, but couldn't.  The problem is, I'm not exactly sure what that something else should be; people have suggested using a real snare drum, and that might work.  People have also suggested dropping it entirely, but I don't think that would work - the section near the end that doesn't have that noise sounds empty.. there definitely needs to be something higher-frequency to alternate with and counterbalance the timpani drumbeat.  Well, I take that back - there needs to be a balance in the track on the whole, but the one section near the end that currently has just the timpani is fine.. it sounds pretty good to drop the balance and then reintroduce it.  Have you tried a slightly higher-tone timpani?  Like, still in the bass realm, but a few steps higher?  I think that might be enough to still maintain balance - the violin line is fairly high, and as long as there was a second drum to balance the low timpani beat-wise, the violin might do a decent job balancing it tone-wise.

More when I get home Smiley
18  The Ur-Quan Masters Re-Release / General UQM Discussion / Re: new comm voiceovers? on: August 05, 2004, 04:06:18 am
Definitely understandable, and of course I understand the strict-port philosophy and think that's a good idea - finish the straight port before adding anything else.

On the other hand, it's already not entirely a straight port; elements from the PC version have been intermingled with elements from the 3DO version, and a few bugs have been fixed, so in a sense it's more of a strict-port-with-a-few-obvious-fixes.  In my mind, having the spoken dialogue actually say different words than the text subtitles is a bug, and I wouldn't mind seeing that fixed in the initial release.  This would, of course, involve re-recording all the dialogue, which is a lot of work, but so is remixing all the music.

Also, would there really be any syncing work to be done?  To my knowledge, each race has a text file which includes all their dialogue snippets, and each snippet has (in the text file) an .ogg filename associated with it which (supposedly) contains the same text spoken aloud; there is no timing information involved.  Sometimes an alien will speak for several paragraphs and this is broken up into several snippets, but each snippet has its own .ogg file, which could simply be replaced with a new one that says the right words.

As for applying filters, that would definitely be some work, but I think we could find a talented audio engineer among our ranks who could do it - I think it's more a matter of processor time than actual human work.  Each race would need at most one or two filters applied to their speech, and then it's just a matter of applying those filters to every dialogue file.

In my mind, the *real* work in such a project is finding talented voice actors to fill all the roles, making sure each of them is capable of recording their own dialogue at a decent quality in a fairly noise-free environment, and then transmitting those recordings to whoever ends up doing the mixing and encoding.
19  The Ur-Quan Masters Re-Release / General UQM Discussion / new comm voiceovers? on: August 05, 2004, 01:08:27 am
So, I was looking through the comm files today (looking for interesting comments from the Arilou and Orz about multidimensionality, but that's for another thread) and was reminded that the 3DO speech files follow a slightly different script than the PC text dialogue.  Also, a lot of the voiceovers sound kinda .. well .. hokey.  Especially the Orz.  And I know SC2 was always sort of a light-hearted scifi, but I still think it would be cool to redo all of the voice dialogue to be consistent with the text, and to sound better overall.  I bet we could find some pretty talented voice actors just within the community of this board - and of course I'd love to audition for a few of the roles myself.  Wink

It wouldn't even have to be an official project - it would be a simple matter for anybody to release a voiceover replacement archive with new voiceovers in it (either .ogg files to replace the current ones, or new dialogue .txt files which point to a new set of .ogg files, to avoid overwriting the current ones).  If people like it enough, maybe it could be made official down the line.  In fact, I think I'm gonna go ahead and start working on that - anyone who'd be interested in doing the voice for a race, pick a few of the longer monologues from that race, record your voiceover, and contact me.

Unless somebody else is already working on such a project, and I've just never heard about it?
20  The Ur-Quan Masters Re-Release / General UQM Discussion / Re: 'They' cannot see you now. on: August 04, 2004, 10:21:56 am
Love the thread - figured I'd seed some more ideas, see what sprouts.  oneirotekt's post has a nice big variety of topics in it, so it's convenient for me to just reply to everything he said as a way of introducing my own ideas - I don't mean to attack them specifically, so I hope it doesn't come off that way.  To the contrary, I picked that post to respond to cuz it has lots of good ideas for me to build on.  Smiley

The Orz are from a dimension other than our own who have come here for an unknown (but, we can infer, vaguely sinister) purpose.  They are comparable to our concept of living, sentient beings.

As you comment further on, most people seem to like the interpretation of the Orz as a single sentient being with multiple projections into this dimension.  As such, Orz is a singular sentient being (rather than many sentient beings), but whether there are other Orz's (i.e. other sentient organisms of the same 'species' as Orz), or whether Orz is a singular and unique phenomenon, is open to speculation.  Also, I don't think Orz exactly 'came here', since I don't think it really 'left' wherever it was before - it seems more like it is now here in addition to wherever it was before, and may at any time be in lots and lots of places at once, spanning multiple dimensions.  I agree, though, that Orz's agenda in this dimension seems vaguely sinister, and I like that phrasing.  Smiley

But, there is ample room for variation just within this interpretation: for example, maybe the projections are like different fingers (i.e. they know they're all parts of one organism and work together), or maybe they're more like different echos/reflections (i.e. something about the nature of interdimensionality causes the single Orz entity to be 'reflected' multiple times in this reality), in that each individual 'finger' doesn't think of the other 'fingers' as separate from itself - it is aware of the fact that its presence is fractured and echoed in this dimension, but it relates to itself the way we would relate to all our reflections in a house of mirrors.  We can see what look like lots of copies of us, but we know the other ones are all false.  Orz's speech (such as using 'we') doesn't really support either of these interpretations, but then again, Orz speech can't be taken literally anyway.

There are many dimensions other than our own, each with their own independent rules for time and space.  We (humans and our neighbors) are unique in that we do not move between the dimensions.

I don't think there's any reason to conclude that the races in our dimension are 'unique' in our inability to travel between dimensions - it seems just as likely that the races in our dimension (that we know about, who knows what's in other galaxies) are all too young to have figured that out yet.  What's more, some of our neighbors (to use the term slightly more broadly, time-wise) - specifically, the Androsynth and the Taalo - DO seem to have figured out how to move between dimensions, and this advancement then led to the ultimate fate of both of these races (whatever that may have been).

Both the Arilou (who are a much younger, shorter lived race compared to the ancient Orz) and Orz are from two different dimensions...

Who says the Orz are older than the Arilou?  For that matter, who says it even makes sense to talk about the 'age' of an interdimensional species?  As you've already commented, each dimension could easily have completely different rules of physics and temporality - the idea of 'age' almost definitely doesn't translate very direactly between dimensions.

... the Arilou from a "higher order" dimension (presumably what we call Quasi-Space) directly above our own (if you visualize the multitude of dimensions as the floors of an office building) and the Orz from another directly beneath our own.

*The Middle* might be another way of referring to our dimension, ie the one between *above* (the Arilou home dimension) and *below* (the Orz home dimension).

I think this is the topic on which I disagree most with that seems to be the dominant interpretation of multidimensionality that I've seen expressed in this thread, so forgive me if I get a little longwinded here.  Although the best-fit terms (*above*, *below*, *middle*) seem to suggest it, I think visualizing the dimensions as a linear 'stack' like an office building is not the right way to think about it.  Multidimensionality doesn't necessarily just mean adding an axis to everything, such that any given location in spacetime (3 spacial coordinates, 1 temporal coordinate) in our dimension has a counterpart in all the other dimensions (by adding a dimension coordinate) - that implies way too much linearity (i.e. the idea of one dimension having exactly two neighbors, one in each direction).  I think it's much more interesting and plausible to think of multiple dimensions as far, far more complex phenomenon; linkages between the dimensions are not a simple matter of finding a way to change your dimensional coordinate, but rather involve a very convoluted process of translating what passes for matter and energy in our dimensions into an equivalent sort of 'existence' in another dimension, and this is why natural portals are so rare and interdimensional travel seems to be one of the last things a sentient race ever figures out.  To anticipate a counterpoint, it is true that Hyperspace and Quasispace seem to have very similar laws of physics (i.e. the fact that you ship can 'go' there and look pretty much the same, the fact that you can fly around in those places the way we fly around in truespace, etc) doesn't mean that other dimensions are also similar: maybe the reason we use those dimensions as clever means of travel is because they happen to be two of the few that _are_ similar enough to serve that purpose.  As such, sentient races figure out Hyperspace pretty quickly, and probably figure out Quasispace not too long after that, but figuring out how to interact with 'less similar' dimensions, as the Taalo and Androsynth presumably did, takes more work.

This has some interesting implications for a lot of other topics in this thread.  For example, the idea of interdimensional beings *smell*ing eachother becomes more complex - if the dimensions were all stacked up neatly one on top of the other, it seems like a relatively simple matter to just travel from one to the next looking for life forms.  Also, under such an interpretation, why would *They* need to *smell* a life form in order to get to it, and having *smell*ed it, why would *They* be able to access it so immediately?  Getting from wherever *They* are to our dimension would have to involve traveling through all the dimensions in between, and if they were that close to us in the stack, wouldn't they have found us already anyway?

I think it's better to think of interdimensionality involving several axes, maybe a huge or even infinite number: you can go 'up' and 'down' through dimensions, but maybe you could also go sideways, forward, backward, inside, outside, around, ana and kata (for anyone who's read the scifi book I'm taking that from but can't remember tha name of), etc etc.  In that case, finding something in interdimensional space is like finding something in single dimensional space: we would never have found the Slylandro if nobody had told us where to look.  The Ur-Quan would never have found any of its victims if they hadn't traced their hyperwave broadcasts back to them.  Similarly, *They* can only really find a race in interdimensional space if that race does something that penetrates interdimensional space, like start opening portals (which might create some kind of interdimensional reverberation that could be detected and pinpointed).

Then, the Arilou's efforts with humans becomes something like putting up a hyperwave shield around a planet: if the hyperwave transmissions, which are detectable, are blocked, nobody has any reason to look at that planet so nobody ever does, and the inhabitants become basically 'invisible' to someone like the Ur-Quan.  Similarly, if the Arilou tampered with humans to dampen or eliminate anything in our existence which might have 'reverberated' interdimensionally, that prevents *Them* from pinpointing us.

In fact, multidimensionality probably isn't even as simple as thinking of more axes along which to travel between dimensions: if getting from another dimension to this one was the hard part, and getting around within one dimension was the easy part, then why haven't *They* devoured everything in this dimension?  They clearly know this dimension exists and even know how to find it, since *They* either came here to eat the Androsynth or else caused the Androsynth to move to *Them* - but if *They* could do that, why wouldn't they do it to everyone else in this dimension, too?  Why would they need to *smell* each race separately in order to get to them, even if they're all in the same dimension?

As the Orz bodies are only material projections, their destruction does not actually harm the Orz entity.  They view human death as "dissolving" because our souls are tied inextricably to our material bodies, and once the body dies the soul "dissolves".

I don't necessarily agree.  People seem to like this interpretation because it allows them to take the next step and point out that Orz might not realize that destroying our ships actually does hurt (and in fact permenantly destroys) sentient beings.  I don't like this interpretation, first of all because we never specified what kind of 'projection' of Orz it is that we see; if they're literally like 'fingers' that 'poke through' into our dimension but share some kind of connection to the 'true' Orz, then wouldn't it hurt a little to cut those fingers off?  It is possible that the projections are more like holograms - something that we can perceive and allows us to interact with the Orz, but which is not 'real' and does not have any impact on the 'true' Orz.  But even if this is the case, it seems plausible (from other things Orz says) that Orz understands that *dancing* in *heavy space* is actually bad for, and hurts, the people who live in *heavy space*.  If it didn't think that, why would it threaten to *dance* with us in order to get us to stop doing something it doesn't like, such as ask about the Androsynth?

Some other random comments:

I agree with a previous poster that the Taalo probably met Orz in another dimension, after the Taalo figured out IDF.  But has anyone in the SC2 universe ever expressed concern that the Taalo might have fallen prey to *Them*?  If the Taalo have been galavanting around between dimensions, it seems that they would have almost definitely encountered *Them*, since the Androsynth had only just begin to poke a few holes when *They* immediately came and wiped them out.  So if the Taalo were somehow not vulnerable to *Them*, how come?  Maybe it has something to do with the Taalo's other precularity - their psionic ability.  If the Taalo were a species whose consciousness was such that psionic ability was second nature, maybe that also protects them from *Them*?  (That sounds convoluted, I know)  Maybe *They* 'eat' species not in a physical or literal way, but in a psychic way - like 'eat'ing their souls, and it only works if the prey can't protect itself psionically.  On the other hand, if that were true, it seems like the Arilou would have encouraged psionic ability in Humans to enable us to protect ourselves, and that doesn't seem to be the case.  On the other other hand, maybe the Taalo were, in fact, devoured by *Them*, and we just never heard about it.  Or maybe we did and I'm just forgetting it.

Why do the Rainbow Worlds point to the Galactic Core?  A random idea here, and in a way similar to and derived from the explanation in SC3, but maybe the Precursors were also trying to protect the future inhabitants of this galaxy from *Them*.  Modern physics suggests that there are probably supermassive black holes at the center of most galaxies, maybe even lots of them; singularities of that magnitude might be the sort of thing that would cause natural interdimensional weaknesses, and maybe that is a point of 'close contact' to other dimensions, where *They* are.  In that case, the galactic core would be one of the places where *They* could 'see' into this dimension and possibly *smell* if anyone interesting lived here - what if the Rainbow Worlds were made to shield us from that 'sight'?  If the Precursors found some inanimate material (like the hyper-radioactive whateveritis that the RWs are made of) which was capable of masking our presence - our *smell* - from *Them*, it would make sense to orient that shield toward the place where *They* would be looking from, which would be the galactic core.

Along those lines, maybe the Precursors ultimate destination wasn't another dimension, but rather extinction: maybe the Precursors attracted the attention of *Them* and were just as vulnerable as the Androsynth.  Knowing that *They* were coming, and not wanting to put other life in this galaxy at risk, maybe the Precursors set up the Rainbow Worlds to mask our *smell* and then went somewhere else in order to draw *Them* away from us; when *They* caught up to the Precursors and devoured them, at least *They* didn't also catch wind of the other life in this galaxy in the process.  It would seem in line with the Precursor's noble image to sacrifice themselves to protect fledgling life.

If you actually read this whole post, I admire you.  Sorry to be so longwinded, I talk alot when I get excited.  Smiley
Pages: 1 [2]

Login with username, password and session length

Powered by MySQL Powered by PHP Powered by SMF 1.1.21 | SMF © 2015, Simple Machines Valid XHTML 1.0! Valid CSS!