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News: Paul & Fred have reached a settlement with Stardock!

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31  The Ur-Quan Masters Re-Release / General UQM Discussion / Re: What does Star Control II lack? on: August 22, 2010, 07:19:03 am
It's easy to come up with ideas or what I think should have been different, or what would be neat to add if they had lots of resources... but it's interesting to think about features that I miss, features which could have been made at the time with somewhat limited resources.

So, a few things at the top of my head:

- Something to help marking stars that you've visited would be neat. Maybe an 'a:visted' and a comment system for the map. A fog of war-ish thing that you erase as you travel could also help to engrave a little sense of history onto the star map. Yeah, I know there was a printed map you could make notes on, but it's less immediate. Overall, I'd like to see more persistent marks of history. This way when you reload an old game, you'd see the history and go, aah, that's where I left off.

- A little captains log could help here too. It could be as simple as some lines of text and a date when things happened. Bonus points for being able to write your own entries. Maybe some obvious clues could be put in here after conversations (stuff that the player might have noted anyways). However, there's a danger that this will make the player lazy, hurry past dialog and trust the log too much.

- I would've liked to see more art which establishes the various settings and aliens, kind of like how the moon Spathi get their own image.

- I liked the artifact system in Starflight. Even if there were a lot of red herrings, it was nice to be able to find more stuff. SC feels a bit empty.
32  The Ur-Quan Masters Re-Release / Starbase Café / Re: space strategy games recommendations on: August 10, 2010, 05:43:14 am
Distant Worlds is fairly recent. I don't know much about it. Videos.
33  The Ur-Quan Masters Re-Release / Starbase Café / Re: Cortex Command and Arne's art pages ? on: August 08, 2010, 09:25:20 pm

Not much in there though. The SC series is a bit too new for me. Still, could be fun to chibi-fy it.

If you compare buying SC2 to buying a few DVD movies, it's probably worth it. You'll get a few days fun out of it at least, unless you dislike RTS games of this particular type.

For me, it's probably the polish which has kept me interested so far, rather than the concept of the game. The situation is reverse with Starflight, Star Control, and other older games which interest me.

They made a nice editor for the game. Supposedly you can make all sorts of games in it, so something interesting can come out of that even if you don't like SC itself. However, apparently their license is pretty nasty. If you make something really neat, Blizzard owns it as I understood it. If you make something offensive, Blizzard may delete it and you might not have a say in the matter since stuff is saved on their servers, not locally. If someone makes a new DotA, Blizzard wants to be able to capitalize on it or something, I dunno.

Smells a little like what EA tried to do with Deluxe Paint back in the day (IIRC). Recently, Spore might have had a similar license.
34  The Ur-Quan Masters Re-Release / Starbase Café / Re: Cortex Command and Arne's art pages ? on: August 08, 2010, 03:45:55 pm
Well, I much prefer RTS games like Total Annihilation, or colony building hybrids like Utopia / K240, but it's hard to not enjoy SC2. It's extremely polished.

I'm not a huge fan of unlockables or achievements though, and SC2 is pretty excessive in that department. For me, pop-up distractions like that breaks fourth wall and the gotta-catchém-all mentality prevents me from just playing around and enjoying the game. The game itself is rather micromanagey, and just ten minutes in managing my bases will require more APM than I have (actions per minute / clicking stuff count), usually leaving me with lots of unspent resources (since factories constantly have to be nannied). Ultimately, SC2 has been designed to be a game, maybe even a sports game, and it constantly reminds me of its gameyness.
It's fun at first to just check out all of the content / units. To appreciate the game later on you probably need to be somewhat decent at it, understanding how to micromanage and match units in combat. It's fun when a strategy works and you win with a smaller army and clever use of special abilities. Mushing generic big armies together becomes boring real quick. There aren't a whole lot of units so you can't count on new content keeping you interested. Also, there's no simulation or autonomy going on, so the Peeping-Tom zero player fetishist in me isn't getting much stimulation. I'm not sure if I want to spend time getting good enough at the game to make it enjoyable. I'll play through the campaign for sure though, which is strange because I generally go straight for the skirmish and ignore the campaign when I get a new RTS game.

35  The Ur-Quan Masters Re-Release / Starbase Café / Re: A quick question for UQMFers on: August 07, 2010, 05:23:43 pm
PoNaF changed forum system some time ago didn't it? Were the old account details transferred?

It's pretty uncommon that old games have active communities. I think the simplicity of the UQM forum is advantageous. Even larger communities can be killed by forum subsection-mania, probably because the attention is divided by the number of sections, and goes below a critical "Should I bother to revisit to see if something new has happened?" threshold.

How is the new-ish PoNaF site coming along btw? Is all/most of the content up?

36  The Ur-Quan Masters Re-Release / Starbase Café / Re: Cortex Command and Arne's art pages ? on: August 07, 2010, 02:52:20 pm
Hey, it's me me me! A thread about me, and I didn't even have to ego-search!

I should actually be working on a fluff doc for Cortex Command now, but I bought a certain RTS game sequel... :/

Prometheus' Spawning Grounds
Android Arts
Art / Game thoughts blog

A few of my space game pages:
Star Control
My own space game thing.
37  The Ur-Quan Masters Re-Release / General UQM Discussion / Re: Star Control 4 (...a message to TFB...) on: August 07, 2010, 02:57:26 am
A Spathi knight huh? Maybe they used (ten foot?) pole weapons to keep the enemies at a safe distance. What a strange sight to behold, watching their armies 'clash'.

38  The Ur-Quan Masters Re-Release / Starbase Café / Re: Global Warming Denialist on: January 19, 2010, 01:52:12 pm
The sun is getting larger and hotter. Some speculate that land life emerged only some 1 billion years ago because it was too cold before. In another one billion years it will be much too hot. So we landlubbers really only have a 2 billion year window, if things go their 'natural' course. Of course, in the far future the outer planets in the solar system will be hotter and maybe terraform-able.

I don't think the Earth has seen anything like us humans before. We a potential unlike that of any other creature of the past. We could arguably evolve into a form which enables us to go Type III and milk the stars for energy/matter for countless billions of years. This makes us more than a blip on an insignificant planet. It makes us a slightly larger galactic blip in mindbogglingly vast universe.

We also have the potential to completely sterilize the Earth with technomagic like grey goo.

It's very difficult to even try and predict 100 years into our future. That says something about our potential. A moth was still a moth 100 years ago. We learned to fly, sent a man to the moon, invented wireless global communication, and sucked up half of the world's oil deposits.
39  The Ur-Quan Masters Re-Release / Starbase Café / Re: Global Warming Denialist on: January 18, 2010, 10:56:35 pm
Humans could quite possibly spread the life of this planet to the many dead worlds out there. If the idea is to ensure the survival of life, long term, then humans could arguably offer a rare chance to do that. We could build seed ships (like in Songs of a distant Earth). We can also blow up dangerous asteroids with our giant moon laser / brave self-sacrificing astronauts.
40  The Ur-Quan Masters Re-Release / General UQM Discussion / Re: Cool Green Ships on: January 18, 2010, 03:08:58 pm
The StarBug from Red Dwarf is green too. It looks like something the ZFP would build. I like the Romulan warbirds with the wing motif (not the old TOS ones).

As for the SC scales, I see indications of two different ones.

1. Torpedo boat sized ships: agile with a small crew and a main weapon of some sort (this is what the Cruiser feels like to me). The melee gameplay feel more like I'm dogfighting, not steering huge battleships around and firing batteries. In the case of smaller ships, I'd also treat the relative sizes of the ships in the game as somewhat correct (ignoring the planet).

2. Much larger ships, for compatibility with typical sci-fi scales, and story realism. The game is seen as highly abstracted. A Dreadnought would be a fortress, some 500-2000 meters, and a Shofixti Scout would actually represent a whole squadron of small fighters.

Or you could go in-between, making the ships some 50-300 meters long. Really, the game doesn't give you much to go on, and when it does, it's contradictory. Almost any scale could work.
41  The Ur-Quan Masters Re-Release / Starbase Café / Re: Water on moon on: November 17, 2009, 02:08:54 am
That's 25 gallon / 100 liters in the ejecta from  a 20-30 meter crater? I don't know how much that is. Not completely dry for sure, but it might be too expensive to extract it. On the other hand, they hit a random spot. With some proper prospecting they could find a mother lode, perhaps?

Ganymedes and a bunch of other Jovian moons have a lot of water-ice, and some are believed to have subterranean oceans.

42  The Ur-Quan Masters Re-Release / General UQM Discussion / Re: How to create a 'limited' Star Control game? 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.
43  The Ur-Quan Masters Re-Release / Starbase Café / Re: Welcome to The Pages of Now and Forever Site Re-Launch on: September 06, 2009, 08:42:58 pm
Shouldn't the blue sidebar go all the way down? I don't know if mine did, I think I had filled it with a gazillion menu items so no page was long enough to ever require the side bar to stretch with the page.

I prefer making picture subtitles italic or something so they don't look like small headlines.
44  The Ur-Quan Masters Re-Release / Starbase Café / Re: Neat find on: July 13, 2009, 09:38:46 am
I like that Kohr-Ah concept with the arms coming down like that. Rolling it up on a shelf works too.

I made robotic crew for my Kohr-Ah ships (old concept). I think the Syreen can lure out robotic Mmrnmhrm (but not Slylandro which appears to be more like mounted processors and/or not sentient enough).
45  The Ur-Quan Masters Re-Release / General UQM Discussion / Re: Ur-Quan lost link on: July 12, 2009, 11:48:33 am
Also, if the brownies established any Noah (starflight style) colonies, someone back on the homeworld is bound to know something about it, so the Dnyarri would find out pretty quick. On the other hand, a territorial species might be paranoid and careful, so perhaps they took security measures. Any space faring species would probably start thinking about their survivial once they figure out how hostile space is.

I doubt all Ur-Quan had the exact same personality. There are humans who like eating poop, having sex with grates, and in SC there's Zex of course. A monogamous Ur-Quan couple (and other deviants) would probably be ashamed of their fetish and leave the homeworld. Perhaps there was a secret society of non-territorial brownies, like how Spathi have the brave Black Spathi (which may just be a story, I know).

Another thing to think about is that (Ultronomicom again:):
They were solitary hunters who had to defeat their strong territorial nature, and the deep hatred between each other, to found a mighty technological culture.
(Although they 'still struggle' with it.)
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