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News: Celebrating 30 years of Star Control 2 - The Ur-Quan Masters

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1  The Ur-Quan Masters Re-Release / General UQM Discussion / Re: Improving the original? What to improve to do the game even better? 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!
2  The Ur-Quan Masters Re-Release / General UQM Discussion / Re: Improving the original? What to improve to do the game even better? 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 Wink 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 Cheesy
3  The Ur-Quan Masters Re-Release / General UQM Discussion / When will the next version be out? on: December 19, 2005, 01:44:49 am
I absolutly love UQM, and I was wondering when the next version would be out? The last release was back in May, and I think its about time for an update. Acording to the change log since 0.4.0, theres been a few changes (both bug fixes and improvements).

I have a quite a few suggestions for the games graphical interface and new features, but I wanted to check out 0.5.0 first. Perhaps an ETA from someone who manages the project.

Or even better... suprise us and release it today Cheesy I'm not sure how stable it is though.  Edit: I just downloaded the latest snapshot. There is a few bugs, which have probably already been found and fixed soon. But I'll report them anyway. Oh well. Hopefully the new version will be out soon. Unfortunatly I dont know how to code for the game so I can't help speed up the process Sad
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