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

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16  The Ur-Quan Masters Re-Release / Starbase Café / Re: the problem on: March 03, 2008, 10:33:39 pm
Why is the only bathroom on the entire ship INSIDE of a High-Efficiency Fuel Tank?  This seems like a disasterous design flaw!!

And more importantly, where did everybody poop before the Melnorme sold the technology to the Captain?

... and lastly, does Fwiffo's ship include a bathroom of its own?  If so, is it appropriate for Captain Zelnick to use it?
17  The Ur-Quan Masters Re-Release / General UQM Discussion / Re: New UQM mod on: March 01, 2008, 04:13:35 am
My ideas on unique/powerful ships: What if other races besides humans had bought Precursor techno from the Melnorme?

I've wondered about some things like that...  Like I said, I'm apprehensive about messing with that aspect of the game though.  But there's a lot of potential to do a lot of crazy things with all the ships, and having the Melnorme involved with that isn't a bad idea... Hmm...

Is that one ship the Spathi Eluder, and do I win a prize for my amazing and skillfull deductive prowess

You win no prize!  Partially because I lied, there are two ships that have changed, and also because YOU'RE WRONG!! Heh-heh.  Obviously, the sis_ship is different (it now functions as a malleable Spathi Eluder) -- but the Spathi Eluder ship itself is unchanged.  Although, last I heard, the Spathi were under a slave shield, so who knows whether we'll be seeing any of them.

There is one other ship that has changed.

Cool :p. I can do land sprites, portraits, and ships. Mod music is still a bit unknown to me but I am learning it! Smiley.

I *love* the Mmrnmhrm theme you posted the other day -- if you figure out how to turn that stuff into .mod or .ogg's, I'll be stealing it promptly!  Heh.

Make me some land sprites!   Wink
18  The Ur-Quan Masters Re-Release / General UQM Discussion / Re: New UQM mod on: February 29, 2008, 09:55:20 pm
No. For the most part I just ignored the AI and so now it handles most of the ships horribly.

Yeah, it seems like the code deals with changes to energy, crew, damage, weapon range (in most cases) and speed / turning (sometimes) pretty well.... but most other things freak it out.   I was always really impressed with the AI in SC2 (even more so now that I realize how little code is actually involved)

When I was originally toying with the code to simply make the original game more difficult, I just made all of the Hierarchy ships more powerful, and the fact that the AI was un-improved was fine....  But since there isn't any sort of restriction on allies now, that wouldn't really work.
19  The Ur-Quan Masters Re-Release / General UQM Discussion / Re: New UQM mod on: February 29, 2008, 09:32:48 pm
Are the races' ships the same as in normal UQM? If not, I might help with the AI.

So far, there's only one ship that has been modified (for story/plot purposes) -- I'm not sure whether or not it would be a good idea to change the ships, for fear that I might mess up the balance.  I feel like that, too, could be a dangerous road to start down....  On the other hand, it would offer an element of unpredictability to the game, which could be appreciated. (kind of like the unique/extra-powerful ships mentioned earlier in this thread)

Were there a lot of changes to the AI for your Super Melee mod?  I feel like an Androsynth would use lasers differently than it would use acid bubbles.
20  The Ur-Quan Masters Re-Release / General UQM Discussion / Re: New UQM mod on: February 29, 2008, 05:45:49 am
Looks to have much potential. I wonder if it's possible to actually add species to the game, not subtracting from the others? That might be something mighty interesting. Anyhow, looking forward to the progress, I can offer to help with some stuff if you want :p.

Yeah -- it's actually pretty easy (all things considered) to add a new race to the game.  I'm wrestling with the concept right now of whether or not I want to add one, because I feel like a lot of people have that delusion before, and I've never really wanted to see it done by anyone other than Paul and Fred.  We'll see though -- if I do do it, I already have a pretty good idea of how I'd use them.

If you can make surface alien sprites, or alien Conversation portraits, or mod-music, I could give you the list of what I want!  Heh-heh.

In fact it looks so sexy that i'm surprised that noone else has attempted something like this in the last few years. It's a simple idea and has the potential to make lots of funness.

This is what I've been wondering!!  I work full-time and I don't know a thing about programming, yet somehow I'm managing to stumble through this project.  (probably because I've wanted to see SC2 expanded upon since 1993) -- but still, if somebody actually got a small group together and devoted a few months to it, I feel like they could make something really cool, especially if the UQM source continues on its path towards being more mod-able (as Meep-Eep has suggested to be the case)  ... Maybe this project will inspire people, heh.

Question: If you can wipe out any race in the game singlehandedly, will the other races be receiving a stronger AI or a few extra-powerful ships around their starbase?

This is an issue I'm working on right now.  There are a couple of things in place to prevent this, as well as quite a few incentives to NOT go around being a space-thug.  Similarly to the way that Commander Hayes gets mad at you for selling too many crew to the Druuge, there are repercussions for a lot of the things you do in the game now.  Since you're not just accountable to the Earthlings (and even then, the Earthlings were completely dependent upon you) in this mod, you're accountable to everyone.  Some races (the Ilwrath) are quite pleased when you act like a violent jerk, but others (the Chmmr, for instance) don't really appreciate it.

Anyway, I don't want to give too much away, but there are some things to lead players away from that sort of path (and make it difficult if you DO choose to go that way) -- Also, making unique or extra-powerful ships is quite easy, and I might employ that if necessary, but if it can be avoided, I want to do as little meddling on that front as possible.

Will your version compile on all of the operating systems UQM does? I'd like to compile and give this a go on my Linux box.

I have no idea... uhh... I downloaded the source code from the Sourceforge page, fiddled with it, and always compile it on Windows XP...    Does anyone else know?

I’m sure Nicholai would welcome a contribution from someone offering to improve the AI – after all, that’s one hell of a job.

Of course!  Whenever I look at the AI, I just see a bunch of gibberish like "ARCTAN" and "COSINE" and "half_circle" and weird operators that I don't understand...  If somebody knew how to improve it, it would definitely be welcome!

      ~ Nicholai
21  The Ur-Quan Masters Re-Release / General UQM Discussion / New UQM mod on: February 27, 2008, 02:08:36 pm

It's not a playable demo by any means, but it's something:

Some screenshots from the project!  (like, ones from the actual build of the game in its current form, not just little pictures of Diamond worlds.)

There aren't any real spoilers, per se...  If you REALLY want to be surprised by the game (you know, ten years from now when its finished) then I guess you should avoid them, but all they're going to really expose are some basic gameplay changes and some initial plot-elements (which are explained within the first five minutes of gameplay)...  All star names / locations have been edited out of the screenshots.

Also, to preface this:  EVERYTHING below is in a very, very, very early stage still, and is completely subject to change.  (especially graphics, names, dates, etc.) -- so don't get too upset if you see something ugly.

So... here we go!  Ninteen examples of why my girlfriend thinks I'm a complete nerd!

Whoa, what the...?  Something weird is going on here already.... I'm suspicious, Nicholai!  Why am I a Spathi?  And why is it 2159?  Are you telling me you have the audacity to try and make a sequel to the world's greatest game?  You're on a slippery slope, buddy...

Our fearless Captain Wiffy makes a good point... too bad it's the future.

Oh, great... How did this happen?  Aren't BOTH of these races supposed to be dead?

Huh.  Well, I guess I should trust you, violent Rhino-dude....  Hey, wait, why don't I know about this stuff already?  And aren't I supposed to be under a slave shield somewhere?  Damn, I'm so confused...

Well... we seem to be getting along better now.  I like where this is going...

New planets...

New planets...

New planets...

New planets...

Approaching the starbase of our new friends, the glorious Thraddash!  Oh boy!

Just ignore that weird, red glow.  Starbases are PAINTED that way, didn't you know?

Ah, I can see this is the start of a very pleasant and reasonable relationship.

Where are my turning jets?!  My thrusters?!  Help!  HELP!

Evidently, the Summer of '59 was a bad time to be a Thraddash...

So bad, in fact, that I don't really want to be friends with the Thraddash anymore...  I could show you more of this conversation, but suffice it to say, I was a VERY naughty Spathi, and I found the way to an Ilwrath's heart!

The Ilwrath's starbase looks suspiciously familiar to something else I've seen before, but I just can't quite remember...

I guess I should go see what the Thraddash are up... to....... Oh.  Hmm.  He seems a little upset about my dealings with the Ilwrath.

After roasting the entire Thraddash fleet (it took a while) -- Commander Grulk is left defenseless.  This can't possibly end well for him.

Oh my...  Didn't there used to be a starbase there?  Perhaps I was a little rough on the Thraddash.  Oh well.  Whatever.


So, that's it for now on that front.  I'm slowly making progress with the game...  Here are a few of the new implimentations (I won't bother stating some of the obvious ones like "new flagship", "new planets", etc...):

- Multiple special weapon modules for the sis_ship.  (including BUTT missiles, naturally)
- Variable Spheres of Influence which reflect the number of ships you've killed, things you've done, etc..  (I won't explain how, but it's really cool, if I say so myself)
- The ability to ally / un-ally with nearly every race in the game, working towards a specific goal which you can fulfill using Alliance races, Hierarchy races, nobody at all, etc.
- More dynamic racial-interactions.  (it pays to be enemies sometimes -- it is NOT ideal to be allied with everybody and their grandmother)
- Greater benefits to alliances.  Information, resources, fuel, crew, starbases, etc, can be provided by many of the races.
- Hyperspace.  Quasi-Space.  And something else.
- No more Slylandro Probes.  Boo.  But maybe there's something much, much worse in their place..........  Or maybe that's just a red herring.  I dunno.
- NO infinite-battles.  If you really want to, you can more or less permanently obliterate any race in the game by assaulting their homeworld / starbase.  (granted, being alone on your own, personal Eternal Doctrine can make the game INCREDIBLY difficult)

Technically speaking, the game is sequential to The Ur-Quan Masters, but I have no delusions about trying to create a "TRUE sequel".... it's merely an experiment, following a different character, which hopefully people can get in to.

Anyway, it's 7:00am here and I just spent the last six hours writing Ilwrath dialogue, so if I'm coming off as a little crazy right now.... uh... that's why.

Also, if anyone is interested in assisting with any graphics work, I could definitely use people for a couple of things -- specifically:
- Alien portraits (one human, one something else -- preferrably in the existing SC2 style)
- Planet surface lifeforms (currently these are unchanged from the original game -- it might be nice to spice them up)

Questions / comments / angry rants / insults are welcome!

     ~ Nicholai


I forgot to mention that this entire project exists only because of Meep-Eep answering all of the 10,000 questions I've brought to him about the source code so far.  I really don't know one lick of C or programming in general, so he has been an immense help!
22  The Ur-Quan Masters Re-Release / Technical Issues / Re: Starmap Editing - plandata.c on: January 23, 2008, 08:17:44 am

I'm excited to see more people messing with this stuff!

I don't know much about the true nature of the code, but I know a great deal (at this point) about how to get a desired effect with a given star system.   Like Meep-Eep was saying; the sc2code/plantets/gen*.c files contain relevant data for overriding the randomly generated star systems. 

Some of them, such as gensol.c, actually dictate the NUMBER of planets in the system, in addtion to their characteristics....  While MOST of the gen* files simply modify the existing characteristics of, say, the second planet in the solar system (whatever that planet may have been randomly generated as).

I've found that the easiest thing to do is just set the new star coordinate, build the game, play it, and if the modified planet (say it's the fifth planet) does not exist (say that the randomly generated system only has three planets) -- then you can just move the star by one coordinate (X or Y) and try again, until the seed presents you with a satisfactory star system.

You can also cheat by using the relevant code in gensol.c to specifically generate a set number of planets IN your star system if you really have your heart set on a SPECIFIC coordinate and star color / size, and need your item/event to be on the fourth moon of the ninth planet (which unlikely to be randomly created at a given spot)

At this point, I've moved every single race, homeworld, item, etc. and created a whole bunch of new ones in addition.......  Anything is possible!
23  The Ur-Quan Masters Re-Release / Technical Issues / Re: Editing the Star Control 2 Source on: January 23, 2008, 08:00:13 am

It's coming along...  It's just a slow-going process, and has gotten much more intricate than I had originally planned...

... Plus I have to get on IRC and bug Meep-Eep every time I do anything that involves code more complex than like, variable declaration.

Pretty soon, I'll be on here begging for the services of a skilled artist to help me with some things.

I'd like to have a demo made up shortly -- perhaps just of the first star system.  (which may or may not be Sol!  ...WhoOoOoooo... scary!!)
24  The Ur-Quan Masters Re-Release / Technical Issues / Re: Editing the Star Control 2 Source on: August 15, 2007, 01:08:38 am

The Mod is still coming along...........  All I can say is that I've been much too busy to devote it the time it deserves.

I think a few months ago, I said, "Give it a few weeks!" .....

.....Which turned out not to be nearly enough time, apparently.

In any case, there WILL be an update here, when there's something really worth mentioning.  At this point, I feel like if I'm going to release it at all, I might as well try to do something *really* impressive, so it's taking a good bit of extra work...

        ~ Nicholai
25  The Ur-Quan Masters Re-Release / Technical Issues / Re: Editing the Star Control 2 Source on: June 16, 2007, 04:15:47 am

Yeah -- there's not a lot left, but like I said, it's severely un-tested and highly likely to explode the minute somebody else tries to play.  I also need to play-test to balance out the ships, clean up a few known glitches, etc. etc...

I'd still like to add a few things here and there, maybe expand on some things that I sort of cut short because I was getting too excited, etc.  Most of what I've done so far, unfortunately, is just alter and add to what is already there, and I'd really like to put in a lot of brand new things.

What I'd REALLY love to do is change the mineral / RU system such that there is no longer one uniform currency.  (ie. I don't believe it's possible to build a fusion blaster out of water and iron, but then again, I'm not an engineer...)  -- Thereby giving purpose to every type of planet, because even in my version, it becomes pretty obvious prettly quickly which color/size of planets one should bother exploring, and which should be ignored.

But these are just my rambling fantasies.

Anyway, I'm going to try to wrap it up in the next few weeks.  Talking about it as much as I have lately has renewed my spirits! Heh-heh.

         ~ Nicholai
26  The Ur-Quan Masters Re-Release / Technical Issues / Re: Editing the Star Control 2 Source on: June 14, 2007, 06:43:28 pm

Well, if there's still interest then, here are a few brief screenshots pertaining to the early missions at the beginning of the game:

(no spoilers below, really...  I didn't take pictures of anything too wacky) (red planet...) (purple planet...  Hmm... Oops.)

A screen from a little later in the game...

And a Diamond World (which took me about twenty minutes of flying around to find.... argh)

Anyway, I started the Mod when I had just moved and was woefully unemployed!  Right now, I'm a bit distracted by work, etc. -- but I would like to get it finished up when the opportunity presents itself.

I'm glad that people think it's cool!  I had been wanting to play with the Star Control II source ever since I beat the game for the 400th time back in like, 1994.  I know next to nothing about programming or the C language, yet I'm managing to stumble through it and do some interesting things..... maybe I can motivate somebody who actually knows what they're doing to make an even better Mod!  Heh-heh.

       ~ Nicholai
27  The Ur-Quan Masters Re-Release / Technical Issues / Re: Editing the Star Control 2 Source on: June 12, 2007, 02:52:08 am

Surprisingly, it's not abandoned yet!

I haven't had as much time to poke around with it recently, but it's still alive.  I'm more or less finished with all the things I wanted to incorporate (though some of them are a lot less complex than I originally fantasized, because I got antsy a couple of weeks ago and wanted to play it RIGHT THEN, heh).

The major changes I can think of off-hand that make the game differ from the original are:

- Several new missions (in addition to and much more difficult than the moon base mission) to earn Hayes' trust.
- Ability to converse with Fwiffo at any time, and occasionally get something useful out of him.
- A new "character" (akin to Admiral Zex, or Fwiffo) from a certain Hierarchy race...
- Four new modules offering new special abilities to your flagship.
- Access (via completion of a number of new story threads) to every Star Control II ship.
- Massive changes to game difficulty. (read: it's really hard!)
- Expansion of certain existing game-missions.  (you thought that getting the Mycon to fall for the Syreen trap was too easy...?  Me too!)
- New/larger starmap
- New planet-types
- Mineral colors shifted -- mineral values changed.
- Price changes for flagship modules, fuel, crew, support ships, Melnorme tech, etc.
- Complete obliteration of the usual trends (ie. you're probably not going to ally with the Spathi right away / you may meet the Supox rather quickly!)
- Multiple starbases.  (and, yes, you'll probably need them!)
- You actually have a legitimate reason to fear the Sa-Matra in battle.
- A bunch of other things I'm not thinking of right now...

In any case, it's all disasterously un-tested and probably buggy as hell.  I'd like to work on it some more and get it out so that others could mess with it some day...    (I think it's based on like, version 5.0 or something)

        ~ Nicholai

P.S.  A special thanks to Meep-Eep, who, for several weeks, listened and responded to my 24/7 bitching and whining about technical issues with the source code!
28  The Ur-Quan Masters Re-Release / Technical Issues / Re: Editing the Star Control 2 Source on: February 01, 2007, 03:11:53 am
Randomizing the locations, etc. of everything WOULD be the ideal option, and from what little familiarity I now have with the source code, it wouldn't be impossible to do.

But yeah, like you just said, the real problem would come from alien text that references specific constellations, or things relative to themselves.  For instance, the ZoqFotPik say "the source of the tumbling probes seems to be somewhere in a direct line with our star and Epsilon Muscae"  or something like that, and naturally, that's not true for my starmap.   Aliens also often reference things being "core-ward", or that there was a "mysterious world orbiting a pair of blue stars not far from here".

Historically-wise, there are also problems that come up (this applies to spheres of influence as well) -- such as various aliens' descriptions of the war, the final defense at Raynet, etc. etc., the relative distances between things,  or stories such as Captain Tanaka's about passing through VUX space, stopping at a "mysterious world" in the Sextantis constellation (in VUX space) on his way home to the Shofixti home star.  I did my best to make all of these things work out in my Mod, but it's not perfect.

Honestly, with enough messing-around, you could eliminate those SORTS of references such that it could work with a randomized star map, but I sure as hell wouldn't know the first thing about how to do it.

I'm not a HUGE fan of the starmap I wound up with; but it was really just a test.  At the moment, I'm focused on adding actual content to the game.  Thus far, I've made several new weapon/special modules for the flagship, and added a couple "questy" sort of things.  If anybody is interested in screenshots, I'll be happy to take a few.
29  The Ur-Quan Masters Re-Release / Technical Issues / Editing the Star Control 2 Source on: January 28, 2007, 08:46:23 pm

Like a large number of people on here, I've played Star Control 2 to near-death with some regularity over the last fourteen years, and also suffered through a long period of not being able to run the game due to the advent of Windows 98.  (Resulting in my being ecstatic when UQM was released)

I probably just don't read the threads enough, but I haven't seen too many discussions about how depressing it is to already be completely aware of every single event in the game.  After a solid four or five years of not being able to play, I found myself still capable of beating Star Control 2 in the course of an evening.  Granted, I love every second of it, but I've often yearned for the feeling of stumbling across the Slylandro gas-planet for the first time again, etc. etc.

Anyway, I recently started poking around in the source code to see what I could do to the game...

Here's where I am right now in said game:

 I remember having all manner of fantasies about finding the Androsynth, flying to 999.9 : 999.9 in Quasi-Space and miraculously locating a Precursor, and so on.  When I finally realized there was nothing left to discover, I was very sad, and dreamt of being able to modify the existing game in some way, since I was already convinced that a genuine sequel was unlikely.

In messing around with the source code, I've managed to already create an entirely new star map, with new constellations, a larger size (1500.0 by 1500.0), re-ordered spheres of influence with appropriate artifacts/planets located in them, changed alien text to correctly refernce new things, etc. etc.

Granted, in MAKING all of this, I now KNOW most of the new locations, so it's kind of moot... but still interesting.

I also changed ship stats, module/ship/crew/fuel prices, made my own planets (Diamond Worlds which appear white from space, covered in ORANGE 'exotic' minerals worth 16 RU, you know?) and all manner of other things to make the game more challenging / different  (such as you can now buy specifications for catalogue item 2418-B ships from the Melnorme to be built at the starbase)  Obviously, this is no substitute for a sequel or significant mod, but it's keeping me entertained.

So, anyway, the reason I ramble on about this is because I was wondering whether or not anybody else was working on anything like this, or am I just a completely desperate moron?  Heh.

Also, I was curious about whether or not there were any people out there who were more-experienced with the code who might feel like writing up directions on how to make, say, a new module, or make it possible to upgrade the Precursor vessel at the Syreen starbase, or anything else of that nature...

My hope is that if I exclusively play MY version for the next five years, I'll magically forget where everything is in the REAL game!  Of course, the sad reality is that I'll always know WHERE to go to find out where the Shofixti Maidens are, and I'll always know WHO to talk to to get repair items for the Ultron.   Oh well.

Any thoughts on any of this?

        ~ Nicholai
30  The Ur-Quan Masters Re-Release / Technical Issues / Re: Some new source code questions... on: May 27, 2006, 05:16:59 pm

Thanks a lot!

I am still having a problem with the starbase -- perhaps you know what I'm doing wrong?  This is the code I've got right now, which seems oh-so-very correct to me (you know, the fellow with basically no programming experience):

      if (pMS->CurState == TALK_COMMANDER)
         FlushInput ();
         if ((GLOBAL_SIS (log_x) == 5728) && (GLOBAL_SIS (log_y) == 5416))
            InitCommunication (COMMANDER_CONVERSATION);
            InitCommunication (SYREEN_CONVERSATION);

(The coordinates for the starbase are correct for where I have SOL positioned)

I suspect that these aren't the correct variables for your location, because I suddenly encounter the Syreen right after I establish the name of the Alliance (when Hayes fades out at the beginning after the Ilwrath battle)

After I leave the conversation with the Syreen, I suddenly end up BACK in the conversation with the Syreen.  Forever.   Sad

Either way, thanks for the help!

      ~ Nicholai
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