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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: Modifying Star Control Ships! - Thraddash Edition on: April 26, 2008, 08:28:08 am
In my old ideal scenario, the Thraddash Torch was designed more or less along the lines of the Scout and Stinger; instead of a highly-damaging secondary, the main gun was made shorter-ranged, but rapid-firing; in other words, a lethal macgun. This was to counter out the Stinger and Scout, which had weak primaries but good secondaries. The afterburner did no damage, but still had 2 armor. The ship moved faster on a normal basis, but the afterburner speed boost was made weaker.

Now, I'm not so sure. I can see the desire to improve the afterburner as a combat tool, but I'm not altogether sure it's viable at achieving the goal of making the Torch exciting, without doing some extensive changes. The simplest, most direct alteration would be to make the gun into a lethal, almost Ur-Quan-ish main, consuming basically the entire energy bar, and slowing down the afterburner. The gun change seems rather like what the Thraddash might like, but it may not 'scale' with their technological ability. Such a weak change to the afterburner may not really resolve the problems with it.

Thirdly, we could make the Torch gun fairly long-ranged, still (not as much as it is now), but the Torch virtually immobile in normal flight, only moving to acceptable speeds with the afterburner. The afterburner would still have a high cost, so as to permit only a few moments of extra-fast movement. The gun damage could be bumped up.

All in all, it's a difficult line of discussion, but I'm confident that with sufficient dicussion, a suitable solution to this problem can be determined, and we can regain the use of the Torch in netplay. The current situation, banning it, is really a band-aid fix and doesn't do anything to alleviate the underlying problems.

- Bob
2  The Ur-Quan Masters Re-Release / Technical Issues / Re: Building an OS X Bundled App on: April 25, 2008, 10:21:41 am
Well, that explains a lot.

I installed all the frameworks and the like, but didn't know about these other things, or that they were required.

With the long, convoluted SDL developmental setup ahead and no apparent installation documentation in sight (I checked the docs; it just talks about the technical things *after* you've installed it, though I probably overlooked something obvious to everyone else), I think it'd make the most sense to just give up on setting it up myself and see if there's anyone who wouldn't mind doing so (who it would be easy for); I don't have any experience whatsoever and it'd take ages. It isn't worth the effort anymore, when I really just want to hone in this one thing, and then I'm basically done.

Thanks for the advice, in any case.

- Bob
3  The Ur-Quan Masters Re-Release / Technical Issues / Re: Building an OS X Bundled App on: April 25, 2008, 03:50:18 am
Well, it turned out that I was attempting to use the wrong file entirely to do it. I managed to find the right one.

Here's the result of my most recent attempts:
'echo -n' capable echo found.
Sed stream editor found.
tr found.
Make found.
build/unix/ line 1: libmikmod-config: command not found
build/unix/ line 1: libmikmod-config: command not found
build/unix/ line 1: libmikmod-config: command not found
GNU C compiler found.
We have a C preprocessor.
We have a C dependency generator.
We have a C compiler.
We have a linker.
We have a Objective-C preprocessor.
We have a Objective-C dependency generator.
We have a Objective-C compiler.
Rez resource compiler (Apple Developer Tools) found.
We have a MacOS X resource compiler (Rez).
Little-endian machine detected.
Simple DirectMedia Layer not found.

The only documentation of this is ages old; in an incompetent attempt to follow out some advice Nic gave someone almost five ago for an earlier version (, I replaced the uqm-indent file with the version in Nic's latest source; this produced no notable effect.

I found the build.patch file made back in '04 (, but having no clue what to do with it, and no apparent file I could copy its contents into, then that doesn't work.
4  The Ur-Quan Masters Re-Release / Technical Issues / Re: Building an OS X Bundled App on: April 24, 2008, 10:00:40 am
I want to try rebuilding UQM, so I can test out ship performance changes; since there's no moddability yet, it's necessary.

At any rate, is completely resistant to use! It claims "permission denied" whenever I try to do anything with it.

An average log (altered for personal details):
Ascent:~ anonymous$ /uqm-0.6.2/sc2/build/unix/ uqm install
-bash: /uqm-0.6.2/sc2/build/unix/ Permission denied
Ascent:~ anonymous$ su
Ascent:/Users/anonymous root# /uqm-0.6.2/sc2/build/unix/ uqm install
su: /uqm-0.6.2/sc2/build/unix/ Permission denied

I've placed uqm-0.6.0-content.uqm and uqm-0.6.2 in the hard drive's root directory.  Is that correct?

Please let me know what I'm doing wrong; I'm a complete amateur to Unix-based things (and hope to largely stay that way; it's not my kinda world), but learning enough to compile UQM would be great. I like tweaking the idea of changing ship stats and the like, and it'd be cool. Some future UQM version might make it easier, but well.

- Bob
5  The Ur-Quan Masters Re-Release / General UQM Discussion / Re: Concerning Thraddash and net melee on: October 28, 2007, 04:53:25 am
The very first post said I would disregard the opinion of anyone who did not watch the video. I said that as part of the joke, as the first post is a joke post and the video is practically a prank I played on the UQM community. And yet the first person to post in here without viewing it is already wreaking havok.
Our opinions of 'havoc' would differ, but I don't care that much about the definition of it.

Let me try to get this across. The Thraddash blaster has insane range.
It has been a while since I've played against Thraddash in particular; I remembered it being significantly farther than Shofixti, but not quite *that* high. You've played it more recently, though, so you would know better than me.

It's not that big of a deal to me of the particulars of it; it simply seemed, in theory, that other ships should be able to evade it, and that it'd be hard to aim with. It seemed that way to me, at such long ranges. But you were always more accurate than me.

I actually don't even have the game on my machine any longer, and I was planning on dropping off the face of the Earth, as far as the community knew; however, I just had to drop that last, long post in, when I saw Amiga's stuff. So. Wink

No hard feelings, and safe travels.

- C. Bob
6  The Ur-Quan Masters Re-Release / General UQM Discussion / Re: Concerning Thraddash and net melee on: October 28, 2007, 03:36:49 am
Shiver: "both players playing at their best" doesn't involve the other player walking into Thraddash's attack path. Taking damage from the flames is a matter of choice, and it honestly isn't that hard, at least from my (admittedly dated) recollection to dodge/otherwise avoid/counter its one-shot-at-a-time peashooter, which means that takes forever. Furthermore, the inherent scenario isn't incredibly realistic for standard, non-video Wink games; I've put up with terrible lag, because I wanted to win and it wasn't the guy's fault that he lived in a certain place and/or had such a bad connection, but I wouldn't tolerate long, neverending games with Thraddash. I doubt that the affected player(s) would play so long without quitting that Thraddash would make a huge difference, relative to the cooler ships.

In any case, though, it's ultimately irrelevent, since either way, we can all agree that Thraddash is still a boring ship, and that it should be revised regardless of if it's considered powerful or not in borefest games.
7  The Ur-Quan Masters Re-Release / General UQM Discussion / Last Battle on: October 28, 2007, 02:36:50 am
I wasn't able to view it, but I've seen Thraddash in play, and personally taken it against Chmmr twice, to demonstrate that it could beat Chmmr, with Thraddash player willing to play a borefest: Once against Squisherxxx, once against Shiver. The first time was cut off by me having to take in groceries, and thus disrupted my skill, resulting in a death after fifteen or more wasted minutes; the game against Shiver was disrupted by Shiver realizing the futility of it and quitting.

The Torch's only useful ability is people getting frustrated (because the Torch sits back, flies around, and bravely does nothing) and letting themselves get killed. If both players play to win, Thraddash is nearly useless. If the other player (the one who wants something more interesting) plays for the fun of playing, he'll eventually give up and suicide, either against the Torch's afterburner or the planet.

Thraddash is only overpowered in that it is boring, and there is no reliable way to counter that without using a more costly ship. (Even then, it's often more time-consuming than it should be.)

That said:
The Torch *is* a borefest ship.
The Torch *does* need to be revised.
Whoever disagrees with these statements is a pawn.

However, I do not believe the solution is simply to make it easier for the Avatar to destroy, since the problem isn't in its inherent power (which is actually very limited), as so much its lack of need to close in,  its lack of *ability* to close in (seeing as it is worthless at actually doing damage, unless the other player chooses to let it), and its ability to stay away from everything else (while everything else can evade the Torch almost as well as the Torch can them, resulting in five-hour matches).

The solution is to alter the afterburner into a special that does much less for the Torch's speed (I do like the idea of the flames damaging the Torch), while changing up the main gun so as to make it more interesting. If we lower the Torch's inherent cost to, say, 8, or 7, we can make it a ship that is a counterpart to the ZFP Stinger and Shofixti Scout. It would have a special that does no significant damage, but it would have an excellent gun (for a ship its size), creating an interesting triad -- Shofixti, with a highly-damaging special and weak main gun, Torch, with an ineffectual special damage-wise and a powerful main gun, and ZFP, which is a balance.

As for the other ships:
Androsynth's primary use is in Comet form; while bubbling does work against some ships (Arilou, Pkunk) it's largely useless against most ships, since they can simply choose not to fly into the bubbles, and bide their time until something comes up.

Spathi isn't nearly as boring to fight or fly as Thraddash, since it actually needs to come into a very close range to attack (which exposes it to all kinds of fire) and requires daring and skill to do this, do damage, and avoid taking damage yourself.

Seeing as Slylandro's sole weapon is at close-range, and it is absolute murder at that, I can't see how any problem could be the Slylandro player's fault, unless he's going to have to take on Mmrnmhrm and he doesn't want to walk into the enemy's beam.

As for Amiga_nut...

The Thraddash should have NEVER beaten the Chmmr.
Have you ever even played Chmmr/Thraddash, as Chmmr? I'm not as good as Shiver, or very likely Squisher, yet in the long run, I did much more damage proportionately (and by "doing damage", I mean, "caused them to take damage by virtue of boring them to death so that they'd make a mistake") than they did to me. Blathering on about how Shiver is so l33t, so the entire video is invalid, will serve you to no end.

The Syreen never tried to grav-whip at him.
Probably because the Torch, a master of borefest combat, would have simply rocketted away, leaving a trail of borefest flames in its wake. There is no point in chasing down Thraddash.

You can create any circumstances to argue any point.
In that case, there's no point in arguing anything about anything, since people can 'create any circumstances to argue any point'.

I'm not convinced.
I wouldn't expect anything else.

All I know is that when a newbie comes to #uqm-arena they are not expecting (blah blah blah)
Why would a newbie want to play a game that has such a boring ship? Star Control II has flaws: the majority of the galaxy is dedicated to nothing more than featureless mining zones, the plot is rather linear (though still relatively open-ended, you don't have nearly as many options as the game's setup would lead you to suspect), the Quasispace portals are only useful if you have an established guide, and without them you have to trek all over the galaxy, to no apparent end.

However, this flaw affects one of the most relatively good parts of the game, melee, and destroys one-twenty-fifth of potential gameplay. Of twenty-five ships, one of them is completely, deliberately, and maliciously useless, to all those except people who know their opponents will choose to fly into their flames.

What is cool about the Torch? The afterburner? The Umgah Drone does something like that, and it was done better there. The main gun? Sorry, the Torch's gun is one of the most boring ones in the game, and is tempered by the fact that it belongs to the Torch. The flames that spew out the back, serving no purpose save as a suicide mechanism for people tired of dealing with the Torch?

Even if it *was* cool, "cool" does not equal "playability", or even necessarily "fun". UQM is a cool game, but it *is* flawed, and without a guide I would have been hard-pressed to do as well in it as I did. Something being "cool" and something being "fun" are *NOT* the same thing, and the latter is far more important.

I'm really sorry if your lofty melee skills have dulled your enjoyment of certain ships.
I'd dare say that even the newest players of melee would quickly recognize the uselessness of the Torch. And even if not, there *are* no other ships that they have thoughto be this boring.

Some have been thought to not be worth their cost, yes. But they're willing to play all of them to some extent, or allow them to be played.

A most unfair determination I feel.
You've never proved otherwise. The game is about fun, not running around for a hour because you aren't willing to let your Torch die, and the other player isn't willing to suicide.

Shiver knows the Torch is boring.
EP knows the Torch is boring.
Tiberian knows the Torch is boring.
And in fact, everyone that I have seen acknowledges that the Torch is flawed.
Everyone that I have seen acknowledges that, fundamentally, the Torch is a BORING SHIP.
That people chasing after it like headless chickens until they get desperately bored is NOT fun.
That being able to evade nearly everything that can be played against you , yet not being able to do anything significant in return is NOT the mark of a good ship.
That dreading the moment when a Torch is used, not because of its firepower or the player's skill, but because you know in your heart of hearts that, barring a player quitting, bugs in the game or divine intervention, the fight will last as long as the rest of the match, is NOT a sign of good gameplay.
Everyone I know of, in some form or fashion, know this. In many cases, they're willing to overlook it; play a little worse with it, or suicide with it, just to keep the game flowing.
Everyone I know of, except for you.
Tell me, Amiga_Nut: Who's in the minority now?
8  The Ur-Quan Masters Re-Release / General UQM Discussion / Re: Adjusted Ship Price Mod - Get it while it's hot! on: October 20, 2007, 10:57:19 am
The ship is designed solely for a borefest.

The afterburner flames doesn't work on anything except maybe Druuge; everyone else can just avoid it by standing still, since there's no need for them to choose to fly into Thraddash flames.

The main gun is only marginally better than Shofixti's, which is one of the weakest and most pointless weapons in the game.

As the afterburner itself and the relatively long range of the gun rewards long-range combat and hit-and-run attacks, every fight with Thraddash will take forever, even ones where it's cut-and-dry who will ultimately win, like Thraddash/Earthling or Thraddash/Shofixti.

As a result, most people avoid playing them altogether, because fights with Thraddash tend to be that bad.

The Spathi aren't comparable because their maximum speed, while pretty nice, isn't faster than basically everything else, plus they have to close in and fight at relatively close ranges to use their missiles.

Shofixti and ZFP aren't comparable because in both cases, they're optimized for close-combat, with weapons that do more immediate damage than most Torches could do in a long battle. The ZFP minigun is stronger than the Shofixti cannon, but the tongue is weaker than the Glory Device to compensate. Since the only thing that the Thraddash Torch has that could be likened to those two things is the afterburner, which people have to deliberately choose to take damage from, then the only use of the Torch is at long-range, taking off crack-shots, most of which miss, from the main blaster and using the afterburner to run away/shield itself from missiles whenever necessary.
9  The Ur-Quan Masters Re-Release / General UQM Discussion / Re: Ur-Quan Dreadnought to be re-named "Banana Boat" on: October 17, 2007, 07:19:47 am
Again, I think the point needs to be made that - to a novice/intermediate player - the Ur-Quan seems very powerful (even unfairly so). To a newbie, the fighters alone seem like an unstoppable force.
Seems, but those people eventually become better players (or so we can hope), at which point they learn that Ur-Quan aren't. Appearances aren't everything, and especially so with Dreadnoughts.

To be sure, the scope of this discussion is limited to a small sampling of UQM players. So I would hope that any changes to the Ur-Quan's tactical abilities be limited to a mod of some sort to enhance Melee play and/or increase the Full Game difficulty.
Nobody was saying we should call up Meep and alter UQM 0.7's ships. It being a mod was the only thing that was ever going to happen.
I, personally, remain in favor of modifying point values only. But others may disagree of course.
I do disagree. In some select cases, I believe some ships were supposed to be desirable ships, but they weren't because of shortsightedness. I'd like to see an improved Terminator, because it's implied that those ships are supposed to be able to fly out and seriously own people. They were said to be one of the primary combat ships of the Old Alliance. With the current setup, though, the Utwig are largely better, and so the Yehat are renowned only for being second-runners. Even many of the Old Alliance ships fly better, or have qualities that make them more qualified in the hands of elite players, for their costs.

Of course, altering the performance of every ship to rebalance them would be troublesome, and destroy much of the spirit of the game, so it isn't a realistic thing to do for all of them. However, I believe it would be viable in certain cases, especially with Ur-Quan (which, in the rebalanced costs mod, costs *less than Androsynth* -- ludicrous for the master race of the Hierarchy to have a worse ship than a thrall, even the Androsynth) and Thraddash (which nobody with sense ever flies, because it's a borefest ship).

C. Bob
10  The Ur-Quan Masters Re-Release / General UQM Discussion / Re: Ur-Quan Dreadnought to be re-named "Turdboat" on: October 12, 2007, 10:06:30 pm
Did you know that you can shoot down projectiles coming at you from long range?
Only if you're directly facing each other, or the shot is Mycon plasmoid (in which case, big deal; anyone can shoot down those).

Did you know that, besides the Utwig, shields suck?
Since there are only two ships with shields in the entire game, that's not really much of a thing for anyone to know. Besides, however bad Yehat shield may be (and it can become much more awesome if you use it properly than if you just hold down the special key), the Terminator's more able than the Dreadnought against enemies, in a surprising number of ways, considering its lower cost. The Terminator's not an amazing ship (unfortunately), but then, neither's the Dreadnought. The Dreadnought isn't leagues ahead of the Terminator, for sure, though it's worth more as-is.

Further, I was playing against a human opponent [in retrospect, I should have mentioned this previously], and although I don't know exactly where his skill level falls in the SC2 community, I know he is better than the crappy AI.
Probably so, but if Dreadnought still rocks in your games, well. When you play against most good players, who use good tactics, the Dreadnought becomes a paperweight.

Since this is about the Ur-quan's weaknesses, I guess I should mention that its main problem is that it can't defend itself from rear attacks.
Or side attacks, or a lot of frontal attacks.
The main problem of the Dreadnought is that it's totally outgunned by everything of comparable point status, and that when it *does* have an advantage in firepower, the enemy can usually dodge or otherwise nullify the attack, which is slow and fired by a ship with the turning ability of a whale in the Sahara Desert. Claiming that the Dreadnought rocks if only the pilot tries to keep people from getting behind it is silly, because its problems extend far beyond that (which can be circumvented, to a good extent, anyway).

This is why, for most ships, you keep the gun-end of the dreadnought toward the enemy.
Thanks for the info, but I'm fairly sure everyone knew that already.

Thus, the best way to take the Ur-quan out is to hit it quickly from behind.
Which even a Dreadnought can usually prevent, by the act of going into gravwhip. If not, however, you don't really have to come in from behind exclusively; the sides are similarly vulnerable, and in truth the front isn't a whole lot better, a lot of the time.

The Spathi are the best for this, followed by the Utwig.
Utwig can be all right against Dreadnoughts, if they're flown properly, I guess...  but... Spathi?

Also, the Orz marines are good for destroying slow targets, like the Ur-quan.
Probably the only thing I don't disagree with in your post.
11  The Ur-Quan Masters Re-Release / General UQM Discussion / Re: Announcing the Star Control expanded lore Wiki on: October 06, 2007, 10:19:47 pm
Not really. It seems like a bad idea to start with; "hey let's completely make stuff up and call it expanded lore for this game and put it in a wiki". Now, if it was organizing *existing* fanfiction/etc., that might be workable. Of course, you would need to denote all the parallel universes implied, since every piece of fiction is different from the other, generally, and there would be many contradictions.
12  The Ur-Quan Masters Re-Release / General UQM Discussion / Re: Super Melee Bounty Hunt on: October 01, 2007, 12:21:42 am
13  The Ur-Quan Masters Re-Release / General UQM Discussion / Re: Heretics' trial on: September 29, 2007, 08:34:08 pm
This evil topic is a blasphemy to all that is good and pure.
14  The Ur-Quan Masters Re-Release / Starbase CafĂ© / Re: OH MY! on: September 18, 2007, 10:42:54 am
Is that how it's actually spelled? Suddenyl the song seems much dirtier than I thought....

It's actually "Kumbaya".
15  The Ur-Quan Masters Re-Release / General UQM Discussion / Re: KEEL VEREZEY CROWN - August KO Tournament on: September 07, 2007, 08:54:58 pm
You misinterpret the messages above you.

The posts are not meant to be "bossy" or to detract from people "playing the game".

The posts are sent from people who care enough about your well-being as a player to comment on how obnoxious and boorish your combat style is, which detracts from gameplay and will very likely cause more or less everyone to cease playing with you. They serve as a warning of sorts that if you continue in your current path, you will not be well-regarded by most people you play against.

Do not think of it as people attempting to impose their own techniques on you, but rather, people attempting to prevent you from causing damage to yourself. There are many cases of players who play differently, which none of these people have opposed. Tiberian's style of combat is vastly different from Shiver's, but they are both elite players., and neither of them say to the other that they should avoid flying the way they do.

The way you play is long and boring, and tends to infuriate most other players. It will develop no skill where you need it, and thus doing it is only a crutch for your current weaknesses.

I recommend, as does everyone else, that you give up your current style of play and attain mastery in quicker, less boring battles, for the sake of yourself and everyone else. Every minute you spend in a game is a minute that you'll never get back; are you willing to spend so many of them to no productive end? Nobody will enjoy the time expended, and you might not win the game anyway.
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