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July 07, 2022, 06:41:33 am
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News: Paul & Fred have reached a settlement with Stardock!

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1  The Ur-Quan Masters Re-Release / General UQM Discussion / Re: NEWS: Ghosts of the Precursors is coming! on: December 11, 2017, 10:53:51 am
Well, this is a surprise... and from what it looks like, it's a surprise to Brad as well.
Brad is basically saying "You have our permission, go ahead!", while FF and PR3 are saying they shouldn't NEED permission. This seems like a fairly technical point, but in the murky world of IP law and business, the distinction between permission being granted and not needing permission in the first place could actually be a literal gamebreaker for GotP. As supportive as Brad is, permission is something that can potentially be withdrawn, if something happens to Stardock that means that Brad is no longer in charge of Stardock's side of the IP - a hypothetical new holder of Stardock's side of the IP could, in theory, withdraw permission and issue a cease and desist on GotP, or even if FF & PR3's permission to make GotP is future-proofed, a hypothetical future owner of the Stardock side of the IP might be able to freeze FF & PR3 out of doing anything else with their universe afterwards. Such uncertainty in the status of the IP might be making it difficult for FF & PR3 to get investors and other backers for their project.

The other issues FF & PR3 raise are essentially symptoms of this: Stardock releasing Star Control 1, 2, and Kessari Quadrant without permission, and putting the Ur-Quan Masters and Kessari Quadrant universes in their diagram, is essentially demonstrating to potential backers that the exact status of the Ur-Quan Masters IP is not fully resolved, and therefore that the risk that a future holder of the Stardock side of the IP might pull the plug remains.
"Who owns exactly how much of exactly what now" seems to be most of the problem.
Which is why it remains frustrating to those involved, confusing for those of us who read about it and unsatisfying for everyone interested in past and future games.
But there's also some inevitable miscommunication. And sunk costs. And obligations to others. And "enforce it or lose it" rule for trademarks making this disagreement more frantic than it needs to be otherwise.
So either lawyers will have to pick this mess dust grain by dust grain, or Paul and Fred take Brad's proposal to discuss this directly and try to work out some agreement.
Then again, by now all three probably are annoyed with this enough that using some common acquaintance as a mediator may be better than "phone call", despite an extra layer of miscommunication.
Then this agreement have to be turned into something binding by lawyers. Simply because it's one thing to trust Frogboy who is cool and all... and it's entirely another thing (in long term) to trust Stardock. Look at what's left of Ed Greenwood's agreement with TSR representative, who was cool and all, and himself was one of their best designers - how much all this matters now?
All this have to take some time.

Stardock forum's thread on this predictably shows frustration, confusion and fanboys (of either and both sides) chasing their own tails per tradition of internet discussions.
2  The Ur-Quan Masters Re-Release / Starbase Café / Re: Match groups with SC2 races on: October 11, 2008, 05:50:37 am
And what corresponds to Kibologists ?  Smiley
Wait, when did they sold stain/spyware? At least they did not sold that 'caster to Burwixese ?..  Wink

ZFP - any not-so-mass media. Has history of great and coincidental accomplishements, proudly remembers big victory about which no one other than themselves knows (or really cares) at present, fears unprovoked and utterly unnecessary attacks from anyone and always ready for counterattack despite already being in critical condition, and will be quite happy to tell you everything you don't want to know about Frungy.
3  The Ur-Quan Masters Re-Release / Starbase Café / soluble theme (background mixes) on: October 11, 2008, 05:08:30 am
It's not big secret that music is one of Star Control's strong points, as it both complements game and... well... good as is. But melee music is the same battle.ogg, not half-dozen randomized themes. Same for hyperspace.
Just for variety, i tried to combine in-game theme with several songs in player with hotkeys control. Start melee, pause it, then adjust player's volume until soundtrack turns into extra parts of song — generally it means "between vocal/lead and everything else" or a bit quieter, sometimes a bit louder. Bonus points if song already has some FX/synth, same and strong guitar part (though not "bzzzzz, blazzzztbeat-t-t"). Of course, in most cases it's just another example "How something mixed with something else Makes something worse", but if rhythms are compatible, after several seconds it starts to sound as strange remix and it's hard to tell precisely where one theme and where another. Short pause or two helps to synchronize when needed.
As long as you like both soundtracks, it can be really weird and very funny at the same time.  Roll Eyes
E.g. battle.ogg is mixable with: Helloween - Kings Will Be Kings, Mission Motherland; Beholder - Call For Revenge, Daydream, The Ring Of Freedom; Judas Priest — You've Got Another Thing Comin', Rapid Fire, Hell Is Home; Gamma Ray - Insanity & Genius.
4  The Ur-Quan Masters Re-Release / General UQM Discussion / Re: Idea for UQM on: September 18, 2008, 10:27:25 pm
What if there was a ship editor for UQM? It could work like this:

-First, the player chooses a ship to work from or chooses to start from scratch.
-Next, the player adjusts the mass (size) of the ship as well as the length and width (allowing for longer, skinnier ships).
-After the size has been determined, the player is allowed to change the look of the ship.
-The player then decides how powerful the engine should be.
-Then the weapons are chosen (max 2; player chooses which is primary and which is secondary).
-Finally, special components are selected for the ship

As meep-eep already wrote — Master of Orion. Perhaps some mod, say «Ur-Quan Masters of Orion 2» ?..   Grin

IMHO, differences between variants already implemented in SC2 are so great that it would be impossible to set up any "universal game balance" via editor validator alone. And UQM in either Adventurre or Melee mode is not anywhere near some strategy with rapid R&D and visible ship design dynamics (like Ascendancy or MoO2) anyway. Therefore, such editor should be mod tool only, not in-game thing (then "balance" validators go into Mauler's furnace, balance is up to specific mod maker).
In either case a ship editor will not be part of UQM since they stated it many time that the goal if it is to recreate to almost original state the game. After, they will made it mod friendly but all mod will not be part of the UQM label.
Right, but there's still something wrong with “make content first, create instruments for making content later” idea.
From my previous gaming experience, tempering with new creation tend to make the game unfair.
Irrelevant. Perhaps most texts ever written are silly or nonsensical, but to draw a conclusion "thou shall not write text editors ever" would be a bit too much, right ?  Wink
The very first idea that come to my mind is that you will basically create ship that will be specific to destroy a particular ship with very ease...
I don't see anything "unfair" here. Only that it has nothing to do with SC2/UQM or anywhere in 100 ly radius around it. Mix of UQM / SC2 style scenario with Master of Orion (PC is Supreme Commander on flagship, and so on) is feasible, but strategy engine as advanced as MoO2 (with AI) in addition to Adventure and Melee engines of UQM obviously is too stretched idea.
Very basic resource management and building ships on Starbase (to make new SC1) and turning 1:1 Melee into full-blown fleet vs. fleet combat would be more realistic aim, though this does not waits for us just round the corner.
5  The Ur-Quan Masters Re-Release / General UQM Discussion / Re: UQM, Timewarp and ship rotation on: September 13, 2008, 10:11:31 am
I agree in princple that there should be a "UQM -- just as the creators made it (with a few bugfixes/UI improvements)". People should definitely have the option to play the game "just as it was". However, I think that if the game is to have a future (and not just with people making mods) [...] There should be an option to toggle it on or off quickly and easily so that people can go between "Classic" and "New" modes.
Best way would be greater moddability (without recompiling main executable to change anything but sprites and sounds), perhaps via .dll/.so or maybe even scripts (Python?). Then we would have basic “Legacy” and “Enhanced” rulesets and user mods.
I sort of like PsyDev's idea. Such a new melee mode could also include things like a planet location indicator,
More generic solution is tactical minimap (perhaps between 2 status sections). It can be also used to track out-of-screen stones, missiles/fighters/marines and all ships if and when fleet vs. fleet combat will be implemented.

As to Timewarp, i tried it. Melee is rather pretty and has some interesting features, but it's very raw and buggy. AI looks very dumb even as compared to SC2 & UQM with its “almost everything merrily jumps right into Torch exhaust” issue. Fleet melee is cool thing... but now it just throws heaps of errors. And TW has no working campaign at all.
6  The Ur-Quan Masters Re-Release / General UQM Discussion / Re: pkunk special pointless keyjammer? on: September 13, 2008, 08:49:01 am
Really, there seems to be no reason that would preclude use of Special constantly, both for Pkunk and for Probe.
Introducing limitation for Pkunk looks easier: if resurrection probability decreases when you swear and gradually raises back after some time, you'll use Special only when disengaged and not going to engage in combat right after replenishing full capacity. Perhaps with "intact" probability slightly raised if you want to balance it back. Computer-controlled Pkunk favor “hit-n-run” tactics anyway, so it's not very big issue.
As for Probe... perhaps, using Special precludes attack for some time (until it “digests” captured matter)? After all, as we know from game, Probe's lightning discharge is not a separate weapon but merely abuse of supplementary function represented in melee by Special.
7  The Ur-Quan Masters Re-Release / General UQM Discussion / Re: UQM, Timewarp and ship rotation on: September 11, 2008, 12:33:48 pm
Hmm. Even without dirty tricks involving 3D models, why would not "2.5D" approach (sprite + height map) be much better ? So you always have 1 image + 1 relief image instead of 1 image per angle implemented.
Got any 2.5D image editors?
Yes, GIMP.  Wink As i see it: create from primary sprite white greyscale layer, now you have image of "flat prism" ship. Add mask. Drop color to black where edges correspond to ship parts sloping "down" from PoV (mostly via blurring), choose blurring algorithm and use color curve tool to get desirable slope. Mask cuts it down to ship's outline, whether it's blurred or not. Add details and fix it where it does not represent your idea of ship. When you'll save this layer separately, you'll have height map ready to use.
For 3D-rendered images better way would involve automation, namely consecutive crossection coloring, "water lines" script (or even shader?), with resulting object rendered from exactly the same PoV as main image. Something like "paint it white, illuminate it from above, add absorbing fog dense enough to make chosen waterline very dim grey".
8  The Ur-Quan Masters Re-Release / General UQM Discussion / Re: UQM, Timewarp and ship rotation on: September 10, 2008, 02:30:28 pm
As you said, the gameplay changes completely if you have continuous angles. We want to give people the original gameplay.
Now, as far as I am concerned, newer players will probably dislike the 16 angles, yet people who played the orgininal Star control 2 intensively might prefer 16 angles over more angles.
Recreation of SC2 "as it was" is very good point. Which does not automatically removes other possibilities as long as they are outside "pure recreation" ruleset, being controlled by config options and/or implemented in mods.
And don't fall in the trap of thinking that more realistic is more fun. 
Well, if what is needed is simulator, absolutely nothing (save some efforts needed to implement SC2 hyperspace instead of ready SC1 jumps) stands on the way of VegaStrike mod, "Ur-Quan Strike" or something. In fact, that would be cool. Grin
But while arcade oversimplifications are understandable and acceptable, some things still look plain stupid are pointless and annoying, in SC it's mostly sudden appearance of various undetectable objects from the screen border right before ship's nose. IMHO issues with angles are not nearly so nasty, though not pleasant either.
I do realise that the reasons that SC2 has just 16 ship angles was probably because of technology constraints (and perhaps manpower constraints). But I think it did work out pretty nicely, gameplay-wise. 
Which does not means rotatory inertia would not do much the same. Though not in pure restoration ruleset.
How many volunteer artists who would be willing to draw over 400 images do you think we have available to us?
Hmm. Even without dirty tricks involving 3D models, why would not "2.5D" approach (sprite + height map) be much better ? So you always have 1 image + 1 relief image instead of 1 image per angle implemented. It could be translated into smooth turn, or... the same 400 images rendered on load. At least, this would make addition of extra LoDs (for better resolutions) much easier. And in "smooth zoom" mode single really large image to scale down instead of LoD-ded sprites could be improvement over having sprites distorted even with best scaler.
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