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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: Minimalist run on: October 09, 2013, 12:35:09 am
Quote from: 'Ultronomicon'
You do need to trick the Ilwrath (and hence need one of the Casters) in order to talk to Chmmr. If you wait until the Ilwrath are annihilated by Kohr-Ah, you will not have enough time to complete the game. Interestingly enough, the Ilwrath can still be sent to fight the Thraddash after the Thraddash have already been annihilated.

I don't believe this is true... I'm pretty sure there's no Ilwrath at the Chenjesu homeworld there the first time you visit, but then they're there the next time because they noticed you visiting the first time, or something like that. Though I'm not entirely sure what triggers that, so maybe I'm wrong.

Well, you can watch blooper video #2 (linked in the video description) and see what happened when I tried to talk to Chmmr, after the Utwig were annihilated, without ever having tricked the Ilwrath, nor even having visited their sphere of influence ever before.

The only three situations where the Ilwrath are not orbiting the Chmmr planet are:
a) You do not have the Sun Device
b) The Ilwrath have been tricked
c) The Ilwrath have been annihilated.

Hence, if you do have Sun Device, you need either option b or c. And c is not applicable, because you cannot complete the game in time if you go for that.

I verified this from UQM source code. Thank you for your input in any case!
2  The Ur-Quan Masters Re-Release / General UQM Discussion / Re: Ur-Quan Masters HD: Beta 1 Released! on: October 01, 2013, 09:47:47 pm
I don't know how many times I have to bring this up. If you don't like the HD art.  Don't use it. It's that simple. The game GIVES you the option to play with the original graphics. USE IT! Quit bitching about the idea of increasing the resolution.
What else do you want? There's an HD graphics option, and the ORIGINAL graphics option! Seriously. Why even post this crap? Nobody is forcing you to play the HD version. Or, do you just want to bitch?

I posted in order to open discussion, in the hopes that such discussion eventually results in people getting great ideas (which I don't have), that might help the problems mentioned.

Admittedly the release announcement might not be the best place to discuss such thoughts, but your response sounds like you don't want it to be discussed at all.
3  The Ur-Quan Masters Re-Release / General UQM Discussion / Re: Ur-Quan Masters HD: Beta 1 Released! on: October 01, 2013, 04:13:35 pm
I also took a "diff" between the comm/ in uqm-0.7.0 and comm/ in uqm-HD. There seem to be quite many typographic improvements in Arilou dialogue of uqm-0.7.0 that are not there in uqm-HD. The dialogue for other races also differs very slightly, but I cannot unambiguously say which one is "better" or "right".


Regarding the promotion of Project6014... Well, I realize many of the same folks are working on both projects. I tried Project6014 when some beta of it was released, and I didn't like it, the whole Lurg thing. It was so cheesy. Unless it has gotten a bit better since then, I'd not too enthusiastic about it...


Also, while I can appreciate the amount of work that has gone into making such a refined HD mod of the game, there is one fundamental problem with HD mods:
With the standard 320x200 or 320x240 resolution in the game, a lot of lack of detail can be excused, because the man's imagination fills in where he can't see. But once you expand it into crystal clarity at HD proportions, you see that there is nothing, and the imagination no longer can fill in. Everything suddenly becomes much more lonesome, and much more clinical. The trick that makes the art format in the game work at low resolutions is no longer there. The outcome is disconcerting, not unlike the uncanny valley phenomenon.
And sometimes, the art also becomes more ugly in the process. For example, do a Google image search on "realistic Mario". Most of those high-definition images of Mario characters are outright ugly. Sometimes it is intentional. There is a guideline in cartoon & comics that "good" characters are often drawn in simple style, and "evil" characters are drawn in very detailed style, with hair, ridges and wrinkles. This HD art steers somewhat towards the "evil" direction for all actors, whether good or evil.
4  The Ur-Quan Masters Re-Release / General UQM Discussion / Re: Ur-Quan Masters HD: Beta 1 Released! on: October 01, 2013, 04:47:42 am
Why do the cyanic planets and auric planets look exactly the same (in content/addons/hires4x/planets/)?
5  The Ur-Quan Masters Re-Release / General UQM Discussion / Re: Minimalist run on: September 30, 2013, 03:55:43 am
Thanks for the feedback! It is always interesting to read what people think about something one has invested effort in.
6  The Ur-Quan Masters Re-Release / Starbase CafĂ© / Re: Star Control 3 STAR001.VOC archive WAV file format? on: September 24, 2013, 12:50:33 am
Well, the previous three messages in this thread are all spam (promoting a product without really checking whether it actually solves anything discussed in the thread), and the last relevant post was from 2006.

Once upon a time - in 1998 - I also worked on this problem. Similarly without much success at cracking the speech compression.

Here's my Turbo Pascal program (from 1998) that extracts the wav files from the voc file, and reports some statistics on how much they were compressed.
Code:
{$M 2048,0,68096}
Uses Objects, Strings, WinDos, Crt;

Const
AppTxt: Array[0..63]Of Char = '<APP BYTES>';

Var
s, s2: Array[0..63]Of Char;
Buf: Array[0..16383]Of Char;
Bread: Word;

f, t: TBufStream;

Count: Word;
a, b: Word;

Size2, Size3, Total, Size, Posi: LongInt;

Ratio2, Ratio3, Ratio: Real;
Best2, Best3, Signa: Word;

C10: Word; C10A, C10B: Real;
C11: Word; C11A, C11B: Real;

Var
wFormatTag,
nChannels: Word;
nSamplesPerSec,
nAvgBytesPerSec: LongInt;
nBlockAlign,
Bits: Word;

Begin
f.Init('e:\pelit\sc3\star001.voc', stOpenRead, $FE00);

f.Read(Count, 2);

WriteLn('Voice clip count: ', Count);

Total := 0;

Ratio2 := 0;
Ratio3 := 100;

For a := 2900 To Count-1 Do
Begin
f.Seek(2 + a*4);
f.Read(Posi, 4);
f.Read(Size2, 4);
If Posi = 0 Then Continue;

{ Repeat f.Read(Size2, 4)Until Size2 <> 0;
Dec(Size2, Posi);
}
If Size2>0 Then Dec(Size2, Posi);
If(Size2 < 30000)Or(a >= 3000)Then
Begin
f.Seek(Posi);
f.Read(Signa, 2);
f.Read(Size, 4)
End
Else
Size := Size2;

If KeyPressed Then Break;

Write(a:4,': ',Size:5,' bytes'#13);
{If(Size >= 30000)And(Signa <> 0)Then Continue;}

If a < 3000 Then
Begin
f.Seek(Posi);
f.Read(Signa, 2);
f.Read(Size, 4)
End;

Str(a+1:4, s2);
strcpy(s, 'd:\sc3_wav\sc3_');
For b := 0 To 3 Do If s2[b]=' ' Then s2[b] := '0';
strcat(s, s2);

If Signa=32 Then strcat(s, '.wac')
Else If Signa= 0 Then strcat(s, '.wav')
Else
strcat(s, '.___');

Inc(Total, Size);

TextAttr := 15;
Write(s,': ');

t.Init(s, stOpenRead, 512);
If(t.Status = stOk)And(t.GetSize = Size)Then
Begin
t.Done;
Continue
End;
t.Done;
t.Init(s, stCreate, 512);
t.Done;
t.Init(s, stOpen, 2048);
t.Seek(0);
Size2 := Size;

Write(#8#8' Size:',Size:7);

C10 := 0;
C11 := 0;

Repeat
BRead := SizeOf(Buf);
If BRead > Size Then BRead := Size;

f.Read(Buf, BRead);

For b := 0 To BRead-1 Do
Begin
If Buf[b] = '' Then Inc(C10);
If Buf[b] = '' Then Inc(C11)
End;

t.Write(Buf, BRead);

Dec(Size, BRead)
Until Size <= 0;

t.CopyFrom(f, Size);

Size3 := t.GetPos;
{ t.Write(AppTxt, strlen(AppTxt));
t.CopyFrom(f, Size2 - Size - 6);}

WriteLn('   Free: ',DiskFree(Ord(UpCase(s[0]))-Ord('A')+1));

TextAttr := 7;

If(Signa = 32)Or(Signa=0)Then
Begin
t.Seek(20);      {'RIFF', size, 'WAVE', 'fmt ', size}
t.Read(wFormatTag,     2);
t.Read(nChannels,      2);
t.Read(nSamplesPerSec, 4);
t.Read(nAvgBytesPerSec,4);
t.Read(nBlockAlign,    2);
t.Read(Bits, 2);
t.Read(Size, 4); {'data'}
Size2 := Size3;
t.Read(Size, 4);
TextAttr := 3; Write(' FORMAT ');
TextAttr := 9; Write(wFormatTag);
TextAttr := 3; Write(': ');
TextAttr := 9;
If nChannels=1 Then Write('MONO')
Else If nChannels=2 Then Write('STEREO')
Else Write('Chans: ',nChannels);

TextAttr := 9; Write(' ',nSamplesPerSec/1000:0:2,' kHz ',Bits);
TextAttr := 3; WriteLn(' bits');

TextAttr := 3; Write(' Size: ');
TextAttr := 9; Write(Size:6);
TextAttr := 3; Write(' File: ');
TextAttr := 9; Write(Size2:6);
TextAttr := 3; Write(' Ratio: ');
Ratio := Size2*100/Size;
TextAttr := 9; Write(Ratio:0:1);
If Ratio > Ratio2 Then Begin Ratio2 := Ratio; Best2 := a; C10A := C10*100.0/Size; C11A := C11*100.0/Size End;
If Ratio < Ratio3 Then Begin Ratio3 := Ratio; Best3 := a; C10B := C10*100.0/Size; C11B := C11*100.0/Size End;
TextAttr := 3; WriteLn('% of original');
If Signa=0 Then WriteLn('*** NOT COMPRESSED, NOTE!')
End;

t.Done
End;

TextAttr := 7;
WriteLn('LEAST COMPRESSED ITEM WAS NUMBER',Best2:5,' (',Ratio2:0:1,'% OF ORIGINAL, :',C10A:0:4,'%, :',C11A:0:4,'%)');
WriteLn(' MOST COMPRESSED ITEM WAS NUMBER',Best3:5,' (',Ratio3:0:1,'% OF ORIGINAL, :',C10B:0:4,'%, :',C11B:0:4,'%)');

f.Done
End.

From what I deduced back then I saw that the compressed files still contained bits of recognizable audio, which suggests that it's either not entirely in one format, or it includes LZ-type elements to it.
7  The Ur-Quan Masters Re-Release / General UQM Discussion / Re: Time's Slowing Down On Key Requests on: September 23, 2013, 10:43:04 pm
Your English is unfortunately very broken, difficult to understand.

There is no key that slows down time. If you want that feature, launch DOSBox, and run Star Control II (the original DOS game) . Then, you can slow time: increase the cycle limit (F12). This is not possible in The Ur-Quan Masters.

If the aliens talk too fast, use the Space key (" ") to read their lines again.

Time passes in solar system at a rate of 1 day = 25 seconds.

Time does not pass while in orbit.

Congratulations on finishing the game! Now try again, and finish the game before the Kohr-Ah annihilate anyone. :-)
8  The Ur-Quan Masters Re-Release / General UQM Discussion / Minimalist run on: September 23, 2013, 02:38:17 pm
I completed The Ur-Quan Masters minimalist challenge.

Enjoy the show: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-hjOukxl5-I
Plenty of onscreen annotations are provided to explain what is going on and to allow skipping the necessary waits and long distance travels.

Rules: Complete as few tasks in the game as possible. Acquire as few items, allies and ships as possible. Beat the game.

Spoiler: I did not use Pkunk to beat the Sa-Matra.

More information about the challenge: http://wiki.uqm.stack.nl/Gameplay_Challenges#Minimalist_challenge
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