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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: Science Fiction Fan? on: May 20, 2003, 11:53:23 pm
There are at least 4 books in Hyperion (Hyperion, Fall of Hyperion, Endymion, Fall of Endymion, I believe they're called), but I highly advise against reading past the first book.  I think Hyperion is one of the best books written, while the sequels are just good pulp.  The effect of reading them is to diminish the quality of the first, both by dilluting it and by tying up loose ends that were much better left unresolved.

2  The Ur-Quan Masters Re-Release / General UQM Discussion / Re: Beyond Infinity: Alpha Test on: May 04, 2003, 11:54:56 pm
Hey all.  Though I've been busy with a couple of commercial projects I got involved with, I've also been slogging away at Beyond Infinity.  The newest release improves on every aspect of the previous gameplay -- two new mission types, rebalanced components, vastly better AI, newer/better economic / system state model -- and fixes a string of really stupid glitches.

As always, I'd really appreciate feedback.  I know it can be hard to play a game without graphics, but I really do think that if you play for a bit, you'll find it's fun notwithstanding.

http://www.noir.org/beyond/beyond.zip

I'm hoping to get the core elements finished ASAP (I have a couple more mission types I want to add, but beyond that, it's really just balancing) so that I can work on the scenario editor and then on porting it to a graphical engine.

The areas that I'm most suspicious of right now are:

1) Mission payments seem like they're out of whack.  They don't seem adequately balanced between pay/difficulty.

2) Components and ship prices seem like they may not be properly balanced either.  My last play-through, it seemed like ship prices were way too high relative to component prices, but I'm not sure.
3  The Ur-Quan Masters Re-Release / General UQM Discussion / SC2 Makes IGN's Top 100 Games List on: May 03, 2003, 05:11:09 am
http://top100.ign.com/51-60.html#53

Came in at #53.  I am sorely susceptible to the "top 100" addiction.  Any time anyone puts forward his arbitrary opinion of the best anything, I feel obliged to give it a read.  Still, this list has been pretty interesting so far.  Seems like some thought went into it, more than previous top 100 game lists.  Also, there are plenty of surprises (Shining Force II coming in above Warcraft II?!) which make it a fun read.
4  The Ur-Quan Masters Re-Release / General UQM Discussion / Re: Human role in the Great War on: April 20, 2003, 09:04:35 am
I dunno, the humans did the right thing in the end, which is more than you can say for the VUX, the Yehat, or the Androsynth.  I can't see the VUX siding with the Alliance anyway, given their general xenophobia.

Maybe the Androsynth's slick hair and easy smile made them more palatable? Smiley
5  The Ur-Quan Masters Re-Release / General UQM Discussion / Re: Beyond Infinity: Alpha Test on: April 20, 2003, 07:01:56 am
It's not bugs so much -- though I'm sure there are many nasty ones -- as balance.  Basically I /think/ things work, but I'm not sure.  By "work" I mean, for example, that it's possible to make decent profits on trading, but not too easy, or that it's viable to start as a fighter, or that the rewards from missions are suitably commensurate with the difficulty.  Things like that can be tested on my end, but because there's so much diversity (or so I tell myself) in the game, it's hard to be sure that I'm right -- a lot hinges on how the random numbers fall at game's start, and a lot may depend on my "insider knowledge" of how things work.

Thanks!
6  The Ur-Quan Masters Re-Release / General UQM Discussion / Re: Beyond Infinity: Alpha Test on: April 20, 2003, 01:38:10 am
Lith -- Once it's done, I might be amenable to that.  The source is a little sloppy and I'm leery about the idea of releasing the source to it while it's still a WIP; my concern is a desynching of versions and stuff.  Maybe once the prototype is finished, we can talk about rebuilding it entirely in C++ rather than my current plan of porting it to VB.  (Since I want to ultimately add graphics / music.)
7  The Ur-Quan Masters Re-Release / General UQM Discussion / Re: Beyond Infinity: Alpha Test on: April 19, 2003, 08:52:33 pm
Unfortunately, no.  My programming knowledge is limited to nigh-useless languages (Logo Writer, QuickBasic, and a smattering of Visual Basic), so unless there's any easy QB->Unix port, I don't know how I can pull it off.  Aren't there DOS emulators for *nix systems?
8  The Ur-Quan Masters Re-Release / General UQM Discussion / Re: Beyond Infinity: Alpha Test on: April 19, 2003, 10:52:11 am
I actually don't need any help except for supportive comments like yours, and the occasional snide, "You know that you can wind up with negative money through drug smuggling fines" when you come across a glitch.

Basically, there are a bunch of easy-to-program features that would allow me to lock in some of the factors that are currently random.  For example, planets could have non-varying ships, ships could have fixed components (rather than letting you put them in as you wish).  Then I'd change the faction names to "Slylandro" "Hierarchy" "Korh-Ah" "Alliance" "Melnorme".  I'd lock in the ship loadouts for each of the ships to be vaguely analogous to the SC2 ships -- which would be a serious bastardizing, but you'd have things like Cruisers having a missile mark 2 and a beam mk 1, a Skiff having a beam mk 2, Dreadnoughts having cannons mk 4 (I guess) and missile mark 1 (for the fighters. . .)  That sort of stuff.  Change the system name set -- though I use real star names, so there's huge overlap.

There'll be a scenario editor eventually, which would let you create a starmap just like SC2's, load out the planets with the proper ships for that race, give them the right name and relevant stats, and so on.  It would be seriously imperfect, but might not be too bad.

Pretty much EVERYTHING is changeable except the gameplay -- so all the data can be changed, but not the structure.

Anyway, I'll write more tomorrow.  Thanks for your kind words.
9  The Ur-Quan Masters Re-Release / General UQM Discussion / Beyond Infinity: Alpha Test on: April 19, 2003, 08:04:00 am
Dear All --

I have lurked in this forum for quite some time, being a big fan of SC2.  I hope I am not abusing this form, either its rules or the hospitality its members extend, by posting this message.

Over the past few weeks, I've been working on a prototype for a game called "Beyond Infinity."  BI is an open-ended space RPG, currently essentially without graphics, in the line of Elite, Privateer, and Freelancer.  Because this type of game is not totally dissimilar from SC2, I felt it appropriate that I post here.  Moreover, fans of old games are less likely to post sneering comments about the "graphics" of Beyond Infinity.  Lastly, BI is designed to be very open-ended and customizable, and once I have the dev software out, I would be flattered if people developed an SC mod.  Hell, I might do so myself.

Anyway, what I'm posting for is to ask for help in the alpha stages of this project.  Because it is open-ended and because of the way the gameplay is set up, it's really hard for me to test all the possibilities myself.  I think I've covered the glitches and gotten the game very playable, but I'm hardly impartial.

Here's the link:

http://www.noir.org/beyond/beyond.zip

Hope I can find some takers.

Best,
Mark
10  The Ur-Quan Masters Re-Release / Technical Issues / Current Stability on: March 02, 2003, 09:00:04 pm
How stable is the current build?  I'm looking forward to playing through the game again, and am getting anxious to start.  But when I played the previous build, it was -- while not unplayable -- clearly not yet ready for pure pleasure playing.  Is the current alpha ready to be played, or would you recommend waiting till the next release?
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