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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: Post your jaw-dropping melee feats here on: June 17, 2007, 06:05:51 pm
Every such service will compress the heck out of the videos.  You can't count on tiny details surviving the compression. 

The easiest way to show off the small projectiles (Dreadnaught fighters, Syreen primary, Thradash primary) is to make the view close in so the projectiles take up a larger % of the screen.  Stinks, but it works; this is what we did for the TW-Light video.

The larger picture is that in-game, such projectiles are hard to see.  To put it another way, imagine someone complaining: "You mean to tell me this game will cause me to lose because I didn't see something on the screen that was one pixel big?"  With the audio cues and paying attention to the game, you can somewhat know where these things are, but it's still not all that approachable.  Modern games are designed to be completely obvious as to what's going on in the game. 
2  The Ur-Quan Masters Re-Release / General UQM Discussion / Re: Post your jaw-dropping melee feats here on: June 15, 2007, 09:58:05 pm
Ok, I'll leave this stuff as-is.  If there's anything else you need, post it here, I'll check the RSS feed once in a while.  Cheers!
3  The Ur-Quan Masters Re-Release / General UQM Discussion / Re: Post your jaw-dropping melee feats here on: June 15, 2007, 09:12:26 pm
Ok, we'll go the other way then, the YouTube group can point to the Ultrinomicon, and the Ultrinomicon can be the central point for strategy videos.  There's a message in the YouTube group to that effect. 

Still, it might be possible to embed YouTube videos directly into the Ultrinomicon pages.  There exists a mod for MediaWiki that allows this: http://www.mediawiki.org/wiki/Extension:VideoFlash  .  Her'e a random example of a Wiki with the video plugin, in this case showing how to make sushi.  It's up to you if you want to go this extent just to add some details to one page.  Still, I think it might be worth it, but it'sobviously not time time we're speaking about. Smiley

Edit: for completeness, if you do want to do this, one last step is to document how to post YouTube videos to Help:Editing with the summary in the comments of the VideoFlash page.

4  The Ur-Quan Masters Re-Release / General UQM Discussion / Re: Post your jaw-dropping melee feats here on: June 15, 2007, 07:06:47 pm
The other day I created a group on youTube for Star Control videos: http://youtube.com/group/starcontrol

It's an open group, anyone can post their videos there.  I went through the existing Star Control videos and added a bunch of them, and added their owners to the group.  Currently there are 14 videos and 6 group members.  I have no idea what value groups add within youTube, aside from the fact that all the videos can be shown from that URL above. 

May I:
* upload the videos currently posted as downloadable AVIs above as youTube videos instead?  There's no indication of who actually owns the videos; maybe the owner would prefer to upload the video to youTube or decline altogether. Smiley
* add these videos to the youTube StarControl group
* add links to the youTube videos to the Wiki in addition to what's there already? 
5  The Ur-Quan Masters Re-Release / General UQM Discussion / Re: Battle Options on: June 09, 2007, 06:08:54 am
Yes, you can pick the Sa-Matra and a suped-up version of the flagship in Timewarp (but these particular ships are not available in TW-Light). 

To figure out how to set up the teams in either game to use these ships or any of the other 100+ ships in Timewarp and 40+ in TW-Light you can review the TW-Light users' guide
6  The Ur-Quan Masters Re-Release / Starbase Café / Re: the StarCon Con? on: April 23, 2007, 06:07:24 am
So at GDC in March, I randomly bumped into Tommy Tallerico at a bar.  He wasn't really familiar with SC music, but was loosely familiar with the franchise.  He was receptive to the idea of  adding Star Control music to the VGL lineup.  He suggested that I send some more information to an email address he gave me.  Uh, like six weeks ago. Smiley

So here's what we should send:
* One paragraph about the Star Control franchise
* One paragraph about why the music is memorable
* One paragraph about how strong the community is
* An offer to snail-mail a CD filled with music and remixes from the UQM content and Remix packs.  The goal here is to get them to commit to something very small to see if it's worth continuing with.  So their only commitment is to listen to a CD that we send to them. 

Why send a CD as opposed to just emailing a bunch of links?  Their time is very short, and the people that may be on the other end may not like dealing with technical issues.  We can only assume that we get one shot at this, and we must minimize their hassle. 

Yes, of course we must be upfront about the licenses of the files and that in order to make this happen, VGL must contact TFB to make some arrangement.  At the very least this task serves as an introduction. 

Really I'm hoping that someone else wants to take ownership of this task and see it through.  Does anyone want to do a write-up of those paragraphs listed above?  Also, what is the short list of candidate songs we recommend they do?  Ur-Quan Kzer-Za for sure, but what else will be memorable?
7  The Ur-Quan Masters Re-Release / General UQM Discussion / Re: Star Control - The RPG/Board Game on: April 02, 2007, 08:35:04 am
Hm, a star control card trading game would be awesome, but actually the one I'm designing doesn't have trading.  There are just stock decks that will come with the game.  The designs I have right now are just prototyped on the Magic cards because it was a nice tool for working with.  The requirements are pretty different.  Seeing the ships etc on magic cards is a nice laugh, but doesn't really match the rules. 

I'd love to have time to finish the design and do something with it, but there are only so many hours in the day. Sad  If I do get somewhere with it I'll at the very least start a new thread about it.  I don't want to take away from Clay's thunder here. Smiley
8  The Ur-Quan Masters Re-Release / General UQM Discussion / Re: Star Control - The RPG/Board Game on: March 30, 2007, 12:11:37 am
Look cool! 

You should check out a classic board game that somewhat similar, Car Wars.  It has similar features: a grid board (or at least the old version used to), little chits everywhere, somewhat complex movement system.  I can't speak to the "5th edition" but we did play games like this in the 80s when men were men and damage was d-sided.  Smiley

I attended at lecture by Steve Jackson at the GDC this year, and randomly bumped into him later to speak with him.  Cool guy!  His work is almost exclusively pen-and-paper games, so he has hardly any exposure to video games per se.  Still a lot of the game design principles are the same, whether it's manipulating tokens and using scrap paper or nerfing palys in WoW.  That's my little rant.  Anyhow you should check out these other pen-and-paper games if you haven't already.

I've been tossing around ideas for my own Star Control-themed board game.  It started out as just using that Magic card editor to make some cards just for laughs, but I revised it a few times to make it into a semi-playable form.  It's very different from what you have here, the combat in mine is fairly simple and also really unbalanced. Smiley  The focus in mine is more on the interaction between players, suprising the other players, and a bit more strategy.  I still haven't decided if it'll be GPL / Creative Commons or commercial, which is why I haven't posted much about it yet.  It also kinda stinks, but that's never been a reason not to post things online! Smiley
9  The Ur-Quan Masters Re-Release / General UQM Discussion / Re: Star Control - The RPG/Board Game on: February 24, 2007, 11:12:24 pm
Do it.  Just do it.  Your game can only be successful if you try it.  If you don't try it, it can't be successful, right? 

Be your own best supporter.  Slap that little voice in your head that says, "No."  Do it before you can come up with a reason not to.  Don't worry about patents, stepping on someone's toes, being rejected by something or another.  If you go the commercial route, it becomes the next Monopoly, or maybe Richard Garfield will try to buy out your company.  If you go the open community approach, maybe you get thousands or tens of thousands more players and reconition than you had on your last game.  Smiley

(there are more elegant quotes to this effect but I don't remember them offhand)

It's in TFB's best interest to have Star Control stuff out there because it strengthens their brand.  When they finally release a game, someone's got to buy it.  The more buzz there is, the more copies it sells. 

Best of luck!
10  The Ur-Quan Masters Re-Release / Starbase Café / Re: Python/Pygame on: February 09, 2007, 09:25:56 pm
Python with PyGame is a pretty powerful combination.  It might be a little sharp of a learning curve to start with it right away.  Try it first, you might pick it up and love it.  If not, you might prefer something visual like Torque or Flash for your first language. 

The module concept is common to most programming languages.  The idea is that whenever possible, you should choose to reuse existing, tested, working, elegant code.  Some code is designed and written specifically for this purpose: those are called modules, or libraries.  Every language will have its own built in libraries, and most modern languages have large numbers of capable libraries.  The big idea from a programmer's point of view when using this libraries is that you can do everything you want much faster.  You don't have to, say, write software to examine a PC's video card, choose a operating system level driver, etc.  Instead, you just say "import PyGame" and it'll handle all that for you.  I'm not explaining this very well, just check out the 'pedia entry. Smiley


So here are some examples of such modules:
PyOpenGL (3D graphics)
PyGame (lots of gaming stuff wrapped together in a neat little package)
SDL (2D Graphics + input routines and lots more), SDL_mixer (sound effects etc)
PyODE (an open source physics engine)
There's probably ones for Ogg support and just about everything else you might need.  Dig around a little. Smiley

In Python, it's much easier to get started with these modules than other languages.  The idea is that you install the modules once on your PC via a setup.exe-type thing, then you only have to say "import pygame" to get access to all the functions and data structures from pygame.  Python "knows" where to find the library and what to do with it once it has been installed on your PC.  This is a much simpler process than in other languages.  That alone empowers you to do things quickly.  Python insulates you from a lot of the details like compiling libraries, and linking to them, and including headers and must be done in C or C++. 

Best of luck, hope that made a little sense at least  Smiley
11  The Ur-Quan Masters Re-Release / General UQM Discussion / Re: Star Control on HypaSpace help on: January 30, 2007, 12:19:03 am
Ok, we'll respect and support l whatever requirements you guys come up with.  Smiley

That spin of covering more of the open source games in general, rather than UQM, is interesting. 

Most of the best open source games do come from closed source roots, either by open sourcing a closed, commerical game or making a clone of a commercial game: Quake 3, Dink Smallwood, ScummVM, etc..  FreeCiv, Stratagus, etc. are all clones.  There are only a few good OS games that are original: TuxRacer, FrozenBubble, etc.  So UQM is actually a good example of the way the OS games are made: even though OS games are separate from most commercial game interests, we're still dependent in some ways on commercial games for good game implementations.  Maybe that's one spin to put on things. 

There actually is a fair amount of stuff to show off in UQM itself.  A verical slice of gameplay might go a long way to show off the major gameplay elements: exploration on a big map, talking with aliens, combat, landing missions.  This is interesting to viewers.  Also, by capturing footage in a game resolution closer to the final output video resolution, jaggies etc start to be less of an issue. 

As it is right now, UQM is a good game in absolute terms.  It's fun, complete and stable.  The single player is competitive with new, modern games.  Compared to other shareware or freeware games, UQM blows them out of the water. 

In any event, if you guys decide you want some kind of media push, just ask. 
12  The Ur-Quan Masters Re-Release / General UQM Discussion / Re: Needed! Staff for Project! on: January 29, 2007, 12:15:00 am
For relatively small projects, good engines include Torque Game Builder (ie Torque 2D) and Flash.  Both are fairly quick to pick up. 

Torque is dirt cheap ($100/seat or so depending on the exact requirements of the license) plus you get all of its source.  There are a few books on the topic, although they focus on the 3D versions of Torque.  Documentation is relatively good, but in some cases you'll end up experimenting with the API just to figure out what things do.  You might also consider using an IDE for it called Torsion, some friends swear by it.  There is the potential of porting Torque games to XNA (Microsoft's watered-down version of DirectX) making it suitable for XBox Live. Smiley  There is also a pile of code for making web-downloadable versions of Torque games, but this is still experimental.  Hardware acceleration, fairly good API, fairly good built-in WYSIWYG interface, cheap licensing. 

Flash is fairly quick to pick up and crank out small games.  There are quite a few games made with it.  Obviously it's playable in a web browser straight out of the box.  Documentation is fairly good, there are many books and webpages on it.  The IDE is pretty expensive, though, I think the pro version is something like $800 US/seat.  For complex games, getting good performance can be very tricky.  There are lots and lots of tricks for optimising Flash games, and not all of them are as well documented as the basics. 

Other less likely candidates include: DarkBasic, Panda3D

Best of luck!
13  The Ur-Quan Masters Re-Release / General UQM Discussion / Re: Star Control on HypaSpace help on: January 27, 2007, 10:21:23 pm
In case anyone hasn't seen the show, it's a sci-fi / fantasy / movies / geek news show.  They push things like tv shows, movies, video games, etc. It's targetted at less hard core "geeks" for a lack of a better term. Smiley 

Examples they will talk about: any new star wars dvd release, any new star trek news, stargate, battlestar, movies with a fantasy theme (whether they're actually good or not, curiously) like Smokin' Aces, Pan's Labrinth, etc; the live action Lord of the Rings play, etc.  Examples they don't talk about include: latest computer hardware or software, "real" news, etc. 

So here's what the show looks like :

Last week's episode: http://www.spacecast.com/videoplayer_3347.aspx
Other smaller segments (in case someone's on dialup): http://www.spacecast.com

So generally the format of the show is roughly (times here are minutes):

0-1: intro
1-2: very short announcements. 
2-20: main features.  usually these are shots of the movie or whatever, interviews with some its actors or creators etc, behind the scenes footage, etc.  The idea here is not just to show trailers, but add some value.  This is usually done by big companies, ie through their marketing department or something similar.  Expect a professional level of quality.  Each segment is about 5 minutes. 
~ 20 - 22 : A section called "The Scoop."  Here lesser known little factoids are presented.  Usually this is not done by big companies directly, it's more like interesting bits of facts they've found.  The format is the announcer talking while showing mostly still pictures or short clips of the topic.  Each segment is about 30-45 seconds. 
~ 22-24 : Segment about collectable toys etc
24 : close

It's worth noting that they are not used to dealing with distributed groups like this.  They're used to calling up the PR department of companies, or a producer, or more generally one person authoritative person they can talk to on the phone.  They're unlikely to make forum posts looking for volunteers etc.  We'll have to be organized enough to give them everything they need.  Also, this is one of those rare opportunities to show what an open, networked group is capable of.  Some people out there in television land have no idea that such groups can be successful. 

So what are we asking them to do exactly?

1. Ask to appear as a segment in their main section, including footage, interviews, "behind the scenes" (whatever that means in this case).  That means providing footage, pictures, a "news release," and the potential of an interview with someone interesting and knowledgable on the topic.  Who could that person / those people be?  How would such an interview take place?  TDB. 

2. Ask to appear in "The Scoop" section.  Provide enough info, footage, pictures, etc that they are empowered to have something interesting and postivive to say. 

And what are we asking them to say?

1. Go download UQM.

2. Go sign the petition.

These types of decisions should not be done by committee.  Rather, we suggest away, and a decision is handed down to us by the powers that be (ie Meep-eep). 
14  The Ur-Quan Masters Re-Release / Starbase Café / Re: the StarCon Con? on: January 18, 2007, 06:01:49 pm
Here are samples of what the Video Games Live show is like.  Seems like a really fun event!

Classic arcade medley:   http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JVHGy9XEF9I
Metal Gear Solid:      http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=W_6LG8dyE0U
15  The Ur-Quan Masters Re-Release / Starbase Café / Re: TimeWarp & TW-Light on: January 18, 2007, 12:30:17 am
What happened to the Timewarp and TW-Light projects? They both have a very nice Melee with awesome graphics and ships. The latest version of TW-Light seems to be stable, for the most part.....
Hi Zzzzrrr,

Thanks for the nice comments.  The games do feature nice melee, smooth graphics and a nice variety of ships.  I'd like to take credit for the projects, but really I'm just standing on the shoulders of giants that wrote the game: The_Fly, KBoom, Orz, Tau, Geoman, Culture20, Yurand, and many, many others over a period of about eight n' a half years.  Their contributions made the game what it is. 

Zzzzrrr, I'd like to paint a rosy picture that the projects are currently moving as quickly they were previously.  But real lives have changed us all, and most have moved on to greener pastures.  There are a few patches and new people coming through, but the reality is that it's been about seven months since the last commit to TW-Light, and GeomanNL has stopped active development on Timewarp.  While there are lots of plans and ideas, commits to the source are the only thing that matter at the end of the day.  There is so much potential in what could be added, and if the goals were small enough, it would be possible to get the project rolling again. 

If people do have patches, bug reports etc, please feel free to send them in. 

The gaming climate is changing: 2D games are going out of fashion in certain places like store-bought, AAA console games, but rising in popularity in places like cell phone and XBox Live with games like Wik: Fable of Souls, and Geometry Wars.  There is a huge variety of Flash-based games online: if one desires making a smaller, free game, it does not require making a huge investment as it does for a C++ game.  Also, the idea of writing your own software in C++ from scratch is less popular.  The trend is definitely to make mods for existing game engines instead, as the vast majority of coding has already been done.  Its worth mentioning here that the codebase in TW-Light is rather difficult to navigate.  Many best coding practices weren't common 8 years ago, and haven't yet been refactored into the code. 

Part of the challenge is that if Toys for Bob does make a real Star Control game, one would expect it to be better than Timewarp or TW-Light.  This puts the developers of these projects in a difficult position, as the projects may become redundant. 

So in reality, Timewarp is in a kind of mid-age crisis, looking for its own identity.  What is its niche, its target audience?  What problem does this software solve?  Is it to appease hardcore Star Control fans while waiting for a real Star Control game from TFB?  Is it to end up on Linux distro CDs?  Is it to provide a free, fun game; if so, how is this better than browsing newgrounds.com etc, or perhaps just playing free demos of AAA games? 

Zzzzrrr, you do raise a good point to keep the game as simple as possible, and stick to what currently works, namely melee. 

In any event, the efforts are driven solely by passion, patches from the community and positive comments.  So please, keep the positive contributions coming. Smiley

Cheers,
yB!

PS I hate to have to add this, but clearly Seth Austin AKA Baltar does not not own anything in Timewarp, TW-Light or TWX.  I have extensive documentation to prove this legally, including his own admission of this fact.  I have also made several requests to leave me, this project and its developers alone.  We have no tolerance for his history of abusive behaviour.  Leave us alone!
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