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Author Topic: Editing the Star Control 2 Source  (Read 18771 times)
Nicholai
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Editing the Star Control 2 Source
« on: January 28, 2007, 08:46:23 pm »

Hey,

Like a large number of people on here, I've played Star Control 2 to near-death with some regularity over the last fourteen years, and also suffered through a long period of not being able to run the game due to the advent of Windows 98.  (Resulting in my being ecstatic when UQM was released)

I probably just don't read the threads enough, but I haven't seen too many discussions about how depressing it is to already be completely aware of every single event in the game.  After a solid four or five years of not being able to play, I found myself still capable of beating Star Control 2 in the course of an evening.  Granted, I love every second of it, but I've often yearned for the feeling of stumbling across the Slylandro gas-planet for the first time again, etc. etc.


Anyway, I recently started poking around in the source code to see what I could do to the game...

Here's where I am right now in said game:

http://www.geocities.com/seph545/starmap.jpg


 I remember having all manner of fantasies about finding the Androsynth, flying to 999.9 : 999.9 in Quasi-Space and miraculously locating a Precursor, and so on.  When I finally realized there was nothing left to discover, I was very sad, and dreamt of being able to modify the existing game in some way, since I was already convinced that a genuine sequel was unlikely.

In messing around with the source code, I've managed to already create an entirely new star map, with new constellations, a larger size (1500.0 by 1500.0), re-ordered spheres of influence with appropriate artifacts/planets located in them, changed alien text to correctly refernce new things, etc. etc.

Granted, in MAKING all of this, I now KNOW most of the new locations, so it's kind of moot... but still interesting.

I also changed ship stats, module/ship/crew/fuel prices, made my own planets (Diamond Worlds which appear white from space, covered in ORANGE 'exotic' minerals worth 16 RU, you know?) and all manner of other things to make the game more challenging / different  (such as you can now buy specifications for catalogue item 2418-B ships from the Melnorme to be built at the starbase)  Obviously, this is no substitute for a sequel or significant mod, but it's keeping me entertained.


So, anyway, the reason I ramble on about this is because I was wondering whether or not anybody else was working on anything like this, or am I just a completely desperate moron?  Heh.

Also, I was curious about whether or not there were any people out there who were more-experienced with the code who might feel like writing up directions on how to make, say, a new module, or make it possible to upgrade the Precursor vessel at the Syreen starbase, or anything else of that nature...

My hope is that if I exclusively play MY version for the next five years, I'll magically forget where everything is in the REAL game!  Of course, the sad reality is that I'll always know WHERE to go to find out where the Shofixti Maidens are, and I'll always know WHO to talk to to get repair items for the Ultron.   Oh well.

Any thoughts on any of this?

        ~ Nicholai
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Re: Editing the Star Control 2 Source
« Reply #1 on: January 28, 2007, 09:11:09 pm »

This is nice. Making the game more modable is one of the reasons we're doing this, so it's good to see people actually doing something more advanced than moving the date of the Kohr-Ah death march ahead 10 years, or making ships extra powerful.
And it's one of the reasons why TFB released the source too.

I know my way around the source code, so if you know a bit about C, I can point you to what you would need to change. It would be easiest if you would visit the #sc2 IRC channel on irc.freenode.org, so I can explain some things "live".
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Re: Editing the Star Control 2 Source
« Reply #2 on: January 30, 2007, 08:53:47 pm »

So, anyway, the reason I ramble on about this is because I was wondering whether or not anybody else was working on anything like this, or am I just a completely desperate moron?  Heh.

Well I 'was' working on something 'like' what your doing, but that was quite awhile ago and since lost interest. My little mod would be just to Re-locate every homeworld, race, rainbow worlds, special interest worlds, and maybe put a couple starbases here and there or maybe create a new dead race to maybe spark an interest or prequel. But alas I got a huge headache and became bored.   Cheesy

What you're working on looks really interesting, seeing your enlarged and completely re-arranged starmap makes me want to try my mod again, or at the most makes me want to play your Mod  Grin

I love the attention to the constellations and the design of the starmap, now i just want to see these 'diamond worlds' you speak of.

I hope to see your mod take off with the community Wink
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Re: Editing the Star Control 2 Source
« Reply #3 on: January 31, 2007, 05:53:13 pm »

Very nice. I found myself looking for star groups I'd reconize. A larger/random map could really
make the re-play value better.

Is it possible to make the locations more random, so even you don't know where
to find them?
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Re: Editing the Star Control 2 Source
« Reply #4 on: February 01, 2007, 01:24:52 am »

Actually, here's a thought.  Have each new game create a random seed to generate where everything is.  You'd have to modify all the static text and item locations into something that could be replaced with a variable (I have no idea how the source code is doing it, just thinking aloud).  You'd also have to put some constraints on certain things, like the Mycon planets probably shouldn't be in Yehat space, that kinda stuff.  Anything that needs to refer to the location of the Shofixi survivor, for example, could just reference one variable instead of static descriptions/locations. 

Put it as an option at the start, warn the player it might take a few moments to generate a dynamic game map and locations, and you've got a whole new game.  Or at least, the same game but one you have to do actual detective work with again.

Potential problems I see with this include dialog that gives specific coordinates and dialog that mentions specific constellations as locations.  You might be able to get around this by defining certain structures for the randomization, i.e. you can randomly move a constellation, but the constellation shape itself must remain the same and certain locations within the constellation must remain, maybe just move it to a different planet or start within the constellation.

Sounds like it'd be a bunch of work to get the information available for someone to code, i.e. find out where in dialog certain locations must be mentioned/replaced, determine what star structures and relations must be kept, that kinda thing. 

Extending the content is awesome, but randomizing the original content would have the benefit of keeping the original canon intact without it remaining static.  Plus, if it's done well, code-wise, extended content could probably take advantage of the same system so that it, too, could be randomized if the player so desires.

Anyway, a ton of work and probably will never happen, but thought I'd throw the idea out there in case no one else already mentioned it.
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Nicholai
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Re: Editing the Star Control 2 Source
« Reply #5 on: February 01, 2007, 03:11:53 am »

Randomizing the locations, etc. of everything WOULD be the ideal option, and from what little familiarity I now have with the source code, it wouldn't be impossible to do.

But yeah, like you just said, the real problem would come from alien text that references specific constellations, or things relative to themselves.  For instance, the ZoqFotPik say "the source of the tumbling probes seems to be somewhere in a direct line with our star and Epsilon Muscae"  or something like that, and naturally, that's not true for my starmap.   Aliens also often reference things being "core-ward", or that there was a "mysterious world orbiting a pair of blue stars not far from here".

Historically-wise, there are also problems that come up (this applies to spheres of influence as well) -- such as various aliens' descriptions of the war, the final defense at Raynet, etc. etc., the relative distances between things,  or stories such as Captain Tanaka's about passing through VUX space, stopping at a "mysterious world" in the Sextantis constellation (in VUX space) on his way home to the Shofixti home star.  I did my best to make all of these things work out in my Mod, but it's not perfect.

Honestly, with enough messing-around, you could eliminate those SORTS of references such that it could work with a randomized star map, but I sure as hell wouldn't know the first thing about how to do it.

I'm not a HUGE fan of the starmap I wound up with; but it was really just a test.  At the moment, I'm focused on adding actual content to the game.  Thus far, I've made several new weapon/special modules for the flagship, and added a couple "questy" sort of things.  If anybody is interested in screenshots, I'll be happy to take a few.
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Re: Editing the Star Control 2 Source
« Reply #6 on: February 21, 2007, 11:41:38 pm »

Pictures!
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Death 999
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Re: Editing the Star Control 2 Source
« Reply #7 on: February 22, 2007, 10:31:44 pm »

Nicholai: Many of these things could be solved by a bit of code done while setting up the rest of the map. You just have to know how many things need to be referred to in-game.

Also, I'd want the various races' spheres to be consistent with history. On the other hand, the real game's Ilwrath really wouldn't seem that way, being on the opposite side of the alliance from the rest of the hierarchy.

I'd figure some things to be the framework -- decide on a 'coreward' direction. Plop the Ur-Quan and Kohr-Ah down in the middle. Have the Burvix world be along the path of the Kohr-Ah, and the Thraddash somewhere upstream of where the Ur-Quan came from. Put the Druuge kind of near them, but not closer than the width of the Kohr-Ah sphere.

Don't put the Alliance in either of those two paths or in the corner implied by them. Put the ZFP somewhere in both Ur-Quan spheres.
Put Vela near Orz space. Put the VUX near the Orz. Put the Umgah near the Arilou.

That kind of thing.
« Last Edit: February 22, 2007, 10:35:12 pm by Death 999 » Logged
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Re: Editing the Star Control 2 Source
« Reply #8 on: February 23, 2007, 11:12:27 am »

On the other hand, the real game's Ilwrath really wouldn't seem that way, being on the opposite side of the alliance from the rest of the hierarchy.
I think the Ilwrath make perfect sense being there - they naturally move to wherever there's the most aliens to torment.
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Re: Editing the Star Control 2 Source
« Reply #9 on: February 27, 2007, 07:35:20 pm »

Hmm. I guess the Arilou presence doesn't really count as part of the Alliance line, in which case the Ilwrath homeworld really is on the 'right' side of it.
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Re: Editing the Star Control 2 Source
« Reply #10 on: June 09, 2007, 02:24:29 pm »

I guess the project's been abandoned, right?
(also, thanks the anonymous Guest browsing this thread which I was searching for some time, by using the "Who's Online" page I was able to finally get here again)
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Nicholai
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Re: Editing the Star Control 2 Source
« Reply #11 on: June 12, 2007, 02:52:08 am »

Hey,

Surprisingly, it's not abandoned yet!

I haven't had as much time to poke around with it recently, but it's still alive.  I'm more or less finished with all the things I wanted to incorporate (though some of them are a lot less complex than I originally fantasized, because I got antsy a couple of weeks ago and wanted to play it RIGHT THEN, heh).

The major changes I can think of off-hand that make the game differ from the original are:

- Several new missions (in addition to and much more difficult than the moon base mission) to earn Hayes' trust.
- Ability to converse with Fwiffo at any time, and occasionally get something useful out of him.
- A new "character" (akin to Admiral Zex, or Fwiffo) from a certain Hierarchy race...
- Four new modules offering new special abilities to your flagship.
- Access (via completion of a number of new story threads) to every Star Control II ship.
- Massive changes to game difficulty. (read: it's really hard!)
- Expansion of certain existing game-missions.  (you thought that getting the Mycon to fall for the Syreen trap was too easy...?  Me too!)
- New/larger starmap
- New planet-types
- Mineral colors shifted -- mineral values changed.
- Price changes for flagship modules, fuel, crew, support ships, Melnorme tech, etc.
- Complete obliteration of the usual trends (ie. you're probably not going to ally with the Spathi right away / you may meet the Supox rather quickly!)
- Multiple starbases.  (and, yes, you'll probably need them!)
- You actually have a legitimate reason to fear the Sa-Matra in battle.
- A bunch of other things I'm not thinking of right now...

In any case, it's all disasterously un-tested and probably buggy as hell.  I'd like to work on it some more and get it out so that others could mess with it some day...    (I think it's based on like, version 5.0 or something)

        ~ Nicholai

P.S.  A special thanks to Meep-Eep, who, for several weeks, listened and responded to my 24/7 bitching and whining about technical issues with the source code!
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Re: Editing the Star Control 2 Source
« Reply #12 on: June 14, 2007, 04:08:20 am »

I can't wait to play this mod  Grin

from what it sounds like it's gonna be an awesome new challenge for all the SC2 fans
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Re: Editing the Star Control 2 Source
« Reply #13 on: June 14, 2007, 08:16:30 am »

Sounds awesome Nicholai. I too am excited. Keep us posted with updates! Oh, If you've magicked up a graphic of a diamond world, please post a link!
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Re: Editing the Star Control 2 Source
« Reply #14 on: June 14, 2007, 10:34:51 am »

Sounds like a HUGE mod! Keep it up! Don't let us down!
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