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Vainglorious
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De-Cleansing/Time Mods: Yea or Nay?
« on: October 10, 2009, 11:14:45 pm »

Greetings! I've been on a "re-play old DOS games" kick recently. Over the past few months, I've played through Blackthorne, Flashback, Another World, Master of Orion II, a few Space Quests, Wing Commander Privateer, X-COM, and even Elite Plus... but then I realized I've never played Star Control II, not even in the 1990s, and remembered I installed UQM (the modern freeware version) a couple years back, but never really got around to playing it.

Anyway, now I'm playing Star Control II for the first time, and naturally it's got me glued to the screen. I played a lot of classics in the 90s, but I missed my fair share as well, and it's awesome to play a missed classic from that period for the first time. I bet some of you guys wish you could simply erase your memories and experience it all again anew, eh?  Wink

Well, the thing is, I hate time limits in games. My favorite game of all time, Fallout, had one, and I didn't like it in that game, either. I don't want spoilers, but I read enough on the Wiki to learn that there's a time limit.

If I install either or both of the aforementioned mods (found here), will it really seriously impact my first playing experience? I read a topic somewhere that warns about first-time players using the mods. Will some critical event (aside from the cleansing) be slowed down or delayed indefinitely?

What do you think? Is it "safe" to install one of these mods on the first playthrough?

I have to ask you guys because I want my first experience with the game to be genuine, those comments didn't elaborate on why the mods might be bad for first-time players, and I don't want spoilers. If the mods change quite a lot more than just the Cleansing, I guess I'll wait until I finish the game once.

Thanks for your attention.
« Last Edit: October 10, 2009, 11:16:20 pm by Vainglorious » Logged
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Re: De-Cleansing/Time Mods: Yea or Nay?
« Reply #1 on: October 11, 2009, 12:29:04 am »

It depends on what you like I suppose. Knowing that you have unlimited time might make all the warnings about impending doom seem a tad silly since you know you're in no danger. It also makes the game unlosable, which I'd consider less of a challenge. But I think it's mainly up to you. If you don't want to feel stressed and don't mind throwing off any possible atmospheric pacing, then go for it. If you want to have a little clock ticking in the back of your head, pressuring you to find solutions to save your race as soon as possible, you shouldn't use it.
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Re: De-Cleansing/Time Mods: Yea or Nay?
« Reply #2 on: October 11, 2009, 12:41:42 am »

Greetings! I've been on a "re-play old DOS games" kick recently. Over the past few months, I've played through Blackthorne, Flashback, Another World, Master of Orion II, a few Space Quests, Wing Commander Privateer, X-COM, and even Elite Plus...
All of which are cool in their own right, but I'll refrain from getting into more discussion about them here.

Quote
I bet some of you guys wish you could simply erase your memories and experience it all again anew, eh?  Wink
If I could have my old memories back after I've completed it again, that would be cool. Cheesy

Quote
Well, the thing is, I hate time limits in games. My favorite game of all time, Fallout, had one, and I didn't like it in that game, either.
I thought v1.1 removed the time limit (or at least extended it at lot). Personally, I think a little urgency adds to the atmosphere.

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I don't want spoilers, but I read enough on the Wiki to learn that there's a time limit.
I'll try to be careful...

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If I install either or both of the aforementioned mods (found here), will it really seriously impact my first playing experience? I read a topic somewhere that warns about first-time players using the mods. Will some critical event (aside from the cleansing) be slowed down or delayed indefinitely?
I'll try to summarise the issues involved:
  • The purist argument: The game is arguably not the same without a time limit to force you to act, so it should be played first the way it was intended by the Creators. I gather you may not agree with this reasoning.
  • The time modification side effects: Slowing down time by a factor of 12 (like the time mod does) will mean that everything connected to a date (including stuff you need to proceed and random encounters) will be affected. This unbalances gameplay quite a bit and adds a few big cases of waiting around for things to happen.
  • Missed cleansing-based opportunities: Cutting out the cleansing also prevents you from taking advantage of it; some alternative solutions become impossible since they require cleansing to start. Of course, completing the game before cleansing starts would lock you out of these paths, too.

All in all, I'd avoid the time mod, at least for playing "normally", but, if I were not a purist and were, as an earlier poster put it, someone who "spazzes out at time constraints", I'd use the de-cleansing mod.
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Re: De-Cleansing/Time Mods: Yea or Nay?
« Reply #3 on: October 11, 2009, 02:08:07 am »

    Thank you for the in-depth replies, they're exactly what I needed.

It depends on what you like I suppose. Knowing that you have unlimited time might make all the warnings about impending doom seem a tad silly since you know you're in no danger. It also makes the game unlosable, which I'd consider less of a challenge. But I think it's mainly up to you. If you don't want to feel stressed and don't mind throwing off any possible atmospheric pacing, then go for it. If you want to have a little clock ticking in the back of your head, pressuring you to find solutions to save your race as soon as possible, you shouldn't use it.

It's an interesting point that the game's unlosable with no cleansing limit, which makes sense I suppose, since that allows you to gather every resource, upgrade and secret before the end. This is a space exploration/upgrade your ship game, and I'm really not used to having a time limit in those, but then again it's also an adventure game, something I should probably take into account.

I still have a lot to figure out, like not sucking at combat and solving the Slylandros Probe mystery, which is why the time limit seems to loom. Then again, you've made an excellent point... instead of sitting back, knowing I'll find the solution, it's suspenseful, since the infestation's going to get worse sooner rather than later.

All of which are cool in their own right, but I'll refrain from getting into more discussion about them here.

Quite right, I was just giving a little bit of background info on myself.

I thought v1.1 removed the time limit (or at least extended it at lot). Personally, I think a little urgency adds to the atmosphere.

It did get extended in v1.1. The thing is (this applies to Star Control II as well), there's so much to explore, and I typically don't want to worry that an activity I'm currently enjoying or an area I'm exploring might be a "waste of time."

  • The purist argument: The game is arguably not the same without a time limit to force you to act, so it should be played first the way it was intended by the Creators. I gather you may not agree with this reasoning.
  • The time modification side effects: Slowing down time by a factor of 12 (like the time mod does) will mean that everything connected to a date (including stuff you need to proceed and random encounters) will be affected. This unbalances gameplay quite a bit and adds a few big cases of waiting around for things to happen.
  • Missed cleansing-based opportunities: Cutting out the cleansing also prevents you from taking advantage of it; some alternative solutions become impossible since they require cleansing to start. Of course, completing the game before cleansing starts would lock you out of these paths, too.

Aha, I suspected there would be normal timed events (cleansing aside obviously) that the time dilation mod would affect. I probably won't ever use this one at all until I'm very familiar with the game.

About the purist thing, no, that's a fair argument and I don't necessarily disagree with time limits, but I myself generally dislike them personally. That doesn't mean I think time limits are a bad game design decision for developers to make, although I believe it's an unpopular choice (games with end-game time limits seem to have completely died out this century).

As for cleansing-based opportunities, I'd been thinking cleansing = immediate game over. It seems that's not the case, and the cleansing is an actual event you can interact with, an important consideration.

All in all, I'd avoid the time mod, at least for playing "normally", but, if I were not a purist and were, as an earlier poster put it, someone who "spazzes out at time constraints", I'd use the de-cleansing mod.

Yeah, no time mod, that's for sure.

As for the de-cleansing mod... well, I think I've decided I actually will play through my first game or two with the time limit, then use the mod in later playthroughs if I want it.

Thanks for helping me decide, guys!

Oh yeah, one more ninja question: I read somewhere that turning off speech (which is actually not that bad, but I'd prefer to imagine the voices in my head) can cause problems interacting with certain races down the line. Should I leave it on or can I turn it off without worrying I'm causing myself problems?[/list]
« Last Edit: October 11, 2009, 02:12:32 am by Vainglorious » Logged
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Re: De-Cleansing/Time Mods: Yea or Nay?
« Reply #4 on: October 11, 2009, 12:38:10 pm »

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It's an interesting point that the game's unlosable with no cleansing limit, which makes sense I suppose, since that allows you to gather every resource, upgrade and secret before the end. This is a space exploration/upgrade your ship game, and I'm really not used to having a time limit in those, but then again it's also an adventure game, something I should probably take into account.
Minor clarification: it's easy to get yourself killed in UQM, so you can always lose that way. However, running low on time is the most common way to get the game into an unwinnable state. There are a few other ways to end up in a situation that is impossible or almost impossible to get out of, but you have to be quite careless to run into them.

Quote
As for cleansing-based opportunities, I'd been thinking cleansing = immediate game over. It seems that's not the case, and the cleansing is an actual event you can interact with, an important consideration.
I'll not go into detail on what the cleansing is, but it does take quite a while. Once it's done, though, the game is inevitably over.

Quote
Oh yeah, one more ninja question: I read somewhere that turning off speech (which is actually not that bad, but I'd prefer to imagine the voices in my head) can cause problems interacting with certain races down the line. Should I leave it on or can I turn it off without worrying I'm causing myself problems?
The game works fine without speech; in fact, the speech is missing a few helpful lines that will show up if you only use subtitles. This is mostly due to the fact that it's easy to dynamically generate new text but much more work to do so with speech.
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Re: De-Cleansing/Time Mods: Yea or Nay?
« Reply #5 on: October 11, 2009, 03:20:19 pm »

It also makes the game unlosable, which I'd consider less of a challenge.

You can always get yourself killed... but yeah.

If you're new, just knowing that there's a time limit should be enough kick in the pants for you to win, so long as you take some very basic notes.
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Re: De-Cleansing/Time Mods: Yea or Nay?
« Reply #6 on: October 11, 2009, 04:08:41 pm »

The voice acting in Star Control 2 is not very good for most races and just plain annoying for some races, so I would recommend turning it off and imagining the voices in your head, yes Smiley.
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Re: De-Cleansing/Time Mods: Yea or Nay?
« Reply #7 on: October 11, 2009, 05:28:52 pm »

correct me if I'm wrong, but doesn't removing the Cleansing also make the game unwinnable if you do certain things which I won't mention so as to not to spoil it?
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Re: De-Cleansing/Time Mods: Yea or Nay?
« Reply #8 on: October 11, 2009, 09:41:08 pm »

I also usually want to play a game at my leisure. But for SC2/UQM, I'd definitely recommend playing with the time limit. An important part of the greatness of SC2 is the atmosphere — the feeling that you're exploring a vast area of space, with new discoveries to be made everywhere. And once you figure out what to do, the time limit keeps you immersed in the game. It gives you a sense of urgency, and makes you feel that there's really something at stake.

Just play it through normally, keeping your eye towards the goal, and if you don't make it the first time (as most people do), just start over. When you finish the game, you can try again with the time mod, seeing if there's anything you missed, talking to all the aliens again, and trying out the dialogue choices you didn't pick at first.

It's not the only way to play the game, but in my opinion, it's how you get the most out of it.
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Re: De-Cleansing/Time Mods: Yea or Nay?
« Reply #9 on: October 12, 2009, 04:15:03 am »

The voice acting in Star Control 2 is not very good for most races and just plain annoying for some races, so I would recommend turning it off and imagining the voices in your head, yes Smiley.
I think a lot of the voices are pretty good, with some exceptions...There are a few key bits of dialog that don't have voice acting, though. Particularly with one plot point involving the Mycon. But generally I like playing with VA, though I turn the voices down some so I can still hear the music.

One thing I would suggest if you're worried about the time limit is using multiple save slots. This lets you go back to earlier points if you run out of time without having to start the whole game over.

Regarding getting better at combat, Melee is a good way to practice (and a fun game in itself actually).
« Last Edit: October 12, 2009, 04:21:06 am by Mormont » Logged
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Re: De-Cleansing/Time Mods: Yea or Nay?
« Reply #10 on: October 12, 2009, 05:00:59 pm »

correct me if I'm wrong, but doesn't removing the Cleansing also make the game unwinnable if you do certain things which I won't mention so as to not to spoil it?

Even people who hate you will still give you things you absolutely need if the proper plot triggers have been set - I believe.
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Re: De-Cleansing/Time Mods: Yea or Nay?
« Reply #11 on: October 13, 2009, 12:28:30 am »

I'm used to standard, completely free-roaming and open-ended space trading games like Elite, Frontier: Elite 2, WC Privateer, Freelancer, Escape Velocity: Nova, and X3: Reunion/TC, but I'm new to similar story-driven starship games like Starflight, Star Control, Protostar, and the like.

I just haven't been used to time limits in this genre at all. That being said, from the comments this thread has received, it sounds as though the time limit is an integral part of the game, and also handled fairly well.

On a preaching-to-the-choir note, I'm sure we can all agree that it's very, very sad that the space exploration/trader genre has nearly died out and is no longer marketable in today's industry. These games stand the test of time, and I've been more excited about Star Control II than any modern game released within the past few years.

One thing I would suggest if you're worried about the time limit is using multiple save slots. This lets you go back to earlier points if you run out of time without having to start the whole game over.

A fair point, but gathering minerals and the like could get rather frustrating when the work I've done is lost because I have to return to an earlier (perhaps much earlier) save. A foolish complaint, I know, there's no getting around it, but it is a bit bothersome. I usually play through a game once, then return to it in six months or a year for my next playthrough so it seems fresher.

Regarding getting better at combat, Melee is a good way to practice (and a fun game in itself actually).

Well, I've been avoiding Super Melee, since it surely will allow me to see advanced modules I haven't discovered in the full game yet, a bit of a spoiler.

But I don't think there's any way around it. I need practice badly, and Super Melee is surely much more efficient and flexible than simply reloading a save continually.

That being said, I'm glad this is a hardcore, old-school game that's not dead easy the moment you pick up the joystick.
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Re: De-Cleansing/Time Mods: Yea or Nay?
« Reply #12 on: October 13, 2009, 06:13:18 pm »

Well, I've been avoiding Super Melee, since it surely will allow me to see advanced modules I haven't discovered in the full game yet, a bit of a spoiler.
You have a point there; it'll happily let you select pretty much any ships you like from the game (except, notably, your flagship); you can set up two teams, each containing 14 ships. If you only select ships you've met, the spoilerage is limited to a static image of each ship, some rather vague data and the race name (which Melee happily shows you while editing your teams). This doesn't really tell you what the ships behave like.
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Re: De-Cleansing/Time Mods: Yea or Nay?
« Reply #13 on: October 13, 2009, 07:18:20 pm »

One thing I would suggest if you're worried about the time limit is using multiple save slots. This lets you go back to earlier points if you run out of time without having to start the whole game over.

A fair point, but gathering minerals and the like could get rather frustrating when the work I've done is lost because I have to return to an earlier (perhaps much earlier) save. A foolish complaint, I know, there's no getting around it, but it is a bit bothersome. I usually play through a game once, then return to it in six months or a year for my next playthrough so it seems fresher./quote]

The good news is, so long as you're equipped well and know what to do, you can solve the game in a few months (game time). If you front-load your resource gathering, as Hayes suggests... you're going to have a lot of time when you're free from the need to gather resources. Save when you're basically set, and never have to do it again.
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Re: De-Cleansing/Time Mods: Yea or Nay?
« Reply #14 on: October 16, 2009, 05:28:24 pm »

Well, I've been avoiding Super Melee, since it surely will allow me to see advanced modules I haven't discovered in the full game yet, a bit of a spoiler.
You actually can't see the advanced models, because the flagship is unavailable in Super Melee. You can however see races you have not yet encountered. Some of them you will probably never encounter. (For example, it's very unlikely that you'll ever meet a Melnorme in combat, but you can fight them in Super Melee... and three of the ships in Super Melee don't appear in-game at all.)
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