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Author Topic: What is it about UQM that we love?  (Read 3845 times)
guesst
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What is it about UQM that we love?
« on: April 10, 2003, 03:12:32 am »

Why? Why do we play this game so much. Why when we are done playing do we talk about it? Why do we love this game?
I fell in love with UQM with SC1. SC1 was a completely different game but I played it constantly. I liked it because it combined simple stragety with fast paced melee (full game). I liked it because it fit on one disk and I could take it to school with me to play with my friends (big plus there). I liked the discovery of ship to ship advantages. (just like how I liked discovering which megaman boss weapon will beat the next).

Then I fell in love with SC2 because it had the same fast paced melee with a storyline that was sometimes dramatic, sometimes funny, and left my imagination running full tilt. Who where the precursors? What is the MarkII?  Also, it has characters that you can't help falling for. (Who didn't panic when the pkunk sphere of influence disapeared and there was nothing you could do about it? Who didn't chear when they returned?)

Now, 10 years later I still read newsposts about the game daily and find myself excited to introduce others to the game. I feel like I have a rare gem here that I can't wait for version 1.0 to share with all my friends. WHY after 10 years does this game still do it for me?

Has there ever been another game that so captured the hearts of those who played it?

(PS. Sorry to post this on a day when 400 other posts pushing 1 day old topics off the board. However, I believe the sheer volume of posts on this board only supports my point.)
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Re: What is it about UQM that we love?
« Reply #1 on: April 10, 2003, 04:20:08 am »

Well it has directly controlled (and not roleplayed) combat scenarios. It has the ability for you to go out and collect 'money' with which you can improve your ship, whether it's by destroying enemy ships, or by mining.

It has problems and puzzles for you to solve, and asks you to use both your brain as well as your reflexes to survive.

It has many 'characters' with their own distinct personalities that make it quite easy not to see them all as cardboard cutouts for you to interact with. Experiences so varied, with races as solemn as the Kohr-Ah or Mycon, or races as comical as the Umgah or Spathi or Thraddash, as well as races as despicable as the VUX or Ilwrath or Druuge, not to mention a race as utterly puzzling as the Orz---ensure that each one is memorable in it's *own* way.

It is loose enough that you can roughly do whatever you want to do (anger a race, befriend another, anger another) and suffer the consequences (or enjoy the benefits) of your decisions, giving you more of a feeling that your actions actually *mean* something in this game.

Practically everything directly hinges on what you do. You are not riding in the back seat while you are taken on a ride; you ride where you want to and you do what you want to, and yet you still get to enjoy the experiences and results of doing just that.

It still manages to comprise respectable visuals and music that -aren't- the focus of the game, but still are very strong in and of themselves.

When you interact with other characters, the dialogue is cleverly scripted so that you don't get the feeling that whatever you say, the same thing will inevitably happen.

There are a million different tasks for you to do, but none of them are set out in a linear order for you to accomplish.

Basically it's a roleplaying game---that gives you the freedom of an utterly non-linear experience, and the feeling of direct control over what occurs.

Combat can be a challenging experience, and there's enough ships with vastly different approaches to combat to keep the experience fresh for a while, instead of tedious. The ability to use and modify your precursor vehicle only adds to the longevity of an enjoyable combat experience.

The detail is incredibly significant, even for an old game like this. There are a multitude of stars for you to explore, and each of them are unique. Each of them has different planets, each planet has a differing quality or type to it, each type has a differing set of environmental factors, and even the life forms that they may or may not have, different in scope and variety.

There are a multitude of questions that arise from playing this game, but none that are glaring holes that detract from the plot, only ones that spur the curiosity. The scope and angle of the questions can arrange from wanting to puzzle out an alien race's motives, to why it does its puzzling behavior, to why certain things in the universe are the way they are right now.

I suppose the best summary of why the game is as enjoyable as it is, is because it's so very detailed and so very creatively constructed.
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Re: What is it about UQM that we love?
« Reply #2 on: April 10, 2003, 04:29:02 am »

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Has there ever been another game that so captured the hearts of those who played it?

The Ultima series might apply here (it even had the much-hoped-for final chapter that people bought only for the name; and later found out it didn't live up to the title).  Ultimas 5-8 had mostly non-linear plotlines and fully fleshed-out worlds where you could immerse yourself.  
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Re: What is it about UQM that we love?
« Reply #3 on: April 10, 2003, 04:35:34 am »

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Why do we love this game?
I fell in love with UQM with SC1.

I too fell in love with SC1, but this was because a similar game piqued my interest first: Archon.  It wasn't until much later that I realized the same people made them both.  And even then, it wasn't until someone's post here that I found out that StatCon was just a play on words for Archon.
<ST>ARC[H]ON is the best game ever!
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Re: What is it about UQM that we love?
« Reply #4 on: April 10, 2003, 04:40:28 am »

Does anyone here know where I might get my hands on this "Archon" that people speak of?  And yes, I would be willing to pay...
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Re: What is it about UQM that we love?
« Reply #5 on: April 10, 2003, 05:41:13 am »

A quick search on google with the terms abandonware and archon yield numerous results.  I'd run these on a system that you don't care about though, since you can't know what you're really downloading.  Also, check TFB's website first to make sure that they aren't still selling this game for some reason.
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Re: What is it about UQM that we love?
« Reply #6 on: April 10, 2003, 07:28:46 am »

wait a minute...archon?  Er....are we thinking of the same game here?  Kind of chess like, except you have to battle to determine if a piece gets taken?  Good vs. evil to control a number of squares, would've been released on the Atari home computer, commodore 64, and the early apple computers?
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Re: What is it about UQM that we love?
« Reply #7 on: April 10, 2003, 06:30:57 pm »

Well, to shorten up Primat's lengthy explanation Wink, I just fell in love with the potential... The first time I opened up the starmap and realized that there were so many places, such an incredible potential in the thing. That's what caught me. SC1 interested me as a tactical sim, but SC2 really gott my heart. Every time I see that starmap, with all those glittering stars, each one filled with planets, wonder and mystery, it brings a tear to my eye...
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Re: What is it about UQM that we love?
« Reply #8 on: April 10, 2003, 09:07:09 pm »

I just read a VERY recent and modern article about this.

http://www.gamespy.com/publisher/april03/

IMHO, SC2/UQM has artistic scope.  In other words, it has style coming out of its wazoo.

Its also highly interactive.  I felt like what I was doing made a difference to the "game world".  I.e. The gameworld was a big sandbox to me.

I have a hope that games like this will make a come back in the next 5-10 years.  And then, the timing will be perfect for a UQM sequel.

But for now, it seems like its all about the graphics and twitch factors.  Patience.
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Re: What is it about UQM that we love?
« Reply #9 on: April 10, 2003, 11:17:53 pm »


I'm going to draw a parallel here, so stick with me.

From what I can tell, the fact is that UQM has the same appeal one finds in, to cite an example everyone is familiar with, Star Wars.

Not a bad thing to be compared to, for a video game not all that many people have really heard of, eh?

Well, let's look at what, really, has made SW so enduring and prolific.

A. A massive universe. Not so much in terms of what Lucas actually laid down when it was conceived of and released, but more in terms of the *feel* of the setting. While you only actually saw and heard about a small selection of the galaxy, you had the feeling that it was immense. You coul tell that there were countless locations outside of the ones you were actually getting to see. Likewise, SC2 gives the feel that there's a LOT more out there to see. Which is always a compelling sort of thing.

B. Interesting characters. Everybody has a favorite SW character, and most of the time, they care about what happens. Everyone's got their least favorites, too, and so on. Thus it is with SC2, as well.

C. Hooks. One of the things that has left SW as such an enduring phenomenon is that there have always been a wide range of things to hooks stories, ideas, speculative discussions, and what all else into. In Star Wars, there are people used as extras in scenes, locations alluded to, technologies, events mentioned in passing, and all manner of such things to catch people's attention, and thus it is with SC2/UQM as well. And that ties in directly with the last point...

D. Limited disclosure. Which is to say, we're not told everything. There are unanswered questions. In fact, both SW and UQM raise more questions about story and setting than they answer. Actually, I rescind that. Most of the story questions are answered. It's the supporting, surrounding setting and history where the questions spring up. Thus, the story remains satisfying, but there is much room for growth.

In SW, this comes in the form of unnamed, random aliens populating the landscape, things like Ep. 4's offhand reference by Liea to the Clone Wars, or Han's mention of the Kessel Run, glossing over the details of how things like lightsabers work and so forth. In UQM, we have vague references to the Precursors and Taalo scattered around, the mystery surrounding the Androsynth, elements of the past such as the Quan slave revolts against the Dynarri, the mentions of the MarkII, compelling races like the Orz and Arilou we know very little about.

Characters and races, brief references to past or secondary events, technology on display, but not explained. there's a lot there to discuss, and a lot of compelling material left to play with. I think it's these unanswered, secondary questions more than anything that cause us to subscribe to the level of obsession we do. Because it gives us a lot to have fun discussing, and there's enough detail in the game to work from.

I'm not sure exactly what my point was here, but I wanted to make the observation. All of this has been said so far. I think, so maybe this is a bit superfluous, but maybe people can get something out of it anyway.
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Re: What is it about UQM that we love?
« Reply #10 on: April 10, 2003, 11:38:03 pm »

Excellent reply, Azzizi, but i think you forgot the most important factor that keeps all of us playing UQM: Fwiffo.

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Re: What is it about UQM that we love?
« Reply #11 on: April 11, 2003, 12:06:24 am »

I love that the game is much bigger than the region of play. There are so many places that you do not need to go to. The main two other games I can think of with this property are Metroid 1, Final Fantasy 1, Zelda 1, and Dragon Warrior 1 for the NES, Adventure for the Atari, Escape Velocity for Mac (and PC too, is it?)... now, those games had ART (well, DW1 is debateable, but the gigantic map is the best that can be said for that game)
(ok, and SC3, but the detail of each place was presented in a user-friendly AI that stripped away each solar system's personality, and furthermore the solar systems for a particular race had very little spatial connection to each other, so all that freedom was like the freedom to pick a number in roulette)
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Re: What is it about UQM that we love?
« Reply #12 on: April 11, 2003, 12:12:54 am »

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Excellent reply, Azzizi, but i think you forgot the most important factor that keeps all of us playing UQM: Fwiffo.

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Of course, but I think that ties into the 'favorite character' category, don't you? ;>
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Re: What is it about UQM that we love?
« Reply #13 on: April 11, 2003, 05:06:48 am »

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Well, to shorten up Primat's lengthy explanation Wink, I just fell in love with the potential... The first time I opened up the starmap and realized that there were so many places, such an incredible potential in the thing. That's what caught me. SC1 interested me as a tactical sim, but SC2 really gott my heart. Every time I see that starmap, with all those glittering stars, each one filled with planets, wonder and mystery, it brings a tear to my eye...


*laughs* I do blabber on, don't I?

True, I do suppose the best way to sum it all up is 'incredible potential'.

*adds in a playful tease* The game's starmap brings a tear to your eye? Geek!  Wink
« Last Edit: April 11, 2003, 05:07:34 am by Kohr-Ah_Primat » Logged

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Re: What is it about UQM that we love?
« Reply #14 on: April 11, 2003, 04:55:00 pm »

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Of course, but I think that ties into the 'favorite character' category, don't you? ;>


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