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Stardock Tried To Make Star Control, Master of Orion Sequels 125

Posted by Soulskill
from the brought-to-you-by-frungy-the-sport-of-kings dept.
Gamasutra reports on comments from Stardock CEO Brad Wardell in which he described his efforts to revive two old but popular franchises: Star Control and Master of Orion. Quoting: "'I actually pitched Atari on a whole idea for a true successor to Star Control,' [he said], noting that the game would follow original series developer Toys for Bob's Star Control II rather than the Legend Entertainment-developed Star Control 3 ('We just pretend that never happened,' the CEO says of that release). ... Novato, California-based Toys for Bob has actually floated the idea of making its own Star Control II sequel, with co-creator Paul Reiche III indicating he has tossed potential design ideas around, but with the company now owned by publisher Activision the proposal seems to be stuck in limbo."
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Stardock Tried To Make Star Control, Master of Orion Sequels

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  • Star Control II (Score:5, Insightful)

    by LightPhoenix7 (1070028) on Tuesday November 18, 2008 @12:20AM (#25797381)
    I understand that they want to make a sequel to Star Control II, and that's awesome. However, I think that ship has long since passed. If they were really serious about carrying on the spirit of the game, they could simply make a new game in the Star Control style with a new background. That's why they're called "spiritual successors." I know that's not a true sequel, but that's about as good to one as we're going to get.
    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward

      As I understand it, they own the rights to create any game they like in the Star Control franchise, other than the name "Star Control" itself. The issue at hand simply relates to them wanting to get paid to develop it, and the company that pays them doesn't necessarily want to pay for a Star Control sequel.

  • obligatory game link (Score:5, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday November 18, 2008 @12:29AM (#25797473)

    For fans of the original SC 2 game, or someone with an open mind for an awesome old game, you can find it here:

    http://sc2.sourceforge.net/

    Totally free and legal too.

    • Re: (Score:1, Funny)

      by Anonymous Coward
      Great! Now go and find the link to Starflight.
  • by Anonymous Coward

    http://sc2.sourceforge.net/ [sourceforge.net]

    This is a link to a full version of Star Controll II. It works on my Vista laptop and is as good now as it was in the old days.

  • by geminidomino (614729) * on Tuesday November 18, 2008 @12:36AM (#25797539) Journal

    Like Star Control II was such a great game. Who the hell on slashdot even remembers it?

    • by narcberry (1328009) on Tuesday November 18, 2008 @12:39AM (#25797567) Journal

      I thought Star Craft 2 wasn't out yet.

    • by StarKruzr (74642) on Tuesday November 18, 2008 @12:43AM (#25797587) Journal

      This game was published in 1992 and it EASILY is still one of the best PC games of all time.

      • I used to play it all the time on my Compaq Portable III. I highly doubt that any sequel will recapture that early 90s spirit.
        • by caitsith01 (606117) on Tuesday November 18, 2008 @01:00AM (#25797719) Journal

          I used to play it all the time on my Compaq Portable III. I highly doubt that any sequel will recapture that early 90s spirit.

          This MUST be possible. I have never understood why companies don't release what amount to identical games under the hood with heavily updated graphics which remain true to the original art style of the previous game. Keep all of the game logic, but replace the graphics and make it run stably on an XP/Vista system.

          Case in point: Sid Meier's Pirates!, which was in many respects totally identical to the old 2D version, and which looks great and is awesomely fun to play.

          My dream is for someone to finally, FINALLY do this to XCom/UFO - keep the EXACT game mechanics of the original game, but make it run in 1280x1024 with photorealistic (but still manga-esque) graphics. They could keep the original music but re-record it. It would be stunning.

          Other candidates for this treatment would be Syndicate/Syndicate Wars, and Theme Park.

          • by Kjella (173770) on Tuesday November 18, 2008 @01:54AM (#25798095) Homepage

            My dream is for someone to finally, FINALLY do this to XCom/UFO - keep the EXACT game mechanics of the original game, but make it run in 1280x1024 with photorealistic (but still manga-esque) graphics.

            1280x1024??? If you're doing a remake at least update it so it can run on modern resolutions including widescreen. LCDs in general suck at any non-native resolution, so it's even more important than before.

            • 1280x1024??? If you're doing a remake at least update it so it can run on modern resolutions including widescreen. LCDs in general suck at any non-native resolution, so it's even more important than before.

              Wow! Brilliant insight!! Although it's almost as if I picked an arbitrary high-resolution example which happens to fit my own LCD monitor when I obviously meant "high resolution"!!!

          • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

            by Catharsis (246331)

            You probably ought to give UFO: Alien Invasion [sourceforge.net] a try. It's definitely not the same game, but it's created by a group of people clearly in love with the source material.

          • by ultranova (717540)

            My dream is for someone to finally, FINALLY do this to XCom/UFO - keep the EXACT game mechanics of the original game,

            Actually, no. Replace the environment breaking routine with that of XCom 3.

            photorealistic (but still manga-esque) graphics.

            I don't think that's logically possible.

          • by meringuoid (568297) on Tuesday November 18, 2008 @06:23AM (#25799487)
            Case in point: Sid Meier's Pirates!, which was in many respects totally identical to the old 2D version, and which looks great and is awesomely fun to play.

            Sid Meier likes doing that. Take a look at Colonization, which preserves the basic mechanisms of the original, but adds more sophisticated Civ4-style diplomacy and trade. And alliances with the Indians.

            Only problem is, the Royal Expeditionary Force is normally absolutely huge by the time you declare independence, your troops don't upgrade to Continental Army status, and there's no foreign intervention force coming.

            I had to drastically revise my war plans. In the original I used to build big heavily armed fortresses and pack them with troops and cannon, and wait for the king's men to come to the slaughter. In the new game, that doesn't work: artillery get a huge bonus to city attack, so no fortress is strong enough. Instead I play a Stalinist strategy. All troops and most of the population are evacuated from any cities the king's men approach, leaving only a token guard. The civilians are sent to the arms manufactories deep inland, and there drafted into the militia. The army lurks in the woods.

            Meanwhile the king's men destroy my token garrison and occupy the city. That's when I counterattack: the artillery bonus now works in my favour. Sure, it means my cities get wrecked. The objective is to exterminate the king's men, not to have a viable colony left when the dust settles.

            It actually made me feel very bad. The burning ruin of the greatest city in the New World, now home to nothing but a couple of small fishing communities. My score history at the end showed a colossal drop during the war, as all trade and useful industry was abandoned, and all of the civilian population not involved in arms manufacture evacuated from the cities and drafted into an army in the wild. And then slaughtered. I had a mental image of Field Marshal Sir Dougie Haig with his battle plans, sweeping soldiers off the board with a dustpan and brush...

            • Take a look at Colonization, which preserves the basic mechanisms of the original, but adds more sophisticated Civ4-style diplomacy and trade...

              And SecuROM. Thanks, Sid. (grrr)

          • by nausicaa (461792)

            It seems that every remake these days is only true in name.. Well, almost every remake :)

            If there's one game I would love to see updated, it would be Iron Lord. Same kind of game, same music, just re-recorded, and updated graphics..

          • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

            by falcon9x (618587)

            I would like to see this in X-COM also.

            And in Wing Commander

            And in SimTower

            And in SimAnt

            And in Dungeon Keeper (Evil Genius doesn't count)

            And in Theme Hospital

            And in Grim Fandango (mostly for the controls, I like the look of it)

            And in Gunship 2000 (PLEASE!)

            X-COM and Gunship 2000 would be the ones I would like most to see revived in the spirit of the original (none of this X-COM: Interceptor or things like that).

            • by Jaysyn (203771)

              Dungeon Keeper II runs pretty good in WinXP with the right sound card. Choppy on with my on board Realtek sound chip but perfect on my Soundblaster Live!

          • by Miltazar (1100457)

            I have never understood why companies don't release what amount to identical games under the hood with heavily updated graphics which remain true to the original art style of the previous game.

            This kind of development only really works for certain types of games. Case in point: Command and Conquer 3. It is extremely boring because it is basically the same game mechanics as the first game. While they are stuck with the original mechanics, which were good for their day, the rest of the strategy market has moved on to strategy elements that turn out to be much better such as the Company of Heros/Dawn of War cover system.

            Now as a big Star Control 2 fan, I agree that it would be good to have a game

            • Actually, I disagree somewhat - I stopped playing C&C when Generals came out precisely because they abandoned the aspects of the series which I really enjoyed.

              In particular, moving from the isometric perspective and highly detailed sprites to a 3D camera and mediocre polygon-based units really ruined it. For reasons I have never fully understood, they decided to stop you from zooming out enough to even see your own base in its entirety, let alone a decent chunk of the battlefield.

              And game designers don

        • I doubt it (Score:3, Interesting)

          by dj245 (732906)
          I remember Fallout 1 (or maybe 2) had a certain edible item called a "cookie". It restored a very small amount of hitpoints if you ate it. However, if you ate the cookie, your hard drive light blinked twice. This was back in the day where hard drive writes were quite loud and noticable. Since no other edible items wrote to the hard drive, most people realized that this was an easter egg left by the developers. With hard drives so quiet today (and SSD starting to take over) would anyone even notice if t
        • It's about the writing and design that went into the game.

          If only we could somehow wrest control of the Star Control marque away from Accolade and give it back to Fred Ford and Paul Reiche III.

      • by Valacosa (863657)
        You didn't detect the sarcasm in the GP post. I guess your Ultron is broken. (Or, for another hint, you could have read the sig.)
      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        by KlausBreuer (105581)

        Heh - weird. Your parent is termed "Funny" - correctly. Your post is termed "Insightful". Although I do agree with you, you simply didn't get the sarcasm of your parent.
        Let's see if I also get an incorrect value attatched - "flame" perhaps? ;)

    • by Culture20 (968837)
      I certainly don't.
    • Re: (Score:1, Interesting)

      by Anonymous Coward

      I remember it as one of the best, most imagination inspiring games I've ever played.

      I once faked sick during 2 weeks of junior high so that I could stay home and play it constantly.

      Star Control II was amazing. Awesome story, awesome characters, awesome gameplay. One of the best ever adventure games.

      Mind your disrespectful, heathen tongue, boy.

      I feel sorry for those who missed out. You can look up the Ur-Quan masters [sourceforge.net] remake on sourceforge, though.

      I certainly hope for a true sequel, or at least a game set in

    • by canajin56 (660655) on Tuesday November 18, 2008 @12:59AM (#25797709)
      Whoever modded this flamebait instead of funny either didn't read your sig, or didn't remember Star Control II! How very *frumple*! *Happy Campers* enjoy the *sauce*! Come *dance* in the *heavy space*!
      • by Dahamma (304068)

        I wish I had mod points so I could give the mod the OP funny and you insightful - I can't BELIEVE all those replies and you were the only one to notice the sig. All the other replies are SC2 fan POSEURS!

      • by Dutch Gun (899105)

        I never played Star Control II, so the joke/reference went right over my head. Bad mod should be null and void with this comment.

      • by mrjimorg (557309)
        Wow, that brings back memories. I loved the blobby creatures - "Thanks for saving our race. As a reward we shall give you your choice of either an extra arm or leg. Or we can give you both!"
        • "Blobby Creatures?"

          I think the Umgah would be rather offended by that characterization... Don't accept any gifts from strangers for awhile if you value your eyebrows and/or molecular cohesion...

    • Re: (Score:2, Funny)

      by XiX36 (715429)
      Spathi > Mycon! Who cares about semi-sentient mushrooms. Terrified meta-mollusks rule! At least until they get scared away. . .
    • That makes me *frumple* so much.

    • Like Star Control II was such a great game. Who the hell on slashdot even remembers it?

      It was a defining event of my childhood.. :)

      It goes without saying that perhaps I needed to get out more, but SC2 was one of the first games ever created with a truly brilliant storyline. One loaded with programmer humour, no less. Excellent execution, great battle, and story with lines that I (and apparently you) still remember to this day. Even the story in the readme.txt was inspiring.

      I'd give anything for a seque

    • Re: (Score:2, Funny)

      Heh. For the past 10 years I've named all my workstations at work after Star Control; I've named machines "kohrah", "kzerza" (fittingly those two were in service at the same time running x2x between them), "chenjesu", "earthling", and "pkunk". So far I haven't been masochistic enough to name one "mmrnmhrm". I'm pretty sure my next machine will be either "arilou" or "shofixti".

      And can I be the only person who consistently misreads the title "The Drudge Report" as "The Druuge Report"?

      • by RayMarron (657336)

        Hehe. My wireless SSID is "Sa-Matra". :)

      • I had a windows server for "work-related self education" called "Pkunk" once... it was fitting. It's very existence was a constant stream of insults towards me, it would die frequently, and sometimes, just sometimes, after doing so, it would boot right back up.

        It was downright spooky, in fact...

    • RE: Big whoop... (Score:1, Redundant)

      by jamesh (87723)

      Obviously at least 5 people remember it for your post+sig to have been scored funny :)

      I'm surprised nobody has linked to The Ur-Quan Masters [sourceforge.net]...

    • Re: (Score:1, Redundant)

      Like Star Control II was such a great game. Who the hell on slashdot even remembers it?

      Those who don't remember can play a Free version [sourceforge.net].
      There are versions available on the project's download page for Windows, OSX, BSD, and Linux.

    • by EdIII (1114411) *

      Do I remember Star Control II?

      Hmmmmm..... Oh Hell Yes.

      It was a magical combination of certain events that culminated in the most fucking awesome weekend of my young adult life.

      1) My parents left Thursday morning for a business trip to New York. Not back till the middle of next week.
      2) They LEAVE ME ALONE since they can't find anybody to watch me and I am generally responsible.
      3) I had saved up enough money to buy one of the first SoundBlaster cards to put into my computer.
      4) I conspired with 2 friends to g

    • by coljac (154587)

      Hee hee. Nice joke, hunam.

      I still have the original box-cover stuck on my office wall.

      When I was young and when I played this awesome game, I wrote the publisher a fan letter. They sent me back an SC2 jigsaw puzzle! I wish I still had that sucker.

    • Re: (Score:2, Funny)

      by RayMarron (657336)

      Not I.

    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by bckrispi (725257)
      Please don't be so *frumple*. *Happy Campers* are best!
    • Re:Big whoop... (Score:4, Insightful)

      by vux984 (928602) on Tuesday November 18, 2008 @04:41PM (#25807709)

      Like Star Control II was such a great game. Who the hell on slashdot even remembers it?

      Jerk! Loser! Nerd! Idiot! Jerk! Nerd! Nerd! Idiot! Loser!

  • Number of games I've purchased in the past year: 2

    Mega Man 9, Warcraft: Wrath of the Lich King

    Number of Star Control sequels I would purchase if Paul Reiche III was involved: At least 1. :)

  • by Cordath (581672) on Tuesday November 18, 2008 @01:54AM (#25798091)
    Master of Orion 2 differed from MOO1 in several fundamental ways. Most of those ways involved added minutiae to the game that didn't really add to the strategic depth of the game.

    Take buildings for example. In MOO2 (and every bloody civ-in-space game since) you can erect specialized buildings on your planets that focus the planets production. There is a tiny amount of strategy in the order of building things, but once you figure out an optimal build order for different types of planets it's just an annoying game mechanic that gets in the way of expanding your empire, saying "Nice doggy!" to your would-be enemies while you research a bigger stick, etc..

    Really, this sort of thing ammounts to shoe-horning an inferior version of sim-city into a game that doesn't need it. However, it's in every bloody 4X game people make these days, with Stardock's own Galactic Civilizations being one of the worst offenders. In MOO1, you could just set a slider telling each of your planets how much to devote to industry, research, ship production, etc..

    This is the philosophy I would like to see the MOO franchise return to:

    Create simple, intuitive, direct ways to manipulate a deep and complex system with cleverly balanced AI.

    e.g. To allow players to focus production, give them a simple control, such as a set of sliders, instead of a sim-city clone mini-game.

    Now, I know a lot of people love MOO2 and building buildings. It's a good game, and the mechanic is now utterly ubiquitous. However, if you liked MOO2 you can go play GalCiv or any of dozens of games that have all the same mechanics. If, however, the MOO franchise were to go back to it's MOO1 roots and try to find other ways for players to interact with the universe, we might finally see the ossified 4X genre evolve a little!
    • by philipgar (595691)

      I agree, MOO1 is one of the best games ever. You don't have to spend time micromanaging your empire, and there was a lot of strategy involved. While adding one or two other things to the planetary sliders wouldn't hurt, MOO2 really went overboard. I tried playing it not too long ago, and just didn't like it at all. I had no clue what I was doing, and it started to feel way too much like the civ series. MOO1 was simple, and the simplistic nature worked great for it. That way you could focus on things l

    • by B5_geek (638928)

      They tried doing it your way. It was called MOO3 and it was very bad.

      • by Catharsis (246331)

        WHAAaAAAaa? You think MOO3 was a *simplification* of MOO2?

        To make a more recent comparision, MOO3 was like EVE Online without a subscription fee. It was a bureaucracy simulator par excellence. I made it through the tutorial realized there was probably a fun game in there after about a six month training course, and went outside* instead.

        *: I did not actually go outside.

        • by shinmai (632532) *

          I actually preferred MOO2, liked MOO1 and never really got into MOO3. I'd love to see a MOO sequel with a modernized UI one of these days.

          Anyone have any recommendations for MOO2-like games for modern systems?

          • I was the same. I love moo2, never got that much into moo1 (started with moo2) and I installed moo3, played it for about 3 hours and gave up.

          • Try Galactic Civilzations 2. The whole pack is available as a DRM-free download (paid of course). Minus the turn-based combat, it's completely faithful.. but with more story!
        • by n1ckml007 (683046)
          Yeah MOO3 was different from MOO2... It sucked, and was not fun to play. "Bueacracy simulator" funny...
        • by Reapy (688651)

          Haha. I ran home from the store to install it. I played for like 4 hours. Then, I pushed "next turn" to move to turn 2. By turn 3, I turned the game off and uninstalled. Damned bastards.

    • by Boronx (228853)

      Agreed. "Sword of the Starts", however, is a nice throwback to slider style planetary management, though it's more in the vein of "Spaceward Ho" than "Master of Orion".

    • You are saying what I have been preaching to anyone who listens. I rediscovered MoO 1 only recently and I love it. Huge universe with 6 races at level impossible? Just give me Psilons and bring it on! My weird brother uses Klackon to do the same. How wrong is that, I ask you?!
    • MOO3 and Ascendency (Score:3, Informative)

      by Shivetya (243324)

      I had no real problems with the MOO3 system of planet management. The biggest problem I had in 3 was that combat sucked. It was so uninvolved as to make me resolve all battles with the one button click.

      The problem in MOO3 is that the idea was excellent but the execution wasn't. Too much of the tech made little sense, you could not weigh its impact on your empire easily. Travel down "warp lanes" made overly long games as most of your time was spent trying to get ships to where you needed them and the rou

    • by Reapy (688651)

      I've always felt the downfall (for me!) in my enjoyment of wargames has been the increased amount of CPU power available for the games. I played the hell out of civ, Master of Orion, and ESPECIALLY Master of magic. What worked for me, which I think at the time was a lack of "cpu power", was the simplicity of complex systems. The game was always moving forward, I could clearly tell what was going to be good for me or bad for me, and I didn't have to think too much about micromanaging towns.

      But the trend has

  • See http://www.masterofmagic2.com/ [masterofmagic2.com] for links on the subject. When they couldn't get the license, they started working on a spiritual successor, without the license. And hate to say it, but I'd much rather see a new MoM sequel than a new MoO sequel. I thought Toys for Bob was still trying to re-gain the rights for their own true SC2 sequel?
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by paganizer (566360)

      My thoughts on this subject:
      We don't really need a MOO2 sequel; the game plays just fine on modern systems, the graphics are adequate, the only things I could really see as improvements would be making the graphics a little higher res, maybe some more variation in ship design, and it would be GREAT if the number of stars could be increased, maybe by a factor of 4? But thats really it; the game still works, and works well.
      MOM is just more of a extreme case. While Age of Wonders: shadow magic is probably as c

      • We don't need a sequel to MOM, we just need the license holder to improve the graphics and re-mix the fantastic audio to modern standards, and LEAVE EVERYTHING ELSE ALONE.

        It might be a good idea to re-balance the rules a little. Master of Magic was oh so very exploitable. So very many plans for munchkin starting builds. My favourite was always to abuse the crafting system to get more mana from breaking an artefact than it took to create it in the first place. Use this to build up enormous mana stocks very

        • by Reapy (688651)

          Exactly. I always read lots of posts about MoM xyz strat that was broken... I kind of like being able to choose if I want to play the game hard mode, or I want my flying galley's to take over the world. I guess that was part of the fun :)

          I used to play turtle boy on an island somewhere, upping my magic/tech until I got warrax, beefed him out in spells, and used him to conquer the world. I think I just liked him as a hero unit for his style, but yeah, lightning bolts of death and solely conquering cities...

        • by Sowelu (713889)
          Yeah, that game needs better re-balancing, and way upgraded AI. A single unit of flying spearmen can hold off a ton of AI ground troops forever, and they won't even try to sack the city--while the AI can't use the same tactic at all? Enemy sprites that engage in melee when out of ranged shots? Crack's Call as an absurdly powerful one shot kill? And sure, some cheap tricks are good, but if you're going to let the player cast that 'no unhappiness' spell on all his cities and raise taxes to insane levels,
    • Dominions, dominions 2, dominions 3 Master of magic was my favorite game in the world for quite a while. But Dominions is just so much better.
  • by caubert (1301759)
    well, I think SC1 was also cool, SC3 - an epic fail
  • To my knowledge, two companies have expressed an interest in creating a sequel to Star Control II - The Ur-Quan Masters: Toys for Bob [toysforbob.com] (the creators of Star Control and Star Control II; warning: site is entirely Flash) and Stardock [stardock.com] (better known for strategy games like Galactic Civilizations).

    Toys for Bob holds the copyright to Star Control II and its characters, which allowed them to open source the game (or, to be exact, a crude attempt to get the enhanced 3DO CD version to run on Windows, which has since

  • Links inside (Score:5, Informative)

    by RichiH (749257) on Tuesday November 18, 2008 @07:08AM (#25799687) Homepage

    http://www.freeorion.org/ [freeorion.org]
    http://www.thousandparsec.net/ [thousandparsec.net]
    http://www.startreksupremacy.com/ [startreksupremacy.com]
    http://abandonia.com/ [abandonia.com]
    http://gog.com/ [gog.com]

    • Could you give us a little more detail, which ones are decent, which ones suck, etc?

      I'm unlikely to download and try them all.

      • by RichiH (749257)
        FreeOrion is the best of the FLOSS ones. Look at the last two as well, as those are very different sites :p
  • I'd just like to say that I have a copy of MoO2, boxed, still in original shrinkwrap. Offers welcome. :-)
    • by EEBaum (520514)
      The current Ebay Market Rate for those is $10.
      • *sigh* I know, I know. It's tragic. The market for good old video games, RPG books, and the like, is just terrible. Well, the online market, at least.

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