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Classic Games (Games) Games

Development To Begin Soon On New Star Control Game 160

In 1990, a development studio called Toys for Bob created a game called Star Control, a fun little space combat game with a bit of strategy added in. In 1992, they released Star Control 2, a full-blown space adventure RPG, which became one of the seminal works of early PC gaming. (Later open-sourced and released for modern systems.) After that, creators Fred Ford and Paul Reiche III lost control of the franchise to Accolade, who botched Star Control 3 and eventually abandoned the series. Last July, Stardock, the studio behind Sins of a Solar Empire, acquired the rights, and they're now discussing their plans to resurrect the classic series. They'll be using Star Control 2 as a template and an inspiration for all aspects of the game, though they won't be using any of the IP from Star Control I & II. They've also contacted Ford and Reiche and will try to hold true to their creative intentions. (The two currently run an Activision game studio, so they won't be involved with the new game.) Production will begin this winter.
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Development To Begin Soon On New Star Control Game

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  • I am *expanding*! (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Friday January 03, 2014 @12:32PM (#45857479)

    It is so *squishy* to make me a *happy camper*. I cannot wait to *smell* it.

  • Some musings (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Akratist ( 1080775 ) on Friday January 03, 2014 @12:34PM (#45857509)
    I wouldn't necessarily agree that SC 3 was "botched," although 2 was a better game. A real botch job was Master of Orion 3... That said, it should be interesting to see what Stardock does with this, given their track record with Galactic Civilizations and Sins of a Solar Empire. They need to resist temptation to make the game too "heavy," too -- no real need to turn it into a cartoonish version of SFB or something.
  • by geminidomino ( 614729 ) on Friday January 03, 2014 @12:40PM (#45857593) Journal

    Sure it is. Accolade still owns the name "Star Control 2", so the open source release was rebranded "The Ur-Quan Masters"

    apt-get install uqm

  • Re:The fog of time (Score:5, Insightful)

    by ultranova ( 717540 ) on Friday January 03, 2014 @03:49PM (#45859671)

    I do worry that they'll have to dumb it down for a modern audience and that worries me. SC3 suffered from this a bit. For example, you really had to take notes to complete SC2 unless you'd played it a dozen times before -- someone would mention a planet and star system in the middle of the conversation and if you forgot it you may never be able to get back to it. I LOVED that aspect of old games, but with pop-up maps and waypoints listed in auto-populated journals, newer games put this aspect on auto pilot. That's fine for many games -- it puts you deeper into actual gameplay, but it's an aspect I would sorely miss in SC2 if it weren't there.

    I wouldn't. Automatically log every conversation and mark any coordinates mentioned, with a link back to the log. Why in blazes shouldn't the computer handle a simple and, frankly, tedious bookkeeping task? Removing manual copy-pasting of text is not "dumbing down" a game.

  • Re:The fog of time (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Friday January 03, 2014 @08:20PM (#45862099)

    You could just wander into the stars, get lost, run out of gas, or fall afoul of an enemy you weren't prepared to defeat, lose the game and have to find a 20-gameplay-hour-old savegame to usefully recover. Games that have that sensation are few and far between (and many people prefer it that way), so I was mostly just musing about why I loved it and how difficult I think it is to find that balance.

    Yeah, that sort of thing is a pain in the ass to do without being frustrating to a lot of players, because nobody likes getting stuck, even if it's your own damn fault you got stuck. Especially if it's your fault you got stuck, because it feels like the game is mocking you for screwing up. It generally needs some sort of graceful fail condition for certain problems, such as distress beacons, or a bad-ass auto-save feature that snapshots your progress so you don't have to constantly muck about with multiple saves unless something goes massively wrong. Or maybe a difficulty selection along the lines of "treat me gently" -- some sort of punishment for failure without it being a game-over -- along with a hardcore mode that crushes you for failure.

    Related: that sort of "you're screwed, start over" thing is why roguelikes are a niche thing despite being generally awesome. Hardcore-style "die and start over" is a hard sell. Though, there is one roguelike that lets you respawn: Elona. Every time you die, you respawn but lose stats. This means that fluke deaths are less rage-inducing, but if you just suck at the game you eventually end up in an unwinnable condition.

    Back on the exploration/railroading topic:

    My preference is somewhere in between the two extremes, leaning more toward avoiding hand-holding. I like having an idea of where to go to make the story move on, but that's so that I know where to avoid until I'm ready. I note the next place to progress and then try to go everywhere except that place. Still, I don't mind when it's a bit vague, like "go to this sector" or "go west", at least for the important stuff. Gives you a reason to find new things while you look, you know? The problem is when EVERY bit of progress is like that, it stops being about what you want to do and turns into the "needle in a haystack" problem I mentioned.

    The first two Fallout games were good for that. For example, in F2, they directed you to the first town, to the east, with some plot and a lack of interesting things north and west, but there was no requirement to stop there, or anywhere else. If you followed the plot you generally leveled with the content, but you could skip as much as you were able to survive. I wandered south one day on a new character and, through sheer RNG luck, got to the last quest hub town without a single random encounter (which would have splattered me in one hit). Didn't even know it was there, hadn't beaten game before, so it was pure chance, and made that playthrough unique in a way fully linear games fail to do.

    I also think it's important that, even if you decide to go off on your own and ignore the plot, it should be possible to pick back up where you left off with minimal difficulty. If the game doesn't provide a way to easily find where the storyline was, it can discourage someone from exploring, because they're afraid of losing the plot.

    Thanks for helping to clarify.

    No problem. It sounds like you and ultranova don't necessarily want different things, just that games don't balance it well, even when exploration is a key aspect of the game. That mention of using Zim for games is 100% personal experience: it's incredible for keeping track of things that games don't provide any automatic tracking mechanisms for. The Minecraft book got a lot of use for a while, though now it's the Starbound one that's getting filled up with coordinates and other useful information.

    Starbound gets a pass for now, since it's early access, but Minecraft's lack of any worthwhile navigation tools is completely unacceptable in a game that's as much about finding cool scenery as it is about playing virtual legos.

    (same AC as before)

Receiving a million dollars tax free will make you feel better than being flat broke and having a stomach ache. -- Dolph Sharp, "I'm O.K., You're Not So Hot"