Kickstarter

“… for the cost of a handful of lattes, you can help build a virtual world in which your character could be drinking virtual lattes with a femme fatale (who’s probably a dragon in disguise) while blowing the crap out of everything around you with a smart gun. Isn’t that what we all want?”
– Jordan Weisman, Shadowrun Returns Kickstarter Video

“What could possibly go wrong?”
– Tim Schafer, Double Fine Adventure Game Kickstarter Video

Yes, I have finally uploaded my own video commentary. I’ve always wanted to make one, but I never had the time or resources. So after some careful thinking and feeling the need to experiment, I finally decided to give it a shot. Video editing is a longer process than I thought it would be.

In case anyone is wondering, here is my current setup:

  • Sony Vegas Movie Studio Platinum HD
  • Blue Snowball USB Microphone

I mentioned Transformer: Fall of Cybertron and Prototype 2 as Activision-published games that have science fiction elements. I didn’t mention Battleship from Double Helix. From what I’ve seen, it’s a first-person shooter and looks very similar to Call of Duty. However, it is worth noting that Double Helix is using a proprietary engine. Other than that, it gives the impression of a action-oriented shooter with aliens. The movie it is loosely based on received mixed reviews internationally.

Another game developer I wish I mentioned was Wolfire Games. They are currently working on Overgrowth. Their business model works by accepting pre-orders, and releasing a weekly beta version of what they have worked on so far that anyone who pre-ordered can play. In addition, they are behind the “Humble Indie Bundle” sales that pay developers and charity.

I hope to make more videos in the future and to improve upon my scripted dialog.

What do you think about the Kickstarter phenomenon?

Links
Kickstarter website
Shadowrun Returns Kickstarter Page
Leisure Suit Larry Kickstarter Page
Wasteland 2 Kickstarter Page
Star Command Kickstarter Page
Derek Smart Gametrailers Interview
Al Lowe Wishes TFB The Best of Luck

Project 6014 Demo Thoughts

I managed to get some more free time and checked out the latest update to Project 6014 with its hi-res graphics update. In addition, some of the music has been remixed such as the Shofixti music. As of version 0.2.1, the following species have voices: The VUX, Orz, Yehat and the Lurg.  In the sound settings, the speech volume was set to zero.

While the plot starts with finding a missing Shofixti scout force, ultimately leading to an encounter with the Lurg, a fan-created species, there are other things to explore. For example, what other races have done after the destruction of the Sa-Matra and a strange marking found on a planet’s surface. After the battle with the Lurg, the player has the opportunity to send a planet lander to the surface to examine a strange object, which triggers the demo’s end cutscene before going back to the main menu. So, I highly saving the game beforehand to have more time to explore without having to restart the game from the very beginning.

The starmap has some creative updates that make it more accessible. If someone gives the player a location during a conversation, the map is updated.The blue text box also reminds the player that the starmap is searchable.
The starmap shows smaller circles, making it easier to find aliens in their respective spheres of influences.

Here is a recording of an Orz conversation. It includes its own custom speech.

Did you notice how the music quiets down when the speech is playing? I think it did this in UQM as well, but I just noticed this now with Project 6014.

With the Orz font, it uses a calculator-style font to differentiate the words that are not accurately translated by the ship’s computer, which is explained in original SC2 game. Personally, I think the Orz voice used here is well-done the audio effects sound Orz-ish and the voices are still clear. The Orz in SC2 were voiced by Greg Johnson, creator of ToeJam & Earl and recently, Deko-Deko Mail and Quiz for Facebook. Greg also did the voices of the Utwig and Pkunk.

The Project 6014 demo is looking great and I hope this project continues. Even though it’s fan-fiction, this is the closest thing we have to UQM HD at the moment. I’ll be uploading more videos in the future to show off more gameplay. There’s more to come.

Links
Project 6014 homepage
Project 6014 Demo 0.2.1 released

Epic Trailers

I wanted to write a quick post about two trailers I came across:


The first one is from a user named “JimPlaysGames”. This for his let’s play series which he will be concluding. I like how he crops the user interface of the game to give the impression that everything is a cinematic. His voiceover is very nice and the editing is well done. From watching this trailer, it made me realize that of all the details TFB put into SC2, they even included smaller details such as stars expanding and objects on a planet’s surface blinking to show that it is active and attracts the player’s attention.

Epic Project 6014 Update!


This is a trailer of a recent update to Project 6014 that is also epic and shows off its HD graphics, animations and user-created ships in the melee mode. It plays a remix of the intro theme I’ve never heard before. I really need more time in my life to play this. It’s really awesome to look at and they even included HD fonts. Project 6014 is composed of talented and dedicated fans in the Star Control community. They even created a hi-res starmap for players to download. After begging for an HD-remake of SC2 for many years and trying to wrap our brains around the legal status of Star Control, it’s incredibly awesome to see that the 6014 team not only remade everything in HD, but included a new story for players to sink their teeth into. I highly recommend checking this out and I hope the news continues spreading around. Please check this out. This is a must for any Star Control fan! It may even trigger more fan-mods, which became a legacy for games such as Quake, Half-Life and Unreal.

Thanks, dczanik for reminding me about this. This is a huge step towards keeping Star Control in the spotlight longer.

Links
dczanik’s YouTube channel
Project 6014 website
JimPlaysGames’ YouTube channel
Star Control Fonts

The Almighty Orz Shirt

*fingers* can be interpreted as a way to describe an individual Orz, according to UQM Wiki

I received an e-mail from Joe who sent me an Orz T-shirt he created.  It’s got a nice outline of an Orz with the cryptic phrase “*fingers*”.

The Orz really stand out in Star Control II as that race that is difficult to understand and is a valuable ally.  Unfortunately, they’re the only ones who know what happened to the Androsynth and pressing them on this topic makes them “*frumple*” and will turn against the player. Their music is very soothing and is mixed in with strange sounds.

It’s definitely an awesome shirt. Obviously, most people wouldn’t understand *fingers* or what the Orz is, which adds to the mystery of the Orz itself.

I remember seeing a forum thread a long time ago on the forums where someone made a T-shirt with all of the Star Control ships arranged in a circle with their ship name underneath each one. Fan creations are always cool stuff to check out. There are different ways to create custom shirts from images. The ways I have seen are iron-on printing paper, using a screen-printing machine or paying a company to do it for you.

It’s awesome to see that Joe became inspired by Star Control and the fanbase and created a shirt design to show his love for the series.

I’d love to create a bunch of custom shirts for myself. I just need to find that right balance of style, price, resources and time. I remember looking at an online website that specializes in this and each shirt wound up costing between $20-35; of course, each image was full color and large.

This is a nice image and a great shirt, Joe. Thanks for sharing it with the world.

Links
UQM Forums – I printed an Orz shirt (which was a shirt that now has the Orz on it)
UQM Wiki article on Orz communications
YouTube – Orz theme
YouTube – Precursors – *Squeezing* the *juice* Orz theme remix

Lego Star Wars: Ace Assault

“The game, which, to be perfectly frank, makes me really want a new Star Control​ game…”

“‘This game is a cornerstone of the digital marketing campaign and an integrated part of the overall marketing strategy,’ said Yasin Jensen, Digital Strategy Manager at Lego. ‘We were anticipating the game would be a great success, but this has exceeded all of our expectations.'”
– Pete Davison, Gamepro.com, “Star Control Inspired Lego Star Wars Web Game Reaches 10 Million Plays”

“We were anticipating the game would be a great success, but this has exceeded all of our expectations.”

To promote the recently released Lego Star Wars III: The Clone Wars, 4T2 Multimedia Limited created a flash game that can be played in a web browser for free. 4T2 is UK agency that specializes in “creating online games and websites for kids”. It shares a few things in common with Star Control and it is definitely worth checking out.  In addition to single-player, two-player is available by clicking on the X-shape with the 4 arrows on the top right of the game near the mute button.

Ace Assault has been played over 10 million times.

Each ship has unique stats, primary/secondary fire, and a key combination for a special ability.

Each ship has unique stats, primary/secondary fire, and a key combination for a special ability.

There are a total of 10 ships to select, 2 of which need to be unlocked with a code.

It’s been a long time since I’ve played Lego Star Wars. From what I’ve seen, Lego Star Wars III has had mixed reviews and people still considered it a good game for fans of Lego Star Wars. Ace Assault is a very interesting way to promote the latest game from Traveller’s Tales; I’ve seen flash game promos before, but I think this is the first time I’ve seen a Star Control style game used to promote a popular franchise. It’s definitely superior to the flash game that Atari produced, which was developed by a small team that only had a few days to finish it. The fact it’s been played over 10 million times shows that this style of gameplay can reach a wide audience, it’s easy to understand, and people have incentive to play it more than once.

I’d like to thank Pete for writing that article for GamePro and even recommending that people check out Star Control 1 and 2 on GOG.com.  Thank you 4T2 for creating this small promo that has made people think about Star Control once again.

What do you think?  Do you think this could be the sign of more Star Control related games to come? Speaking of which, I know of a bunch of indie games I want to check out and I wish I had more time to play them in more detail.

Links
Play Lego Star Wars: Ace Assault
Gamepro.com – Star Control Inspired Lego Star Wars Web Game Reaches 10 Million Plays
4T2 – Lego Star Wars: Ace Assault Info Page

Check out Deko-Deko Quiz

Greg Johnson is the creative genius behind games such as ToeJam & Earl and Starflight. He is also a longtime friend of Paul Reiche and he provided the voice for the Utwig in the 3DO version of Star Control II which can also be heard in the SC2 re-release, The Ur-Quan Masters.

Greg formed a new studio called HumaNature Studios which has released a Facebook app called Deko-Deko Mail. It can send personalized messages to other Facebook users with a distinctive hand-drawn art style, and can be embedded in websites. HumaNature’s latest Deko-Deko release is Deko-Deko Quiz. Its design reminds me of a fortune cookie because it shows auto-generated text describing my personality based on my answers. The questions from this quiz are easy to understand, short and shows pictures as choices rather than text. For example, the user may be asked which robot represents his or her inner self. If your friends answer the same questions, answers can be compared. I have seen other apps that quiz users and compare answers with friends and this one isby far the most artsy and creative. I’m not just thinking about words; suddenly, I’m thinking about how things are being portrayed in drawings of food, robots, dinosaurs, cars, plants, space, funny hats, etc. In addition, the key currency in Deko-Deko Mail and Quiz are shared across both apps. The keys can be used for inputting more pictures into text; it’s a way of encouraging people to share the apps with a special currency.

For Facebook users, this is definitely worth checking out. New quizzes are sent out each day. What do the quizzes say about your personality?
Links
Deko-Deko Quiz on Facebook
Deko-Deko Mail
HumaNature Studios

ZOMG!!! UQM HD Mod Artwork by dczanik!


Ur-Quan Masters HD: Vux – Zex by *dczanik on deviantART
The plushies on the right are a nod of Zarla’s art and love for the ZEX.

Some people may have seen dczanik’s artwork in the UQM mod, Project 6014.  While this project has just started, it’s awesome to see high-quality artwork.  After all, recreating a masterpiece is no easy task.  However long it takes, I hope the news spreads around and people check it out.

So, check it out and take a look at his DeviantArt profile.

Links
UQM Forums: Ur-Quan Masters HD Mod
dczanik’s DeviantArt Page

P.S. I have increased the number of posts per page from 2 to 5.  Originally, the site was slow and lowering the number of posts to load made the site faster.  Hopefully, things should be stable and I might even increase the articles per page to a higher number in the future.

Deko-Deko Mail


Not only is Greg Johnson the creator of games such as ToeJam & Earl and Starflight, he is also a longtime friend of Paul Reiche. They have both contributed to each other’s games, Star Control and Starflight. Greg has created a new studio called HumaNature Studios.

Their latest project is Deko-Deko Mail. It is not actually a game; it is a Facebook app that allows users to send a message to someone in the form of a flash video with a cartoon font and quirky animations. It is currently in the beta stage and more features are on the way. As of this post, the only thing that can be done is post to other people’s walls publicly.  There will be a feature to send people private messages and be able to write letters with multiple images in it.  They do have plans to create other Deko-Deko related products in the future.

It is possible to buy Facebook credits which can be turned into keys, the currency for Deko-Deko Mail. Keep in mind, the app itself is free and the user is rewarded points whenever someone’s wall is written to and when the app is opened.

For the month of March, they have donated money spent on keys towards the Japan relief effort.

I-Wei Huang

The art style is very simplistic and uses short animations to convey their subjects. The artist is I-Wei Huang, who is also a character artist for TFB. With the help of GameVision Group, they were able to create thousands of images for Deko-Deko Mail. Don’t be deceived by this art style; I-Wei is actually a highly skilled with art, animation and robotics. He has even been featured on TV:


ToeJam & Earl are in Deko-Deko Mail. They can be searched and there are the characters from the game and the logo itself. There is also a button to request new animations. Why not request Star Control and Starflight, another game that Greg made?

In conclusion, this is definitely worth checking out for any Facebook users who have been wondering what Greg Johnson and his studio has been up to during this time.  The Facebook market is definitely booming and is a popular platform for casual gamers.

Good luck to HumaNature Studios and their future success.

Links
Deko-Deko Mail Facebook App Page
HumaNature Studios website
I-Wei Huang’s website