Ur-Quan Masters Let's Play 27 - The Yehat

(Video removed)

Redpowervan continues his Let’s Play series of the Ur-Quan masters.  He takes the Starship Jefferson to Yehat territory, who reveal that they have sided with the Ur-Quan.  They tell him the coordinates of a shattered world the Mycons are occupying.  The shatter worlds are a result of the Mycon’s mysterious terraforming process.

The voice of the Mycon is none other than the TFB kingpin himself, Paul Reiche III.  He is also the voice of the Talking Pet.

There is also a feature in UQM that has been implemented in UQM 0.5.0 that many people are not aware of:

"The Starmap is searchable! Type / then the beginning of the constellation name, and you can tab through all possible completions."
- SC2 Sourceforge, What's New

I didn’t know that this was possible until I finished the game and I started to browse the SC2 Sourceforge page and I came across it.  Although, the player still has to remember the name of the actual constellation for this to be useful.  I still remember having a pen and paper on my desk with coordinates and having the Ultronomicon Wiki open when I was playing, just so that I can remember what everything was.

Thanks for continuing the videos Redpowervan.

VUX Accepts Apology

Fendfan wanted to show us what it takes to make the VUX accept the captain’s apology.  Basically, the player flies into VUX territory and constantly apologize and every time the VUX will refuse to accept and start a battle.  Eventually, they forgive the captain for Captain Rand’s insult and say that they hate humans because we’re so ugly.

Nice video, Fendfan.

Happy New Year

If you haven’t head it already, happy new year!

It is the year 2009.  I have no idea what to expect this year and I will make sure to write about it here if there is anything related to Star Control.

The obvious mysteries still remain:  What’s TFB up to?  What do we have to do to convince Activision-Blizzard to say “yes” to a new Star Control game?  Only time will tell.

I started to think about the time that’s passed since April 2006, when Alex first mentioned that TFB wanted to make a new Star Control.  When we reach April 2009, 3 years would have passed.

There’s been a bunch of games being revived for today’s gamers:  Street Fighter II, Bionic Commando, Mega Man, Space Invaders, Galaga and even Duke Nukem 3D.  There’s even a rumor about a new Archon game being made.  There are people who do love these revivals and they are also getting good ratings by major game review sites.

I know it’s been silent with Star Control news lately, and as long as we stay strong and continue to keep this “cult-following” alive, we can’t be ignored any longer.  A new year has started and I’m very certain that we’ll see some surprises that will change how the new Star Control will be born.

Hell Yes!

NooBTooB is a weekly independent podcast hosted by Tobin Coziahr and Yuzo Watanabe.  They talk about and review video games and give their full opinion about whether or not is worth buying, renting or if it should be avoided entirely.  Each podcast is an hour long and their community is very strong and diverse.

Don’t be offended by their swearing.  They’re hilarious people and it helps them stick out from other podcasts.  They even joke about it by saying “We swear like truckers”.  I’ve been watching their podcast for over a year now and they put in a lot of work to reach out to their fans in more ways.

Almost a year ago, I was reading their about page and I discovered that Yuzo listed Star Control II as onf of his most favorite games.  Later on, they mentioned they bought a P.O. Box for people to send letters.  I realize that they have hundreds of e-mails, forum posts and voicemails, so I wanted to be one of the first people to write them a letter.  So, I decided to write a letter to Yuzo about what he thinks about TFB’s desire to make a new Star Control game.

I wanted the letter to stick out, so I decorated the envelope with some art I found from Deviant Art:

This is what I used as the envelope cover, which Tobin described as “eating my head”.

Ur-Quan Wallpaper Version 2 by =morganagod on deviantART

This is the image I placed in the top-right of the letter to fill in some empty space.

SC Races: Yehat by ~FreakyM on deviantART

When they mentioned the “mailbag”, I wasn’t sure if they saw my letter, and when Yuzo came back with it in his hands, I was so glad it got through; I sent mailed it to them from Canada with no insurance. It’s awesome that he knows about UQM and that he supports the idea of a new Star Control game.

"This game is probably one of the funniest games I have ever played. This is up there with Psychonauts. The humor and the script is really well done. It's a great game."

"If they make it, I think it would be awesome."
‐ Yuzo Watanabe, NooBToob, episode 75

I can’t believe that I didn’t share this video earlier, and I’m glad that I did it now! Thanks NooBToob for reading my letter.

Link: NooBTooB Episode 75

Zenzmurfy's SC2 Endgame Animatics

Zenzmurfy has worked on many pictures and videos of Star Control.  He also created various 3D renderings of Ur-Quan, Shofixti, Yehat, Spathi and more.

The video above is the beginning of his goal to recreate the ending of Star Control II in wonderful 3D:

"This animatic is over seven years old. Re‐creating the Star Control 2 ending into 3D has been a goal I had ever since I completed playing the game. This version is fairly faithful to the original version. I also have a slightly embellished version with more scenes not in the original.

Thanks to finally getting a working video editor, I have taken the silent animatic and added temporary sound FX and music and dialogue from the original game."
‐ Zenzmurfy

There’s a lot of changes between the first and second version and they’re both worth looking at.

After I watched these videos, I remembered how colorful Star Control is; every race used different sets of colors with shapes that looked very different from each other; if each ship was a silhouette, players can still tell them apart.

Thanks for sharing this, Zenzmurfy.  Great stuff!  Check out his fan page and his new blog.  Check it out!

Merry Christmas

Hello everyone!

I just wanted to take a moment and wish everyone “Merry Christmas”. In exactly seven days, it will be the start of 2009 and there will be a bunch of new games being released and we’ll have another year to convince Activision that TFB needs to make a new Star Control.

I don’t really have any new years resolutions for myself; I usually forget them anyways. If I had to make some for this blog, it would probably be about better proofreading and brainstorming ideas for interesting ways of supporting Star Control and firing up the blog.

Be safe, have fun and never give up on Star Control!

Dear Santa Claus,

I am aware that I am an adult now, but I really need your help with something.  Since April 2006, Toys for Bob has wanted to make a true sequel to Star Control II and they've been collecting thousands of fan mails to show their shady publishers, Activision, how strong the fanbase is today.

Since that time, they've made Tony Hawk's Downhill Jam and Madagascar 2.  Could you do something to remind Activision of their past?  Back in the day, they were independent developers who made games for the Atari 2600 console.  At the time, Atari published all these games without giving any credit to the developers and nobody was rewarded for highly‐successful games.  They published these games without a care in the world.  So, Activision stood up to Atari by becoming the first third‐party publisher.  They started to include the names of developers in the games and manuals.  Because of Activision, these people were able to make their games and become recognized for them.

Now that they're a lot bigger and with their recent merger with Vivendi Universal, forming Activision Blizzard (jokingly referred to as "Actiblizzard"), they need to start listening to their developers and realize that if they continue monopolizing off movie‐licensed games and rushed sequels, companies like EA will beat them with Rock Band, Skate, Rage and Dead Space.

Can you please help us, the loyal Star Control fans, convince Activision to give the gods at TFB a chance to shine in the spotlight with a new Star Control game that is beautifully written and designed?  We need all the help we can get to make this dream a reality.

Go Santa go!

‐ Anthony

IGN's Fond Memories of Archon

Although this isn’t directly related to Star Control, I found a recent article on IGN Retro called “Fond Memories: Archon”.  In these articles, IGN editors reminisce about personal video game favorites and why they love them.  Levi Buchanan decided to write about Archon.

He only mentions Paul Reiche once in the article:

"One of my favorites from the era was Archon: The Light and the Dark, created by Freefall Associates. Free Fall's trio -- Jon Freeman, Anne Westfall, and Paul Reiche III -- appeared inside the sleeve in black and white. And, to me, they looked cool."
- Levi Buchanan, "Fond Memories: Archon"

Archon was a game that Paul was involved in before he went on to his own company, Toys for Bob and the birth of Star Control.  When the Archon: The Light and the Dark was released, the packaging had the names of all three designers on the front and back, with photos and some information about them.  This was also done with the packaging for the first Star Control game, published by Accolade.  The back of the Star Control had some text that mentioned Paul’s previous experience with Archon:

Star Control

The full-game mode for Star Control does have similarities to Archon, although the ships in Star Control move in a 3D rotating starmap instead of a chess-like board.  When two ships occupy the same space, they battle it out to stay on the spot.  Abandonia even came up with an interesting observation about the name Star Control:

"1990, Paul Reiche III joins Fred Ford to make Archon in space, using the combat of Space Wars and the unit variety of Archon. Hiding the name of Paul Reiche III’s previous work in the title, StAR CONtrol is born."
- Abandonia, Star Control 1

Paul was only 22 years old when the first Archon was released.

Archon has an incredibly strong legacy to this day.  It has been ported to several consoles and operating systems.  Although I barely played it, I have XArchon on my laptop, and the NES ROM sitting on my hard drive somewhere.  TFB’s most recent game, Madagascar 2, has a mini-game called “Jungle Chess”, that reminded me of Archon.  The board layout was modified so there are spaces that only certain pieces can occupy and the objective is to grab the opponents trophy.  There is no real-time combat, so when two pieces occupy the same spot, the one with the higher point-value wins.

It was a great experience for Paul, and definitely helped him in creating his own masterpieces that we all know and love today: Star Control I and II.  When I read articles about these games, the author usually mentions the many hours spent on playing them over and over against the computer and friends and how the game is balanced beautifully.  I know a long time has passed since Archon and Star Control, and if Activision listens to TFB and lets them make a new Star Control game, I know their 20+ years of experience will guarantee another beautiful and balanced masterpiece that we’ll enjoy for many years.

IGN: Fond Memories: Archon
IGN: RetroCity Podcast: Episode 20

Why the blog?

With 2008 coming to an end, I have started to think about what has happened this year as we get closer to the start of 2009…

Some people have asked me why I care about Star Control so much to the point where I wanted to make a blog about it. When I was in my final year of high-school, Star Trek Enterprise was in its fourth and final season and I knew it was going to be cancelled; it was rescheduled from a convenient Wednesday night to the Friday Night Graveyard. It bothered me. I am not a hardcore trekkie; I simply liked the show.

The first thing I did was search the internet when I found an organization called “Save Enterprise”. It had a great guide on what kind of letters to write and who to send them too. They even raised over 3 million dollars to fund a fifth season. I wrote so many letters. I tried to convince other Star Trek-loving friends to join in the letter-writing campaign. They told me that it’s too late and I was wasting my time. I never gave up. I kept buying stamps, writing letters, and dropping them in the mailbox. Unfortunately, Enterprise was cancelled in its fourth season, and the $3 million raised was given back to everyone who donated. Later, there was a petition for a direct-to-DVD movie of Enterprise, which ultimately failed. I know it’s a prequel, but I liked it! I just wished that there was more the fans could do for the series, instead of arguing about whether or not it’s worth saving.

So, what makes Star Control different? We all want the same thing! Even though there are some people who say “It will never happen”, they still want TFB to make a new Star Control game just like everyone else. They’re not against it; they just want to see more powerful people in the gaming industry support it.

The second Alex Ness wrote on the TFB website that they would like their next game to be a Star Control game and that they were collecting fan mail, I immediately thought of Star Trek Enterprise. At first, I wrote a massive amount of letters, when I realized that a mass quantity of letters is not enough to convince Activision. I didn’t just write to Alex. I wrote letters to other people involved in the gaming industry about Star Control. Although not everyone wrote back, I thank those who at least read it and a special thanks to everyone who wrote back to me; it really helped me out with the blog and helped me get different perspectives of the video game industry today.

At this time, the UQM forums were very active and I was still a new member. There were lots of cool discussions, and I even started up a Photoshop thread inspired by the “Photoshop Phridays” at Something Awful. I admit that some of my images are amateur-quality.

As time went by, I started to get busier with college and work, so I had to put my letter-writing and forum-posting to a pause until I had more free time.  I suddenly became inspired to learn about web design and get back into blogging.  While brainstorming the things I could write about in my blog, Star Control popped into my mind, and Star Controller was born.

A Star Control 2 Western

Do not take this video seriously! :P

Zarla is a big fan of Star Control II and has drawn many Star Control related pictures.  She has her own DeviantArt page.

The Star Control 2 Western video she made was inspired by another video titled “Super Mario World Western Show”.  This is why some words in the subtitles are crossed out and replaced with words such as “Talana” and “Aliens”.  The Captain’s appearance is based on the images shown at the end of the PC version Star Control II after the Sa-Matra is destroyed.

The feelings expressed by ZEX towards the Captain in this video are based on the way he describes his love for humans:

"We see the... beauty in you Humans. The value in a long‐term... relationship. You are different, yes. But personally, I like difference. In fact, I ADORE it. Your physique is so wonderfully varied! Your many rigid appendages, your tiny double eyes, your varied skin coloration, and the delightful patchwork of hair covering only parts of your bodies leaving other parts bare and smooth! Mmmmmm!"
‐ Admiral ZEX

Zarla has drawn other cartoons that make fun of ZEX’s desire to have the Captain.

It’s funny because it’s just so random and weird.  It’s cool to the the Orz pop into the video every now and then.  She also described some of the Japanese words that are used in the song to help people understand what is going on:

"KY actually stands for 'Kuuki Yome' which basically means "Try to understand the situation" in a sort of 'please don't make me spell this out' kind of way, and tsundere is a Japanese word for someone who acts mean/angry, but turns out to be sweet underneath."
‐ Zarla

Thanks Zarla for taking the time to make this.

Newgrounds link
Livejournal entry
Zarla’s Ashido site

3D Spathi Animations

Justanimate has made 3 short clips of 3D Spathi test animations.  He is currently working on getting the Spathi to move more naturally and with less “flappiness”.  They’re all very short clips and don’t even add up to 30 seconds, so I decided to share all 3 in one posting.

It’s cool that people haven’t stopped translating the Star Control characters and ships into 3D objects.  Thanks a lot, Justanimate.