Huffi Muffi Guffi - Spathi

I’ve posted justanimate’s Spathi test videos before a while back.  Those were only a few seconds, but this one has audio and even displays the sacred TFB logo in all its awesomeness.

The animation is very smooth and organic and I love the lighting.  It’s simple, and the colors stand out easily from the white background.  I’m no artist myself; I’m just trying to describe some of the things I love about this 11 second clip.

For those who don’t remember, the phrase “Huffi Muffi Guffi” is the Secret Spathi Cypher that they have sworn to never reveal.  The player can either get this cypher from Fwiffo or Trademaster Greenish, in order to communicate with the Spathi High Council.

Again, another great job justanimate! :D

Ur-Quan Masters Let's Play - Super Melee

(Videos removed)

Redpowervan has been making Let’s Play videos of Star Control II: The Ur-Quan Masters for a while now.

Let’s Play is a style of video game recording where the player narrates their thoughts, strategies and actions while playing the game.

He decided to play through about 20 minutes of Super Melee against the Awesome Cyborg and explain the different ships as he plays with and against them.  He also mentioned that not being able to see the planet on the screen can throw off his strategy sometimes, and I agree completely.  This happens to me too, especially with the slow ships.

He also mentioned that when a player chooses a ship, it’s similar to “rock paper and scissors”, a much more complex version of it.  Everyone who plays Star Control has an idea of what ships can be used to defeat other ships.  For my style, if I can, I try to defeat larger ships by using at least 2 ships to take it down.

The commentary is very nice.  Thanks redpowervan.  He is also recording videos of the story mode and is currently at 19 videos as of this post.

Star Control DeviantArt

DeviantArt is a really cool website where artists can share their images for other people to see and post their thoughts for the artist to get feedback from.  Any genre imaginable can be found on this website simply by searching for it.  It’s even a nice place to find some desktop wallpaper.  There are over 7 million members and a great community for artists to join.  I wish I could draw, sketch or paint.  The most I can do is stick people, drawing box shapes, trace and color things in with pencil crayons.

Out of those 7 million people, there’s bound to be some Star Control art.  Check it out:

Star Control - STANDOFF by ~Dadiras on deviantART

Star Control - Spathi by *professorhazard on deviantART

Welcome aboard by ~zenzmurfy on deviantART

Fwiffo by ~zenzmurfy on deviantART

Surprise and Terror by ~ksleet on deviantART

New Alliance of Free Stars by ~ksleet on deviantART

Ur-quan Master by ~Nighzmarquls on deviantART

Orz by ~punctuatedequilibria on deviantART

ZEX Chibi by ~AlanaHikariChan on deviantART

Like Dying Stars by ~zarla on deviantART

AWK BRAAK YEEP by ~zarla on deviantART

Tensions Mount by ~zarla on deviantART

Discourse me all night long by ~zarla on deviantART

My Luscious, Robust Human… by ~zarla on deviantART

We’re Thinking of Adopting by ~Almasy-Sister on deviantART

SC Races: Kzer-Za Ur-Quan by ~FreakyM on deviantART

Animal Control - Urquel by *professorhazard on deviantART

Fwiffo Lost in Space by ~Wingedmaquis on deviantART

How’s the Sun? by ~AlanaHikariChan on deviantART

A VUX lady by ~pete-the-beet on deviantART

I’d like to thank all the artists for spending their taking the time to make Star Control pictures and an extra thanks to those who allowed their images to be embedded.  I love fanart!  There were 188 search results for “Star Control” and I can’t every single one in this post.  To see the rest, search

Star Control II in "Top 10 Free Games" by PC World Canada

On Monday, July 28 2008, Darren Gladstone wrote an article titled “Top 10 Free Games” and listed Star Control as #7 and provided a link to The Ur-Quan Masters of Sourceforge.

"Once upon a time, there was this classic game series called Star Control. It was an action game, a space‐trading and exploration game‐‐and then it was gone. The Ur‐Quan Masters is a full recreation of that classic experience, and now playable on just about every platform. If you've ever fancied yourself as the next Captain Kirk (or Picard, or whatever), you need to try this one out."
‐ Darren Gladstone, PCWorld Canada, July 28 2008

I’m so glad that Star Control is still appearing on video game lists.  Star Control II appeared on a countdown list on 1UP’s 101 Free Games of 2007, and Gamespot’s Greatest Games of All Time.

Check PC World’s Top 10 Free Games if you want to see the other games in the countdown.

Thank you Darren for putting in Star Control.

Amiga Nut's CGI for UQM

People using Windows Media Player may require DivX codex to be installed to see these videos.  I used the Media Player Codec Pack.  Do not install any toolbars or other browser addons.  Only the codecs are required.  The videos can also be downloaded so that it can be played with a different program.  Shame on WordPress for not releasing their integrated video player to the public!

I was reading some posts in the official UQM Forum, when Amiga Nut reminded me about a project that he started to replace the ship spin videos in the 3DO version of Star Control II.

In the 3DO version, if a player presses the info button while selecting a ship, it will play a video of the ship spinning in 3D briefly explaining the abilities of that ship.  Unfortunately, due to copyright issues, they are not supported in UQM.

With Amiga Nut’s 3D videos, they can be replaced by a free, higher-quality alternative.  Some of his work is shown below and look very promising.  He’s got a lot of work ahead of him, and perfection is a slow and steady progress.









I can’t wait to see the rest.  Thanks Amiga Nut for reminding me about this.  Keep up the good work.

Utwig Jugger vs. 5 Mycon Podships

SpacemanSpiff11 recorded a video of him controlling an Utwig Jugger and destroying 5 Mycon Podships in a row.

Because of the Jugger’s energy shield, the Mycon don’t stand a chance at all.  The damage from the Podship’s blast constantly refills the Jugger’s energy, so it can be used again at the right time when the opponent attacks.  This is actually a very interesting way to take heavy-hitting ships such as the Dreadnought, Marauder and Avatar and turn it against them.  The Jugger is one of my favorite ships because of this.

It’s the only ship where I intentionally fly into enemy fire.  Sometimes I do it with the Pkunk Fury when I have some crew left and hope that I’ll resurrect again.

There are some things worth noting about the Jugger.  Did you know that if an Androsynth Guardian attacks a Jugger with its Blazer form, the Jugger’s shield will protect it from damage but it will not recharge the batteries?  Also, the Jugger’s shield provides no protection against the Shofixti Scout’s self-destruct ability.  The Chenjesu’s Broodhome’s DOGI projectiles easily drain the Jugger’s sheld batteries, rendering its shields useless and vulnerable to future damage.

Good job, SpacemanSpiff11.

Not A Question Of If But When...

It’s been two years since Alex Ness wrote on the Toys for Bob website that they believe that the time is now for true sequel to Star Control II:

"We (I) want us to do a Star Control sequel. Back in the early 90s, Paul and Fred and some other people made Star Control 2.  Personally, I thought it was pretty amazing. It was like a drug to me."
‐ Alex Ness,, April 11 2006

Since that time, Alex has received thousands of e-mails supporting Star Control and he made it clear that he loves it very much and writes “please keep ‘em coming”.

Some people may be confused to the fact that Alex wrote “We (I) want us to do a Star Control sequel.”  This isn’t just a simple wiseguy comment; Alex has an incredible sense of humor and is also a fan of the Star Control series himself.  Paul Reiche III, Fred Ford and the rest of the TFB crew really do want to make a Star Control sequel with Activision.

Unfortunately, with the two years that passed, people have had doubts about whether or not Toys for Bob will successfully convince Activision to let their next game be a Star Control sequel.  It’s quite understandable and even after all this time, I still don’t feel like giving up on supporting Toys for Bob and their quest of having a new Star Control game by the rightful creators/gods, Toys for Bob!

One major thing that publishers want from video games is high sales. Many gamers including myself, are aware that publishers have been known to do things such as make deals with major video game reviewers in exchange for high-ratings to increase sales.  Activision is well-known for publishing games such as Guitar Hero, Call of Duty and Tony Hawk franchises.  As a result, they are more likely to support these games buy increasing their budgets and promoting these games more than others.  For example, Activision published Tony Hawk’s Downhill Jam (developed by TFB), a racing game with the Tony Hawk license that differs from the other games in the series.  When THDJ was released, Activision also released Tony Hawk’s Project 8 at the same time which followed the original style of Tony Hawk games.  By releasing two types of Tony Hawk games at the same time, they still maintained the regular Tony Hawk fans while being able to experiment with a new spinoff.  This shows that Activision is in fact, willing to experiment with new ideas.  When the TFB staff show all the fan mail to Activision, they are showing them that we are more than just people who love Star Control.  We are ready and willing to buy another Star Control game and it will be successful because of its fans.

"Activision's goal is to make a profit. They will weigh the risk against the expected gains. And they will compare that to what they can expect if they were to invest the same money in other games, like more licensed movie‐based games.

And as I understand it, the risk in those licensed games is pretty small. The sales for something original are much harder to predict, and even though Activision is big enough to take a chance on such games, they tend not to do so. Perhaps that even though Activision can afford to get it wrong, the person making the decision cannot.

So getting Activision's support for a new Star Control would mean convincing them that it would likely be a (big enough) commercial success. And if I look at the varied bunch of people who hang out at the UQM forums, their stories, the complete lack of negative opinions on the SC2 game as a whole, and how SC2 still keeps finding new audiences, I am confident that a new game like SC2, released today, would succeed. Activision may yet reach the same conclusion."
‐ Serge van den Boom, UQM Core Team

Serge has a good point that Activision wants to take less risks.  They do this by supporting sequels to popular franchises such as the usual Guitar Hero, Call of Duty, Tony Hawk and creating movie-licensed games.  If Activision could promote the new Star Control as much as they did with their other games, it will get the name out there instead of simply relying on reviews alone.  No game will sell as much as Tony Hawk Project 8 without the proper advertising.  When I think back to the 1990s when Star Control I and II were released, I only found out about these games because my father found them.  Unfortunately, I don’t remember how he found them himself.  My brothers also enjoyed the games too.

Ever since Star Control II was released in 1992, Accolade has tried to continue the legacy, but without Paul or Fred’s help.  They had another company work on two more sequels for Star Control.  The third one didn’t live up to fan expectations and the fourth one was cancelled in development.

There is nothing to prove that Toys for Bob has given up on a new Star Control game.  In 2007, Toys for Bob held an IRC chat session where they would answer any questions about Star Control, and Fred answered an interesting question in the forums:

There's probably a more tactful way to say this, but I'd really like to know how you went from making brilliant original games like Archon and Star Control to licensed kid's games like 102 dalmatians. What happened?

0xDECODE is pretty much right on.  We have chosen this as our career and we prefer to have food on the table.  Games cost so much to make these days that originality was one of the first casualties.  Paul and I are still biding our time.
‐ Fred Ford, Official UQM Forums

This is common among all video game developers.  It’s better to work on a licensed game than working on nothing and not get paid.  Toys for Bob is now at a point where they can say that they are ready to put Star Control back in the spotlight.  They still have a contract with Activision, and Activision won’t suffer the same fate as Accolade.  In addition, Activision will be merging with Blizzard soon and they’ll be able to accomplish much more things in the video game industry.

There are many popular RTS games, RPGs, action and adventure games, and not a single one matches the deep storyline, unique music, diverse strategy and well-written humor and dialog packed within Star Control.  There are games out there that look better, have longer playtime and even multiplayer, but Star Control II will always be different and is still a challenge by today’s standards.  Even the pixel-art quality images still appeals to people today.

Since Atari currently holds the rights to the name “Star Control”, some people aren’t sure what the next Star Control sequel will be called.  When Star Control II became open source, it was renamed to “The Ur-Quan Masters”.  The sequel could be called anything, even “The Ur-Quan Masters 2”.  It’s not the name that matters.  It’s the fact that the original creators of Star Control are ready to make a new one and get it right!  I don’t care what they call it, as long as it continues the events in Star Control II.  Also, Atari only owns the “Star Control” name and not the story, aliens, dialog, etc.  They can take the name but they can’t take the game!  I wish I could buy the rights to the name from Atari and give it to TFB for free, but I do not have the money to convince them to do anything!

If I could choose a factor that made Star Control a cult-classic, I would say it’s the fan support.  If the fan base wasn’t as large as it is now, we would have never seen an open source version with remixed music and spoken dialog added for the PC.  Without UQM, I would have continued playing Star Control II on DOSBox and probably would have forgotten about Toys for Bob’s desire to make a new one, and this blog wouldn’t have existed either.  Any video game obviously needs a fan-base in order for it to succeed or have a lasting impact on gaming culture:

"The fanbase shows that Star Control has left an impression. But it in itself won't be big enough to convince Activision to invest in a new SC game. They need to see that a new Star Control would sell beyond just the active fan base. It may help to show how varied the composition of the fan base is and that SC2 is still finding new audiences today. Also, the fact that some SC fans are in a position to generate publicity is not going to hurt."
‐ Serge van den Boom, UQM Core Team

Activision won’t just magically say, “Yes, we’ll let you guys make a new Star Control game!  Here’s $50 million!”  We have to keep writing letters, drawing artwork, and show them that the Star Control series is very different from games today and that publishing a new Star Control game will get good reviews and good sales that will make it worth it to have another Star Control should Toys for Bob decide to do so.

As fans we need to do what we can to support TFB’s quest to make that Star Control sequel a reality.  Many games are being released in November, just before the holiday season.  This may even include TFB’s unannounced game.  During this time, TFB is working hard to get everything done on time, and when Activision starts choosing what game will be next for them, we need to be there (in spirit) and stand with TFB to prove that Star Control is the right game to make an impact on the gaming industry.

The matter is only relevant once every few years, when TFB have almost finished their latest game and it has to be decided what the next one will be. It's important NOW, because TFB are nearing completion of their current game.
‐ Serge van den Boom, UQM Core Team

One thing that makes Star Control easy to learn is because it mixes a “pick-up-and-play” learning curve with a “difficult-to-master” strategy.  This is very important compared to today’s games, some of which put the player through lengthy tutorials.  Players can practice their combat skills by playing the melee section with various kinds of ships.

It’s only a few months to November and it’s important that we continue to show our support for a new Star Control.  As long as people keep writing to Alex explaining why they love Star Control and why we need a worthy sequel, and keep downloading the game, discussing it online, creating fan art, fan fiction, etc., it will show that the Star Control community is extremely active, and not just a bunch of people who play it through DOSBox.

In conclusion, Toys for Bob still needs their fans, even if it’s only been 2 years since they announced wanting to make a new Star Control game.  Science Fiction will never die.  No matter what game I play, it may be one of my favorite games and that doesn’t mean that I forgot about Star Control.  Publishers such as EA Games and Gamecock Media Group are supporting games that that are unique and interesting such as Spore, Mushroom Men, Mirror’s Edge and Legendary.  Activision knows that in order for a game to succeed in the video game market, they need to be different from others in the same genre and developers need enough time to make sure everything is done properly.  Regardless of the Star Control trademark, the sequel will be good because the original creators will know what to do with their masterpiece.  I will be pleasantly surprised to hear what they will call it…

Please don’t give up on Star Control!  It has so much potential and there are so many questions unanswered from Star Control II that only a true sequel can answer.  It could even ask more questions to warrant another sequel.  It will have good sales and will appeal to today’s gamers.  Toys for Bob never said “stop” and I won’t until they tell me to do so.

"Well, we have talked to our parent company Activision about doing a Star Control sequel, quite seriously, and there did honestly seem to be some real live interest on their part.  At least on the prototype and concept‐test level.  This is something we may in fact get to do when we finish our current game and clean our room."
‐ Alex Ness,, June 14 2007

P.S. A special thanks to Serge van den Boom for providing for his valuable insight to this topic.

Star Control on Sega Genesis

Many Star Control fans are aware that a Genesis version of Star Control exists, but I’m not sure if anyone is aware of the differences between the PC and Genesis versions or even the lawsuit that Accolade received from Sega after releasing 5 unlicensed Genesis cartridges which included Star Control.

Accolade’s name is hard to find in this version. I found it in the bottom-right corner of the game’s packaging. Although the packaging implies that it’s been published by Ballistic, it is still a part of Accolade, so it is still the same company. This is similar to Tengen, a division of Atari that made unlicensed NES games.

It’s also worth noting that the front of the packaging declares Star Control “The first 12 megabit game!”

Like the Nintendo Entertainment System and even game consoles today, there is copyrighted authentication code on each game that is made by the console manufacturer which is scanned by the console. If it checks out, the game is allowed to run. If it fails, the player will simply look at a blank screen or an error message. At the time, Sega enforced this rule to ensure that all Genesis games would only be exclusive to that console. Accolade did not like this constraint, so they reverse engineered the code so that it would run on any Sega Genesis console without any legal ownership issues with the games themselves. Sega filed a lawsuit against Accolade for copyright infringement.

Star Control cartridge with ToeJam & Earl cartridge for comparison. Did you know that ToeJam & Earl creator Greg Johnson and Star Control creator Paul Reiche are friends? Greg also knows other TFB staff such as Fred Ford and Alex Ness. Greg also provided the voiceovers of the Orz, Pkunk and Utwig.

Accolade ultimately won the legal battle in the end. Judge Reinhardt concluded that Accolade’s unlicensed games would not hurt the sales of licensed games and that Accolade’s decision to reverse engineer Sega’s lockout chip “constitutes a fair use”. It was also a victory that would inspire more independent developers to have more games on home consoles without

Shortly after the Nintendo Wii was released, some people on the official UQM forums wondered if this version of Star Control could ever show up on Nintendo’s Virtual Console. Again, there are legal issues because Atari now own the rights to the name “Star Control” and it is still considered an unlicensed Genesis game.

This version included more missions than the PC version. While the PC version contains 9 scenarios in the full game, the Genesis version includes 6 more scenarios:

Lost in Space:
A prototype ultra-stardrive has accidentally sent a Chenjesu Broodhome deep into Hierarchy territory. Recognizing that survival is the most important consideration, the Chenjesu captain has planted a colony. Contact comes soon after...
Target Earth:
The Earthlings, at first a minor annoyance for the Hierarchy, have become an increasingly serious threat. Mass-produced Cruisers deployed from the Detroit ship yards have become the backbone of the Alliance fleet. The Hierarchy launches a daring attack to crush the threat once and for all. A wave of Ilwrath ambushes are followed by the massive Ur-Quan Dreadnoughts, with Androsynth and Umgah reinforcements close behind. Earth's Cruisers, with the help of a few visiting Alliance ships, stage a desperate battle for Earth's survival.
Syreen's Song:
The Syreen are looking for a few good beings, and decided to begin their hunt deep in Hierarchy space. As colony after colony vanishes, the outraged Hierarchy strikes back, assembling a task force to decimate the Syreen. The Hierarchy must strike with lightning speed. To hesitate is to face a Syreen force replete captured colonists.
Mushroom Cloud:
Priority One Alpha, Visual Receptors Only: Star Control General Staff and Warship Captains... As is well known, the number of Mycon Podships in the theater of operations is increasing at an alarming rate. At last we have found the source! 14 solar hours ago, long-range scouts uncovered a previously unchartered cluster of Mycon colonies. If these colonies are allowed to survive, the Mycons will overrun this quadrant within the month. These colonies must be destroyed at any cost. All Alliance vessels within 30 parsecs are ordered to join the effort. This is a Must Win situation. Good Luck!
Vux Incursion:
Early in the Ur-Quan conflict a stupid mistake caused the VUX to side with the Hierarchy, when a foolish Earthling uttered "That's one ugly sucker!" without realizing how good VUX translation systems were. The enraged VUX, a tad touchy about their appearance, proceeded to mount a large assault force to destroy the Alliance StarBase.
The Nebula:
After an exhaustive search, Ur-Quan spies have discovered the nebula which holds the secret homeworlds of the Yehat. The unsuspecting cluster is targeted for destruction. The inhabitants must use the flexibility of their many colonies and substantial cash reserves to defend against the Hierarchy's genocidal attack.

Between the two versions of Star Control, the PC version has better audio and the frame rate is much faster. During the melee portions of the game, the ships move incredibly slow there is a delay in the turning. Although the game is still playable, it may take a while to get used to the choppiness of the ship movements and the lower-quality sound effects and music. This is due to the differences in audio hardware in the Sega Genesis and the sound card hardware in PCs at the time.

In conclusion, the Sega Genesis port of Star Control wasn’t just a simple matter of transferring code from one architecture to another and Accolade survived a major lawsuit just to continue selling the game. Star Control on Nintendo’s Virtual Console isn’t exactly the best way to get people into Star Control due to the low sound quality, slow frame rate and legal issues.

Did You Know? Ur-Quan Inspirations

Ur-Quan Kzer-Za

Yes it is very obvious that the Ur-Quan were inspired by catepillars, but has anyone ever wondered where that inspiration came from?

While Paul Reiche III and Fred Ford were working on the first Star Control, he was reading a National Geographic magazine where they showed a caterpillar hanging above a moth and grabbing it:

"I'd seen an article in National Geographic about predatory caterpillars in Hawaii.  There was a picture of it hanging and grabbing a moth from above.  I was fascinated by the concept of a creature that clung to the ceiling and hung over you."
- Paul Reiche III

After designing the Ur-Quan, he didn’t want them to be a simple evil race with a “kill them all” mentality, even though it can feel like it sometimes:

"Why would they [Ur-Quan] travel all that way, spend all that time and energy, just to blow you away?"
- Paul Reiche III

After brainstorming different possibilities, Paul wanted to give some kind of history that would reflect their species and way of life and he made them a slavemaster race.

And now you know!

Here’s a link to an online version of the book I read from, though the quality of the scans are very low by my standards: HIGH SCORE! The Illustrated History of Electronic Games 2nd Edition

Star Controller Getting Ready to Upgrade.


I just wanted to let everyone know that I will upgrade the blog so that it is the latest version.  After the upgrade, everything will look the same, so don’t expect anything new from a user point-of-view.  The main reason for the upgrade is so that I can get more control of the site, make better future design changes, and a bunch of admin stuff you don’t need to worry about.

If anything looks out of place, it should be resolved after I complete the upgrade.  I’ll make another post once I finish the upgrade.

If anyone has any questions or wants to contact me regarding anything else, you can e-mail me at: