Star Control II facts
Star Control II fact #1 - Energy regeneration
When working on the source, sometimes some interesting things show up. Here's one (I'll share more in time):
Even though the Shiva Furnaces are more advanced than your standard Dynamo Units it's not always a good idea to replace all your dynamos by them. Shiva Furnaces and Dynamo Units actually don't do quite the same thing.
Dynamo Units affect the delay between recharge of your energy, while Shiva Furnaces affect the amount of energy gained each recharge. The energy regeneration counter starts at 10, and every DU adds -2, to a minimum of 4. (so more than 3 DU's is never useful).
The energy regenerated per recharge starts off at 1, and every SF adds +1. There's no maximum other than the amount of SF's you can carry on your ship.
Put into a formula: energy per time unit = (#furnaces + 1) / (10 - 2 * (min(#dynamos, 3))
To get the fastest recharge rate, follow this guideline: - If you have less than 4 slots available, choose all furnaces. - If you have 4 or more slots available, choose 3 dynamos and the rest furnaces. (If you have exactly 4 slots available, the configuration doesn't matter for the recharge rate, but as the recharges come in smaller portions when using dynamos, you can often make use of it sooner then).
Star Control II fact #2 - Slylandro Probe spawning
When we first got UQM doing something and we started messing around, I wasn't the only one who wondered why there were always Slylandro Probes coming after me immediately when I enter hyperspace. I figured it might have been specific to the 3DO version, but the code proved this was not the case.
When in Hyperspace, each game day there is a chance a probe will be spawned. As long as you haven't had the encounter with the Ilwrath after supplying the commander with radioactives, that chance will be 100% (which explained my situation), encouraging you to finish your business in the Sol system first.
Otherwise, the chance depends on how much time the probes have had to multiply. At the beginning of the game, the spawn chance is 2%, and every 182 game days it is raised by another 2%, to a maximum of 8%, until you get the destruct code. At that time a probe will be reprogrammed, of which they will report you the next time you visit them.
Every 23 days after you got the destruct code the chance will be lowered by 2% until it reaches 0%.
FF: (..the chance will be 100%..) This was one of our more heavy-handed attempts to direct the player. We felt that without getting at least some background for what it was you were doing, the game would make little sense. Also we didn't want to make every alien encounter have a branch based on whether or not you had talked to the starbase commander.
ME: Were the Slylandro created specifically for this purpose?
FF: No. But they seemed like a good, not too obvious mechanic to get you to do what we wanted you to do at the beginning of the game.
Star Control II fact #3 - Drahn and Drahnasa
The Slylandro use the 'Drahn' and 'Drahnasa' units for time-keeping. During the game they will explain how they relate to the rotation time of their planet, but we don't actually get the chance to scan it. We could only estimate these units by comparing their use by the Slylandro to describe historic events to what we know from the manual and the game. But with the source, we can figure out these units in much more detail. All we have to do is remove the Slylandro, and we can scan the planet. Of course TFB might not have bothered to match the actual rotation time with the story, as no one would ever see it in the game, but it turns out that it matches the estimates perfectly.
The result you can see in the image below.
So we know: A Beta Corvi IV day (rotation) is 0.59 earth days.
(At least this is what is printed. Internally in the game the rotation period is stored in tenths of earth hours, which is 142 for Beta Corvi IV, which provides some more digits, but they're not significant anyway. The revolution period is calculated from the distance to the sun and ends up at 4117/512.)
The time intervals that are described by Drahns are fairly large, so it could be that the rotation time has changed a little during that time, but for a planet which is old enough to harbour life, this is likely to be negligible.
Ok, now let's hear what the Slylandro have to say about Drahns:
- Quote: "The Drahn is our primary unit of time. It lasts for an interval equivalent to four million rotations of our planet. A Drahn is subdivided into two-thousand Drahnasa."
Which brings us to:
Drahn = 0.59 * 4000000 / 365.25 = 6460 earth years
Drahnasa = 0.59 * 2000 / 365.25 = 3.23 earth years
So now we know what exactly the Slylandro mean when they talk about Drahn and Drahnasa. I've collected those remarks here:
- Quote: "We have gotten so few visitors over these many Drahn"
- Quote: "In the last five Drahn, we've had only one visitory. and now you have come twice in a single Drahnasa."
- Quote: "And visitors usually only show up every few Drahn"
- Quote: "You don't know how monotonous living on a gas giant for three or four Drahn can be."
(about the brown Ur-Quan)
- Quote: "They used to come visit us regularly about three Drahns ago"
- Quote: "Well, I guess a lot can happen to a species in three Drahn like turning green and evil."
- Quote: "You know, it's funny. We hadn't heard from the outside galaxy in a whole Drahnasa and then the Melnorme come by and sell us a probe and just a few hundred rotations later, YOU show up!"
(when asking about the other races that have visited over the years)
- Quote: "Years? Oh.. you mean Drahn. Well, let's see... there was the Melnorme just a few rotations back then we go all the way back over three Drahn ago to the Ur-Quan and the other Milieu guys... the Yuli and the Drall, I think."
- Quote: "The Yuli, the Drall, the Taalo, the Mael-Num, the Faz and the Ur-Quan who lived across a wide section of the galaxy. They talked with us fairly frequently for almost half a Drahn then suddenly the visits stopped and we haven't heard from them since."
- Quote: "Yes, there was another race... a highly sophisticated species of shaggy giants who made repeated trips to our world over a period of several Drahn."
- Quote: "I wish I knew more of the information you seek, Traveller but we last saw the Shaggy Ones just over 39 Drahn ago and very little from that era has remained intact in our history chants."
- Quote: "When the Shaggy Ones first arrived over 41 Drahns ago"
- Quote: "The Shaggy Ones taught us most of the New Words and after they departed we remembered them for the many long Drahn until ships from the Sentient Milieu arrived."
So they first saw the Precursors around 265,000 years ago, and last around 252,000 years ago. The manual mentions "The Precursors who designed your flagship 250,000 years ago", which gives some credibility to our calculation.
- Quote: "Our world, which we call Source has been home to our species for many thousands of Drahn."
A final remark: The probes, when estimating their numbers over time, talk about Drahnasa in the PC version, but years in the 3DO version.
Star Control II fact #4 - Crew cost
Directly from the source code, here are all the little facts related to crew cost:
Crew costs 3 resources at the start of the game.
- When you've recruited 1000 crew or more (minus the amount you've returned), the crew cost is raised by 2. If the total later comes below 1000 (by returning crew), the crew cost goes back down by 2.
- There is no actual limit to the amount of crew you can buy; the commander mentions that there are "almost 2000 highly-motivated, skilled professionals aboard this starbase" available to you, but apparently there are also an infinite number of the unmotivated, unskilled and amateur kind at your service.
- When you've made an alliance with the shofixti, the crew cost goes down by 2. Also, the number of crew recruited is set to 0 and will never be raised (or lowered) again.
- When you've sold crew to the Druuge, but no more than 100, there's no change in the crew cost. The commander talks about "rumors".
- When you've sold more than 100 crew in total to the Druuge, but no more than 250, the crew cost goes up by 7. The commander talks about "evidence".
- When you've sold more than 250 crew in total to the Druuge, the crew cost goes up by 15. This is in addition to the cost increase when you crossed the 100 crew boundary. The commander talks about you being a "heinous slave-trader".
If you do your shopping at the Druuge with crew as semi-hard currency, here's the price list:
- Mauler ships: 100 crew apiece
The ship is worth 1700 resources and comes with 14 crew.
- Artifacts (Wimbli's trident, Glowing Rod or Rosy Sphere): 100 crew apiece
- Fuel: 10 per 10 units of fuel
The normal fuel cost is 20 resources per unit, or 1 Credit at a Melnorme trader.
Star Control II fact #5 - Timed events
This article has been edited and reformatted for clarity. The events are organized by the initiating species.
This article contains enough spoilers to reconstruct the game. Well, almost. Well, not nearly actually, but still a lot.
The clock speed is:
- 5 real seconds per game day in HyperSpace and QuasiSpace
- 30 real seconds per game day in interplanetary
Time stops when
- in orbit around a planet or moon
- in a menu
- the game is paused
- waiting for confirmation on quit
- exploring planets or moons
- in communication
- waiting for talk/attack decision in encounter
- in the Starbase
- in battle
There are a couple of points in the game when time is fast-forwarded:
- When the starbase is being prepared so that it can service your precursor vessel, you lose 14 days.
- When you get compelled by the Dnyarri to "Seek death at the hands of your enemy", you lose 15 days.
- When the Chmmr install the Utwig bomb on your ship, you lose 14 days.
These days are approximate. '15 days' actually means 'until the start of the 15th game day after this one plus a real-time second', not necessarily 15 * 24 game hours.
Some game events happen at a specific date, others take place a certain time after the player triggers them.
- The game starts at February 17, 2155.
- The 17th of every month, a quasispace portal will open at (43.8, 637.2). It will close again at the 20th of the same month.
- Every day, if you're in hyperspace, there's a chance that an alien ship (or group of ships) will appear.
Some general remarks:
- The fleet locations mentioned are the centres of the respective spheres of influence.
- Except where specified otherwise, "n months later" or "after n months" means the same day of the month n months later; if that month doesn't have enough days, the rest will be added in days. (So 1 month later than Jan 30 on a non-leap year will be March 2.)
- February 17, 2159 (one year later if you've sent the Utwig and Supox on their mission against the Kohr-Ah), the Kohr-Ah have won the doctrinal war.
- 7 days later, the Kohr-Ah will begin their death march, starting with the Druuge.
- The Kohr-Ah travel with a speed of 15.8 standard HyperSpace units per day. Once the Kohr-Ah fleet reaches the fleet of the victim race, the latter is destroyed instantaneously.
- The Kohr-Ah then immediately begin moving towards the nearest race with a fleet, until all of them are destroyed.
- They will head for Earth. When they reach it, the game is over. The exact time depends on where all the fleets are at the time of the cleansing, and how many fleets are still remaining, but it's somewhere in the last quarter of 2159 (or 2160 if you earned an extra year).
- 10 days after you tell the Arilou that the Umgah are acting weird, they will tell you that the Umgah are under "psychic compulsion" originating from the Umgah home star.
When you command the Ilwrath to kill the Thraddash,
- They immediately leave to (250.0, 807.0), a bit to the southwest of the Thraddash homeworld.
- When they reach that location, after 90 days, the mutual genocide with the Thraddash commences, and both races slowly head for (251.7, 821.4), halfway between the Ilwrath fleet and the Thraddash homeworld.
- After 127 days, the last of the Ilwrath fleet will have reached that location and it ceases to exist. The Thraddash are still one day off from that location, but their fleet is gone at this time as well.
When you tell the Mycon to go to the Syreen trap,
- the Mycon will immediately leave and arrive at Organon 30 days later,
- spend 14 days getting slaughtered, after which all Mycon and the Syreen know about the massacre, and
- the Mycon return to their homeworld, where they arrive 30 days later
- The first time you visit the Pkunk on January 1 2156 or later, if the Kohr-Ah have not started their death march yet, the Pkunk will report a dream where the Kohr-Ah is defeating the Kzer-Za.
- 6 months after you ally with the Pkunk, they leave (50.2, 40.1) (a bit southwest of their homeworld), heading towards (497.0, 40.0) (a bit northeast of the Yehat homeworld).
- If not stopped, they arrive there 182 days later to be instantaneously absorbed by the Yehat.
- If you meet them on their way and convince them to return, they will immediately head back to (50.2, 40.1). The way back takes as long as the journey so far took.
- Once they have arrived at their starting point, they will wait for 3 months, after which they head back to the Yehat. If convinced to return for a second time, the same thing happens.
- When you ally with the Pkunk, they give you 4 of their ships. If there's not that much room in your fleet, they give as much as there is room for. If you can't accommodate any at all, nothing is lost; you'll get to say the same remark (including your introduction) again the next time you visit the Pkunk homeworld.
- Exactly one year after you've accepted at least 1 Pkunk ship (on Feb 28 if you got the ship(s) on Feb 29 in a leap-year), a new batch of 4 ships will be waiting for you. This can be repeated for as long as the Pkunk are available to you.
- Each time, if there is room in your fleet for at least one ship, you'll have to wait another year and if there's no room at all, you can ask again the next visit.
- 2 months after you bring the Shofixti maidens to Tanaka or Katana, Shofixti ships and crew will be at your service.
- Every 182 days the chance at any day that a Slylandro probe will appear in hyperspace (2% at the start of the game) is increased by 2% to a maximum of 8%, until the Slylandro tell you about the probe's self-destruct code.
- Every 23 days after that, the chance is decreased by 2%, until it reaches 0%.
- If you haven't got access to the Starbase yet, this chance is ignored and a probe will appear (100% chance) every day.
- 6 months after you've allied with the Spathi ("A Spathi delegation will depart immediately for the planet Earth."), they will return to a slave-shielded Spathiwa.
- If at that time the player is in their solar system, the move will be postponed by 7 days. This will happen as often as needed.
- When you send the Thraddash to attack the Kohr-Ah, they will immediately leave to (487.9, 720.1), which takes 14 days.
- They will remain there fighting for 14 days as well, and will then return to their homeworld in another 14 days.
- When you give the repaired Ultron to the Utwig and it tells them to attack the Kohr-Ah, they will immediately leave to (720.8, 700.0), and the Supox leave for (746.8, 924.6). At this time you have earned the extra year before the Kohr-Ah win the war.
- After 21 days, the two races will arrive at their destination. They will then start fighting for 160 days, before returning home. The journey home takes another 21 days.
- After you've started the Yehat revolution, you can ask any rebel ship for ships, and they'll give you 4.
- New ships will be available after a month. If you last got ships on the 29th, 30th, or 31st of a month, new ones will be available on the 28th of the next month.
- For the rest, it works in exactly the same way as with the Pkunk.
- If you visit the Zoq-Fot-Pik homeworld in the year 2158 (2159 if you gained the extra year), but before March, and you ask them about war news, they will report that the Kohr-Ah are winning the doctrinal war. If you visit them in March of that year, or later (but before the war is over), they'll report that the Ur-Quan are almost defeated.
- Note that if the Utwig are attacking the Kohr-Ah, the ZFP will report this instead. As each item is reported only once, they will report about the war if you leave and visiting the ZFP again.
- 3 months after you ally with the Zoq-Fot-Pik, they will send out a distress call, if you are not currently in their home system. If you are, the distress call will be postponed by 7 days. This is repeated as often as necessary.
- Unless you rescue the ZFP, they will be destroyed 6 months after the distress call.
- This can again be indefinitely delayed by 7 days at a time, if you are in their home system at the time the destruction is scheduled.
Some of the reports you get from the Starbase commander are displayed if you visit after a specific time. These times depend on the time passed since you first visited the Starbase with the moon base on board. Only the day and month are recorded, which means that if you only visit with the moon base on some date after 2155, it will think you visited on the same date in 2155.
- After 7 days, if you haven't met Fwiffo yet, the commander will report faint alien signals from the direction of Uranus.
- After 42 days, if you haven't visited Rigel or the ZFP homeworld yet, the commander will report Hyperwave transmissions from the direction of Rigel.
- After 3 months, if you haven't met the Melnorme yet, the commander will report that the Melnorme sought contact, and that you can find them at Alpha Centauri.
- After 6 months, if you haven't met the Melnorme yet, the commander will report that the Melnorme have sought contact again, and that you can find them in any supergiant system.
- After 7 months, if you haven't acquired the Slylandro probe self-destruct code yet, the commander will report his worries about the probes.
Star Control II fact #6 - Small trivia
As this is my 2000th posting (thanks to Cedric6014 for pointing this out), I thought I'd make another "Star Control II fact" posting.
It's been quite a while since I last made such a posting, and one of the reasons for that is that we now have the Ultronomicon. Some interesting facts that I've learned from my work with the UQM sources, I have put there. This page on minerals for instance, I originally intended to be a "SC2 fact".
But I still have maintained a list of interesting facts which you might be interested in, some large, some small. The large ones I will probably place in the Ultronomicon at some point, but in this posting, I will list some of the smaller ones.
- There was an outtake accidentally left in the original speech for the Druuge. It can still be found here. "Oops... take 3".
- Each Auto-Tracking System (to a maximum of 3) you have installed on your flagship increases the energy usage of firing by one unit. This is independant of the number and the type of weapons you have installed.
- To be able to sell the coordinates of a Rainbow world to the Melnorme, you must have orbited that Rainbow world. It is not necessary to make any scans.
- There are three classes of worlds: small rocky worlds, large rocky worlds, and gas giants. Small rocky worlds never have any moons. Large rocky worlds may have no moons (193/256 chance; about 75%), a single moon (51/256 chance; about 20%), or two moons (12/256 chance; about 5%). Gas giants may have no moon (27/256 chance; about 10%), a single moon (38/256 chance; about 15%), two moons (64/256 chance; 25%), 3 moons (64/256 chance; about 25%), or 4 moons (63/256 chance; about 25%). Moons themselves are always small rocky worlds.
- Small rocky worlds are Oolite, Yttric, Quasi-Degenerate, Lanthanide, Treasure, Urea, Metal, Radioactive, Opalescent, Cyanic, Acid, Alkali, Halide, Green, Copper, Carbide, Ultramarine, Noble, Azure, Chondrite, Purple, Super-Dense, Pellucid, Dust, Crimson, Cimmerian, Infrared, Selenic, and Auric worlds.
- Large rocky worlds are Fluorescent, Ultraviolet, Plutonic, Rainbow, Shattered, Sapphire, Organic, Xenolithic, Redux, Primordial, Emerald, Chlorine, Magnetic, Water, Telluric, Hydrocarbon, Iodine, Vinylogous, Ruby, Magma, and Maroon worlds.
- The dialog may not tell us which one is the Zoq, the Fot, or the Pik, but the code assigns them the labels Zoq, Fot, and Pik from left to right.
- There is text and speech for selling precursor artifacts to the Melnorme, but they are not used in the game.