The Summer of Star Control II
The Original Star Control
I got my first computer in the summer of 1991. Star Control was one of the first games I played in those early years. My computer, a 12.5 MHz 286 with 1 Meg of RAM and a SoundBlaster Pro (first piece of hardware I ever added to my [or any] computer), was horribly underpowered even for that time, but Star Control ran well on it. Unfortunately, when Star Control 2 was released, I found out that it would not work on anything below a 386, or so it said on the box.
An Unexpected Game, SC2
In the summer of 1994, I met a new friend in school. He had a 486DX33 w/ 8MB RAM. He had heard about this awesome "new" game called Star Control 2 from some classmates. I told him I was familiar with the original, but I had no idea how much further they had gone with the plot and story. We started playing Star Control 2 together as a team. I did most of the resource collecting and cataloging (I kept extensive notes), since I was more patient about things like that, and he fought most of the battles (though, after playing lots of Star Control, I could definitely hold my own). We spent about a month searching and building our forces.
Some of my Favorite Game Dialog/Events
I remember us having so much fun with the game. A lot of the dialog and plot had us laughing and/or smiling.
- "We will bring the Ur-Quan to their knee-equivalents"
- "Try not to get yourself gruesomely killed Captain"
- telling the ZoqFotPik "hey, space is a tough place where losers eat flaming plasma death."
- the ZFP story about how they discovered the wheel, fire and religion
- the ZFP always arguing together, especially about Frungy
- most of the Orz dialog, especially, "Happy Campers" and "Enjoy the sauce"
- the Pkunk relating how the Ilwrath being totally good, got just a little bit better, and flipped over to totally evil
- asking the Pkunk about Fruit-Loops
- most of the wacky Pkunk dialog
- all the Shofixti insults - who would have thought you had to be mean, over and over until he figures it out?
- the conversational choices when you bring the Shofixti Maidens to Tanaka
- "Dwe Dill-rats warship yuubuu, Doggone and Quasar"
- beating on the Thraddash, then telling them to call themselves the "Fat Obstreperous Jerks" while speaking Pig-Latin
- convincing the Thraddash to attack the Kohr-Ah
- sending the Ilwrath to attack the Thraddash, thereby eliminating two idiots
- beating on the VUX until they admit that they are just bigots
- tricking the Mycon into going to Organon
- the conversational options with Talana after the Syreen get their revenge
- commenting on how Talana is dressed, "don't you think the knife is a bit much?"
- One word: "HALLELUJAH!"
Pkunk Reincarnation: Hallelujah!
The first time we saw the Pkunk reincarnate, we were SO shocked, we nearly were killed again since we didn't realize what had just happened. Star Control did not have anything like this. It was so unexpected, every time it happened, it would have us laughing and yelling out "HALLELUJAH!" along with the game.
The Toughest therefore Most Rewarding Parts of SC2
Figuring out the pattern to the Rainbow Worlds was one of the single most exciting events I've ever experienced playing a computer game (I think we only had about four or five of them at the time, but I saw a distinct pattern ... we soon found all the rest following this pattern). Finally finding the Slylandro tucked away in the corner in a place you'd never look. Finding that damn VUX Beast ... ZEX's clue was meant to be obvious, but I got fooled by his translation and it took us forever to find ... I think we just stumbled upon it in our search for bios. Causing the Yehat civil war after showing them a living Shofixti ... brilliant! Finding the Chmmr and releasing them had us jumping out of our chairs. Finding out what they had planned for our Precursor vehicle had us screaming, "NOOO!" The Unlimited RUs helped calm us ... a little.
The Game Ending
There were just so many moments in the game that had us screaming, cheering, jumping up and down, laughing. The ending alone was one of the most memorable of all computer games I've played. The Talking Pet, "I'm not going with you captain. Why? I'm locked down here in the cargo hold! HELP! LET ME OUT!" That was such a great way to cut the tension that was the Sa-Matra. You had no idea what this thing was, how it worked, nor how to beat it. In the end, the Pkunk's visions turned out to be correct. They were vitally important.
Finally, the closing credits on the PC were hilarious. An excellent and satisfying way to wrap up an extraordinary game!
Getting SC2 to Play on my 286
I did eventually figure out how to get the game to work on my 286 with a 286 extended memory manager and a specific command line switch for my Soundblaster Pro. The game ran incredibly slow, but I was able to successfully play through it again, to the end.
The Effect of SC2
Star Control 2 helped form a lasting friendship between my friend and I. We're still very good friends today (he was the Best Man at my wedding). We were both very excited when we found out about the Ur-Quan Masters project. I've played through UQM twice now. First, during one of its 0.1 builds, and then with the 0.4 build. It has truly come a long way.
UQM build 0.6.2
I have returned to the Ultronomicon and the UQM after almost two years away. I recently started playing it again (for the 3rd time as UQM, perhaps 5th time overall). I must congratulate the (re)development team on an incredible job. I remember some of the early 0.1 builds, so I know how far you've taken this project. In addition, I also wish to praise the audio remixing team. I have taken the time to download all of the new music and I must say, "Well Done!" Along with the voices from the 3DO version, this gives a whole new (yet familiar) face to the amazing PC game that was SC2.
It has been my intention for a long time to download and read through the developing UQM source code. I have a strong personal interest in game design/creation, and I can't think of a better way to develop that than to look at the guts of a program I've always loved. My troubleshooting/debugging skills are fairly decent (I usually enjoy doing this, actually), so perhaps I can even help out on that end, even if it is just pointing out to other developers on IRC a possible source/solution to a problem. It would probably take quite a while to understand what the code does before I could even think of trying to contribute, even minutely. There would be a lot to learn.
I first contributed to the Ultronomicon on June 23rd, 2005, and continued to do so regularly for about two months before inexplicably disappearing for almost two years (I returned to school to finish my degree). But this old Gas-bag has returned to Source, and is so excited to be back, his glowing bits are brilliant. ;-D
These are a few of my favorite pages that I have contributed to:
- Game Humor
- Planet landing risk-reward formula
- Influences and References
- Orz communications
- Planet landing risk-reward formula - flesh out this idea, construct a formula
- Game Humor - discuss merits for saving/deletion/preservation as a personal page
- User:PsiPhi/StarBox - (personal interest) experiment with new idea for dynamic amount of planets, explore capabilities/limits of wiki
- General - reading/editing/expanding of old pages/long pages/short pages