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Frogboy's Articles
September 18, 2018 by Frogboy
This week, Star Control: Origins will be released.  It is, by far, the biggest game we've ever done.  It's the first game we've ever made that might qualify as a AAA game in our 25 year history. 



The first thing people will notice about Star Control: Origins is that it's unlike any game Stardock's ever made.  Not just in terms of genre, but in general production quality.

When you look at Sins of a Solar Empire, Galactic Civilizations, Offworld Trading Company, Ashes...
September 17, 2018 by Frogboy
In the previous Prelude, I mentioned that, early on, there was an expectation that a lot more time was going to be spent exploring planets than we ultimately chose to execute on.



Today, let's take a look at the menagerie of creatures we had considered back when we believed that the planets would be where players would spend most of their time.



We had a lot of critters designed for the planets. And I don't doubt that, over time, we will find a way to introduce them. But here are som...
September 14, 2018 by Frogboy
Star Control: Origins is a space action/adventure RPG game set in the year 2088.  It's been designed so that your character will continue forward for years to come (you won't have to keep your saved game safe).  So as new adventures and such become available, you can be assured that your decisions and actions of the past mattered in some small way.

So how do we do that?  The answer is, data-mining.

In Star Control: Origins, there are many dialog choices that might seem to to...
September 10, 2018 by Frogboy
The best laid plans...



Let's talk about the environments of Star Control...



Explore to explore, in order to explore some more...

At one point, we expected players to spend a lot more time on planets than they actually do in the final game.  I don't mean just a little bit more time, I mean a lot more time.



Early on, we envisioned planet exploration to be the primary activity of the game. We were wrong.I don't know if there was something in the drinking water back in 2...
September 5, 2018 by Frogboy
Back in part 9, I touched briefly on the art style with the debate we had on having a "mobile" style UI vs. an immersive style UI. Today, I want to walk you through how the art style itself evolved during the five year development of Star Control: Origins.



Let's jump right in..



A tale of two philosophies

Let's take a look at Star Control II:



If you look at the box and the screenshot below it, you get a sense that it's trying to convey a classic pulp Sci-Fi look.Pulp Sci-F...
August 31, 2018 by Frogboy
With labor day nearly here in the United States, we are putting the finishing touches on what will be the version that goes out for review.  

Here are some highlights from this week:



Better late than never.  Your ship's fuel range is now showed on the map.  Very convenient if you want to avoid Tywom fan fiction (yes, that's a thing).



The in-game codex continues to be enriched with documentation, lore, and other goodies.

 



Visual effects have be...
August 27, 2018 by Frogboy
One of the most difficult challenges we've had in developing a new Star Control game has been the delicate balance between the need to start fresh and the desire to satisfy hard-core fans of the classic DOS games.



Today we will look at our solution to that conundrum.



Star Control will be a brand-new game for most people.  Given the number of comments we've seen on Facebook that can be summarized as "Oh this is inspired by Mass Effect!" or "This is just No Man's Sky with a stor...
August 22, 2018 by Frogboy
This morning I awoke to see one of the most flagrant examples of doxing ever.



Now, to be fair, this person did apologize:



This event started because the social media person at a game company made a joke that this person didn't like.  To make that person pay "in real life", they took it upon themselves to find out who the person was and make their information public.  This is an ugly trend that seems to be gaining momentum.  Someone offends you with words, you try to ...
August 20, 2018 by Frogboy
Most fans of our previous games know that we make a lot of strategy games. Strategy games are all about having as much data on-screen at one time as possible.

But Star Control isn't a strategy game, it's an action RPG.  It took us a very...very long time to nail down the user interface we wanted for Star Control: Origins, mostly due to having to quit trying to make a strategy game UI for an RPG. 





Who is looking?Star Control: Origins was in development long enough for an e...
August 15, 2018 by Frogboy
Being involved in gaming communities means dealing with a lot of drama.  The most common problem I observe are people who have no capacity for empathy.  It never occurs to them what someone might do back at them.

Here are a few truths I've come to recognize:

If you attack someone's livelihood, don't be surprised if someone returns the favor. You have no right to anonymity. People should respect your privacy but don't confuse respect with rights. Do not assume that...
August 13, 2018 by Frogboy
In one of our other dev journals, we showed the pipeline of how aliens came to be in Star Control: Origins.  The process started with the artists and the writers working in parallel.  The artists would sketch up lots and lots of alien shapes, and the writers would design the history and lore and roles of the aliens. From there, the process would begin to merge to ensure that the final alien visual expression matched up with the lore for them.

Today we're going to begin walking you t...
August 6, 2018 by Frogboy
Not all ships are created equally.  This is particularly true for the ships of Star Control itself.  In the year 2088, the United Earth Advanced Space Vehicle Program (UEASV) had done its best given the politics involved.  But ultimately, what Star Control starts out with is a ship with very much the capabilities that a ship in 2088 would have, which is to say: it can... turtle around the solar system.

The first long-range ship program - the Vindicator program - was designed to...
August 5, 2018 by Frogboy
Every day, more and more people are becoming aware of intellectual property. As a software developer, this is great!

When I started my career, I routinely ran into people who couldn't understand how someone could justify $100 for a piece of software when it only "cost" $5 to produce it because they didn't understand the concept of intellectual property.

Unfortunately, enough people know just enough to get themselves into trouble.  So in this article I will try to walk lay people throu...
July 30, 2018 by Frogboy
For most people, Star Control: Origins will be the first Star Control game they've ever heard of.  But long ago, back in the DOS days, there was a trilogy of Star Control games.

The first Star Control game was essentially a Space Wars style game with a strategy layer. There wasn't really any "lore" with it.  The second one, my favorite, was Star Control II: The Ur-Quan Masters. This game was filled with an epic lore that dated back over a quarter million years. The third one, Star C...
July 23, 2018 by Frogboy
Star Control: Origins is a space action adventure game.  You are the Captain of a ship with a mission to protect Earth and explore the galaxy. 

From a technical perspective, Star Control is a story engine.  We don't generate new quests.  Instead, we are looking to populate a deep and rich world with hand-crafted Sci-Fi stories.  But we won't be doing it alone.  Much of our effort has been to create consumer (i.e. user friendly) apps like Adventure Studio, the Cit...