Brad Wardell's site for talking about the customization of Windows.

Greetings!

This is the LAST month for monthly Star Control updates before release....because now we're moving into weekly updates because things are moving so fast.

The Menkmack arrive!

FINISHING

We will be announcing our official release date soon.  You may have heard that we will have a big E3 presence and we anticipate announcing the final release date then.  For those of you who are familiar with Stardock, you know we tend to run a bit "hot".  With Star Control: Origins, being that it's a role playing game, we actually have to "finish" the game this month.  That is, the..how would you guys describe this? The GAME part.  That's because we need lots of time to iterate on the story.

Star Control is a space RPG that focuses on the story. It's not exploration for exploration's sake
even though it's in a very big universe.

Let's talk story...

THE STORY

Think of your favorite story-driven games of all time.  Star Control II, my favorite story-based game of all time (Knights of the Old Republic is pretty close though) was a wonder of pacing in its day.  So for the next few months, we have to really focus on iterating story pacing. 

Our lead writer, Chris Bucholz, was the first person we hired for Star Control: Origins.  You may have read his work on Cracked.com.  RPG games live and die on writing.  Star Control, in particular, absolutely relies on having a great story.  No other part of the game has gotten as much attention as the story.  The entire game design and engine was created around what we wanted to do with the story.

But story and gameplay are not the same thing.   For instance, how far, in seconds, should players spend traveling?

Determining how long it takes to travel and how far the stars
are all has to be very carefully crafted.

We have metrics and focus groups that pore over things like: how long should it take to fly to Neptune at the start? How long should it take to explore a planet? How many side quests should players run into? How many different, fully developed pathways to winning should there be, and how much should those paths mix together? Here's one from last week: How bumpy should a planet be? Detailed planets make great screenshots, but you have to be careful not to make them tedious to explore.

Stardock Fans, Classic Fans, New Fans

No challenge has been on our mind more than balancing the game for these three similar but definitely distinct groups. 

Stardock has millions of fans and they tend to expect deep, massive, strategy games.  Star Control: Origins is not a strategy game. At all. We did not take the Star Control 3, route but rather focused on story and adventure. But...the game does run on top of a multicore AI engine. You are most definitely part of a living universe. There are no random events. At all. None. Zero.  But that doesn't mean things are scripted either.  They are determinative.  So your actions will change the universe.  When you visit a star system, there might be a dozen ships traveling around.  Freighters, Transports, civilian travelers, smugglers, pirates, military escorts, etc.  They are driven by AI and are given their own priorities to accomplish, and they don't even realize that you aren't simply another AI ship (obviously they don't know they're AI either).

Stardock fans expect our games to deliver an epic sandbox to play in.

Stardock fans also expect its games to let them mod and customize anything they want up to
and including being able to create and share their own universes, stories, ships, planets, bases, stars, etc.

Then there are the Star Control classic fans.  They come in many forms, from super passionate about the lore from the classic series and wanting to know if it will manifest in Star Control: Origins, all the way up to people who remember the game, but mainly as a fun space adventure game.  Star Control: Origins takes place in a different universe from the Ur-Quan universe that Star Control I/II take place in.  That means it has a completely different history.  But that doesn't mean that the Star Control aliens won't show up eventually. It is all driven by the story.  Star Control: Origins takes place in 2088.  In Star Control: The Ur-Quan Masters, humans don't encounter any classic species until 2112.  So the answer here is that even though Star Control is a different universe, don't expect to run into classic aliens in Origins - but, some of them are definitely out there and not necessarily the ones you expect given the changes to history.

Fans of the classic Star Control series expect a game where writing, story, and lore have been
carefully considered.  It's not about the game mechanics, it's about learning about the lore of
a universe that has been busy for a long time.

We think Star Control fans will, in particular, like that there are dozens of different
species with a great deal of history to them.

 

Lastly, you have new people.  I believe there are a lot of gamers who would like to see a space RPG.  Last year, Divinity: Original Sin II was a massive success.  Great story. Wonderful writing. Epic presentation.  That tells us that story-driven role playing games are in demand.   Many people are already somewhat aware that Mass Effect is considered  by  some to be a remake of Star Control II.  The question will be whether the Star Control way of delivering a story (top down versus first person) will appeal to today's gamers.

We've seen that gamers are interested in space exploration games. But they want there to be a purpose.
In Star Control you have very specific, hand-crafted, missions. There are no random quests. No random rewards.
You are exploring, but there's a reason for it.

We also believe that there are gamers who would like to see space combat that isn't first-person (or third person).
Star Control's top-down action allows us to come up with all kinds of devious weapons and abilities.

Next up

I will be quietly tapping some people to ask them if I can ruin the game for them.  That is, a handful of people to play the full adventure game under NDA and give us feedback on areas to help with pacing and user experience.  If you are interested, respond here.  Note that I won't be asking many people. We will put you in the credits, it's the least we can do to rewarding your sacrifice!

  

More soon!


Comments (Page 3)
on Jun 01, 2018

This is awesome. I'm really stoked to play this game! I was out of the country on vacation, but if you still need folks, would love to play the game. I also don't live too far from the studio in MD if that makes any difference

 

Edit: On second thought, I don't want to ruin the story for myself lol. I want to play that perfected experience Sorry about that!

on Jun 01, 2018

BionicDance

 

One thing I have noticed, though, is that sometimes weapons-fire will pass right through a ship, almost as though geometry doesn't matter in the least...and each of those shots seems to be hitting the edge of the target. 

Is there simply have a sphere of impact that's that same size for each vessel in that size-class, regardless of how it's been built? Just curious.

 

This is a good question. 

Brad, how is the "hit box" determined and will there be any improvements made? I feel like that would bug me if it looked like I was hitting the ship due to the ships actual build but the hit box is smaller than the displayed ship.

on Jun 02, 2018

I would love to quietly play under  a Non-Disclosure Agreement

I don't use social media, don't have much of an online presence

I love SC1 , love SC2 , have good experience with the stories and rhythm of play. I have taken the time to recreate the SC2 og map into a poster with all the hidden things listed and marked (thanks to help from other users)

I have time on my hands

I have a template for my arcade joystick designed for SC2

I can give serious feedback without constantly comparing this to SC2 , I believe I can be reasonably impartial and play this game under it's own merits.

So pick me

Thanks

on Jun 03, 2018

Hi Brad,

Just caught your email.  Very nice update, we are all excited about this new game, and possible future games/sequels in the Sci-Fi genre.  I will probably pick up this game this week if I have some time.  Keep up the great work!

on Jun 03, 2018



Quoting BionicDance,

 

One thing I have noticed, though, is that sometimes weapons-fire will pass right through a ship, almost as though geometry doesn't matter in the least...and each of those shots seems to be hitting the edge of the target. 

Is there simply have a sphere of impact that's that same size for each vessel in that size-class, regardless of how it's been built? Just curious.



 

This is a good question. 

Brad, how is the "hit box" determined and will there be any improvements made? I feel like that would bug me if it looked like I was hitting the ship due to the ships actual build but the hit box is smaller than the displayed ship.

I think the hitbox is an outline of the ship. 

on Jun 03, 2018

I think the hitbox is an outline of the ship.

 Then the shots passing through some of the bits is confusing.

on Jun 03, 2018

BionicDance


I think the hitbox is an outline of the ship.



 Then the shots passing through some of the bits is confusing.

Which bits? The Greegrox are a special case but that would only affect them.

on Jun 04, 2018

BionicDance


I think the hitbox is an outline of the ship.



 Then the shots passing through some of the bits is confusing.

 

Is this local play or multiplayer? If the latter, it could definitely be "netcode" related and is something I am sure Stardock will be improving up until, and after, release.

on Jun 04, 2018

Which bits? The Greegrox are a special case but that would only affect them.

I never really noticed anything specific; it just seems like outerbits are something ignored.

But it seems to happen if it's anything vaguely wing-like. I don't mean that the part itself is something that's clearly meant as a wing just from looking at it in the menu; I'm talking about anything that sticks out from the core of the ship the way a wing might, regardless (I think) of what the part actually is. (This would be a lot easier if parts had names!)

Here, let me give an example:

Those outer bits with the guns on 'em have Dual Shot or Charbroiled bolts going straight through 'em sometimes.

on Jun 04, 2018

Is this local play or multiplayer?

Local. Single-player vs computer.

on Jun 08, 2018

Taslios


Quoting bleybourne,






Quoting Frogboy,



Given how much timing matters, I’d definitely would have noticed input lag.  I haven’t seen it.



Same. There is no input lag in single player mode at all. The only lag I have seen is when I have played FB against people in other countries, and about half the time I get the lag and half the time they do, depending on which one of us the game decides is the host.



I think this is an artifact of the different ship/thruster types.      If you build a big ship and put the smallest thruster on it, then the ship responds to your controls like a stunned snail....

Each thruster/engine combination changes the feel of the ships as they move and some of them are just not very responsive, but I think that is a good thing and not a glitch.

That's how i feel it's supposed to be, it should turn immediately, just slower with small thrusters, no lag, where can i find the latest beta.