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

Greetings!

Space is big. We know that.  But how interesting is it? That remains to be seen.

Let's take a look at the orbital bodies in our own solar system.

Orbital Body

Image

Comment

Mercury

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 Basically a hot rock.

Venus

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 A poisonous, toxic hell.

Mars

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 A really cold desert.

Jupiter

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 Big ball of gas.

Saturn

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 Another big ball of gas with cool rings.

Uranus

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 Ice gas ball.

Neptune

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 Ice gas ball.

What about the moons?

Callisto

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 A dead rock (with possibly an ocean inside)

Europa

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 Ice ball (with possibly an ocean inside)

Ganymede

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 Ice world, some oxygen.

Triton

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 Frozen world that spins backwards.

Check out this interview map of Io.

https://solarsystem.nasa.gov/moons/jupiter-moons/io/overview/

Images courtesy of Nasa.

Now, don't let my brief descriptions persuade you into thinking these worlds aren't super interesting.  Only that, from a gameplay point of view, there are certain patterns we have seen in the worlds of our solar system.  They're gas balls, ice balls, or rocks that are either hot or cold. That's a gross oversimplification of course, but you get the idea. 

A better way to look at it is: if you have thousands of planets and you want to have a really cool sense of discovery, you don't want to be discovering yet another ice world with lava tubes and maybe an underground ocean.

Many games have tried to tackle the issue of having lots of planet types, which often end up being Earth-like but with a single biome.  In Star Control: Origins, we have taken a different route by creating planet types that are exaggerations of the traits that astronomers have suggested might exist.  Planets made of metal, planets made of crystal or diamond, or various other exotic elements.

Let's take a look at the planets in our solar system and then...well, let's go a little further out...

Star Control: The Solar System

Orbital Body

Star Control Scan

Comments

Mercury

clip_image002[4]

 Hell world. Has some rare elements on it, but very dangerous.

Venus

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Toxic world. Has some useful elements on it, but lethal to land on early in the game.

Mars

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 Pretty much the same as the real one.

Ganymede

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For Ganymede, we took inspiration from what artists believe the surface looks like based on research. It's tan and cratered and has a varied surface. It’s also easy to land on.

Europa

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 Europa remains an ice ball, but one with cool frozen oceans.

Callisto

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 Still a dead rock, but we include some rare and interesting elements on it.

Titan

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Titan is again where we went off of what the surface may look like, which affects how it looks from space. Titan has an atmosphere, so it gave us an opportunity to add things like lightning and other hazards to make visiting it interesting.

Right now, there are a few thousand different worlds in Star Control: Origins to explore, and each one is different.  Here is a sampling:

Star Control: Light years away...

Let's take a trip to a brown dwarf star, that is itself orbiting a yellow main sequence star, which is orbiting a red giant.

image

So what do some of these worlds look like?

Orbital Body

Image

Comments

Heptaligon

clip_image002[6]

Extremely toxic world whose surface temperature is hotter than boiling water and has a much higher gravity than Earth's. It does, however, have exotic materials on its surface.

Ulsasa

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This world is filled with precious metals and is actually relatively safe to land on (though many have had various sentinel drones put on them in order to keep people like us from making off with the literal gold).

Wrenfinch

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This planet’s rotation is so fast that you are unlikely to be able to land on it unless you have upgraded your lander’s inertia stabilizers and weather mitigation equipment. But once down, it’s a rich world full of rare elements.

Annwn

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This world is literally made out of copper.

Briseis

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This world is covered in relatively rare free noble gas.

Why visit these worlds?

Star Control is not a game about exploring for the sake of exploring.  Your mission is to ensure Earth's safety through any means you choose.  Different planets have different types of resources. You can tell what type of planet it is all the way from hyperspace, so if you need a particular material or mineral you know what to do.  Oftentimes you are visiting these planets based on a tip from someone else that there's a base, or a city, or an artifact, or some other objective.  The point being, you aren't just visiting these planets for no reason and you aren't expected to visit more than a fraction of them.

For example, let's presume that each planet takes 5 minutes to explore.  And let's say there are 4,000 planets.  It would take you over 300 hours to explore them all in a game where we expect your initial core mission to take roughly 20 hours (though again, there's no time limit and the universe will keep getting deeper and bigger over time as we and fans begin to fill it up with new missions and new adventures over the next several years).  The point being, we only expect players to explore around 5% of the planets as part of their main mission. 

But making sure that each planet is unique and provides some temptation to check them out is a big part of what makes Star Control....well....Star Control.

 

____________________________________________________________

READ THE SERIES

Prelude 1 of 13 - The Living Universe

Prelude 2 of 13 - So Many Planets (Current)

Prelude 3 of 13 - Creating Interactive Stories

Prelude 4 -13 Coming Soon


Comments
on Jul 06, 2018

so if you need a particular material or mineral you know what to do.

So...we might need something for more than just RU, unlike SC2, where the type of element just determined its value. Interesting.

the universe will keep getting deeper and bigger over time as we and fans begin to fill it up with new missions and new adventures over the next several years

I'm still very curious how all of that is going to work.

I mean, I never thought we could add adventures to the universe that came with the game, as part of, like, a cloud that all users can share. Will we get to pick-and-choose these adventures for download or would it be automatic? And, golly, I hope someone will be vetting the user-submitted missions, or we're definitely going to be seeing a lot of missions that are, perhaps, NC-17 (if not XXX). Just, you know, sayin'; it is the internet, after all. Heh.

And is that all we'll be able to do...? I was really looking forward to just wiping the universe clean, starting fresh, and making something that is 100% mine...and I'm still curious how that is going to work, if we can do it.

I mean, things like whether we'd have to construct new solar systems 100% by hand or whether there is a function that will let us choose a star type and then have the program randomly fill in some blanks for us--like how many planets, which type, and the temperature, weather, gravity, etc, based on how they are from the sun--which we can then tweak as we see fit...

In Star Control: Origins, we have taken a different route by creating planet types that are exaggerations of the traits that astronomers have suggested might exist.

One thing I have noticed, though: no poles. No equator. No changes in environment to distinguish the one from the other.

Granted, there do seem to be areas that, like in the pic of Europa above, have clouds while others do not, so the environments aren't 100% the same, but still...I'm just sayin'.

 

Anyway, I seem to remember in one of the videos, someone saying that there over over 70 different world types to choose from? Makes me very curious to see what's available.

on Jul 06, 2018

BionicDance
And is that all we'll be able to do...? I was really looking forward to just wiping the universe clean, starting fresh, and making something that is 100% mine...and I'm still curious how that is going to work, if we can do it.

You can create universes.  The devs have said that they want to support players using the dev tools to create their own universes.  I don't know the details but I hope that you can create your own universe without having to code.

on Jul 06, 2018

Well, darn it, I'm dyin' for details!

I've got all these ideas, but...well, the number of times I've been given hints about this sort of customization--only to discover, once I've gotten the software, that a lot of those ideas just weren't possible--is legion. 

Maybe I was expecting too much. Maybe I thought the details would have more customization options, I don't know. I'd just like a few details beforehand so that I'm not disappointed when the final product is ours to play with. I know that probably sounds silly--if the product is less than I imagine now, it ought to be disappointing when it's released, too, right?--but there is a difference to my reaction.

Like...when I first heard of Star Control Origins, I was basically hoping for something set in the original universe; when I found out that wasn't so, I've had time to get used to--even kind of like--what we're getting instead. But if I'd gotten the game without that warning, I'd be all, "WTF??? Where'z the Spathi? Where'z the Ur-Quan??? What a rip-off!" It's like going to a movie based on a book you love...and they changed too much to tolerate; how often has that happened, right? But if I knew beforehand that they'd done something to it to which I might object, well...it's just easier to take when I finally see it. (I have a whole story about seeing "Ready Player One", but that would be one heckuva digression.)

Think of it like No Man's Sky, how cool it looked in the previews...and then when it was finally released, it was sooooo lackluster and didn't live up to the hype at all. And Spore, too. Same kinna possibility here...and I just wanna be prepared for it.

So, I'd really like to know what to expect from the universe-creator, from the Adventure Studio. Just so I'm not all, "I can't do that? But so much of the idea I had hinges on doing that! Darn it...! What a rip-off!" when I finally get to play with it.

 

...yanno?

on Jul 06, 2018

Frogboy!!! I recognize several of those names on that chart!!   

Secondly, I think they are INCREDIBLY varied and diverse, which should make exploration a joy to behold. I know you said people won't explore just for "the sake of exploration".......... but that is EXACTLY what I can't wait to do. I want to see these worlds, up close and personal, stumbling upon Heptaligon, Wrenfinch and Briseis as I jump from system-to-system. It will be a distinct pleasure.

Thank you, Frogboy!!

on Jul 06, 2018

cuorebrave

I know you said people won't explore just for "the sake of exploration".......... but that is EXACTLY what I can't wait to do.

I know that was certainly part of the fun of SC2, and it looks like we'll be getting that again...turned up to 11.

on Jul 08, 2018

Frogboy, this game is sounding more and more promising every day!! I love how the game's universe will be getting more content (missions, quests, adventures, planets, ect...) for many years after release. Keeping things fresh, exciting, and the replay value high

 

I don't know if you've ever played the game Spore? It's by EA, and the expansion "Galactic Adventures" is an expansion that really brought a smile on my face! It added many different missions and adventures to the space stage of the game, that were created by not just EA, but also by other fellow gamers. I forget all the different types of missions (there had to have been at least 10 different kinds), but the two I liked the best were the assault and defense ones. Man I had a lot of fun playing those!!

on Jul 10, 2018

SkyGuy44

Frogboy, this game is sounding more and more promising every day!! I love how the game's universe will be getting more content (missions, quests, adventures, planets, ect...) for many years after release. Keeping things fresh, exciting, and the replay value high

 

I don't know if you've ever played the game Spore? It's by EA, and the expansion "Galactic Adventures" is an expansion that really brought a smile on my face! It added many different missions and adventures to the space stage of the game, that were created by not just EA, but also by other fellow gamers. I forget all the different types of missions (there had to have been at least 10 different kinds), but the two I liked the best were the assault and defense ones. Man I had a lot of fun playing those!!

Until SCO, I had only heard of Spore from the creature creator perspective.  

Recently I've heard a lot about the Galactic Adventures part of Spore but have not yet played it.  But clearly they seem to have a something in common.

on Jul 10, 2018

Any planets from this list going to be in? Or similar ones. TrES-2b: Coal Black intrigues me the most.

on Jul 10, 2018

cuorebrave

Frogboy!!! I recognize several of those names on that chart!!   

Secondly, I think they are INCREDIBLY varied and diverse, which should make exploration a joy to behold. I know you said people won't explore just for "the sake of exploration".......... but that is EXACTLY what I can't wait to do. I want to see these worlds, up close and personal, stumbling upon Heptaligon, Wrenfinch and Briseis as I jump from system-to-system. It will be a distinct pleasure.

Thank you, Frogboy!!

My pleasure.

You CAN explore to just explore.  We just don't want that to be all there is to the game.