Star Control - All News
Sunday - December 30, 2018
Star Control II - Retrospective @The Digital Antiquarian
The Digital Antiquarian looked back at the creation of Star Control II.
Yet the aspect of Star Control that most players seem to remember best has nothing to do with any of these efforts to be all things to all players. At some point in the development process, Reiche and Ford realized they needed a context for all this interstellar violence. They came up with an “Alliance of Free Stars” — which included Earthlings among its numbers — fighting a war against the evil “Ur-Quan Hierarchy.” Each group of allies/thralls conveniently consists of seven species, each with their own unique model of spaceship. Not being inclined to take any of this too seriously, Toys for Bob let their whimsy run wild in creating all these aliens, enlisting Greg Johnson — the creator of the similarly winsome and hilarious aliens who inhabit the galaxy of Starflight — to add his input as well. The rogue’s gallery of misfits, reprobates, and genetic oddities that resulted can’t help but make you smile, even if they are more fleshed-out in the manual rather than on the screen.
Monday - March 19, 2018
Star Control - Strange Settlement On An Alien Planet
Fred Ford and Paul Reiche III share the reasons why the Star Control IP dispute can't be settled amicably.
Strange Settlement on an Alien Planet
March 19, 2018
After reading about the conflict between us and Stardock, several people have asked the reasonable question, "Why can't you guys just work this out?" In early October 2017 we tried to do just that, exchanging email with Brad Wardell. In these communications, Fred and I defined our idea of a 'win-win' solution...
(Oct. 6, 2017 email from Paul to Brad Wardell) "... It is important that our players are not confused about which game they are getting, so we need to clearly distinguish our respective projects. That separation should fall along our respective rights, Stardock having purchased the Star Control trademarks and Fred and I owning all the IP rights to the works we created.
As we've said to you several times over the past years, we do not want Stardock to use any of our IP, and that remains our position today. To avoid consumer confusion, we must also pass on the DLC option you proposed. Despite your suggestion below, you do not have a license to use our IP. All rights to our work reverted to us long ago. You (and Atari) previously acknowledged same. Further, time and again you have asked for a new license, notwithstanding our consistent rejections. Kindly do not use our IP in your game. If already added, please remove it before release.
We too wish to see both projects succeed and are confident that with reasonable efforts on our respective parts, we can avoid any perceived conflict or confusion between them. ..."
Initially both sides made moves toward compromise. Our blog now includes the attribution "Star Control is a registered trademark of Stardock Systems, Inc". We describe Ghosts of the PrecursorsTM as "a sequel to the Ur-Quan Masters". We no longer use the #starcontrol hashtag. Stardock removed images of our alien races from their website banner and they changed "SUPER-MELEE" to "Fleet Battles" in Origins.
But earlier this month we received an unfathomable settlement offer from Stardock. Paraphrasing from legalese, it requires...
- Fred and Paul must surrender all their IP rights to the classic Star Control games to Stardock.
- Fred and Paul never again use the words "STAR CONTROL" or "GHOSTS OF THE PRECURSORS" or "THE UR-QUAN MASTERS".
- For the next 5 years, Fred and Paul do not work on any game similar to the classic Star Control games.
- Fred and Paul issue a public apology to Stardock.
- Fred and Paul never again challenge Stardock's rights to STAR CONTROL trademark or STAR CONTROL 3 copyright.
- Fred and Paul pay Stardock $225,000.
- Fred and Paul never again call themselves the "creators" of the classic Star Control games.
And if their intent wasn't clear enough, Stardock has now also filed for the trademarks:"The Ur-Quan Masters", "Melnorme", "VUX", Pkunk", "Ilwrath", "Chenjesu", "Androsynth", "Spathi", "SUPER-MELEE", "Syreen", "Ur-Quan", "Orz" and "Yehat".
Fred and I still believe in the ‘win-win' scenario for both studios and both games, but given Stardock's recent actions, we seem headed into a world in which many hundreds of hours and many MILLIONS of dollars are spent on legal actions. Those hours and that money will be lost - not spent on making both games cooler, more beautiful, more fun -- and ultimately that hurts players like you.
Wednesday - September 14, 2016
Star Control - September Update
At the Stardock forums they have posted a new update for the Star Control game in development and it makes for interesting reading.
Star Control: September 2016 update
One year ago I wrote the September 2015 update. You can read that here.
A lot has happened in the past year. So let's get right to it!
With Offworld Trading Company now released as well as Ashes of the Singularity released, the Star Control team has gotten reinforcements. The team is now a who's-who of some of the most experienced game developers in the industry.
Broadly speaking, the Star Control team is made up of the leads of Civilization IV, Civilization V, Galactic Civilizations and numerous other classics. Never before have I worked with a team with this much experience. So many people love Star Control and want to bring it back.
Challenge #1: The technical challenge
Star Control is an immensely difficult technical challenge to do today. You really wouldn't think that given that 24 years ago, Star Control 2 was done as a DOS game. How hard could it be?
The challenge is that Star Control is really five games. Let's walk through that:
Game #1: A planet exploration game. You could make an entire game around Star Control's planet exploration concept.
Game #2: A galaxy exploration game. Space is big. In fact, some say the universe has hundreds, perhaps even thousands of stars. In Star Control's case, the galaxy has over ten-thousand planets out there.
Game #3: An adventure game. This is the meat of the game. Going on quests, getting an interesting story to drive you to new objectives is what, ultimately, ties the game together. Without the alien adventure game, Star Control would just be some game where you explore a big galaxy full of planets to land on to get resources to upgrade your ship to get to the next planet. And who would want that? ...
Game #4: The combat game. Super Melee. This is where you battle with other ships that have unique weapons and defenses. It's an action game.
Game #5: It's an RPG. You are the captain. You have a ship. The ship is, ultimately, your character. Your allies are your party. You level up, get equipment to upgrade your ship so it's better and more interesting.
It's a big project and one we're happy to tackle. But it won't be easy.
Challenge #2: The budget
The new Star Control game is the biggest game we've ever made. Its budget is bigger than the combined budgets of all the games we've released in the past few years. Stardock is the oldest independent game studio left in the industry and this game is a huge challenge for us budget-wise. When people get excited about this game or that game, it's easy to forget that most of those games are from publicly traded companies or are funded by a publicly traded company. The new Star Control is not. It's directly funded by the individual sales of our games by you guys.
Challenge #3: The Setting
Star Control takes place in 2085. The humans are about to discover that the galaxy has been busy for a long long time.
Challenge #4: Hardware requirements
Star Control uses the Nitrous engine. For those of you not familiar with it, it's a next-generation 3D engine that can handle CGI like visuals in real-time. However, that comes at a price: Hardware. We are working hard to make sure Star Control will run on almost any system that supports DirectX 11, DirectX 12, or Vulkan.
Founders and setting up canon
There is a single Star Control multiverse. Star Control 1 and 2, the Ur-Quan conflict epic, takes place on the universe we designate as Earth-UrQuan. Star Control 3, however, takes place on Earth-Crux. Earth-Crux is similar to Earth-UrQuan but is not the same universe. Thus, if Paul Reiche and Fred Ford, who today work for Activision working on Skylanders are able to return to their Ur-Quan stories, we presume they'd continue from the events in Earth-UrQuan (or whatever designation they'd prefer).
The new Star Control prequel also takes place in its own universe. That doesn't mean it's a universe without the Spathi and Ur-Quan and so forth. But if you run into them, it won't be until at least 2122 (after this prequel takes place and only if Paul and Fred are involved in that story).
For all players, the new Star Control prequel is a clean slate.
For people who aren't familiar with all this lore, we still sell Star Control 1/2/3 from the 90s so you can get into that lore.
Saturday - November 21, 2015
Star Control - Development Update
Stahl33 informed us that a new Star Control game is in development:
Star Control: November Update!
At last, the Founders Program is about to start and the basic website is now live!
First, read this: IGN-article
Take the survey here.
We are desperately trying not to spoil anything about the game but at the same time we want Star Control fans to feel reassured that we’re on the right track. It’s a delicate balance.
So let me just put out information that is now publicly available:
#1 The Team
Stardock built a new studio, from scratch, in Towson Maryland specifically for Star Control. We knew Star Control would require a veteran team to nail and for that reason decided that it was best to build the studio in Towson Maryland.
Why Towson? In one of the quirks of the game industry, Towson Maryland is ground zero of a good chunk of the PC game industry. Firaxis is here. Bethesda is here. Big Huge Games is here. Zynga was here. So much PC game history was made in this little town (Microprose and its successors).
Stardock has a single office complex to house Stardock Towson, Mohawk Games, and Oxide Games. This has had some really positive results that we didn’t consider at first. For example, Soren’s team (Soren designed Civilization IV) working on Offworld Trading Company has had readily available early testers while we’ve ramped up while Andrew’s team (Star Control) has had readily available access to art and game design input from Soren’s team. And of course, Oxide Games, the team making Ashes of the Singularity, is there to help with the engine.
#2 The Engine
So it’s using the Nitrous engine which is being developed for Ashes of the Singularity. Star Control will be 64-bit and require at least DirectX 11. This won’t be a big deal when it ships but it’s something to be aware of.
We’ve made some core design choices (Super Meelee will support up to 6 players in MP mode). While we’ve left other decisions (how many ships should be present in a Super Meelee battle) for the Founders to have input on.
The engine, of course, could support thousands of ships in a battle. That’s not the issue. The issue will be the gameplay and what makes sense.
#3 The Art Style
If you’ve seen Inside Out you have a good idea of what the general art style will be like. Mind you, we picked our art style before that movie came out, so we’re not basing ours on that movie, it just kind of worked out that way.
Tuesday - August 04, 2015
Star Control - Interview @ GDC
Interesting interview at the Game Developers Conference 2015:
At GDC 2015, Fred Ford and Paul Reiche III, the game design duo who cofounded the venerable Toys For Bob 25 years ago, talked to Rob Dubbin in a Classic Game Postmortem about the influential 1990 space adventure series Star Control and its much-loved sequels.