Star Control

Last updated
Star Control
Star Control cover.jpg
Sega Genesis cover art by Boris Vallejo
Developer(s) Toys for Bob
Publisher(s) Accolade
Producer(s) Pam Levins
Designer(s) Fred Ford, Paul Reiche III
Programmer(s) Fred Ford, Robert Leyland
Composer(s) Kyle Freeman, Tommy V. Dunbar
Platform(s) Amiga, Amstrad CPC, Commodore 64, Sega Mega Drive/Genesis, MS-DOS, ZX Spectrum, OS X
ReleaseJuly 1990
Genre(s) Action, strategy
Mode(s) Single player, multiplayer

Star Control: Famous Battles of the Ur-Quan Conflict, Volume IV or just simply Star Control is a science fiction video game developed by Toys for Bob and published by Accolade in 1990. It was originally released for Amiga and MS-DOS in 1990, followed by a Mega Drive/Genesis port in 1991. Simple ported versions were also released for the Commodore 64, Amstrad CPC and ZX Spectrum.

Science fiction Genre of speculative fiction

Science fiction is a genre of speculative fiction that has been called the "literature of ideas". It typically deals with imaginative and futuristic concepts such as advanced science and technology, time travel, parallel universes, fictional worlds, space exploration, and extraterrestrial life. It often explores the potential consequences of scientific innovations.

Toys for Bob video game developer

Toys for Bob is an American video game developer, founded in Novato, California by Paul Reiche III, Fred Ford and Terry Falls in 1989. The name Toys for Bob was invented by Laurie Lessen-Reiche; it was chosen to stimulate curiosity and allude to Paul and Fred's appreciation of real toys.

Infogrames North America, Inc. was an American video game developer and publisher based in San Jose, California. The company was founded as Accolade in November 1984 by Alan Miller and Bob Whitehead, who had previously co-founded Activision in October 1979.

Contents

A sequel, Star Control II was released in 1992. Star Control II has been lauded as one of the best games on the PC.[ by whom? ] [1]

<i>Star Control II</i> 1992 video game

Star Control II: The Ur-Quan Masters is the sequel to Star Control. It was developed by Toys for Bob and originally published by Accolade in 1992 for MS-DOS.

Gameplay

A ZX Spectrum screenshot StarControl-ZXSpectrum.png
A ZX Spectrum screenshot

The game features the basic Spacewar! -style combat engine and wraparound screen, Mêlée (as it was called due to the close combat involved, even though the ships actually fire projectile weapons at each other and engage one by one), as well as a strategic game engine with a three-dimensional cluster of stars as the terrain. There is no real story component to the game, aside from a cursory background story explaining the existence of two alliances of alien races at war, the Alliance of Free Stars and the Hierarchy of Battle Thralls. The game can be played by one or two players as the complete game, or purely as either melee or strategy. Single player mode pits the player against the AI, that features a selectable ferocity.

<i>Spacewar!</i> 1962 video game

Spacewar! is a space combat video game developed in 1962 by Steve Russell, in collaboration with Martin Graetz and Wayne Wiitanen, and programmed by Russell with assistance from others including Bob Saunders and Steve Piner. It was written for the newly installed DEC PDP-1 at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. After its initial creation, Spacewar was expanded further by other students and employees of universities in the area, including Dan Edwards and Peter Samson. It was also spread to many of the few dozen, primarily academic, installations of the PDP-1 computer, making Spacewar the first known video game to be played at multiple computer installations.

Wraparound, in video games, is a gameplay variation on the single-screen in which space is finite but unbounded; objects leaving one side of the screen immediately reappear on the opposite side, maintaining speed and trajectory. This is referred to as "wraparound", since the top and bottom of the screen wrap around to meet, as do the left and right sides. Some games wrap around in some directions but not others, such as games of the Civilization series that wrap around left to right, or east and west but the top and bottom remain edges representing the North and South Pole.

A projectile is any object thrown into space by the exertion of a force. Although any object in motion through space may be called a projectile, the term more commonly refers to a ranged weapon. Mathematical equations of motion are used to analyze projectile trajectory. An object projected at an angle to the horizontal has both the vertical and horizontal components of velocity. The vertical component of the velocity on the y-axis given as Vy=USin(teta) while the horizontal component of the velocity Vx=UCos(teta). There are various terms used in projectiles at specific angle teta 1. Time to reach maximum height. It is symbolized as (t), which is the time taken for the projectile to reach the maximum height from the plane of projection. Mathematically, it is give as t=USin(teta)/g Where g=acceleration due to gravity(app 10m/s²) U= initial velocity (m/s) teta= angle made by the projectile with the horizontal axis.

As in the later games, the various races' ships have widely differing appearances and abilities. The ships' sizes, maneuverability, and speed vary; in addition, each ship has a distinct primary weapon and a secondary ability. For instance, the Ur-Quan Dreadnought has a powerful main gun and the ability to launch independent fighters; while the Mmrnmhrm Transformer has the ability to change between two forms, a slow but quickly turning one with a short-range laser as its main weapon, and the other quick but slowly turning with long-range guided missiles.

Laser Device which emits light via optical amplification

A laser is a device that emits light through a process of optical amplification based on the stimulated emission of electromagnetic radiation. The term "laser" originated as an acronym for "light amplification by stimulated emission of radiation". The first laser was built in 1960 by Theodore H. Maiman at Hughes Research Laboratories, based on theoretical work by Charles Hard Townes and Arthur Leonard Schawlow.

Development

Paul Reiche III, Fred Ford, and Rob Dubbin give a postmortem of the game's development at GDC 2015 Classic Game Postmortem- Star Control (16552069930).jpg
Paul Reiche III, Fred Ford, and Rob Dubbin give a postmortem of the game's development at GDC 2015

Rampant slowdown marred much of the core gameplay on the Genesis, much to the chagrin of the creators, who were not given the time by Accolade to optimize the gameplay for the platform. [2] [3] This led to a lawsuit between Accolade and Sega of America. At the time, Sega regulated the release of third-party software through a licensing arrangement, which Accolade had bypassed (by creating their own development systems). Although the lawsuit was settled in Accolade's favor, setting an extremely important legal precedent, the company later became a licensed Sega developer. Star Control was touted as the first 12-megabit cartridge created for the system. Because it was a cartridge-based game with no battery backup, the Genesis port lacked the scenario-creator of its PC cousin, but it came pre-loaded with a few additional scenarios not originally in the game. Accolade published the game under a then-new company label, Ballistic.

A lawsuit is a proceeding by a party or parties against another in the civil court of law. The archaic term "suit in law" is found in only a small number of laws still in effect today. The term "lawsuit" is used in reference to a civil action brought in a court of law in which a plaintiff, a party who claims to have incurred loss as a result of a defendant's actions, demands a legal or equitable remedy. The defendant is required to respond to the plaintiff's complaint. If the plaintiff is successful, judgment is in the plaintiff's favor, and a variety of court orders may be issued to enforce a right, award damages, or impose a temporary or permanent injunction to prevent an act or compel an act. A declaratory judgment may be issued to prevent future legal disputes.

Sega Japanese video game developer and publisher and subsidiary of Sega Sammy Holdings

Sega Games Co., Ltd. is a Japanese multinational video game developer and publisher headquartered in Tokyo. Its international branches, Sega of America and Sega Europe, are respectively headquartered in Irvine, California and London. Sega's arcade division, once part of Sega Corporation, has existed as Sega Interactive Co., Ltd. since 2015. Both companies are subsidiaries of Sega Holdings Co., Ltd., which is in turn a part of Sega Sammy Holdings.

In common law legal systems, precedent is a principle or rule established in a previous legal case that is either binding on or persuasive for a court or other tribunal when deciding subsequent cases with similar issues or facts. Common-law legal systems place great value on deciding cases according to consistent principled rules, so that similar facts will yield similar and predictable outcomes, and observance of precedent is the mechanism by which that goal is attained. The principle by which judges are bound to precedents is known as stare decisis. Common-law precedent is a third kind of law, on equal footing with statutory law and subordinate legislation - that is, delegated legislation or regulatory law.

Reception

Reception
Review score
PublicationScore
CGW Star full.svgStar full.svgStar full.svgStar empty.svgStar empty.svg [4]

MegaTech gave the game 90% and a Hyper Game Award, but noted that it was "not quite as much fun on your own". [5] In a 1992 survey of science fiction games, Computer Gaming World gave the title three-plus stars of five, stating that "Despite (or maybe because of) its lack of depth, it remains an enjoyable challenge". [6] A 1994 survey of strategic space games set in the year 2000 and later gave the game three stars. [4] In 1996 the magazine ranked it as the 127th best game of all time, stating "Space War enters the 90s with a touch of humor." [7]

<i>MegaTech</i>

MegaTech was a publication from EMAP aimed specifically at the Sega Mega Drive gaming market. The magazine was started in 1991. The launch editorial consisted of a small team including Paul Glancey (editor) and Mark Patterson. It was published on a monthly basis. In 1993 the magazine was acquired by Maverick Magazines. It ceased publication in 1994 when it was merged into Mega magazine.

<i>Computer Gaming World</i> American video game magazine

Computer Gaming World (CGW) was an American computer game magazine published between 1981 and 2006.

'Entertainment Weekly gave the game a B and wrote that "if wreaking havoc in distant galaxies is what you do best, I can think of no better game for you." [8]

Sequels and spin-offs

Star Control II

Star Control II: The Ur-Quan Masters was written by Toys for Bob (Fred Ford and Paul Reiche III) and originally published by Accolade in 1992 for MS-DOS; it was later ported to the 3DO with an enhanced multimedia presentation, allowed by the CD technology. When the original creators released the source code of the 3DO version as open source under the GPL in 2002, an open-source project was created aiming to create an embellished remake called The Ur-Quan Masters .

Star Control 3

Star Control 3 was developed by Legend Entertainment, hired by Accolade to create a sequel when the original creators expressed disinterest in creating a sequel for the same amount of money they were paid for Star Control II (which left them working for several months without pay).[ citation needed ]Star Control 3 features some of the same races as previous games, as well as new ones. It was released for MS-DOS and the Macintosh in 1996. Toys for Bob was not involved in the development of this game in any way. The story expanded on the mystery of the Precursors' disappearance and introduced new enemies in the form of the Hegemonic Crux, however, it also removed several aspects of game play present in Star Control II, such as the ability to modify the equipment and capabilities of the player's flagship. Star Control 3 was used as a visual showcase of computer technology at the time of its release.

StarCon

Star Control 4, or later StarCon, was Accolade's final attempt at profiting from the franchise. Few details are known, as Accolade reshaped and eventually cancelled it during the development stages; however, the Harika had been confirmed as a returning alien race. While originally touted as another space adventure, the idea quickly changed into an action-oriented combat title, to be viewed largely from behind the ship, with gameplay similar to Psygnosis' Colony Wars series, somewhat like a shooting-oriented X-wing fighter.

Star Control: Interbellum

Star Control: Interbellum is a novel written by William T. Quick set in the Star Control universe. It was first published in 1996, shortly after the release of Star Control 3. Several details in it are inconsistent with the games, especially the depictions of the alien races.

Star Control (Atari) Flash game

In September 2007, Atari put online a simple Flash game with the name "Star Control" on the Atari Play website. This game was created by independent game developer Iocaine Studios. Atari ordered the creation of the game, to be delivered in just four days.[ citation needed ] The web page containing the Flash applet has the title "Welcome to the Star Control Preview", suggesting that there is more to come. As of August 2011, there has been no news of further developments. The gameplay resembles the 1962 game Spacewar!, a spiritual ancestor of Toys for Bob's original Star Control.

Meta-data of images inside the Flash applet show a modification date of either 2007-09-16 or 2007-09-17, suggesting that this was the weekend during which the game was created. One day later, images of this game were used in Atari's Declaration of Use in Commerce submitted to the United States Patent and Trademark Office with Atari's application for renewal of the Star Control trademark. [9] The suspicious timing, together with the simple nature of the game and the fact that the game had to be delivered in just four days, has led some to believe that the game was created specifically for the purpose of retaining the Star Control trademark.[ citation needed ]

Cancelled games and sale to Stardock

On April 11, 2006, Alex Ness (Producer of Toys for Bob) wrote an article on the Toys For Bob website, titled "Star Control Sequel - Get Out Of My Dreams". It stated that Toys For Bob had been working on a new, unnamed title for the previous year, and that it was scheduled to come out in early November. Near the end of the article, he hinted that "if enough of you people out there send me emails requesting that Toys For Bob do a legitimate sequel to Star Control 2, I'll be able to show them to Activision, along with a loaded handgun, and they will finally be convinced to roll the dice on this thing." (quote:Alex Ness)

On April 16 that same year, the Ur-Quan Masters website added an article to their page titled "Toys for Bob want another Star Control and need your help!" It gives a link to a petition page with a form that would e-mail a message to Alex Ness, so that users would not have to open any other third party clients. In addition to an e-mail form, the mailing address of Toys For Bob was also given on the website. Since the mention of the possibility of a new Star Control game, the number of visits to the Ur-Quan Masters and Star Control Timewarp website has doubled.

On April 28, Ness wrote another article titled "Only 997,700 more emails to go!", stating that he has received around 2,300 e-mails on that day, with a long way to one million. With the time passed since April 28, 2006, the number has increased to almost 10,000. He then made joking references that both Jack Black and Steven Spielberg are fans of Star Control. On October 18, Alex Ness wrote another article about finishing development of Tony Hawk's Downhill Jam . Regarding a new Star Control game, he mentioned that he does not have any news regarding the development of a new Star Control game with Activision, but he mentioned that Activision must realize that "this isn't just some flash-in-the-pan, support-of-reviving-an-old-franchise craze".

In 2008, Stardock CEO Brad Wardell had expressed interest in purchasing the rights from Atari and creating a Star Control sequel. [10] However, negotiations between Stardock and Atari fell apart. As Atari liquidated its assets as part of a chapter 11 bankruptcy in 2012, [11] Stardock had the winning bid in an auction of Atari's franchises and acquired the rights held by Atari over the game in July 2013 [12] . It was announced in 2014 that Stardock had started a Star Control reboot; [13] The Star Control website and forums were also relaunched. [14]

Star Control: Origins

Stardock's game Star Control: Origins was released on September 20, 2018.

See also

Notes and references

  1. Hutchinson, Lee (23 October 2018). "Video: How Star Control II was almost a much more boring game". Ars Technica.
  2. Email from Fred Ford: "We are still mad at Accolade for giving us zero time to enhance the Sega version. We pretty much ported it and as soon as it was up and running, they said "ship it." We could have made the space combat much more fluid."
  3. Log of the 2007-06-13 IRC session with Toys for Bob: "The same goes for the Genesis version of SC1 where we did a quick port with the intention of optimizing it for speed, but they though having a 12megabit cartridge was a much better selling point."
  4. 1 2 Brooks, M. Evan (May 1994). "Never Trust A Gazfluvian Flingschnogger!". Computer Gaming World. pp. 42–58.
  5. MegaTech rating, EMAP, issue 22, October 1993, page 102
  6. Brooks, M. Evan (November 1992). "Strategy & Wargames: The Future (2000-....)". Computer Gaming World . p. 99. Retrieved 4 July 2014.
  7. "150 Best Games of All Time". Computer Gaming World. November 1996. pp. 64–80. Retrieved 25 March 2016.
  8. "New videogames". EW.com.
  9. Declaration of Use in Commerce for the Star Control trademark
  10. Stardock CEO Wardell Eyes Star Control, Orion, And More by Chris Remo
  11. "Wargaming, Rebellion and Stardock all bid on Atari assets". Gamasutra . Retrieved 2014-05-08.
  12. "Odd war of words erupts in the messy world of Star Control". Eurogamer . Retrieved 2017-12-05.
  13. "Stardock CEO reveals details about new Star Control title in development". ArsTechnica. Jan 3, 2014. Retrieved 2014-06-19.
  14. "Star Control Reboot making progress and looking for players". Nov 24, 2015. Retrieved 2015-11-24.

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