View Full Version : Let's Play: Star Control II: The Ur-Quan Masters

06-13-2008, 09:21 AM
Welcome to my Let's Play for Star Control II: The Ur-Quan Masters, one of the greatest games ever made for the PC. Star Control II is an interesting hodgepodge of systems. In brief, it combines the exploration and resource collecting feel of Star Flight and Elite with the combat from Spacewar and its own unique sense of humor.I'm going to try to introduce the game slowly as it comes up naturally in the course of the narrative. Other than that, the open-endedness of the game means I'm going to try to keep this playthrough fairly interactive. Let's see if the collective wisdom of talking time can free the quadrant from the Ur-Quan Hierarchy!

First, a brief side note: there is absolutely no reason why others can't play along with me. A few years ago Fred Ford and Paul Reiche III, Star Control II's creators, released the source code into the public domain. Enterprising volunteers have compiled the software and created a handy front-end for a number of platforms, including Windows, OSX, Linux, and BSD. The trademark to the name Star Control remains with Accolade, so the re-released game has to bear the derivative name "The Ur-Quan Masters," but it's all still there with the option to mix-and-match music and features from the original PC version and the 3DO remake. It's all available here (http://sc2.sourceforge.net). So you have no excuse for not playing along at home!

The game has an entertainingly written manual, available here (http://www.abandonia.com/files/extras/Star%20Control%202_Manual.zip). It fills in the backstory a lot better than I could, but it isn't, strictly speaking, necessary. You can pick up pretty much everything you need from the intro sequence and the exposition in diplomatic conversations.

Speaking of which:











06-13-2008, 09:22 AM










06-13-2008, 09:23 AM










06-13-2008, 09:23 AM
oh man. this is seriously one of my top two games ever. Hell, on a good day, it even beats civilization.

I have one demand for you--you MUST keep a pkunk with you! pkunk rock the fucking house so hard.

and get the rainbow worlds!

06-13-2008, 09:24 AM



And you're deposited on the system screen, which you'll be seeing a lot of in this game. While I do plan to run this Let's Play interactively, there's not much choice in what to do at the very start of the game. Except for perhaps the game's most important choice:


The captain's name . . .


. . . and the flagship's name. What say you? I'll be out of town for a couple of days, but the next post (if this thread doesn't get locked) should come Sunday night.

Nota bene: My first time playing this game I was on a Star Trek kick, but the 9-character limit on flagship names meant I was captaining the USS Enterpris, which sounds, in retrospect, like an obscene reference to Bubblegum Crisis.

06-13-2008, 09:27 AM

Also, as per the rules of Let's Play, your captain must be named Pants.

Your ship should be something like The Persona.

06-13-2008, 09:28 AM
It's always good policy to keep a Pkunk around. How can you possibly hope to defeat the Ur-Quan without the powers of crystal energy?

06-13-2008, 10:53 AM

Also, as per the rules of Let's Play, your captain must be named Pants.

Your ship should be something like The Persona.

This idea has legs.

Red Hedgehog
06-13-2008, 11:03 AM
oh man. this is seriously one of my top two games ever.

I have nothing more to add.

I have one demand for you--you MUST keep a pkunk with you! pkunk rock the fucking house so hard.

Yes! The Pkunk and Spathi are my favorites ships and favorite species in the game.

As for name, I'm happy to keep the TT Pants tradition alive. I feel like your ship should be a clever play on that. Like the Suspender, or the Nomura.

06-13-2008, 11:36 AM
As for name, I'm happy to keep the TT Pants tradition alive. I feel like your ship should be a clever play on that. Like the Suspender, or the Nomura.

You know, the spine of the ship does look like a zipper if you squint...

06-13-2008, 12:42 PM
oh man. this is seriously one of my top two games ever.
I have nothing more to add.

06-13-2008, 06:12 PM
Dare I speak out against Pants?

Perhaps set a precedent for Shirt, or Gloves? Maybe Shoes?

Not really. Though I do think a bit of variety would be nice.

Oh, and the ship should be called the Executor. For when we bring laser and missle induced death to the rest of the galaxy.

Ample Vigour
06-13-2008, 06:36 PM
Captain Pants is a must, though I have no opinion on his ship's name.

06-13-2008, 06:45 PM
I tried to play this once about a year ago.. and kept losing to every single combat. Which happened any time I tried to enter hyperspace, because something would see me and chase me down.

It was disheartening.

Interested to see how the game is supposed to go.

Octopus Prime
06-13-2008, 07:09 PM
I was playing this, but I seem to have lost the note book I was using, and without notes... the game becomes somewhat harder to play through.

Anyhow, I have no objections to Captain Pants, since if I did, it wouldn't matter anyway. But I'm quite insistant that you call the ship The AssKicker. Conquer the Ur-Quan where I could not!

06-13-2008, 10:27 PM
Oh god I never finished this game because SPOILERS the Kor-ah sphere totally fucked up my entire universe and I had NO IDEA WHAT TO DO OH GOODDDDDDDD but my goodness is it absolutely brilliant and I want to play it again, like right now!

As many rainbow worlds as possible, please! I want to see if you can lowball the game with a minimal amount of equipment on the ship, too, if you think you're AWESOME ENOUGH. Not improving your landers and still being able to get enough materials would impress the hell out of me.

* It might also be kind of fun to show what happens when you LOSE the game, after the LP is finished.

06-13-2008, 11:16 PM
In case my earlier post didn't make it clear, I am voting for the SS Nomura.

HELL's yes.

06-14-2008, 03:03 AM
Downloaded and played through this game about a year and a half ago. It's got a ton of personality and some of the most memorable alien encounters in science fiction. Has anyone played the sequel (part 3)? I've heard mixed reports, but i'd still be interested to give it a go at some point. Of course the main sticking points are the story and characters. Is it as good as part 2 turned out?

My starship was christened Rama, after the Arthur C. Clarke novel from my childhood.

06-14-2008, 08:19 AM
DHas anyone played the sequel (part 3)? I've heard mixed reports, but i'd still be interested to give it a go at some point.

It's... Okay. It's considerably simplified. There's some genuinely funny moments, but I think SC2 was a better game overall.

06-14-2008, 09:50 AM
Has anyone played the sequel (part 3)? I've heard mixed reports, but i'd still be interested to give it a go at some point. Of course the main sticking points are the story and characters. Is it as good as part 2 turned out?

What sequel? It never happened.

Never. Happened.

Octopus Prime
06-14-2008, 01:15 PM
I can't speak form experience, but Star Control 3 is usually held in the same high regard as a staphlococcus infection among fans.

06-14-2008, 01:23 PM
I think my brother got a pirated copy of this from his friend where we cold only play the battle option, where you just pick a ship and a ship to fight. We soften did vs. matches but we had to use the same keyboard. Never played the actual game though... I downloaded it and looking forward to trying the whole package this time!

06-14-2008, 05:26 PM
I can't speak form experience, but Star Control 3 is usually held in the same high regard as a staphlococcus infection among fans.

Tell me - did you have to do a google search to figure out how to spell that? I sure hope so!

06-14-2008, 07:57 PM
The best part about Star Control Th-*KHHHKH* is how if you do one particular arcane thing out of order you cannot, in fact, finish the game.

06-14-2008, 08:23 PM
The best part about Star Control Th-*KHHHKH* is how if you do one particular arcane thing out of order you cannot, in fact, finish the game.

Oh, there's several ways to render yourself unable to finish the game. Trust me on this one.

06-14-2008, 09:47 PM
i played the ever loving crap out of sc3 back in the day. it's not great, but it's certainly not a monstrocity.

06-14-2008, 10:06 PM
The lowdown on Star Control 3 (so far as my understanding goes):

The creators of Star Control, Fred Ford and Paul Richie, had no involvement in three. After the success of SC2, some bad blood developed between them and publisher Accolade. Apparently, Accolade wanted to pay them the same amount for SC3's development as SC2's, which Toys for Bob (Fred and Paul's development team) wasn't too keen on, as they spent several months working on SC2 without pay. Accolade passed development duties onto Legend Entertainment, and a legal battle ensued over the rights to the franchise, and the results were a mess: Toys for Bob kept a number of concepts, plot points, and races, Accolade got the rest, including the Star Control name. This is why so many races from SC2 are absent in SC3. This is also why, when SC2 was re-released as freeware, it was simply re-titled as it's original subtitle, The Ur-Quan Masters. At that point, the 'Star Control' name was the only thing that they hadn't gotten back yet.*

As a game, I've heard SC3 it's decent. Not nearly as good as its predecessors, but still a solid effort. It's also considered not canon, for those that care.

*They have the entire rights to the franchise back now, by the way, and they really want to make a sequel. Head over to their website (http://toysforbob.com/) and shoot them an e-mail telling them you'd like to see it too. They've been collecting all the fan support they can get the last couple of years to convince Activision to green light a new game.

06-15-2008, 10:08 AM
I tried to play this once about a year ago.. and kept losing to every single combat. Which happened any time I tried to enter hyperspace, because something would see me and chase me down.

Depending on what you did, there might be a very good reason why you got your butt kicked so frequently. I mean, beyond the obvious skill-based explanations. I will get to this in the very near future (probably not the next update, but shortly thereafter).

06-15-2008, 10:26 AM
Has anyone played the sequel (part 3)? I've heard mixed reports, but i'd still be interested to give it a go at some point. Of course the main sticking points are the story and characters. Is it as good as part 2 turned out?

Man, when I was a kid I saved up for months to buy Star Control 3 when it came out. Then I blew it all the week before it released when I accessed a BBS without my parents' permission and racked up a huge phone bill. I spent months looking at it forelornly in the Electronics Boutique. Then my parents finally gave it to me as an early birthday present. I was so excited to play it! And it turned out to be. . . Actually not that terrible.

I remember being disappointed as I played it, but not "this game killed my parents and ran over my dog" disappointed. I didn't actually mind the new ships or the graphics, which seems to bother some people. It was annoying that some of the legacy ships were missing from Hyper Melee, and that some of the species were absent from the main game, but I didn't get to exercised about that. I was upset at the colonizing/resource gathering system, which was a major step down from the first game and boiled down to a lot of sitting around and waiting for your colony to refine enough fuel to go whereever you wanted to. And it gave you no real incentive to colonize outside certain limited contexts, so I never found some plot points that were based around having a certain number of colonies, like the Kzer-Za/Kohr-Ah split.

As for the writing, I noticed it wasn't as snappy as 2's, but it was serviceable. The plot seemed to wrap things together pretty well. There was some ret-conning, but it wasn't horrible.

All told, I'd say it was satisfying. It continued the story of 2, had most of the Star Control feel, but wasn't nearly as good as the second game. Still, I like it better than the first game, so it's got that going for it.

q 3
06-15-2008, 10:33 AM
Has anyone played the sequel (part 3)?

Captain, I don't think you meant to ask about the sequel. Didn't you mean to ask about flowers?

06-16-2008, 01:48 AM

Here begins the journey of the courageous Captain Pants and his proud vessel, the SCS Nomura.


While we make the journey to Earth, I'll explain a few basics.

Star Control II uses ship-relative movement and a quasi-realistic space physics model. It's realistic in the sense that your movement controls are generally limted to "turn left," "turn right," and "thrust." You maintain your momentum no matter which direction you're facing. That means that you slow down by turning 180 degrees and thrusting in the opposite direction. That also means you can be moving in one direction while facing (and firing) in another direction.


The physics are unrealistic in that your ship has a maximum speed, and that this maximum speed is set as a scalar, not a vector. That is: Suppose your ship's maximum speed is 10. You accelerate heading due north until you reach your maximum speed. You then turn 90 degrees left and accelerate westward. If you accelerate to, say, 5 westward, you'll slow down in your northward movement to maintain a constant speed of 10. Eventually, if you reach a westward velocity of 10, your northward velocity will decline to 0. So it's not like space travel insofar as you can't accelerate to relativistic speeds, and your velocity in one direction has an unrealistic impact on your speed in other directions.


Also, if you bump into a planet, you bounce off of it.


Ah, we've reached the vicinity of Earth. There's not much time to admire its pulsing red glow, however, as we're quickly intercepted by an angry red sphere . . .


Attention interloper - heed this recorded message! This drone-vessel speaks with the voice and authority of the Ur-Quan. You are trespassing within Ur-Quan space. This world, Earth, may not be approached for any reason. Nor will hostilities against our orbital platform be tolerated. In addition, your ship does not respond to standard Hierarchy identification transmissions, and is therefore deemed to be . . . independent. This is not permissible -- only subservience shall be tolerated. This drone now leaves to inform the Ur-Quan of your transgressions. You are commanded to remain here and await the arrival of the Ur-Quan. Disobedience will be punished.

06-16-2008, 01:49 AM
Well, that was disconcerting. If I were a new player, I would probably at this point go to Earth and see what was going on. But I'm not, so instead I went to the space station orbiting Earth, as that's where the next plot point is. I'll show you Earth later.


Attention unidentified space vessel! I am Starbase Commander Hayes of the slave planet Earth. Our hyperwave broadcasts -- extremely weak . . . situation critical -- energy cores exhausted . . . scanners and deep-radar are non-functional . . . we cannot identify your vessel . . . Are you the scheduled Hierarchy resupply ship? Repeat, are you the resupply vessel?

06-16-2008, 01:50 AM

For this first chapter, the game's quite fond of throwing Communist choices like this one at you. In any of these dialogue choices up until the star base comes fully on-line, it doesn't matter if you're diligent, flippant, or just confused, you'll just wind up in the same place by slightly different routes.

This time, I chose the route of bafflement.

'Slave planet!' 'Hierarchy resupply vessel!' What is going on here?

Look, I don't know who you are or why you're here, but right now the only thing I'm worried about is saving the lives of the 1900 men and women aboard this starbase and right now you're our only hope. I can't keep the trasmitter on too much longer -- we need the power for heat and air, so if you don't have any radioactives on board your vessel please get some and bring them back here before it's too late.

06-16-2008, 01:51 AM
Where can we find the radioactive elements you need?

The fastest way to get radioactives in this system would be to land on Mercury and scour the surface for deposits of radioactive elements. But be careful. Mercury is a pretty inhospitable place! Watch out for earthquakes and those high-temperature areas!

We will leave now to find the elements you require.

Thanks! I'll make sure to mention this the next time we talk with our masters. . . I'm sure they will reward you.

Now seems as good a time as any to point out that this game is entirely keyboard-controlled. It's pretty much just the direction keys, enter, space bar, escape, and whatever keys you set to your weapons for combat.


When you bump into a planet on the system map, you're taken to a zoomed in map of the planetary system. Most planets, like Mercury here, are just single planets, but you'll find planets with moons, space stations, ships, and other assorted things orbiting them.


And here's the planet screen. It gives you some basic information, some of it irrelevant (day length, tilt), some of it highly relevant (temperature, weather, tectonic level).

06-16-2008, 01:52 AM
From here, you'll want to scan . . .


. . . for minerals . . .


. . . for energy signatures . . .


. . .And for any signs of life.

Minerals are directly useful, since eventually you'll be able to trade them for fuel, ships, crew, and upgrades to your capital ship at the star base. Energy signatures tend to indicate plot-advancing bafmodads on the planet's surface. Life signs indicate native lifeforms to be captured and sold off into hideous alien zoos.


This is landing mode. You'll note that the main screen now shows a zoomed-in view of the planet's surface, with your lander at the center, while the menu screen on the bottom-right has turned into a status indicator for the lander. The green dots represent the number of crew members remaining in the lander. The red bar on the left indicates how full the lander's cargo bay is, while the blue bar on the right indicates how full its biological storage bay is. On the main screen, you'll notice two of the four exploration hazards: earthquakes, indicated by that set of concentric white rings, and hot spots, indicated by the flames. The colored spheres are mineral resources, which are collected by running over them. More on resource gathering later, as it makes up a disproportionate amount of the early part of the game. For now, back to Earth!


Ah yes, and here's Earth itself, now flourescent pink. If you try to scan the planet the game buzzes at you angrily. Clearly, something is amiss.


Back at the starbase:

Did you find any radioactive elements for our power cores?

Here I tried to be a little squirrely, to no avail:

What will you give us in exchange for radioactives?

I'm sorry, Captain, your message was garbled. Our receivers have very little power.

Before we help you, we require certain information.

I couldn't quite make it out, Captain. Could you please repeat?

We are ready to transfer radioactives.

We are initiating transfer of radioactives, Captain. Now, as soon as our engineers can refit the energy cores . . . There, that's much better. Power ratings are climbing, life support is coming back into the green. Deep radar systems are now online and I can scan your vessel.


Just who ARE you, Captain?

06-16-2008, 01:53 AM
I am Captain Pants of the starship Nomura. We are the survivors of a Star Control science research team to the Vela star system.

Star Control science mission, eh? Captain, I served as a Star Control officer during the war, aboard several cruisers in the Coreward Front, and if there had been any 'scientific mission' to Vela I would have heard about it.

The mission was highly secret

Hmmm . . . you know, come to think of it . . . there were some rumors that Corridor Nine, the special operations division of Star Control, was directing some hush-hush operation near Androsynth space. The Vela star system . . . yes, that would be the right direction . . . So, Captain . . . if you say it's true . . . how do you expalin that huge, alien starship you're flying? And why are you here? What do you want from us?

Note, here, the commander's extraordinary gullibility when you tell him that whatever he has a problem with is a secret to everyone.

06-16-2008, 01:54 AM
We have returned to Earth to give you the technological secrets of the Precursors, and to help you fight the Hierarchy.

Ahh . . . Fight the Ur-Quan! Win back our freedom! I remember having such thoughts myself . . . once, a long time ago. But that was in the first years after the defeat, when it was still terrifying to look up and see the bloody glow of the pulsating slave shield overhead. Through day and night we stared up at the impenetrable wall as though the sheer power of our hatred would pull it down. But over the years, I spent so much of my time struggling, down on the surface under the shield and then later up here, trying to keep this station alive, that I'd forgotten what it means to be free . . . to hate our Ur-Quan masters! And now, here you are, in an alien ship of unknown power, offering me your assistance to fight against the Hierarchy again, after all these years. Captain, your offer is intriguing. It's tempting to think that with your advanced Precursor technology we can somehow crack Earth's slave shield and reassemble the Alliance to attack the Hierarchy, and THIS time win the damn war! But . . . consider the consequences if we should fail. The Ur-Quan won't just punish us here on the station. They will exact a gruesome retribution on the surface below as well. Before I commit this station to helping you attack the Ur-Quan and accepting the risk of annihilation if we are defeated, I have to make sure you and your ship have what it takes to oppose the Hierarchy. I'll make you a deal. If you can eliminate the alien base on the moon, and get rid of that threat, at least, I will seriously consider your offer.

06-16-2008, 01:58 AM
What details can you give me about the base on the moon?

After the Ur-Quan erected the slave shield around Earth and established this space station they decided to leave a contingent of combat ships close to the Earth to keep watch on our planet and confirm that we were obeying the Ur-Quan slave laws. I'm certain they're still out there on the moon because we can pick up a constant stream of alien broadcasts.

We shall go now and neutralize the base.

There are probably a dozen Spathi Eluders and Ilwrath Avengers down there on the lunar surface. I don't know why they haven't come after you yet, but when they do, you'd better have have your weapons armed, and your thrusters burning hot.

Finally, we're off on our way to the moon.


The moon's a lot less mineral-dense than Mercury, but also far less dangerous. It also has some sort of energy signal. . .


. . . And, bafflingly, non-trivial signs of life.

06-16-2008, 02:00 AM

The life forms turn out to be these little miniature tank-like things with pulsating domes. They do no damage when you touch them, and in turn grant you no biological resources when you capture them. A loss for all parties involved!

The energy is more interesting.




Having taken apart the lunar base (and, not coincidentally, gotten some use out of our energy and biological scanners), we return to Commander Hayes.


We found the base, but it was abandoned years ago.

I'll be darned! All these years we've been listening to their incoherent broadcasts, and we never even guessed.

06-16-2008, 02:01 AM
Captain, listen closely! Long range sensors show a ship closing on this station, fast! Our computer identifies it as Ilwrath, Avenger-class. I think you've got a fight on your hands, Captain. Your best bet is to wait until you have point bl-nk r-nge . . . C-pt-in! It's Ja-min- ou- s-gn-l! . . .

Fortunately, the interloper jams Hayes's signal before he can give us some truly awful advice for the encounter ahead.


Why, it's an Ilwrath, a member of a race of evil giant antisocial spiders!

By The Fetid Breath Of The Dark Twin, Kazon! A Hu-Man In An Alien Starship . . . How Fascinating! When I Intercepted That Ur-Quan Drone, And Learned That An Unidentified Starship Had Approached Earth, I Never Expected To Find Such A Remarkable Vehicle In The Hands Of A Hu-Man. Hu-Mans Are Prey Animals - Weak And Helpless - But Here Is A Hu-Man In An Armed Starship! And Therefore In Violation Of The Oath Of Fealty. I Am Sure Our Masters, The Ur-Quan, Will Punish Earth Most Severely For This Treachery When I Present Them With The Twisted Wreckage Of Your Ship And Your Many Charred Corpses.

06-16-2008, 02:02 AM

Here we have a number of options that all lead to the same place. The first one, however, grants us some useful information:

Where the hell did you come from?

Since You Will Soon Be Dead, I Will Gladly Explain. We Have Spent Many Years Gleefully Preying On The Pkunk. They Are A Pitiful, Easily-Killed Species, And We Would Have Continued In This Divine Worship of Dogar And Kazon, But We Required Additional Crew Members And Repairs To Our Cloaking Device. So We Departed The Giclas Constellation And Set Course For Home-

So a race called the Pkunk are being harassed by the Ilwrath somewhere in the vicinity of the Giclas constellation.

06-16-2008, 02:04 AM
-But Before We Had Reached Our Region Of Space, We Detected The Passage Of A Nearby Vessel, The Ur-Quan Drone. It Informed Us About You . . . So Here We Are. And Now, YOU DIE!


Combat time! Here we select a ship. For now, our options are the flagship and an Earthling Cruiser. The Cruiser is often a poor option, but at the moment the flagship is an even poorer one. Fortunately this is an easy battle.


Battles in Star Control are a fancy version of Spacewar. Two ships warp in and the screen centers on the midpoint between the ships. Left and right turn, forward thrusts. The battlefield features a single planet, which damages you if you hit it and which has a gravitational field that sucks ships in (and which can be used to massively increase your speed if you whip around it properly). There are also several asteroids that won't damage you but will alter your course if you hit them.


Each ship has a main weapon and some secondary ability. In the case of the Earthling Cruiser, the main weapon is a nuclear missile with slight homing capabilities. You can see two of my missiles speeding toward the Ilwrath ship in this screenshot. The secondary ability is a short-range, low-powered point defense laser system, which is hypothetically useful for taking out certain enemy projectiles. The Ilwrath Avenger's main weapon is a short-range flame thrower that deals a lot of damage quickly. Its secondary weapon is a cloaking device. The combination of the two makes the Avenger both annoying and formidable. Fortunately this Avenger is hobbled; it has a minimal crew and its cloaking device doesn't work.


The battle is over in seconds. I turn the Cruiser to face the Avenger, fire off two missiles, and the Avenger disintegrates into the blackness of space. Before he was interrupted, Commander Hayes seemed to be advising us to close to point blank range with the Ilwrath vessel. Because the Ilwrath weapon only functions at short range, and melts through crew quickly once it connects, following his advice is an excellent way to die fast. No wonder we last the war. Back to the display: on the right side of the screen you'll notice status indicators for the two ships. Crew is used throughout Star Control as a cypher for ship health. Taking damage kills crew, when you run out of crew your ship explodes. Batt gives a measure of your batteries. Using your weapons drains your batteries, which recharge over time. Every ship in the game, on top of having different weaponry, has different crew levels, different maximum battery levels, different charge rates, different turning rates, different acceleration, and different maximum speeds.

Back to the commander:


What a beautiful site, Captain! I haven't seen an Avenger blown away like that since the battle in Draco. I guess you've shown that you can handle yourself in battle, Captain . . .

. . . Against a crippled, useless foe . . .

. . . so my last reservations about helping you have been dissolved. I will commit this station to helping free Earth and defeat the Ur-Quan. We may get our atoms rearranged in the process, but by God, Captain, we're going to try! So, the obvious first step is to get your Precursor equipment and software over here so that we can make it work with our ship repair fabricators. But then what, Captain?

06-16-2008, 02:06 AM

Note my options here. I decided to take inspiration from Tricky Dick Nixon and keep my options open by declaring my non-existent plan to be top secret.

Er . . . trust me, Commander, I have a plan . . . a really good plan! But for now it must remain a secret.

If you feel it's necessary, Captain, I understand. By the way, Captain, I think we need a name for this new alliance we're going to forge. And since it was your idea, it's only fair that you get the honor of naming it. So, what will it be?

06-16-2008, 02:08 AM

What say you, Talking Time? What shall we call our grand alliance?

The New Alliance of Free Stars!
The Concordance of Alien Nations!
The United Federation of Worlds!
or The Empire of Pants!

Also, a larger structural question: This game has a lot of dialogue. I haven't even done the heavy dialogue portion of the Starbase yet and this update took 152 images spread over 16 posts. If I keep up with this method, when I get into heavy diplomacy my updates will be mad screenshots for reals, yo. On the other hand, the dialogue is a big part of what makes Star Control II the great game that it is. So what do you think? Keep the maximal screenshots? Summarize the boring parts and preserve the most interesting dialogue as screenshots? Transcribe the dialogue as text?

EDIT: Ignore this last bit; I've rejiggered it to cut out most of the screenshots and replace them with transcription.

Octopus Prime
06-16-2008, 04:34 AM
The Empire of <Captain Name>. Always.

I recommend the "Interesting Screen shot and transcription" option for pictures.

06-16-2008, 05:00 AM
You know, I came into this thread and was overwhelmed by the amount of similar-looking screenshots. As a result, I only scrolled down very, very fast, thus perhaps missing most of the dialogue happening.

I promptly wanted to post how I think ít would be nice if you could only post important or first time-screenshots and transcribe the dialogue/sum it up.

Then I saw your question.

Then I posted how I came into this thread and was overwhelmed by the amount of...

EDIT: And if you want to be in the League of the Awesome Gentlemen, you could edit your earlier posts to resemble this coda,i.e. cut down on the screenshots and transcribe the dialogue.

You know, Let's Play isn't really about a thumbnail theatre spanning the complete game. (IMHO)

A nice idea could be cropping the one who is speaking into a picture and putting it beside his dialogue (No, that idea clearly didn't come from myself mentioning thumbnail theatre. Absolutely not.)

06-16-2008, 06:35 AM
You know you're building the empire of Pants. No question. Every Nixon-esque response suggests this; spread the glory of the Talking Time Hive Mind!
There should be more games where the de facto single player experience is spreading a Hive consciousness. Imagine System Shock 2: Adversary or something. Sweeeeet.
But yeah - definitely post the interesting screenshots and sum up the conversations. If you feel like you can inject some of the flavour of the dialogue into your descriptions, so much the better!

06-16-2008, 07:59 AM
EMPIRE, duh!

Also cut down on the pictures, unless they're exceedingly hilarious (how the Fire Emblem LP is doing it is a good idea) or used as a lead-in. If you can find MP3s of dialogue snippets where even more hilariously appropriate then that would also be awesome!

06-16-2008, 08:10 AM
Yeah, could you transcribe as much of your posts as possible? I understand that not everyone's on a modem like I am, but updates like this are huge. And when most of it is just of a guy who's standing there with text changing, I don't think we'd be missing out if you were to type out some of his text.

06-16-2008, 08:39 AM
This is a super text heavy game. I think you should screenshot important stuff, like combat, exploration, and first meetings, but just copy/paste the lectures from one of the sc2 guides. no one will fault you.

06-16-2008, 09:31 PM
Seconding the "I'm on a modem so this is really hard for me" sentiment. I spent the last twenty or thirty minutes loading this page and still only got about a third of the shots loaded before I gave up. This is an LP I really want to see, so if you could make that possible on my connection, I'd appreciate it.

06-17-2008, 06:52 PM
On further consideration, the last update did have far, far too many images. I'll fix it once this update is finished. In the meantime, I propose a compromise: Summaries for uninteresting matter, recap screenshots for dialogue I want to preserve, full screenshots where particularly relevant. The recap screenshots are a potentially useful function built into the game. If you hit spacebar at a dialogue selection point on the diplomacy screen, the view window switches to an all-text recap of the previous conversation branch. This will allow me, first, to compress a dozen screens of dialogue into a single screen, and, second, to crop that screen to just the dialogue portion, so individual screenshots will be smaller.

This will allow me to preserve the game's dialogue without having to transcribe thousands of lines of text. On the minus side, it's still screenshots of text, which require more bandwidth than plain text, and it may be less readable than a transcription. On the plus side, it's quicker and easier than transcription, which means more frequent and more reliable updates. I'll be doing this update in the hybrid style; tell me what you think of it.

When last we left the Star Control universe, we had just declared ourselves Emperor Pants I.



(Note that there's a cut-away for two weeks while the ship is retrofitted right after this, which prevented me getting a recap of this dialogue. This is the last you'll see of Commander Hayes this update).

Commander Hayes is a chatty Cathy, but most of what he has to say isn't super important. You can ask him about the star base's services, but I'll be covering that in my regular updates so I won't even summarize.

You can also ask him for backstory. In brief: while you were off getting stranded and building fancy spaceships, the Alliance of Free Stars was busy losing, badly, to the Ur-Quan Hierarchy. When each race was defeated they were given a choice: They could either swear fealty to the Ur-Quan and maintain nominal freedom as battle thralls, or they could withdraw to their home planet and be encased forever under an impenetrable slave shield. Unfortunately for your quest, Earth chose the slave shield option. After winning the war the Ur-Quan disappeared and Hayes doesn't know where they went to.

Hayes also has information on various species:

The Shofixti



The Yehat


The Ariloulaleelay


The Chenjesu



The Mmrnmhrm



06-17-2008, 06:53 PM
The Syreen


The Mycon



The Spathi



The Umgah


The Androsynth



The Ilwrath




06-17-2008, 06:54 PM
. . . And he has a few leads on races that were neither in the Alliance nor the Hierarchy:



He also has a little backstory on the Precursors, the mysterious creators of the factory that built your ship:



. . . Some information on one other ancient, non-Precursor race:



. . . And finally, a little more information on the Arilou:




So that's Hayes. You'll talk to him to offload minerals and for occasional news updates, but that's pretty much it for him from here on.

Now we have access to the Starbase Screen:


Hayes takes your minerals, the Outfit Starship screen lets you reconfigure your flagship and buy fuel, and the Shipyard lets you buy support ships and crew members.

06-17-2008, 06:55 PM

This is the Outfit Starship screen. Your ship has 16 slots for regular modules, 8 slots for turning jets (those green balls), 11 slots for thrusters (the red blocks), and 10 slots for planetary landers. The game is incredibly generous about reconfiguring your ship; any time you want, you can sell existing modules and landers for 100% of the purchase price, so you can play around with different configurations cost-free.

At the start of the game you don't have a huge number of options. Fuel tanks, like the grey cylinder toward the back of the ship in this shot, increase your maximum fuel capacity by 50 units (you have a base capacity of 10 fuel with no tanks). You'll want at least another of these relatively early in the game, but they're not essential until you get beyond the resource gathering-heavy early game.

The next unit up, with the colorful dots, is a crew pod. Each one increases your flagship's crew capacity (and thus health) by 50. Whether you ever need more than one depends on how you play and what you do with your flagship. Early on, an extra crew pod is handy since you'll lose a lot of crew by attrition on planetery expeditions. Later, if you decide to use your flagship in battle, you may want the extra durability that another crew pod provides. Plus it's always handy to have an extra reserve of crew members to replenish your support ships. Still, it's not particularly hard to complete the game without ever buying an extra crew pod.

Next up, with the diagonal stripes, is the cargo bay. Each one adds an extra 500 units of storage to your ship. This is one of the first units you'll want to buy early in the game, since it'll increase the length of time you can spend out on resource gathering missions. Later, when resources are less important, you'll likely step back down to one, and by the end of the game you won't have any cargo bays at all.

Up front is an ion bolt gun. You'll note that some of the module slots are outlined in grey, while others are outlined in blue. Guns can only go in the blue slots, and where they're slotted affects the guns' behavior in battle. A gun in the first slot shoots straight ahead, a gun in the second slot shoots two shots forward at 45 degree angles from the direction you're facing, a gun in the third slot shoots two shots directly out to the sides, and a gun in the rearmost slot fires a shot straight behind you. The most useful positions are the slots in the front and rear, which allow you to charge at enemies and hit them when running away, respectively. The other slots can be useful for strafing, but chances are the drain on your batteries outweighs their usefulness in that context.

Speaking of batteries, not seen here are dynamos. Dynamos increase your rate of battery charge. I'll get into the specific math involved once more charging options become available, but for now it suffices to say that they're useful once you start adding more guns to your flagship, and pretty much useless in the early game.

Thrusters and turning jets are probably your most useful improvements early on. You haven't seen it because these are all screenshots, but at the start of the game your ship is incredibly sluggish. It moves like molasses and turns like a cow. Turning jets and thrusters improve your turning, acceleration, and maximum speed, whether in the system screen, combat, or hyperspace. Plus, the slots can't be used for anything but thrusters and turning jets, so there's no opportunity cost involved. Between the two, thrusters are marginally more useful since they'll help you avoid encounters in hyperspace, but having a lot of thrust with little turning capacity is a recipe for frustration.

Finally, you have landers. If you've nothing else to spend your resource units on, you may as well keep an extra lander around since they can always be sold for their full purchase price. Still, there's no real reason you should ever lose a lander, particularly if you're willing to be cheap about saving and restoring, and having extra landers creates a moral hazard that'll lead you to be less cautious than you should be.


Here's my initial layout. I don't plan to be doing a lot of fighting with the flagship early on, so I sold off the ion bolt gun and used the proceeds, along with the resources I picked up from Mercury and the moon, to add a few turning jets, nearly max out my thrusters, and buy as much fuel as I could afford. This isn't a "for reals" configuration, as I'm planning to gather more resources in the Solar System before heading out into hyperspace, but it'll do for now.


Here's the Shipyard. You buy ships and crew here. Right now the only ships you can buy are Earthling Cruisers, which aren't terrible, but also aren't great. If I were more cocksure I'd sell the Earthling Cruiser I have, but I'll keep it around for now. Crew costs 3 RU per early on. Commander Hayes claims there are around 1900 crew members available on the station, but this is sort of a lie. You can't ever run out of crew. On the other hand, after you've taken more than 1000 crew from the base the costs goes up to 5 RU per. As you recruit new races to your cause the RU cost goes down. There are also other actions you can take that raise the crew costs.

Now it's time to strip-mine the Solar System!


First, an object lesson on the importance of reading planetary statistics. This if Venus. Note the planet's temperature and weather class. Venus is hot and stormy. If you land there, you're treated to this:


That's me getting my ass kicked by lightning bolts and hot spots. For reference, Class 8 is as high as tectonics and weather go. Venus isn't as hot as it's possible to get, but it's still hot enough that hot spots are really dangerous on their own.

In terms of tectonics and weather, you should never be deterred by anything Class 2 or lower. I've played Star Control II a lot and I've never even seen a lightning bolt or earthquake on a Class 2 planet. Of the three environmental hazards, earthquakes are the least dangerous. They give you a hint about where they're about to spawn with a small pinpoint and they appear slowly enough that you can generally dodge them without much trouble up through about Class 6. Weather is less predictable; either the lightning bolts hit you or they don't, and there's no real way to dodge them. On the other hand, they only take off 1-2 crew per hit, so you won't generally get blown up all at once. Hotspots crawl around the ground in predictable lines, but there's no way to predict when they'll appear and they do a lot of damage, fast. It's quite easy to take one right down the center of your lander and go from a full crew to rubble in a quarter of a second.

tl;dr: Don't even bother with Venus.


It's Mars! It's too cold for hotspots and doesn't have any weather or tectonics worth speaking of. It also doesn't have many resources to mine and no lifeforms. This is a pretty common pattern.


Here's Jupiter's planetary system. Astronomy dorks will note that Star Control Jupiter has many fewer moons than Real Jupiter. I show you this to give you a sense of what gas giants look like from space. Gas giants tend to have a lot of moons, which is great. Less great, though . . .


. . . Is the fact that they have no resources, no life, and you can't land on them. There's essentially no reason to ever visit a gas giant. And now that you know what they look like, you can avoid wasting your time!


It's Io! Note the part I've circled on the right-hand side of the screen, below the fleet status window, above the lander status window. When selecting your landing site, the date window briefly gives you a measure of how much fuel it'll cost to land on the planet. This is significant. The only time you use fuel is in Hyperspace and when landing on planets. Every time you land on a planet it costs however much fuel is indicated here, so if I, for instance, have to make three trips to Io to clean it out it'll cost me nearly a full unit of fuel. Since fuel costs 20 RUs per unit, I'd better be getting, at a minimum, 20 RUs out of Io's minerals.


Here's Europa, Jupiter's second moon. Europa provides another useful object lesson:

06-17-2008, 06:55 PM
MUCH better.

06-17-2008, 06:56 PM

The game color-codes resources to indicate their value. Every time you pick up a resource, it'll tell you the name of the resource and how much of it you got. When you trade resources for RUs at the starbase, the amount of each resource traded is multiplied by its value to get the RU value. Unfortunately, the game uses two similar colors for resources with very different values. Radioactives are colored orange and are worth 8 RUs per. Corrosives are colored red and are worth 2 RUs per. It's not super-important early on, but later you'll have limited cargo space and you won't want to waste time, fuel, and crew gathering low-value resources that you'll wind up jetisoning to make room for high-value stuff. Corrosives are generally worth too little to be worth gathering, but for now we'll take them since our goal is just to clean out the Solar System.


Ganymede is an excellent example of a planet we wouldn't even bother with if it were later in the game. It has nothing but common minerals. Even though there's no real risk to the crew and the fuel cost is low, the opportunity cost of gathering common minerals rather than something else is too great.


I just put this in for all you Callisto fanboys. Callisto has no resources whatsoever. None!


It's Titan! The awesomest moon in the Solar System! Titan's neat because it has a primordial soup not unlike what's believed to have existed on earth before life evolved. At some point in the distant future it may develop its own life forms. For now, though, all it has are small deposits of base metals. I snag them and move on . . .


To Triton, the poor man's Titan. Not much to see here.


Finally, Pluto, about which you should give a hooto. And here's another important point:


Note my ship's manifest. You can see the different colors of minerals and their respective RU values, as well as the quantity of each presently in the hold. Note also that I only have 9 units of free space. . .


. . . Which is indicated on my planet lander status screen thusly. Normally empty red squares indicate empty space in the lander, while solid squares are full space. When the squares disappear entirely, that indicates the end of space in your flagship's cargo hold.

This is another important point: It's usually good policy not to fill up your lander entirely before returning to the flagship. Your lander can only hold 50 units of resources. Each resource dot on the planet is a discrete number of whatever the resource is. If that number is greater than the amount of free space left in your lander or flagship, you'll only take as much as you can carry, but the dot will be consumed. Thus, for example, if your lander has 49 units of cargo in its hold, and you roll over a dot with 10 units of radioactives, you'll collect one unit of radioactives and the other 9 are gone forever. It adds up over time.

Here, we're about to do a very dangerous thing: Our flagship only has room for nine more units of stuff, and we're about to pick up a dot of Exotic materials, worth 25 RUs each. If there are more than 9 units in that dot, we'll have wasted some really valuable material.


It turns out all right this time, but next time we may not be so lucky!

But that's not all that's on Pluto. In the next update . . .


What's this!?

Administrative note: The next update shouldn't take much time; I'll have it up late tonight. Once this update is posted, I'll quickly revamp the last update. I may also go back later and re-do it in the new format, if people are liking it. For reference, the last update had 152 screenshots, and came out to about 25 megabytes. This update has 50 screenshots totaling about 5 megabytes. Too much? Too little? Just right?

06-17-2008, 07:37 PM
MUCH better. Unless things get really text-heavy, 50 pics / update is probably all you'll normally need for an LP update. So... so far, so good! I'm looking forward to how this revolution turns out.

06-17-2008, 11:35 PM
There's essentially no reason to ever visit a gas giant. And now that you know what they look like, you can avoid wasting your time!

You better prove yourself wrong about this one, bud.

06-18-2008, 12:18 AM
You better prove yourself wrong about this one, bud.

Shh! I'm trying to maintain the element of surprise!

Octopus Prime
06-18-2008, 02:58 AM
Whatever that thing on Pluto is, I'm sure it's nothing important, and certainly not the best character from the best race in the game.

06-18-2008, 04:17 AM
When last we left the SCS Nomura . . .


. . . We had discovered a strange craft consisting of several colorful balls connected by tubes. Touching the craft . . .



. . . kills eight crew members.

BONUS: Listen to the Spathi music (http://www.filefreak.com/ppublic/28120/Spathi.mp3)!








06-18-2008, 04:18 AM



So: Spathi homeworld at 241.6:368.7, and the Spathi cypher is Huffi-Muffi-Guffi.


We're given these conversation options. I don't believe any of them lead to a fight except the last one. I opt for the least threatening path:

Hi there friend! We come in peace and mean you no harm.


What are you doing here on Pluto?


So, what ARE you doing here on Pluto?



TELL ME what you are doing on Pluto, NOW!



06-18-2008, 04:19 AM
What happened to the Ilwrath stationed in this system?



When do you expect the Ilwrath to return?


What is happening at the base on Luna then?


What happened to the other Spathi ships?


Who or what is this 'Ultimate Evil?'


How many crew do you have aboard?


Hundreds? Come on.



06-18-2008, 04:20 AM
Why are you still here, Captain Fwiffo?



Where are the Ur-Quan now?


Do you know anything about other alien races?


Yehat still around, fighting for the Ur-Quan, Syreen slave-shielded on BugSquirt, or something similar. Got it.

What do you mean 'Blaze of Glory'? What happened to the Shofixti?



Well. That probably crosses the Shofixti off our list of allies.

What about yourself, Fwiffo?





06-18-2008, 04:21 AM
The galaxy teems with threatening monsters. Are you happy here -- alone and vulnerable?


I'm sure you'd feel a lot safer if you were with us. Come on, Fwiffo, join our fleet!










In other words, this alliance with Fwiffo does not, in any way, shape, or form, constitute an alliance with the Spathi at large. Fwiffo has joined the Coalition of the Willing!

06-18-2008, 04:22 AM

With a song in my heart and a mollusk at my side, I return to the starbase to offload minerals and refit my ship.


I accidentally fell out of the Solar System more than once trying to maneuver the old ship configuration, which had great acceleration but crappy handling. A couple more turning jets will help with that a bit. Since we're heading out for some serious resource gathering I added another cargo bay. After filling up the gas tank and bringing about some more eager meat shields, I prepare to lay in a course for adventure.


Here's the star map, where we'll be doing a lot of our planning. Note the brown circle labelled Spathi and the purple circle labelled Ilwrath. After you speak to a race for the first time, their sphere of influence will be drawn in on the star map. This indicates the area of space they control, and thus where you're likely to run into them, whether in hyperspace or in systems. The light gray sphere represents our maximum range with our present fuel load. Note that the outer border of that sphere indicates the point at which the gas tank empties and the engine dies, NOT the point of no return. When you consider the fuel cost of landing on planets, our effective range such that we'll be able to return to Earth is less than half the range the map indicates.

Sidenote: The game originally came with a neat glossy map of the quadrant. The map had all the spheres of influence drawn in as of when your mission crashed on Vela II. What was great about the map was that it wasn't accurate. It gave you a sense of where the races used to be, but you had to discover on your own whether they were still there. It was neat because it was a source of unreliable information.

In later editions of the game they included a "Deluxe" map of the quadrant. This one was in black and white on a giant sheet of folded white paper. It had all of the spheres of influence that you would eventually discover drawn in, including races noone had contacted yet, plus it marked all the stars where there was something interesting to be found. The only way it could have spoiled the player more would be if it had actually numbered the stars in the most efficient order to visit them in order to complete the game.

Back on topic: The next question is where I want to go searching for minerals, now that I've strip mined the Solar System. That brings me to a larger point about my Let's Play philosophy. One of the essential problems with Star Control II is that it becomes broken once you've finished the game. You already know where everything is, and locations don't change from game to game, so future playthroughs lose the sense of discovery that a first play has.

Along those lines, a Let's Play in which I say "First you go to X, then Y, then Z" eliminates that feeling of exploration. Thus, my goal is to make this playthrough largely group directed. I'll focus the group by giving options based on my notes about the clues we've found in conversation, but within those limitations I'll let Talking Time voters guide the voyage. That also means there won't be any sequence-breaking (for now; I have a quick-and-dirty speed run planned for after the main playthrough). If we haven't heard anyone mention that the Intergalactic Frungy League Cup can be found on Omicron Persei VIII yet, we won't be going there (unless, in the course of our wanderings, we should stumble across the International Frungy League Cup on Omicron Persei VIII).

Now, for our first expedition outside the Solar System. We don't have the fuel or resource reserves yet to start following leads, so for the first couple of expeditions we'll just be gathering resources. But where?


On this map I've marked the stars and constellations most ripe for early exploitation. Our options are Sirius right next door, Canopus to the East, Rigel and Saurus to the Northeast, Wolf the the Northwest, Lyrae to the Southeast, and Centauri to the Southwest.

So what say you, Talking Time? I have a tall ship; what star shall I sail her by?

Octopus Prime
06-18-2008, 06:53 AM
Go see that Centauri, why don't you?

06-18-2008, 10:24 AM
I'd say things are getting... Sirius.

Red Hedgehog
06-18-2008, 12:16 PM
The first time I played this game, I somehow completely missed Fwiffo. I guess I wasn't paying attention during the energy scan and thought he was just some minerals or perhaps I didn't even bother landing on Pluto. Such a shame!

06-18-2008, 12:18 PM
how do you even proceed without fwiffo?

why would you do that to yourself?

06-18-2008, 12:27 PM
Damn you Boron for making me download UQM again, although I've never actually finished a game. Too time intensive and notebook intensive to really play during my college/work schedule. Sigh, time to go kick some tentacular monster behind I guess.

The last time I played through the opening gambit I plundered Beta, Delta and Zeta Centauri before making for our star-shaped friends in Alpha and then heading home.

Eta: VA in this game is hilarious, and hilariously bad at points.

06-18-2008, 12:33 PM
The Ur Quan theme is still fucking amazing.
and terrifying. especially when it comes up randomly in your ipod after a particularly slow and chill song.

06-18-2008, 02:48 PM
I don't know if I should be voting since I vaguely remember the best way to play the start of the game, but Centauri sounds like the way to go!

06-18-2008, 02:51 PM
@#$@! UQM just fucking corrupted my audio drivers after I tried to set it to the OpenAL decoding scheme, since I have a SB Live! audio card.

Sigh. Now to re-dl my sound drivers and do the ol' uninstall/reinstall.

EDIT: Compy is fix'd and I tried it out by Fwiffo'ing a particular Ur-Quan D'nought.

Red Hedgehog
06-18-2008, 04:01 PM
how do you even proceed without fwiffo?

Well, it is more difficult as the Spathi ships rock, but you make do with earthling cruisers. As for the information he gives you, you can get all of it, including the secret password to Spathiwa from the Melnorme.

why would you do that to yourself?

I didn't do it on purpose! I just didn't know he existed. As I said, I either mistook his energy signature for the white minerals or I ignored Pluto entirely wanting to get on to other solar systems.

06-18-2008, 04:08 PM
I never really used spathi, preferring yehat, arilou and pkunk, but i thought you could only get huffi from fwiff.

I now remember that the melnorme had it too. Oh you silly cyclops! (they should call themselves Mael-Num still).

06-20-2008, 01:29 AM
Looks like 2 (maybe 3) votes for Centauri and one for Sirius. Since Sirius is right next door, I'll visit it on the way out. Next update tomorrow, hopefully before noon.

Red Hedgehog
06-20-2008, 07:51 AM


06-20-2008, 12:10 PM
The Ur Quan theme is still fucking amazing.
and terrifying. especially when it comes up randomly in your ipod after a particularly slow and chill song.

SPOILER KWESTION: Which theme, the Kzer-za or the Kor-ah? I think the latter is far creepier than the former, and the same goes for the voice acting. The Kzer-za VA's are way overblown, but the Kor-ah's VA's are suitably efficient and curt. There's never a doubt in your mind that this is a merciless race that cannot be negotiated with...with the exception of a stay of execution following "The Words," of course.

The first time I played Star Control II, my Captain was Brannigan and my ship somehow ended up being called the Turbogoat.

06-20-2008, 12:41 PM
kzer-za. Their theme is undeniably martial and hard fucking core. The other beings are frightening as hell, but their music isn't nearly as OMG WE'RE GONNA DIE.

06-20-2008, 04:04 PM
I know someone who writes Captain x Vux slash fanfiction.

I've never been a big PC gamer, but I used to play the shit out of Master of Orion and MOO II before getting my hands on Star Control II. I think I was so used to MOO's battles that I never got the hang of Star Control II's conflicts. I just muddled by.

So what makes a Pkunk ship so awesome?

Octopus Prime
06-20-2008, 04:08 PM
So what makes a Pkunk ship so awesome?

Their pilots, mainly.

06-20-2008, 04:16 PM
The fact that they're hippy kender in space? That, and i had an uncanny ability to get them to resurrect every freaking time.

and their ships have amazing control despite their short range.

Red Hedgehog
06-20-2008, 06:12 PM
So what makes a Pkunk ship so awesome?

Assuming you are just talking about the ship and not the species...

They are extremely fast and extremely maneuverable. Their projectiles shoot out from the side letting you strafe another ship. Or you can fire a ton while spinning creating a barrier of bullets around your ships. Recharging their guns is actually kind of fun (and due to their speed and maneuverability, not difficult). They make really good Ur-Quan killers because you can easily get away from and destroy the fighters they launch and then when they are very weakened just do one run-by to kill them. Oh, and they have a random chance of resurrecting when destroyed.

06-21-2008, 03:46 AM
Blargh. Sorry for the late update. Life was busier than expected today.

When last we left the brave crew of the SCS Nomura, they had finally realized Mankind's fondest dream since time immemorial: they had sucked every last usable resource out of the solar system. And in record time! Now, like the aliens in Independence Day, they turn their eyes to nearby star systems in search of new planets to plunder.


It's Hyperspace, Star Control II's handy mechanism for circumventing the laws of relativity! Hyperspace travel is where you'll burn the vast majority of your fuel and fritter away most of your game time (time passes during intra-stellar travel, but much more slowly than inter-stellar travel). In theory you can run into other ships in Hyperspace and get pulled into conversation and/or combat. In practice that won't happen very often with maximum thrusters.

To get you in the Hyperspace mood, have some Hyperspace theme music (http://www.filefreak.com/ppublic/28410/Hyperspace.mp3)


It's Sirius, the dog star, which I am appropriately visiting on this, the first dog day of summer.


Unfortunately, Sirius I is hella hot. Combined with its high tectonics and the relatively expensive fuel consumption to land there, it's not worth pillaging. Just barely, though; green dots are Rare Earth elements, meaning they're worth 5 RUs per unit. It's a pretty valuable planet, but too hostile to be worth it.


Sirius was a bust. Let's see if Delta Centauri, on the outskirts of Ilwrath space, is more bountiful.


If nothing else, it has more planets


Delta Centauri I is at the opposite extreme from Sirius I. There's nothing dangerous on the planet whatsoever and it's cheap to land on, but it has nothing of value on it.

The key to resource gathering is understanding opportunity costs. An econ teacher once explained opportunity costs to me using a dubious example involving Bill Gates and a $100 bill. The gist of it was that if Bill Gates sees a $100 bill on the ground it isn't worth his time to pick it up, because he could make more money in that same amount of time running Microsoft. Obviously the example is based on several false premises, but the idea is pretty clear. In the present case, common elements, worth 1 RU/unit, aren't worth the time and energy to gather. Meanwhile, if you do gather low-value elements, be prepared to treat the effort spent gathering them as a sunk cost and jettison them if you run out of cargo space and have the chance to grab something more valuable. There isn't enough time to gather every element in the universe, and getting more RUs right now is more important than minimizing your waste.


Hey, Delta Centauri II has a moon, and not just any moon, but an orange moon. Orange planets tend to be relatively resource-rich. Since I'm anal retentive about the order I visit planets, though, I have to visit Delta Centauri II before I go to its satellite.


And I'm pleasantly surprised to discover that it has some precious metals (yellow dots), which are worth 6 RUs/unit. Noticeable but not severe tectonics. High fuel use, but the resources gathered will make up for it. A solid, though not ideal, planet.


Delta Centauri II-a, though, is the real prize. It's a radioactive world, which means it's loaded with high-value radioactive elements. Low tectonics, low temperature, no weather, fuel cost higher than I'd like, but what're you going to do? As an added bonus, it's packed to the gills with vacuum-sucking radioactive hellbeasts, begging to be brought about the Nomura.


Here you can see all of the planet's native fauna. The round, blue tentacled things move slowly and damage your lander pretty badly when you run into them, but they run away when they see you and generally aren't much threat. They're also barely worth any bio units when collected. The goofy green cyclopses, on the other hand, are fast, run away hard when they see you, take two hits to capture, and give you about half a lander's worth of bio units when you bring them in. The bee swarms are the planet's only actively predatory life. They move at medium speeds, come straight for you when they see you, but aren't super-damaging when they make contact. When you shoot a creature enough it turns into one of those grey mechanical hamburgers you see just to the right of my lander there. You pick up the hamburger to gather its precious life-essence. Note that you should be careful when on safari on a mineral-rich world, because your lander's blaster will destroy any minerals it hits.

06-21-2008, 03:47 AM

Delta Centauri III is a disappointment after the haul on II-a. It's a redux world, which I suppose is the opposite of an acid world. Still, it's full of corrosives, worth only 2 RU each, and requires a lot of fuel.


Delta Centauri IV, a Halide world, is slightly better only because it's got a few radioactives and is small enough that the fuel costs are low. I grab the radioactives and enough corrosives to top off the lander's cargo hold, then take my leave of the world.


Delta Centauri V is a noble world. Noble worlds are quite pleasant; generally low gravity, non-hostile, and filled with noble gases, worth a decent 4 RUs/unit.


Delta Centauri VI is even more pleasant. It's a treasure world, with abundant precious metals and, somewhat unusually, low temperatures. A lot of times you find treasure worlds orbiting really hot stars, making them valuable but hostile.


On the way to Delta Centauri VII I encounter an unidentified starship. I wonder if it'll be friends with me?


I feel as though Encounter at Delta Centauri VII should be the name of a book by Poul Anderson, or maybe a Star Trek episode.


Oh, excellent! For a second I was worried this might turn unpleasant. That is to say, I was worried it might get even more aggressively unpleasant than your theme music (http://www.filefreak.com/ppublic/28454/Probe.mp3)

We are from Earth, on a mission of peace.




Jigga-wha? This is how every encounter with these probes winds up, at least for the time being.

06-21-2008, 03:48 AM

I send Fwiffo into battle against 2418-B. The Spathi Eluder (nee Discriminator) is an excellent match for the Slylandro Probe. Eluders have a, frankly, crappy main gun, but pair it with an awesome secondary weapon, the Backwards Utilized Tracking Torpedo (BUTT). It's a small purple projectile that moves quickly and homes in on the enemy fairly well. The Eluder's also quite fast and maneuverable, so the dominant strategy when piloting the Spathi ship is to fly relatively close to an enemy, quickly turn around, and run away while firing BUTTs at them. This works especially well with the Slylandro Probe, which has only a short-range lighting attack and whic you can fairly easily trick into following you, allowing you to take it out pretty quickly with BUTTs.


I'm a little out of practice and wound up bumping into a planet while dodging the probe, but I still took it out fairly easily. The other nice thing about the Eluder, as compared with other fast ships, is that its large crew size gives you a nice margin of error.


Defeating enemy ships gives you a nice resource bounty. Here I lost 30-odd RU worth of crew, but gained 550 RU in scrap metal. Who says you can't place a value on human life?

Second half of this update tomorrow. Spoiler alert: I end up with more Resource Units than I know what to do with.

06-21-2008, 03:51 AM
Actually, since I'm kind of wired right now and there isn't a super amount to say about the rest of the resource gathering trip, I may just wrap this up right now. Also, a couple more posts and the next update will be pushed onto the next page, which will somewhat assuage my bandwidth concerns.

06-21-2008, 04:18 AM
Filler-Post side story!

What would have happened if I'd skipped the starbase entirely at the start of the game?


Screw Earth! I'm going to Mexico!


Once in Hyperspace, a bogie appears in short order.


Why, it's a Slylandro Probe!


. . . And after dealing with it, another one appears a day later!

To understand what's going on here, you have to understand how Star Control II does Hyperspace encounters. Basically, every day that you spend in a race's sphere of influence there's a certain percentage chance that a ship of that race will appear somewhere on you radar and start pursuing you. Encounter generation only happens at the start of a new day, and all that matters is where you're located at the start of the day. Start the day right outside Ilwrath space and nothing happens. Start it just inside Ilwrath space and you may have spiders coming after you.

Encounter probabilities stack when you're in multiple species's turf. So if, for example, the Ilwrath are attacking the Pkunk (which they are) and the two races have overlapping spheres of influence (which they do), and you are in both of said spheres, the game will make two separate rolls, one to determine if a Pkunk ship is generated, another to determine if an Ilwrath ship is generated. That's why you'll occasionally see two encounters pop up at the same time on the radar.

All of space is Slylandro territory. Under normal circumstances, at the start of the game every day there's a 2% chance a Slylandro Probe will be generated. Every half year this chance gets bumped up 2%, to a maximum of 8%.

Unless you don't go to Earth. As a subtle way to encourage players to go to the Starbase and get the game's introductory plot hooks, the game's creators futzed with the background odds. If you haven't activated the Starbase yet, each day you spend in Hyperspace there is a 100% chance a probe will be generated.

I'm a big fan of Star Control II's early game; it gives you a gentle tutorial in things like resource gathering, hostile planets, space combats, and energy scans without being too difficult or too obvious that it's guiding you through it, all while subtly dropping hints and plot hooks to explore later.

The Slylandro futzing, though, may be too clever by half. I know the first time I played the game I hadn't read the manual, wasn't sure how to control the ship, and didn't know that I wanted to go to Earth. I hit the Up button and watched as my ship slowly crawled in one end of the Solar System and out the other, only to wind up in Hyperspace and get massacred by probes. I very nearly brought the game back to the store at that point, thinking it was too weird and complicated, and didn't pick it up again until months later. I've met quite a few others who had similar experiences, though most of them never went back to the game.

06-21-2008, 05:42 AM
Iiiiinteresting. I can't remember my first course of action upon playing the game. I think I just headed straight to earth like the wussy wuss I am.

That 486 hyperspace music makes me nostalgic. Is there a site that has the original music? I have most of the UQM's soundtrack on my iPod, but I'd love to hear its roots again.

06-21-2008, 06:40 AM
Official Next Update!

I'm kind of running out of things to say about resource gathering for now. To summarize: Don't gather crappy resources, don't be afraid to ditch low-value resources for high-value ones, pay attention to the fuel cost of landing on a planet, watch out for heat and weather, and don't gather more resources than you can hold unless you're topping off and aren't coming back.

The rest of Delta Centauri proved disappointing. Delta Centauri VII was a primordial world filled with base metals, which normally are just barely worth grabbing, but the planet had level 8 tectonics that made it more trouble than it was worth. Delta Centauri VII-a was a halid world, meaning low-value corrosives and nothing else. VII-b was worse; a chondrite world, which meant common elements, with level 6 tectonics. Doable, but not for that price.


Delta Centauri VIII was the cherry on top. An ultra-dense world, meaning high fuel costs, and one crappy dot of base metals. Still, overall Delta Centauri was a highly profitable system, between the radioactive moon, the noble world, and the treasure planet. Plus I picked up some biologicals.


Next I laid in a course for Beta Centauri. I'm doing alright for fuel. The crew's taken a bit of a hit due to the many safaris it took to clear the Radioactive World, but morale remains high.


Beta Centauri's a decent-sized system. Also, it's a green stare, which generally means good resources. The rule of thumb is that systems have more resources as stars get larger and hotter (as indicated by the game's star color scale, which goes Red (least hot), Orange, Yellow, Green, Blue, White).


Beta Centauri I is a gas giant, and once again we're greeted by an orange moon.


Beta Centauri I-a was a low-value carbide world, and I-b an acid world, which is just as worthless as a redux world, but I-c, as expected, is a radioactive world. No signs of life this time, but you take what you can get.


At some point, Fred Ford and Paul Reiche III ran out of interesting planet names and just started naming them after their colors as viewed from space. They tend not to be mineral rich.


Beta Centauri III-a turned out to be a urea world. In addition to being tectonically unstable, it's filled with unpleasant-smelling creatures.


I'll confess to being cheap at this point. I saved the game here and made a couple of attempts at clearing this world, but these jumping green guys were too much when coupled with the high tectonics. I ended up leaving this planet alone.


Beta Centauri III-b was a metal world, meaning it featured a melange of mid-to-high value resources coupled with a lot of base metals. Plus, happily, this one was low-temperature, non-hostile, and fairly cheap to visit.


The rest of Beta Centauri was unexciting: a Luna-like selenic world, a cyanic world, and two more urea worlds. I set off for Zeta Centauri, hoping my luck would improve.

06-21-2008, 06:42 AM

A small system. Worrisome.


But Zeta Centauri I-a was an Azure world, with a nice mix of minerals, some life forms, and tectonics that were on the high side, but not terrible.


Zeta Centauri I-a's native life turns out to be these obnoxious carousel beasts. They move slowly, but they pursue you relentlessly and do a lot of damage when they hit you. What's more, they take 15 shots before they turn into electric hamburgers. On the plus side, they're worth about a third of a lander of bio units. Still: a pain.


Zeta Centauri I-b rewards my persistance with the green spinny dudes by giving me a load of exotic minerals.


The rest of Zeta Centauri's inner planets were similarly profitable, and by the time I'd finished with Zeta Centauri II and its moon my two cargo bays were full to capacity.


Zeta Centauri III and IV only had base metals, and it wasn't worth dumping what corrosives I had to trade up, so I set course for Sol.


That's "Excellent work, Emperor Pants."


After filling my fuel tanks, I contemplate how to spend the rest of my RUs.


I've now maxed out the flagship's turning rate and max speed. I don't really want to make the ship a battle platform at this point, so I added another cargo bays and a few more fuel tanks. Now I can wander much further afield.

06-21-2008, 06:43 AM

With our new fuel tanks we can now travel anywhere in the quadrant. Whether we can get back is an open question.


At this point, there's little reason to run any more resource gathering-focused missions; we can pick up what we need en passant as we follow clues and pursue plot hooks. I'll also probably exclude any future resource gathering from updates unless something really interesting turns up. Still, it might be nice, from a completionist perspective, to finish clearing out the Centauri constellation. You know. Just because.

On the map above, I've included what I believe are the locations that all the clues we've gotten so far have pointed towards. Where shall we go? Shall we polish off Centauri? Go meet these Pkunks that the Ilwrath are so excited to be killing? Lay a ceremonial wreath on the burned-out remains of the Shofixti homeworld? Return to Unzervalt and rescue the rest of the scientific mission that we left behind when we returned to Earth? Brave Androsynth territory to see if we can't locate the ruins of the ancient civilization Commander Hayes mentioned? Or shall we go browbeat the Spathi into joining our rebellion? The choice is yours!

06-21-2008, 06:47 AM
That 486 hyperspace music makes me nostalgic. Is there a site that has the original music? I have most of the UQM's soundtrack on my iPod, but I'd love to hear its roots again.

I got a big passel of Star Control II music here (http://starcontrol.classicgaming.gamespy.com/files/sc2.shtml). I'm not entirely sure that that's all the music, but I can't think of anything it's missing off the top of my head. Unfortunately, it's 1. in MOD format, which can be a pain to convert to MP3 form, and 2. the tracks are pretty disorganized, so you get a bunch of files named "Untitled" or "Star Control 2, Tune 4" or "Victory Ditty 9."

06-21-2008, 10:53 AM
Choices, choices. I headed straight to the Spathi homeworld after makin some money on my playthrough, as that was the most obvious thing to do at that point (captain fwiffo was a constant reminder of this). This ain't a speed run is it? Let's explore a bit of the history of the universe and go see the Androsynth. I love a good mystery (and backstory).

06-21-2008, 11:59 AM
I vote to head for Alpha C and then for the Pkunk. The stars and the spirits demand it!

06-21-2008, 12:04 PM
Finish exploring Centauri, then go visit the Pkunk. If you're going to strip-mine a solar system, you better be prepared to go all the way.

Octopus Prime
06-21-2008, 12:27 PM
Go visit the Pkunk, they seem to be nice guys. And the Ilwrath seem to be jerks.

After that, go see the Androsynth., I'm sure they'll be happy campers.

06-22-2008, 03:10 AM
I heard a rumor that Fred Ford and Paul Reiche III are listed as designers in the credits of the Yaris game. Is this true?

06-22-2008, 10:31 PM
Sorry for the lack of updates. We've had a houseguest the last few days and that hasn't been conducive to my playing computer games by myself. He went to bed early tonight, though, so my plan is to play the next excursion, take and cull screenshots tonight, then write and post the next update tomorrow night.

06-23-2008, 01:17 AM
Actually, never mind. Update now!

Looks like polishing off the Centauri cluster then visiting the Pkunk is the unanimous choice of the audience.


Time to finish plundering the Centauris. I make a bee-line for Gamma Centauri. . .


. . . only to find it has a pathetic two planets.


I'll save Alpha Centauri, the famous Centauri, for last. Now it's Epsilon Centauri's time to shine!


. . . With its one crappy planet. Boo.


This Alpha Centauri had better live up to the hype. Unlike certain Sid Meyers games I could name.


Well, that's a good start.


Alpha Centauri I turns out to be a magnetic world, which means high fuel costs and a nice cache of Exotics. I perform a quick hit-and-run to grab the purple dot and get out before the apocolyptic heat can burn the ship.


Holy sweet bejebus!

At this point I formed a cunning plan to loot Alpha Centauri III of its precious exoctic elements. I would send wave after wave of my own crew down to the planet. As they were singed to a crisp, their charred remains would form a cooling ash, affording the next brave crew a marginally higher chance of not being killed horribly. I hatched the plan after skimming through Zap Brannigan's Big Book of War.


Alpha Centauri VIII was similarly exotic-rich. By this time my ship was running out of brave crew members, but fortunately I'd gained enough experience throwing prior crew members into the furnace to gather these exotics without any further crew loss.


Seriously, though, Alpha Centauri's one of the most mineral-rich systems in the game. It serves you well to be willing to sacrifice some crew to hot spots in order to mine this system, because it'll leave you well-set for some deep exploration right away. Check out the massive amount of exotics I picked up from this system alone.

06-23-2008, 01:18 AM

Why, who's this fellow?




Man, I have been itching to visit the Melnorme for days, since I've had their damn song stuck in my head. And now I get to inflict it on all of you! (http://www.filefreak.com/ppublic/28616/Melnorme.mp3)


We Come in Peace, Representing The Empire of Pants!


How did you know about us before meeting us?


What can you tell us about yourselves?


What are these 'unavoidable factors'?


Do you have any information which might be useful to us?


06-23-2008, 01:19 AM
Fees! Surely your culture is far beyond such pettiness as money?


As a sidenote, this seems a rather hair-splitting answer. "Of course we are beyond currency! We long ago abandoned it. Instead, we barter for items of intrinsic value. When we receive such an item, we assign it a value according to a universal medium, which we then convey to you, and which you may then convey to us in exchange for our own items of intrinsic value. Obviously far superior to currency!"

But our cause is just! Isn't altruism the highest pinnacle of morality?


Shall we begin trading now?






Why did your bridge turn purple?


I sell my alien collection into the Melnorme's hideous intergalactic freak-show, and wind up with 484 credits. Now it's time to spend. . .

06-23-2008, 01:27 AM

Normally I just plough all my money into technology, then idly buy information if I have credits burning a hole in my pocket. The Melnorme's information, though, is really useful for figuring out where you should explore, and since this game I'm not going anywhere without first uncovering a reason to go there, I actually can use their non-technology trade goods.

Another sidenote: In most games credits are too valuable to waste on fuel. This changes completely when you try the Iron Man Triathlon of Star Control II playthroughs: the No Starbase Challenge. It's possible, though very difficult, to complete this game without ever visiting the starbase. To do so you rely on the Melnorme for all your refueling needs.

What do you have in the way of technology?



On second thought, what sort of information do you have?



So many choices! Help me pick a major, Talking Time! Do I major in Engineering, Political Science, Biology, or History?

Octopus Prime
06-23-2008, 04:15 AM
In my experiences, asking about Alien Races usually only gave me information I already had, or was fairly useless.

Then again, the only other aliens you've encountered so far are Fwiffo, a half-dead Ilwrath and that robot, so go nuts.

06-23-2008, 06:58 AM
The historical information kicks ass, but isn't very useful to us right now. I'd suggest getting some "Current Events" and maybe spending some credits on an upgrade or two for the ol' ship.

06-23-2008, 02:10 PM
I'm not 100% certain, because it's been a long time since I've paid much attention to the actual clues people drop, but my sense is that none of the information you get from the Melnorme is strictly necessary; it's more like a hint-buying service if you get stuck. Still, at this stage we've done so little exploring that anything they tell us will be news. Unless it's where to find the Spathi or the Pkunk.

06-23-2008, 02:29 PM
it pains me to spend money on data so readily available on the internets, especially when there are hellbore cannons and shiva furnaces waiting to be bought.

But in the interests of your choice, go with current events.

06-23-2008, 05:47 PM
Current events are fine for now, followed by some tech for your ship. Any theories on the purple thing? Or is it a devious trick to steal 12,000,000 million credits from curious innocents.

06-23-2008, 05:54 PM
you're never given the chance to even look at the purple thing. the captain's got better things to do.

06-23-2008, 09:33 PM
The UQM source code comes from the 3DO version of the game, where they changed the price of purple info. Apparently in the original PC version it was somewhere in the hundred thousands, but they upped it in the 3DO version. Maybe you could edit the value that stores your credit total to exceed whatever the original price was? In any case, there's nothing in the source code to actually open a dialog option to buy purple info even if you have the credits, so whether you could get the money or not is a moot point.

06-24-2008, 01:07 AM
[wrong thread]

06-30-2008, 11:46 AM
Ooof, sorry for the week-long radio silence. Between guests and travel, the last week was pretty bad for me. I'm back in New York, though, so updates should get much more regular now. Next update tonight (and tonight New York time, so three hours earlier than previous "tonight" updates!).

Red Hedgehog
06-30-2008, 01:42 PM
Ooof, sorry for the week-long radio silence. Between guests and travel, the last week was pretty bad for me. I'm back in New York, though, so updates should get much more regular now. Next update tonight (and tonight New York time, so three hours earlier than previous "tonight" updates!).

Then, sir, we will fight over "tonight New York time" updates! Although you may win because I will be distracted by anyone who signs onto XBL looking for a game of Ticket to Ride (or any other board game).

07-02-2008, 02:34 AM
Whew! Okay, so, when I said "Tonight" what I actually meant was "The morning after next." I had a pretty painful time trying to get the save files properly transfered from the computer I was writing at and my home computer. But everything got resolved and now we're ready to pick up where we left off, buying things from the Melnorme.

I wish to buy information about current events.

Since votes were divided between "Current Events" and "Technology," I decided to buy 4 75-credit pieces of news and one 150-credit technology.




Already I'm glad I bought this information. The Shofixti are still alive. There are some males at Delta Gorno, some females at Alpha Cerenkov I. Also, there's a race out there called the Utwigs who apparently have some sort of large bomb. Make a note of it!


To punish me for pressing my luck, they follow up on their three-pages of Shofixti news with some short and obvious information about the Ur-Quan. Their fight is centered around Crateris, in much the same way that the continental United States is centered around Kansas (the Ur-Quan and Kohr-Ah spheres of influence are huge).



The Umgah are screwing with the Ilwrath using a fancy Hyperwave Caster. Also, the Ilwrath are kind of dumb and violent.

One more time! No whammies, no whammies, no whammies, STOP!


Huh. A portal to another dimension between Chandrasekhar and Columbae. Well, nothing says "explore me!" like a rip in the space-time continuum.

Now to upgrade my tech. . .

I would like to buy the technology you described


I got some new guns. Fusion blasters are pretty okay, I guess. I don't tend to use the flagship for fighting all that much, plus you eventually get better guns. They're better than regular cannons, though. The next technology is a bit more exciting, but now we're out of credits.


Onward to Giclas!

07-02-2008, 02:35 AM

My God! It's full of . . .


Butterflies, apparently.






At this point, I decided to channel my inner Nixon and sock it to these no-good hippies.

Hey! Bird-Brains! Got any fruit loops? Har-har-har!


Alright, getting serious again,

We are friendly beings who seek to establish friendly relations with your species



Alright, Gamma Kreuger I's the Pkunk homeworld.

07-02-2008, 02:36 AM
Duty calls. I must go now.

My home planet needs me.




In terms of interesting planets in Alpha Giclas . . .


Alpha Giclas III is a pellucid world, which means a small deposit of valuable exotics.


Alpha Giclas IV is an iodine world with some life on it, but it sits on the cusp between worth exploring and too hazardous for the payoff. . .


I decide it's not worth trying with the skeleton crew I have available. Those carousel beasts are actually quite valuable and are generally worth going after, but they take a ton of shots to bring down and are deadly enough, when combined with the high tectonics and my fragile lander, to not merit the effort this time. I'd say I'd come back when I'm better equipped to handle them, but it's generally a waste of time to revisit stars in this game unless you're doing something else in the immediate area. There are just so many planets to explore that you're almost always better off rolling the dice on a new system.


Alpha Giclas VII-a also has life . . .


. . . which is also too much for me right now. Those purple squids move faster than my lander does and they make a bee line for me as soon as they spot my ship. They don't do much damage when they get to me, but there's really nothing I can do to hunt them right now.


Alpha Giclas VII-b, on the other hand, is another inhabited radioactive world. It's nothing but slow beasts and high-value minerals.


And VII-c has more life, this time urine-soaked.

07-02-2008, 02:41 AM

I scouted it out, but being struck by lightning and surrounded by horrible tentacle beasts the moment I landed made me get out quickly.


To Gamma Kreuger!


Looks like I've picked up a couple of Smokeys.


Gamma Krueger has a lot of Pkunk ships. You'd almost think there was a war on.


This is what it looks like when you visit a homeworld. That configuration indicates that the number of enemy fighters is infinite. It's generaly not advisable to attack! under these circumstances.

Also note that you can't access homeworlds to strip mine them.




I decide to do the proper thing and announce myself.

Perhaps we should introduce ourselves. I am Captain Pants in command of the Nomura.



07-02-2008, 02:43 AM

I figure I'll play it cool for now.

Oh . . . uh, no reason. We thought we'd just take this baby out for a little cruise and would you look at where we ended up.


Perhaps a Shatner impersonation will impress these avians?

We are on a five year mission, to seek out new life and new civilizations, to boldly go where no . . . well you get the idea. We're kind of exploring.


Alright, enough of this.

I have come to ask for your help in the fight against the Ur-Quan.

At this point, the rambled on at length then kicked me out right away, so I couldn't grab the block text at the end. Sorry for the screenshot density here:









I remember as a kid actually feeling guilty asking for the Pkunk's help at this point. Here they are, getting their asses handed to them by the Ilwrath, and I come in and demand they sacrifice for my benefit.

07-02-2008, 02:45 AM





. . . Though even as a meek, nebbishy kid I thought this was a royal screw-job.






This isn't actually the end of the world. The trick with alliances is that they allow you to build the allied race's vessels at the starbase. It's nice in that you can have a potentially limitless number of the alien vessels, but not nice insofar as you have to pay for them.

With the Pkunk, you get four free ships right away. You can't build more, but if you revisit them later they'll periodically replenish and give you four more ships.

I did a lot more talking to the Pkunk, but since they kicked me out of their homeworld at this point it seems like this is an opportune moment to end this session. Next update tonight, for reals. The screen shots have been taken and wrangled, the next update is written, I just need to post it. The only reason I'm not putting it up now is because I don't want to overload on screencaps all at once.

07-02-2008, 07:36 AM
I forgot about the Shofixti and "carnal gymnastics." That's awesome.

So's "Got any Fruit Loops? har har har har!"

Nothing throws up your defensive instincts like seeing dozens of ships surround you when you visit a homeworld. Sure encourages you to wipe your feet and mind your manners.

07-03-2008, 01:54 AM
When we last left, the Pkunk had denied us an alliance, but given us four Pkunk furies as a consolation prize.

An aside on Pkunk Furies. They're one of the game's better lightweight ships. Their main (and only) weapon is a gun that fires three bullets at once, one directly in front of the ship and two at 90 degree angles from the front to the left and right. The gun doesn't do much damage, but fires rapidly and is fully automatic.

Unfortunately, the Fury is one of many ships with goofy energy recharge. The Fury doesn't automatically recharge enemy the way that most other ships do. If you exhaust the batteries it'll just sit there, empty, unless you use the Fury's secondary power. By holding down the secondary attack button, you cause the Pkunk captain to shout insults at the opposing captain. This negative mental energy is transferred into the ship's weapon batteries. It's all very thematically appropriate, but even holding the button down doesn't give you very fast energy recharge. What it all boils down to is that the Fury requires you to hold down the secondary attack button to accomplish the background battery recharge that other ships do automatically. On the plus side, you get to hear audio of the Pkunk captain calling the other captain "Loser!" "Doody!" and "Moron!", so it's not all bad.

But, really, that's just there because the designers needed to do something with the Pkunk's secondary attack button. The Fury's real secondary ability is resurrection. When a Fury is destroyed, there is a 50% chance it will instantly be resurrected with a full crew and full battery, while a chorus sings "Hallelujah!". The game flips the resurrection coin every time the Fury is destroyed, and each death has an independent 50% chance of resulting in resurrection regardless of how many times the Fury has already been resurrected. The luckiest I've ever gotten in this regard was having a Fury resurrect four times in the same battle.

Other than that, the Fury is very fast and super-maneuverable. Its battery capacity is low, as is its crew, but the resurrection makes it feel a bit more durable than other lightweight ships. With enough patience you can beat just about anything with a Fury; its high speed and sideways-firing cannons make it ideal for hit-and-fade strafing runs.

And now back to the Pkunk Homeworld. Please take this opportunity to enjoy the kicky Pkunk theme music (http://www.filefreak.com/ppublic/29460/Pkunk.mp3).


Suddenly I find myself very curious about your species.


What can you tell us of the history of the Pkunk?



What about the Yehat? Are you friendly with them?


What insteresting things can you tell us about your culture?


At this point, I have the option to play along with Pkunk's New Age nonsense, an option I gladly avail myself of:

Do you refer to the Now Essence as an extension of the Cosmic Whole, or as a subset of the totality of Oneness?


. . . Unfortunately the Pkunk have been soaking in it for so long that throwing random nonsense at them doesn't even phase them.

Is it true that you can really see into the future?


Pkunk fortunates are surprisingly accurate, but not actually very helpful, for the most part. They're very good at telling you where you're going to wind up, but not very good at telling you how to get there.

Would you mind if I asked you a few things about the Ilwrath?


07-03-2008, 01:55 AM
This is just my impression, but they seem rather hostile. Why is that?



I still live by the Pkunk's advice on this matter to this day. Which is part of the reason why my updates are so sporadic.

When was it that they started attacking you?


How are you faring in the fight against them?


Star Control II has some time limits. The game ends if you don't finish it in a certain amount of time. Some races disappear if you don't tend to their needs when they call for help. The implied time limit from this dialogue option does not exist. You'll never have to worry about the Pkunk getting destroyed by the Ilwrath. Which is not to say you don't have to worry about the Pkunk getting destroyed . . .

Is there any way to stop the Ilwrath?


Let's talk about something else.


And that's it for the Pkunk homeworld. You can't explore the world itself, so at this point I set out to ransack their home system.


Gama Krueger III is a Radioactive World, which are always fun. No life on this one, though.


At this point I'm just looking to fill up the cargo bays before I head home. Having cleared out Gamma Krueger I somewhat arbitrarily decide to go to Beta Krueger next. Note that large portions of Pkunk space, including their homeworld, overlap with the Ilwrath sphere of influence. That means that either Pkunk or Ilwrath ships can appear when I'm in hyperspace. Real Ilwrath are much harder to beat than the one I fought earlier, and for right now I'd rather avoid the battles (though I do have a fleet capable of fighting them at this point).


Beta Krueger. Fortunately the game arbitrarily decided to stock it with Pkunk ships instead of Ilwrath ships.


Beta Krueger III is a xenolithic world. Xenolithic means "Alien Rocks." There are no aliens on this planet, but there are rocks in the form of precious metals.

07-03-2008, 01:56 AM

Beta Krueger had little to recommend it, so I decided to finish my expedition at Delta Krueger.


The only really notable planet in Delta Kreuger is the first planet, a Noble World, which means higher-than-average value minerals and almost nothing hostile. Always a pleasure.

At this point, I'm going to give you all the dialogue you can extract from Pkunk ship captains once you've pseudo-allied with them. When you talk to a Pkunk they'll give you a greeting message:









07-03-2008, 01:57 AM
From there, you'll have three dialogue options. First,

What's news?





So we've now learned from the Pkunk for free what we paid the Melnorme to tell us in the last update. I mean, the Pkunk don't tell us it was the Umgah who set the Ilwrath on them, but you can intuit it from the location of the Umgah on the cosmic map and the characterization of the Umgah in the manual. As I've mentioned elsewhere, you can get pretty much everything the Melnorme tell you from alternative sources, but they are an easy way to get a clue to jumpstart a quest if you're stumped.




So, there are three artifacts which we may or may not need in order to do something. We have one of them. Another is somewhere in the Persei system.



Apparently Awkky Birdy is a furry. Although, if you're already an anthropomorphic bird, does being into anthropomorphic ferret-things make you a furry? I guess it's still alternate skin coverings. Anyhow, something about Draconis, possibly to do with the third of the three artifacts.

07-03-2008, 01:58 AM


. . . And that's all you get from the Pkunk from there on if you ask for news.

Option 2:

I seem to be having a little trouble defeating the Ur-Quan Hierarchy



Maybe all Pkunks are furrys. They should rename their ship the Pkunk Furry! Oh ho ho! But anyhow, interesting words to remember.



Useful advice in the general sense, but not in the helps-you-to-actually-accomplish-your-goals sense.



So the Melnorme hang out around all Supergiants, not just Alpha Centauri.

07-03-2008, 02:00 AM
Option the Third:

I've always wanted my fortune told. Would you mind?


So the Arilou are still around. Too bad we don't know where they are.



It's difficult to tell if this fortune is insightful, or merely self-serving. Perhaps a little of both.


So? I annoy rocks with lights all the time! I don't need a fancy bird to tell me I'm gonna do it again!



. . . and here we get foreshadowing for one of the game's more awkward scenes. I don't want to spoil the surprise, but let's just say that Emperor Pants I will get laid before his adventure is finished.



This is where useful fortunes end and the saga of the annoyed spirits begins.


I don't tell fortunes without a work order. You got a problem with that, you take it up with the union rep.


. . . And that wraps it up for the Pkunk. I'll be back if I need more furies, but that mostly wraps it up for them, plot point-wise.

07-03-2008, 02:01 AM

Lay in a course for Earth!


Note that I've got four Smokies on my tail now. But with maximum thrusters none of them even come close to catching them. I should rename my ship the General Lee.

Back at the Starbase, the Commander makes himself useful:


Periodically you'll get news updates from the Commander. Most of the time he's just telling you about things you've already done, but sometimes he gives you information on things you should have done, but haven't. In this case, he wants us to visit Rigel.

The Commander has one other useful function: He can analyze new special items you get, like the clear spindle the Pkunk gave us.

Can your scientists analyze what I have acquired since my last visit?


Neat, but not directly useful.


Here's where the ship stands after offloading minerals. On the plus side, I have more resources than I know what to do with. On the minus side, nearly everyone who left on that last mission was burned to death on some God-forsaken rock. Fortunately the starbase is packed with loyal crew members eager to be hotspot kindling and beast fodder on the next expedition.


Here we are post-upgrade. I threw on a couple of fusion blasters and a dynamo, then added an extra crew pod. I probably won't be using the flagship in any battles, but it's nice to know those guns are there if I need them. Plus, any modules are essentially free, so far as resources are concerned, since I can always trade them back for 100% of the purchase price.

At this point, essentially the only reason we're collecting resources is to get more fuel to run more missions, so resource gathering will be a complete afterthough from here on out.

Now, the question arises: Where to next?


Here we have a map of interesting things close by . . .


And here's where the farther-out clues lead us. So what do you think, Talking Time? Do we investigate the hyperwave broadcasts on Rigel? Do we head back to the colony from whence we came? Do we try to make a love match for the Shofixti? Do we search Androsynth space for rare artifacts to put in our museums? Do we bludgeon the Spathi into an alliance? Do we investigate the weird rip in space-time? Do we try to find the sphere or the other thingee? Or do we launch a foolish head-on assault on the Ur-Quan?

Octopus Prime
07-03-2008, 03:04 AM
How about seeing those Spathi sonsaguns?

They're good eggs.

07-03-2008, 05:35 AM
The Emporer needs his pipes cleaned. Go get some Shofixti female ass, I say! Also, this LP has made me really really really want to play this game.

07-03-2008, 05:50 PM
Also, this LP has made me really really really want to play this game.

You should totally play along! It's fun, free, and legal, just get the downloader from here (http://sc2.sourceforge.net/downloads.php).

07-03-2008, 06:31 PM


Apparently Awkky Birdy is a furry. Although, if you're already an anthropomorphic bird, does being into anthropomorphic ferret-things make you a furry? I guess it's still alternate skin coverings. Anyhow, something about Draconis, possibly to do with the third of the three artifacts.

Why are you calling Awkky Birdy a furry if he's dreaming about screwing a sea of Pkunk females?

07-03-2008, 06:55 PM
Normally, I head to Rigel, en route to Spathiwa around this time. So I vote to do something completely different... but what to do?

I vote to check up on our old buddies the Androsynth... and by "buddies", I mean "sworn enemies", but who's counting?

07-03-2008, 07:22 PM
Hyperwave broadcaster, absolutely.

07-03-2008, 07:30 PM
Why are you calling Awkky Birdy a furry if he's dreaming about screwing a sea of Pkunk females?

Wow. For some reason I read that dialogue about three times and each time mentally substituted Shofixti for Pkunk.

07-04-2008, 12:20 AM
Set a course for Rigel.

07-04-2008, 08:13 AM
You should totally play along! It's fun, free, and legal, just get the downloader from here (http://sc2.sourceforge.net/downloads.php).

I have, and I am! I just bopped by Rigel, haven't met the Pkunk yet, though.

07-07-2008, 12:28 AM
Alright, I'm counting 2 votes for Rigel, 1 for Spathi Homeworld, 1 for Androsynths/Archaeology, and 1 for Admiral ZEX and the Shofixti females.

*Sigh!* And no votes for Space-Time Rip. You guys aren't making this easy on me.

I'll do the play-through right now and hopefully get the next update posted tomorrow night. Meaning Monday night.

07-07-2008, 02:58 AM
Alright, the playing's all done. Now comes the fun part: Culling 973 (!) screen caps down to a reasonable number for an update. Or two. Or three.

07-07-2008, 08:31 AM
dude, i'm all for the arilou.

02-10-2009, 12:11 PM
this needs to come back to life.

Octopus Prime
02-10-2009, 12:34 PM
this needs to come back to life.

It does, but by posting here, you made me think that it had returned.


02-10-2009, 12:48 PM
this needs to come back to life.

It does. It really, truly does.

02-10-2009, 08:44 PM
Perhaps our brave thread leader drowned under those 93x screen shots? :(

q 3
02-11-2009, 10:17 AM
A Pkunk Fury has a 1/2 chance of resurrecting.

02-12-2009, 06:31 AM
In the meantime, everyone should download and listen to the soundtrack. It's so awesome. You can get remixes from the Ur-Quan Masters web site. All this was probably mentioned earlier in the thread, but it bears repeating.

09-01-2012, 04:55 AM
...And we're back!

First, let me apologize for letting this Let's Play languish for the last... Gosh, four years. When I started this LP I was studying for the bar exam and moving to a new apartment, so the updates dropped off as the studying got more intense. Then right after the bar there was a two week family vacation, then intense furniture-buying and moving-related stuff, then I started my first "for reals" adult job, which was both stressful and time-consuming.

And now it's four years later. I'm unemployed, looking for work, but with some time on my hands. I feel I'm in a much better place to actually commit to finishing this LP.

Let me also preface this update by saying that I hope I'm not breaking the rules coming back to an abandoned LP like this. As I read the rules, abandoned LPs can be resurrected without having to wait in the queue, but this LP has been abandoned for a LOOOONG time, so I understand if this isn't kosher.

And one last bit of prefatory material. When I stopped working on this LP I had already played through my next update and gotten the screenshots, but I hadn't culled the shots or edited them to a reasonable format for LPing, nor had I written my posts. So, returning, I already had this entry half-done.

What I didn't have were my save files. This entry was originally played at least one OS upgrade and a couple of reformattings ago, and while I'm usually good with preserving files (and did save all my screenshots for this entry) I lost my saved games for Ur-Quan Masters. Fortunately, I found a slightly older save from this playthrough in an e-mail I sent myself back when I was running through this. So I went through and replayed from that old save up to the point where this entry leaves off. The transition from the end of this update to the start of the next should be fairly seamless; my current game got to the same point a few days later and with a few more resource units, but having accomplished all the same things. Also, replaying helped me refresh my memory of what I was doing when I played this four years ago and allowed me to grab a screenshot that was missing from the earlier LP. You can actually tell which one it is if you look carefully enough; the first reader to identify the newly-minted screenshot gets the honor of renaming the captain and vessel for the remainder of the LP.

This entry might be a little spotty in points because it's essentially been reconstructed from screenshots. While I'm sure of what I was doing 95% of the time, there are a few decisions that I made that I simply can't explain. Think of this entry as a sort of archaeological project.

Alright, enough throat-clearing and hand-waving! On with the show!

Here's the state of the ship as we set out on our next expedition:


The only difference from the end of the last entry is that I brought on new crew to fill up all the crew units, which I'd neglected to do before. I tried to please everyone who voted after the last entry, so the flight plan for this journey is to head from Sol to Rigel to check out the mysterious message we received, then swing up to the Spathi homeworld to see if we can't work out an aliance, then down to the Androsynth in the Vulpeculae cluster, then one last stop at Alpha Cerenkov to see Commander ZEX about the female Shofixti.


Off to Rigel!


Rigel has three planets and a crazy bug-like spacecraft. Let's see what that ship is up to?




Theme Music (http://soundcloud.com/moltenboron/19-zoqfotpik)

Well, this is fun. Not one, but three new alien races!











09-01-2012, 04:56 AM









Alright! A new alien homeworld location. Be sure to make a note of it!

Gonna switch the format up a bit, just for the Zoq-Fot-Pik, because the recap text doesn't really convey the back-and-forth.

Which one of you creatures is the Fot?

http://i279.photobucket.com/albums/kk145/FamousApe/LP%20UQM%20Chapter%2010/ZFP-Left.jpgHe is.

http://i279.photobucket.com/albums/kk145/FamousApe/LP%20UQM%20Chapter%2010/ZFP-Right.jpgNo, she is!

http://i279.photobucket.com/albums/kk145/FamousApe/LP%20UQM%20Chapter%2010/ZFP-Left.jpgNo, I'm not!

http://i279.photobucket.com/albums/kk145/FamousApe/LP%20UQM%20Chapter%2010/ZFP-Right.jpgYes, you are.

http://i279.photobucket.com/albums/kk145/FamousApe/LP%20UQM%20Chapter%2010/ZFP-Left.jpgCripes! We've been through this a million times!

http://i279.photobucket.com/albums/kk145/FamousApe/LP%20UQM%20Chapter%2010/ZFP-Right.jpgThat doesn't change anything. You're the Fot!

09-01-2012, 04:57 AM
http://i279.photobucket.com/albums/kk145/FamousApe/LP%20UQM%20Chapter%2010/ZFP-Left.jpgFaugh! Well, Captain, as you can see, this is a point of some contention.


(This is kinda interesting, insofar as it seems to indicate that the Zoq-Fot-Pik have been a collective race for so long that they now forget which member race is which. Also, humor.)

We are The Empire of Pants's flagship Nomura from Earth. What are your intentions?

http://i279.photobucket.com/albums/kk145/FamousApe/LP%20UQM%20Chapter%2010/ZFP-Left.jpgThen we've finally found our saviors!


http://i279.photobucket.com/albums/kk145/FamousApe/LP%20UQM%20Chapter%2010/ZFP-Left.jpgAt last, our search is over! It is just as the great

Crystal ones promised!

(Great Crystal ones? Hmmmmmmmm)

http://i279.photobucket.com/albums/kk145/FamousApe/LP%20UQM%20Chapter%2010/ZFP-Right.jpgThey look sneaky. I think they're lying.

http://i279.photobucket.com/albums/kk145/FamousApe/LP%20UQM%20Chapter%2010/ZFP-Left.jpgQuiet, fool! Can't you see our nightmare is over!? This ship is from the Great Crystal One's fabled Alliance... the Alliance of Free Stars!

(I'm not sure how she got "Alliance of Free Stars" from "Empire of Pants," but whatever.)


Before we go on, can you tell us more about your species?

http://i279.photobucket.com/albums/kk145/FamousApe/LP%20UQM%20Chapter%2010/ZFP-Left.jpgIn our ancient past, four species evolved intelligence on our homeworld.


http://i279.photobucket.com/albums/kk145/FamousApe/LP%20UQM%20Chapter%2010/ZFP-Left.jpgThey were the Zoq...

http://i279.photobucket.com/albums/kk145/FamousApe/LP%20UQM%20Chapter%2010/ZFP-Right.jpg...the Fot...

http://i279.photobucket.com/albums/kk145/FamousApe/LP%20UQM%20Chapter%2010/ZFP-Left.jpg...the Pik...

http://i279.photobucket.com/albums/kk145/FamousApe/LP%20UQM%20Chapter%2010/ZFP-Right.jpg...and the Zebranky.

http://i279.photobucket.com/albums/kk145/FamousApe/LP%20UQM%20Chapter%2010/ZFP-Left.jpgWe three, the Zoq, Fot, and Pik evolved in such a way as to acquire sustenance from many sources...

09-01-2012, 04:58 AM
http://i279.photobucket.com/albums/kk145/FamousApe/LP%20UQM%20Chapter%2010/ZFP-Right.jpg...from airborne zooplankton...

http://i279.photobucket.com/albums/kk145/FamousApe/LP%20UQM%20Chapter%2010/ZFP-Left.jpg...from solar and ambient energies...

http://i279.photobucket.com/albums/kk145/FamousApe/LP%20UQM%20Chapter%2010/ZFP-Right.jpg...and from rocky fungal clingers.

http://i279.photobucket.com/albums/kk145/FamousApe/LP%20UQM%20Chapter%2010/ZFP-Left.jpgOur favorite!

http://i279.photobucket.com/albums/kk145/FamousApe/LP%20UQM%20Chapter%2010/ZFP-Right.jpgThe Zebranky also consumed a variety of foods...namely: the Zoq, the Fot, and the Pik.

http://i279.photobucket.com/albums/kk145/FamousApe/LP%20UQM%20Chapter%2010/ZFP-Left.jpgTo survive the predations of the Zebranky, we banded together, annihilated the Zebranky...

http://i279.photobucket.com/albums/kk145/FamousApe/LP%20UQM%20Chapter%2010/ZFP-Right.jpg...and formed the cooperative union you now encounter.

What do you seek from us?

http://i279.photobucket.com/albums/kk145/FamousApe/LP%20UQM%20Chapter%2010/ZFP-Left.jpgWe are a relatively peaceful group of species.

http://i279.photobucket.com/albums/kk145/FamousApe/LP%20UQM%20Chapter%2010/ZFP-Right.jpgUnles we're angry.

http://i279.photobucket.com/albums/kk145/FamousApe/LP%20UQM%20Chapter%2010/ZFP-Left.jpgSo we find ourselves in need of help.

http://i279.photobucket.com/albums/kk145/FamousApe/LP%20UQM%20Chapter%2010/ZFP-Right.jpgWe only need a LITTLE!

http://i279.photobucket.com/albums/kk145/FamousApe/LP%20UQM%20Chapter%2010/ZFP-Left.jpgBecause of our desperate situation.

http://i279.photobucket.com/albums/kk145/FamousApe/LP%20UQM%20Chapter%2010/ZFP-Right.jpg'Desperate' is too strong a word. I think 'troublesome' is more like it.

What 'nightmare' are you talking about? What's the matter?

http://i279.photobucket.com/albums/kk145/FamousApe/LP%20UQM%20Chapter%2010/ZFP-Left.jpgOur planets are under attack from an invading horde!

http://i279.photobucket.com/albums/kk145/FamousApe/LP%20UQM%20Chapter%2010/ZFP-Right.jpgWe do not know who they are, or why they are here

09-01-2012, 05:00 AM
http://i279.photobucket.com/albums/kk145/FamousApe/LP%20UQM%20Chapter%2010/ZFP-Left.jpgWe are being blown to bits.

http://i279.photobucket.com/albums/kk145/FamousApe/LP%20UQM%20Chapter%2010/ZFP-Right.jpgFleets of alien ships appear out of nowhere, then unleash terrible destructive energies.


http://i279.photobucket.com/albums/kk145/FamousApe/LP%20UQM%20Chapter%2010/ZFP-Right.jpg...they release these energies on each other.


http://i279.photobucket.com/albums/kk145/FamousApe/LP%20UQM%20Chapter%2010/ZFP-Right.jpg...they favor combat near strong gravity wells. Their stray shots regularly strike the surface of our planets, often with tragic results.


http://i279.photobucket.com/albums/kk145/FamousApe/LP%20UQM%20Chapter%2010/ZFP-Right.jpg...they have never found our homeworld, only our colony planets.


http://i279.photobucket.com/albums/kk145/FamousApe/LP%20UQM%20Chapter%2010/ZFP-Right.jpg...all of our colonies have perished as a consequence.

Who is attacking you? What do they look like?

http://i279.photobucket.com/albums/kk145/FamousApe/LP%20UQM%20Chapter%2010/ZFP-Left.jpgSome of the vessels are huge, green battlships which launch wave after wave of small fighters.

http://i279.photobucket.com/albums/kk145/FamousApe/LP%20UQM%20Chapter%2010/ZFP-Right.jpgThe other ships are black as space and their hulls are carved with strange alien writing.

http://i279.photobucket.com/albums/kk145/FamousApe/LP%20UQM%20Chapter%2010/ZFP-Left.jpgIn combat the two ships seem evenly matched.

http://i279.photobucket.com/albums/kk145/FamousApe/LP%20UQM%20Chapter%2010/ZFP-Right.jpgOne fires blasts of fusion energy, while the other launches spinning projectiles.

Interesting. Those green ships sure sound like the Ur-Quan, but we've never encountered the black ships, before. Looks like the Ur-Quan are fighting a war of their own. Maybe these mysterious black-crafted aliens could be our allies? You know, like an enemy-of-our-enemy-is-our-friend kinda thing?

We want to help. What can we do?

http://i279.photobucket.com/albums/kk145/FamousApe/LP%20UQM%20Chapter%2010/ZFP-Left.jpgThese are the words we have prayed for!

09-01-2012, 05:01 AM
http://i279.photobucket.com/albums/kk145/FamousApe/LP%20UQM%20Chapter%2010/ZFP-Right.jpgHey, this trip's not a waste after all!

http://i279.photobucket.com/albums/kk145/FamousApe/LP%20UQM%20Chapter%2010/ZFP-Left.jpgMore than anything, we seek an ally to help us survive in this hostile universe.

http://i279.photobucket.com/albums/kk145/FamousApe/LP%20UQM%20Chapter%2010/ZFP-Right.jpgWe are having some problems of that general nature.

http://i279.photobucket.com/albums/kk145/FamousApe/LP%20UQM%20Chapter%2010/ZFP-Left.jpgBut we are only emissaries. You must meet with our leaders. They are wiser... more powerful beings!

http://i279.photobucket.com/albums/kk145/FamousApe/LP%20UQM%20Chapter%2010/ZFP-Right.jpgThey look just like us, though.

http://i279.photobucket.com/albums/kk145/FamousApe/LP%20UQM%20Chapter%2010/ZFP-Left.jpgFly to the star called Alpha Tucanae. The planet closest to the sun is our home.

http://i279.photobucket.com/albums/kk145/FamousApe/LP%20UQM%20Chapter%2010/ZFP-Right.jpgAnd if possible, hurry.

Alright, if the coordinates we received at the start of the call weren't enough, we now have a name and precise homeworld location for the Zoq-Fot-Pik and an open invitation to come and make an alliance (predicated, of course, on our aiding them in their survival). The Zoq-Fot-Pik homeworld isn't for today, though; there's just no way to squeeze it into our travel itinerary.

As far as the system goes...


Rigel II (or maybe one of its moons; I forget) is a Noble World, which are usually worth landing on. I generally feel that Base Metals (3 RU/per) are my tipping point for being worth gathering, and Noble Gasses are worth 4 RU/per. Plus Noble Worlds tend to be pretty stable and cool, so they're low risk.


Now we're off to the Spathi home system, Epsilon Gruis!


And here we are! Not a huge number of options, so we're off to Epsilon Gruis I, aka Spathiwa.


Not unlike Earth, Spathiwa has a single moon. I arbitrarily (not arbitrarily) decide to visit the moon first. And on the way to that moon...


...I have an encounter with a small Spathi fleet. Let's converse, shall we?


Let's have a little Spathi music (http://soundcloud.com/moltenboron/16-spathi)!


At this point, I decide the wisest course of action is to start insulting the Spathi captain.

Man! You look weird -- all those claws and your gooey eyeball. Yuck!


09-01-2012, 05:02 AM
No, it's not. You are plain, dog ugly.


Alright, let's back this up and do this right:

We are on a peaceful mission through the Cosmos.


Let me be frank. We seek allies.


That brings up a good point. If you are such cowards, why do you fight for the Ur-Quan?

Hey, yeah, good point, me! If they could choose between fighting and slave shielding, why would they choose to fight?





Ah. That makes sense. While the game would sort of like you to see the Umgah as "playful tricksters," the general impression you get from their pranks is that they're more "complete assholes."

What can you tell us of your species?


Well, I've never meta mollusk I didn't like!

Actually, I haven't liked most molluks I've met, so that's not even true.

But what do you want out of this great mystery called 'Life'?


Man, if that were in my power to give, why would I be giving it to you?

Under the circumstances, I think it would be best if you allied with Earth immediately.

(I feel this response really calls for the full image)



That about wraps this rap session up.

We leave as we came, in peace.



Note that if you should happen to run into any more Spathi ships at this point, you'll only have two dialogue options, to which they'll always reply the same way:


Friend Spathi, what important facts can you relate?



09-01-2012, 05:03 AM

Since we are now friends, it is customary for you to give us things.


So the Umgah had a super-fancy hyperwave telecaster, but they misused it and the Spathi took it from them. Interesting...


Nothing says "homeworld" like an infinite horde of deadly warships!


Once I've given you the Cypher, what do I get?








Note that if you don't get the cypher from Fwiffo, you can get it from pretty much any Spathi you encounter. We're not talking recipe for Coca-Cola levels of secrecy, here.

We met a Spathi on Pluto... uh, we became good friends!


We have Fwiffo on board. He can vouch for our good intentions!


To be fair, that's pretty much exactly what happened. The holding a gun to his head part, not the vegetable part.

We come in peace, and with good will.


As a gesture of good will, could you spare some mineral resources?


Would you be willing to share some information with us?


The Spathi High Council is both uncooperative and to-the-point.

We offer our hand in friendship. Join us and our many allies

(This would be the Royal "Many Allies.")


09-01-2012, 05:04 AM
Perhaps a bald-faced lie...

We're stronger than the Ur-Quan. You're better off with us.


Yes we ARE strong enough! Look at our Precursor vessel. Is it not unique?


Getting frustrated. Just ally with me you guys!

Look, what do I have to do to prove this to you - destroy your entire star fleet?


Well, what kind of test do you have in mind?


Sounds dangerous.

Tell me more about these Evil Ones




Sounds REALLY dangerous.

Why don't you do it?

Yeah! Good point, me!


Well, an alliance with the Spathi would be quite useful, since their Eluders are some of the best ships in the game in the right hands...

OK, I accept! Start packing your bags, eyeball dudes, you'll be home in no time.



Alright, off to the Spathi homeworld, for reals this time.


All those green dots are Evil Ones. Pretty intimidating!


And here they are up-close. Giant E.T. babies. These guys are super easy. They take one hit to capture and they just sit there, completely immobile. So we get a bunch of basically free biologicals! One word of caution, though: While you might assume that these things are completely docile, given the Spathi reputation for cowardice and melodramatics, these things will totally mess you up if you actually touch them. Be sure to choose a landing site well away from any of them, just to be sure.

After clearing up Spathiwa we head back to the High Council...



Might as well burnish my hero credentials while I'm here....

Although we lost many crew, we have eliminated the scourge.


09-01-2012, 05:05 AM



...And you're promptly booted back to the navigation screen. Returning to the High Council yet again...



Hey! A deal's a deal! What about our alliance?


Those darned Spathi!

How long do you expect this to take?


Am I correct in understanding that you refuse to live up to your end of the bargain?


You know, those creatures aren't dead. We have them in suspended animation. How would you like us to return them to the surface?


That got a reaction...

A mutually beneficial alliance of minds and might


An egalitarian fellowship of sentient lifeforms.


The kind where you do everything EXACTLY as we say.





09-01-2012, 05:06 AM
And once again we're kicked to the Navigation screen. Upon returning...



Have there been any developments of significance?


The pieces start falling into place; the Illwrath are going after the Pkunk because the Umgah impersonated their evil twin gods, Dogar and Kazon, and told them to. Once again: Genocide = Zany Umgah Prank!

Now that our alliance is firmly established, could you please transport large quantities of valuable minerals to our ship?


You shouldn't hold your breath waiting for allies to provide resources; they (almost) never do, and when they do, you don't have to ask.

What can you tell me about the Ur-Quan Hierarchy?



Interesting. We've never heard of the Thraddash before, but Draconis is where one of the mates to the Clear Spindle is supposed to be.

What do you know about ancient history?



Who indeed?

Do you know anything about the old Alliance races?



Beta Herculis, eh? Maybe we could add that to our itinerary...

Are you aware of any other alien cultures?



So if we really want to meet the Umgah, they're in Orionis. Got it.

Do you have any information on the Precursors?



Interestingly, if you play Star Control 3, this is pretty much exactly what the Precursors did. 10 waste disposal sites scattered throughout the galaxy. Got it.

...And we're done here.

09-01-2012, 05:07 AM
Now let's quick check in on the regular Spathi ships, see if they give us new info now that we're allied.



Hi folks, what's new?


More details on the space-time rip! Located between Circini and Chandrasekhar, appears from the 17th to the 20th.

Please share your mineral wealth with us, as allies.


What do you guys do for fun out here in deep space?


Star Control 2: Meta before "Meta" was a thing.

Alright, since we're in the area, might as well follow-up on that hint the High Council dropped about Beta Herculis being relevant to the Mmrnmhrm.


To Beta Herculis!


Beta Herculis has three planets, and none of them are even worth landing on. The clue from the Spathi High Council turns out to be a red herring.


At this point I decided to head to Alpha Illuminati. Why? No idea. Your guess is as good as mine.


Lots of planets to take a look at...


Alpha Illuminati I has the largest density of huge resource deposits I've ever seen. But it's way too hot and has too much weather to even think about landing on.


Alpha Illuminati IV is also mineral-rich, but still too dangerous to mine.


I run into the Melnorme around Alpha Illuminati V. This might have been my reason for coming here, since the Melnorme like to hang out by Super Giants.

I sold 49 bio units for 98 credits, which gave me a total of 132 credits, not enough for anything worthwhile.


Just thought I'd show you a Magma World. Hot, tectonically unstable, not-particularly-exciting resources. Pass.


Now let's check in on the Androsynth by heading to Alpha Vulpeculae. If you've read the manual, you know that there's a bit of, er, bad blood between the Humans and the Androsynth. Specifically, they're clones that we made to be our slaves, and then they revolted, flew off to form their own civilization, and joined the Ur-Quan.

09-01-2012, 05:09 AM

Beta Vulpeculae! Those... do not look like Androsynth ships.


...And those do not look like Androsynth.

Here's the music (http://soundcloud.com/moltenboron/23-orz) you get when chatting with these guys.







...Huh. Well, better safe than sorry:

Do not attempt any hostilities or you will be immediately destroyed.


Who are you? What can you tell us about yourselves?


So these are the Orz. They REALLY don't speak our language. You can kinda figure out what they're saying if you try really hard and piece things together from some other sources.

Greetings. I am Captain Pants, of the starship Nomura. We are having some difficulty translating your messages.


He does make a persuasive point; Spicy games ARE always fun.

You seem like friendly fellows. Perhaps you could aid us in our mission?


You seem very... uh, trusting. Why is that?


I feel like there's a lot being said here that I just don't get.

Still, weird, incomprehensible fish creatures or no, we can use all the help we can get.

Uh.... I presume you are talking about an alliance. Yes, we are very interested.



09-01-2012, 05:10 AM

And just like that, we're allied with the Orz.

I believe the Orz are the only race you can ally with just by talking to one of their ships, rather than visiting their homeworld. My memory's a bit fuzzy on
this point, though, so we may encounter other aliens who do so at a later date.

Also, the Orz should really be setting off your creepy sensor, especially since there's no longer any trace of the Androsynth.

Now that we're allied to the Orz, we can chat with them in an attempt to glean information. Emphasis on "attempt."



Here's a typical Orz captain, giving us a typical Orz greeting.

Conversation Option #1:

Uh... Hi there. It's good to see you again... I think.

Option #1, Answer #1:


Alright, this actually provides some insight. The Orz are not like us. What we see of the Orz isn't really The Orz, but rather portions of the Orz that are interfacing with our dimension. They also allude to some other sense, which the translator calls *smell*, but which is clearly beyond our ability to comprehend.

Option #1, Answer #2:


Neat! Coordinates for a... thing? *Playground*? And something about something/someone called Taalo. Still, always nice to have a lead.

Option #1, Answer #3:



From outside information, I know he's talking about the Orz ship, the Nemesis. This also indicates that what the ship's translator calls *happy time* is probably better translated as "rampant slaughter."

Option #1, Answer #4:


This is pretty much what they say from here on. I'm not sure I'm excited abou the coming of the Biggest *party*.

Option #2, Answer #1:

I'm afraid I'm still not exactly clear on who you are and where you're from.



So the Orz don't get along with the Arilou, but both are hyper-dimensional beings.

Option #2, Answer #2:



More trans-dimensional stuff. And a hint about the Androsynth: The Orz wanted to pull them into another dimension, but the Androsynth were reluctant.

Option #2, Answer #3:

(Missed the first screenshot; here's the transcription:)

Here is *good news*! Six or nine *pieces* ago, myself the Orz did not even *smell* your *level*. Can you believe? It is so silly! It is such a *happy town*. Then the Androsynth made some *slippery places* and then Orz can *smell* it. It *smells* so good Orz are surprised! I, myself pushed the *fingers* into the *new town* and there are so many *campers*. First the VUX, but they are such *silly cows* they ask so much about the Androsynth we must *dance* with them.



And the Orz keep getting more sinister. So it seems the the Androsynth were experimenting with other dimensions and attracted the Orz. And now there are no more Androsynth. And the VUX asked too many questions and at least some of them were destroyed. Hum.

Option #2, Answer #4:


Looks like they're done talking about this subject.

09-01-2012, 05:11 AM

Option #3:


This option is going places! Pursuing this line of inquiry eventually turns the Orz into permanent enemies, which makes your life much, much harder.

Finally, this is how an Orz says goodbye:



Back to exploration!


Beta Vulpeculae I is another Xenolithic world. Nice resources, low risk.


Beta Vulpeculae II-A is an Alkali World, teeming with life...


...Or at least, these green carrousel beasts. They're tough, but worth a nice chunk of bio units.


Beta Vulpeculae III also has a bunch of life, though be careful; the tectonics are quite high.


Beta Vulpeculae IV is the same story, but with even nastier earthquakes.


Beta Vulpeculae V has a Radioactive moon...


A Green mooon (filled with Rare Earth resources)...


...And a Treasure Moon (filled with treasure). Treasure planets are nearly always worth plundering, since they usually have no weather and low tectonics (but may be hot, so watch out).


Laying in a course for Delta Vulpeculae, home of the Taalo Playground.


Delta Vulpeculae is swimming with Orz.


Delta Vulpeculae I is a Halide world with lots of life forms...


...That will totally tear your lander a new ass. Those jumping green monkeys are not to be trifled with.

09-01-2012, 05:12 AM

Delta Vulpeculae II is a safe and resource-rich Ultramarine World.

On one of the moons of Delta Vulpeculae II, you'll encounter the Orz again.



You DID practically invite us.

What do you mean by 'Playground'? Can you explain more?



So the Talo were here, then they left to avoid the Dnyarri, but now the Dnyarri are gone, but the Orz are chasing them? I guess?

Why are you here at this planet?

And then the Orz let us explore this world...


...Which is another Treasure World! Score!


On the surface we find this eerie glowing city. Touching it gets us this message:





Huh. Weird glowing rock that emits all kinds of crazy energies and seems to give certain people headaches? Bring that sucker aboard right this instant!


Delta Vulpeculae III is an Auric World, so it's literally made of gold.


Here's something you don't see often: A metal world covered with life forms. I had to have them, and make them my own.


Those red umbrella dudes are pretty easy. They run away from you and are pretty quick, but don't pose a serious threat. The purple blobs take a few hits and will try to gang up on you, but move too slowly to be a serious problem unless you have other hazards distracting you.


09-01-2012, 05:13 AM
Finally, let's head over to Alpha Cerenkov to pay a visit to General ZEX.


Alpha Cerenkov has a detachment of VUX Intruders that you'd probably rather avoid. They're pretty easy to take out with a Spathi Eluder, but one wrong move and you're toast. Intruders have powerful, but short-range, lasers and can fire limpets that attach to and slow down your own ship. They're the kind of easy foe that can surprise you if you get to careless.


Approaching Alpha Cerenkov I...


Have a little VUX music (http://soundcloud.com/moltenboron/24-vux), won't you?







So the schtick here, since I believe we're supposed to have run into a regular VUX before ZEX, is this: the VUX are an incredibly vain race that, hates the Human race for two reasons. First, in their first encounter, the Human captain made a hot mic remark about how ugly the VUX were, and the VUX have never gotten over the insult. Second, the VUX think humans are hideous. ZEX, though, is the exception.

What are you doing here, Admiral ZEX?



A menagerie? Is this a collection of animals, like a zoo?



Hey, so Procyon and Vega may have biologicals, perhaps? Worth keeping in mind, I guess.

Admiral ZEX, why don't you attack us, as all other VUX have?

(Or would have, if we had encountered other VUX.)


09-01-2012, 05:14 AM
Ah, Admiral ZEX? Why do you like us? We thought all VUX hated humans.



I feel like ZEX has a DeviantArt page full of Human-on-VUX fetish porn.

Whoa, Admiral ZEX! This is just a bit too weird. Are you some kind of perv-- er... aesthete?

(Nice save!)



Returning back to the subject of that one missing creature in ZEX's menagerie...

If we went and got this little critter for you, would you give us the Shofixti Maidens?



Huh. So a yellow star in a constellation that looks like a snake that swallowed an elephant.

Goodbye, Admiral ZEX.


Eesh. ZEX does not know how to say things that aren't creepy.


Back to Earth!

Upon chatting with the Starbase Commander:




Great, now we can build Eluders and Nemeses. Also, kinda neat that we turned a Hierarchy thrall into an Alliance member. A highly cowardly member who will no doubt switch sides at the slightest threat from the enemy, but a member nonetheless.

Can your scientists analyze what I have acquired since my last visit?



A psychic shield. Nice.

09-01-2012, 05:15 AM

For our next mission, I decided to throw out the dynamo and fusion cannons. Chances are I won't be using the flagship for combat, and I'd rather have some of the cool ally ships we just earned.


Here you can see our fleet before the newest additions...


And here it is after. Three more Eluders and an Orz Nemesis.


But hey, Talking Time! What IS our next mission? Should we check up on the lost colony? Help out the Zoq-Fot-Pik? Investigate that space-time rip? Go chat with the Umgah or the Thraddash? Head to that constellation at the top that is totally the snake eating the elephant from ZEX's clue? Vote now!

I'll be out of town and away from my computer over the long weekend (attending Red Hedgehog's wedding!) so next update won't be until at least after that, and more likely I won't start working on it until about this time next week.

Or four years from now. Whatever.

09-01-2012, 05:24 AM
Before anyone says anything: On my to-do list is to go back and add more music links where appropriate and to fix the existing music links, which are now all broken (except the most recent update).

Also my next expedition will likely be broken up into multiple bite-sized, manageable updates, to prevent the sort of burnout this last update inspired.

09-01-2012, 07:56 AM
Now let's check in on the Androsynth by heading to Alpha Vulpeculae. If you've read the manual, you know that there's a bit of, er, bad blood between the Humans and the Androsynth. Specifically, they're clones that we made to be our slaves, and then they revolted, flew off to form their own civilization, and joined the Ur-Quan.

I'm sure those are just the androsynth heretics. We'll probably run into another androsynth that will have our back and prove to be from a more peaceable androsynth majority with whom we can eventually make peace, even if it might be at the cost of our new buddy's life.




09-01-2012, 10:47 AM
Wait, this is back? Holy cow! I'm really glad to see this start again. :froth:

09-01-2012, 12:09 PM
First, let me apologize for letting this Let's Play languish for the last... Gosh, four years.

This hardly seems possible, but the post dates don't lie! Welcome back!

09-01-2012, 04:24 PM
Today is the best day!

09-02-2012, 04:40 PM
Happy days and jubilation!

09-02-2012, 08:03 PM
Thank you so much for all the appreciation and expressions of excitement! It's great to know people are still interested and makes the work totally worthwhile!

...But I do need some votes to guide my next episode. Where to next. Talking Time?

09-02-2012, 08:30 PM
Go meet the -- I mean, investigate the space-time rip.

09-02-2012, 09:10 PM
Space time shenanigans are kool

09-05-2012, 03:39 PM
Today is the best day!

09-06-2012, 01:58 PM
...And we're back!

Go check out the space warp.

09-06-2012, 02:53 PM

09-10-2012, 08:55 PM
Umgah jerks!

09-13-2012, 11:53 AM
Investigate the Space-Time Warp!

01-02-2013, 10:00 AM
moved to 'On Hiatus'

08-28-2013, 10:56 AM
Welp. I honestly intended the last statement of my prior update as a joke, little knowing that I'd then go nearly a year without another update. Oops? But on the bright side, the time between my last update and this was one year, and the time between the update before and the last update was four years, so maybe expect the next update in three months?

When last I worked on this a year ago, I had played the next segment of the game, but somewhat botched my screenshots. I'm fairly certain that this made me despondant at the prospect of having to replay what was most likely half an hour to an hour of the game, leading me to postpone this update indefinitely. Now I've gone back and realized that I can fix the screenshots, though it may result in slightly lower quality than you all are accustomed to. In any case, enough chat. Onward!


I'm doing that thing in an improv show where I ask for people to shout out suggestions and then I pick the one I actually want, even if noone really said it. I DO recall some people voting for investigating the mysterious hole in hyperspace, and that's exactly what I decided to do. Eagle-eyed readers may note something slightly amiss about this star chart.


Doot doot doo, flying through space...


And here I am at the place I thought I should be, which I learned, after waiting around for a few days of game time, is not the place I actually wanted to be. Where I AM is between Telescopi and Tauri, where I WANT to be is betwen Circini, Chandrasekhar, and Columbae, which is the next set of constellations up. Whoopsy-daisy!


Still, this gives me an opportunity to show what the Hole in Space looks like on the star chart. The deal with the Hole in Space is that it always shows up at the same coordinates, 043.8:637.2, in between the Circini, Chandrasekhar, and Columbae constellations. It appears on the 17th of every month and closes on the 21st. Why is it tuned to Earth's calendar, including our variable-day months? It is a mystery.

If you happen to consult the star chart during the right time it'll show up as UNKNOWN, as seen here. Indeed, it'll show up like this even at the start of the game, before you're clued in to its location, but the star chart is large enough and the window of opportunity small enough that you probably wouldn't notice it without help or prior knowledge.


For reference, here's the star chart during the wrong time of the month. Now it just shows an empty patch of space where the UNKNOWN location once was.


Here I am in the right part of space, wrong time of the month. And there's someone here! I wonder if it'll be friends with me?


Little blue flying saucers! Who could these be?


Why, it's our friends the Ariloulaleelay (https://soundcloud.com/moltenboron/uqm-arilou-theme) (Arilou for short) whom you may know from the extensive backstory in the manual or from conversations with the base commander. The deal with these guys is that they're the actual basis for a lot of the UFO/Mystical Alien myths you see around. They built the pyramids, made crop circles (or maybe mind controlled all those drunk farmers into making them?), probed anuses, the whole schmear. They also have a slightly creepy relationship to mankind, as will become obvious during this conversation.


Already we're getting really overfamiliar for a first encounter with an unknown alien. Let's probe a little more deeply, shall we?

You sound as if you know me. Have we met?



So the Arilou turned tail and ran as soon as they decided we were safe enough following our conquest. For various reasons this is kinda bullshit, but let's roll with it for now. The Arilou have bugged out to... their own reality. That's pretty interesting.

What are you doing here, in this region of space

You know, in this general spacey sort of region of thing...ness.


The Arilou are somewhat difficult to get a handle on, but not Orz difficult. Incidentally, thanks to our prior encounter with the Orz we know that the word "Time" between asterisks up there indicates that the ship translator can't really figure out the word and is giving us a best approximation. If we hadn't met the Orz first, we wouldn't have gotten that explanation. The upshot is that, like the Orz, the Arilou are beings that transcend space and time and the human ability to comprehend dimensions, but for mysterious (perhaps sinister?) reasons the Arilou are human-like enough, or have made humans Arilou-enough, that we can mostly comprehend each other. Let's follow this conversation down the rabbit hole...

What are you exploring for in these 'easy places'?


Again with the extra-dimensional frippery.

Okay, you trap these nungy things. Then what?


It takes the Arilou captain to actually steer us back to a real conversation. I have to say, you've really drunk the Kool-Aid when it takes an Arilou to tell you "This is not a productive area of discusion."

What exactly IS your connection with Earth and Humans, anyway?


08-28-2013, 10:57 AM

"Never doubt our motives" seems like one of those self-negating statements, like "I'm not a stalker," or "I'm not crazy!" In this case, "You can totes trust us because we have had a secret, creepy obsession with Humans for so long. SO. LONG."

Anyhow, since they're so interested in our well-being, maybe some help, perhaps?

We still struggle against the Ur-Quan. Can you help us?


Boooooo! Ships are helpful, vague information is not. In this case, we learn that the jerk-ass probes who are being jerk-asses to us come from a planet with no surface (probably full of jerk-asses). What we DON'T know is where they ACTUALLY came from.


Peace out, hombre.


So now we get the Arilou sphere of influence, which encompases, like, one star. But it's centered on the mysterious hole that still won't appear for half a month. Looks like we'll have to kill some time.


I opted to explore Gamma Circini. Seems like a pretty groovy system. Of note:


Gamma Circini II is an Auric world with light weather, a reasonable temperature, and little in the way of earthquakes. It's also loaded with bio signs...


Unfortunately, they're bees (which aren't so bad) and purple jelly-squids, which are fast and annoying. It's been a year since I played this, but I'm fairly certain I gave up collecting these beasties after they killed half the crew.


Gamma Circini V also has bio signs, specifically these little sea slug dudes...


And immobile red lava pits, which are apparently life forms.


Gamma Circini VI is another Auric world, basically no heat, tectonics or weather...


But a bunch of these asshole green monkeys. These guys come at you pretty relentlessly and will pound your lander up pretty badly, but they're slightly slower than you are...


So you can lead them in a merry chase around the planet, occasionaly stopping to fire into the monkey horde. They take a lot of hits, though.


After clearing out Gamma Circini, my cargo bays are laden with golden treasure and green monkey slaves.


I went to Delta Circini next, and found absolutely nothing of interest.


Now to hang out in the middle of Arilou space and wait for the hole to appear.

08-28-2013, 10:58 AM

Some more Arilou ships stop by to say hello while I wait.


Once again, I realize the Arilou are supposed to be wonderous and child-like and playful, but they just come across as really creepy and over-familiar. Time to get some clarity on that...

I'm still confused about our relationship. Please elaborate



So.... Medical probes against the subjects' wills, without their consent... And they can't tell us what they did or why because we wouldn't understand that it was all in our best interest... This just seems more and more like an abusive relationship. Let's drop the subject.

Can you give us any more information?


This is one of those double-acrostic clues that only makes sense once you already know what the answer is. I could tell you what he means, but it would be Spoilers. In short, the information we've gotten from the Arilou has been essentially worthless so far.




Hey, look! A green hole! Let's fall into it!


We fall through a rip in the space-time continuum (that is, a different kind of rip in the space-time continuum than the one that takes us to Hyperspace) and wind up in a sea of green that I'm going to call, oh, I don't know, Quasispace. We also get some spooky new music (https://soundcloud.com/moltenboron/uqm-quasispace)!


I maneuver the ship a tad so that we're not in danger of falling back through the hole...


Then take a look at our new map. It's been colored green, to match Quasispace's desktop theme.


Quasispace is a lot smaller than Hyperspace, with a lot fewer holes. Just fifteen small ones, plus that one big one way off to the side.


I lay in a course for the big one; it's the nail that sticks up that gets hammered. Note, incidentally, that travel within Quasispace costs no fuel.


Barely avoid a hole here...


And BAM! Some kinda planet, surrounded by red stars!


Surprise, surprise! We found the Arilou homeworld!

08-28-2013, 10:59 AM


The Arilou leader speaks a tad more plainly than the captains, and now we have more of an idea what the Arilou's deal is, at least, dimensionally speaking. I don't think we've heard anything specific about the Umgah, other than them being tricksy bastards.

So what DID happen at the end of the war?

Yeah! That's what I'd like to know!



We begin with a typical Smug Alien, "Oh, I forgot that those trifling things are the sort of things You People care about! Hold on a moment whilst I deign to recall such inconsequential details." We then learn pretty much what we already knew; Yehat and Shofixti left for Delta Gorno, Syreen on their own, Arilou bug out to, it turns out, Quasispace.

Well what about the Ur-Quan? What are they up to?


Okay, Syreen in Betelgeuse, this is actual, useful information. And that last bit is the reason I have a tough time with the whole "Humans are safe! We out this bitch!" explanation we got earlier, because that Doctrinal Conflict has some serious, genocidal ramifications for mankind and the rest of the quadrant. Though not, of course, the Arilou, since they're off in Quasispace.

What, exactly, have you been doing on Earth?


What did you change and modify on Earth, AND WHY?!

Emperor Pants is Taking It Personally.


Oh. Well, that's actually not the worst thing ever. Except, of course, that nobody bothered to modify any of the numerous other species around and they haven't been turned into Orz. In fact, if somebody could draw those extra-dimensional beings' attention to the evil death caterpillars that are presently tearing our quadrant apart, would that be the worst thing?

This sounds creepy. Please go on.

Pants and me, we're on the same wavelength here.


Which would be great, if we hadn't already met and allied with the Orz. There's not really much to this plot-line; you can piss off the Orz if you ask them the wrong questions and they'll stop being your friends and start attacking you on sight. But the Arilou-Orz beef never really boils over. I think in the third game the Orz turn evil. Well, evil-er.

You said you have much to give my people. Can you be more specific?




And now the Arilou are my favorite species ever. A device to instantly warp to Quasispace, which lets you, in turn, travel all across the quadrant? Better than any alliance. Too bad you need to do a fetch quest to get it, but in contrast to most Arilou hints, this one is extremely precise: Alpha Pavonis VII, get the warp pod from the wrecked dreadnought.

You mentioned a Talking Pet. How did you find one?




The Talking Pet is the little grey-brown guy that shows up in the corner when we talk to the Ur-Quan. Also, between the Ur-Quan military hegemony and their considering it demeaning to stoop to learn foreign languages, I wonder if they're supposed to be a sort of allegory for America? I dunno, I'd have to think about it some more.

Regardless, the Umgah have a talking pet, and the Arilou want us to check up on it. That's as good a quest hook as any, I suppose.

Can you tell me about that Portal Spawner thing again?


08-28-2013, 11:00 AM

Great. Alpha Pavonis VII. Warp Pod. Back here. Right.


So long, and thanks for all the fish!


Alright, so here's a fun little game for the next update. Back when the world was young and this game was new, you had to figure out the Quasispace portals on your own. Granted, you could always save scum and find out where the portals go, but where's the fun in that? Later versions of the game came with a "Deluxe" hyperspace map that included an inset map of Quasispace that told you where all the portals actually went. But we're going to do this the old fashioned, non-cheating way! So here are the portals, numbered 1 to 15. Everyone votes on which portal to explore, I go through the portal with the most votes. No backing down, no chickening out; I wind up where I wind up and have to survive wherever I land. I can tell you from experience that at least one of these portals plops me smack in the middle of Ur-Quan space, which is not at all fun. Experienced players, please try to avoid allowing your knowledge of where the portals lead to color your votes.

See you next time (which will hopefully actually be soon!)

08-28-2013, 11:02 AM
You've got to stop toying with us like this!

08-28-2013, 11:05 AM
You've got to stop toying with us like this!

I absolutely definitely intend to try to not abandon it again. I hope.

08-28-2013, 11:08 AM
Portal 2!

08-28-2013, 11:15 AM
Portal 8.

08-28-2013, 11:33 AM
oh shit, do my eyes deceive me??

Best. Day.

go portal 11.

08-30-2013, 07:42 AM
Hey, guys! I am super excited and in the zone and ready to do another update. But: I need more votes, because right now it's a three-way tie at one vote each for 2, 8, and 11.

08-30-2013, 08:33 AM
Hey, guys! I am super excited and in the zone and ready to do another update. But: I need more votes, because right now it's a three-way tie at one vote each for 2, 8, and 11.

I change my vote to 8

08-30-2013, 10:46 AM
I vote for 8 why not.

08-30-2013, 11:15 AM
Contrary vote for portal 3. Who the heck wants to fly all the way over to portal 8. I mean yeesh, if Pants wanted to work out he'd go to the gym.

09-01-2013, 04:14 PM
And we're back! You all voted, after some shifting around, for Portal #8. I did absolutely no research on where this takes me, so I'll be flying mostly blind on this one. Still, I got a lot more done here than I expected, so all's for the best.


I plot a course for the portal....


And away we go!


We fall through the hole in QuasiSpace and wind up... In HyperSpace, in the middle of nowhere.


Consulting the Star Map confirms that we are in the middle of nowhere. Or, at least, the edge of nowhere. That purple cross in the bottom-right corner is us. From here it's obvious that our only real option is to head home, since the grey sphere representing our maximum travel distance only just barely encompases Sol...


As seen here. We've got 79 fuel and it'll take just shy of 70 fuel to get home. That leaves us a little to spare. Maybe we can make this trip a bit more interesting...


We got a clue about the last surviving male Shofixti hanging out at Delta Gorno, so maybe we could head through there on the trip...


There are also the Serpentis...


And Scuti constellations. Might as well stop in on the way...


And that route will take us by the three stars of the Trianguli constellation. It'd be a shame to pass up the only stars in this region of space. We set a course for Gamma Trianguli.


Here we see lovely Gamma Trianguli, noted for...


Gamma Trianguli IV, a Ruby World loaded with Exotics...


It's moon, Gamma Trianguli IV-A, base metals, noble gasses...


And its native inhabitants, these friendly green balls (NOTE: FRIENDLY GREEN BALLS MAY NOW BE EXTINCT).


Finally, when visiting Gamma Trianguli, be sure to stop by Gamma Trianguli V to check out its danger-free Exotics.


Beta Trianguli is next on the agenda...

09-01-2013, 04:15 PM

It does NOT look promising.


But turns out to be home to some docile life forms in a low risk environment.


These Space Barnacles just sit there. One hit turns them to Electric Hamburgers. As life forms go, they don't get much easier than this. We ransack the planet and move on...


To Alpha Trianguli.


Now, this looks promising!


But looks are deceiving. There's basically nothing of note here except for Alpha Trianguli VIII.


VIII-A is a Quasi-Degenerate World, notable only for the fact that there's literally nothing on it.


VIII-B, though, is rich in Rare Earth elements and native life forms.


The natives turn out to be these devil umbrellas. They move quickly and take two hits to kill, but their movements are pretty random. They neither avoid nor hunt you, so while they're a pain to catch they're not especially dangerous.


VIII-D is another Quasi-Degenerate World, this one loaded with Exotics.


By the time I'm finished, I've got 121 tons of Exotics, which all on its own would be an excellent haul.


I decide to check out Organon, since it's on the way.


Another fairly promising system.


Organon II is a Plutonic World, meaning a few Rare Earth elements...


And Organon IV is a Radioactive World. By this point my cargo hold is nearly full.

09-01-2013, 04:17 PM

So I dump a load of Corrosives to give me the 50 tons of storage I need for one last run to the planet. At this point, I'm full up and ready to head home...


Only to discover that, in my folly, I forgot that all those planetfalls cost fuel. I no longer have gas to get home! Looks like my options are either to wrap up this LP or restore to before this update and just make a bee-line for Sol.


Might as well scope out Scuti for future trips...


Back at Gamma Trianguli I picked up a tail. I'm a little faster than it, so I gain ground on the straight-aways, but it makes up distance when I visit systems.


Gamma Scuti is a system that I went to. Nothing really of note...


I set course for Beta Scuti. Maybe something will leap out at me.


Still nothing.


At last the tail catches up to me. As expected, it's one of those obnoxious probes.


I've heard this song before.

[QUOTE=Emperor Pants I]I am having a lot of trouble dealing with this. What's your problem?


As expected, combat commences.


I send out a Spathi Eluder, as these things are made for fighting Slylandro Probes.


I nearly got away clean in this fight. I got cocky and took this screenshot, though, and half a second later was punished for it with an ass full of lightning.


Soon I rack up another 550 RU and collect another Slylandro scalp.

09-01-2013, 04:18 PM

Alright, there are clearly some bogies in this area that are moving slower than Probes, so I'm just gonna sit here and wait for them.


A hostile encounter! Readers of the manual will recognize this as a Yehat Terminator. But the Yehat are our friends! What gives?


Yep, the Yehat. A warlike race of birds divided into clans. I think they're supposed to be... Scottish? They say "Ye" instead of "You," but thankfully the game doesn't go overboard with the dialect. They also have theme music (https://soundcloud.com/moltenboron/29-yehat)!


The Yehat makes a big deal out of externalizing his inner torment in the form of tortured monologues. You will quickly note a theme in our conversations...



We have a few dialogue options, none of which really go anywhere.

We should be allies... friends! Explain why this cannot be.


So there's some sort of schism between the pilots and the Yehat homeworld.

At least help us with materials for our struggle!


Maybe some grandiloquence?

By your honor, Yehat captain, I, Pants, master of the Nomura, in the name of the Empire of Pants, call upon the Starship Clans to honor their word and fight for our cause!


Maybe some guilt, perhaps?

Your species' obligation cannot simply be forgotten! What about your honor, your pride!?







...And we're dumped back to HyperSpace. I kind of expected that to end in combat, so I press my luck and wait for another encounter with the Yehat.

09-01-2013, 04:19 PM

The Yehat are quick to oblige.


Let's get some more backstory, shall we?

How did the Ur-Quan defeat you? What happened?


Well, that struck a nerve! Seems the Yehat surrendered before they had a chance to die in a blaze of glory. And, in case it isn't painfully obvious from the conversation, it's not a decision that most of the Yehat captains agreed with.

We have encountered an offshoot of your species, the Pkunk. Tell us about them.


Yeow, the Yehat do NOT like new-age space hippies. I was actually expecting this to lead to combat, but no. There doesn't seem to be much I can do to piss them off.

Think Yehat. The sheer dishonor of it all


Ah, information! That's handy. So, the Mycon are guarding something at 639.5 : 231.2. I'll make a note of it.

I rub it in once more as I leave...

Goodbye Yehat... our allies and friends.



Well, that didn't accomplish much, but it did get us the Yehat sphere on the Star Map. Speaking of which...


For no raisin, I decide to plot a course for Zeta Sextantis, on the edge of VUX space.


Not much to see here, except...


Zeta Sextantis I, a Rainbow World. These are great; they're rich in valuable resources, generally not very dangerous, and every one you find is worth 500 credits when you talk to the Melnorme.


I ditch some corrosives and base metals to make room for radioactives.


Here's a close-up of the planet. There's a vague plot going on with these planets, but it's pretty vague. My understanding is that the intent was to build into the next game, but the creators, Fred Ford and Paul Reiche III had Star Control III taken away from them, so where it would have gone is a mystery.

09-01-2013, 04:20 PM

I'm pretty pleased with my haul. Time to head home! Oh, wait...


I don't even have the fuel to get to Delta Gorno. Guess I'll just just head out into HyperSpace and drift through the ether, lost forever in the sea of stars...


This is what it looks like when you run out of fuel. Note the flashing "OUT OF FUEL" header at the top of the screen. You can spin around, but you can't move forward.


What's this? A kind Space Truck coming to give me an intergalactic tow?




You know the drill here.


An annoyingly long fight later...


I can fight these guys for a while, but eventually my crew is going to get worn down and the fleet will get zapped down into space dust. IS THIS THE END OF THE GREAT AND GLORIOUS EMPIRE OF PANTS?!




Double damnit.


Still no useful information from these guys. I make short work of the probe, but soon enough another comes along.

09-01-2013, 04:24 PM


The Melnorme (https://soundcloud.com/moltenboron/12-melnorme)! So, if you run out of fuel in HyperSpace, there's a chance each day that a Melnorme Trader will be generated. In my case, it literally took weeks for one to show up. This is your chance to trade credits for fuel. If you have no credits, and nothing you can trade for credits, I believe they'll give you some free fuel. It's my understanding that this is one of the only ways to make it through the game if you're doing some of the more spectacularly painful challenge runs.


I sell my slaves and give them data on the Rainbow World and wind up with 1,534 credits.

I'd like to buy some fuel


I don't want to waste a bunch of credits, since they're more valuable than physical resources, but I also don't want to wind up stranded again. I buy 40 units of fuel, which I realize too late gives me 1,494 credits, six credits shy of being able to make an even ten information purchases.

I decide to go all-out buying technology. I don't really need info at the moment, since we're swimming in exploration leads.


Double speed landers is kind of a mixed blessing. It makes it easier to get away from things, but it makes you a lot more likely to run into things that you might otherwise avoid, like earthquakes.


Point defense lasers are... kinda useful... I don't really use the flagship for battle much, but point defense lasers can be useful depending on who you're fighting.


Now THIS is a technology upgrade! This is the first of the lander shields, and it provides good protection against hostile life forms. Not COMPLETE protection, mind; each time you're hit there's a 95% chance the shield will block the damage. That sounds nice, but bear in mind that a given creature can hit you multiple times in rapid succession, depending on how dangerous and aggressive it is. Moreover, the fact that you have shields tends to make you less cautious about avoiding creatures, which will tend to increase the number of hits the shields are defending you from. In short: shields are a great upgrade, but don't get cocky.


Double cargo space in the lander is nice, it means fewer trips back and forth from planets and thus less fuel spent planet-side.


As the Melnorme implies, the only real advantage of high-capacity fuel tanks is that you waste fewer slots on fuel tanks; they cost exactly twice as much as a regular fuel tank and hold exactly twice as much fuel, so there's no resource savings. The only other use would be if you would otherwise have used literally every module slot on your ship for a regular fuel tank, in which case you can now use more than half the slots for high-cap tanks and get more total fuel. Interestingly enough, we may actually do this at some point later.


Double-speed landing shooter is, as you'd expect, nice for catching creatures. It'll come in extra special handy for one particular creature later on.


These are just like the creature shields, but they work on earthquakes, the least deadly of the natural disasters.


Tracking modules are kind of handy. They shift your aim a bit to make it more likely that you'll hit your target in melee. Again, though, I don't tend to use my flagship for battle.

09-01-2013, 04:25 PM

These shields protect against lightning, which is a real help. Again, they won't protect against every bolt so Weather Level 8 planets are still dangerous, but the shield makes them "challenging, but doable" rather than "suicide."




Alright, got some emergency fuel and now we have more than enough to get home...


Or explore Delta Gorno...


All's quiet here.


Until we reach Delta Gorno VI. Who could that fella be?


Why, it's the last (or second-to-last) surviving male Shofixti! Enjoy his theme music (https://soundcloud.com/moltenboron/30-shofixti)!


Unfortunately for us, he's not too friendly.


Unfortunately for him, I'm not too friendly, either, after getting stranded in space on the way to meet him. I get testy.

No one insults us like that you toothless, piebald, impotent roof-rabbit!



(I reserve the right to make this my avatar).


And we're thrown into battle.


I select the flag ship and immediately turn tail and run. Melee in this game has an escape mechanic. You hit the Escape key and your ship warps out, after taking a few seconds to pulsate red and charge up the warp drives. If you're in any ship but the flagship, this takes you back to the ship selector screen. If you're in the flag ship, it warps you out of combat entirely and back to the navigation screen, but it costs you 5 fuel. This is why I wanted to make sure I had a bit of extra fuel before coming here.

09-01-2013, 04:26 PM

I decide to poke the bear (Cat? Squirrel?) and engage Tanaka again. Maybe I can make him see reason this time?


...But then he goes and says this and I get all riled up again.


Those are mighty words from a dripping, snout-rotted little furball!




Ooops. We're back to battle again.


And I warp out again. Note that Tanaka's ship is damaged; he's the only one on it, and his secondary weapon, the Glory Device, doesn't work. That's good, because the Glory Device self-destructs the ship in a huge explosion, causing damage to its opponent if it's at close range. I think Tanaka also moves a lot more slowly than Shofixti Scouts typically move.


After escaping, I turn around and face Tanaka one last time.

Look donkey breath - one more insult and it's vapor city for you!





Can't help getting one last lick in...

[QUOTE=Emperor Pants I]I am the nice, friendly ally WHO YOU'VE BEEN TRYING TO KILL -- YOU IDIOT, MORON RATHEAD!


Well, this is awkward...

Well yes AND no... mostly no


Yeesh, these guys and their suicide. In case it's not obvious, the Shofixti are supposed to be a kind-of sort-of Japanese analogue, provided that literally the only thing you know about Japanese culture is a surface-level understanding of Seppuku and Kamikaze pilots.

Don't do it, old warrior! You still have much to live for!


09-01-2013, 04:27 PM
Alright, time to take control of this situation.

Shofixti, I am now your new commander. I order you not to kill yourself. You are to remain here and guard your solar system.





...That's actually what I told him to do, but whatever. This encounter wasn't strictly speaking necessary at this point; there's not much to accomplish here until we have the Shofixti females. Still, we've gotten the introductory segment out of the way. Tanaka will attack you on sight whenever you meet him. If you try to be polite, you'll get caught in an infinite loop. The only way to escape it is to insult him. Even doing so, you have to escape combat twice and insult him three times to knock some sense into him. As should be obvious, it doesn't take much to kill him, so it's important not to actually fight back when you encounter him. If you do kill him, he'll be replaced by his brother Katana. I'm pretty sure if you kill Katana the Shofixti are dead forever.


So, while we've been dithering around, the Pkunk sphere of influence has slowly been creeping rightward. As you can see, they're now entirely out of the Ilwrath sphere of influence. What gives?


Let's find out, shall we?


I reach Gamma Ptolemae and soon find a pkunk captain (https://soundcloud.com/moltenboron/28-pkunk) to talk to.



Given what we know of the Yehat, this will probably not end well.


These are our options to disuade the Pkunk. I try scaring them.

You have left your home star systems unguarded! What if they are invaded?




No dice. These guys are too disinterested in the material plane to be concerned that they'll soon be leaving it.


While looking for another Pkunk ship I found a Slylandro Probe. Yay.


09-01-2013, 04:28 PM

Oh, hey, coordinates! Somebody write that down!


Soon they're reduced to slag and I'm just a little bit richer.


I find another Pkunk. This time, I try something a bit more tuned to its wavelength:

Turn back! Our most mystical device, the, er... Ouija Board, gave a definite NO when we asked it about your trip.





Phew! That was close. The Pkunk will periodically decide they want to reunite with the Yehat. If their sphere reaches the Yehat sphere, it's all over for the Pkunk. You can turn them back, I believe, twice, but the third time they make the trip there's no stopping them.


Already the Pkunk sphere is nudging back to the left. I set course for home. Back at the starbase...


Big infodump here. So: The Spathi have disappeared. Maybe we should check up on their homeworld and see if anything's wrong? On the plus side, we still have the Eluders we already bought. The Captain then tells us about something we already know and resolved (the Pkunk migration), and about something we know and haven't resolved (those Slylandro probes are a problem).

09-01-2013, 04:29 PM

I unload my resources and wind up with 21,726 Resource Units...


Earning me a verbal pat on the back from the commander.

I forgot I had the Taalo Shield. I give it to the commander to research:


I'm honestly a little disappointed that I did this; there's actually a fun little sequence later on if you don't have the shield. Still, one less thing to worry about.

So, Talking Time! What's next? I've got lots of resources...


A few empty ship slots...


And a ship waiting to be reconfigured!


Where to next? Should I head back to the Unzervalt colony? Help out the Zoq-Fot-Pik? Investigate the Spathi disappearance? See what the Umgah or the Thraddash are up to? Travel to the Mycon coordinates that the Yehat gave us? Check out the war that the Ur-Quan are fighting? Go after the Mean Guys in the corner? Look for the Shofixti Maidens in the Snake Eating the Elephant constellation? Investigate those coordinates the Slylandro gave me? Have another QuasiSpace Adventure? Note, if you vote QuasiSpace, also give me a portal vote, anything but 8.

09-01-2013, 08:43 PM



Something about this sequence of images is just... terrifying. Also, I vote for dealing with the Slylandro first. Feels like encounters with them are going to wear out their welcome fast.

09-02-2013, 02:36 AM
Since getting a sweet portal spawner isn't an option I guess I'll also vote for probe exploration times. However, I give you my assurances that the Alpha Pavonis being on the way there has nothing to do with my selection.

None whatsoever.

09-02-2013, 10:06 AM
We should go get the portal thing we need to enter Quasi space! If we can't do that we should deal with the Sylandro and then the Mycons

09-02-2013, 10:43 AM
Oops! I totally meant to add the Draconis/QuasiSpace portal generator quest, but forgot it when I was putting together the Quest List. So, lots of votes for that, huh? It's interesting; I usually rush to get the portal spawner as soon as I get the fuel for the trip, but I'm finding hauling through HyperSpace to not be so bad this playthrough. Still, I wouldn't want to try getting to the top-right corner the slow way.

09-03-2013, 06:07 AM
I'm getting ready for my next play session today and, since all the votes are for some combination of Portal Spawner and Slylandro Probes, that's what I'll be doing. But: I'll be heading back to QuasiSpace, which means I'll need to pick a portal to leave QuasiSpace from, which is where you come in. Give me a number between 1 and 15, excluding 8. I want to get moving on this today, so it's going to be first-come, first-served this time.

09-03-2013, 07:23 AM
Portal 1

09-03-2013, 09:58 AM
Alright, dudes and dudettes, we're going on an adventure to shut up those annoying Slylandro probes, and maybe also pick up a sweet portal spawner in the process. Here we go!


First I pimp out my ride. As mentioned, I don't tend to use the ship for combat and selling back modules nets you 100% of the purchase price, so I decide to fill it up with cargo bays and high-capacity fuel tanks so that I need never worry about running out of cargo space again and I can go on much longer space trips. Even if I never use those extra cargo bays, I can always switch them out next time I'm at the base for no cost.


Off to Alpha Pavonis! It is a long, boring trip...


While travelling and humming along to the HyperSpace Music (https://soundcloud.com/moltenboron/11-hyperspace) I notice the date. Is 2156 really a leap year? Did they program the game's calendar with leap days?


To the internet!


Yep, 2156 will be a leap year. Now you know!


So I reach Alpha Pavonis. Lots of planets, and VII is literally the only interesting one.




Unfortunately it's super-hot, and hotspots are the only thing I'm not protected against, so I leap in, scavenge the warp pod from the Dreadnought, and leap out again.


According to my calculations, the Slylandro home world is either Vega or Beta Corvi. I start with Vega.


Fun fact: Vega was the name of the quadrant where the first Wing Commander game took place. It is also the name of a dude with claws in Street Fighter.


The only world of note in the Vega system is Vega IV, which is loaded with life forms...


Specifically bee hordes and blobs. The bees are pretty tough if you haven't upgraded your shields and speed, as they attack fairly aggressively and will follow you all the way around the planet. The blobs just sort of move around randomly.


Vega IV also has a single fire flower. I grab it in the hopes that the ability to shoot fireballs will help me defeat the Ur-Quan.


Off to Beta Corvi!

09-03-2013, 10:03 AM

Beta Corvi! And all the clams I can eat! I'm going to take you all through this one one planet at a time, so as not to miss the Slylandro jerks who keep bugging us with their crystal probes.


Beta Corvi I...


Some bio signs. Let's investigate...


These waddling one-eyed dudes are a real pain to hit and are basically impossible to catch if you don't have the speed upgrade. They're worth it, though, because each one fills up just under a third of your lander's bio capacity. That's a lot of bio data!


See, that planet took me up to 186 units alone. Still, unless those Waddle Doos were the Slylandro, we're not done here yet.


Beta Corvi II...




Beta Corvi III...




Though the planet is home to bee swarms...


...And eagles.


Beta Corvi IV is a gas giant. Since gas giants are worthless, I explore its moon instead.




Beta Corvi V...



09-03-2013, 10:06 AM

Beta Corvi VI...


A primordial world. It DOES have life signs. And, if nothing else, it will give us valuable insight into the origins of life, the most primitive form of biological existence.


It turns out, all life evolved from blue googly-eyed hamburgers.


Squishy blue googly-eyed hamburgers. Mayor McCheese has been proclaimed the messiah of the new religion of Burgerism.


Alright, by process of elimination, the Slylandro must be hiding out on Beta Corvi VII!


Except they're not. Still, exotics, so not a total waste. But what gives? Where are the Slylandro?


If you recall back a couple of updates, one of the Arilou captains gave an enigmatic hint about the probes originating on a world without a surface. This is one of the game's more clever strokes. The Slylandro live on a gas giant. It's the only gas giant of any significance in the entire game. From the very start, the game tells you, 1. This is what a gas giant looks like. You can identify it from a distance, and 2. Gas giants never, ever, ever have anything useful, so don't even bother exploring them.

Further, the game only really gives you abstract clues about where the Slylandro are located. I didn't bother talking earlier about those coordinates the probe I talked to gave me, but they're mostly useless; the numbers are upside down and backwards, and they're given relative to your location when you encounter the probe, so there's a strong chance you won't be entirely sure that you're in the right system when you come to Beta Corvi. Other clues about their location are similarly vague. I know the first time I played the game I scoured this system, ignoring the gas giant, and got frustrated and moved on to other quests. Anyhow, let's go meet these guys.



Well, they're a lot friendlier than I anticipated. Let's listen to their theme music (https://soundcloud.com/moltenboron/18-slylandro).

What are those glowy bits inside of you?


I'm a self-proclaimed Emperor, so I decide to keep messing with them.



Better make amends...

Look, I'm sorry I asked about your... glowy bits.


And our first contact with a new race gives rise to the species' first exhibitionism fetishist. This is why the Federation has the Prime Directive!

I am Pants, Captain of the Earth starship Nomura. What the heck are you?



Interesting, but not exactly relevant to the question asked.

Pardon me, but who exactly are you again?


"Curious Gas Bag" would be a good band name.

09-03-2013, 10:27 AM
Hmmm. Sounds interesting! Tell us more.

I like to think our character has adopted the Royal We here.


Tell us about your home... this gas giant planet.



What can you tell us about your culture?



It is sort of interesting to speculate about life on a gas giant. How would it evolve sentience in the absence of material from which to fashion tools? My understanding is that human intelligence is largely a by-product of the usefulness to survival of being able to use tools and communicate with others. Maybe higher learning functions and communication aid in acquiring food/avoiding becoming food?

What about your history?



One of the things, I think, that makes people such rabid fans of this game is the well thought-out universe that Fred Ford and Paul Reiche III created. A big part of that has to do with their science fiction nerdiness; they didn't just say "Here's a bunch of gas creatures on a gas planet!", they actually thought out what society would be like for a race with no material possessions or, indeed, material. In this case, they can't write things down, so they sing about events to record their history.

Tell us about your biology.



And this answers my earlier question about why they would evolve intelligence: More efficient hunting.

Thank you. That's sufficient for now


Or lets ask another question.

Exactly how long is a 'Drahn'?


This should give you an idea of how long these fellows live. Pretty darn long. This has some intriguing implications. But now let's talk about ourselves.

Most of us come from a large, rocky world called Earth.


We travel the galaxy in starships, seeking knowledge and contact with other sentients.



Our primary objective right now is to free ourselves from the Evil Ur-Quan.

(Note that the game has taken to capitalizing the Evil before Ur-Quan. This is to distinguish them from the Sleepy Ur-Quan)


09-03-2013, 10:47 AM
I think you are confused. Those aren't the Ur-Quan we're talking about. Ours are green.


Huh. So the Ur-Quan used to be a different color? And maybe were also nice guys? Intriguing...

We are particularly interested in studying unusual planets and life forms.


Okay, so there's an interesting planet orbiting one of twin blue stars near here. From the description, it sounds like a Rainbow World.

That's enough about us, for now


Changing the subject back to a conversation thread we didn't follow earlier...

Probes? What probes are you talking about?

As though we don't know.



So the Melnorme are responsible for all this. I should have known. I mean, I did know, because I've played before, but you catch my meaning.

Tell me about the other races who have visited you over the years.


Milieu? What is the Milieu and who are the Yuli and the Drall?


We're backing into information here that we'd ordinarily get from other sources, but this is pretty fascinating. An alliance of races that pre-dates the Alliance of Free Stars and the Ur-Quan Hierarchy, but which included the Ur-Quan.

Were there any other visitors here besides the Melnorme and the Milieu races?


So apparently that urine moon is actually a Precursor broadcasting station. I'm not sure I want to watch a Precursor TV show.

Yow! That sounds like the Precursors! What else can you tell us about this race?




More Precursor mysteries set up for a future game that never came to be (or, depending on your perspective, a future game we all wish never was).

This is EXTREMELY important to us! Don't you know any more?



So, the same information over about the rainbow world orbiting one of twin blue stars, and some relatively useless information about another rainbow world orbiting a large white star. "Big and White" doesn't really narrow the search down much.

Back to the probes...

Can you give me details about your probes?

(I thought they asked us to stop inquiring about their glowy bits!)


Where exactly did you say you got your probe from?


09-03-2013, 11:01 AM
Why did the Melnorme sell it to you?


How long ago did you get the probe?


What was the probe's program?


Clearly, the creators couldn't resist a Star Trek reference here.

Can you explain the probe's replication ability?



Uh oh... Time to address the glowing gonads in the room.

Well why then do your probes attack our ship?


Can we talk a little bit more about the probe's programming?


Would you explain the general outline of the probe's program?




One of those numbers seems a bit... High....

You mentioned the probe's defensive capabilities. Elaborate.


And when defending itself, it uses its lightning weapon?


What missiles? It always attacked us with lightning bolts!


The pieces start falling into place...

Would you tell me about the 'Replication' behavior?


Uh... what priority did you assign to replication?


Astute readers will have already figured out where the Slylandro went wrong here.

09-03-2013, 11:27 AM
What is the effect of the Priority Settings on Behavior?


Your probe DOES destroy ships and I can prove it!



Think about a probe's Replication behavior

(Note that weird capitalization is carried from the original)


Think about the effect of changing the replication behavior's priority


Now, what will it do to a ship, given that its Replication priority is set to maximum?



This is all very interesting, as it's essentially a version of the "Grey Goo" apocalyptic scenario on a larger scale. The basic idea (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Grey_goo) comes from nanotechnology theory, and posits that a single nanomachine, set to self-replicate itself without limits from whatever material was available, would eventualy, and quite rapidly, consume all available material on the planet, turning everything into a giant glob of grey (meaning boring and uniform) goo. Literally the whole planet would be turned into nanomachines.

The Slylandro Probe combines the grey goo scenario with a dark joke about lack of caution when programming. By setting the self-replication priority to maximum, the Slylandro have set into motion a course of events that, unless stopped, will result in the entire universe being turned into Slylandro Probes.

Interestingly, the Slylandro Problem is arguably more important for the survival of the universe than the Ur-Quan Problem. And yet, this quest is entirely optional.

Well to begin with, if I were you, I'd sue the Melnorme


Of course...

Someone is going to have to hunt them all down and destroy them

Someone like me!


Someone not like me!

Couldn't you broadcase some kind of recall signal?


I don't suppose you have some kind of Mega-Self-Destruct Code, or something?


Ah-ha! At least the probes won't be a problem for me, personally, anymore. And, in the end, isn't that all that really matters?

Goodbye Slylandro gas bags


I swing around and head back immediately.



Well, that wraps everything up in a neat little package, then, doesn't it?


Slylandro dealt with, I set a course for the QuasiSpace portal that opens from the 17th to the 20th of every month. I've got about 15 days to get there, but I'm not sure if I'll make it.


On the way, I encounter a probe. Time to test out that destruct code!

09-03-2013, 12:02 PM

Transmit destruct sequence!

Take that!



And just like that, we get a victory screen and free resources. We'll keep encountering probes (I encountered three during this update) but now we just need to pick the correct dialogue box and they'll explode. Of course, since the Slylandro have taken steps to curb the probes' rampant reproduction, they'll now show up with much less frequency.


I realize I don't have time to make it to the QuasiSpace hole before it closes, so I resign myself to killing time for a month and set course for Beta Chandrasekhar, which is on the way.


Only two planets...


But one is a Quasi-Degenerate World...


...And the other is an Emerald World!


I wind up with 204 units of Exotics, which will nearly pay for this trip's fuel all by itself.


I move on to Epsilon Chandrasekhar...


Which has one stupid planet which is too dumb to even show you.


From there I move to Gamma Chandrasekhar...


And as soon as I get there I remember the clues the Slylandro gave me about the twin blue stars with a Rainbow World orbiting one of them. Maybe I could find that before the hole opens again?


It's either Alpha or Beta Pegasi


I try Alpha first, and come up empty.


Hopefully Beta will prove more fruitful...

09-03-2013, 12:03 PM

It's the 11th of the month, so I've got about ten days to find the Rainbow World and get to the hole before it closes.


I'm right! I don't bother exploring the planet, since I've little time and it's too hot besides. Oh, and a helpful hint: If a star has a Rainbow World, it's always the first planet in the system.


I set course for the middle of the Arilou sphere...


And I make it just in time! I would NOT have enjoyed waiting around for another month, and I only realized after heading into QuasiSpace that I hadn't saved since I started this update.



I am excited for easy way times, too!

I have obtained the Warp Pod unit from the Ur-Quan wreck



This is just a bit condescending; is it that surprising that, when they told us that the pod was on Alpha Pavonis VII, we went to Alpha Pavonis VII and successfully brought it back? Anyhow, we can now go to QuasiSpace whenever we want, but it costs 10 fuel per trip. There are a lot of portals that'll get us pretty much anywhere we want, so this will be our primary mode of travel from now on. Except: We still don't know where all these portals lead.




Per False Logic's suggestion, I try out Portal #1.


From the radar, it looks like I'm at the far right edge of space. Space, in Star Control II, is flat, and you can fall off the edge of it.


Looks like I'm way over on the right side of the screen, about 2/3 down. Didn't somebody (the Pkunk?) tell us that there were some jerks here who had a ruby sphere that was part of a set with the clear spindle they gave us? I think that's them. Either that or the Melnorme told us to look for people here.


I set a course for the nearest planet, Zeta Persei (Zeta... Percy?)


This system is positively swarming with a new kind of dude that we have not met before! Just to be safe, I avoid them as much as possible and make for the first planet in the system, where I meet...


This fine, fresh, fun-loving fellow. Have a listen (https://soundcloud.com/moltenboron/34-druuge) while I prepare the next post...

09-03-2013, 12:04 PM

Hmmm... I just got the vortex spawner, and it does seem incredibly useful, but I could totally trade it in right now for three of those ships I saw swarming around! First, though, let's have a chat:

What can you tell us about this trade world?


The Druuge are this game's 100% Devoted to Capitalism to the Point Where the Entire Race is Organized as a Corporation Race, in case you didn't notice.

I would like to make a purchase


Hmmmm... That seems... A little...

Gee, isn't that kind of like... slave trading?


Maybe... Maybe they'll be well-treated slaves?

Well, what would my crew members do here?


Mmmm... Nah. We couldn't. But maybe...

I will never sell my crew to be your slaves



On the other hand, maybe they've got some great bargains!

...I am ready to make purchases.



Well, some of that could be useful... Perhaps... I just don't know!


See ya!


Here's where I am now, Talking Time, complete with newly-drawn Druuge bubble. (ignore the range bubble; it's screwed up because I have so much fuel). What now? Should I sell my crew to the Druuge? Should I trade my portal spawner for magic beans/space ships? Should I use the spawner to check out a different portal? If so, which one? I can also do any of the quests from the previous update, though I'd prefer not to fly straight to them now that I have the Portal Spawner.

09-03-2013, 12:11 PM
Can you post a new pic of the map with the portals listed (maybe updated or overlaid with what we know is by them?

09-03-2013, 12:28 PM


09-03-2013, 12:29 PM
Portal 3!

09-03-2013, 05:34 PM
i'll second 3! Also, you should totally go meet the umgah.

09-10-2013, 10:08 AM
Alright, I'm going to try to switch up the format a bit; shorter updates, allowing for somewhat more interaction. I'll update at least once a week; Tuesdays seem like a good day for it. I reserve the right to have Bonus Updates between regular updates, though.

So, when last we left, we were hanging out in Zeta Percy, having just met the Druuge (https://soundcloud.com/moltenboron/34-druuge). Let's chat with them a little more, shall we?


Every encounter with the Druuge is a potentially hostile encounter. The Druuge are not fellows you will be allying with. You can get their ships for trade, though... If you really want them.


It doesn't come accross in the screenshot, but globs of green snot occasionally drip out of the Druuge Captain's nose. I have to wonder how comfortable that seating configuration is; I'm fairly sure that's a "stress position" used in... What's the term of art that we call torture now? "Extreme Interrogation?"


These guys make no attempt to hide their homeworld location. Annoyingly, the homeworld is the only place where you can trade with them.

I had a few encounters with captains here; I'm just going to throw together all their answers to this inquiry to save space.

What can you tell us about your culture, your species?


Captain! Political commentary off the port bow!



What's interesting about all of this is the degree to which extreme forms of government tend to merge together and become indistinguishable when they reach their maximal extremity. So here we've got a society where everyone is an employee of a single corporation, which controls production and the distribution of resources. Aside from the fact that it's called a corporation, "government by a single entity, which controls all resources and their distribution," looks an awful lot like communism. Now, here there's no formal equality between employee/shareholders, but communism-as-practiced doesn't have a lot of actual equality, either.


Unsurprisingly, the Druuge are not fans of their fellow trading race, the Melnorme. They both deal primarily in living beings, but the Druuge want sentient slaves, while the Melnorme want (presumably?) non-sentient life forms.



So, the Kohr-Ah are not folks you'd like to meet, presumably. Also, there's a race out there called the Burvixese, who no longer deal with the Druuge.



Druuge law is based on victim-blaming. Got it.


Alright, this is important. We can get stuff from the Druuge without slave trading. What they want are our portal spawner (which we knew about already), Hyperwave 'Casters, and Mycon spore shells (should we find them).




09-10-2013, 10:09 AM

As an attorney, I found this contract with God pretty amusing. Anyhow, that about wraps it up for the Druuge for now.




I turn my attention to looting the Druuge home system. The only real planet of note is Zeta Persei IV, home to Space Broccoli, Purple Worms, and those Waddle Dees that are worth a ton of biological points.


Oh, so, systems full of enemy ships. Sometimes you enter a system and it's full of ships. That's a good indication that this is somebody's homeworld, though it could just be a random planet within that race's zone of control. Each one of those Druuge Mauler's is an encounter. When you first enter, or if the species considers you non-hostile, they'll just sort of meander about. Here you see them orbiting various worlds. The AI for meander mode has them fly circles around a planet for a while, then pick a random destination and go there to orbit for a while. Their orbiting destination could be either in the macro-view of the system, seen here, or in the zoom-in on the planet. Once one ship detects you, which happens if you fly to close to one, every ship in the system will immediately make a bee-line for your ship. All ships in-system move at the same speed regardless of ship type, and if you've fully upgraded your turners and thrusters you should be able to easily out-maneuver them.


I head to QuasiSpace and chart a course for Portal 3...


Which takes us to Arilou Space. Not an incredibly useful jump.


Still, it puts us close to the Umgah homeworlds in the Orionis constellation, so I set a course for the nearest system, Zeta Orionis.


6 planets, most of which are resource-poor and of no account.


Zeta Orionis IV is full of these Green Carousel fellows. They're aggressive and require 15 shots to take down, but they move slowly and give a lot of bio data, so they're quite worth it.


Zeta Orionis V has a bunch of Whomping Willows, which are easy to catch and give a reasonable amount of bio data. All the planets in this system have high tectonics, but our earthquake shields allow us to basically ignore the danger. Without those shields, the Whomping Willows might be worth the trip, but the Green Carousels almost certainly wouldn't be.


Well, let's try Delta Orionis.


Ah, just who we were looking for.




Have a listen to the Umgah Theme (https://soundcloud.com/moltenboron/31-umgah), which is suitably drippy and biological. Meanwhile, I'm not gonna beat around the bush with these guys:

You are evil blobbies, I say! Avast!


...Huh. The Umgah ARE technically our enemies. I'd expect more hostility than a "get out of here."

09-10-2013, 10:10 AM
Umgah humor is renowned across space, so... know any good jokes?!


Hmmmm... Not funny per se, but honestly I prefer it to the typical Umgah "practical joke." Still, let's push our luck...

Uh... that wasn't very funny. Can't you do better?


At first I thought this was a joke about Cold Fusion, but I think it's supposed to be a pun about "confusion." Still, better than normal. I go against every rule of being a good comedy audience and decide to heckle.

Ugh! That wasn't a very good joke either. I don't think you guys are very funny.


This is my new favorite response to heckling.

I am Captain Pants, of the starship Nomura. What is your response?


That's weird. Nothing gets a rise out of these guys. Was there anything else we heard recently about the Umgah? Oh, right, the Talking Pet the Arilou gave them.

So how's that Talking Pet getting along?


The Arilou told us they had given it to you... they did, right?





And we're dumped to the combat screen. So, something's up with that Talking Pet. What are the Umgah hiding?


The Umgah Drone is a really interesting ship. It's small and fast, which as usual means a small crew. The primary weapon is an antimatter cone that shoots in front of it a short distance. In addition to doing a lot of damage quickly, the cone destroys most incoming missiles. Even more interesting, the cone is free; it costs no energy to use and can be used even if the batteries are empty, so there's no reason not to have the cone active at all times. The Drone's secondary attack causes it to fly backwards super-fast. The backwards-charge eats up energy, but is a nice way to quickly get in close to an enemy, particularly since the conical shape of the main weapon means that the Drone can strafe an enemy by whizzing past it.


Still, they fall fairly easily to my Spathi Eluder. The battle isn't cost-free, as I take some hits and lose some crew, but I still have my full compliment of Eluders. The strategy for facing a Drone with an Eluder is fairly standard; stay at mid-range and launch BUTTs. The AI won't activate the anti-matter cone unless you're up close, so you need not worry about the BUTTs being taken out if you're far enough out, and the Drone is slower and less maneuverable than the Eluder (unless it's using its backwards-lunge). Drones give crap for RU, so it's really not worth farming them.


Alright, so here we are. Where should we head next, Talking Time? We can investigate the Umgah homeworld in search of the Talking Pet, we could head down and try to figure out what happened to the Spathi, we could go on over to the Zoq-Fot-Pik and see what their deal is, or we could head up to investigate the clue about mean dudes up in the Draconis constellation. Alternatively, we could head home, or we could make another QuasiSpace jump.


For reference, here's an updated QuasiSpace map. Where to now?

09-10-2013, 10:18 AM
I'll take portal number 5, Monty!

09-10-2013, 10:20 AM
Let's find the Spathi or head to the Umgah home world

09-10-2013, 11:02 AM
Talking Pet!

09-11-2013, 02:45 AM

Inactive Blacksmith
09-12-2013, 12:40 PM
What he said.

09-14-2013, 02:27 PM
You're already in Umgah space, right? Might as well check out their homeworld while you're there.

11-15-2013, 10:51 AM
On Hiatus

03-14-2014, 10:37 AM