Star Control: November Update!

Published on Thursday, November 19, 2015 By Brad Wardell In Star Control


The logo

At last, the Founders Program is about to start and the basic website is now live!

First, read this:

Take the survey here:

We are desperately trying not to spoil anything about the game but at the same time we want Star Control fans to feel reassured that we’re on the right track. It’s a delicate balance.

So let me just put out information that is now publicly available:

#1 The Team

Stardock built a new studio, from scratch, in Towson Maryland specifically for Star Control.  We knew Star Control would require a veteran team to nail and for that reason decided that it was best to build the studio in Towson Maryland.

Why Towson? In one of the quirks of the game industry, Towson Maryland is ground zero of a good chunk of the PC game industry.  Firaxis is here. Bethesda is here. Big Huge Games is here. Zynga was here.  So much PC game history was made in this little town (Microprose and its successors). 

Stardock has a single office complex to house Stardock Towson, Mohawk Games, and Oxide Games.  This has had some really positive results that we didn’t consider at first.  For example, Soren’s team (Soren designed Civilization IV) working on Offworld Trading Company has had readily available early testers while we’ve ramped up while Andrew’s team (Star Control) has had readily available access to art and game design input from Soren’s team.  And of course, Oxide Games, the team making Ashes of the Singularity, is there to help with the engine.

#2 The Engine

So it’s using the Nitrous engine which is being developed for Ashes of the Singularity.  Star Control will be 64-bit and require at least DirectX 11.  This won’t be a big deal when it ships but it’s something to be aware of.

We’ve made some core design choices (Super Meelee will support up to 6 players in MP mode). While we’ve left other decisions (how many ships should be present in a Super Meelee battle) for the Founders to have input on.

The engine, of course, could support thousands of ships in a battle. That’s not the issue.  The issue will be the gameplay and what makes sense.

#3 The Art Style

If you’ve seen Inside Out you have a good idea of what the general art style will be like.  Mind you, we picked our art style before that movie came out, so we’re not basing ours on that movie, it just kind of worked out that way.

Here’s a screenshot of one of the new aliens:



#4 Planet exploration



When you explore the galaxy, the planets won’t look like realistic planets. They’ll look like the above.  That’s because when you land on a planet, there’s no transition. You are literally landing on THAT planet and exploring (obviously super zoomed in).  While it’ll be similar to what was in Star Control 2, it’s heavily expanded upon (first, because it’s 3D and you’re driving around on a sphere-ish thingy, secondly because you’ll find special items in addition to resources).


#5 The Modding

This is the piece we’ve really struggled with in terms of “spoilers”.  Other parts are easy to not mention because we don’t want to give away too much.  But we think this part is important to get out early on.

If you go back and play Star Control 2 the challenge has always been about replayability.  Now, you can always create “sequels” that continue a story but then that means you’re waiting until a sequel which isn’t super satisfying.

How do you solve this?

The answer: A multiverse. 

We toyed with this a bit with Stellar Frontier a long time ago with fantastic results.  The idea being that OUR story will take place in our dimension (Earth-1, 2085).  But the community will be able to create their own stories, aliens, ships, etc. with the tools we’re making.   This sort of thing has helped games like Skyrim and now Fallout 4 a great deal.  But what if a game was designed from the start with this in mind?  Imagine loading up the game and being able to choose to go to “Earth-76” or “Spazik Universe” or whatever dimension someone comes up with?

Obviously, this is a win-win for both us and the players. I’m not going to pretend that making these tools won’t sell a lot of copies of the game.  But it is also a no-brainer to do.  Players aren’t in the situation where they “finish” the main campaign and wait a year or two for our next edition. Instead, they logon and there’s a bunch of things.

Obviously, for the Super Melee enthusiasts, this won’t mean much. They’ll just be playing in their 1 on 1 up to 3 on 3 (or any combination in between) and competing in a quasi-MOBA style game.  Our Super Melee will be action oriented (so we might as well get that out of the way, it’s not going to be a strategy experience).  But we have the advantage of being designed where we can say you need broadband to play it online.

That’s all for now!