Brad Wardell's Blog


Actions / Consequences

Published on Sunday, June 24, 2018 By Brad Wardell In Life, the Universe and Everything

One of the less pleasant trends I've seen in social media is the lack of recognition that actions can have consequences.  It never ceases to amaze me to see grown adults behave in a beastly way and be shocked, shocked that their actions have resulted in consequences that were almost entirely predictable.

One exercise that I think many people would benefit from would be to consider what someone else might do in return.  Rather than trying to guess what they might possibly do, consider what they can do in response to something done to them.

Star Control: Origins - June 2018 Status Report

Published on Friday, June 15, 2018 By Brad Wardell In Star Control Journals

Greetings!

Lots of exciting things happening!

Star Control at E3

Stardock had a big presence at E3 this year where it announced the release date for Star Control: Origins - September 20.  The last day of Summer!

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Stardock's Patrick Shaw on stage at E3 presenting Star Control: Origins!

You can watch the trailer here:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4-EnCjcxsJE 

Continue Reading...

A few thoughts on E3 and Star Control

Published on Tuesday, June 12, 2018 By Brad Wardell In Star Control

Was I the only one who noticed how games seem to be really focusing on multiplayer? Even games that have traditionally been single player?

I'm curious to hear how our communities feel about this.   Stardock is taking a big bet on Star Control: Origins.  It is a single player game (other than Fleet Battles of course).  The game is about you.  I personally have no interest in multiplayer RPG games these days.  

So what's the deal? What do you guys think?

Star Control: Origins - May 2018

Published on Friday, May 25, 2018 By Brad Wardell In Star Control Journals

Greetings!

This is the LAST month for monthly Star Control updates before release....because now we're moving into weekly updates because things are moving so fast.

The Menkmack arrive!

FINISHING

We will be announcing our official release date soon.  You may have heard that we will have a big E3 presence and we anticipate announcing the final release date then.  For those of you who are familiar with Stardock, you know we tend to run a bit "hot".  With Star Control: Origins, being that it's a role playing game, we actually have to "finish" the game this month.  That is, the..how would you guys describe this? The GAME part.  That's because we need lots of time to iterate on the story.

Star Control is a space RPG that focuses on the story. It's not exploration for exploration's sake
even though it's in a very big universe.

Continue Reading...

Star Control: Origins - Screenshot Friday 2018.5.11

Published on Friday, May 11, 2018 By Brad Wardell In Star Control Journals

Star Control: Origins continues to head towards its September 2018 release date!

Here's the week in screenshots!

The galaxy is a busy place

We will be keeping these journals spoiler free.  With that in mind, the year is 2088.  Earth exists in a part of the galaxy called Orion's Spur ("The Spur").  It has recently become a much busier part of the galaxy and you will be uncovering why that is.

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Star Control is a single player RPG where you command a single ship but the galaxy is filled with characters with their own agendas.

 

Players travel from star system to star system via Hyperspace.  Hyperspace is a hyper dimension that forms an alternative space-time adjacent to what we call "true space".  It can be a bit..trippy to travel through it but it allows for travel between stars in a faction of the time it would take to go via true space.

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This week we updated the visuals in hyperspace to give a better sense of movement when no stars are around.

There are a lot of different alien species in the Scryve sector alone (let alone the outer spur).  Humanoids are quite exotic due to their rarity.  Beings are fascinated in seeing a hairless bipedal ape.

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The Phamyst are the classiest aliens in the known galaxy. 

Much of our focus right now is in polishing and iterating on the story and the AI.   There are thousands of planets but also thousands of other ships running around doing their thing as well. 

On a personal note, this week my design work has been spent on helping with story and pacing which meant I have to...gasp, travel the worlds without any cheat keys.  This was particularly enjoyable but also embarassing because the AI controlled aliens really want nothing to do with us because...well, we're newbies on the galactic scene.  This means that they tend to avoid us and our early game ship just can't intercept them because..well, we're newbies.  But it's highly enjoyable to see the subtle but definite effort the aliens put in to avoid me.  It's so effortless and insulting simultaneously.

 

Star Control - making a modern classic

Published on Tuesday, May 8, 2018 By Brad Wardell In Star Control

Greetings!

So recently we asked you what makes Star Control....well...Star Control?

If you have never played the classic series before, fear not as Star Control: Origins starts at the very beginning in a fresh new universe that we will all explore and learn about together.

Star Control is unique.  The closest thing to it is probably Mass Effect which some argue was a remake of the classic series.

So what is special about Star Control? Why do we think it's going to be such a major game-changer for role playing games?

Here's why?

Story-Driven Open Universe

The Star Control universe is rich in lore, history and depth.  But it is an open universe. You are not on rails. You can go out and explore the galaxy and affect how things go.  

You are the captain of a single ship.  It's not like Sins of a Solar Empire or Galactic Civilizations where you can simply order the construction of fleets and colonization of planets.  In fact, in the year 2088, humans are so far behind the curve that they don't start with FTL technology.  Your mission is to save the Earth and Earth is willing to...ahem...look the other way and let you decide how to do that.

Why other games don't do this now? A big part of the reason has to do with the tech.  The original Star Control series was actually pretty linear.  Star Control: Origins works on a state machine basis.  This is only possible because we do require 4 CPU cores (which you all probably have easily now adays but most games are written assuming a single CPU core).  We are, in effect, an RPG riding on top of a simulation.

I want to give credit where credit is due:  Classic games tried to touch on this. Notably, Ultima IV and Ultima V for starters.  Even the original Baldur's Gate touched on this.  In Star Control: Origins, we're doing thousands of planets with thousands of unique characters all controlled by AI.

Gameplay

As deep as it is, it wouldn't matter if playing wasn't fun.  And Star Control's big challenge has always boiled down to mixing 4 very different game designs together: Planet Exploration, Ship Combat, Space Exploration and role playing.

Think about your favorite recent RPG.  The combat and exploration and the role playing all are pretty much part of the same "scene".  That's not how it is in Star Control.  The planet exploration is a completely different experience from the space exploration which in turn is different from the combat.  This is why we had to develop a new game engine just for this game.   Imagine the challenge of having a first person mode + a strategy mode + a 4X leader scene mode and you get the idea.

When combined together with a lot of time for iteration (4 years +) you and up with something pretty awesome.

Consequences

This is similar to the idea of a story-driven open universe but it also means that we don't tell you how to play.  There is no tutorial.  If you want to go around murderin' that's your business.  You gotta do what you gotta do.  We don't punish players for doing "the wrong" thing because there is no "wrong" thing.  There are simply things that will have logical consequences.  

Writing

We've had over four years to weave together and edit terrific prose in this game that is then superbly voice acted.  Near the end of this Summer, we think you will find a game that makes you feel a wide range of emotions.  The universe is simultaneously ludicrous, tragic and horrible.

Atmosphere

Whether we're talking about a music sound track that would be worth the price alone (there's a lot of music in this game, more so than most games you get) or the small touches to the thousands of unique planets that you occasionally find a spot where someone has carefully crafted a moment for you, Star Control makes it obvious that its creators care about it and that each moment has been thought of. 

You won't see the Stardock team brag about "procedural generation".   This is a massively single-player game.  Some of the side-quests will be too difficult for 95% of players.  And that's ok.  You can all play together to try to figure out the depths of the universe.  There are no random encounters.  No random events.  No random anything.   Everything in this universe is for you.  You are the star.

Soon...

End of Summer is when we expect to make this available to everyone.  You can play the Fleet Battles (the combat game) now though if you want to pre-order at a discount and help support our development.

 

Screenshot Friday 5.4.2018

Published on Friday, May 4, 2018 By Brad Wardell In Star Control

New Barren class world are..well, like Ceti Alpha V.  Not pleasant but survivable.

 

Metal class worlds are cool if you can survive lightning strikes.

 

Reduction worlds are well beyond our technology right now to land on.  Which is a shame because they're so rich...

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