Brad Wardell's Blog

Star Control: Origins Prelude 4 of 13 - The Mid Spur

Published on Monday, July 23, 2018 By Brad Wardell In Star Control Journals

Star Control: Origins is a space action adventure game.  You are the Captain of a ship with a mission to protect Earth and explore the galaxy. 

From a technical perspective, Star Control is a story engine.  We don't generate new quests.  Instead, we are looking to populate a deep and rich world with hand-crafted Sci-Fi stories.  But we won't be doing it alone.  Much of our effort has been to create consumer (i.e. user friendly) apps like Adventure Studio, the City Crafter, and the Ship Designer, so that people can create compelling stories to share.

Of course, our job is to tell the first story: Star Control: Origins itself, starting in 2088. Over the past four years, we've written a lot of stories.  And while the main mission might "only" take 20 hours to complete, that is not the end of the story.  It's a big galaxy out there.  And mind you, this is just our universe.  People will be able to travel to completely different universes as well with their own stories and characters.  But it is also our hope that fans will want to help flesh out this universe with us over the coming years.

To understand how big our playing field is, let's talk about our setting: Orion's Spur.


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Realism vs. Fun II: Planets

Published on Saturday, July 21, 2018 By Brad Wardell In Star Control

Making alien worlds is very fun.

But how realistic do they need to be for players to have fun? In Star Control, we've opted for cool over realistic since, in all likelyhood, most planets are either just big rocks, big ice balls, or balls of gas.  So having worlds made out of diamonds and rubies and gold and iron and other weird things allows players to constantly discover new things to explore.


Star Control aliens and music return!

Published on Friday, July 20, 2018 By Brad Wardell In Star Control


I am pleased to give you a head's up that for those who have pre-ordered Star Control: Origins that we will be including a host of additional DLC as part of that purchase. 

As some of you know, Riku Nuottajavi and Dan Nicholson, the two primary composers from Star Control II, have signed on with us to bring the Star Control II music to Star Control: Origins.  With the help of our long-time collaborator, Mason Fischer, we have begun to remaster, remix and in some cases completely recreate the classic songs with today's audio fidelity.

We are also going to be including some of our favorite tunes originating with the new Star Control aliens debuting in Star Control: Origins.

As some of you know, the Chenjesu didn't appear directly in Star Control II so they received a brand-new theme just for this DLC.   In the case of the Arilou, Dan Nicholson did the original in Star Control II and Riku has composed a new mix of it here.

Star Control: Origins is still at a pre-order price of $31.49 (it'll be $39.99 at release).


Realism vs. Fun

Published on Thursday, July 19, 2018 By Brad Wardell In Star Control

It's quite a challenge to find that right mixture between what is realistic versus what is fun.

We have 55 Cancri in the game and it has the exopolanet that NASA discovered.  Of course, we can only speculate what that planet is and we do have a red dwarf in that star system as well.

One of the more interesting things players will discover is that many (if not most) star systems actually have multiple stars in them.  Our solar system is somewhat unusual in that respect.

My question to you is, how realistic does the game need to be for you to have fun? 


Star Trek II battle recreated

Published on Wednesday, July 18, 2018 By Brad Wardell In PC Gaming

I have watched this so many times.

With our work on Star Control: Origins, we now have an engine that really could create a truly sophisticated battle system like this.  I wouldn't want to do this for Star Control since the charm of its battles is that they are fast and and simple.

But I bet I'm not the only person who would like to see a modern game that takes all the various systems into account.  There are some interesting ones I've seen that remind me of FTL but I'd want something that is presented more like this.


Star Control: Origins Prelude 3 of 13 - Creating interactive stories

Published on Monday, July 16, 2018 By Brad Wardell In Star Control Journals

The Star Control universe is rich with interesting characters and species.  From the cowardly Spathi to the horrifying Kohr-Ah, players will be frequently caught off guard by the juxtaposition of so many different experiences.

In Star Control: Origins, the ever-so-needy Tywom are introduced.  They will be your best friends whether you like it or not.

Stardock is best known for its strategy games.  Well, technically, we're best known for our software and technology, but we've always loved making strategy games.

Star Control is not a strategy game. It is a role-playing game.  And the best RPGs have excellent writing.  

At the very start, we knew that we would need to work with talented writers. In 2013, we hired Chris Bucholz to lead the writing effort for Star Control.  His How-To guides on Cracked and his ability to write both serious and comedic stories was compelling. No one has spent more time on Star Control: Origins than he has.  

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Arilou Observer in the shop

Published on Friday, July 13, 2018 By Brad Wardell In Star Control

The Arilou Observer was designed to keep an eye on us.  It will make its debut in the Fleet Battles beta 3 coming out next week.

Its is not generally designed for combat but its primary weapon is a plasma spreader that shoots bolts slowly in every direction.  Its secondary weapon is a cloak which allows it to escape detection from curious humans.

In the above screenshot, we took the Arilou Observer into the Ship Design.  Players can make new ships or create their own version of existing ships with their own set of weapons as well.

Star Control: Origins arrives on September 20.  Add it to your Steam (or GOG) wishlist today!


Star Control: Origins Prelude 2 of 13 - So Many Planets

Published on Friday, July 6, 2018 By Brad Wardell In Star Control Journals


Space is big. We know that.  But how interesting is it? That remains to be seen.

Let's take a look at the orbital bodies in our own solar system.

Orbital Body





 Basically a hot rock.



 A poisonous, toxic hell.



 A really cold desert.



 Big ball of gas.



 Another big ball of gas with cool rings.



 Ice gas ball.



 Ice gas ball.

What about the moons?

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Star Control: Visual Iteration

Published on Thursday, July 5, 2018 By Brad Wardell In PC Gaming

Those of you who are familiar with Galactic Civilizations, Ashes of the Singularity, Sins of a Solar Empire or any of our other games knows the power of visual progress.

I suspect there are a few of you who would have wished that Galactic Civilizations III v1.0 had waited until we had done Crusade and released that at version 1.0.  Of course, strategy games are a very tricky thing because they tend to be about "the feature" whereas an RPG like Star Control is about the story and immersion.

With that in mind, i wanted to share with you guys some images of the planet exploration part of Star Control so that you can see how it's progress...


This is what we wanted the surface of a desert planet to look like.


Very early on...




Closer...May 2018 (E3 build) shadows and sky starting to get right.

Closer...Sky is still a bit off. props are a bit too jumbled.  June 2018.


and here is where we are now (though this is near sunset so it's a bit darker).


The thing to remember: These are procedurally generated worlds (the mockup had placed everything).

Where will we be by September 20? We'll see.



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