The Third Doctrinal War -- Stardock, Reiche/Ford, and Star Control

You know what would be awesome is separate difficulty sliders, like the Silent Hill games. They let you tailor the combat and puzzle difficulty separately. Maybe in some hypothetical Star Control IV you could scale for Survival (resource collection), combat frequency and difficulty, maybe other stuff too. I’d love something like that.



I agree, Paul & Fred’s new game should have its own thread. But the post didn’t say anything about the new game, so it felt maybe a little early for that.

Since we’re all here, check out this homage to the original flagship image from SC2’s opening cinematic, created by Chris Bischoff, the brilliant isometric artist who made the game Stasis, et al. I just saw it today for the first time thanks to the Star Control Fans twitter account.

<looks suspiciously at all of you>

Star Control 2 is one of the great “kitchen sink” games, so I’m loathe to propose that any element get excised entirely. I think they could make resource gathering less of a slog, or make random combat encounters more fun and less punishing, but think about all the other systems that get cut off at the knees if you don’t have those–what am I upgrading my ship for? What am I collecting new tech for? How do I benefit if I ally with an alien race?

I don’t usually like games that try to do include every conceivable system, but SC2 does everything in a tight, efficient, fun-focused way that works to me. There are a million improvements they could make to the formula, but don’t yank out any whole ingredients!

I’m not sure if it’s rosy goggles, but I think I liked every aspect of SC2. But maybe I don’t have the patience now since we have fifty bajillion games on our queues, whereas back then I may have had uhhhh just sc2 at the time lol. So one game and I HAD to like it :)

those were the days. we were happy then… ;)

I had trouble going back to Star Control 2’s super-melee and Star Control: Origin’s melee combat recently, after playing Galak-Z. Galak-Z has much better momentum and fine control physics in a similar 2D combat situation. So I hope if that they improve the combat instead of just trying to make a more boring version of it like Origins did.

Haha! Can always count on Rock to come in with the Galak-Z plug! That game didn’t stick for me, but I agree it’s a good model to look at for an updated flight/combat model with more contemporary game feel.

Yeah. It’s important to note that Galak-Z only has one ship. So it’s very limited compared to Star Control 1-2-3 with dozens of ships all with different characters on turning speed, thrust, special weapon, main weapon, etc. I definitely don’t want Star Control to lose those! But I do hope they can have a more refined physics model. Because that’s one of the reasons why playing the game felt so good back in the day, and hopefully they’ll improve on that aspect.

I wonder if they’re still planning to bring Star Control Origins to consoles. I’d buy another copy.

Thank you for this link. I watched about 30 minutes last night, and am looking forward to the rest of the remaining 100 minutes or so. This is very cool. I guess maybe this is a great side effect of the whole lawsuit thing in that it forced Paul and Fred to really refresh their memory on the making of Star Control 1 and 2. There’s so many little details here.

Wait - is this a real thing? I always assumed that the whole thing was just an elaborate legal maneuver and there was no real plans to make a new game.

I had lots of problems with various systems in Star Control 3 that went nowhere, but hot damn, I loved their explanation of where the Precursors disappeared to centuries ago. I seriously doubt if Paul & Fred can top that.

I don’t see any reason to think it was totally for show. I assume they’re sincere in wanting to make a follow-up, and they are looking for an opportunity to do so. There’s a hundred things that could get in the way, and no guarantees it’ll happen, or happen soon. And unfortunately, I’d like to read this post as saying that it’s underway, but… I can’t quite do that.

(If anyone here has about $5-10mil or so to invest, I’m guessing THAT might get the ball rolling for real!)

It really was clever. One of the few things I remember about that game besides DAK TAK LAK PAK!

I can’t comprehend the notion it was just for show. It would have been a ruse plotted over decades of them saying they wanted to return to the series if they could. Arranging a leave of absence from their jobs. All to pretend they wanted to make a game and get involved in a huge legal dispute for what? What possible motive was there?

Exactly my thoughts, summarized better than I could have.

I believe that the whole “they never intended to make the game” thing is the lingering echo of a smear tactic that Brad employed during the lawsuit.

He subpoenaed P&F’s working notes for GotP, and when they told him there weren’t any, he went all over social media going on about how shocked - shocked - he was that their whole game was a just a hoax they made up for the sole purpose of hurting him.

Of course, given the way employment contracts work in the U.S., if they had made working notes for a game while they were Activision employees, Activision would probably have gained ownership of it, and Brad certainly knew that. So I believe that his astonishment was entirely feigned, and his explanation was deliberately misleading. It was, however, remarkably effective, because ever since then, people keep popping up and parroting the things he said back then. They usually also think that P&F started the lawsuit, even though the court record clearly shows it was Stardock.

As you observe, anyone who thinks about it for a minute would realize that it makes no sense - P&F had no plausible motive for staging such a hoax. But it seems like a lot of people don’t want to spend that minute.

Maybe. It’s usually pretty easy to get a side project cordoned off from ownership by one’s employer (with rules like that you can’t use company equipment to work on it, etc). Maybe Activision is the sort of place that doesn’t negotiate on that, but most game companies do.

Sorry, I should have been more clear. Brad definitely knew that they couldn’t do work on outside projects, because Paul told him so in 2013:

“Unfortunately, our employment relationship does not permit us to participate in outside projects – most especially ones which are for-profit.”