Ur-Quan Masters 2 -- The Official Thread for the Official Follow-up to the Official Best Game of All Time

Pretty sure SC2 was a big influence on the first Mass Effect.

I think a lot of my favorite CRPGs are also kitchen sink games (indeed I daresay it is rather a kitchen-sink genre, although combat is typically at its core) and I love that about them. I think obsessive focus on the ‘core gameplay loop’ is a good basic rule for design but a rule that masters can break.

I’d say SC2 made nowadays with all the budget in the world would be Mass Effect-ish, if you describe the game and not tell people what exactly you’ll be doing for each activity, keep it vague, there’s ship to ship combat, and you explore planets, they’ll probably imagine something close to Mass Effect, and it fits.

I guess maybe that’s my bias as a player coming from Star Control (the first game). Since the first game only had combat, not the adventuring, exploration, dialog, etc. It felt like the core gameplay to me, perhaps biased that way because of having played the first game.

Yeah, I agree. As I said above, I immediately used “selling the lander” cheat to give myself basically infinite money in the game, so I never had to scrounge for minerals on planets. And I personally think my play experience was better for it. I didn’t have the maps like you did, but I made my own. I actually made a Quasispace map by hand every single time I re-played the game, not just the first time. It’s the sort of thing that seems like a pain in the ass, but when you actually do it each time, there’s a certain sense of satisfaction from doing it that’s just very nice.

Yeah Starflight was much bigger for me personally than the Star Controls. Maybe just because I played it first.

I’m ok with that, but I’d be even more ok if there were much less combat. Obviously if you enjoy the combat it won’t seem grindy but I didn’t really, it feels arcade-y and simple in a way that doesn’t seem to match up with the scale and capabilities of the ships and aliens you’re fighting. But, as per usual, I accept that I’m in the minority on that one.

I don’t know much about SC2 but I feel that understanding the design choices that went into it also requires understanding SC1. The melee combat was essentially the whole game in SC1, so it’s not surprising to me that it would be retained as a core element of the sequel.

This doesn’t make those design choices good, necessarily. But if they switched to I dunno, turn based tactical combat, or something else that is substantially different from the Space War feel of the original, that doesn’t seem like something that would even have been on the table when you’re doing a sequel to a previous hit that was itself extremely arcadey.

I had no problem with combat or arcade sections in SC2, I just hated how clunky they were. I was a huge Space War and Asteroids fan back in the day, I loved the vector graphics, the smooth way the ships moved, the skill necessary to master momentum. Most home versions just couldn’t do it justice, and Super Melee in SC2 felt like another janky effort.

The only one to really get the feel and look right was Starship Command on the BBC Micro. Every so often I’d get the chance to take a BBC Micro home (I mean, virtually nobody I knew actually bought one of the damn things!) and spent every waking moment playing it! Put that version into Star Control 2 and I’d still be playing it.

I wonder if it varies by port. The PC rather famously couldn’t do smooth action very easily, which is why it was a big deal for Carmack to be able to replicate the gameplay of Super Mario Bros. 3 on that machine. Perhaps this is one reason why the 3DO version is considered the best? Just speculating.

I will only say that the melee in the Amiga version of SC1 felt great to me.

Even ancient PCs were perfectly capable of moving a few small sprites around. Carmack’s accomplishment with his Super Mario demo was simulating full-screen smooth scrolling.

So did you just hang out in Ur-Quan space a lot during SC2? Lots of combat encounters there because it is a warzone…in space! Outside of that, I don’t recall too much combat until the end when you need to enter Ur-Quan space. It came up sometimes but it wasn’t that much.

My recollections don’t align with yours.

Maybe you were mad at the Von Neumann machines.

I played Starflight before SC2 and didn’t realise the connection between them at the time. I thought SC2 was a bit of a design rip off from Starflight. The exploration side of things is better in Star Control, but I never enjoyed the hypermelee - much preferred Starflight’s combat.

I think the reference is actually Starflight iirc

I found Star Control before Starflight, but also before we could read English. We played a lot of Super Melee and loved it.

But then I found Starflight years later and that’s also my main reference in this genre (Starflight Genesis being the best of both worlds imho)

Not surprisingly, it’s both.

From Star Control Wiki:

Founder of BioWare, Ray Muzyka, cites the Star Control series as an inspiration for the Mass Effect series of games, stating that “the uncharted worlds in Mass Effect comes from imagining what a freely explorable universe would be like inside a very realistic next-gen game”.

From Starflight Wiki:

Mass Effect director Casey Hudson tweeted in 2011 that “Starflight was a key inspiration for the ME series.”

The Genesis version of Starflight is the on you want for anyone looking to experience that while waiting for this.

That’s the one I played and loved. There was never a Genesis version of SC2, right? I recall playing SC1 on it extensively.

Right. Star Control 2’s best version (IMO) is on the 3DO. That was the only console port.