How could Star Control II be reincarnated today? To be honest I don't know how to grapple the Star Control and Starflight games.
Starflight has the design philosophy that I like, wanting to be relentlessly complex, pushing aside considerations like hardware limitations, gamey-ness, and "Who'd play this?". It had the same kind of urge which we now see driving Dwarf Fortress. If I try to do something like that I'm lost forever in plans.
Star Control II is more gamey (though still not accessible by today's standards), but it has the narrative charm to make up for it.
Star Control I is a relatively simple strategy game while also lacking the narrative richness. In a way, super melee feels more at home in Star Control I because it doesn't conflict a narrative aspect which brings expectations of realism. In SC2, both the mining and super melee feels... out of place. SC2's design is somehow on the fence. Epic space battles are represented by arcadey pew pew, though a player who knows the game will quickly pimp out the Precursor tug and never even touch the strategy element of using other ships.
I guess, for the moment I'll just draw some stuff and not concern myself with game design.
An open Source version of Star Control 2 can be found here: Star Control - The Ur-Quan Masters
The older stuff I had made was needlessly unfaithful. With enough revisions it's possible to get a redesign close to the source without sacrificing much likeness. To achieve likeness, I'm trying to take the following into consideration:
And on top of that the design should be good of course.
Unused header graphics.
The Precursors are described as shaggy giants, evoking visions of the wooly mammoth. Unsure about the nose-arms... felt smaller manipulators were needed somehow. Perhaps the Precursors are better left untouched.
Daktaklakpak, K'tang and Ploxis lookalikes. While SC3 might lose its canon status, it did have some memorable races so I wanted to somehow preserve those in paraphrased designs. These roughs are the beginnings of that.
In regards to the Androsynth, we're given the impression that they are all male. However, it's possible, even probable that gendered (and androgynous) designs were made back on Earth. Did they choose to group up according to gender (or lack of)? They likely reproduce by cloning anyways, and they were supposed to be gay according to the devs.
The Druuge, will they be changed by the artefacts given to them by the Utwig, or remain rotten? I don't really address this in my story as they are left behind.
Ship scaling is a tricky matter. I think Star Control needs to set itself apart from the starship-size measuring contest we see in most sci-fi. Maybe building smaller ships is advantageous in the SC universe, as if there's some sort of sweet spot. Without such a restriction, it's easy to escalate things to 2.5km dreadnoughts battling swarms of 8m attack fighters, and that's not what SC is about. The way the ships in SC move, their armament, and crew count, is more reminiscent of nimble torpedo boats and war planes. Perhaps only the ancient races figured out how to make larger ships practical.
A chibi linup. Yet unsure about proportions/scale.
I based their anatomy on the word 'Twig'. Balls for head.
These little creatures could vary in appearance just like house cats do. Maybe they have a lot of latent/dormant genes to prevent inbreeding. They'd have to, since their entire species is repopulated by just one male and 6 females.
I made them pretty small because they can produce new adults in just a few months. To grow from single cell to adult in that time would require a lot of food and energy. Another reason for their small size is that I want to stay away from doing too many human sized (and human proportionate) aliens. With drawn stuff, one has the liberty to avoid the 'man-in-suit' feel which sci-fi often presents.
After the partial destruction of the ZFP homeworld by the Kohr-Ah, the ZFP realized that keeping all the eggs in one basket is not such a good idea. They contacted the Melnorme, who soon purchased bio data collected by the ZFP scouts... along with a collection of canopic jars allegedly containing remains of a Zebranky. This netted the ZFP some 450 credits, which they promptly spent on design guidelines for a starbase with an advanced Point Defence and Fusion Blaster defensive system. This new Starbase design would be used to establish several remote colonies.
The Umgah had found out about the deal, and immediately offered over fifteen hundred credits worth of information for the Zebranky data - an offer the Melnorme could not resist.
What happened next is shrouded in mystery since the Umgah lost contact with the secret colony where the experiments on the bio data took place. Nevertheless, the Umgah were overjoyed by the end result.
The Zebranky are returning home.
Not buying it this time guys!
But... but... we're evil! Look how scary it is! Argarak, do the mandible thing again!
*Clac clac clac*
(This is just my way of solving the problem with the differing melee pilot portrait.)
What on earth? Get your ass back aboard! DEFECTED? To the Umgah? 'That's how you roll'? Good Grief Hayes!
What on Earth? Is... is that you Hayes?
Changed your mind have you? Well, it seems like it's a little late for that now Hayes.
'Har Har Har'?
... That's a great joke Hayes. Don't call us again.
Sigh... it's Hayes again.
Yeah, that's a funny hat Hayes.
'Lost a few pounds'... That's swell Hayes.
Go to bed Hayes. Go to bed.
In the case of the Thraddash, the communications image contradicted the smaller melee pilot image. There's also dialog information and music to consider when shaping a redesign. I don't care for the voices, so the music works as a voice for me when I read the dialog.
The Thraddash are brutes, like an anthropomorphic rhino/boar/hippo. I suspect they were based on the G'nunk from Starflight since they respect combat prowess. The Melnorme has the following to say about the Thraddash:
To make a Thraddash your friend, kill him -- but then of course, he's dead so what's the point?
At first I wanted to combine some brute looking animal with both the Comm and melee image to make something new, but then someone suggested that the melee image is actually a pilot or combat suit of some kind. I think this solution was much better. Doing an in-between design is like... having people in the Antarctic and Egypt dress the same based on the average temperature... or like democracy.
It's unknown what the Supox's feet (or roots) looks like.
Yet another rough (Not to scale)... This time the Earthlings. They're based on the pilot portrait (mini pic when in melee). I surprised myself with the spandex look. Not sure if it's good or bad. I could use similar color masses, but a different material (armour bits, puffy cloth, whatever).
Also, below, some ships. From left to right. Maybe early to late timeline.
Perhaps when shown small and against a black background my ship re-design looks somewhat similar to the original because of light and dark mass placements. Here the image has been sharpened. If this had been in-engine, they would have been reduced to a chunk of blur... although when moving across fractional pixels it might look a tad better.
Ideas for how the Chenjesu might have evolved, as crystalline being sliding around the flatlands of a barren planet, depositing data in repositories.
The Kohr-Ah might use robotic crew, as it's suggested that they are not social creatures. The Kzer-Za uses slaves iirc.
Older ship designs, to be discarded.
Speculating about the original appearance of the Ur-Quan.
"Not social creatures", huh?
I've got a lot more to do, but here's some progress...
The black Spathi are obviously out there in some uncharted region of space doing deeds of bravery. They could still run into some familiar faces, like perhaps Kzer-Za, Precursor and Androsynth derelicts. Orz of course, cuz they're fun. And a lost ZFP scout (they didn't let the guy with the eye navigate.). I designed a bunch of Spathi power armour and stuff too, but I need to clean those images up.
Orz meets the Taalo I imagine the Taalo being these huge slow Barbapapa rocks with a slight Miyazaki feel too them. They are kind of slow but flexible. When you're not looking they might bend over and peek at you (without an expression on their 'face', in a kind of spooky way). The expressionlessness can also explain why the Ur-Quan didn't see them as hostile. You can't 'read' the Taalo as you do with normal life. They've got a poker face.
Would make a nice little story sequence perhaps, a team of Androsynths walking through a gate into a strange landscape and funny rock formations. Their 'tricorder' equipment glitches and they focus their attention on that. In the background a 'barbapapa' stone slowly hulks in over them, with unknown intent, because we don't get to see anymore.
Two things I would not like to see in SC is too much time travel stuff which changes everything, because then the older story bits would feel less solid and trampled on (a little 'time joke' is okay though). The other thing I don't like is too plain explanations, like, the Orz being 'them' and they killed the Androsynth and that's that. I'm thinking the Orz is more like a brat who's parents is away and now it's up to no good. Maybe the Androsynth were gonna 'tell tales', then there was a IDF related 'ruckus' with more species involved than just the commonly mentioned ones (Arilou, Taalo, Androsynth, Nnngh, Orz, *Them*, etc).
Syreen Commando in 'heavy' combat armour.
Misc. Star Control species - to be displaced by newer material.