Star Control II
Star Control II: The Ur-Quan Masters is a critically acclaimed science fiction
Science fiction
Science fiction is a genre of fiction dealing with imaginary but more or less plausible content such as future settings, futuristic science and technology, space travel, aliens, and paranormal abilities...

 computer game, the second game in the Star Control
Star Control
Star Control is a science fiction computer game that was developed by Toys for Bob and published by Accolade in the early 1990s. Star Control still enjoys a cult following...

trilogy. It was developed by Toys for Bob
Toys For Bob
Toys For Bob is a small video game developer founded in 1989 by Paul Reiche III and Fred Ford. They are most known for creating Star Control and its sequel Star Control II: The Ur-Quan Masters, but they were not involved in the development of Star Control 3...

 (Fred Ford and Paul Reiche III
Paul Reiche III
Paul Reiche III is a game designer, particularly for computer games. Reiche is best known for being the co-creator, together with Fred Ford, of the Star Control universe.-Pen and paper RPGs:...

) and originally published by Accolade in 1992
1992 in video gaming
-Events:-Notable releases:* Gremlin Graphics releases Zool, Amiga's answer to Mario and Sonic. It goes on to become the best selling Commodore Amiga game, boosting the already popular computer to be the leading gaming machine in Europe....

 for PC
IBM PC compatible
IBM PC compatible computers are those generally similar to the original IBM PC, XT, and AT. Such computers used to be referred to as PC clones, or IBM clones since they almost exactly duplicated all the significant features of the PC architecture, facilitated by various manufacturers' ability to...

; it was later ported to the 3DO
3DO Interactive Multiplayer
The 3DO Interactive Multiplayer is a video game console originally produced by Panasonic in 1993. Further renditions of the hardware were released in 1994 by Sanyo and Goldstar. The consoles were manufactured according to specifications created by The 3DO Company, and were originally designed by...

 with an enhanced multimedia presentation, allowed by the CD
Compact Disc
The Compact Disc is an optical disc used to store digital data. It was originally developed to store and playback sound recordings exclusively, but later expanded to encompass data storage , write-once audio and data storage , rewritable media , Video Compact Discs , Super Video Compact Discs ,...

 technology. The source code of the 3DO port was licensed under the GNU GPL in 2002. The game still enjoys a cult following
Cult following
A cult following is a group of fans who are highly dedicated to a specific area of pop culture. A film, book, band, or video game, among other things, will be said to have a cult following when it has a small but very passionate fan base...



SC2 added a large number of species
In biology, a species is one of the basic units of biological classification and a taxonomic rank. A species is often defined as a group of organisms capable of interbreeding and producing fertile offspring. While in many cases this definition is adequate, more precise or differing measures are...

 and ship types to the already diverse cast and replaced the first game's strategy-based scenarios with a story-driven space exploration adventure game
Adventure game
An adventure game is a video game in which the player assumes the role of protagonist in an interactive story driven by exploration and puzzle-solving instead of physical challenge. The genre's focus on story allows it to draw heavily from other narrative-based media such as literature and film,...

 that included diplomacy with the inhabitants of the galaxy, some resource gathering sub-sections, and instances of the melee combat of the first game whenever diplomacy failed.

Interaction with the various alien species is a chief part of the adventure game; the backstory of both the species from the first games and new ones were fleshed out considerably. There are literally hours of dialogue, each species bringing out their characteristic conversational quirks, music, and even display fonts. A two-player mode is available, named Super Mêlée, consisting solely of the ship-to-ship combat. All ships from the first game are available, even if they made no appearance in the story, along with a number of new ones.

The plot significantly impacts the game experience by requiring the player to explore every corner of the galaxy and make discoveries and connections independently.


The contents of the soundtrack of the PC version were determined by running a contest which anybody could participate in, composing tracks based on a description of the game. Included on the soundtrack are compositions of Aaron Grier, Erol Otus
Erol Otus
Erol Otus is an American artist and game designer, known internationally for his contributions to the fantasy RPG genre, most notably for the early Dungeons & Dragons franchise...

, Eric E. Berge, Riku Nuottajärvi and Dan Nicholson, the president and founding member of The Kosmic Free Music Foundation
Kosmic Free Music Foundation
The Kosmic Free Music Foundation was a worldwide group of computer musicians, artists, and coders focused on the PC demoscene. Most members were from the United States, Canada, and Australia. They created music - mostly techno, trance, and ambient - on trackers. They also created some artwork...

. Music is in Protracker
ProTracker is a popular freeware tracker created by Lars Hamre, Anders Hamre, Sven Vahsen and Rune Johnsrud for the Amiga platform. It is amongst the programs that first allowed for widespread creation of music without studio equipment...

MOD (file format)
MOD is a computer file format used primarily to represent music, and was the first module file format. MOD files use the “.MOD” file extension, except on the Amiga where the original trackers instead use a “mod.” prefix scheme, e.g. “mod.echoing”...

 format which uses digitized instrument samples while most of PC game music still relied on FM-synthesis based instruments at the time. The game also supported Gravis Ultrasound
Gravis Ultrasound
Gravis UltraSound or GUS is a sound card for the IBM PC compatible system platform, made by Canada-based Advanced Gravis Computer Technology Ltd...

 sound card, which was popular among MOD composers.

Star Control II was highly influenced, both in story and game design, by the games Starflight
Starflight is a computer game published by Electronic Arts and developed by Binary Systems in 1986. Originally developed for DOS and Tandy, it was later released for the Amiga, Atari ST, Macintosh and Commodore 64...

(1986) and Starflight 2: Trade Routes of the Cloud Nebula (1989), developed by Binary Systems and released on a variety of platforms by Electronic Arts
Electronic Arts
Electronic Arts, Inc. is a major American developer, marketer, publisher and distributor of video games. Founded and incorporated on May 28, 1982 by Trip Hawkins, the company was a pioneer of the early home computer games industry and was notable for promoting the designers and programmers...

. Indeed Greg Johnson, StarFlight's lead designer, helped write dialog for Star Control II and Paul Reiche III contributed to Star Control II's alien communication system. David Brin
David Brin
Glen David Brin, Ph.D. is an American scientist and award-winning author of science fiction. He has received the Hugo, Locus, Campbell and Nebula Awards.-Biography:...

's science fiction series about the Uplift Universe
Uplift Universe
The Uplift Universe is a fictional universe created by science fiction writer David Brin. A central feature in this universe is the process of biological uplift.His books which take place in this universe:* Sundiver...

 is also often mentioned as inspiration for the Star Control II universe, as well as Larry Niven
Larry Niven
Laurence van Cott Niven / ˈlæri ˈnɪvən/ is an American science fiction author. His best-known work is Ringworld , which received Hugo, Locus, Ditmar, and Nebula awards. His work is primarily hard science fiction, using big science concepts and theoretical physics...

's Known Space
Known Space
Known Space is the fictional setting of some dozen science fiction novels and several collections of short stories written by author Larry Niven. It has also in part been used as a shared universe in the Man-Kzin Wars spin-off anthologies sub-series....



In addition to numerous awards by gaming magazines published around its release, Star Control 2 also has spots in top games compilations of notable gaming publications. IGN
IGN is an entertainment website that focuses on video games, films, music and other media. IGN's main website comprises several specialty sites or "channels", each occupying a subdomain and covering a specific area of entertainment...

named Star Control II the 17th best game of all time, and Gamespot
GameSpot is a video gaming website that provides news, reviews, previews, downloads, and other information. The site was launched in May 1, 1996 by Pete Deemer, Vince Broady and Jon Epstein. It was purchased by ZDNet, a brand which was later purchased by CNET Networks. CBS Interactive, which...

named it one of the greatest games of all time. It also has 8th place in Gamespot's Reader's choice - Ten Best Gameworlds listing, and 3rd place in Gamespot's Ten Best Endings among games.

The game was reviewed in 1993 in Dragon
Dragon (magazine)
Dragon is one of the two official magazines for source material for the Dungeons & Dragons role-playing game and associated products, the other being Dungeon. TSR, Inc. originally launched the monthly printed magazine in 1976 to succeed the company's earlier publication, The Strategic Review. The...

#195 by Hartley, Patricia, and Kirk Lesser in "The Role of Computers" column. The reviewers gave the game 5 out of 5 stars.


In the last phase of the war between the Alliance of Free Stars and the Hierarchy of Battle Thralls, the Tobermoon, an Earthling ship, discovered an ancient Precursor subterranean installation in a cave on the surface of an uninhabited planet in the Vela star system. The Alliance hastily sent a secret scientific mission to study the relics, but a massive Hierarchy's offensive forced the Alliance fleets to retreat beyond Vela; the mission commander, Captain Burton, decided to go into hiding on the planet and sent back the Tobermoon, her only starship, asking for help. Though the Ur-Quan forces didn't find the Earthlings during their sweep of the system, relief never arrived. Years later, with the help of a genius child born on the planet, the colonists activated the Precursor machinery and found out that it was programmed to build a starship. Using the limited store of raw materials available in the planet, in ten years the Precursor factory built a (barely) functional ship, which could be piloted only by the now grown genius child, who alone could interact with the Precursor central computer. In the first test flight, it was discovered that the ship Burton had sent for help had been severely damaged by the Ur-Quan and was orbiting unpowered in the outer solar system: the Alliance had never known of the mission's discoveries. The colonists decided to fix the recovered ship, train new crew members for both the Precursor ship and the Tobermoon and send a mission back to Earth, eager to know how the war had ended. Shortly before reaching Sol the little fleet was attacked by an unknown ship; Captain Burton, commanding the Earthling ship, intercepted the alien ship before it could damage the defenseless Precursor starship, but was killed in the short fight, leaving the genius young man in command.


The player begins the game as a commander of the Precursor starship, who returns to Earth to find it enslaved by the Ur-Quan. It is discovered that the rest of the humans' allies in the war against the Ur-Quan have either been eradicated, put under a slave shield, or put into service as Ur-Quan battle thralls. As the player progresses, it is revealed that the Ur-Quan are fighting an internecine war with the Kohr-Ah, a subspecies of Ur-Quan who believes in eradicating all life in the galaxy, as opposed to enslaving it. The winner of this war gains access to Sa-Matra, a Precursor starship with unparalleled power.

The Ur-Quan Masters

The Ur-Quan Masters (or UQM) project aims to port Star Control II to modern operating system
Operating system
An operating system is a set of programs that manage computer hardware resources and provide common services for application software. The operating system is the most important type of system software in a computer system...

s including Windows
Microsoft Windows
Microsoft Windows is a series of operating systems produced by Microsoft.Microsoft introduced an operating environment named Windows on November 20, 1985 as an add-on to MS-DOS in response to the growing interest in graphical user interfaces . Microsoft Windows came to dominate the world's personal...

, Linux
Linux is a Unix-like computer operating system assembled under the model of free and open source software development and distribution. The defining component of any Linux system is the Linux kernel, an operating system kernel first released October 5, 1991 by Linus Torvalds...

, Mac OS X
Mac OS X
Mac OS X is a series of Unix-based operating systems and graphical user interfaces developed, marketed, and sold by Apple Inc. Since 2002, has been included with all new Macintosh computer systems...

, and BSD. The project began in 2002
2002 in video gaming
The year 2002 in video gaming saw the release of many games to sixth-generation video game consoles, predominately, the Nintendo GameCube, PlayStation 2, and Xbox.-Events:...

 when the original creators Fred Ford and Paul Reiche III
Paul Reiche III
Paul Reiche III is a game designer, particularly for computer games. Reiche is best known for being the co-creator, together with Fred Ford, of the Star Control universe.-Pen and paper RPGs:...

 released the source code
Source code
In computer science, source code is text written using the format and syntax of the programming language that it is being written in. Such a language is specially designed to facilitate the work of computer programmers, who specify the actions to be performed by a computer mostly by writing source...

 of the 3DO
3DO Interactive Multiplayer
The 3DO Interactive Multiplayer is a video game console originally produced by Panasonic in 1993. Further renditions of the hardware were released in 1994 by Sanyo and Goldstar. The consoles were manufactured according to specifications created by The 3DO Company, and were originally designed by...

 version as open source
Open source
The term open source describes practices in production and development that promote access to the end product's source materials. Some consider open source a philosophy, others consider it a pragmatic methodology...

 under the GPL. It is currently at version 0.7.0, and has accomplished its goal. The game media is not open source, but is released under a cc-by-nc-sa license. It has also added the option of online multiplayer Melee play, something which was not available in the original game. A variety of modifications to the melee have been released by fans, including versions with superpowered ships and numerous planets. As of version 0.4, the long-missing intro and ending movies were finally added, as was an in-game setup menu. The ability to mod
Modding is a slang expression that is derived from the verb "modify". Modding refers to the act of modifying a piece of hardware or software or anything else for that matter, to perform a function not originally conceived or intended by the designer...

 the game is one of the project's goals.

The project was renamed The Ur-Quan Masters because the trademark
A trademark, trade mark, or trade-mark is a distinctive sign or indicator used by an individual, business organization, or other legal entity to identify that the products or services to consumers with which the trademark appears originate from a unique source, and to distinguish its products or...

 Star Control was registered by Accolade in 1997, acquired in 1999 by Atari
Atari is a corporate and brand name owned by several entities since its inception in 1972. It is currently owned by Atari Interactive, a wholly owned subsidiary of the French publisher Atari, SA . The original Atari, Inc. was founded in 1972 by Nolan Bushnell and Ted Dabney. It was a pioneer in...

 (then known as Infogrames
Infogrames Entertainment SA was an international French holding company headquartered in Paris, France. It was the owner of Atari, Inc., headquartered in New York City, U.S. and Atari Europe. It was founded in 1983 by Bruno Bonnell and Christophe Sapet using the proceeds from an introductory...

), along with the rest of Accolade's assets.

While development on the UQM codebase continues, a second group of semi-professional musicians called The Precursors are creating new musical tracks and remixes
RemixeS is a compilation of French singer Mylène Farmer's singles by various famous DJ's, including JXL, Felix Da Housecat and Paul Oakenfold.-Brackground, writing and release:...

 of the originals. They are an optional package that can be listened to in-game, replacing the original music, or just played with an audio player. The group's main members are Jouni Airaksinen (alias Mark Vera), Tore Aune Fjellstad (alias VOiD), Espen Gätzschmann (alias TiLT) and Riku Nuottajärvi (an original composer for the 1992 release). The Precursors have released three remix packs.

A fully playable port has been produced for the Wii
The Wii is a home video game console released by Nintendo on November 19, 2006. As a seventh-generation console, the Wii primarily competes with Microsoft's Xbox 360 and Sony's PlayStation 3. Nintendo states that its console targets a broader demographic than that of the two others...

, GP2X
The GP2X is an open-source, Linux-based handheld video game console and portable media player developed by South Korean company GamePark Holdings. It was released on November 10, 2005, in South Korea only....

 portable game system, the Pandora
Pandora (console)
The Pandora is a handheld game console designed to take advantage of existing open source software and to be a target for homebrew development...

 handheld, and the Maemo
Maemo is a software platform developed by the Maemo community for smartphones and Internet tablets. It is based on the Debian Linux distribution, but has no relation to it...

 5-based N900 smart phone. Other ports are underway to the Sony PSP and the Microsoft Xbox
The Xbox is a sixth-generation video game console manufactured by Microsoft. It was released on November 15, 2001 in North America, February 22, 2002 in Japan, and March 14, 2002 in Australia and Europe and is the predecessor to the Xbox 360. It was Microsoft's first foray into the gaming console...


External links

  • The Ultronomicon, a dedicated Star Control wiki
    A wiki is a website that allows the creation and editing of any number of interlinked web pages via a web browser using a simplified markup language or a WYSIWYG text editor. Wikis are typically powered by wiki software and are often used collaboratively by multiple users. Examples include...

  • Star Control 2, at Pages of Now and Forever
  • Star Control 2 at MobyGames
    -Platforms not yet included:- Further reading :* Rusel DeMaria, Johnny L. Wilson, High Score!: The Illustrated History of Electronic Games, McGraw-Hill/Osborne Media; 2 edition , ISBN 0-07-223172-6...

  • List of Planets in Science Fiction

Ur-Quan Masters Ports

The source of this article is wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.  The text of this article is licensed under the GFDL.