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Topics - Bleeding Star

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On TV last night I saw a nature documentry that featured the carnivorous Hawaiian caterpillars (Eupithecia genus) - the ones that the Ur-Quan are based on. Pretty interesting little beasties. They disguise themselves as a leaf or twig, and then when an insect wanders by then - wham! - it's all over. Did a half-arsed search for videos on youtube and found this, but the documentary footage was much more better.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Tkq03WwpEnI

And some pics:

http://ngm.nationalgeographic.com/ngm/0306/feature6/index.html?fs=animals-panther.nationalgeographic.com

Got me wondering about what other animals the races in Star Control are inspired by. Yes, I know the Ilwrath is a spider-analogue, but does anyone know if there is a particular spider species that they resemble closely? I seem to recall that the shofixti are pretty closely based on some sort of (extinct?) giant shrew. Anyone have any insight into any of the other races?

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Mods, Clones and other Fan Content / Net Melee Balance Mod Discussion
« on: April 23, 2009, 01:28:36 am »
Well, I'll do this bit by bit, otherwise I won't write anything. I don't Net-Melee much, so they're more general comments, but I do use hotseat PvP occasionally.

Overall, I'm in favour of almost all of the changes. The new points values are also much more sensible, though I do think that odd numbers don't induce that many headaches and should be still viable.

Androsynth.
-New points value much more appropriate
-Longer blazer lifespan is really noticable and makes it a much more viable weapon. Trail looks cool.

Arilou.
- New teleports are awesome, though as I'm always accelerating, I do find it hard to remember to let off the thrust button for the defensive teleport. Also the increased teleport cooldown is good, and in fact maybe it could be increased further?

Chenjesu.
- New shards are much better defensively, not so good offensively. I do like this:it's amazing how quick you can clear the Ur-Quan fighters.
- Also happy with the free DOGI.

Chmmr.
- I think that high mass should be a virtue in some circumstances. Would prefer the old masses for the large ships, but don't really care that much

Druuge.
- Happy with the choice to mostly leave it alone.
- Would perhaps be in favour of reducing max speed under recoil - it's pretty ridiculous at the moment.

Earthling.
- Minimal changes, no problem.

Ilwrath.
- Visible-while-cloaked is very useful, and not that you'll care, but it's nice against the AI too. I'm also fully in favour of the removal of auto-facing, as a result.
- The Tri-helfire spout is awesome. Finally I have a chance of killing an Arilou!
- Not so sure about reasons for the (relatively minor?) changes to the battery and energy regeneration - would be happy to have left them as previous. Or are there unforseen tactical consequences?

Kohr-Ah.
- FRIED cancellation is fine, though I would note that the Mauler Shells are much less tough (4) than the other projectiles you list and perhaps shouldn't be included. But I don't care much.

Melnorme.
- Minor changes, no problems

Mmrnmhrm.
- Minor changes, no problems

Mycon.
- Very much in favour of the lowered price
- Not so sure about the nerfs vs. Kohr-Ah (could you instead nerf the blades to favour the Mycon instead?)

Orz.
- The minor changes to the marines are good - I agree that they are a valuable resource. In particular, for a ship with only 16 crew, the recall feature is invaluable.

Pkunk
- AI specific gripe: As someone who plays a lot against the AI, I don't like the lowered point value, given that the AI is murder with a Fury. But I can see the rationale for PvP.

Shofixti
- While for gameplay reasons I perfectly understand the point increase, to me it just seems... wrong... to have the humble scout valued so highly. But I have no constructive suggestions for an alternative.
- Fine with changes to shielding. Much more consistent.

Slylandro
- consistentifying the lightning range is a good move. Not so sure why you've decided to make it seek cloaked ships though. Surely the poor Avenger deserves a break?

Spathi
- I hate fighting Probes. I'm glad there's a decent counter now.

Supox
- I love being able to reverse and turn. The altered controls did result in a few untimely deaths at first, though...

Syreen
- Nice little tweak on the Syreen Pvp. That fight is a crapshoot. Kind of makes sense that the Syreen would be resistant to their own powers, too, in case consistency matters to anyone.

Thraddash.
- More crew is good. A race of space-rhinos shouldn't have such a pussy ship.
- I like the new weapon, it's much less abusable, but am interested in the rationale behind the knockback. Also, the combination of damaging weapon and cheaper afterburner makes the Torch a good flanking ship, will be interested to see the consequences in melee.
- I guess the changes to afterburner are to make it a more viable weapon. Mostly in favour, but why the increased flame-puff toughness? It's just ephemeral flames...

Umgah.
- I'd be in favour of a drop to 4 points. If you didn't have an irrational aversion to odd point values, I'd say five was perfect.
- Seriously, is there anything you can do to improve the Umgah? More backwards zip? Longer range antimatter cone?

Ur-Quan.
- Jumbo fusion blasts look funny but they do make a noticeable difference.
- I love almost everything about the new fighters -they really make the Dreadnought pretty formidable. I think the 20 energy per squadron is a bit steep though. I like the emergency last minute fighter deployment and at 20 energy per squadron it's a lot more difficult.
- Not a fan of the energy-draining fighters at all - I'm sure there were balance reasons for putting it in (Yehat, Utwig?) but I just don't like it, mostly for stylistic reasons. To me, the dreadnought is all about domination and brute force - energy drain is the Chenjesu's thing.

Utwig.
- The 5 energy vs. Kohr-Ah does seem very heavy-handed, as you mentioned, and unneccessary. Given my objection to energy-draining ur-quan fighters, I also disagree with the changes with them.
- The other minor changes seem sensible and improve consistency.

VUX.
- I like the changes to limpet effects - previously, the first limpet was almost always a death sentence... albeit a very, very delayed one. This change means that you can still win with a couple of the bastards attached and not be completely useless for the next combat. Conversely, the immobilised status means the fights don't drag on endlessly.
- The changes to battery size, limpet cost and energy regeneration seem minor and kind of pointless. I'd be interested in the rationale behind them.

Yehat.
- All the changes to the shield are great. It makes the Yehat a lot less invulnerable - it's particularly noticeable against the AI.
- Lowered cost is much more appropriate, though I think maybe it's too low now. Perhaps 18 would be more suitable.
- Not relevant to your changes, but I've always thought that the Yehat should be faster - it's really crippled by it's relatively slow speed (though, as you note, gravity whips are an option).

Zoq-Fot-Piq.
- Not much to say, really. I agree, I don't think it needs any modifications.

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General Discussion / Were the Thraddash a rejected SC1 race?
« on: April 03, 2009, 01:36:01 am »
I was wondering about this based on the discussion about the Ilwrath pilot portrait vs. comm screen. The two portraits are often quite different for SC1 races, but very similar for the SC2 races - with the exception of the Thraddash. Also, there's the in-game mention (in SC2) that the Thraddash were part of the Hierarchy but didn't show up to the fight because they were too lame. Am I pulling this out of my arse or is there any solid evidence to back up this theory - perhaps in a discussion with TFB somewhere?

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Off Topic / The Alcohol Discussion Thread
« on: March 26, 2009, 09:28:58 am »
I'm also drinking Guinness, rather unsurprisingly. Nice enough but it gives me shitty hangovers. What's a good drink for limiting the pain the next morning?

Moderator Edit:

To not detract from Eth's slow spiral into alcoholism, I'm giving us a separate thread to discuss our favourite beverages and how often we get drunk in.

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General Discussion / Were the teams balanced in Star Control I?
« on: September 08, 2008, 01:53:29 pm »
I was always of the opinion that the Hierarchy kind of got shafted in SC1. Too many short-range, slow ships, just asking to be massacred by an X-form, a Terminator, or even a Penetrator. And they had the Umgah Drone, too. Blech!

What do you fullas think?

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Off Topic / Cover versions that are better than the original
« on: September 02, 2008, 08:22:07 am »
While most cover versions are hideous travestries that should have the original artists turning in their graves, there's a few that stand out as equalling or even surpassing the original.

I'll start with an obvious one - though you may disagree.
Hurt - Johnny Cash - original NIN

In general I'm not a big fan of Cash (country = yucky), but this cover just blows me away.

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Off Topic / Movies you want to see but never got around to
« on: September 01, 2008, 08:16:44 am »
Those movies that you just think you should see, whether due to a genuine desire or just because it's a classic and you feel you ought to, but have just never got around to it. I have a loooooooong list, but every time I walk into a video store my mind just goes blank. So I thought perhaps I should write them down. Selected items for me include (to be expanded as I remember more):

2001 - A space Odyssey (tried and failed when I was 11 - think I fell asleep)
Akira
Apocalypse Now
Being John Malkovich - Not bad, in a very strange sort of way.
The Big Lebowski
The Day the Earth Stood Still (original one)
Fido
Full Metal Jacket
Ghost in the Shell
The Golden Compass
Hellboy 2 - cheesy and fun. Apparently the ninja elf used to be in the band Bros...
A History of Violence - very good, but not as good as I'd hoped. Was disappointed by the ending, it was not at all what I was expecting.
The Host - Awesome + unusual monster movie. Felt I was missing political commentary on SARS/bird flu. Enormous plot holes. Formaldehyde?!
Iron Man
No Country for Old Men - Ending wa just as bad as advertised. Otherwise awesome.
Platoon
Princess Mononoke - Was super awesome fantasy anime. Bloody beautiful too.
Psycho
The Proposition - pretty good in a depressing violent sort of way. Nicely ambiguous characters (i.e. pretty much everyone is a prick)
There Will be Blood - Damn that was over-rated. Tedious and disjointed. DDL made a good nutjob though.
Son of Rambow

I've just got a subscription to one of those online DVD rental services, so I should be able to start working my way through them. I'll post my thoughts as I do. Any other suggestions? Also, if any of them are rubbish and I shouldn't touch them with a bargepole, please let me know in advance.

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Off Topic / From my cold, dead hands
« on: April 07, 2008, 06:47:08 am »
So, Charlton Heston just died. I'm ashamed to say that my first thought was "Can we have his guns now?".

Any movie buffs out there - was he actually a good actor?

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General Discussion / Favourite Aspect of SC2
« on: September 10, 2006, 01:00:50 pm »
In a vain attempt to stir up some Star-Control related discussion, here's a poll. I realise that some of the options overlap to some extent. So bite me.

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Off Topic / Where was my long weekend?
« on: April 22, 2006, 03:00:03 pm »
So I haven't been in California long, but last weekend it was Easter and I'm kind of accustomed to having Good Friday and possibly Easter Monday off too - but not a thing! I'd naively assumed that a fairly religious country such as the States would have these as public holidays, but no such luck - how come? Is it this whole separation of church and state thing? Do the americans take this "work ethic" stuff a bit too seriously? Does it vary from state to state? For those not in the USA: do you get a day off (or more) over easter?

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General Discussion / Favourite Weapon (SC2)
« on: January 28, 2006, 06:13:53 pm »
What Star Control II weapon gets your juices flowing? What's your favourite - for any reason? Whether you like it 'cause it's super powerful, looks cool, or makes you feel more like a man, it doesn't matter.

This is a vote for the weapon only, not the ship it's attached to. I've included a few of what I thought were likely suspects, from the list of primary weapons only, but if you disagree with my selection then feel free to include others.

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General Discussion / Taking out the Flagship
« on: December 15, 2005, 03:31:33 pm »
By mid-way into SC2, the Precursor Flagship is usually an unstoppable engine of destruction. Great range, high damage tracking weapons, lots of crew, and fuel regeneration to die for. If you were an alien commander facing such a beast, how would you take it down: what ships and strategies would you use? I can't think of many ships that would even stand a chance. What about if you were the Ur-Quan, trying to defend yourself from the captain's merciless rampage - is there anything that you could do?

As a related note, have there been any mods made that incorporate the Flagship into Super-Melee? 'Cause that would be pretty cool really....

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General Discussion / The Avatar: which genius designed it?
« on: November 19, 2005, 01:29:26 am »
So, the Chmmr are spending all their time under the slave shield plotting the downfall of the Ur-Quan (and possibly Kohr-Ah - or did they only gain knowledge of them after talking to the captain?), designing a super-powerful ship to kick their slimy green backsides - and they come up with the Avatar?! What were they thinking?

Don't get me wrong, it's a great ship, pretty much invincible against a lot of ships: but against the Dreadnought and Marauder they're really not that hot. A good Avatar pilot vs. a good Dreadnought pilot will win what, 50% of the time, possibly a little better against the Marauder. But honestly, couldn't they just crank out a few hundred X-forms for old times sakes, which will beat a Dreadnought about 100% of the time?

It just seems a little odd that their main objective was to defeat the Quan, and yet did a piss poor job of designing the proper ship for the task at hand. Thoughts?

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General Discussion / A customisable Mark II?
« on: November 12, 2005, 08:18:44 pm »
One of the things that I liked about SC2 was the modular, customisable flagship, that lets you go from engine of destruction to mining machine as desired. However, one of the things I didn't like so much was the wapon systems: ion bolt guns, fusion blasters and hellbore cannons were all pretty flavourless, the PDS was just a knock-off of the cruiser's special, and the ATS system took all the skill out of fighting with the flagship. I've heard arguments that a fully upgraded precursor vessel should kick a lot of butt, and that it makes things simpler for those who aren't really interested in the space combat side of things (both valid points), but it took a little bit of the fun out of things for me. Why bother taking on the enemy with good fleet selection and my awesome piloting skills when I can obliterate anything from the opposite side of the screen by holding my finger on the fire button?

A possiblility for the next star control would be to allow the Mark II (or whatever) to have weapon systems (and possible specials) from various allied races attached to it, instead of the more generic systems used in SC2. Photon crystals at long range and an auto-aiming laser for close work? Or nukes and space marines for the ultimate fire and forget combat machine? I'm sure some weapons would never be chosen (Mendokusai energy dart, anyone?), and maybe some should be disallowed on story or balance grounds (Yehat shield, teleport, glory device) but I think it'd give the flagship a bit more flavour and increase the tactical options. Sure it would be powerful, but it surely couldn't compete with a fully decked out flagship with a zillion hellbores. Perhaps additional "special" systems could be found during the game to furthur increase your options and/or power. On the other hand, this might have the consequence of making escort ships totally unneccesary, which is not my objective at all - perhaps it should be limited to primary weapons systems only, to give each of the escorts something to offer?

I guess another perspective could be that the whole "customisable" thing was done to death in SC2 and the Mark II should be a different kettle of fish entirely. Comments?

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General Discussion / What's up with the Avenger?
« on: October 29, 2005, 01:13:48 am »
Apologies if I'm getting a bit worked up by an extraordinarily minor point.

So, some Ur-Quan super-genius has recently come up with a super dynamo unit, better than that possessed by any other race in the quadrant. So what do they do with it? Install it on their own ships, to make them almost-invincible fusion-firing engines of destruction (even more so than usual)? Give it to one of their useful thrall races who could actually use such a dynamo to good effect (Spathi, Androsynth)? No, instead they decide to attach this stunning piece of super-advanced technology onto a piss-weak ship piloted by a bunch of psychopathic spiders. What's up with that?

Seriously, the Avenger has the best fuel-regeneration rate of any ship in the game - ~4x better than that of the Dreadnaught (correct me if I'm wrong). What rationalisations do use use to explain this apparent anomaly? Do the Ilwrath not use much energy on water heating and hence have more for their weapon systems? Are the energy meters for different ships actually using different scales? Is it a divine blessing from Dogar and Kazon? Any ideas?

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