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Something that I've always wondered about (well, at least since becoming a Star Control fan, anyway) is where Fred Ford and Paul Reiche (and the other valiant chappies who worked on SC1 and SC2) got their ideas from.   Well, I thought, why not try to find out?  So here's what I did...


First off, I dug out my old .PDF files of the SC manuals.  Aha!   Here we go.  In the SC1 manual:

"Inspired by the works of: Orson Scott Card, Larry Niven, Andre Norton, David Brin, Robert A. Heinlein, Arthur C. Clarke, Jack Vance, Alan Dean Foster, Keith Laumer, A.E. Van Vogt, E.E. "Doc" Smith, Joe Halderman, Dan Simmons, Fred Saberhagen and 100 worthy others."

Some of my suspicions are confirmed!   Most of you will recognise at least one of the above authors (more than one, I should hope!).  Anyway, this has led me on to think... and think... and think.   And eventually, I decided to just note down anything I found in SC that could have been based on something else... so here we go!


A lot of the ship captain names in SC will seem familiar to Sci-Fi fans... some of them don't even require any grounding in that.   ;)  Anyway, here are a few of the more interesting Captain names:

Androsynth / HAL-2001: 2001 - a fairly classic film/book, hmm?

Earthling / Adama: Battlestar Galactica.

Earthling / Kirk: Duh.

Earthling / Halleck: A retainer and lieutenant in Frank Herbert's "Dune".

Earthling / Ender: From Orson Scott Card's "Ender's Game".  I bet this captain isn't quite so young (thanks, Captain Zaxory!).

Earthling / Rogers: Buck Rogers.  The old space opera hero, rather than Feeder's song.

Earthling / Solo: This one should be almost as obvious as Kirk!

Supox / Trifid: Mispelt, but who's counting?  DAY OF THE TRIFIDS!

Syreen / Alia: Another Dune character.

Syreen / Ripley: Heroine of the brilliant Alien film series.

Syreen / Sparta: I was kind of suprised to see a Syreen named after a city, so I suspect I'm missing something.

Syreen / Teela: As in Teela Brown, the delightful female protagonist of Larry Niven's "Ringworld".

Androsynth / CRC-16: CRC, or Cyclic Redundancy Check, is a method for verifying if a file downloaded properly, as well as checking its accuracy.

Androsynth / DOS-1.0: Everyone should know this one: Microsoft Disk Operating System 1.0, or MS- DOS 1.0

Androsynth / ME-262: This was the model number for a German WW2 aircraft, more commonly known as the Messerschmit.

Androsynth / AK-47: Everyone's favorite Russian assault rifle!

Androsynth / 1040-EZ: One of the income tax forms that you can use.

Androsynth / SR-71: The SR-71 Blackbird is a 'secret' U.S. stealth plane.

Androsynth / XR4-TI: An obscure car called the Merkur XR4Ti.  They're European in manufacture and a bunch were imported to the states by Ford in the late 1980s.

Earthling / Buck: Another reference to Buck Rogers, I'm willing to bet.

Earthling / Decker: I think this refers to Commodore Decker from the Star Trek TOS episode, The Doomsday Machine

Ilwrath / Gorgon: A gorgon is a famous Greek monster, seems appopriate for a race like the Ilwrath.

Shofixti / Wasabe: More accurately, Wasabi, is a vegetable used in Japanese cooking. (These guys use a lot of Japanese names, or ones that sound like them.)

Shofixti / Kudzu: Is an EVIL plant that'll take over just about anywhere it grows.

Shofixti / Ichiban: Means basically, "The Best" or "Number One". Probably the Shofixti equivilent of the Earthling named Kirk.:)

Shofixti / Bonsai!: This one's funny. Bonsai is a type of stunted tree that is grown for its 'perfection'. However, BANZAI, which means Cheers, was yelled by Kamikaze pilots in WW2, so one hears.

Shofixti / Ginzu: I'm guessing that this relates to the classic Ginsu knives.

Shofixti / Busu: This is a term that's considered vulgar, literally "ugly woman".

Shofixti / Gaijin: A less than complementory term for a foreigner, or an outsider.

Shofixti / Daikon: Another type of vegetable. See above.

Shofixti / Sushi: Everyone knows this one, I hope.

Shofixti / Naninani: Literally, "What are the items?" However, Nani means "What?" or "Huh?", so I'm thinking this guy is really clueless. :)

Shofixti / Tora-3: Tora is tiger, so it'd be Tiger-3. Probably a designation, rather than a name. Like, the third pilot of Tiger squadron. Also Tora-3 could mean Tora! Tora! Tora! which is a classic film about Pearl Harbor, which would be quite fitting for the Shofixti ;)

Shofixti / Tofu: Also known as bean curd.

Shofixti / Katana: Us poor Americans know this as the 'samurai sword'.

Syreen / Munro: Interesting bit of trivia. The Star Trek: Voyager game, Elite Force, that came out a few years ago, allowed you to play a male or a female character... the male was Alexander Munro, the female character was Alexandria Munro. Probably coincedence.

Syreen / Dejah: A reference to Robert A. Heinlein's "The Number of the Beast"; and the character of Dejah Thoris (D.T. or "Deetee") Burroughs.

Utwig / Lololo: May be reference to an old Nintendo game.


Spathi: The Spathi, in my opinion, are almost directly based on the 'Pierson's Puppeteers', a species from Larry Niven's Ringworld.   Both species are famous for their cowardice, and both can even turn this trait into a weapon.  Both have an odd affinity for humans (or hunams).  Both are thin, spindly things, although Puppeteers are bi-headed, and Spathi more resemble molluscs.   Otherwise: quite similar!

The Destruction of Buenos Aires: Hmm, that rings a bell.   Anyone who has read Starship Troopers, by Robert Ansom Heinlein, will doubtless recognise this event as being fairly pivotal in the Human/Arachnid war.  In Star Control, BA was crushed by the Ur-Quan to 'teach us a lesson'.  In my opinion, the creators added this as a tip of the hat towards Heinlein's work.

Arilou: The traditional men in flying saucers.  They follow the stereotypical 'here to help us in some mysterious way' concept rather than the equally stereotypical 'they're here to kill us all!' idea.   Only difference is, they ain't grey.   ;-)

Thraddash: Or, more specifically, the Thraddash culture cycles.  Anyone else reminded of Niven/Pournelles Motie cycles (The Mote in God's Eye)?

Druuge: Chances are fairly high that the Druuge were based, in part, on Accolade.

Ilwrath Avenger: looks strikingly similar to the Rebel Alliance insignia of Star Wars fame (Greg Muir).

Ur-Quan Dreadnaught: looks very much like a green Battlestar Galactica (Greg Muir).

Earthling Cruiser: The human ships have a saucer/nacelle design. Hmm, wonder what that could be from? :) (Greg Muir)

Syreen: An amazon warrior race with long ribbed ships called Penetrators. They seemed very eager to get them back in Star Control 2.  Nuff said. :) (Greg Muir)
The name is quite obviously derived from the Siren, the mythological Greek sea creatures that looked like beautiful women and enticed sailors away from their ships with their singing - hence the "Call of the Syreen" special attack. (Russell N.)

Shofixti: The suicidal racoons, were "uplifted" by one of the other Alliance races, the Yehat.  A crib from David Brin (Greg Muir).

Yehat: Might seem a little similar to the bird race from Wing Commander Special Operations 2 (Greenish9 - since SC1 was released long before this, I'd be surprised! ;-) (Greg Muir).

Ilwrath: One of Dogar or Kazon is referred to as the "Dark Beast of A Thousand Young."  In HP Lovecraft's horror stories, the evil god Shub-Niggurath is the "Black Goat of a Thousand Young" (Jed Blue/Froborr D'Wiggy).

Orz: Evil beings from another dimension, who can kill a man invisibly, leave no bodies when they strike, cause a mysterious change in their victims; horrible things happen to anyone that learns too much about them... these are all features of the Great Old Ones, again from Lovecraft's work (Jed Blue/Froborr D'Wiggy).

Dnyarri: Mind-controlling empire-builders who lacked any technology of their own, very similar to Niven's Thrintun Slavers.  In addition, the ancient repetative war between the Kzer-Za and Kohr-Ah, as well as the genocide performed by the Kohr-Ah, is similar to the war between the Vorlons and Shadows in Babylon 5, although that came after SC2, the original concept presentation was made in 1990 (Jed Blue/Froborr D'Wiggy).

Slylandro: Gregory Benford and Gordon Eklund, in If Stars are Gods, describe giant, silvery gasbags floating around inside the clouds of gas giant... sound familiar?  ;)


Star Control 3

Apart from Fred and Paul, the makers of SC3 plagiarised other sources... ;D

Eternal Ones: Again, very similar to the Great Old Ones, especially the periodic return which wipes out all life, and the being awesomely powerful beings so advanced that we cannot even see them (Jed Blue/Froborr D'Wiggy).


Legend games were also responsible for "Gateway", an adventure game based in Frederick Pohl's novel. SC3 is not directly based in Gateway, but it seems to plagiarise other novels in the gateway saga such as "Heechee Rendezvous" or "Beyond the blue event horizon". In both novels, the Humans, aided by their alien allies, have to fight the "Assassins" a race of beings of pure energy from other universe that are desperately trying to invade this one. To do so, the assassins destroy periodically every sentient life in the galaxy, the only ones surviving being the "Slow swimmers" that inhabited a gas giant (Slylandro?) and the Heechees, that escaped the Assassins predation by hiding into a pocket dimension inside a black hole (Arilou?)

The Precursors themselves could be either the Progenitors from Brin's "Startide Rising" or the same Heechees from Gateway, mentioned avobe.

Syreen captain Aelita comes from "Aelita the Queen of Mars", a Russian movie from the 1920s.

Androsynth: Their source of inspiration could be the Replicants from Ridley Scott's greatest movie, "Blade Runnder".


One of the Earthling captain names in SC1/SC2 is Spiff. In the comic "Calvin and Hobbes", by Bill Watterson, one of Calvin's fantasies is where he is the valiant "Spaceman Spiff", fighting all sorts of fantastic and disgusting space monsters.

Pike (Earthling), is probably based on Captain Pike, from the very first episode of Star Trek.

There is a Syreen captain called Yarr. Tasha Yarr (the security officer) from Star Trek : The Next Generation?


There's most certainly more to come; I have come up with a *lot* more than this.  However, my memories playing tricks on me again, so I shall have to leave it here for now.  However, if I do remember anything else, I'll put it up ASAP!   Alternatively, if you recognise something in SC (even in SC3) from any famous or obscure piece of literature, film or artwork... contact me!