Star Control II
Star Control II is the second game in the Star Control franchise. This science fiction video game was originally developed by Toys for Bob (Fred Ford and Paul Reiche III) and published by Accolade in 1992 for MS-DOS. In 1994, it was ported to the 3DO by Crystal Dynamics with an enhanced multimedia presentation, allowed by CD technology. The source code of the 3DO port was licensed under the GNU GPL in 2002, which put the game content under a Creative Commons license. A project called "The Ur-Quan Masters" re-made the game.
Released to critical acclaim, Star Control II features exoplanet abundant star systems, hyperspace travel, extraterrestrial life, and interstellar diplomacy. Over 25 unique alien races exist for the player to interact with.
Star Control II added a large number of species 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. This included diplomatic interactions with the galaxy's inhabitants, some resource-gathering sub-sections, and instances of the melee combat (like in the first game).
The player must explore the game world with little direction and make discoveries and connections independently. Interaction with the various alient species is a chief part of the adventure game; the backstory of both the species from the first games and new ones were expanded upon considerably. There are hours of dialogue and each species has their own quirks, display fonts, and music.
In the last phase of the war between the Alliance of the 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 ordered a secret scientific mission to study the relics, but a massive Hierarchy offensive forced their fleets to retreat beyond Vela. The mission's commander, Captain Burton, went into hiding on the planet and sent back the Tobermoon, her only starship, and asked 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 on 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 their 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, meaning that the Alliance never learned of the mission's discoveries. Eager to learn how the war ended, the colonists decided to fix the recovered ship, train new crew members, and send a mission back to Earth. Shortly before reaching Sol, the little fleet was attacked by an unknown ship: Captain Burton, commanding the Earthling ship, intercepted the alients before it could damage the defenseless Precursor ship. She was killed in the short fight, leaving the genius young man in command.
The player begins the game as the commander of the Precursor starship. Upon returning to Earth, they discover it has been enslaved by the Ur-Quan. The rest of humanity's allies in the war against the Ur-Quan have either been eradicated, put under a slave shield, or forced 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 believe in eradicating all life in the galaxy. The winner of this war will gain access to the Sa-Matra, a Precursor starship with unparalleled power. The player must take advantage of the Ur-Quan's distraction to contact and recruit alien races into a new alliance, gather resources and build a fleet, and find a way to destroy the Sa-Matra before the Ur-Quan finish their war and become unstoppable.
- The era of the Precursors, lasting approximately 100,000 years. During this time, the Sa-Matra and the base on Vela 2 are presumably built. The Precursors also presumably make contact with the Slylandro at Beta Corvi 4.
- The first terraforming “biot” is engineered by the Precursors, presumably for the ecological modification of potential colonies. While the Precursor’s ecological preferences remain uncertain, it is known that the result of their terraforming techniques led to the upheaval and destruction of any target planet’s established ecosystems and natural environments due to the severe tectonic structural damage caused. The destruction of the Syreen homeworld by the Mycon in 2035 is one example of such catastrophic damage. It is suggested that the Mycon are the semi-sentient evolution of this terraforming biotechnology, having been abandoned for hundreds of thousands of years, eventually developing an extremely cryptic religion and culture of their own.
- Suddenly and abruptly, the Precursor civilization seemingly collapses and disappears from the galaxy.
- The Sentient Milieu is established and gradually establishes peaceful relationships throughout our galaxy. This group of species eventually includes seven races: Ur-Quan, Mael-Num, Drall, Faz, Taalo, Yuli, and Yuptar.
- The Ur-Quan develop interplanetary travel and begin to explore nearby worlds in their star system. Their journeys and discoveries continue for over a thousand years as they slowly become the most powerful race in this coalition.
- The Dnyarri are discovered on an unknown world by the Ur-Quan. The susceptibility of the Ur-Quan brain to psychic coercion makes them fall to the malevolent compulsions of the Dnyarri. The technologically undeveloped Dnyarri psychically compel the Ur-Quan scouting party to beign transporting them off the surface of the Ur-Quan homeworld and delivering them throughout the regions of space occupied by the Sentient Milieu.
- The successful hostile takeover of the Sentient Milieu occurs, resulting in a complete telepathic enslavement of the coalition that lasts nearly two millennia. The Dnyarri use their mental powers to do with the Milieu as they please, using the races as pawns against one another for their own cruel amusement. Several of the enslaved Milieu races – specifically, the Drall and Yuli – are considered inferior by the Dnyarri and destroyed by the other Milieu races, who are psychically forced to comply.
- The sole exception to this enslavement were the Taalo, who proved to be the only Milieu race capable of resisting the psychic compulsion of the Dnyarri, perhaps due to their unique silicon-based biology. The Taalo worked effortlessly on a technology or device that could have conferred this ability to the other races of the Milieu, but were unable to finish it before the Dnyarri ordered their destruction at the hands of the Ur-Quan and Mael-Num, who mercilessly incinerate the Taalo homeworld at Delta Vulpeculae 2C. Despite this, several statements by both the Orz and Arilou seem to casually refer to the Taalo as though they are still alive and well, implying that they may still exist in some other reality. Speculation suggests that they may have survived by shifting into an alternate dimension just prior to the destruction of their homeworld.