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Community TBL Looks Back at Starflight

Discussion in 'News & Content Feedback' started by Saint_Proverbius, May 9, 2022.

  1. Saint_Proverbius Administrator Patron

    Saint_Proverbius
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    Tags: Electronic Arts; Starflight

    Turn Based Lovers has a retrospective about the venerable Starflight, a game from 1986 which pushed the envelope in terms of a sci-fi, exploration space CRPG. Believe it or not, that was a decent little sub-genre at one point, before studios decided fantasy was really the only setting to make the money.

    Starflight starts with the main characters in a circular spaceship – ready to set off towards the stars. First, however, the player gather a team of different specialists – classic RPG style. These brave explorers are to discover what’s happening in the universe. The journey won’t be peaceful. Soon, it’ll be clear that their ultimate task is preventing a powerful foe from destroying all planets. Despite this, the adventure is entirely non-linear: it is up to the player where to go and what to do. The gameplay consists of exploring space; docking on planets; extracting precious minerals – vital for fuelling the ship; and interacting with the aliens. It is possible to fight anyone, but this isn’t the best strategy. Good communication is an essential skill here.

    This was developed back before Electronic Arts turned evil. I remember being a kid and actually looking for their logo when I was game shopping because I knew they made and published fairly quality stuff. I put them on par with SSI, Bullfrog Productions and so on.

    If you're thinking, "Hey, those were great! I'd love to play those games again!", it and the sequel are available on Good Old Games.
     
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  2. KeighnMcDeath RPG Codex Boomer

    KeighnMcDeath
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    Indeed! Before EOA EA became THE EVIL EMPIRE!
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]

    Before they opened the cube, the sphere, the tetrahedron. Before unlocking the secrets of Square, Circle, Triangle.
    Naughty Dog breaks Electronic Arts (open)


    Hello Cookie the Secretary..
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]

    Hmmm.. the barmaid too?
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]

    Who sort of looks like the mermaid?
    [​IMG]

    And rings of power looks similar... as we've seen.
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]

    I swear that dude had a thing for someone in the office who I'll assume is the secretary.. dude likes blondes.

    Have another Cookie
    [​IMG]
     
    Last edited: May 11, 2022
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  3. Nazrim Eldrak Scholar

    Nazrim Eldrak
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  4. rusty_shackleford Arcane

    rusty_shackleford
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    Genesis version is much different(inferior in my opinion.) Amiga version has improvements over the PC version.
     
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  5. KeighnMcDeath RPG Codex Boomer

    KeighnMcDeath
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    I miss my physical starmaps.:negative:

    Did any of you try drawing your own starmaps?
     
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  6. Nazrim Eldrak Scholar

    Nazrim Eldrak
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    I've never played the game, so I can't say which version is better, but I find its game mechanics very interesting.
    If you have a source on the difference that we can dig into, share it.
     
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  7. rusty_shackleford Arcane

    rusty_shackleford
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    http://www.starflt.com/tables
     
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  8. KeighnMcDeath RPG Codex Boomer

    KeighnMcDeath
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    Yeah, that pissed me off about the Uhlek. Oh the weather in the gen version. Lol, so many times them damn tornadoes. I never had the amiga version so I should try this.

     
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  9. KeighnMcDeath RPG Codex Boomer

    KeighnMcDeath
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  10. oldmanpaco Master of Siestas

    oldmanpaco
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    Imagine playing Starflight with a mouse and not Ironman.
     
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  11. KeighnMcDeath RPG Codex Boomer

    KeighnMcDeath
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    Last edited: May 10, 2022
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  12. Late Bloomer Educated

    Late Bloomer
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    This guy games


     
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  13. Morpheus Kitami Liturgist

    Morpheus Kitami
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    Feels like the article goes over ground that most people who know of the game already know. Not that that's a bad thing, its a pretty good game, outside of the combat IIRC. Had no idea the Genesis version was so different though, practically looks like a different game.
     
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  14. KeighnMcDeath RPG Codex Boomer

    KeighnMcDeath
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    Those electronic arts genesis manuals were pretty thick for sone games.
    Some more quick amiga:



    Besides the amiga vs genesis there isn't a real good comparison vid like thd might & magic one I had. Pity as key points broken would be great.




    I couldn't find a short vid on megadrive SF ship to ship combat. I noticed the atv in the amiga/pc had some other options sega gen did not have. Well damn again.
     
    Last edited: May 10, 2022
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  15. Rincewind Prophet

    Rincewind
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    I remember EA was actually considered to be a highly prestigious company back in the C64 and Amiga days. When you saw their logo in the intro, it was a sure sign of quality. Well, Bullfrog surely played a large part in that. Fun fact: I sent their UK division some "fan mail" when I was a kid; essentially, I was asking for free shit, and they sent me some nice catalogues and an ultra-cool Populous poster that adorned my wall for many years (I sent basically the same letter to a few other companies, but they were the only ones I heard back from).

    That's true, but it runs much slower on stock Amigas (emulated or hardware) compared to the PC version. The AmigaLove guy wrote a nice review about the game, plus figured out a way how to speed it up on real hardware (he even completed the game that way). The method works just as well in WinUAE, I tried; you just keep the CPU at the default 68000 (or 020/030, doesn't really matter), and override the emulated clock frequency to 40MHz (50 works too).

     
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  16. Saint_Proverbius Administrator Patron

    Saint_Proverbius
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    There's some people that figured out how to use a Raspberry Pi as an Amiga accellerator. I thought it was pretty interesting considering a lot of those Amiga accellerators are $400+.



    Seems to work pretty well, too.

    EA was one of the companies involved in killing off the Amiga, which is really shitty considering I doubt EA would have ever gotten big if it weren't for Commodore. Basically, console companies and some game companies like EA all got together to agree to not develop for the Amiga specifically in order to increase sales of consoles in America and Europe.
     
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  17. Rincewind Prophet

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    Heh, that's some extremely cool piece of hardware hackery! I bought a real Cyberstorm mkII 060/128MB for about 600 USD in 2002 for my A4000 (which I sold since then, *sniff*); it wasn't exactly cheap back then either.

    This is quite surreal, it's actually *more* surreal than PCem communicating with a real ISA VGA card via USB...



    Didn't know that, and that's quite disgusting. Still, at least they published quite good games until about the 90s, but maybe their talent was only in making deals with the right dev studios, like Bullfrog.
     
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  18. Saint_Proverbius Administrator Patron

    Saint_Proverbius
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    That's where they got the name "PiStorm". I was wondering because I'd never heard of the Cyberstorm accelerators. I'd heard of the Vampire ones, at least I think that was what they were called.

    It's kind of interesting though, that back in the day, people just dealt with things like Starflight's planet landing thing being that slow. That would never be allowed in a game today. Then again, I remember playing Quake on a 486DX2/66 until I got a pentium, and it was in a tiny window on the screen just to get 15fps and I considered that "playable".

    It's still crazy to think that back then, games like Star Command and Starflight were main stream AAA releases, and no major studio these days would dare to make games like that. They don't even do things like those games if they already have a license like Star Trek, Star Wars, Battlestar Galactica when it was hot, and so on. There's several indie titles that attempt games of that scope, but having to scale things based on the abilities of a small team.
     
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  19. Rincewind Prophet

    Rincewind
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    Yeah, so the Blizzard IV 030/50MHz by Phase5 was the ubiquitous A1200 accelerator everybody who could afford one had; it made your A1200 twice as fast as a stock A3000!

    The Cyberstorm Mk2 060/50Mhz was the elite-level, a very pricy accelerator board for your quite expensive Amiga 4000. People talked about it in hushed tones, and scoring one was akin to finally being able to get your hands on a Galactic Hyperdrive in Elite! It was the absolute top -- there was nowhere else to go from there.

    Naturally, when I had the means and opportunity to get one around 2002, I couldn't resist. Watching all those scene demos requiring 060/50Mhz on a real A4000 paired with a C=1084S monitor was quite an experience.



    That sums up the problem, pretty much. Back then you had small(ish) teams with never-seen-before blockbuster budgets, and they could do whatever. Today, you have the massive teams with blockbuster budgets cranking out "safe", derivative shit, then you have the small teams with next to no budgets. There are still lots of devs with good ideas, but the market conditions have drastically changed.

    Personal computers (not consoles) were almost exclusively owned by adults or nerdy kids with higher-than-average IQs. It was natural and expected in Amiga and PC circles to be intimately familiar with the various hardware options, even if you weren't a particularly nerdy coder/engineer type of person. Anyone can do the maths and figure out the rest from there...

    Still, our best hope is people like VD, Cleve, and small studios such as Almost Human, Cyanide, Piranha Bytes, Atom Team, etc.
     
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  20. Metro Arcane Beg Auditor

    Metro
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    Starflight 2 was one of my personal favorites back in t3h day. Surprisingly deep mechanics for the early age of gaming. Weren't some of the devs trying to make a Starflight 3 somewhat recently?
     
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  21. Tweed Professional Kobold Patron

    Tweed
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    Pathfinder: Kingmaker
    As I recall off the top of my head there have been several attempts. I followed one way the hell back in the late 90s, but I can't remember who was trying to get it off the ground.

    I had the Genesis version of the game which apparently is quite different from the computer ones. There was a huge manual, mostly taken up by a hint section written out as a story of what to do if you got stuck, complete with color illustrations of the various races and black and white images of all the artifacts.
     
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  22. gaussgunner Arcane

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    Me too. I know the Star Control devs (some of the same guys) are working on a sequel now...
     
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