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Official CommentsQSI Posts on the Discussion Boards — Part Two

Updated March 12, 2001:

Rantz Hoseley, Art Director

MOO2 races being cut from MOO3: >>Bulrathi were dumped for being bad rip offs of bears and being too humanoid. Mrrshans were dumped for being to humanoid and being to much like cats.

Actually the Bulrathi and Mrrshan both fall into the 'cheesy sci-fi category' as well as being anthropomorphic.

>>Alkari were dumped for being a rip-off of pterodactyls (could have evolved from sakkra).

Noooo, not actually, but I can't discuss that at this time.

>>Darlocks were dumped for being to much like their ancestor race who is in the game.

Again, no, but I can't say why now...

>>Elerians were dumped for being too humanoid and being blue.

Actually the Elerians were dumped for being sexist sci-fi clichés.

>>Gnolams?????????

I was frightened by seeing the Wizard of Oz as a child and they gave me flashbacks to that terror... LOL

More on the same: >>Sounds to me like this has been thoroughly detailed by the QS team. Are we going to find out more about the 'extinct' races after we play the full game next year?

It's a distinct possibility...

>>Bet there's another reason those races were "killed" off...

Motives are always hard to tell when you're not sure who's behind something...

>>They weren't really KILLED off were they....(glares suspiciously)

Depends on who you're talking about.

The cats are dead and the skull of their leader rests on my desk...
Bears and Blue chicks too... the others?

Will it be possible to have just one race in the game? The answer (unless it's changed) is yes, you could have all one race, with different factions fighting for supremacy in multiplayer.

Don't know about single player.

Alkari origin: The Alkari actually evolved on an entirely separated strain from the Ichthys familial tree. In a different region of the MOO Universe.

So, no they are not the most highly evolved. (and there is much argument who gets to win that title, and by what criteria...)

Is the art style and interface of the new website consistent with the game' s? It's a *hint* at the art style...

The stuff we're doing with the interface can't easily be replicated in a browser, if at all...

Will the new logo be seen on the game' s box? Don't know yet. When it was originally designed, Ross, Irene and I put it together as a temp, 'better' option, until we came up with a 'real' logo.

So, maybe, maybe not... We'll see.

The small ship pictures on the new website: >>First thing I noticed: the ships on top of the buttons. The Harvester ship is blacked out?

Yes, holding with the secrecy bit, no final art of the Harvesters is going out into the world.

>>Are those colors official?

Pretty much.

>>Why is the Saurian ship green?

Because I like Pthalocyan Green over Taupe. More importantly, we wanted each species to have a specific color 'tone' so that when they were just little 3 pixel dots on the horizon, you could tell who it was.

>>And why is the crystalline ship purple?

Because I told Ross to use those colors <G>

>>Is it for fear of being repetitive?

If you mean repetitive in the 'making other MOO3 species ships look like each other' way, yes we wanted each species to stand out.

Will players be able to choose their color? Each player has 'team colors' that they select at the beginning of the game, your ships will have marking on them in that color. In addition the will be areas on your ship that you can custom color to be able to recognize your specific custom ship designs in battle.

So, yes you can choose colours, but no you can't change the overall hull color. That is species specific

Were Icthytosians and Saurians artificially evolved? In a word, no.

Certain species had their evolution 'sped up' by the Antarans, but what you are implying for the Saurian and Icthys is just incorrect.

Will the GUI color scheme be customisable? Not without a mod from the community.

Using unique colors on species' ships to identify races: Already thought of it, but it's not going to happen unless we magically get more time in the schedule.

So, sorry, no...

Will the largest ships be spherical? It won't be, no matter what the species is. No Orbs as the biggest thing... or, no 'pure' spherical shapes, anyways.

What will the interface be like? That's top secret until E3. Words that could be used to describe it is different, logical, intuitive, sensical.

Until E3, that's it...

Cory Nelson (Producer) with more on E3: We are currently planning on showing something at E3. As for how much or exactly what... too early to tell. :)

E3 is mid may. Site is www.e3expo.com

Creating mods: >>I think modifying all racial art or changed pre-rendered animations on racial characters (ambassadors etc) will take
quite an effort.

Yes, as will replacing ship art. Not saying it can't be done, but we are using a couple of proprietary tools for the 'political' depictions, and the ships. Again, it probably would take some time in order to reverse-engineer a solution.

But, there are very talented folks out there, I'm sure someone will figure out how to do it. <G>

>>I think 1st level hacking here is about changing how hard a laser hit or how fast an MK4 engine goes, and possibly even if you can do a continuous mod an a Gauss-gun. Stuff like that.

correct, most of that stats are being kept in table formats.

Now, on the subject of UI. *hypothetically* you could change the look of the UI if you had the time and inclination. But just a few numbers to consider.

The UI has 73 unique 'screens' with 24 'sub-modalities'. each of those has an average of 30-40 unique assets. Being used in a VERY non-standard way that has (to our knowledge) never been used before.
Do the math, we're talking about a LOT of assets, being used in a way that won't be really easy to figure out from a reverse-engineer solution.

So, *hypothetically* you *could* change the UI, (like I said, there are smart folks out there) but it's not going to be a short or easy process, to say the least...

More on the same: MOO3 is structured to allow for expandability. Whether that is done by fans with a LOT of time (because it is no small task, and trust me, it is *not* easy) on their hands or by us remains to be seen. But, yes from day 1 we structured the engine so that we could add new 'modules'.

Species' ships looking like their creators: It should be noted... Not many of the ships *are* body-morphic. The Ichthys ships don't look a thing like fish, the Saurians don't resemble lizards in the slightest, the cyb don't look like their creators, and the harvesters ships REALLY bear no resemblance to their creators.

The argument for the insectoid race and Geodic race comes down to how the ships look in comparison to their creators (the same could be argued to a minor extent, with the ethereans). Those comparisons come out of the engineering solutions that the respective races have come up with. (in the etherean and Geodic case, it's because they 'grow' their ships/vehicles.) In the Insectoid Species, they are using the best construction methods that they have devised through time, and that originally was based (millennia upon millennia ago) on an armor system which mimics the shell or carapace of the stronger insects. There's been a lot of change in development since 'medieval bugdom' but the iconic level of influence can still be seen.

Ship design: >>The Saurian ships that I've seen thus far have a toothy or scaley look to them. Again, this is a form or shape that one might associate to reptiles. This body-morphic design is much more subtle though, and seems to work well in my opinion.

And from a gameplay standpoint, one of the reasons for each species having a unique ship library is so that the player, while in the game, at a glance, can get an idea of who they are up against, and can quickly discern friend from foe at a more subtle, subliminal level, without having to put something as lame as white boxes around the 'good' guys, and blue boxes around the 'bad' So, your observations aren't that far off. The same holds true for humans, the humanoid ships are design to reflect what traditionally we *expect* from humans.

>>If you grow your ships, then they will look asymmetrically natural.

>>If you build your ships, they should probably be functional and not artistically frilly, unless artistic expression is a trait of your race.

>>All ships for a certain race, regardless of how they were produced, should follow a common theme of shapes and design that will make that race's ships distinctly recognizable of that race.

That's pretty dead on to the goals we set out with in designing the ships for the various species. One addition would be:

"species tend to design towards what is familiar and logical to their evolutionary and technological development."

More on the same: >>Just a vague question on the size and layout thing. Does this mean that you are having to do multiple ship "looks" for 8 species, for each 14 ship sizes?!

Yes, it does, and they are done. For the most part, we're wrapping the Saurian and Harvester ships right now.

>>Even 8 x 14 is 112! If you're doing, say, two designs for each race for each size, that 224! So, ouch, that could be some VERY hard work. Especially if you're doing ALL yourself, as Scott Godfrey suggests!

I do the schematics for the ship and the aliens, and when I get a spare minute (next to never) I do texture paint aliens or build a ship or two. But yes, there are many unique ship models in the game.

>>Much as I envy your position, I don't envy your workload...

It's a bit crazy at times, but I think it'll be worth it in the end.

>>I'm sure what we've seen is only the tip of the iceberg, as you've mentioned before.

Think of it more as the skiff of snow on top of the iceberg. Some of the artwork is well over a year old...

And the political depictions haven't even entered the fray yet...

More: Ship visual designs reflect it's relative scale, class and role. In other words, they *are* associated with a *type* of role.

But, no, you will not be seeing things like long range scanners pop up on your ship.

Do etherians use bio-tech? Correct in that.

But to answer another question, no they are *not* sentient, or conscious. Think of it as growing an organ in a lab, rather than cloning a being.

Irene Macabante, Graphic Designer

Quality of released art: Please remember people, that for the most part you are looking at sketches which are nowhere near the finished product. I've seen some of Ross' and Scott's ships and they kick major ass. The little ones you see on the web site are just a hint...if you saw them full size, your eyes would bug out of your heads.

And just wait till you see the races finished...

Bill Fisher, Executive Producer

Galaxy: Just a few quick answers to the musings that have been posted here:

1. We are experimenting with various "galaxy" shapes. While it's true that we have far fewer stars than a real galaxy (that would take rather a lot of time to play), the shapes do offer some interesting terrain effects. Certain stars, especially out on the rim, are rather hard to get to. Others, nearby in Cartesian distance, are actually quite far away in travel time because there are no straight-line paths between them. This will be a lot of fun as long as the variations are not too extreme. That's what we're fiddling with at the moment.

2. The galaxy is discus-shaped, and does have a modest 3D component.

3. You will be able to see each planet in a "near orbit" sort of view that shows the land types and atmosphere, plus a few other goodies. We're using a special graphics module that Greg designed, allowing us to do something like a movie of the planet without requiring lots of pre-rendered sequences that would take up a ton of disk space.

Isn't MOO3 set in a "sector"? From a practical standpoint, it's not an entire galaxy and the shape is only a mild effect. But it's still cool to have in there, because it will require some additional thought processes when deciding where to go.

I think of it as being in a cluster of stars. But you can also look at our map as representing only the "interesting" stars in a rather large cluster, so it's quite possible that the actual number of stars is much larger, but you don't see them because they'd simply clutter the map.

 

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