It’s Friday and we’re exploring a new sector of space

Project 6014 - featured image

Long term readers of AR may be familiar with a little game called Star Control 2… probably because I’ve repeatedly mentioned it as my favourite game. I won’t retread this well-worn ground yet again; I’m sure you’re all sick of hearing me going on about that one game. Suffice to say that it had a big impact on me and is responsible for my love of games involved exploring space, meeting weird aliens and befriending or fending them off. God, I love StarCon2.

Unfortunately I’ve played the game so much over the years that I’ve no real desire to play it any more. I’ve seen and done everything so many times that there’s no mystery left, and without that I’m just going through the motions of the game mechanics – which are still fun, but with no greater objectives to pursue it’s a little empty.

Jubilant days and happiness, then, that a team of fans have been hard at work over the last couple of years on a total conversion currently known as Project 6014. Making use of the open source codebase of the original game (available to play for free under the name The Ur-Quan Masters) they’ve created a new starmap and begun populating it with familiar and unfamiliar faces and a smattering of new content.

At present all that’s available to play is a short but expansive demo. Every star can be visited and every planet can be scanned, landed on and searched for minerals, non-sentient biological life and alien artefacts. The demo puts you in command of a new Explorer-class flagship and tasks you with finding a lost patrol. Various member species of the New Alliance of Free Stars can be conversed with as you try to identify the patrol’s last known location, and as you near the source of their final transmission there are a few entirely new surprises…

I’m hopeful that work will continue on Project 6014 and it will eventually bloom into a full game. My hope is tempered with realism as there have been many efforts by fan groups to assemble sequels or spin-offs to StarCon2 and none have ever been finished, but Project 6014 has gone further faster than any of the projects I’ve ever seen. I’m also optimistic about the end result because, a few rough edges aside, the dialogue and tone is extremely well-judged: the mix of tongue-in-cheek daftness and space operatic pomp and splendour strikes a balance that will be familiar to players of the original game.

You can find the demo here; the installer provides everything you need to get started. And if you’ve not yet played the original game, well, here’s a perfect excuse to start.

Project 6014 - Procyon

Tooling around the Chmmr homeworld in a fancy new starship.

 

Project 6014 - shipyard

Skipping straight to the good stuff and building a new fleet.