🐳 Moby v2024.06.07

Star Control II

aka: Free Stars: The Ur-Quan Masters, Star Control II: The Ur-Quan Masters, The Ur-Quan Masters
Moby ID: 179


Cancelled add-on

Fred Ford and Paul Reiche III confirm to have worked for four months on a add-on pack which was never completed due to Accolade's lack of interest.


Ford and Reiche disappeared to Alaska and worked on this game for an additional six months without pay. Only that during this time, the game grew from two to nine megabytes, thousands of dialogue lines were added, the digital music appeared and a complete galaxy with hundreds of stars and thousands of planets made its way into the game.


  • The .SHP files are interchangeable meaning that you can rename them to swap them around. This can be used to change the ship you start with in the full game.
  • All the music and victory ditties in the game are in .MOD format and can be extracted by a utility called a Mod Ripper.

Freeware release

The game was released free to the public in 2002 by its original designers. Everything except the name Star Control (still owned by the publisher) is now freeware. However, it not the true open source of the DOS version. When Toys for Bob set out to release their code they found that a lot of it had simply been lost. However what was available was all of the source code for the 3DO version of the game. So what happened is that all of that code was ported to the open source project and then several portions of it that were "different from the PC version" (mostly menus and interface issues) were then later re-coded. Incidentally many things in the game can be set to "3DO mode" or "PC mode" via command line parameters explained in the readme.


The game is suspiciously similar to the Starflight series of games. A direct comparison can be made of such gameplay ideas as the gathering of raw materials, the exploration of space, the coordinate map, even the alien diplomacy/interaction that makes this game famous. The first Starflight was able to do this years before Star Control.


A large-scale open-source project has been launched with the aim of updating Star Control II to run on pretty much all modern computers and operating systems, along with better graphics and other improvements. The homepage for the project is at http://sc2.sourceforge.net/.


Musician Aaron Grier:

There was actually a contest for writing the music fo star control II advertised on comp.sys.amiga.audio. Nobody knew what game it was for, and Paul had asked a friend to troll usenet for entries. I submitted "Fuchia Fantasy" not even expecting it to be taken seriously, and ended up winning second place in the contest, (Riku being the big winner, of course,) which entitled me to $50 and a copy of the game when it came out. It took about a year after I was notified I had won for the paperwork and check to come, (along with an amusing apology,) and another six months or so after that for the game to actually get to me, (along with another amusing apology.) Both letters are still sitting somewhere in a box in my father's basement in Denver, and one of these days I'll have to dig through the files and post scans somewhere.

Dan and Riku (who met through SC2) got together and formed the 8-bit collective, which turned into KLF, which begat KFMF, and is still going strong.

Rainbow planets

If you discover the location of all the rainbow planets, they form an arrow pointing towards the galactic core (top right corner). The worlds were created by the Precursors and the arrow hints at where they disappeared to. The original purpose of the arrow was, according to the creators themselves, to point toward a single planet where the player would have an interactive conversation with the two creators. This was never completed.


  • Several of the new races in the game (such as the Orz) were named from alien words on the copy protection wheel for the first game. "Melnorme" is a rather obvious corruption of the singer Mel Torme's name.
  • During the game, when talking to Starbase Commander Hayes, if the player chooses "The United Federation of Worlds!" when being prompted to name the new alliance, Hayes will say: "That has a familiar ring to it... nonetheless, we will make it so - The United Federation of Worlds!" This is an obvious reference to the United Federation of Planets from Star Trek.

Stars and planets

Most of the Stars are named after real Stars, even though the distances and postions are mostly wrong. Their positions according to the starmap are actually hyperspace coordinates and not realspace coordinates. If you notice a little footnote in the bottom, it explains about this pretty clear.

The planet information is based on true astronomic readings and some of the parameters are calculated when you enter the planet. The planet surfaces are also calculated according to some of these parameters. When entering a star system, the planets are raytraced, which is the cause of the noticeable delay (on a 286 anyway) when entering a star system.


  • Computer Gaming World
    • October 1993 (Issue #111) – Adventure Game of the Year (together with Eric the Unready)
    • November 1996 (15th anniversary issue) - #29 in the β€œ150 Best Games of All Time” list
    • November 1996 (15th anniversary issue) – #9 Most Rewarding Ending of All Time
    • September 2006 (Issue #266) – Introduced into the Hall of Fame
  • GameSpy
    • 2001 – #26 Top Game of All Time
  • VideoGames
    • March 1995 - Best Adventure Game in 1994

Information also contributed by Aaron Grier, Aj Hege, Arvin Chandra, Big John WV, Fafnir, Luka Milutinovic, PCGamer77, Tiago Santos, Tomer Gabel, Toni Maki, Vance, WildKard and WizardX

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Trivia contributed by Tomer Gabel, Patrick Bregger, Omer Mor.