This is a starmap viewer for The Ur-Quan Masters, an excellent port of the excellent early-1990s DOS/3DO videogame Star Control II. The game is available for free at sc2.sourceforge.net thanks to the kindness of Toys For Bob / Paul Reiche III and Fred Ford, the original authors of the game.
The map viewer's primary purpose is to highlight the most "lucrative" systems available to the player, from both a mineral and biological standpoint. Its most useful feature is probably its safety filtering ability - a user can define parameters for planets which are deemed safe to land on (taking into account weather, temperature, violent lifeforms, etc) and the starmap will adjust its display based on those criteria. The application aims to be a simple interface to all the data that would be useful while scavenging for resources.
Is it actually useful? Perhaps. Interesting? I think so. Necessary? Certainly not. The game's timeline is stretched long enough that it's really not difficult to win using only random exploration. A good argument could be made, in fact, that much of the fun of the game comes simply from this random exploration. I certainly wouldn't recommend this utility to a first-time player. Just jump in and play the game, you'll have a great time.
Those of us who have played through the game a number of times may find it an amusing diversion, though.
The app was developed on Linux, and uses Python, GTK+/Glade, Cairo, and PyGTK to do its stuff. It also works on Windows, though it requires a number of other packages to be installed first (see Installation). Those packages may be available on OS X too, but I don't have easy access to that platform, so I'm not sure what needs to be done to package it up. The app expects a minimum resolution of 1024x768, but hopefully that's not a problem for anybody nowadays.
This app is released under the GNU GPLv2 (or higher). A few mineral icons, and possibly the map data itself, is copyright (C) 1992, 1993, 2002 Toys for Bob, Inc, or their respective creators, and is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 2.5 license.Current:
Feel free to email me at firstname.lastname@example.org if you've got questions or concerns. I'm also logged in to irc.freenode.net as the nick "sekhmet" if you'd prefer that, and I'm basically always idling in #sc2 on there.
Future development is honestly somewhat unlikely. If you find a bug, do let me know and I'll get it squared away, and if you propose some cool new thing to do with the app, I may get excited about it and scrape up the impetus to implement it. I don't think I'll be doing much unprovoked development on it, though. The utility's objective usefulness is already a bit low, and I've spent rather more time on it than I had initially imagined I would. Not that I haven't been enjoying it, but by this point I'd rather just be actually playing the game instead of writing a little curiosity-shoppe of an app for it.
A few possible features which have crossed my mind, for the record:
- Ability to actually zoom in/out (would be handy for those very-close-together systems)
- A mode which shows the stars in native SC2/UQM starmap colors/sizes
- User notes / "state" saving (ie: as a user you could go in and mark somehow that you've already cleaned out a particular planet, so the map would automatically omit those planets from the display) - perhaps that could even load savegame files?
- customizable sphere-of-influence displays (user modifiable and saveable, perhaps again with savefile loading)
Again, for now I don't really have any plans to take the time to implement any of that, though. Time will tell, of course!