Posts Tagged ‘Mucky foot’

Retro: Startopia

By Alec Meer on October 26th, 2013.

‘Twas an odd coincidence that Startopia and Double Fine’s Spacebase DF-9 alpha arrived on Steam so hot on each other’s heels. The current paucity of activities in the latter would have had me hankering for the former even if a digital postman were not able to immediately deliver it to my hard drive – it’s one of few games I still have a hard copy of lurking on my shelf. Mucky Foot’s space station-set management game was something of an era-ender, the last great gasp of the Theme Park descendant genre as-was. We’re seeing a renaissance of sorts of now, with Prison Architect, Spacebase and the craven Godus, but the fully-formed, big budget age essentially ended with Startopia (though you could argue similar for the muddled Republic: The Revolution, a deeply strange Icarus of a game from Mucky Foot’s fellow post-Bullfrog offshot, Elixir.)

I’ve made Startopia my destination once again for the last couple of days, my first extensive revisit in many years, and I’m relieved to discover that it now exudes at least some of the timeless quality to be found in relative contemporaries such as Dungeon Keeper and Theme Park.
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It Is The Future, The Year 2001: An HD Startopia Gallery

By Alec Meer on October 24th, 2013.

Hello, faithful word-consumer. Would you care to also consume images this day? I have been replaying post-Bullfrog outfit Mucky Foot’s wonderful 2001 management game Startopia, which recently saw a re-release on Steam (as well as having been on GoG for some time prior to that). It took a bit of fiddling, but I managed to get it running at 2560×1440 with a ton of anti-aliasing and, well, my God. It’s absolutely beautiful to behold despite its 12 year vintage. Partly that’s down to judiciously characterfully artwork and a strong sense of scale, partly it’s because the game has an uncommonly liberated camera, able to go pretty much anywhere. I’m no Dead End Thrills, in a great many ways, but I’ve rounded up a collection of screenshots which somewhat demonstate how breathtaking this game is at high resolution. I really do think you should take a look.
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The Stars My Destination: GOG Recruits Startopia

By Alec Meer on September 4th, 2012.

Startopia is officially endorsed by NASA's Curiosity rover, I've decided to claim

Startopia is the best management game you’ve never played. No, I’m not talking to you, I’m talking to that other person, the one who didn’t play it. And especially to that other guy who never even heard of it. One of just three games created by taken-before-their-time Bullfrog offshot and Urban Chaos dev Mucky Foot, it took the Dungeon Keeper/Theme Park model to the stars, with greater complexity and nuance and grand galactic vistas to warm the cockles of one’s soul. Inevitably, it didn’t sell well. With slightly eerie timing, given we were only yesterday cooing at the inadvertently similar-in-concept Maia, this oft-forgotten space station sim has just been granted a new lease of life on GoG.
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Quinnswatch: Startopia Retrospective

By Kieron Gillen on June 7th, 2010.

I always remember Ste Curran talking about his favourite thing in Startopia was going up to the Biolab, pulling the camera back so you could just watch space and sitting and relaxing. Awesome game.

Do you miss Quinns? We miss Quinns. His gangly form is still making his way around the world with only a backpack and a delightful girlfriend to keep him safe. He may be gone, but is clearly not forgotten by Eurogamer, who’ve published a retrospective of Mucky Foot’s finest hour, Startopia. He says things like…

It was Babylon 5 run by the Muppets, which is about as flippant a comparison as the game itself.

Which certainly sounds like Quinns. Anyway, read more here and wish for Quinns to hurry on home. And while we’re talking Mucky Foot, I’m reminded of the article I wrote about their rise and fall a couple of years back. You can read that too.

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Mucky Foot’s ER Tycoon: First Screen, Cancellation

By Kieron Gillen on May 30th, 2008.

Since Jim and Alec can’t post today due to ECM attack on RPS’ Bath headquarters (apparently), it strikes me as a good time to get this out of the world. When I was chatting to the Mucky Foot guys for the retrospective feature I wrote about them at the Escapist, Guy Simmons forwarded me a grab of their prototype of ER Tycoon (Mucky Gary Carr being an architect of Theme Hospital, of course). The story of why it didn’t happen is in the main article, but shots of games that never made it – in fact, were never even announced – are always sad things for me. Little snippets of alternative history…

Thanks to Guy for sharing. Of course, if there’s any Devs who’d like to drag something from the vault, our doors are always open. Metaphorically, obv. Burgulars, stay clear.

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Starlight Express: Startopia Graphics Spangliness

By Kieron Gillen on April 28th, 2008.

Hey You! In the Shadows! Etc.
A random law of blogging. Things lead to other things. In this case, my piece on Mucky Foot lead to Try.Lee in the Escapist’s comments thread pointing out Ex-Foot-programmer Tom Forsyth released a highly unofficial graphics patch for Startopia, illustrating some Shadowbuffer jiggerypokery we don’t quite understand. He suggests it runs too slow to play, but that was a few years ago, so hopefully the ever-marching power of PC will defeat that problem. He also stresses it’s VERY EXPERIMENTAL. Get it from here. Worth looking at the grabs, if only for Tom’s notes. I particularly approve of the rhapsody about GeForce-1 totting street urchins with tears running down their cheek at the end.

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Footprints: The Fall of Mucky Foot

By Kieron Gillen on April 22nd, 2008.

I worked on all sorts of feet-based puns for this, but decided that like my own, they stunk.

The Escapist’s Post-Mortem issue is live. I contributed a piece about Mucky foot, describing the birth and descent of the makers of Urban Chaos and Startopia. It’s quite the story. This does the VH1 Behind the Music approach, talking to the four primaries and them recalling all the inspired and foolish decisions they made, with the benefit of hindsight. It also includes details on games which you probably won’t be aware of (Their Punisher? ER Tycoon?). There’s a mass of other material specific to Urban Chaos and Startopia which I’ll spin into Making Ofs down the line, but this sad and human story’s enough to be getting on with, yeah?

And while you’re there, Nick Pirocanac’s examination on the incredibly resilient Allegiance community is well worth a read and Erin “EASpouse” Hoffman’s tale about Black9’s cancellation is so enormous that I may have to write about it later. People occasionally ask me why I don’t go into development. The idea of spending years of my life on something then this happening is Reason No 1.

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