Star Control Discussion Board

Wordclouds for Star Control Races
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Author:  Angelfish [ Sat Aug 26, 2017 7:45 am ]
Post subject:  Wordclouds for Star Control Races

The past year I gained an interest in natural language processing (analyzing written or spoken language by means of computer algorithms), and while taking a slight break from the usual stuff I tried to get some sentiment analysis going on the dialogue text of Star Control 2. What I was looking for mainly was if for example the Utwig are really more negative in their way of speaking, and the pkunk more positive.
That project is still ongoing.

But in the meantime I've created some word clouds for various star control races for you to enjoy. A word cloud generally speaking is a grouping of words with the more important words being shown bigger. Usually the word gets bigger if it is encountered more, but you could customize it to your own needs if need be. Word clouds could enable you to tell a story just by showing what words someone uses. And with Star Control 2 each alien has a unique vocabulary, so it might be interesting to generate wordclouds for star control 2 races, I thought. Also, because star control races have unique fonts and some of them have fonts which fit their personality, you could generate an image which tells something about the personality of a race just by looking at their wordcloud and the used font.
The wordcloud library I started using ( allows for recoloring and masking of this word cloud, so the words get limited to this mask and recolored as well. So that made me wonder how it would look if a wordcloud of an alien race got transposed on, its ship.

Click the images to get the larger image!

The Ur-quan was the first one I made.

For the ship graphic I used the UQM hi res graphics, which should be the ones generated waaaay back when for the timewarp project. For some graphics I had to make the colors a bit more vibrant so the colors in the text would be a bit lighter/more saturated.
For the dialogue itself I used the quote database at, but eventually it turned out that it didn't have all the dialogue in the format that I wanted, so I parsed the dialogue .txt files from the UQM project.
For the fonts I used a topic that was active here 7 years ago. Thanks for collecting them back then :D.

After that I tried to make a wordcloud with the Syreen penetrator. Since I used a picture in which the ship points a bit in a 45 degree angle I chose to use more 'vertical words' than with the ur-quan.
Anyway, I was quite impressed by what I was able to achieve with so little coding. but there still could be some finetuning. As you might already have noticed the wordclouds only contain certain words. Because you don't really want words like 'the, on, as, you' etc being the most spoken word by an alien :). So I tried to look into ways to filter those words.
Parsing written language is damn hard if I had to write that myself, but luckily that wheel has already been invented. The pattern library enables me to generate tags for each word and exclude/include them based on those tags.

Especially with the pkunk the use of adjectives in addition to nouns (instead of verbs) pays off

The spathi also comes out well, probably due to it being a very colorful ship.

The kohr-ah failed a bit, I think this is because of it being a very dark chunky ship.

I'm quite satisfied with how the ilwrath came out. The font and the words combine to make it obvious that this is an evil race :).

I also tried doing something with the comm screens. This almost always leads to more work in post-processing (and I suck at photoshop).
What i did here was generate a wordcloud for the melnorme, then in the background make some sort of 'stock exchange' for the products they buy from the player.

This image was made by masking out the utwig character itself, then generating a wordcloud, then merging it back into the original image.

That's it for now :). For the complete gallery see:

If you have requests or questions, don't hesitate to ask. I guess I could post the (python) sourcecode for it on github or something, just let me know :).

Author:  Alvarin [ Sat Aug 26, 2017 8:13 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Wordclouds for Star Control Races

Very interesting looking images!
My favorite from these is the Melnorme.

Author:  krulle [ Sat Aug 26, 2017 8:17 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Wordclouds for Star Control Races

I also like them, and I agree, the Melnorme is the most special one.
The dark soul of the trader shining through... ;)

Author:  2-23-6 [ Sun Aug 27, 2017 3:26 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Wordclouds for Star Control Races

These should be posters.

Author:  Angelfish [ Mon Aug 28, 2017 7:21 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Wordclouds for Star Control Races

krulle wrote:
I also like them, and I agree, the Melnorme is the most special one.
The dark soul of the trader shining through... ;)

Glad you like them :). I think the melnorme having such a dark eye is actually a mistake from me which turned out unexpectedly good.
You see, when first generating it it tried to generate blue words in a circular shape to match his iris, and it didn't look quite right (I will post that picture if I still have it).
So I decided to cut out his iris entirely and mask it so there wouldn't be words in it, and just keep his pupil and turn it blue. In the end it looked better for it :).

I also wanted to have some kind of stock exchange in the background, with the products they buy on the left, and the ones they sell on the right in a different color. But in the end I got lazy and did just the products they buy.

Author:  Angelfish [ Mon Aug 28, 2017 7:55 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Wordclouds for Star Control Races

2-23-6 wrote:
These should be posters.

If you need a bigger resolution just ask :).

What I also tried to do was to analyze the text these aliens say about eachother (hierarchy about alliance races, and vice versa) and project them on the Precursor vessel vs the Ur-quan dreadnaught or sa-matra. I wanted to focus it on the opinions they have about eachother, so I was aiming for adjectives and sentences with high objectivity.

But it turned out that this analysis is quite difficult, since:
-Most aliens refer to the other races in their own way, like quick babies when the orz talk about the arilou.
-The aliens don't really talk that much about eachother in an objective sense. They don't really give their opinion often. The player character does this often though, but he/she can have positive or negative text about every race and when the player talks negatively about a race if often ends quickly and terribly.
-Generating parsed language trees from the sentences the aliens say is hard, since some of them talk *like this*, and Some Of Them Talk Like This, YET. SOME. OF. THEM. ARE. POSSESSED. AND. TALK. LIKE. THIS. :). That, and I don't know enough of nltk trees to do this properly :).

Author:  Death 999 [ Tue Aug 29, 2017 3:29 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Wordclouds for Star Control Races

I really like the Ilwrath one, and the Pkunk, Syreen, and Spathi.

The comm-screen ones are kind of odd. The method you used on the Utwig just didn't work as well, IMO.

Also, Pkunk have 'thing', which is kind of odd. Probably want that filtered.

Author:  Angelfish [ Wed Aug 30, 2017 7:17 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Wordclouds for Star Control Races

Thanks for the feedback death999. I think the font of the utwig is getting in its way (it was actually the >14th iteration that finally worked a bit)

Author:  Draxas [ Wed Sep 20, 2017 6:11 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Wordclouds for Star Control Races

I love the medium-large sized "blah" right in the middle of the Ur-Quan's cockpit section. Thanks for that, jokey ending text!

I also note that Dogar and Kazon both inexplicably appear twice on the Avenger, once very large and once a bit smaller. There are other duplicated words in there as well. Not sure why that would have happened, is it just to fill space?

Overall, the ships look very nice. The comm screen ones, I am not as much a fan of, but they are interesting nonetheless.

Author:  Angelfish [ Thu Sep 21, 2017 10:49 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Wordclouds for Star Control Races

I didn't really choose the words manually ;). The Hard Thing With The Ilwrath Is That They Talk Like This.
So the text tokenizing program has trouble determining the beginnings of sentences.
It also makes it nearly impossible to fetch words for the Orz (because of the *fish speech*), the possessed Umgah (har. har. har.) and the Zoq-Fot-Pik (which have text tabbed between the 2 talking guys). Nevertheless it is something to look into if I can optimize this :)

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