The Ur-Quan Masters Discussion Forum

The Ur-Quan Masters Re-Release => General UQM Discussion => Topic started by: UAF on May 04, 2005, 01:59:28 am



Title: TW-ligt plot
Post by: UAF on May 04, 2005, 01:59:28 am
If anyone is interested, you can download our plot in OUR DOWNLOAD PAGE (http://tw-light.berlios.de/downloads.php)
Or skip that and just download it from HERE  (http://tw-light.berlios.de/twplot.zip)

Anyway - unzip, open the powerpoint (.ppt) file and follow the links from there to the other files.
Try to read it in the right order (that of the Powerpoint file).

Warning - if and when the game will be ready this will be The Spoiler of all spoilers  

Also, I apoligize for any grammer, spelling and other mistakes that might be there.


I'll also use the opportunity to say that Yurand promised that a new release will be made in the next few days.


Oh, and tell us if you liked the plot

From the Ilwrath dialogs of TW-light:

Q: Why is your fleet in the stars of Draconis?
A: In Order To More Easily Hit The Thraddash With Pointy Things, Of Course


Title: Re: TW-ligt plot
Post by: Death 999 on May 04, 2005, 04:34:02 am
Is it possible to get this in a non MS format? I can't read powerpoint, and I'll probably be missing content from the word files. The html page is basically blank except for some hebrew(?!!).


Title: Re: TW-ligt plot
Post by: UAF on May 04, 2005, 04:44:28 am
hehe.. yeah, that will be Hebrew. I just did 'save as HTML document' through PowerPoint in order to create this HTML file.
Although I do know that it works on computers without MS Office or Hebrew installed, and even through other explorers besides IE.
So I really have no idea why you're having a problem.

I don't have any completly not MS format.
However, according to Yurand OpenOffice (http://www.openoffice.org/) can handle both .ppt and .doc files.
http://www.openoffice.org/

Maybe you can try and use it?


Title: Re: TW-ligt plot
Post by: Death 999 on May 04, 2005, 09:19:36 pm
In any case, I opened the doc files with Appleworks...

First reaction: er... what?

To be more specific, none of the dangling plotlines from SC2 are even touched upon. The Ur-Quan have not merely been pushed back, but roundly and systemically defeated. The Dnyarri really is dead. The Orz never get all funky. We do not find the Taalo.

Ur-Quan should not be reduced to near-irrelevance.


Second reaction: Mrii IMPROBABILITY DRIVE? WTF? NO NO NO NO NO !!!!111one!

Third reaction: A Talana dating sim subgame, in which you start out before the hanky-panky stage?????

Fourth reaction: Supox, Umgah, and Pkunk ships should also be immune to the AI takeover.

Fifth reaction: The Androsynth colony situation does not mesh well with the existing established relationship between the Arilou and the Humans and the Androsynth; it is implausible for them to have sent a ship all the way across both Ur-Quan territories to the gap between the arms; it violates their hostility to humans in general. And Fred and Paul said explicitly in a chat that there are no Androsynth anymore, period, anywhere. <- previous sentence is wrong, ignore

Sixth reaction: Oh, right, about the arms: In real galaxies, the bright arms are the locations of the very brightest stars, the O and B stars. The gaps between the arms have just as many stars in general, but no extremely bright O and B stars.

Seventh reaction: Recall that the computer which ran the factory was installed on the precursor ship, and later blown up with the Sa-Matra. Also, as much of the factory was loaded onto the Vindicator as possible, and from there loaded onto the Starbase at Earth (which is why you can't build stuff at Betelgeuse or Procyon). That is an Ex-factory. There is no Savior. Anyway, 'Mk 2' suggests it is the second, not the third.


Title: Re: TW-ligt plot
Post by: meep-eep on May 04, 2005, 10:51:18 pm
Quote
And Fred and Paul said explicitly in a chat that there are no Androsynth anymore, period, anywhere.

Is that so? Could you provide a quote? All I can find is
Quote
: Were ALL the Androsynth destroyed when the Orz came?
Perceptive lad. This was a leading plot candidate for our theoretical sequel.



Title: Re: TW-ligt plot
Post by: Death 999 on May 05, 2005, 01:24:28 am
... ??? Hmm.. I guess they weren't so explicit as I thought. Where did you get YOUR quote?

From the Creators chat:
Quote
<LordR-man> Fwiffo- What really happened to the Androsynth in sc2?
<Fwiffo> In regards to the Androsynth: They were snagged by the entity who/which projected its fingers into our dimension (which looked to us as the Orz.)


No quantifier on 'they', like 'those who were snagged' or 'some of them'... but if it had been, he might have said it that way anyway.

Quote
<_Stilgar> <ORZ> Q:What was your ideas for the hypothetical Sequal?
<Fwiffo> We never had to settle on an idea, because we never got that close.  But we were thinking about those missing Androsynth.


Not the other, non-missing Androsynth. I guess that's pretty solid, but not by any stretch of imagination the certainty that my memory indicated.


Title: Re: TW-ligt plot
Post by: Art on May 05, 2005, 03:31:46 am
See, I almost signed up to be a dialogue writer for this project, but -- no personal offense meant -- I reneged on that idea when I looked at the kinds of things you were discussing on the TW-Light plot boards. And frankly I'm thinking that I made the right choice.

I'll say more when I have time. I mean, props for trying, but... yeesh.


Title: Re: TW-ligt plot
Post by: Art on May 05, 2005, 03:34:32 am
And... a dating sim? With things like buying anniversary presents? Isn't there, like, a war going on at this point? And the Captain is expected to take time off to go to the beach with his girlfriend? What the hell?


Title: Re: TW-ligt plot
Post by: Art on May 05, 2005, 03:47:44 am
All right, that was unnecessarily harsh. There are some gems of ideas here. But there's a lot of dodgy stuff too, and what I find bothersome is that to such a large degree your plot very strongly avoids answering the really big questions TFB set up in SC2.


Title: Re: TW-ligt plot
Post by: UAF on May 05, 2005, 03:49:35 am
I feel that it's important to mention that hat you saw discussed on the forums was probably the PPI. This is not the plot but a plot made by general fans.
Read THIS plot to know what it's about.



About the dating sim and the rest of what Daeth_999 said - I'll reply lengthily later, including the dreaded dating sim.

Just for anyone else out there, read the plot before judging the game, and don't strike it out based on an optional minigame.


Title: Re: TW-ligt plot
Post by: Art on May 05, 2005, 05:52:28 am
Just for the record, I base what I said on the plot files that I was reading, not on the PPI -- but I do remember a lot of this stuff coming *from* the PPI, like the Scavengers (Estion), the AI, the Mark II being discoverable at a later point in the game, and so on.


Title: Re: TW-ligt plot
Post by: Halleck on May 05, 2005, 07:49:11 am
How are the Estion a derivation of the Scavengers?


Title: Re: TW-ligt plot
Post by: GameMusic on May 05, 2005, 09:00:40 am
You really should put the documents in HTML.  It would be pretty easy to run a text replace to put br's in them, or even use a visual HTML editor.  Most of the plot .docs crash Wordpad.

The race .docs work though, and although I didn't read the spoilers, I'm pleasantly surprised with the race ideas, especially the Mrii and Guph.  Your races are actually pretty good.  In fact for pure concept I think they'd fit right in with the SC1 and SC2 races both in quality and quirkiness.  Many of the race and plot ideas on the Timewarp boards are so incomprehensibly bad and inconsistent with SC2 that they overcame my desire to contribute ideas to a SC game and sent me running away.

Reading some of the other posts here, I get the idea that the main problem with your plot is that it has some conflicts with SC2, but I can't say much about the plot since I can't read most of it.  The Niko taking over the Mrmrnmhrm to get converts seems like a good idea.  Why are Chmmr ships attacking alliance ships?  What's going on with the Ur-Quan?  Those are 2 plot points that crashed Wordpad.


Title: Re: TW-ligt plot
Post by: Halleck on May 05, 2005, 09:08:09 am
I'm planning to do a big copy edit on the plot files sometime soon... I can also transpose the documents to HTML in the process. Personally, I'm a format minimalist, so I'm all in favor of having our master documents be in HTML (or even txt)!


Title: Re: TW-ligt plot
Post by: GameMusic on May 05, 2005, 12:17:20 pm
Do you have info about the ships anywhere?  As far as I can tell only 6 of the races have ships in Timewarp (Mangler, Kterbi, Khar, Ger, Jyglar, Estion).

Is the Bipole going to be used for one of the races?  That's the coolest new ship in the game.


Title: Re: TW-ligt plot
Post by: UAF on May 05, 2005, 01:33:21 pm
Art - I never really read most of the PPI and most of the plot was finished before it, so nothing was taken from it. At least not consciously.
Of course, it doesn't mean that some ideas can't be similar and to your dislike.

The Estion - Scavenger similarities are really small - all the Estion did was scavenging a part of the Kohr-ah path for collectable items. It's very different from the Scavengers. It's not my fault that the Scavengers have a useful verb for a name... :)

AI - huh?? What kind of similarity to the PPI?

MK2 - the idea of getting it later in the game predates the PPI. It was that way in practically every plot I've seen. It is also a good idea...


GameMusic - You know, EVERYONE in Israel have MS word. I never even considered the possibility of people not having it until people begun complaining on the plot... :)
Halleck promised to change format and correct mistakes, I'd suggest bugging him about it.
I can't explain things without practically writing the plot here, so I won't. Try getting OpenOffice (http://www.openoffice.org/) until Halleck's version is done?

As for the ships - Don't be fooled by race names. It doesn't mean that the ship is really going to be used for that race.
Khar and Estion stay. Mangler and Jyglar maybe (according to popular demand). The Ger will have another ship for sure.
Maybe I'll make a poll...


Title: Re: TW-ligt plot
Post by: UAF on May 05, 2005, 01:55:23 pm
Ok, this is the reply I promised for Death_999 comments (warning, very long post):

In general:
Points 1-4 are all your opinion. You are entitled to have one of course, and it's fine if its different then mine. As you can see it is. :)
In my specific replies I will sometimes write facts, and sometimes write my opinion and point of view on matters.
Hopefully I'll manage to make it easy to distinguish between the two.

Specific replies:

Quote
First reaction: er... what?

To be more specific, none of the dangling plotlines from SC2 are even touched upon. The Ur-Quan have not merely been pushed back, but roundly and systemically defeated. The Dnyarri really is dead. The Orz never get all funky. We do not find the Taalo.

Ur-Quan should not be reduced to near-irrelevance.


1) The Ur-quan should not be 'merely pushed back'. They had the central stage at SC1 and SC2. It's time for them to go and new threats to arise. Time calls for a change, big baddy constantly making a comeback is for Mutant Teenage Ninja Turtles and Pokemon, not StarControl. (IMO).
If you want more basis or "proof" for that, this is what Talana say at the end of SC2:
"...and following the destruction of the Sa-Matra battle platform the fleets of the Ur-Quan and the Kohr-Ah had fallen into chaos and had been vanquished by Chmmr forces and allied starships."

BTW, I have NEVER seen a plot in which the Ur-quan were still anything significant. And I saw quite a lot of ideas for the next game. Just FYI ;)

Dnyarri really dead - yep. I always saw his line in the Credits as a joke. Sorry.

Orz - as if it's possible to make an Orz plot that won't cause the fans to come with torches to my house and burn me on the stake...
If there was an Orz plot, you wouldn't like it.  And most other people wouldn't either. It's because we all have different ideas for then, and I already saw how unwilling are people to accept other ideas for them. Its cool when it's fanfiction or so, but when it's the game that wants to be the sequel for UQM and be added to the canon, people don't make compromises.
If TWL will be successful enough to make TWL2, I promise that the Orz will go *frumple* there.

Taalo - no you don't. No one ever promised that you would meet them, and I hate those ideas of "and then the Taalo show up and the Ur-quan turn nice and everyone dance in a circle!".

Ok, #1 over... sheesh it was long :)

Quote
Second reaction: Mrii IMPROBABILITY DRIVE? WTF? NO NO NO NO NO !!!!111one!


2) Actually I like it. So did others. Oh well.
SC was never hardcore science and was always aimed to be funny. And references are always fun... IMO
This is a homage for Douglas Adams. Sorry if you don't like his books :)

Quote
Third reaction: A Talana dating sim subgame, in which you start out before the hanky-panky stage??


3) Oh yeah... hehehe. For all the Otakuns among us ;)
You could also (and rightfully) see it as an evil twist spiced with Sarcasm on both American Hero-wins-the-girl books and movies and on Japanese dating simulator games.
Of course, you can also just dislike it and not do anything in this part, it doesn't prevent you from ending the game.
But IMO - Kick back and enjoy, making fun of life while having fun is fun.

Quote
Fourth reaction: Supox, Umgah, and Pkunk ships should also be immune to the AI takeover.


4) Pkunk defiantly shouldn't. Umgah and Supox - maybe, we don't know how biological their ships are.
Can be changed I guess, although the AI will seem less powerful with so many races able to resist.
Probably better to keep this way and have all the fans argue on how come these ships weren't immune. ;)

Quote
Fifth reaction: The Androsynth colony situation does not mesh well with the existing established relationship between the Arilou and the Humans and the Androsynth; it is implausible for them to have sent a ship all the way across both Ur-Quan territories to the gap between the arms; it violates their hostility to humans in general.


5) Fred and Paul said that they considered having SC3 start with the player playing a Synth in Orz space. So far for them all being dead…
Fred and Paul never (to my knowledge) said that there aren't any Synth around.

The Synth sent the ship around busy Kzer-za (the Kohr-as were coming) and into a system IN the void, not all the way through. Also it was a BIG colony ship.

And last, I fail to see the problem with the Arilou - Human - Synth relations.
The Arilou now have plans for the Synth, they are entitled to do so. The Synth need the Arilou so they don't attack the player.
And the Synth have better things to-do then play "Vengeance is mine!!!" with Humanity. They didn't bother doing so when they controlled all space around earth and were attacked by nuclear missiles, while would they now?
If they'll see a Human, they'll shoot him, that's as far they'll go with vengeance.

As to your more recent replies on the matter: I am not Fred and Paul. They never said that there AREN'T other Synth that escaped. And I decided not to follow one of their possible plans for a sequel. Heck, even they weren't guaranteed to use it!

Quote
Sixth reaction: Oh, right, about the arms: In real galaxies, the bright arms are the locations of the very brightest stars, the O and B stars. The gaps between the arms have just as many stars in general, but no extremely bright O and B stars.


6) Rule #1 of gaming: Fun beats reality! Separated arms are required for the game for many reasons (which I'm too lazy to specify now). You don't argue that it's illogical for so many sentient races to be around either, or how come their all have about the same tech level, or just one type of ship, or the fact that Pkunk ships are recharged by curses. SC is full of wrong science – as long as it's fun and/or funny – who gives a damn. When possible you use real science, when it'll ruin things you don't.

Quote
Seventh reaction: Recall that the computer which ran the factory was installed on the precursor ship, and later blown up with the Sa-Matra. Also, as much of the factory was loaded onto the Vindicator as possible, and from there loaded onto the Starbase at Earth (which is why you can't build stuff at Betelgeuse or Procyon). That is an Ex-factory. There is no Savior. Anyway, 'Mk 2' suggests it is the second, not the third.


7) So?
MK2 is the second Precursor starship, not the second starship ever.
The Factory still have valuable Precursor tech on it.
And the MK2 is run using help from its AI, not anything from Unzervult.

That's it!
Let me just repeat myself that you are entitled to have different opinions. I hope this explains why I did some of the things I did. Hopefully minor disagreements won't prevent you from enjoying the game.


Title: Re: TW-ligt plot
Post by: Art on May 05, 2005, 10:34:11 pm
Quote
Ok, this is the reply I promised for Death_999 comments (warning, very long post):

In general:
Points 1-4 are all your opinion. You are entitled to have one of course, and it's fine if its different then mine. As you can see it is. :)
In my specific replies I will sometimes write facts, and sometimes write my opinion and point of view on matters.
Hopefully I'll manage to make it easy to distinguish between the two.

Specific replies:


1) The Ur-quan should not be 'merely pushed back'. They had the central stage at SC1 and SC2. It's time for them to go and new threats to arise. Time calls for a change, big baddy constantly making a comeback is for Mutant Teenage Ninja Turtles and Pokemon, not StarControl. (IMO).
If you want more basis or "proof" for that, this is what Talana say at the end of SC2:
"...and following the destruction of the Sa-Matra battle platform the fleets of the Ur-Quan and the Kohr-Ah had fallen into chaos and had been vanquished by Chmmr forces and allied starships."


The quote at the end of the 3DO version is "The Ur-Quan had last been seen high-tailing it to the Magellanic Clouds", which is IMO a better ending.

No one says the Ur-Quan have to be the major antagonist in the sequel, or that they have to be not really defeated, but one of the most disliked things about SC3 was how... *insignificant* the Ur-Quan seemed. How in the new sector no one had been impacted by millennia of Ur-Quan enslavement and genocide. You can have them be defeated, but they were a big deal in the galaxy -- they *determined* the course of civilization in the galaxy for generations, and in your plot there's only one slave-shielded race and they seem to be tangential to the main story.

As far as the other things: I don't demand that everything happen exactly as I pictured an SC2 sequel would handle it. (I am surprised that you think the nature of the Orz is a matter for such open debate -- they're *not that mysterious*, people. You can write a pretty decent outline from things they say in the game and things Paul and Fred say that gives you a pretty good idea of what the Orz are.) But you can't just abandon the Taalo thing completely -- it was a big deal in SC2. And a rediscovered Taalo doesn't have to make the Ur-Quan magically happy and nice -- it could, in fact, spark a huge (and *interesting*) cultural conflict.

I actually thought the idea of a hidden 'Synth colony guarded by the Arilou was decent, by the way.

Quote

BTW, I have NEVER seen a plot in which the Ur-quan were still anything significant. And I saw quite a lot of ideas for the next game. Just FYI ;)


The *best* set of plot ideas I saw was one where the main thrust of the game was going back to formerly Ur-Quan Kzer-Za shielded planets and freeing them. The UQKZ had become allies at that point, and they served as your main source of information about the parts of the galaxy they'd conquered.

Seriously, the UQKZ used to rule over an empire spanning half the galaxy. It feels really random if their only role now is to sit in the Crateris constellation and sulk. Surely they have some valuable knowledge, technology, or whatever?

Quote
2) Actually I like it. So did others. Oh well.
SC was never hardcore science and was always aimed to be funny. And references are always fun... IMO
This is a homage for Douglas Adams. Sorry if you don't like his books :)


It's not that I don't like his books. It's that actually giving you an Improb Drive goes beyond just making a reference. I mean, an Improb Drive is at its very core a ridiculously silly idea -- it's metafictional, Adams invented it as a joke because it was his tool for driving the plot along without having to invent a reason for whatever happened.

You can't literally have a device that makes improbable things happen in an even semi-serious story. After all, there is, in real life, no real definition of what "improbable" means. (I'm not talking science, I'm talking common sense.) Why doesn't the improb drive take you to a giant planet shaped like your head, or to the middle of the galaxy where you explode, or turn you into a giant wheel of Swiss cheese? Because the *correct* improbable thing that happens is the improbable thing the *author* wants to happen -- it's like "escaping through a Plot Hole".

Put it this way -- I can't think of a way you could include the Improb Drive and explain it without making it seem like a genuinely unsatisfying deus ex machina. How are you going to explain why you can't use the Improb Drive to teleport, over and over again, to every single place you need to be to win the game, obviating the need for *all* normal travel? Why does the Improb Drive just take you to this *one* place it'd be improbable for you to find on your own? Why doesn't it also take you to the destination of the Precursors or the home of the Orz or whatever? (And if it turns out that it's just the capricious nature of "improbability physics", that's no better than saying "because the writers didn't want you to".)

Quote
3) Oh yeah... hehehe. For all the Otakuns among us ;)
You could also (and rightfully) see it as an evil twist spiced with Sarcasm on both American Hero-wins-the-girl books and movies and on Japanese dating simulator games.
Of course, you can also just dislike it and not do anything in this part, it doesn't prevent you from ending the game.
But IMO - Kick back and enjoy, making fun of life while having fun is fun.


Sarcasm? Feh. It didn't seem far out enough to be truly sarcastic when I looked at it. I don't even think it'd necessarily be a bad idea -- if it *weren't* such an obvious take on dating sims. Like, if there were things you could do for Talana that didn't involve spending ridiculous amounts of money on random crap. (And... "Umgah pet"? Yeah, it's a joke, but it's a joke that erodes suspension of disbelief. I mean, Umgah are sentient beings, and dangerous ones. You could just have some suitably disgusting life form from SC2 as a pet.)

Quote
6) Rule #1 of gaming: Fun beats reality! Separated arms are required for the game for many reasons (which I'm too lazy to specify now). You don't argue that it's illogical for so many sentient races to be around either, or how come their all have about the same tech level, or just one type of ship, or the fact that Pkunk ships are recharged by curses. SC is full of wrong science – as long as it's fun and/or funny – who gives a damn. When possible you use real science, when it'll ruin things you don't.


I agree here. I disagree that it makes sense (or that it's satisfying) to suddenly say that when the Ur-Quan laid waste to the whole galaxy for millennia what they really meant was they laid waste to *this arm* of the galaxy.

Quote

7) So?
MK2 is the second Precursor starship, not the second starship ever.
The Factory still have valuable Precursor tech on it.
And the MK2 is run using help from its AI, not anything from Unzervult.


He means the "Salvation", or whatever your initial flagship is. There were so many great big references to how enormous and amazing and powerful the Mark I was in SC2 that it's a huge letdown to find out the only thing preventing, say, the Pkunk-Yehat from making a similar vessel wasn't their lack of Precursor technology but just that they hadn't tried hard enough.

It shouldn't be possible to build another Vindicator-like flagship at the beginning of the game. A lot of the tension from SC2 is lost if the Vindicator wasn't as unique as we thought it was. You should, at best, have a souped-up Cruiser or something that you're poking around in until you find the Mark II.

That's it!
Let me just repeat myself that you are entitled to have different opinions. I hope this explains why I did some of the things I did. Hopefully minor disagreements won't prevent you from enjoying the game.[/quote]

My personal beef: You guys apparently completely forgot what the Umgah are like. Why is Wu'bi helping the Captain? The Captain actually saved the Umgah from Dnyarri control and was their national hero, and then the Umgah decided to just kill him because they find it hard to be amused by serving and helping others.

These guys sicced the Ilwrath on the Pkunk, they've hurled asteroids into oceans and caused massive floods -- they're *not nice guys*. They're actually pretty damn evil. There needs to be some justification for why they'd suddenly bend over backwards to help you like this. (If they just "think it's funny", *why* do they think it's funny?)

Also... the Big Bad you guys made up to replace the Ur-Quan wasn't all that compelling. Crazed missionaries who want everyone to worship the same god -- it's a bit cliched and a bit random at the same time. The UQKZ and UQKA had pathos -- they were *interesting* because they had a deep story that made them crazy racist bastards, rather than just being crazy racist bastards from the get-go. Is there a *reason* the Niko are obsessed with their one god? Moreover, is there a *reason* they've become so close to being successful at it? (I think the plot becomes a lot more interesting if, to a limited degree, you find out that the Niko's religious beliefs are justified -- that their obsession has actually done good things for them or their followers in the past, or something.) If they're just crazy and evil and religious, well... ick. And the AI, themselves, don't seem to have much motivation beyond just taking over everything -- their story could be really interesting if it went beyond them being evil dybbuks.

Also, "AI" is not a good name for the AI. AI is an English term for what kind of thing they happen to be -- however, they in particular, as a particular race of AI beings, should have a better name. (Besides, I'm not sure I like this definition of AI as meaning always *disembodied* AI -- the Mmrnmhrm are also AIs, after all.)

Some other things I didn't like:

The Framed! plot -- Zelnick is the hero who saved all the Free Stars from the Ur-Quan against impossible odds. Yes, slave-trading is heinous, but if he can make the case that it was necessary for the greater good, then he should get the chance to. I mean, that's probably why a lot of players *did* trade slaves to the Druuge -- if it's the only way to get the Ultron fixed in time to get the Utwig to delay the Kohr-Ah slaughter, then I would even argue it was worth it.

Whether you agree or not, it just feels really... *out of character* for the whole Alliance to turn against Zelnick for this one accusation. If they could accuse him of something bigger -- that he committed genocide against an innocent race, or something -- it might make sense, but this is the sort of war crime that provokes violent and bitter debate between the idealists and the hard-bitten hawks, not the sort of thing that suddenly turns the galaxy's greatest hero into a villain.

Also: The intro was rushed-feeling. It's just so annoyingly convenient for the messenger telling Zelnick about his next mission to come *just as he's getting his medal* for the last mission. It's cliched, too.

Also: "Hit the Thraddash with pointy things"? The Ilwrath ships fight with those flame spouts. That sounds annoyingly silly for the sake of being silly.

Minor thing: The idea of the Manglers (or Menacers) is pretty cool. But -- while I think it's certainly fine that a race with no name for itself would have an English name -- you should settle on one (Manglers or Menacers?) and it should probably actually be something more evocative than Manglers *or* Menacers -- something actually specifically descriptive of that species.

There were things I liked -- most of the new races were okay (I thought the Jyglar idea was a little juvenile, but not terrible). I really liked the idea of Ger, Gerzel and Gerzellion. But... enh. I'd be happier if it didn't feel like there was so much emphasis on the new races that so much SC2 material felt abandoned. There shouldn't be so many SC2 races that just have nothing to do in the plot.


Title: Re: TW-ligt plot
Post by: Death 999 on May 06, 2005, 02:52:50 am
Thank you for covering my points better than I did! I agree 100% with everything you said.
To clarify some other points:

I don't mind there being a Talana relationship sim. But remember, by the time the game begins you have already found out what the purpose of that ridiculous outfit, knife included, is... an indeterminately large number of times!

I didn't say the Androsynth got through the entire void either. But consider that the Chenjesu, a philosopher race of great antiquity, and the Arilou, of even greater antiquity and even greater ability to cover large distances easily, never contacted the Utwig or Supox with proposals for an alliance during the first war. They didn't even contact the Thraddash directly, only observing their existence from afar. Now, compare the distance from Procyon to the Utwig sphere to the distance ALL THE WAY AROUND the Ur-Quan and Kohr-Ah space, all the way to the edge of the void. Now, consider that a "huge colony ship" would require even more fuel than the Precursor service vehicle, just based on size -- and would probably be less efficient. It's just a ridiculous endeavor. Also try to do that with the Androsynth slow ships.

As for why I think there are none... well, the Orz found the *smell* of the Androsynth. If it didn't just get those who were involved in IDF research, then it must have gotten the *smell* in general.

I especially agree with the weird problem that there is no push to free all the old battle thralls and slave-shielded worlds. That would be my second priority once the Ur-Quan were defeated.

The part about the arms and astronomy was just a FYI, not an actual proposition for map alteration. After all, this is HYPERSPACE, and hyperspace may be under such forces that many more truespace gates exist in regions of star generation (i.e. the arms).

Quote
Dnyarri really dead - yep. I always saw his line in the Credits as a joke. Sorry.


Don't be sorry about this one thing. What I meant was, any ONE thing from SC2 would have helped a lot. Basically, there is minimal continuity with the previous story. Bringing this up to a moderate degree of continuity would help a lot. Of course, touching on everything would be a gigantic task; but at least dealing with several things would be nice.


Title: Re: TW-ligt plot
Post by: Pik on May 06, 2005, 04:52:32 pm
My thoughts:

When I read the main plot, I thought I was reading a leftover script for Star Trek Voyager even though the Dating Sim sounds Deep Space Nineish. The Niko and AI seem little more than space gangsters. My feedback:

-Drop the Dating Sim. PLEASE.
-Drop the 'Zelnick gets framed' part. Reads like someone played too much Final Fantasy.
-Drop the Pkunk Queen 'vision' thing, also sounds Final Fantasyish. As with all good drama, start with the conflict. Even shakespeare had to obey this rule.
-Give the original SC2 races more action on the stage.
-Anything that makes you do linear actions (like the 'framed Zelnick' part) ought to be removed, as it goes against the 'openness' of the game. This is Star Control where you can go anywhere, not gay scripted Final Fantasy that makes you play on rails because of a 'plot'.

SC2's plot was based on your actions, not on the aliens' reactions. The area was open and you could go anywhere, speak to anyone. The goal was to find new races and make a new alliance. What is the goal in this game? I never quite figured it out except to fulfill A-B-C triggers in a plot. BORING...... *snooze*

For a plot I would have gone with something like...

The Ur-Quan are not defeated, merely driven back and summon thralls from other parts of the galaxy to aid them (Green Ur-Quan made thralls in other systems before SC 1 of course). [This could also be the Famous Urquan Battles Volume V edition). Now regrouped with thralls (including old ones such as the Vux, Mycons, Umgah, and the recently joined Druuge [who realized they would never profit in a NAFS dominated galaxy due to their 'strange' anti-slavery rules), the war is deadlocked.

Just as the Ur-Quan ended the last war with a Precursor ship tipping the balance, the NAFS hope that they can discover a Precursor ship to be used to end the damn war, and to defeat the Ur-quan finally. However, a Precursor ship must be found quickly as though things are deadlocked, the Hierarchy and Kohr-Ah keep gathering strength as more thralls are added. Only a few years to achieve this.

Unzervalt drained its resources just to make the skeleton ship of the Vindicator. Besides, the factory doesn't *want* to make more. So a precursor ship must be found and Zelnick, explorer and precursor expert, is elected for the job. You have your own 'unique' cruiser but in general you lead a small fleet of ships with you (but not too many since they are needed for the war). You have access to the original SC 2 area but much more than that. You must explore, gather clues, to hunt down a new precursor ship but also gather more allies for NAFS and, perhaps, convert current battle thralls.

Among the mysteries looked into...

-The survivors or descendants of the Sentient Mileiu, this includes the Taalo, as they may have interest in the current Ur-Quan conflict and clues on precursor artifacts.
-What happened to the Androsynth?
-Why do the Utwig butter their bread upside down?
-The new thralls. Some may be persuaded to leave the Hierarchy but some, like the Syreen did, will have found the Urqaun to have *helped* them.
-Other new races who may remain neutral, join NAFS, or the Heirarchy.
-Why is it galaxy standard for all hotdogs to come in packs of 10 but hotdog buns come in packs of 8?
-Why did the Precursors leave?

You find the Mark II early on but, alas, since every race nearby could not figure out how to fly the darn thing, they just ripped pieces of it off, creating a deformed limited precursor cruiser. You must acquire all the precursor parts back (which are being used as alien temples, lavatories, worshipped etc. by aliens to slowly rebuild the Mark II the way how it ought to be. When you are done, the last part of the game makes you use your cruiser and/or fleet to smash the defensive line of the Hierarchy.

Even more interesting, allow this 'final part' of the game to be available from the beginning. It is just that the more upgraded your Mark II becomes, the better chances for your success. This plays well for a game embracing non-linearity and openness in gameplay.

As for what to do with the races? Hmm, let's see...

-NAFS-

Chmmr- They are the leaders of the alliance (and they do have the nastiest ship). They inform you and give you helpful pointers similiar as Hayes role was in SC2.

Orz- The Orz are not happy that the arilou reached Earth first long ago. But when other races decide to investigate the Androsynth matter, it is too much *frumple* and they quickly leave NAFS.

Spathi- Spathi are still in their slave shield, hoping they won't get hurt! However, the slave shield went down and came back up, long enough for a Spathi group to leave. This group was the Black Spathi which are very opposite of all Spathi, as they are very courageous. They want to prove to the scared Spathi and to everyone else what Spathi are truly capable of (insert heroic music).

Yehat- These warriors now have the spirituality of the Pkunk. So they are now spiritual warriors. They are secondary leaders in NAFS. Perhaps new Yehat/Pkunk combo ship?

Syreen- Adding their grace to the fight.

ZoqFotPik- The undisputed scouts of the NAFS. They have all the news of how the warfront is going.

Shofixti- Breeding faster than production of Glory Devices, thank goodness for that!

Utwig- The third 'leader' in the NAFS.

Supox- Mimicking the Utwig.

-HIERARCHY-

Umgah- Umgah stay with Hierarchy because being bad is more amusing. For fun, after the First Hierarchy War, the Umgah genetically experimented with other hierarchy races. They made a part of Spathi to be courageous, creating the Black Spathi. They made a Vux absolutely LOVE humans (Zex). Though the Mycon are beyond their understanding.

Vux- Have become more vain and installed mirrors on all their ships. Vux believe they and their ships are SO beautiful that the ships can now create a mirror image of themselves, tricking the enemy but really for the pretty Vux to look at themselves!

Mycon- They respond. They are the first to react when precursors come to the area. [Orz also react but Orz go crazy. They are so *silly*.]

Druuge- Recently joining the Hierarchy, the Druuge will sell to both Hierchy and Alliance, as profit is what matters. They have a new item for sale: Ilwrath cloaks! They will be sold to other Hierarchy races and then sell cloak detectors to alliance and then cloak detector jammers to the Hierarchy then cloak detector jammer jammer to the Alliance, etc.

Ilwrath- A few survivors. Apparently, they reached a badness so high of 446,664,343,235 that it whipped around and made the few survivors all good and pure. The survivors join the NAFS.

Thraddash- Gone. Though their afterburner gets stolen and equipped by a new heirarchy thrall.

Kzer-Za- Identical in attitudes as in SC 1.

Kohr-Ah- Allied with the green Ur-quan, this new Hierarchy is stable. Both Ur-quans agree, all NAFS races must be cleansed (as the Kzer-Za already enslaved them but that didn't work).

Plus the new races, whatever they are.

Now I came up with that in a few minutes and prefer the 'war setting' much more than a 'plot' setting. SC 1 was around the Urqan vs Alliance War, SC 2 was around the Urquan vs Urquan War, so a SC 3 makes sense as a Urquan vs New Alliance setting.

Oh, and you find a message from a Precursor. Though the translation wasn't perfect as it was so old, the Precursor referred to its race as *Bob*.

Makes you wonder what his toys are...


Title: Re: TW-ligt plot
Post by: UAF on May 06, 2005, 05:51:47 pm
Pik -

I liked Final Fantasy :)
Kinda counter half your points...
And indeed in this game you don't know what is going to happen from the beginning. You discover the threat over the course of the game and then deal with it.

Now I think you'll have best luck if you'll write your own plot, then make a game. You cannot expect us to throw our plot through the window and start from the one page you wrote. (Or rather you CAN expect, but that just won't happen...).

BTW, I don't care much for suggestion you made. It's back to the Ur-quan, it brings back the Precursors, and it keeps most of the situation the same. STILL at war, the sides are almost the same... nah...


Art and Death_999 - I'll write a detailed reply later.


Title: Re: TW-ligt plot
Post by: UAF on May 06, 2005, 08:13:46 pm
Ok, my promised reply.

I think the most important thing I'll say here is the following:

As I said before, the plot is finished. Minor changes are possible, but nothing more.
This means that suggestions like 'Get rid of that quest', 'change the main threat' or 'make a game like this' are a waste of time. Don't bother with them. If it's a big change you'd like (and I'll use Pik as an obvious example here) you'll better make your own game.

Also, in the field of minor changes I'll probably be more inclined to small additions then removing parts of the game.

So what I'm saying is that instead 'Get rid of the dating simulator' which won't work, suggesting some improvements might.
Same goes to suggestions that will improve the Niko and AI motives, because I agree that it'll be fun if they'll be deeper.

Anyway:

3DO vs. PC ending and role of the Ur-quan - let's make it short. I decided to continue with the PC ending, and it won't change. As I said, no major change will be accepted.

A word about Ur-quan course through the galaxy though - the way I always saw it, and the way it is in TWL, the Kzer-za didn't conquer half the galaxy while the Kohr-ah annihilated the other. If you'll look on the galaxy from "above" their courses will make a "ring", with free races both outside and inside this "ring". The Ur-quan just moved in that course, traveling between the galactic arms when they reached the edge of one. The fact that in TWL they only affected our arm is a coincidence resulting from the location of the SC area compared to the core and the galactic arms.

Oh, and no one is going to free the thralls because everyone are busy rebuilding after the war. They need to help themselves first.


Improbability drive - Well removing that will mean that the Mrii really have nothing to do in the game... Suggestions for improvements will be welcomed I guess.


Dating simulator -  remains. It's not as big part of the game or as obvious as you make it seem. You see your "score" and you don't spend the game investing in it. You don't like it - don't do it, it's optional. And I'm sorry if the sarcasm is too subtle.
At any case with good dialogs it will be hilarious.
If you have suggestions to improve it then please share them.

About the Umgah pet - it's a pet created by the Umgah, not a pet Umgah! Dear god who will want a pet Umgah?!

The Salvation and MK2 - The Salvation is weaker then the MK2 and even the Vindicator. It is not, and cannot become an awesome battleship. Although it doesn't mean that it won't be stronger then regular ships when souped up enough.

It's not that the Yehat/Pkunk can make a fleet for super strong vessels or anything like it. The Salvation is more of a mobile HQ created because the player is going to travel to an unknown part with no ally starbases or anything like that to help him there.

BTW, I don't know about you but I wouldn't like to spend half the game with a Cruiser (even an improved one) as my flagship.


Nature of the Umgah - The Umgah don't help the player because they are nice. They do it as part of a deal. Later the player give Wu'bi are rid to the new arm, where he leave and do god-knows-what. And probably not playing nice ;)


Niko and AI - I agree that their motivation to do what they do still need work. I was planning to work on it with whoever will volunteer to write their dialogs. If you have suggestions and ideas then tell.

The AI's name - I'm pretty sure I've mentioned that this is not supposed to be their name in the game. It's just that I've yet found a suggestion that I liked...

Framed - One of the things I like about it is that the player really could do it in SC2, and now he's busted :)
You'll notice that in SC2 Hays takes it pretty hard too once he hear the rumors.
Anyway, the Chmmr don't claim that Zel did it because it was necessary, and the Zel claims that he didn't do it at all - despite conclusive "proofs" brought by the Chmmr.

Why does everyone turn on him? Well they all just fought a huge war to gain their freedom, so it's a sensitive spot.
(Also, remember that the player escaped before the trial even begun. He's not going to court with this, there are more important things to do! It doesn't matter if one believes him or not, right now he's wanted and they obey the law).

Mangler and Menacers - These are actually two different races of space monsters. The Manglers were created by the Guph and are infesting the new arm, while the Menacers are "natural" monsters that live in the void.
Both need new names! I just like the ships that are associated with these names currently (although the Mangler ship needs some tweaking).

Androsynth survivors - let's start with the fact that if anyone could pull that of, it's the Synth. :)
Also, the Druuge easily managed to travel to Utwig space, and during the SC1 war everyone traveled distances without any problem.
How exactly did the Synth managed to do it is, in reality, a case of *insert techno babble here*. Yeah, it should be good techno babble, but it's not so hard.

Relations to quests and mysteries from SC2 -
The game focus on developing one of the mysteries neglected by the fans - the Mrn. Who made them? Why? What exactly are they and so forth.

The Orz, Synth and Precursors mysteries aren't answered, but they are developed.

The Synth colony shed some more light on their story, and increases the Arilou involvement. It also suggests that the Arilou are preparing to make their move soon, the Synth aren't rebuilding - they are building a war machine.

The Orz are also developed through the escaping Ur-quan quest, where we see that apparently the Ur-quan know something about them. The Orz do insist of catching them.
(Why won't the Ur-quan say anything to the NAFS or the player? They are too proud and sure that only they can save the galaxy, they have been that way for the past 20,000 years after all).
There is also the VUX reaction to the Orz (Impressive military presence in their shared border and reluctance to talk about the Orz).

The Precursor are touched with the quest to save the Slylandro, where the Slylandro's call for help is answered.

You'll also notice that you can revisit many sites from SC2 - the crashed dreadnought, Zex's planet and such.

As for the "untouched" parts - The Dnyarri is, IMO, and will surly be in any plot I'll make, DEAD. ATOMIZED. He really had no chance to survive - the specially designed escape pod barley made it...

The Taalo - their survival wasn't an important part of SC2. Actually I'm pretty sure they are all dead. The only one who speaks of them in present tense are the Orz.
IF you'll ever find more about them then it'll be in *pretty space* - which you don't visit in this game.



Sheesh, writing these replies sure take a lot of time... I just wrote 3 word pages and I was planning on being brief…
Anyway, try focusing on constructive suggestions and minor changes if you want something to actually change.
Of course, you can just complain if you'd like, but it won't do any good besides possibly making you feel better. :)


Title: Re: TW-ligt plot
Post by: Death 999 on May 06, 2005, 09:38:35 pm
Quote
Well removing that will mean that the Mrii really have nothing to do in the game... Suggestions for improvements will be welcomed I guess.


A designer knows he has reached perfection not when there is nothing to add, but when there is nothing to be taken away. -- Antoine de Saint Exupery


I do not find the Pkunk vision at all a problem. This is what they do. A Pkunk vision sent them to the Sa-Matra at the right moment, after all.


As for the rest --
You wanted feedback. We gave it. If it's too late to change the structure, OK. But you know what we think of it now.

I life Final Fantasy, just like I like Hitchhiker's Guide. But SC is neither of these things. There must be operational freedom.


Also, the Taalo are definitely alive. This is probably the 'definitely something' I was thinking about around the Orz.
http://www.classicgaming.com/starcontrol/history/files/scchatlog.txt

Quote
<Fwiffo> The Taalo LIVE!


Fwiffo here was PR3 and FF sharing a keyboard. Based just on that, I'd say they're alive. As makes sense, since the Orz said they were playing *time jokes* on the surface. Doesn't sound dead to me. Sure, it can be delayed to another sequel... but we can't have too many more of them...


Title: You are making a mistake.
Post by: Deus Siddis on May 07, 2005, 12:50:42 am
Ok, I know you said "constructive", but I think the most constructive thing to do, would be to blow that plot out the airlock. It SUCKS!!!

The stuff that Art, Pik and Death_999 just suggested on a whim, kicks the living $I-IiT out of that moronic dribble.

The Androsynth should be dead and the Taalo should be the ones making a come back. They are more interesting by a hundred fold.

If your project is really serious, you should chuck this abomination of a SC plot out the window immediately, before it scares talented programmers and such, away from your somewhat fledgling project.

I apologize for my outburst, but I really think you're putting the nail in your coffin with this.


Title: Re: TW-ligt plot
Post by: UAF on May 07, 2005, 01:13:37 am
This is pathetic.

I've taken Death_999 and Art seriously, but your reaction is simply pathetic.

You don't like it? Make your own sequel.
The Majority of people who saw the plot liked it, a lot.
Death_999 and Art are in a minority group even with their complains.

So again - make your own game instead of stomping and destroying the projects of others.
No one is forcing you to help or to play it.


Title: Re: You are making a mistake.
Post by: harth1026 on May 07, 2005, 01:15:02 am
Quote
Ok, I know you said "constructive", but I think the most constructive thing to do, would be to blow that plot out the airlock. It SUCKS!!!


When someone describes something to you, sometimes the description sucks, but the finished product is amazing.  Who would have though that SimCity would have been fun?  Who would have though that Tetris would have been fun?  Why would anyone ever need a computer?  The beautiful body of your favorite car was the last piece that they put on.  Let's see the finished product before we all decide if it's good or bad.


Title: Re: TW-ligt plot
Post by: Death 999 on May 07, 2005, 02:25:43 am
Really, Deus... that was a touch overboard. Please, calm down.


Title: Re: TW-ligt plot
Post by: Pik on May 07, 2005, 04:30:19 am
Don't take me wrong, I believe a lot of time was spent on the plot and there are many nice things in it. I was only referring to the things that struck me the wrong way. All the things that did strike me the wrong way were things that seemed to be 'tacked on' to the design, things that don't really matter to the game's core mechanics (like the dating sim). If you can remove a part of the game or any plot that doesn't matter with the game's core, then do it. All serious writers know they have to chop off dangling parts, scratch out 5 words if it can be said with 2, and so on.

Now I'm curious as to what is the core design to Timewarp-Light? I gather that the combat will be like in Timewarp (and some of the new races will use the new ships). This is all fine and dandy. But what is the core design of the adventure part? I thought it would identical to Star Control 2 but now I'm not sure. Some parts of the plot read like the game turns into Final Fantasy for a few parts, others parts feel tacked on like the Dating Sim (Why stop there? Why not put a full emulation of The Sims aboard the Mark II where you can manage the Captain's bladder, his social arrangements, and, in general, throw parties with Fwiffo and Umbah blobbies?)

From my perspective, it feels like the plot is forcing the round design core into square holes. Final Fantasy is a fine game, but would its influence work with SC2's design core? Now, you could completely use a different core design and make a Final Fantasy like game with the battles being Star Controlish, that would work. But putting Final Fantasy elements with StarControl2's core mechanics is a mismatch. (It'd be like putting X-Com elements into Star Control. Now, a Star Control X-Comish game WOULD ROCK but it could rock only by using a different game design core than SC2.)

Even though this is a fan based project, it is in a way a fabulous way to gain real game making experience. If a starting playwright was doing all these things with the actors and sets and lights and the audience doesn't watch, well, it doesn't matter how 'great' the play is because the audience is always, always right. When a writer makes a book and wonders why it doesn't sell, he ought to be reminded that there is a New York Times Best Seller list but there is no New York Times Best Written list. Professional writers write well because that a sure way how it will sell well. Charles Dickens took his audience in account as he publicly released chapter by chapter of Great Expectations, even changing the ending. Even Shakespeare fitted his plays to be audience driven and whose purpose wasn't to be 'art' but to make money (which he invested in London's Real Estate and retired).

My point is that I think the greatest advice to a budding writer or game designer is to be a salesman. What does sales have to do with books and games? Well, everything. And things like games require millions of dollars nowadays. You're going to have to sell ideas to companies and to your employees. You're going to have to raise money and sell for additional time.

"This is not a profit based project, it is a fan based project." I don't know if you intend to pursue a career in the gaming industry. However, a successful project like this IS something you can put on a resume and it will exceed any "education" as it shows 1) You can put out a finished project. 2) You can put out a popular project. Those two things alone exceed practically everything else. The people involved in this project can really use it to their personal future if they have such goals.

I believe everyone here has the capacity to create a better game superior to that of even Toys for Bob. I have a hunch that Toys for Bob would love to play such a game. Everyone here wants Timewarp Light to be as cool as it can be, because we all love Star Control.

You desired constructive feedback. Here it is:

-Stay as close as possible to the game's core mechanics and remove everything that doesn't fit (You wouldn't put Sim City in the middle of Star Control, would you? Even though Sim City is a fun game, it doesn't match Star control's core mechanics. I don't like the Dating Sim not because I have something against Dating Sims but because it doesn't fit into Star Control's core mechanics.)

-"What can the player do?" is more important than "Where does the plot go?" Keep the game design driven rather than plot driven. (The problem with including Final Fantasy elements is that Final Fantasy is set up like most rpgs with a static world where plot is moved by the player alone. This makes the game as the Player vs. Developers. Star Control 2's most annoying feature was its greatest: the time limit. It was not Player vs. Developers but rather Player vs. Environment. You were participating in the game world rather than it revolving all around you. If you didn't act, Kohr Ah would win and other events would occur.)

-Keep the Ur-Quan scary. (Both SC 1 and SC 2 had a core enemy of the ur-quan which made you feel a bit weak and every victory you had was A Great Accomplishment (tm). If you make the Ur-Quan [or any threat] weak and not scary, the adventure game loses its heroicness similiar to as what happened with Legend's SC 3.)

-If it doesn't play a role, get rid of it. (Like if a race doesn't play a part in the main plot, get rid of it. It becomes an unneccessary actor on stage, drawing eyes which removes the punch from the actors that matter. Even in Star Control 2, every race had a part in the plot. Reiche removed items from the game that had no point like Data Pods and the Cloaking Device. This is smart game design.)

What would be interesting is write a "What can the player do?" to compliment the plot. At each part of the game, what can the player do? If you find that the player is merely getting items and doing an ABCD order of plot triggers, being corralled in one way due to plot triggers (plot controlling the player rather than the player controlling the plot), or if the player finds himself stuck in worthless mini-games that are not relevant to the core mechanics of the game, then take a humility pill and go redo that part. Prototype parts and play, redo, play, redo until its something that is truly fun for everyone.

Or as it was said in Gladiator, "doesn't matter about your technique. Win the mob and win your freedom."


Title: Re: TW-ligt plot
Post by: Chrispy on May 07, 2005, 06:13:54 am
Quote
This is Star Control where you can go anywhere, not gay scripted Final Fantasy that makes you play on rails because of a 'plot'.


Oh my god it so is! I saw it with another game, and they were holding hands! You better not leave it alone with unreal tournament, they might do something unholy.

Seriously, there is nothing gay about final fantasy and there IS NOTHING WRONG WITH BEING GAY!

>:(


Title: Oops, sorry.
Post by: Deus Siddis on May 07, 2005, 06:32:07 am
"I've taken Death_999 and Art seriously, but your reaction is simply pathetic."

Sorry, my initial reactions to things are usually tactless. You'll just get a positive or negative opinion out of me, minus any signs of civilized thinking. But it's not pithetic in that I did not back up my opinion though, as everyone else had already stated the points that I would have brought up. Also, while my response can't be excused, I don't see why you are talking down to Art and Death_999. Everything they said was perfectly reasonable. If people just told you everything was fine no matter what, you would not know where your weak areas were.


"So again - make your own game instead of stomping and destroying the projects of others. No one is forcing you to help or to play it."

I don't see much point in trying to crush a project, I just think that you must be careful and flexible in this area, as you depend on volunteers.


"Really, Deus... that was a touch overboard. Please, calm down."

Alright, maybe that seemed crazy, but remember that you only imagined me yelling. I just typed out a message with my keyboard, I wasn't screaming and hurling CDs as if they were discuses.


"there IS NOTHING WRONG WITH BEING GAY!"

Tell that to Darwin.


Title: Re: TW-ligt plot
Post by: Frank on May 07, 2005, 09:35:43 am
I'll be frank.  The plot is very weak.  It is consistent with Timewarp's general "design by consensus and by consensus we mean a sufficiently long dissensus that everyone becomes comfortable with."  There seems to have been no effort to find a theme that drives the main plot and gives the game a heart, let alone giving the side quests some resonance.  There is neither the creativity nor the coherence of the original plot.

Although I think for the most part you're getting a lot of mean-spirited nay-saying comments, the fact that they're mean-spirited does not mean that they're wrong.  Writing stories is fun and relatively easy compared to generating the art assets and code necessary to pull the game together.  I should know, I've worked as a writer on a handful of commercial titles.

The reason you haven't gotten more negative feedback is that you've been mooting it only in your enclosed environment.  People here, despite being obnoxious and close-minded, know a lot about SC2 and are sensitive to its themes and qualities.  You should take what they say seriously, although you shouldn't be discouraged from pursuing your project.

But really, you've got to be prepared to ditch every bit of story except for stuff for which you've already created art assets or special code bases.  The companies I've worked for (pretty big names) ditch whole plots all the time.  I rewrote a AAA RTS game's plot from scratch when the engine was already in alpha stage (10 months before the title shipped).  All that was kept were characters for whom we had art assets.

Anyway, I'd consider some serious revision.


Title: Re: TW-ligt plot
Post by: Culture20 on May 07, 2005, 09:52:20 am
Quote
-Drop the Dating Sim. PLEASE.
Many great games of the past included silly/meaningless subgames.
Quote
-Drop the 'Zelnick gets framed' part. Reads like someone played too much Final Fantasy.
This can be done quite well (assuming it's part of the intro and not the game).  The Captain (please don't call him Zelnick; too 3DO'ish) and Talana are going to retire to Unzervalt, but then the Captain gets arrested.  As UAF pointed out, this can either be false or true (Although if true, it's more likely that he'd get arrested after the Mark I blew up for using it to create the Empire of "Foo"). After a brief incarceration, Corridor Nine's new Chief, Prof. Farnsworth schedules the Captain's release under one condition: instead of retiring, he is to decypher some data plates found on Unzervalt.  This would be the start of the game (the Captain must adventure, although against his will) The dating game might be required because Talana has doubts about whether the Captain is innocent.

Quote
-Anything that makes you do linear actions (like the 'framed Zelnick' part) ought to be removed, as it goes against the 'openness' of the game. This is Star Control where you can go anywhere, not *frumple*[Edited for Chrispy - C20] scripted Final Fantasy that makes you play on rails because of a 'plot'.
I agree, although I also think that this plot beats the pants off of SC3's pseudo-linear farce of a game.  It could be better, but the community could also spend another couple years arguing about it...

Quote
Kzer-Za- Identical in attitudes as in SC 1.

Kohr-Ah- Allied with the green Ur-quan, this new Hierarchy is stable. Both Ur-quans agree, all NAFS races must be cleansed (as the Kzer-Za already enslaved them but that didn't work).
A merger of the two Doctrines?  Enslave those who are genetically predisposed to submit (Spathi, Mycon, Druuge, Sireen, new races already enslaved); Cleanse those who are predisposed to resist...

Quote
Oh, and you find a message from a Precursor. Though the translation wasn't perfect as it was so old, the Precursor referred to its race as *Bob*.

Makes you wonder what his toys are...
Could be the only info Farnsworth has gotten from the Data plate before he recuits the Captain.  The Captain finds out that it's a list of where *Bob* left his toys, and many of them are detailed (the Appendages of Dawn complete with spare parts, the Wimbli's Eating Utensil, the Big Dud, the Singing Hoops, and more).  Farnsworth then forces the Captain beyond the original deal (because he has an affinity for Precursor computer tech).


Title: Re: TW-ligt plot
Post by: Deus Siddis on May 07, 2005, 11:08:11 am
"I'll be frank."

You already are. hehehe.


"Although I think for the most part you're getting a lot of mean-spirited nay-saying comments"

Actually, I think I was the only one who was blasting away. You can't blame anyone else for just giving their opinions.


"There seems to have been no effort to find a theme that drives the main plot and gives the game a heart, let alone giving the side quests some resonance.  There is neither the creativity nor the coherence of the original plot."

I'm afraid I have to agree. I can tell you from experience, that a project absolutely must have a clear focus. That means planning from square one, and a system that can build off the initial planning.


"Writing stories is fun and relatively easy compared to generating the art assets and code necessary to pull the game together."

So true.


"The reason you haven't gotten more negative feedback is that you've been mooting it only in your enclosed environment.  People here, despite being obnoxious and close-minded, know a lot about SC2 and are sensitive to its themes and qualities."

Yea, we're intelligent ass holes. Wahoo!


"But really, you've got to be prepared to ditch every bit of story except for stuff for which you've already created art assets or special code bases."

I have to agree, again. What I'd also do, is pick out a small group of talented story writers who know this universe inside and out. Let these elite writers pull everything together and weave a kick ass story, possibly with the help of some of the original developers. Make sure they cover EVERY major plot mystery that SC2 left behind, though not everything must be solved completely. Lets face it, fans don't want to see new races, they want you to build on the old ones. Any new races, could be the old ones that were mentioned, but never seen (like taalo). You don't want to become SC3, or worse, a dead project. Plot writing is the easiest task, as Frank said, but if you don't put 100% into it, you might not get 100% in the art and programming departments.

One last thing, biting critizism is bad when you've worked hard on a prototype, but getting it when you've finished your project is a lot worse. So stay loose, it is not too late to change.


Title: Re: TW-ligt plot
Post by: Frank on May 07, 2005, 08:27:23 pm
Quote
Make sure they cover EVERY major plot mystery that SC2 left behind, though not everything must be solved completely.


Unless the qualifier here ("though not everything . . . ") is very strong, I have to say I disagree strongly for two reasons. First, you're not making an expansion, you're making a sequel, which requires some trailblazing.  Second, when a sequel (or expansion) addresses every mystery of the original source material, it makes the universe seemed closed and small.  If you want to see this effect depressingly in action, read Hyperion by Dan Simmons and then its sequel.  The first makes you feel like you're in a huge, mysterious, coherent universe.  The second makes you feel like you're in a small ball of well-knotted threads.


Title: Re: TW-ligt plot
Post by: Frank on May 07, 2005, 08:29:49 pm
I'll also add a qualifier of my own, which is that while this forum has its large share of close-minded and obnoxious people, that share is smaller than it is on most forums and those people are better than their counterparts elsewhere.  But forums are, by their nature, full of territorial gits who think they know their small area of expertise better than anyone else.


Title: Re: TW-ligt plot
Post by: Deus Siddis on May 07, 2005, 10:04:44 pm
Let me clarify. I don't want every mystery solved, but you need to have those loose ends in a sequel someway or another. A few might be solved, while others might only grow more mysterious. The point is, you don't want to just pave over them and then write a bunch of new crap that people don't really care about. I know because that's what SC3 did, and everyone hates it. Also, nothing that I've seen or read since SC2, has alien sentients as creative and interesting/funny, as those of the first two games. I guess maybe I've just been reacting to how much TWL seems like SC3.


"But forums are, by their nature, full of territorial gits who think they know their small area of expertise better than anyone else."

I know that I know less about starcontrol than many people here. I just felt this plot had incredibly less understanding of the SC universe than even I do.


Title: Re: TW-ligt plot
Post by: Halleck on May 08, 2005, 12:33:20 am
If you would like to see major changes in this plot, and expect to see them made by sitting around and complaining, good luck. If you feel like being constructive, I suggest you ignore this plot entirely and go contribute to the "Public Plot Initiative" on the Timewarp forums.


Title: Re: TW-ligt plot
Post by: Deus Siddis on May 08, 2005, 12:56:24 am
Dude, that's the exact opposite of what we were talking about. You don't want to have more people like me, giving little ideas here and there. You need to have one or a few talented people writing the whole thing. This coop structure really sucks in this sort of application. It can quickly turn into a jumble of poorly thought out, and poorly connected plot elements.


Title: Re: TW-ligt plot
Post by: GeomanNL on May 08, 2005, 06:12:29 am
Quote
This coop structure really sucks in this sort of application. It can quickly turn into a jumble of poorly thought out, and poorly connected plot elements.


I'm aware of this, it takes a long time and it's not easy to write a plot this way. The ppi is worth a try though, and it gives some degree of satisfaction to a larger group of people, not just a few writers. That's all there is to it.

However, the ppi isn't the subject of discussion here, and I politely request if you would not continue on this particular subject.

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You need to have one or a few talented people writing the whole thing.


So true, but where are those magnificent, super-talented writers you're referring to ? I don't see them. Never seen them, actually. Indeed, many people claim that they're out there, but I don't really think they exist ;)

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I know that I know less about starcontrol than many people here.


Yet, of all people, you're the one who's using such harsh language, you're the one who's so fierce in protecting sc2. Perhaps you should leave that task to other people, who know better what they're talking about, and who are in better control of their emotions.

Quote
much TWL seems like SC3


Yeah, timewarp has all the sc3 ships in it. Yeah who knows, maybe they'll use all of those for that new game they're making, since all the new ships suck dick. I think melee in timewarp is also, much, much worse than melee in the sc3 game, and it has nothing, absolutely nothing, new to offer compared to sc1,2,3. The rest of the engine isn't finished yet, do I hear someone whispering that they'll try to follow the gameplay of SC3 as close as possible? Oh no! And, the Kohr-Ah build ships for you to fight with ? Oh no !! And, are they going to make that same lame ending with an all-powerfull race again that suddenly pops out of nowhere ? Arg. What, does UAF's grannie need more wool for making puppets? Nooo!!!

And then I wake up from this nightmare, the sun is shining, the birds are singing. There's nothing to worry about; UAF and his comrades are capable enough to make something decent.

I'd like to add, if you want to see something very professional, there's really no alternative but to raise some funds and hire a group of writers, ditch a dozen of their plots cause they don't write what you like, and then use the 99-th rewrite to make your own game. What happened to the 100-th rewrite you ask? Someone put that one up your ... wherever.


Title: Re: TW-ligt plot
Post by: Deus Siddis on May 08, 2005, 06:58:17 am
"However, the ppi isn't the subject of discussion here, and I politely request if you would not continue on this particular subject."

What do you mean by ppi? There are a million abreviations out there, so you'll have to be more specific. Let me note, that I wasn't saying the community was stupid, only that having too many cooks (even gourmet ones) in the kitchen is usually a bad thing when it comes to story writing.


"So true, but where are those magnificent, super-talented writers you're referring to ? I don't see them. Never seen them, actually. Indeed, many people claim that they're out there, but I don't really think they exist"

Weird, I guess starflight, starcontrol and starcraft were written by ghosts or something.


"Yet, of all people, you're the one who's using such harsh language, you're the one who's so fierce in protecting sc2."

Yea, I'm the only one.

"Yeah who knows, maybe they'll use all of those for that new game they're making, since all the new ships suck dick."

Oops, nevermind.


"Perhaps you should leave that task to other people, who know better what they're talking about, and who are in better control of their emotions."

I thought Death_999, Art, Pik and gang were doing a damn fine job. They weren't emotional (I wasn't really either, by the way). Let them write the plot then.


Side note, I came in moderatly late to this discussion and unloaded an admittedly over the top post. I had no idea it was going to become such a big thing at the time, or else I would not have written it. And I've seen some of the over the top posts many other people have made in the past, about things like babylon 5 toys, world politics, trolls, spam, etc. If I've complained about them, it's only been for fun. I have not yet become emotional on this forum. I just like to be honest (and I admit there is such a thing as too honest.)


Title: Re: TW-ligt plot
Post by: Art on May 08, 2005, 07:15:04 am
Deus_Siddis, don't be a dick. I never said anything as harsh as what you said, and I even said that my original reaction was probably *too* harsh. There's a lot of promising stuff in this plot, but it could definitely use fleshing out in certain areas, pruning in others, and in general feel more integrated with SC2. (No, a plot doesn't have to be integrated with SC2 to be good, but face it -- 90% of the total audience for anything presented as an SC game is going to be rabid SC2 fans, and for crazy coots like us the more obvious respect a new plot has for its SC2 origins the better.)

I don't mean to say that I want to participate in writing a plot -- I know I definitely do not have the time or energy to do such a task justice -- or even that it'd be a good idea to take this plot, unchanged, and tack on additions that address the specific concerns I brought up. But you wanted to know how the crazy SC2 fans on this board would react, so I gave you a sample of a reaction. Right now, in its current form, it doesn't *feel* integrated with SC2 that much, and it's that feel that I assume you want your sequel to have.

And at the same time I agree with Frank -- I never had a very strong idea of *how the game would actually work* while I was reading your plot, and at times it seemed like the game went into very deep detail about complex things the player would have to accomplish that would be very different from the sorts of tasks one had to complete in SC2, or that are currently possible in Timewarp.

Yeah, SC2 sometimes felt like a game where you could do anything, but the *total number of possible actions* in the game were pretty well-defined and pretty limited -- you could go from place to place in HyperSpace, you could run around on planets with your lander to pick up objects from the ground, and you could go through conversation trees with aliens. Pretty much everything else that *happened* in the game was negotiated through these mechanisms, and that made the game feel tight and well-constructed. Japanese RPGs like Final Fantasy et al are famous for  tossing in lots of random minigames, and frankly I think they suffer for it -- I don't like the idea of learning how to do something, like pilot a racing lander, that you would only have to do once, or a couple times -- but even then the Final Fantasy games had a lot of meat -- a lot of hack-'n-slash monster fighting, plus simple talk-to-dude-get-object-give-object-to-other-dude puzzles, repetitive tasks you performed that let you feel you had learned *how to play the game* with the minigames only there for spice. Right now it feels like the plot proposes lots and lots of spice without feeling like it has enough meat.

The dating sim in particular -- it's not that it's all *that* silly, but the way it's talked about it sounds like it would feel even more silly because it would intrude on normal gameplay. I'd prefer it if it were something like, throughout the course of the game, you have plenty of reasons to keep engaging Talana in *conversation*, and you can build up "relationship points" by things you say (or do by saying you're going to do them) in such conversations, than a very obvious dating-sim that *interrupts* the gameplay and feels tacked on and external. It just feels *wrong* to, say, be cruising along on the way to the New Arm to try to negotiate with the Mrii and have Fwiffo pop up and remind you it's your anniversary and give you the option to drop everything and go on a vacation. It makes the game feel choppy and disjointed, and in terms of plot it would make more *sense* for any gestures Zelnick (or whatever his name is) makes to Talana to take place while they're both working feverishly on saving the galaxy. (They're both military officers and professionals, after all; they should be able to sustain a romance without having to constantly take breaks from their main mission.)


Title: Re: TW-ligt plot
Post by: Deus Siddis on May 08, 2005, 07:32:19 am
I'm not being a dick, and I Never said you were harsh, or that you were agreeing with me. Relax, and read what I actually said.

Plus, I don't think you should have to apologize for giving your honest (and completely unlike mine) opinion.


Notice: Anything I say does not reflect on the reputations of anybody that I may agree with. I apologize for the rudeness I displayed earlier, it was a mistake and I had no idea it would be taken so badly.


Title: Re: TW-ligt plot
Post by: Halleck on May 08, 2005, 07:44:08 am
Thanks for apologizing- I'm sure you understand there is a difference between making angry posts in zanthius's thread and one about serious plot work. Now, let's move on.

By the way, PPI is an abbreviation for the Timewarp Public Plot Initiative (http://timewarp.sourceforge.net/forum/viewforum.php?f=11&sid=66d541fd36a3110049d8472a50595ccb).


Title: Re: TW-ligt plot
Post by: Deus Siddis on May 08, 2005, 08:17:44 am
I haven't made angry posts in zanthius' thread either. Remember that when you read something, you have no idea if the guy who wrote it was angry or not. It's just text.

I was more joking with that first post. It didn't know it would be taken seriously.

I really cannot get angry about TWL even if I try, as Time Warp Lite is just a branch of Timewarp. Thus a Time Warp Extra Lite could be spawned off of Timewarp Lite just as easily and could have a plot that would be better liked by us over on the UQM board (some of us, I mean.)


Title: Re: TW-ligt plot
Post by: Pik on May 08, 2005, 11:43:05 am
Quote

Seriously, there is nothing gay about final fantasy


http://home.comcast.net/~famitsu2/images/model_02.jpg

Quote
and there IS NOTHING WRONG WITH BEING GAY!


I wasn't making any context to sexual orientation.


Title: Re: TW-ligt plot
Post by: Pik on May 08, 2005, 12:22:10 pm
Quote

But really, you've got to be prepared to ditch every bit of story except for stuff for which you've already created art assets or special code bases.


I wonder how many revisions SC 2 went through? I imagine that for all the text present in SC 2, there is probably three times as much that was tossed out.

I have wondered why SC 2's writing had me so interested in it. From what I've realized is that SC 2 didn't necessarily have good writing. What it did was keep poking your attention with imagination. We never see the Arilou on Earth. But the comments of Arilou 'messing' with us and connecting them with all the UFO and 'pyramid' mysteries makes us associate with them and imagine them much much more. The Urquan hacking and cutting themselves from the dynarri is very alive in my imagination even though we never see it. The Precursors flying away in great haste also captures the imagination.

The Gerzillion captured my imagination. But the Niko (the bad guys) did not. Make me use my imagination to wonder how these aliens are.

Quote
The companies I've worked for (pretty big names) ditch whole plots all the time.  I rewrote a AAA RTS game's plot from scratch when the engine was already in alpha stage (10 months before the title shipped).  All that was kept were characters for whom we had art assets.


Now I have to guess as to what RTS game that was!

Well, an RTS game going from alpha stage to shipping in 10 months means it isn't a recent title, as the recent titles take much more development time to make.

It can't be the Command and Conquer series since those games often use movies and really don't include 'in-game' characters.

Age of Empires doesn't seem to have any story as tries to be history based.

Total Annihilation didn't have much of a story but it didn't have characters. So that's out.

Homeworld? Nah, I believe you mean characters as in the game, not cut scenes.

Dark Reign had no characters.

Armada was licensed so you couldn't have freedom with the writing.

Part of me wants to say StarCraft but the elaborate cutscenes pretty much solidified the plotline well ahead of time. And Warcraft 3 seemed to have its story in place due to the elaborate cutscenes. (Though it could be Myth but somehow I don't think so).

So for my guess I am going to say Warcraft 2. If you're Bill Roper, I'm going to eat an Orc!


Title: Re: TW-ligt plot
Post by: Bekanor on May 08, 2005, 04:06:38 pm
I, personally, like UAF's plot a great deal.  But that's just my opinion, and you're entitled to think otherwise.  However, 'seems to me that the best way to make it better is to actually help writing FOR it.  Take the Niko.  Maybe you think they seem boring - Fair enough.  But then, their brief is exactly three sentences long.  Make them interesting!  Why are they the religous fanatics they are?  Alien intervention? Coincidence and Credulence?  Maybe their really is inexplicable evidence for their goddess - a nice little mystery.  What exactly turned the Alkory into the incontinent wrecks they are?  Why do the Mrri want Ger Pudding?  What IS Ger pudding?  Why do the Umgah work with you - albeit secretly?  And so on!  Stripped of all the actual writing and interest, I could easily sum up the plot of SC2 on a page, in terms of go here, do this, kill this, watch this.  Fleshing it out would be where we come in.

Take the Zoq Fot Pik.  Their design brief, compressed to the same level, could be "Commune of three races - one green and smart, one blue and annoying, one brown and mute".  Then someone with imagination and intelligence came along and crafted an interesting and much liked race from it.  Similar tricks were performed for the Supox, who existed solely to give you the Ultron, and the VUX whose one actually significant important individual was, by neccesity, the opposite of his race.  

The point is, we could kick around the plot for a few months and wind up with something maybe a touch better, maybe a touch worse, and then end up at precisely the same point - actually needing people to start working at the writing and coding to put all the grand ideas together.  This is as good a(and in my opinion, a damn sight better) plot as any, so lets work with it.


Title: Re: TW-ligt plot
Post by: GeomanNL on May 08, 2005, 07:27:33 pm
Well, I wanted to write a sarcastic reply to some of the generalized remarks out there. Deus_siddis made the last one, and looked persistently negative, so I replied it to him.

Quote
Weird, I guess starflight, starcontrol and starcraft were written by ghosts or something.

Sure there are writers *out there*. And that's the problem. If a professional writer would've been interested in writing a sc2 adventure sequel, there would've been a sequel by now. However, I've never seen them "here". So, from our perspecitve, we've never seen them, and if you've never seen something, you wonder if they exist, you know. It was intended to be a bit funny.

Uhm, and I also included a personal attack on DS there. I thought he deserved it, but as usual, such a thing goes on. My apologies, also to DS, for it.


Title: Re: TW-ligt plot
Post by: Frank on May 08, 2005, 09:52:28 pm
Few quick points, then I vanish back into the ether for good!  (I hope -- can't let forum-writing take time away from other pursuits.)

Quote
The dating sim in particular -- it's not that it's all *that* silly, but the way it's talked about it sounds like it would feel even more silly because it would intrude on normal gameplay.


I'm not sure that the dating sim is inherently flawed.  Your suggestion is a somewhat nicer integration into the story, probably, but I think you can do it as a minigame without being too upsetting.  If you've had a chance to play Pirates! (particularly the latest remake), you'll see how fun a game-like dating sim can be.  Pirates!, by the way, is very close to the kind of tight design that you (and I) like: it has four or five gameplay elements that are used with slight variations to cover lots and lots of scenarios.  I highly recommend it, especially the remake, which is a rare example of a remake that is actually much much better than the original.

Quote
Japanese RPGs like Final Fantasy et al are famous for  tossing in lots of random minigames . . . even then the . . . games had a lot of meat


Well, I guess.  If by "meat" you mean rancid fat.  A bit like how cheap fried chicken is dipped in deoderizing batter before frying. :)  The "meat" of FF was terrible, which is why they used minigames and flashy graphics to distract from it.  SC2 actually has a very fun core, which is why a sequel needn't be deep fried in minigames.

Quote
Now I have to guess as to what RTS game that was!


Well, no, it was a recent game.  Less well-received than Warcraft II to be sure, but with good enough writing.  After it was butchered by my employers, anyway. :)  It certainly was not in beta more than 10 months before shipping, and I'm just treating "alpha" as pre-beta.  I'm sure that's not the right jargon, but I'm just on the writing side, not the production side.

Quote
If a professional writer would've been interested in writing a sc2 adventure sequel, there would've been a sequel by now.


Err . . . if that professional writer had a team of professional coders and artists, maybe.  As it happens, a SC clone was my second-to-last aspirational project before becoming a "real" professional writer.  I had been paid to write for a GBC RPG, then had a three year hiatus, then was paid to write for two RTS games, a racing game, then an MMO, and now a very high profile PC RPG and this project; this was writen near the end of the hiatus.  It wasn't in the SC universe, but it was (especially in hindsight) very heavily "inspired."  Close enough for fans very easily to recognize, far enough to have surprises and to avoid any IP issues.

An artist friend (now doing music videos and commercials) and a programmer friend (now doing natural language processing at ISI) and I tried to make the game, got as far as a space-duel quality melee engine (with 3D graphics!), and then threw in the towel.

I guess if someone wants, I can send all the old design docs.  I don't think I have any of the art or code anymore.  The design docs are lengthy, but I think actually do not have much of plot summary (to quote Connery, "The plans were in my head!"), but perhaps they do.

Anyway, the point is not that the docs are particularly great (I doubt there's much worth cannibalizing in them, except maybe for a couple of the gameplay mechanics -- the gameplay stole a lot from XCom too).  Indeed, I suspect they're probably pretty bad, given my lack of experience and given how derivative the game design was.  The point is rather that at least one "serious" writer did try to undertake such a project and couldn't do it, because writing is only one small part of it.  If I wanted to restart the project now, what would I do?  Maybe if I trotted out my credentials I could attract good amateur coders, but I'm skeptical that they'd ever finish their end of the project (having seen so few amateur projects come to fruition).

If you actually have a team of coders in whom you have confidence, then for goodness sake, don't drop the ball on the writing side.  You have more resources at your disposal than this "professional" writer does.

Quote
This coop structure really sucks in this sort of application. It can quickly turn into a jumble of poorly thought out, and poorly connected plot elements.


So, the project I'm working on now is a big, single-player RPG, and from working with the company, I now have a sense of how all of the great story-driven single-player RPGs of the past (Fallout, PS:T, BG, KOTOR, etc.) were done.  A team of writers gets together.  There is a head writer.  The team sits around and discusses things until the head writer has a clear idea for a plot skeleton.  He drafts the skeleton.  They then discuss fleshing it out.  The head writer okays suggestions until they have characters, side-quests, etc.  (Presumably, he does a fair bit of the idea-work himself.)  After that, senior writers take over areas, and then delegate to junior writers flavor-text and unconnected small dialogues (the "Welcome to our town" sort of nonsense).

The senior writer's work in a given area is sent to the head writer for comments and approval, and to the other senior writer's for comments.  By reviewing each other's work, they keep abreast of the flavor and style and things remain (relatively) coherent.

Now, I think SC2-style games actually have sufficiently finite dialogue that one writer could do the whole thing.  But if you're going to run a team, it's worth using a hierarchical structure where you have a Lead who quality controls and gives the project its animating themes, Seniors who manage areas (in this case, probably races rather than areas), and Juniors who do flavor text (probably not necessary at all in this case).

The problem with the PPI, from what I've gathered, is that it's too egalitarian.  Anyone can propose an idea or shoot down an idea, and there's no one person ultimately responsible for giving it the up or down.  Moreover, everyone has an incentive to cherry-pick (coming up with the coolest twist, the most bad-ass enemy, the funniest dialogue, etc.), but no one has an incentive to do the real legwork of making an area (or race in this case) work.  The result is that what you end up with are races who are hodgepodged from "cool" stuff.  It's well and good to have one chimera ("Let's give it the head of a lion!  And a snake head!  Let's make it breathe fire!  But what about my goat idea . . ."), but you need some relatively coherent stuff too.


Title: Re: TW-ligt plot
Post by: Deus Siddis on May 08, 2005, 11:35:12 pm
You don't need to apologize, GeomanNL. I just didn't see the point in this becoming about me, instead of the TWL plot.

UAF, if you're still here, I was not trying to offend you, and my first post came across a lot more serious it seems, than I wanted it to. To be serious, my point is that your project does seem to have a long way to go from a programming stand point. Thus, it's really important to your project, that you attract more talented people in this area. If you put out a plot they don't agree with, and refuse to change it, they probably will not help you. So my opinion is that, you either need to let the people who are doing the work make the decisions of where the game goes, or you should really use a structure like the one Frank outlined, to create a coherant plot that will excite potiental volunteers.

Each part of a project builds off of the others. If you are an amazing programmer, and you see a project that is old, has little art, little code and has a confusing plot, you might not be very motivated to join. But, if you see a project where your skills will go into a professional-esk project, where there is a solid code base, or great art/music, or a really unique and interesting plot, you might take a different attitude. Similarly, a project that would give extra creative consideration to the people who really make it happen (programmers especially), will look a lot brighter.


Title: Re: TW-ligt plot
Post by: UAF on May 09, 2005, 12:26:11 am
It's impossible to keep changing the plot, at some point you must declare that it's done.

Frank said that anything that still don't have graphics made for it can be discarded, but then graphics can only be made for things that have been decided upon.
It's a magic circle, one which I saw at work.

I don't know how real game companies make games, but for one they have MONEY.
All work on TWL is voluntarily, and the people doing it still have their real life to consider, and would like to spend their free time doing other things besides working on TWL. This means that the number of work hours invested on the project in a week is much smaller then what a professional game made by a company get.

Now the situation is simple - I like the plot, there are other people who like the plot. This DOES include programmers and people who make graphics.
Starting over does not only means throwing away things that I actually like, it's also A LOT of work to do.
And while it's easy for you to say 'then do it' it's not you (and I'm not talking only to Deus_Siddis here) who are going to work.

So, I'm just settling for getting help from the people who do like the plot, which there are.
If you dislike it so much that you don't want to do anything with it - fine, stay away and have a nice life.

If you like it and want to help - welcome aboard!

If you'd like to suggest changes - well it'll require you to work and actually make real suggestions that can fit into the game and not some 'scrap this' or 'hey lets make a big Mycon Druuge war' idea or the like of these.

At any case, small suggestions and changes are what is likely to be accepted and not big changes.
I tell the same things to those who join the project and want to help, and they seem fine with it.
If they don't, then unfortunately they'll have to either concede or leave.

Also, as Bekanor pointed out the Niko for example have a very short description. Most races aren't detailed in depth.
This is where dialog writers and anyone else on the team DOES have creative license and are even EXPECTED to use it.
Similar to the structure Frank has mentioned writers each have their race to make where besides the lead writer (which will be me I guess) they "rule supreme".
And I try to let them be as creative and free as they want to.

The Niko (whom are a good example since they are one of the game villains) are NOT finished yet. Their dialog writer will have a lot of work with them, flushing out their history, society and reasons for acting as they do. And Suggestions you'll make for them now will both help and will have a nice chance of being used.

I find that I'm repeating things I have said already so I'll stop here.

Points are:

1) This is the plot. Only little changes are possible, LIVE WITH IT. Suggest such changes if you want to. Shut up if you don't.

2) Help wanted. :)
If you liked it and want to help - please do.

3) We don't need advices on how to do things. We need people to actually do things. If you're not going to be the one doing whatever your advice is going to be, then I insist that you'll spare us that advice.

4) None of this is open for discussion.


Have a nice day, and I hope that even the most skeptic of you will like the game once it'll be ready.


Title: Re: TW-ligt plot
Post by: Deus Siddis on May 09, 2005, 12:54:46 am
Alright, fair enough. Freeware game projects are still a relatively new concept and we're all trying to figure out the best way to go about creating them, especially for remakes/sequels. I've spent many hours of my life explaining to people how difficult it is to produce freeware games, and how slack must be given.

So good luck, I'm sure that those of us who've stirred up a storm here, will continue to keep tabs on your project (I know I will).


Title: Re: TW-ligt plot
Post by: Pik on May 09, 2005, 02:54:02 am
Quote
I don't know how real game companies make games


This to me is the root of the problem. This will determine whether you want the project to truly be special or to appeal as the standard 'fan fic' type stuff does within the small enclosed circles.

Quote
, but for one they have MONEY.


Shame on you! Fred and Paul (two people) completely made Star Control 2 with a few help from friends, and outsourcing for a few elements like the music (mod contest) and the art (gorgeous paintings). Both Fred and Paul went 6 months with no pay to finish SC 2 the way they wanted.

When Star Control 2 was released, probably the most influential video game of all time was also released at that same time: Wing Commander. Before, a couple of designers in a garage could make a game. But Wing Commander changed all that as so much money was thrown in production (775,000 $?) . Ever since then, video games have had hefty production. Now games are so expensive to make that companies will not risk innovative designs, so we are trapped in FPS/RPG/Strategy/Racing genres forever.

Star Control 2 was probably one of the last 'old school' designer oriented games before the industry went full production oriented (elaborate cutscenes, silly explosions, etc.)

You have more people on your team than Reiche or Ford did. You also have an infinite time limit, Reiche and Ford had Accolade breathing down their necks. And you are piggybacking off of the universe they created. You have it much easier than they did.

And Hollywood proves that lots of money cannot make good scripts.

Quote
1) This is the plot. Only little changes are possible, LIVE WITH IT. Suggest such changes if you want to. Shut up if you don't.


I've worked with Independent Game Makers, the ones who even go to the Indie Festivals (some win, some don't win).  One of the classic beginner mistakes is for the people to come up with a 'design' and their 'game design' is nothing more than a story plot. One big trend seems to be many people trying to make final fantasy style cutscenes and all (*puke*).

What annoys me is not so much the plot. What infuriates me is that you are actively and knowingly betraying Star Control's core elementals of design.

The game is supposed to be open ended. Forced modes of playing for 'story purposes' doesn't make sense. SC 2 told a damn good story and it never took control away from you.

You are confusing plot and design, thinking the two are the same. These 'mini-games' are added fat. You could focus on...

-Expanding conversation trees...
-Expanding the resource element of the game, of what you can do on the planets...
-Expand the 'module' style design of the Mark 2 to be superior to the options we had in SC 2.

Instead, all the energy is going to be put on more minigames that don't help the gameplay at all. Any game must obey its core elements just like credible science fiction must obey to the consistent 'science' rules its universe creates (or else its laughed out).

Making a game product, whether freeware or commercial, is extremely time intensive, challenging, and ensemble requiring. I think its one of the hardest jobs and one that ought to get more pay and respect than it does.'

How many wanna-be game programmers are out there?

How many wanna-be game artists are out there?

How many wanna-be game writers are out there?

Tons. Massive amounts.

How many of these people have Grand Ideas for Game Design and Plot?

All of them.

So why aren't there more 'great games' ? Why the shortage of quality indie games? Because industry work is much more cuthroat than the 'everyone is happy' mode of fan production. Imagine spending a year of your life working on a game only to have the company cancel the project. That is severe. Being sensitive to comments about the plot or direction you want to take? That is nothing.

As Frank says, you must be prepared to toss it all out. Many many games a year or so in production will 'rework' themselves with art, story, and even programming from the ground up. Why? Because the game's core elements is the axis of the game, never the plot, art, or programming. All are frequently torched and redone, bits here, bits there.

The complaint is not about the content (content is easily altered). It is about the context. I've done work with Indie titles, but here you have Frank who has worked on big titles (and I'm still not sure what RTS game with which you were involved, Frank! :) ) And you're dismissing it because of... what? If you didn't intend to do any changes to the plot, then why reveal it to the public? Is the public allowed to have any reaction other than overjoyed worship and praise?

Anyone can do freeware. Anyone can write fan fiction or 'fan sequels'. But very few can do it well enough to rival the original's work. Those who manage to do it will get noticed.

I think you're blowing a huge opportunity here.

(Here, this [http://www.gamasutra.com/features/20041101/rouse_01.shtml] is sent to beginning Indie game makers to hopefully avoid the Usual Mistakes (tm). Imagine if the guy who wrote that on was on this forum. What would HE say to you? Compared to us, we'd be sweet little angels.)


Title: Re: TW-ligt plot
Post by: UAF on May 09, 2005, 04:21:16 am
Paul and Fred worked full time on SC2, and with the full intention of making money from it.
Perhaps I wasn't clear, it's not the money that allow great games to be made (shall we say more easily then fan projects like this) it's the people.
BUT those people work for MONEY. Now, as you probably know the company "buy" someone skill and time and make him work.
We don't have this money, nor do we have the promise that in the future people will make money from this game.
In fact, the best thing that someone will be able to make with TWL once it's completed is add it to his resume.
Paul and Fred, courageous as they were to work as renegades for 6 months still worked on SC2 as their REAL LIFE WORK.
TWL will never ever be someone's real work.
Also, it took Paul and Fred more then 6 months to make SC2, for the other months they got paid. Then Accolade wanted to publish the game when it was, in fact, CRAP.
Going into hiding and working these 6 months was for the intention of making it a good game, with the clear knowledge that good games sell better, thus increasing the profit that they'll make from the game.


Quote
The game is supposed to be open ended. Forced modes of playing for 'story purposes' doesn't make sense. SC 2 told a damn good story and it never took control away from you.

You are confusing plot and design, thinking the two are the same. These 'mini-games' are added fat. You could focus on...

-Expanding conversation trees...
-Expanding the resource element of the game, of what you can do on the planets...
-Expand the 'module' style design of the Mark 2 to be superior to the options we had in SC 2.


I'm getting the impression that you misunderstood something here.
We have design docs that explain the game mechanics and such, and you can look at them in our Wiki (http://openfacts.berlios.de/index-en.phtml?title=Engine)
http://openfacts.berlios.de/index-en.phtml?title=Engine

You'll find that the Melee aspect of the game will undergo a big change, there will be expansions to the resource collection aspects (building mines, bigger map).
Let me also assure you that we'll have many new modules for the MK2 and Salvation.

BTW, suggestions here are welcomed, more then to the plot ;)

You mentioned expanding conversation trees - I'm afraid I don't quite follow you here. There will be completely new dialogs in the game, and they will include some new options (like "popup" windows where the characters with you can add their opinion on matters).
Perhaps you meant something else?

Also, while the plot documents are written in a way of 'player does A then B then C' the actual game is not like that.
Limitations are rare (limited to one Arm or the other at some points and some cases of forced autopilot) and we're actually trying to see how we can remove these as well.
Some quests are opened after certain actions are taken, but most of the time the player have several quests going on at the same time, allowing him many options.

This game is not going to be UQM with new dialogs, ships and graphics. There will be changes.

Two more things:

1) You must understand that the people working on TWL are doing it FOR FUN. We don't get paid, nor would we ever make money from this game.
I'll repeat it - FOR FUN. No fun - not working.
So Frank got paid while making a story, the story was dumped, and they he got paid making another. See the difference?
Even if he didn't get paid for the first story BTW, he HAD to make another in order to make a living.
I like this game as it is, I want to play it, I profit in any way if Mr. Pik from the UQM forums will play it or not...

2) Why did we make the plot public?
Mainly to get people to help TWL by writing dialogs, making graphics, composing music and programming it.
And maybe, MAYBE, some minor changes to the plot. :)


Title: Re: TW-ligt plot
Post by: Deus Siddis on May 09, 2005, 08:51:03 am
I think that what Pik was trying to say, was that every minute that's spent working on the dating game (or the like), could be spent on something he thinks is more important.

I'm not going to comment on this (as I never liked the Syreen in SC2, too lazy). But I can tell you that on projects with limited resources (like our freeware ones) you have to apply your resources to the things that are the most important, first.


On a side note, I've story wrote for a freeware project before, and I don't think it is that bad. You create the best stuff you can, present it, and most of it gets shot down. So you get back to work, create a modified version and present it again. Rinse and Repeat. Then, when you look back on the stuff that got shot down, you realize it was not that good after all and you feel releaved that it wasn't used. Perhaps this is depressing to some, but I don't think it is, it's actually kinda fun creating something that is really well refined.


Title: Re: TW-ligt plot
Post by: Halleck on May 09, 2005, 11:05:21 am
His plot hasn't been "shot down". I would consider it a mixed reaction (at most).

Just to be clear: We are NOT TFB, and TW: Legacies will not be "TFB's sequel to sc2" that everyone seems to want. We want to make a fun game that is our spin on Star Control, and have fun in the process.

If you want some control over the plot, stop talking and become a dialogue writer! Then you will have a good deal of creative control over the race you pick.You would also be in a better standing to suggest changes.

And if you are not interested, then as you said, we are merely a branch of timewarp. Fork off your own project and write the plot how you like.

By the way, some people have suggested transposing the plot documents to HTML. I decided this was a good idea, and I'm in the process of doing so as I edit the documents for errors. You can see what I have so far here:
http://eliot.bambi.net/dump/tw/plot_index.html


Title: Re: TW-ligt plot
Post by: Death 999 on May 09, 2005, 08:31:50 pm
You know what really put me off when I was first reading this over?
The incessant misspelling and grammar errors. It just gave a juvenile sloppy impression. Maybe that is contributing to a great extent to the negative reaction.


Title: Re: TW-ligt plot
Post by: UAF on May 09, 2005, 09:37:13 pm
I did apologize for that... :(
You know, not everyone are native english speakers *points at himself*

This is why Halleck is going over all of the docs fixing all of these mistakes, and this is also why I won't be writing any dialogs ;)

Did you know that Hebrew only have 3 tenses? Past, present and future.
Do you have any idea how much more simple matters are that way?


Title: Re: TW-ligt plot
Post by: Frank on May 09, 2005, 11:13:25 pm
Despite my promise of non-intervention, I cannot help but meddle.

Quote
here you have Frank who has worked on big titles


I don't want to overstate my case.  The titles I've worked on have almost certainly sold less than a million copies, combined.  (The one I'm working on now will do much, much better I suspect.)  They hardly got glowing reviews for the plots, though some got some praise.  I've neglected to mention the titles because I do like having some pseudonymity, and a quick Google search would reveal who I was once I said the titles.  Then my advice would likely be rejected with, "Game X had a shitty plot anyway!" (I promise it was better before the higher ups cut it!) and my ability to comment *ahem* frankly on the process I went through with my employers would be hampered.

I think I can avoid disclosing my identity by saying that right now I'm working for Bioware on Dragon Age in the freelance equivalent of a Senior Writer position.  It has been a tremendous experience and has taught me oodles about how to make a game story work.  For what it's worth, we're in the process of completely rewriting the section I had designed, which means ditching something like a hundred man hours, 30k words of dialogue, and lots of scripting.  The next version will be much, much better.

Quote
Perhaps I wasn't clear, it's not the money that allow great games to be made (shall we say more easily then fan projects like this) it's the people.
BUT those people work for MONEY.


Check out www.wesnoth.org.  Although I don't think they have any great writing in their campaigns or a great backstory, the project is in many ways the model of how a large, indie game should be made.  (My own taste is for authoritarian central management, but Wesnoth's success cannot be denied.)  If you prefer the small, hard-working core approach, check out www.agdinteractive.com (I believe that's the URL).  Professionalism is a mind-set and is not dictated by economics.

Quote
I think that what Pik was trying to say, was that every minute that's spent working on the dating game (or the like), could be spent on something he thinks is more important.


That's not necessarily true for a zero-budget title.  If you were paying designers / coders / artists, then you could say that $X spent here means -$X over there.  But because the currency of indie titles is interest and excitement, it is possible that you'll have some weird coder who really likes doing a dating sim, some cheesy anime artist who only  wants to draw for one, and a designer who's really into the idea.  The dating sim might actually generate more work in other areas if the artist could be leveraged into creating general assets and the designer's morale was kept up by being able to divert himself on his pet dating sim.

That said, my experience with indie projects (many, many failures) is that the worse the project is doing, the more features it starts to promise . . . .


Title: Re: TW-ligt plot
Post by: Deus Siddis on May 10, 2005, 06:19:32 am
Hebrew is no better than english. Too many gross throaty noises.  :P


Title: Re: TW-ligt plot
Post by: Death 999 on May 10, 2005, 09:13:30 pm
Deus: Stop. Now.


Title: Re: TW-ligt plot
Post by: Deus Siddis on May 10, 2005, 10:17:29 pm
What? I don't see the point in saying one language is better than the others, when there are so many flawed ones out there. English is a half assed composite of three languages latin/french/anglo-saxon, all the romance languages make you give a gender to everything (too confusing), hebrew/french require you to make noises which hurt the back of your throat after a while and cannot be yelled very clearly, etc.

I do believe that there is a perfect language out there. It is clear, has one word for each one thing, can describe a number of abstract concepts, and can deliver a full range of emotions.


Title: Re: TW-ligt plot
Post by: Death 999 on May 10, 2005, 10:37:07 pm
"Too many disgusting throaty noises" is very far from a reasoned discourse on the linguistic adequacies or lack thereof of a language.


Title: Re: TW-ligt plot
Post by: Deus Siddis on May 10, 2005, 11:17:25 pm
That sounds stuffy, I like to lead in with a joke. Everyone here likes to take pot shots at other countries and stuff, and I think it's funny. If we all took ourselves less seriously, maybe things would go smoother around these forums.

Besides, I've attacked french, english, and other languages with my sarcasm before and no one ever got upset.

P.S. I meant to say something like "gross" not "disgusting". I looked up the definition on my dictionary when I got home, disgusting was way to strong and in the wrong direction.


Title: Re: TW-ligt plot
Post by: GeomanNL on May 11, 2005, 12:10:17 am
Bad timing, but he didn't say much wrong, imo.

I liked reading this thread, I think much of it was exaggerated, but it has some useful stuff in it and I agree with several things in there. Maybe some of it can come in handy for my own project.

One of the most important aspects is missed, though: the people in a project. Those can make it, or break it, and the rules you propose can only prevent this to some extent (which doesn't mean they're not useful). People, that's something you have little control over, on the long run. Cause, what happens to a (small) project (with little momentum), when the person(s) who started it leave? Does it continue? Or not? Does it produce something decent ? That's not up to the rules that were set, but up to the people who are involved in it.

I think sc2 is actually a good example of this.


Title: Re: TW-ligt plot
Post by: Deus Siddis on May 11, 2005, 12:23:50 am
"he didn't say much wrong, imo."

On the contrary, I'm not sure if I've ever said anything right.


"One of the most important aspects is missed, though: the people in a project."

Not by me, I didn't mention people because it's assumed that the more skilled your team, the better the product/timeframe.


"what happens to a (small) project (with little momentum), when the person(s) who started it leave? Does it continue?"

I Really hope so.


"That's not up to the rules that were set, but up to the people who are involved in it."

I would try and create a core team of professionals and highly motivated workers. Note that "professionals" means people who are in the business of programming/art/music/etc., not people who are being paid by your project.


Title: Re: TW-ligt plot
Post by: Art on May 11, 2005, 01:21:49 am
D_S: Just for the record (and OT), it's always struck me as rather pointless to bicker about whether one language is "better" or another, or even, really, to make jokes about it -- study enough languages, even superficially, and you soon see that every language has its own foibles and its own kinds of complexity that seem unnecessary to non-native speakers, and that that kind of thing may be necessary to the evolution of a natural language, and any attempt to "objectively" describe whether one language is more logical than another or easier to learn than another or simpler than another just ends up showing the person's own biases as a native speaker of their own language. And every time someone's tried to invent a "sensible" constructed language that simplifies things about a natural language it's met with a resounding failure to catch on.

FWIW *every* language is "clear" to someone who speaks it. And having "one word for one thing" is directly counter to being able to "describe abstract concepts and a full range of emotions".


Title: Re: TW-ligt plot
Post by: Art on May 11, 2005, 01:23:27 am
Also: I'd rather people take themselves too seriously than make juvenile and insulting jokes. (Sure, I understand you probably didn't mean to actually slam Hebrew speakers, but... c'mon. Even if you'd said some other word instead of "disgusting" -- "gross" isn't much better, BTW -- that's still a pretty inflammatory comment to make.)


Title: Re: TW-ligt plot
Post by: Lukipela on May 11, 2005, 02:10:05 am
You know UAF, you would have saved yourself a lot of trouble if you had been as specific from the beginning as you were in your last few posts. When I started reading through the thread I had the distinct impression that you wanted overall feedback on the game. But you don't. You're simply trying to recruite people to help flesh out the plot, which means you only want people who like the plot. That's not feedback.

Not having a copy or either MS Word or Powerpoint at my disposal, I'm afraid I can't give you feedback (which you don't seem to want anyway). As soon as I manage that though, I'll be happy to see if my meager writing abilites can be applied to it, reading through the comments here, some of the plot does seem interesting. I'll contact you if/when this arises though.

Other than that, good luck with your project. Even with the (at times) fiery discussions/criticisms that have rained down here, from a few participants at least, it is VERY nice to see anything associated to TimeWarp actually make progress. People may come to like or loathe the end product, but at least something substantial will come out of it.

Oh, and regarding languages... Without trying to promote my second language, I'd have to say finnish is one of the most logical languages I've run across. Everything is pronounced as it's spelled, you NEVER have to worry about feminine or masculine words (literally, there's only one word for he/she) and with very few exceptions everything is regular. The disadvantage would be that words can become really long sometimes...



Title: Re: TW-ligt plot
Post by: Chrispy on May 11, 2005, 02:22:05 am
Just to add a point, in this perfect language where theres only one word for everything, how do you suggest we have poetry... or style... or anything beond comprehension. Yes english is a combination of many languages. Its hard to learn I'm sure, but its deep, its lush, and its very artsy. I like having language like that.

But, that doesnt have anything to do with Timewarp Lite, so.. carry on..


Title: Re: TW-ligt plot
Post by: Lukipela on May 11, 2005, 02:30:20 am
Poetry is easy. Just find words that rhyme ;)


Title: Re: TW-ligt plot
Post by: Deus Siddis on May 11, 2005, 03:05:41 am
Art:

I never found english to even be a good language and I was raised with it. I wasn't trying to be inflammatory, I've just heard people try and hype languanges like french, but it sounds a little like gargling to me. Like you've got a cold and some mucus lining your throat. I guess when I hear stuff, I just visualize things. Anyhow, "unrefined" was what I was shooting for ("gross" means about the same thing).


Chrispy:

I just put the other factors before poetry. I don't really like how there are too many words for one thing, sometimes you can run into trouble this way (the above is a good example).


Everyone: I think that with my help, this thread has become a major disaster. Sorry.


Title: Re: TW-ligt plot
Post by: Lukipela on May 11, 2005, 03:11:43 am
Quote
Art:

I've just heard people try and hype languanges like french, but it sounds a little like gargling to me. Like you've got a cold and some mucus lining your throat.


Well, at least you have a way with words. I could see some pretty funny side-plot dialogues with stuck up language elitist aliens coming out of you...


Title: Re: TW-ligt plot
Post by: UAF on May 11, 2005, 03:26:11 am
Lukipela - thanks, and you can either wait for Halleck to finish converting the plot to HTML files, which will also include some minor changes and should get rid of all the horrible and abundant grammar, spelling and other mistakes I put there.

OR you can download OpenOffice (there's a link somewhere at the beginning of the thread) and read the PowerPoint file.


About languages - As the only(?) Hebrew speaker in this thread I'll actually come to Deus defense and say that I did not find his remark about Hebrew disturbing. I know that some other languages sound weird to me.

And BTW Hebrew give Gender to every object too. Sometimes people here aren't sure what it should be so we give it some adjective and see if it's male or female.

As for the perfect language having only one word for every object - now how would you make funny word games in such language? How would you make your feelings more intense, strong, powerful, if you can't use several words with the same/similar meanings.
You loose lots of fun with such a language.

P.S - I hate the word language and can't believe I actually managed to repeatedly write it correctly in this post.


Title: Re: TW-ligt plot
Post by: Lukipela on May 11, 2005, 03:35:16 am
Quote

As for the perfect language having only one word for every object - now how would you make funny word games in such language? How would you make your feelings more intense, strong, powerful, if you can't use several words with the same/similar meanings.
You loose lots of fun with such a language.


Make a simple marking system, say from 1 to 10. Make up 10 random words. Now if you use the word corresponding to 1 you have a very unintense feeling. If you use the word corresponding to 10 it's extremely intense.

And you can even make them funny and logical! Just create a setting like

Gu -1
Gugu - 2
and so on til
Gugu Gugu Gugu Gugu Gu. Now placing this infront of a feeling will indicate that you feel this extremely intensly. This way, the word for love and like could be the same.


Title: Re: TW-ligt plot
Post by: GeomanNL on May 11, 2005, 03:49:05 am
Quote
Gugu Gugu Gugu Gugu Gu


LOL !!

I don't think it'll work. The roman number-system (MCMXIIV etc) was abandoned in favor of the much shorter Arab system. And numbers like 1,000,000,000,000,000 are written like 1E15.


Title: Re: TW-ligt plot
Post by: Chrispy on May 11, 2005, 03:55:12 am
It just wouldnt be as linguistically rich in my oppinion.

But, it would sure be fun to make.


Title: Re: TW-ligt plot
Post by: Deus Siddis on May 11, 2005, 03:58:44 am
I can't be an elitist, I hate myself. I don't like my own language. I'm also a very visual person. When I hear something, I visualize it. I'm not trying to blast at people on something as stupid as this. That was my original point, there is no sense in attacking one flawed language, using another flawed language. I just used an over the top manner of speech, to make this point. I'm used to using it in other forums I visit, where people don't really take things too seriously and are joking most of the time.

Anyway, I'm sorry I've been such an ass in this thread, I was joking on everything, and did not know it was going to upset anyone. I will delete my posts, if anyone wishes.

P.S. If you want a species that's elitist and uses "disgusting" a lot, I've got an idea for one. I call them the Vux.


Title: Re: TW-ligt plot
Post by: Halleck on May 11, 2005, 07:32:13 am
Quote
Lukipela - thanks, and you can either wait for Halleck to finish converting the plot to HTML files, which will also include some minor changes and should get rid of all the horrible and abundant grammar, spelling and other mistakes I put there.

Yep, still working on it. I may be able to churn out a few more race pages today.

Quote
About languages - As the only(?) Hebrew speaker in this thread I'll actually come to Deus defense and say that I did not find his remark about Hebrew disturbing. I know that some other languages sound weird to me.

I studied hebrew for six years as a child- all I can remember now are the phonetics. D'oh.
(And yes... uber-guttural. Cccccchhhhhhhh. ;))


Title: Re: TW-ligt plot
Post by: Deus Siddis on May 11, 2005, 07:45:11 am
Is there a compiled version of TWL somewhere? I found TW a while back, but I never figured out where TWL was.


Title: Re: TW-ligt plot
Post by: Halleck on May 11, 2005, 07:46:48 am
The most recent build is hidden deep within the timewarp forums ;)
http://tw-light.berlios.de/tw-light-setup-0.3r156M.exe

Brand new, includes the first version of Yurand's dialogue engine.  ;D
(Click "commander" on the starbase menu for a demo)

EDIT: For future reference, major releases should be posted here:
http://tw-light.berlios.de/downloads.php


Title: Re: TW-ligt plot
Post by: Deus Siddis on May 11, 2005, 08:11:55 am
It downloaded ok, but when I tryed to use it, a warning came up that said the installer was corrupted. I guess there is something about my system that it doesn't like.

Is it xp compatible?


Title: Re: TW-ligt plot
Post by: Halleck on May 11, 2005, 10:43:31 am
I'm running it on XP just fine. Try downloading again, your DL might have gotten corrupted.


Title: Re: TW-ligt plot
Post by: Yurand on May 11, 2005, 05:57:25 pm
Quote
The most recent build is hidden deep within the timewarp forums ;)
http://tw-light.berlios.de/tw-light-setup-0.3r156M.exe

This is internal release, I was not intend to give it to public. Next official release will come soon (this week I think),  it will include much more then dialog samples.


Title: Re: TW-ligt plot
Post by: Art on May 11, 2005, 07:27:30 pm
Quote


Make a simple marking system, say from 1 to 10. Make up 10 random words. Now if you use the word corresponding to 1 you have a very unintense feeling. If you use the word corresponding to 10 it's extremely intense.

And you can even make them funny and logical! Just create a setting like

Gu -1
Gugu - 2
and so on til
Gugu Gugu Gugu Gugu Gu. Now placing this infront of a feeling will indicate that you feel this extremely intensly. This way, the word for love and like could be the same.


This is like George Orwell's Newspeak in 1984 -- Newspeak supposedly is a conscious attempt to super-simplify "Oldspeak" (English) by drastically cutting down on the number of words and word forms. The only term that expresses approval for something is "good", and the only way to negate an adjective is with "un", and the only way to make an adjective stronger is to put "plus" in front of it, and the only way to strengthen an adverb like "plus" is to put "double" in front of it. So some really strong term like "absolutely intolerable" becomes "doubleplusungood". Needless to say the point of it was to destroy the poetic and creative instinct in people and get them to have limited thoughts by limiting their language.

In real life, something as extreme as your "gugu" example would almost certainly not work, because people don't think in simple quantitative terms. You could probably take ten real English words that meant something positive and rank them in order from least
positive to most positive ("nice" to "decent" to "great" to "wonderful" to "spectacular"), but the only reason we can tell the difference between these words in our heads is because they differ *qualitatively* rather than quantitatively. There's no way that anyone could actually perceive a difference between "gugugugu" and "gugugugugu" any more than in real life "really, really, really great" means that much more than "really, really, really, really great". "Wonderful" means more than just "really great", as does "spectacular", which is why we *use* those words instead of just tacking on "really" or "very" onto "great" or "good" -- it's the connotations that keep them in our vocabulary.

This is most obvious for your example, with "like" and "love" -- surely you can tell that "I love you" means something very different from "I like you", or even "I really really really like you very very much".


Title: Re: TW-ligt plot
Post by: Deus Siddis on May 11, 2005, 09:25:13 pm
Perhaps that is because "like" and "love" mean different things, not the same thing to a different degree.


Title: Re: TW-ligt plot
Post by: Art on May 11, 2005, 11:07:10 pm
The point is that *all* words mean (at least slightly) different things, rather than expressing a clear, quantitative difference in degree. That's *why* we don't just add "very" to adjectives to make them more intense -- even words that seem to be close synonyms have a certain flavor that makes them different from each other, and that's why they make a language's vocabulary rich.

I imply a lot of different things if I call something "mediocre" than if I call it "average", even though the strict dictionary definition of those terms is the same. Same deal with calling something "awesome" and calling it "marvelous", or calling someone "gauche" versus "awkward" versus "ill at ease".

You can't simplify the definitions of terms to the point that you could, as with a computer variable, say that they're simply different "degrees" or "levels" of intensity. In fact it's very rare that real words are quantitative to that degree at all -- in most cases the vast number of definable differences between words are qualitative.

There's a lot more to the word "awful" than just a strong form of "bad". And once you've separated "awful", "terrible", "horrible", "loathsome", and so forth from "bad", "unsatisfying", "mediocre" and so on, how can you say for sure whether "horrible" or "loathsome" is worse? The difference is one of the subjective feelings attached to the terms rather than simple degree -- because that's how human beings think.


Title: Re: TW-ligt plot
Post by: Art on May 11, 2005, 11:08:41 pm
...I might add that your own unfortunate recent example gives the lie to the idea that words can be defined by degree. For instance I would be quite a bit more offended to hear my language called "unrefined-sounding" than "gross-sounding" or "disgusting-sounding". (Though, frankly, using *any* negative term there is kind of offensive, and not funny.)


Title: Re: TW-ligt plot
Post by: Deus Siddis on May 11, 2005, 11:59:25 pm
You can insult english anytime you want, in whatever way you want. I won't be offended. I probably will think it's funny.

You could also insult my internet service. That is another part of my communication system. But it's not me, nor is the language that I speak.

If "mediocre" and "average" are considered to have two different meanings, than perhaps they really are two different meanings. It doesn't make too big of a difference what the dictionary says, if people choose to use words in another way. That's just how language evolves, and that's the reason we're not all using middle english, or old english (which weren't much better, I might add).

Oh, I'd like to add something else to the list, no silent letters.


Title: Re: TW-ligt plot
Post by: Art on May 12, 2005, 01:19:27 am
Well, *yes*, which is all I was saying. *In real life* all these words have different meanings. There *are* no words that simply increase the degree of intensity of another word. That's natural language, and that's why it's impossible to ever make up a language where all words have clear, simple meanings and you can do something like have ten clear quantitative gradations of intensity for a word.

In any case -- not dictionary definition -- the baseline, simple meaning of "average" and "mediocre" are the *same* -- they both mean something isn't particularly different from the things around it. "Mediocre", however, comes off as negative -- it implies you were expected to be different from those around you -- while "average" does not. It's a shade of meaning that's useful -- people use it a lot -- and would probably be missed if a bunch of people decided to make up a new language with one word for "average".

As far as language mockery -- it doesn't matter whether language is an intrinsic part of one's identity or not. It's annoying to bring it up as something to mock, just as it would be if people started coming out of the woodwork to rag on AOL users if you were an AOL user, or to rag on high school students if you were in high school. It's not that it's racist or whatever, just irrelevant and not really funny.


Title: Re: TW-ligt plot
Post by: Chrispy on May 12, 2005, 01:46:01 am
They dont have the same defination. Average means similar to everything else (the norm). It also is a math term. Mediocre is an in between word (between words such as bad and good) and usually has a negative connotation, though it has a medium denotation.

Another thing we would loose is background for words. Mephistophelian means like the devil, as portrayed wiht the character mephistopholese. So it is different then demonic, or satanic.


Title: Re: TW-ligt plot
Post by: Deus Siddis on May 12, 2005, 03:17:39 am
"As far as language mockery -- it doesn't matter whether language is an intrinsic part of one's identity or not. It's annoying to bring it up as something to mock"

1) It's also annoying to take apart someone's hard work, which is why I apologized for both of these things. I could have been honest without flying over the top.

2) Would you be offended if one mocked a dead language?


"just as it would be if people started coming out of the woodwork to rag on AOL users"

Hehe, that's reminds me of something. There have been arguments about what the "A" stands for by some people (not me).


"if you were an AOL user"

I am.


"It's not that it's racist or whatever, just irrelevant and not really funny."

1) Whoa, that doesn't even make sense. If you want to get into a dramatic debate, go restart one of those old political threads in the Starbase Cafe. This was about TWL, once upon a time.

2) I had somekind of cold with a damn headache when I posted a lot of the stuff before. Wasn't really sure which way was up. I should have just stopped talking in the beginning, but I kept trying to explain and each time made things worse. Not even sure if it makes sense. Anyway, it's easy to over state something when you can only use text, and no tonality. Also, I wasn't serious about anything, anyway. I never wanted to harm the TWL project. I apologize. If I could go back in time, I would hit myself over the head with a mallet, as I was writing the first post.


Title: Re: TW-ligt plot
Post by: GameMusic on May 13, 2005, 08:58:33 am
The .docs work in NoteTab Light.  I want to contribute ideas to this project.

What I like about the plot:

You don't crap on the SC2 races with bad plot devices like turning the Utwig into androids.  Every race seems to act in character.

The Ur-Quan should definitely not be the main bad guys.  SC2 says they were defeated, and Toys for Bob in the chat confirmed it.

Explaining a ton about the Orz would be a bad move, as you said most fans would dislike most explanations.  Wait until a sequel when you have more experience to try that, good idea.

The new races, as I said.

What I don't like about the plot:

The framed quest makes little sense.  Why would the Umgah know the Druuge have evidence of use, why would the Druuge frame the captain, and what is this evidence?  Also, having a ship slot used up and making the player stay in a certain part of the map is annoying.  The part about the captain's ships being modified to have knockout weapons is very contrived and not believable.  But it can work.  Make the quest more open so that the player can do it any time.  Alliance races other than the races that believe you're innocent won't let you use their starbases until you do.  Don't require the player to use a ship slot, but just to have a drone when doing the part of the quest where you sneak into the Druuge base.  And don't modify the captain's ships, but just require him to use a specific ship type that uses non-lethal weapons when fighting alliance ships (more on this later).  That still leaves the plot issues though.  Can you explain the answers to those questions?

An improbability drive raises the issue of why you can't just use it to travel everywhere.  There should be some explanation.  I'm thinking about it and might come up with something.

The MK2 is a cruiser, according to Toys for Bob, not a more powerful version of the MK1.  The Salvation sounds like a MK1 clone, and having the Pkunk make an equal to a Precursor ship detracts from SC2.  Both of these issues can be fixed without a big impact on the plot.  The Salvation would either be the product of alliance analysis of the MK1, or be a pure cargo ship with production capabilities, and the Pkunk would explain that they don't have the technology to make it powerful in battle (maybe the engines require too much energy to make it agile and support large amounts of firepower).  The MK2 can be a customizable battle ship, but there should be some thing to keep the player from constantly using it to blow away the enemy.  Maybe it's so powerful that it requires resources to use, or even better, multiple ships in enemy fleets are able to team up against it at the same time.  I always thought making the MK1 powerful was cheap in SC2 and preferred to use regular ships.

Minor dialogue tweak: Wu'bi should say that the hyperwave caster is even bigger than the one they used to play pranks, rather than saying he hasn't seen one since they used theirs.  Hyperwave casters are very common in the SC2 universe.  The power of the 2 hyperwave casters in your inventory is what makes them unique.

The captain wouldn't use alliance credits to pay for the dating sim, and Talana wouldn't want him to spend money that belongs to the alliance.  So I'm thinking there should be a separate personal credits count for the captain himself.  Maybe he could earn credits or Talana items through specific dialogue with various races, and this money could be used for other captain related things.

Tons of ideas:

Did SC2 ever explain why it took 20,000 years for the Ur-Quan to reach the SC2 area of space, or how much of the galaxy they covered?  I'm wondering if they would have encountered the new arm races.  The Kzer-Za are apparently more powerful than the Kohr-Ah.  They have battle thralls, and have been held back and forced to use the Sa-Matra at least twice.  So it seems likely that the Kohr-Ah were repelled too.  What if the Niko culture developed when something they believed to be Ssssrila stopped the Kohr-Ah many centuries ago?  The Kohr-Ah could even be a part of their mythology (and the mythological Kohr-Ah would be hilariously exaggerated or just wrong, due to differences in interpretation and the legend effect).  The truth about what really stopped the Kohr-Ah could be one of the mysteries of the game that the player has to investigate through dialogue.  Taking over the Mrmrnmhrm would be a natural plot for the leaders of their religion, since it would be similar to what originally popularized Ssssrila.  Let's say that the Niko leaders are actually starting to decline in power (the Niko religion has grown many factions with often amusing differences in opinion and interpretation), and come up with the Mrmrnmhrm plot to regain the belief and passion of the populace.  They would be the only Niko who know the truth about the Kohr-Ah or the Mrmrnmhrm.

The Estion Gunner is a nice ship design, but doesn't relate to the Estion culture.  The Estion Gunner could be used for a different race.  What if they have a ship that uses non-destructive weapons so they can capture enemy ships?  Those ships contain art, or are pieces of art themselves.  An example would be the Tau Archonn from Timewarp, which freezes ships.  The Estion are likely to attempt to steal any ship that captures their interest, and would probably send entire fleets to acquire the MK2, adding extra challenge to the game.  I'm not sure what kind of laws the Estion have, but if this would not be legal for them the attackers could be renegades.  This also gives the player a ship to use against the alliance.  The Estion would gladly trade ship designs for art, and similarly captains could be hired the same way.

I'd like to see more development of a few races and relationships, especially Mrii, Guph, Denrode, and new arm races meeting old arm races and might contribute ideas there too.

Those Jyglar are a dialogue writing goldmine and should have a gendered language (based on the language discussion here).


Title: Re: TW-ligt plot
Post by: Deus Siddis on May 13, 2005, 09:22:12 am
Is all the ship art in TWL completed?

What other art is needed, voice acting, creature sprites, etc.?


Title: Re: TW-ligt plot
Post by: Halleck on May 13, 2005, 11:49:07 am
I know that we need some more alien images and dialogues. Probably some more ships as well.


Title: Re: TW-ligt plot
Post by: UAF on May 13, 2005, 03:52:57 pm
Deus: Ship art is defiantly not complete, in fact most races don't even have a ship for them.
Some ships are very likely to be used for some of the races (Estion Gunner, Khar Boomerang) with few or no modifications but for most races there isn't even an idea of the type of ship they should have.

I'll make another thread about it later asking for help and explaining what we do have.

GameMusic -

Framed questions:
The Umgah don't know about the Druuge evidence. The player knows that he's innocent, and therefore the evidence presented by the Chmmr is obviously fabricated. He makes a deal with the Umgah according to which their agent Wu'bi will break into the Druuge starbase (because the Druuge were the ones who created this fake evidence) and bring proof that it's all set up to frame the captain for something he did not do.

The Druuge would frame the captain because they were paid to do so by the Chmmr and Mrn (You're going to ask why the Chmmr and Mrn did that aren't you? :) ).

The evidence is records of the deal the Druuge made with the Chmmr and Mrn and the like.

The player will probably won't be forced to stay in that part of the galaxy, we're working on it.

Wu'bi's ship taking a ship slot - Hmmm... At first I thought it'll be a problem otherwise but battles aren't played like in SC2 anyway so I guess it'll be fine if the player get Wu'bi's ship as a "free" ship in fights considering that it's an Umgah Drone...


Knockouts weapons - Seems like either that cheap explanation (yes I know it's cheap) or ignoring the problem altogether and having the player killing allies without answering for it.
Since I always get annoyed when the "good hero" kill the cops without being punished I've preferred the cheap explanation way.

As for your idea there - while having a ship type that always use knockout weapons will explain things better it'll force the player to use only that kind of ship in battles. I think it'll be much more annoying then being forced to stay in one Arm here or there (which is already annoying enough for people to complain about).


Salvation and MK2 -
The Salvation is weaker then the MK1, and won't be able to use the better modules that the MK2 will be able to use.
It was build with the MK1 as inspiration (and using the information acquired on it from analysis) and for plot reasons can't be a joined alliance effort (as if they're going to listen to invest so much resources based on a vision from that deluded Pkunk queen). However the Queen can mention that they used quite a lot of their Precursor artifacts producing it.

The MK2 is also a deep space exploration vessel according to another conversation or email record from TfB that I've seen somewhere.
Actually whatever we'll make it doesn't really matter. You want a Cruiser - fine :) .
Point is - customizable flagship is something that should be kept (Things You Missed In SC3...). It will be more battle oriented and it'll be obvious.
How are we going to stop the player from constantly blowing away the enemy with it? Well he can try but TWL is using a different battle system then SC2.

No more 1on1 battles, this time entire fleets are thrown into the fray! Especially deadly in enemy solar systems that will be swarming with enemy ships, even the mighty MK2 will have trouble surviving.
No more killing VUX for money I'm afraid ;)

Hyper Caster - Make sense, will be done.

Alliance credits and private credits - nitpicking that will make the player scream. Would you like to use two "bank accounts" in the game?
The prices of these items will be small and insignificant in the big picture, plus the player did "earn" these credits by selling things to the Melnorme on his own.
So what you're saying is basically true, but will complicate matters more then we want.

Estion Gunner and Archon - Interesting points. I was intending to give the Archon to the Denrode (it is based on the Warlock design for the Denrode ship, although the only resemblance between Warlock's Denrode and TWL's is the name).
Maybe just moving the freezing affect from the Archon to the Gunner? Need more thought.

Relations between races (and not only new or old races) - will be done by dialog writers as it bear no real effect on the game. Anyway it will happen.


Title: Re: TW-ligt plot
Post by: GeomanNL on May 13, 2005, 07:22:11 pm
Quote
You don't crap on the SC2 races with bad plot devices like turning the Utwig into androids.


I suppose you're referring to the ppi? Your opinion is noted, but I really prefer if people would leave the ppi out of this discussion.

edit: ps., this this is the last time I'll ask ;)


Title: Re: TW-ligt plot
Post by: Art on May 14, 2005, 05:31:04 am
Quote

Knockouts weapons - Seems like either that cheap explanation (yes I know it's cheap) or ignoring the problem altogether and having the player killing allies without answering for it.
Since I always get annoyed when the "good hero" kill the cops without being punished I've preferred the cheap explanation way.


I really must protest. It's annoying when stories ignore potential moral dilemmas (like being able to gun down 200 cops with no remorse because you were framed) but it's *more* annoying to take a cheap route to *circumvent* moral dilemmas (like magically gaining the ability to fight off the cops without injuring or killing them).

You can make this story path a lot more interesting by giving the player dialogue options that make it clear it's an unpleasant, morally wrenching decision for him to have to fight past loyal Alliance members and kill innocent crewmen but he has to do it for the sake of saving the galaxy. And play with the irony that he's being forced to sacrifice for the greater good because people are accusing him of sacrificing for the greater good. ("Captain, you know I can't let you leave this place." "Don't make me do this, friend. I don't want to open fire but I will if I have to." And, you know, other stuff you can steal from the *good* cop shows.) SC2 did it when you were forced to fight Starship Clan Yehat, after all.


Title: Re: TW-ligt plot
Post by: Art on May 14, 2005, 05:54:17 am
Quote
The MK2 is a cruiser, according to Toys for Bob, not a more powerful version of the MK1.  The Salvation sounds like a MK1 clone, and having the Pkunk make an equal to a Precursor ship detracts from SC2.  Both of these issues can be fixed without a big impact on the plot.  The Salvation would either be the product of alliance analysis of the MK1, or be a pure cargo ship with production capabilities, and the Pkunk would explain that they don't have the technology to make it powerful in battle (maybe the engines require too much energy to make it agile and support large amounts of firepower).  The MK2 can be a customizable battle ship, but there should be some thing to keep the player from constantly using it to blow away the enemy.  Maybe it's so powerful that it requires resources to use, or even better, multiple ships in enemy fleets are able to team up against it at the same time.  I always thought making the MK1 powerful was cheap in SC2 and preferred to use regular ships.


I felt like the fact that you had to take away a lot of the MK I's weaponry to make it useful for carrying lots of cargo was a nice feature of SC2, though they could have made the tradeoff work better.

I don't see why, just because the Mk. II might be more optimized for combat than the Mk. I, it shouldn't *have* the non-combat abilities of the Mk. I, like launching landers and carrying cargo and such.

Quote
Minor dialogue tweak: Wu'bi should say that the hyperwave caster is even bigger than the one they used to play pranks, rather than saying he hasn't seen one since they used theirs.  Hyperwave casters are very common in the SC2 universe.  The power of the 2 hyperwave casters in your inventory is what makes them unique.


Agreed.

Quote
The captain wouldn't use alliance credits to pay for the dating sim, and Talana wouldn't want him to spend money that belongs to the alliance.  So I'm thinking there should be a separate personal credits count for the captain himself.  Maybe he could earn credits or Talana items through specific dialogue with various races, and this money could be used for other captain related things.


I think this is an unnecessary complication -- having to balance your own personal checkbook just to play this dating sim is overkill. I would actually prefer it if, if we have a dating-sim kind of thing, that it *not* involve buying stuff. (In fact I might *like* the dating-sim idea if you made it be about in-character actions the Captain could naturally do in the game -- say the right things at the right time to Talana, make little gestures for her, without doing anything as cliched as buying tickets for a cruise.)


Quote
Did SC2 ever explain why it took 20,000 years for the Ur-Quan to reach the SC2 area of space, or how much of the galaxy they covered?  I'm wondering if they would have encountered the new arm races.  The Kzer-Za are apparently more powerful than the Kohr-Ah.  They have battle thralls, and have been held back and forced to use the Sa-Matra at least twice.  So it seems likely that the Kohr-Ah were repelled too.  What if the Niko culture developed when something they believed to be Ssssrila stopped the Kohr-Ah many centuries ago?  The Kohr-Ah could even be a part of their mythology (and the mythological Kohr-Ah would be hilariously exaggerated or just wrong, due to differences in interpretation and the legend effect).  The truth about what really stopped the Kohr-Ah could be one of the mysteries of the game that the player has to investigate through dialogue.  Taking over the Mrmrnmhrm would be a natural plot for the leaders of their religion, since it would be similar to what originally popularized Ssssrila.  Let's say that the Niko leaders are actually starting to decline in power (the Niko religion has grown many factions with often amusing differences in opinion and interpretation), and come up with the Mrmrnmhrm plot to regain the belief and passion of the populace.  They would be the only Niko who know the truth about the Kohr-Ah or the Mrmrnmhrm.


Yeah, see, it kind of works if the New Arm is somehow physically detached from the Old Arm and you need Precursor tech to go there. (Hell, make the "New Arm" a separate satellite galaxy -- one of the Magellanic Clouds -- and I'm almost sold.) I still find it really dodgy that when the Ur-Quan went "around" the galaxy they literally just went "around" it, in a ring, rather than actually thoroughly scouring the galaxy for intelligent life. I mean, we heard PAGES and PAGES about how they're really, really freaked out about intelligent life. They're doing all this because they're terrified there might be another Glilandy out there, some backwater planet where a horrible and unstoppable monster is evolving. One would think they would try to be thorough, or at least not just barrel through the galaxy straight ahead and ignore everything above, below and to the sides of their flight path. Why even do this Path of Now and Forever thing if you're not going to do it thoroughly?

I really, really like the idea about the Niko having interacted with the Ur-Quan Kohr-Ah, by the way. It messes with the good guys/bad guys dichotomy in a very Star Control way.

Quote
The Estion Gunner is a nice ship design, but doesn't relate to the Estion culture.  The Estion Gunner could be used for a different race.  What if they have a ship that uses non-destructive weapons so they can capture enemy ships?  Those ships contain art, or are pieces of art themselves.  An example would be the Tau Archonn from Timewarp, which freezes ships.  The Estion are likely to attempt to steal any ship that captures their interest, and would probably send entire fleets to acquire the MK2, adding extra challenge to the game.  I'm not sure what kind of laws the Estion have, but if this would not be legal for them the attackers could be renegades.  This also gives the player a ship to use against the alliance.  The Estion would gladly trade ship designs for art, and similarly captains could be hired the same way.


Enh, kinda contrived. Plot things become sticky if you actually now have a ship that captures rather than destroys ships (so what *do* you do with a bunch of captured Mycon?) And liking art doesn't mean liking every unique thing a culture produces. Presumably they wouldn't find every single battleship design out there to be a work of art.



Title: Re: TW-ligt plot
Post by: Halleck on May 14, 2005, 06:20:30 am
Quote
I really must protest. It's annoying when stories ignore potential moral dilemmas (like being able to gun down 200 cops with no remorse because you were framed) but it's *more* annoying to take a cheap route to *circumvent* moral dilemmas (like magically gaining the ability to fight off the cops without injuring or killing them).

You can make this story path a lot more interesting by giving the player dialogue options that make it clear it's an unpleasant, morally wrenching decision for him to have to fight past loyal Alliance members and kill innocent crewmen but he has to do it for the sake of saving the galaxy.
...

That sounds like an excellent suggestion, Art.

BTW, I have edited and uploaded five more race pages: The Jyglar, The Khar, The Kterbi, The Mmrnmhrm, and The Mokopo.
http://eliot.bambi.net/dump/tw/plot_index.html


Title: Re: TW-ligt plot
Post by: UAF on May 14, 2005, 07:45:22 pm
About the Kzer-za and Kohr-ah paths:

I never imagined the Ur-quans actually conquering and entire galaxy with the SC2 area as the last free place. In SC2 it was said that they circled the galaxy each in a different direction until they met at the other side, which is open to interpretations I guess but I always saw it as creating some kind of "ring" of Ur-quan influence with free areas inside, outside, above and below it.

It's not that the Ur-quans are ignoring these areas, they just didn't get to them yet. 20,000 years might be a long time but it's a huge galaxy we're talking about here, and pretty much swarming with sentient life (15 sentient races natural and native in SC2's 500 stars area. How many stars are there in the galaxy?).
Seems logical that the path that I described will take them about 20,000 years. To actually finish the rest of the galaxy would've probably take millions of years if it's a possible task at all.

The way I see it the Ur-quan plan was simple - each sub-species get 20,000 years to think about its doctrine and test it, afterwards the side which is correct wins the war (thus proving that it's the righteous side) and then both sub-species will cooperate in enslaving or cleansing the rest of the galaxy.


Niko/Kohr-ah relations -
An interesting idea, but even if something saved the Niko what saved the other races in the area?
Also while it's possible and likely that the Kohr-ah have been stalled, it's impossible that they were completely repelled. They are not the type to decide that this enemy is too strong now and they'll deal with it later. In fact this is completely against the reason for their doctrine.

What can be done is that the Kohr-ah were stalled while this Ssssrila creature transported the Niko to safety and away from the Kohr-ah. Maybe not the entire race but just selected individuals.
Could be either the Gzerllion or the Arilou (both should be powerful enough to pull such a stunt).
Any thoughts?


Quote
I really must protest. It's annoying when stories ignore potential moral dilemmas (like being able to gun down 200 cops with no remorse because you were framed) but it's *more* annoying to take a cheap route to *circumvent* moral dilemmas (like magically gaining the ability to fight off the cops without injuring or killing them).

You can make this story path a lot more interesting by giving the player dialogue options that make it clear it's an unpleasant, morally wrenching decision for him to have to fight past loyal Alliance members and kill innocent crewmen but he has to do it for the sake of saving the galaxy. And play with the irony that he's being forced to sacrifice for the greater good because people are accusing him of sacrificing for the greater good. ("Captain, you know I can't let you leave this place." "Don't make me do this, friend. I don't want to open fire but I will if I have to." And, you know, other stuff you can steal from the *good* cop shows.) SC2 did it when you were forced to fight Starship Clan Yehat, after all.



I agree it'll be a great thing to have, but why isn't the player arrested and punished for killing these allies?
"I did it to save the galaxy" isn't likely to be accepted in the court, especially since the prosecutor is likely to claim that since the accusations against the player were faked he would've been found innocent.

(In other words let's find a good explanation and we'll use it in the game).


Title: Re: TW-ligt plot
Post by: GameMusic on May 15, 2005, 04:28:29 pm
Quote
You're going to ask why the Chmmr and Mrn did that aren't you?


Nah, I'm guessing the Niko see him as a threat? :)

Quote
Wu'bi's ship taking a ship slot - Hmmm... At first I thought it'll be a problem otherwise but battles aren't played like in SC2 anyway so I guess it'll be fine if the player get Wu'bi's ship as a "free" ship in fights considering that it's an Umgah Drone...


That's not quite what I meant, if I understand you correctly. This is what I was referring to:

Quote
Wu'bi come with his own Umgah drone, if it's destroyed Wu'bi will survive the battle using an escape pod, and the ship slot will still be taken by a Drone image, while Wu'bi will constantly bug the captain to build a new one for him (so the player can't free that ship slot by letting Wu'bi die).


I was just suggesting (it's a minor point really) that it would be more natural, both in gameplay and story, and probably easier to program, if you just made having a drone in your fleet piloted by Wu'bi a requirement for the Druuge starbase part of the quest, rather than using the Drone image.

Quote
Knockouts weapons - Seems like either that cheap explanation (yes I know it's cheap) or ignoring the problem altogether and having the player killing allies without answering for it. Since I always get annoyed when the "good hero" kill the cops without being punished I've preferred the cheap explanation way. As for your idea there - while having a ship type that always use knockout weapons will explain things better it'll force the player to use only that kind of ship in battles. I think it'll be much more annoying then being forced to stay in one Arm here or there (which is already annoying enough for people to complain about).


You could also give the player the choice whether to use knockout ships or not, or to just run from alliance ships.  Whether they do so could have some effect on dialogue and available stations later, or the ending of the game.

The best way to do it might be not having the alliance chase them.  The player can play as Talana, Nir, or Wu'bi, and try to clear the captain.  That makes sense because there's no reason for them to break him out of jail anyway.  Like you said, they have evidence proving he's innocent, so breaking him out and having the alliance chase them is pointless.

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Salvation and MK2


Nice. The system battles sound interesting. How will the player control them? Do you use the MK2 while your fleet is computer controlled? Or do you use 1 ship at a time like GOB?

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Alliance credits and private credits - nitpicking that will make the player scream. Would you like to use two "bank accounts" in the game? The prices of these items will be small and insignificant in the big picture, plus the player did "earn" these credits by selling things to the Melnorme on his own. So what you're saying is basically true, but will complicate matters more then we want.


Good point.  You should focus on gameplay over realism and plot.  But I bring up details like this because sometimes they lead to additional ideas. :)

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Estion Gunner and Archon - Interesting points. I was intending to give the Archon to the Denrode (it is based on the Warlock design for the Denrode ship, although the only resemblance between Warlock's Denrode and TWL's is the name). Maybe just moving the freezing affect from the Archon to the Gunner? Need more thought.


The Estion shots could be designed to disable a ship like the ion cannons in X-Wing.  The Denrode could have a ship that uses their alchemy technology.  Basing the ship on the abilities of each species tends to make the ship more interesting.

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I suppose you're referring to the ppi? Your opinion is noted, but I really prefer if people would leave the ppi out of this discussion.


Heh, sorry.  I didn't know you were with ppi.  Sort of a noobish moment there.  Somehow the few times I'm particularly negative about something online (on a different board), the writer shows up and responds to my post.  :P

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I never imagined the Ur-quans actually conquering and entire galaxy with the SC2 area as the last free place. In SC2 it was said that they circled the galaxy each in a different direction until they met at the other side, which is open to interpretations I guess but I always saw it as creating some kind of "ring" of Ur-quan influence with free areas inside, outside, above and below it.

It's not that the Ur-quans are ignoring these areas, they just didn't get to them yet. 20,000 years might be a long time but it's a huge galaxy we're talking about here, and pretty much swarming with sentient life (15 sentient races natural and native in SC2's 500 stars area. How many stars are there in the galaxy?).
Seems logical that the path that I described will take them about 20,000 years. To actually finish the rest of the galaxy would've probably take millions of years if it's a possible task at all.

The way I see it the Ur-quan plan was simple - each sub-species get 20,000 years to think about its doctrine and test it, afterwards the side which is correct wins the war (thus proving that it's the righteous side) and then both sub-species will cooperate in enslaving or cleansing the rest of the galaxy.


They seek hyperwave transmissions, so they just have to get within whatever their range is.  And a ring of influence wouldn't make sense with 2 opposing sides in 3D space, or with 2 sides eventually meeting.  Still, you're probably right about them not covering the entire galaxy, probably just the areas near this ring.  The main plot hole would be the Taalo.  If the Taalo are near Earth, then wouldn't the Ur-Quan have been in the SC2 area of space already?  Did the Dynyarri send them to the other side of the galaxy for no reason?

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Niko/Kohr-ah relations -
An interesting idea, but even if something saved the Niko what saved the other races in the area?
Also while it's possible and likely that the Kohr-ah have been stalled, it's impossible that they were completely repelled. They are not the type to decide that this enemy is too strong now and they'll deal with it later. In fact this is completely against the reason for their doctrine.

What can be done is that the Kohr-ah were stalled while this Ssssrila creature transported the Niko to safety and away from the Kohr-ah. Maybe not the entire race but just selected individuals.
Could be either the Gzerllion or the Arilou (both should be powerful enough to pull such a stunt).
Any thoughts?


The Kzer-Za were repelled, though, yes, they kept at it after getting battle thralls and the Sa-Matra.  So the Kohr-Ah wouldn't go away for centuries as I was suggesting.  The Niko would have hidden somehow, like the ZoqFotPik and Druuge, for this plot point to work.  Either hiding completely, or tricking the Kohr-Ah.

The Gerzillion works, but why would he move them?

SC2 suggested that the Arilou didn't know about the Kohr-Ah.

They could hide by not using hyperwave broadcasts, perhaps due to some religious reason, but that's somewhat similar to the ZoqFotPik and Druuge.

Denrode or Alkory technology might hide the new arm races from Kohr-Ah detection.

A prophet of Ssssrila predicts doomsday and/or tells the followers to make a pilgrimage to some other planet before the Kohr-Ah show up, by pure luck or getting information from some other species (the reason should be embarassing).  The planet is in the area of the new arm where the Alkory, etc. are, which the Niko actually aren't native to (the new arm races in the game are a long way from the Kohr-Ah path).  "Unfaithful" Niko are destroyed by the Kohr-Ah.  So the Kohr-Ah are the origin of the bad guys of TW Light.  Niko leaders use them as a threat for species who aren't members, who have never heard of Kohr-Ah and of course think the Niko are crazy.  Then the captain shows up and Niko mythology is confirmed when he mentions the Kohr-Ah.

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Enh, kinda contrived. Plot things become sticky if you actually now have a ship that captures rather than destroys ships (so what *do* you do with a bunch of captured Mycon?) And liking art doesn't mean liking every unique thing a culture produces. Presumably they wouldn't find every single battleship design out there to be a work of art.


The .doc said anything unique, which would include the MK2, and sometimes cargo on board ships.


Title: Re: TW-ligt plot
Post by: Art on May 15, 2005, 05:51:21 pm
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I agree it'll be a great thing to have, but why isn't the player arrested and punished for killing these allies?
"I did it to save the galaxy" isn't likely to be accepted in the court, especially since the prosecutor is likely to claim that since the accusations against the player were faked he would've been found innocent.

(In other words let's find a good explanation and we'll use it in the game).


Well, why does he break out of jail *at all*, then? This is the basic thing we have to clear up about this plot point before it makes any sense -- after all, even if I know I'm innocent and that there was evidence planted against me, it's still a crime for me to bust out of jail to avoid trial. In real life Zelnick would *still* stand trial for escaping jail *at all*, whether or not he fought and killed police officers along the way.

What makes him want to break the law and bust out of jail *now*? And how can he justify it to the Alliance government afterwards? If he can prove it was necessary to break out of jail to save everyone's lives then he can prove it was necessary to use violence to keep himself from being recaptured.

My thoughts are that if you really want to go with this whole escape angle, you have to give the player a reason to feel that escape is *urgent* in order to complete the greater mission -- tell the player that the trial won't take place until next year, and at this point give him information already in hand that proves that by next year the bad guys will have triumphed unless something is done. Otherwise you're just breaking out of jail because the game would be boring if you didn't, and that's the kind of plot element that undermines realism and keeps people from taking their in-game choices seriously.


Title: Re: TW-ligt plot
Post by: Art on May 15, 2005, 05:58:02 pm
Also: Giving the player an option to run away a la SC2 with a Warp Escape Unit (remember fighting Captain Tanaka?) or by some other method -- something that's possible but, perhaps, a bit harder and more resource-draining than fighting -- can allow you to still be a goody two-shoes and not kill good guys without the wrinkle of "knockout ships", which I still maintain screw things up. (If you have "knockout ships", why don't you use them *all* the time? Even if the ships are hostile to you, isn't it more moral to disable them and get away than to kill them, if they're not threatening anyone but you? And then wouldn't you be able to disable a ship, board it, take the crew prisoner and use the ship? It brings up all sorts of little wrinkles that SC2 nicely avoided by just having ships explode after you killed them.)


Title: Life Saver.
Post by: Deus Siddis on May 15, 2005, 09:45:34 pm
You could have it so there were no knock out ships and there is no killing of innocent lives.

The Arilou give you a device that allows you to teleport crew off of any ship you destroy as it is in the process of exploding. They can then be set free on a life pod. This also allows you to take enemies hostage, which could create some interesting plot situations, if so you pleased. Most importantly, you fight alliance ships in melee with whichever ship you have in your fleet, you don't have to use a stun ship with its particular strengths and weaknesses.

No extra programming, no extra explaining, no extra gameplay issues.


Title: Re: TW-ligt plot
Post by: Halleck on May 15, 2005, 10:34:47 pm
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My thoughts are that if you really want to go with this whole escape angle, you have to give the player a reason to feel that escape is *urgent* in order to complete the greater mission -- tell the player that the trial won't take place until next year, and at this point give him information already in hand that proves that by next year the bad guys will have triumphed unless something is done. Otherwise you're just breaking out of jail because the game would be boring if you didn't, and that's the kind of plot element that undermines realism and keeps people from taking their in-game choices seriously.

Gooooood. I agree 100%.


Title: Re: TW-ligt plot
Post by: Strange_Will on May 16, 2005, 12:19:37 am
Okay I'm REALLY confused about this game thing...

not so much confused as pissed....

So I start out with a blade, okay this is fine, I blow up a few guys, this is good, now I'm battling a guy and a dumbass shofixti shows up and detenoates right into me ending the game...

Now this wouldn't be so bad if I DIDN'T HAVE TO START ALL OVER I played for like 15 minutes, and I can't get further before a shofixti pops out of nowhere flying in and blowing me up... =\ >:(


Title: Re: Life Saver.
Post by: Art on May 16, 2005, 12:22:36 am
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You could have it so there were no knock out ships and there is no killing of innocent lives.

The Arilou give you a device that allows you to teleport crew off of any ship you destroy as it is in the process of exploding. They can then be set free on a life pod. This also allows you to take enemies hostage, which could create some interesting plot situations, if so you pleased. Most importantly, you fight alliance ships in melee with whichever ship you have in your fleet, you don't have to use a stun ship with its particular strengths and weaknesses.

No extra programming, no extra explaining, no extra gameplay issues.


Well, the ability to take enemies prisoners, and so on, *is* an extra gameplay issue. I mean, this makes more sense than knockout ships -- the Arilou are known for quick and silent abductions -- but it's still a lot of extra wrinkles if you're able to take prisoners, interrogate them, retrieve stuff from off of an exploding ship, and so on. And it still feels really convenient that 1) no crew are actually killed *during* the battle -- keeping in mind that, unrealistic as SC2's damage/crew counter is, it seems unlikely that you could batter down a ship to the point of destruction without killing anyone inside it, and 2) it's always possible to get crew off the ship *just in the nick of time*. Why don't they resist, as they do with Orz Space Marines? If the Arilou can forcibly beam them off the ship, why can't you do that *before* the ship blows up? Why can't you teleport onto a ship and take out the captain? And so on.

I'm not saying you couldn't explain this in a way that makes sense, but it's one layer too many, in my opinion. The run-away tactic is already well known from SC2 and doesn't need a new layer of explanation that creates a new tactic. If you really want the player to not fight, it might be best to *actually force him to not fight*, to force him to run away and play coward and understand how hard it is to get away from a hostile foe without harming him, to *tempt* him to use violence. That's more interesting, in my opinion, than looking for a convenient plot device that lets him have exciting battles and indulge his violent streak without worrying about the consequences of violence.


Title: Re: TW-ligt plot
Post by: Art on May 16, 2005, 12:26:01 am
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Okay I'm REALLY confused about this game thing...

not so much confused as pissed....

So I start out with a blade, okay this is fine, I blow up a few guys, this is good, now I'm battling a guy and a dumbass shofixti shows up and detenoates right into me ending the game...

Now this wouldn't be so bad if I DIDN'T HAVE TO START ALL OVER I played for like 15 minutes, and I can't get further before a shofixti pops out of nowhere flying in and blowing me up... =\ >:(


What? What does this have to do with anything? We're talking about the plot for the TimeWarp Legacies single-player game. What are you playing, Gob?

If you want to discuss something unrelated start a new thread instead of posting to the bottom of an existing one.

Anyway, I've never played Gob but to win Blade vs. Scout battles you should try to stay out of range of his explosion. Since the Blade lets you accelerate backwards using your special-attack it shouldn't be that hard to pelt him with the seed gun while moving away, so that he stays in your range while you stay out of his. Anyway IIRC if you have full crew a Scout explosion won't completely kill you anyway, while it will completely kill him.


Title: Re: TW-ligt plot
Post by: Strange_Will on May 16, 2005, 01:23:47 am
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What? What does this have to do with anything? We're talking about the plot for the TimeWarp Legacies single-player game. What are you playing, Gob?

If you want to discuss something unrelated start a new thread instead of posting to the bottom of an existing one.

Anyway, I've never played Gob but to win Blade vs. Scout battles you should try to stay out of range of his explosion. Since the Blade lets you accelerate backwards using your special-attack it shouldn't be that hard to pelt him with the seed gun while moving away, so that he stays in your range while you stay out of his. Anyway IIRC if you have full crew a Scout explosion won't completely kill you anyway, while it will completely kill him.


I downloaded the game on their site mentioned in the first post, I was really confused because I don't see anything that has to do with this chat....

Of course now the site is down :(


Title: Re: TW-ligt plot
Post by: UAF on May 16, 2005, 01:23:54 am
Strange_Will  - The full game is not ready yet, when you press New Game you get into work in progress thingy, which is pretty much GOB with some extra stuff thrown on it just to see if they work...

Anyway this thread is not the place to discuss it, feel free to start a new one though.

As to defeating a scout with a blade I'll refer you to Art's post.


Title: Re: TW-ligt plot
Post by: Strange_Will on May 16, 2005, 01:24:45 am
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Strange_Will  - The full game is not ready yet, when you press New Game you get into work in progress thingy, which is pretty much GOB with some extra stuff thrown on it just to see if they work...

Anyway this thread is not the place to discuss it, feel free to start a new one though.

As to defeating a scout with a blade I'll refer you to Art's post.


Ohhhhhh! excuse me while I slam my head into a wall a few times :(


Title: Re: TW-ligt plot
Post by: Deus Siddis on May 16, 2005, 02:51:37 am
"Well, the ability to take enemies prisoners, and so on, *is* an extra gameplay issue."

That was just an idea, perhaps for a specific mission. But just forget it, as it was a very minor point. The real point, is to get around killing the alliance crews.


"And it still feels really convenient"

Exactly, convenience is the point of this.


"1) no crew are actually killed *during* the battle -- keeping in mind that, unrealistic as SC2's damage/crew counter is, it seems unlikely that you could batter down a ship to the point of destruction without killing anyone inside it,"

The crew counter thing is a bit of a problem, I guess you could say that they were knocked out, injured, or whatever. They don't get off without a scratch, which gives you the moral dilemma you wanted in the game.

As for the realism, I wouldn't worry about it. I'm sure you can come up with about a million cut corners from SC2. That's what made the game so fun, it was not weighed down by too much realism.


"2) it's always possible to get crew off the ship *just in the nick of time*. Why don't they resist, as they do with Orz Space Marines? If the Arilou can forcibly beam them off the ship, why can't you do that *before* the ship blows up? Why can't you teleport onto a ship and take out the captain?"

You got off just in the nick of time in SC2. Even if the enemy alliance crews wanted to resist against the force which is saving their lives, they just get teleported instantly, so how could they possibly resist it. You can't teleport crew off of a functioning ship, only one that is destructing.


"I'm not saying you couldn't explain this in a way that makes sense, but it's one layer too many,"

Just the opposite, it is an alternative to a layer (stunning/running). At the beginning of the game, you get this device and the arilou tell you that with it, your crew will automatically save the lives of alliance crews, during battle.


This can all be explained, it's just a matter of why you want there to be conflicts with alliance ships, in the first place. Do you:

1) Want the player to get a chance to fight every ship in the game, including alliance ships?

2) Or do you want the player to a have moral dilemma/consequences for killing his kin.

If it's number 2, then the player might eventually get bored of jumping out of battle, or losing stun ships (which should be less powerful than a win-at-all-costs warship, right?)


Title: Re: TW-ligt plot
Post by: GameMusic on May 16, 2005, 03:31:59 am
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2) Or do you want the player to a have moral dilemma/consequences for killing his kin.

If it's number 2, then the player might eventually get bored of jumping out of battle, or losing stun ships (which should be less powerful than a win-at-all-costs warship, right?)


That's about what I was suggesting.  There could be moral consequences throughout the game that affect gameplay or the ending.  Remember that in the plot Zelnick sends the Ilwrath against the Chmmr, which is also killing alliance forces, even if they're hostile.  The player could have the choice whether to do that, or evade more Chmmr ships when getting the shield device.

But I think the best way to do the alliance thing is just to play as Talana, Nir, or Wu'bi, because breaking him out of jail makes no sense.


Title: Re: TW-ligt plot
Post by: Art on May 16, 2005, 03:55:30 am
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"Well, the ability to take enemies prisoners, and so on, *is* an extra gameplay issue."

That was just an idea, perhaps for a specific mission. But just forget it, as it was a very minor point. The real point, is to get around killing the alliance crews.


And you shouldn't be able to do that at the drop of a hat, in a way that makes the game make less sense.

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"And it still feels really convenient"

Exactly, convenience is the point of this.


It *feels* convenient, is the problem. It feels like this isn't something that happens naturally in the game -- it's something created by the designers just to get out of a sticky quandary. You don't *want* loose ends like that all over your game -- you want to plan *ahead* so that the game feels seamless, rather than leave visible the places where you painted yourself into a corner and cheated yourself out.

SC2 had moments like that, but they were fewer and farther between than in other games, which is what made SC2 a *better game* than other games.

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The crew counter thing is a bit of a problem, I guess you could say that they were knocked out, injured, or whatever. They don't get off without a scratch, which gives you the moral dilemma you wanted in the game.


Look -- if you don't have a problem with a moral dilemma, then just *kill the crew*. Don't pussyfoot around with this "they're-just-wounded" nonsense.

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That's what made the game so fun, it was not weighed down by too much realism.


Not "realism" so much as "mimesis" -- it doesn't have to feel like this could happen in real life, it just has to feel like they're not cheating. There's a difference.

There's a blatant feeling of annoying fakeness that creeps over me when I watch old kids' shows like GI Joe, say, where no matter how bad things get no one ever actually dies or gets seriously injured -- where everyone escapes from the exploding ships in the nick of time, where the bullet only wounds or knocks people unconscious instead of killing them, and so on.

SC2 was cool because it didn't make things *feel* less real by removing the stakes. You really were fighting for life and death -- whole races could be wiped out of existence by your actions.


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You got off just in the nick of time in SC2. Even if the enemy alliance crews wanted to resist against the force which is saving their lives, they just get teleported instantly, so how could they possibly resist it. You can't teleport crew off of a functioning ship, only one that is destructing.


I'm not asking "why". I'm sure you can come up with a reason why. I'm really saying that no matter what it'll seem fake -- there's no good reason *within* the story why such a device should exist, or why you should use it, only a reason *external* to the story.

(And in SC2 you got off in an escape pod that was under your control just before you detonated a bomb that was *also* under your control. There was never any guarantee that there was an escape pod to take you right back to the Starbase just before the Vindicator got blown up by something else)

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"I'm not saying you couldn't explain this in a way that makes sense, but it's one layer too many,"

Just the opposite, it is an alternative to a layer (stunning/running). At the beginning of the game, you get this device and the arilou tell you that with it, your crew will automatically save the lives of alliance crews, during battle.


This layer *or* that layer are both layers too many. Just *retain* the original combat tactic of running away, which you will have reason to use elsewhere in the game anyway, and which feels like an all-purpose mechanic rather than something designed to get you past this one plot point.

I mean, think about it -- the Arilou come and tell you, "Hey, buddy, just in case you ever, say, get framed for a crime you didn't commit and have to fight innocent police officers, this'll let you do it without feeling guilty." Talk about foreshadowing, and shattering the fourth wall.


This can all be explained, it's just a matter of why you want there to be conflicts with alliance ships, in the first place. Do you:

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1) Want the player to get a chance to fight every ship in the game, including alliance ships?


NO. You had no such opportunity in SC2. Why should you have this opportunity now? You want to play around with different ships vs. different ships, play Melee -- that's what it's *for*. In the story mode the story takes precedence over what would make cool gameplay. What next, are you going to figure out a justification to give the player access to every Hierarchy/bad-guy ship in single-player?

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2) Or do you want the player to a have moral dilemma/consequences for killing his kin.

If it's number 2, then the player might eventually get bored of jumping out of battle, or losing stun ships (which should be less powerful than a win-at-all-costs warship, right?)


So don't make there be that many encounters. Make it just annoying enough -- say, a patrol of 4 or 5 ships -- that the player is faced with this dilemma but not so annoying that warping out will be *impossible*. Then make it clear that going back into Alliance-controlled space is a Bad Idea by giving him encounters whenever he does that, and it'll oh-so-gently nudge him into going to the New Arm. It should be possible to complete all your required tasks without traveling extensively through Alliance spheres of influence -- if not, then *make* it so.

Yes, running away is less *fun* than fighting. It's supposed to be. It's not a moral dilemma if you give nothing up by not fighting, is it now? Maybe the player should be forced to confront his violent, trigger-happy instincts, at least for part of the game. (SC2 was nice because it put oh-so-subtle pressure on you to favor diplomacy over combat, at multiple stages of the game. It, again, made you feel like you were in a real place where your consequences had real actions, rather than a magic killfest arena created for your pleasure.)


Title: Re: TW-ligt plot
Post by: Art on May 16, 2005, 04:01:52 am
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That's about what I was suggesting.  There could be moral consequences throughout the game that affect gameplay or the ending.  Remember that in the plot Zelnick sends the Ilwrath against the Chmmr, which is also killing alliance forces, even if they're hostile.  The player could have the choice whether to do that, or evade more Chmmr ships when getting the shield device.

But I think the best way to do the alliance thing is just to play as Talana, Nir, or Wu'bi, because breaking him out of jail makes no sense.


Urgh, no. Please no sudden switch of main-character POV. This is the sort of thing that, when playing an uber-linear game like Final Fantasy, jumps out at me in my chair and screams "YOU'RE PLAYING AN UBER-LINEAR GAME LIKE FINAL FANTASY!!!"

Seriously, I liked SC2 because it felt like you could go anywhere and do anything as long as you had the fuel, and that things progressed because of your actions, not because of random things that happened to you at the game designer's whim. One doesn't have to stick *strictly* to that model of game design, but suddenly ripping the POV away from one character and putting it on another -- for no other reason than plot exigencies -- is as much as saying, "This isn't a real place -- this is a series of puzzles the game designer wants you to solve before you can see the ending".

In other words, I'm already leery about just how much of a plot bottleneck this whole Framed! thing is gonna be. But it'll be much, much more of one if, instead of being a reason to suddenly change Zelnick's alliances and make life harder for him, it actually takes Zelnick *out of the story* and makes you play as someone else. Mimesis is fragile enough without suddenly -- and unexpectedly -- shattering the player's identification with the player-character.

And, anyway, how hard can it be to give the player a reason to believe that breaking out of jail is important? (Unless you insist that the order in which we read things in this plot is immutable, which it shouldn't be -- you don't know what's the best order in which things should happen until you've started playtesting, in some cases.) Give him a mysterious prophecy that says in six months' time all life will be destroyed in the Old Arm or something. Show him an AI-controlled sphere of influence that's steadily expanding. Give him a distress call relayed to him from one of the New Arm races, and give the Alliance a reason to think it's a forgery or a fraud. Do *something* -- make him feel urgency. (This is important *anyway* -- SC2 did a good job of feeding you enough scary tidbits about the Ur-Quan that you shouldn't have felt safe poking around and mining all the time. Don't put the player on rails, but make him realize his time is limited because matters are progressing behind his back.)


Title: Re: TW-ligt plot
Post by: Zieman on May 16, 2005, 04:02:16 am
For starters, I have to apologize for my ramblings....
BUT I've been following this thread (amognst others), and even if I was a wee bit sceptical at first, now I really hope that TW:L eventually comes to life, it seems very promising indeed  8)


Title: Re: TW-ligt plot
Post by: Deus Siddis on May 16, 2005, 04:46:34 am
"Maybe the player should be forced to confront his violent, trigger-happy instincts, at least for part of the game."

What? I don't have violent instincts! (Swats a fly buzzing around his keyboard.)


"I'm already leery about just how much of a plot bottleneck this whole Framed! thing is gonna be."

I'm not sure about it either, which is why I thought it might be beneficial to not make it such a big deal, with stun ships and burning precious fuel trying to escape. Including too many sub features can hurt a small freeware project.

Anyway, it's just a suggestion.


Title: Re: TW-ligt plot
Post by: UAF on May 16, 2005, 04:54:59 am
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I was just suggesting (it's a minor point really) that it would be more natural, both in gameplay and story, and probably easier to program, if you just made having a drone in your fleet piloted by Wu'bi a requirement for the Druuge starbase part of the quest, rather than using the Drone image.


Yeah that'll work :)
The problem is the player side of the deal - when he need to take Wu'bi and his ship to the New Arm. Although it's not really an issue - Wu'bi can just get off the ship when the player docs at a starbase in the New Arm.

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They seek hyperwave transmissions, so they just have to get within whatever their range is.  And a ring of influence wouldn't make sense with 2 opposing sides in 3D space, or with 2 sides eventually meeting.  Still, you're probably right about them not covering the entire galaxy, probably just the areas near this ring.  The main plot hole would be the Taalo.  If the Taalo are near Earth, then wouldn't the Ur-Quan have been in the SC2 area of space already?  Did the Dynyarri send them to the other side of the galaxy for no reason?


Actually that's not a problem. It is indeed possible and even likely that the Ur-quan original HW was somewhere in the area of SC2's starmap since the Taalo are the ones who met them, however it doesn't have to be that way since the milieu did span over most of the galaxy. At any case the Ur-quans did not start their paths in their HW - they did it in the area of the Maul-num HW, where the first doctrinal war begun.
Which means that the Maul-num HW is more or less in the opposite side of the galaxy then ours.

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The Kzer-Za were repelled, though, yes, they kept at it after getting battle thralls and the Sa-Matra.  So the Kohr-Ah wouldn't go away for centuries as I was suggesting.  The Niko would have hidden somehow, like the ZoqFotPik and Druuge, for this plot point to work.  Either hiding completely, or tricking the Kohr-Ah.

The Gerzillion works, but why would he move them?

SC2 suggested that the Arilou didn't know about the Kohr-Ah.

They could hide by not using hyperwave broadcasts, perhaps due to some religious reason, but that's somewhat similar to the ZoqFotPik and Druuge.

Denrode or Alkory technology might hide the new arm races from Kohr-Ah detection.

A prophet of Ssssrila predicts doomsday and/or tells the followers to make a pilgrimage to some other planet before the Kohr-Ah show up, by pure luck or getting information from some other species (the reason should be embarassing).  The planet is in the area of the new arm where the Alkory, etc. are, which the Niko actually aren't native to (the new arm races in the game are a long way from the Kohr-Ah path).  "Unfaithful" Niko are destroyed by the Kohr-Ah.  So the Kohr-Ah are the origin of the bad guys of TW Light.  Niko leaders use them as a threat for species who aren't members, who have never heard of Kohr-Ah and of course think the Niko are crazy.  Then the captain shows up and Niko mythology is confirmed when he mentions the Kohr-Ah.



I like the last idea. We don't really have to answer who warned the Niko or why. The player will learn that it happened around 2,400 years ago, which is 100 years after the Gzerllion left the Ger, but that's the only thing he'll find.
Whoever saved the Niko did it while they were still fairly primitive, and instructed them to "spread the word, warn others and prepare themselves for the coming of the evil Kohr-ah."

Over the years the Niko developed into the theocracy they are now, with corrupted and power hungry "Church of Ssssirpa" as their leaders.
Their belief is now that anyone who follows the Church of Ssssirpa is protected from all harm, and that everyone must be converted into followers.
The player coming and claiming that the Kohr-ah are defeated will only cause them trouble and convince them that removing him from the picture is essential.



As for the entire discussion about the player being framed, knock-out ships and such:

Giving the player a device to teleport crew out of the enemy ship is essentially identical to the original idea of equipping all ships with knockout weapons that'll only be used against NAFS ships.
And It's still an easy way out :)

GameMusic's idea of giving the player control on another character for the time being is probably the cleanest and completely not cheesy-looking way to solve the problem.
However it does mean that we loose some things:

1) The player is now defiantly limited to finishing this quest before he can continue to advance in any other quest (since we don't want the game solved by Nir instead of the "player".
This is in contrast to our recent intention of removing the limitations mentioned in the .doc and allowing the player to travel anywhere on the map (including the new arm) before solving this quest. (So we're increasing limitations instead of decreasing them).

2) The player won't be facing the moral dilemma that he'll otherwise face.
And I think that forcing the player to face moral dilemmas is rather fun :)

(He'll get to fight alliance ship at any case BTW, since the AI's can take over them, but that was done to make the AI a serious threat).

So I'd like to keep the dilemma if possible.

First problem is why indeed should he escape?
While it's clear that something is wrong at the time, the player doesn't know the full scale of the problem yet. In fact no race has yet to convert to the Niko religion when he left the New Arm.

As Art said, the player needs a good reason as to why he should escape.
Perhaps a good way is this:
By intercepting and decoding Chmmr transmissions Talana and Nir learn that the Chmmr plan to arrange the player's murder while he's still awaiting trial.
They're also amassing their forces, undoubtedly preparing something that no one will like.
Thus, they are forced to help the player escape before he's being murdered, and to help in finding what's wrong with the Chmmr.

As for the player killing alliance officers and crew - The option to escape should and will be open to the player. Should he choose to fight, the Pkunk Queen will use her influence to pros pone the player's trial to after the current problems are solved.
Since it was proved that he was framed, and since after proving his innocence the Chmmr will go haywire and become hostile, it's clear that something is going on and no one have time to deal with his trial anyway.

However it'll be clear that once things will relax (after the game is over) he'll need to answer for his actions.


Title: Re: TW-ligt plot
Post by: GameMusic on May 16, 2005, 06:04:10 am
Ok, cool idea here.

The player never gets arrested.  He didn't actually break any laws.

But he gets kicked out of Star Control, and loses his rank.  The humans don't trust a captain who would sell crew.  You keep your ship and fleet because you built them technically as a Pkunk captain.  So alliance bases no longer do business with you, and you are unpopular with many of them.

This makes it open, and the player can clear the accusations at any time.

You can keep the moral dilemma by having certain things that make the game easier if you steal them from the alliance, although it will make other parts of the game harder because you won't have full cooperation later.  Whether you steal also affects the ending, and some other moral dilemmas in the game would be the Chmmr and the AI controlled ships.

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Actually that's not a problem. It is indeed possible and even likely that the Ur-quan original HW was somewhere in the area of SC2's starmap since the Taalo are the ones who met them, however it doesn't have to be that way since the milieu did span over most of the galaxy. At any case the Ur-quans did not start their paths in their HW - they did it in the area of the Maul-num HW, where the first doctrinal war begun.
Which means that the Maul-num HW is more or less in the opposite side of the galaxy then ours.


Good point.

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I like the last idea. We don't really have to answer who warned the Niko or why. The player will learn that it happened around 2,400 years ago, which is 100 years after the Gzerllion left the Ger, but that's the only thing he'll find.
Whoever saved the Niko did it while they were still fairly primitive, and instructed them to "spread the word, warn others and prepare themselves for the coming of the evil Kohr-ah."

Over the years the Niko developed into the theocracy they are now, with corrupted and power hungry "Church of Ssssirpa" as their leaders.
Their belief is now that anyone who follows the Church of Ssssirpa is protected from all harm, and that everyone must be converted into followers.
The player coming and claiming that the Kohr-ah are defeated will only cause them trouble and convince them that removing him from the picture is essential.


Yes, although while he is a threat they want to discredit and get out of there, he also gave the Niko credibility in the point of view of other new arm races, which makes their joining when the Mrmrnmhrm show up more logical.

As for Ssssirpa actually being the Gerzillion (who warned races in the area), that's actually a very cool idea.  Maybe he gave them technology for space travel, proving his divine nature and greatly influencing Niko cultural development. Though, as I saw it, the church of Ssssirpa was not the only religion on their planet, and the Niko had many competing religions, explaining the drive to convert by force and make church leaders powerful.  Maybe the Gerzillion happened to match Ssssirpa most out of all the Niko religious concepts, and that's how the church got power, or the church of Ssssirpa was started immediately when the Gerzillion showed up.  But if Ssssirpa actually exists, that means there's no secret the Niko leaders are guarding, and doing the Mrmrnmhrm plot suggests doubt in the existence of Ssssirpa.  And how would they explain the similarity of the Gerzillion legend to Ssssirpa (unless both became so exaggerated in legend that the 2 were not that similar)?

Of course, I'm still partial to the idea that the prophet of Ssssirpa got drunk and came up with doomsday (which he just happened to be right about) in a stupor, and that's the big secret that you keep trying to learn about the Niko origin, because I have an odd sense of humor.  The idea of a doomsday cult with questionable origins happening to be right by luck amuses me.  Maybe both ideas could work if the prophet made the prediction before the Gerzillion showed up, confirming it and becoming Ssssirpa in their legends.


Title: Re: TW-ligt plot
Post by: GeomanNL on May 16, 2005, 06:14:48 am
I'm sorry but the point about the Gerzillion is that he's a mystery.
I ask, no emplore, you to keep it like that.


Title: Re: TW-ligt plot
Post by: Deus Siddis on May 16, 2005, 10:02:55 am
"The player never gets arrested.  He didn't actually break any laws. But he gets kicked out of Star Control, and loses his rank. The humans don't trust a captain who would sell crew.  You keep your ship and fleet because you built them technically as a Pkunk captain.  So alliance bases no longer do business with you, and you are unpopular with many of them."

I think that's good. The alliance would never try and kill/imprison the dude who just saved their sorry asses.


Title: Re: TW-ligt plot
Post by: Bekanor on May 16, 2005, 01:42:59 pm
How about this - once the Framed scenario unfolds, a new module becomes available for the Salvation - the Stunner (or similar pseudo-scientific ray-beam gun), which is a gun that, if it is the sole weapon used to defeat an enemy ship, will simply disable the crew and vessel in a nice, pacifistic way.  However, this gun is weaker, shorter ranged, and burns more power than a regular weapon.  No one ever said being a nice guy was going to be easy.

On the other hand, if he engages alliance forces with conventional weapons or his allied ships (incidentally, what happens to allied ships of the Utwig, Orz etc. when he is declared evil?), then the ships he defeats are Dead, with Nir and Talana tut tutting in the background.  However, the races he fought will remember this shoddy treatment.  For example, if he razes a few Blades during his crime spree, the Supox, even after his name is cleared, will be disillusioned and thus will require more RU to gain crew.


Title: Re: TW-ligt plot
Post by: Death 999 on May 16, 2005, 09:15:46 pm
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Urgh, no. Please no sudden switch of main-character POV. This is the sort of thing that, when playing an uber-linear game like Final Fantasy, jumps out at me in my chair and screams "YOU'RE PLAYING AN UBER-LINEAR GAME LIKE FINAL FANTASY!!!"


Solutions:

1)  Zelnick has been released on bail, and has promised to return by date X, at which point there will be a trial. One of the quests is to gather the necessary data. Unfortunately, this does not have the effect of pushing him away from the home quadrant.

2)  Zelnick was held on house arrest on some planet somewhere, and then he was abducted by Wu'bi. As long as they're inside the Alliance spheres, he has to hide.

3) Or the entire game could be played from Talana's perspective...

4) Or the entire game could be played from the perspective of some vast consciousness (e.g. Arilou), who provides subtle psychic suggestions to the characters (outside of combat, of course). This would even provide a mechanism for conversation options (these are the four easiest things to make this character say). It allows manipulation of the roster like Final Fantasy, but by being explicit about it, it isn't so cheesy.


Title: Re: TW-ligt plot
Post by: Culture20 on May 17, 2005, 10:52:20 am
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4) Or the entire game could be played from the perspective of some vast consciousness (e.g. Arilou)
Or Orz... Oh, wait, we players _are_ like Orz; throwing SC ships at each other for our own amusement.
It is more fun than several.   ;)


Title: Re: TW-ligt plot
Post by: Art on May 17, 2005, 12:22:51 pm
I still feel any "Stunner" weapons are unnecessary. And as far as punishing the player for killing allies goes, sure, make him feel bad about it, but it should still be pretty clear, after he wins, that Saving the World really was so important that it at least made it potentially necessary to kill allies.

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Solutions:

1)  Zelnick has been released on bail, and has promised to return by date X, at which point there will be a trial. One of the quests is to gather the necessary data. Unfortunately, this does not have the effect of pushing him away from the home quadrant.


Bail? Enh. Given that he has access to a really far-ranged ship he's probably a flight risk. At the very least if you release him on "bail" he should be under some kind of probation that makes the Old Arm an unpleasant place to be.

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2)  Zelnick was held on house arrest on some planet somewhere, and then he was abducted by Wu'bi. As long as they're inside the Alliance spheres, he has to hide.


Well, make him *escape*. I do agree with the original idea -- giving the player his own initiative when escaping, as opposed to having him suddenly be abducted by another set of good guys, is important to keeping this plot from feeling on rails. If he's abducted, he still has the option -- if he's a really law-abiding citizen -- to go turn himself back in like a good citizen should. You have to give him a *reason* to not be a good law-abiding citizen -- and I maintain the game is a lot more interesting if he *does* have a reason to break the law, if you force the player to put the greater good ahead of being a goody two-shoes.

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3) Or the entire game could be played from Talana's perspective...


Talk about massive structural shifts. We ought to have a guiding policy that we *don't* massively rewrite the whole rest of the plot just to solve one tiny plot discontinuity.

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4) Or the entire game could be played from the perspective of some vast consciousness (e.g. Arilou), who provides subtle psychic suggestions to the characters (outside of combat, of course). This would even provide a mechanism for conversation options (these are the four easiest things to make this character say). It allows manipulation of the roster like Final Fantasy, but by being explicit about it, it isn't so cheesy.


It's still quite cheesy. It's cheesy because it feels utterly alien to the Star Control universe -- at the very least, if such huge omnipotent entities exist, it feels really weird for us to *be* one. Also, it's cheesy because it starts conflating the way the game's universe works and the way the game's actual user interface works in a mimesis-smashingly convenient way. (Ooh, our massive extradimensional intelligence can *also* record "universal states" in its extradimensional memory, at certain points where the timeline branches, and jump back to them if a timeline goes wrong by "loading state". Bleah.)

I still hold that the simplest solution to the problem is to allow the Captain to run away from battles with Alliance members, and use that to push him toward the New Arm and keep him there until he can finish the Framed! plot. Battles with Alliance members *shouldn't be that big a part of the game* -- once he realizes Alliance members are treating him as hostile he should just bail to the New Arm, and the game can keep moving. We're talking like the player's going to spend all day cruising in and out of Yehat space trying to make nice, over and over again -- which is something only a stupid or perverse player would actually do.


Title: Re: TW-ligt plot
Post by: Zieman on May 17, 2005, 01:21:48 pm
I might be missing something, but to me the solution to hostile allies is obvious: do it SC2 way, in SC2 the player can run away in any battle (at least with the flagship)...


Title: Re: TW-ligt plot
Post by: UAF on May 17, 2005, 01:25:40 pm
Actually the purpose of the "framed" quest and its likely result is to keep the player in the Old Arm until it's solved.

The player is much more limited without the NAFS to back him up, which is why he must clear his name as fast as possible.

He can't get any NAFS captains besides Yehat and Pkunk captains (as opposed to having access to 7 races that he'll have after clearing his name, not including the Chmmr that he think he'll have before returning).

He can no longer approach new races as the representative of the NAFS so his abilities to ally with them are limited (they won't ally with a private person after all).

The player must clear his name to reinstate his mandate to make alliances and work in the name of the NAFS, and to be able to complete the quests that require things from NAFS races.


Anyway, that was more of an FYI :)
Back to the point:

I agree with what Art said here, so I won't repeat after him.

Seems to me that my last suggestion - The Chmmr was planning to assassinate the player + their strange actions that appear like preparations to war force him to escape arrest  - solve most of the problems here.
There will be no stun ship/module/improvement and the player just needs to escape battles.

Killing alliance ships instead of escaping will result in high crew prices and other annoyances (thanks Bekanor) later on, the loss of some optional quests (the Supox expedition for example) and the promise of a trial after the current problem is solved (after the game).
It'll be made clear that it's a bad idea to kill alliance ships, and sometimes you'll be able to avoid battles using dialogs.


Anyway, what I ask now is that you'll start telling me what's wrong with that idea and what can be improved about it. :)


Title: Re: TW-ligt plot
Post by: Death 999 on May 17, 2005, 08:16:04 pm
So, you want to have Zelnick stay in the Home Quadrant? Easy. His bail was contingent on having a restraining implant. Basically, he can't go outside a (large) sphere  based on the range of an encrypted beacon, or his heart will go explodey. If desired, this could have some flexibility for emergency cases like signal disruption... this flexibility could provide another self-consistent plot device, where we have time pressure, in which we will be going into a hyperwave-disrupting area and so will have to be done before the implant decides Zelnick is on the lam. The only reasonable example of this I can think of is Quasispace. This could prevent Zelnick from visiting Faylaralfali

It's very 'convenient' for the plot, but it would be highly reasonable form of ensuring his return for trial.


Also, I didn't make myself clear on the Wu'bi 'abduction'. I just meant that it should look like an abduction, and whether or not the Captain had any role in it was a detail we would work out later. Perhaps he had hinted such an idea in Talana's direction during a conjugal visit...



Also, here are some other related ideas for Framed:

The captain DID sell slaves, but they were all Syreen-captured Mycon. The Mauler itself was always crewed with Mycon transferred from the Syreen, so furnace use wasn't so horrible. One of the points of Zelnick's defense may be to demonstrate the subsentience of individual Mycon crew.

The captain bought a Mauler, and its captain survived the final battle and is here a continuing character. There are lots of interesting character possibilities here. Remember that this is the captain that the Druuge were most eager to get rid of, so he (or she) may not fit their stereotype well... may hate trading, may be empathetic, may not be ugly. One idea I had was that the captain would be female, and would on occasion be mistaken for Talana (purple skin, glowing eyes, most people have not seen both Druuge and Syreen, female Druuge may lack horns).

Some of the evidence that clears the captain may come from her. Or she could have broken down under some sort of duress and helped frame him, and making her recant would be a major advance in his defense.


Title: Re: TW-ligt plot
Post by: meep-eep on May 18, 2005, 12:52:10 am
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The captain DID sell slaves, but they were all Syreen-captured Mycon. The Mauler itself was always crewed with Mycon transferred from the Syreen, so furnace use wasn't so horrible.

As if they would burn...


Title: Re: TW-ligt plot
Post by: Art on May 19, 2005, 01:22:46 am
Quote
So, you want to have Zelnick stay in the Home Quadrant? Easy. His bail was contingent on having a restraining implant. Basically, he can't go outside a (large) sphere  based on the range of an encrypted beacon, or his heart will go explodey. If desired, this could have some flexibility for emergency cases like signal disruption... this flexibility could provide another self-consistent plot device, where we have time pressure, in which we will be going into a hyperwave-disrupting area and so will have to be done before the implant decides Zelnick is on the lam. The only reasonable example of this I can think of is Quasispace. This could prevent Zelnick from visiting Faylaralfali

It's very 'convenient' for the plot, but it would be highly reasonable form of ensuring his return for trial.


Erk. It makes sense, but it's... well... so gadgety, and so much less dramatic than having the Captain escape and be on the lam. Do you really want to take *away* the Captain's agency to the point that instead of escaping and defying the Alliance for the greater good, he begs them for release like a common criminal and is allowed to wander about -- literally! -- leashed by a hunk of metal? How ignoble!

It may, in some sense, be more "realistic", but at the cost of drama and excitement, and without actually solving any of the problems with this idea -- that is, it's *still* a plot bottleneck and it *still* massively inconveniences the player, but now it doesn't make the player feel like the exciting rebel hero but like a helpless pawn of the system. In a way it makes the whole plotline take a darker, more depressing kind of tone.


Also, I didn't make myself clear on the Wu'bi 'abduction'. I just meant that it should look like an abduction, and whether or not the Captain had any role in it was a detail we would work out later. Perhaps he had hinted such an idea in Talana's direction during a conjugal visit...


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Also, here are some other related ideas for Framed:

The captain DID sell slaves, but they were all Syreen-captured Mycon. The Mauler itself was always crewed with Mycon transferred from the Syreen, so furnace use wasn't so horrible. One of the points of Zelnick's defense may be to demonstrate the subsentience of individual Mycon crew.


Umm... It may, in fact, be unwise to make it a critical plot element of the sequel to say that the player-character in the original game did something incredibly convoluted that didn't occur to most players while they were playing the game. (For one thing, I never pictured Syreen hypnosis of enemy crew as something that could last in the long term -- hence Syreen Penetrators always getting emptied down to the default level after a battle. For another, as someone else said, Mycon might not actually work very well for burning in a furnace. For a third, this is just something likely to make most players go, "Huh?" since I'm betting most players *didn't* sell any slaves, and the ones that did didn't think through the whole idea of selling non-human or Shofixti crew.)

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The captain bought a Mauler, and its captain survived the final battle and is here a continuing character. There are lots of interesting character possibilities here. Remember that this is the captain that the Druuge were most eager to get rid of, so he (or she) may not fit their stereotype well... may hate trading, may be empathetic, may not be ugly. One idea I had was that the captain would be female, and would on occasion be mistaken for Talana (purple skin, glowing eyes, most people have not seen both Druuge and Syreen, female Druuge may lack horns).


An interesting idea, but I'd want to avoid reading back into the Captain's actions in SC2 as much as possible since that makes it harder for people who took a different path to identify with the Captain in the sequel. That's one of the things that bugs me about the Framed! plot, but it gets worse if we put in whole new characters whom we have no reason to necessarily believe existed in the player's original SC2 playthrough.

Especially if you make this be a pretty, empathetic, nice *girl* Druuge with a heart of gold who rebels against the cruel dictates of her culture. Mary Sue, anyone? (Or Mary Druuge, as the case may be.)

(Yes, I respect the desire to show that not all members of a species are identical, but we had it hammered into our heads so many times that the Druuge were evil, evil, evil that it stretches credibility to suddenly have a Druuge captain who's a totally decent person. Culture doesn't dictate everything but it dictates a *lot* -- I have the feeling that a very altruistic and compassionate person by Druuge standards would still be a heel by human standards, and it's actually more realistic and more respectful of the idea that alien species and cultures are truly *alien* to avoid having the One Good Druuge who holds the same moral ideals that humans do.)

(Also, it's a big friggin' deal that Syreen and humans look alike. It's evidence of genetic tampering. No friggin' way that a female Druuge looks attractive to human eyes. No *way* -- the odds are totally against it. It's just blatant fanservice to make it so that if there's a female character she must of necessity be pretty to human males.)


Title: Re: TW-ligt plot
Post by: Death 999 on May 19, 2005, 02:37:36 am
The captain losing agency? Come ON, he's so important that even with the most powerful race in the alliance wanting him arrested, when any ordinary officer would be temporarily suspended from duty, he is commanding a battle group which basically doesn't answer to ANYONE.

Maybe we can ditch the restraining implant and just have the player have the option not to show up... but that will completely screw up the rest of the game.


And as for the druuge captain, this was NOT a Mary Sue.

Reread what I said -- (s)he (since you assumed female, I will stick with it from here) should be borderline competent, the first one the Druuge wanted to ditch.  Any deviations from culture would be optional, but that is nearly necessary. Also, any cultural deviations could be learned behavior, adapting to her new situation. She could keep backsliding.

As for appearance, I said she did not have to be hideously ugly, that's all. As for the confusion with Talana, I was thinking mainly that this would arise if you were talking with Supox or Zoq-Fot-Pik or other races that are not humanoid. Actual humans, Druuge, Syreen, and Utwig should have no trouble figuring it out. She may be quite plain indeed, by our standards... but she might not drool and doesn't need to be a hunchback. Or she could have slept her way up to the captain's chain, and she'd TRY sex appeal, but fall on her face doing so, due to differing expectations.. Or we could find out that the Druuge are matriarchal and all the captains we saw in SC2 were female. (ok, not really)

I was originally thinking of such a character appearing if one were to do an SC2 animated series, where one MUST specify a particular path, so this character is a bit of a transplant.

On the other hand, how likely is it that a player will end up with a mauler? Well, suppose they get not one but two egg-cases (fairly likely). They will probably spend both -- one on the rosy sphere and the other on a mauler. So it's not necessary to trade slaves, which I agree is pretty unlikely for a player to have done in SC2. We can ditch that part with the Mycon, or just include it in the trial as a side-note concerning who was thrown into the furnace (as for whether mycon burn, keep in mind that the druuge furnace is probably doing mass conversion, not just setting on fire)

Anyway, to provide further context for the druuge captain idea, I was thinking there could be a roster (perhaps randomly generated) of captains who served under Zelnick in SC2, who you have in your game as characters, and this could be one of them. That is, there would be several slots you could fill, from among the various alliance races. Some would be common, such as Pkunk, Utwig, Supox, and Zoq-Fot-Pik; some would be a little less common, like Spathi and Yehat; others would be rare like Thraddash, Druuge, Shofixti, and Umgah. They would have a few canned parts of the story which did not depend significantly on their species... basically, they can be loyal to the captain through thick and thin, and otherwise not be very descript. How much they do depends on the engine.
If you ever played the B5 card game, they could be like when you got a non-unique character promoted to the inner circle.


Title: Re: TW-ligt plot
Post by: UAF on May 19, 2005, 04:15:21 am
Should I gather from the fact that everyone ignores my suggestion that it's not liked?
I was rather waiting to read Art's reply to it...

And Death_999 - we won't be making any major changes to the game like the ones you suggested.


Title: Re: TW-ligt plot
Post by: Death 999 on May 19, 2005, 09:19:07 pm
Your idea is fine, actually... I just didn't see it.

As for how major that change is... Look. I don't know what the engine is. We haven't begun script-writing here. Maybe it was really easy and trivial to have a couple minor characters with no significant role added. Maybe they could be spot characters who only show up at the trial.

If it's not easy, OK. But there was no way for me to know that.

Or do you mean the other suggestion, with bail? You were looking for some consistent way of dealing with the charges. I suggested one. This was not 'throw everything out and start over.'.

Sheesh.

Anyway, if the objective is to keep the captain INSIDE the home quadrant, why make it hard to stay there and push him away? I'm confused.


Title: Re: TW-ligt plot
Post by: UAF on May 19, 2005, 10:49:57 pm
You can read what the engine will be like on our Wiki (http://openfacts.berlios.de/index-en.phtml?title=Engine).

When I mentioned major changes I was mainly talking bout adding characters.
Adding characters means another graphic, another tune, and another dialog tree. Seems a bit extreme just to solve a minor problem, and giving them quests and stuff is defiantly even more dialogs.
Now if we were swimming in dialog writers and other personal then adding such things might have been easy. However we barley have any as it is...


Anyway, the objective might not be to keep the player inside the quadrant. What I mean is that people (including here) complained that such limits exist, and that they make the game seem more linear then it should be.
So I'm considering allowing the player to go to the New Arm when he's still framed. He still needs to clear his name in order to get the help of the NAFS races which are needed to finish the game, but it will a few more quests to advance in simultaneously (The Khar quest for example, can be completed before you even clear your name).


Title: Re: TW-ligt plot
Post by: Death 999 on May 20, 2005, 01:01:02 am
Ok, in that case my ideas around the framing were unnecessary.

You need writers to get this going? Where can I sign up? (I can separate writing and plot design modes). Hand me a desired plot objective, and see if you like what I come up with. I suspect that others around here would be happy to try their hands at it as well. My email is in the envelope icon.


Title: Re: TW-ligt plot
Post by: Art on May 21, 2005, 12:26:59 pm
Quote
Should I gather from the fact that everyone ignores my suggestion that it's not liked?
I was rather waiting to read Art's reply to it...

And Death_999 - we won't be making any major changes to the game like the ones you suggested.


I like the idea fine, actually. It seems to solve most of the issues we were talking about rather neatly.

And, sure, now that I seem to have been sucked into talking about this plot a lot already, I'll bite -- give me an assignment and I'll see if my writing skills are up to scratch. I'm sending you my contacts in an e-mail.


Title: Re: TW-ligt plot
Post by: Art on May 21, 2005, 01:57:04 pm
Regarding the engine: I must protest. You CANNOT make all melee after HyperSpace encounters planet-less. The planet is crucial to the art of SpaceWar-style combat. Take it away and suddenly tons and tons of viable strategies for lots of ships disappear. It violently changes gameplay, and not in a good way -- it makes gameplay less interesting and creates a whole lot less risk, especially when using big ships.

Besides, I thought we'd established that the way HyperSpace physics works in the SC universe is that HyperSpace compresses all TrueSpace distances *between* gravity wells so that any HyperSpace point is way more likely to correspond to a point close to some gravity source than not. It makes plenty of intuitive sense to me, anyway.


Title: Re: TW-ligt plot
Post by: Yurand on May 21, 2005, 05:52:51 pm
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Regarding the engine: I must protest. You CANNOT make all melee after HyperSpace encounters planet-less. The planet is crucial to the art of SpaceWar-style combat. Take it away and suddenly tons and tons of viable strategies for lots of ships disappear. It violently changes gameplay, and not in a good way -- it makes gameplay less interesting and creates a whole lot less risk, especially when using big ships.

I don't think that most of SC2 tactics will work at all.

Melee in star system will occur in large GOB like environment, where all ships thrown at once.

1) Speed is the most critical, that make slow ships like Mycon, Ye-hat almost useless. On other hand Zoq-Fot-Pik Stringer and Shofixti are much more powerful.

2) Some ships are better suited for combat in group. For example I programmed 15 druuge ship to guard location and given their shot range and number no one can approach them. Without being repealed with machine-gun like fire. ;-)

Completely other situation in tiny environment (Hyperspace combat). Try to fight 5x5 battle in TW-Light melee and feel the result :)

I doubt that you ever used 'weak' ships in SC2 adventure for fighting nasty aliens. Having several battle ground types will make ships more balanced.



Title: Re: TW-ligt plot
Post by: Art on May 22, 2005, 12:14:36 pm
Then have many battle types, but don't make the default type for all HyperSpace encounters No Gravity Source. No gravity source is objectively more boring than any other kind of encounter, because, hey, no gravity source.

I'd be fine if you had several possibilities for HyperSpace -- one just a rogue planet, one maybe a planet around a star, one a lone star, one an asteroid field, perhaps -- but please no empty-space battlefield. Make the gravity source of varying strength, sure, and have more or fewer asteroids, and that sort of thing, but emptiness makes for a boring battle.


Title: Re: TW-ligt plot
Post by: Death 999 on May 23, 2005, 02:10:49 am
Is there an option for rigid walls? If anyone ever read X-1999, that's what I'm thinking of...


Title: Re: TW-ligt plot
Post by: UAF on May 23, 2005, 03:59:20 am
Death_999 and Art - I've sent you emails about joining.

About fights - I guess we can have the Hyperspace fights in random environment, but I still think that empty space will be most common.

However I doubt that a fight will ever be boring, considering the large number of ships that will be plaguing the battlefield.

It'll be different though, that's for sure.


Title: Re: TW-ligt plot
Post by: plasmoid on September 15, 2005, 12:58:34 pm
Dear UAF and friends,
I salute you!
You've had to endure a lot of harsh words about your plot.
This just to say that I'd rather play your decent game, than keep talking about the perfect game for years and years and friggin years.

Thumbs up!
Martin

PS - how's the project coming along?


Title: Re: TW-ligt plot
Post by: Death 999 on September 20, 2005, 11:35:35 pm
UAF quit. Currently leaderless. Or if there is a leader, he hasn't seen fit to contact me.


Title: Re: TW-ligt plot
Post by: Burb on September 23, 2005, 03:51:15 am
Umm, just fyi, for the 'framed' thing couldn't we just have an arilou like teleporter that works on ships from a distance? It will take fuel, more fuel than simply warping away, but will tp them far enough that they can't catch you again and stuff. Or it can take the same/less amount of fuel but make the stalling time pretty long; another moral dillema. If you try to not kill all of them but still remove them from the general area so they stop bugging you, then your own loyal crewmates can die. I guess you could always just choose escape, but like I said, if you're against fast ships it could be pretty annoying  :P.


Title: Re: TW-ligt plot
Post by: Deus Siddis on September 23, 2005, 03:35:37 pm
"UAF quit. Currently leaderless. Or if there is a leader, he hasn't seen fit to contact me."

Are you a programmer for TWL?


Title: Re: TW-ligt plot
Post by: Death 999 on October 05, 2005, 07:38:29 pm
I volunteered to help with the plot, got started a little, then it all ground to a halt. If someone is going to be starting it up, I'd be glad to take a subordinate role on the plot... but I haven't seen movement in that direction.


Title: Re: TW-ligt plot
Post by: Yurand on October 25, 2005, 09:45:55 pm
For all who still interested in this project please contact me (yurand at land.ru).

If you want to see our progress, download unstable TW-Light windows version from:
ftp://ftp.berlios.de/pub/tw-light/tw-light-setup-0.3r197M.exe
ftp://ftp.berlios.de/pub/tw-light/dedit-win197.zip

Or you can get sources from our SVN and compile it youself.
http://developer.berlios.de/svn/?group_id=2082

As working example to test our engine we have implemented this so called "Test Plot":
You can run it from start to end but save function is not implemented yet so you shoud do it in one game session.

1 You meet Jacques Haven, the Silcuu Station commander. He fills you in on some details of the sector (prominent races, a few rumors to tie into side quests later).

2 You can choose to take a transport-guarding assignment to a mining operation in Ixis, where they need medical supplies. Or, you can negotiate with the Chorali.

2a You have to defend the transport against a damaged Kohr-Ah. Once you reach the mining station, you offload the medical supplies. If you talk with the mining station's commander for a while, he'll tell you about some Precursor starship wrecks they've found in the belt. He'll tell you the interlocks are all sealed, except for one ship that's obviously already been salvaged and stripped of all useful parts, as far as he can tell.

2b If you convince the Chorali to join the Alliance, and ask them certain questions, they'll tell you about some Precursor wrecks they found in an asteroid belt in Ixis. They could access only one of the wrecks, and it was a supplyship, with no weapons, but had a Precursor tractor beam, which has proved invaluable to their nation. By now, they've stripped the supplyship dry, however.

3 You return to Haven, and report to him on your findings (assuming you did find out abut the wrecks). If you report about the wrecks, he'll commend you for your work and send you on an assignment to investigate them further. If you don't, he'll tell you about it himself (he recieved word from the mining station himself, via hyperspace comm), and send you on the assignment, anyway.

4 Once you find the Precursor supplyship wreck, you'll find a Chorali scientist's journal, explaining how he opened the seal on the supplyship, with another Precursor device. He didn't say where he found the device, or what it looks like, however. He noted that it didn't seem to work on the other wrecks.

5 You return to Haven, and again, report to him on your findings. He suggests talking to the Chorali. He also mentions some hyperspace traces moving toward the Ixis system. He also reminds you that you do have other duties, and he tells you to escort an Alliance ambassador to the Drax homeworld (in Gamma Onyx), first. A Zoq-Fot-Pik Stinger carries the ambassador.

6 You travel to Gamma Onyx and talk to talk with the Drax officials is quickly interrupted by weapons-fire.

7 Local terrorists who don't want the Drax to join the Alliance (angry and wary from a past 'alliance' with the Druuge), hijack two Drax Fleet ships and blast the ambassador's ship to shrapnel.

8 The terrorists two hijacked Drax Fleet ships, and attack your ship.

9 Once you defeat them, the Drax officials speak to you and apologize. However, they inform you they can't negotiate with you for some time, because of civil problems. They ask forgiveness and give you a small, handheld Precursor device they found in Gamma Elonyi 7 as a gift, however. They don't know exactly what it does, but they hope it will be of use.

10 After reporting back to Haven, he says he's been informed that anywhere from ten to fifty Druuge Maulers that just appeared in the Ixis system. They were probably the hyperspace traces we've seen. He warns you to be prepared for trouble when you next go to the Ixis sytem. He tells you that you should go speak with the Chorali, now.

11 You then go off to speak with the Chorali. If you ask them, they'll tell you the handheld device looks remarkably similar to the one they used, but more advanced.

11 When you reach the wrecks, you find 30 Druuge ships surrounding them. They tell you the wrecks are now Crimson Corporation property, and to leave immediately or be destroyed. If you leave, and don't return within 1 minute, the game ends and tells you you've failed, and that the Druuge now have the power to control the galaxy by force. If you stay, a melee battle begins where you rush through Druuge shots towards the Precursor wrecks. The 1 minute time limit still applies, however. You get extra score for destroying Maulers, though more ships come to reinforce as the 1 minute goes by, so doing this is difficult.

12 Once you reach a wreck, control is switched to it. One wreck has a weapon that creates a field of mines that spread out quickly and then engage a nexus of lasers between them. Another fires whirling green balls rather like the Sa-matra. The third launches an expanding shockwave that does massive damage to anything it touches. Any of them can easily destroy the Druuge fleet, and once that's done, you win.

Kohr-Ah and several so-far undecided oter hostiles will attack you every so often, as you wander through space (and hypersace).

TW-Light programmer,
Yura Semashko


Title: Re: TW-ligt plot
Post by: Death 999 on October 28, 2005, 07:14:47 pm
Unfortunately, due to lack of activity on this front, I shifted my focus elsewhere and would have trouble shifting it back. Also, my graduate studies are getting more demanding.