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Author Topic: Unzervalt - The Adventure Game  (Read 769 times)
Kwayne
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Unzervalt - The Adventure Game
« on: March 16, 2020, 01:59:59 pm »

My latest big brained idea involving Star Control comes from my adoration of a certain interactive fiction called Frederik Pohl's Gateway and its sequel, Homeworld, both made and published by LEGEND Entertainment. I think the setting of Gateway has some vague similarities to Star Control, mainly because both stories feature ancient alien races (Heechee and Precursors) who left powerful relics of unknown technology behind for mankind to discover, for more or less mysterious reasons. The great difference between these games is the scale of storytelling, as in Star Control one has to travel between the stars and fend off hostile aliens to discover puzzle pieces, however it's not impossible to put a magnifying glass over a small part of the universe and tell the story of at least a somewhat more detailed time and place. We know Unzervalt, how the colony looks like, who some of its inhabitants were, what were their motivations and their eventual fate. It might not be an ideal setting for a TV series, but there's enough content there to add some puzzles and adapt it into a sort of prequel text adventure.

If such a project is plausible beyond a writing exercise, I'd prefer making it look and feel either like a LEGEND title (since their relation to Star Control III) or something with C64 aesthetics (since that's my strong suit, the C64 is part of Paul&Fred's history, and another Star Control II prequel, Star Control was also released on that platform) ... or both. Nevertheless, while I spend some time studying text adventures of old, I'd post some thoughts on the story & puzzles here while keeping it all open to advice and suggestions.
« Last Edit: March 16, 2020, 02:03:05 pm by Kwayne » Logged

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Krulle
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Re: Unzervalt - The Adventure Game
« Reply #1 on: March 18, 2020, 10:04:29 pm »

Intrigueing.
The story of a kid, born to two scientists stranded on a mission, and now colonists.

And the knack of this kid to have a feel for how precursor machines and computers work.
And in the end, getting exploited into making an old man look good with the kids achievements.

Of how the kid learns to live in an environment foreign to Humans, a lot of freedom, but also living in a small society, with only limited, self-grown/self-madr supplies.

I do indeed see a big chance for a C64 adventure here....
Monkey-Island style, one person running around solving riddles, with the final goal of making the big, unknown machinery in a big, artifical cave work. and keeping it running...
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Kwayne
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Re: Unzervalt - The Adventure Game
« Reply #2 on: March 19, 2020, 11:14:36 am »

Initially I rejected the idea of making Zelnick the player character, but the way you described it sounds like it provides a lot more puzzle crafting opportunities and makes more sense narrative-vise. Originally I wanted a young adult officer find the kid and help him, but there's something inherently limiting in playing as a kid in terms of access to tools and locations, and the way grownups treat them, which creates an obstacle course adults don't have to deal with in creative ways.

Currently I plan to divide the game into three chapters. One is about Zelnick finding his way into the (hollow) Precursor Computer and managing to operate something noticeable only to Farnsworth, leading to their first encounter. The second is about exploring the colony and the caves a couple years later, concluding in the activation of the facility. The third would be about activating the ship itself a decade later.

Noticeably my idea of how each chapter plays out is getting more vague as the game progresses, though what's actually written in document is heavily focusing on the mid chapter and it's puzzles, because honestly that's the fun part. Chapter 2 is where the entire Unzervalt thing can be unwrapped, exploring ideas about building materials, domesticating Ortogs, hunting Libbixx, officers and scientists assuming new roles more fitting to colonists, and what the early history of a new community is like.
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Re: Unzervalt - The Adventure Game
« Reply #3 on: May 18, 2020, 02:26:44 pm »

I like it.

Alas, I am neither good in graphics, nor in coding, nor in whatever relevant to create games.

keep me updated!

PS: keeping the Ortogs might incite revolts, as those are from the SC3 lore, which some here reject.
I don't remember them being present in the SC2 lore.
(I personally found them one of the better ideas of SC3. - One I acutally really liked, independent from the idea of what the Ortogs were...)
« Last Edit: May 18, 2020, 05:42:09 pm by Krulle » Logged
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Re: Unzervalt - The Adventure Game
« Reply #4 on: May 19, 2020, 06:06:31 pm »

For some reason this reminds me of Mardek. Space ship crashes, kid explores it, mind-merges with an alien, goes on adventures
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Re: Unzervalt - The Adventure Game
« Reply #5 on: June 09, 2020, 12:46:36 am »

The backstory detailed in the manual of SC2 mentions Ortogs as one of the species discovered on Unzervalt. Nevertheless I intend to smuggle SC3 material into the adventure in not too specific ways, like diamond-shaped automatons programmed and equipped to perform janitorial (and other) tasks and alien wildlife achieving some degree of sentience from consuming Precursor-related biomatter from left behind storages.

In general, since the adventure plays in and around a Precursor facility, anything related to the Precursors can be appropriate to hint towards, like the Slylandro, the Sa-Matra or the several artifacts left behind on different other worlds.
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Re: Unzervalt - The Adventure Game
« Reply #6 on: June 09, 2020, 10:37:03 am »

alien wildlife achieving some degree of sentience from consuming Precursor-related biomatter from left behind storages.

That must be some pretty advanced stuff then, not just some biomatter. Some advanced equivalent of the nanots the Umgah injected into the Dnyarri, perhaps?
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Re: Unzervalt - The Adventure Game
« Reply #7 on: June 15, 2020, 10:00:32 am »

I read "Lk" there.

It's indeed one part I liked a little less. Fungus growing will happen, yes, even in a nook of reality that's otherwise rather unfriendly to any form of life.
But achieving sentience on the limited amount of material it can leech energy from, with a drastically reduced evolutionary pressure?
(The main evolutionary pressure being to either grow fast and claim all energy for yourself, or to use as little energy as possible to survive as long as possible - both evolutionary paths are not advantageous for development of sentience, as the brain uses a lot of energy, but also makes an organism slow to grow.)
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Re: Unzervalt - The Adventure Game
« Reply #8 on: June 15, 2020, 02:36:42 pm »

I read "Lk" there.

Yeah, so did I.

The main problem I had with this idea is that, if taken literally, it basically translates to magic. As though everything the Precursors touched was imbued with some kind of supernatural quality (Precursor potential?) that directed all living beings' evolution towards sentience. So what I suggested is basically an attempt to give a plausible scientific explanation (for the UQM setting) for the "magic".
« Last Edit: June 15, 2020, 10:57:14 pm by PRH » Logged
Kwayne
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Re: Unzervalt - The Adventure Game
« Reply #9 on: June 22, 2020, 02:41:58 pm »

Precursors are supposed to be magical though, or at least defying our understanding of nature, which is not much of a problem in the scope of a text adventure, where the focus is on having a kid to solve puzzles and not figuring out technologies.
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Re: Unzervalt - The Adventure Game
« Reply #10 on: June 22, 2020, 03:14:02 pm »

Quote from: Arthur C. Clarke, Profiles of the Future: An Inquiry Into the Limits of the Possible
Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic.

See also Clarke's Three Laws
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Re: Unzervalt - The Adventure Game
« Reply #11 on: June 22, 2020, 05:33:37 pm »

Quote from: Arthur C. Clarke, Profiles of the Future: An Inquiry Into the Limits of the Possible
Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic.

See also Clarke's Three Laws

Which is precisely why I suggested an explanation for the "magic".

Now, I'm not suggesting that Kwayne's story gives a detailed explanation of this phenomenon, how exactly it works, and so on. The exact reasons for this... well, directed evolution may very well remain a mystery. However, I do believe that it should be a plot point in your story - that the scientists on Unzervalt should acknowledge that this is something strange, something that shouldn't happen normally, rather than take it for granted.
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Re: Unzervalt - The Adventure Game
« Reply #12 on: June 29, 2020, 02:24:46 pm »

Consider the possibility that the scientific staff never gets into contact with the Precursor magic food, as it's only part of Zelnick's secret journey into the deep caves. If no one knows about it, no one can make a sense of it.
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