The Radio & Immersion

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The Radio & Immersion

Postby ShaneDalton » Fri Sep 27, 2013 3:04 am

Since Immersion is a major element of this project, I was thinking as to how we could use simple elements to create atmospheric experiences that the player remembers for a long time. The first once that came to my mind was the radio, imagine travelling in space one late night alone, but suddenly the radio begins outputting some alien sound that's unintelligible. Now, depending on the radio type the player can choose to trace back the signal and find out what's sending this signal. This sort of mystery adds much too the immersion of the game, and helps provide memories that will stick with a player for a long time. Of course, the same can be applied to hearing morse code, or butchered human speech as a hostile alien attempts to lead you into a trap.

Any thoughts or opinions?
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Re: The Radio & Immersion

Postby kibbles » Fri Sep 27, 2013 2:48 pm

ShaneDalton wrote:Since Immersion is a major element of this project, I was thinking as to how we could use simple elements to create atmospheric experiences that the player remembers for a long time. The first once that came to my mind was the radio, imagine travelling in space one late night alone, but suddenly the radio begins outputting some alien sound that's unintelligible. Now, depending on the radio type the player can choose to trace back the signal and find out what's sending this signal. This sort of mystery adds much too the immersion of the game, and helps provide memories that will stick with a player for a long time. Of course, the same can be applied to hearing morse code, or butchered human speech as a hostile alien attempts to lead you into a trap.

Any thoughts or opinions?

This is a pretty good idea. Open world games should give all the direction the player wants while also giving them as much direction as they need; they can ignore this direction if they dislike it. A radio could be a good start to this process, but we'd have to link it to some sort of NPC on the other end sending a signal that ends up unintelligible.
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Re: The Radio & Immersion

Postby Talvi » Fri Sep 27, 2013 5:49 pm

I like this idea... Not so much the morse code, if you're expecting the player to actually translate it. I know morse code to an extent (I wanted to become a pilot once upon a time), but the average player probably won't take the time to look up even S.O.S., is my bet. The garbled speech, though, would be easy to handle.

One thing we'd have to be careful of is a lack of variety - if garbled speech always means, "It's a trap!" then players will quickly learn to ignore any signals like these. I'm personally of the opinion that there should be a variety of options that branch off in different directions the farther you advance down the mini-story of whatever you've encountered. In other words, variety inside variety - it keeps things fresher. Over the course of a longer game, the player is still probably going to encounter all the various options, but it's not as bad as "Okay, garbled transmission, this could be a couple different things."

An example:

You hear a garbled signal. Its source is either
- A. an alien ship, B. a human ship, or C, a derelict beacon. There could be other reasons, but I'm throwing these out there.
Now, depending on what it turns out to be, not just one, but a variety of things can happen. Take C. above, for example, it could turn into:
- A. the human ship is being chased by aliens who attack you (they were trying to warn you to stay away), B. the ship is being chased by aliens who attack you (they were trying to lure you in to provide a distraction to save themselves), C. the ship was long since abandoned, and is relatively safe, D. the ship is abandoned because, say, the DCPU has a malicious code in it that killed its occupants, E. the garbled transmission is legit and there are actually NPCs there that "need your help", F. the humans on the ship aren't actually in trouble, but are pirates who try to lure you out of your ship to attack you, etc.
There could be different "rewards" to whatever happens, like the player striking up a trading alliance with the home planet of the inhabitants of the ship (for a rescue mission), or finding something of value among the rubble, or perhaps no reward at all and you're just lucky you managed to save your skin.

It's a ministory inside the game that allows players to choose the direction they take. They could of course, like Kibbles said, be completely ignored at the player's whim, but if the player doesn't want to pursue it, they don't have to.

It really bugs me when you're able to predict what a random event means every time because it only means one thing... it really breaks the immersion, rather than helping it.
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Re: The Radio & Immersion

Postby ShaneDalton » Sat Sep 28, 2013 1:05 pm

I'd imagine we'd have the option for a morse code translator, and yeah the radio would be used for other things instead of just it's a trap scenarios. SOS calls you can respond to would be great as well, the radio can be used for many things. As well as just well normal radio calls of course.
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Re: The Radio & Immersion

Postby Talvi » Mon Sep 30, 2013 4:04 am

I do like the idea of the radio remaining as just that - a radio. We should come up with some other form of long-distance communication... something that makes sense. Perhaps you could link two ships together, or even a set of handheld radios, with quantum entanglement... Whatever it is, it should probably be cheapish.

I've also been thinking about /all chat... It's usually a pretty important aspect of a game, but it would be incredibly easy to just enable/disable /all chat for a particular server. Also... if we needed a way to justify it scientifically, if there were a few central planets where you could link your ship up to (via quantum entanglement, as mentioned above), if one person sent a message to the "hub", the "hub" could send it to all the other ships - You have your instant "/all" chat, and it makes sense. Well, as far as theoretical science goes, anyway.
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Re: The Radio & Immersion

Postby Eximius » Tue Oct 01, 2013 4:11 am

Without getting too in-depth into the gameplay mechanics of the radio in other cases (ie broadcasting vs directed transmission (so people cant intercept so easy, etc)), this type of broadcast has interesting implications.

This sort of thing could be done in a very cool way. The server does this at pseudorandom time intervals: it checks for empty sectors with no ships in transit there, further, no ships in, say 2-3 sectors (meaningless, but you get the idea.. there needs to be some space). It then generates an encounter like Talvi was outlining (also random). It then broadcasts the signal to all ships in range. The interesting thing about this is... more than one player/ship could receive the transmission.

Say it's a ship calling for help, being raided by pirates. There are 3 pirate ships that have disabled a cargo ship halfway to it's destination station. The pirates disabled the engines but the cargo ship just barely had time to send out a distress signal before it's communicatoins were knocked offline. Then, 4 player ships show up. They fight off the pirates and escort the cargo ship to the station. The corporation employing the ship rewards the players. Or maybe the corporation doesn't and simply thanks the players. However, the captain of the ship thought you should have some reward, so he offers his services as a favor some time. If you ever need to transport some good - any good at all - he'll do it once for you to pay you back.

idk. But I do like this.
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Re: The Radio & Immersion

Postby clonk2u » Wed Oct 09, 2013 5:04 pm

I think there should also be a VOIP function for the radio, so hearing voices over it would be more normal than if it was just npcs using it.
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Re: The Radio & Immersion

Postby ShaneDalton » Sun Oct 13, 2013 12:10 pm

That is an amazing idea! I wish I had thought of it... :lol: Yes, that is a must in radio.
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Re: The Radio & Immersion

Postby clonk2u » Sun Oct 20, 2013 9:30 pm

Ok, I realized that if the radio has VOIP, there should also be some way for computers to transmit and receive from them(think Morse code or some equivalent).
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