Gameplay Stories, pre-game

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Gameplay Stories, pre-game

Postby Talvi » Fri Oct 04, 2013 11:27 am <-- As per this topic, I'm going to write a bit about what I imagine a player's experience with Trillek might be like on their first go. Don't kill me. Croxis took one for the team by suggesting it, and now I'm biting the bullet myself by posting this up. I'm fully aware this is likely to start huge discussions. Really, that's what this is for. But easy on the criticism. This is akin to concept art or fan art, just in a literary sense. Discussions yes, hate mail no.

I'll be following the "adventures" of an unnamed player and his ingame avatar, Elijah Bailey. (yes, that's a reference.) I'm still kind of shaken up from other stuff that's been going on in Real Life, and it's 4:30 in the morning, so... my writing won't be at its best. But, here's me giving it my best shot.

I may write about multiplayer later, but I'm going to start with single player and the tutorial for now, more for my own sake than anything else. I need to get into the swing of things again, and get a feel of the atmosphere.

I AM TAKING MANY ARTISTIC LIBERTIES HERE. I'm not full of myself. >.> (whatever helps me sleep at night, right?) Anyway, you have been warned. and please forgive any typos or mistakes. I didn't get a chance to check it over - dead tired and passing out at the keyboard.

The premise is that the player is from Earth, was in cryosleep in an advanced ship, and woke up to find his ship was under attack by pirates. The player learns gameplay basics while traveling through his ship, battles through the enemy ship learning non-ship combat basics, and then settles in to learn to pilot a ship without the DCPU, while taking out an enemy fighter. Following this the player has to learn DCPU basics to get to known space. That'll be the hardest part of the tutorial, and will likely involve a step-by-step kind of thing. The whole operation has to be low-risk, but you still get killed if you're stupid.

A Rude Awakening

Elijah awakened on his ship, his surroundings pitch black and silent as the dead. He was strapped tightly to the back of a cryostasis tube. He had no sense of time, no sense of sight or smell. He blinked his eyes for a moment, trying to clear them, but his efforts were unsuccessful. Blind and deaf, and having nothing else to do, Elijah began to think over his history, and how he came to be where he was. (I'm explaining away a black screen with intro text.) He'd left Earth by himself what seemed only a few moments before... He could remember the events with perfect clarity, and he recalled them in his mind as he waited for his vision to return. (Insert whatever here. The following is just to fill in the blank.)

It seemed only yesterday that he'd launched his ship, the Europa, from Earth. Ten years before it, the nations of Earth had finally put aside their petty differences and united in a desperate attempt - humanity's last stand - to save the human race. Aliens - the Trillek - had invaded without warning, bombarding the planet's surface with bioweapons, and shooting down any stray fighters that dared come close. The battle had been long, fought both amidst the stars and amidst the blue skies below, but humanity prevailed... or at any rate, the Trillek retreated. But all was not well: The biosphere was breathing its final breaths, with entire forests shriveling and decaying. Huge portions of Europe and North America were experiencing severe droughts, and the polar ice caps were melting at an exponential rate. Worst of all, crops were even harder to sustain, food prices were skyrocketing, and there seemed to be little anyone could do to stop it. The teeming populations of the globe were slowly starving to death, with thousands being added to the tolls. It had gotten to where nobody even cared to count and catalog the dead - there were simply too many - and all because of an unwarranted attack by an alien civilization. Humanity desired two things: Escape, and revenge.

Slowly, sound returned to Elijah's ears - the buzzing of electricity, and crackling of fires - two of the most dreaded sounds of any astronaut. His eyes snapped open, and through a haze, he was able to make out the blue plexiglass shield of his cryostasis tube, and even without the fires crackling in the distance, it was immediately obvious that something had gone horribly, horribly wrong. His cryotube's lid was cracked open, large fragments, melted, missing, or fallen to the floor. As his ears continued to adjust, Elijah began to hear the unfamiliar rat-a-tat of his ship's turrets. Without a moment's hesitation, his hands flew to the straps that bound him to the back of the tube, unlatching them one by one. Then, free of his restraints, he paused for a moment. (this is where I would have the player assume control... maybe with a little popup tooltip about "Press F to melee" or something similar.)

With a shove, Elijah melee'd the curved door of his cryostasis tube, cringing as sharp blue shards flew, the aged plexiglass shattering into pieces. With a few more stout hits, the door finally gave way. His tube should've opened on its own - only an emergency could've wakened him so early. The lights about him flickered unsteadily, but they were dim - his ship was on reserve power. As he took a few shaky steps onto the floor, electrical pads and IV needles pulled away from his skin, their wires and tubes dangling limply behind him. Swaying, he steadied himself with a spacesuit display case to keep from falling over, and then began walking hurriedly towards the door. He could hear the pinging noises of bullets hitting the outer hull of his ship, and he dreaded what it could mean. He was under fire.

Before he could leave the room, a female's artificial voice toned in smoothly: it was the voice of his advanced shipboard computer, which he'd so prided himself on when he'd bought the Europa. "Hull breached and destroyed in sections A21 and F07," it explained capably. "Life support and power generators at minimal capacity. It would be advisable to equip an EVA suit before exiting the cryostasis lab." (It could say more throughout the tutorial, giving helpful hints. I'm leaving it at this, though.) Elijah paused immediately, and then turned back towards the display case he'd leaned against only moments before. Bracing himself, he melee'd the glass until it shattered, and then removed the suit, placing it in his inventory momentarily before equipping it. (The way I imagine this might work is getting the "space suit" with a key, maybe E or something. It shows up in a hotbar, perhaps something like in Minecraft, and then you equip it by selecting it (maybe with mouse scrolling through the icon list) and pushing another key - maybe U, for instance. The player might be helped along with a popup box for the duration.)

With his suit equipped, Elijah eyed his HUD's health bar, which was dangerously low, and was thankful that his suit's bar, beside it, could still take a few hits. With this, he headed back towards the door and pressed on it, meaning to open it. Normally, it would have slid open with a quiet hiss, but this time, it merely threw sparks, emitting a grinding noise that was muffled by his spacesuit. With the air of an experienced mechanic, Elijah calmly undid the box to the right of the door that held the door's power assembly, and with a flashlight, peered around at the innards. Above him, there was the sound of a giant explosion, and his ship's main, top-mounted turret fell silent as the walls about him seemed to shake from the blast. In the distance he could hear his other turrets still pinging away, but they lacked the bravado of his automated main gun. Quickening his work, he located the broken components and, with the help a spool of duct tape attached to his waist, taped both broken rods back together, and then closed the machinery casing. (Note, I'm leaving a good portion of the story up to the player's interpretation... might not be the best idea. Personally, I think he was a greedy bastard that abandoned the rest of humanity to save his own skin. As to the repairs - I'm guessing maybe repairs could be done by locating the correct component and either quick-fixing (duct-taping), or replacing parts - which would involve opening up a separate menu. Right now, he's just quick-fixing so he can get out of the room. I don't think he cares about more than a few uses.)

Elijah walked over to the door again and pressed upon it, and finally, with a grinding noise, it slid open - although far slower than it should have. As soon as it started, air began to escape the room with a whoosh, broken pieces of glass flying out through the widening gap. The escapee threw himself away from the doorway in a hurry to avoid being impaled by the shards and debris that came rushing towards him. (ARTISTIC LIBERTIES AHOY. The game might have a popup that explains "Debris thrown by escaping air can damage your suit, so stay out of the way" - that's a new mechanic. haven't seen that in games before. It ought to be simple to program in - just a few moving particle textures and a zone where you take damage at a random rate.) When the door finally finished opening, it ground to a halt, and Elijah moved back over to get the first glimpse he'd had of his ship in close to a thousand years.

The room outside the door was a hallway T-junction, its roof perforated with bulletholes, and the burns of a missile strike surrounding a particularly large hole near one edge. (Nobody's talked about damaged rooms before. Not sure if that's a no-go.) The door to his right, towards the engine room, was clearly damaged beyond repair, so Elijah jogged over to the other door and opened it, breathing a prayer of thanks as it slid open smoothly. In this way, he continued towards the front of his ship, and the cockpit. Unfortunately, when he arrived, he was met with a surprise.

The cockpit was blown open and absolutely unrepairable - the majority was open to space, and he could see the stars beyond, slowly spinning with his ship's gentle motion through the void. The gravity generator was offline for the entire area, and he turned on his suit's thrusters. to compensate. (From what I understand, we've decided on suit thrusters, more or less. You don't want them active while walking around, so... A toggle key would be nice. In environments with gravity, they would function only as an extended "jump" (spacebar, probably). After getting used to the thrusters and checking the energy bars of his suit, he ventured a look around. Above him, a miniturret rattled and clanked, and he looked up towards it - it was dangled at an awkward angle, firing in a particular direction. With extreme caution, he used his thrusters to propel himself outwards towards one of his cockpit's windows, and sighted a ship - apparently human, as the name "RAVAGER" was clearly painted across the side of it. The manufacturing seemed alien to him, though... and he wondered where he was, and how long he had been asleep.

The miniturret continued firing at the Ravager, which in turn was apparently attempting to destroy the turret. The Ravager had apparently taken heavy damage from the Europa's weaponry, and despite being a smaller ship, was managing to hold its own. Suddenly, something changed, and the window next to where he stood began cracking as bullets from the Ravager pounded against it - they'd seen him, and they were looking to kill. Backing away with his thrusters, Elijah propelled himself over a gaping hole in the cockpit's floor, barely seconds before the window exploded in a missile's fireball. (I realize this may be a bit more destructive than we can manage... easily fixed. The window can still be there, we'd just need a fireball. lol - plus. Artistic liberties. *glares* >.> Oh, and if the player ventures out of the ship, wham, he gets killed by weaponfire. Finish the tutorial. (You could easily have an option to skip the tutorial altogether...)) Realizing that there was nothing to do amidst the ruined, smoking pieces of equipment floating about the destroyed cockpit, Elijah headed towards the far door. It was damaged, just as the one to the cryochamber had been, but he knew how to repair it. It wasn't long before he was traveling back through the ship's corridors.

The far side was damaged less than the other had been, and he was forced to duck instinctively out of the way of escaping debris, as he opened up a sealed-off area. The power generator was clearly failing, and the only sign of the ship's alarms, silent in the airless hallways, were slow-flashing red lights near the floor. (Honestly, why are "red alert" lights always towards the ceiling? It makes more sense to give more light to the floor - where you're stepping. End rant. Also, I'm being lazyish now, it's 7:20 AM and I haven't slept yet. Wanting to finish this up.) Before long, Elijah came to an interior airlock, and waited until the air pressurized inside before continuing.

The alarms were sounding loudly through the ship, but the sound of weaponry had completely ceased. Elijah was sure the enemy was trying to board. It was clear what they were - pirates. He wouldn't let them take control of his ship.

TO SUM THE REST UP: He goes back through the ship, finds a weapon, finds medigel, or something similar - heals his wounds up a bit, or patches himself, or something (honestly, medical realism in a game would be absolutely horrible). His ship's computer is warning him during this time that he doesn't have long before the ship's (primitive) alcubierre drive implodes on itself - it was badly damaged. Therefore, all the advanced computer tech gets destroyed. No harm done to the universe's atmosphere. An enemy human pirate board his ship, he fights him off, and then thrusters off into the void towards the Ravager... which, if the player is successful at completing the tutorial, will become the player's new ship. And it has a DCPU.

Yay, done. sort of. I'm taking a shortcut at the end, because I went way overboard with length.

Don't hate me... lol
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Re: Gameplay Stories, pre-game

Postby JTxt » Thu Oct 10, 2013 7:59 pm

Nice! You put allot of thought and effort into this. Thanks for sharing!
(I don't have much else to say right now.)
Art Lead
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Re: Gameplay Stories, pre-game

Postby Defoliater » Tue Oct 15, 2013 6:18 pm

This is awesome! I think an intro like this is much better than a proper tutorial, as it throws you right in the action.
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Re: Gameplay Stories, pre-game

Postby Talvi » Thu Oct 17, 2013 5:21 am

Thanks! I may not be able to continue it, however - I'm elbows-deep in another project. If anybody wants to pick up the torch, feel free. (:
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