Comprehensive storyline assembly

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Comprehensive storyline assembly

Postby djetty » Sun Oct 20, 2013 11:20 pm

The writing team has been pretty decentralized and unorganized lately, and there's not even the slightest semblance of a general consensus on how to piece together the story fragments we have right now. I'm going to dedicate this thread to come up with an agreeable story that covers all of the necessary territory. I will list some ideas considered these past few months and discuss their strengths and weaknesses.

DarkSpartan: I apologize if I'm overstepping any boundaries with this. I was going to ask permission, but you haven't been on IRC for the past few days. Hopefully I'm not doing any harm.


Before I continue, I'd like to remind you all that we should be aiming for sandbox over RPG, so above all the story should give a simple, straightforward motive for the player to go down whatever path he chooses. One example of such a path would be space piracy. I think the story should be gritty and embrace dark humor, which would reinforce the player's ability to loot ships and raid space stations and planets and such. This would suggest a large lack of law enforcement in space. The obvious answer to this would be an end of the primary order of civilization, but there are more that I'll mention later. Other paths would be interplanetary commerce, colonization, etc. The story should give a pretext for their chosen route in the game - a simple, non-convoluted motive which doesn't require continual complicated additions to the story to keep their choices relevant.

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So. The very first issue, which essentially determines the foundation for the entire story, is the reason we give for 16-bit computers coinciding with FTL space travel and planetary colonization. Obviously there's a huge gap in technology there. That goes without saying. The way I see it, these are our options, which have been discussed in other threads:

    1. AI rebellion . Computers gain sentience, causing a war that collapses the entire previous civilization. This is why in the present day, only very archaic technology is used for computing, to prevent such a thing from happening again. I personally think this is very, very, very overdone, and it reminds me too much of Skynet and demands perhaps a too maximal complicated explanation for the scope of the story (I think) we're aiming for, but I admit that does fit the bill for explaining the gap between FTL and computing. I believe it was radar37 who came up with the original concept, and a much more detailed backstory by Taivi is available here. While I think it's a very fine story, I believe that we should aim for a more minimal, inventive background, and avoid dumping walls of text on the player.

    2. A simple collapse of the entire civilization as a result of poor communication between a massive amount of remote colonies. The lack of information flow leads to large gaps in knowledge for many planets and solar systems, causing a mass decline in some areas of technology, including computing. DarkSpartan has a more detailed version here. I apologize if I misrepresented the concept, I was kind of appropriating the ideas mentioned to fit into the current problem I'm discussing. My main issue is that the backstory it's supported by would demand too specific of details for regions and cultures, which is in conflict with the random generation of the game world.

    3. At the dawn of regular space colonization and commercially available spacecrafts, we simply found FTL travel in a message on the outskirts of our solar system. This is an idea I put out here in more detail. Just as interplanetary commerce and expansion towards space is starting to become commonplace, a scouting ship intercepts a mysterious radio signal looping a binary message, which is apparently several hundred million years old. The ship records it, and the scientific community studies it, eventually deciphering it, seeing that it is an unknown foreign language (probably a largely logical and practical language). Eventually it is decoded, and it is realized to be formulas describing the processes for how FTL travel can be achieved. It's immediately applied to spacecraft technology, allowing for mass space travel. In the present day, this technology is fairly new, so intergalactic expansion of civilization hasn't exactly occurred yet. I know this sounds ridiculous, but before you dismiss this, please read the full post, it's described more elegantly and detailed there.

    I think this is a strong story because it offers a variety of options for what the player can set out to do, with every path equally as valid. I think it's fairly original (not that it hasn't been done at all before), and is very flexible, without requiring huge text dumps ingame. It also resolves the entire issue from one pivotal period of divergence, not requiring a lengthy chain of events leading up to the present state of things. Obviously I'm more biased towards my own idea, but the purpose of this thread is to weigh out our options and try to come up with a consensus, so critique the hell out of it if you want. The only main flaw I personally see with it are that it doesn't fully solve the problem of the distance between technologies, as they were still using 16-bit computers when space colonization started do occur, but it certainly does shorten the discrepancy by a lot, and I don't think it's asking too much from the players' suspension of disbelief. It's also the only non-post-apocalyptic one mentioned (I think), so there's not really as much capacity for dark humor.

    4. We don't explain it at all. I believe this is what mrout was originally enforcing. We don't absolutely require an explanation, but given the nature of the subject, I believe that the explanation for this problem projects the entire outline of whatever story we use.

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I will bring up other disputes later, but I've been typing away at this for way too long, so I'll do it later, assuming this thread even takes off.

State your cases for which path you want to take, thoroughly explaining why you think it works the best and why it specifically triumphs over the others, or write up an entirely new option if you see it fit. Keep the discussion civil, and don't take offense to any criticism. I think everyone's ideas have been great and well written so far, it's just a matter of choosing the one that fits the demands best.

EDIT: I have a few more disputes in mind right now (including the "first 5 minutes of gameplay"), but I think that until we have a resolution to this first problem, we can't accurately solve the rest. We should probably piece it together in a linear fashion.
Last edited by djetty on Tue Oct 22, 2013 7:49 pm, edited 2 times in total.
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Re: Comprehensive storyline assembly

Postby clonk2u » Tue Oct 22, 2013 5:19 pm

Reviving this thread in the hopes that people will actually reply to it, and work on it.
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Re: Comprehensive storyline assembly

Postby djetty » Tue Oct 22, 2013 8:42 pm

Thanks. Non-writers, feel free to weigh in on this too.
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Re: Comprehensive storyline assembly

Postby Defoliater » Thu Oct 24, 2013 7:51 pm

The first option would let us have robot enemies that could be looted for electronic components. Or we could not explain it at initially and let the player learn about history and lore as they progress.

Actually, I think that not explaining at first would be the best way, then players would have the option to just play the game, or get an in-depth story.
...
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Re: Comprehensive storyline assembly

Postby djetty » Fri Oct 25, 2013 6:39 pm

Defoliater wrote:The first option would let us have robot enemies that could be looted for electronic components.

That's kind of just a case of the tail wagging the dog, and it's a very specific thing to warrant basing the entire story around. I'm also pretty sure that the consensus is that we won't have non-human enemies, and planning for any NPCs (among the coders/designers at least) is a very long ways down the road.

Defoliater wrote:Or we could not explain it at initially and let the player learn about history and lore as they progress.

Actually, I think that not explaining at first would be the best way, then players would have the option to just play the game, or get an in-depth story.
Trillek isn't meant to be an RPG-like game, so an RPG-like narrative wouldn't really fit in. I'm pretty strongly advocating the idea of just having a simple, strong message at the beginning of the game that will support the player's decisions without the need for continuing story progression. Keep in mind that this is a sandbox game. I'm not opposed to having tidbits of information pertaining to the story floating around for the players to find, but think about how this would apply to a randomly generated game with no linear goal and endless space.
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Re: Comprehensive storyline assembly

Postby KirksEchoingScream » Thu Oct 31, 2013 3:16 am

I think the premise should be very simple, and not peg the player into any one role like pirate, mercenary, explorer, etc. People should get to be who they want to be. To facilitate that the backstory should just be a reason why human space colonization is like this, not what the player's goals are.
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Re: Comprehensive storyline assembly

Postby djetty » Sat Nov 02, 2013 4:57 pm

KirksEchoingScream wrote:To facilitate that the backstory should just be a reason why human space colonization is like this, not what the player's goals are.
Every story listed accomplishes that right from the get-go. I think the story's responsibility goes beyond giving a brief explanation for why there's space colonization. It should motivate the player, not just provide a little bit of exposition and expect that to satisfy all of their curiosity. I definitely agree that it should be simple and airtight, without any wasted details or complications.

KirksEchoingScream wrote:I think the premise should be very simple, and not peg the player into any one role like pirate, mercenary, explorer, etc. People should get to be who they want to be.
I don't think my story inhibits that at all. It doesn't give a list of preset routes for the player to follow; it lets them become whatever they want to and backs their decision. I didn't mean to imply that there were only a few rigid roles to follow with no flexibility.

If you can be more specific, or even write up your own story that would accomplish what you're talking about, that'd be nice.
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Re: Comprehensive storyline assembly

Postby Tamer » Mon Mar 03, 2014 10:48 pm

I think that players should be able to find pieces of the story/lore as they go through the game, for example, one might find an ancient tablet that they can have translated.
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Re: Comprehensive storyline assembly

Postby Vanshark » Tue Mar 04, 2014 3:23 am

I like option number one, but I especially like Tamer's version of it. check out his post on the Nagarians. computers don't spontaneously gain sentience, you have to transfer the consciousness of a sentient being into a computer for that effect. this way there could still be sentient computers out there, and you could have a Borg-like race still out there that you could fight from time to time. with them having obviously superior processing power, you'd have to use your wits, rather than you computer, to defeat them. and also, as others have said, you can fight robots this way.
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Re: Comprehensive storyline assembly

Postby Vanshark » Tue Mar 04, 2014 3:28 am

wait a sec, what if we got a message detailing FTL from the stars, (option 3) but the sentient computers considered it dangerous, (option 1) which results in a war that creates the collapse of civilization(option 2).

EVERYBODY HAPPY?
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