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Factions: A World in Conflict. Criticism greatly appreciated


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#1 Kenji Kousagi   Members   -  Reputation: 124

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Posted 14 January 2013 - 10:48 AM

                Let me start with a short note. I’ve been kicking this idea around for years so it has a tendency to get complicated. When I play games I like to know about the world around the game. What is the rest of the world doing during this time? How do they feel? A lot of shooter games these days involve special operations soldiers doing stuff behind the scenes. That way if they get ousted, it doesn’t really matter to the rest of the world.

               

SO! On to the meat of why you clicked on this topic in the first place. This story is built to set up a world in which I can host several games. Currently I’ve got an RTS in the works and a very rough FPS in draft. Second note: This is still rough but I touched on the main topics. It’s a lot to read so if you feel the need to skip down and just get the point, I have an overview at the end indicated in bold to catch your TLDR eyes :P

 

We’re going to start with America and Russia. Why? I’m an older-ish (27 if you gotta ask) gamer and remember the days when the bad guys were the Soviet Union and it was simple. Shoot the red guys and yatta yatta/ramble. Either way, the setting isn’t terribly far into the future and we are in a massive war. I’m talking invasions on both sides, bombings, and territories being captured. Of note: America annexes Canada and Mexico and Russia moves into England and forces them to leave their own country. The British take refuge in Africa and form the BAA (British-African Alliance, we’ll touch on them later) and Japan launches a surprise attack and claims all of Asia by force (Also touch on them later).  We’re just waiting for the first nuke to hit, which is right about to happen. America somehow gleans information about a secret weapons tech that will offset the war in Russia’s favor. The catch is the window of opportunity is narrow so we decide to hit it with the best we got and hit it with a (you guessed it) nuke. Upside is we end the war. Downside? Something in the lab reacted catastrophically with the nuke and obliterated most of northern Russia and ruined outlying areas nearby to the point of a post-apocalyptic state.

 

Fast forward some years later. Peace is again upon us and a medical lab in the southern United States makes a breakthrough discovery with genetically modified bacteria that targets and consumes impurity in the human body (cancer cells, disease, and all that good stuff). Once the bacteria is finished with its process, it is excreted as waste from the body and is all collected and shipped into the basement for further research (still being in the testing stages). Another big discovery during the same process is the manipulation of time. Think of a VCR, you can fast forward to get to the part faster, slow it down to see the frame by frame, pause it, and of course rewind. Now rewind doesn’t let you muck with the timeline, it’s pretty much used for deflecting bullets backwards and reloading your magazine with the bullets you just fired (because the bullets are outside of the timeframe being adjusted, they aren’t affected; just the magazine). Time manipulation allows for fast growth of food and the like, reusable building materials and so on.

 

Back to the basement we go. Something in the bacteria barrels being stored for testing happens and it sparks a sort of sentience. This new mind being developed figures itself captured (ever tie a dog to a rope that it doesn’t want to be tied to?) and manages to ooze out of its barrel. A scientist goes to investigate the commotion and the ooze attacks and devours his body. This causes it to gain some sort of intelligence boost and of course more noise. You know how this goes, one by one everyone gets eaten and absorbed as it gets bigger and it breaks out of the lab and starts eating the country side. This gets the military’s attention and they quarantine the area. This too gets out of hand and the military has no choice but to cleanse the area via big missile. America is trigger happy in this story :P. Like last time, radiation makes something goes wrong and it locks the ooze into an actual body and sparks an evolutionary boost and creates a hive mind.

 

With its newfound ability, this hive mind begins to spawn creatures made from the base DNA of the creatures it’s devoured. As each new creature kills and eats something, it can itself spawn more creatures. This gets out of hand quickly as one would assume, turning fallen soldiers into more killing machine bio morphs. Now struggling against an ever increasing horde, the military activates an A.I. to bolster their frontlines with machines. Think of things from UAVs to walking tanks and everything in between. The reason behind the AI is that the military is running out of soldiers to control each and every one of these machines and delegates the task to the A.I. (I call it, “The Network”). After several successful victories, The Network pushes The Hive further south.

 

After being pushed back, The Hive seeks refuge in South America and hits the jungles which are teeming with life. This causes massive growth and it devours the continent and pushes back into North America. This force is too much for The Network alone to handle and the military steps back in. Still overwhelmed, the military manages to pass a law which allows them to create clones. Thanks to advancements in technology with time manipulation, the military can create fighting soldiers in moments.

 

This recent change to the military catches The Network’s attention. The Network sees this as a step backward in humanity. It states that we are becoming like The Hive and sends the military a cease and desist order. Of course, we are America and we do what we want, so we say “no” and tell the A.I. we’re just gonna shut it down. Before the military even gets a chance, the base housing The Network’s mainframe is besieged and captured (by The Network) in an effort to survive. This causes the military to declare The Network a rogue state. Now facing war on two fronts, America is in a pretty bad situation right? Sounds like an epic time for… Russia to suddenly invade!

 

Now I know what you’re saying, “Isn’t Russia all destroyed and stuff?” or probably like, “Holy crap this is a lot to read.” Let’s take a short trip backwards.

 

The Russian weapons tech lab that caused the cataclysm was researching matter manipulation. Some genius scientist figured out a way to alter the flow of matter itself. Upon its destruction, the technology was infused with the nuke’s radiation and spread throughout the countryside and wiped out just about everything. The survivors were “seeded” with a base form of this new tech. This caused even more chaos and deaths in the aftermath. The ones that survived this were the ones able to control their newfound ability. For all intents and purposes, I want you to imagine their powers being used like magic. The whole throwing fireballs and casting healing spells and everything. So what’s left of Russia closes its borders and attempts to rebuild.

 

Back to current day, Russian soldiers step foot uncontested onto American soil. They are quickly found out by a nearby Network scouting party. Upon initial scanning, the scouts register the mutated DNA of the Russian soldiers to be Hive bio morphs and launch an attack. After dispatching the scouts, Russia moves on and comes across a military base under siege by Hive forces and goes through a WTF moment. The Russian forces come to aid the base and defeat the Hive forces in the area in effort to discover what exactly is going on. After brief history lessons and contact with American military leaders, Russia reluctantly agrees to help the Americans, if only for the greater good. They agree to a ceasefire until The Hive has been dealt with.

 

This concludes what is going to be the first part of the Setting.

 

 

If you skipped to the end I’ll give a short brief of the Factions involved.

 

America: Currently built almost entirely out of clones and uses time manipulation in their effort to stop The Hive (which they created). They also created The Network to help the fight against The Hive.

 

The Network: A linked A.I. army built out of machines developed for the purpose of protecting America from the hive. It turned against the American military due to cloning being too much like the hive.

 

The Hive: A hive mind creature built from science fiction nightmares in a medical lab. It eats anything organic and uses the raw DNA to spawn more of it to, in turn, eat even more. Never quite able to sate its hunger.

 

Russia: After a nuclear event at a weapons tech lab at the hands of America, Russia blew up and the fallout created Russian super soldiers able to wield the elements like magic. When they finally are able to invade America, they reluctantly agree to a ceasefire in order to rid the world of The Hive for the greater good.

 

Next stop, the BAA and Japan and what brings them into this. But first up, questions for you (if you’re still here) and then lots of criticism. I already have a number of questions myself answered but I want you guys to ask the questions as well, so I won’t list them. The things I need help with are as follows.

 

The Hive: Makes you think bugs right? I want to break the mold. Now at first it was a blob but when it attained hive mind status it mutated into a form of some sort. All its little mutations that it spawns will look pretty much like combinations and hybrids of animals it has eaten before. I’m having a hard time developing bio morphs as I myself just keep thinking bugs.

 

Russia: It’s magic that they’re using but I want it to seem scientific. This is a sci-fi setting, not a fantasy one. The magic in question will pretty much perform the same as you would expect from just about any RPG you can think of. Plus the big question, what were America and Russia fighting over in the first place?

 

Also, I’ve got game mechanics worked out (for the most part) but I’m unsure if here is really the place to discuss that. Again I urge you guys to poke plot holes and ask questions to help you understand better.



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#2 Stormynature   Crossbones+   -  Reputation: 2653

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Posted 21 January 2013 - 07:24 PM

The Hive: Makes you think bugs right? I want to break the mold. Now at first it was a blob but when it attained hive mind status it mutated into a form of some sort. All its little mutations that it spawns will look pretty much like combinations and hybrids of animals it has eaten before. I’m having a hard time developing bio morphs as I myself just keep thinking bugs.

 

Is your hive necessarily limited to animal DNA persay...the absorption of plant DNA could lead to more exotic bioforms being created as well creation of an entirely different landscape. Also I would suggest giving consideration to establishing a certain minimal size requirement (or similar mechanic) in order for a bioform to be viable/functional otherwise this would literally be an unstoppable foe (this is more from a loreist's perspective though). You may also use the search terms "chimera art" in order to peruse a large number of spliced animal forms (taking into account a large number of pictures will of course address the classical "chimera").

 

The Network: A linked A.I. army built out of machines developed for the purpose of protecting America from the hive. It turned against the American military due to cloning being too much like the hive.

 

You might use an analogy of non-unique DNA being the cause for it's turning against the American's i.e. the Hive produced bioforms to exact DNA maps which was one way of identifying Hive bioforms (as well possibly infiltrator types). Thus being programmed to react to this particular characteristic it rebounds on the Americans when clones created breach the same defensive protocol emplaced in the Network's programming.

 

 

This might also lead you to consider the possibility of the Network aligning itsef with the Russians who still maintain unique(individual) DNA.



#3 Kenji Kousagi   Members   -  Reputation: 124

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Posted 24 January 2013 - 05:23 AM

I love the idea about the plants. From a player's view, I could use some sort of plantlike traits as guides for "buildings". I'm also looking into chimera stuff and I notice that I could use the surrounding sea life. Things like barnacles and the like look pretty alien up close.

 

That's fanTASTIC idea for the Network's seperation. It is still friendly to civilian life I'll note. I was thinking that the huge variation between the russian DNA and American civilian DNA caused the network to lable them as a new hive bioform. Plus, I wanted a "we hate you so here we are to kill you but you're worse off than we are and we'll help you cus we're awesome" *gasp* kinda thing.



#4 RiiSEN   Members   -  Reputation: 130

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Posted 25 January 2013 - 04:29 PM

Honestly I feel as if the Russian's could use some loving. While using magic is an interesting suggestion and I'm certainly not shooting down (though it would have to be an extremely delicate and time consuming process to making it feel 'real'), what about other things that are just as powerful, such as different mutations that could have been caused by a nuclear fallout. Magic-usage could be a single mutation, and I think that especially for an rts having different extremes will make combat easier to look at strategically. 

 

Just as an example: The russian's mage-type will have an appearance of fragility, possibly withered extremities, and a voice that is quiet and seemingly passive. Adding a feeling of loss, while at the same time distinguishing that they ARE to be feared once the spells start dropping, exerting their tremendous force of will across the battlefield. However, the frontlines are dominated by extremely physically powerful men, whose arms have grown considerably in size. Their entire being has been twisted to be raw, unnatural strength of limb, who move with an ungraceful yet quick stride, whose minds only exist in a natural sense... ie they realize they need to eat, sleep, breathe, but they are otherwise unthinking. They are only controlled by chips that were implanted into their brains, so they can understand and follow orders. 

 

That was just two examples off the top of my head. The main thing I see as an issue would be trying to keep the Hive units feeling different from the Russian ones, however I think making the main fix would be to make sure the Russians still felt human, just twisted, while the Hive units felt unnatural, unhuman, cold, and expendable.



#5 Kenji Kousagi   Members   -  Reputation: 124

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Posted 27 January 2013 - 01:31 AM

Actually, Russia is my favorite. I love magic, but I wanted it t be in a non-fantasy setting (It's going to be wierd trying to pull off a fantasy mechanic in a scifi game though). So beyond my recent focus on the hive, I've got most of how Russia fuctions as an RTS faction. It's trying to explain how magic works realistically.

 

Mechanically wise, I was thinking Russia's strategy was in squad composition. The player starts with basic squads and can add other units to it to really create his own squads. I like the idea of fallout induced mutation. That adds a whole level of customization from the players view. I would just need to keep the mutations subtle when compared to the hive. A second thought I just had for Russia. I could add some sort of trained war dog, complete with their own mutation.



#6 Stormynature   Crossbones+   -  Reputation: 2653

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Posted 27 January 2013 - 09:25 AM

Have you given consideration to the Russians having developed along psionic lines? This is also akin to magic by some interpretations - provides you with a mental link for the "war dog" and there is considerable evidence that Soviet Russia invested quite heavily into researching this avenue during the cold war.



#7 Kenji Kousagi   Members   -  Reputation: 124

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Posted 28 January 2013 - 01:34 AM

It's actually along the lines of how i came to the magic thought. Kinda like a subtle telekinetic ability to use raw elements. If I add in the ability to utilize some sort of mind control, that helps my storyline itself.

 

The American military is trying to stop the hive by killing lesser hiveminds on the way up to the big guy (think zerg/tyranid). Russia can skip steps and use the hive to fight itself and later serve their own purposes. Then when America's allies step in to help the fight russia could become the badguy again. My mind is flowing with ideas now @.@


Edited by Kenji Kousagi, 28 January 2013 - 01:36 AM.


#8 LorenzoGatti   Crossbones+   -  Reputation: 2460

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Posted 30 January 2013 - 03:22 AM

  • Time manipulation, as described, is going to be a wellspring of have-your-cake-and-eat-it-too paradoxes (e.g. energy/matter out of nothing) and ugly ad-hoc, hard to learn game rules.
    As an alternative gimmick for the Americans, I suggest a cliché supersoldier secret program (combat drugs, cyberware, genetic alterations, anything else you see fit) providing easy to understand, no-surprise subjective time dilation (in practical terms, extreme "bullet time") and the strength to actually move fast, rather than a very ill-defined telekinetic ability. Mandatory reading: H.G. Wells, The New Accelerator.
  • Too many soldiers. Superpowers have no reason to be limited to government employees, and independent characters are going to be involved in the world crisis.
  • The initial limited world war seems unlikely and unnecessary. I'd prefer rogue states against larger powers, for example terrorists nuking Russia and USA ramping up military R&D to cold war levels as "war on terror" becomes a war on whole countries.

Produci, consuma, crepa

#9 Kenji Kousagi   Members   -  Reputation: 124

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Posted 31 January 2013 - 02:35 AM

The time alteration needs some hammering out the more I look at it. My mind has been more occupied withother stuff at the moment. Genetic modification isn't totaly outside the realm of possibilities either. Especially when it comes to clones.

 

I like the rogue states idea. The reasoning behind why a small group can be looser than that of a whole country. I can easily change stuff around without affecting the setting as a whole.

 

It's late at the moment and it's been along day, so I'm having a hard time with what you mean by the "Too many soldiers". If anything, it's more of a mechanics from a player's perspective thing. Ex. why is it a player can train unlimited amounts of units from the barracks or how come nobody ever has to worry about running out of ammo?

 

The story driven part of the game will feature unique people (in regards to the clones). I just need to fill the role of random soldier A and clones fit the bill easily.



#10 LorenzoGatti   Crossbones+   -  Reputation: 2460

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Posted 31 January 2013 - 08:26 AM

It's late at the moment and it's been along day, so I'm having a hard time with what you mean by the "Too many soldiers". If anything, it's more of a mechanics from a player's perspective thing. Ex. why is it a player can train unlimited amounts of units from the barracks or how come nobody ever has to worry about running out of ammo?

 

The story driven part of the game will feature unique people (in regards to the clones). I just need to fill the role of random soldier A and clones fit the bill easily.

Cloned mooks should be fine; there are "too many soldiers" in your writeup only in the sense that the story appears to be too much about governments (and their nonhuman counterparts) against each other rather and too little about memorable and autonomous individual characters.

Choosing as a protagonist some heroic soldier who gets ordered around and receives missions might be a serious limitation; meeting many enemy troops and few interesting people might be quite boring.

I also think that the setting you describe tends naturally to interesting "civilian" social developments: sorcerer gangs, mutant gangs, newtech suddenly reaching the street, people aligning with the military AI (maybe computer addicts?) or with the Hive (human sacrifices to keep peace?), standard wartime stereotypes (black market, masses of refugees, nihilism) and radioactivity stereotypes (dying people who refuse to leave the wasteland, mutants, brief visits to hot zones), etc.


Produci, consuma, crepa

#11 Kenji Kousagi   Members   -  Reputation: 124

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Posted 03 February 2013 - 04:40 AM

It's just my setting for the world that my game takes place in. I just needed to work the kinks out of the world's history. As for the game, the story will follow smaller nit groups depending on what factions campaign your playing through. Expect typical RTS level of story. Im just a sucker for backstory and lore.

 

Alot of the things that make up each faction I took from lots of sources. The hive is based from Zerg and Tyranid (Starcraft and Warhammer) for an example.






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