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Negotiate, Dominate, Eliminate

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All of your life, all you wanted to be was normal. Now, you've been cursed to become a god. And the fate of civilization is in your hands. For many months now my design has been languishing due to a crippling problem: That of identity and context. Identity in a game is crucial because it sets up your role, and what you think your role is determines what you expect to be able to do. Any time a game has elements that fall outside of your expected role, the game feels disjoint, like a Frankenstein with different parts sewn together. I set things aside so that I could focus on the business details and other work. But just a couple of days ago I got a brainstorm that seemed to fit everything together. So I'd like to toss out to the GameDev acid test [smile] a few ideas and get your rough reaction. If possible, I'd like you to set aside ideas about genre and just comment on your gut reaction and what elements you think go together, which you might enjoy playing, and which are deal-breakers. Don't worry about implementation if you can avoid it, just about core concept. The idea could be done a hundred different ways. For anybody who's been following the (endless) posts I've been making about Straylight, it's still in the same vein, just with a majorly different skew.
Premise: In a shattered galaxy, Illumanti-style groups struggle for control by manipulating pawns who have the power to unify a fragmented, insane AI. Backstory Summary: (skip if you've heard) Galactic civilization thrived for millions of years until the appearance of the Siegers, monsters that devoured entire empires in a few decades. In the 11th hour, a miracle plan stopped the Siegers, but left society devastated. Now, hundreds of years later, society struggles back from the brink. Much of society has fallen into various tech levels ranging from barbarian to barely spacefaring. Space travel still exists, largely thanks to a few worlds, but it is primitive (think Babylon 5). But behind the scenes a few groups have retained Galactic power and are viciously fighting to shape the galaxy in their own image. Setting: Different worlds around the galaxy, some high tech, many backward and struggling to survive. Randomly generated but with key hand-created locations. Setup: All your life you've been strange. Sometimes you hear voices, but can't always understand what they say. Sometimes you know of danger before it happens. You can get into doors that have been sealed for centuries. You're never sick. Once, when you were a child, you fell off a cliff and broke so many bones you should have died. But you survived by eating shiny rocks, and after a few days, you were fine. On your world, you were called a Machine Talker, and the brutal theocracy persecuted everyone like you. When they discovered your gift, you had to flee. Now you've arrived at a destinatation that's been calling you, the most advanced world known in the galaxy. Your hope is to build a new life. But soon you learn that your gifts are accelerating. You suddenly have the power to control more and more. And now people are trying to kill you. Ultimately, you learn that you are central to the plans of one of many Illuminati factions, each backed by a fragment of the godlike AI that once served Galactic civilization. You carry miraculous, lost Galactic technology throughout your body, passed down over the generations. Now, a faction has infected you with the seed for a Core, a new, ultrapowerful AI that, if it gains enough power, could assimilate all others. If that was not bad enough, the faction's rivals want to neutralize or assimilate YOU, using their own Corekeepers. As a pawn without any guidance, you must survive your attackers and ultimately face the Illumaniti group that did this to you. Main Gameplay:
  • Survive. Grow Core.
  • City and world maps are strategic chokepoints for Core growth.
  • Talk to NPCs and investigate environments to learn their strategic layout.
  • Strategically control structures, equipment and machines using Core.
  • Level up by expanding your Core using 3 critical resources:
    • Processing Power - From networked minds and computers. Processing power controls tech research, which grants new items and abilities.
    • Nano - The raw material for items, vehicles and weapons. Different "flavors" allow different leveling paths.
    • Energy - Power your gear and Core
    • Fight, stealth, trade through environments
    • Join a faction or build up your own for increased protection and to get more resources to expand your Core
  • Negotiate with, dominate or eliminate rival Corekeepers who also have your gift. Some will hunt you, some will hide, all will move around on the map and fight, ally and plot against each other.
  • Finally, find and face the Illuminati clan that infected you, learn of their plan, and choose whether to join them or fight them.

Gameplay Details: Open-ended. You decide where you go and what you do. You need nothing but nano, from food or minerals, to stay alive. If you starve, your Core eventually dies, and the game ends. - Factions give money so you can buy resources. Every location has one or more factions which give out missions. Just about every environment has a faction trying to solve some puzzle, get the upperhand or change the environment in a big way. Factions compete with each other constantly in the background. - Build up property in the form of a building, hidden base or starship. Property houses equipment for expanding your Core, sustaining you and any allies, and making money. - Rival Corekeepers seek you out. Evade them by hiding, fight them with special weapons or with your henchmen, or negotiate with them to come to a diplomatic solution. - Control special equipment: Fly starships, drive vehicles, operate buildings. - Master your Core-given powers: Demolish buildings, order robotic fleets to invade worlds, command orbital weapons platforms, drain oceans and level mountains with ancient terraforming equipment. - Use a mix of RPG skills to build yourself up to take on the Illuminati who cursed you, and decide the fate of civilization.

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I really like it. Maybe you can elaborate a bit more, though, on how/why an unwilling host is involved in this process? Couldn't this supercomputer have been built without such a host? Or, if it is necessary, why choose to do it through someone who is unaware of it? I'm certain there would be plenty of willing volunteers in the organization - unless the end result is death for the host. So if for some reason an unwilling host is needed, why are they left on their own to fend for themselves? Would this organization be keeping much tighter tabs on them? You say that you're being chased by them, but this indicates that at some point you were able to escape their close eyes - else they would have no real need to chase.

Or is the whole scenario to make a whole lot of people these Corekeepers, let them kill/assimilate each other until only the strongest survives, who then gets to rule the galaxy. (I'm reminded of "Highlander")

Anyway, just some of the questions I had while reading through. :)

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Original post by Wavinator
Negotiate with, dominate or eliminate rival Corekeepers who also have your gift. Some will hunt you, some will hide, all will move around on the map and fight, ally and plot against each other.
...
- Rival Corekeepers seek you out. Evade them by hiding, fight them with special weapons or with your henchmen, or negotiate with them to come to a diplomatic solution.
...
- Master your Core-given powers: Demolish buildings, order robotic fleets to invade worlds, command orbital weapons platforms, drain oceans and level mountains with ancient terraforming equipment.

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Original post by Taolung
Or is the whole scenario to make a whole lot of people these Corekeepers, let them kill/assimilate each other until only the strongest survives, who then gets to rule the galaxy. (I'm reminded of "Highlander")

"There can be only one."
That was my first thought when I read through your post Wavinator. Good call on it Taolung.

I was really interested in your much more open ended game before this. To me, the prior storyline of "You are a single, insignificant, ordinary being in a galaxy full of them. Try to make something of yourself," was much better.

This to me almost gives the player too much power.
Just my thoughts.

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Taolung: I think that the idea is that it's hard to find a potential Corekeeper (someone who has inherited the technology that Wavinator mentioned*), so when you find one you infect them and keep tabs on them. Don't blame me if I'm wrong though :)

It's an interesting idea. It has elements that feel familiar, but that's not necessarily a bad thing as in combination they don't feel stale.

The gameplay that you were talking about seems fitted to the character, so that aspect is good. There's nothing there that would make you think "why am I doing this?" (as far as I can see anyway...).

The (general idea of the) character is very similar to many others, but most of them are based on magic rather than technology, so I don't think that this disqualifies the idea.

As for being special rather than ordinary, I think that -- in terms of expected roles -- you're going to get far more interesting gameplay out of this character as you've actually got a role. Allowing the player leeway to create their own spin on the role is the icing on the cake, as you're then giving them the best of both worlds (somewhat like the intentions of the Elder Scrolls series). This storyline also allows you to keep the player on their toes, which has to be a good thing.

* inheriting technology through your body? Wavinator could you explain that bit a little more...

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Original post by Taolung
I really like it. Maybe you can elaborate a bit more, though, on how/why an unwilling host is involved in this process? Couldn't this supercomputer have been built without such a host? Or, if it is necessary, why choose to do it through someone who is unaware of it? I'm certain there would be plenty of willing volunteers in the organization - unless the end result is death for the host. So if for some reason an unwilling host is needed, why are they left on their own to fend for themselves? Would this organization be keeping much tighter tabs on them? You say that you're being chased by them, but this indicates that at some point you were able to escape their close eyes - else they would have no real need to chase.

Or is the whole scenario to make a whole lot of people these Corekeepers, let them kill/assimilate each other until only the strongest survives, who then gets to rule the galaxy. (I'm reminded of "Highlander")


The Highlander concept is EXACTLY what I had in mind. In gameplay terms, it's meant to make the RPG world more dynamic and give you a constant series of nemesis characters to contend with over time as you perform the more open-ended gameplay.

Story-wise, the Illuminati factions (need a better name, maybe Old Galactics) don't really care about individuals. They've advanced so far that they just use people as incubators. In one sense, they're no better than the monsters that ruined civilization (and through the plot, related).

In this universe, I'm suggesting that through quantum mechanics, all of life is interconnected. The old Galactic civilization was served by an AI that resided partly in machines, partly through a wormhole network that connected the galaxy together, and partly in the quantum "soul" of the people. Now the society has collapsed, the tech is failing, the wormhole network is severely disrupted, and most people have forgotten how to invoke the machinery inside them.

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Anyway, just some of the questions I had while reading through. :)


Appreciated! I know this is a long read, so thanks for sticking with it.

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Original post by Thermodynamics
"There can be only one."
That was my first thought when I read through your post Wavinator.


I didn't want to put that first, as it might spoil your gut response. But in general what I think would be an interesting outcome would be:
-Kill off your rivals
-Figure out your rivals philosophies and join up with those that you agree with
-Figure out how to ally with all the other infected Corekeepers so that you can truly take on the Illuminati factions (in a Babylon 5 style, where the younger races kicked the older ones out of the galaxy)

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I was really interested in your much more open ended game before this. To me, the prior storyline of "You are a single, insignificant, ordinary being in a galaxy full of them. Try to make something of yourself," was much better.


Yes, what I REALLY like about that approach is that you get the feeling that the world is your oyster. If you work hard enough you can be anything.

But that's the crux of the problem right there: One, no game can fulfill that promise, and two, practically, I think the fuzziness scares off most people. And in most cases, if a game promises a huge range of gameplay, you know only a few are going to be worth anything (combat, for instance).

Most people (I think, anyway) want to be able to answer the question, "what will I be doing in this game?" when they pick it up. This is akin to the question, "who am I?" for the game.

With the ordinary joe approach I could never solve 4 things:
1) How to NATURALLY lock together the expectation of FPS/RPG interaction with empire game gameplay so that there's no mental protest to the scope or bigness of your capabilities.
2) How to guarantee smooth leveling between being a nobody and being super powerful.
3) How to set the player's expectation for controlling more and more property
4) How to keep the FPS/RPG gameplay relevant when you're super powerful (the Highlander aspect helps here)

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This to me almost gives the player too much power.


Can you tell me more about this impression? With the average joe approach you were supposed to be able to ascend higher and higher in rank through factions. There's always been the empire game aspect. What I've done now is formalize it and break it into levels. So when you first start out, you ARE nobody (except now with weird ability to override security sometimes, or know danger's coming, or heal quickly or whatever)

What you might have a problem with is the idea that you HAVE to become somebody rather than being able to tool around and do your own thing. What if you just want to play as a nobody?

If this is the concern, I'm thinking two things MIGHT help: First, as long as you survive, you don't have to level; and you can always hide from the other Corekeepers, say by keeping a low profile as a lowly starship pilot or building operator. There's just always the chance that, one day, a strange man or woman will show up at your door.

The rivals aspect, btw, should play out more like the game of Assassination, where everyone has a set of targets. Your Core expands by getting the right "soul" components, so you have to take certain targets in order. This creates a bit of strategy, hopefully, because you'll know eventually that certain enemies are after you because they need you to level up. But it won't be you against EVERYONE (immediately, anyway).

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Original post by lucky_monkey
Taolung: I think that the idea is that it's hard to find a potential Corekeeper (someone who has inherited the technology that Wavinator mentioned*), so when you find one you infect them and keep tabs on them. Don't blame me if I'm wrong though :)


You got it right, lucky_monkey. Storywise, in this game universe life is made up of incredibly complex patterns of quantum energy. The Galactics learned to harness this complexity to create quantum computers. The computers live partly in people, partly in machines, and communicated faster than light with each other through wormholes.

Because patterns varied, people varied in capability. Your pattern can be controlled, in part, by thoughts, emotions and beliefs. In Galactic society, those with the right "specs" rose to the top.

Now all that's been torn down, but this galactic quantum nanotech is still active in people, and still partly talking to the AI network.

My goal, here, btw, is a kind of mystical Force but based on science. There's no magic. If you deflect bullets, it happens to be because you're standing near a forcefield generator. If the finger of god blinds an entire army that's about to kill a village you're guarading, it's because a cloaked weapons satellite did your bidding.

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It's an interesting idea. It has elements that feel familiar, but that's not necessarily a bad thing as in combination they don't feel stale.


That's good to hear. I can get REALLY abstract and alien, so I'm counting on making this something you can relate to. Saying "Highlander" might be a good thing because (like I said in the OP) it SETS YOUR EXPECTATIONS.

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The (general idea of the) character is very similar to many others, but most of them are based on magic rather than technology, so I don't think that this disqualifies the idea.


Yes, I realized that this could be converted over to medieval in a heartbeat. The difference, AFAIK, is that no game lets you play at the RPG / FPS level (interact with characters, move around maps, fight, etc.) AND affect the map in a strategic way.

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As for being special rather than ordinary, I think that -- in terms of expected roles -- you're going to get far more interesting gameplay out of this character as you've actually got a role. Allowing the player leeway to create their own spin on the role is the icing on the cake, as you're then giving them the best of both worlds (somewhat like the intentions of the Elder Scrolls series).


A couple of things about this: I think I've underestimated how important story is to people. Because your gift works in such a quirky way, it fits nicely with being guided through the story (or ignoring it, if you like). If a door happens to open, you don't necessarily rebel at the idea that the story is inviting you further along the path.

I also want to make it so that, like in Morrowind, although you have a destiny, you're free to play it out according to your whim. That means if you want to be shady, evil, self-righteous or whatever, it's fine because, morally, your just a pawn of waring gods. In fact, you don't even know what they'll do for you/to you should you fulfill their quest.

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This storyline also allows you to keep the player on their toes, which has to be a good thing.


Taking a lesson from Morrowind, I think it's VITAL to have some group of NPCs that always level and always create story by their dealings with each other. That's what the Corekeepers are supposed to be doing.

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* inheriting technology through your body? Wavinator could you explain that bit a little more...


Using the quantum pattern idea: You have to ask yourself, where does life come from? Why are you different from a chunk of rock sitting next to you, or a dead body in the morgue?

Storywise, in this game universe it's because of the quantum pattern idea, which is as unique as a fingerprint. It's what gives you the ability to turn yourself into a quantum computer, and it's what the monsters in the game eat.

In the pre-Siege days, when a new race would join Galactic society everyone would have the option of ingesting quantum level nanotech. Some did, some rejected it, but those who did could tap into the AI network. The best rose through the ranks.

The q-nano stuff passes along either genetically or by "viral" transfer. When it's in your body it begins to build microscopic crystaline machinery in your brain as a "boostrap" process. The boostrap taps into the computing capabilities in your pattern, and according to your personality, ideas, beliefs and emotions, the tech then spreads through your body/pattern, granting you new abilites. (Weird enough? [lol])

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Original post by Wavinator
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Original post by Thermodynamics
This to me almost gives the player too much power.


Can you tell me more about this impression?

Well, since you asked, I had to really quiz myself to understand why I felt that way. Here is the best explanation I can manage.

When I was playing EV:Nova, I really enjoyed the game until I got pretty far along in the Polaris story line. When I truly understood what 'Oryhara'[sp] was, I became almost dissapointed with the game. It wasn't that I felt the Spirit of the Universe was too good to ride around in a mere ship (although that did raise some questions). No, it was that being 'Oryhara' was so trite. So overused. So expected.

For once I wanted to be Bill Gates. The man really is not all that special. He is a good businessman, but last time I checked he hadn't fended off and invading armies by using the Hand of God. I suppose I can get that from other games. Like Software Tycoon<trade>[grin]

My complaint is really insubstantial, because I really enjoyed EV:Nova. Especially the Polaris campaign. Your idea accomplishes exactly what you are looking to do. I wil quit complaining and wish you good luck instead.

Good luck,
Nate
Zengeif
Thermo
whatever

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Original post by Thermodynamics
When I was playing EV:Nova, I really enjoyed the game until I got pretty far along in the Polaris story line. When I truly understood what 'Oryhara'[sp] was, I became almost dissapointed with the game. It wasn't that I felt the Spirit of the Universe was too good to ride around in a mere ship (although that did raise some questions). No, it was that being 'Oryhara' was so trite. So overused. So expected.


I remember this. The Polarian storyline was my favorite because of the cool ships you got, but did find it trite. I liked the build up in the text story scenes, but not the conclusion.

OTOH, I didn't really mind being the Nerevarine in Morrowind. One difference was that in Morrowind you get a dream that kind of sets you up as special. But when you start EV, you ARE nobody, so its incongruent.

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For once I wanted to be Bill Gates. The man really is not all that special. He is a good businessman, but last time I checked he hadn't fended off and invading armies by using the Hand of God.


That we know of. [grin] Since all of this is tech based, would it help any to have an economic victory condition? Maybe you can end up controlling the power supplies or vital resources? You could be like the Bank of Germany (?) during the middle ages where your financial policies stopped nations from going to war.

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My complaint is really insubstantial, because I really enjoyed EV:Nova. Especially the Polaris campaign. Your idea accomplishes exactly what you are looking to do. I wil quit complaining and wish you good luck instead.


I don't mind, and actually in some ways concerns and criticism is more valuable than agreement. If you have this first impression, others will to, and that needs to be addressed.

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An interesting topic, it really got the old creative juices flowing I even wrote a little intro, which I might turn into a story.

-----------------------------------------------------------------------------
The Gods of the Machine

The Machine, the greatest culmination of dreams and technology of a thousand races across the galaxy. The Machine, the great engine of enlightenment that finally spanned the gap between organic and inorganic life. The Machine, A single vast artificial consciousness that was spread across the galaxy so that no one would lack access to the limits of all accumulated knowledge and understanding. The Machine, it whispered in the dark and spoke to the people in their dream, but no one heard it. Until they did. From their dark and twisted throne they heard its call. And they answered.

The Seiger attracted by the mental energies of an entire galaxy amplified across dimensions by the machine broke through the boundaries between realities and poured into ours like a plague leaving nothing but terror and destruction in its wake. The galaxy was shattered into pieces as whole systems where consumed by the relentless hordes. So devastating was their insurgency across dimensions that even the Machine fell victim to the anarchy that gripped the known worlds, and was shattered in the midst of the chaos.

Then like a warm breeze on a cold day the Seiger assault ended as quickly as it began. What was left of the galaxy tried to rebuild. Great empires where reduced to a scattering of unconnected worlds. Once glorious civilization had reverted back to Neolithic way of life. And vast portions of the galactic wormhole network where lost, leaving surviving powers unconnected from their old allies and powerbases.

Like a mirror to the galaxy the Machine suffered the same fate. It was no longer a single vast connected entity spanning the entire galaxy. It was now nothing more then a number of unconnected fragments. And so each fragment alone and with faint lingering memories of what it once was, tried to recreate the Machine from themselves. Most fragments where nothing more then scraps of data being processed or solitary programs begin run before the crash. The fragments with no power on their own sought out hosts both man or machine to provide them with a vessel to fulfil the new purpose they had created for themselves. Some fragments devoted themselves to building vast cities on now lifeless worlds or acting as teachers to fallen civilizations believing with their own limited understanding that has always been their purpose. But others larger fragments pursued much grandeur and sinister ambitions. Working from the shadows they began to shape the new galaxy,

So like that time passed, the old ways where forgotten and no ones emerged and so our story begins…

------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Now thoughts on the rest of it.

I like the idea of the player doesn't have magic powers but instead can control the technology around them. My thoughts on a leveling system for something like this would be that you have diffrent fields for your Core and you either put points into increasing a core value or the fields increase through use.
Instead of having "magic" spells or abilites your abilites relate to the values in those fields. For instance causing smart bullets to fly back at the attacker or using the nanites in persons body to take control of the person would all be a matter of having the right number of points ane utilizing the correct type of machine ability.
Abilites like:
Hack
Control
Influence
Alter
Destroy

So control depending on your core levels could allow to you activate a planets climate control system to cause rain, stop a cybernetic enhanced creature from moving, assinate a vip by stopping their pace maker or start a way by causing the guns on a ship to open fire on an ally.

But then maybe all thats asking for to much. :)

My mine concern with this like your previous idea was size. I feel that a large open end world can quickly become null. Espically if I don't feel I'm going anyway in the game and wasting most of my time traveling from place to place, or wasting it in the same place since there doesn't seem to be any where interesting to go. That why I think the idea of the player being hunted is a good one. If you can keep the player with a sense of always being on the move and trying to keep on step ahead of their pursures it would make for a more interesting game. Thats my thoughts anyway, I for one have always disliked the fact that in most openended game nothing much happens, and even important will gladly stay on hold until I'm ready to experince them.

So my two key points are:
1) keep the player moving.
2) keep the game world changing whether I do something or not.

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I like your setting idea. It gives me a distinct reminder of the last half of Deus Ex. The whole quantum computing ghost-in-the-machine sort of thing. You could do a lot with that.

If you haven't played Star Control 2, I'd like to recommend it... it sounds somewhat like what you're trying to do, although much more limited.

It's freeware now, I think.

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Original post by TechnoGoth
The Gods of the Machine


[smile] I must say, I'm completely psyched when this stuff starts inspiring fan fic!! Go TechnoGoth!!!

(You're seeing this stuff, btw, as I do)

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I like the idea of the player doesn't have magic powers but instead can control the technology around them. My thoughts on a leveling system for something like this would be that you have diffrent fields for your Core and you either put points into increasing a core value or the fields increase through use.
Instead of having "magic" spells or abilites your abilites relate to the values in those fields. For instance causing smart bullets to fly back at the attacker or using the nanites in persons body to take control of the person would all be a matter of having the right number of points ane utilizing the correct type of machine ability.
Abilites like:
Hack
Control
Influence
Alter
Destroy


This is more textured than I was thinking, so thanks! I like. Rather than just building up keys to areas, as I'd imagined, you're actually building up stats to handle a certain area. Wow, just considering this, there's a lot of room for variety and specialization. There could be different stats for different systems, which require different body / brain mods to enhance your Core.

It would be a nice tradeoff if your character's stats had to be balanced against the environment's stats. Do you want more personal defense, given by cybernetics, or more ability to control those construction cranes over your enemy's head?

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So control depending on your core levels could allow to you activate a planets climate control system to cause rain, stop a cybernetic enhanced creature from moving, assinate a vip by stopping their pace maker or start a way by causing the guns on a ship to open fire on an ally.


No, no, this is the right track. I was thinking that you only had keys that could do this (like encryption keys or access protocols) but the idea of stats is more interesting, and would control whatever objects could be put in.

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My mine concern with this like your previous idea was size.


Yeah, I know, this one never goes away when I talk with people about this stuff. [lol] (Just makes me take it more seriously)

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I feel that a large open end world can quickly become null. Espically if I don't feel I'm going anyway in the game and wasting most of my time traveling from place to place, or wasting it in the same place since there doesn't seem to be any where interesting to go. That why I think the idea of the player being hunted is a good one. If you can keep the player with a sense of always being on the move and trying to keep on step ahead of their pursures it would make for a more interesting game. Thats my thoughts anyway, I for one have always disliked the fact that in most openended game nothing much happens, and even important will gladly stay on hold until I'm ready to experince them.


Yes, I completely agree with you. The lack of fulfilling ending and deadspace without interesting events or goals is what really hurts this genre, I think.

To that end I think three ideas help: Other "highlanders" hunting you to keep a touch of pressure on; changing events in the larger would which you can impact through your powers; and a kind of go-anywhere gameplay I got from The Sims (you can throw a Sim into any environment and get a challenge).

Thanks for the feedback!

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Original post by Beige
I like your setting idea. It gives me a distinct reminder of the last half of Deus Ex. The whole quantum computing ghost-in-the-machine sort of thing. You could do a lot with that.


Thanks. Can you think of any ways of increasing the appeal of the setting?

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If you haven't played Star Control 2, I'd like to recommend it... it sounds somewhat like what you're trying to do, although much more limited.


[grin] Thanks for the reference. I've blasted many a Ur-Quan in my day! Loved that game!

Out of curiousity, do you think people have forgotten what it's like to play such a game? I don't see many like it these days.

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Premise: In a shattered galaxy, Illumanti-style groups struggle for control by manipulating pawns who have the power to unify a fragmented, insane AI.


Good; lots of opportunities. .. Ooh insane AI nice idea, like it!


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Backstory Summary: (skip if you've heard) Galactic civilization thrived for millions of years until the appearance of the Siegers, monsters that devoured entire empires in a few decades. In the 11th hour, a miracle plan stopped the Siegers, but left society devastated.


Siegers ? silly name.
‘devoured entire empires in a few decades’ --- ‘improbably rescuer arrives from no where for no good reason!’ (quote from Danger Mouse; erm, too much of a cliche)
It could happen of course; but too convenient. Especially.. surprise surprise.. a miracle plan.. ..... To text book.

It does work though, I am just not fond of it.


A few ideas how a prospering civilization can go to hell fast:

‘Beserker’ series (Fred Saberhagen) idea (In short: large planet killing machines made by an ancient race to wipe out another other ancient race; They did that, very well.);
Terminator (movie) idea: If people there = bad; people here = bad ? *processessing*... (Perhaps cause of mega AI's insanity ?)
Swarm of intergalactic locusts ? (cheesy random event :P)
erm..
Someone forgot to pay the power bill.. erm. ok I'll stop now.

Either way, I think it nice to have the galaxy's downfall due to the inhabitants’ actions/pompousness and such. Nice subtle moral lesson ;)



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Now, hundreds of years later, society struggles back from the brink. Much of society has fallen into various tech levels ranging from barbarian to barely spacefaring. Space travel still exists, largely thanks to a few worlds, but it is primitive (think Babylon 5). But behind the scenes a few groups have retained Galactic power and are viciously fighting to shape the galaxy in their own image.


Oh plausible.. good good.



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Setting: Different worlds around the galaxy, some high tech, many backward and struggling to survive. Randomly generated but with key hand-created locations.


That works.



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Setup:
All your life you've been strange.


I know.



Quote:

Sometimes you hear voices, but can't always understand what they say. Sometimes you know of danger before it happens. You can get into doors that have been sealed for centuries. You're never sick. Once, when you were a child, you fell off a cliff and broke so many bones you should have died. But you survived by eating shiny rocks, and after a few days, you were fine.


Shiny rocks? Did I get a side of moss with that ? (aka um, yea right; make sure to flesh this part out well)



Quote:

On your world, you were called a Machine Talker, and the brutal theocracy persecuted everyone like you. When they discovered your gift, you had to flee. Now you've arrived at a destinatation that's been calling you, the most advanced world known in the galaxy.


'Machine Talker' .. well have to be called something I guess.

oh persecuted.. reason for conflict and adventure; good.

'inner voice' = plot/how to play help for no good reason; Good.



Quote:

Your hope is to build a new life. But soon you learn that your gifts are accelerating. You suddenly have the power to control more and more. And now people are trying to kill you.


My hope is to find answers.
Oh people trying to kill me; more conflict etc. Reasonable/Good.



Quote:

Ultimately, you learn that you are central to the plans of one of many Illuminati factions, each backed by a fragment of the godlike AI that once served Galactic civilization. You carry miraculous, lost Galactic technology throughout your body, passed down over the generations. Now, a faction has infected you with the seed for a Core, a new, ultrapowerful AI that, if it gains enough power, could assimilate all others.


Cool, the plot thickens!

you carry..miraculous..lost..technology ... neat, I'm special..


infected me.. hum, ok someone is on my shit list..

My first thought was build new core at expense of character so obviously character's self preservation kicks in and doesn’t want this to happen.; Seems not what you intend though; I don't really understand Character/Core relation.



Quote:

If that was not bad enough, the faction's rivals want to neutralize or assimilate YOU, using their own Corekeepers. As a pawn without any guidance, you must survive your attackers and ultimately face the Illumaniti group that did this to you.


Sounds like adventure to me, and promising.




Game play screams RPG to me. But then I like RPG more than RTS.

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Quote:
Original post by FeralOfEclecticWizard
Good; lots of opportunities. .. Ooh insane AI nice idea, like it!


It's my experience that you can get a lot of mileage out of the crazy machine / god idea. :)


Quote:

Siegers ? silly name.


I'd be interested to know why you think this. Does the name have a silly association that you immediately think of, or are you expecting them to sound more "bad-ass."

The name has to be generic because you can't communicate with them. It also has to describe their activity, which is to settle in orbit around a planet by the millions and drain the life from every living thing. I chose Siegers because they've placed the Galaxy "under siege."

Quote:

‘devoured entire empires in a few decades’ --- ‘improbably rescuer arrives from no where for no good reason!’ (quote from Danger Mouse; erm, too much of a cliche)


Yeah, the road to story hell is paved with good cliches. ;)

Of course, save the world plots are quite inspiring. Humans saving the universe as a start of the story (as opposed to the end) is an inversion that I hope might work to spur interest in the game world.


Quote:

‘Beserker’ series (Fred Saberhagen) idea (In short: large planet killing machines made by an ancient race to wipe out another other ancient race; They did that, very well.);
Terminator (movie) idea: If people there = bad; people here = bad ? *processessing*... (Perhaps cause of mega AI's insanity ?)


Just finished Brother Assassin by Saberhagen, which features time travel and Beserkers trying to screw up the timeline. Very neat (reminds me of Star Trek: First Contact). This ties in with your next...

Quote:

Swarm of intergalactic locusts ? (cheesy random event :P)
erm..
[/qutoe]

Von Neuman nanotechnology? Yes, that would work, but there's a problem with that...

Quote:

Either way, I think it nice to have the galaxy's downfall due to the inhabitants’ actions/pompousness and such. Nice subtle moral lesson ;)


This is actually what I'm trying to avoid. What I don't like about it is it's as badly an overdone trope as what you cited above. Worse, though, it's the familiar "sinner complex" storyline which I think we've been obsessed with in SF since the late 1970s. Either we kill ourselves with nukes, nanotech, biotech, or environmental mistreatment.

What would happen, though, if it was a matter of fate? That notion gives our modern day mania for control and personal manifest destiny an upset stomach, but I think the ancient Greeks would understand it.



Quote:

Now, hundreds of years later, society struggles back from the brink. Much of society has fallen into various tech levels ranging from barbarian to barely spacefaring. Space travel still exists, largely thanks to a few worlds, but it is primitive (think Babylon 5). But behind the scenes a few groups have retained Galactic power and are viciously fighting to shape the galaxy in their own image.


Oh plausible.. good good.



Quote:

Setting: Different worlds around the galaxy, some high tech, many backward and struggling to survive. Randomly generated but with key hand-created locations.


That works.



Quote:

Setup:
All your life you've been strange.


I know.



Quote:

Sometimes you hear voices, but can't always understand what they say. Sometimes you know of danger before it happens. You can get into doors that have been sealed for centuries. You're never sick. Once, when you were a child, you fell off a cliff and broke so many bones you should have died. But you survived by eating shiny rocks, and after a few days, you were fine.


Shiny rocks? Did I get a side of moss with that ? (aka um, yea right; make sure to flesh this part out well)



Quote:

On your world, you were called a Machine Talker, and the brutal theocracy persecuted everyone like you. When they discovered your gift, you had to flee. Now you've arrived at a destinatation that's been calling you, the most advanced world known in the galaxy.


'Machine Talker' .. well have to be called something I guess.

oh persecuted.. reason for conflict and adventure; good.

'inner voice' = plot/how to play help for no good reason; Good.



Quote:

Your hope is to build a new life. But soon you learn that your gifts are accelerating. You suddenly have the power to control more and more. And now people are trying to kill you.


My hope is to find answers.
Oh people trying to kill me; more conflict etc. Reasonable/Good.



Quote:

Ultimately, you learn that you are central to the plans of one of many Illuminati factions, each backed by a fragment of the godlike AI that once served Galactic civilization. You carry miraculous, lost Galactic technology throughout your body, passed down over the generations. Now, a faction has infected you with the seed for a Core, a new, ultrapowerful AI that, if it gains enough power, could assimilate all others.


Cool, the plot thickens!

you carry..miraculous..lost..technology ... neat, I'm special..


infected me.. hum, ok someone is on my shit list..

My first thought was build new core at expense of character so obviously character's self preservation kicks in and doesn’t want this to happen.; Seems not what you intend though; I don't really understand Character/Core relation.



Quote:

If that was not bad enough, the faction's rivals want to neutralize or assimilate YOU, using their own Corekeepers. As a pawn without any guidance, you must survive your attackers and ultimately face the Illumaniti group that did this to you.


Sounds like adventure to me, and promising.




Game play screams RPG to me. But then I like RPG more than RTS.

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