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BlindGnome

Project Danen Ra'

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This is the backstory, and script for Project Danen Ra' opening cinematic demo. This is just a concept so far, more work will be done on it in the future. I'm posting this to gather feedback from the community. - Backstory - The year - 2304 - Earth. The time of peace has come and passed. As war steadily comes to rise on the horizon, big name companies, and the few governments that still remain ready themselves with nuclear and biological weapons - enough to end the total existence of the human race. Rape, murder, theft, and drugs run wild in every major city in the world...not being able to walk 5 feet outside your own home without seeing something of the nature. On December 25th of that year, Christmas Day, while all the little kids are tucked safely away with glistening eyes looking up at their carefully decorated trees, parents alike excited that the russle and bussle of the holiday season is almost over... ...Something happens... An explosion, first starting in Seattle, and working it's way east across the United States like the black plague. It was the German Army, armed with warplanes...carrying none other than nuclear bombs...a comparison of the Hiroshima and Nagasaki attacks, but only making them look like child's play. Every major city in the U.S. was hit, nothing but waste left behind. As soon as the reports had come in that Seattle had been hit, the U.S. planned a counterattack, and launched a full scale operation to bomb all of Europe, due to impending danger of invasion from both Italy and France. Which were both rivaling the states for control over their lands or else. The events that happened on that day will forever go down in history as the beginning of the end of Earth...for over the next 2 1/2 months...war would spread to every part of the globe. No one would be safe. - Opening Cinematic - I woke up to the piercing sounds of screaming and alarms. I had been stationed on the U.S. Space Station New Hope for about a year now. It was beginning to feel like the only home I knew. I was part of a world-wide military experiment that was put in place to see how far humans could go when living in space...basically stuck as a "lab rat". The U.S. Space Station New Hope was comfortable to live on though - it had its own caffeteria, gym, sleeping quarters, even shopping mall. The meals were kind of bland, but the air was clean and the living quarters were superb. I began to climb out of bed, the screams were getting increasingly loud, and I could hear the Captain's voice over the intercomm - "All personnel please make your way to the Main Conference Room - Room 211...I repeat..." "Another fire in the kitchen", I thought to myself - "Better get this over with." I made my way down to the Conference Room as quickly as I could, it was jam packed. Any hope for a seat now was unreasonable. The television suddenly came on over the projector, it had been automatically tuned-in to CNN, the only thing we were allowed to watch while on this mission. It was a way to ensure that we thought about home as little as possible, after all, all CNN showed were the same disasters of the world day-in and day-out. Announcer - "Breaking News - this just in! Bombings all over the states are being reported, the first reported incident was in Seattle. It seems every major city is falling victim to these attacks, some are predicting this to be an actual alien invasion. Let's go now to our reporter in Detriot." Reporter - "Well Pam, the city is running wild, there's disaster everywhere. People are saying it's the end of ti --- Oh My God! What th----" (screen goes blank) Announcer - "What?! Tom?! Holy ---This just in, the city of Detriot is now under attack. The President is now holding a press meeting at the White House. Let's go to our reporters in Washington and we wish everyone the best of luck in these times!" Reporter 2 - "Thanks Pam. Now the White House has just released that this is a planned attack, and that it is identifying the planes dropping these bombs as German warplanes! The President and Congress are declaring war immediately and have already set plans up to counter the attack!" (The TV noise fades out) For the next 2 1/2 months, I watched from my quarters window, as Earth's governments - with all their money and weaponry - destroy themselves and what was left of the human race. A World War III of sorts... We had become the only ones left... Our Captain finally gave the order that we were moving, we had lost all communication to Earth, and we only had supplies for the next year or so. The big-wigs of the ship held a few meetings and decided that it would be best not to port on Earth, it would be too risky due to the radiation from the nuclear strikes... If we were the last of the human race...we weren't going to risk becoming extinct in our own curiousity. We travelled... And travelled... We knew that no planet in our galaxy was capable of facilitating life. Our technology had grown to the point to where we could travel many galaxies away, though...in all these trips...no planets sustaining human like life had ever been found. We had an astrologist on board by the name of Dr. Todd Roman. One of the smartest men I had ever talked with in my life, unfortunately I hadn't had the chance to talk to him much - due to the both of us being scheduled to different shifts. About a month after traveling, he made a discovery. Through his research he found that one of the oldest parts of the universe(or should be) was only a few galaxies away. This being said would mean that the galaxy might have had time to develop planets, and have an already developed atmosphere on one of them. It was a breaking discovery, and the only chance that the human race had survive... We took it... after 4 months travel, we finally found it. A planet that had vegetation on it. Again, uproars and alarms sounded... We had discovered a planet that could sustain us, as if some being from above had set it there just for us to find... This was only the start of what would be an amazing adventure for me, for the members on the U.S. Space Station New Hope, for mankind... There's more to the story, but I'm just posting this for the sake of reading purposes. Thank you for any feedback, our team would appreciate it for all our hard work.

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Just one point - Humans can travel many galaxies, yet it took us 2 1/2 months to wipe ourselves out ... hmmm I thought someone would drop a planet killer weapon and finish it all in one day. :P

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If you think about it, it makes sense.

Look at how long other wars take. Countries not wanting to get involved, or giving time for the other countries to throw in the towel. Actually, 2 1/2 months seems really fast for all of this.

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I mean to bring up my points in the most charitable tone possible. I think it's wonderful that people share their creativity and I encourage you to continue. Disclaimer said, I'll explain my issues with your story in the spirit of constructive criticism and from the position of someone who has read far too much Science Fiction.


1: Why is it ze Germans who kill everyone and why does it have to happen like that?
This just sets your story up for a boring version of God Bless America versus Ze Nazis. As in, it's morally black and white, makes unnecessary parallels to a mythologized version of WW2, and frankly it's a bit ridiculous because ze Germans in your story should well know that nuking willy-nilly will kill everyone -- How do you think the Cold War was maintained for 40 years without a single nuke going off? Both sides were more or less rational actors that didn't want to destroy the world. Why should the future be any different?

I'd suggest making the 'end times' less clear-cut -- maybe war breaks out of a standoff that neither side wanted to actually escalate, but some people got jumpy and made mistakes. Maybe a city gets nuked by a truck bomb and it isn't clear who did it, which destabilizes international relations, etc etc. Maybe the ice caps melt flooding all land to 10 meters above sea level causing mass chaos, leading to political instability, leading to a nuclear confrontation, leading to an accident etc etc.

Or heck, if it isn't important, you don't have to explain it much at all. Just say that something terrible happened and no one knows how it started. If you start giving details, people are going to want to know more and why (and then how it affects the story in the game -- and it'd better, if you're providing such details).

2: Why do they have to go to some other crazy galaxy? Do you just want to up the ante to make the story more epic without regard for the consequences of doing so? The number of stars in just our galaxy is incomprehensible, and then number of galaxies is incomprehensible, and further, the structure and extent of the universe is pretty much incomprehensibly vast and weird as you go out further.

In short, I recommend not upping the scope the the degree that you are for the sake of being Epic unless you are prepared to deal with the consequences of doing so -- it'd be just fine if they go to another star in this galaxy because, honestly, that's crazy enough for a good story if you deal with the consequences of it.

Further, the "oldest parts" of the universe are going to be full of black holes and white dwarfs, or something, so they wouldn't be the place to go to find a nice planet. Except that every part of the universe is equally old, strictly speaking (unless we want to get into time dilation due to some parts of the universe moving faster relative to our local position than others), because the Big Bang happened just once, so it's nonsensical for there to be an "oldest part", unless you're talking about a particularly old galaxy or something.

So: If you want stars that might have planets with life, our galaxy would do just fine. Older is not necessary better, check out Galaxy Formation and Evolution.

(And I don't think that "Astrologist" was the word you were looking for, because Astrology isn't going to help navigate between stars. Maybe "Astronomer", or maybe the Heinleinian "Astrogator")

3: To expand upon what Si Hao was saying, possession of some kind of crazy intergalactic superdrive implies a pretty wildly advanced level of technology. It'd do just as well to have everyone cold-sleep on a slower-than-light ship to some target planet, which would make the theme of a lost connection to a dead Earth that much stronger.

Or whatever, point is, if you have this wild technology, it may imply much more for the game world than you intend so it might be best to nip such questions in the bud and bring it down a notch.

4: Consider what effects a planet that evolved alien biology would have on human settlement. "It's vegetation, but not as we know it ...". Here's a good link on worldbuilding that I recommend you read.

If you don't want to deal with the implications of alien biology, just say that a suitable world was seeded with Earth life from the starship while the humans were frozen, then they were woken once the planet was mature enough to live on.



If there was an overarching theme to my issues, I think it would be that I think you are trying to make the story sound more epic by having certain things happen without fully fleshing out the implications of those things. Don't worry too much about it, a good story takes a lot of polishing, re-polishing, and thinking over. What's important is that you've got enthusiasm, which is what gets ya through a project.


So hey, keep it up/

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There are a lot of "if"'s with your statements...so let me just say this.

This is the "Setting up" of the story, not the whole story in it's entirety. This story is made to peak the interests of people, not to answer every question clear cut. If I solved all the questions in the first 10 minutes of gameplay, what would keep people coming back for more?

1) History repeats itself, Germany sounded like a good believable country to make such a wide-scale attack on the U.S. This couldn't be an act of terrorism, look at the U.S. reaction when that happened, it took us 2 years to go to war with them. Now take something like Pearl Harbor, a direct attack on us from another country. We attacked almost immediately by U.S. standards and in a big way.

2) They certainly can't go back to Earth, for fear of dying of radiation. I'm not really sure there will be an inhabitable planet in our solar system, or anywhere close to earth...within the next 300 years.

This is supposed to be an "Epic" story....who plays boring stories?

The fact that aliens can build a Halo to destroy the Earth is any less epic?

The Doctor mentioned in the cinematic intro is a studier of the stars, he is not a navigator. He simply points the crew in the right direction.

4) I'm not sure what you mean by the last question of alien biology...will it be a totally different world yes. There's even plans to put a different form of highly intelligent species on one of these planets in Danen Ra'.

There are a lot of unanswered questions in this - yes - but it's something that's planned. These answers will be unlocked, if the player wishes to do so, by quests/documentive reading/updates/and expansions. Thus creating something that the player with an appeal to the story has to look forward to.

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I'll also preface with a disclaimer; I encourage your creativity and hope that you take this as constructive criticism rather than simply knocking you down.

What dbaumgart is saying is that the "epic scale" of your story is opening far more doors than you could ever possibly close. Also, to be blunt, as I read the story all I could think about was how every other sentence contained some statement that was clearly meant to just *sound* epic, rather than forming a feasible, though no-less-interesting story. Its a "style" that's cliche, and also indicative of an amateur writing style.

The bark of your story is bigger than its bite.

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Quote:
Original post by ravyne2001
I'll also preface with a disclaimer; I encourage your creativity and hope that you take this as constructive criticism rather than simply knocking you down.

What dbaumgart is saying is that the "epic scale" of your story is opening far more doors than you could ever possibly close. Also, to be blunt, as I read the story all I could think about was how every other sentence contained some statement that was clearly meant to just *sound* epic, rather than forming a feasible, though no-less-interesting story. Its a "style" that's cliche, and also indicative of an amateur writing style.

The bark of your story is bigger than its bite.


Hmm, I'll definatly take both posts into account and look at changing it then. From my experience though, opening scenes are supposed to be big opening epic scenes. It's setting the mood.

But being that you guys are the consumers, and im the maker. I will make sure I take a few more looks at the opening story before doing anything, this is after all just a concept storyline.

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History repeats itself, Germany sounded like a good believable country to make such a wide-scale attack on the U.S.


I disagree; history repeats itself only when it has a reason. General imperialism of the times as well as the nationalistic and militaristic German General Staff was probably the reason for the two world wars (and war of 1873 against France, was it? and probably another earlier one against Austria, and so on). Or, in short: Prussia, then Germany, of the 18th, 19th, and early 20th century had a powerful military/aristocratic institution and tradition that tended to support aggressive imperialistic wars. And thats just a few of many reasons for German militarism, the important point is that there are clear reasons for why these things happen, history doesn't just "repeat itself", as the cliche goes, for no reason at all.

So considering that the General Staff as an institution was destroyed after World War 2, and Germany was (and is) strongly linked militarily and economically to the United States as an ally in NATO (etc etc), I don't think that Germany would believably attack the United States unless there were some significant changes between now and your future point in history. If there are no reasons for German aggression, it might appear that the story is falling back on the "warmongering German" cliche.

But if you did want to go with a story that referenced traditional German militarism, you could have in your backstory something about the rise of a new German General Staff and some neo-imperialist militarism and such.

Quote:
This couldn't be an act of terrorism, look at the U.S. reaction when that happened, it took us 2 years to go to war with them.

Er, are you talking about Iraq? You are aware that Iraq had nothing to do with 9/11, right? That all of the terrorists were from Saudi Arabia, with one each from Egypt, Lebanon, and the United Arab Emirates?. That al-Queda is a jihadist (read: religious) organization and they did not like, get along with, or cooperate with the secular Arab nationalist state run by the Baathist party lead by Saddam Hussein? But I apologize, this is getting off-topic.

The US very rapidly invaded Afghanistan where Osama bin Laden was in hiding after 9/11. On October 7th, 2001, in fact. I'd call a bit less than one month a pretty quick reaction.

Quote:
Now take something like Pearl Harbor, a direct attack on us from another country. We attacked almost immediately by U.S. standards and in a big way.


If you're talking about World War 2 and referring to the Doolittle raid, then I'm afraid that the US took 5 months to attack Tokyo directly, and that was a token attack -- the US took quite some time gear up for war in the Pacific, especially since it was concentrating on Germany.

I should get out of the history specifics. With present-day technology nothing like Pearl Harbor could ever happen -- RADAR, satellite surveillance, and intelligence is far too advanced and interconnected for such a surprise attack to take place as it did 60 years ago when all the Japanese fleet had to do was maintain radio silence. This being a science fiction story, all you need is a science fiction solution: micro anti-matter bombs? orbital death-rays? Should be fun! I gave a few suggestions in my first comment too.

Quote:

This is supposed to be an "Epic" story....who plays boring stories?


I apologize, I didn't express what I meant clearly.
To restate: I think that the story was going for the appearance of being epic by increasing the gross scale of plot elements. Epicness is not achieved by just saying things were bigger and farther and longer than ever before, epicness is achieved when a story is well written with the believable drama of huge events, and it should have emotional impact and cause the reader/player feel. This takes something more subtle than mere size.
I'm having trouble expressing myself, I know, so in other words: "It's not size that matters, it's what you do with it".

Quote:

The fact that aliens can build a Halo to destroy the Earth is any less epic?


I haven't played Halo, if that's what you're talking about, so I can't comment on its story. ... except to say that Larry Niven wrote Ringworld almost 40 years ago ;) And for its failings as a story, it was quite epic because Niven took the scale of Ringworld toward its logical conclusions and implications - it was, in fact, a world with the surface area of millions of Earths.

Quote:

The Doctor mentioned in the cinematic intro is a studier of the stars, he is not a navigator. He simply points the crew in the right direction.


Isn't that what a navigator does? Anyway, it sounds like you should call him an 'astronomer'. Astrology is the flaky business with "what's your sign" and telling your fortune or whatever, Astronomy is the scientific study of stars.

Quote:

I'm not sure what you mean by the last question of alien biology


I didn't mean anything in particular, I was just encouraging you to be creative in imagining your alien world by giving you some links I found that provide helpful guidelines to thinking about alien worlds.

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This is all great and all. But you are still missing the point. This is an opening cinematic. Not a history lesson into what has happened in the world for that 300 years, considering that this game is not about Earth. Earth won't be in the game for a very long time, and im going to go on a hunch that not every 16 year old kid that plugs into this game is going to be like..."Wow...im not playing this game due to it being unrealistic." This is a Sci-Fi story after all.

I do strive for perfection in my craft, but not to the point to where it's not going to make the game fun. Illustrating anything more than what I've put down is going to make a more negative effect than positive in the long run. While im using an opening cinematic in a storyline based upon the sights taken with a certain main character in an MMO, I don't want to bore my fans with senseless history. This is to get right to the point, and nothing more. Throw the player into a world that he/she knows enough about to enjoy the game, and let the story evolve around them.

I've posted the same story on a more gaming site rather than a developers site and consumers are eating up the story and asking for more. I believe the simple fact that "trying" to find things wrong with this would be ultimately a bad thing to do. While I'm open for constructive criticism I am going to say that you're asking me to change my whole story in which I am not going to do on the fact that the consumers response has been so good.

[Edited by - BlindGnome on January 10, 2008 6:38:21 PM]

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Sorry, I didn't meant to come off as overly critical or demanding outright that you change your story or anything like that.

I think that I am used to a different process and sort of critique than what you were asking for, seeing as how a good portion of my time in college was sitting around and critiquing or getting critiqued -- and it could get pretty harsh to someone not used to it. And yeah, you are correct in that I am approaching this more as a full story rather than the opening for a product (though I don't think I was initially clear on that, to be honest).

I hope that in spite of this I have helped with some productive thoughts. Best of luck and all!

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