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darkyoshi87

Need help combining Sci-fi and High Fantasy

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Hey, I'm currently trying to design a game that combines both the Sci-Fi and High Fantasy story genres. The best I have right now is below: There are Mages known as Galaxy Mages. These mages control spacetime and use it to power spaceships. I'm looking for feedback on this and i'm thinking maybe someone has a better idea or can improve this idea in some way.

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IMHO*, sci-fi is basically any fiction that explores the answer to a "what if?" question that is in some way grounded in reality.

So to merge sci-fi with fantasy would be simply to explore the answer to "what if?" questions that aren't grounded in reality.

With your example, to make good sci-fi you just need to explore what the ramifications of being able to control space-time are.

(*disclaimer: IMO all those new "sci-fi" shows on TV about space-ships and what-not aren't usually "sci-fi". They're just "fi-in-space")

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Hmm, is there a particular reason you want to combine science fiction and high fantasy? Also does it specifically need to be high fantasy, because other types of fantasy tend to combine better with science fiction. For example steampunk is a common type of science fantasy, but it's not high fantasy (which is the kind with elves and knightly heroes and magical relics and monsters and quests to save the world from ultimate evil and all that cliche junk). Some other common ways of combining science fiction and fantasy are: combining a realistic or futuristic technological world with the ability to enter a dreamland temporarily and do magic there; having futuristic humans encounter aliens with abilities which are essentially magical; taking a regular modern world or post-apocalyptic near-future world and saying that humans gain magical abilities through a mutation or similar; saying that earth has no magic because the god who created it abandoned it or died, but then (a) new god(s) discover earth and their presence brings new magic with it; or basically creating any original, futuristic, or alternate historical or present world where both magic and technology exist.

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You can always look at games that meet these genres. Like Phantasy Star Online and the newer Final Fantasy games. Scrapped Princess is an anime that blends these together.

Are you looking at how to combine them or are you asking us to make a game document and story for you?

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Quote:
Original post by Shadownami92
You can always look at games that meet these genres. Like Phantasy Star Online and the newer Final Fantasy games. Scrapped Princess is an anime that blends these together.

Are you looking at how to combine them or are you asking us to make a game document and story for you?


No, I'm not asking anybody to do this for me, I'm just looking for feedback and advice on what I have so far.

When I say Sci-fi meets High fantasy, I mean I want to make something like Star Trek meets Lord of the Rings; or in gamer's terms; Starcraft meets Warcraft.

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Well, there's two ways to ask that question. One way to ask it is, can you put elves on spaceships. To which I answer, yes, I give you permission to put elves on spaceships. You are free to determine the parameters of the reality of your game world.

A more interesting question is whether you can truly combine the genres. An elf on a spaceship is really a very similar proposition to a Venusian on a space ship, particularly if you emphasize the here-and-now of the elves' abilities, but if you consider elves and humans as two races with different but intertwined, and certainly momentous, paths to the stars, then that becomes a little more relevant beyond how you tell your modeler to shape the ears. The fantasy genre, I always felt, was very much about the unknown. You come across a strange forest clearing with a strange blue orb floating in the center, and you have no idea what it is. Do you approach it? Do you run away screaming, just in case? In the forest of fantasy, things happen to you, and they are generally not open to negotiation or even explanation. This "accosted by the unknown" forms much of the meat of a fantasy story. Compare this to sci-fi, where as often as not the full list of denizens, or at least technology, is widely known to all. We don't go to that quadrant anymore, because there's a race of hyperbosonic mole-people there, and here is exactly how their ray guns work and here is why we're strategically weak in the region. In much of the interesting sci-fi, the technology serves as a tool for enabling and extending the plot. Now that there's wormholes, intergalactic politics changes in such and such a way. Certainly the unknown may be invoked here, but only as a precursor to exploration. If there's something you don't know about, then damn it you get in a spaceship with your scientists and you go and map it out and take leaf clippings home. The separation here--between carefully skirting the unknown, and mapping it--is the paradox you need to resolve.

And this is not an inevitable separation. Take Star Wars, where the known ("aw man, not more mynocks") and the unknown ("this is no cave") rub elbows quite comfortably. You don't need to invoke The Force to see the fantasy there.

Your current concept speaks to whether power comes out of batteries or fingertips, but I don't see much beyond that.

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Quote:
Original post by darkyoshi87
When I say Sci-fi meets High fantasy, I mean I want to make something like Star Trek meets Lord of the Rings; or in gamer's terms; Starcraft meets Warcraft.

Erk. Cannot imagine why you'd want to. But yes as Sneftel suggests you can put the characters of one in the setting of the other; or you can give characters that look like they're from one setting powers and weapons from another setting; also you could put one setting inside another as a simulation; or you could imagine what would happen if the two settings complete with characters were plunked down next to each other and allowed to interact for 100 or 200 years, what kind of hybrid culture and economy and combat might evolve; or if you really directly wanted to imitate something like warcraft two, you could create a science fictional tech tree then for the opposing side make a direct magical equivalent of each unit. Actually that last might be fun, players could choose whether to be invading aliens and kick the butts of the native dragons and elves and unicorns, or be the defending fantasy creatures and repel the invading aliens and aircraft and mechas.

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In my opinion I would suggest generating your own game world overall.

I think that if you want a good sci-fi and fantasy mix that it's best to sort of start from scratch and begin blending ideas into your own designs. Sure you can keep some archetypes in order to keep players familiar with the world a little but by making everything seem new and fresh in the blend it puts forth more mystery into the game.

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I know Warhammer 40K does just this, the merging of fantasy with science fiction.

In one of my projects which has a sci-fantasy setting much similar to which you are describing, I took a look at the technological, sociological, political, economic, and etc impact of magic if it becomes mass-distributed. The world to which the plot takes place has a history that progresses much like the ages of Earth history, where in the later ages you see more and more machines as well as more widespread use of magic, eventually going into the future with space travel. And yes there are fantasy races on that world (drawn more from fairy tales and less from the generic however).

Basically in that project, I'm viewing the fantasy genre with the eyes of sci-fi, and one of the first things I had to do was to explain how my magic worked, thereby making it more technological and less mystical and mysterious. If you start explaining away the things that are in your world from a sci-fi point of view, then you might run the risk of turning the whole thing into sci-fi but with fantasy races. And on the other hand, if you don't explain how things work, you might risk turning the whole thing into fantasy but with machines.

Like Sneftel has said, you have to balance between these two because the two sides are sort of like polar opposites; how you do it is entirely up to you.

I have an interesting link for you to which put my magic system into perspective for me when I was refining it:

Sanderson's First Law of Magic/Technology

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If you're curious, I explained my magic as phenomenon that occurs in our plane of reality (I had many planes of reality, much like the dimensions of String Theory) to which is caused by the doings of extra-planar entities, or those that don't have physical forms (aka "spirits", incorporeal aliens, "deities" who have gained power from being worshiped, "Cthulhus", etc), to which the magic could only be performed if some sort of pact or contract was created between them and the "spellcaster". Sorcery and psionics would then be magic that is done by mortals, or those that are of the physical planes and yet able to see and manipulate the outer planes. I sort of explained how machines would still rise despite the power of magic by saying that because my magic was extra-planar entity-based, it was very unstable and unpredictable, thus, man sought for other ways for power. Eventually they would advance far enough in their history to have machines that manipulated the outer planes to which do the magic for them, so no longer will they have to make pacts with untrustworthy extra-planar entities/aliens.

Now you don't have to really explain your magic in depth if you want to, or you could make it really really detailed. Its all up to you.

[Edited by - Tangireon on June 17, 2008 8:39:37 PM]

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