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TheThief

Realistic space sim idea

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I'm designing a space sim/RPG along the lines of Elite or Solar Winds(Look it up, it's awesome game) and I wanted some feedback on the idea. I want this game to be as realistic as possible without taking away the fun. It's kinda hard to describe it, so I'll just describe the back story. (This might get kinda long.....) --------------------------------------------------------------- SPACE TRAVEL Let's say it's the year 2024, and scientists have built the first ship capable of travel at speeds faster than light. It's very big, completely un-maneuvarble and can only fly relatively short distances. After several years of innovation the scientific community sees two big problems with the classic space travel design(small thrusters for short distances, "hyperdrive" for light-speed and higher): 1. It's expensive 2. It's too slow The second problem is the most important. If mankind makes a spaceship capable of traveling 10 times the speed of light (9,460,800,000,000 km every 36 days), it will be able to get to Alpha Centauri(4.4 ly away) in 829 days or 2.2 YEARS. I hope you agree that this isn't practical. OK, fine, let's say we make a spaceship that can travel 100 times the speed of light. At this point, time starts to significantly change in respect to the spaceship. I don't know the formula, but the theory is that it will seem to the space travelers that they got to Alpha Centauri in 2 days, while the outside world will see the spaceship get there in the correct amount of time(8.2 days). This is for short distances too, what about distances of 10,000 light years or more? The solution: In the year 2054, people invent a machine that is capable of creating a wormhole in space. This reduces the distance from any two points in the universe to 0. This method has two important points: 1. You can't just feed in a location in (X,Y,Z) form to the machine and expect it to make a second wormhole there, so people sent out a whole lot of spaceships to land on strategic locations and establish RELAY stations there. When you want to get somewhere, you have to connect two relay stations together and then generate the wormholes. This seems to be a good(and realistic) solution to space travel. However, there is a second problem: 2. Relay stations only exist on a limited number of space stations in the universe, so if you want to get to a planet that's 100 light years from the nearest relay station, you have to get there using traditional means. 100 light years is a VERY long distance. So people mulled over that one when suddenly, they made contact with an alien race. Now, it's 2062 and this alien race has discovered our system of relay-travel. It turns out that they are almost on the same level of technological advancement with us, but, they've discovered a solution to the time warp problem of traditional space travel. So, mankind quickly adapts and develops a combination of travel methods: 1. relay-travel for long distances of > 10,000 light years 2. light-travel for distance of > 0.4 light years 3. thrusters for short distances/docking ---------------------------------------------------------------- ALIEN RACES mankind has established contact with five so far: 2062 - The Apsaa (planet: Apsna) 2120 - Inkurians (planet: Inkuria) 2131 - The Thyaf (planet: Fnarzuthyaf) 2143 - Xetharnags (planet: Xetha) 2257 - Hrushgarians (planet: Hgara) All of the races are friendly except for the Xetharnags who want to obliterate humans(don't know why yet) ---------------------------------------------------------------- EARTH In the years after interstellar travel has been established, the Earth has become overpopulated and diseased. Most humans much prefer life in the many big colony space ships orbiting earth and other planets. In 2089, a huge asteroid was detected on a collision course with Earth, so a weapon was sent into orbit to destroy it. It partially worked and split the rock into 6 pieces. They crashed in various places causing minor damage to cities, but causing the entire ecosystem of Earth to change. 3,000 species of plants and animals died and the weather changed significantly. Anyway, the current population on Earth has been approximated to 8,000,000,000 people which actually is just 2,000,000,000 over the current population, because of massive factories that produce various spaceship parts and systems. 3/4 of the workforce of mankind is in these factories. 10% are unemployed, 5% are criminals/rogues/mercenaries and everybody else works for the government. ---------------------------------------------------------------- GOVERNMENT Due to the fact that all of the alien races have completely different laws and customs, a 'galactic government' had to be established. It has a somewhat traditional pyramid structure with 'presidents' from each of the five races. Policing in space is very complex, so it was decided to implant an electronic 'tag' into EVERY person/being's brain at birth. It is impossible to remove/counterfeit and if somebody needs to be located, it is fairly easy to just use a special scanner found in every Police station. ---------------------------------------------------------------- THE PLAYER The game starts out with a cutscene of the PC working in a factory. The bell rings, and everybody goes to eat lunch. The camera zooms on the PC as he sits down with a sandwich(or something). He takes out a portable computer and logs in to his bank account. His face lights up, and you hear a voice-over/flashback describe how he has been saving money all his life for a light space ship so he can travel all over the galaxy and make tons of money. The screen fades to black and fades in on a really cool looking spaceship docked to a station orbiting Earth. The PC gets in, and the game starts............. --------------------------------------------------------------- GAMEPLAY Basically, the player flies around, talks to NPCs, and plays various quests. The initial goal of the player is just to make money, but eventually, he uncovers a a huge conspiracy involving the corruption of Earth government, and its alliance with the Apsaa. I'm not yet sure on how this part is going to work, and it's the area where I need the most help. --------------------------------------------------------------- Whew.... So, what do you guys think? TheThief "He almost danced to the fridge, found the three least hairy things in it, put them on a plate and watched them intently for two minutes. Since they made no attempt to move within that time he called them breakfast and ate them. Between them they killed a virulent space desease he''d picked up without knowing it in the Flargathon Gas Swamps a few days earlier, which otherwise would have killed off half the population of the Western Hemisphere, blinded the other half, and driven everyone else psychotic and sterile, so the Earth was lucky there." -HHGTTG(So Long, and Thanks For All The Fish) Edited by - TheThief on August 1, 2001 8:51:14 PM

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No farming or fishing on your Earth? How do people get food?

Apart from that the scenario is plausible. The real question is motivation. Why is the government corrupt? What do the Aspaa have to offer?

Also why does it matter? The hero should do something that matters not just to him but his world. Thus does the corruption mean that an area of earth will be given over to the Aspaa, sacrificing say 2 billion human lives?

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reminds me of earth:final conflict, where earth''s government is corrupt, and there is a conspiracy involving the alien race (whose name I can''t remember, say T). The T are in war with another alien race the (say) D. When T encounters humanity it gives earth wonderful techs, however, earth government lets the T perform genetic experiements on humans. The deal is that the T are too peaceful to fight with the D, so they are looking to make humans the perfect soldiers in what they call the enemies of the universe, but as the series evolves, it becomes unclear who is worse, T or D. (hope it helps you in some way )

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Hey, why not caboose on the same thing that impacts every OTHER advanced race - Artifacts!!!

Examples:
The Atmospheric Generator in We Can Remember it for You Wholesale / Total Recall

The Desert Hulk in Homeworld

The Antarctic Spacecraft in John Carpenter''s The Thing

The Stargate in Stargate

-
The travel procedure The Theif describes is very much like Dickson''s "No-Time" theory where two distant locations synchronize a machine that oscillates a portal of "no-time"; ssentially absolute zero provides an interface to a common wormhole-like phenomenon.

It would be very easy to have a faction of one race (and I say faction because no government is perfect and should always have an atni-faction or counterculture) find an Artifact that yet again revolutionizes travel and trade.

---------------
-WarMage
...beautiful idea though!

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Thanks for the replies...

I had most of the trouble with the gameplay. I figured out the whole technological back-story of it, but I''m not really sure what the player''s goal is. I like both WarMage/Rouli ideas, but I''m not sure how to make something interesting/mysterious/believable. The other thing is, I want to involve all five races into the story, but I don''t know if I can do it without getting people confused.

Hmmm.....

TheThief

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You already GAVE us the player-driven part! PROFIT! and secondarily, travel.

Sounds like you have two distinct possibiities already...

Option 1) The PC is a magnanimous, universally friendly type - he chooses to expose the subterfuge and uses the friends and contacts he makes in various spaceports / governments / shops, whatever to achieve the PC''s goal of Stopping The Evil.

Option 2) The PC is like Nick Korso from Titan AE - He''s gonna sell out everyone he can to make sure he gets his cut.

And that''s only in the first thirty seconds I thought about it

-----------
-WarMage
"You were not put on this earth to ''get it'' , Mister Burton." - David Lo Pan

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Well, at first, the general idea should be to make money, and just find out information(with the 'quests'). I'm looking for some big plot point that the player exposes. Hey, I just got an idea! What if the Apsaa enslaved the Inkurians eons ago and they want to do the same to the humans so they could be the most powerful of the three remaining races, and it turns out that the Xetharnags aren't strong enough to destroy the Apsaa, so they go after the humans instead in order to stop the Apsaa from enlarging their forces. Does that make sense?
EDIT:
Also, the Apsaa are corrupting the government by bribing officials of other races so they won't expose the plan to the humans.

TheThief

Edited by - TheThief on August 1, 2001 8:27:13 PM

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Now that''s an inspired twist, something along the lines of Harbinger ...

There''s no reason that shouldn''t work, although I imagine you would want make sure this is the only story you could engender through your game. Games are advanced enough that you should be able to embed several story arcs, perhaps intersecting, perhaps divergent...

Maybe the Apsaa have already overthrown or subjugated several other races to extinction - this could tie in again with Artifacts

Maybe the Xetharnag are a splinter or escapee race from the Apsaa''s previous exploits - Maybe left somewhere to die like the Slags, but were rescued by more beneficient races?

Maybe it would be easier to ally with the Apsaa and give them the keys to Earth in exchange for free transport somewhere?

I think it''s time to haul out some old Bab5 reruns and see what JMS put out there for us to forget about

---------------
-WarMage
...looks like somethin'' from the southern end of a northbound kangaroo... M. Quigley

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I''m also making a space simulation/RPG/strategy game. Only it is designed to be massive multiplayer, without single player mode.

Unlike your game, I don''t want to have realism and history of Earth. The setting is another universe, with physics slightly different than those of our universe, with different history of civilization.

----------------------------------------------
THE EMPIRES

There are two major civilizations, both human, but each follows its own religous belief. Their religious differences have caused many wars, in space and on planet surface.
Each empire has a feudal form of government. So there are many little kingdoms everwhere that are sort of allied to one central power. Each empire has a central cluster of colonized planets, their borders are close together and that''s where most of the fighting happens.

Then there''s a "neutral" human civilization, it also has a unique religious agenda. Its planets are relatively far from the 2 major empires and they are scattered all over the galaxy. There is no central governement, just many little kingdoms that try not to disturb the 2 major empires.

----------------------------------------------
GAMEPLAY

In the begining of the game the player chooses his "carrier", which only effects the starting conditions.
You can start as:
"fighter pilot". This puts you in one of the 2 major empires, player starts with default war ship.
"merchant". This gives you the default space ship suited for bulk trade, starting location on a "nuetral" planet (the 3rd civilization)
"Aggressive War Lord". This puts you in charge of a new little kingdom on one of the planets that belong to one of the 2 major empires. The "aggressive" setting puts your little kingdom close to enemy border, so wars happen there often. As leader of your little kingdom, the player can build new cities, build up an army and fight the other empire. The player also has to respect the central power of the friendly empire, which has partial control over his kingdom. Wars between members of the same empire are allowed, but there will be a special code of justice, regulated by the central government of the fuedal system.
"War Lord". Same as the above, only your little kingdom is set deep within your empire''s territory. That gives people more opportunity to build without having to maintain strong army as defense.

------------------------------------------------
OBJECT OF THE GAME

The main object of the game is to earn money, customize your private space ship with cool equipment, invenst in growth of your little kingdom. There''s going to be an elaborate economy model, plenty of room for people who like to trade and lead peaceful merchant life. People who like space combat will get plenty of action using a unique space combat model. All in 3D, 1st point of view. Players who are into empire building can focus on their little kingdom, they can build military units and capture territory, pretty much like in real time strategy games. Then there''s the opportunity to become member of the central government, each of the 2 empires have it. That gives the player certain control over the alliance of all the little kingdoms.
And for those who want real challange, they can try form a new empire by gaining independance from the strong grip of central government.

Overall they game focuses on strategy, plenty of opportunity to show off one''s military genius. heh

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

I am currently writing design document, I have pretty much finished describing space combat model, still need to describe the political system and the RTS that happens on planet surface. If anyone interested in helping, email me.

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Yeah, and this also ties in the other races because they could be attempting to help the humans because they want to defeat the Apsaa, so they give the player help, and new techs...

The player could also find out that the Earth government knew about the Apsaa''s plans all along, but they were paid off by the Apsaa so the rest of the human race doesn''t find out.

TheThief

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