Expanding the story

Species suggestions, story ideas and contributions.
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Impaler
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#16 Post by Impaler » Sun Jul 03, 2005 9:23 pm

I was just reading some nice material over at Orions Arm. They have an interesting scale that I think we could modify for use in giving alien races a kind of ranking from primitive to Godlike. These levels could constitute "age advancment" kind of stuff much like Rise of Nations. In addition we could include a few levels that are below normal and corespond to things like the Industrial revolution (pre-nuclear age), The Renisance and the Stone age. Basicaly compressing all the ages of traditial Civ setting into the "Negative Levels" with the player normaly starting off at "Modern" times. Now we can create an interesting mix of BIG and small fish just by varrying the starting tec levels (it might also be apropriate to give a few colonies to the empires that are geting a bonus to ther tec level to further accelerate them).

Another interesting idea at Orions Arm was that of classifying industrial Technology by its scale of matter control. Names such as "Nano-Tech" "Pico-Tech" "Femto-Tech" ect ect.. realy give you a sense of advancment. Each of the above levels of age advancment (which realy literaly referes to the Inteligence and complexity of the Civ) roughly coresponds with a X-Tech level. Technology significaly more advanced they your own (I am thinking 2 levels) is simply "Clark-Tech" aka "Indestingushable form magic" you cant even figure out adsactly HOW advanced it is (give a cave man a pocket calculator and a Tricorder and he couldnot tell which was more advanced other then to say both were "Clark-Tech"). Advanced Races can create "Primitive-Friendly" devices that use their advanced technology but have handly User-Interfaces alowing them to be used (but not repaird, medaled with, studied) by their customers. If the tech levels are lower though (1 or fewer) their might be some chance of reverse enginering.

Lastly I think we realy should have some kind of mechanism bywhich an Empire can realy "Regress" technologicaly. Perhaps some Catastrophy triggers it or its just random. But in any fashion you get knocked down the tech tree. Most or all of your advanced stuff is lost or starts rusting away and you loss technology you once had. This would realy be a FIRST in 4X games. To my knowlege no game has ever alowed a player to lose tecnologies outside of "Generic lab disaster, all acumulated RP deleated". I thin this more severe event could actualy deflect the devistating "Snow-Ball" effect if employed wisely. My though is that if a BIG strong empire suffers too much civil unrest or perhaps a critical military setback their a higher probability of this happening to them then to a small empire (the bigger you are the harder you fall principle). The tricky part is how to implement it without a the player feeling that their just being punished for success.
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trioted
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#17 Post by trioted » Sun Jul 03, 2005 10:24 pm

add a tech meter

if below 20 planet doesnt have acess to more recent techs
if above 20 its developing new techs

if all planets are below 20 you lose tech.

ways to lose tech meter
be bombed so much your people must sleep on the ground,
run so low on food that ppl resort to hunting andgathering,
have a plague that kills of all the technical folkes,
or an industrial acident causes one of the above.

ways to gain tech meter
have all necessary buildings for survival (you have freelance inventors),
build a reseach lab (obviously)
ruins of another empire (untill planets of equal tech level)

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utilae
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#18 Post by utilae » Mon Jul 04, 2005 6:40 am

Impaler wrote: I was just reading some nice material over at Orions Arm. They have an interesting scale that I think we could modify for use in giving alien races a kind of ranking from primitive to Godlike.
I would prefer primitive, ancient, eldar, etc (ancient/eldar over godlike).
Impaler wrote: Lastly I think we realy should have some kind of mechanism bywhich an Empire can realy "Regress" technologicaly. Perhaps some Catastrophy triggers it or its just random. But in any fashion you get knocked down the tech tree. Most or all of your advanced stuff is lost or starts rusting away and you loss technology you once had.
This is a very good idea. But it needs to be designed carefully. I'm not really sure what could cause this. Obviously tech that is only in the lab could be lost through destruction of the lab. If tech is used by society (eg cars), then I am not sure how you could loose this tech, of course in the case of cars we would have to regress once oil, petrol runs out, then it's bye bye cars. So I guess one cause for regression is lack of necesary resources, but I don't see this as a problem if you can get resources from another planet.
Impaler wrote: My though is that if a BIG strong empire suffers too much civil unrest or perhaps a critical military setback their a higher probability of this happening to them then to a small empire (the bigger you are the harder you fall principle). The tricky part is how to implement it without a the player feeling that their just being punished for success.
This is similar to what we were discussing in the thread "How an empire breaks apart". While regression might result from an empire breaking apart, I don't think it would be a cause of an empire breaking apart.

I thought the best way to model an 'empire breaking apart' is though the empire splitting into factions. So certain parts of your empire (eg worlds which have been getting less attention from you) could become a break away faction. This faction would be treated as though it was an AI (like the computer races you fight against), but diplomacy wise you are trying to incorperate this faction back into your empire, of course if you can't then you can just attack them with your ships or they'll attack you.

It would show the race breaking up thing in a way that is more visual and interactive. IF you are a large empire, using this system you better try and treat all your planets well, otherwise if you neglect a few worlds, well they will take action.

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#19 Post by Impaler » Mon Jul 04, 2005 5:56 pm

My thoughts were kind of along the lines of "Dark Ages", learning declines and knowlage is lost because know one knows its or feels the need to know it. A resorce shortfall would not directly result in Tech loss, rather it might trigger a decline in Science to the point ware people arnt educated enough to know the knowlage (and I guess all the books/micro-fiech/computer files are lost). Admitedly this is going to be a rare event resulting from Empire-wide decline over a long period. It should not be simply BANG! YOU LOSSE LEVEL!! Anyone would feel cheated by that, it would be the result of long term forces they spiral the player downward, the player should be aware or and able to prevent these things from happening with sufficient effort and forsight. I am thinking along the lines of a Maintanace Fee needed to keep from regressing, Empires under stress might find they cant pay the bills and regress.

Utiale: The Eldar oriented scale your proposing seems to be Age-Oriented which is not adsactly what I was aiming for. Age need not be directly related to advancement. A young race might advance faster then an older one and superceed it tecnological. Also age oriented descriptsions dont seem to be consistent with the regression theme. A civilization cant become younger becaue it suffers a tecnological breakdown (it might seem younger to an outsider though). I see an Age based scale running perpendicular to Tecnological level as its seems fair for their to be all kinds of combinations of age:tech. That said I dont see the purpose unless Age dose something for a Race like perhaps give them "Prestige" with younger races (that would actualy be rather cool if it dosen't contribute to snow-balling).

I have also been a big fan of David Brin's Uplift fiction and this scheme kind of fits with it. We would have the Orions in the role of the Progenitors. They evolved Sentience naturaly and were the only race to achive Godhood (they also achived all the subsequent levels without help). They whent about Uplifting other races to a variety of levels from mid to low and ruled over a peacefull Galaxy. At their Peak the Orions were the Oldest and the Highest Technolgicaly. When the Orions "were no more" the highest uplifted races began waring with each other to claim the mantle of the Orions, they Uplifted other races to demonstrate their power and to get Vassels (the Orions had been much more liberal with the races they uplifted, they gave them freedom if they wished it but most chosse to be ruled by the Benevelent Orions). Now several Milenia later the player has a new Empire (perhaps under a benevilent but declining patron race). All around the player are other Empires growing and Dieing, of various ages and Technoligal levels. No race has managed to reach the Orions level (constant war and back sliding prevented this). Also no one has ever discovered what happened to the Orions or to follow them.
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General_Zaber
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Star Lanes

#20 Post by General_Zaber » Thu Jan 10, 2008 3:45 am

I'm not sure if anyone has already said this but I think I know the original idea behind star lanes in MoO3 (Which I think also applies to FO)

Example (MoO3) Let's say there are three stars on screen which are roughly an inch apart when fully zoomed in. You have a basic scout ship in one system, another system is connected via star lane, and another isn't. In this case it would take 3 turns to reach another star via star lane and usually about 50 to 100 turns to reach the other without a star lane.

From what I can glean from both this fact, which I can support with a few hints from the MoO3's backstory. It is likely that star lanes represent channels in space along which FTL drives can function. Without a star lane a ship would need to use it's system drive.

For those who know about Warhammer 40k, their explanation for the "Warp" is that it functions like a collossal ocean which is nearly impossible to cross. In order to speed up the process, a ship needs to move along 'currents' (star lanes) whithin the warp which allow the ship to be propelled faster towards it's destination. As for why ships would use a system drive in other cases it is assumed that the warp can swallow a ship and hurl it to a random point in space-time, often in a completely different plane of existence.
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Re: Expanding the story

#21 Post by Bigjoe5 » Mon Jun 30, 2008 1:46 am

IMO, most of the ideas here have no place in an ordinary game of FO, only in the campaign mode.

This removes the necessity of having "random motivations" for the nomads, allows a realistic variation in tech level upon the start of the game (there are obviously a myriad of ways to balance this in a campaign, especially since there's only one playable race per part of the campaign mode). In the campaign, you can have set times for the ghosts to attack, set times for the nomads to come sell you technology/alien slaves, and one definite storyline for the nomads and the ghosts.

Also, I think that as an added bonus, (warning, possible awesome meter overload :P) Once you finish all the campaigns as the playable races, one final campaign is made available. One that takes place long before any of the others. In this campaign, the player takes control of the legendary Orions, and plays them through from a fledgling race to the ultimate legend that they become, culminating in the fate of the Orions, which is at last made known to the player.

Well, I thought it was pretty awesome, anyway... But at any rate, the campaign mode has the potential to be incredibly epic with this setup (the nomads and the ghosts and all that....). I approve.
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Re: Expanding the story

#22 Post by Tortanick » Mon Jun 30, 2008 10:00 am

Bigjoe5 wrote:Also, I think that as an added bonus, (warning, possible awesome meter overload :P) Once you finish all the campaigns as the playable races, one final campaign is made available. One that takes place long before any of the others. In this campaign, the player takes control of the legendary Orions, and plays them through from a fledgling race to the ultimate legend that they become, culminating in the fate of the Orions, which is at last made known to the player.
I was thinking along those lines, but I thought it might remove too much of the mystery and dropped the idea. It would definately have to end at the beginning of their golden age.

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Re: Expanding the story

#23 Post by Bigjoe5 » Mon Jun 30, 2008 7:18 pm

Tortanick wrote:I was thinking along those lines, but I thought it might remove too much of the mystery and dropped the idea. It would definately have to end at the beginning of their golden age.
I think that as long as the mystery is there all the way through the campaign mode, the mystery has served its purpose and can be done away with. Revealing the mystery in one final, unexpected campaign adds that element of epicness that we should have when the mystery is finally revealed. I don't think it needs to end at the beginning of the golden age... Perhaps the golden age wasn't so golden after all, and there were actually constant wars being waged against the Orions by lesser races. Or, if each races campaign could be split into more than one "mission", so to speak, then once the Orions come into power, we can just skip the golden age altogether and go straight to their disappearance.
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Re: Expanding the story

#24 Post by Tortanick » Mon Jun 30, 2008 8:09 pm

My point about stopping at the golden age was that playing through it, or their disappearance would be very boring. Your the perfect civilisation, your technology means your unchallengeable, its total peace. That's lovely if your actually living there, but for the player in a 4x game, what exactly do you do? Same goes for their disappearance, chances are from the 4x player's perspective its all managing itself, whatever "it" is, just click end turn.
Bigjoe5 wrote:Perhaps the golden age wasn't so golden after all, and there were actually constant wars being waged against the Orions by lesser races
I like the idea that it was a real golden age, and if the lesser races tried to attack the Orions they'd get defeated effortlessly without even suffering casualties. Anything less makes the Orions less awesome.
Bigjoe5 wrote:Revealing the mystery in one final, unexpected campaign adds that element of epicness that we should have when the mystery is finally revealed.
It could work... but the real risk with revealing the mystery is disappointment. I'm just not sure we could create a backstory worthy of the Orions, and I am sure that a mystery is better than any reason for their disappearance.

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Re: Expanding the story

#25 Post by Bigjoe5 » Mon Jun 30, 2008 9:13 pm

Tortanick wrote:My point about stopping at the golden age was that playing through it, or their disappearance would be very boring. Your the perfect civilisation, your technology means your unchallengeable, its total peace. That's lovely if your actually living there, but for the player in a 4x game, what exactly do you do? Same goes for their disappearance, chances are from the 4x player's perspective its all managing itself, whatever "it" is, just click end turn.
This is counter to the entire concept of a campaign mode. If we have a storyline for the campaign mode, then the end results are always going to be the same (i.e. one victory condition per campaign). Thus, to the player, its essentially success or failure. This can also apply to the Orions. There could be some unknown force in the galaxy that only the Orions encountered, and they have to battle it without the other empires knowing, and in the end, they are forced to sacrifice themselves to an eternity as ghosts in order to keep this strange power at bay. This would probably be the only campaign with a "trancendance" or whatever victory condition. (except possibly the second last campaign in the game/final campaign in the timeline)
I like the idea that it was a real golden age, and if the lesser races tried to attack the Orions they'd get defeated effortlessly without even suffering casualties. Anything less makes the Orions less awesome.
point taken. Playing through the golden age is unnecessary.
It could work... but the real risk with revealing the mystery is disappointment. I'm just not sure we could create a backstory worthy of the Orions, and I am sure that a mystery is better than any reason for their disappearance.
Could is good enough for me, since preparing such a final campaign would be virtually no effort considering the scale of this project. If it sucks, it sucks, but I'd be disappointed if we didn't at least try. If a game is based on a mystery, I find it quite unsatisfying if that mystery isn't resolved at the end.
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Re: Expanding the story

#26 Post by Tortanick » Mon Jun 30, 2008 10:08 pm

Bigjoe5 wrote:This is counter to the entire concept of a campaign mode. If we have a storyline for the campaign mode, then the end results are always going to be the same (i.e. one victory condition per campaign). Thus, to the player, its essentially success or failure.
Not really, when creating campaigns we pick times during the history of the Orion sector that would make a fun campaign, my point was simple: The golden age wasn't one of those times, nothing for the player to do in it.

And while there is one victory condition per campaign, I'm open to the idea of non-canonical victories. E.G. the goal is to survive 100 turns, but you wipe out your enemies in 50. The game basically says "that's really impressive, and we'll count it as a win, but its not what really happened"
Bigjoe5 wrote:This can also apply to the Orions. There could be some unknown force in the galaxy that only the Orions encountered, and they have to battle it without the other empires knowing, and in the end, they are forced to sacrifice themselves to an eternity as ghosts in order to keep this strange power at bay.
That would be a real let down for me, firstly because the Orions I see could have taken just about anything without needing to sacrifice themselves. Whatever caused them to leave, its because they chose it. And secondly defeating some foe is a far to ordinary answer to the mystery of the Orions. I'd have the campaign be the rise of the Onions and leave their fall a mystery.
Bigjoe5 wrote:(except possibly the second last campaign in the game/final campaign in the timeline)
I have a much better plan for the final campaign than that ;) the second to last chronological campaign sets the scene by creating the early form grand alliance of all the decent Orion races. The final campaign you play as that alliance at the end of time itself. Your goal is to build a research and build free energy machine with the output of a star to survive past the end of time. At first you have no threats but before long mass panic, doomsday cults, supernovas of increasing frequency and possibly some breakdown of reality start piling up against you. Transcendence occurs during the epilogue.
Bigjoe5 wrote:Could is good enough for me, since preparing such a final campaign would be virtually no effort considering the scale of this project. If it sucks, it sucks, but I'd be disappointed if we didn't at least try.
Feel free to try, but I say we don't include it unless its good. However I am starting to warm to the idea of a campaign showing the early history of the Orions. And the issues with leaving the mystery a mystery depends on how important we chose to make the mystery to the story. I'd rather the focus was on the younger races with the Orions being part of the setting, rather than the plot.

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