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Author Topic: A True and Accurate History of the Persean Sector  (Read 13414 times)

David

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A True and Accurate History of the Persean Sector
« on: August 16, 2017, 08:51:39 AM »

Blog post here.
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SafariJohn

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Re: A True and Accurate History of the Persean Sector
« Reply #1 on: August 16, 2017, 09:23:49 AM »

Lots of fun stuff :D

Edit:
Out of all the things I could ask about, I'll pick one:

"In response to discovery of Tri-Tachyon backdoors installed in hyperspace relay hardware, the Hegemony orders its internal hyperwave network destroyed. Interstellar communications falls back to packet ships"

Does this mean we'll get courier missions in the next version? Maybe we'll even see courier ships going from place to place? Or have most factions gone back to (or kept) using hyperwave networks?
« Last Edit: August 16, 2017, 10:07:12 AM by SafariJohn »
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David

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Re: A True and Accurate History of the Persean Sector
« Reply #2 on: August 16, 2017, 10:20:52 AM »

"In response to discovery of Tri-Tachyon backdoors installed in hyperspace relay hardware, the Hegemony orders its internal hyperwave network destroyed. Interstellar communications falls back to packet ships"

Does this mean we'll get courier missions in the next version? Maybe we'll even see courier ships going from place to place? Or have most factions gone back to (or kept) using hyperwave networks?

Real answer: haven't really decided.

Speculative answer: I think the existence of hyperwave relays in Hegemony spaces implies that they got set back up again with, presumably, non-Tri-Tachyon hardware components. It's quite possible they still wouldn't entirely trust the hardware so it'd be entirely a matter of degrees-of-confidence. Packet runs would surely be a thing. As for the player handling them? Not sure! Depends on if they'd contribute something interesting to the game, and how that looks depends on Other Things.  :-X
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ciago92

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Re: A True and Accurate History of the Persean Sector
« Reply #3 on: August 16, 2017, 10:24:54 AM »

Love all the backstory!

Couple possible minor spelling issues:
"The Teaching: In which Ludd starts spiritual “clubs” for those who “seek galactic redeption”. "
"Similarly, much of Tri-Tachyon’s infrastructure is devasted – or dismantled in the post-war settlement.
"TTS Invincle, Paragon-class battleship"
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Drokkath

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Re: A True and Accurate History of the Persean Sector
« Reply #4 on: August 16, 2017, 11:55:05 AM »

Good grief.. read all of it and it just gave me even more reasons for my anti-hero sentient alien and/or anti-hero sentient machine characters to declare an all-out extermination on all of the factions in the game liberally! Peace to the sector, yay! :D

« Last Edit: August 16, 2017, 12:04:41 PM by Drokkath »
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Midnight Kitsune

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Re: A True and Accurate History of the Persean Sector
« Reply #5 on: August 16, 2017, 12:59:13 PM »

The ticker/ news alert links at the top of the forums are still showing the previous blog post
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Alex

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Re: A True and Accurate History of the Persean Sector
« Reply #6 on: August 16, 2017, 01:06:08 PM »

(Whoops, updated. Thank you!)
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xenoargh

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Re: A True and Accurate History of the Persean Sector
« Reply #7 on: August 16, 2017, 01:19:33 PM »

Some critique, kindly meant.


In general... the overall story is interesting, although there are parts that feel like they could use an editing pass.  The early bits, especially, don't paint a coherent picture of "this is where you are now"- the very first bits about having to pay the Recovery Installment Plan, etc., set a nice tone of Dystopia.  

If you could clone yourselves or your "brain tape" in the case of death, e.g., the classic Lord British / Chuckles game Autoduel... that would be a cute nod, indeed.

Past that early bit, I feel like the story could use more editing.  There just isn't quite enough meat on the bones.  We change contexts and conversations a little too quickly, and there are too many different voices being used.

For example:  how did we become Space Captains?  Were we pilots before all this started?  Are their automated ships full of cryosleeping people still arriving in the Sector?  Are there large numbers of ancient cryopods floating around in various places?  Or is the Player an ex-member of XIV?  

None of this got touched, even though the story implies it could be interpreted in a lot of ways.



I like how the collapse of the Domain Gate Network is once again, left as a total mystery (Was it Ludd?  Was it merely coincidence?).  

A fun factoid you might want to put in there is something like, "a long-range fleet was constructed and is en-route to the nearest other Sector, but it will be 200 years before it arrives" to tie in with the Warlord Loke story (which echoes the XIV story, nice touch) with a believable explanation as to why, after all this time, there's been no word; the Gate Haulers might be on their way via slower FTL, rather than Gate jumps, but we'll never know.  

However, I don't really like the idea that the Gates are inert objects throughout.  Perhaps Gates need to be "tuned" to one another, and what happened wiped out the tuning data; that seems pretty unbelievable (it's the Future; we'd have backups for our backups' backups) but an "AI virus weapon" might be a good-enough bit of hand-waving (well, presuming the Ludd Story is true, rather than all the fun alternatives).

I feel like there wasn't quite enough centrality to the story, though.  The thing about the Mechwarrior and Car Wars stories was that, while they could, at best, be described as, "thin excuses for the gameplay mechanics", they were at least that.  The problem with the Starsector backstory is that, past, "the Gates crashed, everything's gone to hell" there just isn't quite enough Stuff there to indicate how a player might find a route to be an agent of change.  

In Mechwarrior, you could be anything from a mercenary-company executive to one of the leaders of the Houses.  The central story- the death of the Hegemony, the known galaxy disintegrates into warring feudal states after a horrific Civil War reduces the technological knowledge base by a huge amount, etc., provided props for the player to construct goals around, even though these weren't explicitly built into the game.  

In Starsector, with the introduction of Outposts and all that implies, we have a sandbox where, potentially, we can write various stories, like "helped the Hegemony to finally control the Sector", "Killed all humanity that wasn't the Player Faction through cataclysmic use of PKs", "Served the Tri-Tachyon Corporation as it rebuilt its resource base to wage AI War III", etc., etc.

But, ultimately, we need a hook here and there.  The story can't just just be self-built.  There has to be some structural elements in place.  The strongest part of the entire game right now is the Tutorial, where, hand-holding and all, we suddenly have a context to our actions that isn't merely, "kill stuff, get monies, use monies to buy more things to kill stuff".  

SS needs more of that to achieve classic status.  

The core gameplay mechanics are fine.  I'm sure that once the Economy's straightened out and Outposts are a thing, it'll be in a good place, in terms of fundamental mechanics; sure, there are areas here and there that need cleanup (like, for example, tying the Intel UI intelligently to the Mission Board in Stations so that the game feels less like it's full of redundant UIs) but these are polish details, for the most part.  

The important thing, once the fundamentals are built, is that there should be structural elements to introduce both causality and to provide reasons and moral imperatives (for example, taking a mission to peacefully re-integrate a colony that's rebelling might involve bringing said colony some resources and negotiating a compromise, or a choice to take advantage of the situation and take over leadership of the colony yourself).  We need missions with more structure and moral context so that our actions feel more meaningful and our emotional attachment is greater.  If there's any one issue I had with the Tutorial Mission, it was that there was no peaceful resolution of the Pirate Station's problems, by filching the data, avoiding fights, and then presenting them with the fait accompli of the Gate's re-activation and your temporary credentials as a Hegemony representative; that would have given the missions a greater coda, if you took a non-violent route (as it is, you're always going to want to fight, for the XP gains; it's the best situation of easy XP you get in the early game).  



Little notes:

Colonel not Colonal, heh.  It would also be nice if Kanta had a female first name; her sex is unclear in the text until suddenly:  "spaces the Loke loyalists left on her station".

"PK" as a short-hand for "Planet-Killer" needs to be introduced a little earlier; it's suddenly stuck in there and we're supposed to puzzle it out.  It'd be interesting to explore what a PK means, as well; probably, for low-tech colonies, it's merely a big chunk of something driven to near-c, but for major worlds, one presumes it's a massive AM warhead or something else that's seriously dangerous; one would presume that basic technology for protecting planets with serious Shields was pretty normal for this universe, frankly.
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SafariJohn

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Re: A True and Accurate History of the Persean Sector
« Reply #8 on: August 16, 2017, 01:20:10 PM »

Love the wild speculation in the excerpt from Tri-Truth: The AI Plot Behind The Collapse. Because 90 years totally isn't enough time to build up huge AI death fleets.

I'm not saying there can't be some truth to it, but ::)
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xenoargh

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Re: A True and Accurate History of the Persean Sector
« Reply #9 on: August 16, 2017, 01:22:21 PM »

I like how it's implied that there may be a few XIV vessels superior to what we know about still in Hegemony hands- the bit about "Much of the irreplaceable XIV Battlegroup matériel was destroyed in this war" implies there might be things out there we haven't seen yet. 

I'm looking forward to fighting an ancient Boss Ship, heh.
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David

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Re: A True and Accurate History of the Persean Sector
« Reply #10 on: August 16, 2017, 01:50:56 PM »

Couple possible minor spelling issues:

(Spellings fixed, thanks!)

Some critique, kindly meant.

I will say, structurally, the introduction is definitely just a framing device for what's really a dump of mission timeline notes. As for where the player comes from, that's very much up to you at this point in development and I can't comment on how/if that would change.

The extreme focus on detail around the Second AI War is a result of most of the missions being related to that period. I'd like to expand this (the internal document, that is) to include events hinted at in the descriptions of all the planets and in-game objects to make one master timeline so we'll have a canonical document to check settings stuff by, but that's a laborious and ongoing effort (too much for one blog post, for sure). It might be nice to revisit the idea of showing the setting timeline with greater detail when it gets fleshed out a bit more.

As for how the blog post contents apply to the game, I consider the game to be its own experience. We're not going to put this blog post in at the start as some kind of rolling Star Wars text, don't worry. Consider this a peek at our notes with a light framing device and some fun pictures which may perhaps hint at certain things in the current or future game experience.
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Drokkath

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Re: A True and Accurate History of the Persean Sector
« Reply #11 on: August 16, 2017, 02:36:42 PM »

I prefer leaving player's options open also, too strict storyline and set-in-stone player's background can just ruin it all beyond repair in terms of background RPG storyline freedom, just take a good look at what happened with Starbound, hint: You always start out as a next-in-line new hero and a member of the Protectorate. Every - single - time. Same goes for games like Fallout 4 and other RPG games where you are essentially stuck with only one or two character choice basically and that just rips out too many possibilities and ways to be a different character with different starting point. I highly prefer the old-school way of making up your own story whenever creating a new character and not getting some strict storyline in-game shoved down one's throat.

As for this Persean League introduction for example, sorry but I'd rather not be in that human's body and shoes, I reject it 110% as I'd rather start out as an alien almost each time and tear through xenophobic and otherwise nasty humies only with will and wrath, rage and rampage, to rip and tear until silence of the massacre's aftermath hits.
« Last Edit: August 16, 2017, 02:58:44 PM by Drokkath »
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Dri

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Re: A True and Accurate History of the Persean Sector
« Reply #12 on: August 16, 2017, 02:45:36 PM »

Damn, what a juicy lore dump!

I hope we'll be able to interact with some of the major characters in some way—CEO Artemisia Sun, Warlord Kanta, the High Hegemon.
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xenoargh

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Re: A True and Accurate History of the Persean Sector
« Reply #13 on: August 16, 2017, 02:55:38 PM »

It's not a bad thing to have an established backstory for the character, in and of itself; it gives the game a bit of initial structure.  

In the case of StarBound, it establishes Victory Conditions.  That's different; that'd be like picking a Faction at the beginning and being required to solve that Faction's problems to achieve victory.  That isn't terrible as an idea, btw; but it's probably out-of-scope for a project as small as SS, because that requires quite a lot of background coding to achieve.

In the case of Fallout IV, it's actually a great example of, "how not to do that", because the backstory, while lavishly explained, is then completely undercut by the gameplay itself.

In the case of Fallout I, it's done perfectly, for a sandbox game; you're the person who's supposed to save the Vault.  How you do it, when you do it, and how many people you murder along the way is up to you.

In Mount and Blade, it's given to you as a series of choices, that weakly interact with the rest of the game.  That's not terrible, although it leaves the game feeling a bit cold and incoherent at times.  Some of the major mods for that game really improved upon that and made the sandbox parts connect with the whole better.

In the case of another space-opera classic, Freelancer, all of the sandbox parts are set within a structural mesh of a linear, story-driven series of missions.  It's not bad either, even though it wasn't nearly as dynamic as people would've liked.  But it didn't have a real point past the final storyline mission.


I think it's fair to say that just being dropped into, "kill stuff, get monies, kill again" is a recipe for a game that can only succeed if the "kill stuff" part is beyond reproach, frankly, and even then, it takes all the core gameplay that's been built thus far and puts it into a box of, "side-stuff you might want to do when not killing stuff", rather than giving it any sense of dimension.  

This is one of the problems with the game that it's had since its inception; I wasn't kidding when I said the Tutorial Missions were the strongest part.  They're the only part of 0.8 where I felt like I was acting as a moral agent, as opposed to the rest of the game, where I murder thousands in my quest to "get monies".  There are plenty of ways to accomplish this within a framework that's essentially a sandbox in nature.
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Drokkath

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Re: A True and Accurate History of the Persean Sector
« Reply #14 on: August 16, 2017, 03:08:31 PM »

Aye, Fallout 1 sure shined! Despite being probably the first Vault Dweller ever with potential to truly make one's bloody mark on the whole future of the wasteland, one was/is still able to replay it with a character that has different goals in mind. It's what I was thinking of in my mind more-or-less earlier but didn't manage to put it into words as good, thanks.
« Last Edit: August 16, 2017, 03:11:14 PM by Drokkath »
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