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Author Topic: Why am I a space mobster? (mild spoilers) (mostly joking)  (Read 758 times)

Ad Astra

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Why am I a space mobster? (mild spoilers) (mostly joking)
« on: April 20, 2021, 11:40:02 AM »

After playing through the academy questline I have the need to say two things, first is that I found it very interesting to see several aspects of the world fleshed out, and the second is the main reason for the thread.

Why am I a space mobster? (whoaa title drop)
"What does this even mean?" You might ask, well...your character interactions feel like you are running an organized space criminal syndicate.
Your character is always 2 kool 4 skool, always a master of social interactions, always the social butterfly/sociopathic manipulator that personally deals with going around taking names and squeezing information out of people (with your awesome bodyguards who are totally there of course).
I always assumed your character would end up having a more neutral, less defined personality, hell maybe you could always be inside a spacesuit without anyone even knowing WHAT you are.
But what you are right now is someone who can do anything and everything, the tough guy that looks at the tech nerds sternly when they start dribbling about thingamajigs, the badass space captain who is always awesome and goes around meeting all the important people.
You always get recognized as some sort "wiseguy" that the provost sends to shake people up, and many times you can't even avoid those situations.
Does this happen because I always end up with 100 independent rep and 49 with everyone else? Do you get to skip shaking people up if you have high relations with other factions?

I feel like a more neutral treatment to your character would feel less strange, while saving the need to go around adding interactions to define the character. But having a substantial investment in the tech tree and still going for the "shut up nerd" routine when you are not given dialogue options feels weird to say the least.

In the meantime I shall rename my character from X (undefined person like thing that goes around in a spacesuit) to Fortunate Luciano/Luciana (space version of Lucky Luciano).

Nyeeeh see? Imma orbital bomb your ass if I don't see those credits by Monday! Space capische? (hand gestures)
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Pratapon51

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Re: Why am I a space mobster? (mild spoilers) (mostly joking)
« Reply #1 on: April 20, 2021, 04:43:20 PM »

I don't disagree with your points and think there could be some development related to your character's state - e.g., I did a lot of the main quest while the League hated me and the Hegemony among others has sent expeditions to my colonies, but apparently I'm too much of a nobody for Daud to talk to.  ;D

That said, I think the general personality and bodyguards makes sense. It does take a .. special kind of character to cause drastic change in the Sector, so I don't really mind it. I think 'quirkier' personality types would be harder to write and be less generally accepted.
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Megas

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Re: Why am I a space mobster? (mild spoilers) (mostly joking)
« Reply #2 on: April 20, 2021, 05:47:36 PM »

This release, for better or worse, has added a personality, or perhaps multiple personalities, to your character.  He is no longer a generic character (and he probably should have his own unique portrait).  He acts smart, wise, and a guile dirty trickster.  One thing your character is not, is a stock hot-blooded idiot hero from a mainstream shonen series or a total ruthless psychopath.  In previous releases, I played my character like a no-nonsense brute that smashed whatever was in his way.
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FooF

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Re: Why am I a space mobster? (mild spoilers) (mostly joking)
« Reply #3 on: April 20, 2021, 05:54:19 PM »

Go read David's blog post on the subject from a few months back. There are some baseline assumptions you have to make when writing a story and "choose your own adventure" is a *massive* dev time sink if you try go with multiple iterations.

One of David's assumptions was that the player-character is a lovable rogue, like Han Solo. You can tell from the writing that this is an individual that has relied on wit/charm to get through life. The choices given soften/toughen up the character to some degree but at the end of the day, "good guys" probably don't last long in a dog-eat-dog world. Everyone (who has a modicum of success) is probably is some moral shade of gray.

It's unenviable position to be in as a writer when you have a sandbox/open-world game. You just can't appeal to everyone's fantasy/head-canon and since you can't, you just have to go with *something* that makes the most sense. I think David did a good job because I chuckled a few times and had some interesting decisions to make based on my personality. Sometimes those decisions had minor negatives, sometimes they had minor positives. Either way, my personality being projected on the player-character had very little impact on the overall outcome of the game (from a story perspective). I think that's a good thing for a sandbox because it doesn't reward or penalize an individual for wanting to stay true to the motivations they have created for the player character. You can play as you want and that's ok.
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Megas

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Re: Why am I a space mobster? (mild spoilers) (mostly joking)
« Reply #4 on: April 20, 2021, 06:08:58 PM »

If the character has a distinct personality, then it should go all the way with a distinct appearance, like in jRPGs or any protagonist in a given story.  The character in Starsector is generic in every way except for personality.  So far, Starsector tries to get the best of both worlds (distinct personality but generic background, appearance, and name) but I do not think was pulled off well enough.

The character does not feel like a lovable rogue like Han Solo.  Half the time, he is guile prankster like Joseph Joestar, and most of the rest of the time, he acts like Picard or a leader with too much intelligence and/or wisdom.  Rarely, the character may act like a ruthless thug.  The character feels like multiple characters smashed together.
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Ad Astra

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Re: Why am I a space mobster? (mild spoilers) (mostly joking)
« Reply #5 on: April 21, 2021, 07:59:30 AM »

That said, I think the general personality and bodyguards makes sense. It does take a .. special kind of character to cause drastic change in the Sector, so I don't really mind it. I think 'quirkier' personality types would be harder to write and be less generally accepted.

One of David's assumptions was that the player-character is a lovable rogue, like Han Solo. You can tell from the writing that this is an individual that has relied on wit/charm to get through life. The choices given soften/toughen up the character to some degree but at the end of the day, "good guys" probably don't last long in a dog-eat-dog world. Everyone (who has a modicum of success) is probably is some moral shade of gray.

Those are very valid regarding the expected abilities of the character I suppose. I wouldn't expect an incapable or too weird a character to be supported either, in fact such a thing would be way too much work to be implemented and its time best spent elsewhere.

If the character has a distinct personality, then it should go all the way with a distinct appearance, like in jRPGs or any protagonist in a given story.  The character in Starsector is generic in every way except for personality.  So far, Starsector tries to get the best of both worlds (distinct personality but generic background, appearance, and name) but I do not think was pulled off well enough.

The character does not feel like a lovable rogue like Han Solo.  Half the time, he is guile prankster like Joseph Joestar, and most of the rest of the time, he acts like Picard or a leader with too much intelligence and/or wisdom.  Rarely, the character may act like a ruthless thug.  The character feels like multiple characters smashed together.

However THIS is where I was headed a bit, too much for a same character makes them feel like superhumans, maybe its just some allergy I have for OP protagonist sort of thing and I overreact to anything that makes me feel like they are too cool, too often.

I would assume most of the same actions we see, with only differences in how the character goes about those interactions, if if won't be a specific character then it ought to feel less defined. Someone capable but unremarkable, someone who doesn't feel like a protagonist, the sector and its people are the protagonist of the story, you are an agent of change, a force through which the story unfolds.

I suppose the writer thought that "giving the player power" might feel better for most people than making the character "make the calls" but rarely actually do the dirty jobs themselves. Risking a slightly overly capable character is safer than having almost every action occur through the crew of the ship while the captain is assumedly an "armchair general". A way I think could work is to refer to the crew, and the fleet, more often than to the character itself, but again what you win in role playing value probably isn't worth the hassle.

Thanks for the answers!, I understand the writing choices better now. I will still probably find it hilarious from time to time though. Adding a more diplomatic path to every mission would feel better but it would break the whole "everybody leaves because the Provost is a capital letter B". Still if you could make all of that work differently with high enough reputation, it would feel really rewarding.
Achievement unlocked: "No reason to fight, we are all friends, we are all buddies, we all profit from illegal organ sale"
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SapphireSage

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Re: Why am I a space mobster? (mild spoilers) (mostly joking)
« Reply #6 on: April 21, 2021, 08:09:02 AM »

One thing I would like for the story missions is
Spoiler
Having a choice to not send the research team down to the obviously cannibalistic group on one of the "Transport people to planet" missions from Galatia. Instead, our otherwise highly capable and intelligent PC decides to just send defenseless scientists to get eaten which seems a bit odd and was personally rather off-putting and immersion breaking.

Side note: Sebestyen would be very upset if he found out that the PC sent fellow scientists to get eaten based on a paid request. >:(
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Shad

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Re: Why am I a space mobster? (mild spoilers) (mostly joking)
« Reply #7 on: April 21, 2021, 08:09:58 AM »

If the character has a distinct personality, then it should go all the way with a distinct appearance, like in jRPGs or any protagonist in a given story.  The character in Starsector is generic in every way except for personality.  So far, Starsector tries to get the best of both worlds (distinct personality but generic background, appearance, and name) but I do not think was pulled off well enough.
Not well enough because it's impossible. The game's appeal and the core gamepay is the sandbox and trying to shoehorn a preset personality into that is self-defeating. Look no further than the disastrous attempt to add a "main quest" into Bannerlord, where the devs had to capitulate and add an option to outright skip it.
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Megas

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Re: Why am I a space mobster? (mild spoilers) (mostly joking)
« Reply #8 on: April 21, 2021, 09:19:46 AM »

I forgot to add that the "multiple characters smashed together" were smashed together haphazardly.  Your character feels like a shell with several personalities that fight over control of your body instead of a single unifed seemless whole.

Not to mention that Picard mode feels too much like a Sue.  Perfect for your overpowered shonen protagonist.

Previous releases had no or minimal personality.  Good for sandbox.  Now, might as well go the full jRPG character driven story and abandon the sandbox partially or wholly.
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Ad Astra

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Re: Why am I a space mobster? (mild spoilers) (mostly joking)
« Reply #9 on: April 21, 2021, 09:55:27 AM »

Not well enough because it's impossible. The game's appeal and the core gamepay is the sandbox and trying to shoehorn a preset personality into that is self-defeating. Look no further than the disastrous attempt to add a "main quest" into Bannerlord, where the devs had to capitulate and add an option to outright skip it.

Aw man...I was looking forward to the JRPG progression
First mission: kill that scrappy pirate frigate
Final mission: kill the machine god

But yeah, less characterization feels more functional to me than more, however it might be a very niche opinion that's why I wrote in the general discussion thread instead of suggestions.
Not really expecting changes to be made, but talking about it is fun and could be worth wondering about it for further interactions (whether to double down on the space badass or have it toned down slightly).
The parts when you are given more playful or comedic options are my favorites, keeping that underlying tone of comedy helps with mellowing any dissonant situation, while a more dramatic tone makes them harder to accept.

I forgot to add that the "multiple characters smashed together" were smashed together haphazardly.  Your character feels like a shell with several personalities that fight over control of your body instead of a single unifed seemless whole.

Not to mention that Picard mode feels too much like a Sue.  Perfect for your overpowered shonen protagonist.

Previous releases had no or minimal personality.  Good for sandbox.  Now, might as well go the full jRPG character driven story and abandon the sandbox partially or wholly.

I assume some of this is meant as an exaggeration, but it gets the point across. If you want the character to be so "flawless" then more comedy is needed to make it appeal less to power fantasy, and more to absurdity and amusement, otherwise you risk ending up with a less mature product than what was meant.
There's nothing wrong with shonens, nor with OP protagonists, the crux of the matter is whether that's intended or not, and if it isn't then pointing it out might be helpful with achieving a more cohesive narrative.

Its also important to add that this isn't a criticism to writing skill (ability to convey what is wanted through writing), especially with scene descriptions the environments really come to life. But its a disagreement writing decisions (how certain factors within a story are depicted). As such, in the end its all a matter of taste about story crafting.
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