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Starsector 0.95.1a is out! (12/10/21); Blog post: Hyperspace Topography (10/12/22)

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Author Topic: The Pilgrim's Path  (Read 7938 times)

David

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Re: The Pilgrim's Path
« Reply #105 on: July 26, 2022, 04:04:08 PM »

I was thinking, some of factions as they are currently are more of a reflection of current and past times than they are of the future, barring the spacefaring part.

I would not disagree!
In fact I'd argue that most, probably all, science fiction is in some way a commentary on the present (or exists within the cultural zeitgeist of the present and is consciously or not a commentary on that)... especially when it veers toward pulp, like I think Starsector might.

And besides, Starsector is not a narrative-driven design. That is, when it comes to designing what the game is, an idea of gameplay came first and visuals and narrative followed.

Speaking from a strictly practical point of view, Starsector appears to me to be focused on entertainment. Now it's possible that we will see some narrative experiments from David, but afaik those can easily alienate the audience that isn't looking for them. Therefore I expect the writing to be complementary to gameplay, even if potentially competent on its own.

... Ah dang, couldn't have said it better myself.

TBH the amount that the narrative can "break" the mold of existing gameplay is pretty limited - and limited in large part by the cost of implementing entirely new features to make a "gotcha!" work within the mechanics. We obviously have done this (and to a fairly large degree in a certain case), but it's a clear limiting factor.

I'm always reminding of how Deus Ex put the world-shattering player decision at the end of the game in terms of which of three buttons you pressed. If they made a game that followed through on each of those decisions, the development cost would be ruinous. So to some degree this comes with the territory- unless a game is sufficiently low-fidelity that it can blow your mechanical expectations away with every turn of the narrative, such as it is, eg. Frog Fractions.

All that said, Alex is very supportive of indulging in new features in support of narrative, so we'll just have to see how far we can take it :)
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smithney

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Re: The Pilgrim's Path
« Reply #106 on: July 27, 2022, 06:53:58 AM »

Hehe, probably already posted too much here, but there won't be a better place to share this now that I remembered it ^^

What I find amusing about the Luddic music themes is that by default, the Pather themes sound like a more militaristic version of the CGR ones. Reflecting your initial view of the Pathers as just a radical sect of the "hippy" Luddic Church. As you befriend the Church, its themes change dramatically, seeing as you realized that the faithful of the CGR worlds are nothing like the violent Pathers. However, the biggest plot twist...
Spoiler
...comes if you become friendly with the Path as well. You probably wouldn't notice the subtle change from the hostile Luddic theme to the similar neutral one. But the friendly one represents the Pather's view perfectly at that point: they don't see themselves as different from the Church, they are fighting the same holy war against the evil of machines, albeit with different methods. After all, there are no "Pather" and "Church" themes, only the Luddic ones.

A different situation happens if you befriend the Path, but remain neutral with the Church. You could start seeing the difference in Luddic themes as the Pather's twisted epiphany; that the salvation of the true path elevates one above the ordinary, misguided believer of the Church.
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I noticed a similar musical storytelling with the Pirates, where becoming neutral doesn't really change one's relationship to pirates, the theme doesn't change much either. But by the time you become "friendly" with the pirates, chances are their captains see you as an icon and their markets become a haven where you are finally free to be yourself, safe from the intricacies of the mainstream societies. I'm hearing inklings of this in the Tri-Tach themes, but there isn't enough interaction to see this phenomenon truly developed. It's big contrast to the way the Diktat and the Hegemony are themed. And of course, I'm very curious to hear how the League turns out :P
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Plantissue

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Re: The Pilgrim's Path
« Reply #107 on: July 28, 2022, 11:27:12 AM »

Thanks for the replies to my rather rambling, written as thoughts come to my head, typo-ridden post. The gist I was getting at, was the Luddic Church is characterised solely as a stereotypical Abrahamic religion in space albeit a young one, and not really much else other than a mistrust of certain ostentatious technology. Which is inline as to how the other factions are depicted; that of current and past affairs. As opposed to a religion or idealogy with mores that would be related to the future technology or changes in society that space travel and technological advances may ensure. For transhumanism may exist for the Luddic Church to oppose, but where are the adherents of transhumanism? But of course it would be harder to write a realistic future fantastical religion that would have to make some sort of sense, than one that is deeply rooted on historical and present reality as an anchor. Besides which, I am very much a game mechanic gameplay over game backstory person.
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Megas

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Re: The Pilgrim's Path
« Reply #108 on: August 05, 2022, 08:39:33 AM »

...comes if you become friendly with the Path as well. You probably wouldn't notice the subtle change from the hostile Luddic theme to the similar neutral one. But the friendly one represents the Pather's view perfectly at that point: they don't see themselves as different from the Church, they are fighting the same holy war against the evil of machines, albeit with different methods. After all, there are no "Pather" and "Church" themes, only the Luddic ones.

A different situation happens if you befriend the Path, but remain neutral with the Church. You could start seeing the difference in Luddic themes as the Pather's twisted epiphany; that the salvation of the true path elevates one above the ordinary, misguided believer of the Church.
And this is why I consider all Ludds - Church AND Pathers - more or less evil.

Pathers are evil pirates or terrorists.  Church are enablers and sympathers, just as guilty as the Pathers.  They masquerade as a holy religion, but they come across as an evil cult of doom once the pseudo-Catholic veneer gets peeled off.  They are all smiles until they decide to kill you, kind of like the demon worshippers in Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom.

Does not help that the Church cannot keep their hands to themselves when player opens Free Port.

They seem to have no problem with tech if it is low enough.  And they use the same industries (and items if given the chance) as the player, including a dirty nanoforge - hypocrites.
« Last Edit: August 05, 2022, 08:42:07 AM by Megas »
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smithney

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Re: The Pilgrim's Path
« Reply #109 on: August 05, 2022, 11:59:18 AM »

You know, I gotta applaud the devs for making all factions feel naturally ambiguous when it comes to morality, including the darker factions. It makes for a world where I can encounter morally clear characters without feeling like they stick out from their environment. And because they fit into the grey moral ambiance, I can't allow myself to judge them until my last encounter with them when I'm trying to take the narrative seriously. I feel like this makes for a great personal Rorschach test, since you will get to see which ideals you are susceptible to.

The only little complaint I have at this point is that the moral positives of the Tri-Tach, the welcoming liberalism and progressive open-mindedness, aren't displayed well enough. The closest we get is when meeting Gargoyle, we get to see a kind of eccentric that I couldn't personally imagine surviving outside the hi-tech social biome of Tri-Tach worlds. However, the air of untouchability from the character buildup makes Gargoyle seem like a faultless, if erratic mastermind in a ruthless, Darwinistic environment, without seeing how he depends on it to survive. I don't see it as a problem for the character, but as a missed opportunity for the worldbuilding, where Tri-Tach has been consistently portrayed as a borderline villainous faction, even if deservedly.
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robepriority

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Re: The Pilgrim's Path
« Reply #110 on: August 12, 2022, 04:14:52 PM »

You know, I gotta applaud the devs for making all factions feel naturally ambiguous when it comes to morality, including the darker factions. It makes for a world where I can encounter morally clear characters without feeling like they stick out from their environment. And because they fit into the grey moral ambiance, I can't allow myself to judge them until my last encounter with them when I'm trying to take the narrative seriously. I feel like this makes for a great personal Rorschach test, since you will get to see which ideals you are susceptible to.

The only little complaint I have at this point is that the moral positives of the Tri-Tach, the welcoming liberalism and progressive open-mindedness, aren't displayed well enough. The closest we get is when meeting Gargoyle, we get to see a kind of eccentric that I couldn't personally imagine surviving outside the hi-tech social biome of Tri-Tach worlds. However, the air of untouchability from the character buildup makes Gargoyle seem like a faultless, if erratic mastermind in a ruthless, Darwinistic environment, without seeing how he depends on it to survive. I don't see it as a problem for the character, but as a missed opportunity for the worldbuilding, where Tri-Tach has been consistently portrayed as a borderline villainous faction, even if deservedly.

I feel like gameplay already gives them an edge in a ludonarrative manner due to their freeport and AI policy.

Timid

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Re: The Pilgrim's Path
« Reply #111 on: August 12, 2022, 05:02:17 PM »

I'm surprised this isn't asked in the thread. Considering how the Luddic Church and other Luddic sects are based on earlier forms of Christianity...

Spoiler
Would a Luddic sect or a small group of followers that can be pro-AI or pro-technology be able to align itself with the teachings of Ludd?

Not asking for this in a "potential mod" perspective since anyone can make those using a lot of mental gymnastics. Just questioning whether vanilla would have Luddic followers that might believe in technology is good given the faithful teach the industrial-terraformers how to shepherd the spirit of the land to create a new paradise... would absolutely require vast technology wouldn't it?
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Igncom1

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Re: The Pilgrim's Path
« Reply #112 on: August 13, 2022, 02:13:38 AM »

I mean they aren't anti-technology, (The Path might be), they just don't want dehumanising technology like unnecessary cybernetics, total automation, non human intelligences controlling us, planet destroying equipment, and things that manipulate space time in unsavoury ways.
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smithney

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Re: The Pilgrim's Path
« Reply #113 on: August 14, 2022, 09:06:35 AM »

@Timid
Spoiler
I think something like this is inevitable. Baetis for example is hinted at to be a haven for fringe beliefs. I also find it pretty clear as to why would such belief remain in fringes, considering the timing of the Collapse, the horrors of the AI wars and the current character of the Tri-Tach.
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Kos135

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Re: The Pilgrim's Path
« Reply #114 on: August 14, 2022, 01:48:12 PM »

they just don't want dehumanising technology like unnecessary cybernetics, total automation, non human intelligences controlling us, planet destroying equipment, and things that manipulate space time in unsavoury ways.
Come on man! What's life without a few genocidal AI killbots trying to exterminate humanity, or planets being turned into asteroid fields, or a portal to Hell being opened up!?

Regarding Baetis, the flavor text seems strange to me considering it is an Independent-owned military world:
A dwarf-planet from the outer system captured in the L4 of Tartessus, clouds of volatiles evaporate from the battered surface of this world. The stellar wind weathered infrastructure left from the initial colonization of the system has been re-settled by a lively population of out-of-system nonbelievers and dissidents exiled from Tartessus. The spaceport itself operates under a military administration sponsored by the Knights of Ludd, who collect tithes from commercial activity.
Baetis houses a bunch of dissidents from Tartessus and other assorted non-Luddics, malcontents, etc. The military administration that runs the spaceport is sponsored by the Knights of Ludd but they differ from the Luddic Church enough to be considered independent. Baetis is also well-armed enough to be considered a military world, possessing a military base and heavy batteries.

It seems strange to me that the Knights of Ludd would tolerate the independence of Baetis. They are a potential fifth column right in the middle of Church territory. Just imagine if a Third AI War kicked off, the Hegemony drags the Luddic Church into it on their side and Tri-Tachyon drags the Persean League into it on their side. If the PL had any brains at all they would try to cut a deal with Baetis, offer them a spot in the League in exchange for their betrayal of the Church. Is Baetis only allowed to remain independent because they're well-armed enough to make the Knights think twice about attacking them? Or are the Knights solidly in control of the Baetis administration?

Baetis sounds like the LC's version of Cruor. A desolate craphole that undesirables are sent to as a form of exile and indentured servitude/slavery. Why wouldn't the Church assume direct control of such a place?
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SCC

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Re: The Pilgrim's Path
« Reply #115 on: August 15, 2022, 04:03:40 AM »

I thought Asher was LC's Cruor. Anyway, Baetis might not be independent de iure, but be close enough to it de facto that the game just doesn't bother. It wouldn't be the only such situation, the others being Agreus and Skathi.

smithney

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Re: The Pilgrim's Path
« Reply #116 on: August 15, 2022, 04:27:11 AM »

Personally I see Skathi as the closest analog to Baetis. Both are tolerated hubs of economic activity with a background unsavory to the polity ruling the system. The difference, I would say, is that Skathi’s current existence is based in shady backdoor dealings of faction elites, whereas Baetis is just a depository for useful radicals cooperative with the Church.
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Kos135

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Re: The Pilgrim's Path
« Reply #117 on: August 16, 2022, 04:00:04 PM »

I thought Asher was LC's Cruor.
Cruor = Dissident exiles/slave labor + middle/upper class of loyal people + tolerated black market. Sorry if I'm coming off as nitpicky I just had a very specific idea in mind.
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karloss99

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Re: The Pilgrim's Path
« Reply #118 on: August 18, 2022, 10:01:45 AM »

Well, I am definitely looking forward to getting the Church getting more a description than 'Reveres Ludd (whoever he was/is); Doesn't like advanced (however they measure it) technology'.
Like, my opinion on them so far has been 'mostly people trying to do good, though quite probably in the wrong way'.
I hope to really see a chunk of 'what did Ludd really want' inter-sect discussion/disagreement stuff in the new lore.

Like, ***, one of my personal favorite head-canons is that Ludd was a super-AI that saw the Domain about to run head-first into a new Dark Age and tried to stop/mitigate it. And failed.
Oh, and then when we finally get the Gate Network working again it turns out that Ludd is still around, driving a Droneship armada all over the place, helping humanity get its act back together. Chew on that you damn Heggie AI inspectors.



Oh and my (possibly unwanted) opinion on Luddic architecture? Starsector as a setting is, despite everything, actually pretty high-end on the tech scale. Like, a POS duck-tape-is-a-significant-percentile-of-total-structural-mass Pirate Carrier still reliably (well, mostly) uses a whole bunch of tech that to us would be borderline magic.
A 'humble, borderline primitive church' using materials, equipment and techniques literal centuries more advanced than what we have to stretch hundreds upon hundreds of meters into the sky would still be a, well, humble, borderline primitive church.
« Last Edit: August 18, 2022, 10:04:46 AM by karloss99 »
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Brainwright

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Re: The Pilgrim's Path
« Reply #119 on: August 19, 2022, 10:13:54 AM »

Oh and my (possibly unwanted) opinion on Luddic architecture? Starsector as a setting is, despite everything, actually pretty high-end on the tech scale. Like, a POS duck-tape-is-a-significant-percentile-of-total-structural-mass Pirate Carrier still reliably (well, mostly) uses a whole bunch of tech that to us would be borderline magic.
A 'humble, borderline primitive church' using materials, equipment and techniques literal centuries more advanced than what we have to stretch hundreds upon hundreds of meters into the sky would still be a, well, humble, borderline primitive church.

Most of the examples of architecture in the blog look like they are taken from real world examples and not even the most extravagant.

Like that structure on the spire is a real world monastery somewhere in the middle east, I think.
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