jewelfox: A portrait of a female anthropomorphic fox, with a pink jewelled pendant and a cute overbite. (Default)

Okay! So like, this is worldbuilding Fate-style. This is actually Session Zero of the RP. We've got some ideas, you've got some ideas, let's put our heads together without actual physical contact. \o/

For reference, this is the start of Fate's section on making a game, and this is where it actually says what we need to decide. This is a game about proactive, competent people who face conflict and challenges; we already know that. So the questions ahead of us are:

  • What is the setting like?

  • Does the story take place on more of an epic or personal scale?

  • What issues are your characters dealing with? Are they internal or external?

  • What NPCs (Non-Player Characters) should we expect to run into? Whether as groups or individuals.

Once we know that, we can decide what your characters are like and how they fit in, whether we do that by adapting your existing designs or one of you wants to start over. Or both.

With that in mind, let's take a look at some of the things that inspired us, when we imagined our part of the story ...

Analogue: A Hate Story

Click here if you can't see the video.

If you've been following our fanfiction adapt, you have some idea of what to expect. The central character, the Pale Bride, wakes up from stasis more than a thousand years in the future of the generation ship she was born on. But instead of being more advanced, their society has regressed into feudalism. They can't cure her terminal illness, and are forcing her to marry their emperor because he finds her sickly pallor to be beautiful.

Analogue has a transhumanist subtheme, as well. By the time the player character arrives at this ship, all the humans are dead. The only people that you interact with are sapient AIs, who have certain rules governing their behaviour. And it is possible for a human to become an AI ...

Sword of the Stars: The Pit

Click here if you can't see the video.

SotS: The Pit is where Nemesis came from, before she cameoed in our ongoing adapt of Analogue's sequel. Despite the SRS BSNS intro, the game is largely about adventurous people like her crawling a huge, high-tech dungeon underground. The gear that they find and the abilities they develop are all kind of off the wall, and there's a lot of humour scattered throughout the text logs and item descriptions (even though some of it's Portal-esque dark humour).

Click here if you can't see the video.

As the player character goes deeper into the pit, though, in the video game, they start to find logs left by someone who'd already been there ... and who'd started out naked and helpless, staggering out of a stasis tube on the very last floor. She didn't know what this place was or why she was here, and she had even tougher resource constraints than the player character(s) do. But she nonetheless managed to document some useful things, in the process of trying to escape.

The original idea we had for this game was something similar. Your player characters would start in a vast row of stasis tubes, and not completely know why you were there at first. Afterwards, you would have to somehow make it out of a hostile, alien environment ... and hope that you don't leave the frying pan, only to fall into the fire of whomever your "rescuers" (playing the role of the video game's player characters) are.

Besides that, depending on how epic we want to make this game's scope there might be other dangers. Such as setting in motion the awakening of the Suul'ka, the Great Old Ones with hearts of ice and souls of stone.

(Content Note: Scopophobia.)

Click here if you can't see the video.

(Aside: Sword of the Stars has tremendously well-written lore. Arinn Dembo, who penned much of Homeworld's backstory under a pseudonym, wrote seemingly all of its fluff, and gave everything in it an amazing amount of depth. I considered overwhelming you all with some of it, or with the ways I've been tying it in with Analogue's, but decided that I would just say that instead. ^^; )

SOMA

Content Note: Disturbing imagery.

Click here if you can't see the video.

SOMA (hereafter just "Soma"), by the creators of Amnesia: The Dark Descent, is a first-person horror game, which takes Analogue's transhumanist angle and cranks both it and the accompanying terror up to 11.

How did you just appear in this strange place, right after getting a brain scan for medical reasons? What are all these people doing around you, stuck in strange bodies? Why don't they seem to realize they're not human anymore? What is that thing that looks like it's hunting for someone? And how come you just survived being immersed in the ocean depths?! Does this mean you are actually ... !

Click here if you can't see the video.

Soma came out after we described the idea we had, but it encapsulates it very well. It doesn't have to be WALL-E style robots that people are put inside, either; our original idea was to use something like this as a framing device, for why your character's phenotype can be completely different from their neurotype in this game. For instance, why [personal profile] sablin27's character they made earlier is suddenly a shapeshifter.

([personal profile] sablin27, what pronouns should we use for you? I'm not sure it ever occurred to us to ask, sorry. ^^; )

Soma takes the idea at least one step further, though, by having people not be aware of the changes they've gone through. Instead, your neurology tries to compensate and make you feel sensations you're used to, and filter out anything which causes cognitive dissonance. In Soma, I mean. Which is good, in a way ... because in Soma, stress literally kills these fragile consciousnesses.

So, where should we go with this?

Let me know which of these ideas, games, and/or videos you liked, and we can try to find some answers together to the questions we listed above. >_>b Remember, this doesn't have to be set in a given video game's storyline; we can use as much or as little of each game as we want for our inspiration.

Date/Time: 2015-10-05 21:09 (UTC)Posted by: [personal profile] redsixwing
redsixwing: Red-winged angel staring at a distant star. (Default)
Some thoughts about PBP, when I haven't watched the videos yet:

- It's hard to do internal-only as the main motivating force of a game, and specifically a play-by-post game, where it's altogether too easy to have all the fun going on under the surface, leaving nothing for other player characters to see or interact with.

Given that this one has the body mods to rest on, some internal will (and should definitely!) be a thing, but I think it'll be easier to keep things moving if external factors also exist. So, I sit midway on the internal<->external scale, I guess?

- Which doesn't mean they have to be world-shaking. "How do we get out of here" is a perfectly good plot hook. Accidentally saving the world would be pretty hilarious, but isn't necessary. (I'm fine going bigger, if that's what folks want to do!)

- What NPCs... gosh, this is a hard one. I need to go watch those videos. :)
Edited Date/Time: 2015-10-05 21:10 (UTC)
Date/Time: 2015-10-06 03:31 (UTC)Posted by: [personal profile] blackswanseer
I likewise need to watch the videos; I've begun, but have run out of time to finish right now given I have some work stuff to wrap up before the big day tomorrow. But it's a great idea, providing videos to illustrate the ideas - thanks for that!

I will respond further as soon as I can; I'm hopeful that I'll be mentally back on track by this weekend, if not sooner.

In the meantime, I agree with redsixwing on being midway on the internal/external scale. I think the latter is important to an interactive game, but I also love delving into the former.

On the epic vs personal, I am fine with either, or a mix. I do love epic things, so I wouldn't say no to a backdrop of it at the least.

I will have to mull over the NPC question some more, but it does bring up a question I like to ask in games: how do you like to see NPCs handled? Introduced and controlled by GMs only? Able to be introduced and written for by other players? (With the understanding that major NPCs should be left alone to avoid plot derailment.)

More to come from me as soon as I can.

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