Post-Apocalyptic RPG forums

Development => Writing and Quests => Topic started by: zenbitz on February 25, 2009, 07:38:06 AM



Title: Main Story Arc idea - "Encroachment of Ice Age"
Post by: zenbitz on February 25, 2009, 07:38:06 AM
This is kind of a weird one, but it's related to other story posts I have made.  It will make for a very grim, even nihilistic end.

PC is a Northerner.  Could be a tribal, town dweller or loner - the key is that he (or she, from this point on, all prounouns will be masculine) starts at the top of map.

It is the end of a very long, very harsh winter.   The winters have been getting harsher for years now, and food and heat is getting harder to come by.  PC may or may not know that "Nuclear Winter" after the wall should have ended 5-10 years ago - but he should be able to find this out early by talking to folks in the early locations.  Even "anti-social" characters will fee

PC sets out south, for the dual purpose of finding a warmer spot to winter next year and maybe with some seed of an idea in his mind to find out more _why_ the winters are so harsh.

As time passes in the game, the northern parts of the map get more and more inhospitable.  In mechanics terms, it's harder and harder to hunt/forage for food.  This should be reasonable obvious to a player who's trying to feed his PC+party, but we can always drop dialog hints along the way.    As the food supply drops- population in towns drop too (we may or may not want to actually model the migration south - or partial die-offs, partial migrations).  Over the course of the game, northern towns may even become totally deserted ghost towns.  I am currently of the opinion that we should model the seasons - with spring starting later and later, and fall starting earlier and earlier.

Eventually, the PC meets some scientist/meteorology/geology types.  They believe that the Nuclear Winter has triggered another ice age (for the geology nerds, the more ice on the planet - the more sunlight is reflected, leading to more cooling).  They may suggest some further places to investigate this theory.

As the game progresses, the player meets more folks who have more theories.  First "We should just move south to Germany" ... or Italy"... or "Africa".  Finally some "incontrovertible proof is revealed to the PC that the ice age will very likely blanket the whole globe - a near "snowball earth" (SEE http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Snowball_Earth and http://www.snowballearth.org/ ) Some start to give increasingly outrageous plans to stop the Cooling and the coming ice age.  Roughly speaking, every time the PC "finishes" an area (and gains the full information) it will turn out that "our plan was flawed" but we heard about maybe these guys....  Unclear how many "main-line sub quests" this should be - but "three is the magic number" in most cases.

Finally - the winters are very long now (this could be after several game years) ... maybe there is no summer one year at all... the PC encounters a well equipped group of scientists who, strangely, have no plan to deal with the ice age.  In fact, they are resigned to it by trying to preserve all of mankinds' knowledge and technology for "an extended period of time" (thousands of years).    It is important that at least one of the "save the earth" plot quests remains active at this stage.

Here is the awful truth.  There is no water chip.  You cannot save the planet.  It's doomed.  You can either join the "scribes" and "seed vaulters" or just live out the end of your days meaninglessly (I would represent this in the game by simply walking off the south edge of the map after certain quests have been triggered).




Title: Re: Main Story Arc idea
Post by: Sirren on February 25, 2009, 11:42:49 AM
Totally anti-commercial and anti-XBox/WII/WoW crowd... The game itself woul'd better to be fun to play... I know we aim for a mature audience but somehow I feel that such an ending shouldn't slip past the developping crew.
I like your ending idea though. As far as I'm concerned this is a viable option. I'm in.


Title: Re: Main Story Arc idea
Post by: mvBarracuda on February 25, 2009, 12:40:26 PM
Totally anti-commercial and anti-XBox/WII/WoW crowd...
I should add that to one of the drafts at the wiki, prolly under "target audience" :-)

Personally I really enjoy the concept zenbitz! No sign of the usual RPG cliches so count me in as well.


Title: Re: Main Story Arc idea
Post by: egalor on February 25, 2009, 04:43:38 PM
Sounds like a pretty cool idea.

Maybe it's impossible to save the planet, but yet it is still possible to build some "island of life" suitable for the survivors (like the Vault City)?


Title: Re: Main Story Arc idea
Post by: Kukkakaali on February 25, 2009, 05:06:30 PM
How about if the war was keeping on going after the war and the harsh winter and the players destiny would be to either make everything work again peacefully or join some side of the war and finish it on their advantage ending the whole game in a huge fight killing civilians and other parties members?


Title: Re: Main Story Arc idea
Post by: DK on February 25, 2009, 06:58:43 PM
At first I hmmmed.. but it grows on me.


I can't see opportunities for combat presenting themselves too easily, though fixed if wanted with some easy twists.
How long does the game play? Both in terms of player time and in terms of in-game time.
How is the user interface envisaged? can see this working well if something like Realms of Arkania.
Not sure on having "completed" areas.


 


Title: Re: Main Story Arc idea
Post by: zenbitz on February 25, 2009, 09:17:30 PM
Well, I am glad that it's not hated...
One thing I thought of after is that is might screw up the "ending slides" if they all "But of course, like everyone else, they froze"

I might be willing to consider some kind of "mine shaft" / vault at the end... it would be cool if we could somehow make it so that  the player has a real choice whether to join or not.   Like enter the vault, or save a friend.

Also - if you think about it, we are looking at late 20th C technology.  I am PRETTY SURE that there is nothing that exists even now that can keep a population of humans alive "indefinitely" (i.e, 1000 years).
BUT I think it makes a great "quest" even if PC is doomed to fail.   The key for 1000 years is energy.   Some kind of fusion reactor... oh, I guess solar.  PC has to try to figure out a way to make 400 square km of solar panels!

OK, I withdraw the "impossible" objection.  As long as you can get enough power, you can live.

It's a reverse Fallout!  (Note that this is the plot of many old sci fi things:  http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0044207/ )


Title: Re: Main Story Arc idea
Post by: zenbitz on February 25, 2009, 09:24:21 PM

I can't see opportunities for combat presenting themselves too easily, though fixed if wanted with some easy twists.

Given the penchant for players to pick fights, I don't see this as a bad thing necessarily.  Also, there can be any number of combat oriented side plots.  Or maybe the part you need for your reactor is guarded by bad ass banditos.

Quote
How long does the game play? Both in terms of player time and in terms of in-game time.

Until it's done!  Probably as long as it can be will be until writers run out of ideas or get bored.

Quote
How is the user interface envisaged? can see this working well if something like Realms of Arkania.

Well, different thread.  I don't see how it makes much difference.... what about RoA interface do you think suits this?  From screenshots it appears to be party-based...

Quote
Not sure on having "completed" areas.

Well, it would be done in a subtle way - not like some platform jumper locking you out of levels.
In any finite RPG (no quest generation), the player is going to exhaust the pre-written "questyness" of a place eventually.  So they will become more and more boring (although can still fufill generic functions like healing, employment, etc.).  I guess I would consider the ice age a "global time limit" on quests, and it effects North-most quests first.


Title: Re: Main Story Arc idea
Post by: DK on February 27, 2009, 01:37:11 AM
ok just had a thought of interesting idea for the main story arc. What if we had 2-4 main stories occuring at the same time. So we have this going on, but then from the beginning other stories are present that are potentally important to the player as well. In one play through you couldn't know the full extent of each story, and each story would require at least an adjusted playstyle. So its up to the player to pick up on the memes of our story and follow the ones that seem closest to their own characters curiosity/needs etc..


Title: Re: Main Story Arc idea
Post by: zenbitz on February 27, 2009, 07:48:52 PM
Excellent idea, as long as we have the writers/developers for it.


Title: Re: Main Story Arc idea
Post by: DK on February 27, 2009, 08:11:00 PM
thanks..

glad you understood.
My head has been off all week, suffering from illnes but body+brain on the recovery so hope to make more coherent posts next week.


Title: Re: Main Story Arc idea
Post by: Lamoot on February 28, 2009, 09:48:23 AM
Me likes:

* nihilistic endings (though some should be positive in spirit (but not cheesy positive) - even it the world is becoming a snowball)
* parallel storylines - however won't this make things deterministic and thus against the choice&consequence thing rpgs really like? With this approach you don't affect how the events go, simply decide which part of the story you'll participate in.

and as a point of general interest, here's how the main plot in the indie RPG Age of Decadence is branched. A nice insight on how they did stuff (the events start at the top):

(http://www.irontowerstudio.com/forum/index.php?action=dlattach;topic=745.0;attach=2832;image)


Title: Re: Main Story Arc idea
Post by: DK on February 28, 2009, 06:29:02 PM

nihilism at end = all choice no consequence

but talking about within game c&c..
yes it's important, but I think it's awesome important that the player is not bigger than the narrative, in that whatever the player does, he is only part of the story, cannot control those events outside of himself by his actions.

In one way, I would see it as a rollercoaster that pushes the player along for one reason or another, and at a cetain number of important points we can make the player choose a track among a few, and the trick is to do so cleverly so that the player both feels there was no choice and yet feels in total control. (ambitious eh?)



Title: Re: Main Story Arc idea
Post by: zenbitz on February 28, 2009, 07:47:06 PM
DK -
well there are two parts to C&C in computer RPG.  Only one part is the ending slides.  The rest (and I think the most important) are the in-game consequences.

Also - even in a nihilistic ending, the player should have the ILLUSION that his choices have (slide show) consequences.  It would just turn out that it didn't actually matter...  Think about Fallout for example.  You have to play the game twice - or talk to someone later to even know that your actions effected the end slides!  So, it's really the illusion that that your choices had consequences post game that was important.

This is not to say we couldn't have different versions of nihilistic ending...
 


Title: Re: Main Story Arc idea
Post by: DK on February 28, 2009, 10:47:33 PM
yes I get the two parts (why I said within game c& but anyway not so important), was me being an ass and going nihilism? nothing really matters  :'(

Yes.. the ending slides should relate to the players actions and inactions, in more ways than is obvious at the time.

My philosophy of game story building would be to define some loose aims/goals that we want our player to have then look at our starting position and drawing the dots in as interesting way as possible between the two, multiple paths prefereable, and failure as an option.
 
--

How about one arc in which a resurgent red army is sweeping across the tundra?

Could be they are just claiming the land for russia.. but maybe they are looking for something, or someone, even somewhere...

Maybe they are not the red army at all, a force under the banner but made up of bandits and hoodlums that found the equipment somehow.

(I know this post is quite bare on ideas but as an initial ball roller for ideas will suffice)


Title: Re: Main Story Arc idea
Post by: Sirren on March 01, 2009, 02:16:55 PM
but maybe they are looking for something, or someone, even somewhere...
Well, this part sounds like Fallout: Tactics...
My variation:
The apocalypse didn't affect Russia as heavily as the sorrounding area/West Europe, or at least that country was better prepared. The Red army IS claiming the area or at least is sending scouting parties looking for resources/materials to be salvaged. In short they're evaluating if an invasion is still worth the candle.
The PC is supposed to stop them by either fighting them back or by convincing them that's nothing left to steal, or that due to the new ice age coming that's the first area which is going to be permanently frozen.
All this as a side plot to keep the main "try to save the world" quest running.
Just a proposal. What I feel is important is to try and avoid a naive Tactics-like development of the plot: at first the newcomers are absolutely evil gun meat, after you discover what they're looking for then they suddenly turn into a decent bunch of good fellows - and they turnto in allies. At this point even the last radioless soldier you meet in random encounters knows by magic you're a friend and not a foe.


Title: Re: Main Story Arc idea
Post by: DK on March 02, 2009, 01:10:17 AM
I like the ideas.. perhaps their appearane can be a big "chapter" mark, something if you survive long enough you will have to deal with one way or another whether you seek knowledge or power. The will become this great obstacle in the way of your future (reminds of children's story about a bear's cave.. can't go over it, can't go under it, have to go through it)


Title: Re: Main Story Arc idea
Post by: zenbitz on March 02, 2009, 02:52:16 AM
Quote
How about one arc in which a resurgent red army is sweeping across the tundra?

PC dies.

I mean, srsly.  1 guy does not stop an army.   He could, I suppose, organize the survivors into a an opposing army.
I don' t think this really works in an RPG... the scale is too big. 

I would be up for expanding the game (later) into more of a strategic/type game where the players controls a region of territory and has to worry about economics and military operations.   I might even be convince to put a battle simulator in the game (but Player would not really control the outcome).

Hmmm... this seems negative.  But cool idea!


Title: Re: Main Story Arc idea
Post by: DK on March 02, 2009, 05:31:35 PM
Just because they are an army does not mean that they want to kill you. You don't have to fight them, they won't fight you unless you give them reason to.

The organizing an army story is a nice one.... played dark sun? D&D pa world.. after escaping from a gladiator arena you are entrusted with the task of bringing the wastelands together to stop an army from the city of Draj that is intent in cleaning them out. You don't fight the army til the last battle (I have never actually won it but it's good fun).

I would rather it a world where most situations don't necessarily resolve to combat but they can (and perhaps do frequently though avoidable).

The red army would just be a thing our pc has to deal with on the way to where ever they are going.


Title: Re: Main Story Arc idea
Post by: zenbitz on March 02, 2009, 06:30:33 PM
The red army would just be a thing our pc has to deal with on the way to where ever they are going.

Oh, I misunderstood you because this is a "main story arc"  thread, so I thought you meant as primary adversary.

It's certainly a reasonable "faction" - maybe even a major faction that controls some chunk of the game map.   Ironically, I think that this army should be as far from Russia as possible (maybe norway / denmark / germany).  Otherwise there would probably be an overwhelming desire for rank-and-file soliders to just go home (even to see what was left of it).  Of course, all the "original WWIII" guys are old (40-50) and have cancer...


Title: Re: Main Story Arc idea
Post by: DK on March 02, 2009, 07:20:49 PM
ah.. well I meant as part of the main story arc you have to deal with them somehow, they could present a significant chunk of the story depending on how things go with them.



Title: Re: Main Story Arc idea
Post by: DK on March 05, 2009, 03:07:45 AM
Going back to the original post along the lines of "nature is the enemy"....

I keep getting a recurring vision of the last scene of the game being this small group of people.... perhaps our pc alone... stuck in a shelter/vault underground, then the camera pans up and we see that the vault is under a literal mountain of snow a kilometre deep.

The story then is that a super-blizzard is coming and you have to find some way to either prevent it or survive it... panic sets in the population.

On the prevent it, I think there shoud be *some* way to do this in game but it means that from the time you know it's coming to the time it happens you have to do things almost perfectly (though scope sill left for individual role playing).


The thing I like most about this idea is that it limits the amount of time that you can spend "in-game" with one character and so replay value is high. With each replay you learn a little more about the world, maybe succeed in areas where you hadn't previously, see that failing in some areas might ultimately leave you more beneficially at the end of the game.

I also love the idea of our pc on the first run through or two through the game naively walking around the world then they are hit by a cavalcade of snow.

I am favouring making this rogue-like hard so that its an acheivement to even see the snow at the end. In a sense a rogue-like with a detailed coherent story that the player has scope within to act and craft his own path through our world.

Something like you spend 5 hours on any one game but there is potentially 20 hours of content variations.
(obviously numbers plucked from the sky)


Title: Re: Main Story Arc idea
Post by: zenbitz on March 05, 2009, 09:01:05 PM
how would you stop an ice age?


Title: Re: Main Story Arc idea
Post by: Gaspard on March 05, 2009, 10:36:08 PM
You'll just enter the correct activation codes for the secret Weather Machine that the pre-war scientists built for that very reason deep into the Arctic ice... piece of pie


Title: Re: Main Story Arc idea
Post by: mvBarracuda on March 05, 2009, 11:02:27 PM
The "Lost" authors might sue us in this case though :-p


Title: Re: Main Story Arc idea
Post by: zenbitz on March 05, 2009, 11:13:21 PM
The "Lost" authors might sue us in this case though :-p

Nonsense.  You cannot copyright an idea.    Although the world would probably be a better place if you could get sued for re-using STUPID ideas..


Title: Re: Main Story Arc idea
Post by: DK on March 05, 2009, 11:44:29 PM
The "Lost" authors might sue us in this case though :-p

Nonsense.  You cannot copyright an idea.    Although the world would probably be a better place if you could get sued for re-using STUPID ideas..
so true.


and on stopping an ice age?

hmm..

we'll think of something. perhaps more nukes somehow might come into it. *adds to research list for spare tme*


Title: Re: Main Story Arc idea
Post by: Gaspard on March 06, 2009, 12:08:42 AM
you log onto a satellite and program the last silos to blow their nukes after certain intervals to heat up the atmosphere so the Ice cold wouldn't bite that hard ? :)
OK sorry for the spam I'll stop...


Title: Re: Main Story Arc idea
Post by: tie on March 06, 2009, 02:02:12 PM
(moved from the brainstorming thread)

OK, here is an idea I just got about the plot setting/prelude:

Year 2010-2020, contemporary world. The PC is a part of a military research project, working on a (*gasp*) time machine! Our guy/gal is selected to be the first experimental timeonaut ever, set to travel to, say 1970-80(?). The hero enters the time machine with any necessary high-tech equipment, weapons, etc. separated in a second compartment (that later gets mostly destroyed during the travel). The chief scientist pushes the "When do you want to go today(tm)" button, and WHAM! our hero gets ported to post-apocalyptic Sweden. The first reaction is naturally "WTF?! This is not MY past!". It turns out that the year is right... but the history of the 20th century is all wrong. Here is the first (main?) questline that emerges naturally - find out why history is screwed. How come that instead of the summer of love, people ended up with the winter of the atomic rage? Some possible explanations that could be gradually figured out by the player during the course of the game include a second time traveler sent to an earlier age (say, who assassinated Hitler?); another explanation might be the theory of multiple parallel words (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Many-worlds_interpretation (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Many-worlds_interpretation)).

Some advantages of such a start:
 - You could choose any reasonable age for the PC, without worrying too much about its past
 - The PC is new to the post-apocalyptic world, just as (assumingly) the person in front of the computer. This is opposed to a setting where the PC would have known the world for 15-20 years
 - The PC knows all about the world as we know it today, and can talk in a way that is closer to the modern world, make jokes about recent real-world, events, etc ("Doc, you think you're House MD or somethin'?")
 - Avoids the cliches like "you are child of the wasteland", "when you reached manhood, your elder sent you to find the golden bullshit that will save the world", "your dad/mom/dog/goldfish were killed/ran away and you must avenge them/find them".

Do share thoughts :)


Title: Re: Main Story Arc idea
Post by: shanxi on March 06, 2009, 02:11:32 PM
Sounds like Timecop, the video game.

I think this is a novel idea, but I'm happy with the current setting and imho including references to transitory contemporary things in a video game would only make it age badly.  There is, however, a lot of weird technology that could be incorporated.  There was a lot of strange stuff going on in the 1970s, military wise.


Title: Re: Main Story Arc idea
Post by: tie on March 06, 2009, 03:03:58 PM
Never played Timecop tbh. The idea would obviously be no good if it is already presented there in the same way tho.

You are right that referenecing transitory contemporary stuff is not good. This is why it would be an aim to reference stuff that would last. Example good references IMO - Beatles, Star Wars, Dirty Harry, G W Bush, Microsoft, etc - there are more than enough of these. I don't think any of these will be forgotten in the forseable future. Bad example - "Rhianna's boyfriend giving her a beating" (I have a hard time thinking about outright bad examples).

Note that this is just an idea about the setting/prologue, and to some extent about an important (e.g one of the main?) plot arcs. It doesn't lock the starting year or most of the other setting in any major way.

I forgot to mention what I am concerned about in the initial Main story arc idea described by zenbitz. Simply put, the winters getting colder and colder does not strike me as a particulary interesting problem to solve, from a player's perspective. Following this questline would be the main reason for the player to play the game, so it should start with something sudden and unexpected right off the bat.  My biased .02 EUR :)


Title: Re: Main Story Arc idea
Post by: shanxi on March 06, 2009, 03:11:12 PM
As I recently learned, the winters wouldn't get colder and colder indefinitely.  A nuclear winter would certainly be over after around 20 years.


Title: Re: Main Story Arc idea
Post by: Gaspard on March 06, 2009, 05:26:34 PM
http://www.popularmechanics.com/technology/military_law/1281171.html

check it out


Title: Re: Main Story Arc idea
Post by: zenbitz on March 07, 2009, 12:58:54 AM
tie - I could work with that if the writing team really found it superior.  But you can't play as Mad Max then.  Boo.

shanxi - The idea, if you read carefully is that Nuclear Winter _triggers_ an new Ice Age.   This is only borderline plausible, but that's a hell of alot better than most games.  It's as least as sound as "The Day After Tomorrow" where GLOBAL WARMING triggers an _instantaneous_ ice age.

(I know -it's based on a theory of the halocline collapse... but more current simulations suggest that - while cooling the northern hemisphere slightly, it is still swamped by overall warming)


Title: Re: Main Story Arc idea
Post by: tie on March 07, 2009, 01:39:10 PM
zenbitz - with the time machine theme, we can't pretend the PC is "native" to the setting. I think this can actually make it more fun, and a bit different from the other PA games. Plus, there is a ready explanation for the superiority of the PC over the other inhabitants - our hero simply comes from a more advanced age.

All this being said, and although I like the time machine idea, I am not really stuck with it. So if you guys don't like it, just say so, and I'll drop the subject :)

I still do think that we should work on the motivation and the events that pushed our hero into the main quest line.


Title: Re: Main Story Arc idea
Post by: shanxi on March 07, 2009, 04:27:23 PM
I'm not too keen on the time travel idea, purely because I think it would be more fun for the character to know roughly what he's doing rather than stumbling around blindly in an entirely unfamiliar world.

As for the motivation, I like the idea of stopping an ice age.  How about using some kind of reverse ice-nine (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ice-nine) plot device, a polymorph of water developed by soviet scientists that lowers the freezing point of water by a few degrees, just enough to melt the ice and reverse the ice age.


Title: Re: Main Story Arc idea
Post by: eleazzaar on March 10, 2009, 07:02:25 AM
I do like the idea of emphasizing "nature is the enemy".  That doesn't necessarily mean it should be the main plot.  In fact, Here (http://forums.parpg.net/index.php?topic=56.0) you'll find me arguing that there shouldn't be a main plot.  I'd think of it more as a pervasive theme throughout quests and mechanics.


Title: Re: Main Story Arc idea
Post by: zenbitz on March 11, 2009, 09:14:03 PM
I do like the idea of emphasizing "nature is the enemy".  That doesn't necessarily mean it should be the main plot.  In fact, Here (http://forums.parpg.net/index.php?topic=56.0) you'll find me arguing that there shouldn't be a main plot.  I'd think of it more as a pervasive theme throughout quests and mechanics.

I think I am getting on board with this...


Title: Re: Main Story Arc idea
Post by: GarfunkeL on March 16, 2009, 02:18:40 AM
How much do we want to run with the whole 'Nuclear Winter' idea? Recent papers have shown that even the dinosaur killer meteorite didn't produce quite as bad a nuclear winter as Carl Sagans old weather models predicted.

Here (http://www.tboverse.us/HPCAFORUM/phpBB3/viewtopic.php?f=11&t=211) is an in-depth analysis why Nuclear Winter isn't scientifically really probable. The guy who writes there ("Stuart") used to work in USAF SAC and what he writes correlates with the 1987 study (http://www.oism.org/nwss/) from Oak Ridge National Laboratory. Based on that, there would be more like a nuclear autumn for a few years, instead of actual winter and freezing.

On the other hand, This (http://www.agu.org/pubs/crossref/2007/2006JD008235.shtml) study says the opposite. And then there's THIS (http://www.eoearth.org/article/Nuclear_winter) article which combines the results from various new studies in 2006 and 2007. Only caveat at that paper is that its written with a clear agenda: complete elimination of nuclear weapons, so there might be little hand waving and wrangling around.

Anyway, we can't really take either of these scenarios as the basis of the game. First scenario does not produce enviroment hostile enough for game-purposes, while latter makes it so hostile that there is no possibility for civilization in Scandinavia. Middle-road, middle-road.


Title: Re: Main Story Arc idea
Post by: eleazzaar on March 16, 2009, 03:28:49 AM
Anyway, we can't really take either of these scenarios as the basis of the game. First scenario does not produce enviroment hostile enough for game-purposes, while latter makes it so hostile that there is no possibility for civilization in Scandinavia. Middle-road, middle-road.

Yeah ultimately we need to pick or mix-n-match the theory that produces the results we want.  We can't go with something that would realistically kill everyone in scandinavia.  Of course, since this isn't exactly earth, we don't have to feel too bad that the facts don't quite match.  But ideally we go with something as plausible as possible.  Preferably something that can't be debunked by a 6th grade kid that's attentive in science class--- like much sci-fi stuff.


Crazy Idea:  What if the moderate nuclear winter was caused by a doomsday weapon design particularly to create nuclear winter... like microscopic, highly reflective chaff launched high enough to stay up there.  Perhaps it was the weapon of an equatorial or near-equatorial nation


Title: Re: Main Story Arc idea
Post by: DK on March 16, 2009, 03:46:24 AM
http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/sci/tech/4796909.stm (http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/sci/tech/4796909.stm)

one thing that I am increasingly seeing in the press is on water shortage.. am sure this will increase tensions in real life.
can we insert this 50 years ago from now and add it to war causes and can maybe change the sociologcal landscapes (migration will grow)


Title: Re: Main Story Arc idea
Post by: zenbitz on March 16, 2009, 05:50:39 AM

Yeah ultimately we need to pick or mix-n-match the theory that produces the results we want.  We can't go with something that would realistically kill everyone in scandinavia.  Of course, since this isn't exactly earth, we don't have to feel too bad that the facts don't quite match.  But ideally we go with something as plausible as possible.  Preferably something that can't be debunked by a 6th grade kid that's attentive in science class--- like much sci-fi stuff.

Precisely.  In fact, the two bracketing scenarios seem to indicate that we are on reasonably stable theoretical ground here.

Quote
Crazy Idea:  What if the moderate nuclear winter was caused by a doomsday weapon design particularly to create nuclear winter... like microscopic, highly reflective chaff launched high enough to stay up there.  Perhaps it was the weapon of an equatorial or near-equatorial nation

Cute, but we still need to plaster major cities to save poor level designers.


Title: Re: Main Story Arc idea
Post by: GarfunkeL on March 16, 2009, 06:51:54 PM
War will start over Able Archer 83 (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Able_Archer_83) which was the nearest that world came to nuclear war after Cuban crisis of 62.

I'm still searching and compiling OOBs for both sides, once that is done, I'll get writing.


Title: Re: Main Story Arc idea
Post by: zenbitz on March 17, 2009, 06:34:38 AM
As long as soviets invade western europe (actually scandavia in particular) I am OK with Able Archer.


Title: Re: Main Story Arc idea
Post by: DK on March 17, 2009, 06:09:45 PM
how about this for mass death.. russians spread slow-working virus/disease with them that they don't know about til 5 years down the line and 2/3rds of the surviving population are diagnosed terminally ill.


Title: Re: Main Story Arc idea
Post by: Gaspard on March 17, 2009, 07:02:33 PM
knowing the Soviets that might be a secret project wreaking havoc among their own peoples unknown to anybody outside the closed circle of Kreml


Title: Re: Main Story Arc idea
Post by: zenbitz on March 18, 2009, 12:47:38 AM
it amuses me to no end that people say "oh nuclear war is so overdone" then immediately follow with "what about a killer virus"

Yeah, because _that's_ not jumped the shark yet?

But I don't really care how you get the megadeaths... just get them, people!


Title: Re: Main Story Arc idea
Post by: DK on March 18, 2009, 02:31:18 AM
it amuses me to no end that people say "oh nuclear war is so overdone" then immediately follow with "what about a killer virus"

Yeah, because _that's_ not jumped the shark yet?

But I don't really care how you get the megadeaths... just get them, people!

hmm
volcano?
Earthquake?
Tsunami?
Aliens?
Car crash?

!!!
thats it..
the world runs out of service oil and everyones breaks fail before they realise it.

Mass death ensues.


Title: Re: Main Story Arc idea
Post by: Halfbrood on March 19, 2009, 12:48:19 PM
Able Archer 83 + Operation RYAN = Nuclear Strike/Retaliation Strikes + Aftermath = Shattered Civilisation. Disease would follow, with the breakdown of the infrastructure. Hm, this gives me an idea for a faction...


Title: Re: Main Story Arc idea
Post by: NineOfHearts on March 21, 2009, 10:10:06 PM
ok just had a thought of interesting idea for the main story arc. What if we had 2-4 main stories occuring at the same time. So we have this going on, but then from the beginning other stories are present that are potentally important to the player as well. In one play through you couldn't know the full extent of each story, and each story would require at least an adjusted playstyle. So its up to the player to pick up on the memes of our story and follow the ones that seem closest to their own characters curiosity/needs etc..

I really like this idea of having multiple characters whose stories combine to make the whole story. In order to do this I think we need to agree on which memes are seen in the other character's stories.


Title: Re: Main Story Arc idea
Post by: egalor on April 24, 2009, 04:30:17 PM
Heard of a doomsday in 2012?

Particulary, I've heard that in 2012 the Sun would give birth to an extremely strong magnetic storm, that would deliver a very strong EMP strike on Earth, and that magentic wave would cause malfunction of every single electronic device on Earth, and hence, all hell would break loose. They even say that could be comparable to a worldwide cataclysm like a virus outbreak.

However, primitive tribes that still exist on Earth, would not notice anything unusual (save for an unusual "aurora borealis" caused by the magnetic storm) because they don't use any electronics.


Title: Re: Main Story Arc idea
Post by: mauli on May 29, 2009, 09:34:18 AM
What is a so called primitive tribe?

Imagine:

Before the apocalypse, we have so called primitive societies in central asia, in south america, in alaska, in indonesia, in africa e.g.
There are a few developed societies like the common industry nations, like the USA, the SU, UK, e.g.

After a nuclear strike, the so called primitive societies are mainly still on the same level of development, because on the one hand, they aren't the first aim of military (who cares in a WW III about a african tribe?) and on the other hand, the almost got nothing to loose.

But a industialized folk gets thrown back but still isn't primitive. It has to live with a destroyed infrastructure, with plague e.g. but it still has the knowledge.

So how do you define "primitive"?


Title: Re: Main Story Arc idea
Post by: meinmartini on June 04, 2009, 06:27:11 PM
If you're going to have a tragic ending, I wouldn't go with the anti-climactic "Holy crap now let's kill everyone" route. You can have a tragic ending with a couple of unexpected deaths, but if there's going to be this downward spiral of constant despair and anguish, there needs to be that hint of hope in there somewhere. The idea of a tragic hero is not a bad one, either, so long as it's done properly. How many people here are familiar with Terranigma?


Title: Re: Main Story Arc idea - "Encroachment of Ice Age"
Post by: Cain on June 23, 2009, 09:24:53 PM
It is believed that the Nuclear Winter is indeed possible by massive soot/ash delivered to the stratosphere to block sunlight.

This can actually be caused by Volcanos and large size asteroids/comets.

Secondly, what if the planet just stopped rotating on its axis?


Title: Re: Main Story Arc idea - "Encroachment of Ice Age"
Post by: Gary on June 23, 2009, 09:35:34 PM
Secondly, what if the planet just stopped rotating on its axis?

Cool idea.  You'd have a ring around the planet that would be habitable with either face of the planet an inferno or arctic waste.  The storms at the ring would be incredible where the hot air from the molten side of the planet collides with the cold air of the arctic. 

I don't think life would survive there for long, but 20 years, maybe...


Title: Re: Main Story Arc idea - "Encroachment of Ice Age"
Post by: Cain on June 23, 2009, 11:21:06 PM
Yeah I liked that idea, its definitely one of those I have never seen that in a video game ideas.


Title: Re: Main Story Arc idea - "Encroachment of Ice Age"
Post by: zenbitz on June 23, 2009, 11:53:57 PM
Yeah, but I did see it in the fake trailer parts for Ben Stiller's character in Tropic Thunder.  "SCORCHER III"

Also, it's silly.  Why would the earth stop rotating?   Where would all that angular momentum go?


Title: Re: Main Story Arc idea - "Encroachment of Ice Age"
Post by: Cain on June 23, 2009, 11:56:10 PM
The same place it came from : )  If it started to spin, then it can stop spinning.


Title: Re: Main Story Arc idea - "Encroachment of Ice Age"
Post by: zenbitz on June 24, 2009, 12:03:46 AM
Read your Newton, son. 8)


Title: Re: Main Story Arc idea - "Encroachment of Ice Age"
Post by: Gary on June 24, 2009, 12:08:39 AM
Yeah, but I did see it in the fake trailer parts for Ben Stiller's character in Tropic Thunder.  "SCORCHER III"

Also, it's silly.  Why would the earth stop rotating?   Where would all that angular momentum go?

Yeah, after I replied, I realized how impossible the concept of rotational immobilization would be.  However, if the poles flipped another 60-ish degrees, you'd end up with one of the poles pointed at the sun while the planet continued rotating (like Uranus does).  Of course, then you'd have the problem of seasons where one of the poles was scorched in summer and frozen in winter, while the equatorial plane would be scorched every spring and autumn thereby making the planet uninhabitable.   :(


Title: Re: Main Story Arc idea
Post by: readlock on June 24, 2009, 12:47:29 AM
This one's a quote from the first page:

Also - if you think about it, we are looking at late 20th C technology.  I am PRETTY SURE that there is nothing that exists even now that can keep a population of humans alive "indefinitely" (i.e, 1000 years).
BUT I think it makes a great "quest" even if PC is doomed to fail.   The key for 1000 years is energy.   Some kind of fusion reactor... oh, I guess solar.  PC has to try to figure out a way to make 400 square km of solar panels!

Okay, I know I'm a little late at the table, and I don't have the time to read all the pages, though. (There should be a "working scratchpad" on the wiki, if it's not there already. ;) ) But here's something from wiki that could be/have been an interesting part for the "Snowball Earth" version, about how the ice age ended:

Quote
Global warming associated with large accumulations of Carbon dioxide in the atmosphere over millions of years, emitted primarily by volcanic activity, is the proposed trigger for melting a Snowball Earth. Due to positive feedback for melting, the eventual melting of the snow and ice covering most of the Earth's surface would require as few as 1,000 years.

So the possible game endings could be:

- walking south, alone or with some party; the ending is cold and nihilistic;
- finding the "vault" party and joining them, without finding high tech; the ending slides are quite uncertain and, again, nihilistic;
- finding the "vault" and bringing an energy source, guaranteeing survival of the small group; in-the-middle-ending;
- additionally devising a way to put lots of carbon dioxide in the air, before the ice age starts, so there is hope the planet is livable within the next 1000 years; the ending is uncertain, but positive.

A twist would be finding the "vault" party, but eradicating them after joining some competitors.

Again, sorry if this is late.


Title: Re: Main Story Arc idea - "Encroachment of Ice Age"
Post by: readlock on June 24, 2009, 01:18:28 PM
The bulk of this proposal is based in the initial idea by zenbitz, with an additional "positive" ending that needs most play to work out.



tZee pointed out (http://forums.parpg.net/index.php?topic=256.msg2937#msg2937):

Quote
First of all we need an idea what our story should be about. When we have that we need to start creating scenes, working our way through the story until we discover what our story climax will be. Then we have to work backwards to correct the scenes before so the story climax works and there are no logical gaps etc.

So I thought on it some more.

With the endings outlined above, the PC would be going from North to South, the "vault" residing somewhere in current Denmark / southern Sweden. The encroaching ice would mark game chapters: with years passing, land becomes uninhabitable, forcing gameplay lower down the map.

This would mean the game starting up north. The PC could be a member of some party abandoning their habitat due to changing climate. To avoid the cliche of "Chosen One", he could be one of the many who set out to find a better place for his party and gather information.

With each season, the party moves south (along the Gulf of Bothnia, and then the Baltic Sea). The PC can come to a rendezvous point and report on progress (or decide to abandon his fellows altogether), eventually bringing his party into the "vault" (possibility for politics with both persuasion and combat).

If the player chooses not to stay in the "vault", at the final rendezvous point he may re-join his party to become an eternal nomad.



The plot of such a scenario: following the original party down south, constantly looking for a way to secure their future. Or, again, dissing them to become a loner.

This story presents a lot of decisions that would effect the outcome of the game, allowing multiple replays and different ways to develop the character based on personality.


Title: Re: Main Story Arc idea - "Encroachment of Ice Age"
Post by: tZee on June 24, 2009, 02:03:59 PM
If you make the incoming ice age the main antagonist in the story the game will be quite pointless - you don't stand a chance anyway and you have zero influence on the outcome.
The incoming ice age could be something that drives some progress in the game, but the main plot should be about something else - or there should be a means that gives the main character a chance to do something about the ice age - even if he eventually fails.
The player should feel that he is able to influence the outcome of the game.


Title: Re: Main Story Arc idea - "Encroachment of Ice Age"
Post by: Vince on June 24, 2009, 03:36:44 PM
It is the end of a very long, very harsh winter.   The winters have been getting harsher for years now, and food and heat is getting harder to come by.  PC may or may not know that "Nuclear Winter" after the wall should have ended 5-10 years ago...
I like it. It's a perfect setup for a survival RPG.

Quote
Roughly speaking, every time the PC "finishes" an area (and gains the full information) it will turn out that "our plan was flawed" but we heard about maybe these guys....  
This approach works once, but if you want the game to be replayable, doing what you know won't work will be annoying and not very interesting.

I'd suggest making it a survival "winter" RPG. And keep things simple. It will pay off on the long run. The winter came and didn't go away. What the fuck do you do now? List all possible options and work from there.

Once you figure it how the story starts, think about how you want it to end. What you should be able to do when you reach the end and why. This will determine the rest.


Title: Re: Main Story Arc idea - "Encroachment of Ice Age"
Post by: readlock on June 24, 2009, 03:45:28 PM
The incoming ice age could be something that drives some progress in the game, but the main plot should be about something else - or there should be a means that gives the main character a chance to do something about the ice age - even if he eventually fails.
The player should feel that he is able to influence the outcome of the game.

That's exactly why there's a possible positive ending in my proposal above - stopping the cooling before a full-scale ice age starts. In the end, the PC descends into the "vault" with the promise that humanity will survive.

The "wander off south" ending could be eliminated, only leaving the player a choice of conditions underground that he manages to secure.

EDIT: Let's move the discussion of this particular proposal to a separate thread (http://forums.parpg.net/index.php?topic=280.0) to reduce clutter.


Title: Re: Main Story Arc idea - "Encroachment of Ice Age"
Post by: shevegen on June 24, 2009, 03:48:58 PM
I know that there is a lot of talk about the END going on, but I have another proposal, albeit only a temporary and one with a narrow focus - could we focus on the START of the story more, and develop from that point? There is a long way to go anyway, and I think the beginning, the motive of the character, is what can drive a great many further subplots and ideas to unfold. Personally, since I'd like to start working on things slowly (I am even learning python for this right now hehe) but a bit side by side while the story expands and unfolds.

Ufo::Alien Invasion didn't have the full story finished, and still dont have it finished 100% but the gameplay was already very nice (though it always needed a bit polish)


Title: Re: Main Story Arc idea - "Encroachment of Ice Age"
Post by: zenbitz on June 24, 2009, 05:27:11 PM
If you make the incoming ice age the main antagonist in the story the game will be quite pointless - you don't stand a chance anyway and you have zero influence on the outcome.
Just like real life!

Quote
The incoming ice age could be something that drives some progress in the game, but the main plot should be about something else - or there should be a means that gives the main character a chance to do something about the ice age - even if he eventually fails.
The player should feel that he is able to influence the outcome of the game.

Well, the player won' KNOW that he can't influence it... (unless he's reading the forums!) There will still be things to attempt, they would all just be various levels of fail...   this also covers Vince's "replayability" angle.   Perhaps there is some magic combinations of events that gets you a different, more positive ending... gotta play again to find out!   (Honestly, I would be happy if anyone actually played the game, let alone finished it even once...)

If you want to see how this works:  Watch John Carpenter's THE THING.   (Also antarctic setting!).  They even made a game of this movie, but to be honest, I never finished it...


Title: Re: Main Story Arc idea - "Encroachment of Ice Age"
Post by: zenbitz on June 24, 2009, 05:28:59 PM
Readlok - I like your ideas.  I am not opposed to "Hope", just "Disney"


Title: Re: Main Story Arc idea - "Encroachment of Ice Age"
Post by: Cain on June 24, 2009, 06:29:43 PM
Zenbittz,

I played the game and one of my favorite movies.  I think you and me have too much in common    : )

Your idea about some magic combination could be metaphysical.

There are a lot Eastern Religions that believe in Gaia/Life Stream/Tree of Life/etc. and most of those religions can trace their origins to humble shaman/tribal beginnings.  This goes back to having shamans/tribes.  The magic could be in a sense getting the planet/nature back in equilibrium.  This then ties into several different methods of trying to save the Earth and can be done without an impending doom from some evil force ready to kill everything.


For Encroaching Ice-Age:
1.)Lets just say that the encroaching ice-age is creating harder ice-sheets and soon the dwelling/vault/enclave you are living in will be permanently sealed/entombed, no matter how prepared these survivors are, there is no way to survive indefinitely with no hope of returning to the surface of the planet.  This could force the exploration quest or secondly force a more unrealistic quest of some how stopping the progress of the ice-age and/or reversing it to a certain degree.

The question comes into play, how would could people save the Earth?

The only thing I can think of is that their is a hidden vault-style structure built as a precursor to WW3.  This structure has within it the ability to Terra-form the Earth, however this would not lead to a healthy planet over night, and their would definitely have to be more than one of these structures.

I don't know a lot about terra-forming, I do know that this would be above 2009 technology but all the theories are based on if we terra-form another planet/moon.  We know what the atmosphere here is composed of for life to flourish, plus we would have to rebuild the ozone layer.  So this could be one type of pathway/quest.  The ending could be a 1000 years later (similar to a FF7 style ending) showing plants healthy and all, and then even twist the end to show that humans are once again at war.

That ending could be due to the political affiliations and relations you made with tribes/people encountered along the way.  Getting groups of people to unify in a common cause vs. exploitation and turning one another against each other.  Afterall, these people would be the descendants of the survivors.

Alternatively:
2.)This scenario is that you have just survived the last winter, only to find that the winter did not give way to a warmer spring.  You and your tribe have already begun looking for better shelter as a precursor the following disastrous and foodless winter approaching.  Upon your travel you find a massive government-vault/bunker that has never been used.  You and your tribe decide to move in.

Then you find things that need to be fixed maintained etc., and set out to find other survivors to create your own Utopian paradise.  You might need engineers, mechanics, gardeners, who knows.  This idea, while not complete in itself, should have a main quest line attached to this that opposes the characters actions, after all this is an RPG and not SimCity.


Title: Re: Main Story Arc idea - "Encroachment of Ice Age"
Post by: shevegen on June 27, 2009, 02:05:15 AM
I thought a bit more and I would like to add two things:

Quote
Just like real life!
- I think the possibility of a positive ending should exist. I dont really think a game without ANY chance to have a positive ending is just a waste of time... why would I play it if i know i can 100% not win. I dont think people want to play a game that simulates real life too perfectly. Where is the fun factor in a game that is a copy of real life...
The ending could very well be that the main actor has no immediate success and even dies, but he dies in the thought that the future might be bright... this could be a much better ending than "you fail anyway" appearing somewhere

- I also think that villains should play a bigger role. Perhaps we dont need a cliche of an ultimate villain, but why not factions which fight each other? They may still be fanatical, their leaders may still have the ultimate truth, and they may even do strategic thinking, like raiding other areas to steal tech or food and so on...




Title: Re: Main Story Arc idea - "Encroachment of Ice Age"
Post by: zenbitz on June 27, 2009, 05:47:06 AM

There are a lot Eastern Religions that believe in Gaia/Life Stream/Tree of Life/etc. and most of those religions can trace their origins to humble shaman/tribal beginnings.  This goes back to having shamans/tribes.  The magic could be in a sense getting the planet/nature back in equilibrium.  This then ties into several different methods of trying to save the Earth and can be done without an impending doom from some evil force ready to kill everything.

Don't like it, not in this game.  Too touchy-feeling.

Quote
For Encroaching Ice-Age:
1.)Lets just say that the encroaching ice-age is creating harder ice-sheets and soon the dwelling/vault/enclave you are living in will be permanently sealed/entombed, no matter how prepared these survivors are, there is no way to survive indefinitely with no hope of returning to the surface of the planet.  This could force the exploration quest or secondly force a more unrealistic quest of some how stopping the progress of the ice-age and/or reversing it to a certain degree.

Well, you just wouldn't know would you... maybe PARPG II "Dig yourself out"

Quote
The only thing I can think of is that their is a hidden vault-style structure built as a precursor to WW3.  This structure has within it the ability to Terra-form the Earth, however this would not lead to a healthy planet over night, and their would definitely have to be more than one of these structures.

I don't know a lot about terra-forming, I do know that this would be above 2009 technology...

You mean 1988 technology.  And yes, all that would be silly.  There weren't any giant vault structures in 1988, so there wouldn't be any in the game.   Well, I guess there was NORAD in Colorado, US... but that wasn't designed to save the planet, just withstand a direct nuclear strike.

Quote
 Upon your travel you find a massive government-vault/bunker that has never been used.  You and your tribe decide to move i

Ditto.

Can we just leave the Giant vaults out of it?  I mean, I hear that's been done.   I guess I did suggest such a thing - but my idea was that some survivors would cobble together some low tech kludge in a feeble hope to survive an ice age...


Title: Re: Main Story Arc idea - "Encroachment of Ice Age"
Post by: zenbitz on June 27, 2009, 05:54:01 AM
I thought a bit more and I would like to add two things:

Quote
Just like real life!
- I think the possibility of a positive ending should exist. I dont really think a game without ANY chance to have a positive ending is just a waste of time... why would I play it if i know i can 100% not win.

How would you know?  You'd have to read spoilers (or be a game designer).  I don't really have sympathy for people who read spoilers.
Quote
- I also think that villains should play a bigger role. Perhaps we dont need a cliche of an ultimate villain, but why not factions which fight each other? They may still be fanatical, their leaders may still have the ultimate truth, and they may even do strategic thinking, like raiding other areas to steal tech or food and so on...

What if the player wants to be villianous him/her self?   I think everyone should basically be "neutral", with some factions on the "mean", "ruthless", "cuthroat" or even "psychotic murderer" side... and others on the... well, lets just say more civilized.   Most people will are just tough, desperate, and survival oriented.   The PC (and friends, if he has any) just interacts with these groups in whichever way he sees fit.  The group(s) respond, hopefully in a "naturalistic" manner - which will naturally lead to some "enemy" factions.  I could even imagine a smooth talking fence sitter PC type who goes through the ENTIRE game pacifying the predators, and not screwing with the 'last remnants of humanity"... and never gets anyone really mad at him at all...


Title: Re: Main Story Arc idea - "Encroachment of Ice Age"
Post by: shevegen on July 04, 2009, 07:30:55 PM
Quote
How would you know?  You'd have to read spoilers (or be a game designer).  I don't really have sympathy for people who read spoilers.

As a player I ultimately want to have fun. Where is the fun if the only outcome of a game will be negative? It would seem that no matter what the actor does, he can not achieve his goals anyway and is doomed to perish without hope in such a scenario.


Title: Re: Main Story Arc idea - "Encroachment of Ice Age"
Post by: Dave Matney on July 06, 2009, 04:54:08 PM
Ultimately, designing video games is about writing a story in a world, with easily understandable rules, that a player will want to immerse themselves in (and subsequently play again, and tell their friends about) .  If we forget that --no matter how awesome we think our story is, how novel the idea of a bad ending as cannon is, or how neat our world or ruleset-- our game is going to fail.

Game design isn't about us.


Title: Re: Main Story Arc idea - "Encroachment of Ice Age"
Post by: Gaspard on July 07, 2009, 09:10:00 AM
Deus Ex anyone ?
I personally still find all of the three endings pretty negative and I was fairly sad the first playthrough. In the end I always chose the New Dark Age variant as the lesser of three evils, because then neither a Secret Society Superpower nor a Megacomputer/AI would rule Earth and it's people.
One could go in a similar direction with an ending for PARPG - keep it pretty noir in mood, but offer some more hope in some ending variants.


Title: Re: Main Story Arc idea - "Encroachment of Ice Age"
Post by: luksol on July 07, 2009, 01:47:20 PM
What about this idea:

Up to some point in the main story everyone around PC and he himself believe that Nuclear Winter is what is causing the Ice Age. But later in game PC finds a clue, like old weather charts from before the war, some scientific data etc., that says that Ice Age was not caused by WWIII but the other way around. Ice Age triggered WWIII when someone realized that Ice Age is coming and they need more space, resources etc. to survive and damn anyone else!
This will explain why it is getting colder, also will add the 'hidden truth' behind a war.

Exploring this plot will provide PC with some more information on what is causing the Ice Age. This cause will depend on what theme the game should have:

1) 'unstoppable doom' - well, in this scenario, cause for Ice Age is simple, it is just the way it is, it is time for another Ice Age, nothing you can do about it, a very pessimistic story, with several 'incredible' cures for this situation encountered along the way but none of them working. So basicaly PC is walking from place to place, is being used by to do dirty work for others ("Yes, this man has some data tapes that holds important information that I can use in my research, retrieve it and together we can stop this Ice Age!"). In the end, nothing works and based on PC's actions (was he a ruthless killer, who did everything he was told to, or he refused to do something because the price was too high)
2) 'survival' - as above but instead of trying to stop Ice Age, PC has to find a way to cope with it. Gaining survival skills, technological knowledge etc. should be main goal. This is great setting for classic 'go there and find/bring/kill' type of quests, that PC can do for some very knowledgable NPC who tries to save civilization. This can put PC on odds with some groups that also survived the war, and based on their dealings with them, choices he made etc. ending should be altered. Good twist in the plot is to allow PC at the end to decide if he wants to keep gathered knowledge and resources for himself, his 'group' or share with everyone. Sharing with everyone might sounds great, but what if among the survirors there is some rally bad guy, who will then use what PC has shared to overthrow him and gain absolute power!?
3) 'star wars (not movie, US defence program)' - in this scenario, Ice Age was caused by some sort of superweapon or device launched into space or deployed somewhere on Earth (this could be even unintentional side effect). Tha war was waged to get rid of it, but most likely, as PC shouldn't know such thing from the beginning, it is something tha noone knew about until the war started and few scientists discovered what was causing Ice Age. But they were cut off from rest of the world by war, so they couldn't tell anyone of their discovery. So PC has to find them or their lab/facility to find out the truth. This scenario has a possibility of 'positive' ending. Example: if Ice Age is caused by constant device that is still working, it is possible to switch it off somehow. This may not reverse the Ice Age straight away but may stop it, so no more damage is done. A time limit can be added so after some time damage to the climate is so severe that switching off the devise will not stop Ice Age at all.
4) 'dr. No' - this is very unrealistic but also fun theme. Based on 'star wars' but with 'bond' gadgeds and story. Let's say that the device that is causing the Ice Age has been built in some remote place by a mad scientist whose theories has been once laughed at, and he build thid Doom Devise to prove his was right. Unknown to him, he was tricked into doing so by a secret organization that wants to rule the world. The tric was that they have replaced some documents he sent to his collegues with some psudo scientific bubbling, and then they gave him funds to continue his work... possibilities are endless, and I think it will be fun for a player to unravel all this scheming...

just few ideas...


Title: Re: Main Story Arc idea - "Encroachment of Ice Age"
Post by: shevegen on November 27, 2009, 01:28:25 AM
Aspect #4 is a bit contrived. On the other hand it sounds very simple too.

Personally I would rather like to see that we shape up some areas in more detail, and slowly add more and more stuff.
As we go along we can shape up the main storyline in more detail.


I agree with Dave:
Quote
that a player will want to immerse themselves in (and subsequently play again, and tell their friends about)

I think though that we can easily mix in different ideas into it. Some players might explore this area and like it, some others would prefer another one.
There could in fact be multiple "main plots", and perhaps sooner or later these plots lead together to a final story which makes more or less sense.

Anyone saw Dr. Strangelove? This was kinda fun... a single bomber plane on the way to russia, throwing the bomb, and starting the doomsday device.

We could do a similar plot to this... some mad men have taken over some base eventually, and a few more nukes still exist there, and perhaps even one functioning plane. After some time they decide to use it against some area which isn't completely destroyed yet.
Ok, this plot is a bit contrived, but it might lead to action, and the player could try to prevent this, or not do anything and see that suddenly a town is nuked away.

There can be multiple plots, some smaller some bigger ones.


Title: Re: Main Story Arc idea - "Encroachment of Ice Age"
Post by: Vansh0 on January 08, 2011, 10:00:21 PM
Hey, I like zenbitz's idea a lot, and I think the game could be made very interesting for people who have already played Fallout – Another ending could be that the PC gains some transportation method (plane, boat, something like that) to get to the US, where he hears life is better. Unfortunately, he becomes part of the government-controlled Vault 13, thus making PARPG a prequel to Fallout 1. Not sure about the details, as I haven't played Fallout myself, I just know the story. We could also add in clues like slowly making the character "mature" through his travels and look even more like the Vault Dweller from Fallout. What do you think?

-Vansh0


Title: Re: Main Story Arc idea - "Encroachment of Ice Age"
Post by: Gaspard on January 09, 2011, 12:08:29 AM
Uh, I guess you misunderstood the point - this game project might be inspired by Fallout, but it is a separate thing entirely and is not even going to be in the Fallout Universe. The plan is to one day have the PARPG Universe, in it's shining glory !


Title: Re: Main Story Arc idea - "Encroachment of Ice Age"
Post by: zenbitz on January 10, 2011, 03:42:55 AM
If you read the Fallout world timeline, I think their big war starts in the 22nd century.

Here it is if you are curious: http://fallout.wikia.com/wiki/Timeline  You can see it's not compatible.



Title: Re: Main Story Arc idea - "Encroachment of Ice Age"
Post by: dracre on January 11, 2011, 01:02:34 AM
Wassup ladies and gentlemen? (http://i49.tinypic.com/n2k8t0.gif)

I was thinking, instead of the game taking place right after the dust has settled, make it take place lets say 70 years after the war. This is means that even if significant amount of people survived the war, the harsh Nuclear Winter has reduced mankind to only a fraction of what it was. Then you don't have the problem of the world having hundreds of thousands of people but only being able to show a thousand. You can just have those thousand NPCs and explain the player that the human race is on the verge of extinction.

I'm also against having fixed timelines and loads of lore - instead the player should be must thrown in the game and let learn stuff on his own. It will be a rewarding experience traveling from place to place learning what has happened instead of reading it from the game's "lore menu".  

The back story should be believable and not too epic. Since the game takes place in an unforgiving, arctic world where you have abundance of snow, the essential resource that's scarce is heat. So I was thinking maybe the talk of the tundra should be a massive pre-war supply cache full of fuel and as much canned food as you can possibly eat, hidden somewhere beneath all the snow. Now that would be something like the Shangri La or El Dorado of a world like this, a mythical place that the bravest desperately try to find.



Title: Re: Main Story Arc idea - "Encroachment of Ice Age"
Post by: zenbitz on January 11, 2011, 07:55:50 AM
What I like about 20 years after is that many of the people left alive still remember - and in fact may have even had lives - prior to the war.  In fact, in some of the design documents I mention that I would like the player to have the option of choosing a "pre-war" origin (so character would be 35-40 years old) or "post-war" origin (younger).

To me, the tension between the Old world and the New is one of the more interesting aspects of Post Apocalpytic genre.


Title: Re: Main Story Arc idea - "Encroachment of Ice Age"
Post by: dracre on January 11, 2011, 03:41:34 PM
20 years is far too short time for the whole civilization to collapse; nations would still exists, especially in areas not directly affected by nukes. There would be countries and armies as long as they have resources. Also pre-apocalyptic tech would be still abundant and in good condition 20 years after. I doubt anyone would bother to make a bow and arrows when you have all those shiny AK47s still around.

The catch is that the nuclear winter would make food production impossible, meaning when the survivors start running out of resources, they'll start killing each other for resources until there really is only a handful of people left. This would be a good setting if you aim to make the game about trying to survive in a harsh post-apocalyptic world.


Title: Re: Main Story Arc idea - "Encroachment of Ice Age"
Post by: Gaspard on January 11, 2011, 05:49:38 PM
Actually, dracre, if you check the number of pages this thread has, and go through forum archives, then you'll realize there have been very long discussions on whether 20 years post-apocalypse is optimal or not (and on other similar subjects). So far it is set in stone at the wiki Setting article here: http://wiki.parpg.net/Setting#Time (http://wiki.parpg.net/Setting#Time)

Right now we're taking a break from massive brainstorming and looking for a Lead Writer to - before moving along - organize what we have got already.
You're welcome to apply for the spot - the details of how to take part in that should be available later this week, stay tuned.


Title: Re: Main Story Arc idea - "Encroachment of Ice Age"
Post by: zenbitz on January 11, 2011, 09:33:03 PM
Please, Gaspard - let the good doctor argue.  At least it shows he's thinking.

How long after the "apocalypse" did the Road Warrior take place?
How useful is an AK47 with 7 shells?

That being said - I agree, this is actually a tough Writing challenge to wipe out 99% of civilization in 20 years!  Using only man-made weapons!  I mean, maybe if we toss a couple comets in to the Atlantic we start to get some real cataclysm...    However, I am not TOO worried about it.   The fact that we are even contemplating the "real world effects" rather than just making shit up puts us well ahead of ... pretty much every sci/fi fantasy video game ever invented.

My theory on reconciling this is as follows:
1) First decide on what we want the world to be like for the game (20 years after, Ice ace starting, 1% of pre-war population remaining)
2) Decide on some reasonable historical starting point to diverge from (1985-1988)

Then just try to be reasonable about it.



Title: Re: Main Story Arc idea - "Encroachment of Ice Age"
Post by: Roach on January 17, 2011, 09:34:41 PM
I believe the idea of zenbitz is the way to go. It is something truly original, something that draws a clear line betweer PARPG and other games. Depressive, pessimistic mood would differ the gameplay and setting from Fallout. While in Fallout series humanity has preety much rebuild itself, in PARPG the world should be decomposed, on the verge of destruction, eventually falling over it.

Teasing the player with hopes of saving the mankind is quite an opportunity to deliver an emotional experience. The idea could be easily merged with the "Radio Gaga" concept, and make use of cliche plot devices in unexpected ways. For example, what initially seems to be a signal of hope(one of the few words deciphered from the broadcast would be "rescue") turns out to be a signal of despair(in full broadcast it is "there is no rescue"). Said broadcast could be aired by the "scribes" located in Global Seed Vault(possibly player could reach the "scribes" while searching for the vault itself, if he hadn't heard the signal) who seek to secure as much information and material as possible. Something between Noah's Ark and a tomb.

I have an idea regarding the ending, which makes traditional end slides possible despite earth being a snowball, though it is rather crazy and unexpected. While it does push the boundaries of realism, it makes the "scribes" activity have sense. Basically, I'm talking about extraterrestial beings surveying the earth some time after the apocalypse, and displaying what they have found out about the last days of earth. They could take various actions based on what they learned, so in the end player will have an influence on the final outcome.


Title: Re: Main Story Arc idea - "Encroachment of Ice Age"
Post by: zenbitz on January 20, 2011, 05:48:23 AM
This has (finally) been wikified as Proposed Story Line, although as stated it's really more of a framework.

http://wiki.parpg.net/Encroachment_of_Ice_Age

We can, of course, alter some of the details, but I would like to get the from "Proposed" (or whatever the new word is) to "Estabilshed" in the next couple weeks.


Title: Re: Main Story Arc idea - "Encroachment of Ice Age"
Post by: mvBarracuda on January 20, 2011, 05:51:30 AM
Nice work zenbitz :-)

I've added a link to your proposal here: http://wiki.parpg.net/Storyline#The_list


Title: Re: Main Story Arc idea - "Encroachment of Ice Age"
Post by: MrWillis on June 25, 2011, 12:02:05 PM
Has the the storyline been decided yet or are guys still debating on it.


Title: Re: Main Story Arc idea - "Encroachment of Ice Age"
Post by: zenbitz on June 30, 2011, 07:03:11 PM
Why, you have a better idea? (post it it in a different thread plz)


Title: Re: Main Story Arc idea - "Encroachment of Ice Age"
Post by: MrWillis on June 30, 2011, 10:26:28 PM
an idea? yes better? not sure on it.


Title: Re: Main Story Arc idea - "Encroachment of Ice Age"
Post by: shevegen on September 24, 2011, 07:25:20 AM
We need to settle on a storyline.

I think we should ... try to look at 3-5 different ones, then agree to vote on ONE of them. The other storylines could become subplots, or should be discarded.

Please look at:

http://wiki.parpg.net/Setting

We need to decide on a Background. I would like to have this finished and decided and finalized before October 2011 ends.

I will keep the wiki consistent and maintain it.

But we really really really need to agree on a story and stick to it and continue with it. And not ten different half-finished background stories, that will not work!


Title: Re: Main Story Arc idea - "Encroachment of Ice Age"
Post by: MrWillis on September 25, 2011, 02:57:17 AM
I think it was decided that the main storyline quest was "Finding a solution to the Ice Encroachement" quest, the baisc concept of which that with each solution becoming crazier and crazier in hopes of ending the Ice Age. At the end the character finds out that ice age cannot be stopped from some scientist, and they, the scientist, have decided to go into cryostasis to try and live through the snowball era.