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Author Topic: Main Story Arc idea - "Encroachment of Ice Age"  (Read 66452 times)
readlock
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« Reply #60 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. Wink ) 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:

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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.
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readlock
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« Reply #61 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:

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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.
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tZee
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« Reply #62 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.
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Vince
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« Reply #63 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.

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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.
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readlock
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« Reply #64 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 to reduce clutter.
« Last Edit: June 24, 2009, 05:03:13 PM by readlock » Logged

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shevegen
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« Reply #65 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)
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zenbitz
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« Reply #66 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...
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zenbitz
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« Reply #67 on: June 24, 2009, 05:28:59 PM »

Readlok - I like your ideas.  I am not opposed to "Hope", just "Disney"
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Cain
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« Reply #68 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.
« Last Edit: June 24, 2009, 06:45:51 PM by Cain » Logged
shevegen
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« Reply #69 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...


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zenbitz
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« Reply #70 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.

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 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...
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zenbitz
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« Reply #71 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...
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shevegen
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« Reply #72 on: July 04, 2009, 07:30:55 PM »

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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.
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Dave Matney
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« Reply #73 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.
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Gaspard
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« Reply #74 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.
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