@tim posted this message, which seemed to me like a text crawl at the beginning of a game to throw you right into the action, while reinforcing how in over your head you are.
I regret to tell you your 6 month shakedown cruise of the [ship name] is ending 5 months early. Long range probes have detected the Swarm much closer than we thought. They’ll be crossing out of interspace and into our galaxy in a matter of days, not months.
You and your fellow ships out there in the vanguard of our galaxies border, it is up to you to hold the line. You must buy the inner systems time to come up with more tools to hold the Swarm off. We will succeed where other galaxies have failed, and we will end this scourge of the universe from snuffing out more points of light among all this darkness.
You brave few, who are holding the line at our galaxies end, your actions these next couple months will determine the course of us all.
Elected Leader of the Sentient Species Federation
EL of the SSF!
Also, once we hit other planets, we’re gonna totally start calling each other “species”. Meaning we aren’t actually letting on there are “aliens” per se, just a whole lot of sentient beings.
There is a lot going on here, and it might not be GE stuff, but there’s a lot going on to draw from:
When I work on an element with many applications, I spend time with them in different contexts to understand what I’m doing more fully.
In this instance, I’m working on a modified user sign-up and activation process for onboarding folks onto a WordPress site quickly. My primary case is getting folks into a site to create multimedia virtual walking tours of their city so they can submit feedback to the folks who need it.
But then this scenario popped in my head…
See, I don’t like usernames. It’s a pain in the ass for everyone. What if your handle is taken? So I’m just assigning IDs to folks. In WordPress this is kinda weird, because their “username” shows up in various places, but then they can just set their name in so place (depending on the site, their profile, else a different context; for the Dublin Ped/Bike site I just ask their name in a text box, and it works).
Okay, so we have FTL travel and comms, so I’m guessing we have some form of cryosleep (because I like a variety of techs coexisting), and with so many people in a galaxy (probably more than 20, or something ) it will be hard to keep everyone tagged and monitored, so at some point each person gets a UUID.
This login screen pops up:
Hello, e948b659-1c2a-4f58-ad2e-9737eaa30ada. You’ve received your first assignment. Before you deploy, let’s handle this last bit of “red tape”…
And then it prompts the player to enter their name, etc. Maybe starting game options.
But I got to thinking, why wouldn’t the thing talking to the player know their name?
Why wouldn’t the character know their own name?
And that opened some doors.
Good morning Commander. We need you.
You are an S-Class Commander. You are among the most elite units of defense Terra Strata has ever produced. Your abilities are of such significance you have been “granted” a form of immortality, kept at the Facility until your substantial talents are required.
This isn’t your first rodeo, though it may be your last.
But wait, there’s more! Because as I was explore this idea of why a commander wouldn’t know something, it’s because cryo has side-affects, including not always being able to reconstruct a persona.
Yeah. Every time you go under, there’s a chance a part of you doesn’t come back.
The good news is: it’s not permanent. But it can hamper a given mission. Thus the Legacy system was created.
During the combination of chemical alteration and hypnosis commanders are able to lock away and store their distinct experiences into dark-energy matrixes, activated by subconscious commands during reactivation.
It means it’s a fucking trip to have this done to you, but in game terms Legacies are like bonuses and add a type of class system if developed as such.
We can really explore our theme via Legacies, recalling past exploits (and the associated trauma), while using them as add variety to play-throughs. Also, given a completed “run” on a galaxy, we can use different resource tracks to increment their abilities; these could be spent between games, or just gets unlocked due to play actions.
This has a lot of narrative like a Master Chief (Halo) waking up, but it’s more informed by playing so much FTL lately. It’s a favorite of mine for procedural runs, because the different ships and initial loadouts really create different experiences within the same framework.
I was explaining to Susan how each ship is like a class:
- The Kestral is your baseline Fighter, balanced offense and defense
- The Engi ships are, well, Engineers (controllers), activate a lot of stuff and laugh
- The Zoltan ships are wizards, managing other weird meta-systems while just blowing things apart
- The Mantis ship is a Klingon Barbarian, getting up in your personal space and berzerking
- There’s even a rogue/ranger stealth ship!
It would be really neat for each commander to craft their own game play experience; it indicates a channel for improving a character over time.
Also, cryo sleep freaks me out, and I like thinking about it, and dropping these insane references or “glitches” in the game UI to represent something isn’t quite right with the commander.
I imagine there will be direct brain hacking/ESP-ing, and that’s a place we can leverage specialized legacies.
Good morning, Commander. We need you.
But first, tell me what you remember…
The Augment is my stand-in for what is communicating to the player. It’s your standard Cortana/Navi little buddy thing, except it’s also like the shoulder eggs in Phantasy Star Online (haha, I can’t for the world remember what they are called, but that’s enough to figure it out ), where it is part of a system that interacts with the Legacy system. It’s like an AI that’s in your brain, serving as a digital familiar.
Which means of course we can upgrade it!
The Augment, or TA, can be renamed by the player, but we don’t care what it is called, it’s never referenced publicly.
@tim I just had a synthesis of an idea you told me, um, probably decades ago (I recall we used the contemporary Battlestar Galactica show as a reference). It had to do with a ship jumping, and finding itself in a dark space, as in there are no stars.
I was thinking about how to autogenerate background images to show “space”, as a web interface to GE. I thought it would be easy to just “sprinkle stars across the background”, and thought about how we could make progressive layers based on device, which would make observing the galaxy a type of device-based viewing mechanism, kinda like a telescope!
Anyhow, from there I thought how it would be neat to start with a small ship/tech tree, and only a few stars in the sky, and then as the player gains more access to the game, increase what they see (purely as a design feature). Screenshots of two players’ dashboard would immediately show their difference in game access!
But then an even more interesting idea came up! That’s what the scourge does: it eats stars. As in, when the human steadings realize the threat it is because the light from distant stars becomes disrupted! They are starting to “disappear”, though humans don’t know what that means, because the mass of the galaxy is basically constant (they have hyperjump drives, presumably a way to measure galactic mass…
So in this story, humans have multiple options:
- investigate, with hopes to prevent/repair
- ignore it