Help requested in improving the plot

Discussion of the new series of beta test releases of this game.
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Help requested in improving the plot

Post by Steve »

Since this is an open source game, I would like to solicit ideas on how to improve the plot. I have firm characterizations of all of the alien races in mind and dialogue scripts have already been written for all eight alien races over four different time periods. New concepts of changing the character of certain races is generally not going to be accepted because everything is interwoven and meshed together in its own way. This does not mean that I do not want to hear ideas about fleshing out the alien races further, because I am definitely willing to expand the dialogue as long as it does not conflict with anything I have already written or planned.

What I would be interested in learning is a combination of editorial and conceptual feedback, mainly:

1. When you were reading the communications text for a certain alien race, is there any question which you felt like you would like to ask that was not available? Keep in mind that at least scientific and military crews are going to be asking diplomatic questions in a diplomatic manner.

2. Some of the missions are repetitive and there are currently no quests outside of the major plot arc in the last three stages of the game yet. Within the constraints of the engine, can you think of an interesting concept of a mission that I have not used yet.

Keep in mind the following constraints, and also be aware that the majority of new quests will be added in the final three stages the game. These quests will be very unstructured and broken up all throughout the last 3+ plot stages, quests which do not have to be completed before the next one is started, etc. and do not start or end in the starport. A few new quests will start and end in starport, and will be used to replace repetitive quests in the freelance and training missions.

Starport: capable of checking for exactly one of the following conditions in order to complete the quest:

2 = item
10 = explore star system
12 = orbit planet
14 = scan planet
16 = land on planet

Planets: can contain message ruins giving a hint or sending the player elsewhere and artifacts, which can be checked by alien encounters to trigger hidden dialogue or by starport to complete a quest.

Encounters: can search for the presence of a mineral of certain quantity, an artifact, or simply sense that a certain Quest number is active and present the player with any number of questions or rewards depending on what answer is chosen, or the alien could simply terminate the communication session, attack the player, demand something, request an A-B trade (with any number of units being traded or number of units of any type being provided, provide multiple trades or actions, or even end the quest. Ship upgrades may also be provided by alien encounters.

a) sense that the player has something on board and offer them something for it or perform some sort of action.

b) Ask for something only dropped by destroying a certain type of ship.

c) Chain together a number of hints one after the other

d) Give the player multiple choices to pursue, some of which are dead ends that produce useless artifacts, impossible demands, etc.

e) Provide the player with incomplete information that requires either observation, logic, or more information elsewhere to proceed. For example, say class O stars instead of a system name, produce a riddle or puzzle, reference some corner of some island or continent or mountain range which must be searched.

f) Misdirect the player into trying to do something that cannot be done. This must be done very carefully since the player must always be able to run across the method for bypassing the quest or completing the quest, but not too easily.

g) Regressive Shell game - Give the player a series of hints and requirements in one order that can only be completed in reverse order. For example, starport wants something from alien A, alien A wants something from alien B, etc. and once the final goal is achieved you follow the path backwards.

h) Alternative pathways. Create multiple ways of accomplishing the same action.

Now this list is by no means exhaustive, but by combining the elements above in a long and convoluted fashion you can create an enjoyable quest.

If you were to build interesting quest structure, how would you do so? Keep in mind that the current quests mostly ignore ruins which will be expanded in the next beta. I can create and blanket an Island or region with ruins that contain a certain message directing the player to either a specific coordinate or to another ruin elsewhere or provide a different type of hint of some sort.

3. Summarize the characteristics of each alien race. Again I could do this but with an author's bias I'm sure I would see many things which are not reflected in the writing itself. If I know what is not being perceived when people are reading the dialogue, I will know what subjects I need to develop further or bring out more.
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Re: Help requested in improving the plot

Post by Feyd1027 »

Yeah I got some advice. If I wanted to answer riddles and gather 100 of x item, I would play WarCraft bro.

This feels more like an grindy game full of impossible riddles (Yay, where "nothing meets nothing", that makes no sense, let's fly around this asteroid for 3 hours...) than a Starflight game.
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Re: Help requested in improving the plot

Post by Alvarin »

Actually "Nothing meets nothing" was easier of the bunch, I think.

On the topic though - can you please provide more detail as to what/how conditions are checked?

*Is there a possibility to check multiple parameters at once, i.e. presence of several artifacts onboard? (not in starport, you already said that)
*Is there a way to manipulate stuff? Like apply mineral A to artefact B?
*Is there a way to check for route taken? like a flux to otherwice unaccessible area would open only is you approach it from specific direction.
*Will aliens accept artefact B and minerals if they specifically ask for artefact A, but you are unable to provide it for whatever reason?
*Is there a possibility to make star system without a star in it? Meaning there will be no visible portal in Hyperspace, but if you are in exact location, you can warp to normal space and explore.
*Is it possible to make "wandering" star system, that moves on the map?
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Re: Help requested in improving the plot

Post by psusi »

Where nothing meets nothing was in one of the original starflights IIRC and is pretty bloody obvious: coordinates 0 by 0.
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Re: Help requested in improving the plot

Post by Alvarin »

Can dialogue threads be triggered by certain replies between races? I am thinking about mediator missions.
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