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Author Topic: Outerra: The Game (Backstory)  (Read 28134 times)

C. Shawn Smith

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Outerra: The Game (Backstory)
« on: March 02, 2011, 11:58:28 am »

Cameni's given me permission to give a basic synopsis of the backstory for the game.

Cameni approached me about helping to create the story that revolves around the game, and had an idea to publish a few novellas that would coincide with the game.  I'm currently working on the first novella, although until more details can be ironed out for the game, it's only in a modest infancy.  The backstory will setup the game and the player's ultimate goals.  Additionally, more novellas may be developed to further the game's story-line, which may or may not be partly driven by players' actions.

The following synopsis is subject to change, and may give an indication of what technologies, etc, might be available, as well as the time-table.  And it gives a hint at the Thintawatokiya.

Quote
The Outerra Initiative:

By the middle of the 21st century, the nations of the planet Earth came together in an era of mutual cooperation and benefit.  Technology advanced exponentially.  In a few short years, quantum computing, cryogenic hibernation, and alternative forms of energy became common-place, ushering in a golden age of mankind.
 
Towards the end of the 21st century, a series of natural disasters forced humanity to consider long-term survival.  With the recent discoveries of pristine Earth-like worlds within short distances of the Earth, the International Space Agency began planning the most ambitious effort humanity has ever undertaken: The creation of an interstellar space vessel capable of ferrying millions of potential colonists to these new worlds.  
 
Known officially as the Outerra Initiative, the ISA commissioned the first interstellar vessel, known as the ISA Outerra.  Over five kilometers in length and half that in diameter, it would be humanity's most technologically advanced creation in history.  Its mission: To travel to ten different star systems within a 40 light year distance of the Earth, and establish colonies on each of the various worlds, to ensure humanity's survival.
 
Under the command of Captain Amanda Pierce, the ISA Outerra began it's 500 year odysey on December 31st, 2099.
 
Although the initial few colonies seemed to thrive, a series of disasters began to take their toll on the Initiative.  All communications with the Earth were lost, and one-by-one, the colonies so-recently established became silent.  Almost hopelessly off-course, the Outerra begins to make its long trek back home.
 
Many dozens of centuries later, a crippled and weary Outerra returns to Earth, finding no signs of civilization.  Humanity -- at least on Earth -- had become extinct.
 
The Outerra's new mission: Recolonize the planet Earth, and discover the mystery of humanity's demise.
 
Something still lurks on the planet Earth, seeking humanity's extinction.  What is it, and can it be stopped before the last of Humanity is wiped out once and for all?
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RaikoRaufoss

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Outerra: The Game (Backstory)
« Reply #1 on: March 02, 2011, 02:02:26 pm »

If it's alright with cameni, I volunteer to help with the technical specifications of the ISA Outerra.
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« Reply #2 on: March 02, 2011, 02:17:09 pm »

Technical matter that just crossed my mind: If you assume ISA Outerra is capable of .25c, it would take 80 years to travel 20 light years.  To travel to 10 star systems in this radius and back to Earth within 500 years at that speed seems to be stretching it.  .5c seems to work better: 40 years to travel 20 light years.  Any thoughts?
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C. Shawn Smith

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Outerra: The Game (Backstory)
« Reply #3 on: March 02, 2011, 02:26:14 pm »

There's a spreadsheet I have that calculates the relativistic effects.  All the numbers above were done off the top of my head without referring to it (it's fubar'd at the moment), except for the 500 year mission (relativistically, only about a decade passes on the Outerra).  I'm going to try and go back to correct the figures though, but I need to fix the formulas in my spreadsheet.  I was working on modifying it and something broke.  The total distance traveled is closer to 500 light years, though.

And that 20 light year radius was a typo that I failed to catch.  I think the average is 20 LY ... some are 50LY, I believe.
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cameni

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Outerra: The Game (Backstory)
« Reply #4 on: March 02, 2011, 02:34:06 pm »

We need the ship to return some 500-1000 years after the demise of humanity, to get the desired decay of man made structures. Assuming the civilization went on for some time after the departure of the mothership, we could stretch it to ~1500 years.

We also don't want to go too far with technology advancement and sci-fi factor, so I'd prefer the ship not to use some hyper super drive, meaning I'd go for the lowest speed that fits the equation.
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C. Shawn Smith

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« Reply #5 on: March 02, 2011, 03:12:14 pm »

The biggest technical details for the Outerra is the basic design, mass, volume, etc.  I know we struggled with numbers for a long time, trying to get it in the realm of believability.

Oh, and this reminds me of something I've been wanting to post :p.  Need to make an adjustment ...
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The Cosmos is all that is, or ever was, or ever will be. -- Carl Sagan
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Outerra: The Game (Backstory)
« Reply #6 on: March 02, 2011, 03:15:58 pm »

I agree some super tech should have been created to assure this entire scenario is possible and plausible but the level of tech shouldn't seem so advanced that the fact that the wheel has not been phased out seems out of place.

Also the thinthatsgonnakillya.. A few things sould be considered and discussed. Perhaps on its own thread but for now.

Giant spiders...
Furries that grafted animal flesh to their own and became rabid wiping out humanity...
Zombies/mutants (too obvious)...
Killer Bees...
Dragons...
The Dramatic return of dinosaurs... (niche awesome)
Something that only comes out during the day... (Night monsters are over done)
Santa Claws...
etc etc.
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C. Shawn Smith

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Outerra: The Game (Backstory)
« Reply #7 on: March 02, 2011, 03:31:36 pm »

Cameni and Angrypig already have a line on that, I think.  I daresay, though, most players won't even see those Things That Want to Kill You for the first couple of weeks of playing ... maybe hints here and there, and an unfortunate few who have very bad luck.

I like the idea of the night monsters, though, a la Pitch Black, as long as it's done well.  It would be hard to get something unique enough to satisfy that though.  I have a few thoughts, but I want to flesh them out a bit first.

At anyrate, this is stuff for another thread :).  Perhaps we need to isolate particular topics pertaining to specific areas of the game?
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« Reply #8 on: March 03, 2011, 03:49:52 am »

Quote from: cshawnsmith
Perhaps we need to isolate particular topics pertaining to specific areas of the game?

Well I think you may be right in the forum topic per game "category". I think we can break it down to 10 or 15 specific aspects which should help us all elaborate on Ideas and even help the OT crew keep track of exactly what they need to tackle. Sort of like a checklist just filled with angry people.

Categories I think should exist are....

Weapons
Tools
Player Models
Base Structures
Vehicle Roles
Tactics / Gameplay
Story (just so you can yell at everyone smith ;) )
Enemy's / NPC animals
Natural Resources
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C. Shawn Smith

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« Reply #9 on: March 03, 2011, 10:23:30 am »

Quote
Story (just so you can yell at everyone smith
:lol:

Back on topic :) ... I think Cameni's correct in the other thread regarding this timeline.  It should be around the 22nd century, if not the end of this century.  The tech to build most of the systems for the Outerra is either already available, or in the works even now.  The only thing up in the air is cryogenics.

This would also allow many of the vehicles etc to look more conventional, with conventional methods of propulsion.
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What we think, we become -- Buddha
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The Cosmos is all that is, or ever was, or ever will be. -- Carl Sagan
Outerra is all that is, or ever was, or ever will be. -- Me :)
- Yes, I'm still around ... just been busy with other projects ;)

C. Shawn Smith

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Outerra: The Game (Backstory)
« Reply #10 on: March 04, 2011, 09:52:59 am »

I edited the synopsis, pinning the date temporarily to the end of the 21st century, just to see how it feels.  What does everyone think?
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The Cosmos is all that is, or ever was, or ever will be. -- Carl Sagan
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C. Shawn Smith

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Outerra: The Game (Backstory)
« Reply #11 on: March 04, 2011, 10:40:30 am »

Quote
Categories I think should exist are....
Weapons
Tools
Player Models
Base Structures
Vehicle Roles
Tactics / Gameplay
Story (just so you can yell at everyone smith  )
Enemy's / NPC animals

Natural Resources

Add to that Skills System

Although not necessary in Flight Simulators or Racing Games, if you're going to have characters building things or extracting resources, you want some sort of skill/leveling system to prevent players from building the UbResEx (Uber-Resource-Extractor) and Food Replicator from day one ... especially if you allow resources extractors to continue extraction while offline.

I have some thoughts on this that I'll write up in the next week or so as I have time.  I started on it once before, but never got around to finishing it, so I'll save it for a dedicated thread when it's done.
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ZeosPantera

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« Reply #12 on: March 04, 2011, 11:16:46 am »

Quote from: cshawnsmith
I edited the synopsis, pinning the date temporarily to the end of the 21st century, just to see how it feels.  What does everyone think?

I like it. Keeps the tech more conventional. Has there been any major occurrences between NOW and THEN? World war or the like? That's your job to set the scene for us leaving earth as natural disasters is all a bit vague. I wouldn't think that would be enough for a planetary Exodus of this scale.

Quote from: cshawnsmith
Add to that Skills System - some sort of skill/leveling system to prevent players from building the UbResEx (Uber-Resource-Extractor) and Food Replicator from day one

Skill system seems a bit too mmo. and not the good kind. Maybe an RTS style "research" system may have a better shot. Warzone2100 (the RTS) has a research system with a pretty complex tech tree. Taking time and resources to research a certain branch of a weapon type, building material or vehicle upgrade would unlock more of that type of thing when completed.

Here is the actual WZ2100 Tech tree..

http://guide.wz2100.net/r/tech-tree

Now in an RTS it takes time to get all your research done, about 4-5 hours. So in Outerra you would need to have each item take 1-4 HOURS.. Though I see an issue with this type system as new players will have a marked advantage to players with 3-4 weeks lead time (again moot if not multiplayer).

You couldn't make it possible to level all the skills simultaneously and consequently I think the OT team should hold back some branches while they are developed. So everyone plateau's and waits for "tech from the mothership". In fact wz2100 (which had a similar post apocalyptic story) had it so that you could find "artifacts" in enemy strongholds and randomly throughout the game area. This would make sense in the context of the current Outerra storyline as well. People leave earth but the remaining people stay and develop new tech that the crew of the OT have never heard of. It could drive the entire system.
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C. Shawn Smith

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Outerra: The Game (Backstory)
« Reply #13 on: March 04, 2011, 11:45:43 am »

Quote
Has there been any major occurrences between NOW and THEN? World war or the like? That's your job to set the scene for us leaving earth as natural disasters is all a bit vague. I wouldn't think that would be enough for a planetary Exodus of this scale.

Well, when I first started conceiving the plot, there were no real disasters, save for the fact that all the near-Earth colonies (Moon, Mars, Europa, Titan) all were near-failures.  There was a point when it wasn't certain this story-line would even be used for the game, so I created an alternative version for my own use just in case.  However, this kind of exodus still needs some sort of event to spur the need, I think (regardless of what Cameni or Angrypig might say to that :D, but that's just MHO).

The only thing I can say about the alternate plot I created was that a small cometary body impacted the moon, completely wiping out the dozen or so colonies we had established there.  The fallout from the impact eventually rained down on the Earth, destroying or damaging a number of major cities as well.  The general consensus from the scientific community was that this could have been an Extinction Level Event, so plans were drawn up to insure humanity's survival.

There are a few other things that happened, but some of them may be used for the hidden plot of the game, so are classified Above Top Secret for now ;)  For right now though, none of it's really necessary for the mechanics of the game, so it's being kept intentionally vague.  I'm sure Cameni and Angrypig will reveal some of it in the near future though.

As for your idea, I like it, but I think it should be in the realm of days instead of hours for some of the more advanced tech.  Some structures, like perhaps a Fusion Reactor, should take a few weeks of game-time, if not months.  Although if multiplayer is allowed, multiple characters working together should be able to reduce that time.  But again, that belongs in a different thread.
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The Cosmos is all that is, or ever was, or ever will be. -- Carl Sagan
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- Yes, I'm still around ... just been busy with other projects ;)

cameni

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Outerra: The Game (Backstory)
« Reply #14 on: March 04, 2011, 11:47:10 am »

Quote from: ZeosPantera
I like it. Keeps the tech more conventional. Has there been any major occurrences between NOW and THEN? World war or the like? That's your job to set the scene for us leaving earth as natural disasters is all a bit vague. I wouldn't think that would be enough for a planetary Exodus of this scale.

Nothing major happened until the departure of the mothership, and even some time after that. It should be viewed as something humanity wanted to do - to colonize other systems, not because it's forced to do (there wouldn't be enough time if this was the case), but because it can, and because it wants to spread itself to lessen the risk of its obliteration when constrained to one planet.

What exactly then happened on Earth it's not so important now & here - that's part of story we are working on with Shawn.

Quote
Skill system seems a bit too mmo. and not the good kind. Maybe an RTS style "research" system may have a better shot.

I'd actually weaken even the need to do a "research". Mothership should be providing tech in exchange for precious resources from players. The players would be more like farmers/colonizers, in the sense they will build on their land, and could produce most of the stuff they need, but for the hi-tech stuff (or a newly developed tech) they will have to do an exchange with Mothership, at least initially.

There still would be an upgrade tree - like enhancing the ability to refine ores to extract more precious metals needed for better units and so on. Each module there could have several properties upgradable.
And the whole thing will be veeeery slow when compared to an RTS clickfest. There should be much to do in the world during the time your machines are fulfilling your designs.
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