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Storyline, possible backstory


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#51 JohnEvans

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Posted 01 June 2003 - 12:42 AM

Other than both being silicon-based life forms, the X-COM "Silacoids" and the MoO "Silicoids" don't seem that similar...nevertheless, I still think they're intended as an in-joke. After all, the Klackons appeared in Master of Magic. ;)

Childhood's End...that's some classic sci-fi. :D

#52 Fred the Goat

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Posted 01 June 2003 - 04:01 AM

Yeah! Master of Magic. Now there's a gem I don't hear about too often. But where else did the Klackons make an appearance? Were they an Orion race? (I only just discovered that oldie)

#53 JohnEvans

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Posted 01 June 2003 - 05:09 AM

Ah, Master of Magic...my all-time favorite game...I never played Master of Orion 1, but the Klackons were definitely in 2 & 3. :D

#54 Judge_Deadd

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Posted 05 June 2003 - 07:29 AM

Not everyone realize, but planetoids floating between Mars and Jupiter were once a flourishing planet. It was inhabited by a friendly race. There were two continents, which traded between themselves. However, soon a dictator took over one of the continets. He declared war on the other continent. Its inhabitants have never fought, so they panicked. So their sciencists created a pack of androids. These androids were strong and ready for combat. Soon they conquered the whole planet. But the trouble weren't finished. Dictator and a few people he trusted got to their super-secret hideout and launched all missiles they stored for this occassion. The explosion was so strong that it turned the planet into pile of rubble.
Not everyone died, however. A few androids escaped in the spaceship. They landed on mars, because it was the closest planet suitable for them.
After building a base, they faced a new problem: who will lead them? They need someone as a ruler. They solved also this problem, however. They got the biggest brains on the planet and combined them all into one big brain. The brain was a perfect solution.
After many years, however, the planet was on the edge of over-population. The brain ordered to look for other planet with suitable environment. Soon he got the report on third planet from the Sun: "very good climate... lots of water... many animals... What? Some intelligent race? Ah, we can just get rid of it."

Edited by Judge_Deadd, 05 June 2003 - 07:29 AM.

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#55 Kha Khan

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Posted 05 June 2003 - 04:56 PM

Hey All!

There were some really good ideas in those backstory suggestions, and I REALLY liked Jim69's input about alien interrogations serving to 'peel away' layers of the story-- if it's interesting enough, it adds another motivation/addiction to completing the game.

Some thoughts I have:

Ultimately, it's a case of US versus THEM, and with extreme prejudice :spank:

The aliens' motives are needed-- there MUST be a reason for their hostility, eh?

An explanation for the various types (and habitats; i.e. aquatic, terrestrial, etc) of bad guys is needed.

A reasonable tie-in with the original XCOM storyline should be provided for continuity (Cydonia, the OverMind, etc)

By the same token, the evolution of the events/stories of XCOM 1&2 should naturally lead to the story of XENOCIDE

I'll get back to you on this-- I've been giving it some thought since before I ever heard of the Xenocide project, and have copious notes after I've refined them a bit :idea:

#56 Fred the Goat

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Posted 05 June 2003 - 11:23 PM

Hehehe...I like it. I don't know if it's very believable, what with the dictator randomly attacking the other continent, and the androids with brains, and the missiles destroying the planet from which they were launched, and all, but as far as I'm concerned, it makes for a nice, ruthless yet desperate overmind. I dunno. Cool ideas, anyway.

#57 Anglachel

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Posted 05 June 2003 - 11:42 PM

And the androids would still be there making a new enemy in the battlescape that is strickly unique to mars?

#58 Fred the Goat

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Posted 06 June 2003 - 12:20 AM

Hmmm...it sounds like pretty much everybody is in agreement that the storyline needs to cover X-com 1, 2, 3, and Xenocide, but isn't Xenocide just a remake of the first one? Shouldn't we just stick to covering that part of the story? I dunno. I'm a noob.

Second, I think all the stories rock. Whatever we do, we definitely need to create a page dedicated to the history of xenocide, as Breunor said, with all of the possible backstories included. THAT said, I don't think we should include too much in the game. I think the aliens should either be mysterious and left unexplained, or just plain mean and terrible. Long explanations about how Earth was seeded and how the aliens fought amongst themselves would be kinda boring when you're just waiting for your research on the Lightning to finish. We should have a few pages about how the aliens are mean, and they like to eat cow brains, or whatever, and leave it at that. Not that this isn't good stuff. It's good stuff. :D

Gripe #3: Okay, I'm sorry, but if you microwave corn, it doesn't grow better :huh: I don't want to burst anyone's bubble, or kill the aluminum foil industry, but let's keep our feet on the ground, here. If there WERE an alien race on Mars, and they WANTED to conquer us, gee wiz Christ would have been wearing a crown of alien alloy barbed wire, alright? Government agents cover up coups against small Latin American nations, not Sectoid crashes. Instead of waving Geiger counters around crop circles, drop fifty cents to give some starving Kenyan toddler a lunch, and maybe when the aliens DO find us, they'll actually respect us enough to NOT obliterate our civilization. *sigh* sorry, that was harsh. But worth being said. Anyway, I'm not saying alien life is an impossibility. I don't believe I live at the exact center of the universe, I'm just saying there's so much going on in the world that really needs to be uncovered that it really irks me when people waste their time on UFO theories. Er...except X-Com. X-Com is worthwhile. :beer:

#59 Fred the Goat

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Posted 06 June 2003 - 12:22 AM

gee wiz Christ? Gimme a if-you-see-Keighing break. :hammer:

#60 Deimos

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Posted 06 June 2003 - 11:00 AM

So what you're saying is that we shouldn't develop backstories for the development of the game and just wing it?

In development we need to have every facet of the story documented and written up so all of the developers know exactly how each part of the story fits in with another. If we didn't the art team wouldn't know how one design fits in with another and the programming team might decide to write code in such a way that an alien's animation doesn't fit in with the storyline.

The story won't be written up in the final game. The genius of xcom was that the storyline was leaked out through snippets of info and gameplay. For the story to unfold in our game we have to have a complete story to begin. If we don't and just wing it we'll end up with something I wouldn't want to put my name to. Having a storyline and guideline will unify the game and make it look more professional.

#61 Breunor

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Posted 06 June 2003 - 12:25 PM

I can understand your aggravation Fred, that people spend lots of time on things that are unproven when there are other concrete problems that could be solved by using their energies there. A lot of people spend lots of time doing things for their own enjoyment while others suffer. How many of us would sell our computers and games and other toys to give money to a homeless person, knowing that food and shelter for them is more important than wasting our time on fastasy distractions? In theory, none of us should be wasting our time with these games while there's a single person suffering on this planet. But such a discussion is not for this forum...

As to microwave radiation, there are lots of different levels of radiation. As you may know, most of us are sitting next to CPUs that are emitting electromagnetic radiation in or near the microwave range. That doesn't mean we're cooking ourselves however. I can't vouch for the authenticity of my ufo-devotee friends, but their research shows a proven increase in crop harvest from seeds that were irradiated by the energies found in authentic crop circles. The whole point was that microwave radiation had been detected in the crop circles in real life, and why would that be? I agree with Deimos that there needs to be some storyline to tie the game together, and why not use current theories that have been developed in real life? Whether we believe in those theories is just as relevent as whether we all believe in alien life. If you don't should you avoid making or playing games with aliens in them? Of course not. We're all just trying to enjoy ourselves.

We're just spitting out ideas here, hopefully not spitting on each other :D

#62 stoopher

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Posted 07 June 2003 - 11:59 AM

Hey fred I couldn't agree with you more.

I have tons of UFO books, Loads on crop circles. iam one of those who "want to believe". And what have I found? Nothing conclusive.

I mean IMHO, there is more evidence more accessible for less effort, that supports that claims of Christ. (I'll finish that one with a poignant full stop).

The fact is if we came accross a malovalent vastly superior alien race, we'ld be seriously screwed to the nth degree. We could do our selves some more favours by caring for our felow man, so at least if they come we have some solidarity. Or they are so are impressed by our compassion for one another, that they want to leave us at least as a museum piece.

Anyway, the game... ... I have a document with some stroy Ideas I put in. The whole"face off" become the bad guy/your enemy when you defeat him thing. See it from the aggressors side and how we can all be slave to the evil in side each of us. Anyone who is sentient AI/human/alien still "keeps the beast within him under ceaseless attack" (faithless lyric) in order to stay at some level of moral responisibility. Or make it so that when the nations come together and stop in fighting, we can effortlessly remove the aliens.

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#63 Fred the Goat

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Posted 07 June 2003 - 09:04 PM

:argue: Ahem...glad to have generated some discussion. Deimos, I wasn't really saying backstories suck, I was just suggesting that we not focus too much on that part of the backstory that is going to have little relevance to the game, other than as a side note, but I see what you're saying and I'll try not to be too much of a pain in the arse. Breunor, thanks for taking my scathing criticism with a grain of salt. I'll keep an open mind about microwaves. Spit on. Stoopher, thanks for the backup. I like the "face off" idea, and respect it as a counter-example to my theory that backstories should be kept low-level. I might suggest keeping the number of layers of the "good becomes evil" theme to one - don't want to overdo it. But it's a good theme.

#64 Breunor

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Posted 08 June 2003 - 11:04 AM

In the next couple days we're going to nail down the official background story, using the existing storyline and any other ideas that can be added without massive changes to the overall story flow. So if small changes are needed, that's fine, but things like 'our dogs and cats suddenly mutate and fly to mars to kill us all' won't be considered, sorry if anybody's been working on that one... :D

Once that is done, all we'll have is the rough draft. It will need more development in each area, especially tie-ins to the aliens and technology used. This needs to be done so that the art department's work will match what people would expect given the back story.

So if anyone has ideas based around what's already out here, toss them in the pot in the next day or two if you can.

#65 Breunor

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Posted 08 June 2003 - 11:10 AM

It's an interesting idea that could be used in later versions of the game, but for v1, the problem I see is that there no androids in the game. I'm sure you could substitute another alien in there easily enough. Perhaps this could be a sub plot where some of the aliens break away from the Mars base and are hiding out somewhere in the solar system, ready to attck earth their own way in v2. If they were hiding in an asteroid belt, they could even launch the asteroids towards earth as a covert infiltration method. The story could say that falling stars started increasing years after the first alien attack was defeated. The meteors tended to hit the ocean and sink, so they were not studied. They caused enough environmental problems that we were distracted while teh aliens set up their underwater bases, and now we have xcom2.

#66 j'ordos

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Posted 08 June 2003 - 01:01 PM

In stead of androids, the other race genetically modified the fiercest predators on their planet as a last-ditch effort to stop the agressors, that could explain some of those critters x-com might encounter.

Edited by j'ordos, 08 June 2003 - 01:01 PM.

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#67 Deimos

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Posted 08 June 2003 - 03:10 PM

:argue:  Ahem...glad to have generated some discussion.  Deimos, I wasn't really saying backstories suck, I was just suggesting that we not focus too much on that part of the backstory that is going to have little relevance to the game, other than as a side note, but I see what you're saying and I'll try not to be too much of a pain in the arse.

I understand where you're coming from. You don't want to have the story spoon fed to you. The problem is that in development it is often necessary to focus on the stuff that a player would find boring simply because the dev team needs to know exactly how something fits in.

If you don't understand something asking for a clarification on why something's being done isn't being a pain in the butt, it's an inquisitive mind.

I for one would rather be asked what the relevance of something by someone and them get more enjoyment out of the game because they know, than just jumping to a conclusion and slagging the game off everywhere they can :)

#68 GreatGold

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Posted 08 June 2003 - 05:42 PM

Hey All -

I'm gonna have to go with Breuner and Deimos on this one. We need to know exactly what direction were going in to reach the final destination. And, this is a perosonal opinion only, the more comprehensive the universe we create, the better. We want to be sucked into the game...feel creeped out at a terror site...here a noise from the speaker and actually be startled..have an ambient environment so real that you imagine your a part of it. Now, while a lot of this is up to the art, sound, and programming people...if it doesnt all tie in then it just wont seem as complete an experience.

Why be spooked if you dont know what there is to be spooked about? Granted, there is definately a balance of what one knows (about the game) and what one doesnt. If you know too much, it loses the surrealness...too little and it seems like Doom. Thats what was great about the the original...as you become a better player you also uncover a greater understanding.

So, having the story does become a large part of it. At first glance, crop circles may not matter much. But lets assume that after interrorgating an Navigator you learn they are really a way to select for alien base locations...sorta of a navigational aide. Hot damn, now they matter...

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#69 Fred the Goat

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Posted 08 June 2003 - 06:17 PM

Hmmm...well, I think what I said may have been poorly stated. I can try to explain what I was going for again, but from the looks of it that's going to get us a whole lot of nowhere. That said, I like idea of actually tying some of these ideas into the gameplay itself. The crop circles are a great example. Explain to me that the aliens' crop circles are a result of microwave radiation generated by the alien navigation systems is boring. Showing on the geoscape where the last crop circles have been, and telling me I can predict where the next base is going to come up based on those suddenly makes alien navigation and microwave radiation a whole lot more interesting. How feasible would that be? And what about cow mutilations? Imagine if these kinds of spoooooky things were not just something you read about after you tortured the right sectoid, but were actually the first part of the game! Chasing around ghost signals and rural clues. Personally, that would mean a whole lot more to me.

#70 Breunor

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Posted 09 June 2003 - 08:33 AM

There has been some discussion as to how the end of month summary would be presented to the player. Rather than just a single screen showing a few numbers, there was talk about making it into almost a news update format. Not that CNN would be broadcasting your score to the world, but rather it could be the xcom representative giving you a report on your progress, something like that. In any case, in addition to the standard items, you could include extra news in there related to the game. One way to tie in the above ideas would be to have stories about increased crop circles and cow mutilations in country X. You could have the game take the data from some of the graphs for example, the top 3 countries for alien activity and randomly pick one for the report. That way you are reminded about it, but would have to "check your own sources(graphs)" to verify the info. These extra stories would give the creative text people plenty of material to write up, and provide some variety if people wanted it. But unless there was a lot of variety, seeing the same stories over and over could get boring too.

Any thoughts about this, could we make some kind of 'mix and match' system for variety, having say 10 variables in a story that would include country, city name, people's names, etc?

#71 Kha Khan

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Posted 09 June 2003 - 05:49 PM

Breunor,

I like the idea of the end-of-month report in the form of an encapsulation by a Xenocide representative... what about having the rep show a sound-byte from the mainstream media and following it up with the monthly report? The sound-byte would be tied to the player's activities for the month-- maybe based on their highest-scoring mission for that month? A media story about cattle mutilations, for instance, tied to the player's taking out a harvester ship. I'm not a programmer, but it seems like you could tie in the player's progress (or lack thereof, if the AI program is winning) with events in the "real world."

I strongly agree that repeats of the same news reports would be a terrible thing, but if they reflected the ongoing gameplay they would add awesome realism to the game! The AI code (I've scratched the surface in games like Age of Empires) would have landmarks/triggers, right? If the player choked on terror zones 'X' number of times, for example, the code could trigger sound-byte reports of panic, rioting, whatever... That particular byte would appear ONLY when the specified number of Terror-Zone failures had occurred, and never again. Does this sound do-able, or practical? I'm only a squaddie here, so I may be aiming too high... (I hate it when I overshoot 'dem Sectoids! :D

#72 Breunor

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Posted 11 June 2003 - 09:26 AM

It's not hard to shoot over a sectoid's head, poor little guys...

Having triggers would probably work, I'm not a coder either so I'm not sure about that. The video footage could possibly have replay footage in it too. Games like warcraft let you watch a replay, so what about if you trigger an event like a terrible terror site mission score, the report includes something like, "citizens of Turkey panicked as apparently alien forces attacked the city of X this month. Shortly after the attack began, operatives from an unknown group attempted to repel the aliens, but they were beaten back and all citizens were killed. Our news helicopter caught parts of the fighting on film, but could not stay long due to the fire fight." In the background you see some quick shots of when things exploded or units/civs were shot. The isometric camera angle fits nicely for helicopter footage.

Of course, this leaves the text-only version that we'll probably use for v1 and enters the realm of really fun and difficult to implement v1+. For those who missed the previous discussion, the newscaster would be something like Ananova, sitting behind an anchor desk with the video/stats on a screen to the side. She would be fed text with Sable tags imbedded. Of course, using such a system is possible, it only adds about 500MB of data to the game for accurate text-to-speech. A bit much for an add-on I think.

#73 mikker

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Posted 11 June 2003 - 09:42 AM

Media catches you in action :LOL:

Then not only aliens start to search for your base :LOL:

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#74 Breunor

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Posted 11 June 2003 - 10:08 AM

Hey everybody, we're at the point now where we're going to lock down the basic storyline for the game, meaning the major points as to who they are, where are they from, what are they doing type things. GreatGold is maintaining the Creative Text Asset List, which will have all the ideas in one spot for reference. We're going to take the ideas to date and work as many as we can into the existing main story, as I personally want to use as many ideas as we can that fit together. So at this point, let's consider this thread done and work on fleashing out the details of what we currently have. There is a link to the main storyline within the linked asset list above, it's contents will change some as we get all the updates integrated into it.

There's a ton of stuff that can be developed from the main story, it's just the most basic outline at this point. So consider all the areas within it that need more development. I'll start a couple threads for each area, and we can focus discussion in those areas.

#75 dipstick

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Posted 14 June 2003 - 03:59 PM

I have some, rather different, and most likely unincludable ideas, but hey, better late than never. I haven't read every post but I do get the gist of the ideas. I was thinking along the ideas of setting this game 250 years after the end of AW1 (XCOM 1) as everyone is celebrating the demise of the aliens. Then, the decommisioned XCOM base (still privately run, as in the original stories) picks something up. It is a HUGE fleet, it comes through the solar system, speeding towards Earth, but it remains in Martian orbit. It suddenly disappears, so noone thinks more of it. As the celebrations begin, so do the mysterious sensor blips. People think that they are just pranks.... but are they? After that, XCOM is re-commissioned, again, and begins to go all over the world investigating the disturbances. It is gradually found out that this is the second wave of alien ships, primarily designed as supply ships; they land at Cydonia, and rebuild it. There are new, better alien races; and improved rank system, equivalent to XCOMs.

You start with 2 low-level interceptors; capable of carrying troops; you must find a way to combat the higher flying UFOs, as well as detecting and destroying the orbiting ones. Also you must find an alternative power source, to fly faster. All of this must be done before the aliens get Cydonia fully functional, as well as restart the invasion of Earth;( as well as the colonies (version 2 maybe))

Well, thats about it, what do you think?
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#76 Xer0

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Posted 26 February 2004 - 03:51 PM

Going to the backstory issue...

It seems a bit awkward, but what if the aliens were not aliens at all? What if in fact the aliens were the true natives of Earth, and thousands of years ago humans came and invaded earth, with some type of "mystical" rather than technological means of space travel. We may have been a product of God's wrath towards the aliens for a mortal sin caused by their entire race that would lead to their replacement as the dominant species of Earth. Either that or we could have been some sort of barbarian race that enslaved and killed sectoids, ethereals, etc. The aliens could be merely getting their long-awaited retribution in X-COM 1.

This could also lead to possible references about earthly fables and myths, such as Atlantis or the Bermuda Triangle. Maybe even the Pyramids and Sphinx in Egypt.

Edited by Xer0, 26 February 2004 - 03:54 PM.


#77 Anthraxus

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Posted 26 February 2004 - 10:14 PM

See what was written about the Ammonites, which evloved into our Cloaks if I understand the storyline right.
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#78 Breunor

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Posted 27 February 2004 - 08:18 AM

Yeah, there was some ancient references in there, it's called the Alien Origins text, but is actually the backstory text. The actual origins writeup you'd see in the game would be different and much shorter, focusing more on the later part of the current origins text.