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Ufo2000 Story/themes


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#1 Hobbes

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Posted 29 August 2005 - 08:46 AM

@ hobbes (sorry for the offtopic nature): a story is good but i favour more of a tournament type story IE a squad from each planet is hurled into warp and end up fighting each other in a never ending battle to the death across a wide range of terrains and stuff.This leaves the door open for all kinds of weapons and terrains. like quake3 arena where your men are sent to a far off place to fight and once over , both teams men are revived and sent back to the hub for more. Also explains why your men always come back in each game nicely. The fact that aliens and humans can work togeather seems to destroy the whole "im alien and i hate all humsn" idea. Perhaps a new topic to discuss stories would be a good idea.


I agree with your description of the setting for the battles, since it replicates the already existing matches, i.e., players connect, fight, etc.
However, I think that both systems can co-exist, with the arena type for single matches, and a story that serves to introduce the different factions and that would be the basis of campaign (geoscape) mode. However, my main difficulty right now is what exactly will the setting be: on one hand, if it's too generic and merely describes factions, weapons, etc., then the players wont get that much involved emotionally (like it happened on X-COM where you were fighting the alien invasion); but on the other side, if you create an universe, where the factions have motives and strategic objectives (discover technology to upgrade weapons, etc.) and there's an actual end to the game, then it would have to be related to the design of such a campaign mode, which hasn't gone further than the Geoscape Demo.
Therefore, my idea right now is to create a basic plot that can be used for several types of matches, either on space or Earth, and only between humans or including aliens as well. The point is to have a game universe that allows for the current and future weapons/units/terrains to be added without having to set specific objectives and just seeing how it goes from here. Later, if the strategic mode is included, then it would be required for this plot to have certain objectives for each faction, in order to win.
This is where the idea of 'first contact' sets in. The basic premise is that mankind has begun exploring the stars and starts to make contact with alien civilizations. But, instead of finding a 'brotherhood of galactic civilizations' or 'an alien invasion', it discovers that the galaxy is instead filled with intrigue, with some civilizations being more agressive than others. There isn't an immediate and ultimate threat to Earth, instead there are big guys and small guys and mankind is just the newest kid on the block. At the same time, Earth is hardly unified, so there will be competing human factions as well.
I think this will allow for a diversity of situations: human countries or corporations can be fighting one another, or you can have a alien race completely bend on destroying humans. And later, specific objectives can be added for the strategic mode.

Any comments on this?

#2 Blood Angel

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Posted 29 August 2005 - 08:59 AM

Sounds good to me.

#3 Violazr

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Posted 29 August 2005 - 10:28 AM

Sounds like StarCraft. ;)

Another possible scenario would be not to include other Solar systems at all. - Just an advanced human civilisation on earth and maybe the moon and Mars. After all, the technology in X-Com represents one not too far in the future.

If you plan on making a geoscape, that would also be simpler than visiting many different planets. And easier to imagine/identify with.

Then there would be different factions/clans/nations/syndicates, each with a special technology at their disposal, and their engineered life forms to throw into battle.

For example we could have the troops of the moon compensate for their lack of population/soldiers with great protective armours, the guys from Mars being best at making new life forms and cross-breed soldiers, and dirty ol' Earth being a little backwards in technology but with a lot of pepole and stuff at their disposal.

That would be a nice, consistent scenario, where each player could choose the side that represents his favoured strategies (while still being flexible, of course).

#4 Hobbes

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Posted 29 August 2005 - 10:48 AM

Sounds like StarCraft. ;)

Another possible scenario would be not to include other Solar systems at all. - Just an advanced human civilisation on earth and maybe the moon and Mars. After all, the technology in X-Com represents one not too far in the future.

If you plan on making a geoscape, that would also be simpler than visiting many different planets. And easier to imagine/identify with.

Then there would be different factions/clans/nations/syndicates, each with a special technology at their disposal, and their engineered life forms to throw into battle.

For example we could have the troops of the moon compensate for their lack of population/soldiers with great protective armours, the guys from Mars being best at making new life forms and cross-breed soldiers, and dirty ol' Earth being a little backwards in technology but with a lot of pepole and stuff at their disposal.

That would be a nice, consistent scenario, where each player could choose the side that represents his favoured strategies (while still being flexible, of course).

<{POST_SNAPBACK}>


Well I never played Starcraft (my knowledge of games is limited to X-COM and a couple few others). Your idea sounds good too but I think the alien civilizations theme is something that most people would like to have (feel free to correct me if I am wrong).

#5 Violazr

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Posted 29 August 2005 - 11:09 AM

I guess we'll have to ask them.

The aim of my scenario in many points is to make it playable:

The weapon sets and available units won't have to be split into several exclusive parts, which no other side can use. Because in addition balance problems, people will probably not like to be that restricted.

Making research work to correct that seems a difficult task in a massive multiplayer game, and would require bases with labs and scientists and everything. - And eventually lead to everyone having everything, which isn't too good either.

And on top of their own weapon set, balanced in itself and with all others, every alien civilization would need units of different armour classes, a geoscape of each planet, and a lot of ships flying between them that can go at warp speed. - While the humans still use machine guns.


For the moment, having a limited environment and two or three sides with almost equal technology is a good idea to start off with.
At first we wouldn't even need a working geoscape - only squads scoring points for their respective sides in missions like "mars and moon fight over asteroid mining station XY".
And I don't think alien units having a background story of being man-made is that much of a probelm, as long as they are the same uinits. Or is it?

#6 Hobbes

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Posted 29 August 2005 - 02:41 PM

I guess we'll have to ask them.

The aim of my scenario in many points is to make it playable:

The weapon sets and available units won't have to be split into several exclusive parts, which no other side can use. Because in addition balance problems, people will probably not like to be that restricted.

Making research work to correct that seems a difficult task in a massive multiplayer game, and would require bases with labs and scientists and everything. - And eventually lead to everyone having everything, which isn't too good either.

And on top of their own weapon set, balanced in itself and with all others, every alien civilization would need units of different armour classes, a geoscape of each planet, and a lot of ships flying between them that can go at warp speed. - While the humans still use machine guns.


For the moment, having a limited environment and two or three sides with almost equal technology is a good idea to start off with.
At first we wouldn't even need a working geoscape - only squads scoring points for their respective sides in missions like "mars and moon fight over asteroid mining station XY".
And I don't think alien units having a background story of being man-made is that much of a probelm, as long as they are the same uinits. Or is it?

<{POST_SNAPBACK}>


I completely agree with all of those points. Reproducing the original game on multiplayer would be something very difficult to achieve. A way to do it might be using the format of those multiplayer strategy games online, but the fact that the action (and results) are based upon tactic level can make it a challenge.
But I think there would still need to be a goal achievable other by simply massing points. I have no idea of how though.

#7 Sporb

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Posted 29 August 2005 - 11:04 PM

Perhaps the multiplayer area is a continuation of a single player campaign? , maybe there is all nasty stuff going on in the universe and in the end , its all settled out and feuds are dropped ... and then the multiplayer bit starts , you challenge the other races to Friendly , sporting battles , kinda like an interstellar game of rugby where less players get injured

Edited by Sporb, 29 August 2005 - 11:05 PM.


#8 Violazr

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Posted 30 August 2005 - 03:44 AM

With plasma and explosives? I dunno... I don't like the ever-returning "it's just holograms" workaround.


And the fight doesn't have to be about points. Like suggested before, it could be about territory, e.g. mining colonies and resource spots. Owning them would make a race stronger by increasing the amount of money/points it can spend on troops.

The question is how exactly that will work.
Linking power to the number of points a squad can have will lead to the winning side winning even more.
It must be something the other two sides have a chance against when working together, thus making it less likely that one side ever takes over completely (causing the game to reset).

I prefer the idea of a "point pool" which is filled faster with more power and used up for every squad sent into battle.
It might have the problem of being too full or too empty, depending on how much people play. And there could be "traitors" who deliberatley waste points to help the other sides.

To overcome those problems, there could be
- A weekly multiplyer on resource production, depending on the average number of people playing
- A qualification and rank system, which decides if and to what extent commanders are entrusted with resources
- A skirmish mode for practice/casual games (ie keep current game modes).


More ideas:

Each area should have a "guard squad" based on it's size/value, ie some money just dumped there that can only be used fo its defense.
(That prevents a nation without money from being overrun.)

Winning over a territory will make it neutral at first, with the winning player placing his guard squad (points) to claim it.
It will take a certain time to launch further attacks from there (to allow the other side to retailiate) and even longer to get production out of it.

Big areas could have several parts that will all have to be taken to claim it.

If a challenge isn't met within a certain amount of time, the match result is being computed with an andvantage for the challenger (to avoid delay tactics).
There is a limited amount of open challenges, though. They are either selected by the players themselves, or by a commander-in-chief (or both, depending on rank).

Taking some areas could require other game modes than deathmatch, like destryoing some objective (bomb mode) or defending for x turns until help arrives.
There could also be bonus missions like "assassinate the enemy officer", which give extra points.



Finally, on second thought, even the Earth/Mars/Moon setup might be too big. Even a single planet, with everything else the same, would be more than enough -
It's just not convincing that anything bigger than a town is being conquered in a squad battle.



What do you think?

Edited by Violazr, 30 August 2005 - 06:09 AM.


#9 Sporb

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Posted 30 August 2005 - 06:25 AM

Hmm , thats a good idea for single player (how about , on seperate planets instead of earths cities). but the fact that its so involved will put people off. Maybe each player must create a new planet when he signs up (IE Sporb's team of the planet Don Armania) so that each player can opt into special 'Planetary stakes' games where planets are lost and gained. A player who looses his planet is merely left floating round in an ark till he can steal somone elses planet. BTW , sectoids are genetic clones of each other are they not , its not too far fetched an idea that in the idea i suggested that any fallen unit can be revived or cloned

#10 nappes

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Posted 30 August 2005 - 08:36 AM

Now, did this thread turn into a discussion about the workings of a dynamic multiplayer campaign? Don't we already have a long thread for that?

When I said a backstory is needed, I meant some kind of a history, a timeline if you will, explaining how the different factions came to be, what are their general agendas and motivations, putting different skirmishes and conflicts (scenarios, campaigns) into a perspective.

Something like, "In the 2042, the first permanent lunar base was founded by the NASA. In the 2060's, private enterprises started competing for lunar resources. In 2111, the lunar mining colonies united and declared independence. Thus began the First Space War, also known as the Lunar Independence War. Meanwhile, a joint effort by Europe, China and Russia to found a self-sustaining colony on Mars had succeeded." And so on and so on. The timeline could be expanded and elaborated on when new scenarios are made.

Sure, currently there is no implementation whatsoever of custom scenarios (ideally defined in .lua files describing what map to use, deployment zones, objectives and scoring as well as possible limitations to what weapons and units can be used by each player), let alone a working, massively multiplayer dynamic campaign (which I personally think is pretty much a pipe dream, at least in any foreseeable future). The story wouldn't need to explain simple Deathmatches however, since when did Deathmatch need an explanation anyway?

I think thus far Violazr's proposal for a setting seems ideal, with three factions (Terrans, Lunites, Martians?) it is compact and manageable and provides a fair deal of familiarity, being based on our own solar system. The three factions could even be balanced fairly easily, even if they play differently from each other. The story should probably be based on some sort of "interplanetary cold war" involving secret services and stealthy commando operations instead of a full-scale war, which would probably involve interplanetary missiles, space combat and other stuff which would pretty much be outside the scale of UFO2000 engine anyway.

#11 Hobbes

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Posted 30 August 2005 - 08:42 AM

Now, did this thread turn into a discussion about the workings of a dynamic multiplayer campaign? Don't we already have a long thread for that?


You're completely right there. However, like I said previously, a discussion about plotlines would tend to be related to multiplayer issues because of how both issues are related.

I think thus far Violazr's proposal for a setting seems ideal, with three factions (Terrans, Lunites, Martians?) it is compact and manageable and provides a fair deal of familiarity, being based on our own solar system. The three factions could even be balanced fairly easily, even if they play differently from each other. The story should probably be based on some sort of "interplanetary cold war" involving secret services and stealthy commando operations instead of a full-scale war, which would probably involve interplanetary missiles, space combat and other stuff which would pretty much be outside the scale of UFO2000 engine anyway.

<{POST_SNAPBACK}>


My idea of combat in the 'first contact' scenario is basically what you said concerning 'secret services and commando operations. All the factions would engage in low level skirmishes, with the humans acting to prevent alien incursions.
Ick, I think it's best to finish the plotline I was working at. Maybe then it is easier to discuss it.

#12 Jamaru

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Posted 31 August 2005 - 03:33 PM

Actually I think UFO2000 should be a space-based tactical game with different factions/aliens battling on other planets/earth. This is why I'm starting another set called Imperial Weapon Set which is basically a series of alien/hi tech weapons which acts similar and balanced just like other good weapon sets. :)
~Plasma

#13 Violazr

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Posted 01 September 2005 - 03:17 AM

It's just that most maps are earth-based, and people won't want to stop playing them. (In addition to mappers not being happy about all their work being wasted).

So we are more or less bound to have it happen on earth, with a few lunar / asteroid / space station sets thrown in as well.

I'd even go so far as to have two factions on earth, and one on the moon.

#14 nappes

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Posted 02 September 2005 - 09:20 AM

Most of the maps in X-Com are earth-based, yes, but the original art project doesnt't need to be X-Com, or happen in the X-Com universe at all. It is not even decided conclusively yet if it's going to be possible to use the original graphics in same missions with the graphics from X-Com. We may still decide on tile resolution and proportions that are radically different from the ones used in X-Com, rendering any kind of mixing impossible. More details on this in the artwork department thread.

Since the original art project is very likely to evolve into a completely new game, only using the UFO2000 engine as its base, we have a very great freedom in coming up with any kind of backstory we want. So Hobbes, don't feel like you need to be creatively bound by the existing X-Com story or universe.

Also, there should be no fear of all the work of the mappers being "wasted", UFO2000, the multiplayer X-Com remake, would always exist besides this new game/mod, and it will probably still be the "main project" for a long, long time. All maps created for it would be useable probably forever, or at least until we can no longer use the graphics from X-Com anymore due to a possible (however unlikely) legal threat from the copyright owners.

BTW, I think this "other game" needs a name of its own to distinguish it from UFO2000, to avoid future misunderstandings. :) This thread seems as good a place as any, so if anyone has ideas for the name of a space based squad tactics game, post them here.

Edited by nappes, 02 September 2005 - 10:27 AM.


#15 Hobbes

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Posted 02 September 2005 - 10:16 AM

nappes,

I am trying to get away from the X-COM universe as much as possible, although it will share some themes from it. The basic introduction text is written and now i am working on a timeline to give it some more background, plus a general description of the factions involved.

#16 Violazr

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Posted 03 September 2005 - 02:34 AM

So you just decided to use your scenario and started writing?
Have you sorted out how everything is going to work, then?

I'm confused.
But I guess I better don't start any new mapping projects until this mess is sorted out...

#17 Hobbes

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Posted 03 September 2005 - 10:07 AM

I've been writing on this for the past weeks, although at a slow pace but I haven't decided on much. In fact, I think I am going to use another concept because I had another idea in the last days.

But, by all means, don't stop making maps because of this. It's not in my power to decide if my story will be adopted or not. And, like nappes said, even if this goes through you will always be able to play UFO2000 with the stuff people made so far.

#18 Blood Angel

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Posted 03 September 2005 - 10:23 AM

Perhaps this could be set in a parellel universe to the Xcom universe. Or something.

#19 Kratos

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Posted 03 September 2005 - 11:05 AM

So you just decided to use your scenario and started writing?
Have you sorted out how everything is going to work, then?

I'm confused.
But I guess I better don't start any new mapping projects until this mess is sorted out...

<{POST_SNAPBACK}>

It's just a discussion. Making maps won't hurt anything.