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Thread: Story Brainstorming

  1. #1
    Saul's Avatar
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    Story Brainstorming

    Coming up with an 'original' sci-fi concept is not an easy task. What I'd like to try with this thread is some concept brainstorming: basically any ideas any of you may have. So, specifically -

    Alien races (and all that goes with it: environmental tolerance, social history, unique species viewpoint, home planet etc)

    Ships

    Technology

    and anything else you can think of. Ever thought 'wouldn't it be cool if...'? That's what we're going for here. I've got some starter ideas and am gathering more, but writing this kind of stuff is a slow process, so your ideas will help me hugely. Bear in mind that posting an idea doesn't mean it will be used - but you might expand the conceptual space wide enough for some aspects of an idea to make it into the final 'product'. Bear also in mind that virtually every sci-fi concept has been done before, so while there's no harm in adapting or reusing existing tropes, there's also no point in posting an idea that already exists (e.g. The Borg/equivalent).

    Starter ideas & basic tropes to get you going:

    Non-sentience. Based in part on Peter Watts 'Blindsight' (read it, if you haven't: http://www.rifters.com/real/Blindsight.htm), in which non-self-aware entities that operate solely on reflex/instinct are actually the 'evolutionary end game', making 'consciousness' as we experience it the anomaly.


    'Energy beings'. I like the concept, but it's overused. Been considering expanding the definition of 'energy' beyond the sci-fi usuals of solar/magnetic/plasma/etc beings for something with a bit more flavour. Not sure where I'll take this yet, it's more the root of an idea and the details will probably hit me like a train at 4am or something. 'Love is an energy' and other similarities are a flat out no go.

    Heavily tech-biased race. Not the fucking Borg (though I am open to the idea of group or enhanced consciousness); I refuse to believe that the merger of meat & machine cannot expand beyond the sodding Borg, or guys with their brains half-wired up. No ideas on this one though, maybe approach it from the perspective of theoretically feasible technology e.g. google glass, subcutaneous nanomachines, idon'tfuckingknow. Lots of tech heads here, if you come across anything cool that could form the start of something, post it.


    Concepts of life beyond carbon - silicon based, gaseous based (!), extremophiles, etc. If life elsewhere doesn't take the shape of earth life, what is that life based on? What shape does it take?


    Other useful stuff:


    The Kardashev scale (wiki it). This is a scale of development applied to civilisations: Type 1 uses all resources on its home planet, Type 2 harness all the energy of it's star, and Type 3 harnesses all resources in its solar system. Might be a useful base point for discussions on relative technological levels etc.

    The Law of Complexity/Consciousness: Developed by the Jesuit St Teilhard, it theorises that all matter is engaged in the process of complexifying upon itself until it reaches an 'omega point', which is the highest degree of evolved consciousness possible and leads to a 'higher plane of existence'. This is the subject matter mined by Dan Simmons in the Hyperion Quartet, and though it's already been used, provides an interesting viewpoint regarding the development of civilisations. Again more food for thought rather than anything concrete, andI certainly wouldn't take it in the Simmons' direction - I'm more interested in what (if anything) else can come from it.


    No suggestion too crazy, no idea too 'out-there'. Go nuts.

  2. #2
    Donor Devec's Avatar
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    Wanting to add my little ideas to the mix. I am going into what I think could fit well with the game mechanics as well.

    Alien races:
    I am really not a big fan of alien races as depicted on star trek or most of the popular science fiction shows. They are merely just deviations from humans with very similar physiology and though processes. If you want to have real believable aliens they need to be completely different imo. Energy beings are right out of the question in my regard because energy is not a state of matter as it is often implied. Other forms of being are possibly the most interesting to explore. I mean beings not based on carbon but on other materials. But to understand having a being based on another material completely might require some scientific legwork.

    You will also need to ask yourself the following questions for when exploring sites with aliens in there:
    - Why are they there at all?
    - Would it be fitting in a scenario of scavengers?
    - Do the scavengers find the actual aliens or just relics?


    Weapons Technology:
    Really depends on the setting. Are we going with a lot relics from a long time past, exploring unknown parts of the universe or rediscovering structure from an old earth empire. What I would like to go with is keeping within a set of weapon types and not expanding much on it. Perhaps a few prototypes here and there but nothing mayor. This will help with the game design of developing weapons that are not much powerful than their counterparts but allow for upgrading and specialization. I like to think here of the following weapon types:

    Kinetic weapons
    Very slow weapons but with the biggest punch, limited ammo

    Laser weapons
    Fast firing weapons, ammo limited to the energy reserves, prone to overheating

    Plasma weapons
    These are extremely limited weapons because they require a lot of power. As a scavenger you are not going to walk around with a battery backpack to superheat your material into a plasma.

    Nuclear weapons
    Possibly not hand carried and in forms of explosive devices and such, will leave radioactive spots on the game map and generate extreme heat. Could have some fun game mechanics with this.

    Fusion weapons
    In the forms of miniature explosives and such, possibly even mines that allow you to breach even the thickest doors. Should be extremely rare in any case.

    Thermal weapons
    Weapons that change the energy state of an object. Or so called freeze rays. What they would do is launch liquids which are extremely cooled and sprayed over the target.

    Prototype weapons
    I guess we could go more experimental with these weapons. Say adding weapons that warp space, change physical properties of matter and other cool stuff.


    Materials
    Could go anywhere with this. But I would like to see materials which are highly advanced types of todays ones. Like nanotechnology applied on all material forms and production. Think perfectly layered metal alloys, carbon fibres, composites, highly advanced plastics. For energy generation we could go with fusion reactors and even antimatter to some scale. Possibly even highly advanced solar panels or deviations from this.


    Well I can go on but I think the backstory should be established first and work from there.
    [~A place to talk about autism~]



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  3. #3
    NoirAvlaa's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Devec View Post
    Alien races:
    I am really not a big fan of alien races as depicted on star trek or most of the popular science fiction shows. They are merely just deviations from humans with very similar physiology and though processes. If you want to have real believable aliens they need to be completely different imo. Energy beings are right out of the question in my regard because energy is not a state of matter as it is often implied. Other forms of being are possibly the most interesting to explore. I mean beings not based on carbon but on other materials. But to understand having a being based on another material completely might require some scientific legwork.
    P. sure in Star Trek it's explained at one point. Something like an ancient race grabbed some humans and genetically modified them for other planets to see what would happen. Hence, similar but different and all races are just science experiments for lulz.

  4. #4
    Cortess's Avatar
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    I sometimes had the idea of a variation of the zergs: They are mindcontrolled by an overmind. With now overmind around, they can't survive. But if there are enough around, they manage to mentally connect together and reach a sentient stage ... thousand of small brains working together (against the oppression of the overlord).

    Also Lavamonster ... every game needs one.

  5. #5

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    Autistic space trolls.


    Makeitso


    On a more serious note - give thoughts to why the ships are wrecked and try to build around that thematically.


    Whatever turned the ship into a wreck in each instance will probably be a significant contributor to the dangers faced.

    Examples -

    A ships that been smashed to fuck by a debree field/asteroid belt could have fast moving objects bouncing around inside it that come flying out of the darkness to blap you. These are not actually intelligent enemies, just fast moving lumps of pointy crush death. Mechanically they would be handled like fast moving enemies that kill on contact.

    A ship that's had a bit of a 'drive problem' may just have come back from a place where we don't need eyes. This gives you a nice chance to go a bit lovecraftian. During co-op fun-times you can re-animate dead players or even fuck with peoples standard display so that intangible imaginary enemies that don't stop bullets appear between them and their bros....or you can randomly replace their bro's art with enemy art and let them pew pew each other. Mutation/Insanity fun times.

    Ships will have automated defences. Circumventing them will probably be a common hurdle. Wall turrets. Security laser beams sweeping across hallways. Electrified doors. Go to town. The ships computer system may even have it in for the players. Blapping its core may be a good idea, to stop the ship itself trying to kill them.

    Try not to stick with 'just more evil alien baddies'. That will get old quick . Fuck with peoples heads. The ground under their feet, the walls around them and the buddies they brought with them should all be potential threats. Make people scared to walk down that hallway, even when it looks clear and their buddies are guarding their backs.
    Last edited by Arete; May 18 2013 at 11:43:38 PM.

  6. #6
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    If the ships are wrecked perhaps there was an origin species that commited species wide suicide and the ships are massive and self sustaining enough so that on each ship meta civilisations grew out of the pets / slaves / food left behind. The ships are Aeons old and the civilisations are only begining to understand how to use them. This would allow progression as you unlock the capabilities of the ship you own. There could be a species quite similar to each other but still distinct as they faced coverging evolutionary paths (such as dogs who become akin to the Voehn from the culture series) but also AI's and species that are defined by the ships problems such as lack of light causing acoustic weaponry ... i can bash up a short story or two if you like
    statistically 9 out of 10 people enjoy gang repping

  7. #7
    fuck entrox Donor Jason Marshall's Avatar
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    I really think man vs. man sci-fi and man vs. the enviroment are way cooler than some silly aliens. Their can be aliens but they should be more like the farengi, supporting types.

    "Sometimes someone just needs to be the OP" -Tellenta Philosopher of our People.

  8. #8
    Super Moderator Global Moderator QuackBot's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Cortess View Post
    I sometimes had the idea of a variation of the zergs: They are mindcontrolled by an overmind. With now overmind around, they can't survive. But if there are enough around, they manage to mentally connect together and reach a sentient stage ... thousand of small brains working together (against the oppression of the overlord).

    Also Lavamonster ... every game needs one.
    You are on it. Can't be repped by other people (same as normal triage.

  9. #9
    Varcaus's Avatar
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    Nice necros

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