project-navigation
Personal tools

Author Topic: Storyline, tech tree, general content design  (Read 41792 times)

Offline BTAxis

  • Administrator
  • PHALANX Commander
  • *******
  • Posts: 2607
    • View Profile
Storyline, tech tree, general content design
« on: April 07, 2006, 12:22:28 pm »
This thread is outdated and none of it is applicable to the current development. It's kept here only for archival purposes.

--Winter



Okay. It's a good thing UFO:AI is in development, and it's getting better all the time. But there's not much going on with the actual game design. With "game", I mean here the content; things like the storyline, the tech tree, weapons, equipment, enemies. If this stuff doesn't appear sooner or later, we'll end up with a working game engine, but with nothing more running on that engine than a demo. A few weapons, a few aliens, but not a full-fledged UFO game.

So, what needs to be done?
- Storyline. Who are the aliens? Where do they come from? What sort of technology do they have? Why are they attacking Earth? How can they be defeated?
- Tech tree. Closely related to the storyline, the player has to find out the answers to the questions above through research. So there need to be research topics, requirements, etc.
- Enemies. As far as I know there are two types of aliens (correct me if I'm wrong here, people). I think we need six or seven or so, some of which will appear later in the game. For this we need models.
- Equipment. What exists now is basic human weaponry (rifles, pistols, grenades), some early tachyon/laser weaponry and some early alien weaponry. Those last two weapon types in particular need to be expanded, and don't forget balancing of all the weapons. Also, there should probably some additional stuff like smoke grenades (if and when support for them is added), mines/traps, stun weaponry, deployable turrets, you name it.
- More maps. What we have now is pretty good, but you can never have enough maps.
- Things I haven't thought of in this post. Feel free to brainstorm with me.

So, this needs to be done. I can take a shot at creating a storyline myself, although it's doubtful i'll come up with something original and useful. I'm no modeller, though, so we should start recruiting some.

EDIT by hoherer
This thread has been splitted into several sub-topic/threads. You might want to see there for more recent information:
Design: Storyline
Design: Tech tree
Design: Equipment
Design: UFOs
Design: Aliens

There are more threads though, but these are the main ones.
EDIT end

Hoehrer

  • Guest
Storyline, tech tree, general content design
« Reply #1 on: April 07, 2006, 01:37:58 pm »
I've written a short prolog some time ago. It had to be removed recently 'cause it made the game crash in the current form, but the text is still available in the old revision:
http://svn.sourceforge.net/viewcvs.cgi/ufoai/ufoai/trunk/base/ufos/seq_intro.ufo?view=markup&pathrev=381

Nothing fancy, but i think it's a good introduction for the player.

TODOs:
* Make it work again without crashing (using no newlines would be a hassle though IMO)
* extend the text to make it a seamless introduction into the "build your first base and do other stuff" phase of the game.


Werner

Offline BTAxis

  • Administrator
  • PHALANX Commander
  • *******
  • Posts: 2607
    • View Profile
Storyline, tech tree, general content design
« Reply #2 on: April 07, 2006, 03:41:01 pm »
I've written up some tentative stuff:
Aliens
UFOs
Basic storyline

Note that half of this is totally made up, and the other half is implicit. But it's a start.

Hoehrer

  • Guest
Storyline, tech tree, general content design
« Reply #3 on: April 07, 2006, 04:30:14 pm »
i like it so far... maybe the only thing i'm a bit unsure about is the fact that out organization (whatever it's called right now) has very little equipment/personell given that the whole world is financing it
I think we could do it two ways:

* As i've written in my first draft of the prolog a crisis-ridden world (poor countries) would be a better start ... where there is not enough money there is no euipment/etc.. and the aliens have better luck infiltrating a shaken country/world

* The second possibility would be to make our organization only the speedy task-force which mostly handles the faster ufos and special cases of aline-attacks like terror sites. But local armies/air-forces are fighting the aliens where they _can_ as well. ... which is not often (since they are not flexible enough), but would be cool as a 'news report' on the side.

EDIT: There surely are more possibilities and we could even combine multiple.
Werner

Offline BTAxis

  • Administrator
  • PHALANX Commander
  • *******
  • Posts: 2607
    • View Profile
Storyline, tech tree, general content design
« Reply #4 on: April 07, 2006, 04:57:23 pm »
Anything is possible. What I wrote is pretty damn inconsistent with what's in the UFOpaedia right now, anyway. As long as it works, I suppose.

The way I see it, "X-COM" is an elite organization, so they only recruit the very best soldiers there are. They also only emply brilliant scientist. They'd have to be to be able to crack alien technology in a matter of weeks. So that's how I'd explain the small staff roll.

In a "poor" world, there would not be a basis for an organization like X-COM. In a crisis-ridden world, you don't get universities that churn out scientists. Also, there'd be nothing much to protect from the aliens if the world was in ruin anyway. It would make saving the earth feel a bit pointless, IMO.

Hoehrer

  • Guest
Storyline, tech tree, general content design
« Reply #5 on: April 07, 2006, 05:12:42 pm »
ok, makes sense to me. I took the liberty and modified your "Opening story" a bit and added some details (still curning on some of them).

If you see somthing that is not good please critic:
EDIT merged into svn
http://svn.sourceforge.net/viewcvs.cgi/ufoai/ufoai/trunk/src/docs/storyline.txt?view=markup


EDIT: added norway and switzerland
EDIT: added rough prolog draft
EDIT: added first instructions
EDIT: added research-tree entries
EDIT: merged into svn

Werner

Offline BTAxis

  • Administrator
  • PHALANX Commander
  • *******
  • Posts: 2607
    • View Profile
Storyline, tech tree, general content design
« Reply #6 on: April 07, 2006, 05:20:37 pm »
Looks good to me. The more details the better.

Perhaps we should put Norway and Switzerland in the GEU. Switzerland is slowly getting integrated right now, anyway.

I first called the earth forces "Sentinel", because I liked the word. But then I chose "Phalanx" because it has an X in it. Heh. The current UFOpaedia has them as the GDF, which I think is the most uninspired name ever. That goes for a lot of stuff in the current UFOpaedia. But most of it will be rewritten anyway, because what's in there has no background design whatsoever, and I don't feel like coming up with stuff around it just so we don't have to rewrite it.

Hoehrer

  • Guest
Storyline, tech tree, general content design
« Reply #7 on: April 07, 2006, 06:10:14 pm »
updated the post above.

Werner

Offline BTAxis

  • Administrator
  • PHALANX Commander
  • *******
  • Posts: 2607
    • View Profile
Storyline, tech tree, general content design
« Reply #8 on: April 07, 2006, 06:35:44 pm »
More TODOs:
- Create weapons hierarchy design (Initial draft completed)
- Create facilities design
- Add psionic abilities to documentation
- Create soldier stats and stat increase design

Also, maybe you should lay off on the po format for a bit. We may need to rewrite a lot of stuff before we have something we can go with.

Offline BTAxis

  • Administrator
  • PHALANX Commander
  • *******
  • Posts: 2607
    • View Profile
Storyline, tech tree, general content design
« Reply #9 on: April 07, 2006, 09:23:03 pm »
I made a first draft of the weapon hierarchy. This is about all the equipment I imagine would be in the game. Perhaps there should be some more items (stun rods? Ninja swords?), and perhaps some of the weapons I wrote up should be scrapped. I'm thinking of the weapons that assume functionality that isn't, in fact, in the game. I have no idea how feasible it all is.

Eventually, there needs to be a lot more design info on the weapons, such as clip capacity, damage, etc. For now, though, I believe it's important that we come up with a more or less finalized list of equipment. We can then present that list to 3D modellers so they have an idea what to model.

Hoehrer

  • Guest
Storyline, tech tree, general content design
« Reply #10 on: April 07, 2006, 10:20:09 pm »
Some brainstroming from my side... i'm not arguing for anything of that to get included, just listing it.

Weapons/items that we could include:
* EMP grenades  - Especially to disable those evil Hovernets and Cyborg Ortnok for a short time.
* deployable/portable (energy) shields - might not be a good idea per se
* alien plasma blade (may not be a good/often used weapon of choice, but is devasating if used by aliens)
* Foam gun ... why stunning the alien when you can make it in-animated ;) ... just an idea
* Automated weapon platforms - Can also store equipment for other teram members (ammo, medipacks, etc...)
* EDIT Jetpack (no armor, but lighter and faster).
* EDIT spy drone

Alien types that came to my mind:
* Parasites - Small worm-like creatures that infect your soldier and kills/mutate/whatever it. If the target is killed the worms duplicate and spread.
* Cyborg cows - for the ufo-fanboys out there ;) ... just kidding
* Alien plants - Extra terestial plants that are hazardous (pollen/dust) to humans when standing next to them. (in alien bases/ships)
* Small attack critter - basically the 'nicer' (do not mix that up with "non-lethal") and smaller version of the Shevaar (EDIT i don't mean the shape/species here)... that is a pretty fast close combat (and maybe ranged combat) attacker.

Also i think a discussion about soldier enhancements (human cyborgs?) or even robots (but why take robots if you can have smaller weapon platforms that are easier to build and do the same) is needed.
EDIT I think (maybe only advanced) psi-abilities should require at least one enhancing implant.

Werner

Hoehrer

  • Guest
Storyline, tech tree, general content design
« Reply #11 on: April 07, 2006, 10:40:40 pm »
Technology descriptions for public comment

Moved to Design: Tech tree - thread

Werner

Offline BTAxis

  • Administrator
  • PHALANX Commander
  • *******
  • Posts: 2607
    • View Profile
Storyline, tech tree, general content design
« Reply #12 on: April 07, 2006, 11:26:32 pm »
Quote from: "Hoehrer"

Some brainstroming from my side... i'm not arguing for anything of that to get included, just listing it.

<snip>

Also i think a discussion about soldier enhancements (human cyborgs?) or even robots (but why take robots if you can have smaller weapon platforms that are easier to build and do the same) is needed.
EDIT I think (maybe only advanced) psi-abilities should require at least one enhancing implant.



Hmm. The implants thing sounds good to me. That'd be one way to distinguish X-COM from the "normal" army, too. I'll have to put some thought into this.

I'm asking myself how useful energy shields and plasma blades are when mines do the job of cutting off a passage and all the combat is ranged anyway. And EMP? What sort of damage would it do? Plus they wouldn't be too effective against a flying enemy. I downright don't like spy drones - part of the UFO experience is walking around a corner and running into your friendly neighborhood alien. Plus we have IR Goggles anyway.

Those alien plants sound interesting. They'd give players a gas-based hazard outside multiplayer. They'd have to be in alien botanies, though. No walking plants!
Otherwise, the aliens you propose sound reasonable, though I think we shouldn't create too many of them. However, it did occur to me earlier that I had not catered for a typically psionic alien (I keep wanting to use the term 'psyker', because I like the word, but the Warhammer people would be all over me if I did). I don't really want to create an Ethereal ripoff. It is reasonable to have the Antareans themselves use psi later on in the game, but perhaps we should add a fourth "caste", the psionics. Workers wouldn't have that kind of delicate equipment, Soldiers are too busy pulling triggers and Commanders are too few in number.

About the UFOpaedia descriptions you posted, that's all good with me. I notice you went with tachyons where I put fusion. That's no problem, naming is arbitrary at this point. We'll come up with some convincing bullshit after we fix the core equipment list.

EDIT: reverted your original post, sorry for that. --Hoehrer

Hoehrer

  • Guest
Storyline, tech tree, general content design
« Reply #13 on: April 07, 2006, 11:46:37 pm »
Quote
Hmm. The implants thing sounds good to me. That'd be one way to distinguish X-COM from the "normal" army, too. I'll have to put some thought into this.

Yeah, i always liked human enhancements in games (e.g. Deus Ex)

Quote
I'm asking myself how useful energy shields and plasma blades are when mines do the job of cutting off a passage and all the combat is ranged anyway.

shield: was only a though, didn't think it through.

plasma blade: Thuis would mostly be used by the aliens by a really fast one (run&hit) in close combat  or as a suplementary weapon for 'normal' ones (one hand plas pistol, the other hand holds the blade) so you have the maximum damage given the range to the target. I didn#t intent the player to use it, but maybe some will and it's one of those wepaons everybody underestimates ;) ... we'll see.

Quote
And EMP? What sort of damage would it do? Plus they wouldn't be too effective against a flying enemy

How do you get stunned cyborgs/robots, so you can research them intact/alive? ;)

EDIT: And concerning flying robot-enemies that you deactivvate with EMP ... it doesn't have to be a grenade to do that (maybe an EMP-amplifier rifle) , but if the enemy is near the ground it surely will also be affected by a grenade.
And if it successfully survives multiple hits of hot plamsa and/or explosions and then fall apart when falling down a few meters i think the design is extremly bad ;) ... and even if it falls apart (which we just do not implement ;) on fall), it is not scorched or anything, that might prevent all research.

Quote
I downright don't like spy drones - part of the UFO experience is walking around a corner and running into your friendly neighborhood alien. Plus we have IR Goggles anyway.

fine with me

Quote
Those alien plants sound interesting. They'd give players a gas-based hazard outside multiplayer. They'd have to be in alien botanies, though. No walking plants!

Hmm, walking plants, that sounds funny :) ... but no, you are right. "The thing" has already been made.

Quote
Otherwise, the aliens you propose sound reasonable, though I think we shouldn't create too many of them. However, it did occur to me earlier that I had not catered for a typically psionic alien (I keep wanting to use the term 'psyker', because I like the word, but the Warhammer people would be all over me if I did). I don't really want to create an Ethereal ripoff. It is reasonable to have the Antareans themselves use psi later on in the game, but perhaps we should add a fourth "caste", the psionics. Workers wouldn't have that kind of delicate equipment, Soldiers are too busy pulling triggers and Commanders are too few in number.

Howe aboput we create a similar (genetically engineered) caste of the Antareans, that is e.g shorter/slimmer/whatever and has additional implants to enhance psi-skills? ... i don't really like 'natural' psi-abilities (maybe they _enable_ you to use it, but you still need implants)

Yes, creating too much new specias is a bad thing, but i'm all for using robots (different types of the same model for different roles) or something like that. What do you think?

Quote
About the UFOpaedia descriptions you posted, that's all good with me. I notice you went with tachyons where I put fusion. That's no problem, naming is arbitrary at this point. We'll come up with some convincing bullshit after we fix the core equipment list.

Oh, i really streched things (known facts) with tachyons anyway, so i have no problems if we change them to fusion later ;) ... but on the other hand: fusion weapons seem to be overkill in troop-combat ... i think i'll do some explosive stuff with fusion ... I'll not use tychyon for that.

Watch the post above for updates.

Werner

Offline Killertomato

  • Rookie
  • ***
  • Posts: 48
    • View Profile
Storyline, tech tree, general content design
« Reply #14 on: April 08, 2006, 07:28:20 pm »
Mind if I cut in though I'm not part of the dev team?

edit: I have made everything I haven't pasted into the Design: XY threads
bold so it wont be overlooked.

My 2ct:
1) Australia should also be part of a bigger whole. Call it Mikronesia, the South Pacific Alliance, Ozeanien, or Big Bad Downunder ( :wink: ).

2) Flash Grenades should stun everything, also team members for tactical consideration, even cyborgs (temporary optical input overload) within a certain radius for a round or two.
Stun rods are a must IMO for the purpose of capturing aliens. Alien cyborgs however can be researched through remains.
The parasites are a good idea.
Psionic aliens should also be in which take control over- or stun team members.

3) Speaking of effect radius, displaying an estimated effect radius of grenades n such should be visible to avoid bad surprises.

4) Storyline:
Idea 1) The Antareans are agressive and warmongering by default and are constantly seeking to expand their empire. Now they think they found a new inferior race which they deem easy to overcome and integrate into their collection of slave races.
Idea 2) They face extinction if they don't find a new planet suitable for relocation
or
a race which genetical make-up suits their need for repairing a bodily degration but need a constant supply of "spare parts" due to the fact that they can't reproduce the needed material artificially. Therefore they need to invade.
Everything started with an obduction here and there and animal mutilation for the purpose of stuying what's available.

Conclusion for both ideas:
Getting what they want proved more difficult than expected due to heavy resistance. Therefore the attack on Bombay.

5) Mission Type:
Aliens have obducted a set of high ranked politicians or private sponsors.
The UFO was shot down and the prisoners managed to escape. Get rid of the persuing aliens before they get to them!

Aliens have entered a research facility to re-posess recovered material to prevent further breakthroughs. Keep them from getting away with the goodies!


6) Research items
a) Upgrades for sensors, weaponry, armor plating(later shields), propulsion for interceptors.
b) Upgrades for base radar, weaponry, shields to avoid base invasion. If successfully repelled -> crashed ufo mission.
Better base radar should enable to discover stealthed ufos sent to establish bases or such, and enlarge radar radius (these radiuses should definitely be displayed on the world map, btw.).
Later radars could be good enough to detect established alien bases.
c) Anti-psionic tech to counter psionic abilities of aliens either temporarily or permanently.