January 25, 2014 at 12:28 pm #1171
This page is for ideas about the storyline, catastrophic events and other things relating. Please put in useful comments. The developers might have a look into our ideas. 😀
January 25, 2014 at 10:34 pm #1555
One of the things I was thinking is a complete randomized storyline. It would be interesting so that the campaign itself is chosen by the players actions and choices.
January 28, 2014 at 1:35 am #1556
well what about a catstrophic event like a world war 2? yes I know this isn’t very original but what if one culture became obsessed with power (or some other thing) and decided to create a massive war taking some cultures by surprise and shocking others in the end you can deicide to create a hiding place and bunker away resulting in a world with one main culture and the rest small and discreet. or take on the army and defeat the leader ending in an end to his tyranny creating a happier time like golden ages or some form of renaissance in celebration of his defeat. of course there could be plenty of separate endings or choices though
I'm just another guy looking forward to Imagine Nations.
February 1, 2014 at 6:26 am #1557
That DragonWarrior is something to think about. Maybe some sort of rebellion or major war could occur with your character operating in the front lines or behind enemy lines working as a spy. A spin off of WWII would be great, also maybe the developers will add diplomatic missions, working against or with the tyrant of that culture.
February 1, 2014 at 4:11 pm #1558
I was thinking about living underground (I finished second “Metro” game yesterday). It was one of the coolest self-imposed challenges in “Minecraft”. Maybe culture can start there, but being forced to relocate to caves and adapt is more fun. It can be nuclear winter, or star getting colder, or alien invasion. You have to dig streets and houses instead of building them. You can go on surface, but in protective suits, or only at night, or not at all. You have to move carefully so not to dig into lake and drown everything. Stuff like that.
A lot of catastrophic events can work around idea of scarcity. Drought and you don’t have enough water, forest fire and timber is more valuable than gold, add psionics and you have “Dark Sun”
February 1, 2014 at 5:12 pm #1559
+100 imaginary points to onsamyj for bringing up Dark Sun. Was contemplating years ago trying to get the IP to make a new game since its been way too long since the last one. But I digress.
Loving the ideas, and really I feel the key to these “events” (whatever we finally call them as I don’t think they’re all catastrophic) is that there are many ways it can end.
In one of the Kickstarter posts, we talked about the baseline Skyrim story with the dragons. It was linear, and there was absolutely no way you could lose it or have it end in a different way (short of dying and not saving for 36 hours). But what would happen if the dragons win? All the surface is destroyed, towns ravaged, and the survivors having to etch a living in forests, underground, etc.? They eventually try to band together through tunnels and alternate means of travel and strike back at the dragons. Maybe they win? Or maybe they all die out and the planet is owned by the dragons and their followers forever (or at least until a UFO arrives that is far more powerful than dragons and he just ray guns them all).
Ultimately, these events should be on the scale of these stories we all love in every game, while offering many paths that go beyond what a linear story can do. And these stories playing out without your interaction whatsoever. Its a story you’re simply involved in, and a story being forced onto everyone (including the NPCs) versus being scripted.
Cat Banana Studios
February 1, 2014 at 5:46 pm #1560
Those events is partially why I think that aging and permadeath is not a good default option. Option, yes, but not default one.
To riff off of your idea, but making it even more catastrophic: what if all sentient life is dead? How can you experience that? With dragons winning and until UFOs are coming («Dragonstar», anyone?) there can be some survivors hiding, yes. Or you can stumble upon planet with ruins but that different than living through last days of dying culture(s), crumbling cities and nature taking over. You have to be immortal to do that.
February 1, 2014 at 6:52 pm #1561
I think while the player is meant to be “equal” to all NPCs, the person controlling the player is far more intelligent than any AI system we build. As such, while NPCs themselves might be hunted to extinction, I can see the player being able to survive and use the environment to their advantage far better than AI.
This whole scenario though would be extremely rare. The possibility of truly being able to hunt every NPC to extinction would be extremely difficult. With the Skyrim example, there were all the dragon priests and draugr which were humans supporting and worshipping the dragons. So technically they’d still exist. Perhaps at some point they turn on their masters when they are caught unaware?
And technically with the permadeath system (if we went that route), you as the external player are “immortal” in the sense that you continue to play in the same universe while your character can die. So in the above scenario, provided you ensured that your family was safe somewhere untouchable by the dragons, you’d be living forever through the eyes of your ancestors.
Cat Banana Studios
February 1, 2014 at 8:06 pm #1562
Well, we can argue about it more (maybe I don’t want to play another character after death of first one, ‘cause I’m invested in him), but my point is, that having “game over” situation in any way, when game offers so much, is not that interesting. And I think you agree, just maybe with different solution to that problem.
And from that is my second point: every event, especially catastrophic one, must have escape plan built into it, even if it’s just surviving. Again, roguelike mentality, when you lose everything, not a good fit for IN, especial with events that you can’t control… or can you? Can you prevent event from happening? Is there a warning of some kind before event? It can be something scientific like in “Armageddon” (well, it was kinda scientific: warning, planning, executing – good enough for a game, I think). Or in fantasy style: “there is prophecy of sword forged in blood of a unicorn, and only it can slay Horror From Depths™”.
February 1, 2014 at 10:32 pm #1563
Trust me when I say that whether or not we go towards aging and death, it will be an option when setting up the universe. We’re not going to necessarily force that on everyone, even though we do feel from an immersion standpoint that you being seen more as a “mind” or “soul” and less as just that first character opens up a lot more long-term potential than simply having one character miraculous go through hundreds of game years while everyone else around you (family included) has passed away.
Now can you control catastrophic events? Perhaps. Will you know how to control every catastrophic event? Probably not at first, and you may not even have the capability to do so. But there’s definitely many events we’ve been throwing around that are definitely cause and effect.
You find a hellish gate with a book nearby in demonic text that blatantly sounds like it’d activate it….probably not a smart decision. If an asteroid is coming towards your planet and you’ve made the necessary advancements to be able to know its coming, and possibly have mechanisms to stop it, then you can intercept it. If there’s rumblings of a large army of evil creatures brewing in the badlands, be proactive and take them out before they build to full capacity and events begin where they become nearly unstoppable. There is also the possibility of events starting in a more or less “passive” state where if you happen to catch the signs, you could stop it before going fully active.
Cat Banana Studios
February 3, 2014 at 10:05 am #1564
What if Dinosaurs started with you and you could choose in different circumstances how the dinosaurs would survive or die.
February 3, 2014 at 11:38 pm #1565
what if the current food chain was interrupted sounds simple I know but what if perhaps overuse of hunting caused higher on the food chain animals to die out of starvation while lower food chain animals would overpopulate eventually these animals will all die out unless you find a solution. this would weaken and maybe even destroy the cultures which relied on these animals. You can: find or genetically engineer a perfect replacement of the overhunted species. forget about these cultures and hope everything can return to normal The cultures will never be the same as they were originally though. continue to trade with the cultures with new foods or new livestock so they don’t die out though the culture will now be more dependent on others at least for a small amount of time. there’s probably more ways to fix this but I’m sure you’ll get the point
I'm just another guy looking forward to Imagine Nations.
February 13, 2014 at 4:49 pm #1566
To be honest, this is why I’m ambivalent on the concept of Catastrophic Events in the first place.
Many of these events being discussed are things that shouldn’t be some sort of scripted event, they’re things that should be natural consequences of in-game situations.
Which, after all, would you rather have – a game where you have a diplomacy system, and where, due to alliances and ambitions, a world war breaks out between nations in a chain of alliances against some aggressors as a natural consequence of the political landscape of your world, where you can actively participate in the negotiations, foresee the dire consequences, and prepare your nation for the future… or do you want to have some random country randomly go hostile because it’s time for the daily dose of a random “catastrophic event”.
Making international politics or global climate disasters actually a consequence of in-game decisions that the player can not only foresee, but prevent, or can actively understand with hindsight how they caused such things, rather than just being the equivalent of a random boss fight, makes for a game much more interesting than one where things randomly happen just to add some sort of “hard” event.
These sorts of events are much better suited to a game where nothing beyond the player’s immediate reach is really simulated: “Invasions” are only a change in the type and number of monsters spawned at you in Terraria. You never had a chance to figure out what the goblins were doing any time they aren’t invading. When you can go to the goblin lands and establish trade relations with them, however, then having completely arbitrary events (without having it be a consequence of actions taken or not taken by the player or the cultures they are near,) undermines the simulation the game is trying to create.
Also, on the topic of living entirely underground – that depends quite a bit on how the game is set up. In Dwarf Fortress, completely sealing your dwarves underground is easy, almost even expected. You have underground giant mushrooms to farm and even chop for lumber, so long as you use underground cavern mud, which is infinitely renewable. In fact, in “Evil” biomes, it’s the only way to play – self-imposed challenge, nothing, the weather in those biomes includes clouds of dust that turn anything it touches into nigh-invincible zombie-like thralls, and if you don’t get underground and plug the entrance IMMEDIATELY, you’ll lose. The self-imposed challenge forts are actually building above-ground towns with stand-alone buildings like a normal human town, since it’s much harder to build free-standing buildings than it is to just excavate a hole in the rock.
That’s not to say that it will be the case here, (although, given the xenobiology, it may well be the case that there will be some inherently cave-dwelling creatures, and therefore, food sources underground,) but that the way that the game is set up determines whether any given style of play will be the “challenge” for myriad reasons.
March 21, 2014 at 10:22 am #1567
a few ideas
some of them lean towards past movies, series and games but to be honest i only noticed that after i thought of them
not all are cataclysmic but still rally bad i think
an uprising from the saurian people who been living underground for eons? (ok taking heavily from dr who’s saurian race here)
but like a hollow earth theory planet would be cool
earthquakes that really split the ground open into giant chasms: swallowing villages, bridges need to be build etc
uprising of the squirrels: they are after our nuts!!!!
vegetable food becoming sentient: wil they fight for them self, will we eat them if them beg for their life?
a bacteria that slowly turns wood into a gelatin sort of material, effecting living wood and used wood, whilst still being burnable, (vats of wood anyone)?
voracious ant swarms,
invasion of the body snatchers: people being slowly replaced by an alien race, would be coo to see
i dont know if the games use a polinating mechanic but in that case no more insect that pollinate
all water on the planet freezes over: in order to drink anything it need to be heated and warm
the moon is falling (if only we had a time rewinding music instrument)
planet happens to be claimed by a alien empire and we are sold into slavery
a new kind of popular music actually makes people addicted to it and dumber
poop never disintegrates
parts of the planet actually exists in time bubbles, in which time goes faster or slower, can be freely entered
attack of the giant lizard
invasion from the underwater people (atlantis strikes)
planets stops turning, having a ice cold dark side and a fiery side, only a sweetspot in the middle
a tiny alien mold covers everything with a transparent coating and makes it waaaay sticky
March 21, 2014 at 10:28 pm #1568
It would be cool if one of the failures for certain types of research, and possibly even a research-able effect itself, is infectious zombies.
Some wizard/scientist somewhere unleashes a Zombie Apocalypse either because of a mistake or to “SHOW THEM ALL!!!!” and your town has to try to defend against it or be overrun.
Possible outcomes include:
Defeating the zombies completely.
Destroying most of the zombies but some are still wandering the wilderness so you have to be on guard
The last town gets overrun and it turns into a post apocalyptic survival scenario where survivors band together in small parties trying to survive.
March 22, 2014 at 12:45 pm #1569
We are going to be finding some better terms for these, but there is a distinct difference between actions made by cultures and the player that can have wide reaching consequences (and driven by the simulation engine), and catastrophic events (or perhaps story-driven evnets since they’re not necessarily catastrophic) that are fired off and meant to be on the scale of immersive stories found in most games.
From an earlier comment about it not making sense that a war starts just because of a daily dose of catastrophic events, there’s just as much a possibility that a bunch of cultures are created that simply never get into a war no matter how much pushing and shoving there is. If someone wants to experience a war, it may never happen. While its not entirely realistic, if the event fired off a series of actions that caused the war, it would allow more people to experience situations that would otherwise have a very good chance never to happen if left to the simulation engine.
Its just as much in the same vein as the tier 4 missions. They inherently have no real purpose beyond getting you rewards and some reputation, but they can still be fun if generated appropriately. Not everything within this game needs to be entirely driven by a perfect simulation that only spawns events based on the exact interactions between cultures. The “fun” aspects of it can had even if there’s a certain randomness to it.
Cat Banana Studios
March 25, 2014 at 2:41 pm #1570
However, you control how the simulation engine is built. If the simulation engine isn’t giving you enough wars, then you can just change the simulation engine to give you more wars.
What’s more, that just makes the scripted events forcing a war seem even more jarring and out-of-place, because then players KNOW those cultures are complete pacifists. Seeing them go to war anyway, with the exact same chain of events as a warlike nation that was just looking for any excuse to go to war, breaks down the capacity of the player to believe in the world, or the simulation thereof.
To give an example, playing Crusader Kings II, basically everything that happens on a personal level winds up being a scripted event. This means I get things like finding out that “The Merry Men” (read: Robin Hood) are poaching in my forest, and it gives me a multiple-choice. So my king decides to don a disguise to infiltrate the Merry Men (I thought it meant “send someone else in a disguise”, but the game was quite vague…) at which point I had to fight and defeat a Merry Man to prove my worth… which is quite the feat, considering the fact that I was a tottering, infirm 72-year-old with fairly poor military score at the time. However, that didn’t matter, because I had an even chance of winning or losing and what stats my character had didn’t enter into the calculation at all.
There are many random events like this. In a “grand strategy game”, as it touts itself, having my character gain the “brave” trait, and advance to the “tactical genius” education tier and gain a tactical modifier that gives a bonus leading troops on flat terrain while winning a major battle on flat terrain seems perfectly fair – I did something in-game to earn it. My character got wounded (and hence, scarred when it healed, which gives a minor prestige bonus) and could have died in combat each time I sent him in personally, so gaining “brave” as a result of putting my character in harm’s way seems fair. Then having my character randomly lose brave in an arbitrary event triggered because I had then gained “too many good traits” seems like a total random cheat on the part of the game. (And it seemed far too easy to gain traits like “ambitious” when going through that Merry Men scripted event chain, as well, since all I did was push a button in a multiple-choice.)
These sorts of things are obvious “breaks” in the game. Where the simulation is a powerful part of believing what’s going on in games like Crusader Kings, or Dwarf Fortress or Minecraft, seeing the simulation get suspended so obviously breaks your ability to mentally invest in them, because scripts so obviously suspend the rules, and start showing the NPCs doing the things you know that you can never do (or they can never do, otherwise, either). Getting players to be able to invest in that belief is critical for enjoying the simulation – otherwise, you’re just shoving blocks around, and making some arbitrary numbers climb higher. Playing X3 is fun when you think you are a little fish in a big pond, with titans that hardly notice you, but stops being fun when you realize that the world around you doesn’t notice you or care, even when you are a titan capable of buying half the universe, and you realize all you’re doing is making your bank account number go up to a higher number.
March 26, 2014 at 3:01 pm #1571
That’s just the thing. Its not about controlling the simulation engine to make more wars. We can’t have a diverse series of personalities cultures take on, and then up and force it to make more wars. That makes less diversity in personalities. There’s just as likely a planet can (albeit its rare) have a bunch of pacifist cultures that will never start a war as there is a planet with antagonistic cultures that constantly clash. Generally you’d see cultures that are more or less balanced personalities that have just as reasonable a chance to have a war as our own history, with the occasional neutrals that stay out of those affairs.
If you push someone enough, there is the possibility that even the greatest pacifist will break down and fight for their peace. It has happened time and time again in our own history. There is always a breaking point. The question is whether the normal simulation engine would ever have the distinct and proper series of events to cause this to happen (versus a militaristic culture where looking at them wrong is an act of war, or a more balanced culture where specific actions weigh more heavily and can cause a war). This is equivalent to saying how many times have you won the lottery?
If there was a catastrophic event that caused a war, it would not be jarring or “break” the game. The events necessary to cause a war would happen, in their proper order, and exactly how it would need to happen if the simulation engine did it. They would happen in a proper time frame, and the player would be none the wiser that it was the event that did it versus the simulation. In fact, how the player would ever truly know the personality of every single culture on a planet to make an assumption that wars could not start would be impossible as there would be no “data” beyond the perceived actions being made.
This would not be an every day situation here. Catastrophic events are meant to be extremely rare. So this isn’t “here’s my daily dose of catastrophic event” in the same sense as the rarity of disasters in something like SimCity. The likelihood of a war being the result of the simulation engine is significantly higher than a war being chosen from the event system when its also choosing from many others.
Cat Banana Studios
March 27, 2014 at 4:13 am #1572
If you say now that catastrophic events are indistinguishable from what the simulation would produce, then I have to ask why you’re even bothering to distinguish them at all in the first place, or denigrating the notion of simulation?
The scripted events in Crusader Kings II are also fairly rare events (at least, all but a handful of minor ones are,) but that, if anything, makes them more of a random, arbitrary cheap shot interruption of pure dumb luck in a game supposedly about skill and strategy.
And it’s entirely laudable if you want to make players learn about cultures purely through their actions, rather than just infodumping on players. One of the things that annoyed me about X3 was that it was a game that would “Tell, not Show”, by saying that one culture was really warlike and another was pacifist, but having them all react to in-game events in basically the same way, and all have similar traders. Supposedly desolate buffer zones from an old war would get filled with bustling trade centers as the DMZ between warring cultures traded peacefully with one-another.
As for somehow winding up with all pacifist cultures, however, I think the nature of a simulation, given proper bounds and some time, tends to work things out. In Shogun 2 Total War, I noticed that the game had an alarming tendency for the “big name” clans to get eaten up by the minor players, but that, after any decent period of time had passed, you basically wound up with pretty much only the “aggressive” and the “treacherous” clans left, as defined by the diplomacy menu. The other types would basically only continue to exist if I specifically helped them survive. Honorable clans that upheld their treaties were all destroyed first.
Of course, that’s a game where aggressive expansion is heavily rewarded. (And in fact, practically the sole point of the campaign.) However, that’s basically part of my point that the nature of the simulation you set up determines what outcomes you get. If you don’t want total pacifists that never go to war, no matter what, just don’t make any total pacifists in the simulation. (Or make them get eaten by the aggressive types that break their treaties… either way, no more total pacifists exist.)
There may be some reason to have to call in special scripts for something like an alien invasion or dragons awakening from their hibernation. However, when all the pieces are already on the board, and you have absolute control over what the pieces are defined as being, the layout of the board, and what rules the game is played by, it’s a little odd that you seem to feel constrained by anything (other than the physical limits of computers). If the game isn’t playing out the way it should, and it’s the fault of the rules, then you can change the rules.
March 28, 2014 at 6:53 pm #1573
what if the catastrophic event only affect’s your biome and 3 biomes from you in every direction? Then you would surely lose whatever you invested in if you took no action to avert it but it wouldn’t wipe out the entire planet either, you would have to relocate and try not to screw up the next time something major comes along. if you are going to have something horrible happen, you might also give the player the equal opportunity of having good things happen as well. so you might have the local dragon population lay waste to everything and take over those biomes, but if you then go and kill them all off then after X amount of time the environment in those area’s will eventually recover. The flip side. Maybe the event is the discovery of an ancient cave system with some runes written on the wall. if you can run around and play indiana jones for a while and unlock the mystery then maybe you get some golden age that lasts for X amount of time. crops grow better, mercantile income is better for a time, tourism picks up, something along those lines. maybe you learn some magic that protects your borders from invasion for 10 game years or something so it gives you time to build up your nation.
if the planet is getting ruined, maybe you do get driven underground, or maybe you hibernate in orbit for 500 years and come back and try to build up the human race again. everyone gets along at first because it’s in everyones best interest but then when the population gets large enough the place splits into factions who have different idea’s about how life and laws should be which then leads to the territorial side of things so you not only have to contend with rebuilding the ecology around you so you can expand your empire, but you also have to be wary of your enemies while doing so.
March 29, 2014 at 4:26 pm #1574
you might have the local dragon population lay waste to everything and take over those biomes, but if you then go and kill them all off then after X amount of time the environment in those area’s will eventually recover.
That sort of assumes that the player CAN kill a horde of dragons, or at least, is willing to go off on adventures to want to. Keep in mind, players may be hermit/survivalists or simple shepherds or the middle manager at a factory, working on ways to increase pump efficiency when dragons strike.
One of the things that a lot of sandbox games with a script/plot will do is that they allow you to put the destruction of the world on hold for however long you like so that you can go play whatever role you want. (Screw the opening of the Oblivion Gates/Dragons reawakening, I’m going to go pick flowers for more potions! Forget about riots in LA, I’m going to go do that remote control airplane mission again – I’ll get it this time!)
I worry that these scripted events, especially if focused purely upon the player, are essentially going to be things that try to force players into playing the game in a way they don’t want to play it.
When it comes to things that are related to a culture, I again think that it’s perhaps better to look at them in terms of making them a consequence of some aspect of the simulation, rather than a purely random event. To bring up Crusader Kings II again, an outbreak of a heresy is a sort of “catastrophic event” in that game, which makes it extremely likely for a heretical sect in a county to revolt, and may spread if not quashed by sending out the chaplains to convert back to the orthodoxy. However, while in a sense a random event, it’s odds are heavily affected by the current religion’s “moral authority” score (which is determined in large part by how much people obey the pope/religious head and how well the crusades are going). The more the papal (or other religion) authority is undermined, the more heresies spring up. I still think that alone is a little too random, but CKII is a fairly random game just by nature of not simulating anything below a county-wide level. (We could see some sort of dissent against the church and conspiracies to hide heretical theological debates before it goes full-blown county-wide heretical sect conversions.)
I’d ultimately still prefer that, unless it were something like a dragon that is released specifically because the player was in combat, that the catastrophic events not be player-focused, or else it winds up forcing players into occasionally being warriors when they are trying to play a purely pacifistic game as a challenge run. If you call the outbreak of a new plague, or a meteor about to strike the planet a “catastrophic event”, then targeting those sorts of things at cultures near the player can make some sense, as that’s simply an opportunity for a player to do something big or heroic, not a mandate.
April 16, 2014 at 6:51 am #1575
Well in my oppinion we shoud start with something player can not influence, so plagues, vulcanos, floods, hurricanes, and things like that. Wars will eventualy happen, because i am sure that even NPC can not get along for a long time. After we have things like that we can think about something player can cause. Nuclear winter, lack of water because of deforestation, damaged enviroment, famine (player is planting just one crop because its the most valuable but some insect appears). And then maybe some Evil gates to the underground, Dragon uprising, Masive evil men eating violet bannanas race from outer space or uprising of evil squirels 😀
August 25, 2014 at 1:25 pm #3465
How About a Warring culture creates a device that would send all cultures to the stone age or an era when they were very powerful.
August 25, 2014 at 3:04 pm #3495
Well…the nuclear bomb would do a fantastic job of dropping a culture back to the Stone Age. Wouldn’t need any real fancy or mystical object to do that. As for an era when they were powerful, that’s very subjective. Rome was very powerful in their era, but would be effectively Stone Age to us nowadays. A few soldiers with machine guns would take down their legions.
Now there’s the possibility that an external influence could effectively take control of every sentient being on the planet. Perhaps it could cause all the people on the planet to act a certain way (i.e. giving up technology and returning to a more primitive lifestyle even though the technology still exists), possibly as a precursor to an alien invasion. The player may be immune to this, and need to find some way to counter it so the various cultures could fight back. Or the player could just let it play out and befriend the invading aliens. Or simply do nothing.
William Phelps - Lead Developer of Imagine Nations - firstname.lastname@example.org - http://www.imaginenationsgame.com
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