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View Full Version : Acts & Consequences: Steps towards a Persistant Story


MikeLemmer
01-15-2013, 07:52 PM
I'd like actions in previous sectors to influence my current sector, tying the current standalone sectors into a larger arc, similar to how each match in Risk Legacy (http://badassdigest.com/2012/01/18/game-review-risk-legacy/) leaves its mark on the board for future matches. The numerous factions of Drox Operative seem well-fitted for a sprawling opera of clashing empires and the shadowy Operatives in the middle, trying to profit off everyone.

How would I take steps towards such a narrative?

Step 1: Clarify the Faction's Resources/Actions

Understanding how many resources a planet produces, why a faction's attitude towards someone else is lowering, or why they colonized that particular planet is difficult & obscure right now. Resource displays should be simplified & numbers reduced, like in later Civilization games or the remake of Sid Meier's Pirates!, and races should talk about their plans or what they need when you land on their planets, rather than spouting the same advice over and over.

Step 2: Give Factions Motives

Giving the factions specific goals in each sector, such as "make as many credits as possible" or "stop the Hive from expanding too much", would provide a more interesting basis for conflicts than "they're in my zone!" It would also help the player figure out which factions can cooperate, which ones will try to destroy each other, and how they can manipulate the politics to their advantage.

Step 3: New Sectors Influenced by Previous Sectors

A particular faction kept getting wiped out in previous sector? It's weaker in the next one. You wiped it out personally? Its approval of you is lower, too. A faction had plenty of credits in the last sector? It starts out with even more money in the next one. You united multiple factions? They all like you more. One faction's getting too powerful? The others start ganging up on it, while it takes the Drox Operatives for granted more and more as it gets arrogant. (Eventually, dominating factions try to kill you once you're the only one who can challenge them, drawing parallels to the original Drox's attempts on their Operatives. That's what you get for only serving one race.)

These actions and consequences are mentioned off-hand to the player, weaving the sectors they traveled from Lvl 1 to 100 into an epic space opera. Do several factions band together to drive off the Talons & Overlords? Do the Brunts kill everyone else? Do the Overlords take over the region? Up to you.

If the player doesn't like the direction this is taking, they can just start their next sector in a new Quadrant and start from scratch again. Perhaps they could then revisit the old Quadrant in a new ship when they feel like it?

Step 4: No Plot Survives Contact with Other Players

Quadrants can be uploaded to an online database. Players can visit other players' uploaded Quadrants, quest in their Sectors, and put their own twist on the plot, which then affects everyone else playing the Quadrant. What do you do when another player aids a faction you're trying to cripple? What if someone tries to unleash Zombies in your Quadrant? Other players' effects in that Quadrant are logged and announced to you so you can trace the chaos. "Co-op" play without needing everyone on at the same time.

Shadow
01-16-2013, 11:53 AM
I've always been hesitant to carry too much over because if you screw things up too much you can recover by just starting a new sector/world. The quadrant idea is intriguing, because the player still has a way to recover, but some amount of stuff can carry over.

Valgor
01-16-2013, 07:18 PM
Should the player create too much of a mess in the current quadrant, you could always give them the option to "bail out" and create the next sector in a completely new quadrant, story-wise.
Or maybe employ some ancient Drox sector-wide memory wipe technology...

MikeLemmer
01-16-2013, 07:25 PM
Yeah, I'd say let the players choose a new Quadrant to completely reset the persistent modifiers. Perhaps we could also save their old Quadrant, so they could return to it and try to clean up the mess once they've recovered?

Shadow
01-16-2013, 07:39 PM
Yeah, that's kind of what I was thinking. I'm not sure how feasible it is, but it's a cool idea.

MikeLemmer
01-16-2013, 07:51 PM
What about Step 1, then? The factions' actions and resources seem too vague and unpredictable at the moment to predict what'll happen next. I've seen a faction send a diplomat to an enemy faction that was nearly wiped out, a faction (Hive) that declared war against an ally while embroiled in two other wars, and another faction (Drakk) that refused to colonize any planets in the two systems adjacent to it, preferring to colonize a system right next to their sworn enemy instead.

PixelLord
01-16-2013, 10:06 PM
If the player messes things up too much, he/she uses the time machine to travel into the past (for a hefty price), and right the wrongs this time.

MikeLemmer
01-16-2013, 11:11 PM
Don't you mean "special slingshot around the Sun"?

PixelLord
01-17-2013, 10:13 AM
Don't you mean "special slingshot around the Sun"?

Haha, Yes, that's it. Then you watch out for guys like Gary 7. :)

Shadow
01-23-2013, 01:41 PM
I would like the player to get more information about what's going on. That's a difficult thing to do though. :)

MikeLemmer
01-23-2013, 08:54 PM
How about more system info to start? Here's a few things I wish I had when I'm running around extinguishing galactic fires:

1. Markers for which systems have trouble-spawning bosses in them. As-is, I have to search every faction's missions to figure that out.

2. An indication of each planet's food/mineral/tech/credits production on the system map. It doesn't have to be fancy; Low/Medium/High works just fine. (Add a toggle to turn its visibility on/off?)

3. Streamlined rumor-mongering. I have to click through 2 windows each time I want to spread a rumor, and I usually have to spread 10+ rumors to get them to forge an alliance.

Here's a few things I wish I didn't have:

1. Constant messages from enemies cluttering up the comm channel. Look, if you've declared war on me, I don't care that you disapprove of me helping your enemy.

2. Constant approving messages from allies cluttering up the comm channel. I know you appreciate me helping your ally, I don't need to hear it every other time I complete a mission for them.

bong
01-24-2013, 12:36 AM
much as i admire youre strength of sail i cannot agree to any arbitrary inclusion of a coherent story, no matter how persistent it is

take stalker

at its core it was a fetch quest mechanic with a introduction and conclusion

and its the second best game ever created

drox operative is pure; a story would dilute and inevitably weaken the game

bong
01-24-2013, 12:37 AM
ive had 20 minute sessions playing drox operative that would put mass effect 1,2 and 3 all put together to shame

granted, a childs doodle on a piece of toilet paper would do the same but thats not my point