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Sheliek
06-01-2012, 05:22 PM
Greetings. I figured I finally ought to make an official thread for the project I've been working on. At the moment, progress is somewhat slow. The plot is, for the most part, hammered out, though I'm still adding more detail to various spots and creating more depth for each character.

So I guess a summary is in order. I suppose I can do that best by describing the very first campaign. It's really a sort of demo, so I don't feel to bad about spoiling anything with. The campaigns start off during the sixth Brood War campaign, Queen of Blades. It's basically a reimagining of that campaign, with a bit more plot thrown in to set up the rest of the series. It will follow the normal Queen of Blades missions, with additions such as breaking out Alpha Squadron from a UED prison ship, to collecting new breeds for the assault on Korhal, culminating in the final mission: a four-way assault on Korhal with the player controlling the Dominion, Raynor's Raiders, Kerrigan's brood, and Fenix's tribe.

The next campaign will follow Horace Warfield, starting with Kerrigan's betrayal and progressing into the reconstruction of the Dominion. It will serve, largely, to set up the post-Brood War feel of the series, with a lot of interactions between Umoja, the protoss, the Kel-Morians, and the Confederate Remnant. It will lead into the real meat of the series, as well: my idea for what StarCraft II's plot would have been, prior to playing it, while still incorporating plot threads from the extant games -- Raynor's campaign will reflect Wings of Liberty in many ways, while Kerrigan's will reflect the gist of what know of Heart of the Swarm, and Artanis' will reflect what very little we know of Legacy of the Void: diplomacy between factions.

There will be, as mentioned previously, six campaigns, plus the aforementioned prologue. These are:


The Brood War: follows a more detailed version of 'Queen of Blades'. Sets up 'Reconstruction' so as to avoid a jarring in medias res as the start of the series.

Reconstruction: follows Major Horace Warfield from the Battle of Korhal IV while he works to help restore Dominion dominance in the sector. As said, will serve to set up the various interactions between the terran factions in later campaigns, and will segue neatly into...

Dark Origins: following Zeratul as he seeks to unravel the mystery of the hybrids and the Xel'Naga that forged them. Sets up the interactions between the various protoss factions (and protoss interaction with the terrans) for later campaigns.

He Who Fights Monsters: follows Raynor. As the title suggests, it will have a lot of focus on the thread that binds Kerrigan, Mengsk, and Raynor together: the idea of turning into that which you despise. Will serve to give us a look at the colonists and their struggle with the Dominion's colonial forces in light of a renewed zerg invasion, while still advancing the plot of the hybrids started in Dark Origins.

Abyss: will follow Kerrigan as she rebuilds the Swarm, seeking to incorporate many renegade broods. Will set up the interactions between the zerg and other broods with different goals, as well as zerg interaction with various factions.

Hybrid Ascendant: pure carnage. Shows the inner-workings of those tasked with creating the hybrids, and sheds some light on the Xel'Naga. Segues neatly into...

Armageddon: follows the protoss as they work with various groups to combat the hybrid threat. Will neatly close up the series, while leaving a few loose ends should I ever choose to follow up (which is unlikely).


The major goal of this campaign is to test out my theory on what makes a good story-based RTS. I'm currently planning an essay that goes over these theories more completely, but the most major point of it all is that story should form gameplay, not the other way around.

One such way I seek to accomplish that seemingly simple goal is through the creation of subfactions for each race. These groups will share tech between each other, but will largely stand out as unique (multiplayer balancing would be a very tremendous undertaking, but I have some rather good players as personal friends, and they've said they'd be glad to work on that).

As it stands, the following terran factions will appear in the campaign:

Terran Dominion,
Raynor's Raiders,
United Earth Directorate,
Kel-Morian Combine,
Umojan Protectorate,
Confederate Remnant.


That's just an example of what you can expect. Complete tech trees have been made for all of those factions. Once Heart of the Swarm is released, programming a mod that contains all of these (and the other) factions will be done, and will be released for public testing.

Another way I want to make the campaigns more immersed in story will be the inclusion of mechanics that reflect the situation each race is in. The Dominion, for example, are just coming out of the devastating Brood War. They will be focused on gathering missions between major plot sections in which you are given a list of planets to raid for various resources (terrazine, minerals, scraps and vespene). These resources will go into a pool which, between missions, can be redeemed for new technology and starting units. By the end of the campaign, if you played your cards right, you can start with a significant fighting force already on the ground.

Player-choice missions (as in, do you save Hanson or kill her) will be largely avoided, if only to keep the workload for everyone involved as simple as possible and the plot as streamlined as can be. There might be multiple-choice endings for each campaign, but a canon choice will be set in stone, and the choices would be largely irrelevant.

Anyone at all interested in working on this, as I've said before, need say so here. Examples of your work would be appreciated, but since I've really not shown much of the same here, it is not necessary.

Sheliek
06-01-2012, 05:30 PM
Episode IV: He Who Fights Monsters: Act I preview

Cinematic 1: Jackson Hauler's office.

A lush, green planet dotted with volcanic activity is visible out a window. Jackson Hauler talks with his AI assistant, going over all available options at the current time. They both agree that the best course of action will to be enlisting Raynor's help in taking down the Dominion and Kerrigan, his situation being the most conducive to their goals.

Cinematic 2: Magistrate Bruce Simmons' Office, Riksville, Mar Sara.

Magistrate Simmons argues with Colonel Gui Montag of Beta Squadron (and one of General Samuel Gaskaville's right-hand men) over the recent round-up of civilians without any explanation as to why. Montag apologizes for not being able to disclose why and ends the conversation. The Magistrate sighs and presses a button. The early warning sirens signalling a zerg invasion ring out through the streets of Riksville -- now used as a signal to the local rebels he'd been secretly meeting to begin their revolt. He then opens a comm-link to a friend of his, something he'd hoped he wouldn't need to do.

Story-mode: None.

Mission 1: Revolution
Objective: Reach the town center and wait for backup; later, eliminate the Dominion presence in Riksville and intercept the Dominion transports.
Factions: Mar Saran Revolutionaries (white) vs. Beta Squadron Riksville Garrison (maroon)
New technology: None.
Stealable technology: None.
Story: The Magistrate and his rebels rendezvous at the center of Riksville. Raynor and his forces arrive to provide aerial support and reinforce the rebels. Raynor learns that most of the transports moving the locals to Mt. Jacobs are still on the edge of town. They intercept the transports, gather up the remaining pockets of rebels, and begin to move on Riksville Base. The successfully oust the Dominion presence in Riksville, marking the start of the Mar Sara Revolution.
Result: Riksville Base falls under Raiders control, the Dominion presence in Riksville retreat to White Rock Base. Though a portion of the civilians are rescued, the majority of the transports manage to get White Rock Base.

Cinematic 3: Joeyray's Bar, Riksville, Mar Sara, one hour later.

Raynor and Simmons are celebrating their victory in the bar. Tychus Findlay arrives (to Raynor's understandable shock). He explains the he was broken out of prison by a ghost named Tosh on behalf of some mysterious benefactor. He explains that his 'parole' comes with a price: Tychus needs to get Raynor's help in acquiring an ancient Xel'naga device being held in White Rock Base, mentioning they'll pay handsomely for his services. The Magistrate thinks it's a good idea, since they need to break the locals out anyway. Raynor agrees.

Story-mode: None.

Mission 2: White Rock Base
Objective: Capture the Xel'naga device, liberate the Mar Saran locals.
Factions: Raynor's Raiders (blue) vs. Beta Squadron White Rock Garrison (maroon)
New technology: Marine, medic, SCV, goliath
Stealable technology: Hellion
Story: Tychus leads the attack from the front, having more knowledge of the base than Raynor or Simmons. He doesn't view helping the locals as important, much to Simmons' disgust. Raynor is not pleased, but still defends Tychus, explaining that anything that might help them against the Dominion is worth the effort. As they lay into White Rock, heavy Dominion reinforcements from Mar Sara City arrive. Raynor asks Tychus what the hell kind of artifact this is that it's getting an entire army thrown at them. Nonetheless, they just barely succeed at retrieving the artifact. The Dominion pursues at first, but suddenly fall back. Raynor and the Magistrate are confused by this turn of events.
Result: Artifact acquired. The civilians are rescued, though they've suffered some casualties.

Cinematic 4: Joeyray's Bar, Riksville, Mar Sara, two hours later.

The three are watching the news. Little mention is made of the rebel attacks on Mar Sara, warranting no more than a ticker. Kate Lockwell reports on a recent leak of information from a Dominion military source mentioning zerg sightings, the first since the Brood War, in Dominion space. The Magistrate wonders if this is why the Dominion pulled back in such a hurry. Raynor asks what the zerg would want with Mar Sara. Tychus says that, if anything, it'd be that artifact. Raynor, annoyed, asks what the hell he's gotten himself into.

Story-mode: Joeyray's Bar, Riksville, Mar Sara.

Since this is the first story-mode section of the campaign, I'll spend a minute describing how that plays out in this campaign. You're in RTS view, and control only Raynor. As you approach interactable objects, they will highlight. Clicking on them will result in a scene playing out in cinematic style. Conversations with people, while set (you can't react differently, so as to keep the characterization intact), will be branching conversations a la KotOR. You will be able to select for a variety of simple choices, which then play out as short conversations.

Simmons: You can ask Simmons how he got his old job back, what he'll do after the revolution, and what to do next.

Tychus: Mentions a friend of his has another job for Raynor and the Magistrate.

News: Can switch between UNN, having a debate on the colonies, and Michael Liberty's pirate broadcasts, talking about the recent upheavals on Mar Sara and Antiga.

Briefing: Tosh approaches the Raiders with a proposition on how to deal with the Dominion once and for all on Mar Sara. He says if they can infiltrate the Dominion Headquarters in Mar Sara city, they can set up a bomb and take out the facility, crippling Dominion leadership on the planet. Raynor is skeptical, finally remembering who Tosh is and their first meeting. Tychus assures Raynor that Tosh has defected and is on-the-level. Raynor is still skeptical, but is willing to give it a shot. He warns Tosh that this better not be a trap.

Mission 3 (the next day): False Flag
Objective: Set up an outpost outside of Mar Sara City; later, lure the Dominion to your outpost.
Factions: Raynor's Raiders (blue) and Tosh's Spectres (orange) vs. Beta Squadron Mar Sara City Garrison (maroon)
New technology: Vulture
Stealable technology: Hellion
Story: Tosh's spectres strike against Dominion patrols on the outskirts of Mar Sara city, distracting them while Raynor gets his forces prepped for the infiltration. Once the base is set up, the Raiders stage an attack on a large Dominion force heading for Tosh's camp. The force splits, a small portion pursuing them to the Raiders outpost. This force is eliminated, prompting another portion of the local garrison to investigate. Raynor, Tychus and several Raiders marines acquired Dominion CMC suits and staging an 'attack' at the entrance of the Raiders outpost. Together, the Dominion force 'takes' the Raiders base.
Result: Raiders and the spectres 'retreat', Raynor and Tychus infiltrate the Dominion military, the Dominion acquires the Raiders' adjutant.

Cinematic 5: Raynor contacts Tosh, informing them they are in place. He asks what next. Tosh says to move the Adjutant into the headquarters as directed and that Tychus has the detonator. Tosh has also infiltrated the facility, and will start his part of the plan when directed.

Story-mode: None.

Mission 4: Cat and Mouse
Objective: Bring the adjutant to the designated intel centre; later, pursue Tosh through the Dominion facility.
Factions: Raynor, Tychus and Beta Squadron Mar Sara City garrison (maroon) vs. Gabriel Tosh (orange)
New technology: None
Stealable technology: None
Story: Raynor and the other infiltrators bring the adjutant to the designated area. Tychus gives Tosh the signal, who uncloaks behind them, shooting a couple Dominion marines. The base goes on high-alert. Tosh tells them to follow him, he'll lead them out. They have to keep up with Tosh as he winds through the Dominion headquarters. They reach the main entrance. A small force of orange marines and reapers are engaging Dominion security at the entrance. Tychus detonates the bomb, and they retreat in Tosh's phantom dropships.
Result: Dominion leadership on Mar Sara is dead. Reprisal by General Gaskaville himself is likely.

Cinematic 6: Magistrate's office, Riksville, Mar Sara, the next day.

Raynor is surfing through the news. Donny Vermillion and Kate Lockwell argue about the justification for the attacks on Mar Sara, Michael Liberty reports from the Hyperion over Antiga. He mentions to the Magistrate that the Hyperion will be coming to pick them up and asks if he'll join them in their fight against the Dominion. He declines, saying the people need him here. Their conversation is cut short: a breaking news reports begins. The zerg have launched an all out offensive on the Dominion. The Agria, Sara and Antiga systems have all reported sightings. The Magistrate tells Raynor to go to his outpost on the outskirts of Riksville, secure the artifact and evacuate as many civilians as possible. The Magistrate says he will remain behind and do the same in Riksville.

Story-mode: None.

Mission 5: Zero Hour
Objective: Evacuate the outlying towns, protect the artifact from Gaskaville and the zerg, survive for 30 minutes.
Factions: Raynor's Raiders (blue) and Tosh's Spectres (orange) vs. Gorgon Brood (purple) vs. General Gaskaville's Beta Squadron (maroon)
New technology: Firebat, battle APC, wraith
Stealable technology: None.
Story: Gaskaville starts out on the offensive, attacking the Raiders and mentioning how if they're going to steal the weapon, they might as well use it. Raynor doesn't know what he means. Kerrigan threatens Raynor to give her the artifact, before realizing who Tychus' benefactor is and outright mocking Raynor for not realizing it. Tychus tells him she's just trying to get under his skin. Tosh's spectres attack the Dominion base periodically, diverting their attention to as many places as possible. The Magistrate is unhappy, saying although he hates Gaskaville, civilians shouldn't lose their lives to make it easier on them. The assaults from both forces continue unrelentingly, while Raynor and the Dominion try to evacuate as many civilians as possible between attacks. Shortly before the Hyperion can arrive, Tosh and his spectres retreat to their ships and warp out. Matt Horner arrives in the Hyperion, evacuating Raynor, the Magistrate and the civilians. He mentions splitting the Raider fleet between here, Mar Sara City, and Antiga. Though they try to defend as best they can, Gaskaville breaks through and recaptures the artifact, activating its energy nova to eliminate an attacking zerg force.
Result: Though many civilians lost their lives, as many people as possible were evacuated. Beta Squadron retakes the Xel'naga weapon.

Cinematic 7: Hyperion bridge, orbit over Mar Sara.

Horner states they need to get out of here immediately. Tychus says he knows a place, and punches in some coordinates. They jump to lightspeed. They arrive soon after at a lush, green planet, with highly visible volcanic activity on its surface. Horner sends the coordinates to the other Raiders ships, ordering them to rendezvous as soon as possible. A large space station is visible nearby, Tychus suggests docking with them, mentioning that these are the guys who requested the artifact and broke Tychus out. Tosh's ships are visible nearby.

Raynor, Tychus, Horner, and Simmons board the station. They are greeted by Tosh, who wants to introduce them all to his benefactor. Matt Horner mentions recognizing the logos on the doors leading to a large office, as does the Magistrate. A man turns turns to greet them: Jackson Hauler. He introduces himself. Horner and Simmons are both unpleased when they realize who he is. The leader of the Confederate Epsilon Squadron says he never approved of the Confederacy's behaviour either, justifying himself. He explains his goals, succinctly, and says that if Raynor and his people don't want to work with the Confederacy, they are free to leave. Raynor considers it, but gives in, stating they need all the allies they can get. He reminds Hauler that they aren't buddy-buddy, and one slip-up means the end of their alliance. Jackson Hauler agrees to these terms.

The_Blade
06-02-2012, 12:51 AM
Creating a cinematic is as hard as creating a map. You will soon find that you need more animations or some "different" models. I encourage you to find mechanics and ways to make your maps fun for the player.

I do hope we will soon play your campaign.

As of August, I can work with you on unit counters and other mechanics. You will need some script, but it is possible. Just like Blizz did, creating a local file for your campaign would be best.

Sheliek
06-02-2012, 01:09 AM
Creating a cinematic is as hard as creating a map. You will soon find that you need more animations or some "different" models. I encourage you to find mechanics and ways to make your maps fun for the player.

I do hope we will soon play your campaign.

As of August, I can work with you on unit counters and other mechanics. You will need some script, but it is possible. Just like Blizz did, creating a local file for your campaign would be best.
That's likely the plan. I'd be glad for the help. Might scale back the cinematics if it proves too time consuming.

Sheliek
06-02-2012, 05:33 PM
Updated. Sorry for double post.

topsecret221
06-06-2012, 10:10 PM
I can attempt to contribute to the writing, level concept design, and unit concept, information and lore. I can also storyboard for the cinematics. I think I'm mediocre, but people tell me that I'm good at it, namely my video tech teacher (who came in after working for a small studio for a years).

Sheliek
06-07-2012, 01:57 PM
I can attempt to contribute to the writing, level concept design, and unit concept, information and lore. I can also storyboard for the cinematics. I think I'm mediocre, but people tell me that I'm good at it, namely my video tech teacher (who came in after working for a small studio for a years).

All of that would be great.

Also, I figured I'd share something about the three zerg broods beyond linking to a relatively boring tech-tree. So here's the abilities of the three queens.

Assault brood queen - a strong attacker, the assault brood queen is very quick and very strong, though is somewhat fragile. Its abilities are powerful, and focused around attacking and combat. Should resemble a ground-based wasp.

Spawn larva: adds an additional 4 larva to a hatchery (or equivalent) after a 40 second timer. Hatchery-level ability. Universal ability.
Cannibalize: consumes a larva to restore 25 health and energy. Works on enemy larvae. Hatchery-level ability.
Spawn spine crawler: spawns a mobile anti-ground base-defense unit. Moves much faster on creep. Requires spawning pool.
Spawn spore crawler: spawns a mobile anti-air base-defense unit. Moves much faster on creep. Requires evolution chamber.
Spawn shrieker: spawns a creature that grants detection to nearby crawlers and creep colonies. Hatchery-level ability. Universal ability.
Wasp clutch: spews a bacterial film that forms a fleshy hive able to spawn up to five bone wasps. Bone wasps can attack air and ground. Regenerating bone wasps is autocast. Ability can only be used on structures. The only way to get rid of a clutch is to destroy the structure. Hatchery-level ability. Universal ability.
Blood frenzy: kills a friendly unit to cause a blood frenzy in allied zerg nearby. All units in radius gain a bonus to their attack-speed. The higher the supply cost of the unit, the higher the bonus and longer the duration. Requires queen's nest.
Razor swarm: spawns a swarm of attackers that continually damage enemies in a radius. Can be controlled like a unit. Requires queen's nest.
Rapid genesis: channeled ability. The queen infuses an egg or cocoon with a chemical agent that halves the morph-time of the unit in that egg for as long as energy remains. Costs 2 energy per second saved. Requires queen's nest. Universal ability.


Defense brood queen - a base defender. The defense queen is very durable, but somewhat weak, serving more to augment the hive and support the swarm. Uses default queen model.

Spawn larva: adds an additional 4 larva to a hatchery (or equivalent) after a 40 second timer. Can be used on birthing worms. Hatchery-level ability. Universal ability.
Generational metamorphosis: as the hive evolves, so too does the queen. This increases her size, stats, and the potency of her abilities. Becomes lair watcher and hive matriarch. Passive ability.
Autophagy: the queen consumes part of her own body, dealing 25 damage to herself, but restoring 30 energy in the process. At lair, this increases to 30 damage and 50 energy, and at hive it becomes 40 damage and 75 energy. Hatchery-level ability.
Spawn shrieker: spawns a creature that grants detection to nearby sunken, spore and creep colonies. Hatchery-level ability. Universal ability.
Wasp clutch: spews a bacterial film over that forms a fleshy hive that spawns up to five bone wasps. Bone wasps can attack air and ground. Regenerating bone wasps is autocast. Ability can only be used on structures. The only way to get rid of a clutch is to destroy the structure. Hatchery-level ability. Universal ability.
Swarm cluster: spawns a cluster of eggs that spawn into hovering suicide attackers. Eggs respawn over time. At lair, clusters spawns 5 eggs and attackers can only attack ground targets. At hive, clusters spawn 8 eggs and swarms can attack ground and air. Requires queen's nest.
Transfuse: heals one unit for 50 health. At hive, heals 100 health over somewhat large area. Requires queen's nest.
Hardened carapace: spews a bacterial film that hardens the carapace of allied units in area, granting an additional armour point. At hive, grants 2 armour. Requires queen's nest.
Rapid genesis: channeled ability. The queen infuses an egg or cocoon with a chemical agent that halves the morph-time of the unit in that egg for as long as energy remains. Costs 2 energy per second saved. Requires queen's nest. Universal ability.


Infestation brood queen - this queen takes on the role of saboteur and swarm support. Though exceptionally weak, this ant-like substrain of the queen can tunnel under the ground, covertly moving to subvert key areas. Resembles a large, grey ant with a bulbous egg-sac on the underside.

Spawn larva: adds an additional 4 larva to a hatchery (or equivalent) after a 40 second timer. Can be used on dracolisks. Hatchery-level ability. Universal ability.
Consume creep: the queen consumes a creep tumour, regaining 35 energy. Hatchery-level ability.
Spawn shrieker: spawns a creature that grants detection to nearby virophages, corruptors, and creep colonies. Hatchery-level ability. Universal ability.
Wasp clutch: spews a bacterial film over that forms a fleshy hive that spawns up to five bone wasps. Bone wasps can attack air and ground. Regenerating bone wasps is autocast. Ability can only be used on structures. The only way to get rid of a clutch is to destroy the structure. Hatchery-level ability. Universal ability.
Spawn virophage: spawns a virophage, an large defensive structure capable of reanimating and infesting slain terran and protoss units. Requires queen's nest.
Bane tumour: the queen manipulates the genetic makeup of a creep tumour, reforming it into a bane tumour. This living landmines explode when enemies reach their area of effect. Requires queen's nest.
Spawn corruptor: spawns a corruptor, a rapid-fire anti-air turret. The corruptor can unattach to the creep, turning into a melee air-attack unit. The corruptor can invade an opposing air unit if it has less than 1/3 health remaining, turning it into an immobile turret working for the swarm.
Acid membrane: coats all allied units in the area of effect with an acidic membrane that causes all melee attackers to take 2 damage for every attack they make. Require's queen's nest.
Rapid genesis: channeled ability. The queen infuses an egg or cocoon with a chemical agent that halves the morph-time of the unit in that egg for as long as energy remains. Costs 2 energy per second saved. Requires queen's nest. Universal ability.

topsecret221
06-07-2012, 03:23 PM
I'm presuming that these queens are for "Abyss"? The only thing I have to point out is the virophage: it's been very specifically stated that protoss don't get infected. The Khala keeps them from being assimilated.

I'm also curious to see these tech trees that you mentioned.

Lastly, is Ep. IV based at all on this: http://sclegacy.com/forums/showthread.php?t=8818

It's very similar, and I've been dying to read the ending

topsecret221
06-07-2012, 05:57 PM
I guess it's safe to assume that these Queens are from the "Abyss" campaign.

I am a little bit curious to see the separate tech trees of these factions, as well.

Sheliek
06-07-2012, 05:59 PM
I guess it's safe to assume that these Queens are from the "Abyss" campaign.

I am a little bit curious to see the separate tech trees of these factions, as well.
I've uploaded a couple sketches of the tech trees to imgur. Will do the rest next chance I get. Will include a write-up of what does what, as well.

EDIT: Aaaand I keep getting an error each time I try to access anything to do with my account on imgur. Fancy that. Any better account-based image hosting sites out there?

EDIT 2: Well, I have the album with each tech tree ready. I can link it, but I won't be able to do a write up of what every unit does right away. Here's a link to the album. (http://imgur.com/a/qd2K9#0) Each image has some flavour text that reveals a bit of the plot involving each faction. Sorry for my shit handwriting. Like I said, sketches.

Here's a direct embed of the Dominion's tech tree:
http://i.imgur.com/3oGJn.jpg

There's some screw-ups in amongst those all (the bane tumour is infestation brood, not defense, for instance), but that's the gist of what you should expect, gameplay-wise.

Sheliek
08-11-2012, 04:51 PM
Am working on a detailed plot write-out, which is close to being finished -- am currently on campaign five of seven. I'm also working on hammering out dialogue styles for various characters (and races). Since I'm focusing on the zerg at the moment, here's a note I left myself on zerg dialogue, focusing specifically on Abathur.

As I construct Kerrigan's interactions with the zerg characters in my head, I've come with a specific modus for their speech. Zerg are simple in speech. They are creatures of action. They DO. They don't think, not really. They are intelligent, mind you. Capable of very complex planning. But, with rare exception, they don't think for the sake of thinking. They don't ponder.

Now, we have the command strains: queens and cerebrates. They have personalities. I want to meld this personality, varied with each zerg character, with the base zerg thought process. Simple, blunt things. They state facts, they answer any questions (though I imagine the concept of questions is foreign to most zerg strains, beyond those known to communicate out of the zerg -- that is: Kerrigan, cerebrates, queens and the Overmind), and then they act on it.

With all that unnecessary chatter out of the way, here's some dialogue from the cerebrate and Evolution-Master of the Swarm, Abathur:

'Experiment stable in bio-stasis. Current status: splicing genetics. Current genetic percentages? Sampling... [at this point, I visualize one of his scythe-like arms piercing the chrysalis and drawing a sample into its bizarre maw] 12.83% terran-genus genetic code... 65.57% percent zerg core-genus genetic code... 21.6% changeling-species genetic code. Estimated time until birth: fourteen hours. No complications. Experimenting with changeling-terran genetic mixing. Experimenting with terrazine: enhancing latent psionics. If terrazine infused, suspect subjects will survive rebirth... intact (more tests necessary).'

How's that feel for a zerg like Abathur? Does my approach to zerg dialogue work? Should infested terrans that are intelligent maintain their speech-function (as Kerrigan did) universally, or is Kerrigan the exception (or perhaps vary it -- some ITs talk normal, others more zerg-like)?

Visions of Khas
08-13-2012, 02:56 PM
Y'know it's kinda interesting. It's very mechanical, almost computer like. The Zerg are biomechanical in nature, so it sort of makes sense. But being the evolution master, I would think someone like Abathur would have a little more leeway when it comes to their thinking processes. That sort of role would demand creativity, wouldn't it? Or do you visualize Abathur as evolution incarnate, working in so many directions blindly without thought, merely to see what would happen; then selecting the most adequate specimens for further study and exploration?

EDIT I was thinking. You want to think a lot about presentation. I don't know if you're thinking about giving voice to some of the lesser breeds, such as Overlords or Queens.

I visualized a scene where Zerglings ran across a terran installation in a valley. An Overlord relayed what it saw to Kerrigan; a voice, little more than a hoarse whisper, voicing over grunts and snarls to lend it a telepathic feel. Impressions and generalized statements, little more than two or three words. "Steel... pain, blood... teeerrrransssszzz..."

I also wonder about how you'll be treating their psychology. Wouldn't it be neat to have a Zergling character? But rather than an individual, it may be a collective; a common intelligence shared among a pack of 6 or 8 Hero Devouring Ones? Maybe they respawn after a given time so long as you have a Hive?

Sheliek
08-13-2012, 07:59 PM
Y'know it's kinda interesting. It's very mechanical, almost computer like. The Zerg are biomechanical in nature, so it sort of makes sense. But being the evolution master, I would think someone like Abathur would have a little more leeway when it comes to their thinking processes. That sort of role would demand creativity, wouldn't it? Or do you visualize Abathur as evolution incarnate, working in so many directions blindly without thought, merely to see what would happen; then selecting the most adequate specimens for further study and exploration?

EDIT I was thinking. You want to think a lot about presentation. I don't know if you're thinking about giving voice to some of the lesser breeds, such as Overlords or Queens.

I visualized a scene where Zerglings ran across a terran installation in a valley. An Overlord relayed what it saw to Kerrigan; a voice, little more than a hoarse whisper, voicing over grunts and snarls to lend it a telepathic feel. Impressions and generalized statements, little more than two or three words. "Steel... pain, blood... teeerrrransssszzz..."

I also wonder about how you'll be treating their psychology. Wouldn't it be neat to have a Zergling character? But rather than an individual, it may be a collective; a common intelligence shared among a pack of 6 or 8 Hero Devouring Ones? Maybe they respawn after a given time so long as you have a Hive?

I am going to be giving a lot of thought to making the zerg feel intelligent-yet-distinct from the protoss and terrans. It's a challenge. Thanks for the advice.

Queens will be given personality. I'm not sure I will with overlords, but it's a neat idea. If more people approve, I'd give it a shot. As for zerglings and other breeds, giving them each distinct personalities, as a whole, is another good idea. If I go for the overlords, I'll give the other zerg more personality and even some lines, if I can get it organic. Otherwise, I'll stick to infested terrans, overlords, queens, and cerebrates.

That mechanical dialogue would work well with Iszha, now that I think about it. I was originally going to make her talk more human.

topsecret221
08-16-2012, 11:25 PM
The only issue I have is Abathur's use of the word "changeling". That name never felt zerg-y to me, and was more or less instituted by terrans who saw it with dialogue around the lines of "Oh sh*t, a zerg that changes! It's a changeling". Hydralisks and Mutalisks always felt more appropriate. Maybe the zerg address their units differently than humans. I would imagine that it's the same for protoss (for example, the Dark Templar are known as Nerazim. I would imagine "Zealots" would be Khalani Warriors in rank, or something similar, Dragoons have more of a designation and model name than "Dragoon", etc). That's why Terrans have, say, the Arclite and Crucio model tanks, but protoss just have Carriers.

Sheliek
08-17-2012, 12:02 AM
The only issue I have is Abathur's use of the word "changeling". That name never felt zerg-y to me, and was more or less instituted by terrans who saw it with dialogue around the lines of "Oh sh*t, a zerg that changes! It's a changeling". Hydralisks and Mutalisks always felt more appropriate. Maybe the zerg address their units differently than humans. I would imagine that it's the same for protoss (for example, the Dark Templar are known as Nerazim. I would imagine "Zealots" would be Khalani Warriors in rank, or something similar, Dragoons have more of a designation and model name than "Dragoon", etc). That's why Terrans have, say, the Arclite and Crucio model tanks, but protoss just have Carriers.
Understandable. I'm thinking, then, that perhaps having the zerg refer to creatures based more on function and their role in the swarm would be more appropriate (EG, just off the top of my head 'shifting one' for changelings).

Am taking a break from plot for the time being to hammer out the gameplay mechanics for the campaigns. This includes those oh-so-awesome, tremendously OP upgrades from WoL's singleplayer, but you know... twelve factions worth. This will take a while. Will be taking a break from that once I finish the Dominion, Umojan, and Kel-Morian ones to hammer out, once and for all, what each unit does. I know the roles, but the specifics, not so much. Once I do that, I will post a factions unit lists every couple of days, along with an embedded tech tree, to show you all what to expect/get criticisms, ideas for new units, anything anyone wants to contribute.

Suffice it to say, this project is become something rather massive.

Sheliek
08-24-2012, 02:25 PM
Alright, am done the upgrades for each faction. Took a couple days, and would like some people to go over them to see if anything sucks. Alternatively, since that ruins the surprise of the gameplay aspect, I can post a unit list for the factions I am dissatisfied with and y'all can have it with upgrade ideas.

I'm also working on giving the protoss more factions. As it stands, the Fist of Ulrezaj, Tal'Darim and Daelaam just use either the Khalai or Nerazim tech tree. That's two factions for one race. Meanwhile terran gets six, and zerg gets four. If you have an idea for a protoss unit that fits either the Khalai, dark templar or both, post away. Will be sure to credit any ideas that get in.

Visions of Khas
09-06-2012, 10:24 PM
How are you treating the Protoss Factions? I never would have envisioned the Tal'Darim having access to Colossi or the more advanced vessels like Carriers or Void Rays -- certainly not VRs, since those were a combined Khalai-Nerazim effort. Maybe just a couple that they found abandoned. WoL doesn't restrict their access to technologies at all, which is surprising. If I had done them, I'd have changed the models for each unit by a bit -- eg Zealots' armor would be more a mishmash of salvaged parts, something asymmetric; Dragoons would be more numerous; maybe only a few stray Immortals.

What other factions are there? Daelaam, Nerazim, Tal'Darim. Dissident tribal factions perhaps; maybe the Sargas make a bridge between Khalai and Dark Templar; perhaps a section of Ara take on the name Sons of Aldaris or something and blast off into the wide reaches of the unknown... "Mission: Discover the Fate of the Argasso, Carrier of the Fallen Judicator clans that explored the furthest reaches of space once owned by the Xel'Naga in attempts to find new technologies and disciplines to justify their continued existence and authority."

Sheliek
09-19-2012, 05:39 PM
How are you treating the Protoss Factions? I never would have envisioned the Tal'Darim having access to Colossi or the more advanced vessels like Carriers or Void Rays -- certainly not VRs, since those were a combined Khalai-Nerazim effort. Maybe just a couple that they found abandoned. WoL doesn't restrict their access to technologies at all, which is surprising. If I had done them, I'd have changed the models for each unit by a bit -- eg Zealots' armor would be more a mishmash of salvaged parts, something asymmetric; Dragoons would be more numerous; maybe only a few stray Immortals.

What other factions are there? Daelaam, Nerazim, Tal'Darim. Dissident tribal factions perhaps; maybe the Sargas make a bridge between Khalai and Dark Templar; perhaps a section of Ara take on the name Sons of Aldaris or something and blast off into the wide reaches of the unknown... "Mission: Discover the Fate of the Argasso, Carrier of the Fallen Judicator clans that explored the furthest reaches of space once owned by the Xel'Naga in attempts to find new technologies and disciplines to justify their continued existence and authority."

I've just finished my first version of the Tal'Darim tech tree. Includes carriers, but only because I can't think of a better 'capital ship' idea; is only temporary. They are very infantry focused, however.

The Ras'Ulrezaj will feel like a legitimate military, and as such won't be as neutered as the Tal'Darim.

The only factions the protoss will be getting are the Nerazim, comprising the Boros, Lenassa, Zer'atai and Alysaar clans, the Khalai, comprised of the five Khalai tribes, the five remaining Templar tribes, and the two Judicator tribes, the Daelaam, the main military force of the Hierarchy, comprised of Nerazim and Khalai forces, the Ras'Ulrezaj (the Fist of Ulrezaj), and the Tal'Darim.

By making the Tal'Darim and Ras'Ulrezaj their own factions with their own tech trees, it also allows me to field larger forces for you to face in combat, so that's a plus. A mission on Shakuras with three Ras'Ulrezaj forces, alongside zerg broods? Yes please!

Also, after months of searching, I've finally found a style of music that satisfies me for the dark templar. World music, in particular African, Middle Eastern (in particular to this particular, Persian), and Mesoamerican music.

Sheliek
11-24-2012, 03:23 PM
Kay, so I've been writing non-stop for literally 34 hours. Kinda hit some writer's block. You blokes willing to give some fun ideas for missions in which you play as hybrids?

Visions of Khas
11-24-2012, 03:40 PM
I guess that depends in part on the Hybrids' alignment in your story; who's the enemy vs ally.

Gradius
11-24-2012, 03:41 PM
A failed experiment where they retain their sentience and destroy the facility before they kill themselves out of hatred for what they have been turned into.

Sheliek
11-24-2012, 03:57 PM
A failed experiment where they retain their sentience and destroy the facility before they kill themselves out of hatred for what they have been turned into.

Neat idea. If I use it, or something similar, I'll be sure to credit you.

EDIT: The current mission count as of the most recent stage of planning (IE, right now) is 78. Three more campaigns need to be added to that. I'd say 130 is a reasonable estimate. Note that this is in 15-25 mission chunks, released one campaign at a time, if all goes as planned.

Oh, and not to spoil anything major, but I promise, promise, promise that the hybrid will be handled more tastefully (and with proper motivation) than they were in Wings. And no Dark Voice. Voice in the Darkness is a maybe, but I can't remember what I'd planned for that entity; I may just cut that out entirely. The plot's already too complicated, and I've been spending the last week trying to fix this.

EDIT NUMERO DOS: Am stuck on some names for protoss units, weapons, abilities, and upgrades. Anyone willing to help out with that? I'm not good at sciencey jargon (even if it's not correct technical jargon), so any help would be appreciated. PM me if you want, so as to avoid gameplay spoilers for the rest of the board (though I doubt anyone really cares about having a fan-campaign spoiled for them. You never know though).

Sheliek
01-17-2013, 02:58 PM
Yay!!! DOUBLE POST FOR THE WINZORS!!! It's my thread, and it allows followers to know when I've added things (in case anyone was wondering why I love doing it here and nowhere else).

Let's talk characters. Yes, there will be spoilers, so I'll be as vague as possible.

I think the four core characters of the StarCraft experience are Jim Raynor, Arcturus Mengsk, Sarah Kerrigan and Lenassa aj Razmin paydir Zeratul (because I totally got that excessive that I came up with a simple protoss naming system).

My portrayal of these characters will, in my opinion, be true to the first game, while evolving enough to make them feel different over time. They grow. They change.

With that said, let's look at some simple, quick characterizations and motifs for each.

Jim Raynor: in the story of Legacy of the Xel'Naga, Raynor will start out as you'd expect. The hardened optimist. I always felt, however, that this was a bit boring. Thus, I thought 'how could I evolve this character realistically in such a way that he might be completely unrecognizable by the end of the series?' I then thought about revolutionaries, and the general trend with them -- they start out good, more often than not. But do they tend to stay that way? Not always. I want, thus, Raynor to evolve into extremism, much as Mengsk did. Will he take out a whole planet just for revenge? Maybe, maybe not. You'll have to see. By the end of Raynor's story arc, however, we'll have seen him progress from idealist rebel crusader to hardened extremist-bordering-on-war-criminal. Will that be the extent of his character arc? Nope. I've got a lot more in store for this character, none of which has even been hinted at in this thread.

Arcturus Mengsk: Blizzard's interpretation of Mengsk as tyrannical dictator is childish and annoying, to me. My interpretation is more of a pragmatic (God I love saying and writing that word; I shoehorn it into everything applicable as often as possible) dictator, one beloved by most people. Early on in his reign, Mengsk was very proactive. His years as a revolutionary played, I'm sure, a large part in that. But it became apparent quite quickly that this method would not work very well as Emperor of the Dominion of Humanity (I just came up with that title, and it has a nice ring to it; may change 'Terran Dominion' to 'Dominion of Humanity' or somesuch. God I have a bad habit of going on tangents...), so he took a more reserved approach to leadership. Mengsk makes damaging decisions. He views killing a few thousand for the benefit of a few billion to be something requiring little thought, as the benefits outweigh the detriments to him. I must confess, Mengsk will have little screen-time. But is he evil? No. He's not going to be a villain in this campaign. An antagonist? Obviously; I will be having a campaign devoted to both Raynor and Kerrigan, so that seems a foregone conclusion. What are my goals with Mengsk's character? To show how extremism calms down when no longer necessary, as well as to show my long-held belief that dictatorship is not, in and of itself, a bad thing.

Sarah Kerrigan: I find the plot I'm exploring with Kerrigan to be something that will be very hit-or-miss for most. Kerrigan's redemption. It won't be through contrived serums or artefacts. It will be of her own will, as was hinted at in Brood War. Will she be evil? To terrans and protoss, the answer is a resounding 'YES!' But her's will be like Mengsk's. Pragmatic. Violent when necessary. This seems a very keen departure from her portrayal in both StarCraft I and II, but I believe it will be handled well enough. It's all in the method. Drastic character change IS realistic, it just depends on the 'hows' and the 'whys', right? Kerrigan's main motivation, thus, will be improving the other races' opinions of her. No easy task, mind you, and one very likely to fail. I will also be exploring whether she can realistically end up as anything other than another Overmind, which I think is an area Blizzard should explore in III.

Razmin paydir Zeratul: Zeratul has always struck me as mysterious. I still feel he is, though most seem to disagree on that. With that said, I am going to make Zeratul's role in society more apparent. He will be a warrior-mystic. I will be retooling him to be more like a high templar mixed with a dark templar, gameplay-wise (for anyone interested). Story-wise, meditation will be a big part of Zeratul's character. He will receive visions which must then be interpreted by other, more specialized mystics (the Alysaar Clan). These visions will both give Zeratul direction, as well as foreshadow later plot points (as well as be suitably trippy for those who like bizarre visuals). See this (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=e4AUVud9COk) for an idea of how bizarre I want these to look. The reason, incidentally, I want these to look so strange and trippy is simple: how would you expect prophetic visions to appear to a psionically advanced species? Simple, blunt images? Hardly. Zeratul's main motivations will be in stamping out the influence of the Hybrid Zeitgeist, and uniting the protoss.

Oh, and for those wondering what that name I gave Zeratul means, it would translate as 'Zeratul, son of Razmin of Lenassa Clan' (aj meaning 'of', and paydir meaning 'sire' or 'offspring'). Incidentally, if uraj uses a similar meaning, I surmise it would mean, thus, 'of light' or something to that affect, in the Nerazim tongue. But given how unimportant those crystals will be, it doesn't really matter. Mere musings!

Anyway, thoughts?

topsecret221
01-17-2013, 03:12 PM
Kerrigan's main motivation, thus, will be improving the other races' opinions of her.

Uh... Why? Queen bitch of the universe? She has the entire swarm, whose purpose is to assimilate and annihilate. The entire purpose of zerg is to be the embodiment of the pure power of nature and evolution. Why be friendly?

Also, you're assuming Blizz is going to make SCIII? Let's focus on getting SCII into a good place, first. :P

Sheliek
01-17-2013, 03:18 PM
If I explained why, that'd ruin the fun of learning. This change of heart revolves around this line from the end of Brood War: 'Unable to shake the feeling that a great threat loomed just over the horizon, Kerrigan could only stare off into the vastness of space where she beheld a great void. Or perhaps a reflection of a hollow victory and of the trials yet to come...'

They won't be friendly. Any improvement in the races' opinions of her will solely be to allow them to trust her enough to make an alliance of convenience more realistic and appealing to them.

DarthYam
03-15-2013, 05:29 PM
Are any Heart of the Swarm info going to get incorporated (the Dark Voice has been fleshed out, and at this stage he's set up as the primary antagonist.) And while I can respect the effort you've put in, I have to disagree on a few points.

Mengsk was pretty obviously a dicatorial monster from day 1. He did the same thing the confederacy did to his own homeworld on a more massive scale, threw Sarah under the bus largely because she called him out on it, and flat out stated that he would rather watch the sector burn than not be able to rule it.

Raynor: We've had enough "become what you hate" tropes. That's what happened to Mengsk and many other blizz characters (arthas for instance, kael'thas aiden). Why can't the hero finally break the cycle of getting corrupted by revenge?

Sarah: To be honest, I found the idea that Kerrigan was entirely in control during brood war kind of dumb. She had already remained a moral individual in the Sons despite the abuse she suffered at the Confederacy's hands; having her decide "oh I'm going to be evil" is just stupid. Also, most of her atrocities struck me more as needlessly sadistic (what she did to the protoss). At that point, she was a monster. Brood War had the pyramid so the whole "magic artifact and deinfest" did have precedent.

Dark Voice and Hybrids: The guy's mo is pretty clear (remake the universe in his image, the hybrids are the instruments of his will. He also fits the "mysterious higher power"), and he is more than deadly enough to be a threat.

Sheliek
03-16-2013, 05:02 AM
Are any Heart of the Swarm info going to get incorporated (the Dark Voice has been fleshed out, and at this stage he's set up as the primary antagonist.) And while I can respect the effort you've put in, I have to disagree on a few points.

Mengsk was pretty obviously a dicatorial monster from day 1. He did the same thing the confederacy did to his own homeworld on a more massive scale, threw Sarah under the bus largely because she called him out on it, and flat out stated that he would rather watch the sector burn than not be able to rule it.

Raynor: We've had enough "become what you hate" tropes. That's what happened to Mengsk and many other blizz characters (arthas for instance, kael'thas aiden). Why can't the hero finally break the cycle of getting corrupted by revenge?

Sarah: To be honest, I found the idea that Kerrigan was entirely in control during brood war kind of dumb. She had already remained a moral individual in the Sons despite the abuse she suffered at the Confederacy's hands; having her decide "oh I'm going to be evil" is just stupid. Also, most of her atrocities struck me more as needlessly sadistic (what she did to the protoss). At that point, she was a monster. Brood War had the pyramid so the whole "magic artifact and deinfest" did have precedent.

Dark Voice and Hybrids: The guy's mo is pretty clear (remake the universe in his image, the hybrids are the instruments of his will. He also fits the "mysterious higher power"), and he is more than deadly enough to be a threat.
Yeah, I'm doing my last revision of the plot currently. Finding a good mix with Mengsk is proving difficult. I want him to be a dictator at this point, but NOT Heart of the Swarm evil. More StarCraft I evil. Subtle, manipulative, but not quite a tyrannical Orwellian super-dictator. I also want the player to not feel like a monster for doing what he says, so I've got to make him reasonable. I believe it's entirely possible to make Mengsk a reasonable villain. Hell, I could throw in some regret about Tarsonis later on to make him even more tragic, given he was a hero at one point. But that's just musings, so don't expect it verbatim.

As for Raynor, I've toned that arc down a tad. He just makes mistakes, like any realistic leader would. Not a terrorist, at least not the blatantly evil kind.

I prefer to think of Queen of Blades Kerrigan and Sarah Kerrigan as different characters. It's always made more sense to me, with her stating she's no different just self-justification in my eyes.

And for anyone who's wondering, yeah, still working on this. Took a two month break to focus on original creative pursuits. Don't want to be one-note, now do we?

DarthYam
03-21-2013, 11:40 PM
I thought Amon could work as the guy who sabotaged the Zerg. The idea of him covertly sabotaging the Zerg by implanting a directive that would make them for the most part his slaves. He can even have a believable backstory (he became disillusioned with the xel'naga philosophy following the clusterfuck on Aiur and so decided that the Xel'Naga needed to be reborn "properly".) however, the overmind was able to find a loophole in the bindings enabling him to possibly work around the directive by making Kerrigan. Stukov's revenge on Duran (removing his power sources and leaving him vulnerable) is also a fitting way of earning revenge for his comrades who died to Duran's machinations. Hell you can even have that the artifact was meant to harness the energy to reserrect amon, since it elimantes the taldarim plot hole. Deinfesting Kerrigan could work (HOTS did have the characters react and given that she was still freed of the taint it wasn't pointless). Blizzard's motivation for her situation (on the run, hated by all, torn between a desire for revenge and the chance to atone) were kickass.

WOL had potential good themes (Raynor facing his doubts and transcending his past.)

Mengsk already crossed the moral event horizon when he abandoned Kerrigan and caused a worse mass murder than the confederacy ever did.

HOTS should have focused more on Kerrigan having to face the consequences of her actions (Lassara's original role was to call Kerrigan out, while Izsha was Haley, a terran Kerrigan mindraped to the point she became a vegatable). Sarah would balance the desire for revenge with the real knowledge that she had caused more misery than Mengsk ever did, and have a genuine desire to redeem herself (the artifact I felt simply allowed her human side to resurface, since the infestat/amon's taint amplified the darkness within.)

Sheliek
04-15-2013, 01:28 PM
Having played HotS, the dark voice makes more sense. I'll reference him, but I can guarantee no direct Xel'Naga characters will appear.

UPDATE: Got the first music coming in this summer.

Sheliek
04-30-2013, 07:19 PM
Just a little update: I'm working on the second version of the campaign upgrades and mechanics.

I'll post up the Dominion, Kel-Morian and Umojan upgrade ideas when those three are done being planned.

For now, here's a few campaign mechanics I'm looking at for each campaign:

The Dominion mechanic will revolve around resource management and loadouts for your Spectre heroes. Simple enough, expect something like Kerrigan's system for this, except divided across three units.

Raynor's mechanic will revolve around mercenaries and hero troops. The basic plan for the mercenaries is that before each mission, you'll pick a faction, such as Mira's Mercs (Kel-Morian), or Hill's Hounds (Umoja). Picking a faction will give you limited access to a variety of units specific to that faction for the duration of the mission. This will serve to augment the relative, and intentional, weakness of Raynor's tech tree overall. In addition, there will be a black market mechanic in which you can load out your infantry with OP drugs and weapons for a given mission, changing their role and abilities.

Lastly, Raynor's hero mechanic: you will be able to use Swann, Raynor, Tosh, Simmons, Tychus and Hanson at various points in the campaign. Each one will have three unit variations: infantry (usually a marine, but I'll try to shoehorn in firebats and other units if possible and sensible), armour and ship. For instance, Tychus will be a marine, siege tank or Loki (a gunship that RR gets), while Raynor can pilot his marine suit, vulture or wraith. These will have unique abilities, as well as better stats.

Kerrigan's mechanics will be similar to HotS, with one addition: choosing which brood to do each mission with. As you advance through her campaign, more broods will become available, each with a different tech tree and Broodmother hero unit.

Sheliek
04-30-2013, 07:39 PM
Oh, we still need a few concept artists. If anyone wants to do some fun fanart of non-existent units and characters, PM me.