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Thread: Random Thoughts Thread

  1. #431

    Default Re: Random Thoughts Thread

    Mislagnissa, have you played CooperHawk's StarCraft Odyssey, or maybe Quagmire? Both of these are very well-written fan campaigns. Though it's important to note that neither take place in the StarCraft universe proper, lending credence to your point; that is, Odyssey takes place well outside the Koprulu Sector in what essentially amounts to a parallel universe, whereas Quagmire is a Guild Wars-era campaign reminiscent of the Vietnam war. Aside from The Antioch Chronicles, I don't know of many campaigns that take place in the modern StarCraft era that are well written.

    God dammit I got stuck in the hate rut again.
    This is essentially why I created the other thread. I thought we could take all our grievances with the current canon and turn them into something constructive. But I suppose that one is much less focused than your thread on Enumerate.
    Aaand sold.


    Be it through hallowed grounds or lands of sorrow
    The Forger's wake is bereft and fallow

    Is the residuum worth the cost of destruction and maiming;
    Or is the shaping a culling and exercise in taming?

    The road's goal is the Origin of Being
    But be wary through what thickets it winds.

  2. #432

    Default Re: Random Thoughts Thread

    Quote Originally Posted by Visions of Khas View Post
    Mislagnissa, have you played CooperHawk's StarCraft Odyssey, or maybe Quagmire? Both of these are very well-written fan campaigns. Though it's important to note that neither take place in the StarCraft universe proper, lending credence to your point; that is, Odyssey takes place well outside the Koprulu Sector in what essentially amounts to a parallel universe, whereas Quagmire is a Guild Wars-era campaign reminiscent of the Vietnam war. Aside from The Antioch Chronicles, I don't know of many campaigns that take place in the modern StarCraft era that are well written.


    This is essentially why I created the other thread. I thought we could take all our grievances with the current canon and turn them into something constructive. But I suppose that one is much less focused than your thread on Enumerate.
    EN is the only proposal I ever saw that is focused, written with the benefit of hindsight and offers a future for the franchise. The other suggestions try to be Brood War 2, but fail to understand that BW broke the overarching conflict, themes and logic of the franchise' premise. Without the Zerg trying to assimilate the Terrans as a determinant and the Protoss to achieve apotheosis, there is no reason for them to ever come into conflict with one another.

    The grand experiment, the brood wars (plural) and the consequences that arise organically from the Zerg's actions is the only plot that can carry the franchise indefinitely without coming across as contrived. You can see this when you compare the EN chronology to every other suggestion: the EN timeline is 14 pages and at least a decade to a century in length, whereas Brood War 2 has never been longer than a paragraph and a campaign.

    Take for example HunCraft. That, and other custom campaigns like War of the Tribes, is the closest we ever got to Brood War 2. What they all have in common is that the Zerg are exterminated, or everyone dies at the end, or lives happily ever after, or otherwise makes sequels impossible.

    Starcraft simply does not work unless the factions are at war literally forever, just like Warhammer 40k. It works well with small scale stories about individual armies. It does not work with an epic fantasy narrative where a band young heroes solve the main conflict and sequels have to pull a new conflict out of their asses like the Sailor Moon cartoon.

    EN acknowledges that the SC storyline cannot literally last forever, so it deliberately ends at the point where the Overmind returns. Beyond that point the story will end permanently with either the extermination of the Zerg or their apotheosis. The franchise would be limited to every imaginable story within the space in between the beginning and the end, an arbitrarily long period that covers a galaxy of hundreds of billions of stars, rather than being locked in chronological installments where Raynor saves the universe from a new villain that came out of the woodwork to threaten the five or so planets of Koprulu.

    In short, the Zerg were created specifically to be the big bads of the setting who set the overarching conflict in motion because of their utterly alien yet reasonable motivation. Making them not the big bad, or dropping the main conflict, or removing their motivation (or replacing it with a bland or stupid motivation)... that breaks the setting.

    Starcraft is not about Raynor, Mengsk or Kerry. It is about freedom versus control and three races fighting essentially because of that. Every single conflict may be boiled down to that: Confederacy wants control, Rebels want freedom, Protoss Empire wants control, Nerazim want freedom, Overmind wants control over existence, prey wants freedom from it.

    So I am constantly befuddled when people talk about creating their version of Brood War 2, ignorant of all the custom campaigns that already did that, while caring nothing for the future of the franchise or the themes it was supposed to embody.
    I think Starcraft needs rebooting. See "Enumerate" for details (links: timeline, full document, original forum thread).

  3. #433

    Default Re: Random Thoughts Thread

    Um, Starcraft IS about Raynor, Mengsk, and Kerri. Not just about them, but they aren't exactly throwaway characters. As much as any story is "about" a theme or idea, characters are necessary to bring that to life. As these three, and more, did. I mean, if you want a Starcraft based on other characters, by all means, have it your way. Fanfiction it up. Who do you want to see as the focus of a Starcraft story?


    "Seeing Fenix once more perplexes me. I feel sadness, when I should feel joy."
    - Artanis.

  4. #434

    Default Re: Random Thoughts Thread

    Quote Originally Posted by Nissa View Post
    Um, Starcraft IS about Raynor, Mengsk, and Kerri. Not just about them, but they aren't exactly throwaway characters. As much as any story is "about" a theme or idea, characters are necessary to bring that to life. As these three, and more, did. I mean, if you want a Starcraft based on other characters, by all means, have it your way. Fanfiction it up. Who do you want to see as the focus of a Starcraft story?
    Insurrection? Retribution? Those showed that you could easily set a three race campaign on a single planet. With quality control you could pump out endless expansions like that.

    The Rebel Yell campaign was about those specific characters. It worked fine as an introductory story within the wider SC universe, if rushed. Where the writing of the franchise went horribly wrong was when the narrative of Rebel Yell strangled everything that came after. The overarching narrative of the franchise, and the destiny of the setting, bent over backwards to accommodate those characters at the expense of other narratives and basic common sense.

    This worked in Insurrection and Retribution because those campaigns were set on single planets. It emphatically does not work for a story set in a galactic war. If you absolutely must showcase a galactic war, the campaigns should all be self-contained like an anthology, since with the benefit of hindsight we know trying to connect them would result in bad plots.

    Those three would be throwaway characters in the hands of any competent writer. In a remotely believable setting Raynor would vanish into obscurity as just another pirate lord, Mengsk would fade into the background as the distant and effectively impotent dictator of an interstellar empire, and Kerry would be stuffed in the fridge and forgotten.

    After Rebel Yell, Then we would move onto the introductory Zerg campaign "Overmind." I have no idea what it would have been like without Metzen fucking it up. It would need some kind of drama to be interesting, so that's an opportunity to introduce cerebrate politics. As in Rebel Yell, the characters would be forgotten once they served their purpose. The only way to do the determinant concept justice would be to introduce assimilated terran units and claim they turn the tide of battle (even if they have little or no effect on gameplay, due to gameplay/story segregation).

    The Fall would be difficult to rewrite since it relies heavily on plot points explained in the manual and previous campaigns to understand the context. This shows the clear weakness of attempting to write around such a large scale. Unless we include flashbacks, the action would need to be limited to the vicinity of Aiur and characters would need to appear and develop during the campaign. This is just off the top of my head: executor fights and kills cerebrates, this impedes Zerg but new cerebrates are spawned to replace them, nerazim show up claiming killing cerebrates drives broods feral, conclave declares witchhunt because heretic lunatics supposedly make psychic storms, executor sides with nerazim since they haven't exploded already, executor fights protoss civil war to much frustration, proves nerazim claims by driving a brood feral revealing that void is needed (nerazim were unaware of this), executor suspects that killing the giant brain monster hacking the psi matrix will have a similar effect, kamikaze carrier void nuke.

    All of this is just an hour's worth of thought. I might change my mind about the details in the future.
    I think Starcraft needs rebooting. See "Enumerate" for details (links: timeline, full document, original forum thread).

  5. #435

    Default Re: Random Thoughts Thread

    Quote Originally Posted by Nissa View Post
    Um, Starcraft IS about Raynor, Mengsk, and Kerri. Not just about them, but they aren't exactly throwaway characters. As much as any story is "about" a theme or idea, characters are necessary to bring that to life. As these three, and more, did. I mean, if you want a Starcraft based on other characters, by all means, have it your way. Fanfiction it up. Who do you want to see as the focus of a Starcraft story?
    Tell me Nissa, is this why you chose to focus on recent fic on Aldaris?

  6. #436

    Default Re: Random Thoughts Thread

    Quote Originally Posted by ragnarok View Post
    Tell me Nissa, is this why you chose to focus on recent fic on Aldaris?
    Nah, I just like Aldaris. He's my favorite angry gingerbread man.

    I like Raynor, LOVE Mengsk (as a baddie), and Kerrigan is pretty cool. I'm kinda perturbed at Mislag's hatred of the three, because they produce such delicious drama. It's not their fault that the writers of SC2 didn't know what to do with them. He needs to separate them in his brain from the corpses of their characters that showed up in SC2.

    To be honest, I like just about all characters in (real) Starcraft. The Overmind is more of a function than a person, and DuGalle is almost the same way, but other than that they're all pretty great.


    "Seeing Fenix once more perplexes me. I feel sadness, when I should feel joy."
    - Artanis.

  7. #437

    Default Re: Random Thoughts Thread

    Quote Originally Posted by Nissa View Post
    It's not their fault that the writers of SC2 didn't know what to do with them. He needs to separate them in his brain from the corpses of their characters that showed up in SC2.
    Thing is, Misla actually hates the characterisation in Sc1 as well (except for Rebel Yell/1st Terran campaign) since he believes most of it breaks the premise set out in the manual. Misla thinks that Sc is too invested in its characters and that if there has to be any of such, that it should be about or serve the core conceit of "3 races fighting each other". I do get where he's coming from though he tends to generalise that Sc is/would be more memorable/better if it was focused solely on the premise, which is just not true. Essentially, he wants SC to be more like WH40K...which is kinda pointless since why bother going to the effort of converting Sc to WH40K when we already have WH40K? He'd be better off and without the stress by enjoying WH40K instead.
    Yes, that's right! That is indeed ME on the right.


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  8. #438
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    Default Re: Random Thoughts Thread

    Maybe the characterization in SC isn't that bad since we're sitting here and discussing it instead of WH40K. :P

  9. #439

    Default Re: Random Thoughts Thread

    Quote Originally Posted by Nissa View Post
    Nah, I just like Aldaris. He's my favorite angry gingerbread man.

    I like Raynor, LOVE Mengsk (as a baddie), and Kerrigan is pretty cool. I'm kinda perturbed at Mislag's hatred of the three, because they produce such delicious drama. It's not their fault that the writers of SC2 didn't know what to do with them. He needs to separate them in his brain from the corpses of their characters that showed up in SC2.

    To be honest, I like just about all characters in (real) Starcraft. The Overmind is more of a function than a person, and DuGalle is almost the same way, but other than that they're all pretty great.
    I'm fine with that. Me, I just take what was given from SC2 and work from there. Of course, given the events of Shadow Wars....

  10. #440

    Default Re: Random Thoughts Thread

    Quote Originally Posted by Turalyon View Post
    Thing is, Misla actually hates the characterisation in Sc1 as well (except for Rebel Yell/1st Terran campaign) since he believes most of it breaks the premise set out in the manual. Misla thinks that Sc is too invested in its characters and that if there has to be any of such, that it should be about or serve the core conceit of "3 races fighting each other". I do get where he's coming from though he tends to generalise that Sc is/would be more memorable/better if it was focused solely on the premise, which is just not true. Essentially, he wants SC to be more like WH40K...which is kinda pointless since why bother going to the effort of converting Sc to WH40K when we already have WH40K? He'd be better off and without the stress by enjoying WH40K instead.
    That is a complete misrepresentation of my views. What I believe is the following:

    1. The galaxy is too small. I am not saying that they cannot feature in their own campaigns, but they should not be the only characters of consequence in the series. That is not believable and reeks of fantasy genre conventions about chosen ones and evil overlords, long before SC2 made that explicit. Some of the best custom campaigns are the ones that do not feature them or which sever ties to Metzen's brood war plot entirely, such as Insurrection.
    2. Metzen's writing is bad. Metzen did not know what to do with them after Rebel Yell. Their inclusion in later campaigns is forced and contributes nothing. The writing in Brood War is just plain awful. The "UA plays Starcraft" threads over at spacebattles went over these at length.
    3. The original premise was great. It was simple to understand and justified an indefinite conflict sufficient to last the franchise forever. Metzen ruined that by breaking it, shoehorning fantasy conventions and shrinking the scale into absurdity, as I said above. He kept making up new villains crawl up from the woodwork because he kept sabotaging the current conflict.


    I have said it before and I will say it again. You guys are blinded by nostalgia and cannot see the huge flaws in Metzen's writing.

    You want Brood War 2? There are dozens of custom campaigns for BW which already do that. Here is a list that is by no means exhaustive:
    1. HunCraft
    2. War of the Tribes
    3. The Fenix
    4. Palinchron Concordance
    5. Recolonize Mar Sara
    6. After Brood War
    7. Dark Cold
    8. Final Chapter
    9. Praetor Daexan
    10. The Hybrids
    11. The Hybrids Chronicles
    12. The Revengers
    13. Ascension of Duran
    14. The Last Cerebrate
    15. Empire Wars
    16. Uprising
    17. Resurgence
    18. Starcraft 2: Redux


    Blizzard is never going to make it for you because they have more or less abandoned RTS to focus on more profitable FPS. Are you going to make it yourself with the tools provided? What sets your efforts apart from the dozen or so custom campaigns that came before?

    Brood War 2 does not offer a sustainable future for the storyline anymore than Starcraft 2 does precisely because it sabotaged the overarching conflict due to Metzen's garbage retcons about chosen ones and evil xel'naga. QoB is a retcon from the determinant, the hybrids are a retcon from the grand experiment. Without the Zerg trying to assimilate the Terrans and Protoss, there is no reason for any of them to ever interact with one another. QoB's evil overlord spiel feels fake and forced because it contradicts the previous characterization of the Zerg and QoB herself (Kerry's personality is different in every book/game that features her, to the point that, I shit you not, her wikipedia page states that her defining personality trait is a lack of identity). A conflict occurring after QoB/Duran's defeat would feel fake and forced. The Zerg need to be the main antagonists forever due to their galactic eating spree or there is no conflict.

    I support Enumerate as the one truth path to fanfiction salvation because it does not have stupid fantasy tropes like chosen ones or plucky heroes that save the galaxy or a complete lack of any sensible scale. It is about the horrors of war across light years where billions fight and die to survive. It does not privilege the actions of a random pirate lord over those of a planetary governor. There are no chosen ones or warrior princesses or evil overlords or new galactic powers that come out of nowhere or any of that bullshit.

    Stop focusing all your thoughts on Raynor, Mengsk and QoB to no effect. Make up your own original characters and give them the spotlight. Enumerate, by virtue of pruning Metzen's stupidity, makes original characters and their conflicts matter because they are not being constantly compared to some bland galactic heroes/villains. Real life does not work like a fantasy novel, and neither should science fiction.
    I think Starcraft needs rebooting. See "Enumerate" for details (links: timeline, full document, original forum thread).

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