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Thread: Let's brainstorm a Starcraft rip-off

  1. #31

    Default Re: Let's brainstorm a Starcraft rip-off

    Quote Originally Posted by Nolanstar
    (would should be scary voiceless biopunk monsters full of organic and nanotech, totally not biased here)
    Ray Kurzweil visited my college and gave a presentation several years ago, at one point talking about one day replacing all the blood in your body with a more efficient artificial solution that housed nanites. And I don't believe that, if we should ever become an interstellar race, we'll be able to colonize other worlds without heavily modifying ourselves -- it would be much more efficient than terraforming an entire world wholesale. Moreover, we'd need protection against the hard radiation of deep space, and a means of maintaining life in places prone to low O2 levels (say, a thin atmosphere, or some sort of system that keeps you alive in emergency decompression scenarios).

    Out interstellar offspring will look very little like us, paving the way to a whole new world of racism and political fighting.

    I loved SOMA’s structure gel monsters. Look into Peter Watts, his books might also give you some inspiration.
    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. #32

    Default Re: Let's brainstorm a Starcraft rip-off

    While I won't be using the biopunks (makes sense as an in-story nickname or slur) as a major faction in my primary universe, I have quickly thought of sources of inspiration:

    mass effect collectors, collector gear, medigel
    the world of scorn
    subhouse tleilaxu from battle for dune
    tyranid weapons from warhammer
    structure gel from soma
    zoanoids from guyver (and tagers/dhoanoids from cthulhutech)
    biological mechs from evangelion and cthulhutech
    bioships in genesis rising
    species 8472 ships in star trek armada 2
    umbrella corp in resident evil
    gauna in knights of sidonia
    parasites in parasyte
    kagune and quinque in tokyo ghoul

    I'm imagining a religious order which exalts flesh and considers technology impure or evil, possibly descended from the organic farming, anti-gmo, antivaxxer, raw water and similar luddite movements on modern Earth. Since they could not compete due to being wasteful and dying of plagues, they had to compromise their values and engineer resident evil-style bioweapons. they're hypocrites who claim technology is evil for being unnatural or whatever, while being unnatural biotech abominations themselves. they probably worship the bugs, if they don't consider them infidels.

  3. #33

    Default Re: Let's brainstorm a Starcraft rip-off

    ... Well, that's just the Yuuzhan Vong in a nutshell.
    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.

  4. #34

    Default Re: Let's brainstorm a Starcraft rip-off

    I was trying to avoid the Yuuzhan Vong as a direct reference while coming up with those ideas, hence the insectoid rather then reptilian appearances and the reliancy/exemption of mixing bio and technology on a scale where they are no loner separate, like the nanotech/grey goo rather then the vong's tropey styling of gear just done in an organic faction, like eels for swords and flying explosive bugs for grenades. I'm actually at this point considering doing a faction and tech write-up for fun.. Perhaps I should. Its all the traping of a futuristic army minus a few things that get caught up in the circumstances. IE infantry with assault rifles and armored vehicles with support systems.

  5. #35

    Default Re: Let's brainstorm a Starcraft rip-off

    We need Jump drives.

  6. #36

    Default Re: Let's brainstorm a Starcraft rip-off

    Quote Originally Posted by Mislagnissa View Post
    Yes, I do have a specific vision. What was your first clue? I really like the original SC premise because it was just so elegant as far as excuse plots go. Blizz never went anywhere with it, so I really wanted to. That's why I made this thread. If you don't like it, then make a new thread for your completely original concept. Please don't steal my spotlight.
    ...Mislag, not everything I say is an argument. I'm just commenting on the discrepancy between your view and the early comments of others. This is not in any way stealing the spotlight. Please stop being needlessly hostile.

    Anyway, my only deal is basically this -- how much of a rip-off is this going to be, exactly? The more you guys talk about it, the less so it seems. It's not a big deal or anything, I'm just curious.
    Last edited by Nissa; 03-03-2018 at 10:20 AM.


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

  7. #37

    Default Re: Let's brainstorm a Starcraft rip-off

    Quote Originally Posted by Nissa View Post
    ...Mislag, not everything I say is an argument. I'm just commenting on the discrepancy between your view and the early comments of others. This is not in any way stealing the spotlight. Please stop being needlessly hostile.

    Anyway, my only deal is basically this -- how much of a rip-off is this going to be, exactly? The more you guys talk about it, the less so it seems. It's not a big deal or anything, I'm just curious.
    No prob. I took my meds today.

    The rip-off part is much more obvious after you read the timeline synopsis I wrote. As far as the overarching timeline of the narrative goes, I would probably adopt the structure of Enumerate. The backdrop is all-out war anyway, so I cannot really think of anything better outside of alternate universes with different premises. The historical eras relevant to the overarching conflict would be the cold war, the first contact war, and the bug wars. Each of these conflicts is fairly complicated to explain, so I will try to be brief. I deliberately avoid mentioning scales at this point because I do not want to write myself into a corner and want to support any number of campaigns set during any period.

    The cold war is when the three races first start interacting. The elves watched as the humans expand into their frontier. The humans intercepted elf transmissions and grew envious of the bountiful worlds claimed by the elves. Then the tiberium shows up on frontier worlds, humans exploit it, and discover the bug vanguard. The human governments try to keep it secret while they experiment. The elves try to contain the bugs after realizing they are invasive, but learn conventional tactics are useless.

    Several key events emerge from this. The elves discover alien probes which respond freely to their interrogation, revealing that a swarm of alien locusts is plotting against the humans and prompting an inquisition/expedition. The humans study the bugs’ communication and realize they are sensitive to psychic emissions, prompting the production of beacons to lure them to specific locations. Unbeknownst to both of them but known to us, the bugs realize this and respond accordingly.

    The first contact war actually refers to two related conflicts occurring in human and elven space.

    The war begins when the humans summon the bugs in force at the same time the elf inquisition arrives to exterminate the bugs. When the awaiting garrison explains they cannot contain the bugs conventionally, they resort to bombarding inhabited planets and provoking the humans. This causes a schism in the expedition between those who support the genocide and those who wish to protect the humans, which eventually boils over into outright insurrection.

    At the same time, numerous rebel groups come to the fore. You can explain this in a variety of ways, but long story short the colonies want independence from the authoritarian government of Earth/Mars/whoever because they feel they are not being treated with the respect they deserve and their rights are being trampled over. The flames are fanned by the democratic and corporate governments already in a tense relation with the authoritarian governments. While not as common, various fringe religious cults that worship the bugs come into power. Ultimately, using the psychic beacons originally developed by Earth’s scientists, a rebel group sacrifices Earth to the bugs and unifies the entire human race under a single government to deal with the invading aliens.

    Meanwhile, the bugs are abducting countless test subjects and take them to remote hive planets for experimentation. The experiments produce massive psychic emissions, which draws a number of elven forces to them. These include the mysterious dark elves, which followed the probes in elven space back to human space. By complete accident, the dark elves discover that the bugs rely on psychic amplifiers to coordinate. By using a psychotropic attack (deviator gas?) on an amplifier, the entire swarm it coordinates is driven into a berserk frenzy. Unfortunately, this accident is made while trying to rescue high and dark elven prisoners from interrogation by the bugs. It is too late to stop the intel leak, but the bugs are distracted long enough that the dark elves are able to escape with the secret to stop them. In a strange twist of luck, the interrogees reveal that they learned the bugs’ ultimate goal: to conquer the universe, starting with the elves.

    Meanwhile, groups of dark elves that want revenge on the high elves for exile see the humans and bugs as potential tools to this end. They form alliances with willing humans and enslave bugs to use as weapons. In extreme cases, some elves (including alienated high elves) actually join the human cults that exalt the bugs. This may cause recurring problems.

    Using the intel they acquired, the bugs launch an invasion of the elven empire, high elf and dark elf alike. At this point in time the bugs deploy the new units they created by researching their human test subjects, which are engineered specifically to counter many of the tactics used by the elves. The bugs target sites where the elves manufacture the crystalline basis of their tech, intending to use it against the elves in electronic warfare. The bugs investigate ruins of the ancestral elven civilization, intending to either use their ancient weapons or prevent them from falling into enemy hands.

    The high elf government declares a crusade against the heretic dark elves when they show up claiming to have a means of defeating the bugs. The high elves’ psychic warfare has not similarly shattered the swarms, so they have no reason to trust a psychotropic drug. This causes schisms among the high elves, as many begin to distrust the government or become alienated after seeing its questionable decisions during the war with the bugs. This ends up causing multiple simultaneous civil wars as many different ideologies come into conflict, ironically proving the government’s fear about heresy true. In one notable instance, a group of high elves defect to the bugs! Ironically, had this civil war not occurred the high elves might very well have repulsed the bugs; but even with the benefit of hindsight this outcome remains uncertain.

    After a final civil war between the high elf orthodoxy and the dark elf alliance, the government finally comes to its senses when the dark elves display their trump card first hand. The elves make a last ditch assault on the bugs’ biggest communication hub. They are successful and the bugs attacking the core worlds of the empire are driven berserk and unable to coordinate. This causes the hordes farther away to become egotistical and starts the bug wars when they fight among themselves.

    The bug wars are characterized by the bugs losing their empathy for one another and the swarms fighting for control. While the humans and elves had previously made attempts to enslave individual swarms, these attempts were never widespread because of the bugs’ unity making them difficult to control in the first place and alerting the other swarms’ of any successes. With that unity shattered, the humans and elves find it much easier to enslave swarms and without alerting the other swarms.

    The new authoritarian governments, founded by the previous rebels, see the bugs as an opportunity to consolidate their own power (as they always do). At the same time, the corporate and democratic governments chafing under the rule of the authoritarian government deploy their enslaved bugs against the fascists. Despite their good intentions, the ethical problems made this fairly unpopular in the media even if the fascists planned on worse.

    Obviously, the humans and elves fight a lot due to the latter committing genocide. While there are instances of compassionate high elves and dark elves allying with humans against bugs or genocidal high elves, the bad first impression means that humans tend to paint the elves with the same brush.

    Eventually the bugs manage to reunify, but by that point any ideas for the future would probably just rehash what came before. I think I have explored most of the major plot points the backdrop has to offer. I threw a few curveballs, like the Tiberium or excuses for every combination of conflict (and I probably forgot a few), but otherwise the backdrop is highly derivative of Starcraft, Mass Effect, Halo, and Warhammer. Specific details are open to change (e.g. the psych drug plot device, which I am not entirely happy with and might consider changing to something similar to the Aliens comics' red/black alien war or the "hydra effect" from Warhammer's tyranids), but that's the overall backdrop.

  8. #38

    Default Re: Let's brainstorm a Starcraft rip-off

    My idea for the Earth governments was that they are descended directly from modern governments. The great powers would be United States of America, Russian Federation, People's Republic of China, Republic of India, Federative Republic of Brazil, and European Union. It is unrealistic to believe that humans would ever give up their sovereignty to the United Nations, particularly given the current climate of populism threatening democracy itself.

    Then you bring in elements that redefine what it means to be human, like cyborgs and mutants and robots. Then you bring in the new nation-states that will inevitably develop when we colonize the seas of Earth and the surfaces of other planets.

    For simplicity’s sake we can just project current political issues centuries into the future, as is the standard for scifi. To start with, humans have colonized at least roughly 20 light-years in a sphere around Earth. Then we add the “war of earthly aggression” plot common in scifi where humans colonize other worlds. Inventing various new nation-states is a fun mini-game, though.

    I can think of nation-states and other organizations like the Technocratic Union (literally: a labor union of technical experts), Martian Republic, Commonwealth of Venus, Jovian Federation, Principality of Pluto, Outer Planets Alliance, Tau Ceti Federation, Twelve Colonies of Alpha Centauri, etc. You could even have divided governments on single planets, like the Martian Free Republic versus the Martian Federation or something.

    For the Martians in particular, I imagine that their marines or mech pilots are called the Knights of Cydonia after Cydonia (aka the Face on Mars).

  9. #39

    Default Re: Let's brainstorm a Starcraft rip-off

    Hm...I disagree with making the governments specifically reference Earth governments. One of the appeals of SC is that the people there have no connection to the past. I mean, your idea could certainly work, but imo it seems less appealing than making the references more abstract.


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

  10. #40

    Default Re: Let's brainstorm a Starcraft rip-off

    Quote Originally Posted by Nissa View Post
    Hm...I disagree with making the governments specifically reference Earth governments. One of the appeals of SC is that the people there have no connection to the past. I mean, your idea could certainly work, but imo it seems less appealing than making the references more abstract.
    This is not entirely correct. SC's Terrans are based on the American South and the entire aesthetic of the frontier planets is taken from the colonization of the American West. Names like "New Angeles" suggest that there may even be a Hispanic and/or Latino population. It is fairly obvious that the population are descended from citizens of the USA.

    All of the other scifi games already do what you suggest and more besides: they make their human societies into bland utopias where everyone is multiracial, LGBT and follows the values of 21st century American liberals. I would deliberately avoid that for two reasons: 1) to maintain a dark and gritty atmosphere, and 2) to stand out from the cookie cutter scifi mold.

    Brazil, India and China are culturally very conservative. They all have a history of being oppressed by white colonialists. They are absolutely nothing like the Utopian future imagine by left-wing American video game developers.

    I find it absurd that humans would suddenly abandon millennia of culture, especially given our massive psychological flaws. However, the fact that the other worlds developed their own cultures and nation-states turns this into a "have your cake and eat it too" situation. The Earth governments and their territories maintain their cultures, while others are new and may be projected on.

    While my idea is for a game that follows the standard three faction archetypes that repeatedly crop up, I have said before that I like to overturn those assumptions in key ways.

    Among other things, this means making the gung-ho human space marines distinctly inhuman and to simultaneously reflect the best/worst parts of humanity (rather than just 21st century American liberal utopia in space), making the space elves into a young race going through a renaissance (rather than declining after reaching their peak long ago), and giving the devouring swarm motivations that make rational sense (since too many bugs in fiction are evil/insane just because) and even come off as very loosely sympathetic (since in an RTS you can embrace your destructive side guilt-free).

    I understand your concern and compromised by adopting both sides of our argument. I get the Earthling nation-states, you get the Tau Ceti, Alpha Centauri... you get everything else.

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