Page 1 of 2 12 LastLast
Results 1 to 10 of 18

Thread: Lore additions from Gradius’ “Origins”?

  1. #1

    Default Lore additions from Gradius’ “Origins”?

    The Origins custom campaign doesn’t seem to be compatible with the latest versions of SC2. Does anyone have writeups of the lore additions it made or any idea of future planned missions? Zerusian species, gashyrr wasp castes, zerg breeds, environments, characters, etc?

    I’m very interested in it as someone who really likes the old school zerg.
    I think Starcraft needs rebooting. See "Enumerate" for details (links: timeline, full document, original forum thread).

  2. #2

    Default Re: Lore additions from Gradius’ “Origins”?

    It's been a long time since Grad ended production on Origins, so I think it's safe to talk about the things that went on behind the scenes.

    I was involved in some of the script and concept write-ups. I miss those days. There was a lot of debate about specialization vs generalization among swarm breeds. I think this debate was prompted by HotS's Kerrigan trying to generalize some of her breeds during the campaign, such as advancing the evolution of Queens to near-cerebrate levels. One subplot in Origins involved pitting the Cerebrates and Queens against each other to see which would be a superior leader in the Swarm; a dedicated but vulnerable, immotile entity stuck at "headquarters,"; or a "field commander" whose first-hand experience and generalization could make them more versatile, and therefor a greater asset to the swarm. In the end, Daggoth and his Cerebrate's specialization as commanders proved more valuable in the eyes of the Overmind, and the sentient Queen character was devolved into the simpler minion we see in StarCraft and BroodWar.

    There was another concept involving the Overmind partitioning part of its mentality, and using that partition to simulate a Xel'Naga personality, in order to represent the Overmind's knowledge it assimilated from them. I can't remember if this psychic construct appeared in any of the released missions or not.

    Also, one of our favorite lines related to Abathur's comments on Brontoliths and their potential usefulness to the Swarm. Something like, "Brontolith would be useful to Swarm. For it is large, and quite big, too." If you break down the word brontolith, it means roughly "Thundering Stone." I think we were going to incorporate that into the script, too.

    In the end, though, there were so many competing ideas and interesting debate. Unfortunately, personal lives eclipsed the project, and I don't think we had a good-enough grasp on the editor to impliment all of the gameplay ideas Gradius wanted. We were all bummed when the project had to be shelved.
    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.

  3. #3

    Default Re: Lore additions from Gradius’ “Origins”?

    Quote Originally Posted by Visions of Khas View Post
    It's been a long time since Grad ended production on Origins, so I think it's safe to talk about the things that went on behind the scenes.

    I was involved in some of the script and concept write-ups. I miss those days. There was a lot of debate about specialization vs generalization among swarm breeds. I think this debate was prompted by HotS's Kerrigan trying to generalize some of her breeds during the campaign, such as advancing the evolution of Queens to near-cerebrate levels. One subplot in Origins involved pitting the Cerebrates and Queens against each other to see which would be a superior leader in the Swarm; a dedicated but vulnerable, immotile entity stuck at "headquarters,"; or a "field commander" whose first-hand experience and generalization could make them more versatile, and therefor a greater asset to the swarm. In the end, Daggoth and his Cerebrate's specialization as commanders proved more valuable in the eyes of the Overmind, and the sentient Queen character was devolved into the simpler minion we see in StarCraft and BroodWar.
    Interesting. I'm not sure if I would have done it that way.

    There's no reason that the brain bugs had to remain stagnant. Zerg commanders could have taken numerous forms as appropriate for the tasks they were assigned. A commander could be an immobile tower a la Barad-Dur, or a mobile pilot of a giant chariot-beast, or a flying void thrasher channeling the mental energy of its brood, or any number of other things. Or the hierarchy could have been deeper, with SC2-style brood mothers answering to cerebrates, junior cerebrates answering to senior cerebrates, etc. Even the secondary agents like queens and overlords could have been characterized as being of at least human intelligence (the canon isn't consistent on this).

    In fact, there's really no reason to shackle oneself to the canon. The canon isn't consistent with itself anyway and doesn't really run on any kind of rational framework, just author fiat. I mean, the original manual's premise of an indefinite sector-wide war doesn't feel at all like it could organically lead into the meandering plot of the first game, much less the sequels.

    What I liked about the Retribution campaign was that one mission offered killing a cerebrate (without dark templar deus ex machina) as a possible objective. The cerebrate wouldn't magically resurrect immediately, instead the brood would be left disoriented as they picked up the slack without it and tried to spawn a replacement in the mean time. I find that much more interesting than an immortality gimmick (because, let's face it, it was nothing more than a mission gimmick) that was only in a couple of missions total across SC1/BW and completely forgotten in SC2.

    Quote Originally Posted by Visions of Khas View Post
    There was another concept involving the Overmind partitioning part of its mentality, and using that partition to simulate a Xel'Naga personality, in order to represent the Overmind's knowledge it assimilated from them. I can't remember if this psychic construct appeared in any of the released missions or not.
    It didn't appear in the three released missions, although Abathur was stated to be created specifically to understand and apply the xel'naga's science of protogenetics. I would've liked to see Abathur explored more as a character in its own right, rather than an accessory like it was in canon. It's a perfect opportunity to explore the psychology of an idiot savant and how it's lines of reasoning might seem frustrating to the more flexible mentalities of other brain bug breeds.

    It's too bad that xel'naga AI thingy didn't come to fruition. I would have liked to have seen some critical analysis of how Blizzard botched their own lore presented as in-universe arguments. Like, what are the "purity of X" actually supposed to be? (The canon definitions are so vague as to make no sense, and contradict the definition of "purity" itself.) Did the xel'naga actually know or were they making it up as they went along? Are the xel'naga actually space gods so incompetent they get their asses handed to them or is that just religious nonsense? Do the zerg entertain different schools of thought regarding how to make sense of this religious nonsense?

    I noticed that Origins integrated concepts introduced in SC2 like the two purities being complementary and existing within the xel'naga, even though this and other ideas was actually introduced later in the drafting of the story and the manual's draft suggested they were arbitrary. Was there any attempt to integrate other concepts like Amon, Ulnar, etc?

    Quote Originally Posted by Visions of Khas View Post
    Also, one of our favorite lines related to Abathur's comments on Brontoliths and their potential usefulness to the Swarm. Something like, "Brontolith would be useful to Swarm. For it is large, and quite big, too." If you break down the word brontolith, it means roughly "Thundering Stone." I think we were going to incorporate that into the script, too.
    I love etymology too. The problem is that it stagger belief that these words are used by all three races. Did the Confederacy get the names by mind reading it from the Zerg? I mean, according to Liberty's Crusade they did manage to read limited information from the zerg but I didn't expect that translating zerg designations into English (because I seriously doubt the zerg are literally speaking English at any point) would get much traction with the military.

    Quote Originally Posted by Visions of Khas View Post
    In the end, though, there were so many competing ideas and interesting debate. Unfortunately, personal lives eclipsed the project, and I don't think we had a good-enough grasp on the editor to impliment all of the gameplay ideas Gradius wanted. We were all bummed when the project had to be shelved.
    You could always write prose. I'm trying to write my own fanfiction and having something like that to provide some inspiration would be great. I'd love to be able to contribute to some kind of shared alternate universe for Starcraft that aims to be more reasonable and consistent and generally better written.

    Somebody else was working on something similar for Warcraft, under the tentative title of "retrocraft." The idea being that it would present WC1 and WC2 from a historian's perspective, and rewrite WC3 and beyond to integrate to that without the absurd retcons.

  4. #4

    Default Re: Lore additions from Gradius’ “Origins”?

    I wrote my own fanfic about the genesis of the zerg that referenced and quoted Origins. You can find it here: https://archiveofourown.org/works/17912507

    I did a lot of speculation to fill the gaps.

  5. #5

    Default Re: Lore additions from Gradius’ “Origins”?

    I remember brainstorming ideas on how the Zerg ethos slowly changed from just catching and incorporating new strains into developing stratagems and fighting more advanced lifeforms. It was a way to kinda explain why and how Nargil and Gorn came to be in the "Command Wing", where the Zerg started out from Zerus having Nargil take prominence early on in the story because he was all about finding and improving the general lot of the Zerg. Nargil's role eventually became more stagnant and less important when the Zerg encountered a more advanced aliens they couldn't just overwhelm yet and had to use alternative methods to subdue them. Hence, Gorn's prominence and shift toward tactics and engaging advanced lifeforms became more forefront, especially because the Zerg would eventually have to fight their technologically advanced Protoss in the near future.

    That's kinda where the concept of the Cerebrates vs Queens that Vok mentioned sprang into life as well. Because Queens existed from the get-go in some form according to the manual's backstory, we wanted to have some sort of internal politics by having the Queens (through a representative character) compete with the cerebrates. The cerebrate way of command proved more successful and so the Queens were devolved. We thought that it'd also served to inform the Overmind's obsession and fascination with ultra-powerful individuals like Kerrigan later on. The idea was developed for quite awhile and was solid but I think it got nixed/we had doubts about it at the end as Grad went into actual production for Origins.
    Yes, that's right! That is indeed ME on the right.


    _______________________________________________

  6. #6

    Default Re: Lore additions from Gradius’ “Origins”?

    Quote Originally Posted by Turalyon View Post
    I remember brainstorming ideas on how the Zerg ethos slowly changed from just catching and incorporating new strains into developing stratagems and fighting more advanced lifeforms. It was a way to kinda explain why and how Nargil and Gorn came to be in the "Command Wing", where the Zerg started out from Zerus having Nargil take prominence early on in the story because he was all about finding and improving the general lot of the Zerg. Nargil's role eventually became more stagnant and less important when the Zerg encountered a more advanced aliens they couldn't just overwhelm yet and had to use alternative methods to subdue them. Hence, Gorn's prominence and shift toward tactics and engaging advanced lifeforms became more forefront, especially because the Zerg would eventually have to fight their technologically advanced Protoss in the near future.

    That's kinda where the concept of the Cerebrates vs Queens that Vok mentioned sprang into life as well. Because Queens existed from the get-go in some form according to the manual's backstory, we wanted to have some sort of internal politics by having the Queens (through a representative character) compete with the cerebrates. The cerebrate way of command proved more successful and so the Queens were devolved. We thought that it'd also served to inform the Overmind's obsession and fascination with ultra-powerful individuals like Kerrigan later on. The idea was developed for quite awhile and was solid but I think it got nixed/we had doubts about it at the end as Grad went into actual production for Origins.
    Exploring The history of the zerg and the origins of the named cerebrates sounds fascinating.

    Even so, I feel shackling oneself to the canon limits the options. The whole Kerry plot wasn’t very good and represented a devolution of the zerg, not an advancement. It doesn’t make sense that the Overmind would care about individuals when the zerg’s shtick is mass cloning of useful genomes.

    I would’ve preferred evolution missions focused on acquiring distinct psychic mutations from terrans. According to the wiki, psychics don’t all have the same powers. They can be unique in isolated populations.

  7. #7

    Default Re: Lore additions from Gradius’ “Origins”?

    ^ Yeah well, Origins was mostly Grad's vision of a prequel to the Sc1 that we did get, afterall. He said he was going to largely leave out most of the overt references to Sc2 that he didn't like (ie: Amon) and include things he did like (ie: Abathur).

    As to the "whole Kerry plot" being "a devolution of the Zerg", well, the blame isn't really on Kerrigan specifically since that's just really a culmination of the whole determinant motivation of the Overmind (which is really the core of the matter). It doesn't matter what form the determinant takes, it still "wouldn't make sense" for the Overmind to pursue this one singular thing and think it'd be (let alone actually be) the magic bullet it thought it'd be in the first place (which it wasn't, since the Overmind still died/Zerg still lost even after getting its determinant).. But hey, it helped build the character flaw of hubris in regard to the Overmind since its pursuit of it led to its own ultimate destruction, thereby reinforcing one of the major themes running through Sc1: that oneself is their own worst enemy.
    Yes, that's right! That is indeed ME on the right.


    _______________________________________________

  8. #8

    Default Re: Lore additions from Gradius’ “Origins”?

    Quote Originally Posted by Turalyon View Post
    ^ Yeah well, Origins was mostly Grad's vision of a prequel to the Sc1 that we did get, afterall. He said he was going to largely leave out most of the overt references to Sc2 that he didn't like (ie: Amon) and include things he did like (ie: Abathur).
    The SC1 we got wasn't very good. It's pretty obvious that it was hamstrung by a tumultuous development with executives' constraints, other teams working without correct communication, and the writers changing plot points multiple times during drafting without maintaining consistency.

    By contrast, I imagine that Origins had its plot and mission structure largely hashed out before production started. At least, that's what I assume when the reason given for cancelling it midway was because you guys didn't know the editor well enough to support the kinds of gameplay you wanted.

    Quote Originally Posted by Turalyon View Post
    As to the "whole Kerry plot" being "a devolution of the Zerg", well, the blame isn't really on Kerrigan specifically since that's just really a culmination of the whole determinant motivation of the Overmind (which is really the core of the matter). It doesn't matter what form the determinant takes, it still "wouldn't make sense" for the Overmind to pursue this one singular thing and think it'd be (let alone actually be) the magic bullet it thought it'd be in the first place (which it wasn't, since the Overmind still died/Zerg still lost even after getting its determinant).. But hey, it helped build the character flaw of hubris in regard to the Overmind since its pursuit of it led to its own ultimate destruction, thereby reinforcing one of the major themes running through Sc1: that oneself is their own worst enemy.
    As I said before, you're pulling speculation out of nowhere to justify Metzen's nonsensical plot wherein he based Kerry on his junkie ex-girlfriend to work out his own psychological issues.

    I understand the "magic bullet" idea being silly, but that's not the impression I got at all. I thought the zerg would be doing evolution missions to acquire different psychic mutations to produce new breeds and make it feasible to do new applications previously impossible.

    I'm talking things like the zerg equivalent of zealots, creep colonies with telekinesis, giant brain monsters that generate psionic storms, various things to hijack and interfere with the psi matrix, etc. Basically all the sorts of things you'd think would be necessary to counter the protoss' immense individual strength (some lore claims a handful of zealots are sufficient to garrison a whole planet inhabited by a lesser civilization) and reality-warping capabilities (like the casual planet crackers, the casual singularity generators, the mind control, etc).



    Anyway, I'm still more interested in hearing about the ideas for a xel'naga AI and what kind of insight that would have provided on your conception of the xel'naga. How much of the infinite cycle were you planning to keep?

  9. #9

    Default Re: Lore additions from Gradius’ “Origins”?

    Quote Originally Posted by Mislagnissa View Post
    By contrast, I imagine that Origins had its plot and mission structure largely hashed out before production started.
    More or less. We had a script to work off of but Grad would still have final say over it and he did change his mind later on certain things that we had cemented earlier (like certain aspects of that Queen plotline, including the entirety of it!)

    Quote Originally Posted by Mislagnissa View Post
    As I said before, you're pulling speculation out of nowhere to justify Metzen's nonsensical plot wherein he based Kerry on his junkie ex-girlfriend to work out his own psychological issues.
    Not at all. I'm not defending Kerry per se but expanding your criticism and giving it its proper perspective. If the Overmind campaign played out the same way with Kerry being replaced by something/anything else, it'd still reek of artifice (that being "the determinant" plot device).

    Quote Originally Posted by Mislagnissa View Post
    I'm talking things like the zerg equivalent of zealots, creep colonies with telekinesis, giant brain monsters that generate psionic storms, various things to hijack and interfere with the psi matrix, etc. Basically all the sorts of things you'd think would be necessary to counter the protoss' immense individual strength (some lore claims a handful of zealots are sufficient to garrison a whole planet inhabited by a lesser civilization) and reality-warping capabilities (like the casual planet crackers, the casual singularity generators, the mind control, etc).
    I hope you didn't expect the Zerg to be able to get this sort of stuff from Terran psionics alone (which was only nascent, mind you), right? If so, despite all the nice minutiae you've detailed there, it's really just another variation of the magic bullet (Kerrigan) thing we did get...

    Quote Originally Posted by Mislagnissa View Post
    Anyway, I'm still more interested in hearing about the ideas for a xel'naga AI and what kind of insight that would have provided on your conception of the xel'naga. How much of the infinite cycle were you planning to keep?
    From what I recall, the infinite cycle stuff wasn't really laboured upon or even brought up in the Origins script. I think Vok had more ideas on incorporating some of this stuff but FanaticTemplar and I were of the opinion that the Xel'Naga were just the weaksauce scientists they were originally depicted as and that their significance to the story was really only to set up the eventual conflict between the Zerg and the Protoss.
    Yes, that's right! That is indeed ME on the right.


    _______________________________________________

  10. #10

    Default Re: Lore additions from Gradius’ “Origins”?

    Quote Originally Posted by Turalyon View Post
    More or less. We had a script to work off of but Grad would still have final say over it and he did change his mind later on certain things that we had cemented earlier (like certain aspects of that Queen plotline, including the entirety of it!)
    Would this have resulted in the same inconsistent disjointed effect as in canon? Or was the campaign more of an anthology of casually connected by otherwise distinct narratives?



    Not at all. I'm not defending Kerry per se but expanding your criticism and giving it its proper perspective. If the Overmind campaign played out the same way with Kerry being replaced by something/anything else, it'd still reek of artifice (that being "the determinant" plot device).
    Yes. Episode 2 is badly structured in general.

    I understand the determinant being a macguffin. Thus, I propose that in order to be narratively satisfying the R&D process needs to be quite extensive and the focus of dozens of missions. Or that the determinant is never assimilated within the timeframe of the first contact war.


    I hope you didn't expect the Zerg to be able to get this sort of stuff from Terran psionics alone (which was only nascent, mind you), right? If so, despite all the nice minutiae you've detailed there, it's really just another variation of the magic bullet (Kerrigan) thing we did get...
    I tried not to. I imagined that the zerg’s R&D stretched back to the moment they learned of the protoss’ capabilities. Most of desired applications would probably have been hypothesized millennia ago and simply remained infeasible in practice until sufficiently powerful psychic mutations were acquired. Not only that, but I imagine that the zerg would need to process many billions or tens or hundreds of billions of terrans to find useful mutations and even then there would be many different psychic mutations with different capabilities rather than a “one size fits all” solution.



    From what I recall, the infinite cycle stuff wasn't really laboured upon or even brought up in the Origins script. I think Vok had more ideas on incorporating some of this stuff but FanaticTemplar and I were of the opinion that the Xel'Naga were just the weaksauce scientists they were originally depicted as and that their significance to the story was really only to set up the eventual conflict between the Zerg and the Protoss.
    Fair enough. I wasn’t really interested in the infinite cycle itself (as it’s blatant fantasy magic with no place in military scifi), only an explanation of why the purities are relevant even as pure technobabble. The purities could’ve been omitted and the plot would be the same.

    Saying that terrans have purity of form, if only as technobabble, provides potential storytelling opportunities regarding the zerg’s end goal. Like them not necessarily needing to assimilate the protoss.

    One of the bits I found interesting in the original manual’s draft of lore, back when the purities were not complementary but successive, was that it was never explicitly stated the zerg intended to assimilate the protoss. Implied, sure, because that’s their shtick. But the focus of the text was squarely on them surviving an apocalyptic war.

Similar Threads

  1. Purifier Origins
    By Visions of Khas in forum StarCraft Universe Lore Discussion
    Replies: 128
    Last Post: 01-25-2016, 04:25 AM
  2. Xel'Naga - Universe Origins
    By Gradius in forum StarCraft Universe Lore Discussion
    Replies: 43
    Last Post: 06-08-2014, 12:19 AM
  3. The 'Ghost' Origins?
    By personamyth in forum StarCraft Universe Lore Discussion
    Replies: 3
    Last Post: 05-19-2012, 04:24 AM
  4. Cool idea for totally rad graphic additions that serve a purpose!
    By Sietsh-Tenk in forum StarCraft II Discussion
    Replies: 10
    Last Post: 12-14-2010, 10:14 PM

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •