Religion in Transcendence

Post ideas & suggestions you have pertaining to the game here.
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Wolfy
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Mon Sep 06, 2010 5:59 am

@PM Not everybody likes PVP games; in fact, I don't play PVP games for that very reason.

Some of us play specifically /for/ exploration of the game's world.

Transcendence, while a game, is more importantly in our community, a game /engine/. It's ultimatly a modder's game, built and designed to be modded and manipulated so as to be expanded and built upon, either through the existing universe, or new ones. (And then explore what other people have made.)

There's no PvP action, no need to pay to play.
Backstory & plot can simply be ignored by the player, but they can't be ignored by the developer(s).
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Mon Sep 06, 2010 12:33 pm

My point is when I play games, I play to win. Fun equals winning, and winning equals fun. PvP is not necessarily relevant. For example, if the condition for winning the game is to find the Sa-Matra and destroy it, I do whatever it takes to win. Likewise, in classic first person shooters, the goal is to live and find the exit. The idea is the player is given a goal and challenged to meet it. It is up to the player to do whatever it takes to fulfill that quest.

I picked up Transcendence because it feels much like Star Control 2, except the fighting can involve multiple ships instead of one-on-one duels. The game also looks pretty.

I realize developers have different ideas. (I am building a mod for another game, so I understand.) Those in the business will build whatever that will yield them a profit, and those who do it for free want to build an epic story and/or a fun game for themselves and others.

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Mon Sep 06, 2010 1:49 pm

george moromisato wrote: As a game mechanic, calling the player to the core serves to give a vague purpose. You'll notice that although in the storyline, the player is compelled to go, there actually aren't any obvious points where the player doesn't have free will. For example, I don't plan on ever having a cut scene that says, "And now Domina forces you to ..." nor do I plan on having the UI ever say, "Domina prevents you from using the Almighty Supercannon."

But the premise also works as part of a larger theme. One of the themes in Transcendence is free will. What is free will? Is it possible that free will is an illusion? Is free will completely internal--only you can judge whether you have free will? Or is it objective? Or is it both?

There are many examples in the game hinting at this:

1. Domina calls the player to the core--does the player still have free will if he thinks he does? [E.g., some of the NPCs that the player meets call him a "plaything for the Gods.]

2. Dwarg and other zoanthropes have given up their free will. The player can control them.

3. Some AIs (e.g., Luminous) have acquired free will. [But even simpler, some autons "rebel" against the player--does that give them free will?]

4. The player "hacks" the Iocrym AI in much the same way that Domina "hacks" the player.

It is hard to balance the needs of a cohesive (if vague) storyline with the requirements of an open sandbox. I want both. I may not always get the balance right, but I am always trying to achieve it.

I agree that the player character is in no way forced to let his follow the Domina plot. Anyway with some imagination and better some modding skills - which I completely lack - you can easily change the motives of the hero (I'll call him/her so from now, I as played obviously mainly RPG).

When being very accurate there is are at least 2 situations where the plot "forces" you. First off all the intro, where it says that the hero follows the call. Second, when you dock to the habitat of the hero's family and the text says: "... but you remember your promuise to Domina..."


Talking about free will in games, this is always a relative discussion. The amount of choices you present to a character is severly limited by the style of the game. Even in a very open game like Transcendence.

Some examples:

1.) There is no choice for the hero to say: " Oh I'd better stay with my family and sell this lousy ship." Well, Game Over, this would not make sense.

2.) You can't say: "Hey babe, I got a brand new shiny wolfen, wanna take a trip to the core?" Doesnt' t fit the plot - wouldn't hurt it either, but doesn't catch the game's atmosphere

3.) The most severe limtation is time and other resources. You could imagine 1000 different background stories and give the hero the opportunity to tellse as a galactic vegetable trader in Eridiani. But this is logistically impossible and would on the other hand make the game so sophisticated, you could read the manual for yeras.
People would not be able to handel the complexity. I mean, are they in real world, which is lot more complex? (Without wanting to cause any religious or deterministic discussion, that's for off-topic, I guess)

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Mon Sep 06, 2010 6:00 pm

Racoon.sf wrote:When being very accurate there is are at least 2 situations where the plot "forces" you. First off all the intro, where it says that the hero follows the call. Second, when you dock to the habitat of the hero's family and the text says: "... but you remember your promuise to Domina..."
That second one is the one that's really hateful. A lot of people take marriage seriously, dare I say religiously, and "till death do us part" predates and should therefore take primacy over any promise to Domina. It would make people who in the real world are religious feel a lot better about the story just to change the players background so (s)he is a batchelor(ette).

Currently that one piece of backstory marks the PC as either a cad or under mind control, and that removes the question of free will for anyone who doesn't want to play a cad. Remove that and the choice to head for the core becomes one that could have been made of free will or of mind control, but with it in there's no question for at least some players.

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Mon Sep 06, 2010 6:26 pm

I am not fond of the protagonist being a deadbeat. Sometimes, this is all the more reason to play an omnicidal maniac who will kill everyone, once he is ready to leave human space permanently. I tend to ignore this because I am more interested in killing and looting designated enemies. If I try to get immersed into the story, I dislike the protagonist for reasons Atarlost stated.

I second the notion that the protagonist should (have the option to) be single.

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Mon Sep 06, 2010 11:14 pm

(To Wolfy) I am not fond of many PvP games (anymore) because such games have tiers, and they (usually) devolve into an exchange of the same two or three overpowered features that are spammed until only one player is left standing. Worse, if the developer has a pet favorite, his favorite may be overpowered on purpose.

Story and atmosphere are important to help keep the game coherent and to draw players into the game. Ultimately, a game is a game, and it needs to provide a goal, even if it is basic as score as high as you can until you lose.

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Tue Sep 07, 2010 12:48 am

Atarlost wrote:That second one is the one that's really hateful. A lot of people take marriage seriously, dare I say religiously, and "till death do us part" predates and should therefore take primacy over any promise to Domina. It would make people who in the real world are religious feel a lot better about the story just to change the players background so (s)he is a batchelor(ette).

Currently that one piece of backstory marks the PC as either a cad or under mind control, and that removes the question of free will for anyone who doesn't want to play a cad. Remove that and the choice to head for the core becomes one that could have been made of free will or of mind control, but with it in there's no question for at least some players.
The game text never says that the player has left his/her spouse and child behind.

The only thing that is clear (and in my opinion, important to the plot) is that the player left someone behind. Perhaps it was the player's child. Maybe it was a younger sister. Maybe it was a niece.

I do understand that no everyone likes the approach that I've taken with the story. I remain hopeful that once the whole arc is complete that people will enjoy it more.

But if not, that's OK too. As I said, it is very possible (and even trivial) for someone to mod-out that particular element.

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Tue Sep 07, 2010 2:56 pm

Actually, I never even thought of the possibilty, that they are not the hero's family. But right, this is not a mandatory interpretation.

Still, the "promise to Domina" part remains.

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Wolfy
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Tue Sep 07, 2010 3:00 pm

Heh, they could be some completely random apartment you went to for no apparent reason.
I suppose the husband/wife interpretation was most common due to the way it was scripted in the xml.
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