NOTD Universe Initiative

Discussion in 'Universe' started by Ability, Apr 21, 2012.

  1. Ability
    • Development Team
    • NOTD Creator

    Ability NOTD Creator

    Next weekend, I'll likely convert the current NOTD Fan Fiction forum into 'NOTD Universe'.

    Background
    A lot of gameplay development on NOTD the past 2.5 years have been community driven. While developers do have the final say, community input has consistently been a visible driving force. This has helped improve NOTD's gameplay. NOTD's universe and lore however, has not been growing at the same pace. Some may argue that it's relatively stagnant. Our community has some passionate, educated and dilligent people who are keen on science, politics, military and many other facets of a universe. I think there's a lot of untapped potential and ideas that we haven't discussed or explored. This is also an opportunity for people who like crafting universes or talking about things beyond the core gameplay mechanics to contribute. Franchises like Star Wars, Mass Effect, Aliens, Matrix have an identifiable and rich universe. We'd like to see that in NOTD, over time.

    Intent
    We want to improve NOTD's lore and universe and allow the community to contribute feedback to grow it.

    How
    We need a place for people to brainstorm and debate about the NOTD universe in general. It's not just about lore, it can be many other things that touch the universe. Examples:
    - What technologies would be available to civilians and the military in the 22nd century?
    - How would culture and language evolve in NOTD's universe?
    - Why are people dissenting against UGC?
    - What exactly does the UGC do?
    - How does the military work/speak in the NOTD universe?
    - Why has space exploration suddenly worked/been made successful?
    - How does the world economy function?
    - How are children educated in the 22nd century?
    - What are the sub-cultures that have spawned?

    The NOTD Universe forum isn't just about stories or fan fiction. It's a place to discuss the mechanics of a future society/government and how humanity as a whole would function.

    Overall Theme/Direction
    NOTD is a largely military-political game, or that's what we want. I would recommend people who want to add to our universe/lore to draw inspiration from:
    - Starship Troopers
    - Minority Report
    - World War Z

    We're trying to create a plausible future, and there shouldn't be any black and white distinctions about right or wrong. A big theme Xavi and I wanted to create is 'duality' - everyone has 2 natures fighting inside them, conflicting motivations and different perspectives can make the seemingly wrong/evil look right, and vice versa. Is the UGC a force for good? Progress and unity, at what cost? Sacrificing for the greater good or leaving the world to burn to the sake of a loved one?

    I really like ArcturusV' storytelling because it has more maturity and grit to it. I also think that Reaper and Nicarco are creative people who have some neat ideas about the mechanics of a universe. I feel many people have a lot to bring to the table. In terms of overall direction, I'll do my best to guide everything into a central coherent universe together with the help of the community.

    Next Steps
    As this is something very new for NOTD, we need more ideas/suggestions on how to make this work. This is an initiative that will take years of work to make the NOTD universe richer and more compelling.
  2. ArcturusV

    ArcturusV New Member

    I always appreciate a good expanded universe canon.

    Things I'd like to see done:

    It needs some official voice to lend weight to it. This isn't like Warhammer 40k where the universe itself is so large you can pretty much throw anything in without really worrying about continuity clashes long as you don't do something like kill the God Emprah or have a Marine Chapter completely wiped out.

    So as things are mused over, discussed, and what not, you need someone to put the final call on "Yes, it does work out that way". Hopefully not someone from the Matt Ward school.

    Secondly, you need to have an attitude of "This matters". Supporting lore and fiction, canon musings and theory is all good. But there are two things you want to watch out for:

    One, Don't Be George Lucas. One of the great advantages Star Wars cultivated during the 80s and 90s was it's Expanded Universe Canon. There was a lot of effort made by the publishers to make sure that nothing conflicted with stuff that was in the films, comics, or other stories that had come up before hand (It's true, I tried to write some stories for it and ran into these checks and problems with the editors). Then he came out with the Prequel Series and said "Fuck You!" to about half of the canon that had been created by completely obliterating it and doing a hatchet job not only to the Expanded Universe stuff, but hell, the canon in his own movies, the novelizations of them, and early comics.

    Second is taking the nod towards the people involved in this process and whatever results come from it. It's not just about cultivating writers, lorists, debaters and thinkers, but it's about making sure that the things you like and pass whatever official Stamp of Approval you put down become part of a living lore. Allow them to be built upon, showcase them. Perhaps even tie stuff that was created by the community back into the game itself in a grand circle of creative processes.
  3. Ability
    • Development Team
    • NOTD Creator

    Ability NOTD Creator

    Thanks. I hope that doing this will attract a more diverse audience to NOTD, even people who don't actively play the game but may just like the universe/lore.
  4. Zuriel

    Zuriel Well-Known Member

    I'll assume that you are focusing on these areas as highlighted.

    "Intent
    We want to improve NOTD's lore and universe and allow the community to contribute feedback to grow it.

    How
    We need a place for people to brainstorm and debate about the NOTD universe in general. It's not just about lore, it can be many other things that touch the universe. Examples:
    - What technologies would be available to civilians and the military in the 22nd century?
    - How would culture and language evolve in NOTD's universe?
    - Why are people dissenting against UGC?
    - What exactly does the UGC do?
    - How does the military work/speak in the NOTD universe?
    - Why has space exploration suddenly worked/been made successful?
    - How does the world economy function?
    - How are children educated in the 22nd century?
    - What are the sub-cultures that have spawned?"

    Now, movies and novels are usually poor in describing life in the future, many plot holes can be found, or they only focus on what's related to the storyline. ie. You dont see any literary, agricultural or philosophical development in movies such as the Matrix, starship troopers etc.

    Do you require a thoroughly expressed expanded universe? Or merely what's perceived to be related to the story i.e. sci and tech, conflict and resolutions etc?
  5. ArcturusV

    ArcturusV New Member

    Actually "Hard" sci-fi tends to go into more detail than it probably should about such things Zuriel. I'm sure if you're into the genre you've probably read quite a few stories where right in the middle of the narrative the author takes 20 pages to describe some minor device/technology or social convention, etc. Even good authors do it, such as Clarke... then again Clarke was a professor and it carries over obviously.
  6. Nicarco
    • Warden
    • Donator

    Nicarco Warden

    There is a balance between describing the world and advancing the story in most fantasy or fiction novels, especially good ones with especially complex worlds. A good way of blending the story with the information required is to put all the information in the Appendix, or use footnotes (as a pretty good fantasy book I read did) and that way you don't interrupt the flow of story with a sudden 20 page excursion to a description akin to something you'll find in History class at school.

    That said, I believe that what Ability wants is not really a sci-fi story. Sure, there are many people in NOTD, each one with a story worthy of writing. But to describe the entire universe requires a more "textbook" style description, an attempt at objective storytelling rather than the subjective kinds you usually see in novels.
  7. ArcturusV

    ArcturusV New Member

    I'd think more along the lines of some of the Setting/Fiction sections in Captain's Log (a kinda twice a year/quarterly book for a collection of games based off Star Trek). Where yes, there is traditional Fiction stories in it. Sometimes covering major events like why the General War started the way it did, sometimes over minor events like a clash between some pirate raiders and security ships. Then it also has sections like... describing the different medals and ribbons the Federation gives out, or the Rank structure of the Hydran Military, or the development history of the Zoran fighter, etc.
  8. Nicarco
    • Warden
    • Donator

    Nicarco Warden

    That's pretty much what I have in my textbooks (except it's facts instead of fiction) but yes, that's the idea.
  9. ArcturusV

    ArcturusV New Member

    Heh, my textbooks tended not to have narratives in it.
  10. Zuriel

    Zuriel Well-Known Member

    Anywho, fellow writers, I suggest we split the workload, each focusing on a few areas and try to prevent overlap. Peer review will take place, as well as overall editing by Ability, and hopefully we can make something good happen.[hr]
    Let's use the Earth's moon as the setting, so the physics part of it can be easily settled. All in favour say aye. "Aye"
  11. ArcturusV

    ArcturusV New Member

    Arc's Rule of Fanfiction and Canon Development #1:

    Don't ignore source material just because you don't like it or it isn't convenient.


    In particular the moon issue. As I recall The Man said before that Agrons were native lifeforms. As are the Nydus Worms. Not only that in game you have Farcia referring to native moon plants.

    Thus it cannot be a lifeless airless rock like our moon. And that's perfectly fine.

    Not to mention it does actually make it easier on us as we don't have to worry about shit like minor nicks decompressing the character's suits and leaving them mostly assuredly dead.
  12. Zuriel

    Zuriel Well-Known Member

    Ok arc, then someone establish the limits we're working with. Basic stuff that everyone should know. Climate, precipitation, gravity, etc.
  13. ArcturusV

    ArcturusV New Member

    Well, we can look at the backstory, see the Solar Radiation is one of the primary health concerns of the moon colonists, which suggests the atmosphere is pretty thin and provides little protection, or a weak magnetic field.

    But really that's the difference between Good Sci-fi and strictly "Hard" Sci-fi. Details are nice. But I see far too many would be writers spend FAR too much energy on fiddling with physics that aren't going to matter or come up 99.99% of the time. Do we need to know the Barometric pressure range of the Apollo Colony? Not really. Gravity? Enough that people aren't flying around since we can see in game we aren't doing the Lunar Bounce sort of stuff.

    Considering Water is pretty much the basic building block of all life that we know, there is probably some on the moon. Meaning there is probably rain. So at least some winds and some kind of standard cycle.

    I mean beyond such broad strokes you don't really have to worry about it. Are you seriously going to write a story which hangs entirely upon the exact humidity of the atmosphere around Dome B?
  14. Zuriel

    Zuriel Well-Known Member

    Maybe. But some details would be good. Like if there was precipitation, and a regular atmosphere, there should be plant life on the moon. Moss, weeds and other 'basic' plants have the ability to grow almost anywhere, and yet this is evidently absent from the moon. (sans bio domes)

    I have a feeling the map was built with Earth's moon in mind, then the other contradictory details were later thrown in to make it as such.
  15. Blaqk
    • Development Team
    • Webmaster/Liaison

    Blaqk NOTD Staff: Bugs, Pugs, and Scruggs

  16. Nicarco
    • Warden
    • Donator

    Nicarco Warden

    Allow me to make up some information about Apollo:


    Apollo, a thriving Lunar colony whose name is familiar to all in the UGC, was first discovered in the year 2012, when space probe Voyager 1 came across the moon orbiting the planet Plancea. A vibrant planet covered in forests, the planet was colonized just 50 years later as part of a new initiative to find habitat away from earth.

    Then came the H-3 discovery.

    Mankind was in the energy crisis of its history. Everything was used up, uranium and oil long gone, even new forms of Plutonium were becoming scarce. Alternative energy was providing all it could, but it could never compete with mass production. A scientist who had discovered a H-3 reactor energy system was praised, but there was never enough energy to get it started.

    One day, a small boy came across a cave, one of many present on the moon Apollo. He walked into it, having never seen it before. He was also later found dead in the reaches of the cave, suffocated on the H-3 emitting vents within. The moon was later discovered to harbor some sort of natural fusion system, much like in planets, except due to the lower mass is only capable of producing H-3 in high concentrations.

    And with that, Apollo became the savior of mankind.

    (More to follow if this is the sort of thing you want).
  17. ArcturusV

    ArcturusV New Member

    Only issue I have with that is that the UGC as of 2103 is obviously most likely not an interstellar empire, as noted by the fact that their newest and smallest extraterrestrial colony is Mars. And the Moon is a halfway point between Earth and Mars. Isn't even just something mentioned on some random point in the Story section of the site or anything but is actually In Game as you spring Farcia Augustin.

    So the furthest out that you could logically place Apollo would be on Phobos/Deimos or their equivalents in NOTD, rather than some mystical new world. Or it could be Luna. Or hell, it could be some second moon that Earth has in NOTDverse if that is such an unacceptable outcome.

    But I feel we shouldn't bother to waste too much energy on the "Moon Issue". It's pretty much existed ever since I've known about NOTD. Probably even before that. Nothing ever gets resolved because there is no official stance taken, in part... but also because people get hung up on a lot of details or are completely unwilling to consider that Luna =/= NOTD Moon.
  18. Nicarco
    • Warden
    • Donator

    Nicarco Warden

    See the problem is that the "Moon" is not actually the "Moon", so you can conclude that "Mars" is not actually "Mars". Therefore, interstellar empires are possible, though it could be just some fantasy solar system with all those things.
  19. ArcturusV

    ArcturusV New Member

    It's simpler, and easier, and hell, doesn't require us to Handwavium FTL travel into the setting to just assume Mars is Mars, and the Moon is the Moon for all intents and purposes. Slightly different perhaps, but still the same basic locations in relation to everything in the Solar System.
  20. Lord NiteShade
    • Wiki Founder
    • Community Leader

    Lord NiteShade NOTD Staff: Wiki Founder/TeamSpeak Admin

    If I remember correctly the Moon IS "the moon." Just not "our moon." This is to say, it's not some cold dead rock. It's got valleys, mineral and resource deposits, breathable atmosphere, and wildlife.

    Mars however, is the same cold dead rock, hence the need for Bio-Domes.

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