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Sources for ideas and design inspiration

Discussion in 'Civ4 - Star Trek Mod' started by Tenketsu, Dec 19, 2009.

  1. Tenketsu

    Tenketsu Chieftain

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    I searched and didn't find a single mention of this fantastic project on CF, let alone this sub-forum, so I really wanted to make sure we all knew about it.

    http://www.startreksupremacy.com/

    It's completely free, so by all means check it out. The design and interfaces are fantastic. The only problems are 1) No workable combat system and 2) No AI. And sadly at the pace it's being developed it will probably be another couple years before we have those. But! I think there are a lot of ideas that could be used for this mod.

    It's a spiritual update to the game Star Trek: Birth of the Federation, which anyone who hasn't should also check out. It's an old game with terrible AI, but there are still mods being developed for it because the base design captures the feel of Star Trek so well. The best site for BotF is http://www.armadafleetcommand.com/botf/ and you can actually download the game from there (not only are the creators defunct but I at least could never get my physical copy to run on XP, unlike the ISO hosted there).

    I really think there are a lot of great design elements in both of these that should make it into the future of this mod, particularly the minor races. To me it doesn't feel like Star Trek without lots of races running around and it doesn't feel like the Federation without peacefully 'assimilating' via diplomacy, something I've had very little success trying to emulate by Vassalization.
     
  2. StuartKleinsen

    StuartKleinsen Chieftain

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    Firts of all SORRY for thread necromancing but i really second this! Have you ever taken a look at birth of the empires?
    It's one of those timekiller games...just-one-more-turn...
    You would get a lot of inspiration from it or you could even use their data for planet or starship names...
     
  3. jfby

    jfby Chieftain

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    I played Birth Of The Federation extensively, but eventually I was able to beat it without issue and it got repeatitive.
    Is there combat in Supremacy? It hasn't been updated in almost 2 years, so I'm not sure if it's ever going past 'Alpha' status, which is really too bad as it looked so promising.
    I do appreciate the idead to look for more ship names, so thaks for the reference!
     
  4. StuartKleinsen

    StuartKleinsen Chieftain

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    I don't know that much about Supremacy but afaik it's progressing really slowly... e.g. the ai still missing.
    Try the game Birth of the Empires (BotE)! It's a fan made sequel to BotF. They have changed all Star Trek content due to copyright issues but there are still those names in the data files like USS Defiant or Wolf 359 or IKS Amar. If you don't know those names take a look at http://memory-alpha.org/wiki/Portal:Main
    :)
     
  5. jfby

    jfby Chieftain

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    I am a huge fan of the memory alpha and beta websites =).
     
  6. deanej

    deanej Chieftain

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    Are they trying to sell it or something? There's no reason to change the content if it's not being sold.
     
  7. StuartKleinsen

    StuartKleinsen Chieftain

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    Well AFAIK these guys are just over-cautious... :scan:
    there's a mod to add all those star trek content (just graphics and such)... ;)
     
  8. Morkonan

    Morkonan Chieftain

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    Birth of the Federation was one of the worst games ever produced.

    I actually keep my copy of the BotF disk near the computer so I can sling it across the room whenever I feel like it. Seriously, no kidding. Right now, it's sitting in a far corner of the room from where I dumped it the other day. I haven't picked it up yet. When it's not busy flying through the air to smack against the wall, it serves as coaster. It's infinitely better at achieving that goal than anything having to do with entertainment value.

    Part of why I keep it hanging around is for the humor value in just being able to honestly say I do. The other part is because it was a game that had such potential but was horribly produced and has almost no "game play" value whatsoever. Because of its failure and, astoundingly, MicroProse's audacity at stooping to unseemly franchise peddling, I have condemned the CD to the hard-labor camp of my home office. It's the least I can do in order to protect the innocent...

    It's like they decided to take a great franchise and assassinate any possibility of deriving fun from it in a game.

    Game-play typically follows this sort of path - Dull.. dull.. dull.. buggy.. dull.. boring.. Oooh! A spaceship!... dull.. dull.. boring... dull... boring.. Ooh, a factory!... dull.. dull.. boring.. A factory II!... dull.. boring... A SpaceshipII!.. dull.. boring... stab-self-in-eyeball-boring... zzzzz..

    The only thing that wasn't boring was having your Federation stomped into electrons by the Borg. The Borg were a critical gameplay element and absolutely necessary. But, because they were kludged together and the game was, indeed, a piece of junk, the option to not have them appear in the game was also absolutely necessary if the player wanted to do anything but watch their empire get clobbered to death.

    BotF was just a game with the Star Trek franchise that tried to capture the Civ/Moo audience and failed, spectacularly, in every respect as far as content was concerned. The box was nice, though. (It's sitting in a bookcase, behind me.. trembling, lest I abuse it like it's dirty CD cousin..)

    Any game that builds on the BotF legacy had best do something the original producers did not do - Include entertaining content. For that reason, I stay far away from any modders that are fans of BotF or think its legacy is worth continuing. They had better acknowledge, first, how bad the game was and their intent to virtually re-write the entire thing.

    Making a good game involves more than slapping the Star Trek franchise name on it. Most Star Trek games have failed to live up to expectations because the developers relied more on the franchise to carry the game then the game content itself.

    Despite its easily recognizable name and its long past in the entertainment industry, even despite all the non-canon content and resource materials, Star Trek, itself, is a very difficult thing to translate into a 4x game. Even Adventure, RPG or tactical elements are difficult to flavor correctly in those genres. There are "holes" in the setting that must be filled by developers and, to date, few Star Trek games have come close to providing a good translation of the franchise to a game.

    Remarkably, the CivIV engine does hold promise for being a platform to produce a good translation of the Star Trek franchise. But, in order to do that, the game would have to be a bit different than a traditional 4x game. Star Trek doesn't lend itself well to 4x. But, a 4x'ish game with heavy RPG elements in a CivIV engine would do rather well. There would be a couple of elements needed, like spawned maps, that CivIV is not really designed to produce and other mods that have looked the question of spawning separate maps haven't been successful with CivIV.

    Anyway, sorry for the bloated post. But, whenever BotF comes up, I have to rant. It's a kneejerk reaction and no medication can dull the response...
     
  9. jfby

    jfby Chieftain

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    Morkonan

    You bring up a good point; I grew tired of BOTF quickly for the reasons you suggest.

    Star Trek doesn't really lend itself well to 4x style games for me because the shows and the movies were never about a large, intersolar federation making everything perfect for everyone but instead was about a ship, maybe two, and what the crews did to make a change. Sure in DS9 there was a massive war and we got to see what the Federation was capable of, but we didn't see a blow by blow account of how things came together like we would see in a Civ style game. To truely replicate the experience the shows/movies offered would be extremely difficult in a civ style game.

    Have you played this mod? Or at least the DS9 version of it, which is highly scripted as you said would make a good game.

    For me this is by far my favorite mod for Civ IV, which in itself is a game I don't like that much, and one of my favorite games overall. I would really enjoy a host of random events beyond what is already available, yet I have a vivid imagination and still thoroughly enjoy this game.
     
  10. deanej

    deanej Chieftain

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    That's why I've typically denied requests that were purely for flavor. My vision for Star Trek was "what would Sid Meier do if he lived 400 years in the future". I left the more minute details to the scenarios.
     
  11. Morkonan

    Morkonan Chieftain

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    Absolutely! It's something I've also said, many times - The Star Trek Franchise is NOT a good source for 4X style games. By the time one could create a great 4X game using the franchise, it wouldn't resemble Star Trek.

    That's not to say that games "similar" to 4X couldn't be developed using the franchise. But, they would not resemble the traditional 4X style of play. Star Trek just doesn't lend itself very well to that sort of concept.

    I think one could do it using CivIV-BTS engine - But it would not be a 4x game and it would be heavily scripted and depend very heavily on some weighted random events.

    Put it this way - Have you ever heard of "Star Control" (an old classic) or "Transcendence" (destined to be a new classic free game)? Either of those models of gameplay would work VERY well for a Star Trek based game handled by the CivIV-BTS engine. There could even be some limited 4X play involved. Of course, gameplay would have to be adapted since CIVBTS doesn't allow multiple terrain screens... at least, not that anyone has been able to successfully implement.

    I have played this Star Trek mod, but not any of the scenarios. I'll try the DS9 scenario and see how it goes. But, I was never a big DS9 fan... Too upset at them for ripping off Babylon 5.

    Beyond a doubt, my favorite mod of CivIV is Fall From Heaven II, specifically Rise From Erubus. (ie: FFHII's mod-mod - RiFE.) FFHII is one of the best game mods in gaming history, only slightly behind "Team Fortress" in popularity and achievement. RiFE follows directly in FFHII's footsteps with its ambition. And, it's still being developed, including more content phases, while FFHII is now content-blocked, with only bug fixes, usually done by community members. (Kael is now working for Stardock, trying to fix one of their games... :D)

    This incarnation of a Star Trek mod isn't bad. I play it, but not with as much enthusiasm as I might play FFHII-RiFE or some of the radical mods of BTS. That's OK. As I understand it, this mod was largely put together by one person. So, it's to be expected that there's only so much one person can do and I certainly acknowledge the great deal of effort that has gone into this mod. It "works" which is more than one can say about a great majority of the mods out there. It also has captured the look and feel of a Star Trek mod, which is more than many mods can claim to have done in their own genres. So, I can say it is a "win" as far as Star Trek 4X mods go. But, Star Trek just doesn't work well in the 4x game genre to begin with.
     
  12. Morkonan

    Morkonan Chieftain

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    Absolutely. That's really all you can do with a Star Trek 4X game. If you try to load it down with flavor, it just won't work - Star Trek didn't have that kind of flavor to begin with.

    The Star Trek franchise is more suited to adventure games, arcade/tactics games and, possibly, role-playing games. 4X games ignore what was great about the Star Trek franchise. Star Trek was "wagon-train to the stars," not "The Rise and Fall of the Roman Empire."

    Unfortunately, that means that a Star Trek game's gameplay would be much more involved as far as coding and scripting go, instead of the gameplay relying simply on embedded mechanics and AI as one would find in a 4X game. A heck of a lot of work done "under the hood" that would be transparent to the player, and not as immediately noticeable to them, would have to go into a good incarnation of the Star Trek franchise. BTS has some of that capability, if what certain top mods have done with it is any evidence. But, there are some things that it lacks which would really hinder a perfect translation. (Multiple terrain "levels" and generated terrain, would be one.)

    My vision for a Star Trek game would be centered around the player's ship, maybe even the player's "character" as a young Captain. (Thus, allowing the enjoyment of obtaining better ships and, possibly, the ability to command several.) Gameplay would be a mix of role-playing, adventure, trade-gaming and tactical battles. Several levels of play would exist, from mission specific play, randomized encounters and events, reputation building play/missions, personal achievements and ship achievements (promotions) etc.. and through a generally scripted storyline, or through multiple "modules" of intentionally scripted stories and randomly generated ones. Ideally, it would take... a lot of work. It's not something that BTS is really capable of pulling off easily, if at all.
     

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