Unvanquished timeline

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kharnov
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Unvanquished timeline

Postby kharnov » Sun Sep 16, 2012 6:50 pm UTC

Hey everyone. So, I'd like to get started on actually finalizing the setting for Unvanquished. I need to do that if I'd like to write out a formal background story! If you've missed it in a recent blog post, I wrote out a timeline for the game universe. I'm open to suggestions, comments, and criticism. Here is everything I have so far, and if I get any good advice in this thread, I'll edit this:

[CENTER]Unvanquished Timeline[/CENTER]

  • Human civilization achieves some sort of planet-wide unification. It isn't entirely peaceful, there's some resentment about the loss of national identity, but over the successive generations, some of the grumbling fades away. A few rebellions happen at some points during the process, and the way that they're handled might give hints to some sort of authoritarianism being involved. I'd like to leave that part open to interpretation. The unified human government can be viewed as benevolent, but with sinister dictatorial undertones.
  • Scientific progress continues at an accelerated pace, aided in some regards by the era of enforced planetary peace. New technology allows for a variety of things, including rudimentary nano-fabrication, nuclear fusion, mass-produced clones, and artificial intelligence. Clones are ultimately favored over humanoid machines, as they're easier to maintain, cheaper to produce, and do not run the risk of going rogue. Alternatively, the usage of robotic soldiers might have created widespread outrage and fear, similar to the usage of nuclear weapons. Thus, they have been forbidden from combat roles, as humans ultimately decide that only humans are permitted to kill other humans, not sentient machines.
  • Humanity begins to spread throughout the solar system, colonizing planets, moons, and the occasional dwarf planet. Technology for terraforming does not exist yet, so early colonists are required to live under domed settlements. They come with labor clones, who have been modified to be fully functional under harsh environmental conditions that would otherwise kill an unprotected human. A few machines are also brought along on expeditions, but as colonists do not have the means to produce more of them, they are outnumbered by labor clones.
  • Once humans have spread to all remotely habitable locations in the solar system, research into wormhole physics ultimately results in the creation of new spaceship engines that can travel entire lightyears in the span of a single day. Early experiments result in absolute disaster, as unfortunate test pilots repeatedly meet gruesome fates. Ultimately, the technology reaches a point where extremely powerful computers can calculate safe routes, and the first trips are made to nearby stars, where humans set up their first outposts beyond the solar system.
  • A network of wormhole routes are discovered through trial and error, allowing humanity to expand cautiously through the galaxy. Sentient alien life is not discovered, providing an eerie emptiness to humanity's expansion. Human colonies are entirely dependent on assistance and trade with Earth, providing the home planet with valuable minerals otherwise depleted by centuries of mining, while new colonists are sent to populate and expand the settlements. Some new worlds become powerful in their own right and send out colonial expeditions of their own, but are kept in check by the central authority on Earth. Terraforming is gradually introduced, and some promising planets are made hospitable, eliminating the need to wear protective suits and live under domes. Other planets are left barren.
  • Ultimately, aliens are encountered. The first contact is hostile, and they appear to be approaching from multiple directions. One colony is completely wiped out, and does not respond to communication broadcasts. Before an expedition is sent to investigate, several others send out distress signals. News quickly spreads through the human systems, which find themselves beginning to panic. A power struggle on Earth results in humanity's frontier being left unprotected, as opportunistic military factions attempt to wrest control from the civilian government, promising a proper response to the alien menace in a clear attempt at seizing total control. Travel to and from the solar system is prevented by a military blockade as Earth descends into chaos.
  • Abandoned and hopeless, the defenseless frontier is besieged by the onslaught of the alien menace. Pooling their meager resources together, the dominant frontier worlds begin to raise armies, an act forbidden in the past due to the iron grip of Earth. Some lucky colonists are evacuated to established systems, although millions die horrendous deaths in the initial weeks of the conflict. The aliens approach rapidly and in increasingly larger waves, with no sign of stopping. Resources stretched thin, the newly created frontier governments at last make a decision to send in the clones. Created in massive numbers, they are given their nano-fabricated environmental suits, a stockpile of cheaply produced weaponry, and shipped off to hot combat zones.
  • Present day. The clone armies achieve some degree of success, and manage to maintain a stalemate with the alien menace. Yet, in addition to sightings of increasingly powerful alien forms, there is utter silence from Earth. Rumors abound of a new imperial government, one that is currently in the process of reconstructing the human presence in the war-ravaged solar system. If the rumors are true, the frontier governments fear an ascendant Earth, one that would not take kindly to the military strength of its old colony worlds. Banding together for protection, the new Alliance of Frontier Worlds administrates the periphery of human space, a ring of colony systems surrounding the fringes of early human expansion. Facing threats of alien destruction and imperial reprisal, the clone armies fight onward into an uncertain future.
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Re: Unvanquished timeline

Postby CommanderWill » Sun Sep 16, 2012 8:56 pm UTC

Seems awesome so far! I'm just wondering though, is there a name for the alien race yet? Also, this whole thing seems very reminiscent of Ender's Game, with all the bugger wars and stuff, which I think is very cool.
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illwieckz
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Re: Unvanquished timeline

Postby illwieckz » Sun Sep 16, 2012 9:48 pm UTC

Alternatively, the usage of robotic soldiers might have created widespread outrage and fear, similar to the usage of nuclear weapons. Thus, they have been forbidden from combat roles, as humans ultimately decide that only humans are permitted to kill other humans, not sentient machines.


This is a great idea, I've never read or heard this in any SF story ! Do you know an author who has expressed this rule in a book or a movie? Or you got this idea by writing Unvanquished history ? I's brillant !
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kharnov
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Re: Unvanquished timeline

Postby kharnov » Sun Sep 16, 2012 9:52 pm UTC

The only setting I can think of is:

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Of course, in Dune, there is a prohibition on any kind of thinking machine. It goes a lot further than what I had in mind. There are absolutely no computers in Dune, for instance. It's a very different kind of sci-fi setting.
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Re: Unvanquished timeline

Postby janev » Sun Sep 16, 2012 10:55 pm UTC

So far so good.


About the clones, they could be a last ditch response to the alien threat. I do not buy them being widely used in warfare unless some cataclysmic event changed public opinion. I see machines as being the more “humane” way of waging war when compared to clones.

[INDENT]EX) Billions met gruesome deaths in the first engagements. Treaties that had banned clone warfare had to be abandoned in the face of the new foe. Volunteers for the cloning process were abundant after the first worlds fell, but only one in a million met the physical, mental and experience requirements for cloning. (Explains the lack of different models) [/INDENT]

Alternatively cloning is the only cost effective way of manning far away regions of space. Transport costs for individuals would be too high and so they have to grow their own on site. A few highly specialized templates (clones) can be produced/ modified to meet the particular challenges of that local. Soldier, Scientist, Communications etc etc etc.


Going off on a gameplay tangent: Would it be interesting to break up maps according to being "early in the conflict" or "late in the conflict"? With a different starting point you would get more variation in the games. People would get to try more classes. You could have it so you start at stage 2 on certain maps or have stage 3 unreachable

[INDENT]EX) An early encounter would not see the tyrants in play but humans would also be limited in their available armament. Perhaps automated turrets had not yet been brought into production.

Late in the conflict, when going on the counteroffensive, flamethrowers and the tools for rooting out the alien menace are the norm however you would have to push through stiffer resistance. Aliens could automatically spawn as more evolved forms and humans have big budgets.
[/INDENT]
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Re: Unvanquished timeline

Postby CommanderWill » Sun Sep 16, 2012 11:06 pm UTC

Of course, in Dune, there is a prohibition on any kind of thinking machine. It goes a lot further than what I had in mind. There are absolutely no computers in Dune, for instance. It's a very different kind of sci-fi setting.


I didn't catch the Dune spin on my first read-through, that's pretty great. Dune and Ender's Game are two of my favorite sci-fi books/series.

Going off on a gameplay tangent: Would it be interesting to break up maps according to being "early in the conflict" or "late in the conflict"? With a different starting point you would get more variation in the games. People would get to try more classes. You could have it so you start at stage 2 on certain maps or have stage 3 unreachable


That'd be pretty cool implementation.

One other question I had, maybe I missed it on the first few reads but I'm not sure, What is the alien's means of interplanetary travel? Do they have spacecraft or something? It's not too important for gameplay, but it could be an influence in some map designs.
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Re: Unvanquished timeline

Postby KenuR » Mon Sep 17, 2012 7:40 am UTC

Human civilization achieves some sort of planet-wide unification. It isn't entirely peaceful, there's some resentment about the loss of national identity, but over the successive generations, some of the grumbling fades away. A few rebellions happen at some points during the process, and the way that they're handled might give hints to some sort of authoritarianism being involved. I'd like to leave that part open to interpretation. The unified human government can be viewed as benevolent, but with sinister dictatorial undertones.

I don't think that this will ever happen.
Either way, I think you should provide some sort of explanation for how this was achieved.
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illwieckz
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Re: Unvanquished timeline

Postby illwieckz » Mon Sep 17, 2012 6:54 pm UTC

Of course, in Dune, there is a prohibition on any kind of thinking machine.


Yes, it's different ! It's the prohibition of any form of robotics, not some robot action. The first Asimov's law of robotics looks like this: "A robot may not injure a human being". But, even if it is similar, your concept "only a man has are permitted to kill others humans" seems unprecedented.
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Re: Unvanquished timeline

Postby ViruS » Tue Sep 18, 2012 12:03 pm UTC

illwieckz wrote:"only a man has are permitted to kill others humans"

Animals get killed for causing fatalities or killing humans these days...
ImageImage[color="#000000"]You[/color][color="#FF0000"][[/color][color="#A9A9A9"]Tube[/color]Image
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Re: Unvanquished timeline

Postby Anomalous » Fri Sep 21, 2012 7:25 pm UTC

kharnov wrote:[…] Thus, they have been forbidden from combat roles, as humans ultimately decide that only humans are permitted to kill other humans, not sentient machines.

Well, yes – we wouldn't want the machines to try to kill us to stop us killing them…
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