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Unreal and the Milky Way Galaxy

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    Unreal and the Milky Way Galaxy

    Hi,

    So, unfortunately in Unreal, whilst we get an explanation of what a planet is, we never really get a good sense of where it is or the scale of what we're dealing with. For example, the Earth's military is meant to be the hotbed for human civilization and is meant to be overwhelmingly powerful - but how does that compare to the Skaarj Empire, or one of the corporations? How is the tribe of the Gen Mokai compare to a colony based on Twin Souls or whatever?

    Well, whilst there isn't a lot of information, we can totally speculate. First, the unreal tournament becomes legal in 2291, but as early as 2215, the first Unreal game begins, the NEG is formed from Earth and the "United Aligned Worlds" and the "Terran Colonial Authority" is established shortly after that.

    The earth's population in 2215 is probably at least 24 billion people, speculating from current birth rates with current medical technology. Given that in UT3 Malcom implies that the NEG is a bit of a big threat and that it would be suicide to go into open conflict with it and that UT3 takes place in 2303, it would be more apt to think colonial planets as the size of modern day earth, or just above that. Additionally, given that also in UT3, characters refer to themselves as "Terran" as if to imply that the Necris aren't "Terran", which lends some credence to the idea that "Terra" is a star system, that simply has close ties to Earth.

    So, the NEG at the moment composes approximately 1-2 star systems (excluding our own) and inhabit 6 planets (again, excluding our own), whilst humans have undoubtedly touched many more. On the other hand, we know much less about the Skaarj Empire, but, they have at least conquered Na Pali, the homeworld of the Krall and have their own homeworld of Skrath.



    The blue shaded bit is the NEG, the green is (probably) the Skaarj, and even this tiny slice of the galaxy is including possibly hundreds of planets that we're just ignoring.

    This isn't a fun exercise any more.
    Attached Files

    #2
    "we never really get a good sense of where it is or the scale of what we're dealing with"

    To me that's a good thing. You can imagine it being as large or small as you prefer.
    From Unreal and Unreal 2, I did get the impression that human territory was large and sparsely distributed. At least enough so that three ships could crash land on Na Pali (including a prison ship that had no business being in distant territory) and yet it was still uncharted.

    Comment


      #3
      Originally posted by Dementiurge View Post
      To me that's a good thing. You can imagine it being as large or small as you prefer.
      Problem is that whenever you're talking about things like the invasion of Earth, or the Strider Wars or, like in UT3, going to the Necris homeworld, the context of what you're doing and where you are and who you're up against alters the story and your perception of the characters a lot and without any sort of scale, a lot of the story is lost on you. Compare invading Berlin in WW2 to arresting bandits that have been harassing a town in the wild west.

      Comment


        #4
        Alot of this stuff is vague because it didn't need to become anything more than that i suppose. Unreal 1 wasen't exactly heavy on writing and story (except for the logs). Unreal 2 is the closest we got to it which i guess was abit of a missed opportunity but ah well.

        Most of the unreal is in it's multiplayer but they give you just enough info to make it feel and lets you know that it has a universe and that it is alive and populated and stuff happens in it aside from the Tournament and Championship Leagues. Sometimes they give you more than that but they never truly go out of their way to tell you when it comes to size.

        For example The Tosc, we know they exist in Unreal (yes they really do exist in the unreal lore) and can guess that they are from the timeline of 100 A.C (Ancient Century) and higher based on the so little tidbits of info that were given on them and the vagueness, they never gave us how big any of their events truly were. We also know that They wield Singularity type weapons that can also open up holes to other universes (moreso their weaponry effect to be exact), their creators/scientists can create artifacts anddd..that's all we ever will know of them. Skaarj moreso but even they are vague for the most part including size, we know more about them atleast since they were/are more prominent.

        Perhaps if unreal was strictly a singleplayer series (aside from the first and second Unreal), spanning quite a few more iterations (instead of the multiplayer Arena-Shooter side of the series which took over eventually).

        I agree it would of been nice on an exact scope especially the events and unreal 2 missed that boat to give us one.
        Last edited by Berg; 05-29-2016, 01:22 PM.

        Comment


          #5
          Originally posted by Graydar View Post
          Problem is that whenever you're talking about things like the invasion of Earth, or the Strider Wars or, like in UT3, going to the Necris homeworld, the context of what you're doing and where you are and who you're up against alters the story and your perception of the characters a lot and without any sort of scale, a lot of the story is lost on you. Compare invading Berlin in WW2 to arresting bandits that have been harassing a town in the wild west.
          http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.ph...NoSenseOfScale
          Really it applies to all writers.
          The Milky Way is at least 100,000 light years across, and has at least 100 Billion stars, with at least 3 planets each (and judging by the number of superplanets we've discovered, likely many more than that). A "tiny slice" of the Milky Way could have a million stars and millions of planets, enough for a civilization that probably couldn't even file its taxes on a 64-bit computer. This is as true during the wild west as it is during WW2 as it is during the Strider Wars. When you compare the geological history of the Earth versus a "World War" of a few years, fought over a few thousand square kilometers, it feels meaningless and insignificant. The scope is so gigantic that the scale disappears and the background overshadows the foreground. More often, it's better to ignore the scale, and just trust that the things that seem big are big, and the things that seem small are small.

          It's not as if this is the first time that a lore rich universe has ever been coy about details. How big is Tatooine? Tamriel? Middle Earth? Someone somewhere has an idea, but no story has ever suffered for not knowing these things.

          Knowing the details, getting really deep into the world-building groove, is also something you have to be careful with if you want to avoid contradictions and conflicts. They're just factoids, but if you're not careful, you can get tied up in them and then there's no way down. That's why I don't mind not knowing. So long as you're vague and leave the lore open ended, you never have to say "oh, we can't do that, we already said Skaarj are allergic to bananas in episode 7".

          Comment


            #6
            If you fancy it, you can easily make scripts to add the Unreal territories into Celestia and compare with other fictional planets and systems, including Star Wars, Star Trek, Babylon 5 and more.
            http://www.celestiamotherlode.net
            http://www.shatters.net/celestia/
            It uses 3DS format so is easy to import/export resources.
            Who wants a UT99 FOOD FIGHT ?

            Comment


              #7
              I think one thing here to note is game stories are notorious for being poor when compared to books, movies and even TV shows not to mention back when Unreal was being made so I dont think the lack of story as relevant in todays game market as it was back then. Look at Battleborn and Overwatch, people form a better connection with the characters not just because they relate to that class but because of the personality of that character as well something UT is lacking with its opponents, there is very individuality.

              I dont think its as easy to get away with no story anymore, even for a MP game, it needs some sort of context and after so many games I think its really difficult to ignore the complete lack of direction from the franchise. Sure its a MP shooter but what is it past that? Epic have even said they were trying to work out the pillars of a UT game, like they didnt know already so to me its time to fix all these issue and not make more excuses as to why the game (and franchise) lacks a bigger picture heading towards more than 15 years on (and heading towards 20 years on).

              Could you imagine if they tried to make an Avengers movie where all they did is just brawl? Yeah wouldnt go so well would it but making a brawler game base on the story, nice and easy because its established. Unreal and UT in particular have never felt very established and I think its time for that to change, if the franchise were more established it would setup for future titles and thats generally what good reboots do, they dont limit their scope to the single game. I know Epic might not make big SP games at this point because they are still in the process of becoming a publisher but that doesnt mean it wont be more viable down the line or that a different model for SP might be more relevant like tying it to the cloud or coop options etc.

              I just think it would be sad to see this game stand out amongst the crowd as the only shooter without a backstory (which it currently kinda does), some people might not care for the story or ever play it but this is where innovative design comes in, that you dont need to have MP games completely void of character, you can still have stories there, you still have the player stories, the developer can inject into those player stories themes and tones they feel appropriate so its not just written words where story comes through, its the scenery, the characters themselves and all the other art can tell a story. That story has to make sense, it has to have some semblance of cohesion or you'll lose the audience, it doesnt have to big and deep it just needs to actually exist, if it can be deeper and bigger why not just let it go, let it grow instead of setting everything back to 0 hour
              Upon release, Unreal Tournament 2004 was met with widespread critical acclaim. Several critics praised the unique, fast-paced, fun and challenging nature of the game as its main selling points, while fans touted the post-release support and extensive modding capabilities.

              Comment


                #8
                Aye, I was assuming that Epic was going to take a harder approach to the way that the teams and the characters were being portrayed in UT4 with their mention of advertising teams and such. tbh, the characters were a big part of UT2K4 for me - it killed me that I couldn't find out more about them. ;_;

                Gray had an aneurysm.

                Comment


                  #9
                  ... To boldly go where no man has gone before ...

                  Comment


                    #10
                    Originally posted by MonsOlympus View Post
                    I think one thing here to note is game stories are notorious for being poor when compared to books, movies and even TV shows not to mention back when Unreal was being made so I dont think the lack of story as relevant in todays game market as it was back then. Look at Battleborn and Overwatch, people form a better connection with the characters not just because they relate to that class but because of the personality of that character as well something UT is lacking with its opponents, there is very individuality.

                    I dont think its as easy to get away with no story anymore, even for a MP game, it needs some sort of context and after so many games I think its really difficult to ignore the complete lack of direction from the franchise. Sure its a MP shooter but what is it past that? Epic have even said they were trying to work out the pillars of a UT game, like they didnt know already so to me its time to fix all these issue and not make more excuses as to why the game (and franchise) lacks a bigger picture heading towards more than 15 years on (and heading towards 20 years on).

                    Could you imagine if they tried to make an Avengers movie where all they did is just brawl? Yeah wouldnt go so well would it but making a brawler game base on the story, nice and easy because its established. Unreal and UT in particular have never felt very established and I think its time for that to change, if the franchise were more established it would setup for future titles and thats generally what good reboots do, they dont limit their scope to the single game. I know Epic might not make big SP games at this point because they are still in the process of becoming a publisher but that doesnt mean it wont be more viable down the line or that a different model for SP might be more relevant like tying it to the cloud or coop options etc.

                    I just think it would be sad to see this game stand out amongst the crowd as the only shooter without a backstory (which it currently kinda does), some people might not care for the story or ever play it but this is where innovative design comes in, that you dont need to have MP games completely void of character, you can still have stories there, you still have the player stories, the developer can inject into those player stories themes and tones they feel appropriate so its not just written words where story comes through, its the scenery, the characters themselves and all the other art can tell a story. That story has to make sense, it has to have some semblance of cohesion or you'll lose the audience, it doesnt have to big and deep it just needs to actually exist, if it can be deeper and bigger why not just let it go, let it grow instead of setting everything back to 0 hour
                    I really agree with your first paragraph. It's not hard to come up with reasons for it, but it's certain that video games have generally had terrible excuses for narratives, you can count the good ones on the fingers on one hand. Not that this stopped them from delivering powerful and immersive experiences.

                    On the other hand, I disagree with the idea that you really need a good, fleshed out backstory to go with your game. Minimalist plot lines in games like Quake and Dark Souls have shown that you can use the players imagination to your advantage as a designer. And The Avengers is not a good example here, I imagine very few people watch it to find out what happens to that stupid glowing cube thing as the characters are the real driving force there.

                    A fleshed out lore and universe have to be carefully crafted. If you don't have good writers, I don't think there's anything wrong with delivering a solid sense of atmosphere with great action and letting the players fill the rest out themselves in their heads.

                    Comment

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