[SPOILERS] A proposed starting plot framework

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By Sanglorian 5 Dec 2015 11:33

Champion · 498 comments

Hi folks,

I have put together a preliminary proposed plot for the first parts of the Tuxemon game. I'm not particularly attached to any part of it, but I thought it was a good first step in getting people thinking about the plot and what we need in it.

Read it on the wiki

My inspiration for the format was actually PKMN walkthroughs. I recommend reading through a few to get a real insight into the structure of the PKMN games - more insightful even than re-playing them, I reckon! This website is pretty good: Strategy Wiki

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By ShadowApex 8 Dec 2015 09:02

Lead Developer · 374 comments

Thanks for this write-up!

Since we currently don't have any of the starting campaign in map form I certainly wouldn't mind if this was made as a starting point if someone wanted to work on it. We can always come back and change or modify the start of the campaign based on the evolution of the story cannon.

With that said, here are some of my thoughts:

0. Set Up

  • Choose difficulty
  • Choose profile: eight or so, including a mix of genders and races
  • Choose name

I like this set up, and think we should shoot towards including each of these things in the start of the game.

One of them leaves behind his/her Omnichannel ID card. It identifies you as a Journalism Intern.

I'm personally not really fond of the idea of becoming a journalist-type character. I know that this sets up a plot device that allows the player to proceed into the next area, but I think we could do something else that wouldn't require the character to become a blogger/journalist. I'd be interested in how the rest of the community felt about this point.

I do, however, LOVE the general idea behind the "Tuxepedia" though. I could easily imagine an event where you meet the creator of Tuxepedia and he explains that anyone can edit and contribute to the Tuxepedia, but it hasn't quite caught on yet. This could provide the main character with a motivation to help complete the Tuxepedia by catching and learning about the creatures in the world of Tuxemon to help complete the Tuxepedia. It could also be explained that the only way the people of the Tuxemon world can learn about creatures is through a pay-wall like site that is tightly controlled by a central power.

Most of the way, you're fine because your Blog Posts are uncredited. But one story is so significant that you get credited, and you get locked out of the Bazaar because they think you're a Cathedral mole. You battle them in meatspace.

I'm not sure about having a battle in meatspace. As user jobashi proposed in his world lore, I'd like for the fact that the player is inside a simulation to be subtle, but as the player learns more and more it starts to become more self-referential and 4th-wall breaking.

Credit Card: The idea behind the Credit Card is that every time you visit a Town, all the money you are carrying gets put into your Bank Account. That way, when you black out, you only lose the money you recently acquired.

I like the idea of having a credit card/debit card. This same sort of mechanic was done really well in Earthbound. I think we may need to have some way to earn money outside of battling a finite number of trainers though, otherwise it might be possible (if you're really bad) to be completely broke throughout the game. Maybe that's ok?

Linux Phone: You can receive calls from people, letting you know about plot twists and TXMN surges and so on, but also this is how you access the Bazaar (a web forum) - once you get a VPN.

I think having a mobile device would be good. I like the idea more of the Bazaar being a physical place with inhabitants in contrast with the pillars of the Cathedral though. Basically as jobashi described it: "You begin the game in what's left of the Bazaar, essentially the Creative Commons. Bazaar Tuxemon are free to fuse with any other Tuxemon, & free to be captured in the wild."

Sanglorian wrote

My inspiration for the format was actually PKMN walkthroughs.

I think this is a good place to start, but one thing I would like to diverge from is its linear format. I think having a more open world style of play would make exploration and discovery a much more enjoyable part of the game.

That's all I could think of at the moment, but I'm sure I'll have more thoughts as the story continues. Thanks again for this write-up!


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By Sanglorian 9 Dec 2015 04:46

Champion · 498 comments
ShadowApex wrote

Since we currently don't have any of the starting campaign in map form I certainly wouldn't mind if this was made as a starting point if someone wanted to work on it. We can always come back and change or modify the start of the campaign based on the evolution of the story cannon.

Definitely - my philosophy comes from Wikipedia: Be bold. We can change anything/everything as we go.

I'm personally not really fond of the idea of becoming a journalist-type character. I know that this sets up a plot device that allows the player to proceed into the next area, but I think we could do something else that wouldn't require the character to become a blogger/journalist. I'd be interested in how the rest of the community felt about this point.

I do, however, LOVE the general idea behind the "Tuxepedia" though. I could easily imagine an event where you meet the creator of Tuxepedia and he explains that anyone can edit and contribute to the Tuxepedia, but it hasn't quite caught on yet. This could provide the main character with a motivation to help complete the Tuxepedia by catching and learning about the creatures in the world of Tuxemon to help complete the Tuxepedia. It could also be explained that the only way the people of the Tuxemon world can learn about creatures is through a pay-wall like site that is tightly controlled by a central power.

Oh, I'm not married to the journalism plot point. I think it's a neat way to tie together a bunch of otherwise unrelated sidequests (the TXMN-fighting geriatrics, etc), but there are other ways to do that/they can be left as unconnected.

Haha, I can just imagine a down-trodden hacker: "It's this really great website that could be a collaborative encyclopedia for the whole world ... but no one's using it sad"

I'm not sure about having a battle in meatspace. As user jobashi proposed in his world lore, I'd like for the fact that the player is inside a simulation to be subtle, but as the player learns more and more it starts to become more self-referential and 4th-wall breaking.

Ah, that's my being unclear. By meatspace, I just meant the regular world of the characters, not the web-world of the Bazaar. But if we go with a physical Bazaar, then that is dodged.

I like the idea of having a credit card/debit card. This same sort of mechanic was done really well in Earthbound. I think we may need to have some way to earn money outside of battling a finite number of trainers though, otherwise it might be possible (if you're really bad) to be completely broke throughout the game. Maybe that's ok?

Is this the Earthbound you mean?: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/EarthBound

Is it worth playing, for research?

I think having a mobile device would be good. I like the idea more of the Bazaar being a physical place with inhabitants in contrast with the pillars of the Cathedral though. Basically as jobashi described it: "You begin the game in what's left of the Bazaar, essentially the Creative Commons. Bazaar Tuxemon are free to fuse with any other Tuxemon, & free to be captured in the wild."

I imagine a digital Bazaar as being basically a big Pokecentre you can access in any city - so you'd interact with it in the same way as physical place. The advantage of this, I think, is that you don't end up many cities/routes away from the Bazaar, but at the same time it's clearly an unconventional/illicit place.

But perhaps there are ways of resolving that while still having it be a physical place.


Thanks for your feedback!

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By ShadowApex 10 Dec 2015 01:04

Lead Developer · 374 comments
Sanglorian wrote

Haha, I can just imagine a down-trodden hacker: "It's this really great website that could be a collaborative encyclopedia for the whole world ... but no one's using it sad"

Yes!! That's exactly what I was thinking too! big_smile

Sanglorian wrote

Is this the Earthbound you mean?: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/EarthBound

Is it worth playing, for research?

Yes, that's the Earthbound I was talking about. smile I think it would be worth playing the first hour or so for research purposes (or more if you like the game!). It has some mechanics that I think might be worth considering for Tuxemon. One other mechanic that's in Earthbound, which was also suggested in IRC by user AlienCat, would be to make it so there aren't any "random" battles. You'd be able to see enemies on the world map and if you touch them, you'll enter combat. I was thinking we could do something similar to this with rustles in the grass that spawn and move around.


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By Leo 10 Dec 2015 16:39

Moderator · 70 comments
Sanglorian wrote

I have put together a preliminary proposed plot for the first parts of the Tuxemon game. I'm not particularly attached to any part of it, but I thought it was a good first step in getting people thinking about the plot and what we need in it.

Nice of you to tackle this task and starts discussions about it.


I'll add a suggestion for the world lore.
My issue with the proposition is that it puts everything, freeness/libreness piracy and copyright in the same bag.
For example many people think that piracy is not an act of rebellion against copyright, but the very reason proprietary systems are so popular: if everybody had to pay the price of the software they use (i.e. no piracy), people would more readily turn to free/libre alternatives.

Same thing with the term "hacker". It can mean basically anything from the good programmer who loves rapid prototyping to the nefarious idiots who use ransomware bought on the darknet and are basically code-illiterate, up to state-sponsored spies (US of Chinese). So I would avoid it altogether, maybe use in-game terms for both meanings (knights and knaves? smile).

Something like this would avoid these issues:
The simulated reality was created by some university research project as an open world simulation.
The bazaar was created by various scientists, from which the civilization started.
But one rogue scientist created the cathedral for some nefarious purpose (virus spreading spam bot farm?).
The cathedral acts as a totalitarian entity that is enslaving/locking everything down.
Maybe the world's mythology would be to discover hidden messages by the initial coders and beta versions of the world.

ShadowApex wrote

I think this is a good place to start, but one thing I would like to diverge from is its linear format. I think having a more open world style of play would make exploration and discovery a much more enjoyable part of the game.

It would mean some work on the programming side, and a lot of fine-tuning. Since the main progression is your creatures level, it means that you should be able to adjust the pillar's difficulty level depending on the trainer's level. Do you plan your architecture based on a nonlinear progression?

ShadowApex wrote

Yes, that's the Earthbound I was talking about. smile

It's funny that you mention Mother, because the current dex made me feel that many of the creatures actually feel to belong more to a mother game than a pkmn.

Last edited by Leo (10 Dec 2015 16:40)

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By ShadowApex 11 Dec 2015 00:00

Lead Developer · 374 comments
Leo wrote

Same thing with the term "hacker". It can mean basically anything from the good programmer who loves rapid prototyping to the nefarious idiots who use ransomware bought on the darknet and are basically code-illiterate, up to state-sponsored spies (US of Chinese). So I would avoid it altogether, maybe use in-game terms for both meanings (knights and knaves? smile).

I too prefer that we avoid using these kind of real-world terms. Doing so would not only avoid the vague interpretations of those titles as Leo mentions, but would also lend to the subtlety that your character is actually in a digital world. I think that, ideally, the knowledge of the world being inside a simulation should be slowly disseminated throughout the course of the game.

Leo wrote

The simulated reality was created by some university research project as an open world simulation.
The bazaar was created by various scientists, from which the civilization started.
But one rogue scientist created the cathedral for some nefarious purpose (virus spreading spam bot farm?).
The cathedral acts as a totalitarian entity that is enslaving/locking everything down.
Maybe the world's mythology would be to discover hidden messages by the initial coders and beta versions of the world.

I think it would be interesting to include some hidden messages left by the coders of the simulation, but I like the idea of exactly how and why the simulation was created to remain a mystery. I think leaving the creation of the world a mystery would make it more interesting for the player and would force them to question the origin of the world. Were they created by university scientists in the near present day? Are they the last remnants of humanity sealed in an orbiting simulation to avoid an extinction event on Earth? Were they created by an alien civilization to better understand mankind? These could all be potential origin stories that the player could think about. The actual cathedral and bazaar themselves could have manifested in their world, with or without any outside influence.

Leo wrote

It would mean some work on the programming side, and a lot of fine-tuning. Since the main progression is your creatures level, it means that you should be able to adjust the pillar's difficulty level depending on the trainer's level. Do you plan your architecture based on a nonlinear progression?

I have thought about scaling the level of encounters to the player to a certain degree, but you're right in that it would need some tuning. I was thinking more along the lines of how games like Fallout allow the player the explore the world, but certain parts are more difficult than others. This would still make the game linear to a degree, but would still allow you to explore.

Here's an example map of how the difficulty scales as you explore the map in Fallout:

Fallout-4-Collectible-Map.jpg

Leo wrote

It's funny that you mention Mother, because the current dex made me feel that many of the creatures actually feel to belong more to a mother game than a pkmn.

Yeah, I feel similarly. I think it's an interesting mix. smile


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By Leo 4 Jan 2016 17:44

Moderator · 70 comments

I asked a friend for a potential plot for Tuxemon, that could fit within the universe (it doesn't go for now into what would be the gym equivalent or other aspects).
What do you think of it?


--------
Main characters
- protagonist Pax, from Ceza
- sidekick Fen, from Ceza
- mentor professor Magnus, from Techcity
- another friend Abel from Techcity

Main enemies
- Spyder group, seek control of all lands and monsters.
- The mayor of Techcity Tectic Jr., son of the deceased former mayor Tectic Sr..

Chapter I

Pax receives a letter from friend Fen who moved to a promising city, Techcity, hoping to learn about their monsters. Fen would like to collaborate with Pax.

Upon arrival in Techcity, Pax receives a communication device, the Technogear, in the City Hall. Pax is welcomed by mayor Tectic Jr. and meets some of his advisors who seem quite cold.

Pax meets Fen and her mentor professor Magnus who gives a new starter, some advice, and warns the times in Techcity may not be as good as Fen thinks.

We train our monster and befriend new ones (and villagers).
A few weeks later, Pax receives a call from Fen, who caught glimpse on a frightening letter in Magnus's office:

"Some ill-intentioned people are targeting Techcity, and the monsters are the first in danger. Professor, you are the only person who can save them, and they are the only ones who can save us, so please save our town."

Fen thought at first this was a prank (people of Techcity love a good prank) but what if it wasn't? We agree to go and see Magnus but he's nowhere to be seen and doesn't answer his Technogear. His office looks like it has been robbed.
A few minutes after we arrive the police is there and Fen is immediately suspected of abducting Magnus and stealing his data. 
Without Magnus and Fen, Pax has nothing to do in Techcity and is asked to leave.
But how did the police come so fast? Pax discovers how someone related to Magnus' disappearance could spy on their Technogear conversations, warn the police while pinning the blame on Fen. Pax fixes the Technogear to make it untrackable.

Pax goes to see Fen's friend Abel, who wants to go and free Fen.
We learn that Fen is detained in a new shiny prison building, financed by Mayor Tectic Jr's allie Crispy, head of the mysterious Spyder Order.

First mission: help Fen escape, and return to Ceza.
More and more of our new monsters have a strange behaviour. We are able to fix the problems but the monsters are potentially dangerous to normal citizens. The letter must be related to this.

A little girl is attacked by a someone's monster. Mayor Tectic Jr is concerned, and asks his advisor Crispy for advice. They agree to safety controls on both owned and free monsters, to prevent similar tragedies. This is approved by the citizens: while the former mayor failed to solve the financial difficulties of Techcity, he worked hard for his people. It seems natural to trust his son, who is also successfully making Techcity prosperous again (all thanks to the Spyder Order).
Owned monsters are confiscated, and many wild monsters are captured, in order to check and cure them. They are detained in a building financed by the Spyder Order.
"Temporary compromises should be made for long-term gains"


Chapter II

Pax and Fen return to Ceza, explain the situation and receive a crypted message from Professor Magnus.
Magnus apologizes for what happened, he feared he was watched by people he thought he could trust and knew the communications were not safe, he intentionally showed the letter hoping we would have time to escape as well.  Somebody made his office look like it was robbed, because Magnus did not leave anything important visible before leaving.

Fen is now also believed to be have created the virus infecting all monsters, to allow Ceza to take control of Techcity, which is weakened day after day despite the Spyder Order's help.
For the safety and survival of Techcity, Mayor Tectic Jr. (listening to his generous friend Crispy) wants more and more control on the monsters and surveillance on the citizens to arrest all criminals like Fen. Believing Ceza has evil intentions and is gaining more power thanks to the virus and Professor Magnus' disappearance, Tectic Jr. wants to extend the reach of Spyder to Ceza. Some of the people are doubtful because they do not like Spyder's growing control over Techcity. Half of Techcity wants "justice", but more and more are resisting and do not believe the mayor's claims. Many monsters are released after being "cured", which is obviously a proof of the mayor's good intentions, but something about these monsters seems off.

Second mission: help those in Techcity hiding their perfectly healthy monsters, convince them to protect their city, for real.
Start by Abel's familly and friends, who, while they believe Fen is guilty, they are also illegally hiding and curing monsters.
Magnus tells us he will contact his wife Wilhelmina to reassure her, and we need to protect her.

Chapter III

After Magnus releases a public message to some non-official platforms, we have many people on our side and many entire families join the resistance (Magnus and his wife reunite).

Third mission: discover what really happens to confiscated and captured monsters detained in Spyder HQ, and cure them.


Chapter IV

Crispy and the remaining members of the Spyder Order have fled, but Mayor Tectic Jr. is arrested. His version:
His father died of exhaustion, working non-stop in order to save Techcity from its financial problems. Tectic Jr's only goal was to retrieve Techcity's grandeur and prosperity. He met Crispy, head of the Spyder Order, who said he could help since they shared the same dream: creating the perfect city. The new buildings, schools, hospitals, research labs, where built with the Spyder Order, and became progressively more and more controlled by them. But the city's economy recovered, the people seemed happy.  Teaming up with Spyder seemed good for everybody, there's no way he could have guessed their nefarious intentions.
Crispy insisted we still needed the following to have the perfect city:
-  Train the strongest monsters on the planet, which would guarantee Techcity's technological supremacy
- Control all monsters and technology, to prevent crimes and technical accidents
Professor Magnus was the only person capable of making the most powerful yet completely controlled monsters, but he refused. Out of despair Tectic Jr. used all kinds of blackmailing, from banishing his from Techcity, to threatening he and his wife's family.
Tectic Jr. has no idea how the virus appeared.

But Magnus knows: it's the same person who wrote the letter.

His wife Wilhelmina wrote the letter, in which she pretended one of her monsters was behaving strangely, and having received an anonymous message saying "this is just the beginning".

She says she knew her husband was being blackmailed and their families were in danger. She also did not understand why he would turn down such an opportunity for a better life, and more money for more science. She created the virus, hoping  Magnus would reconsider the mayor's offer.

She saw Magnus leaving. Crispy contacted her, saying he knows everything about everyone including her, so she'd better do what he says if she cares about her family. Having no choice, she staged Magnus' office to make it look like it was robbed, and campaigned actively for the arrest of Fen. She realized her family would be safer away from Techcity anyway, so they joined us as soon as possible.

The citizens, thinking a traitor from Ceza had kidnapped their beloved scientist and had spread a virus among the monsters to weaken Techcity, wanted justice and asked for more control by the Spyder Order, both in Techcity and Ceza.

Last mission: find Crispy.


THE END

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By ShadowApex 2 Feb 2016 06:04

Lead Developer · 374 comments

Thanks for posting this write-up Leo! Here's my personal thoughts:

What I'm fond of:

  • The mystery behind what happened to Professor Magnus, who wrote the letter, and why the office was "robbed". The reveal that Wilhelmina was behind the event is a great twist.
  • Fen's relationship with the protagonist, being a friend instead of a rival.
  • The quest to free Fen from prison.
  • The mayor's intention of genuinely trying to help his people, but through the wrong means. This gives depth to the character instead of having black and white villains.

What I'm not fond of:

  • No real tie in between the pillars of the cathedral and the bazaar groups (which you partially acknowledge in that there's no "gyms"
  • Crispy antagonist doesn't really fit the established narrative of being apart of the group that reshaped the world to be mostly under the control of the cathedral. There's some previous discussions that has more thoughts about the final antagonist and how we should portray him or her.
  • I think the virus plot point is really interesting, especially in the context of a virtual world, but detracts a bit from the main narrative of open and free software vs. the proprietary model (similarly to how the issue of piracy also detracts from this narrative).


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By Leo 13 Feb 2016 21:42

Moderator · 70 comments

Thank you ShadowApex for your remarks. I'm thinking of asking for a new write-up fixing the issues you mentioned, and integrating a bit more of what has already been done. So here are some of the solutions.

The pillars are essentially the HQ of the cathedral/spyder order. They serve as 'creature center', creature store, but also jail and laboratory.
To sum up, everything was fine, the cathedral appeared and when some of their nefarious actions spurred the creation of the bazaar as an ideological movement (which is, ultimately, just reclaiming their former liberties).
Further, one interesting gaming aspect is that we since the bazaae people are basically illegal, we could therefore have the player need to investigate a bit in each new town to discover the 'underground creature center'.

I don't think there's anything wrong with Crispy, what you mention is just presentation. To sum up, your proposal of the main antagonist being shadowy from the start, with a brief encounter midgame where we catch a glance of his power, which suggests that we need to become much stronger to battle him in an anticipated and formidable last battle. This is good storytelling so this scheme should certainly be adopted. It fits the narrative.

For the virus plot, I was skeptical at first too. But in fact I now think it's brilliant. Why? Because of undecidability. You can't know if something has a virus without looking at the code. So the fact that the cathedral locks the creatures down prevents people to know if they may be infected and removes from them any means of action - which is exactly the main problem of closed software.
I think what we should do is try to integrate this smoothly into the discourse.

Tell me what you think of these changes, or if if you are thinking of other solutions.