Poll

What do you think about the subject?

I wholeheartedly agree. More Terran factions would have ensured a deeper and meaningful plot.
I agree, but only partially. At least one alien species is necessary to consider FreeSpace a true space shooter
I don't agree. I think more Terran opponents, however, may have raised the overall quality of FreeSpace.
I don't agree. Things are fine as they are, and I can't think of any Terran faction which may have replaced the Vasudans and/or the Shivans.
I don't agree. More Alien species would have been a great idea.
Snuffleupagus. Sincerely indifferent to the topic, as I put hostile Terran factions and alien species to the same level.

Author Topic: Vasudans and Shivans: Responsible for limiting the depth of FreeSpace's plot?  (Read 8691 times)

0 Members and 1 Guest are viewing this topic.

Offline Mobius

  • Back where he started
  • 213
  • The Lightblue Ribbon
    • Skype
    • Twitter
    • The Lightblue Ribbon | Cultural Project
Vasudans and Shivans: Responsible for limiting the depth of FreeSpace's plot?
Here's what, a while back, I got from a person who loved (and loves) the Colony Wars series, just like me:

Quote
I often felt that the introduction of aliens to the series was something of a cop-out.  Here was a game that wasn't afraid to veer away from the usual industry cliche of 'external threats' to mankind, which I found refreshing.  For me, one of the most inspiring features of the first game, was that it was an exclusively human conflict, so the conclusion to Vengeance was a big let-down.

It reminds me what I was like when I first played FreeSpace: "Huh, too many aliens here!". That happened because I've always liked space wars fought by men against men and the way those wars can show the true cruelty of war. When your opponent is also a human, you get a chance to understand what you're fighting for and ask yourself if you're doing the right thing: I have experienced this many times in the past, and considered it a great achievement for those game developers who actually induced me to understand what led my enemies to fight. I've never experienced this in FreeSpace... but why? I came to the conclusion that it must have something to do with the nature of enemies.

The Shivans* are mysterious and enigmatic, and with all the questions and theories lying around they're light years away from the stereotype of xenophobic alien species that comes to kill everyone. The Vasudans* are nice, effective in combat... but hardly memorable when it comes to nitpicking. Then we have the Ancients*, but info regarding them are so poor they aren't even worth discussing. That said, don't you think the presence of "too many" alien species posed limitations to the depth of FreeSpace's plot? Don't you think FS1 would have been better if the Vasudans were replaced with a Terran faction, and then the Shivans appeared to threaten the entire human race?

One of the reasons why I prefer FS2 over FS1 is that it starts with a war with a Terran faction, the NTF. Although very little has been done to make the civil war epic, Bosch's monologues reached a level of awesomeness no cutscene about an alien species could have ever reached. Even when talking about the Shivans, Bosch was awesome simply because he showed things from the perspective of a human being who wanted to achieve the impossible. That's for :v:'s work: now let's talk about our community's work.


Speaking of custom campaigns, don't you think those involving wars between Terrans have more chances of becoming memorable? GTVA Vs. EA, GTVA Vs. SCP, GTVA Vs. UEF (only to name a few)... aren't those wars likely to show the cruelty of war and ensure high-level immersion more effectively than any other war with a aliens? Don't you think that pirates and other turkey-shoot opponents, basically those lacking any tangible role, deserve better characterization?

Discuss.

*I like all alien species seen in FreeSpace, true, but with this thread I'm proposing to analyze the FS Universe from another perspective.

 

Offline Scotty

  • 1.21 gigawatts!
  • 211
  • Guns, guns, guns.
Re: Vasudans and Shivans: Responsible for limiting the depth of FreeSpace's plot?
More Terran factions would have diluted the impact of the NTF and, before it, the GTI.  As it was, both were working toward concrete, definitely meaningful goals, both of which, interestingly enough, had to do with the aliens of the setting.  Adding more Terrans would have spread the plot thin over too many subplots, and the story is already well fleshed out against the Vasudans/Shivans/HoL and the NTF/Shivans, respectively.

 

Offline The E

  • He's Ebeneezer Goode
  • Global Moderator
  • 213
  • Nothing personal, just tech support.
    • Steam
    • Twitter
Re: Vasudans and Shivans: Responsible for limiting the depth of FreeSpace's plot?
Okay. What I see here is a good reflection of trends in SF. Back in the 60s, 70s and 80s, Aliens were a must-have in SF. Usually, they were introduced as Strawmen for whatever issue it was that the heroes had to deal with (this is the type you most often see in TOS Star Trek, for example), or as basically colourful backdrop (Star Wars), or as expys for standard roles found in mythology or fantasy (See Babylon 5).

Modern SF, as most recently shown in shows like Firefly or BSG, as well as in literature, has moved away from Aliens in order to focus more on humans and how humans deal with whatever situation they are thrown in.

Personally, I feel that both narrative styles have their pros and cons, and both are equally appropriate at different times. Yes, a gritty, human war story featuring human combatants makes storytelling easier.
But Aliens offer you the opportunity to do weird and crazy and utterly inhuman stuff, which also has an appeal. In addition, if you posit a "unified" human race, they can provide the "other" that any opposition needs to be.

In FS, the myth arc introduced with the Ancients and Shivans adds a "larger than us" backdrop to the universe that opens up a whole lot of storytelling opportunities IMHO. In conclusion then, it all depends on the kind of story you want to tell.

Also, what Scotty said.
Let there be light
Let there be moon
Let there be stars and let there be you
Let there be monsters and let there be pain
Let us begin to feel again
--Devin Townsend, Genesis

 

Offline Snail

  • SC 5
  • 214
  • Posts: ☂
Re: Vasudans and Shivans: Responsible for limiting the depth of FreeSpace's plot?
lol




seriously, just lol


i cant say anything more

 

Offline General Battuta

  • Poe's Law In Action
  • 214
  • i wonder when my postcount will exceed my iq
Re: Vasudans and Shivans: Responsible for limiting the depth of FreeSpace's plot?
Quote
but hardly memorable when it comes to nitpicking

Wait what does this mean? As I recall Vasudans were masters of nitpicking. They had a fourteen-year war over a nitpick.

Quote
aren't those wars likely to show the cruelty of war and ensure high-level immersion more effectively than any other war with a alien

In Metal Gear Solid 4 nanomachines could do everything. That was pretty counterimmersive. Metal Gear FreeSpace, I dunno how immersed I'd be.

Battlestar Galactica is an excellent example of a deeply immersive and intense 'naturalistic' story that veered away from aliens but still had fantastic elements that felt believable and grounded.

 

Offline Spoon

  • 212
  • ヾ(´︶`♡)ノ
Re: Vasudans and Shivans: Responsible for limiting the depth of FreeSpace's plot?
Humans are boring. I honestly don't like sci-fi stories that focus too much on human drama (BSG was terrible imo. At least Firefly did it right)
Why does everything have to be realistic, gritty and grey? I like exotic alien races with colorful beams and strange technology.
So no, I think Freespace did everything right there.
Urutorahappī!!

[02:42] <@Axem> spoon somethings wrong
[02:42] <@Axem> critically wrong
[02:42] <@Axem> im happy with these missions now
[02:44] <@Axem> well
[02:44] <@Axem> with 2 of them

 

Offline Commander Zane

  • 212
  • Spoot Knight of Anvils
Re: Vasudans and Shivans: Responsible for limiting the depth of FreeSpace's plot?
Humans are boring.
But WiH looks absolutely BAMF. :P

 

Offline General Battuta

  • Poe's Law In Action
  • 214
  • i wonder when my postcount will exceed my iq
Re: Vasudans and Shivans: Responsible for limiting the depth of FreeSpace's plot?
I like exotic alien races with colorful beams and strange technology.

You made that quite apparent. I'd make fun of it if it weren't for the fact that it's also one of the best pieces of modding I've seen in years.

 

Offline NGTM-1R

  • I reject your reality and substitute my own
  • 213
  • Syndral Active. 0410.
Re: Vasudans and Shivans: Responsible for limiting the depth of FreeSpace's plot?
FreeSpace without aliens is not FreeSpace. In fact, it's not even possible. Other humans simply cannot serve the same role the Shivans do.  They are ultimately something you can understand, because they are human. While as a writer I hold the belief that anything may ultimately be explained with the right words as an article of faith, without that essential alienness that comes from being not only aliens, but not even humanoid, there isn't even a shadow of doubt we could understand them. And that would destroy them utterly as a storytelling tool.

And the fact you argue that they're lightyears from the xenophobic aliens stereotype because people have speculated about them is utterly laughable. People always speculate about these sorts of aliens. It's a tradition that dates back to at least Fred Saberhagen's Berserkers or the TOS Trek Romulans. You speak of what you do not understand.

To further expand on this theme, your conception that the cruelty of war is something that can only be examined in a human-vs.-human setting is equally laughable. I've never even watched Bablyon 5 though not for lack of trying, but the sideways glance at Crusade I got more or less proves the point. I'm tempted to also cite the Narn/Centauri war, but only know it through secondary sources. I myself have toyed with a campaign concept that would have presented a more personal view of a Shivan incursion.

But in a larger sense I think presenting that kind of view in a FreeSpace setting, from the point of view of a fighter pilot deployed shipboard during active combat, is fundementally invalid. I'm not saying it can't be done, I just think that much effort must be wasted in overcoming the limitations of your medium, effort that could have been put to better use. Such concerns are unlikely to enter their horizon unless it is their own ship that is badly damaged in action, a circumstance that a wise campaign developer should not rely on because it is rich in ways to destroy disbelief. They have little time to contemplate the wider significance or to keep up with news from home except in the broad strokes, and their form of combat is one that is intensely mechanized, mostly subsuming the human into the machine. The physical signs of blood and death are far from a pilot.
"Load sabot. Target Zaku, direct front!"

A Feddie Story

 

Offline General Battuta

  • Poe's Law In Action
  • 214
  • i wonder when my postcount will exceed my iq
Re: Vasudans and Shivans: Responsible for limiting the depth of FreeSpace's plot?
FreeSpace without aliens is not FreeSpace. In fact, it's not even possible. Other humans simply cannot serve the same role the Shivans do.  They are ultimately something you can understand, because they are human. While as a writer I hold the belief that anything may ultimately be explained with the right words as an article of faith, without that essential alienness that comes from being not only aliens, but not even humanoid, there isn't even a shadow of doubt we could understand them. And that would destroy them utterly as a storytelling tool.

qft'ed

 

Offline Colonol Dekker

  • HLP is my mistress
  • 213
  • Aken Tigh Dekker
    • My old squad sub-domain
Re: Vasudans and Shivans: Responsible for limiting the depth of FreeSpace's plot?
Option 4.
Speaks for itself.
Your friendly Orestes tactical controller
GO GO DEKKER RANGERSSSS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
President of the Scooby Doo Model Appreciation Society
The only good Zod is a dead Zod
NEWGROUNDS COMEDY GOLD, UPDATED DAILY
http://badges.steamprofile.com/profile/default/steam/76561198011784807.png

 

Offline Snail

  • SC 5
  • 214
  • Posts: ☂
Re: Vasudans and Shivans: Responsible for limiting the depth of FreeSpace's plot?
Random note, I guess we should point out that there were the Terran Post-War factions (Antares Federation, Adhara Coalition, etc.) that are mentioned in the Reconstruction Intel entry that could do with some exposition in future mods. Not because Terran factions are somehow far more interesting than the Vasudans or Shivans (which is IMVHO utter tosh) but because it's a part of established canon that has yet to really be touched upon.

 

Offline headdie

  • i don't use punctuation lol
  • 212
  • Lawful Neutral with a Chaotic outook
    • Minecraft
    • Skype
    • Twitter
    • Headdie on Deviant Art
Re: Vasudans and Shivans: Responsible for limiting the depth of FreeSpace's plot?
to be honest it don't matter who the opponent is so long as the story telling is on the mark.  A well told human vs alien plot can be used to explore humanity by contrasting the desired aspect with an alien behaviour.  likewise it can be done in a human vs human conflict by demonstrating how humanity can go wrong.

Quote from: Mobius
I've always liked space wars fought by men against men and the way those wars can show the true cruelty of war

in a narrative it is easier to show aliens doing something cruel because they can be what the writer wants them to be (shivans glassing Vasuda and would have probably done the same to Earth) where as with a human you have to deal with conflicting emotions that the reader can identify with but this takes a scenario badly gone wrong to enable a character to justify scenarios like mass harm/murder of civilians.  It's all apart of the tool set the modern sci-fi author has which when used well can create outstanding stories.
Minister of Interstellar Affairs Sol Union - Retired
quote General Battuta - "FRED is canon!"
Contact me at [email protected]
My Release Thread, Old Release Thread, Celestial Objects Thread, My rubbish attempts at art

 

Offline Spoon

  • 212
  • ヾ(´︶`♡)ノ
Re: Vasudans and Shivans: Responsible for limiting the depth of FreeSpace's plot?
I like exotic alien races with colorful beams and strange technology.

You made that quite apparent. I'd make fun of it if it weren't for the fact that it's also one of the best pieces of modding I've seen in years.
You make fun of everything that isn't Die hard science fiction so no big suprise there  :p
Urutorahappī!!

[02:42] <@Axem> spoon somethings wrong
[02:42] <@Axem> critically wrong
[02:42] <@Axem> im happy with these missions now
[02:44] <@Axem> well
[02:44] <@Axem> with 2 of them

 

Offline Dilmah G

  • Failed juggling
  • 211
  • The Token "G" of HLP
Re: Vasudans and Shivans: Responsible for limiting the depth of FreeSpace's plot?
But in a larger sense I think presenting that kind of view in a FreeSpace setting, from the point of view of a fighter pilot deployed shipboard during active combat, is fundementally invalid. I'm not saying it can't be done, I just think that much effort must be wasted in overcoming the limitations of your medium, effort that could have been put to better use. Such concerns are unlikely to enter their horizon unless it is their own ship that is badly damaged in action, a circumstance that a wise campaign developer should not rely on because it is rich in ways to destroy disbelief. They have little time to contemplate the wider significance or to keep up with news from home except in the broad strokes, and their form of combat is one that is intensely mechanized, mostly subsuming the human into the machine. The physical signs of blood and death are far from a pilot.
Well put, and my thoughts exactly.

You only have to read a biography or five about fighter pilots, to know that the war fought on the ground was very different to the war fought above them. There was little notion they were shooting at people, rather, machines. The cruelty of war to most pilots, was the way in which their friends died, often helpless to efforts from their squadmates. And the way some pilots shot down others in cold blood, most likely due to rare events that they'd experienced, friends being shot to ribbons whilst bailing out of the aircraft, etc.

But that's generally where it stops, with the addition of veteran pilots hardening to replacement pilots.


But, on topic.

Freespace isn't a story about the cruelty of war, for the most part. For what it's about, it achieves an adequate amount of depth.
Trendy Lefty. Good music from a good friend of mine.

Freespace Rap: http://www.hard-light.net/forums/index.php/topic,62924.0.html

The Fighter Pilot Series: http://www.hard-light.net/forums/index.php?topic=72431.msg1431423#msg1431423

The word 'Yo' is only ever to be used as a singular greeting.
It is considered an insult to destroy a perfectly acceptable greeting by misuse. A 'Yo-Yo' is a toy spun from the index finger by small children and enthusiasts,
any such use as a greeting will result in prompt reprimand by any member of the 'African-American' or 'Sri-Lankans-who-think-they're-black' community

Fury`: if General Krav Maga wouldn't be enough, beating up 16 teenagers is going to get me into jail :p /
BlackMan: Maybe if you turned into pedobear you'd be more of a threat

 

Offline Androgeos Exeunt

  • Captain Oblivious
  • 212
  • Prevents attraction.
    • Wordpress.com Blog
Re: Vasudans and Shivans: Responsible for limiting the depth of FreeSpace's plot?
Humans are boring.
But WiH looks absolutely BAMF. :P

Blame the Vishnans for indirectly messing up the GTVA's plan. :p

* Androgeos Exeunt has voted.
My blog

Quote: Wednesday, 6 November 2019, 1845hrs UTC, #gaming
The_E
behold the power of this fully armed and operational recluse

z64555
but does it destroy planets with a turbo laser

 

Offline Sushi

  • Art Critic
  • 211
Re: Vasudans and Shivans: Responsible for limiting the depth of FreeSpace's plot?

But in a larger sense I think presenting that kind of view in a FreeSpace setting, from the point of view of a fighter pilot deployed shipboard during active combat, is fundementally invalid. I'm not saying it can't be done, I just think that much effort must be wasted in overcoming the limitations of your medium, effort that could have been put to better use. Such concerns are unlikely to enter their horizon unless it is their own ship that is badly damaged in action, a circumstance that a wise campaign developer should not rely on because it is rich in ways to destroy disbelief. They have little time to contemplate the wider significance or to keep up with news from home except in the broad strokes, and their form of combat is one that is intensely mechanized, mostly subsuming the human into the machine. The physical signs of blood and death are far from a pilot.

Definitely agree. Another factor is that good stories are essentially about people, even if they aren't human. :) Freespace isn't limited by having aliens: it's more fundamental limit is in the kind of stories that can be told from a perspective where individuals are essentially abstracted out of the equation.

Of course, that's a limit the community has done a fantastic job overcoming, as anyone who's played BP or Transcend can attest. :)

 

Offline General Battuta

  • Poe's Law In Action
  • 214
  • i wonder when my postcount will exceed my iq
Re: Vasudans and Shivans: Responsible for limiting the depth of FreeSpace's plot?
I like exotic alien races with colorful beams and strange technology.

You made that quite apparent. I'd make fun of it if it weren't for the fact that it's also one of the best pieces of modding I've seen in years.
You make fun of everything that isn't Die hard science fiction so no big suprise there  :p

No I don't. I quite enjoy FreeSpace.

 

Offline Mobius

  • Back where he started
  • 213
  • The Lightblue Ribbon
    • Skype
    • Twitter
    • The Lightblue Ribbon | Cultural Project
Re: Vasudans and Shivans: Responsible for limiting the depth of FreeSpace's plot?
For the record, I'm not an extremist: I chose the second option.

I understand stereotypes are quite strong here. When I mentioned more enemy Terrans, I wanted to take distance from the way the NTF has been handled in FreeSpace 2: has anyone ever felt sad when taking down an NTF fighter or bomber? Has anyone ever thought that, under certain points of view, the rebels' motives were understandable?

While more Terran factions would have been confusing, I wished a) the battles with the NTF were more epic and b) Vasudans with better characterization as a separate species. That way, I believe the Shivans would have even worked better as bringers of annihilation.

 

Offline TopAce

  • Stalwart contributor
  • 212
  • FREDder, FSWiki editor, and tester
Re: Vasudans and Shivans: Responsible for limiting the depth of FreeSpace's plot?
Quote
has anyone ever felt sad when taking down an NTF fighter or bomber?

I can't feel empathy for an assemblage of polygons and pixels that is brought to life by lines of code.

As for the topic: I chose the "It's fine as it is" option. I would have voted otherwise had the word opponent not been there in the choice below it. Multiple Terran factions would have elevated the overall feel of FreeSpace, but they shouldn't be opponents like the rogue GTI or the NTF - Currently, it seems as if the GTVA were a happy unified whole. Anyone with a different view is the member of the NF.
« Last Edit: August 03, 2010, 12:23:50 pm by TopAce »
My community contributions - Get my campaigns from here.

"Truth" is the opinion of the majority which it can enforce on the minority. Members of the minority have two choices: join the bandwagon or think. Those who do not fall into line will be brutally crushed.
The tools to maintain order are: lies, double standards, and hypocrisy. The most powerful and the most insidious of them is hypocrisy