First Look: Lore

Welcome to the 5th Dev Blog of our Open Beta, Commanders. Today we are unveiling what’s been brewing away in the Starborne Universe. I find myself (exOrbitant) joined by Snoogms to do most of the heavy lifting as far as unveiling goes, so buckle in, grab a coffee and get comfortable… It’s quite a read!

At the very start, when Starborne was being conceived, we created a basic structure for the Starborne universe, with characters, political factions and major world events as well as a rough timeline for them.  This was almost five years ago and a lot has changed since then.  While we’ve always had a firm idea of who the major groups are in Starborne, it’s no secret that as the game itself has evolved while the lore part has not (at least not to the degree that it deserves).  It’s time we address that.

Solid Clouds is putting major effort to solidify the Starborne universe with stories backed up by a rigid world structure to be adhered to.  To this end we’ve hired two creative writers to join a brand new lore team.  Here’s a quick list of our first projects, discussed in detail below.

  • Timeline of past, present and future events.
  • The three human blocs.
  • Technology explanations.
  • Character sheets.
  • A political map of the Milky Way and historical servers.
  • Lore pieces.

Now, some of this information will be readily available to players via the in-game wiki, flavour texts and lore pieces, while others will be hidden from you.  The reason we hide a portion of the universe is to make sure that we are consistent with our writing, that we always know where we’re heading with the world, while still maintaining an element of surprise for the players, that as expansions roll out they are in-line with our story while simultaneously a reveal to the players.

So!  For us to do this, we need to make adjustments to the existing lore.  The keen-eyed Discordians of you might have noticed that we’ve already hidden the lore channel there.  While we are committed to keeping as much of the lore intact as possible, we aren’t always able to so if we are to marry the current gameplay with our plans for the future.  The largest example of this is the complete removal of all references to alien civilizations.  That’s right, as far as you the player knows, human beings seem to be the only species to have formed a civilization thus far.  There is life in the universe, but when it comes to our arrogant presumption of what constitutes intelligence, we are alone.

The coolest part of all of this in my opinion is that you, the players, will get opportunities to impact the stories.  That means that server results will directly impact the Starborne universe!  Read on below to find out more about each aspect of the upcoming lore project!

The Starborne Universe Timeline

For any fictional world to be convincing, it needs to have a well defined history.  That when characters or stories reference the past that those references always make sense and are based on historical “facts”.

The way I see the timeline as presented is a long, long, very long scrollable page of major and minor events where you can hover over a date or click it to expand a detailed explanation of it.  This is the backbone of world creation and we’ll be putting a lot of effort into it.  

From a designers perspective it’s important that we seed in events that we can then revisit in later expansions, have in-game storylines players can follow for a reveal or to provide an in-depth understanding of them.  I can guarantee that the timeline will contain an event where a portion of the human race ventures out into the Milky Way never to be heard from again.  We as designers can then have a whole scenario about regaining contact with them.  We will even have players participate in certain events, the very first Dissidence server does exactly that!  

The Three Blocs

From now on, the Starborne universe’s major political forces are three blocs known as the Union of Sol, the Martian Commonwealth and the Lunar Directorate.  While they will most likely not have direct in-game effects, they will affect the evolution of the Starborne political map.  When you play servers that have sector warfare, you will play under the umbrella of one of these blocs.  A server represents a geographical location in the Milky Way and the winning sector then permanently claims the location on behalf of the bloc they represent.

We are well on our way of completing the bloc character sheets, they are already well defined and their backgrounds completed.  We will be issuing lore pieces for each of them soon.

Technology explained

This is one aspect of our universe that’s been severely lacking, that all in-game mechanics have a believable basis in science fiction.  For example, how are we traveling faster than light?  Why is there a three minute cancelation period for movements?  How can we take plasma from the stars and turn it into resources?

These will all be explained in a way that’s believable (as long as you enjoy science fiction).

Character sheets

What do we mean by “character sheets”?  For those of you unfamiliar with roleplaying, a character sheet contains all information about a character including a background story, personality traits, political views and relations, ambitions, secrets and aptitudes.  So we are creating these sheets for each entity in Starborne that merits one, people, factions, organizations etc. 

The reason these are important is that they create a definitive background about the subject entity which we then have to follow when we create stories, art, game mechanics and the overall evolution of the entity as the Starborne universe progresses.  They make sure we are consistent with our storytelling.  These character sheets will be available to players via the in-game wiki, although parts of them will be hidden and only known within the company.  Muahahaha!

An evolving political map and historical servers

Like I hinted at above, we will be creating a map of the Milky Way as it stands when Dissidence is released.  Dissidence servers are connected to locations in the Milky Way and whenever you complete a server, the winning sector physically claims that sector on the map.  This means that by your in-game actions you are literally evolving the political map.

But wait!  There’s more!

We are introducing historical servers!  Historical servers have the additional effect that their specific outcome not only claims a region in space but a lore piece will be specifically written about it.  The very first Dissidence server is a historical server, where the players are actually defining the outcome of the first major conflict between all three blocs at Tau Scorpii.  

Immediately I can hear you collectively going, “whoa, wait, will I be in the lore piece, or my alliance?”, and sadly, no.  A game of Starborne is so complex and has so many scenarios that it’s impossible to keep it straight not to mention that everyone will view events differently.  

What this means is that the outcome, maybe some major battles (or their locations) and perhaps some high level political shifts will be taken into account as we write a lore piece about it.  That lore piece will be the centerpiece of a release, forever becoming a part of the Starborne universe.  While you won’t literally see yourself in it, it is my hope that you guys will see reflections of your efforts there and understand that what you did on a historical server mattered.  Those reflections will become better and better defined as we improve our in-game history features, like biggest battles and such.

Upcoming lore pieces

While the new lore team is hard at work completing the backbone needed to go further (like the timeline, character sheets and such) we will soon turn our attention to providing you guys with actual stories and (for want of a better word) documentaries.

Here is a list of lore pieces slated for the next couple of months (names not definitive).

  • Dissidence lore Piece (already out, click here to read).
  • Dissidence historical piece.
  • Starborne Technology (in-game mechanics explained away).
  • Life in the Milky Way (a piece about expansion, life on other planets and our place in the galaxy).
  • The three blocs: Union of Sol.
  • The three blocs: Martian Commonwealth.
  • The three blocs: Lunar Directorate.

That’s it from the lore team! With all the love in the Milky Way, Snoogms signing off.

With just two days to go until our Dissidence: Update drops on the 1st October, as always folks, player feedback and engagement is at our absolute core here at Solid Clouds. Feel free to hop into our Official Discord to chill with your fellow commanders and the devs!