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Fenixp: You mean kind of like Star Wars? :-P
Well Star Wars is a swords and sorcery fantasy that just so happens to be in space. So no, I wouldn't call it sci-fi.
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Fenixp: You mean kind of like Star Wars? :-P
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Navagon: Well Star Wars is a swords and sorcery fantasy that just so happens to be in space. So no, I wouldn't call it sci-fi.
Light speed, droids, force fields, tractor beams. With all do humility to myself I'd consider that sci-fi! :D

BUT YES, I get your point with regard to the mythology. That is all sword and sandle stuff.
Post edited January 21, 2013 by tinyE
Honestly? It's a lore issue to me. Most people have a basic understanding on how fantasy worlds work. They know what elves and dwarves and dragons are. It's easy to explain what spells are supposed to do, and most threats can be easily explained without confusing a first time player too much.

For Sci-Fi? There's so much that needs to be explained that it tends to be a bit more difficult (Remember, we're talking about RPGs here), because you need to infodump the player as fast as possible, while making it flow naturally into the story.

For example, let's take Mass Effect, since most people know what it is. What worked with Mass Effect, is that the main issue was the Reapers. Nobody in game knew what they were, so the player was probably more informed then most of the NPCs around them. Now, imagine that instead of the Reapers...it was the Second Krogan Rebellion, or a war against the Quarians that was the focal point of the series. These are races that everyone knows about, maybe not in detail, but everyone in game universe knows what a Krogan is, they know what a Quarian is, but the player wouldn't know.

Final Fantasy games (The JRPG example) tends to run into, either amnesiac characters (Cloud, Gustav, I think Terra had some issues in VI), Out of place characters (TIDUS), or younger characters who didn't know how the world worked at first (the core player party of 2, the people of 3, SeeD members, Vaan, ....shit who was the MC from 9?). I think the only two that didn't use one of the three was 4, and 13. 4 handled it through politics and explaining each place as they went (I think through Rosa at first, but there was always someone).

Final Fantasy 13 however...didn't bother. There was NO explanation in game about how the world worked. Ok, there was that huge text info dump in the menu's, but I don't count that. There is very little explanation about what's going on, how basic things work, and what the hell is going on for a long time. But it's a big point to the lore issue, how to explain everything without a character that knows nothing.
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tinyE: Light speed, droids, force fields, tractor beams. With all do humility to myself I'd consider that sci-fi! :D
Those are sci-fi aspects, but merely because of the setting. Sci-fi movies are about fictional science, and Star Wars isn't. They just use some of those elements as background. Space fantasy, that's what Star Wars is.
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tinyE: Light speed, droids, force fields, tractor beams. With all do humility to myself I'd consider that sci-fi! :D
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Alexrd: Those are sci-fi aspects, but merely because of the setting. Sci-fi movies are about fictional science, and Star Wars isn't. They just use some of those elements as background. Space fantasy, that's what Star Wars is.
Space Fantasy = Barbarella
YEAH BABY! YEAH!
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TwilightBard: There's so much that needs to be explained that it tends to be a bit more difficult (Remember, we're talking about RPGs here), because you need to infodump the player as fast as possible, while making it flow naturally into the story.
Yet, of course, the setting which are the most memorable are exactly those which succeed at doing that, and present a world that truly is unique! Morrowind, Geneforge/Avernum*, etc are outlasting their age much more than I expect, say, Skyrim to do.

Looking at these games, I think the key is to have the character (rather than just the player) be new to the setting. The PC in Morrowind comes from one of the other provinces, and in fact that's a pretty major part of the game. In Avernum (Escape from the Pit, at least, it's the only one I've played so far but sequels set in the same place don't need to worry about describing the world so much as a lot of players have come from the first game) you're thrown into a deep cave system, and were expecting to die immediately, but have found a completely unexpected civilisation. In Geneforge (again, I've only played the first game so far) your character knows more lore, but a lot of it doesn't apply in the location the game's set on anyway.

The reason, perhaps, is that then you're able to find out about the world without breaking your suspension of disbelief, as your character would be doing exactly the same thing.
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nijuu: Space Siege/Space Hackout
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Fenixp: Well... I do think there's a looong list of much more remarkable non-fantasy RPGs you know :-P Sci-fi, even.
I mean as in pure scifi party rpg. I know Deus Ex / Mass Effect etc are rpgs but in terms of a scifi party type rpg which is actually good?.

Question for all. Are there any decent scifi based party rpgs ? (im not talking the successful but watered down (rpg mechanics/inventory - has been talked about previously) Mass Effect variety). ?
Post edited January 21, 2013 by nijuu
How about a game like Gorky 17? Haven't played it myself (though I intend to get around to getting it), so I'm not sure how heavy the RPG component is.
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Fenixp: Well... I do think there's a looong list of much more remarkable non-fantasy RPGs you know :-P Sci-fi, even.
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nijuu: I mean as in pure scifi party rpg. I know Deus Ex / Mass Effect etc are rpgs but in terms of a scifi party type rpg which is actually good?.

Question for all. Are there any decent scifi based party rpgs ? (im not talking the successful but watered down (rpg mechanics/inventory - has been talked about previously) Mass Effect variety). ?
Anachronox maybe
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HomerSimpson: How about a game like Gorky 17? Haven't played it myself (though I intend to get around to getting it), so I'm not sure how heavy the RPG component is.
The rpg elements only affect combat, they have no impact on the story.
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KoolZoid: ...
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Fenixp: Yeah, I think you have just spelled out what I disliked about JRPG stories: Way too many are 'Fantasy with science twist!' kind of deal, and even tho they throw a ton of very ... imaginative things at you, those things tend to go completely unexplained and with no consistency whatsoever. Worlds in jRPG work exactly the other way than I like a good setting to work: They are there to serve the story and only ever so little of them actually exists out of boundaries of the main storyline you are supposed to follow. That's why you find so much crazy stuff in them: It's pretty easy to just go and say "Oh, and one of the characters will be a mushroom!" But integrate it into the game's world properly and make it consistent with itself, well, that's another story entirely.
Would recommend you play Xenoblade Chronicles through to the end, then - it explains quite clearly why the world is the way it is. Whether you appreciate the explanation will be, of course, a matter of personal preference, but at least it offers an explanation :)

And honestly, is it really so terrible if the world exists purely to further a story, if the story is good? I've seen people bash Final Fantasy XII occasionally, but I loved that story - y'know, where the cocky, gun-toting smuggler/pilot with his fancy ship and rock-hard alien co-pilot with a weird bow-type weapon help some backwaters kid who, by a twist of fate, has to save a princess from the machinations of an evil empire with the aid of an older swordsman who pretty much everyone thought was dead already? No wait, that was Star Wars. No... no, I was right the first time. Anyway, point is, I enjoyed FFXII just like I enjoyed Star Wars when I was a kid, and I liked it for the story and the characters and I didn't think too much about why the Force works. I kinda wish Geroge Lucas hadn't thought too much about it either.... or had thought a bit more.

Anyway.... Mass Effect, then? Someone's probably already mentioned it, but that had a lot of background fluff about the history/tech/society of all the alien races.
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KoolZoid: ...
I actually liked Mass Effect's lore, even tho it felt even more derivative than what I'm used to and most technology was explained by 'Dark matter is magic!' At any rate, I have never said that a world should never exist just for the sake of a story, it's just not something I'd personally prefer; for example, a lot of my playtime of Dawn of War was not thanks to its story, but thanks to its amazing lore and me toying around with in-lore epic battles or whatever. I just like having cohersive and logical background to stories, as this enhances them immensely, at least as far as I am concerned. And do not confuse logical with non-imaginative - you just won't see all that many completely original, logical and cohersive worlds as it's very, very hard to create one - far harder than just to throw random stuff in it and call it 'Unique'.
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tinyE: Light speed, droids, force fields, tractor beams. With all do humility to myself I'd consider that sci-fi! :D
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Alexrd: Those are sci-fi aspects, but merely because of the setting. Sci-fi movies are about fictional science, and Star Wars isn't. They just use some of those elements as background. Space fantasy, that's what Star Wars is.
Sci-fi movies don't have to be about science, the setting is enough. The only "fantasy" stuff about Star Wars is The Force, and plenty of sci-fi has mystical-like powers. Hell, the Force has nothing on some of the "sciency" stuff done by Star Trek and Stargate aliens!

Not all science fiction has to be hard sci-fi.
Post edited January 22, 2013 by kalirion
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kalirion: Sci-fi movies don't have to be about science, the setting is enough. The only "fantasy" stuff about Star Wars is The Force, and plenty of sci-fi has mystical-like powers. Hell, the Force has nothing on some of the "sciency" stuff done by Star Trek and Stargate aliens!

Not all science fiction has to be hard sci-fi.
Problem is that this pretty much kills the point of sci-fi and puts incredible restrictions on fantasy. Simpy put sci-fi != space ships and shit and fantasy != medieval times with magic. I see absolutely no reason why fantasy shouldn't have space ships if it keeps the other aspects of the genre (and it probably does if it has absolutely no basis in reality,) as well as I see no reason why 'Russia attacking US and winning Cold War' shouldn't be sci-fi just because it doesn't have space ships and fancy tech gadgets, as it is a fictional situation based upon reality (if a bit far-fetched one)
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kalirion: Sci-fi movies don't have to be about science, the setting is enough. The only "fantasy" stuff about Star Wars is The Force, and plenty of sci-fi has mystical-like powers. Hell, the Force has nothing on some of the "sciency" stuff done by Star Trek and Stargate aliens!

Not all science fiction has to be hard sci-fi.
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Fenixp: Problem is that this pretty much kills the point of sci-fi and puts incredible restrictions on fantasy. Simpy put sci-fi != space ships and shit and fantasy != medieval times with magic. I see absolutely no reason why fantasy shouldn't have space ships if it keeps the other aspects of the genre (and it probably does if it has absolutely no basis in reality,) as well as I see no reason why 'Russia attacking US and winning Cold War' shouldn't be sci-fi just because it doesn't have space ships and fancy tech gadgets, as it is a fictional situation based upon reality (if a bit far-fetched one)
That's why there are some qualifiers such as "alternate history" and "science fantasy".
Post edited January 22, 2013 by kalirion