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Game News Colony Ship RPG Update #10: Companions Overview

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Tags: Colony Ship RPG; Iron Tower Studios; Vault Dweller

In the seventh development update for his Colony Ship RPG, released way back in July, Vault Dweller promised the game's next update would introduce its first companion, a helpful riot suppression droid named Unit Romeo Whiskey Sierra. That plan seems to have fallen by the wayside, but Romeo was not forgotten. Today's update not only brings him back, but introduces several other companions as well. A fine treat for Christmas Eve. Here's an excerpt:

As I’ve mentioned earlier, the CSG is a party-based game and the party dynamics will be one of the areas we’ll focus on. There will be 12 potential companions (max party size is 4) filling different roles: psychotic paranoia, racial superiority, religious intolerance (works best when mixed with homicidal tendencies), political idealism, and other delightful personality quirks. In other words, the party members won’t be loyal and obedient slaves but will have their own beliefs, agendas, and personality traits (or in some cases, programming).

To give you an idea, here is a quick overview of the top four gunmen who might be persuaded to join you (keep in mind that men of violence are rarely well adjusted individuals):

The Gunfighter – an unstable and somewhat paranoid (which is why he’s still alive) gun for hire. He doesn’t care which side he’s fighting for as long as he gets paid. He doesn’t have much patience for diplomacy or long winded conversations, and if he gets a bad feeling he goes for his guns. Being paranoid, he gets bad feelings a lot, so unless you like shooting your way in and out, consider getting someone else. Holding out on him might give him the wrong ideas about the partnership. Other than that he’s a great guy to be around.

The Preacher – a man of God dedicated to saving sinners’ immortal souls but showing a callous disregard for their mortal bodies. He’ll join you if you join the Church of the Elect to make sure you deliver what you promised and keep you from having second thoughts. He won’t act against the Church’s interests and won’t tolerate your lack of faith, should you ever display it (he would find it very disturbing). Once he’s in your party, you either do what he says or you kill him, which will displease the Church greatly. You might think it’s a bit harsh but religious fanatics rarely make great traveling companions and joining the Church is more than a cosmetic choice.

The Colonel – a former officer of the Protectors of the Mission, makes the best damn fried chicken on the ship. He failed the Mission one time too many and had to switch sides in order to avoid honorable death by firing squad of his peers. The Protectors want him dead more than ever and tried to kill him several times, so he’s well motivated to help you, should you side with the Brotherhood. Then again, he’s equally well motivated to fuck you over if it ends the “misunderstanding” with the Protectors and restores him to his rank and privileges afforded by it.

The Wastelander – a rather antisocial mutant who makes a living exploring the damaged areas of the ship and stripping them of anything valuable. Sort of the ‘mountain man’ of the ship. He had a falling out with the Covenant, so now he bears a special hatred for all religious folks, including the Church. Religion is the only topic that can get him all worked up, so don’t take him places where someone might ask if you have a moment to talk about our Lord and Savior. He will leave you if you join a faction, but if you’re a “burn it to the ground” kinda guy, the Wastelander is your man.

Fortunately, there's one party member who's actually very easy to get along with - Unit Romeo Whiskey Sierra, model XV. When you first find this droid, it's barely more than some scrap metal, but if you put enough effort (not to mention Mechanical and Computer skills, as well as some missing modules), Romeo will blossom into a beautiful, murderous butterfly.

Flood lights, two built-in grenade launchers (brainwave disruptor and stasis field grenades if you can find them, can be modified to use ship-made grenades (gas, flashbang, smoke), two plasma guns. You can replace pretty much anything including the armor, building a heavier or much lighter, "dune buggy" style model.
The full update has some cool concept art of the Wastelander's home and a sample of Romeo's dialogue, which I'd put somewhere between RoboCop and ED-209. For next month's update, Vault Dweller will be talking about the development of the game's engine, which is apparently going well. It looks like Unreal 4 has proven suitable.
 

Kos_Koa

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In the seventh development update for his Colony Ship RPG, released way back in July, Vault Dweller promised the game's next update would introduce its first companion, a helpful riot suppression droid named Unit Romeo Whiskey Sierra. That plan seems to have fallen by the wayside, but Romeo was not forgotten.
Damn your memory. Well to VD's credit, he was eager to share the concept with you fine folks, but I was sidetracked with DR work which forced the update down the line. Now that AoD and DR is finally wrapped up, you'll be seeing much more meaty updates in the near future.
 

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“GE-Optic is a division of General Electric dedicated to manufacturing cost-effective targeting solutions for home security products. With Marksman 3000, GE has preserved the popular features of its Marksman 2000SE while completely redesigning the thermal sensors to address consumer concerns about the alleged sensor malfunction in Marksman 2500LX which resulted in one hundred and twenty-six allegedly wrongful civilian deaths.”
Guess vd is taking bribes or wants to get sued.

Anyway, neat art.
 

Shadenuat

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So there are no normal people who can work together in a group in this setting?
 

Vault Dweller

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Work together meaning what? Do as you say and keep their mouths shut (or enthusiastically agree with your decisions)? In a game that's about choices what are the odds that your party members would strongly agree with every decision you make and blindly follow you no matter what?
 

Vault Dweller

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I don't think that someone who'd follow you and make enemies left and right could be defined as someone with simple motivations.
 
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I liked all companions, but I'm intrigued by the The Colonel and would like to know more.

The robot looks cool af
 

Vault Dweller

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Your very first (optional) party member is a cheap gun for hire who's there to remind us that you get what you pay for. When you start the game you're a nobody and men of great renown and ill repute won't rush to be by your side, so you'll have to hire "will work for food" type talent.
 

Shadenuat

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Work together meaning what? Do as you say and keep their mouths shut (or enthusiastically agree with your decisions)? In a game that's about choices what are the odds that your party members would strongly agree with every decision you make and blindly follow you no matter what?
point 1. Er, that's the first thing that comes to your mind with words "working together"? Then I think you're trying to prove your design a bit too hard.

point 2. Why not? Does your world has no people who do as someone says and keep their mouth shut, provided you pick the right type of character or say right things?

point 3. Here are your characters isf: a paranoic who can shoot on sight, a fanatic, a betrayer, a burn-everything playthrough guy. Apparently, from your point of view the only people who are reliable friends are robots?
Then you, again, are trying too hard I think, even to the point of repeating same things from your previous game.

What's my reasoning behind picking these sort of companions in a group? Won't it be metagaming in the same sense as finishing Miltiades quest line? Should choice in roleplay equal every companion being a ticking bomb? Shouldn't there be characters with lower risks, lower reward (Imoen, Sulik, Morte, Virgil) ; and higher risk, higher reward (Goris, Torian Kel, Ignus, Vhailor, One of Many) (quests, combat ability etc.)?

We give you a choice! A choice to get fucked over by everyone, yay! :shittydog:
 

Vault Dweller

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Work together meaning what? Do as you say and keep their mouths shut (or enthusiastically agree with your decisions)? In a game that's about choices what are the odds that your party members would strongly agree with every decision you make and blindly follow you no matter what?
point 1. Er, that's the first thing that comes to your mind with words "working together"? Then I think you're trying to prove your design a bit too hard.
There's a huge difference between simply working together toward a goal that nobody gives a fuck about (like making an RPG) and working together as in fucking with a powerful faction, killing people left and right, and making more enemies than what a sane person is comfortable with.

Let's say you talk to a guy who offers you to join an anti-government militia and blow shit up. Do you say "Sounds great, you're the leader and I trust in your decisions completely, wake me up when the government forces raid our compound!" or would you have reservations? A better question is, what kind of people would such an offer attract? Would they all be stable and pleasant individuals? Or would they have their own ideas and might be even crazier than the militia's leader?

point 2. Why not? Does your world has no people who do as someone says and keep their mouth shut, provided you pick the right type of character or say right things?
Sure. You can pick low tier guys (think DR's fire-pit crew) and they will do what you tell them to do (most of the time). If you want the top tier guys, you'd have to deal with their shit and it would take a lot more than saying the right things Obsidian style. You'd have to *do* the right things which will be very costly.

point 3. Here are your characters isf: a paranoic who can shoot on sight, a fanatic, a betrayer, a burn-everything playthrough guy. Apparently, from your point of view the only people who are reliable friends are robots?
Then you, again, are trying too hard I think, even to the point of repeating same things from your previous game.
See above.

We give you a choice! A choice to get fucked over by everyone, yay! :shittydog:
You pick the paranoid gunfighter if you want to fight your way through the game. You pick the fanatic if you're committed to the Church. You pick the KGB officer Colonel if you're clever enough to handle him. You pick the Wastelander if you don't want to make a deal with any of the factions. What you do NOT do is pick whichever guy you think is best and then do whatever you want to do without giving a fuck about his own agenda and beliefs as if they don't exist (i.e. the way you play 99% of RPGs).
 

Shadenuat

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Let's say you talk to a guy who offers you to join an anti-government militia and blow shit up. Do you say "Sounds great, you're the leader and I trust in your decisions completely, wake me up when the government forces raid our compound!"
Points taken about companions, although I think way you presented them couldn't be edgier.

Way you present it, whole game will be about either blowing the ship you're traveling in or not (and picking right faction for the job) or beginning world war 3. That seems a too typical Fallout/Wasteland 2 stuff. What about intellectuals, politicians, technicians, scientists, socialites and other people?
 

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We give you a choice! A choice to get fucked over by everyone, yay! :shittydog:
That was actually a problem in AoD, contrary to other RPGs where for every good deed you received best rewards (even though sometimes you were asking to be taken advantage of) here you could be sure that you will get fucked. For the most time it made sense (due to the setting and circumstances) but it also deprived us from being surprised. A compromise/golden mean would be best IMO. In case of the companions, it would be great if at least some of the better ones COULD in some circumstances get attached to you (saving their life and fighting along their side often bonds people) instead of using you for their own means. Even if these 4 would be out of the question in a Colony like this you should have a friend or two you could rely on (or have the option like that depending on your charisma for example) who would have similar view and wouldn't want to stab you in the back when you're no longer needed. It's not a single player game any more and it's not a mine where you end up with tabula rasa.
 

Vault Dweller

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Let's say you talk to a guy who offers you to join an anti-government militia and blow shit up. Do you say "Sounds great, you're the leader and I trust in your decisions completely, wake me up when the government forces raid our compound!"
Points taken about companions, although I think way you presented them couldn't be edgier.
I disagree as it has nothing to do with edginess. I presented 4 best gunmen who might join you. These are top tier guys, men who kill for a living or to stay alive. They survived where countless others have not. They aren't nice and friendly guys looking for a hug or a guy to bond with and follow everywhere. One's still alive because he's paranoid and doesn't trust anyone. The other is alive because he represents the Church which employs his considerable talents. Etc.

Way you present it, whole game will be about either blowing the ship you're traveling in or not (and picking right faction for the job) or beginning world war 3.
Neither.

That seems a too typical Fallout/Wasteland 2 stuff. What about intellectuals, politicians, technicians, scientists, socialites and other people?
There are plenty of such characters in the game. Some of them might even join you.

I have a feeling that you're looking at it from the wrong angle. Let's say you meet a politician who believes in the Mission. You offer him to tag along, he agrees, then you decide fuck the Mission and start actively working against it. What would you expect him to do?

1. Nothing. After all, you're such a great guy!
2. Take his ball and go home. Good fucking riddance!
3. Betray you because you betrayed him even though you don't really see it this way.

So it's not about people being cunts for no reason and always turning against you. It's about people responding to your choices in a realistic manner.

http://www.irontowerstudio.com/forum/index.php/topic,7120.0.html
^ party system goals
 

Vault Dweller

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... who would have similar view and wouldn't want to stab you in the back when you're no longer needed. It's not a single player game any more and it's not a mine where you end up with tabula rasa.
The Preacher won't stab you in the back if you keep your word and stay loyal to the Church. The Wastelander won't do it either provided you won't use him or won't become overly religious. The Gunfighter isn't treacherous either, so I'm not really sure what you're referring to. Only one guy out of 4 can't be trusted and needs to handled with care. Too much?
 

Goral

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I have a feeling that you're looking at it from the wrong angle. Let's say you meet a politician who believes in the Mission.
A politician would be useless in a fight so why bother to recruit someone like that (and if one could recruit a politician I would think he would also be able to recruit someone more competent in a fight). Unless it was an abstract example to make a point.

Anyway, why not search for someone who has similar goals as we do? The colony is supposed to have thousands of people and we can only find 12 people willing to join us and every one of them has his own agenda which differs greatly from our own? The setting makes it much less believable than a mining prison colony, there it made sense you would only find 12 people willing to go against every possible faction AND Aurelian guards (because the population must have been much smaller and because you were just thrown into a prison and started as a nobody on a bottom level). Your idea might turn out great but I can see where Shadenuat is coming from and I can see already a complaint like this in the reviews. But it seems that your mind is already set and you won't change your decision no matter what. Maybe it's for the better but it's better to raise these problems now when there is still time to change it.
 

hivemind

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Does high char help in any way prevent the top notch companions from leaving if you trigger them?

Because if not it kinda seems that at max cha you are gonna have trouble having at least a few generally viable party compositions if most of the worthwhile guys each have a very different idea of a protagonist that they are comfortable helping.
 

Vault Dweller

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Does high char help in any way prevent the top notch companions from leaving if you trigger them?

Because if not....
If yes, it would mean you can do whatever you want and since high CHA is required to have 3 party members it would effectively remove all 'restrictions' and place the party members under your full control.

... if most of the worthwhile guys each have a very different idea of a protagonist that they are comfortable helping.
Which is how it should be, no?
 
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Apparently, the only people who are reliable friends are robots?

This is actually true.

Let's say you talk to a guy who offers you to join an anti-government militia and blow shit up. Do you say "Sounds great, you're the leader and I trust in your decisions completely, wake me up when the government forces raid our compound!"

True, joining random militia groups is a thing which has always put me in a lot of the trouble.
 

Esquilax

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If yes, it would mean you can do whatever you want and since high CHA is required to have 3 party members it would effectively remove all 'restrictions' and place the party members under your full control.

Of course even a character with maxed out charisma who is a very clever manipulator shouldn't (and wouldn't) realistically be able to sway a zealot like The Preacher away from his beliefs. That makes perfect sense. However, would high charisma, social skills and some intelligence offer some leeway in terms of what they might find tolerable from you? So, for example, maybe being able to talk down a paranoid psycho like the Gunfighter down in a situation where he becomes suspicious of you or someone around you.
 
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