Sneak Preview #25 - The World of Roger Steel ...

A steampunk RPG
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jack1974
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Re: Sneak Preview #25 - The World of Roger Steel ...

Post by jack1974 » Tue Jan 29, 2013 7:50 pm

Was an old antispam measure that forgot to remove, now works :)

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Re: Sneak Preview #25 - The World of Roger Steel ...

Post by FenCayne » Tue Jan 29, 2013 8:03 pm

P_Tigras wrote:A lot of cool and interesting stuff ... :wink:
OK, it looks like I need to manage some expectations for this game. :)

First, Roger Steel isn't going to be a serious work of alternative history in the same way that Heileen isn't the true-life biography of an eighteenth-century English girl. Although I hope you are not going to find significant plot-holes in the game itself, certainly the background isn't going to bear too much scrutiny. I certainly want to aid your suspension of disbelief, but I'm not going to go to Tolkienesque lengths to do so.

Second, despite the amount of space I gave to outlining US history in Roger Steel's world, in the game itself, the US isn't even a location (nor are the American continents, for that matter). However, a brief glance at this map of the US states by dates of statehood (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:US_st ... _dates.svg) can be taken as a very rough proxy for the extent of effective federal influence at the time of the first plague (1836).

The devil, of course, is in the details, but bear in mind that simply claiming territory is not going to be enough if you can't defend it. The Indian Wars in our history continued until the Wounded Knee massacre of 1890, so tribes clearly felt they had claim to 'US' territory through most of the nineteenth century.

Third, for the sake of space, I omitted some details from my previous posts (I know there's only so much most people can read on-screen before their eyes glaze over). One of those details was that the meteors fell primarily over central Africa (Chad, Niger, and westwards) and the north-west coast, crossed the Atlantic over the Tropic of Cancer, and hit the US in a band between the Carolinas and southern Pennsylvania. Europe didn't get hit at all.

What hurt Europe much more was a series of fairly virulent plague outbreaks, and a couple of years of crop failures. The British Isles, being more easily quarantined from mainland Europe, having a sophisticated scientific establishment, and being economically diversified through its Empire and naval supremacy, managed to avoid the brunt of these crises. The main geopolitical effect of these misfortunes was to delay or even forestall entirely the reunifications of Italy and Germany. And if you think 'retconning' US history is complicated enough, try 'retconning' Europe without wiping the place out and starting from scratch ... :mrgreen:

Fourth, in our history, Japan was finally opened to trade and western influence by US Commodore Matthew Perry and the Black Ships in 1854. In Roger Steel's world, the US Navy in 1854 is a shadow of its former self, and Japan's Sakoku system lasted a few decades longer. In consequence, the turmoil that precipitated the Meiji Restoration never occurred and neither did the political and societal changes that led to Japan's imperial ambitions that influenced so much of our twentieth century.

Minor historical note from Roger Steel's world: Perry was in fact killed during the War of 1812 when a cannon burst during a brief altercation with a British frigate. From this seemingly insignificant bifurcation, flow a lot of consequences ...

tl/dr version – I'm making this up as I go along, but I hope the game's still fun :wink:
Last edited by FenCayne on Wed Jan 30, 2013 8:20 pm, edited 2 times in total.

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jack1974
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Re: Sneak Preview #25 - The World of Roger Steel ...

Post by jack1974 » Tue Jan 29, 2013 8:13 pm

FenCayne wrote: tl/dr version – I'm making this up as I go along, but I hope the game's still fun :wink:
That's why when I write the storyboard of the games myself I always pick fantasy or sci-fi. No need to be historically accurate :mrgreen:
Jokes apart yeah, the game like my others will focus mainly on characters personalities and relationship and have the political/history as background/setting for what happens. Having read the first chapter already I can assure you that is fun :)

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Re: Sneak Preview #25 - The World of Roger Steel ...

Post by FenCayne » Tue Jan 29, 2013 8:17 pm

jack1974 wrote:
FenCayne wrote: tl/dr version – I'm making this up as I go along, but I hope the game's still fun :wink:
That's why when I write the storyboard of the games myself I always pick fantasy or sci-fi. No need to be historically accurate :mrgreen:
Jokes apart yeah, the game like my others will focus mainly on characters personalities and relationship and have the political/history as background/setting for what happens. Having read the first chapter already I can assure you that is fun :)
Thanks, Jack. Looks like a tough crowd, though! :lol: I'm gonna leave through the backdoor before the veggies start flying ...

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Re: Sneak Preview #25 - The World of Roger Steel ...

Post by P_Tigras » Tue Jan 29, 2013 9:48 pm

FenCayne wrote:
P_Tigras wrote:A lot of cool and interesting stuff ... :wink:
OK, it looks like I need to manage some expectations for this game. :)

First, Roger Steel isn't going to be a serious work of alternative history in the same way that Heileen isn't the true-life biography of an eighteenth-century English girl. Although I hope you are not going to find significant plot-holes in the game itself, certainly the background isn't going to bear too much scrutiny. I certainly want to aid your suspension of disbelief, but I'm not going to go to Tolkienesque lengths to do so.

Second, despite the amount of space I gave to outlining US history in Roger Steel's world, in the game itself, the US isn't even a location (nor are the American continents, for that matter). However, a brief glance at this map of the US states by dates of statehood (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:US_st ... _dates.svg) can be taken as a very rough proxy for the extent of effective federal influence at the time of the first plague (1836).
Yep, if none of the game is going to take place in the Western Hemisphere then the US doesn't really need significant development time.
The devil, of course, is in the details, but bear in mind that simply claiming territory is not going to be enough if you can't defend it. The Indian Wars in our history continued until the Wounded Knee massacre of 1890, so tribes clearly felt they had claim to 'US' territory through most of the nineteenth century.
Wounded Knee occurred in South Dakota however which is well to the West of Chicago, a city that you mentioned is controlled by the British Empire in the world of Roger Steel. So it didn't seem relevant since the Brits appear to have checked the Americans before they could expand out that far.
Third, for the sake of space, I omitted some details from my previous posts (I know there's only so much most people can read on-screen before their eyes glaze over). One of those details was that the meteors fell primarily over central Africa (Chad, Niger, and westwards) and the north-west coast, crossed the Atlantic over the Tropic of Cancer, and hit the US in a band between the Carolinas and southern Pennsylvania. Europe didn't get hit at all.
Very interesting.
What hurt Europe much more was a series of fairly virulent plague outbreaks, and a couple of years of crop failures. The British Isles, being more easily quarantined from mainland Europe, having a sophisticated scientific establishment, and being economically diversified through its Empire and naval supremacy, managed to avoid the brunt of these crises. The main geopolitical effect of these misfortunes was to delay or even forestall entirely the reunifications of Italy and Germany. And if you think 'retconning' US history is complicated enough, try 'retconning' Europe without wiping the place out and starting from scratch ... :mrgreen:
Yep, although Prussia, which would later unite the Northern German states, and the Austrian Empire (also a Germanic State) to its South, both wielded a great deal of power in 1836, and for decades afterward, with Prussia's star climbing rapidly, and Austria's fading slowly. Prussia is a particularly fascinating nation since despite being relatively small compared to the Russian and Austrian Empires, it was both highly militarized and highly industrialized, capable of defeating larger states through a combination of superior discipline and the very intelligent application of what was then advanced technology to military uses. So I'd say even if they weren't fully united, the Germans were still plenty powerful during this period, most especially when both Prussia and the Austrian Empire were in agreement on an issue.
Fourth, in our history, Japan was finally opened to trade and western influence by US Commodore Matthew Perry and the Black Ships in 1854. In Roger Steel's world, the US Navy in 1854 is a shadow of its former self, and Japan's Sakoku system lasted a few decades longer. In consequence, the turmoil that precipitated the Meiju Restoration never occurred and neither did the political and societal changes that led to Japan's imperial ambitions that influenced so much of our twentieth century.

Minor historical note from Roger Steel's world: Perry was in fact killed during the War of 1812 when a cannon burst during a brief altercation with a British frigate. From this seemingly insignificant bifurcation, flow a lot of consequences ...
LOL, that works. Poor Commodore Perry..RIP
tl/dr version – I'm making this up as I go along, but I hope the game's still fun :wink:
Alright.

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Re: Sneak Preview #25 - The World of Roger Steel ...

Post by ankewl » Tue Jan 29, 2013 10:39 pm

Will the game have moral ambiguity or will it follow the binary good/evil system?

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Re: Sneak Preview #25 - The World of Roger Steel ...

Post by FenCayne » Wed Jan 30, 2013 7:58 pm

P_Tigras wrote:Wounded Knee occurred in South Dakota however which is well to the West of Chicago, a city that you mentioned is controlled by the British Empire in the world of Roger Steel. So it didn't seem relevant since the Brits appear to have checked the Americans before they could expand out that far.
Doubly irrelevant since it took place in 1890, 54 years after my main bifurcation. In 1835, Seminoles could still cause trouble in Florida.
Yep, although Prussia, which would later unite the Northern German states, and the Austrian Empire (also a Germanic State) to its South, both wielded a great deal of power in 1836, and for decades afterward, with Prussia's star climbing rapidly, and Austria's fading slowly. Prussia is a particularly fascinating nation since despite being relatively small compared to the Russian and Austrian Empires, it was both highly militarized and highly industrialized, capable of defeating larger states through a combination of superior discipline and the very intelligent application of what was then advanced technology to military uses. So I'd say even if they weren't fully united, the Germans were still plenty powerful during this period, most especially when both Prussia and the Austrian Empire were in agreement on an issue.


But compared to the British, Prussian and Austrian concerns were still quite parochial. Also, Britain's interests included a strong nation at the heart of Europe to distract Russia and provide a counterweight to France exporting its revolution. In our timeline, Prussia wasn't interested in empire-building - in the British sense - until the latter half of the nineteenth century, and its industrialization was similarly later in the century. While not best buddies, it's quite feasible for Prussia and even the Austro-Hungarian empire to have mutual interests with Britain across a range of European issues.
LOL, that works. Poor Commodore Perry..RIP
Well, in our history he was only wounded, although a few of his shipmates were killed. I just gave him a little nudge ... :twisted:

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Re: Sneak Preview #25 - The World of Roger Steel ...

Post by FenCayne » Wed Jan 30, 2013 8:07 pm

ankewl wrote:Will the game have moral ambiguity or will it follow the binary good/evil system?
Although there is no explicit Paragon-Renegade system in the game, the options available to the player in conversation and action (skill-use) will show a range of moral values which will in turn influence how his/her avatar is regarded by his/her companions (some being Myrth-like in character, and some Chambara-like, for example). The morality system certainly won't be binary. However, this is really a topic for future Sneak Preview, so I won't elaborate now.

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Re: Sneak Preview #25 - The World of Roger Steel ...

Post by FenCayne » Wed Jan 30, 2013 8:16 pm

Franka wrote:So, did you ever play Shadow Hearts?
Not sure whether the question was directed at me as OP and writer for Roger Steel. However, to give you an idea of where I'm coming from as a player, most of my gaming was and is on the PC. Then I got into JRPGs through the DS and PSP, and my first full-size console was a PS3, which I bought specifically to play some distinctly Japanese games like Shadow Hearts. Unfortunately, as it's not been converted on PSN yet, and as I haven't got a PS2, I haven't got around to it. What I have enjoyed on the PS3 so far are the more off-beat titles Resonance of Fate and Nier. Not sure how they compare, though.

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Re: Sneak Preview #25 - The World of Roger Steel ...

Post by Seloun » Thu Jan 31, 2013 3:58 am

FenCayne wrote: First, Roger Steel isn't going to be a serious work of alternative history in the same way that Heileen isn't the true-life biography of an eighteenth-century English girl. Although I hope you are not going to find significant plot-holes in the game itself, certainly the background isn't going to bear too much scrutiny. I certainly want to aid your suspension of disbelief, but I'm not going to go to Tolkienesque lengths to do so.

Quite understandable, though it seems a bit of a shame not to indulge in a little bit of wild speculation if you're going to pick an alternative earth history for a background... It also seems like you've spent at least some bit of time thinking about the consequences, and a lot of what makes this sort of setting fun is seeing someone's ideas of how some event had a wider impact. I realize there's only a so much research that can be done to make things 'right' (especially as the game isn't focused on this), but in some ways it's not really necessary to get things 'right' (not to mention, it's obviously not verifiable); a lot of the fun here is in trying to come up with rationalizations for why something happened even if there's no in-depth 'real' justification.
Minor historical note from Roger Steel's world: Perry was in fact killed during the War of 1812 when a cannon burst during a brief altercation with a British frigate. From this seemingly insignificant bifurcation, flow a lot of consequences ...
I think something like that is exactly what would make this work. It doesn't have to be related to the plot in anyway (it would probably threaten to derail it if it was) and can just be a throw-away line without any exposition, but it generates a hook for speculation. Basically, the Earth is the biggest source material one has available, and little bits of information could go a long way to leverage it. Accuracy is probably less important (in terms of fun) than things that are different but familiar; for example maybe you run into a short article explaining in part why there are airships instead of airplanes (Hindenburg proves to be a great success? Wright brothers die in a crash?). In 'real life' the viability of airplanes has little to do with the Wright brothers or the Hindenburg accident specifically, but that doesn't really matter in making such details fun to read.

On the topic of games that this sounds similar to, I'd probably put up Arcanum; not an alternative history Earth, but close, and about the right time/tech level.

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