A fantastic guide on writing believable characters, and lots of handy tips for improving your protagonists or antagonists.
How to Write Believable Sci-Fi Characters
A fantastic guide on writing believable characters, and lots of handy tips for improving your protagonists or antagonists.
How to Write Believable Sci-Fi Characters
This week, I’ve got a fascinating guest post for you from the fantastic Bunneh3000. A fellow author and mega-geek I asked him to write a post about a geek topic of his choice and he picked Battlestar Galactica games that we all want to see. Enjoy!
Battlestar Galactica as a franchise is one that has a healthy cult following spawning from both well received TV series (late ’70s – ‘80s and the 2000s). The basic story follows the space-based remnants of the human race as they flee a cybernetic race called the Cylons, with whom they’ve had a long standing war.
Both stories emote a sense of desperation, placing the human race at a disadvantage throughout the story. The drama that ensued made for great television and the action, to this day, seems to be ripe for the video game industry to take on. Unfortunately, few games have been completed and those that have are considered ‘decent’ at best.
Of those that are decent, the most recent BSG: Deadlock game probably ties the older PS2/Xbox Battlestar Galactica game. Deadlock is a mash-up of XCOM and a turn-based style Homeworld strategy game that PC gamers can sink their teeth in. With its release in 2017, developer Slitherine will assuredly support this game with more DLC and updates to keep the game fresh and exciting for a little while longer.
The old PS2/Xbox game, however, played in a kind of 3rd person style flight sim like the old Star Wars Rogue Squadron games. Outside of those two games, there’s not much to be said.
In an effort to push developers to take a chance and bring glory back to the Colonial Fleet, here are a few wish list style game types that Battlestar Galactica could flourish in!
For those who have played No Man’s Sky, you either are enthralled with the immense freedom or bored with the resource gathering routine needed to improve your little ship. Here’s the Battlestar Galactica game proposal:
With the immense size of No Man Sky’s universe and the format of resource gathering, there could be an interesting Battlestar Galactica storyline that could be forged. Parts of the TV series, before the location of Earth is found, is centered around a frantic search for the resources needed to supply the fleet as it fled the Cylons.
This game could make the No Man’s Sky engine a bit less open world-y and a bit more focused. The search for resources could have Cylon away teams sprinkled in along with maybe some ‘land defense of your base’ action. Then, with No Man’s Sky’s ability to launch into space and have space battles, you could also have your grand ship combat as you race to return to the Galactica!
While many gamers have mixed feelings about what Electronics Arts did with Star Wars Battlefront 2, the resulting game is still pretty great. The land combat is great and mixes in ‘heroes’ from the movies into the game that can quickly change the course of the battle.
Imagine being able to become any of the Cylon models or Star Buck or Athena or Kat, etc. The game then would also have the advantage of being able to play space battles well (as does the Star Wars version) with hero versions of the ships as well. Then you could possibly throw in an online persistent war (with different seasons) to mix things up with the modes and all of the sudden you have the game that Battlestar Galactica Online wishes it were!
Here the idea is to pair the stylings of Bioware’s legendary Mass Effect trilogy with a Battlestar Galactica skin. Mass Effect was a massive and exciting action RPG game that could arguably be considered a mashup of Star Trek and BSG to a degree. In it, you were the commander of your own ship hoping to save lives against an oncoming ridiculously overpowered threat.
The game had third person action combat as well as a bit of RPG elements where you upgraded your commander as well as your ship and shipmates. You managed your crew and even developed relationships with them. This last ‘character relationship’ aspect of Mass Effect seemingly fits right in with the sometimes exhausting character to character drama that either made it or broke it for Battlestar Galactica viewers of the later series.
With the demise of Mass Effect Andromeda, there could be a way to reimagine the series through the eyes of the Battlestar Pegasus. Since the TV show didn’t fully follow the Pegasus’ journey, a game of this style could flesh it out in a dramatic and fun way.
So the gaming idea of a roguelike is to have a setup where the difficulty is high, death is permanent, and the replay value is high. By making every ‘playthrough’ procedurally different, you essentially make the game able to become a different experience everytime you play it. Games like FTL, Darkest Dungeon, and Enter The Gungeon all have interesting concepts that could work well.
FTL was a Star Trek styled game that played like a real time strategy game. The ‘board’ you played on was the layout of your ship. You either attacked other ships or you defended your ship from being boarded. All of these concepts are PERFECT for the BSG universe. You could be a commander ordering all parts of your ship to do certain actions based on the damage you receive and (to spice up the action) the damage your Colonial Fleet receives.
Darkest Dungeon was a D&D styled party based dungeon exploration game. It’s interesting concept was EVERYTHING that occurred could lead to members of your party developing traumatic mental and physical afflictions. They could become afraid of the dark, verbally abusive to party members, unwilling to obey your commands, as well as countless other things. Morale has a huge effect in this game and it could be an interesting game mechanic in a Battlestar Galactica game
Enter The Gungeon was more of an action shooter that stressed getting as far as you could in one life before dying and starting over again with only hard earned skills as what you can use again. In a BSG roguelike, this could be used to frustrate the player when pilots or crewmembers die, yet have the ability to grant bonuses if those characters were high ranking or found/developed useful tech.
Mash all of these up and I’m sure some indie developer could find a better than average gaming experience!
Now that we live in the age of VR coming into its own, there needs to be some sort of Colonial experience. Keep in mind, VR typically isn’t played for as long as other games to avoid ‘VR sickness’ so these ‘games’ will end up being less ambitious than the previous suggestions!
Star Trek Bridge Crew showed that a fun multi-person bridge experience could work. Reskinning that came with the BSG universe doesn’t seem like it would be too hard. Essentially the concept is that each player is a specific role on the bridge: Captain, 2nd in Command, Communications, Weapons/Helm/Navigation, Engineering. (I’m certain others could be thought of but lets keep it simple).
The Captain gets his info and then must make rush decisions and give orders to everyone else. The others must use their hand controllers to push button and levers to do what the captain orders before something bad happens or to fix something bad. Sci-fi games of various space shows could probably fit this game model very well.
Here, you could do various Viper training missions as if you were in the cockpit. Thankfully, using a headset and not having to ‘walk around your room’ would work well with the VR headset anywhere. Missions could be short and sweet and the battles and sound could be quite immersive for a unique flight combat sim experience.
Playing turn based strategy games can be hard given keyboard and mouse control schemes. If the control scheme for Battlestar Galactica Deadlock was more like a holographic war board where you could move your fleet with your hands (as your orders), then the speed of the whole experience could make things more enjoyable as well.
BJ “Bunneh3000” is a content creator/poet/father/husband in the geekiest sense of each word. Whether streaming on Twitch, making vids on Youtube, speaking his mind on podcasts, or writing articles, he has quite the way with words!
While you’re here, why not pick up a few free books?
When I became a mum there were several things I was desperate to pass on to my son: good manners, a love of food, and an unhealthy obsession with Sci-fi and fantasy. The latter has become a sort of competition with my son’s father – a die hard LOTR enthusiast. Unfortunately, despite my avid efforts to push Pirates of the Caribbean forward as a suitable alternative, I lost and for a brief while our living room became a homage to Helms Deep (the Lego version anyway).
But all was not lost. Having kept all of our old Star Wars toys (you remember the vintage ones that for the briefest moment were worth millions), I was able to coax the boy over to the dark side and, before he was three, he was able to quote, word for word, Episodes IV, V, and VI… we don’t bother with the prequels. It was a proud moment – if only I could have found a baby book that documented movie quotes and epic battle sequences instead of first steps.
Our excitement was heightened last year with the new Star Wars film and we booked a family day out to watch it. Although to be honest I didn’t watch the film. I watched my son’s face as the title screen came on. I saw his eyes light up as the theme music sounded, stirring all kinds of memories in us. As we watched Rey and BB8, I saw how a new role model was making herself into my son’s life. As old faces returned, I saw his brain compensate for the aging actors he wasn’t familiar with, become the faces he remembered from the earlier films. He squeezed my hand when he was excited, hid behind me when he was afraid, and I held him when he cried his heart out at… well you know what if you’ve seen it.
As we left that cinema, sniffling and trying to be brave, we went home and the first thing we did was put on some Stargate to “chill out” from our recent bereavement. We’re in season 6 now, and my son might be the only 7 year old in Wales that role plays Stargate in the playground with his friends.
Next on my list is my favourite – Firefly – he’s had his taste of the first episode and for the rest of the afternoon I had a mini Captain Reynolds shooting reavers in my kitchen, so I think we’re in for a win with that one too. Then maybe Farscape, a bit of Red Dwarf, Battlestar Galatica…. The list is endless.
But why is it so important I pass these cancelled shows on to my son, aside from them being awesome and better than watching whining vampires on TV? It’s because he gets to see team work in Stargate. It’s because he sees courage in Luke Skywalker. He sees strong female role models in Firefly. He sees the horror of evil and the power of good. Right and wrong and the grey areas in between. And he picks up the best one liners in history.
The geeky generation is drifting, albeit reluctantly, into adult life, and space ships are no longer just for kids. They’re for adults and families. They’re for parents to share with their children, like our ancestors used to share their mythology and legends. Now we can sit and recount life lessons in the tales of Jedi and lost Earthmen. And why do we do this? Well, because nothing in the world can be better than putting your son to bed, saying, “I love you.” And hear him say, “I know.”
Title: The Running Game
Author: L.E. Fitzpatrick
Rachel’s father called it the running game. Count the exits, calculate the routes. Always be ready to run because they’ll always be coming for you. Whatever happens, they’ll always be coming for you.
On the surface, Rachel is just an ordinary doctor, trying to stay alive in war-torn London, but she has a secret. Rachel is a Reacher – wanted by the government and by the criminal underworld – for her telekinetic powers.
Charlie and his brother John had a reputation for doing the impossible. But after losing his family, Charlie is a broken mess and John is barely keeping him afloat. In desperation, they take a job from a ruthless ganglord only to discover the girl they are hunting is a Reacher – one of their own kind.
James Roxton, a conman and thief, is searching for the man who tried to kill his mother. Suddenly embroiled into the plan to kidnap Rachel, he decides he can turn things to his own advantage.
Even with the help of dangerous and dubious allies, can Rachel turn the game around and save herself?
L E Fitzpatrick is a writer of dark adventure stories and thrillers. Under the watchful eye of her beloved rescue Staffordshire Bull Terrier, she leaps from trains and climbs down buildings, all from the front room of a tiny cottage in the middle of the Welsh countryside.
Inspired by cult film and TV, L E Fitzpatrick’s fiction is a collection of twisted worlds and realities, broken characters, and high action. She enjoys pushing the boundaries of her imagination and creating hugely entertaining stories.
The Running Game, her latest book and the first instalment of her dystopian Reacher series, is due for re-release in October 2015 under the Booktrope label.
Today I am absolutely delighted to be hosting sci-fi and horror mastermind Stewart Bint as he releases his newly-edited version of Timeshaft. I LOVED this book – so gripping, so enthralling, so utterly mind-bending! If you like Doctor Who, the Time Machine and other time-travel stories, you are sure to love this too!
By the twenty-seventh century, mankind has finally mastered time travel—and is driving recklessly towards wiping itself out. The guerilla environmentalist group WorldSave, with its chief operative Ashday’s Child, uses the Timeshaft to correct mistakes of the past in an effort to extend the life of the planet.
But the enigmatic Ashday’s Child has his own destiny to accomplish, and will do whatever it takes within a complicated web of paradoxes to do so. While his destiny—and very existence—is challenged from the beginning to the end of time, he must collect the key players through the ages to create the very Timeshaft itself.
“Do our actions as time travellers change what would otherwise have happened, or is everything already laid down in a predetermined plan?” he asks. Stewart Bint’s Timeshaft is an expertly synchronized saga of time travel, the irresistible force of destiny, and the responsibility of mankind as rulers of the world.
Following the fortunes of two sets of time travellers, Timeshaft extends Stewart Bint’s popular novellas, Malfunction and Ashday’s Child (both published by Smashwords in 2012), linking the two completely unrelated storylines into a full-length novel.
Set in Australia, London and Scotland, along with an unknown geographical location called Thiecon, Timeshaft combines Ashday’s Child’s activities and hidden agenda, with an accident befalling the very first time journey by the fledgling Time Research And Exploration Project, rocking along to the past and future with paradoxes and twists galore.
Buy Timeshaft on Amazon UK:
Buy Timeshaft on Amazon USA:
Barnes and Noble:
About the author:
Stewart Bint is a novelist, magazine columnist and PR writer. He lives with his wife, Sue, in Leicestershire, in the UK, and has two grown-up children, Christopher and Charlotte.
He is a former radio presenter, newsreader and phone-in show host, but always wanted to become a fiction writer — a dream that came true when his first novel was published in 2012 at the age of 56. Now the author of five novels, a collection of short stories and a compilation of his early magazine columns, he was signed by Booktrope in 2015, who published a revised edition of his paranormal novel, In Shadows Waiting, in August.
Other books by Stewart Bint:
The Jigsaw And The Fan http://www.amazon.co.uk/Jigsaw-Fan-Stewart-Bint-ebook/dp/B00D0ST8G6/ref=asap_bc?ie=UTF8
Ashday’s Child https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/211833
He has also contributed to three short story anthologies:
December Awethology Light http://www.amazon.co.uk/December-Awethology-Light-Awethors-ebook/dp/B018XWC4WS/ref=asap_bc?ie=UTF8
As a member of a local barefoot hiking group, when not writing he can often be found hiking in bare feet on woodland trails and urban streets.
Stewart Bint online:
Website and blog: http://stewartbintauthor.weebly.com/
Amazon USA: http://www.amazon.com/Stewart-Bint/e/B00D18IARS