Bzbr Species Sketches

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Bzbr Species Sketches

Postby DarkVixen » Sat Mar 08, 2014 7:40 pm

These are my initial interpretations of the Bzbr description from VsWiki (http://vegastrike.sourceforge.net/wiki/Species:Bzbr).

I interpreted "pseudo-reptilian" and "arboreal reptilian" as a creature that is really arboreal but looks or has some features like a reptile. So I gave it a rabbit-like head and a somewhat leathery/scaly/fur-covered body.

I have some questions about length, it says they are average 1.5m, where the tail is almost 1m. So it means their body is about 0.6m?

Next issue is the statement "[legs] built for jumping, and are used only for locomotion", which means the legs were designed for jumping but it really just uses them to walk.

The "prehensile tail" (tail made for grasping/grabbing), suggests it can live in trees, but does it?

I drew it in a tree, but not with the tail grabbing anything yet.
bzbr_gatherer.jpg
Bzbr Gatherer in an alien tree.


bzbr_head_adult_breeder.jpg
Bzbr adult Breeder head (smaller and rounder than other sexes)


I also added a 2-layer mouth:
bzbr_mouth.jpg
Bzbr mouth diagram, front view of 2-layered jaw components. Somewhat like a lobster jaw.
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Re: Bzbr Species Sketches

Postby ezee » Sat Mar 08, 2014 10:45 pm

Woooooooo !!

Great design again , i like the mix reptile+koala ( the inverted squale head was already
a great idea for the old aera design :wink: )

I wait for jacks intervention before goin'3d .
( and yeah i have the aera to fix , + the atlantis base ... )
Good Job !
:D
Code: Select all
 if (!track.HasWeapons())
            {
                // So what are you going to threaten me with? Exhaustion gas?
                return ThreatLevel::None;
            }

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Re: Bzbr Species Sketches

Postby loki1950 » Sat Mar 08, 2014 10:53 pm

They are indeed arboreal being part of their jungle environment which is the reason that the Aera decided to make them an allied species they retain their jumping ability from the wiki
Although not particularly bright or creative, the Bzbr are actually quite good at both remembering and following instructions, and have come to be used in various Aera space construction projects, where they are valued for their ability to deftly maneuver in small spaces and to leap from girder to girder.

As for living in trees that is their natural state before contact with the Aera and most likely still on their home world I imagine that they serve as servants to the Aera so may serve as crew on aeran ships.Run with this till we get an word from the Minister of Information ;)

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Re: Bzbr Species Sketches

Postby DarkVixen » Sun Mar 09, 2014 1:50 am

Ok. :) Just let me know of any corrections and things you want me to add or remove.

I'd like to get the sketch down before working on the 3D model.

This one may be harder than the Aera model because there are more limbs and the complex mouth.
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Re: Bzbr Species Sketches

Postby ezee » Sun Mar 09, 2014 3:42 am

About the limbs , this video tutorial of a spider animation will be an help :
http://vimeo.com/30042920

Nice if you already can do the Bzbr from A to Z !
:wink:
Code: Select all
 if (!track.HasWeapons())
            {
                // So what are you going to threaten me with? Exhaustion gas?
                return ThreatLevel::None;
            }

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Re: Bzbr Species Sketches

Postby jackS » Mon Mar 10, 2014 1:13 pm

DarkVixen wrote:These are my initial interpretations of the Bzbr description from VsWiki (http://vegastrike.sourceforge.net/wiki/Species:Bzbr).

I interpreted "pseudo-reptilian" and "arboreal reptilian" as a creature that is really arboreal but looks or has some features like a reptile. So I gave it a rabbit-like head and a somewhat leathery/scaly/fur-covered body.

I have some questions about length, it says they are average 1.5m, where the tail is almost 1m. So it means their body is about 0.6m?

Next issue is the statement "[legs] built for jumping, and are used only for locomotion", which means the legs were designed for jumping but it really just uses them to walk.

The "prehensile tail" (tail made for grasping/grabbing), suggests it can live in trees, but does it?

I drew it in a tree, but not with the tail grabbing anything yet.


Re: "only used for locomotion" I was probably referring to the feet on limbs not considered "arms" being ... not usable as hands. Good grip, but not suited for arbitrary manipulation/fine-motor works in the visual field.

Yep. Long tails relative to body length. They're very smallish creatures, overall, if you ignore their tails. You're certainly welcome to play a bit with how broad they are. Also, your limbs appear to have 3 rather than 4 sections, fwiw. I seem to recall thinking about grasshoppers when I was thinking about their rear jumping limbs, but I don't think I was just mining for inspiration rather than emulation.

Ecological niche is clearly monkey-inspired. Body plan is vaguely scorpiform (with a monkey tail). Skin, metabolism, skeletal, etc. qualify it as "pseudo-reptilian" (since no alien is actually a reptile) - mostly means that humans would see it and related lifeforms from its planet as having some reptile-like features. End result should be at least slightly odd. At the end of the day, what an Aera finds some combination of "puppy-dog-pout"/pitiful may not be cute by human standards. (digression - For some fun reading on alien perceptions of cuteness, see: the end of "A Deepness in the Sky"). But, feel free to make them appear as cute or terrifying to humans as you see fit.

To end on a tangent with a piece of general guidance toward my feelings on alien aesthetics - whenever a choice arises as to hew closer to "rubber-forehead aliens" or "starfish aliens" I generally advise to choose the latter. Ultimately, we're only particularly acquainted with terrestrial life-forms, so moving away from anthropoid often ends up moving toward some other terrestrial animal analogue or chimera. That's okay - but feel free to be bold on anything that isn't otherwise nailed down. If we come up with something that, for reasons of practical biological physics makes little sense e.g. "so, um, how does it drink?" or "Appears likely to break its back when lifting a small book" then we can revise, but, as Gregory Benford once quipped, "the thing about aliens is, they're ALIEN" -- which I take to mean that there should always be something at least a little unsettling/unfamiliar about every alien species. Different types of alien are unsettling in different ways (the Rlaan, for instance, don't really have a face, per se) but the goal should be to develop a sufficiently diverse menagerie that the in-universe reaction of being unsettled by the similarities in body plan among humans and Klk'k as the only other vaguely anthropoidal sentients encountered (not to mention how weird it is for either to encounter non-sentient anthropoids, which there also are) should make in-universe sense.
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Re: Bzbr Species Sketches

Postby jackS » Mon Mar 10, 2014 1:15 pm

Also, FWIW - the Bzbr home planet's forests tended to catch on fire a lot, what with it being that world's equivalent of the carboniferous period here on earth, and O2 levels wandering into the 30% composition range.
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Re: Bzbr Species Sketches

Postby ezee » Mon Mar 10, 2014 2:09 pm

jackS wrote:Also, FWIW - the Bzbr home planet's forests tended to catch on fire a lot, what with it being that world's equivalent of the carboniferous period here on earth, and O2 levels wandering into the 30% composition range.


Ok , that explain so the " Body plan is vaguely scorpiform " .
I will read again your feeling about what is/could be the Alien representation in our mind .
Today , i feel like you said , the point with alien is that they are Alien .

Soon i will animate the face of the creature , and the same question/problem will occur :
_ Alien have fears ? Alien can love/hate ? Alien are predictable ? Alien can be mad or sad ?
Because humanity is the sum of a lot of troubles , what about the other species in the universe ? Certainly you have already defined in your previous books such " details " ,
but for a frenchie like me , it's very hard to read ( because of your perfect use of precise
vocabulary in english - I love the words too , as tools , or vertices if i transpose the mental picture producted by the words in a 3D space ... :wink: )

Thank you Jacks , it's good in a creative context to deal with constraints .
The constraint here is the VegaStrike culture that you have developed , and that is growing by itself now . It just need a little attention , like you do , and it's perfect .
:D

Edit : for those who ( like me :roll: ) didn't know what is a StarfishAlien :
http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.php/Main/StarfishAliens
and since we are here :
http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.php/Main/RubberForeheadAliens
Code: Select all
 if (!track.HasWeapons())
            {
                // So what are you going to threaten me with? Exhaustion gas?
                return ThreatLevel::None;
            }

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Re: Bzbr Species Sketches

Postby DarkVixen » Mon Mar 10, 2014 7:32 pm

Ok, I think I can make a blender model of the Bzbr, but let me finish the Aera first.

I'll probably sketch a side/top/front Bzbr before working on the 3d model.

I think we need to make the Aera/Human/Bzbr relationships more complex, not just simple Aera being hostile to Humans.

More like, the Aera are like Orcas, they killed Rlaan because they saw them as food or just in the way.

Humans misunderstood that, went to war with the Aeras... we should have some Humans and Aeras being friends in the game. I suggested Aeras valuing honesty, perhaps that may be one thing they see in Bzbr and some Humans.
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Re: Bzbr Species Sketches

Postby jackS » Tue Mar 11, 2014 8:54 am

DarkVixen wrote:I think we need to make the Aera/Human/Bzbr relationships more complex, not just simple Aera being hostile to Humans.

More like, the Aera are like Orcas, they killed Rlaan because they saw them as food or just in the way.

Humans misunderstood that, went to war with the Aeras... we should have some Humans and Aeras being friends in the game. I suggested Aeras valuing honesty, perhaps that may be one thing they see in Bzbr and some Humans.


The Aera are not intrinsically hostile to anyone (intrinsically untrusting, but that's a different issue). They are, however, hostile to the prospect of being limited to a confined portion of the jump network, unable to expand while other polities continue to grow. Their first response was to attempt a diplomatic resolution, but neither the Rlaan nor any Human polity were interested in letting the (more rapidly expansionist) Aera have free passage to found colonies past their own open frontiers. Relatedly, FWIW, one of the inspirations for Aeran aggression is the oil embargo of Japan leading up to their entry into WWII.

Friendship between Aera and humans would likely be asymmetric. Aeran interpersonal relationships tend to follow pack hierarchies. Their relationship with the human would be affected by both how they fit the human into their own (local) pack paradigm, and how they viewed their pack's relationship with the "pack" that human belongs to. They're quite smart enough and mentally flexible enough to understand that humans don't operate on the same organizational principles, but it isn't intuitive for them.

Similar lack of intuition explains why the Aeran-Rlaan conflict was as large as it was. While the Aerans knew (intellectually) that the Rlaan held civilians sacrosanct, they couldn't fully appreciate the degree to which it acted as a highly non-linear http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.php/Main/BerserkButton since the Aerans don't have a well-defined concept of "civilian." Or, to use a different analogy/metaphor - when financial types in the mid 2000s put together CDOs with subprime tranches, which they'd never really done before at scale, they just figured that the default rate would be no more than 2x what they were used to, because... 2x would be a lot, compared to what they were familiar with (saw some interesting presentations on this out of high-performance computational finance in 2005/6). This didn't turn out to be a good assumption (a lot of the assumptions didn't make sense to the audience at said presentations either, but we figured it was because we were computer architects rather than finance experts - turns out we were right *shrug*). So, to tie it back to the Aera, they made ... unsound assumptions based on insufficient intuition/experience on how severe the Rlaan reaction would be to the Aeran colony expedition fleet killing civilians in order to attempt to maintain operational security as they attempted to sneak coreward through Rlaan territory. (Pretty much every aspect of the expedition ended up as a debacle. Many heads rolled (figuratively) in the Aeran Intelligence Services.) The current Aeran aggression toward humanity stems from A) the same expansionist goals, B) a (partially justified) belief that they have a better understanding of humans than Rlaan, avoiding at least making the SAME mistakes, and C) the perceived weakness of the Forsaken territories, providing a promising avenue deep into the Human portion of the jump network.

As for the Bzbr though, they don't have much of a relationship with anyone except the Aera. They don't really operate independently.
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Re: Bzbr Species Sketches

Postby jackS » Tue Mar 11, 2014 11:31 am

It may also be useful to skim over (although there isn't really that much there) Chapter 3.1 of the VSU lore document (also, Appendix B). It does, at least, briefly (if inelegantly) describe some thoughts on the mindsets of different groups. I suppose if I want to actually be useful, I should update said lore document on a more frequent occasion than once every few years, and then there'd be more to see there. Or, heavens forbid, actually do some editing of whatever questionably coherent text I was typing up at 3AM some evening while procrastinating back in grad school... Someday. Right after that other thing that's after that other thing that's after tenure. Or something...

(Still, even as incomplete, disorganized, and intermittently incoherent as the document is, it still does come with the standard reminder of, to quote River Song, "Shh - spoilers.")
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Re: Bzbr Species Sketches

Postby ezee » Tue Mar 11, 2014 3:24 pm

Impressive .
The psycho-logical aspects of your story are essentials for an immersive experience.
Play this game as if it was a // universe , with rules that we already know , and rules
that we discover along scripted events .
Certain events are critical , and should serve as keyframe in the timeline of the game life.
Yes , open ended doesn't mean there is no end , but each end ( experience of the end )
is different . The end of the story is not the end of the game , and it could be a great satisfaction for the players to enter in that story and help to his conclusion .

I really think cinematics could , would , should be employed in that fictional story .
When i listen to these bribes of fi-storical events , i imagine the experience that vega strike ( the game ) could be .

I noticed the http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.php/M ... serkButton , and it help me to organize my future work with the NPCs :
In short, some characters almost always get enraged when given a certain trigger.

With that " berserkButton " , i don't have to eliminate one facet of a personality , but
think twice .
The Aera couldn't be complete without peaceful and violent poses/actions .
And it's the same for all the species .

As i plan to animate the characters we are modelling , i started to think in term of actions. One animation is a micro-story of few seconds , and a story is full of animations.
So i try to organize my ideas , and i see clearly two fronts :

_ The actions in the gamePlay ( FPS Like , RPG , 3rd person view )
_ The actions in the storyline ( cinematics , communications display )

The actions in the gameplay :

Walk , run , crouch , straffe , fight,reload , jump , roll , fall , die . ( ok respawn too :lol: )
I imagine also certain class of characters with specialization :
The bartender , mecanos in the hangar , the shipdealer , merchants etc..., that all have specific tasks that could be pleasant to discover in 3d .

The actions in the storyline :

More precise and artistic ( art of lighting + cinematographic camera mode to render the scene ), they will add a new dimension to the text based story .
Special Characters should be created specifically and being persistent along the journey in the
vega system ...
Last edited by ezee on Wed Mar 12, 2014 2:41 am, edited 1 time in total.
Code: Select all
 if (!track.HasWeapons())
            {
                // So what are you going to threaten me with? Exhaustion gas?
                return ThreatLevel::None;
            }

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Re: Bzbr Species Sketches

Postby Deus Siddis » Tue Mar 11, 2014 10:43 pm

jackS wrote:The current Aeran aggression toward humanity stems from A) the same expansionist goals, B) a (partially justified) belief that they have a better understanding of humans than Rlaan, avoiding at least making the SAME mistakes, and C) the perceived weakness of the Forsaken territories, providing a promising avenue deep into the Human portion of the jump network.


What is their intention for the war at this point? Is it just to carve a channel through the periphery of Human territories or to completely defeat humanity as a military power? What is the trigger point for the Rlaan reentering the war?

Are the Bzbr the first and only fledgling sentient species the Aera have yet encountered or were there others that received the same treatment as their planetary ecosystems?

As for the Bzbr though, they don't have much of a relationship with anyone except the Aera. They don't really operate independently.


Where would you encounter the Bzbr in-game? Are they deployed in the war in any capacity? Are there Bzbr pilots?
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Re: Bzbr Species Sketches

Postby DarkVixen » Wed Mar 12, 2014 12:17 am

The Bzbr would probably be shown next to an Aera as a pet or servant.

So I think it's important to have the Bzbr model to model alongside Aera models for various in game videos and stuff.

When I first played VS, I felt that it was interesting to play a game that featured the player as an insignificant in a war. Where you watch traders trade and militants fight each other.

You can choose to join any part of the game and get into any kind of trouble you want, it's really interesting (or maybe because I don't play games often).

I think the problem with Aliens in TV/movies is that you have to understand that casting directors, who mainly operate apart from the show, ultimately decide who gets what role.

Directors are one of the most unimaginative people in the world, they will often pick the typical white person to play the leader, a female to play a sex icon with little to no lines, a black person to play the bad guy, a fat person to play the comic relief, etc.

Like that ad for "Perilous Frontier" LOL
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Re: Bzbr Species Sketches

Postby jackS » Wed Mar 12, 2014 1:36 pm

Deus Siddis wrote:
jackS wrote:The current Aeran aggression toward humanity stems from A) the same expansionist goals, B) a (partially justified) belief that they have a better understanding of humans than Rlaan, avoiding at least making the SAME mistakes, and C) the perceived weakness of the Forsaken territories, providing a promising avenue deep into the Human portion of the jump network.


What is their intention for the war at this point? Is it just to carve a channel through the periphery of Human territories or to completely defeat humanity as a military power? What is the trigger point for the Rlaan reentering the war?

Are the Bzbr the first and only fledgling sentient species the Aera have yet encountered or were there others that received the same treatment as their planetary ecosystems?

As for the Bzbr though, they don't have much of a relationship with anyone except the Aera. They don't really operate independently.


Where would you encounter the Bzbr in-game? Are they deployed in the war in any capacity? Are there Bzbr pilots?


(Answered in order different than asked)

The Aera have no other sapient client species and no pressing desire to do uplifts on any other species they've encountered, including their own AIs (it's not really paranoia if the author^H^H^H^H^H^H^Huniverse really is out to get you ;-) ). Bzbr would be seen in systems with developed or developing Aeran orbital infrastructure. For story-mode gameplay, this might make them somewhat rarer to encounter outside of cutscenes/in-game media, but for sandbox mode, that's a lot of star systems :)

Key Aeran war goals are basically opening up a competitively advantaged access route to the rest of the jump network. Complete defeat of humanity is entirely optional, and negotiated peace acceptable, although sufficient consolidation of the route would have to occur for the Aera to feel that their access to their colonies was viable (i.e. that any subsequent hostilities are unlikely to result in Aeran space becoming non-contiguous, or at least that no such break could likely occur until the far end of the chain was itself a substantial polity. Given Aeran pessimism, any negotiated peace would require a significant de-fanging of humanity, so they do aim to break us badly enough that we're unlikely to ever be able to realistically attempt to put the cat back into the bag wrt. Aeran expansion. That said, they don't feel a compulsion to conquer/cage us except to prevent us from doing the same to them, and they definitely don't look forward to the hassle of having to deal with our populations in conquered systems (because the Rlaan would completely flip out in a possibly xenocidal fashion if they became convinced that the Aerans were implementing a program of intentionally offing "civilian" populations wholesale (they'd probably also get booted from the Uln homeworld and (officially, at least) cut off from any Ancient-related research in Uln space too, for what that's worth), and because human survivors don't have the <<good sense>> to submissive-merge into the victorious pack and manage themselves.) Or, to put it in Aeran historical terms, the Aera didn't burn the jungle to conquer it, the burned it because it scared the living daylights out of them and they didn't feel safe until where they were living couldn't be considered a place of imminent death. Viewed through Aeran eyes, this is a defensively oriented action against the clear attempts of the Humans and Rlaan to strangle them in their crib, so to speak. (and they aren't completely wrong)

As to Rlaan entry into the war (short of the counter-xenocide issue, which would require a lot of the Aeran leadership to be carrying the idiot ball {TVtrope} because attempted xenocide is basically one of the only things that all major species have collectively and publicly agreed is a war-crime) - there's a fair bit of realpolitik here: Despite a (so far) relatively peaceful and economically profitable relationship between humanity and the Rlaan, sizeable factions within the Rlaan assembly would prefer nothing more than a long, drawn out war of attrition between humanity and the Aera. They longer the two are engaged with each other, the more infrastructure is devoted to war rather than growth, or destroyed outright by war, the more of the jump network the Rlaan can continue to explore and exploit. The Rlaan are more concerned about the Aera than Humanity, but they're not exactly comfortable about the long-term situation with either of us, given A) the rate at which our species are expanding compared to theirs and B) most Rlaan find most oxygen breathing lifeforms deeply alien and unsettling to begin with. There are certainly a few echoes of Churchill-Hitler-Stalin going on here (sort of, as it's a very imperfect analogy, but consider it for flavor rather than substance). Now, since the Rlaan do have a vested interest in not letting the Aera succeed outright, if humanity proved itself sufficiently incapable of containing the Aera, they'd probably get off the sidelines and intercede, but the form of their intercession would be highly variable (and its cost/benefit to humanity highly variable) depending on the nature of the human side's collapse in Aeran containment. The Aera are mostly hoping that they can achieve some combination of holding the line long enough along the Rlaan border if it reopens, even if they can't push on that front or even lose ground ( hopes based on re-designs of craft and tactics during and post Aeran-Rlaan war) and of pressing their advantages sufficiently swiftly that the Rlaan Assembly (not noted for its temporal efficiency) will not fully enter the war before enough Aeran colony craft are already scattered to the far side of human space that even a forced premature (from the Aeran perspective) negotiated peace with humanity would still achieve their highest priority escape goals, if not their full war goals.

DarkVixen wrote:The Bzbr would probably be shown next to an Aera as a pet or servant.

So I think it's important to have the Bzbr model to model alongside Aera models for various in game videos and stuff.

When I first played VS, I felt that it was interesting to play a game that featured the player as an insignificant in a war. Where you watch traders trade and militants fight each other.

You can choose to join any part of the game and get into any kind of trouble you want, it's really interesting (or maybe because I don't play games often).

I think the problem with Aliens in TV/movies is that you have to understand that casting directors, who mainly operate apart from the show, ultimately decide who gets what role.

Directors are one of the most unimaginative people in the world, they will often pick the typical white person to play the leader, a female to play a sex icon with little to no lines, a black person to play the bad guy, a fat person to play the comic relief, etc.

Like that ad for "Perilous Frontier" LOL


That bit about casting directors reminds me of the "Hollywood Reasons" bit here: http://www.projectrho.com/public_html/rocket/prelimnotes.php

The goal of story-mode, such as a story exists, has indeed been to separate "hero" from "protagonist" - war as setting, rather than as plot :) I'm glad this approach was appreciated :)
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Re: Bzbr Species Sketches

Postby jackS » Wed Mar 12, 2014 2:05 pm

Of course, speaking of triggers (completely unimplemented, in this case), technically, the Aera shouldn't be in a full-on shooting war with the Confederation until a bit after the story starts, as they're supposed to be spending the intro (act 1) churning through {(pre)WWII polish-manchurian-low countries *cough*} The Union of Dispossessed Settlers (aka the Forsaken) and the Confederation is not exactly hurrying up to lay down its own lives to defend the UDS for its own internal political reasons even though everyone knows that a larger war is essentially inevitable. The rough timeline being: Lauktk killed by CoTFR terrorists/Deucalion badly injured -> Aera invade UDS -> Deucalion sufficiently recovers (player control begins) -> player wanders through handholding portion of game, deals with Lauktk's "funeral tour," making some key choices for future paths for Deucalion along the way -> Confed/Aeran conflict goes hot end act 1/begin act 2(of 5) in UtCS ) (the other acts should happen more or less on their own timetable, but the act 1->2 transition is intended to occur in sync with player progress for gameplay conceits, so if you never complete the first act quest, you enter a parallel universe where the Aera invade the UDS and no one ever cares enough to do anything about it. Since the engine models production of craft in all controlled systems, this probably would result in act 2 being an extra bloody/epic affair if the player did at some greatly later point decide to complete act 1 :) )
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