Tuesday, October 11, 2016
Writing an Entire Universe (part 2)
The Solar Echoes universe naturally began with the characters--the alien races. We designed each of the races based on what we thought were the best survivors on earth. If any life from earth was to survive on another planet, what would it be? Insects were an easy and obvious choice, so the Chiraktis was born, which I designed based on the mantis with some grasshopper added in for a tougher appearance. An aquatic creature that has lived in our oceans since ancient times--the Nautilus--inspired my design of the Archaeloid; I turned the nautilus upside-down and added some lobster-like arms and legs. Giant reptiles once roamed our planet, and may still if not for the catastrophe that wiped them out, so the Krissethi was another obvious choice, it's appearance based on a fusion of an guana and a chameleon. I feel sorry for the artists, though, because I was especially picky about the Krissethi's look, since I once had a pet iguana and love lizards! Of course admitting this reveals my bias towards wanting a reptilian race in the game.
The plant-race, the Erwani, was Matthew's area, because he is quite an expert when it comes to anything botany-related. We both fondly remembered the 80's computer game, "Starflight," and the plant alien we'd sometimes encounter in space, so we loved the idea of having intelligent vegetation in our game. As for the Omul, that was inspired by a sci-fi novel I'd been writing back in high school about alien amoebas invading the earth. Plus, the top of our list for the most likely life in outer space was single-celled organisms, so the formless Omul made a lot of sense. The Reln was based on our decision that players needed a choice of something similar to humans, but different enough that it still felt unique. We struggled on that at first, and when a dog-like race was proposed, I was very against it, but it wasn't until I did my best to make the concept look "cool" in my sketches that it was finally agreed that we drop the idea--my sketches were decent, but dog-aliens just didn't feel right for Solar Echoes (werewolves in space? Gnolls with guns? No thanks.) Instead, we decided bats were great survivors, so we loosely based the Reln humanoid on the bat, especially considering that the Reln spend much of their time underground in the dark, due to the intense radiation of their resonance-locked sun.