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Relationships Between Species in Unreal

Posted: 11 Feb 2016, 01:51
by Jet v4.3.5
I have a few questions on the different species in Unreal. How they behave around each other, nuance, etc. I'm wracking my brains trying to remember details that I should probably just research on my own, but more as a jumping off point I wanted to ask these questions with the hope that some of those with analytical acumen might know a thing or two inherently that might be helpful and possibly obscure.

My key question is: how do (or might) certain creatures in Unreal of similar-to-human intelligence treat or relate to one another under certain circumstances?

For Skaarj as a collective, we have the adult Skaarj, Pupae, Warlords, at least one Queen, Brutes, Krall, Slith, and Nali serving different roles and holding a variety of statuses, including "slave" in the case of the Krall and Nali, though in different capacities. We have some odd situations where certain structures and locations are defended by many Krall, and usually a few Skaarj and other creatures within that group. We have on certain occasions witnessed Slith lurking at the bottom of Mercenary slime pools, for what purpose is unclear to me. There is a certain Skaarj variant, the Berserker, which will eagerly throw down with nearly any other living thing, including other Skaarj Berserkers. In just naming a few, some abstract definitions of the Skaarj's hierarchy and psychology arise while other observations suggest either inconsistent design, or possibly an implicit complexity within the story that mod and fiction content could potentially make more explicit, but is otherwise undefined in the original game.

Mercenaries are, aside from their origins and technology, still pretty straightforward. Even in terms of my core question we know that they generally tend not to like Skaarj. While the Slith in the slime pools thing has been mentioned, I'm curious about the relationship between Mercenaries and Nali. I can't remember anything in game demonstrating interactions between a mercenary and a Nali directly. Mercenaries will kill Nali under fairly universal circumstances due to AI, but from another perspective, they're not seen together too frequently, and when they're close, I don't think it's ever been made clear how they interact. We have the Terraniux situated right next to a (Skaarj infested) Harobed, and a Mercenary raiding party scouring a downed Prometheus in a valley just below another Nali village. While some peril seems to exist for the Nali in these locations (Skaarj Warriors and Predators), we get very little if any indication that the Mercenaries seek out and harm Nali out of sheer violent impulse. I can't remember any specific translator messages, but the Mercenary outlook in the original two games is almost implied as an "If you don't touch me, I won't touch you" perspective on their geographical neighbors. Certain campaigns like ONP even complete the idea that if a Mercenary doesn't see you as a threat, and especially sees you as an ally, then they have no impulse to fight. It's external to the original game's context, but it carries my point out in demonstration fairly well.

These come to mind, but I've not gone into great detail and still have several questions surrounding these general groups, as well as the potential for other factions that may be invented outside of the game's core portrayals to behave or organize differently in terms of social, technological, and military. The latter is a broader invitation for discussion, but for now the in-game portrayals are the most immediately interesting for me.

Re: Relationships Between Species in Unreal

Posted: 11 Feb 2016, 03:14
by ebd
I'm not sure the developers thought too much about it.

Spoiler explanation for somewhat obscure reference:
► Show Spoiler

Re: Relationships Between Species in Unreal

Posted: 11 Feb 2016, 23:54
by Sat42
ebd wrote:I'm not sure the developers thought too much about it.

I'm with ebd here.

In fact, I'd say that from the official perspective, the lore really doesn't matter. It's the art (visual style, soundscape etc.), and the gameplay-feel of course, which constitute the Unreal (and later UT) identity.

But that doesn't mean I don't like these kinds of talks. And let's face it: ebd's spoiler nails it, we love to make the Unreal universe our own because it's got a strong, charismatic style on one hand, multiple influences all mashed together on the other, and implicit + vague storytelling. It provides fertile ground for the community, with some big projects such as ONP etc. taking those elements from the mother game much further. It's also why I've attempted (and will continue mind you :P ) to make maps for this universe: I feel pretty free, and I have a huge stockpile of art assets to realise my fantasies => very stimulating IMO!

Re: Relationships Between Species in Unreal

Posted: 13 Feb 2016, 04:47
by Jet v4.3.5
Oh, I certainly concede the perspective that at some point the game just stops providing definite details in favor of player interpretation. It's sort of the biggest feature of the Unreal single player phenomena, and I respect and embrace it.

I've played the game enough times that I have a familiarity with most major details, but I've never payed close attention to certain things, for example the Kran survivor story, enough to ever follow it while playing the game; I've only ever read about it and have otherwise skimmed much of the translator logs in the game.

I'm not going to be anal about making up my own continuity and creative interests. My point in asking this question - and I'll have to go through the game at some point and take my own notes - but my point was just for academic interest.

Re: Relationships Between Species in Unreal

Posted: 14 Feb 2016, 18:42
by Mister_Prophet
I've wrote a lot of material on this which was to be supplemental material for whenever I released "something" for Residual Decay, which you are privy to Jet (upon request, or maybe I'll just send what I've got). Much of it is painstaking detail compiled for race and class profiles of a paragraph or two with the intention of me doing my best to formulate my own interpretations on the matter.

In terms of Unreal, what remains so intriguing about this is that the game never info dumps the player, lays out a "mission plan," never has another NPC in the game provide details by way of communication. You have translator logs, which are for the most part concerned with happenings within levels and rare bits of foreshadowing.

We go on what we experienced, each of us. We know the Skaarj control the planet, we know what the Unreal instructional booklet tells us, and we drew our connections mainly from that. The game adequately backs that up.

Re: Relationships Between Species in Unreal

Posted: 17 Feb 2016, 20:16
by evilgrins
There's an Unreal novel series, consisting of 2 books, but mostly it sort of works like this. The Skaarj are an aggressor species that have conquered worlds. They see the Nali as slaves and food, thet enslaved the Krall long ago but they have a bit more freedom and are used as foot soldiers and guards. In further advances of the series they conquered and enslaved another species, shown in Unreal2, of 6-limbed monkeys... but I forget what they're called.

This forum used to have a starting page with a link to a "Bestiary" which explained the hierarchy of Unreal species... but it appears to be gone now.

Re: Relationships Between Species in Unreal

Posted: 17 Feb 2016, 22:24
by Preki
These guys are Izarians.

Re: Relationships Between Species in Unreal

Posted: 19 Feb 2016, 04:03
by Jet v4.3.5
evilgrins wrote:This forum used to have a starting page with a link to a "Bestiary" which explained the hierarchy of Unreal species... but it appears to be gone now.

On the left navigation toolbar, we have access to the legacy website for pages yet to be transferred over to the new site. I believe the page you're looking for is this one. Thank you for reminding me of those pages though!

Re: Relationships Between Species in Unreal

Posted: 20 Feb 2016, 04:13
by evilgrins
Yup. That's it

Re: Relationships Between Species in Unreal

Posted: 17 Sep 2016, 05:18
by UTupi
Interesting topic!

Some random observations/thoughts on Mercenaries in Terraniux:

- At the entrance outside there's a dead Mercenary apparently killed by the Skaarj lurking there.
- I've never seen a Slith who jumped out of the waste fighting with Mercenaries. I'm always getting all the loving. Some kind of symbiosis there?
- Terraniux is located between Harobed and Noork's Elbow. Must have been some contact with Nali?
- Among other plants, there are Nali Healing Fruit growing in the hydroponic gardens.
- Noork's Elbow is mentioned by name in a Mercenary message. Must have heard it from the Nali. (Except... is it actually a Nali name? I assume it is. Just somehow sounds like it. Don't remember if it's referenced at Harobed or earlier.)
- There are Tarydium barrels on and below the catwalk down to Noork's Elbow. Likewise at the entrance to Terraniux and inside. Trade? Ransom? Just salvage? (But are the barrels Nali or Skaarj items? Is Rrajigaar a Skaarj name?)

Re: Relationships Between Species in Unreal

Posted: 19 Sep 2016, 02:02
by evilgrins
There's another thread on here that discusses the Slith, which are essentially Skaarj-Mermaids.

The Brutes are genetic experiments, if you look closely they have tusks. They're like really FAT Skaarj.

Mercenaries are an unrelated species, I forget how they're called into the whole thing.

I got no clue what's up with the GasBags. Think of them as hunting falcons that fart a lot.

Re: Relationships Between Species in Unreal

Posted: 07 Oct 2016, 01:26
by Sat42
  • Gasbags are part of Na Pali's fauna - they're pretty much used as such - either that or they're bioengineered creatures but well, that's being more speculative
  • Mercenaries form a distinct species called... Mercenaries, for lack of a better name
  • The Brute family is... well, again it's either a separate species or a bioengineered group of creatures, possibly derived from the Skaarj (never thought of it that way before though) but honestly, there's no official word on this so hey more room for us people to make our own stories up
  • Slith are "cousins" (see manual) of the Skaarj family, whatever that means, but you can really make up your own stories here too

Just looking back at this thread reminds me of how open to interpretation the game's universe is, which has always been advantageous for the community's creative endeavours.