Species Creation Guide & Rules (Read this first)

Species suggestions, story ideas and contributions.
Creative Contributor
Posts: 314
Joined: Tue Aug 26, 2003 6:10 pm
Location: Amidst the Inferno.

Species Creation Guide & Rules (Read this first)

#1 Post by Ablaze »

Rules for the Story Board

Species stuff at this point is somewhat provisional. The game currently only has a few ways to distinguish species (picks) so theres not much reason to have a lot of species in the game, nor are we figuring out the final roster of species. Eventually we will, and until then you can post any wonderful ideas that you might come up with here.

DISCLAIMER: By posting species concepts you are agreeing to let you idea be used and modified by the open-source community. All ideas will almost certainly need to be modified to balance and differentiate the species. The game will not be able to support all suggested mechanics, and some species will need to be adjusted to simply be possible.

To allow your ideas to be found in the future when needed, follow these rules:

:arrow: If you would like to ask a question or make a comment that does not pertain to a specific race you can post it in the General Discussion thread.

:arrow: Start a new thread for your race. The thread’s subject must consist of the race’s name. If your species is some version of humanity, please start the name with "Human:" and then continue the name with something distinctive. We already have several different concepts for the human race, this will help make them identifiable.

:arrow: All the races in freeorion will be original. For instance, there will be no race of shape shifters named the Darlocks. We will also not be implementing races based on novels or television. That isn’t to say that you can’t derive inspiration from those sources, but try to be original.

:arrow: It is highly unlikely that your race will behave radically differently from any other race. In all probability there will be a single tech tree that all races share and roughly the same game playing rules, so I suggest you avoid making a race of two dimensional deep space dwellers who use psychic emanations as currency. You’re certainly welcome to write any specific rules you want into a race’s description, but chances are that when it comes to implementation they will fall by the wayside. Though it is possible that some of the weirder ideas would work as space monsters.

:arrow: To make it easier to read, incorporate any changes or updates into your species into the first post in your creature's topic. This is less work for the reader than going through the discussion and trying to sort the old and new information.

:arrow: Please include concept art, even if you aren't a skilled artist-- especially if your alien is significantly different from anything familiar. Even a simple sketch can help your readers understand what how your alien is put together.
Last edited by eleazar on Sat Jul 28, 2012 10:43 am, edited 8 times in total.
Reason: added disclaimer and altered and added various things
Time flies like the wind, fruit flies like bananas.

User avatar
Design & Graphics Lead Emeritus
Posts: 3858
Joined: Sat Sep 23, 2006 7:09 pm
Location: USA — midwest

Re: Board Policy & Species Creation Guide (Read this first)

#2 Post by eleazar »

Race Creation Guide
(consolidated from this thread)
Placing the pithy summary at the top is important. Otherwise, don't feel obligated to follow this order of subjects, this is simply a list of subject to cover and ideas to think about.

Summary - A pithy sentence describing the core concept of the species, what makes them different, interesting. If you can condense it to a phrase, so much the better. This will be of great benefit to future readers sorting through these threads. Put this at the very top of the post.

Homeworld - Type of homeworld (and some details about it if relevant)

A reason for leaving the home planet - An important one this. If there is no reason to leave, they wouldn't leave, and thus wouldn't be involved in the game. Excuses generally range from "xenophobic nut-cases", through to "ardent explorers".

Note: Most of the species included with the game will probably be minor planet-bound species. These species for whatever reason are unable or unwilling to spread beyond their homeworld, so a stay-at-home species needs an explanation for why-- even when an empire wants to take them and settle them on other planets-- it just won't work.

Physical description - Make it as convoluted as you like. For odd aliens, diagrams/drawing, even very bad ones are recommended. Pictures are indeed worth a thousand words.

Social Structure - How the little critters behave toward each other. Are they all equal, or is there a big-boss critter at the top, and a bunch of slaves that do it's bidding?

History - This allows people to get a 'feel' for the race. The deeper the better. As this is an open-source game, it has an advantage over commercial games in that a very-deep & rich history can be created with no cost (courtesy of the participants' enthusiasm).

Race Attributes - Some general ideas as to what the race is good & bad at within the game (manufacturing, research, etc). Include both advantages and disadvantages.

Add it to the Species Index - The Species Index is on the wiki. It's a sortable list of many of the species concepts, and a good way to keep your idea from getting lost or forgotten.
Last edited by eleazar on Sat Jul 28, 2012 10:46 am, edited 6 times in total.
Reason: added link to species index

User avatar
Design & Graphics Lead Emeritus
Posts: 3858
Joined: Sat Sep 23, 2006 7:09 pm
Location: USA — midwest

Re: Board Policy & Species Creation Guide (Read this first)

#3 Post by eleazar »

Galactopedia Species Write-Ups

Now that we have a Galactopedia, we could use concise write-ups of the included species. I've written a few, and will probably do more, especially for the new species i've introduced, but it's a lot of work reading those long descriptions and distilling out the essentials-- which is where the broader community comes in.

Currently the vast majority of imperial and minor species need write-ups. If the original authors are still around to do these, that's great, but most of the writers are no longer active. Don't be shy continuing the work somebody else started, especially if their last post was in 2005.

:arrow: The primary goal of the write up is to make the reader feel like he "knows" the species-- to make them memorable and interesting, and lay out their personality and nature clearly so that it is easy to guess how they would act in game and what picks and special mechanics they should get when the picks are all created.

  • 200-400 words
    Starts with a strong one sentence summary of the species.
    Divided into several headings.
    Refer to the EP the species has in the game (species.txt), which often differs from the forum description
    Post your write-up in the species' own thread.
Summary of bonus/maluses is optional, since at this point they are highly speculative, and many species don't have that info.

Here's an example that's short enough to be read in-game, but long enough to be interesting. Here's another good example. (except it isn't divided into sections)

If you want to create a new species feel free. The inclusion of a galactopedia-ready write-up won't guarantee it's inclusion in the game, but it will help.

And finally the disclaimer. You should realize that species concepts are likely to be changed to fit with whatever mechanics we come up with and to balance them. Some species might even be removed.
Last edited by eleazar on Thu Oct 11, 2012 2:57 pm, edited 1 time in total.
Reason: more clarification

User avatar
Design & Graphics Lead Emeritus
Posts: 3858
Joined: Sat Sep 23, 2006 7:09 pm
Location: USA — midwest

Re: Board Policy & Species Creation Guide (Read this first)

#4 Post by eleazar »

How to Add Custom Species to the Game

*** Instructions are out of Date, as this bit of the game rapidly evolves. ***

As FO progresses we'd like this to be easier but for now, here's how you add a species to the game.

There are two text files involved both in the "default" folder: "species.txt" and "eng_stringtable.txt". If you aren't using english, you also need to edit your translation file. You can edit them with any simple plain text text editor.

* In "species.txt" copy and paste. one of the chunks that describe a species. It starts with "Species" and goes to the line starting with "graphic = "icons/species/..."

* Give it a unique name and description tag:

Code: Select all

* For a imperial species, make sure it doesn't have this line:

Code: Select all

If you want it to be minor species, make sure it has that line.

* Near the end assign it's EP, by choosing "Good", "Adequate", "Poor", "Hostile", or "Uninhabitable" for each planet type.

Code: Select all

environments = [
        type = Swamp        environment = Adequate
        type = Toxic        environment = Good
* Finally give it an icon. There's a large number i've made in /default/data/art/icons/species/... or you can add your own file. Change the last line to point to it.

Code: Select all

graphic = "icons/species/species-icon-filename.png"
* You could try to change it's production rate or other things, if so good luck, that's too complicated for this post to try to explain.

* Now the words. Some where in eng_stringtable.txt add in the unique name and description tags you chose above.
If your species is the Daleks it might look like this:

Code: Select all

'''The Daleks love only one thing:

Notice those aren't quotes boxing in the description but 3 apostrophes in a row.

If you are using a translation, you can also add this in your translation of choice in your own language.