Race The problem with most suggestions- my two cents.

Discussion in 'NPCs and Creatures' started by Ty525, Dec 22, 2013.


More racial suggestions need to be more creative and all around alien.

  1. I agree

    75 vote(s)
  2. I disagree (Please explain why in a response)

    9 vote(s)
  1. Ty525

    Ty525 Scruffy Nerf-Herder

    I want to keep this brief as possible. And outright i'm not naming any names, but i'm sure you'll know if you you're part of (what i belied to be) the problem. I'm exhausted and a little tipsy, but this is something i've been meaning to say since i found this place. So please bear with me.

    Whether or not you agree with me, i feel this needs to be said. As i'm sure there a lot of you that feel this way too. It's probably been brought up more than a few times, but once more can't hurt.

    Since looking over these forums, i can't help but express my disappointment in the shear lack of creativity in most of the suggestions. Rather than being a forum full of neat aliens with unique, and more importantly, ALIEN looks, instead it seems to be some sort of mutant petting zoo.

    Far FAR too many suggestions, i've noticed, are just… animals. And while there are a few gems that don't follow this formula (and the rare quality suggestion that gets away with it), they're greatly outnumbered. It's just so damn boring. In some cases, it's really unfortunate to see tons of decent sprite work and thought going into such an uninspired, design that just isn't worth it.

    Naturally the argument against this, i've noticed, is that the races in game are supposedly the same. The hylotl are fish, apex are apes, avian are... well avians, and the floran are plants. And you're almost right. The avians have, in my opinion, a disappointing and boring design. The Apex get a free pass since it's so obviously a nod to Planet of the Apes.

    But if that were entirely the case, Hylotle would look like this

    Instead of this

    or slightly less canon but infinitely more amazing
    or slightly less canon but infinitely more amazing

    And Florans would look like this

    Instead of this.

    Again, fan art's not canon, but it's a pretty accurate rendition if you ask me


    *credit to those guys that made those things. Moving along.
    Notice how despite obviously being based on that broad kingdom of life, they have their own unique looks. It's just a bad argument.

    Now let's use other sci-fi settings as an example.

    In Mass Effect, Turians are avian. But you would never guess from looking at them. Take a look at the elcor, hanar, vorcha, krogan, etc (i know two of those aren't pictured). When i see those i go "Yup, those are aliens". Not "Oh it's an aardvark with pants."

    If it helps serve as further incentive, take a look at the only accepted race suggestion yet. Novakids couldn't be more alien. They're beings made of energy with symbols for faces. Living stars.

    I'm just saying to try and put more thought into the way your races look, and what they are. And they are ALIENS. If they resemble anything earthly, you're doing something wrong.

    My advice:

    Think of everything BUT what your race looks like FIRST. The environment they developed in, their culture, their history, their personalities, etc. Then when all that's said and done, try your damnedest to design something fitting to that. Not the other way around. And if it comes out looking like something else scrap it and try again.
  2. SArais

    SArais Aquatic Astronaut

    ThIs is my thoughs exactly. This above is why the Novakids were accepted. If you want to make a good race. go with this.

    However, some races are the inverse and work well too.

    Please stop trying to force your fandom into the game. Look at the existant races.

    The general consensus went like this:

    "Okay, we have a fish race and a robot race. These are our general base. We need a culture. How about feudal japan and the Medieval age? Glorious, apply it to that race and then mold the race to that culture in appearance and design. Bam. Hylotl. Bam. Glitch"

    They work because the general consensus is "Take a concept and then turn it inside out upon itself"
    Model QT-377665 and Boxspring like this.
  3. BionicKraken

    BionicKraken Subatomic Cosmonaut

    I agree that the Apex are the only humanoid race that really fit, but that opens up a problem with CF's humanoid race designs: they lack just as much creativity.

    Since your argument boils down to "races should look such and such" rather than "races should be interesting because such and such."

    THIS is what Hylotl are based on. A third eye isn't a huge leap. The Avians are "boring" aesthetically according to you, but are one of the most popular player races at the moment (likely because of their attractive, colorful sprites). The second popular race is the Floran - to me, this is the only race that succeeds on both scales that measure a good race: they have an interesting sprite appearance and people like their lore/characteristics.

    Why on earth wouldn't people look at this example that CF has given us and reach what is a completely logical conclusion: humanoid races are perfectly fine, and they don't even have to be very technologically advanced.

    If CF wanted SPAAAAACE races, they should have included more of them. Currently, I count two: the Apex as you mentioned (PotA) and the Glitch (but only just barely).

    If the NovaKids were only accepted because of CF because they're "spacey" and not because of their overall feel (including lore): a) that's pretty sad and b) that's not very creative in itself, is it?

    Look, when I drew up my race, I didn't intend for it to be very human-like at all. If you look at my back story, it's pretty damn (cheesy/humorous) sci-fi. I wanted them to be able to fit in with the humor, depression, subversion, and sci-fi setting of Starbound. It just so happens that my race happens to be humanoid. I didn't set out for them to look like rabbits (jackelopes, really), that's just how the creative process works.

    Should I make them glow in the dark? Give them three eyes? Make them green and have pointy conical heads? Would that make them more creative? No. It would make them more aesthetically pleasing to YOU. It would have absolutely no affect whatsoever on their creative development as a whole.

    I designed them to look boring (like somewhat modern humans) because their lore is so out of whack/ unfamiliar and scary (nihlism/suicide) to most people. I thought it would be a nice dichotomy.

    (Plus, most suggestions are trying to work with the humanoid sprite restriction, so keep that in mind.)


    I'm posting to say that if you don't like a race, for whatever reason, tell the creator WHY. Give them good, constructive criticism to fix up their race to make it more suitable for Starbound. Hell, if it just plain doesn't work, tell them so they can scrap it and start anew. That's what the creative process is all about. Don't just sit around and moan.

    We're all submitting race ideas not because we want to see "Animal X" in the game, it's because, just like you, we are dissatisfied a little with whats already been offered. We want to offer something to CF to make the game even better than it already is - as perfect of a game as Tiy can make his perfect game.

    Most people (including myself) post races expecting a creative collaboration. Of course this isn't a finished product. We're just posting ideas that we want to see make it into the game.

    The game Starbound. Not Mass Effect. Have you played Starbound? Have you seen the art style and art direction? It's SCIENCE FANTASY. I wish more people would realize this.

    Okay. That's it. End of rant. :p
    endermaryn likes this.
  4. Ty525

    Ty525 Scruffy Nerf-Herder

    You... seem to have completely missed the point i was trying to make. Maybe give the OP a once over again. Not totally sure how you interpreted it and i'm not even sure i could explain it any simpler, so i'll just leave it at that.

    And yeah, i made this thread to talk about the trend of making their "aliens" decisively non-alien. The trend. Nothing in particular. Better to make one thread addressing it than spamming every post i decide is relevant like a dick. Because it's not something personal and isn't to be directed at any one thing.

    Good point, though. It's not Mass Effect, or Star Wars, or anything of the like. It's Starbound with a Starbound artstyle. But is it seriously such a sin to want a little more substance out of the races? I mean visually above all things. What really makes the race is it's culture and aesthetic. But visually there's no reason you can't take a race that's a vertical horse, and make it look appropriately alien.
    SArais likes this.
  5. Othienka

    Othienka Tentacle Wrangler

    I don't think creativity (even when the official races have the same lack of creativity as complained in the OP) is the problem, but the limitations imposed. Having all armors designed for a basic body-type means that to include an alien race that did not follow such body-type (either officially or as a mod) you would need to:

    - Completely rework all armors/weapons/items.
    - Have them use no items.
    - Have them equip items that appeared invisible, but added stats.

    The first option shouldn't be even considered since sooner or later, the mod creator will stop updating the race, making it useless. Officially would be easier/more probable to maintain a variant race, but judging from the developers' actions (ship upgrading being models of copy-pasted parts of the original ship to make it bigger) I doubt it.
    The second option would break the balance, by either making the race useless or OP (while trying to "balance" them with innate bonuses to makeup for the items).
    The third option would be technically "viable", but it would remove the customization aspect of your avatar character. Plus some ingenious work would be needed for weapons with different reach/range than the races default/arms.

    You also fail to take into account sprite size limitations, which are the main reason in the lack of details of the basic race sprites. The necessity of making them compatible with emotes limit every race to having a humanoid face. Notice how the Hylotl racial armor ignores their third eye (since it would look ridiculous in the other races).

    TLDR: Game limits are the reason for the lack of truly alien options.

    Mass Effect is actually a bad comparison, since they are as guilty as Starbound of humanoid aliens.
    A blue race of female-looking aliens that can have reproduce with any race?
    Birds of prey with arms instead of wings?
    Buff lizards?
    Space nomads that actually look like a stock female woman with a few tattoos?
    Floating jellyfish?

    All of those except the Hannar are humanoid, while having 2 humans with different clothes/colors and a sparkle of lore (Quarians and Asari), while the rest are animal/plant based.
    Last edited: Dec 22, 2013
  6. SArais

    SArais Aquatic Astronaut

    Additionally, I'd like to throw in a thing here.

    Most race submissions are based off of the individual's Fursona. This is getting ridiculous. Please stop doing this.

    Others are filling roles or species we already have:

    Amphibians/Reptiles/Fish/What have you: Hylotl.
    Birds: Avian
    Apes: Apex
    Robots: Glitch
    Humans: GEE I WONDER.
    Plants: Florans

    The most alien of them all is the living star people, The Novakids.

    Ultimately, if in doubt, follow these simple tips:

    Is it based off an already existent race or your fursona? Do not do it.
    Is it original? If not, do not do it.
    Is it creative? If not, do not do it.

    A general idea would be this, fitting in with starbound style:
    1: Imagine or think of a culture that's part of human society.
    2: Imagine or think of an already existant animal or thing. This is optional
    3: Imagine an alien race. It cannot applicate to things we find familiar. Yet. It cannot be anthropomorphized version of an animal, but you MIGHT be able to make this work.
    4: Work the alien aspects into the original animal or thing.
    5: Remove aspects that are applicable to the animal so it looks less like the animal in question, but still enough so. [Example: Avians. Remove wings.]
    6: Work the culture into the design.

    If you're still at a loss, look here for inspiration: http://aliens.wikia.com/wiki/Alien_Species_Wiki

    Here's some ideas:

    Barbed Wire.
    Starship Trooper's Arachnids.
    Last edited: Dec 22, 2013
    Pingeh and Malkaveer like this.
  7. Searif

    Searif Void-Bound Voyager

    I completely agree with Ty to a point, it is fine to have a race based on animals but have them more inspired then simply "This animal but humanoid", what is the reason for this? what is their planet like? how does that effect them?

    I'd also suggest you be able to draw or sprite, or have someone willing to do either or for you, I have my own suggested race however it is stagnating due to the absence of an artist.
  8. shadowcrazy

    shadowcrazy Phantasmal Quasar

    Seeing this thread just reminds me of the umbrastellans I created way back when (as my own creations way before starbound existed) and then tried to suggest as an official race in this game when the forums came out. Maybe a race of shapeshifting beings is more acceptable to the audience than animal-like races?
  9. Peachy

    Peachy Star Wrangler

    I think the problem is the way people are thinking about it, instead of thinking
    " What if I made a space age race that happens to be based on animals" people think
    "What if I use an animal race that just happens to be in space" That what I've seen most of the time
  10. Guppy The Cat

    Guppy The Cat Heliosphere

    Your pictures are broken fr me, this is why I hate tinypic.
    Anyways, I agree
  11. Taxiderby

    Taxiderby Intergalactic Tourist

    Genuinely very glad I read this thread before completing my submission. While I already agreed with a lot of this, there were some points I hadn't considered (especially from SArais) and am definitely going to keep tweaking it so it doesn't fall in with the rest of the "animal in space" suggestions. Additionally, I'd like to make a pointer of my own: when incorporating elements from Earth for the race's appearance, you're not restricted to simply biological things. Why not incorporate something from ancient art, some of which are already so stylized that they're hardly human? Alternatively, you don't need to base it off a single living thing, mix it up! Go wild!

    A mix of familiarity and something new, something truly alien, is a excellent way to make your race intriguing. Don't put your dog upright, slap armor on it, and submit it as a race suggestion.
  12. Atlus

    Atlus Big Damn Hero

    A good majority of race suggestions are an earth animal/cryptozoology twisted by the designer's personal tastes. It's Starbound, not Star Fox.

    There's been like 3-4 races that are an apex/human-cultural militant expy driven by nothing interesting in particular.

    You have to wonder if the point of this board anymore is just a quarantine board for objectively bad ideas and the thoughtful ones just get drowned out.
  13. AldoKaido

    AldoKaido Starship Captain

    Hey guys.

    It's open suggestions from a fanbase that ranges from ten to twenty years old audience or a bit more.It's a largely animu public,that and a lot of furries lately due to the different races,and bronies because of course they're everywhere.

    My question:WHAT DID YOU EXPECT.

    Creature/character design is best left to PROFESSIONALS.It's a job that you can get paid for,because you need imagination,experience,knowledge and artistic skills.Things that only a few can pretend to have all at once,or more likely not any.

    As I said somewhere else,and as says as well the OP,a race it's not just a dumb look and a cheesy plot that makes them take the FTL-T.It's also society,culture,ideals,ambitions,context,history,language...But of course,go talk about that to most furries,or bronies.All you get is "baw ur a dick go play something else"

    You see my avatar?It's me playing an avian.I really like the look of my character he looks fun.

    But somehow,the races already annoyed me.
    Apes are apes and avians are birds and florans are plants and glitches are robots and the hylotls are whatever ugly fish.Even if I like my character,I can't help but criticize this a bit.It's the core races,so I'm rolling with that,but I'd have hoped for something real alien.You don't have to copycat Earthly animals.If you really want to,copy their features.What makes them looking nice to you.Like feathers.But feathers alone don't make the bird.

    I'm also disappointed that all the races have the very same bodybase.Actually,everyone.Different shapes add much more diversity and makes it easier to recognise.That is how they rolled for TF2 and see how mcuh people like their characters.Oh yeah it's more work,but you don't get anything without working for it.

    "Look, when I drew up my race, I didn't intend for it to be very human-like at all. If you look at my back story, it's pretty damn (cheesy/humorous) sci-fi."


  14. SArais

    SArais Aquatic Astronaut

    We acctually DO have to use the same bodybase unless someone can fiddle around with the code enough.

    And you're completely right on the Jax. "Look at me, guys. I'm SO edgy. Better not cut yourself on my edges! I'm totally original!"

    Sorry. No. The jax are far from original.
    Boxspring and Pingeh like this.
  15. BionicKraken

    BionicKraken Subatomic Cosmonaut

    Ah, good. Baseless personal attacks.

    Well, we know where you fit into this spectrum, don't we?

    Oh! And more of that wonderful constructive criticism that's so prevalent in this thread!

    Look, I knew this was the kind of feedback that I was going to get by posting what I did in this thread. That's why I referenced my race: a little something called accountability. Because I actually got off of my ass and made a race that I would enjoy playing.

    I spent a lot of time and work on it and I'm proud of the Jax. Yes, they are original, as far as I'm aware. Please tell me if there are other video games that include severe depressive, suicidal, hate-filled races/species - because of their current philosophical state - and I will alter the Jax accordingly. I'll admit, I've been out of the mainstream game scene for a while now, preferring smaller sandbox games like this.

    If you two would enjoy playing more alien races, why not make some up and let these "furries" that populate the forum offer their feedback? Something tells me they'll be much more perceptive and open to your ideas than you are to theirs.
    endermaryn likes this.
  16. Nidor

    Nidor Scruffy Nerf-Herder

    I would like to see OP's suggestion as well, while i doubt the main game will include a non humanoid shape, a few mods have shown that that can be worked around. A non carbon based lifeform would be pretty cool, like the sillicoid from master of orion (which my avatar is a modified picture of). I have seen a few race suggestions of similar, mainly golems though.

    But even MoO fell to the petting zoo problem, Sakkra were lizard people, Mrrshan catpeople, Bulrathi bear people, Klakkon were bug people, and i cant remember the bird race name but yeah.
    BionicKraken likes this.
  17. AldoKaido

    AldoKaido Starship Captain

    Oh it's kinda funny how you call to the furries as if they were like,THE public to please,and the one that is entirely right about judgement.Just saying.

    Also,the whole "hurr if you can't do better then stfu" is so 1993".But you know what?i might actually do that someday,once I have the time.Just to prove you wrong.Cause I'm like that.

    But I'm not gonna dwelve into another argument already;let and live as someone said to me today.If you want to see where it fails,google "Mary-sue".No,I'm beeing serious here;not trying to push anything.Do it.And I could make you a total in-depth critical essay,but first I don't think you'll want to actually hear it (because auto-tagging you as "funny" or "original" clearly means that I'd be going to waste my time since it's apparent that you won't be able to take criticism),and then I don't know you apparently said I was 20 years old.Worst insult you can throw at me,better watch yo'self.

    Sarais:As the the bodybase,I think it's mostly because of the sprites.Such a system permits you to equip instantly all the items that can be contributed/included in the game.mind you if we do just a slightly more different body (taller,etc),you'd have to redo the sprites for every single clothing gear.Pretty sure that Chucklefish has better to do.
  18. Peachy

    Peachy Star Wrangler

    Alright I stayed up most of last night going through the race tag and I did see a ridiculous amount of races that fell under the animals in space category.
    However I did see some races with great backstories or culture that were really imaginative that still got thrown under the bus. Just because it's an animal doesn't mean the entire race suggestion is trash. And even then I've seen some races that clearly are not based on any one animal still get groans because people decided they were furries.
    And honestly in the case of the Jax they were actually one of the better suggestions, and even then the fact that they were animals didn't make them any less of a good race. In fact if you completely changed their appearance it wouldn't make them any better because their appearance isn't what makes them a good race. Please don't turn this thread into a petty pissing match
    endermaryn and ZeeNova like this.
  19. Gazz

    Gazz Scruffy Nerf-Herder

    While more creative suggestions would be nice, it would mean reworking the gear system, too.

    A floating jellyfish wouldn't have legs. And may not have a head you can put something onto.
    And it moves differently.

    A race of sandworms would again work in a different way, burrowing instead of walking and jumping.
    They might "see" through vibrations rather than sound waves so the "soft" world above ground would be mostly a blur to them.
    Unlike other races they'd have good vision range below ground and bad vision range above or in hollowed-out spaces. (like the "rooms" that other races like to build)
    Instead of torches they would use resonators.

    For another race it would be eerie to come into a sandworm town because everything is pitch black... for them.
    Last edited: Dec 23, 2013
    Peachy likes this.
  20. AldoKaido

    AldoKaido Starship Captain

    How could a race of sandworms could actually WORK with our current game mechanics?

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