Hover Carnage





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The World of Hover Carnage
To me, one of the most important aspects of a game is whether or not it gives the player a sense of being immersed in a compelling world. Games like Quake are fun for multiplayer fragfests, but they fail to really induce a feeling of being part of a time and place with character.

So, in light of this, I've put together some loose ideas for the world of Hover Carnage. I'd like the entire game created with an internally-consistent universe and story in mind, rather than some lame plot that's thrown together at the last minute to comprise the marketing copy on the back of a box. This is not to imply that I'm any great author or anything. I just think that it'd be kinda neat to actually make an action game with a whole-hearted attempt at story and setting. So here goes.

Background Story
With the advent of practical nanotech in AD 2095, humans begin to colonize the solar system, carving out huge chunks of matter to make into spaceships and orbiting habitats. Much of the Earth's surface has been built up and tunneled under to house the planet's ever-expanding population. Multinational corporations sprout skyward within huge arcologies, entirely reliant on the hovercraft traffic that flows beneath them through a network of underground transporation tunnels.

The insatiable demand for molecular construction soon begins to outpace the rather finite supply of nearby asteroids. Before long, disputes arise among the major corporations over asteroid mining rights, and grisly hovercraft combat ensues. As the sole employee of an independent armored transport company, you have no choice but to protect your territory and expand your holdings. Even if that requires a micronuke or two.

With all this nanotech construction, available matter is getting rather scarce, as there is only a finite amount of it in the solar system and most of it is already claimed by one company or another. And interesting information, like the nanotech schematics needed to do anything useful with all this raw matter, also remains in high demand.

So you've got this economy based on matter, data, and services, with a handful of large corporations keeping it all going. Each corporation has fenced itself off in a huge arcology on the surface of the planet, but a business still needs to obtain raw material and information from outside sources in order to function. That's where you come in. Your job, should you choose to accept it, is to act as a courier of matter and data among the corporations of Earth. Your road is the intricate network of transporation tunnels beneath the surface of the planet, and your vehicle is your trusty hovercraft.

Because just about every last centimeter of Earth is claimed by one corporation or another, the arcologies must get most of their raw matter from elsewhere in the solar system. But most corporations are based on Earth, so matter must be shipped there via spacecraft from the various offworld mining facilities. So if you're at all interested in transporting matter to an arcology, you'll probably be spending quite a bit of time picking up shipments at the local spaceport. The other source of raw matter is at a corporate matter reclamation facility, where outdated computers and broken hovercraft are recycled.

While any given company has its own mining operations going to ensure a steady matter flow, it is usually dependent on purchasing information from other corporations. So it makes sense that data transportation is quite a booming business. However, this is made rather difficult by the fact that there exists no world-wide internet anymore. Each corporate arcology has its own internal network, but the system of tunnels beneath the surface is too dangerous for any permanent global network to stay in place. Thus when transporting information, you can either store it in your ship's computers and manually run it from one corporation to another, or you can work on building up your own network of data relays within the tunnels to ease data transfer.

There are generally two general ways to make a living as an armored courier. One is to gain a reputation as reliable and trustworthy, and then contract with corporations for their specific transportation needs. This requires sticking closely to what the companies ask of you, even so far as picking up particular shipments at certain times, but the payoffs can be potentially quite lucrative. The other way is to simply buy low and sell high as a sort of high-tech tradesman, taking your goods where the demand is. This approach affords a lot more freedom in how and where you buy and sell your goods.

If being a good little armored courier isn't quite your thing, there's always a life of piracy awaiting you. With all this valuable matter and data flowing through the tunnels, it's no surprise that some people choose to prey upon the weaker courier hovercraft, even by force if necessary. However, battles can be costly to both sides, so threats are often more effective than outright attacks.

Corporate Security
In an attempt to keep the pirates at bay, corporations tend to send out heavily-armored drones to patrol the tunnels immediately beneath their respective arcologies.

Quite regularly, corporations will retain the services of mercenaries to carry out sensitive tasks that they would rather not perform with their own personnel. This can involve anything from hunting pirates to escorting couriers to corporate espionage.

Other Options
If there is a sufficent demand for some sort of service, you can probably turn a profit at it. For example, if you notice that armored couriers are in need of a data relay network along a certain heavily-trafficked trade route, but are too busy transporting goods to set one up themselves, then just round up a bunch of friends and start up your own miniature internet provider. Construct a network of data relays, and then set up some strategic defenses. The couriers will be falling all over themselves to throw their money at you so that they can send their data over your network. But be careful. If your network becomes too lucrative of a business, someone else might fancy taking it over by force.