Aha, have been rethinking the intro just now. Maybe it doesn't make that much sense to force the initial quest on the player after all.
Since I'm going to be generating quests as it is, how about one of the following:
1 - Maybe the hero is transplanted into a house of a fairly ordinary NPC, i.e., the hero (or their background at least) is basically generated as an NPC would be, they are placed in a house, given a ship, and voila.
2 - Maybe there is a small intro where the player reaches XYZ birthday and is given a ship. Somehow, this seems a bit less interesting than if the player could start out as a dishgirl asked to go collect some soap from the store.
I guess I should think about this and decide tommorow. It turns out to be sort of annoying to insert this initial quest into the game (tho not really that hard) There are a few reasons not to though:
- We are autogenerating everything else, why not the main plot and make it complete?
- There may be a kind of ugly contrast between the level of detail in the one intro snippet, and elsewhere
- Sort of makes it less engaging or interesting to start a brand new game when you know the basic quest is going to be the same. If you don't know who you are going to end up as, I think the process of discovery starts very very early and powerfully. Settings. Seed. Start. 1 hr delay while autogenerates. And now.......... you are some bozo clinician who is trying to make a living. Or, you are a girl who has lost her doll. Or, you are a space pirate who wants to make a good killing. Having these different main quests, and also a completely random player characterization means that not only the universe itself, but also the fundamental role you take in discovering it is very different each time.
Ergo, it's a good idea and I think I may just do it. If i do, then really I need to write the quest engine next. I would not have known this or understood it as well if I hadn't tried doing the intro, so it was still the right approach to take. But i need to sleep on it!