Ballistic NG is a fan game intended to re-create the gameplay present in the original installments of WipEout on the Playstation 1. The graphical style deliberately emulates PS1 graphics, including the limitations and flaws in the hardware at that time.
I have been contributing to the project, creating brand identities used in the game, 3D-modelling circuits, and writing the supporting flavour.
This is the full flavour set I’ve written for BNG’s world. It establishes the state of the world and the history of all significant entities in the game, including playable teams. I feel that documents like these are paramount in maintaining a coherent internal style in a game.
By the turn of the century, the overwhelming attitudes in most developed countries were a sense of security and consumerism. Society had continued to trend away from typical careers towards more commercialised lifestyles with better work and better working conditions. The advent of thorium reactors and other renewable fuel & power sources had provided relief to the sense of impending doom and worry that pervaded for 50 years after the millenium.
2050-2100 also saw a shift in the power balance of the world; as technology advanced faster and faster, developed countries became more and more modernized, and the amount of 3rd-world countries began to decrease. Despite the crash of the UAE and some other setbacks, the general trend was towards progress. There were a few exceptions, but in most societies, people didn’t talk about them.
Anti-gravity technology was also invented at the turn of the century – almost. Final development and press releases actually occurred late in 2101. In fact, the small outfit of dedicated engineers and scientists had been working on the technology for several years, but under no fixed name. Come release, the group would incorporate themselves as Anti Gravity Technologies.
The public showing included a number of potential applications – the most popular with fans was a single seater vehicle that hovered through use of AG tech, and could accelerate with a miniturized aircraft engine. AGT had been smart, and the craft had been designed to look nice as well as demo the tech – so it became an instant hit with amazed fans. As a result, AGT decided to focus their internal developments on vehicles, aiming to sustain themselves while they developed the technology further.
By 2110, despite the survival of a consumer vehicle outfit in the company, AGT was mainly involved in developing transit vehicles and solutions, mainly in the US and the Pacific. In most high profile contracts, AG transit required infrastructure. Unfortunately, infrastructure was expensive, and infrastructure was stable. Of the limited amount of companies that could afford it, the majority wouldn’t be returning customers. AGT needed something else.
This would arrive in the form of global technology manufacturer Omni Communications. Omnicom wanted to develop the technology outwards, for consumer applications – and unlike AGT, they had the resources and the cash to fund it. Omnicom purchased AGT in October of that year, spent some time restructuring their business, and became Omnicom Technologies the following February.
At the same time, members of AGT’s consumer division and of the several engineering companies they worked with would split from the main group and incorporate Gravity Technologies, intending to develop craft capable of racing. The company headquarters moved to Sapporo, Japan, for a number of reasons, including the member company nationalities, availability of resources, and Japan’s lessened technology / development regulations.
In 2120, Omnicom would complete development on diffusion AGDs – allowing craft to not just repel surfaces, but truly float, fly and provide thrust. The technology allowed OCT to finally develop small, affordable consumer vehicles, and entered public domain a few years later. The market would blow up instantly, forcing a lot of governments to legislate and develop as hard as they could to provide traffic regulations and other systems. Over the next 30 years, consumer AG vehicles would fill the skies, manufactured by all sorts and for all kinds of different applications.
Meanwhile, G-Tek would use their time away from the bustle to focus. They built a small test track around their headquarters, and started developing a bunch of new technologies ostensibly for military applications. By 2125, they had developed cockpit g-cancelling, reactional anti-gravity devices, and surface energy transfer. 2125 also saw the release of their energy shielding technology. Each of these entered the public domain very quickly, and G-Tek continued applying the tech to their racing prototype, even as they worked on further military contracts. In 2130, G-Tek invited press and most major governments and corporations to view the demonstration flights; two prototype craft were shown, capable of steering with true agility and finesse and able to race each other and survive impacts without issue thanks to the systems G-Tek had developed. It was a hit.
G-Tek announced their intentions to create a racing league, and issued a public challenge inviting other companies to participate. Technology developed for racing would clearly benefit the public, just as in military operations.
Eight groups accepted the challenge.
Omnicom created a racing division in 2133.
Diavolt created a racing divison in 2131.
Nexus International was formed in 2136.
Wyvern Incorporated was formed in 2149.
Scorpio Engineering was formed in 2143.
Tenrai Racing Developments was formed in 2151.
Hyperion R&D created a racing division in 2139.
In addition, governments in several countries would construct racing circuits, as tourist attractions, as redevelopments, or just for the love of sports and competition. G-Tek formed an independent subsidiary to act as the regulating body, naming it the Anti Gravity Race Commission. The pilot race season took place in the US winter of 2140. In 2141, the Commission revised the format. The system of speed classes was created, and it was decided that the Spark, Toxic and Apex leagues should run every year, and the Halberd and Spectre leagues every two years. This commenced in February 2142 with Spark, Toxic and Apex leagues; Halberd and Spectre ran for the first time the year after that.
In 2150, G-tek completed a particularly interesting military contract creating weapons that could recieve power from surface condensers. As usual, the tech went to public domain; Diavolt noticed this and realised it had potential. With a few changes, they started equipping their ships with military grade weapons that recieved power from surface pads. It was clear that their shielding technology could handle it, and they realised that they could create a regulated mechanic in the sport; the ability to recieve certain benefits from pads on the track. Thanks to the energy storage and transfer technology G-Tek had developed, this included speed boosts and signals to activate special systems; but it also included weapons capable of destroying craft. Given the right safety procedures, this had the potential to make the racing a whole lot more exciting. Besides, selling weapons could make Diavolt a lot of money.
Diavolt submitted the proposal to the Race Commission. G-Tek’s priority was always to enhance the appeal of the sport, and they agreed with the sentiment that AG could became something very special. They repurposed some of their shielding and gravity technologies, tested a number of situations, and eventually regulated that pickups, and by extension weapons, were now part of the sport. Pod Cell Shielding and Pod Cell Ejection mechanisms were now necessary. If a ship is eliminated, the cockpit would remain structurally sound and be ejected from the main chassis; with seperate onboard systems maintaining a shield and g-diffuser on the pod, the experience of being thrown from the blast and bouncing around the track would seem like nothing more than a hyperloop ride. The first weapon pads were deployed on the circuits of the 2151 seasons.
That year, a second team appeared to rival G-Tek on home turf. Japanese Tenrai were formed in protest of the new regulations, believing they damaged the purity of the sport. They even poached a few individuals from G-Tek. They would race mostly green, just to demonstrate that they could.
In 2159, AG racing is a major sport and a staple of popular culture. There are many circuits available, and the management of the sport is refined and well drilled. With a full roster of experienced teams heading into the start of the 2159 season, the popularity of the sport looks set to climb.
OMNI COMMUNICATION TECHNOLOGIES
Country: United States of America
Motto: All For The Pilot / Who’s Your Favorite?
Ship Livery: Purple and White
Description: Formed in 2092, Omni Communications got it’s start as a cellphone company, manufacturing phones, tablets and mobile devices. They expanded to become a service provider, and then a broader technology company, creating brands, broadcasts, technical infrastructure, and other modern services. Their name appeared on the majority of screens and datacasts in cities, and they became quite popular due to their branding quality.
Moving into technology manufacturing, they would use their size and funds to support smaller technology projects during the 2100s. This included Cellblox, Serval, Leaves Independent, and in 2110, Anti Gravity Technologies.
AGT were purchased by Omnicom and absorbed to form Omni Communications Technologies in 2110, leaving behind a smaller group of individuals who would go on to form G-Tek. Omnicom would continue to develop the technology for consumer use, and move into vehicle manufacturing with a bunch of innovations of their own.
Following the announcement of an AG racing sport, Omnicom would deliberate for a couple of years before announcing it’s participation in 2133 with the formation of it’s racing division. With it’s ownership of datacasts and broadcasts in many parts of the world, it’s in Omnicom’s interest to support the sport, and Omnicom have made an appearance in every single season since the sport’s formation, earning a reputation for reliability and popularity.
Motto: Always Faster / Technical Perfection
Ship Livery: Red and White
Description: Gravity Technologies was formed in 2110 by the minority of scientists and engineers who left Anti Gravity Technologies after it was purchased by Omnicom. Preferring to stay as their own outfit, they partnered with the manufacturing companies AGT was previously connected with, and moved to Japan where a base of operations was available.
They would grow over time and spend their days ostensibly developing military technologies and contracts; the overall goal was always to create craft capable of racing, as they felt this would enhance the profile of AG to an incredible degree.
By 2125, they had developed cockpit g-cancelling, reactional anti-gravity devices, and surface energy transfer during military contracts. 2125 also saw the release of their energy shielding technology. Each of these entered the public domain very quickly, and G-Tek continued applying the tech to their racing prototype, even as they worked on further military contracts. In 2130, G-Tek invited press and most major governments and corporations to view the demonstration flights; two prototype craft were shown, capable of steering with true agility and finesse and able to race each other and survive impacts without issue thanks to the systems G-Tek had developed. It was a hit. They invited other companies to race and spent a lot of time and effort securing venues and convincing governments to construct circuits.
G-Tek also created an independent regulating body for the races in 2132. This was the Race Commission. The pilot race season took place in the US winter of 2140.
Nowadays, G-Tek are an incredibly popular team, with a horde of dedicated fans supporting their very recognisable craft. Naturally for the founders of the sport, G-Tek haven’t missed a season, and their craft receives many of the new developments and innovations in racing technology well before the other teams can even access it. Only Omnicom has a similar claim to technological prowess, and even then, Omnicom’s research is not dedicated to the track.
The team is well known to be rivals with Tenrai. Tenrai’s doggedness and open disdain of G-Tek’s decisions have put the two teams at arms on more than one occasion.
Motto: Always on Target / You Fly With Diavolt
Ship Livery: White, Red and Yellow
Description: Diavolt was formed in 2091 as a government division, manufacturing heavy machinery and equipment for construction, military, mining, and other heavy duty projects. The name ‘Diavolt engineering’ was attached to the company in 2095 following it’s privatisation. The company restructured and continued to do manufacturing and development for the military and government. Over time the focus would shift towards research and development of technology and more modern applications; in 2110 they were building state of the art military fighter aircraft and weapons systems and had gained a reputation as a precision outfit.
It was clear that the advent of anti-gravity technology would have a significant impact on Diavolt’s market. They began to incorporate the tech into their military contracts, while designing more ambitious hardware and vehicles independently. But as the war situation across the continent started to die down, Diavolt’s services weren’t necessary anymore.
Diavolt entered the AGR in 2131, aiming to promote their technology and provide a new direction for the company to focus on if it was to survive. And survive they did – they would be one of the major manufacturers of consumer AG vehicles in Russia for a long time, and when their craft launched in 2140 it had the full resources of a major Russian corporation behind it’s technology.
In 2150, Diavolt were instrumental in introducing powered weaponry and pick-ups to the league. This provided the outlet that Diavolt always needed to promote their military development and focus their research. Diavolt-manufactured weaponry and equipment has featured in the league ever since.
Omnicom has a notable beef with Diavolt. They have often complained about the conflict of interest in allowing Diavolt weaponry on track. (Strangely, they have never made similar complaints about race equipment sourced from other teams.) Similarily, Diavolt often accuse Omnicom of monopoly on race broadcasts. The two teams usually respond by blasting each other’s craft at every opportunity. The fans love it!
Nowadays, Diavolt are a strong contender in the league. As one of the most financially successful teams so far, Diavolt have resources to spare and are responsible for sourcing and training significant amounts of new pilots entering the scene.
NEXUS INTERNATIONAL INDUSTRIES
Motto: Support Us Supporting You / Combined Arms
Ship Livery: Blue and Yellow
Description: Following the formation of AGR in 2130 and Omnicom in 2133, Nexus was formed by several European governments with the intention of participating in the racing and getting a piece of the research as a combined unit. Nexus is jointly financed by the governments of France, Germany, Austria, Poland and Hungary, and features pilots from the surrounding region. The headquarters are in Salzburg, Austria.
Nexus is in two divisons: One half racing, one half R&D. Typically, developments in the racing program soon fall back into public domain, and they provide a valuable service to their region.
Nexus are characterised by their strong brand and their positive influence in the EU, encouraging lots of new development there. They are extremely popular in that part of the world, and their pilots often have large fanbases.
Nexus are instrumental in drawing in new pilots to the league, especially in the UK, Europe, and Australia.
Country: United Kingdom
Motto: By Any Means
Ship Livery: Black and Green
Description: Wyvern are a small independent outfit based in Bristol in the UK. The founding of the team was quite a knee-jerk reaction; the group of engineers founded it intending to participate in the 2151 Spectre season. This was in June of 2149 however, giving them less than two years to design and manufacture a capable craft and business model. It took a serious effort, but thanks in part to several generous sponsor deals and donations, Wyvern looked on track to complete their ship in time – and then the format changed in 2150, with the announcement of pickup units and firepower. Wyvern had to scramble to obtain shields, weapon mounts, crossfeed systems, pickups and safety features. Purportedly, the ship was still trussed up a week before competition, and they were still bolting pieces on at Omega Harbour after landing there for the first race of the season!
It stands as a testament to Wyvern’s tenacity that the ship not only passed scrutineering, but went to pose a serious contender during the race. The story has immortalised Wyvern among British and Australian fans, and in those regions the team is very popular.
Wyvern has expanded of late, but nevertheless maintains the air of a small, renegade outfit.
Motto: No Extreme Left Unexplored
Ship Livery: Yellow and Grey
Description: Scorpio are a small Italian outfit from Palermo, founded in 2143. The 2143 Spectre season was a fantastic show, and Scorpio became convinced that they should take part. The company would rebrand itself that year, and focus on developing AG craft, taking advantage of their previous connections and the funds they had available. As is natural for italian vehicle companies, they went for pure speed when designing their ship, and speed has remained a core principle of the company ever since.
Scorpio first deployed their craft in the 2146 slow seasons, and later the 2147 Spectre and Halberd seasons. Their ship is heavy and unweildy, and takes a fair degree of skill to pilot; as a result, Scorpio pilots give the impression of skill and talent, and it shows in their race performances, which are always exciting thanks to the combination of fast, heavy ship and relatively risky shield levels.
In 2159, Scorpio have developed further from their roots. Still maintaining their core principles, their pilots are now well drilled and the team’s popularity continues to increase, especially in the EU where they are based.
Scorpio enjoy a friendly rivalry with Wyvern, as both teams are small European(ish) outfits with incredible dedication.
TENRAI RACING DEVELOPMENTS
Motto: For The Purity of The Race
Ship Livery: Blue and White
Description: Tenrai were formed in 2151 as a protest movement, in direct response to the introduction of weapons and pickups capable of destroying craft. They are based in Japan, because it was Japanese G-Tek who introduced the change; they are based across the channel in Morioka, intending to irritate G-Tek by their proximity. In fact, they managed to poach a few individuals from G-Tek when they were first formed. That said, it’s worth noting that Tenrai are made up from mostly seperate individuals, not as the result of a leadership split.
While not completely shunning weapons outright, Tenrai’s motivation is to demonstrate that racing does not need artificial drama in gunplay and eliminations in order to be exciting. To that end, the ship they designed focuses on extreme agility, with deliberately low shield levels, the logic being that their rivals shouldn’t even be able to shoot what they can’t catch. Despite the optimistic approach, the ship really is very impressive, with incredible handling capability that has put Tenrai’s development unit into the record books. The lack of shield power also allowed them to get excellent speed and acceleration characteristics, making their ship into a front runner, assuming they can hold onto the positions.
Tenrai haven’t been entirely puritan in their methods, and have expressed open disdain for G-Tek on many occasions. in 2159, the rivalry between G-Tek and Tenrai is well known and makes excellent viewing for fans. In addition, both teams have become almost equally popular, as they both have strong, modern branding, and are both represented on track by sets of young japanese pilots. It’s not a stretch to say that nowadays, their relationship is iconic of the sport.
HYPERION RESEARCH AND DEVELOPMENT
Motto: Don’t Show Them Your Hand / The Fastest Team You’ve Never Heard Of
Ship Livery: Black and Orange
Description: Hyperion are a research and development station based in the wilderness of Finland, near Isorakka. Formed in 2125, they would work on low profile government and military projects for several years and were relatively unknown outside of the scientific community. During this time, some of the achievements they were recognised for were their commitment to development, their tendancy to handle unusual and mysterious assignments, and their secrecy. They made very little noise.
This changed around 2139. In a (mostly) peaceful era, military contracts were drying up. Finland decided to follow Nexus into the AGR this year, and suddenly found themselves on the world stage in front of a curious public who had no idea about the identity of this mysterious new team. With their R&D division located in the snowy wastes of the country, they certainly looked the part, and rumours about their real identity and motivations started to become common.
Hyperion opted to release their ship data in the winter of 2140, using the opportunity to truly step into the spotlight for the first time, launching their brand as an R&D based group. The racing would promote their main operations as well as make them extremely popular abroad.
The ship they demonstrated was slightly odd; it had above average speed and agility, notably in the acceleration, two things quite difficult to pull off simultaneously. But they also included extremely weak shields, to the point where some questioned the point in bothering with shields at all. In terms of risk, they even had Tenrai beaten. As is characteristic, Hyperion gave no word over wether the shields were intentional or simply an unfortunate side effect, and maintained full confidence as they entered their first seasons.
In 2159, Hyperion have earned a reputation as an extremely quiet team, rarely entering into league drama and managing their brand with extreme precision. Although a lot more open about their intentions than in the early days, they still like to maintain an air of calculated commitment and don’t usually communicate. Their ships are engineered well and look sleek, making them a relatively popular team, particularly among Scandinavian fans.
They make a notable exception for Nexus, and the two enjoy a friendly rivalry due to their similar team setups and goals.