A Thousand Miles of Sky (WIP)(demo updated June 4th, 2018)

science-fiction
nonbinary-inclusive
gender-choice

#1

In which there are space pirates, sinister megacorps, starship repomen, and wildly inaccurate descriptions of explosions in space.

Demo: https://dashingdon.com/go/1430

The Pitch

Space is big, but it’s getting smaller everyday as humanity’s colonization efforts push farther and farther out from the galactic core. Expanding along side of civilization is an ever-widening frontier, as humanity pushes out farther into the stars than laws and government can keep up with. Many consider this a feature, not a bug.

As a courier/cargo ship pilot just trying to keep your head down and make ends meet in this big, topsy-turvy galaxy, the fringe offers ample opportunity for new and interesting freelance work and that suits you just fine. It also offers ample opportunity for new and interesting trouble, in which you are far less interested. More’s the pity that the universe didn’t ask first before dropping you face-first into a dangerous conflict, full to bursting with political machinations, malevolent science experiments, social engineering, and murderous corporate officials. You probably would have passed.

  • There are at least two sides to this mess and both have blood on their hands. Will you favor one over the other, or just focus on keeping your head down?
  • Someone is always up to something, but this time the aftershocks could affect all intelligent life in the known universe. Can you discover who is pulling the strings behind the galactic empire? Do you even care?
  • Uncover a mystery or rewrite history?
  • Politics are all well and good, but most importantly, can you save the galaxy and still keep your spaceship from being repossessed?
  • Play as male, female, trans, non-binary or genderfluid
  • Gay, straight, bisexual, polyamorous, and romantic/aromantic asexual options
The Cast so far

Rami Nadir: Rami is what those in the biz call a ‘nonconformist’, though he would prefer the term ‘free spirit’. Generally content to let the wind take him where it will – and if he can sweet talk said wind into taking him somewhere fun, more’s the better – his piloting skills and honeyed words make him a desirable employee to any requiring such services. You and Rami travel in orbiting social circles, and have been acquaintances for quite some time. A successful series of odd jobs has cemented him in your mind as a reliable contact and an incorrigible flirt. Speaking of jobs, he’s in the market for a new one right now.

Alice Zheng: Incredibly resourceful and far more clever than anyone has any right to be, you and Alice go all the way back to those early days when you were struggling to find a way off your mid-rim homeworld. The two of you had a good run when teamed up for a cargo run that became a series of jobs and finally evolved into a successful business transporting goods around the galaxy. Sadly, nothing good can last in this crap world, and the two of you eventually parted ways on less than amicable terms. She might still be mad.

Isaac Diaz: A talented scientist and former employee of the galaxy’s largest megacorporation, Isaac had a long and promising career in front of him until his abrupt disappearance late one evening. Details are scarce, as the smoking crater of his former research facility has offered little information pertaining to the events leading up to its destruction or the whereabouts of its erstwhile head researcher. Presumed alive and very much wanted by all interested parties, Isaac is finally realizing that he may have bit off more than he can chew. He could really use your help, maybe? Please?

Samara Reid: Samara’s dedication and laser focus would make her a valuable member to any organization, but as Galactic Ministry agent she is particularly effective. These qualities, coupled with her fierce and unshakable sense of loyalty, have lead to her meteoric rise in Ministry of Information, earning her a farcically large budget and license to do virtually whatever she deems necessary during the course of her investigation. They also make her an annoyingly tenacious adversary for those who have had the misfortune to cross her. She’s a bit intense.

I originally threw this WIP up with the intention of entering the now-long-past CoG contest that ended in January. Clearly I did not make that deadline, I am a very slow writer and I don’t know why I expected to produce anything in a timely fashion. That being said, having this thread up to hold me accountable and motivate me to write has been helpful for me, so I intend to keep it open and to keep plugging along. The feedback I have received has also been immeasurably helpful, so thank you all for that. Quick and Random test have passed, but there may be other errors, I haven’t made a game with Choice Script before. I’m still figuring this stuff out, and everything is subject to change. You have been warned. (Also thank you for any help, I really appreciate it.)

Demo includes (so far):
Chapter 1: 10,000 words
Chapter 2: 10,000 words
Chapter 3: 25,000 words

I’m especially interested in thoughts on:

  • The characters: I intend for this to be a very character-driven game, so I am interested in folks’ impressions/thoughts about the cast
  • Ability checks: I’m going to try something a little different with these, won’t give it all away up in this first post, but I’m really interested in discussing what people think
  • Classism and systemic prejudice: themes I plan to have in later chapters
  • Benign and malicious genetic modification
  • Megacorporations and cyberpunk
  • Gender-locked romance options: I’m strongly considering making one of the ROs variable dependent on user choice, open to hearing thoughts on the matter.

Things to come:

  • Skills and stats: right now they’re a bit of a mess and likely to change a bunch, I’m still nailing these down.
  • More characters: friends, enemies, and frienemies alike
  • Romance: six options so far: two male, three female and one genderfluid individual. One of the women prefers other women, the rest of the characters will be pan, one of which will be romantic asexual. (How much info do people prefer up-front about orientation and gender identity? It will of course come out in the course of the story, but do folks like more info before hand?)
  • More plot, obvs.

I will update this first post with any changes. Thanks for your time and patience.


My top WIPs as of right now
Best WIP's of 2018
First WIP, gauging interest, Space Western
#2

Ending on a cliff hanger?! I’m gonna stick around, can’t wait to see more of this.Kudos for such a well written first chapter!


#3

Oh my word, this was awesome! I loved your writing, gave off just the perfect amount of description without bogging down the story, but I could really see the station and everything in my imagination.

The dialogue and characters were brilliant, everything flowed well, and I was really drawn into the conversations.

I also liked the fact you could see the change in stats if you wanted, which I prefer, so thank you for that :smiley:


#4

I like it. Gets perhaps a bit overly descriptive, but I don’t think it really detracted from the work. Made it easier to imagine the setting. Except for when you get shot at the end. That part seemed way to descriptive for “Oh my Space Crystal Whale Dragon Jesus, my nerves are on fire and all I know is pain.” There were a couple typos here and there, but they were few and far between. I likely would’ve missed them if I didn’t stop and check.

It engulfs onto your ship, snaring in its grip like the legendary sea monsters of earth.

“Onto”, I believe, doesn’t fit. Looks odd. Also, shouldn’t an it be between “in” and “its?”

Helsinki station is one giant manufacturing plant that sits in high orbit above the planet, home to your family and many other for generations.

Other should be others.

Delicate optical lattices from Freyeon, spun from the crystine silk of the Freyeon moon spiders.

I think crystine should be crystalline. I don’t know for certain, though. So if I’m wrong there, somebody please correct me. I simply couldn’t find any trace of “crystine” aside from a way to spell a name and an amino acid that can oxidize into cystine. Maybe you intended it to be crystine, and if so, do please ignore me.

Your journey from Freyeon has been a bit less expedient than your would have hoped,

Your should you. Can’t really possess “would have hoped,” unless the future somehow made super sci-fi grammar that allows you to do such through technobabble.

Your family has lived on Visan since the first o the towering highrises were under construction,

“o” should be “of.”

A childhood spent prying into the affairs of others left you with an uncanny ability to maneuver people into divulging to you than they might mean to.

“More” is missing between “you” and “than.”

Pickup games in side streets and community events filled your afternoons The Mosely’s have done well for themselves,

A period is missing between “afternoons” and “The.” Always happens on Visan, no matter what option you picked as your background. Doesn’t happen elsewhere, the other planets and backgrounds are safe as far as I can tell.

Predicting the next big media phenomenon is seemingly impossible and futile task,

I think an “a” is missing between “is” and “impossible.”

Somehow they managed to misspell both your name and the name of your ship, but all of the relevant details about your shipping contract seem to be correct, so you let it go…

There’s an extra period at the end.

You fire off a quick ping on you phone to let her know of your arrival on station and where she can find Polaris in order to pick up her shipment.

Not sure if there is supposed to be a “the” between “on” and “station.” Might be a small problem, might just be imagining stuff.

Evidence of recent renovations is everywhere, the station’s been expanding, and quickly, thought not quickly enough to keep up with the crowds.

“Thought” should be “though.”

The universe is big, but the freelance courier industry still manages to be a close-knit community, and many of your compatriots by name.

I think there should either be a “you know” between “and” and “many,” or “know you” between “compatriots” and “by.” The former reads better than the latter in my opinion, unless you go with a Charm route, in which case the latter does.

“Sure thing, boss! I’ll meet you at Polaris.” He gives you a sloppy salute and heads off deeper into the station

There’s should be a period after “station.”

When it’s finally your turn, you approach the farthest clerk on the left, thankfully not the with whom Rami was arguing.

There’s an “one” missing between “the” and “with.”

No one gets anywhere in space without a comprehensive navigational systems,

Either the “a” between “without” and “comprehensive” should be removed and perhaps replaced with “some,” or the “s” at the end of “systems” should go.

Anyways, I liked it. It was a nice read. I just wish the work gave me some meaning behind all the system names. I’ll look forward to more.


#5

Fantastic story so far! You did a great job of building the world while keeping the story fun and moving! I’ll definitely be keeping my eye on this game’s progress!


#6

I cant wait to see more of this wip :blush:


#7

So right now my sentiment is best illustrated by this meme:

This is very good so far.


#8

This is excellent, it feels like firefly honestly, (every time I see the space cargo thing I think of firefly. I love firefly.)
That being said, you’ve managed to get me interested in the characters already, including my MC. The first guy I meet is either a perpetually flirty or actually infatuated with me. I can’t tell, and I love the uncertainty. The second I hear from is Alice…who probably hates me and everything about me. The third is a terrorist apparently, which got me tazed. Also the option of if your cargo is legal or illegal? That’s awesome! You used the fact it’s a made up word or item and thus can be defined however very well.
I’m curious to see how different the legal freighter and smuggler routed are, also what the trips are like if you pick safe or super dangerous (if you actually get to go on said routes…considering it seems like I’m about to be caught up in some evil government shaniningans)


#9

Right? It’s like the pilot to an intriguing space flick. And the line between being a legit cargo hauler or a smuggler is an interesting hook as well.


#10

Thank you all so much, your feedback is really encouraging! I haven’t posted much on this forum before, but everyone has been really welcoming.

Posting one chapter at a time is strange, because I don’t really write that way, but as evidenced by Gamemaster, I need all the help I can get with typos.

@Gamemaster: I struggle with the balance between description and action, so this type of feedback is really useful for me. I want to avoid getting bogged down in the beginning while trying to set the scene, so I appreciate your insight. And help with typos is always greatly appreciated, so thank you for stopping to check, it’s incredibly helpful. I definitely meant crystalline, and all of your other points are spot on.

@Pyyrhus: I definitely let some of my Firefly love slip in there, I think the concept of the frontier life in space is really fascinating, especially the difference in resources and amenities between systems and planets. I’m really glad you find the characters interesting, for me developing characters are the best part of any story, so I hope I can make them compelling. And sorry in advance if I change their names, I’m terrible at naming people. :confused:

Thank you all again. I’ll try to not keep you waiting for the next chapter. :slight_smile:


#11

Take your time :slight_smile:
Also if your feeling particularly spacey there’s some very interesting work with solar space stations and theoretical space elevators being used to launch space vehicles rather than propellants. Also some EM drive stuff that’s very controversial.


#12

No problem. Always happy to help.


#14

I am looking forward to seeing more of this! I like the plot and your writing style!:clap:


#15

Quick code update to fix typos and to set up the save system to make testing a bit easier.

Also I just realized I accidentally made a space pun with the acronym for this game (ATMOS-phere!) and that made my day because I am a dork.

@Pyyrhus: I will have to look into all of those, I’m always feeling spacey :smiley:


#16

Are you saying that you accedentally made a space pun in the title of your space game? :hushed: What sorcery is this…

Seriously, though, I love how this game looks so far! I love your writing style here, and I’m already hooked on the plot - you can’t just torture us with a cliffhanger! :scream_cat: My only real concern is that it feels a bit weird being asked about our releationship with Alice before we really know much, or even anything, about her - while with Remi we get a snapshot of his personality first, with Alice I don’t think we get anything at all. Still, that’s a relatively minor detail, and I’m really excited to see where this game will go!


#17

Would you believe yes? Haha. I wanted something with the rhythm of classic sci fi titles like The Mote in God’s Eye, or Rendezvous with Rama, and Have Spacesuit, Will Travel was already taken.

That’s a good point that I hadn’t really thought about. I didn’t want to get bogged down with too much character exposition in the beginning and I wanted to give the option to define the MC’s prior relationship with her, but it probably makes more sense to have this question once we know more about her. I will likely move that choice to later in the narrative and try to stay vague about the nature of the relationship.


#18

Might be spoiler territory, but is Alice herself going to be one of the love interest options? (This might also get answered for me once we find out more about what the relationship exactly was.)

I do think pre-set relationships in general can be kind of touchy territory, which might be a bit hard to pull off, just because depending on the MC their relationship might be different than what you think of the default relationship being (get along better or worse, etc). That said, Alice is definitely the character I’m currently most curious about and looking the most forward to seeing more of!


#19

That’s not necessarily a bad thing. For instance, Shadow Run Dragonfall offered you a choice about how you knew a character you’ve only just met at the very start of the game, one of the options is that you were very close many years ago.

Also, @seraphinite’s wayhaven chronicles has you define how you know a character including whether said character is your ex or not before you know said character.

A nebulous relationship right off the bat could make things exciting.


#20

True! An issue of personal preference I guess. I personally don’t think we really have to know her before we make the decision on how we relate to her, but I’d like a snapshot of personality first so we know what we can expect - like what we got with Remi. That could be just me though?


#21

Well, my opinion is “it depends”. It could be bad, it could be good, really depends on the story. I was largely trying to dissuade (that looks wrong but Grammarly says correct so…) SirEdmund from a knee-jerk “oh someone said it was weird I should shuffle it around/remove it”

It might well need an edit, I just think that with such limited development it might be too soon to move it/chop it.