Ace of Spies - WIP

Pleased to share my work on a new ChoiceScript project: Ace of Spies. In it, you play a mid-level tennis player working part-time as an intelligence agent. I hope people enjoy tennis.

Basically I like to joke about the fact that with tennis tournaments dotting the globe and smaller tournaments taking place in small obscure countries a mid-level tennis player provide an ideal cover for espionage. With a few exceptions at the very top of the sport tennis players are seldom famous enough to be recognizable outside of their own country(or in the case of Americans inside of it). They can get into countries that are potentially difficult to get into and are functionally anonymous once they get there.

To be optimistic I’d say I’m maybe 15-20% done, but also the entire thing isn’t sufficiently planned to provide a very accurate completion percentage, and I plan on updating every other month alternating updates with my sci-fi WIP Alphas and Iotas, but I hope to have some updates in the near future while polishing the first chapter and a half.

To play the demo, go here: https://dashingdon.com/play/justhefax/ace-of-spies/mygame/

Should be something around 20-25k words. Covers two or three tennis scenes depending on one’s definition of non-competitive tennis played with other potential spies, one mildly significant espionage section, the very beginning of another, and other assorted introductory things. It’s not as polished as I want it to be, but with the US Open starting this felt like an ideal time to introduce Ace of Spies.

About Ace of Spies:

  • Modern, near future setting(near future basically means plentiful drones for the hacking, better cell coverage and internet access, and not talking about a certain coronavirus)
  • Aiming for somewhere between 200k-300k words when complete, but that is a very rough estimate this early in the process.
  • Gender choice, play on the men’s or women’s tour.
    • On nonbinary characters: I don’t allow for a nonbinary/trans main character because as the main character the act of coming out as nonbinary/trans as a pro athlete would draw too much attention for a covert operative and while there are a handful of nonbinary pro athletes they are usually still competing with those corresponding to their birth gender and I just don’t see a third tennis tour existing anytime soon.
    • Nonbinary characters can and will still appear your character just won’t be one of them. My official view on trans characters is generally that if you want to consider a character trans I do not care, but with the way international athletics are right now there just isn’t a realistic chance of a trans pro tennis player in the near future.
  • Mildly customizable romantic options - You don’t just choose the gender of your ex and your spy handler, you also choose their background so you can get subtly different experiences depending on whether your handler/partner is a marksman/linguist or a wrestler/medic just as with whether your ex is pre-med, pre-law, or an aspiring teacher.
  • Roughly five planned romance options.
    • Best friend, a Portuguese fellow tennis pro and doubles partner. (same sex option)
    • Fellow operative and Canadian tennis pro and mixed doubles partner. (opposite sex option)
    • Coach/partner, retired operative/tennis player(mid 30s). (gender depends on choice of coach)
    • Handler/partner, current operative way worse at tennis than the player. (gender varies according to romantic preference)
    • Ex from college. (gender varies according to romantic preference)
    • Other options for more casual relationships sometimes espionage related, sometimes not are to be determined. Will update as I write.
  • Context specific stats page - My single favorite feature. Basically when your character is doing tennis the stats page defaults to showing tennis stats, when you’re infiltrating an ambassador’s reception it’ll default to showing your espionage stats. If you’re in a section socializing with contacts it means defaulting to your relationship status.(don’t have one of those sections yet)
  • Aiming for 10-14 tennis sequences and roughly the same for spy sequences.
  • I’m not crazy about the title, but it’s the best spy/tennis combo I could come up with. Jokes about Breaking Her Majesty’s Secret Serve didn’t quite land nor did International Forehand of Mystery. I welcome clever alternatives.
  • I’m very surprised that there doesn’t seem to be a dedicated tag for spy-themed works, but there is one for sports.

That was longer than I wanted it to be, hope you enjoy the occasionally rough WIP. Any feedback is appreciated and my apologies for the occasional overly long section between page breaks. It is after all a work in progress.

54 Likes

I haven’t read this yet but if we’re offering title suggestions my current one is “Double-Cross Court” :v:

7 Likes

There’s already one called Double/Cross though…It’ll sound exactly like that.

4 Likes

I’m pleased to see any and all spy/tennis hybrid title options. I’ve mostly been playing with twists/parodies on Bond titles. Bond movies have the greatest/silliest titles. Possibly for use as chapter headings as much as overall titles.

My two favorites so far being:
Quantum of Service
Deuces are Forever

That’s the sort of thing I’m thinking about.

I would like to submit the following:

The Server Who Loved Me

Moonball (which is an extremely cheap way to make a joke about Thunderball)

Volley Royale

No Time To Hold

Groundstrokes Are Forever

Failing all that (because it turns out I, too, suck at tennis and spy puns), you could also just go for Break Point, which works as both a tennis term and as a spy story title for folks who may not be familiar with tennis lingo.

3 Likes

I think there is something wrong with choosing splice and drop shot as my best tennis skill

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I thought this was definitely interesting, though I know zilch about tennis. Will you be including a glossary of tennis terms for people who have zero clue like me? I manage to figure out roughly what was going on in the tennis scenes from context and mad guesses, though I still have no clue what drop-shots are except that they are apparently fun? I would totally try and keep Rustamov to the back of the court except I have no idea which move would do that, lol.

  • I do like that the languages you know change depending on your choices. When I chose to be Asian I did think it was a little unusual to be so specific as to brag about my penmanship in Cantonese in particular. While there are differences in grammar/idioms/usage in written Cantonese that can make it unintelligible when spoken aloud in Mandarin for example, the actual characters on paper would seem to be traditional Chinese characters when it comes to penmanship. It just seemed so needlessly specific as to come off as insecure bragging to me? I would have just said my calligraphy was good when writing traditional characters though I understand that sentence was to bring up the fact that you know Cantonese.

  • Is choosing French and Spanish as your minor switched because it’s not done? I know I got the flavour text about French when choosing French but then afterwards it was listed as Spanish in the stats and treated like I selected Spanish. Vice versa with Spanish when I checked.

  • Having limited fluency in “conversational languages” is kinda funny, heh. Which languages? Oh, you know, the sort you use for having conversations.

  • I didn’t realise that making the coach a particular gender would make my character the same gender, it seemed a bit strange to me to choose the coach’s gender first seeing as there wasn’t any clue that this would happen. I guess the existence of single gender …opens? (Are they called opens?) Would work as a clue but I honestly had forgotten that those were a thing so I was completely blindsided.

  • I love your little title card for The Recruit with little bouncing tennis ball, it’s just very charming. That being said, I get an error (recruit line 18: Non-existent variable “linguistic”) when trying to choose linguistics for what my instructor did there.

  • Got an error (startup line 1893: invalid @{} at letter 275; there should be a space after the first word) when choosing drop shots as my dominant tennis skill.

Promising start overall, will be watching this for sure.

1 Like