After Dark (scientifically accurate apocalyptic horror) [26/09: small update]

After Dark

——— Plot ———

A few years from now, in Little Peak, Minnesota, a teenager is ready to go to sleep.

While the heavy industry is more active than ever, the effects of global warming are evident, with higher temperatures, dying bees, and animals acting weird.

It has simply been another normal Wednesday, but little do people know that it’s the last day of normality Mother Nature has granted them.

After Dark is a scientifically accurate apocalyptic horror. You’re tired of zombies rising from the ground for no reason? You don’t believe in ghosts? Glittering vampires aren’t for you? Then you have to try one of the three different stories that unfold in After Dark.

When a global pandemic starts to transform people into dangerous monsters, which path will you choose? Will you fight for humanity? Will you stay for your family? Or will you run away in search of a better future?

——— Mechanics ———

  • Play as cis male, cis female, FtM, MtF, or nonbinary; straight, gay, bi, or ace.

  • Lots of characters to meet, with 3-5 romantic interests for each route, and even a secret one.

  • Three different routes with three completely different stories.

  • Functional smartphone including a social network, an online newspaper, and a weather forecast app —don’t forget the charger!

  • Various subplots: investigate the pandemic, become a godparent, learn the American Sign Language, become an evolved human, analyze your worst nightmares, or do something else!

  • Portrait gallery of your travel companions: imagine them, read them, see them.

  • Smart character definition system. Your character’s ethnicity, constitution, and background are no longer narrative accessories—everything actively affects your story.

  • Lore-rich story. You can get insights in various ways, and the more you discover, the more you understand, the more positive outcomes you can get from this bad situation… (NEW Sep 2022)

  • Advanced realistic relationship system. Your companions are autonomous: they react to your character, developing ideas and feelings of their own. Build friendships or enmities, break the heart of an unrequited suitor, or find your soul mate along the way! (NEW Sep 2022)

  • Random encounters and events while on the road. To provide a high replayability, there are many variables at play for every single day outside–you never know what will happen today! (NEW Sep 2022)

  • Hourly progression of the day. The sun rises and inevitably—it sets. If you don’t want to be outside after dark, you’ll need to organize your day well.

  • Interactive inventory system. Check your backpack, organize it, don’t tire yourself out by carrying too much weight with you, and if you can’t walk anymore, throw something away. Hoping you don’t need it in the future…

  • Interactive weather system with realistic sun damage and environmental effects. Global warming, a hot summer, long hours of walking during the day–you’d better have the right protection. (NEW Sep 2022)

  • Arm yourself with common objects, or assemble creative weapons with your own hands! (NEW Sep 2022)

  • Soft skill and lateral thinking system. Have you watched enough youtube videos to learn how to pick locks? Did you take carpentry classes in school? Or maybe your grandfather taught you how to play chess? With a bit of creativity, everything can come in handy at the right time… (NEW Sep 2022)

  • Playable mini games. Take some time to lower your stress playing a game on your phone. (More will come in future updates) (NEW Sep 2022)

  • Functional Trading Card Game. Need to feel like a teenager again? Hold on to some semblance of normalcy by playing cards with your friends. Will you be able to complete the collection? (NEW Sep 2022)

  • A story within a story: the world of Few of Aorta, the TV series from which the card game is based, is lore-rich, popular, and familiar to everyone. (NEW Sep 2022)

  • Discoverable side stories. Keep your eye on the streets and look out for any flying paper. You could find a destroyed private journal with an interesting story… (NEW Sep 2022)

  • Unlockable companions’ stories. Each person you meet on your journey is a person with a past, dreams, hopes and fears. Will you be able to win their trust? Or will you see their darker side? (NEW Sep 2022)

  • Fully customizable gaming style. Choose whether to receive or not content warnings and in-game warnings, turn off or on character autonomy, images, scary interludes, and particularly offensive scene. Receive in-game info according to either the metric or imperial system. You can tailor-make your own gaming experience!

  • …and much more!


——— Frequently Asked Question ———

Is it a stand-alone book?

It is for now, but there may be a sequel in the future.

Since it starts in teenage age, will we be growing along with the character?

Not in this book, but it will definitely happen if there is a sequel.

What do you mean with "scientifically accurate?"

After Dark’s lore is based on a plausible futuristic scenario and supported by scientific explanations. MC will have the opportunity to investigate it throughout the book! This obviously does not mean that these events will actually happen in real life; the distinction is useful to tell it apart from fantasy and traditional horror.

Can you tell us more about the ROs?

Answers with few spoilers aren’t blurred, while detailed answers with spoilers are blurred.

  1. How many ROs are there?
    About 3-5 for each route!
    (spoiler) There are nine different ROs, plus a secret one. One of them is common to all routes.

  2. Are all of them gender locked?
    Some are gender-locked, some are not.
    (spoiler) There are two male ROs, three female ROs, and four ROs whose gender changes based on MC’s preferences. If MC is bisexual, then the number is five male ROs and four female ROs.

  3. Are all of them available for all MC genders?
    Yes.
    (spoiler) The only non-romanceable teenager is actually aro/ace.

  4. If autonomy is on, can they flirt with MC even if MC doesn’t like them?
    They might. They read MC’s behavior, so if they don’t feel romantically appreciated, they feel like they have no reason to hit on MC.

  5. Can you list the available ROs with every possible detail about them?
    I can, but please note that this is a huge spoiler!

Route #1
  • Michael, 17, M
    It’s a schoolmate of yours and a football player, your typical strong and brave guy. Tall and beardless, he has a lean and muscular physique, wavy blond hair, and light blue eyes.
    He’s more in pain than he’d like to admit.
    (Michael’s portrait: click here)

  • Max, 16, M (or F)
    Shy teen, very smart and capable with technology. Wavy hair, almost curly; (s)he has an amber complexion and black eyes.
    Max is slim and quiet. (S)he prefers to look around and listen rather than speak. (S)he’s also a vegetarian.
    (Max’s portrait: Male | Female)

  • Divya, 16, F
    Classmate of the science lessons. She’s Indian and has chestnut hair, black eyes, and a magnetic smile. She’s usually cheerful and witty.
    (Divya’s portrait: click here)


——— Development ———

  • Currently available in the demo: prequel, first three days of the route #1.

  • Last update count: 72,757 words


——— Coming Soon ———

This section is to be considered as a spoiler for future updates. If you like surprises, don’t open it. Otherwise, enjoy your reading.

(Spoilers)

I am currently working on several addendums to the game. When one of these is completed and implemented, it is moved to the “Mechanics” section.

  • Different relationships with ROs.
    Relationships with ROs can be of two types: friendly or romantic. The two follow separate paths, so it is possible to be attracted to a character who is not fond of us, or to be best friends with a character with whom we have no romantic intentions (and from whom, if we have chosen to keep autonomy active, we may have declined advances).
    [Implemented in Sep 2022]

  • Companions’ special scenes.
    These will by unlockable by reaching a certain score with a character, showing their side of the story. It is not possible to unlock all the secondary stories with a single play: the player will in fact be “rewarded” both for a very high friendship score, and for a very low friendship score, with two different types of side stories. For the ROs with a strong romantic relationship, there will be additional special scenes as well.
    [Implemented in Sep 2022]

  • Different types of monsters.
    The disease found in After Dark attacks different parts of the brain. Depending on the impacted part, the infected behave differently and must be dealt with (or avoided) differently, each with their own peculiarities, adding complexity to the game.
    [Implemented in Sep 2022 –see "Lore-rich story"]

  • Unlockable side story.
    Along the way, with the right choices and a little luck, you may find a certain number of journal pages, which will tell you the story of another survivor. Totaling 100% of the pages will give you access to a secret scene.
    [Implemented in Sep 2022]

  • Special gadgets.
    Three gadgets, each hidden in a different game route. Interactive Easter egg that will each unlock an achievement and a few extra lines of text in the game.

  • Collectible card games.
    Massive work that will allow you to own, collect and play with collectible cards from a fictional TV series. A fun way to pass some time during your nightly rest, refresh the spirit, and bond with your companions.
    [Partially implemented in Sep 2022]

  • And more.

This game is very time-consuming. In case you’d like to support my work, please consider supporting me on Patreon. Thank you.


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Try the demo here: After Dark

(You can also discuss it in this Discord server.)

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If you like my work so far and would like to receive more frequent updates, please consider supporting me on Patreon. Check out the exclusive perks! :yellow_heart:



[DashingDon tags: No sexual content, PC can be male, PC can be female, PC can be transgender, PC can be nonbinary, romance, romanceable gay NPC, romanceable bisexual NPC, romanceable heterosexual NPC, future, lore rich world, monsters, zombies, horror, trigger warnings, young adult]

429 Likes

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28 Likes

I really wish the trans options were reworded. (Exclusively talking about trans woman option as it’s the one I’m choosing, the inverse is just as true) Ignoring that I wouldn’t like to be reminded of any potential masculine aspects, being AMAB doesn’t mean your “manly” (masculine would be a way better word, even if it’s still very wrong) even before HRT, and if you started before the age of the protagonist you’d definitely not be masculine.

Sorry but that made me so fucking dysphoric. It makes me picture some brutish hairy man in a frilly dress like the worst transphobic stereotypes and that’s not how I’d like a trans woman to be visualized, even if it’s just me reading too much into it.

22 Likes

Masculine it is then! I’m not an English native speaker so those nuances escape me :face_with_hand_over_mouth:

4 Likes

Sorry I didn’t take a screenshot but before you leave the shelter there’s an option to eat some water. I think it should be drink lol

2 Likes

@ElliWoelfin I re-read that option and opted for a more neutral description based on the AMAB/AFAB acronym. I hope it’s less dysphoria-inducing now.

@King2 oops! “Eat some water” sounds adorable but it was definitely unintentional. Noted, corrected and re-uploaded. Thanks! :grin:

12 Likes

That reads a lot better, thank you.

1 Like

This is a very nice game, quiet enjoy🙂I’m a sucker for Apocalyptic reads.

Question:

Summary

Since it starts in teenage age, will we be growing along with the character, get to see him become a soldier(that’s my preference, if we get the option tho), have kids and grow old or die in the pandemic??

2 Likes

Thank you! :grinning_face_with_smiling_eyes:

About your question…

There will probably be a sequel, because the lore is very broad and I doubt I will be able to cover it entirely in a single book. Since the main character is still a teen, it means that he will be more “grown up” by then.

5 Likes

Are you planning on having a trilogy or is it too early to tell??

Too early! :grin:

5 Likes

Apologies​:sweat_smile::sweat_smile::sweat_smile:the prologue and the first chapter already got me hooked

1 Like

No need to apologize :slight_smile: thank you for your feedback, I’ll try to live up to the expectations.

4 Likes

Heck I’m interested.
Any chance to add save system next?

6 Likes

Dang that was pretty good already! Love the smartphone feature. I second the save system though :3

Looking forward to more!!

3 Likes

@Sakinah_Saraswati @rkgk

Good idea, I didn’t thought about it. I’ll work on it tomorrow!

4 Likes

IT’S ON!!! GOOD STUFF!! My body is ready!!

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I love it so much :heart:

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Sounds interesting

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Cannot wait for the next update, the prologue is already awesome

2 Likes