Heroes of New Utopia (Superhero WIP: Prologue, CH1: 30k words)

Hello, friends! I’ve begun work on a new game and I feel satisfied that it’s at a point where I can show it off – in part, at least.


H E R O E S - O F - N E W - U T O P I A (working title)


The city of New Utopia is a shining beacon of truth, liberty, and justice. Under the watchful benevolence of the metahuman hero known as The Shield and his Vigilance Wing, the metropolis has enjoyed years of growth and prosperity.

You, the player, are one of the newest wave of young hopefuls eager to join the Vigilance Wing and defend the city. It is the opportunity of a lifetime. For some, it is a chance to fulfill their civic duties. For others, this is a chance at a better life. For others, it’s just a chance to demonstrate their fantastical prowess. And for those who succeed, it is an opportunity to earn fame and celebrity while defending what is held up as the best city in the world.

But all cities have secrets buried in their past, and secrets have a way of getting out. Sometimes the past is nothing more than a prologue.

A new dawn will rise over the city of New Utopia and it is up to you – the player – to determine what that dawn will stand for.


F E A T U R E S

NOTE: As Heroes is in a state of active development, these features may change. At this time, they are considered goals.

  • Choose your superpower, and harness it to conquer challenges both major and minor!
  • Multiple endings, with differences both big and small!
  • Work within the traditions of Utopia City’s greatest defenders, or embrace the part of the radical. Or go further beyond that divide and work with the side of the villains!
  • Embrace a team of varied characters, or spurn them and work alone! When the time comes, will they stand by you?
  • Pick a partner (the term sidekick is detrimental to team morale, you see) and embrace the power of teamwork! Will you effect on them be positive or negative?
  • Four romance options to choose from (two male, two female) – or don’t, and keep things strictly professional!
  • Customisable cast! NOTE: Of all the goals, this is the one I’m most on the fence about. If I think it won’t undermine the characters, I’ll work to fit it in.
  • An undetermined amount of achievements!
  • Customise your outfit and choose your superhero name!
  • Play as male, female or non-binary!
  • Wear a tactically-inadvisable-but-really-stylish cape – if you want! Again!

TESTING LINK: CLICK HERE.


F A Q

Where is Paradigm City 2, you hack fraud?

It’s coming, but don’t hold your breath.

Oh. Does this have something to do with Paradigm City 2?

No! But you could consider this a companion piece. If Paradigm City fits into the nebulous genre of capepunk, which illustrates how superhumans wouldn’t necessarily fix the world of its existing problems, Heroes is much more, well, heroic. Where the Paradigm series has grit and cynicism and characters grappling to hold the world together for just one more day, Heroes has bright-eyed romantic idealism and characters who want to do the right thing. Where PC is muted and apocalyptic, HNU is melodramatic and revelatory.

Do I need to know anything about Paradigm City to play HNU?

Absolutely not. It’s a separate world with a separate cast of characters. There may be some cheeky nods here and there.

What does this do differently to Paradigm City?

This is a hard question to answer before it is complete. Beyond the aforementioned stuff about tone, however, my goal is to craft an experience that is an inversion of Paradigm City. Where Paradigm City was relatively linear and was more about reactive delayed branching, I hope for HNU to have wider branches and a less rigid structure. If Paradigm was ‘thinking with action’, I hope for HNU to be ‘action with thinking’.

What else have you written?

Paradigm City, a Hosted Game. And the in-progress web novel Not All Heroes which is set in the same world.

Let’s talk mechanics. How are you handling stats and stat checks?

To borrow a line from Emily Short: Stats will be set during ‘normal’ play by the decisions players make, they will be checked during ‘special’ events, and rarely will choices be ‘gated’ behind what stats the player possesses.

For example, if the player constantly chooses options that reduce their empathy stat, this will reduce the stat (normal play). At a key point, where the player may need to have empathy to help someone, or may wish to have empathy for someone to avoid doing something rash, they may not be able to do so successfully(special event). However, the option will not be greyed out (gating).

Typicaly, ‘special events’ will be when either outcome (pass/fail) could put the story on a different, interesting path without having the player feel like control is being taken away from them.

How many romance options, and who are they?

Four, and check below for the specific set.

How many superpowers can we choose from? Can we have ones you have not already prepared? How will they work?

You may pick one of ten. It is unlikely that any other powers will be included, just because ten is a fair amount of work as it is. Speaking mechanically, if using your power is the obvious response to an easy success (using super strength to jump over an alley), the player will do so automatically. But if it is ever a more complicated situation (throwing a fireball to try and catch someone on a busy city street), then it will be a choice with a check.

How long did this take you?

Just over a week. And a bit of that time was reacquainting myself with Choicescript.

How long will this take you?

Uncertain. I feel I will have it complete before the end of the year, but that’s all it is – a feeling.


S P O I L E R S

Below, here are some more detailed bits of information for people who are curious about where this project is heading. For example, who the ROs are and what the spoiler-free outline is. All of this information is beyond the current WIP (Chapter 1).

Romance Options: Aphelion, Dynamique, Eidolon and Roulette
Partner Options: Aphelion (telekinetic forcefield), Dynamique (gadgets), Eidolon (strength, invulnerability), Roulette (random)

Plot Outline
Prologue (Sunrise): The player experiences a vivid nightmare – what does it mean?
Chapter 1 (Daylight): The player attends the final trials to become a member of the city’s leading hero team, the Vigilance Wing.
Chapter 2 (Morning): Having passed the final trials, the player works with their new team on a trial basis. At the end, the player picks their partner.
Chapter 3 (Zenith): Working with their partner, the player brings down a variety of oddly-coordinated criminals – but what is this talk of a mysterious reckoning?
Chapter 4 (Sunset): The player confronts the villain behind the criminal wave. The plot thickens, secrets come out, and the city shuffles ever closer towards that nightmare vision…
Chapter 5 (Nightfall): The player confronts the architect of their nightmare. On the eve of reckoning, they are made an offer…
Chapter 6A (Sunrise (Redux)): The day of reckoning. The player works against the antagonist to stop their mad plan.
Chapter 6B (Sunrise (Redux)): The day of reckoning. The player works with the antagonist to ensure their plan goes through – or to try and avert the fire from the inside.
Chapter 7 (A New Dawn): The end. How does Utopia City continue onward, if it survives at all? Who is brought to justice and who escapes? Who has a happy ending, and who does not?


P R O J E C T - S T A T U S

Prologue: Available for testing (UPD: 3/3/18)
Chapter 1: Available for testing (UPD: 3/3/18)
Chapter 2: WIP.
Chapter 3: WIP.
Chapter 4: WIP.
Chapter 5: WIP.
Chapter 6: WIP.
Chapter 7: WIP.

Word Count: 27k (without code), 30k (with)

Available for testing: Chapter has been quicktested and can be played through but significant revisions may be made, particularly in regards to prose and numerical balance.
WIP: Chapter is being worked on and is not available for testing.
Complete: Chapter is considered complete and it is unlikely any significant changes will be made.

119 Likes

I fucking loved Paradigm. Count me the hell in!!!

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I’m a speedster

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The one power I missed in that section. Fixed!


“the the”

Will it matter which power you choose or you just get different text?

It matters, but it’s a case-by-case basis.

Hypothetically, if there’s a scene where you can use Power A to solve a problem (say, kick down a door), you may be able to do the same with Power B (melt the hinges off) and C (short out the lock) but not D (splash water at it). In Chapter 2 and onward, for example, the idea will be to give the player a few ways to use each ability to approach challenges eg: I use my pyrokinetic ability to heat up the gun in his hands, I set him on fire, I create a flashy display to intimidate, etc.

The idea is to make them equal, but not apply them equally. Sometimes a certain power won’t be able to help you (which is why you can have a partner, or other skills and options). But the idea is to give each power a few points in each chapter where the player can do something Cool with them.

3 Likes

Two things:

In the dream scene as a speedster, I am taking water and using it … idk but this doesn’t seem the right flavor text for that super power.

Secondly, as a speedster, would waking up late even be a concern?

still reading, will edit in other feedbacks.

Edit 1: During the challenge, I never learn Eidolon’s name but after, the story assumes I know everyone’s name - so missing a transition there.

Finished the beginning - good start :slight_smile:

4 Likes

imageimage
Also, I loved Paradigm City, but I’m also more of a fan of more optimistic stories, so I loved the idea of this since you first posted it, and it doesn’t dissapoint. One thing I’d like to bring up is that the ungendered pronouns used to refer to everyone whose gender is switchable is a little unimmersive. Also, I love that I can be a projector; that’s always been my favorite type of power.

1 Like

This was great! A couple of typos here and there, but the game is interesting! It’s so hard to choose a power; they all appeal to me.

I can’t wait to get to know the ROs more! This is shaping up to be really good!

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Thank you! I’m a big fan of all the RO characters and I can’t wait to see the reaction here to their particular subplots and arcs. Who leapt out at you immediately?

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Aphelion was the one I was drawn to right off the bat. Eidolon looks like he’s worth a shot too. I’m kinda surprised E didn’t recognize me after we plowed into each other at the cafe .

If Starfish isn’t an RO, what is he…:thinking::face_with_monocle:

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I didn’t even teated it out yet but our point of vision seems spot on! So hyped to get home and test this out. Couldn’t wait to test then post so i’ll be editing this post :grin:

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This seems a very promising demo, do keep up the good work.

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Sold! Always need the side with the most cookies in a hero game :smiley:

Now to actually play the demo :smiling_imp:

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that was fun:face_with_raised_eyebrow:

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Okay, so all in all, it’s very good. I would say that there are two major (somewhat overlapping) problems with it, though:

The personality test makes sense in concept, but in execution it feels very poorly done. Prior to the test, we’ve had very little time to actually define the personality of our MC, and so actually knowing what they would (or “should”) say isn’t easy. Also (I checked the code for this, just to see how you were grading it), it looks like you’re using 50% as a firm cutoff, which never works well, and especially not here. Two of my stats were at 47 and 48, and only one was over 60, so I was basically being graded for failing to know what personality my MC didn’t even really have. :confused:

And the choices themselves are kinda nonintuitive. “Serving the people of the city” (rather than the city itself) is very much a traditionalist choice, at least for a traditionalist comic-book hero. (And if it’s different here, it’s not made completely obvious, since this is far more comic-booky than Paradigm City was.)

Also, it seems weird that they’re fine with people who are completely philosophically opposed to them, as long as they’re not liars… :sweat_smile:

The second major problem is the exact 50% cutoff for stat tests. It may not be quite as bad as the 4 point trap, but it’s certainly got its issues, mainly that if someone is pretty average on one of the stats, they can switch back and forth between failing and succeeding without any real difference in play style. I would say that the best way to counter this would be to have a buffer zone (40–60?) in which players get an average result. (Maybe for the personality test – if you have to keep it – you could double the required number of “lies”, and give player a single lie between 40 and 60, and two if it’s under 40, although I’d imagine most players would be getting in the middle ground, anyway.)

You missed out the most important FAQ: are there any dead (or traitor) boyfriends in this? :sob:

Eh, I think The Incredibles was somewhat misleading with its cape takedown. :roll_eyes: For one thing, most cape-wearing superheroes are literally the most powerful characters, like Superman, Thor, the Vision, and Captain Marvel/Shazam, for whom getting the cape caught is really not a problem. Meanwhile, they can use the cape to help intimidate opponents, and convince normal people that they’re something more than human, which helps to obscure the fact that they might have normal secret identities… For someone like Batman, this applies, too, but he also uses his cape as both camouflage and as part of his fighting style, obscuring his movements. True, he doesn’t have the superhuman strength of the other characters, so getting the cape caught is a potential issue, but I’d be surprised if he doesn’t have some kind of way to instantly unclip it. :thinking:

Admittedly, any superhero who’s not either super-strong or basically Batman probably shouldn’t wear a cape, but as far as I can tell, most don’t. e.g. Eidolon could probably get away with a cape without any problems. Less so for the other characters.

Click for typos and more minor comments

You catch glimpses of the Vigilance Wing doing battle with red and black figures, fantastic powers clashing.

Weren’t red and black (plus gold and white) the colours of a hero? :confused:

The Shield can handle themselves. There’s civilians to help!

Should that be “himself”?

I may be 19, but I don’t exactly identify as either.

I’m not nonbinary, but this doesn’t really sound very well worded. :confused: Do any nb readers have any thoughts?

Pfft! I look better than fine! Time to start the day.

Does this skip an appearance setting section? Because I don’t think it’s very clear that it does. It reads more as “I better not spend time making myself look good”, especially since I’m already late.

I understand their concern, it’ll be a tough day.

You can’t hold it against them. You can’t blame your parent for being concerned about things like this. After all, they’re the only one you’ve got.

Presumably these should be gendered? :thinking:

  • “You should be! Watch where you’re going!”
  • “It’s fine, no harm done.”
  • Make him flinch, show him who’s boss.
  • Slip him some coins to let him replace his food.

Could there be a way to apologise without giving him money? :thinking:

  • I’ll have a statue of my own there, one day.
  • What must someone do to earn one of those?
  • There should be only one statue there – mine!
  • Surely the money and materials of those statues could be spent better elsewhere.
  • Such a proud tradition.

Could there be a way to just feel awe? I mean, I guess the last option is similar, but it would be nice as its own option.

that your thumbprint is pressed,

I guess “pressed” isn’t incorrect, but it does feel a little weird. :thinking:

You just wanted to see if you could, really. You were just in the right place at the right time. Some two-bit punk held up a local convenience store. Not powerful enough to be a true villain, but enough to have power over people who couldn’t defend themselves.

So, I’m allowed to choose to have stopped a minor villain, but not why? I can’t have done it just to protect people? :confused:

The clerk sighs. “File corruption. We’ve lost some data. Now, your name, please.”

This doesn’t fill me with confidence… :grimacing: I think name selection would probably work better before The Shield’s speech, unless the file corruption is actually a plot point, or is supposed to show that Vigilance Wing is already imperfect. (If it is, it’s a pretty meta way of foreshadowing it… :astonished:)

trains the brain and mind to work together

Do you mean “the body and the mind”? :confused: (Also in the next paragraph, which is a bit repetitive, but I assume it’s for effect.)

Sand is something of an old tradition in hero circles. It’s different to running on grass or a firmer surface. They say it engages more muscles, forces your body to pay more attention to how it is moving, forces your brain to work harder.

More about sand. :roll_eyes: It’s like you’re obsessed. :stuck_out_tongue_winking_eye:

It looks like a hard climb, but that’s only to candidate with your particular use for creativity.

I assume that should be “candidates without”?

The difficulty is just in reaching in.

“it”

With the addiitional arms, you pull yourself across the bars at a startling pace.

“additional”

Next to you, someone isn’t as lucky — or perhaps they’re startled by your speed. Maybe they’re just tired, fatigued. Either way, they fall into the pool, spraying you with water.

This sounds weird. I’m not sure if there’s anything strictly wrong with it, but it certainly feels like it could be reworded.


I should say that I was disappointed not to get any choices in the obstacle course. :confused: I’m assuming it’s due to a combination of the fact that how we approach it ought to depend on our power and stats, and that you don’t want anyone to actually fail at the first hurdle. Nevertheless, I do feel that a couple of fake choices here might make it seem like the player is more in control. (I even got an achievement here; is this something everyone gets, or was it the result of my previous choices? :sweat_smile:)

  • “The status quo.”
  • “Stasis.”

These seem kinda similar. :confused:

  • Threats we won’t see coming?

“don’t”

You’ve picked out their tentative codenames as you catch fragments of conversation here and there. You recognize four of the five from earlier, put names to faces and voices.

When? :confused: I don’t recall any time other than the lecture that we were all together, and I never got to talk to anyone then…

As he gets closer, you realize something. You’ve seen him before.

In your dreams. In the shadow of the apocalypse.

This seems like a pretty forced twist, really… :sweat_smile: I thought it was obvious when we first saw them, but presumably it would have been too early to realise it then…

  • Wardenite.
  • Apex.
  • Katalyst.
  • Prometheon.
  • Excelsion.
  • Eclipsic.

Oh God, they’re all so pretentious! :sweat_smile:

You square yourself up to Eidolon, adopting a loose, relaxed stance. No tricks and nothing fancy, just your desire to win on a level playing field versus his desire to win on that same field.

For all of his arrogance, his blows are remarkably sloppy. They’re openly telegraphed, or he’s simply pulling them like he’s afraid of touching you.

I think you could add in a sentence here saying that he actually starts attacking. :thinking:

“Not really. Well, never, actually. I’ve just seen it when I’m traveling too and from the city. I’ve always wanted to check it out.”

“to”

In two days, you’ll be a hero — or o the way to becoming one.

“on”

4 Likes

The personality test is something I’m going to be fiddling with a lot. The 50% cutoff thing is definitely an issue I noticed on my own playthroughs (but it was really just something I did to set up the code), but number tweaking is something I’ll fiddle with later. I’m very bad with numbers in general. I think a 40-60 buffer is a good idea, especially for some of the ones that you could reasonably argue go either way.

Some earlier bits to establish personality a bit more strongly are good to think about, too.

You missed out the most important FAQ: are there any dead (or traitor) boyfriends in this?

No! :joy: Just a dead mom or dad.

I can’t say characters won’t die or turn on you, but none of it will be mandated through plot fiat.

Capes

Even if a full cape might be a hazard, it’s why I’ve got half-length and shoulder capes available for the player in Ch 2.

Powers and the course.

Oh, no, you can fail right out at the first trial. Just not if you have super-strength, super-speed, gadgets and, I think, energy constructs. Or, if you have a physical background, you have a much easier time with the course.

File corruption

It’s touched on very early in Chapter 2 and will form a later plot point.

A lot of the stuff you’ve said are some good points for me to chew on. Which is why I put this WIP up in the first place, so, thanks! :grinning:

4 Likes

So, I can keep them? :heart_eyes:

If they’re cute enough, I may forgive you for Alan… :stuck_out_tongue_winking_eye: (But I still want you to bring him back… :sob:)

Definitely energy constructs since that was what I had, and I didn’t have any problems (or choices…)

It actually was a plot point… :sweat_smile:

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What if you have exactly 50% personality? Wouldn’t it make both choices fail?

1 Like