I'm Working on a Gritty Heist Novel! "Five Finger Discount" (WIP)

young-adult-fiction
gender-choice

#1

Hey guys, Logan here! I’m new to the whole interactive novel scene in terms of writing, but I have played through many of these games many, many times. I’m currently taking a break on working on my (real) novel, and thought I’d toss my hat into the ring with interactive fiction, combining two of my favorite things; Writing and Video Games.

FEEDBACK IS KEY! Any suggestions you have whatsovever, or any complaints, bugs, or issues, PLEASE send it my way here in the comments. I’ll try to hop on here weekly, if not daily to address these issues.

So, what’s this story about? Well, you play as a man/woman who recently has been recommended to a group for their “skills”. You’re no newbie to the criminal life, but robbing banks? Well, that’ll be a first.

For right now, in the demo that’s available, you play the prologue. Your character has just finished a heist, but you’ve gotten into an accident off the interstate, trapping you inside the car. How’d the car crash? Did somebody set us up? You have no time to think this, police are on their way. This demo currently has three different endings, each of which can drastically change the outcome of the full story in the future.

The demo’s currently about 5/10 minutes, and there honestly isn’t much replayability. I mainly released this to showcase how I’m going to do my action sequences.

I’m currently planning on having four different “jobs”, each of which spices up and sometimes completely changes how the story goes.
You can either be the Driver, Muscle, Pointman, or Techie of the crew. I’ll go more into detail about these later.

My next continuation with the demo will hopefully include some human interactions, so you’ll be able to get a feel for the different types of MC personalities. Once again, up for suggestions. I’ll likely have a shy/loner option for each dialogue choice, in case someone wants to RP as Baby Driver or something.

I’ve yet to give the story a name, but any suggestions would be welcome. I’ve currently got ‘Breaking Bank’ or ‘A Crime Medley’ in mind.

To play the demo, go here:https://dashingdon.com/play/rvd249/untitled-heist-story/mygame/

Feel like getting to know the cast better? Read these character bios, themed as FBI reports.

Character Bios

FBI Reports

Col. J. Weathers
September 19th, 2018
“The Miami Incident”

Suspects:

Unknown Suspect

Not much is known about this suspect. No known aliases, potential alibis, nothing.

(Ask Lindsay for records on the D.C. case, potential link.)

Suspect appears to be in Mid-20s, sex unknown. More info to be posted later.

"Fitz"

(Redacted) “Fitz” (Redacted)

  • Only known alias, Fitz.
  • Bald White Male in his late 30s to early 40s, potential relations to the Miami Incident.
  • Brown Anchor Goatee (could vary)
  • Brown Eyes
  • Reports seem to suggest suspect is no taller than 5’6"
  • Small distinguishing scar on suspect’s forehead
  • Suspect last seen at (Redacted) in Miami, wearing a olive green button-up shirt and blue jeans.
  • Suspect shows signs of paranoid schizophrenia.
  • Smokes Dannanbrew Lites (relevant?)
  • When approached by a female decoy, suspect was heavily intoxicated and showing amorous signs. We had to pull her out.
  • Potential Sexual Relations with unknown suspect.
  • Suspect seen with blood on jeans, on the (Redacted) of (Redacted). Potential link to two missing women.

(See 1995 Boston Killings)

"Juno"

(Redacted) “Juno” (Redacted)

  • Aliases include “Juno” (Goddess of Marriage?), Shiann, Christina, Penelope, Catarina.
  • Mixed Hispanic Female, early to mid-20s. (In Miami, a needle in a haystack.)
  • Short, black hair, brown eyes, approximately 5’2"
  • Distinguishing tattoo on back, others perhaps elsewhere
  • Frequented (Redacted) club during stay.
  • Appears to be a Con Artist, has sociopathic tendencies.
  • Suspect seduced our decoy before robbing him of his wallet, and an empty debit card.
  • Potential sexual relations with our unknown suspect.
  • Suspect last seen with (Redacted) wearing a black low-cut dress. (Potential owner of a yacht?)
"Ahab"

(Redacted) “Ahab” (Redacted).

  • Aliases: “Ahab”, “Black Hat”, “Mr. Jones” (?), (see 97 more)
  • Bald African Male in his early 60s.
  • Usually has a black goatee or moustache.
  • Suspect is wheelchair bound, likely the planner.
  • Suspect has ties to various criminal organizations.
  • Suspect reportedly ex-gang member.
  • Appears to be a mentor figure to Towns.
  • Wears framed glasses, (diabetes?)
  • Identical man spotted in Miami, was not wheelchair bound.
  • Last spotted in D.C. wearing a white polo shirt, khakis, and a black fedora.

(See 1967 Dallas, Texas Shootings)
(See 1981 Brooklyn B-Side Harts v. East Village Black Mafia Shootout)

"Dyno"

Adam “Dyno” (Redacted)

  • Aliases: “Adam”, “Dyno” (Dino?), Rahat, (see 13 more)
  • Dyno/Dino could either refer to the dinosaurs, or dynamometer. (Possible interest in cars?)
  • Indian-American Male in mid-late 30s, direct correlation to Miami Incident.
  • Suspect has short, straight black hair.
  • Reports seem to indicate suspect is 6’1"-6’2".
  • Distinguishing burn mark on left hand.
  • Suspect may have previous ties to financing. (Wall street?)
  • Apparent field leader of the group.
  • Suspect is confirmed to have been in Washington.
  • Potential sexual relations with our unknown suspect.

(Related to 2008 stock market crash? Motives?)

"Iris"

(Redacted) “Iris” (Redacted)

  • Only known alias, Iris.
  • White Female in mid-late 20s, potential relations to the Miami Incident.
  • Red hair, freckled, blue eyes.
  • Suspect seems to be around 5’9".
  • Suspect seems to be some sort of ex-military.
  • Suspect approached by decoys (of both genders), was turned down and ignored.
  • Not much is known about suspect, likely lives off the grid.
  • Suspect was last seen at gun range in D.C.
  • Potential sexual relations with unknown suspect.

(Search military records for (REDACTED))

"Towns"

(Redacted) “Towns” (Redacted)

  • Only known alias, Towns.
  • Tall African Male, 28 years old.
  • Buzzed, black coiled hair. Brown eyes.
  • 6’5", 175lbs.
  • Suspect has a criminal record. Did 3 years for (Redacted).
  • Has previous ties with gangs in (Redacted).
  • Worked as a contractor before going off the grid 4 years back.
  • Could’ve potentially used mechanical knowledge in both D.C. and Miami.
  • Confirmed connection with Ahab, could potentially be mentor.
  • Potential sexual relations with unknown suspect.

(See criminal record for (Redacted))

"Nord"

Daniel “Nord” (Redacted)

  • Aliases: “Nord”, “Driver”, “Stickshift”
  • White Male in late 20s to early 30s.
  • Wavy, kempt back black hair, stubbled goatee. Brown eyes.
  • Suspect seems to be around 6’3". Broad build, roughly 200-250 lbs.
  • Suspect is a car enthusiast, likely their mechanic or getaway driver.
  • Wears same black leather jacket and gray hoodie in most climates.
  • When approached by a female decoy in (Redacted), suspect was friendly but dismissive.
  • Suspect is married. (Has a silver wedding ring on left hand, engagement ring on right.)
  • Monitored bank accounts indicates suspect moving money regularly through shell accounts to an unknown source. Potentially his wife?
  • Likely has financial motives for crime, suspect is not a large threat.

(See Patrick’s Automotives in (Redacted)

"Rabbit"

(Redacted) “Rabbit” (Redacted)

  • Female, at least 18 years of age.
  • Has a Mid-West American accent.
  • Exhibits child-like behavior during online interactions.
  • Has extreme proficiency with computers.
  • Recently hacked into FBI Database. (See Transcript 1)
Transcript 1 - Database Breach

Hello Colonel! You sure are snoopy, aren’t you? Rabbit doesn’t appreciate you getting info on us. She’d really like it if you were to drop the case :slight_smile:

Plz get better firewall. Rabbit got through in under an hour. This is just a simple warning :slight_smile:
Next time, Rabbit will not be accountable for loss of data collected on us.

I’m sure many many bad people would be very unhappy if they were to find out the addresses of certain people in the FBI!!!

We love what you’re doing, but please, fuck off :slight_smile: :heart::heart:

P.S.
I don’t want to tell you you’re wrong about Rabbit’s character bio which is by the way very adorable, but… you’re wrong :slight_smile:

~Rabbit

Rabbit has shown extreme proficiency with technology, and has even managed to hack into our FBI Database. No records were erased or changed, making it hard to identify the suspect. The IP was traced to Fort Worth, Texas. When we conducted an investigation, we found the computer belonging to (Redacted), a felon wanted for Domestic Violence, Driving on Suspended License, and Drug Trafficking & Distribution.

She had remotely accessed his computer, only to do the entire process of entering our database from there. All traces were removed and his hard drive was reset, leaving only a folder of incriminating evidence towards him, (Redacted), and (Redacted).

We are currently investigating her relations to this suspect, though there have been no revelations as of yet.

~ Lieutenant Franklin Goss

  • We only have one instance of the suspect’s recorded voice. (See Transcript 2)
  • We have been unable to trace any phone calls or online interactions, suspect uses homemade VPN.
  • Suspect has been aware of our attempts to install spyware, and to doxx her. Leaves no footprints on Tor or any visited websites.
  • Potential sexual relations with our unknown suspect.
(Redacted)

(Redacted)


#2

I kinda like “A Crime Medley” as a name, at the very least for the WIP. You can always change it before publication if you want.


#3

I’ve debated this, though it doesn’t quite describe what the MC will be doing. The main premise behind the story is a crew of criminals robbing banks. “A Crime Medley” seems a little too broad. The only other crime really being committed is whatever crime the MC committed before joining the crew (Player Chosen).


#4

As far as I can tell it is all good for now, but it is just to short for me to really offer an a valid opinion. I will say from what I read the only thing that needs work is you need more character creation, and you need to work on your stat screen. Really need more to give you more of what I think! Good luck on the game and remember to have fun and take breaks when you need them.


#5

The character creation will be a lot more fleshed out in Chapter 1, but I agree, I still need more stats to be added. Things should get a lot more crowded once I make character bios, and I’m probably going to add a few more stats like shooting, driving, hacking, and maybe a few others.

I’m thinking about adding a journal screen, which recaps what the player has gone through and dynamically changes. Still trying to figure out how I can implement that.
Thanks for the feedback though!


#6

I’m definitely intrigued by the beginning, bc I’ve always been a fan of heist/thief stories, so this really caught my eye. I’m excited to see how you’ll flesh everything out!! :slight_smile:


#7

Thanks, I greatly appreciate the support! Honestly this has motivated me more than anything in the past week, so I plan on starting on Chapter 1 first thing tomorrow. This Prologue took about a week and a half, but it’s because it took a lot of variables and coding for the time remaining, and collecting weapons and such. Chapter 1 should be mostly pure writing, with the only real branching being the dialogue and customization. I really want to build a solid foundation for the MC so they can be relatable, EVEN THOUGH they’re a creation of your own. I still want there to be an actual “character” for future story reasons :slight_smile:


#8

it’s Timed…

TIMED…

:persevere:

Sorry…the story start well…but Timed stuff are a must avoid for me . Good luck with your story !


#9

Care to elaborate? Or is it just a preference? I did this to simulate a feeling of urgency, similar to what can be found in games like Heavy Rain. When there’s a timer, every action has more impact.


#10

I don’t like games that are timed . Like…for exemple the old fallout game (I think it was fallout 1 or 2)…

where you had a certain time before a major event show up and there is no coming back from that .

A timer is Stress . No…I know it’s supposed to give ‘Urgency’ , but I really can’t stand Timer . Dialogue Timer , Story Timer…Timer in general .

even if I have a big bar that tick slowly…I can’t block it . Usually in games (Like xcom2 who has this goddamn timer that tick with every mission…and this guy who keep telling you over and over and over ‘‘Hurry! The ennemy just did this’’ ARGHHHHHHHHH…I just modd it so he shuttup and I can take my time , no stress…no worrie) .

I can’t block a timer , no matter how much I tried for years .


#11

Unfortunately the story is too short so far for me to have an idea where you’re going with it or give much insight. I do feel an inkling of a Casino (the film) and/or Goodfellas vibe and if that’s a route you’ll be treading through I’ll be very happy to read more. I look forward to it.


#12

@E_RedMark Ah, I see, I’m sorry to hear that. I’m afraid this game probably won’t be for you, as I intend there to be many more stressful situations like this. It fits with the theme of the story, of the constant tension a bank robber faces. For example, there may be more of these timed sequences while robbing the bank. Cops are coming, should I go ahead and leave or try and risk more money?

@TheZod I do agree with you, it is rather short at the moment with very little character building. This was sort of meant to be a demo to showcase what the action sequences are going to be like mostly. I do plan on releasing Chapter 1 on here on completion, and that will focus a lot more on world building and character development.

As for inspiration, I think that my biggest inspiration would have to be Heat and Baby Driver. I’m also a huge fan of the Payday games, and those take inspiration from everything. I’d say in terms of tone though, I’m definitely going for a Heat sort of vibe, just set in the modern day with a more colorful array.


#13

Heat is one of my favourites so definitely a big plus. Baby Driver was loads of fun but if you’re looking for gritty I’d tone down on the humour considerably - keep it but make it more subdued.

I did like the addition of the timer - I think it’s more interesting than just saying “You have three choices” or something of the like. However, I do hope it is used rather sparingly such as when things aren’t going according to plan or when there’s a tight window of action.


#14

Trust me, I don’t plan on overusing arguably one of the hardest systems to code lol. It’s definitely going to be a ‘down to the wire’ system whenever multiple choices are present, like if a getaway goes wrong.

More than anything, I want choices to matter. Truly matter. For example, if you pick the Driver role, you may never set foot in the bank, leaving the work all to the rest of the crew. Where you would get your action and choices would be on the road. Compare this to the pointman, who’s going to be talking down the civilians the whole time, and making sure the crew keeps it cool.

I’m going to crack jokes between the crew members, but I definitely intend to keep the tone dark. Behind all the Edgar Wright humor in Baby Driver, there was a genuine story of conflict between two lives. I want to explore these themes with the character, and open up paths of redemption. There will also be darker paths for those… with other intentions. I want to make the bad options feel genuinely bad, and the good options make you feel good. Not everything will have a happy ending though.


#15

I’m a dude my dude pretty sure I shouldn’t have a sports bra on


#16

@Sovereign Thanks lol, that’s supposed to only appear for female protagonists, I’ll have to fix that.


#17

This looks like a really cool idea and I am writing a heist novel and I’m kinda stuck so I hope I can draw some inspiration from this! Good luck!


#18

I’ve just updated the demo. I’ve begun making progress on Chapter One and I show a bit of that, but I’ve mainly worked on the stats screen today. I’ve made the framework for any future player info, character info, or other info as well as added a few new stats.

@Sovereign I’ve fixed the player issue, it now correctly displays the text depending on the gender you have selected. It was some issue with variables that I overlooked.

My next step is to flesh out the character customization, with the apartment scene in Chapter One. Things like Nickname, Last Name, Race, and Appearance will be addressed here.
Once again, any feedback will be greatly appreciated, especially for the stats screen, character creation ideas, or types of dialogue options you’d like to see.


#19

Aw… it ended too soon! It’s certainly a fun concept, so I look forward to reading more. Good luck with the game!


#20

Thanks! I certainly aim on it being at least 200,000 words, but it will likely be higher due to the sheer variety I want to have for each playthrough. Jim Dattillo’s Zombie Exodus games stand out. They’re narrative and character driven, but still have large amounts of variety to make second or third playthroughs just as engaging as the first. This is my goal with the job system. I’ll have to essentially write each heist four different times each from a different perspective, while also figuring in all player choices that can be made. It’s certainly going to be a difficult task, and if it wasn’t for my friend helping with the stats and variables while I prioritize on the writing, this could take a considerable amount of time.