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

Sneak Peek of the new Stats Screen. Yes, the protagonist does have a set age. I may add multiple ages to play from in the future, but for right now, the MC: Has Childhood -> Graduates High School -> Goes straight and gets a job. The job is determinant on your role, and your backstory is determinant on your childhood, but everything else is pretty set in stone at the moment.

Capture

4 Likes

Alright, I’m going to go a bit more in-depth for each of the heist roles, and what exactly this entails.

The Muscle is your typical heister. Loud, threatening, and violent. An MC that picks the Muscle role will be, well the Muscle. They’ll do all the dirty work, whether it be loading the bags, strong-arming the hostages, or packing extra heat if things get too bad. For those of you who want to play white-hat, there will be more pacifist methods to coerce those around you, though that is mainly left for…

The Pointman. This is the gang’s charismatic, or if you choose, ruthless leader. Their job will be talking down the citizens, leading the charge, and seeing that the rigorous planning comes to fruition. Give long winded speeches, ensuring everyone’s safety, go on small con jobs, or do neither. What you lack in charisma better make up for in smarts, though, otherwise things will go bad. After all, you’re in charge.

The Driver is arguably the crew’s most valuable asset. The Driver will be in charge of sourcing, choosing, and driving the crew’s only escape. Whether it be choosing a driving song and drifting while keeping those sunglasses on, or grabbing something big and plowing your way to safety, your eyes will stay on the road. Not all jobs may require a Driver however, and if things go wrong, you better hope driving isn’t the only thing you’re good at.

And finally, The Tech. I debated adding this one, but there’s honestly too much potential to pass up. Along with being an optional extra gun on more practical heists, this role relies on infiltrating and scouting out the jobs. Depending on your skill, things like stealthy options and power blackouts may be available, along with more destructive methods like being in charge of traffic or even rupturing steam pipes. You can choose to stay in the comfort of your chair, or get out there yourself and get your hands dirty.

Whatever your role, each heist will feel different. And yes, there will be romance. It’s not a priority at the moment, but I do expect it to be there at launch. After all, everyone loves a good Romeo and Juliet story :slight_smile:

9 Likes

This looks good you got my support. Any reason to lose myself in a nice criminal story is good enough for me, here is to hoping for some sweet noir influence.

Extra padding to help stop bullets or extra pockets for more money :wink:

2 Likes

So would the muscle have to cut open safes and things like that? Because lots of heists have a kind of “mechanic” type guy. Anyways super excited for this, and by Romeo and Juliette I hope we can have a cop RO

1 Like

The thought hadn’t crossed my mind yet of having a cop romance, but that is a brilliant idea and I already have tons of scenes just playing out already. The crew will consist of more than four members, some being specialized in certain things, these are just the four roles the player can choose. (I’ll make assigning crew members a thing if I can figure out how to implement the dialogue similar to @JimD’s stories without having to write a bunch of if-then statements. Safe Haven in particular has tons of characters and optional dialogue.)

I actually planned on having the Muscle work as a bouncer initially, but the possibility is there. Nothing is set in stone yet, though, and anything that isn’t hackable I won’t be too sure how many options there will actually be until I get to writing it.

3 Likes

Good enough read, so far.

But you should check out this other crime team action drama.

3 Likes

Thanks for the suggestion! I really enjoyed the opening heist, though I felt the driver’s role was a bit lacking. There’s a lot here that I actually plan on incorporating, minus the dice rolls. I want a much more consequential story, with every wrong doing being the result of either poor planning or the player. Think Grand Theft Auto 5’s heists, with multiple crew members and a whole lot more ways of approaching it. The customization is also very close to how I actually plan on having mine as well, really cool to see similar minds in action. I’ll have to read more when I get a chance!

3 Likes

Ok, just making sure you knew about it and weren’t duplicating efforts if you didn’t want to. The timer is definitely different. I don’t know if I like it, yet, but I’m happy to test drive it. Looking forward to more.

1 Like

Can we pick a nickname for the job? I want to give my MC the name “Mr. Black”, but I’m worried that the boss won’t let us to choose our own name

1 Like

Yes, your “codename” will be customizable, and I considered having preset themed names choosable for the crew (like the Reservoir Dogs codenames, letters, or animals), but decided it’d be better to leave them with one to avoid any confusion that would inevitably happen.

2 Likes

(POLL)
So… how do we do things from here?

I have two ways of going about doing the dialogue/action scenes.
I could implement a Fallout-style dialogue system, or I could leave all options unlocked and let the player’s decisions choose their path.

For the Fallout system, your stats will determine what you can and can’t say. For example, you can’t rattle off about the internals of guns if you have a low skill in such. This could also extend over to action scenes, a getaway driver with a high shooting skill may be able to shoot their way out if necessary, instead of running or finding a car.

Doing this style would go a little something like this:
(Italicized options are grayed out)

///////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////

You approach the dark blue Honda, peering at the messy haired man sat inside it.
“Hey (player_name), what’s up?”

*(Driving: 55/50) “You got the new V8 installed yet?”

*(Hacking 30/50) “The ECU’s going to overheat, Nord.”

*“Just going over the plan again.”

*“Aren’t you worried about all of this?”

*“Ah… I don’t know…”

///////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////

The other option would be something like this, and would be in broader terms to fit all types of character builds.

*How’s the engine going?"

*“Aren’t you worried that’s a little too much… power?”

*“Just going over the plan again.”

*“Aren’t you worried about all of this?”

*“Ah… I don’t know…”

////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////

So… I have two questions.

One, which system would you prefer?

  • Skill-based Dialogue System
  • All Options Available

0 voters

Two, if the Skill-based dialogue system was added, should it remain as completely optional and additional dialogue, or extend over to action scenes and planning?

  • Only have skills affect/add optional dialogue
  • Have skills impact actual story choices and planning

0 voters

Next, I’m going to be overhauling the stats soon. Instead of 0-100 percentages, I’m going to have “proficiencies”, 0-5. I’ll also probably have a “level-up” kind of system, with assignable skill points at the end of each chapter. This will move the focus away from player choices unknowingly assigning stats, and move them to the player assigning stats, giving the story a more RPG-lite feel.

Example:
0-Incompetent
1-Poor
2-Decent
3-Good
4-Great
5-Amazing

If the Skill-based system is not implemented, this will still make things easier to read in the stats screen, and add some player freedom. “Job” stats will be increased by training at the safehouse, while “General” stats will be increased with aforementioned level ups.

Finally, my good friend Dez is working on the first piece of art for one of the crew members you’ll be able to meet. I hope to release these rather frequently, but there’s no real schedule I have planned here.

Please know, these drawings aren’t final, and are simply concept drawings. I have roughly half the characters already written out, but I still have the player’s backstory to get through before I can introduce the crew to the story.

2 Likes

I would prefer all options open. Also why don’t you make a poll people can vote on? [poll type=regular results=always]

  • Skill based
  • All open
    [/poll]
1 Like

Thanks! I honestly had no idea there was a poll feature, that makes things a whole lot easier.

3 Likes

After being snowed in with the power out and having caught pneumonia last week, I’m finally back to working on the story. Progress has been made on the Driver role, and I plan on getting the first getaway (prologue) scene done soon. I’ll do this for each role until we get the starting robbery squared away, and then I can focus on implementing the big elements.

My friend Dez has started sketching out some concepts of the first character. More from her will come in the future as well. I’m hoping to release character sketches for all of the crew along the development cycle for this story, styled in the form of mugshots.

I don’t plan on having any more snow-ins or illnesses any time soon, and I’m coming rather close to graduating school, which will give me a grace period between leaving school and getting a job. During this time I’ll work extra hard, and hopefully make significant amounts of progress on the story.

3 Likes

Your plans for the story seem interesting, and I like your writing style so far, although it’s very limited at the moment to be able to comment on it more.

Regarding a possible problem I encountered…I searched the body while in the car but left the gun and bullets in his pocket, yet when I got out of the car, it said I made sure to ditch the gun.

1 Like

Thanks! I’ve just now fixed it and it’ll be in the next demo version.

1 Like

Hello fellow writers and readers! It’s been… admittedly longer than I’d have liked, with less progress than I’d have liked. Between me finishing up school, having to rebuild my computer, and losing my artist, I’ve been rather slow with writing, not to mention I’m young and still fairly “new” at managing my own schedules. I’m still not close to completion of Chapter 1, but I’m here nonetheless to announce my “return”.

So over the past few weeks, I’ve finished writing up all of the crew members and main plot characters, with things like appearance, motives, past, and interaction with one another. If ever I get in a drought of writing or posting content, I will post character bios here, in what I hope to be a scheduled and timely manner.

So, with that, let’s get on to what I’ve done.

  • Designed a Chapter 1 banner

  • Fully implemented character creation, currently includes Name, Last Name, Hair Length, Hair Color, and Height.

  • I’ve written out the backstories for both the Muscle and Pointman, with Tech to be fleshed out later in development.

And… that’s it. It’s not much… at all. My current plans are to continue writing on Chapter One, with an overhaul of the skills coming whenever I introduce the crew. I plan on rolling out an update for the demo some time this month. What that includes will be entirely dependent on how hard I work, which now that I’m in a period of transitioning, should be a good chunk of hours a day.

Addressing Breach: The Archangel Job, I’ve been doing a fair bit of reading and testing, having done like… what, 5 playthroughs? It is very well built, and is honestly becoming one of my biggest inspirations. Where Breach veers towards organized crime, my hopes is that FFD will veer more towards heists. I plan on having smaller optional jobs that you can do with the crew members, but my biggest goal here is large, well planned out heists with a crew of your choice, doing what you want to do. I do dialogue writing best, so I’m hoping the crew chemistry will really draw impact towards whatever choices you make. My biggest inspiration is the Payday game series, a large crew of bank robbers hanging out and living in a safehouse together, prepping for whatever comes next.

One of the BIGGEST mistakes I see in most Choice Games with a romance option, is that when you choose to spend time with them, it makes you miss out on other character dialogue and fleshing out other characters. You want to spend time with the person you’re going to romance, right? So why make me choose between this person, and this person I want to obviously be with? I want all crew members to be interacted with and talked to, with each person’s conversation feeling truly unique. While one person may be open to chilling out and having a beer, talking about their past, another may not say a word, instead requiring a different approach. These characters will not be vessels for you romance, I will make them as close to real people, and they may not like you… at all.

As for the character bios and who these people are… well… check the main post soon for a roadmap. :slight_smile:

5 Likes

I’m really happy to hear this, because I agree, and that is the type of heist game I want to read. Breach is definitely more organized crime and I really liked that first heist before everything went crazy and into the action, I love that, but more for action and less for the actual robbing part of the game

1 Like

TL;DR: I’m biting off more than I can chew with writing this. I want this to be as big and ambitious as I can make it. (without dying of stress in the process) Scroll down a bit if you want to read literally an essay on my plans, and see some art I made.

_

Yeah dude there are definitely things I want to incorporate from Breach, like the bulletproof John Wick suits and large branching paths, but there are also things I want to stray away from, and not just for the sake of staying unique.

One of these things is what Breach has, linear heists. Yes, you can choose your crew and how to enter, BUT you always are the leader of these heists, and, for the most part, the outcomes are always the same, bar amount of money taken and whether or not you actually survive.

I want heavy emphasis to be placed on choice. If you choose to be a getaway driver, you may never enter the building. That may make the heist feel shorter, not being able to go inside and soak up the details, but then you’ll be able to drive, choosing your getaway vehicle, driving style, and other details. For the other roles, those sections would be set in stone for the most part.

Believe it or not, the heists aren’t what I want to focus the most on. They are the set pieces of each chapter, with each one providing a big heist for everyone to do, but they are not my biggest focus. Because I plan for the heists to be very modular, they may end up very short, or pretty long. This is why I want, for those who wish to delve into it, extensive crew interaction.

For each chapter, I want to have a unique mini-story the player can embark on with each crew member. (Yeah… that’s, what, potentially 40-50 of these? God help me.) Whether it be go on con jobs with Juno, go snowboarding with a character yet to be revealed, or tune up and talk about vehicles with the crew’s getaway driver, these optional yet detailed adventures are what I hope to be the core of the story and character development. There will be plot pieces set in stone, no matter your choices, as is ritual with most of, if not all choice games. They will simply be there to structure the overarching story. I want crew missions to be optional and standalone, similar to side missions in a video game. Self contained is a good way of putting it. These help with building character, building romance, and hopefully, bringing attachment to what is otherwise just a group of people.

My plans are, at the end of the day, for this to not be the story of your character joining a high-stakes criminal band of misfits. Never do I want the player to feel like they have to make a black and white choice. “Save her, or save him! Pick one!” Instead, I want to hide my choices in the writing, in the little things. At the end of the story, I want the player to be shocked by the choices that they themselves have made. This is, of course, how life is sometimes.

Just… don’t expect anything until you see it. Coming up with ideas is one thing, but executing them is another entirely. And… I’m being very ambitious about this. It could take years, or it could be downgraded to your traditional CoG. This is my first story, but goddamn it, I want it to be a good one.

FFD%20Chapter%201

And… for anyone who’s curious here’s the Chapter 1 art. It may be changed or polished, I simply made this in about 2 hours in Photoshop. I plan on each chapter banner to have a gradient background and a silhouette of whichever city or locale the crew are up to. Obviously, since there is no real crew in Chapter 1, this one just shows the skyline of Nashville.

5 Likes

Hey everyone, Happy Valentine’s day! For this week’s character bios, I’m going to include 3 of the future romance options for the main character! I’d like to point out that all characters that are romanceable can be romanced by any gender, except for one character who is specifically un-romancable for story reasons. This should mean that there are 3 M>F, 4 F>M, 4 M>M, and 3 F>F.

As for who some of these people may be, check the main post for all the details. Three new bios have been posted courtesy of Col. Weathers.