PSI: Psychic Student Investigates


#1

I have decided that for the month of June I am going to be forcing myself to write a game. It’s just a coincidence that this coincides with http://wogademo.com/ but I make have a look around there as long as it doesn’t prove too distracting.

PSI: Psychic Student Investigates is a futuristic, urban-fantasy game set in a fictional UK city.

It’s the story of Hunter, an amnesiac student, who has psychic powers, and investigates a variety of supernatural happenings that the rest of the world seems to turn a blind eye to. Hunter’s investigations will lead them into a world of vampires, werewolves and wizards as well as uncovering the mystery of their own past, the reasons for their amnesia, and the nature of their psychic abilities.

I hate writing out concepts though since they always sound a bit silly and cheesy to me. The initial concept was a game inspired by everything from Buffy The Vampire Slayer and The Craft, to White Wolf’s World of Darkness, to all those horror books I read in my teens.

It’s an episodic game, with each new episode involving a different mystery, as well as the over-arching ones. I also wanted to make a game with a number of romantic options, which are interwoven and important to the story. We’ll see how that goes since so many romantic options can be a bit difficult to juggle.

My ultimate goal is to finish Episode 1, PSI: Psychic Student Investigates The Dollmaker and hopefully run it through the first rounds of beta-testing and polishing. I’ll see how that goes.

In my wildest dreams I’ll get either Episode 2 or Episode 3 or the Character Generation done as well.

I am making this thread so that I can hold myself accountable. I am making this thread so I can stop procrastinating and actually start on my project. I won’t be posting the game here, since it’s not helpful for me to get feedback on a work in progress. I will likely eventually ask for beta-testers once the first draft is done.


The WIP Graveyard
#2

Anyone got any name suggestions for an occult shop? One that’s old, cluttered, rather dark, and filled with stacks upon stacks of books. It sells some odd paraphenalia. The owner’s exceptionally clever, so a very obscure reference which no one else gets would fit her perfectly.

@bagelthief It is? Well without the combat stuff, the rpg, the game system, the characters… :stuck_out_tongue: Hopefully it’ll be fun even if it turns out disappointingly different.

@GrimReaper21 Thanks


#3

There is one area I’m looking for feedback on. Hunter’s a huge fan of a television series called Royal Zombie Slayers. (Yes this turns out to be important in a later episode). It’s shown on BBC in the same Saturday night timeslot as Dr Who, Merlin and Robin Hood were and is a show much in the same vein.

Royal Zombie Slayers is an alternative-history drama. In the early 21st Century, on the back of the most recent food crisis, a zombie plague swept across the UK, infecting most of the population. The whole country was quarantined, but while politicians were fleeing like rats from a sinking ship, two men refused to desert their duties. Those men were Prince Phil ‘Steve’ Wales and his younger brother, Henry Wales. Together the Princes must put all their skills to the use, (shooting rare wildlife, taking helicopters for joyrides, wearing nazi uniforms) in order to save the country from the zombie plague and restore the monarchy in the process.

What I’m looking for is inspiration for very short-scenes/vignettes. My initial idea was that I show a scene from the show, Hunter makes a sarcastic comment about what they think will happen next, and it’ll show up on screen. I’d planned for it to be a running joke that the princes usually have their clothes shredded in whatever episode they’re in and end up at least shirtless, as a blatant attempt at fan-service. Or they end up stealing/joyriding in a vehicle. Or they just shoot their way out. However, I’m having huge issues with coming up with one-liners and silly puns for the princes to declare as they’re fighting the zombies.

My brief ideas involved a scene they’re trapped in a barn from zombies. Another which they’re being chased by zombie paparazzi in a newspaper office… and there should be a joke there about press but I just can’t fathom up a one liner. I may end up ditching the show within a show, but if anyone’s willing to offer feedback on that I’d appreciate it.


#4

@FairyGodfeather

Sounds interesting. I wish you luck :slight_smile:


#5

@FairGodfeather I believe you have told me of this project, AND I AM SO GLAD YOU HAVE DECIDED TO MAKE IT PUBLIC!! :smiley: Seems great that the dice has finally been cast.


#6

The concept sounds great, and I think the show within the show is novel. As the show is watched, maybe Hunter has a “House” moment in which he has a revelation about his own case. Or it could be to show his own character – watching the show reflects some personality trait (as well as showing his power of prediction).

For the barn scene, maybe the zombie is chasing the princes. Henry stops and grabs a pitchfork. Steve says, “I see you’re finally pitching in!”

For the paparazzi, maybe the princes are hiding from the zombie paparazzi and Steve whispers to Henry, “mother always told us to avoid paparazzi but this is ridiculous!”

Cheesy can be good :slight_smile:


#7

One question immediately springs to mind:
So, this student who is a psychic (as opposed to a Psychic Student(?)) investigates various heebie jeebie nonsense. But, presumably they’ll find themselves face to face with a hobgoblin or republican or some other monstrosity at some point - How would they deal with them? Do their psychic abilities extend to melting faces, Arc of the Covenant style? Or do they have a trusty [illegal] revolver their grandfather nabbed in WW2? Or…?


#8

@Nocturnal_Stillness
Thankyou.

@TrollHunterTheThird
Thanks! Hopefully it’ll force me to actually do some more work on this.

@JimD
I may be stealing that line. Thanks. :slight_smile:

@Drazen

They have no face-melting abilities. Their psychic powers are almost all investigatory in nature. It’s set in the UK so they have no gun, not even an illegal one. Guns are of limited use against some supernatural types anyway. They do have some other weapons at their disposal, depending upon their actions, but most of these are non-fatal in nature.

I’m intending to encourage a protagonist who engages in creative solutions to their problems, who is sometimes required to ask for outside aid. It just won’t be by shooting it dead.

Monsters are people too, for the most part, even Republicans. If they kill an evil Republican, for instance, they would be stuck with the problem of a dead body that they need to dispose of, a possible police investigation so they’d need to cover up their tracks, and if they just go around killing Republicans they’re going to end up being a wanted serial killer. Well unless they start trying to reveal that there’s a secret, underground society of Republicans in existence, who threaten the lives of all around them. In that case they’d at best be taken away and committed to the local mental health hospital, and worse arrested and put on trial for numerous murders.

I’m not planning to have a character that goes on a shooting spree, who is a kill first, shoot second. If I do end up allowing the choice to kill something, it’ll be a plot point, part of the story.

But that’s going to be highlighted in the first episode, where there is the option to kill and for there to be a whole mess created (although not a game-over) if that’s the choice taken.


#9

@FairyGodfeather So no face-melting, and no silver bullets… but still bloated bloodsuckers, lycanthropes, and heathens to deal with… Huh. I’ll have to wait and see what solutions you put forward for these miscreants, then.

Edit: And will the PC have a chance to go down the line of, for example, Reverend Alphonsus Joseph Mary Augustus Montague Summers?

Further edit: For the fashion sense, if nothing else.


#10

@Drazen

Oh no! I won’t be having ugly witches, bloated bloodsuckers, and hairy lycanthropes. Perish the thought. This is urban fantasy!

The vampires will be pale and mysterious, misunderstood beings, cursed with immortality and inclined to write sensitive poetry about how tragic their lives are now that they’re so much stronger/faster/powerful/immortal than everyone else.

The werewolves will be stripping their shirts off to show off their well-toned torsos as they run through the night, moonlight glistening off their perfect forms, transforming only in the direst times of need. They will be noble protectors of humanity! True wolves known for their loyalty, their honour and their rippling muscles… and for being tragically misunderstood in a way that only a teen hero can remedy. With the power of love!

The wizards, they’ll be spell-casters, muttering latin in the sexiest of accents and gracefully waving wands about to show off both their great intelligence and power. Of course they’ll glow while doing so, in just the way to highlight their gleaming hair, their oh so perfect wizardly beauty, the intelligence of their soulful, misunderstood eyes. Unfortunately I cannot find the picture I was searching for to illustrate my point. Just have a glance at deviantart and sexy Snape though and you will see how your view of wizards seem to be entirely different from those of others.

Now, keeping all of this in mind, I have decided to use the same power that Twilight uses to tame those savage beasts. Although I’ve not seen or read Twilight it shall serve as inspiration, and the power of love will be able to defeat even the cruellest, ugliest monster, transforming them into something beautiful and romanceable.

I fear Drazen, this game is not for you.


#11

@FairyGodfeather I… Err… I made a mistake. Wrong century!
Pardon me, but I’ll be moving to Mongolia to live in a Yurt.


#12

Can you change the vampires so they are not so lame? I prefere the underworld vamps or the ones from VanHellsing


#13

I loved Van Helsing! The over the top campness of it. The melodramatic speeches. That fight with Dracula vs Van Helsing at the end.


#14

Okay the more serious answer.

Firstly, I stated the genre as urban fantasy and not as supernatural horror, although I will likely have elements of the latter as well as the former.

I’m not having hideous vampires, ugly werewolves, and revolting wizards because I think that that’s too easy. Also it doesn’t fit the sort of theme I’m going for. I also think that in a text medium, unless you’re particularly good at describing the physical horror aspects these things are not all that horrifying.

I’ll argue that those gorgeous vampires are can be horrifying. Angel from Buffy, Edward Cullen in Twilight, there’s undoubtedly a number of others. A man blessed with perpetual youth, who hangs around schools, preying on inexperienced, vulnerable girls. Oh he seems charming enough, he follows her around, he’s wiser and more experienced than she is. It puts me in mind of those predators on the internet who track down teenagers, who befriend them pretending to be someone younger than they are, and then arrange to meet up with them. And also the paedophile I knew, who taught at my school, who was considered a respectable member of the community, who hung around with children, took them on fun activities and completely abused that trust. And who received a ridiculously small criminal sentence and served only half of it before he got out of jail on good behaviour. That to me is a monster, the sort of monster that lurks among us, who we can’t tell is a monster just by looking at them.

As for werewolves, imagine living with someone who you know is nice, charming, pleasant most of the time. But for one night a month they completely snap. Sure the good times outnumber the bad, but that one bad day, you’ve no idea what they’ll do. And maybe they have a temper, maybe if you say the wrong thing they snap, and what can you do about that. Especially if your werewolf is a woman, can you tell anyone you got beat up by a woman? And if she’s a woman with supernatural strength as well as that temper? But it’s not her fault, of course. It’s never her fault, it’s just because of what she is.

And then there are wizards. Dear sweet Mrs Smith, the little old lady at the bottom of the road, who offers sweets to all of the children and a troubled ear to the troubled children. I think she’s far more dangerous not being hideous, but looking kindly. And if sometimes the children go missing, that’s because they’re troubled, not because she’s decided to eat them? Who would believe you if you told them the truth and where is your proof?

And then, there’s the whole you’re a teenager yourself. You have no gun, no weapon, no extensive training. How on earth are you meant to deal with all of this? How can you kill Mrs Smith even knowing what you know? How you can you kill your girlfriend? How can you kill that creepy sleazoid that hangs out around the school and all the girls love?

You’re plagued with visions, are they a curse or a blessing? Of course no one will believe you. Are they going to drive you mad, will darker forces take advantage of you, will you try and turn them to your own advantage and gain as much as you can from them or will you decide to turn them to good?

I think there’s plenty of potential for horror beyond the obvious, grab a gun, shoot it dead. I’m not saying I’m taking that path, but some of it will play a part.

I have two characters, as well as potentially the main character, with supernatural attraction powers. I want to tackle that in a bit more depth than was done with either Taloo or Madame Vice and Black Magic.

But that said, the point of the game’s to be fun first and foremost, so I’m not sure how heavy handed I’m going to get with the various themes.


#15

I like this so far. You can dig deep and find true horror just lerking out of sight.


#16

I agree with @lordirishdas: Toplessness, poetry, and love? True horror, indeed!


#17

@Drazen Kill me now, for I bear shame of my generation encouraging and worshiping these things…


#18

I love this idea a lot, it’s just really, really, great in my opinion. Then again, I am more to the supernatural/fantasy fan and stuff so it’s a given I would, but I love how you’re going with this as well.

One question though, are you going to implement a small system or two surrounding school life and romances like Persona, or just kind of throw that out the window?


#19

@Random
I’ve not played Persona. What was Persona’s system with school life and romances?

The being a student is just background stuff for the most part. It won’t be a school simulation since it doesn’t matter in the slightest how well you do in classes. It may be relevant depending on what stats I decide to implement, but ultimately Hunter has more things to worry about than whether they pass or fail exams.

School is there as an explanation for why all of the characters still live with their parents and why they don’t have proper jobs. It gives them one thing in common which they all attend. It’s plot-relevant in a few occassions. It emphasises that they’re all still somewhat young, and inexperienced, with plenty to learn and lots of room to grow.

Although I say school, I’m thinking more late teens, college-age.


#20

Finished a very rough twine outline of the structure of the first Episode, The Dollmaker. I’ve a rough idea of the paths through the first episode and the relevant characters that will show up. I won’t be implementing stats until I’ve several episodes written and had beta feedback on the subject.

One of the reasons I’m doing an Episodic format, like a TV series, is because I want to try and implement as much choice as possible and I find self-contained stories make it easier to keep track of all the paths without them running out of control and spawning entirely different stories.

I’m still trying to work out what to do with Hunter’s best friend, Oliver, in the episode though. The first episode is Oliver’s younger sisters have acquired a creepy doll that gives Hunter bad vibes. Time to investigate!

The initial plan was for Oliver to be a foil to Hunter. The sensible one who is grounded in ‘reality’, the long-suffering best friend who rolls his eyes at Hunter’s antics and doesn’t really believe in the supernatural but somehow gets dragged along anyway. A bit like Scully, to Hunter’s Mulder. Oliver’s smart, geeky, always looking for a rational, scientific explanation for everything and he’ll be the first to announce there’s no such thing as vampires/wizards/werewolves/zombies.

However it’s making it difficult for me to get him involved. I may just leave him babysitting his sisters since he’d be even more useless than Hunter in a fight.

Anyway episode successfully outlined. All prepared to start working on organising the actual content.