Return to Zemia (WIP - updated 26 Dec) - game dev question post 276!

science-fiction
nonbinary-inclusive
gender-choice

#41

Okay, I also assumed that chip had a library computer/encyclopedia function (not that my mc would have trusted that “knowledge” either, but since they are asking him to be a prince without the years or even decades it takes to educate one it would have made some sense). If the chip really was a protection measure in that it would not be as easy to take away the mc’s means of communication as just ripping off the locket.

That is always a risk, which is why my mc fully intends to ask multiple sources hopefully from different factions and allegiances the same questions and compare the answers. You are right that it is a risk and a problem but it at least is a risk and problem that could be managed to a certain extent, depending on the mc’s access to varied and diverse sources of the same information.

It is also why my mc is likely to insist on crash course in at least two alien languages (which would probably still be on the low side for someone of his supposed role and station who might normally be expected to know at least half a dozen, if not more given the advanced state of the aliens. But at this moment more than two would overwhelm him, which is why it is imperative the second one is of his choice and probably not going to be a choice his “dad” and the elites like very much)… But you are right that he remains potentially vulnerable and far too easy to manipulate until he masters them.

Like I said above my mc would still take it with a very big grain of salt and not really trust its contents until he verifies its key statements through a variety of independent sources, but it would be a start at least.

That is certainly the default assumption my mc is operating under, given his current circumstances. Unless and until he can start verifying things from independent sources.
Which is why, once he starts “cooperating” he would consider it imperative to figure out a way to meet with ordinary citizens and the ambassadors/envoys of the opposing side and other powers and assuming something like it exists the Federation/Union/Space Un representatives, regardless of what his dad and the other elites might think of it.

The drawbacks being that it is easily taken away and being functionally illiterate makes it nearly impossible to function in a modern government, let alone an advanced alien one, which would double the already sky high priority of learning to read at least two alien languages for my mc.


#42

This was a lot of fun! I really enjoyed the whole alien prince/princess angle, and the characters are pretty interesting. I think I like Colonel Volk the best so far.

One thing that made me wonder is how much the other characters know of the main character’s life on Earth. When we first talk to them, Hasan says this:
“Hello Earthling! My name is Hasan, and this is Lia,” he says, pointing at the woman, “you are aboard a spacecraft. We’re taking you home.”

Which made me think he doesn’t know the MC’s name (since he’s calling them Earthling) or too much about them. But then he says this about the locket:
“They couldn’t find out anything about it,” Hasan says, “because they only looked on Earth.”

And while I figured maybe they had spied on the MC or something, how would they know the MC and their parents tried finding out about it? And why would he mention that at all? No one even brings up the subject in dialogue or in the narration, unless I misread something.

Regarding the chip, or at least as to why the MC would even agree to it in the first place, since you have the characters putting the MC to sleep to implant it anyway, why not just have them do that when they knock the MC out the first time? Lia does say she was ordered to take back the MC by any means necessary, and having an heir that understands the language might be part of that. Otherwise I don’t think my MC would agree to having the chip to begin with. :thinking:


#43

I’ll think about this and figure out how to best clarify it :slight_smile:

That’s a good idea! I’m also considering the idea that the MC got the chip before they ever got to Earth.

Thanks for your imput!


#44

I love the concept, and your writing style is nicely engaging.

I actually am ok with going along with events, at least at the beginning. I think it would take a pretty arrogant and ‘brave’ person to piss off people with space ships who kidnapped me. I can only think of a really stupid MC who wouldn’t cooperate with basic requests until they get a handle on what’s going on. I haven’t tried running off with the rebels, but knowing nothing else, I’d probably stay with kidnappers who were civil and didn’t hurt me rather than run off with violent mystery hooligans 9.5 times out of 10. By the time we’re on the shuttle to the capital, it’s clear I’m in the possession of the establishment, and it seems to want to keep me alive. Why would I assume the rebels wouldn’t put me in the starring role of a cave beheading video?

Though, I’d expect the technology/setting would be a bit more advanced for a civilization that can travel solar systems in a matter of days. This kind of a scenario was done in the newer Battlestar Galactica series; faster-than-light ships but like a 2020 civilian lifestyle. I felt a real disconnect there, however much I loved everything else about the show. Maybe ‘particle weapons’ instead of guns/bullets, harp on how the royalty uses wood out of clinging to nostalgia, and things like that. I already live in a city with a maglev shuttle, so a space-faring society with the same tech seems a bit behind where they should be.

Thank you for sharing, and I’m looking forward to more!


#45

If rebels have good reason to fight emperor and it looks like they never tried target civilian areas were their target at and time strike do it night to me feel like on there side for a bit on how they operate even if they killed mc bothers


#46

Me: flirts with every female character

Also me: stop doing it!

The other me: I wonder if I can screw everyone here


#47

Which means that either the mc has never undergone an MRI or CT scan in their life or the chip has some sort of built in camouflage technology that makes it not register on those scans.

Adding maiming and mutilation to the initial kidnapping is not going to make my mc any more friendly, agreeable or cooperative. Quite the opposite in fact.

Would explain why those bounty hunters who don’t seem to know much about Earth or the mc, as pointed out could locate us in the first place. Though of course that locket could serve the same function as translator and locator. :thinking:

On the other hand, while their reasons might have initially been somewhat nobler they seem to have escalated to the point where they do not have those qualms about civilian casualties anymore. Plus them actually wanting to kill my mc makes him not favorably disposed to them, even if he does loathe his deadbeat dad.

That could be because of lines between the existence and availability of technology. While it is possible, even likely the advanced tech exists its widespread dissemination to the general population might be another matter, particularly if the elites resist moves towards a post-scarcity economy, which might be indicative of why our asshole dad and the current elites are even still in power.

Mass effect did still have that kind of transportation tho, as even in that society where tech was generally disseminated not everybody seemed to be wealthy enough to own one of those fancy hovercars and compared to other public transit options, such as the vacuum tube requiring hyperloop perfected future maglev tech might be relatively cheap and efficient for budget-squeezed non-post scarcity future cities to operate. .

I’m more partial to the true energy weapons/ray guns myself. Which doesn’t have to mean other older, tried and true tech like old fashioned guns couldn’t exist alongside them. It is even somewhat likely that if a future government allows its citizens to relatively freely own and trade weapons, those weapons might be a tech level behind the curve. For while those older guns may be quite satisfactory for hunting and sporting needs they also lack the power to easily arm a rebellion or uprising.
We saw this sort of situation in the too shortly lived Firefly, where their Federation tries to restrict and hoard the better energy weapons for itself, while not objecting much to its citizens owning older guns and ammo.


#48

I could see the chip, and even the locket, being some sort of alien tech made of material not found on Earth and unrecognized by human technology just by it’s very nature.

Ha! I agree, but I was just thinking of the initial choice of even implanting the chip if it must be part of the story. Because either way my MC isn’t going to be too happy.


#49

Technology hoarding would be a reasonable explanation. But I feel like that would be really hard to keep up for centuries on a single planet. I mean, I’ve been in dung villages in rural India where half of everyone had a cel phone. There will be tech creep. However, if the author wants to justify the circumstances of their story with intentional tech repression, I’ll buy it.


#50

True, tech creep, even schizo tech are real phenomena. That said a small daily use item like a cell or even smartphone is much different from say a laser rifle or hovercar. Particularly if the latter is comparable to our high-end luxury cars, which even I cannot (yet) afford to own, despite a relatively well-paying job, simply because I’m single and paying the mortgage comes first. So in a non-post-scarcity future, even people who are professionals/ the salariat and not poor (anymore) might still be relegated to the maglev public transport, despite the possible widespread existence and availability of cool hovercars. Particularly if maybe the supply side drivven megacorps see, or if this is more of a command economy state industries see (relatively) little use or profit in coming up with and producing smaller and more affordable versions with less features of them.

That said, expect my mc to have questions about some of the tech they do and do not use and how and most importantly why they use or do not use certain techs.

As for why our initial captors are equipped with relatively low tech that is probably one part due to the fact that they might well have masqueraded as civilian frontier “traders” on a shoestring budget and in other part that in the highly unlikely event one of our Earth governments would have managed to say somehow disable the ship or if it has crashed the tech they might obtained would have been the most minimal possible.
Plus if there actually is a Federation/Space UN with a Prime Directive they’re knowingly and willingly, brazenly violating by abducting the mc from our primitive planet Earth they would need plausible deniability had that mission been captured and detained by them. Particularly if Earth is nominally within the sphere of influence of another galactic power, possibly said Federation/Space UN.


#51

Thank you so much!

Pls do

I’ve made some updates to chapter one, including many of the things you guys have mentioned. I don’t have time to tackle chapter 2 tonight, but I hope to get to that soon.

Changes to chapter 1
  1. Hasan and Lia give the MC more “proof” that they’re not from Earth
  2. The translation chip is now something the MC gets at birth
  3. I’ve toggled the hostile interactions off (I’ve left the code there, so it can be turned back on later, but for now I don’t think it fits)
  4. BUT I’ve added the option to skip character interactions if your MC doesn’t want to talk to Hasan, Lia, and Yusra
  5. I’ve removed the scene with Hasan when the MC wakes up. It doesn’t make as much sense now that the MC has the implant from birth
  6. I’ve removed an achievement that doesn’t make sense anymore
  7. I’ve described Lia’s “gun” in greater detail now so that it’s more future-y
  8. I’ve tweaked the stats screen just a tad so that hopefully the relationship page reads better

Things to come:
I may add a scene (or add onto a scene) in chapter one for the MC to start learning the Seyvian language. I haven’t decided how I want to handle the language issue going forward, so I might sit on this awhile

When I start editing chapter 2, I will definitely think about this!

And all the other stuff you guys have already brought up :smile:


#52

Try not to push yourself too hard, procrastinate once in a while


#53

Damn. I’m feeling this story. Pretty engaging, right from the get go. Thanks for making this demo. Hope you keep writing this. Good job.


#54

As far as the language issue goes, since my mc does not believe that chip does not have some sort of hidden censorship functions he still wouldn’t trust anything it lets him hear or read, so learning not one but at least two alien languages remains a paramount objective for him and it is likely his “dad” and the court are not going to like his second choice very much.
And from birth or not, my mc doesn’t trust that now rather obvious tracking device. So it appears we can turn off the translation functions with the locket, but obviously not the more nefarious things, such as the tracking function. This would obviously make meeting with people our sperm donor and his court elites might not want us to meet with once the mc starts “cooperating”, like ambassadors from other powers and ordinary citizens a lot more difficult.

"You’re sitting in the common room leafing through one of Hasan’s books. It amazes you that the book is written in an alien language, and the only reason you can read it is because Yusra implanted a special chip in your brain.

“Will I ever be able to hear or read a Zemian language without the chip translating it for me?” you ask Hasan, who is sitting nearby.

“Sure, if you want,” he replies, “the chip can be turned on and off.”

You begin to reflect on this information when Yusra enters the room."

This first part of chapter 2 no longer makes much sense with the updated situation regarding the implant.

As for removing the hostile language from the Hasan and Lia convo’s respectively, since they don’t seem to want to divulge anything truly important to my mc he is convinced they are insincere assholes, so being able to end the conversations with them on a sour note made some sense.

“Who could blame you? In less than a week you’ve gone from an average person on Earth, alone in the universe, to Prince of an alien empire.”

I do take issue with this passage for my mc does not consider himself a “prince”, because he very obviously lacks the resources, education, authority and connections a prince obviously should have had, as it is rather obvious we’re nothing but a dumb “asset” to be used and disposed of at will by our sperm donor.
The mc doesn’t even have their own personal staff/employees, for crying out loud! Nor independent access to any resources, such as money.
At this point it is rather obvious we are treated as nothing more than a prisoner in a gilded cage, which is anything only makes the situation worse.

For even if we’re ever allowed to actually “succeed” our sperm donor, it is rather obvious that instead of the most powerful man/woman in the Empire we’d be nothing more than a placeholder warm body to physically occupy the seat while serving as the good “little bitch” to whomever he decides to marry us off to until our own offspring can succeed us. That is if he indeed even ever intends to let the mc succeed, as I certainly don’t discount the possibility we’re only useful and an “asset” to him while he sires some more children and waits for them to grow up and take over, instead of the mc.

While it isn’t fair to her and she cannot do much about it I would nevertheless like the possibility for my mc to react a lot more hostile to Kaya and her revelations than is currently possible.


#55

Thank you so much!

As I said, the code is still there, but for right now, I don’t think it’s the best fit for my story. The reason for this is that while I can customize responses to the choices you make (a hostile remark gets a negative reaction from the other characters), I can’t customize responses elsewhere unless I use *if statements to check the MC’s animosity score with a character, but I don’t want to assume that an MC who was hostile in the past will always be hostile.

Not everything the MC says can be picked directly by the player. If I allow for a hostile MC, I basically have to write two versions of every scene. I may decide later that I will include hostility options up to a certain point, but they definitely won’t be in the entire game. I will continue to think about this though

Thanks for pointing this out, I’ll fix it


#56

Sounds interesting I’ll check it out


#57

"Hasan, Yusra, and Lia give you your space for the first few days. Lia brings you meals three times a day, and Hasan leaves some books and magazines for you to read. You’ve had time to think about what’s happened to you.

Are you ready to interact with the crew more?"

If you still want to add the possibility to start learning the language for real, then I think this is the point to do it in chapter 1. Instead of useless Zemian gossip rags (since whatever reading materials they provide the mc they seem to contain exactly zero useful knowledge) my mc would rather have an English to Zemian dictionary.

As for Kaya, I’ll say that it is really, really bad for my mc to learn his supposed “role” from the rebels because of their commitment to keep him helpless, flailing and in the dark. That is anything was the most severe blow to his trust in any of them and he kind of wants to reads miss exposition the riot act about that one.

And again here:

" Colonel Volk adds, “this is the organization you attempted to join last night.”

_ The color drains from your face, but from anger, fear, shame?_
_ The members of the council can’t tell."_

My mc would really like to lose his temper here and shout back that it might not have happened if they had deigned to tell their prisoner anything actually useful at all! So in my mc’s case it definitely would be anger. It is also again something where cooperation ought to be a two way street, if they don’t tell him anything they can’t really blame him for making “bad” choices as he was only trying to use those people to escape his captors.
Like I said, if my mc’s only intended purpose is a dumb “asset” to make nice on command and be paraded in front of the media whenever it suits them his level of cooperation will pretty much be zero!
Also why should he care about “brothers” he never even knew, or more to the point was never allowed to know when it was still possible?

As it stands right now they’re content to waste the better part of two weeks where they could have filled the mc with some the knowledge they might actually need and not have left giving us the most important revelation up to their opponents.


#58

So how old are our MCs in Seyvian terms, say they live to be 1000, 30 would be a preteen or something (right?). And will seyvian life spans be explained in the story?


#59

Thanks for the interesting question! The age of the MC is up to the player, but as for Zemian ages in general–Zemians live longer than humans but not significantly so. The average life span is probably no more than 120 years. The reason they live longer is largely due to better healthcare/advances in technology, so essentially (like humans) those with wealth and power have better access to life-prolonging resources. The MC “looks younger” than their age, but what that means is largely up to you! The MC has been through college, so they’re likely at least 21, but prodigies exist, so there’s room to wiggle around with age.


#60

This was a really promising start! I definitely got involved in the story and was disappointed when the demo ended. :grin: I’ll be keeping an eye on this one!