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



Thank you for your kind comment!


I am really hoping for options to rebel against everybody or even try and escape and get back home to earth cause i don’t trust anybody on this planet and i don’t like any of them as well.


Me: Look at me, I am the prince now!

Emperor: You’re getting married, so that the Empire will have peace.

Me: Oh, okay then


For me getting home to Earth depends on how much time has passed before my mc can devise a way to get back there without it resulting in alien bounty-hunters on his tail. If more then 1-2 years tops pass it would be very difficult to put the pieces of his Earth life back together if more time than that has passed it becomes increasingly difficult to return and it might become kinder to let his Earth family and friends come to terms with his loss, grieve and move on with their own lives.
But you are quite right that my mc will never forgive his asshole sperm donor for what he did and particularly the way he forced him to leave his Earth life behind after casting him out and dumping him there in the first place. If he had cared one iota about the mc at all his people would at least have worked with him to convincingly fake his Earth death to make things easier on those, particularly his true parents that he is forced to leave behind on Earth. They could certainly with their advanced capabilities have created a convincing freak car or motorcycle accident, complete with fake, charred corpse. That would have at least allowed his Earth friends and family to grieve properly, close that chapter and move on with their lives.
Speaking both from the heart and professionally as a practicing jurist leaving people between hope and fear with a perpetual missing persons case is an awfully cruel thing to do.

We are most certainly not a prince, our asshole sperm donor has seen to that quite effectively. :unamused: Or at least we are a “prince(ss)” in name only. We don’t have the resources, connections, status, respect, education and anything and everything else that normally ought to come with the position.

Yeah, not going to happen. If it somehow does my mc will do everything in his awfully limited power as a prisoner to make the luxury life of his unwanted alien prison warden spouse into as much of a living hell as possible.

My mc is not opposed towards working towards a lasting peace, but if the only way they can see for that is through his marriage to an awful alien spouse, likely of the wrong gender to suit his preference to boot then there is something seriously wrong with their thinking and they need to start thinking outside of that particular box.

About the romances though finally went with the only hot piece of ass (aka the diplomat, Samir) and I and my mc were sorely disappointed, as he treats the mc basically like we’re a five year old kid at best. No, my mc does not want to frolick in a silly hedge-maze, but he would appreciate the opportunity to ask some serious questions and get some serious answers, preferably without the censorship chip mangling them.
I had really hoped the hedge maze thing was simply to get us away from prying eyes, so he might finally answer some of questions and have a serious conversation. Instead it was just more gilded cage, distracting, pointless frivolities.
That goes for all the romances in the game at the moment, good and lasting relationships should be based on some level of trust and equality, since at present none of the ro’s seem to take the mc seriously or respect them. Therefore romance, for my mc is absolutely out of the question at the moment!

Hmmm…this may be one of those cases where as @obieblu has pointed out you might be a bit too conservative with the potential of advanced alien tech, particularly for the fabulously wealthy, as there is already semi-serious speculation and forecasting in our medical community of 150-200 year lifespans for wealthy humans. So I kinda expected some sort of rejuvenation treatments for wealthy Zemians to achieve at least double that with less loss of vitality and signs of old age. :thinking:


There will be multiple options for dealing with the Empire, though at first your rebellion will be more internal and secretive (pretending to cooperate while gathering information), but there will be no option to return to Earth, at least not until the end of the game

It seems the idea of an arranged marriage plot is really gaining traction :thinking:

To reiterate though! If I decide to include it, it will be easy to get out of, and the candidate will be gender selectable (i.e. the player decides if they are m/f/nb)

I don’t know if I’ll rewrite those scenes completely, but it would be very helpful to know what questions your MC wants to ask! When I’m writing, I have a hard time “forgetting” all the information I know about my world, so it can be hard to place myself in a player’s shoes

I’ve thought a lot about this one, and I’ve come to the conclusion that the age range I’ve given is the best. Longer would create plot holes

I forgot to answer this part earlier! I don’t know if it will be addressed in game. If it feels natural to add it at some point then I might :slight_smile:

Since this is a point that keeps coming up, but I don’t know how anyone else feels about it, I’ve decided to create a poll. You should vote!


When is the best time for the big reveal? I.E. when should the MC find out they are a princex from another planet?

  • The big reveal should happen on the spacecraft
  • The big reveal should happen at the palace
  • The big reveal should happen sometime else (I’ll post it in the comments)

0 voters


With Samir (and Carina and Kaya too), they fall broadly into two three categories (goes for Kaya and when bargaining with Carina too).
Firstly about the war, what is it even about? How did it start? Why did it start? How does the general population feel about it? Is it just the shared homeworld or are vast space colonial empires involved too, given they mention death tolls in the billions this seems likely but my mc wants to know for sure? What are the opinions and views of the neighbouring spacefaring powers on this civil-war esque conflict? Do those opinions even matter, if so why, if not why not? Is there a Federation/Union/Space Un that might be appealed to in order to mediate?

Secondly about life on Zemia and Zemian society, most of my mc’s questions range about variations on why despite all the fabulous technology poverty and seemingly avoidable climate change issues seem to be so rampant on the homeworld as to feature fairly prominently in the stories of all our kidnappers thus far?

Lastly and most imminently important to my mc’s personal situation, what were the lives of his brothers actually like? Not their personalities and “accomplishments” as my mc is pretty sure he’ll be told they were the most wonderful, intelligent and handsome aliens of the highest character and he can never hope to hold a candle to them. But about their daily lives as princes as knowing how they actually lived their daily lives will allow him to guesstimate the level of freedom and resources/education knowledge and authority at their disposal and by extension how much he is kept in the dark as a prisoner and “prince” in name only.

And this stuff is just off the top of my head.

As my mc is in his heart an idealist who grew up not only in a world with organizations as the EU, UN and Nato, but more importantly the idealism of fiction like Star Trek’s United Federation of Planets eliciting his sincere cooperation, at least when it comes to ending the war and achieving peace is literally as easy as getting his idealism and compassion to overpower his current resentment of the people around him, especially his deadbeat “dad”, and if it really is as horrible a war as it seems to be that should be relatively easy. Except that their current tactics that basically amount to keeping him a prisoner and not telling him anything, nor allowing him any sort of real freedom and authority seem purpose designed to accomplish the exact opposite.
Of course, it remains true my mc’s preferred solutions might not be those of the current Zemian elites (on both sides), but that is a different matter entirely.

As it stands the big reveal currently does not happen at the palace either but during the rebel assault on the train. Needless to say allowing their enemies to functionally make the big reveal does nothing at all to engender any form of trust in the people around us, imho.


While it would be considerate to give the MC as much info as possible as soon as possible, it makes sense with the story pressures and in keeping with what the Emperor has done to keep the MC in the dark until it’s a very controlled environment.

If the MC got kidnapped (again) before getting to the palace, they wouldn’t be able to help kidnappers at all and probably wouldn’t trust whatever the kidnappers told them.


Which is exactly what happens, this as it is currently written allows the rebels to seize the initiative in at least winning my mc’s trust, since they are allowed to do the big reveal in practice. This puts his captors at least 1-0 behind the rebellion and currently their actions and what little and mostly useless info they are willing to divulge does nothing at all to close this gap.

They could in any case at least start with giving the mc language lessons and basic info on the spaceship, instead of the useless gossip rags they currently give us to filter through our censorship chip in order to waste away time.


I am good with they finding out during the kipnap attempt. Like ideally they would be debriefed once they reached the palace to prevent issues and further questioning. But them the other guys come and just shoot the info at them.
And MC is like What?
And the companion is like Fuck.
Got it?



Also there is the quesions issue. I mean if they told mc on the spacecraft, that would arise a whole new set of questions regarding the matter, question which, i presume, big guy and gun girl are not high enough on the food chain to be ableto know the aswers.


I guess we’re just different. After the actual kidnapping, my captors were nice and sociable. The rebels fly out of nowhere with guns. I see no logical reason to assume they’re any better than who’s been being nice to me. Of course, maybe they are, but I have no objective reason to think so. The enemy of my enemy may be worse. Like I get grabbed by Iraqi police for no reason, and ISIS tries to get custody of me. No thanks…

But in terms of this game, a losing a clueless asset is ‘safer’ than losing an informed asset. It just makes sense.


Interesting set-up, here! I immensely enjoy character-driven plots, intrigue, and specialization potential, so I believe this will be right up my alley.

As it stands, character development looks splendid. It’s already evident that these are three dimensional and fleshed out characters and me-- being me, ofc-- am already drawn to Jin… hey-o

Also, the different dialogue options present some neat variability, and the ‘Finished/continue’ style choices definitely enhance replay value.

My only piece of advice for the moment would be to maybe make sure that conversation options chosen out of the presented flow of order don’t assume information the the player hasn’t discovered yet. (For example, when speaking to Kaya prior to meeting the Council, choosing selection 3 and then 1 prompts a mention about the diplomat that we haven’t heard about yet.)

I do also have some immersion issues with second person (vs. first person) perspectives, but that gripe is a personal one, and overall I think your story def seems strong enough for me to overcome that.

I will definitely be eager to see more about this! Awesome job! :slight_smile:


They really were not, they were superficially polite, which is something entirely different as they are not willing to tell us anything of actual consequence or even give us real language lessons.

Okay, this is where we are indeed different, my mc sees possibly (brutally) honest, versus superficially polite.

The point is that even after the mc survives a second kidnap attempt at is at the palace they are still not becoming more considerate. Which kinda makes it clear that the mc’s intended role is not so much “prince” as it is stage prop for the alien media. Which, unlike being a true prince, is a role my mc will treat with nothing but contempt and will constantly rebel against and try to sabotage.

sorry, but ,no ,just no. For my mc being kept ignorant is rebellion and repeated escape attempts. The gilded cage can go screw itself! A prison is a prison and he has had just about all the supercilious faked politeness he can take at this point.

Yeah, except, Kaya (aka little miss ineffective exposition) does neither debrief nor answer any real questions (like who were the people who just tried to kidnap us? Why did they try that? What are their goals? All far more important questions for my mc then a couple of unasked for sob stories about his mother, grandparents and dead brothers). All she does is present us with some superciliously delivered obvious statements and half-truths. With the big reveal having been done nothing else she deigns to tell us is of any consequence at all.
And then she makes it worse with the fake prison garb outfit “choices” that are not worthy of the name.
Which is why my mc would deliberately want to spite her there by creating the most clashing, least flattering outfit possible from the options presented.

But if it does continue to happen at the palace then at least I’d like my mc to be able to be really, really angry about it and basically read little miss exposition the riot act about their conduct towards him!


:blush: well then, look at thing this way, we are keeping you from acquiring the knowledge. We are just not giving it to you til it benefits us.

careful now, she knows where u sleep

On a more serious note though. I think mc is supposed to find info about things by themselves later on, as they go around? like droppinga question here, search a bit there, dig through some of father dearest documents, steal a car…

Also i sympathise, kaya was pissing me off too telling stories about people my mc never knew like he should give a damn.



Yeah, I get it we’re a stage prop for the alien media and not a true prince as then we wouldn’t have to engage in crazy snipe hunts to get the most basic info.

Again hammers home that we’re a prisoner and most definitely not a prince, otherwise, we shouldn’t have to do things like that. :unamused:

Yeah, at the moment Kaya is the character who really does the most to piss my mc off, discounting our asshole sperm donor of course. Followed closely by Samir and Hasan. Which is a pity because Samir is cute, but with the way he treats my mc now, my mc is inclined to avoid the guy like the plague after that lunch, as he does not appreciate being treated like a five year old when he is a college graduate! :angry: Playing hide and seek in the hedge maze, ugh! :disappointed: Yeah the mc has been away since they were a baby that does not mean they now get to pick up as if we were still that baby! :unamused:


Like i said its simply put easier to control mc if they dont know shit. They may aswell be the prince or whatever but before they are a prince, they are primarily a puppet. If the puppet knows too much, it may try to move by itself, father dear does not want that.
He does not want a heir.
Nor he want a son.
All he wants is a pawn.
Blissfully ignorant and obedient.

Ever read Narnia the book about Caspian?



Probably all true and why my mc might have rather taken his chances on the rebellion. He was never getting a son out of my mc (that ship had long since sailed), but if he had been serious about the heir part cooperation would probably have gone much, much more smoothly.
Like I said, my mc at the moment has nothing but complete and utter contempt for his role as a stage prop and the gilded cage he’s being kept in. Therefore he will take any and every opportunity to sabotage and rebel against it.

Sure, at least with Caspian it was his uncle, this hits twice as hard. And unlike Caspian our mc’s have zero knowledge and support and we are not likely to gain it from people who treat us like we’re babies.


Just the situations are not that different since the only reason His uncle lethim live is because he would rather see someone of his own blood on the throne than some stranger. Reason why he tried to get rid of caspian as soon as his own son was born. And actually mc has a better start than caspian, Mc already know his father is a shitbag from the start.

Daddy is just using mc as a tool to stabilize his rule cuz the rest of his sons died. Thing is, i cant really blame the guy since, in his place, i would probably do the same, maybe even worse.



Yup. Nice = let us out of the cell, gave us food, a bed, Sociable = carried on basic social interactions
I didn’t say they were moral, ethical, or cooperative.

This isn’t where we’re different. I always prefer honesty and actually get really angry when others won’t let me make an informed decision.
However… where we differ is the the value and implications we put on these behaviors. I’m old and bitter enough to know the world isn’t brutally honest, I don’t expect it to be, and I see those who haven’t figured this out as being the cultural/social deviants. Acting like ‘brutal’ honesty is better than having social graces hasn’t gotten me anywhere in life or my career. I had to soften up to just not be abnormal. Now, after 5 years in China, I’m even more hyper-attenuated to how being pleasant is infinitely more valuable to them than being honest or accurate. (As much as it drives me crazy and messes up my projects and life plans.)

So, trying to analyze behaviors and intuit motivations, the fact that my first kidnappers are being civil, even being as superficially pleasant as they can be means that I’m worthy enough of such treatment. As in, I’m less likely to be raped and eaten alive when we arrive at the destination if they’re bothering to be reasonably social on the ship.

If their intentions were outright malicious, they likely would have kept me drugged, kept me in the cage, etc.

I actually think they are. They put me in a pleasant and homey environment and put a seemingly benevolent person as my companion who explained things to me. She could be lying, but either way, they’re still putting in effort to try and make me comfortable which is better than keeping me in a box.

Since my abduction, they have been showing that my life, and then later my cooperation are valuable. I’ll take it. Not like it, but take it. Our father’s and his council’s brutal honesty actually put me slightly more at ease, if that makes you feel better. They don’t expect me to trust or like them, but it will clearly be better for me to cooperate. I’ll take that over every employer who lied to me in a job interview to get me to take the job.

You’re also looking at this with some hindsight of what the situation turned out to be and how disagreeable it is to our notion of Free Will. Frankly, I’m glad I’m not being dropped off for sport hunting. I’m not silly enough to think that my Earthly career goals matter to these people any more than they matter to my current boss.

As to the rebels… I’m old enough to remember when all the rebels in the middle east were ‘good’ because they were against governments that we didn’t like. Yeah, now they’re the Taliban and ISIS. Just because we have so many stories about the nobility of scrappy rebels fighting against oppressive regimes doesn’t mean that rebels = good. Also, with the benefit of hindsight, how many revolutions turned out better for the people? Russia? China? Cuba? The list goes on.

So, no. My first abductors are clearly the establishment after I see the military base and specialized use of their infrastructure. It would be pure emotionality for me to assume that anyone else who doesn’t like them is good. Maybe the rebels are rebelling so they can have the right to marry their 10yo sisters. I don’t know. Then, as for their intentions for me, I have no reason to trust the word of either side. What I can intuit from behavior is that my living is currently valuable to the establishment. Might not the opposite be true for the establishment’s enemies? I very well may be more valuable dead to the rebels, or they may find a purpose in malicious treatment of me, they very well may intend to use and manipulate me just as much for their side of political spectrum. I very much doubt they’re going to set me off at a cozy beach house to live out my days in peace.

The only observable fact that we have is that we’ve been in the custody of our first abductors for days and are still alive. Anything else is a craps shoot.

But, that’s why it’s a Choice game. :smiley:
As I usually do, I’ll eventually play a belligerent character that goes against the flow however impractical it seems. lol


Thanks for that catch and your wonderful compliment!

Glad to see an interesting conversation about your playstyles and MCs! I hope that the final product will allow for all of them :slight_smile:

I think I’m going to go with a compromise route re: the reveal, but I don’t know what that will look like yet, I don’t want to give any details that may or may not make it into the game. Thanks again everyone for your feedback and especially your encouragement :blush: