Sentient Domain - WIP - A Space Opera Romp Featuring PIrates, Spies, and Snarky Computers

In the future, human civilization has been spread across space by the Interstellar Cartography Association. The ICA used their monopoly on assistance from the Aydan-Machine, the first fully sentient machine intelligence, to control the weft-piloting required for faster-than-light travel. While the ICA is officially dedicated to humane treatment of all intelligences, and benign leadership, they are not without opposition.

You are enjoying your current life as a highly ineffective trader tromping through the backworlds and trading at a loss. It beats the pants off your prior career as an agent for the Kempari College, the group of anthropological academics who oppose the ICA’s dependence on the Aydan-machine. Your last assignment went so wrong that you’re technically wanted for murder and espionage, but nobody seems to mind. As long as you maintain your estrangement from the Kempari.

Which makes it a real bummer when you get busted for your past associations right as the diplimatic situation between Kempus and the ICA falls completely apart. Now your old associates need your help, and if you won’t sign-up for their sake, they’re willing to bribe you with just what you need to continue your contentment.

Will you forgive your past associates and return to the fold? Change sides and work with the ICA? Or will you do what it takes to continue making a go of it on your own?

  • Play as male, female, or non-binary music-loving Kempari-agent-turned-trader
  • Navigate rescue missions, diplomatic confrontations, and run an interstellar blockade
  • Rekindle an old flame, reunite with a lost friend, dive back in to a complicated companionship, or decide to go it alone.
  • Re-up for the cause, take a stand for your friends, or take care of yourself
  • Explore outposts and planets with unusual geology.

At 151,000 words for chapters 1-7 of 10 total. You can play the first seven chapters here.

Questions, comments, and other feedback all welcome!

74 Likes

Very nice. I absolutely adore Linda (my ship’s AI), and I look forward to working with the ICA (or maybe Kempus). Either way, this game is definitely something I am going to keep an eye on.

Felt railroaded, especially when given 6 choices and none of them are “no.” Also, a bit of detail on the traits would be appreciated.

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Very interesting so far. I like the AI’s personality. Some choices felt kinda forced though. There’s also lots of stats, some details on them would be appreciated.

2 Likes

Really enjoyed it. The story kept me thinking of Firefly and dark matter. Really enjoyed the read.

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It’s well written and a good and funny read, I’ll echo some of the others that the stats could do with an explanation and many choices lacked any real impact. The world could also do with an in-game encyclopedia, while I understand wanting to avoid lore dumps the protagonist here is clearly knowledgeable and it would be nice if the player could look some of that up. This is probably why so many games go for the whole stranger in a strange land, or at least ignorant, uneducated peasant kid at the start thing.

2 Likes

Very fun start, even though I’m not usually into sci-fi.

I agree with @idonotlikeusernames. An encyclopedia or something would be nice, because as it stands there are many terms and situations the MC just knows about, and only a little explanation for the reader. For example I’m still not sure what the exact nature of the relationship between ICA and the Kempari is. And what is the Kempari’s goal?

Would you mind telling us a little about the ROs you’ve got planned?

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going marry is game it punch me in gut on how the story has play out to me

I haven’t played through the entire thing, but it’s pretty interesting so far. That tattoo thing seems like a MASSIVE liability though compared to any possible benefit it could have…

Updated with more chapters. I’ve also added some explanatory text to the stats screen to help with that. Play here.

I’m pivoting hugely away from Gilded Rails and RO’s aren’t a big part of this one. You meet all three people you can hook up with in the chunk of what’s been posted. Only one of them is a really significant RO opportunity, though if you really connect with Crucefal you’ll get the chance to pursue that relationship at the finale. This game is much more about making decisions for how you want to deal with the future given fallout from the past, than it is about building something new from a blank slate, so the biggest RO opportunity is an estranged person from your past who shows back up mid-game.

8 Likes

I did not see this prior – I’m glad you decided to do this.

Thoughts:

  • Continuity error
continuity details

When acting as the healer in Calvary, and then choosing to take “ransom” slaves (alpha and beta) it switches to the dancers’ path – it frees the dancer couple as a distraction before taking the twins in their place.

  • The beginning was a bit difficult to get immersed into – too many unknowns and variables being introduced at once led me to stop and reconsider everything almost every other sentence. Once the story got going the immersion happened but until it reached that critical mass point it was not a smooth read.

  • experienced a 404 error at the point where I was approaching a black-op colony … I don’t know if this is the end of the WiP or not.

Once the beginning is revamped I can see this adventure being awesome.

3 Likes

Thanks for this feedback! I just wrapped up a full draft of the first 10 chapters, so I’ll sit down with this and poke at it later this week, then do another update with the changes and the new material. I’m glad it looks promising.

4 Likes

I was unfortunately hit with an infinite loading screen while playing this WIP, but as far as I can tell that’s not a problem with the WIP. BUT that did not stop me from having a very enjoyable evening playing this game! I genuinely had a lot of fun reading this. Besides a few grammar mistakes here and there, this game is already really solid. I love the lore and the plot, and I absolutely can’t wait to spend another evening tomorrow reading it all over again!

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Minor pronoun issue


My AI should have he/him/his pronouns.

I really like the story overall! I think the set up for the plot is interesting, and I’m honestly undecided what faction I want to support in my “canon” playthrough.

I have struggled with the stats some. There are some points where it’s really difficult for me to tell what a choice is going to do before I pick it.

Examples

When choosing how to feel about Calvary, some of the stat changes seem opposite of what I’d expect. Being angry about the place makes me more detached and saying I like to fit in makes me more of a sore thumb. I haven’t tried the other options. Maybe this set is a code thing?

Trying to free Aliph and Bett was hard too. Maybe it’s just me being dim, but trying to figure out which stat my choice is going to check was rough. I’ll play through a couple more times and update you if I just needed to get more familiar.

I have lots of thoughts about Aliph and Bett, so I’m very interested to see where the story goes!

2 Likes