Sovereign Reality (WIP w/ Demo)


#1

If you’re like me, you just want to play the game and see what it’s all about. So here’s the link, and you can read more about it below:

https://dl.dropboxusercontent.com/s/pkicoy73kjc1g7i/SovereignCode.html

The demo is live and will change with updates, but please please tell me if there is anything wrong with it, from typos to script errors to not enough choices. I am working on it. For non-technical errors, please read through at least the next post after this one, as I think it might explain some things.

(most of the info below will be in the beginning of the game, but read it if you’d like!)

Summary:

  • 50-75 choices
  • 17k+ words, including code, not sure about narrative.
  • 7 chapters so far.

Sovereign Reality: Alphas is my biggest ChoiceScript project so far. I was ambitious in this game from the start because I have some programming experience and also half-wrote a novel (35k so far) in the same universe, albeit several years later.

The gamebook is set in a virtual reality contest, where you play one of 12 pro Alpha-testers competing for a grand prize of $1,000,000. Exactly who you are and what your motivations are is completely up to you. Play the game how “you” would play it; hack-n-slash, role-playing, intrigue, romance, or strategy? All of the options exist when you create your avatar.

This gamebook is meant to be treated like an RPG game. It’s about (essentially) a very realistic simulation video game VR that was developed by the Sovereign Corporation. They may have gone too far.

No, you are not trapped in the video game; you can get out any time you want. But if you do decide to quit, you lose the contest, and won’t be able to go back into the Alpha. You will, however, be able to continue the adventure from outside the game with your ‘real life’ character.

The game also features “NPCs,” but unlike in most VRs/MMOs they are actually AIs, with thoughts and emotions. They are rather…confused…about why their world has suddenly spawned hundreds of monsters and interesting floor plans, but they try to live with it. Most of them, anyway.

Whether your character treats the VR like a game or takes things seriously is up to you. You might decide to have moral arguments with what is going on, or you might decide it’s not your problem. I like to get into “grey” areas and questions of humanity, technology, nature, etc… If it doesn’t seem like there’s a lot of these questions yet, there will be.

I’m not going to bore you with discussions of stats (though I am happy to go into it with whoever comments/PMs me) or variables, but essentially you can customize every aspect. Your variables are constantly improving/changing based on the decisions you make, and they actually impact the game (more drastically as time goes on.) You can play as either a male or female, but also have your character create an avatar that’s male or female. You can be gay or straight, but depending on your avatar’s gender and other people’s knowledge about you in “real life,” you can romance (or seduce) just about anyone. The more similar your character is to his/her avatar, the higher your starting “honesty,” but you can make up for that eventually by not lying your ass off.

I’ll split this post into two parts to make it more readable (not a bump, just two posts at relatively the same time).

In the next one I’ll discuss my influences and what I’m going for. If you’d like to help in any way, information will be on the next post.


Which WIP would you bring back from the dead?
Virtual Euphoria [WIP] [SHORT DEMO AVAILABLE]
Guenevere (WIP)
Which WIP would you bring back from the dead?
Virtual Reality Game
#2

@RoseQueenKamijo Actually American is a race. The people who lived in America before Europeans came and killed most of them.


#3

@CitizenShawn havind a two-step physical sex and mental gender selection seems best.

@Shoelip but they’re called native americans, not just americans, @RoseQueenKamijo is right.


#4

“That means two still haven’t showed up.” Shown would be better here, as showed is past tense and clashes with the present tense setup you’d been using.

At the point where you have the option to finish Flurry, if you choose to land the killing blow it says “as you plunged your blade” and I chose a wand, so there’s that too.

“I’d appreaciate* that,” Cory says. appreciate*

Also, I would love to see a sort of rescue-the-npc type side-quest. You could have it set up like saving a kid could get you some sort of special item, or maybe learn a new skill during the quest. :3 I really like what you have so far, so I’ll be keeping an eye on this.


#5

@Shoelip Actually whites are a minority when it comes to Asians and Africans, both of whom outnumber us.

Culture is the only thing that Europeans have, and you can see that they celebrate it. Italians are different from Germans and French and Norwegians. They might look similar, but they live completely different lifestyles.

If anything whites are defending their culture even more now that more and more illegal immigrants are coming into countries (not just America!). Italy, for example, has a big problem with Muslim immigrants from Northern Africa. Their native population is shrinking because of lack of reproduction, and their culture is rapidly changing to reflect the situation.

Forced immigration is a form of cultural imperialism as well.

Btw, can you tell I’m Italian? Bahaha.


#6

@RoseQueenKamijo Some options require you to have certain attributes, such as male/female, to be selectable. I left them visible so that you could see how the game would offer more options on subsequent playthroughs. Health potions, for example, will require you to have less than max health. You can’t seduce Master Trilas if you’re a guy.

Takira Morimoto is half-Japanese, and I guess half-white. But the point of mentioning America was that he was born an American citizen; he still very much resembles a Japanese person. I was mentioning his citizenship, not his race :slight_smile:


#7

I’m not saying white people are a majority I’m saying that they held most of the power in the past and spread European culture everywhere whether other people liked it or not. If you don’t know what I’m talking about with the whole racial thing look up White Man’s Burden. There were those that considered white people to be some kind of monolithic force for rightness that all other cultured needed to follow as an example whether they wanted to or not. So while the forceful cultural imperialism of that has dimmed, the repercussions of it didn’t just go away. Maybe this is just a perspective that comes from living in a culture steeped in the repercussions of white cultural imperialism though.


#8

I’m splitting this post into two; this isn’t a bump, I’m writing all of this at the same time/posting it at the same time, simply for organization purposes.

I’m going to go ahead and list my inspirations, just in case anyone wants to draw parallels or point fingers (I’m fine with it if you do, just please give constructive criticism as well). I was very careful not to steal entire concepts or ideas from other sources, but if you see anything that marks this project as completely unoriginal, let me know.

My inspirations include, but are not limited to:
–Ready Player One by Ernest Cline (FANTASTIC book)
–Dungeons and Dragons (yeah, I play)
–Red Shirts by Joe Scalzi, Old Man’s War by Scalzi
–Guardians of the Flame by Joel Rosenberg (also a fantastic series)
–Sword Art Online (the Anime)
–James Cameron’s “Avatar” (a mediocre movie)
–Metal Gear Solid games (specifically Big Shell, the game’s creator, and certain other characters)
-Lord of the Rings
-Arthurian Legend (Holy Grail, but that’s likely to change; just a placeholder)

This game obviously has little in common with each source (except Sword Art Online, which I discovered existed only after coming up with my novel. I love the show but this idea isn’t meant to copy that.) These books have concepts and ideas that I like a lot and have always tried to emulate. The writing styles of the books are also what I try to go for.


This game is about Alpha-testers and I want you to be MY Alpha-testers!

Please comment on this thread if you’ve played, so I can make improvements. I AM working on this game (and I have been non-stop for three weeks) and will continue to update it regularly. Your input will go into making it, and I think it’s part of the fun of CoG forums. I’ll put your names down in a “real-life Alpha-testers” credit at the end.

The role of “typo corrector” (or something more epic) will go to the person who corrects the most typos!


If you are interested in designing a side-quest (they player will be able to go on sidequests to gain different weapons/money, which will make the game easier but are completely optional) let me know as well, and you’ll get a spot on the “contributors” page.

Thanks again–a lot! I’ve been loving reading/commenting on CoG forums for the last couple of weeks. Hopefully I can come up with something before too long!

    - Shawn

#9

Ooh I’m really liking this game. At one point I was wondering if maybe the creators of the “game” actually linked into an alternate world and were editing it, I suppose. It was an interesting few moments of disbelief so I thought that was fun.

I’m enjoying your stats and they seem pretty relevant to how things work. However, you mention that the skills are actually things you pick up yourself, not in levels, so when you’re picking your class and it gives you stats that affect you, maybe it should be mentioned that you’re picking a class that suits you as a person otherwise it seems like I’m gaining stats that I’m not actually learning just from picking a profession, which goes against the leveling of it all.


#10

This seems like it could be extremely interesting. Especially the implications of the whole AI angle, and how you could interact with the NPCs and other testers in relation to it. One thing I did find a bit weird about the demo is that you can’t find the idea of the AI’s creation awesome without simultaneously completely condoning their treatment. Seems a bit odd.


#11

I like it so far. Have you seen Log Horizon? Pretty good anime(it has the stuck in vr thing though) Are any of the other inspirations include korean light novels Moonlight Sculptor or Ark? Both has to do with virtual reality. (Ark has the grand prize winning thing similar to this, but without the forced stay in the VR)


#12

This game is great.


#13

@snappingcookies Thanks! Actually part of the idea for my original story was that the creators could modify the world in real time, and that’s part of what was scaring people. Massive temples and such created out of thin air. People splitting in half, the like. There was going to be a question of whether the creators should modify the world that they created, and then some conflict in that general area, but I haven’t worked out the kinks. Also, good idea about the stats! I’ll definitely work that angle in. I might end up changing Intelligence; it was suggested that that’s kind of hard to quantify in an “avatar’s” form.

@Shoelip Thanks! I’ll definitely take a look at that. That’s one of the more recent scenes I’m working on, and that conversation needs to be well-edited because it’s pretty crucial to later aspects of the game if you’re focused on liberating the AIs (a weird way to say it, but it’s probably not what you think.)

@Azul Thanks! Actually I am not really into manga/anime, or at least haven’t been until this last year. I’ll check those out, though! I really like the VR genre.

@reaper95 Thanks so much! I worked hard on making it acceptable before I shared it with you all!


#14

I’m loving this! I really like the whole concept of this and I really love Ready Player One as well. :slight_smile:
A few typos/errors I found:
“There are 9 others, besides yourself, sitting in the waiting room. That means two still haven’t showed up.” I thought there were 12 alpha testers? If so, 3 haven’t showed up.
“Hundreds of thousands of gamers applied to be selected as an Alpha-tester for this game, but only twelve were.” Were chosen?
“Lying horizontally in a semi-circle of what looks like cryo-chambers are see six other players.” A ‘see’ slipped in there.
“The avatar definitely looks like Cory…if he was six inches taller, fifty pounds lighter, and wearing full plate armor instead of a adorable outfit.” A’s supposed to be an.
“You also notice that you feel a little drowsy after casting that spell. Perhaps your magic powers aren’t as inexhaustible as Master Trihas supposed, but noone needs to know that.” No one.


#15

@Lola098 Four typo points to you! :)>- Haha thanks! That first sentence is actually accurate, because you are one of the 12, so you, plus those 9, plus the two missing, is twelve. I’ll make the changes and upload them probably sometime later this morning!


#16

@CitizenShawn Thanks for correcting that. I blame my insomnia though. xD


#17

@Lola098 No problem. I’m actually working the night shift every Friday so I have nothing else to do but write (and not write!). The changes are made and it’s up!

I seem to have found a bug because of a mislabeled chapter file (it seems to be case sensitive all of a sudden) so let me know if you find any more “target is undefined” errors.


#18

I was just thinking… These AIs are roughly equivalent to humans right? So how in depth do you want to get with this? Like, they’re seeing all these things that can’t be explained by their normal understanding of the world. Humans are naturally curious, and are always searching for explanations for things. Surely other people have tried to explain these happenings. If they’re similar to humans, there’re probably people in the world who’re trying to manipulate the fears of others in order to gain power over them. The deeper you go, the more interesting and involving that aspect of the game can be… but the more likely it is to be controversial.


#19

Precisely. I’m trying to give the AIs the benefit of the doubt; it’s only been about a year or two since things have been noticeably changing in major ways. To top that, they’re used to living in a world with strange creatures and powerful magic. So many of them are caught in a “faith” vs. “logic” arguments as to whether there’s a god or something. I mean, from their point of view, there’s definitely SOMETHING out there, making changes.

There are a few short-term and long term solutions to the problem. The player can obtain fame and influence the attitude of the AIs in the game. They can also attempt to influence Yamada/Morimoto into freeing/leaving alone the AIs (if they want).

I am still working on it; it’s a difficult subject but with a CYOA game I don’t have to come up with one great ending, I can come up with several endings that you earn. And the AIs are only a part of it, albeit a moral compass-kind of challenge.


#20

Well keep in mind that the origins of most religions are long lost to the sands of time. If you’re trying to come up with a plausible scientific explanation for how a bunch of AIs could come up with a religion that isn’t based on a previously established one, all we’ve really got to go on is logic.

The way I look at it, human beings seek to understand the world around them. They’re reasoning creatures that rely on their perceptions of the world, but also their imagination. When they try to explain something that contains parts they don’t understand they’ll try to use things they do understand and combine that with their imaginations. You can look at early polytheistic religions for great examples of that kinda stuff. Compare and contrast Sumerian religion versus Egyptian.

Will there be any more individual NPCs that end up being particularly significant? I can see an NPC romance having all sorts of issues to create drama in the narrative.

Also, the option that I would have thought of to tell that Ranger was that I was sent here by the creators of the world but didn’t hold sway over them. It seemed like the most believable option with the least likelihood of causing him to become hostile.