Tentative Collaboration [Interest Check]


#1

Hi everyone,

Long story short, I’ve had particular game idea on the back burner for a while now, and wish to pick it up again. Now, the problem I’ve had with this one is that it’s a technical concept, to which I’ve struggled placing a story. In other words, I’m looking for someone who might be interested in taking some mechanics/gameplay and then weaving their own story around it.

The ideal collaborator would be able to work on the game with almost full story autonomy, I’d want a say in a number of creative aspects, and I’ll be on hand to do all (or some) of the technical stuff, as required - but I’m otherwise …“licensing”(?) the idea to whomever might be interested.

Ideally I’m looking for someone who has a finished game under their belt (whether published or from a competition) - I just want to know you can be serious and committed!

Besides that, the “theme” is computers, online networking, old terminal style. Maybe hacker-esque. There’s definitely room for flexibility. Think Christine Love’s “Digital: A Love Story” but nonlinear, with more choice and interaction.

Here’s a video of an old prototype, for good measure. There are a few noticeable bugs, and the given “story” is 100% placeholder, I’m just trying to show the concept.

So if this looks interesting to anyone, please do let me know! It’s a such a shame it’s just sat gathering dust in my Dropbox.


#2

So, you are operating Pine on an old UNIX server, or you are trying to capture the feel of Fallout. Either works.

Just where is the admin? Alone in a bunker similar to an episode of The Outer Limits called “Dead Man’s Switch” or something else entirely.

I haven’t played Digital, so the reference is lost on me.


#3

Oooh, I like that episode. I love the idea of trying a collaboration after NPT is done, but that will not be until January. And admittedly, computers are not my forte, so telling a believable story in that vein might be tough.


#4

@IronRaptor You tell me! That’s exactly what I’m looking for, someone who’s intrigued by the concept and design, and can weave a tale through the advertised mechanics.


#5

I can do computers and sci-fi but my time is already split between school, job hunts and my projects. I could write something with this concept but I would need someone with more time to code and help with brainstorming. How much of the existing concept are you wanting to use @CJW?

Same here. Some of the Outer Limits episodes were weak imo, but the ones that were good were REALLY good. What do you think of the concept as it stands, @hustlertwo?


#6

I’m really looking for someone who’d be able to commit a decent measure of time for this; I’d plan for weekly updates really (even if that involves no actual writing). I will want to retain some level of control over the creative direction of the game, but that is largely just the look, feel and overall quality of it. As long as the story/background concept doesn’t jeopardize that, I’m happy for the collaborator to have largely autonomous control :slight_smile:


#7

I think that lends itself to a killer ending for sure. But would be good to amend a bit; if the only reason to let go of the switch is to avenge a race that is already eradicated, makes it less urgent. Maybe you are the leader of a small shelter, which has just enough people to keep humanity going (one of several, like in the episode, so you can have the tension of watching the others go dark). So you weigh annihilating the surface and potentially killing billions versus not doing so and being slaughtered when you reemerge, or being found and exterminated in your spider hole, completing our extinction. Or you could even be the leader of all shelters, and have to make tough choices on resource allocation and who survives or does not. But I think it has real potential, and would look cool with that Falloutish visual style.

Actually I like the leader of all shelters notion best. Endings could be changed based on different types of people left; maybe a plethora of soldiers makes rebuilt humanity a military state who looks to take the war to the aliens, scientist-centric and they skip he surface altogether and build a complex society underground, and so on.


#8

It’s a really interesting technical concept, but I understand why placing a story in it might be difficult.

There are some games that manage to do something similar(like [Event 0] or Local Host for
more contemporary examples). The classic Fallout games, fiddling with computers on Vampire: The Masquerade - Bloodlines, not to mention the others who focus entirely on interacting with a terminal. It seems that it would be best if whoever writes the story should have a decent amount of knowledge on how computers work and systems interact with each other.

As always, I’m more interested in seeing what kind of new things can be done with it than anything else. I think the plot concept need to be as good as the technical one, and they need to make the best possible usage of one another.

I have collaborated in projects before, both as the “writer”(outside CS) and the “coder”(inside CS). Both times it felt as if a general understanding of the possibilities, limitations and expectations of the “counterpart” was absolutely necessary. I think understanding how the code works, how the game is designed and what can be achieved with it are essential.

Take for example a game being developed by a company from my country: They took care of all the coding and art assets, but they hired a third party to do the story. Now, both companies are made up by professionals in their fields and their individual work is amazing, but a friend of mine who’s testing the beta version noticed an evident disparity between both, as if whoever did the plot and dialogue wasn’t exactly visualizing how it would be present in the game.

According to this friend(who’s a big lore nerd and loves a good story), the game(which is being marketed as an action one) often “stops” too much to let characters say what they want to say or for the script to show something, breaking the flow and forcing you to go through those interactions where you’re just a spectator for the most part.

My point is that, whatever happens, there needs to be harmony and coordination between the writer and the coder. Sometimes the first has plenty of ideas that shouldn’t or couldn’t be implemented in the game, and sometimes it’s the coder who’s doing that. They need to be on the same footing regarding expectations and possibilities.

Also, what are your intentions with the marketing of the game? I think you’d have an easier time finding a writer if you make it clear you want a commercial release(or not).


#9

You’ve hit the nail on the head really. I love the concept, and I know what I want the game to feel like, but try as I might, I just can’t come up with a story that I’m happy with. The key is, as you say, that the story leans on the mechanics… Any old story won’t do. I’m really looking for someone who can share in the passion behind this project. Close collaboration will be essential, and yes, whilst I will happily code the majority of the systems (unless the collaborator wants to be involved in that), they will at least need to understand how to use them. Likewise, whilst I’m happy for some story autonomy, it will be important for me to like the idea, and share in the vision.


As for marketing… Seeing as I’m asking for a collaborator, I think I need to wait and see what they would like as well. Personally, if it was just me, I’d probably release the game for free. That’s not to say monetization will not occur, but rather, that it will happen outside of the main game. Whether that’s something like Cataphrak does with patreon, ads on a website, a donation button or perhaps even in-app purchases that don’t lock out the actual “content”. For e.g., paying for additional game styling: colour themes/schemes etc.


#10

The video has a very Shadowrun type feel to it.
You can Connect to the net, check emails, theoretically reply to them…
In your vid the gov has gone dark, right?
Ok so that’s perfect territory for hacking / information collection / detective work.
The entire game can be played using the existing tools.
I’d also recommend being able to sell/exchange information to get upgraded computer parts.
Who you choose to assist could influence the development of the story, similar to CoG-style development.

Some ideas for end-goals/story development:

  1. Crash the net, forcing everyone to “reboot” outside of the internet culture and thus “reformat” society.
  2. You find out that the gov has gone dark because of spies at the highest level of authority. That whole “who is watching the watchers” turns out to be you, the MC. You expose corruption and help return the gov back to normal.
  3. The information you uncover has you questioning your own existence. Are you really… a sentient program?