The Horizon Incident (WIP)

The Horizon One mission ended in disaster. A failed mission, six dead crew members, and no answers. What was meant to be a pioneering voyage to establish a permanent lunar colony and a stepping stone out into the solar system has now become the greatest spacefaring disaster of the 21st century. The world needs answers. It needs to bury and mourn the bold astronauts who lost their lives for the sake of exploration. It needs more explorers willing to take up the torch and persevere despite the danger.

The world needs you.

As Mission Commander of Horizon Two, your job is straightforward, but anything but simple: establish the lunar colony, and uncover the mystery of what happened to the Horizon One crew. It will be no easy task. It will require intelligence, grit, determination, creativity, courage, and cooperation. You are an astronaut though, years of training and professional knowhow give you the tools to lead a successful mission.

There are some things however, that lurk in the pitch-black shadows of the lunar landscape that no amount of training could ever prepare you for…

Summary

Hey everyone! The Horizon Incident has been a project I’ve been working on for a little while and feel like I’m ready to share what I have so far. The first two (of likely four) parts are finished. This story is something of a love letter to space travel and novels/movies like Apollo 13, The Right Stuff, and The Martian. It spawned from the question of “What happens when incredibly well-trained and professional individuals encounter something completely unexplainable?”

You play as the commander of an international mission sent to investigate the mysterious circumstances that led to the deaths of six crew members on an earlier mission. Circumstances quickly change however, and what was once an investigation quickly turns into a desperate attempt to keep yourself and your crew alive.

Features

-Play as male, female, or non-binary

-Specialize in various mission critical skills

-Gain or lose the respect of your crew based on decisions

-Uncover the mystery of Horizon One bit by bit

-Manage your stress to ensure your effectiveness

-Various levels of success. Save yourself, save your whole crew, and everything in between (WIP)

-Prove that you’ve got The Right Stuff

Feedback

I’m looking for all sorts of feedback. Whether it be something as simple as spelling errors (I’ve done a few read throughs but I’m sure there’s still plenty of minor errors I just missed), coding mistakes, opinions on the characters, opinions on the narrative, or suggestions about the plot so far and things you’d like to see going forward.

Length

Currently I’ve finished the first two parts out of a planned four parts. The word count sits around 60,000 or so, and I expect the final product to end up around 120,000-150,000 words, but I’m usually quite bad at determining how large or small these projects end up being. I recently have come into a fair bit of free time so hopefully I can throw myself fully into this project and make good progress in the coming weeks and months.

Thank you so much for taking the time to read this and give your feedback it means a lot! I’d recommend reading in dark mode for the sake of ambience. Regardless though, thanks again and I hope you enjoy!

Playlink: The Horizon Incident

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First, let me congratulate you on a very promising game and already well achieved demo. It is truly a love letter to space exploration, and while I imagine that fact will fly over most player’s heads, as someone with an interest in the topic your passion and knowledge was not lost on me. As for typos…

You mispelled Anders name as “Andres” twice on the first page.

Investigating the surrounding area of Horizon 1 "…what you might be able to locate is the decent module’s flight recorder, or “Black Box…” - “descent” lacks an “s”.

Cheers, and can’t wait to see the future of the project!

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Thank you for the kind words and the feedback! I just dropped a hotfix to correct those issues. It means a lot to know that some of my more niche references aren’t going unnoticed!

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Looks interesting, love stories like this :heart:.

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Interesting start but too early to say more than that.

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Sanity counter + unsettling black goop + determinedly objective MC… nothing could possibly go wrong here.

Your narrative is accessible; the technical language and historical excerpts (real and imagined both) are well-embedded, neither too dense nor dumbed-down, and all the information is useful for understanding the scene.

However, I feel there’s occasionally some “drag” due to the structure of the prose. Here for example:

This is good information! The uniformity of sentence length, though, makes the paragraph seem to go on for ages.

You also might want to reconsider the style in which you give mini-infodumps - the length and frequency are okay, it’s not overwhelming, but it is tonally a bit like an article - and alter it a little, if you intend to get deeper into the existential horror weird otherwordly goo vibe. Too early for me to be 100% sure, but I suspect something like that is afoot. Anyway, you’ll know better than I do if that’s what you intend or not!

EDIT: Part of my above suggestion stems from the deaths of the Horizon One crew being mentioned kind of late. I expected from the blurb for that to be closer to the forefront of MC’s mind, even before launch. Understandably we’re pretty busy with our own thing, but maybe a mention before the flashback scene to One’s landing?

Good luck with the process!

EDIT2: Some of the replay options at the end aren’t functioning!

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It was alright but it was easy to forget what each crew member is specialised in. Can’t u store the information for them in the stats menu somewhere

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Ah, that bit about the black boxes brought something I meant to mention back to mind! Mostly that they’re not actually black. I don’t know if the readers actually care, but maybe mention that the black box is a high-vis colour, generally orange, though a space agency could probably make the case to use a colour different from a commercial airline. But they’re meant to be easy to spot, so…not black.

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I remember a COG like this. I forgot the name , but it was shelved in adult section. It has you as a captain with their crew, and your enemy used to be human who evolved into hideous flesh fused monster. Their ship also was made of human flesh. It was my favorite sci-fi and horror here. With different faction of horror like 40k. Pious religious aliens, a military dictator, and your organization. It also treated it’s readers as adults and actually have romance that does not fade to black. Maybe that’s why it was deleted.

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Thanks for the feedback everyone! I do feel like some of the info dumps can be a little wordy or distract from the suspense sometimes, especially if it is presented so uniformly as you mentioned. So that’s definitely something I’ll be keeping in mind when editing and going forward.

I plan on having a stat screen for the crew that just outlines their name, specialization, and some background flavor. I can probably have that done in the next couple of days or so.

I feel like I might mention that black boxes aren’t black at some point, but with the nature of branching narration it’s probably only down one specific path. I’ll look more into that when I get off work today as it is a fun little fact to throw in.

And yes, there is certainly going to be a transition more towards the horror side of the spectrum moving forward. Less Apollo 13 and more Alien

Thanks again for reading and commenting! It all helps!

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Immediately above the screenshot I posted, you do specify that black boxes are in fact orange. No worries there.

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Just dropped a hotfix that should allow the replay function to work as intended. It also added a fair hole in the coding I discovered while testing those functions.

A crew description screen is next on the to-do list, then I’ll probably start moving ahead into part three.

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First of all, congratulations! The demo has me hooked. It gives me the 20 century sci-fi books/movies vibes (particularly a few Clarke’s books) and I love it. I also like how you can assign group members to different jobs that lead to different results. You also set up atmosphere nicely, particularly about the “goo” being.

Bookmarked and can’t wait for more!

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Thank you very much! I’m glad you’re enjoying it!

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