The Agency for Galactic Intelligence & Surveillance has seen better days – not that anyone without proper clearance would know, of course. For an espionage organization watching multiple star systems, dozens of planets, it had certainly performed far better than expected. For nearly a century and a half, AGIS was on the cutting edge of technology, fielding better and better agents – operatives so flawless at their work that the general populace speculated they were more than simply human. But whatever had worked in the past is failing. Trusted agents fail or disappear. Criminals strike faster than the agency can predict. And their oldest enemy has returned from exile.
Too much interference. That was the leading theory. Too much manipulation of the gene pool. Perhaps, in an attempt to engineer better humans, AGIS had missed something.
Accordingly, for the first time in decades, the agency recruited an ‘ordinary’ citizen. The first five attempts were catastrophic failures. Ten more showed promise, but lacked sufficient diligence. The sixteenth denounced the organization, attempted to flee, and was declared a traitor to the Galactic Coalition.
You are the Seventeenth.
This game’s going to be on hiatus a while longer. I’m still happy to hear feedback, though. And I have a tumblr now – https://seventeenth-spy.tumblr.com
What it’s going to have:
At least four different endings (variation depending on your relationship stats):
You can remain a loyal agent, attempt to join two other parties, or try to disappear and leave your life of espionage behind.
Customizable holographic aliases:
AGIS operatives use holographic disguises to change their appearance. You can use the cover prepared for you by AGIS, or create your own (male or female), and switch appearances during and between missions. I don’t know yet how many custom slots I’m going to include, but right now the plan is that a Customizable Appearance Implant (CAI) can store three appearances, so you’d have two extra per mission.
Six different ‘strengths’ that change your character’s approach to problems:
Basically, you’ll choose one of your opposed stats as your strength (kind of like a class choice, I guess?), which will also give you a corresponding weakness. You’ll have slightly different assignments depending on your strength, unique flavor text, and use your strength to get out of failed stat checks (unless you just failed its opposite…uh oh). Your strengths will also affect your relationships with the characters, and one character in particular with always be pleased to see you improve in your chosen area (whatever you decide). More on strengths below!
Lots of choices that change the story!
Even if you make a decision that seems insignificant (was about to say something but were interrupted, for example), you probably changed a variable somewhere. Whether it’s influencing a relationship, your personal stats, or adding a line of dialogue later in the game (I’m thinking one character will mention it if you decide to have a tattoo, for example), most choices do something. If this goes according to plan, even your height with influence the plot. Exceptions will mostly be dialogue choices (especially when you’re just asking for more background details) and CAI customization. (NPC’s will notice if you’re male/female and whether you appear injured, but ignore your brilliant purple eyes. But you can still see it written on the stat screen – yay!)
What it’s not gonna have:
Sorry, I’m just not comfortable/interested in writing any. Character relationships/manipulation will definitely be a huge part of this game, just nothing specifically romantic. High relationship stats (and maybe low stats, too) may give you extra scenes with some characters, and you’re free to headcanon that there’s more going on in the background.
I’m a little tired of games making me choose between these (and then be stuck with one approach all the time or I die). You’re an elite operative for a secret government organization – you should know what you’re doing in all of these areas, or you wouldn’t last very long! The stats I am using focus more on inclination/technique than learned skills. I am going to track if the MC is wounded, and might have an endurance stat that simply shows how tired you are.
I want to focus on the story, and I find having to replay sections because you made a ‘wrong’ choice is a bit immersion breaking. Make your decisions and live with the consequences!
Note on the stat system/strengths:
The main stats for the game are three opposed pairs. Although I’ve got a solid idea of what each of them means, I haven’t necessarily made a final decision on their names, if anyone has a better idea or thinks my names don’t fit. (The main problem is keeping them all nouns or adjectives. For example, I prefer ‘Calculating’ over ‘Severity,’ but don’t want to be stuck with ‘Sympathetic.’)
Sympathy/Severity: This is a little bit like the charming/stoic dichotomy I’ve seen in other games. ‘Sympathy’ will solve problems by gaining, well, sympathy from others and picking up on subtle social cues. ‘Severity’ implies more reliance on intimidation, and certain cold focus on the task at hand, regardless of who gets in the way.
Discipline/Independence: This could be described as a team player/loner stat (Do you think of your team first, or yourself?), but also includes the concept of conventional/creative.
Caution/Bravado: Do you plan ahead, or make things up as you go (or, with high discipline, adapt to changing plans without hesitation)? ‘Caution’ will tend to stick with the original plan as long as possible, where ‘Bravado’ may switch cover stories on a hunch.
- ~20,000 words with code (~14,000 without)
- ~5,800 word avg game
- 158 variables
Stat screen (incomplete)
- ~1,300 words, including code
- Basic profile & personal stats
- Settings menu
- CAI menu (started)
- Character summaries started (these change during the game so I’ll always be adding to them)
Chapter 1 (complete – hooray!)
- ~8,400 words (~6,800 w/o code)
- A noisy spaceship
- An annoying/responsible/friendly brother (pick one!)
- Faster than light travel
- Very unreliable computers
- Midnight snacking
- ~8,100 words (~6,200 w/o code)
- Cryptic npc’s
- Convenient sci-fi medicine
- Your soon-to-be-classified real name
- Planets painstakingly named after Greek nymphs
- Characters named after numbers, and a bird
- ~900 words
- Stat changes and optional notifications, a test of the CAI system, and a couple achievements.
(The rest of the word count is in the startup menu and a bit of Chapter 3 material)