The Seventeenth Spy (WIP, on hiatus. Story last updated 9-30-17, codex added 12-27-17)

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.

Hello! :raising_hand_woman:t2:
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 –

What it’s going to have:
  1. 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.

  2. 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.

  3. 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!

  4. 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:
  1. Romance:
    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.

  2. Combat/Stealth/Intelligence stats:
    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.

  3. MC death:
    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.

Current Status


  1. ~20,000 words with code (~14,000 without)
  2. ~5,800 word avg game
  3. 158 variables

Stat screen (incomplete)

  1. ~1,300 words, including code
  2. Basic profile & personal stats
  3. Settings menu
  4. CAI menu (started)
  5. Character summaries started (these change during the game so I’ll always be adding to them)

Chapter 1 (complete – hooray!)

  1. ~8,400 words (~6,800 w/o code)
  2. A noisy spaceship
  3. An annoying/responsible/friendly brother (pick one!)
  4. Faster than light travel
  5. Very unreliable computers
  6. Midnight snacking

Chapter 2

  1. ~8,100 words (~6,200 w/o code)
  2. Cryptic npc’s
  3. Convenient sci-fi medicine
  4. Your soon-to-be-classified real name
  5. Planets painstakingly named after Greek nymphs
  6. Characters named after numbers, and a bird


  1. ~900 words
  2. 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)


Sounds promising I can’t wait for the demo

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Sounds really interesting! I noted there’s no romance so… I wont be able to play a suave charming james bond esque MC who charms his way into every female character in the story? :cry:

But anw sounds rly detailed! Excited to see where this goes!


I have been waiting for you to make your post. Seems interesting. Good luck with your own bird callsign person!

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This may just scratch that itch that I cannot scratch in gaming recently!

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A VERY interesting game, that could develop into sequels! Very ambitious, I applaud that. Good luck, I will be watching for more!

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Sounds good, I’m looking forward to the demo!:grin:

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This sounds like it will be a very interesting game. I’ll be keeping my eye out for the demo.

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Thanks for the comments and likes everyone! It’s good incentive to keep working knowing I have a thread now. :blush:

Um, actually, past me, you are quite busy already. It just doesn’t involve homework yet. But I’ll see about maybe consistently devoting some time to this on weekends. And even if I am busy, it’s not a stressful busy. :woman_shrugging:t2:I definitely want to get a playtest out within the next week.

Me too! I decided to write the game I can’t seem to find anywhere. Though you might enjoy playing the Imperial Agent story in Star Wars: The Old Republic if you haven’t yet. You spend a good third of the IA story playing double agent, and it’s got some pretty memorable plot twists. (It’s an mmo, but you can get a free account and kind of ignore everyone else if you just want the story, ~30-40 hours for the Agent). Dunno your opinion on Star Wars, but I wanted about 5 more chapters after I finished it, and ended up here…



The seventeenth is ordered to hunt down the 16th.
Get involved in the planning of a better recruitment system.
Fight against the “oldest enemy”.
Find a secret ingredient to “engineer” better human.

You’re welcome :innocent:


Oh, Sixteen is definitely part of this game. What will you do about your uncooperative predecessor?
I should give you an opportunity to recruit a fresh agent and train them, hmm, I like that idea…


Return your focus back! Forget those sequels!

*dumps the idea out of window

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Have max level characters of every class. The Agent story was ok, preferred the Inquisitors the most.

Now I can’t wait even more for this story!!

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:woman_technologist:t2:A quick update:
I’m beginning to realize just how ambitious this project is! :smirk::thinking: But I’m still excited about it and the pieces are coming together – just not as fast as I thought they would. I spent around 5 hours on Seventeenth Spy this Sunday, editing spoilers out of my code mostly setting up the relationship stat system: the stat screen is going to have an option for percentage-based display or little paragraphs about each character that remind you what you know about them (warning – multireplace is not always the easy solution it appears!).
And I named an important thing (The antagonist organization didn’t have a name last week?!), which can take a while for me – I’m picky, I like names that mean something, but they also have to sound good and fit the story. And once I make a decision it tends to stick… I usually come up with stories/concepts and then realize when I try to write them I’m missing names for most of my characters!

Hopefully, now that my stats are sort of under control I’ll work on work on writing some story content this week. Meanwhile, here’s a rough outline of my planned chapters because a real outline requires me to give them serious titles:

  1. Your Sort-of-Normal Life
  2. You Decide to be a Spy (pick a reason)
  3. Training is More Exciting Than You Wanted it to be
  4. In this Genre, Important Ceremonies are Rarely Uneventful
  5. Mission #1
  6. Mission #2 (I plan to write 3 missions, A, B, and C, emphasizing different stats. You’ll see two of them on a given playthrough, depending on your strength)
  7. Crazy Stuff Happens and The Chapter Where Your Height Matters (?!)
  8. Everyone Wants You to Give Them the Thing
  9. (Different, depending on choices in the last chapter) Potential to eliminate some major npc’s personally

No idea how long each of these will be (guessing #1’s going to be at least 7,000 words rn, and #3-#6 will be at least 15,000 each, but I won’t really know until I get there). And that’s not counting the character descriptions the stat screen still needs, and CAI coding that’ll be in another file.

I feel like this post is way goofier than what I’d say in person. :face_with_raised_eyebrow: Coding seems to do that to me. I’m probably going to hide silly Easter eggs in this thing. I’m already checking variables by giving the option to rename important characters ‘Bob’ in my test file.

And this topic has 1k views now. Woah.


…Hi. :woman_technologist:t2:
I’m still here!
As I’ve updated the original post, chapter one is now complete! However, in the middle of writing it, I decided I might as well be ready to post the beginning of chapter 2 as well, since most of character creation is actually there, as well as the explanation of the games premise. But, 3,000 words into it, I realize it’s going to take a while to get where I want to be: a conversation that doesn’t just branch – it loops back, depending on what order you ask questions in. I want to (for the most part) avoid posting anything including a choice that leads to an unwritten branch, so it won’t really be done until everything is written. And I’ve got an important test coming up and should probably slow down on this for a bit. I really was too busy to work on 17S this week, but I tried anyway :persevere::flushed:

So, prospective readers, I find myself rather indecisive. Should I post my completed first chapter, or would you rather patiently await a more conclusive demo? (The end of the first chapter is kind of a cliffhanger)


Well, we waited 24 days between recent posts, we can continue to wait.

Don’t put too much pressure on yourself that school suffers for it, just continue at a pace that you can feasibly maintain. :slight_smile:


Either way works :ok_hand:t4:
Considering that there’re quite a lot of new WIPs recently, going for a more conclusive (but cliffhanging) demo is the most… “profitable” way, IMO :smiling_imp:


Really looking forward to this

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I don’t mind waiting either. I think waiting for a more complete demo would give us a better idea on how your game will feel. :slightly_smiling_face:


There’s finally a demo up!!!

I feel inclined to add I’m not sure if this will be the actual beginning. A flashback sort of thing might give this a different sort of tone. The brother was kind of my guinea pig for figuring out relationship stats. But, I’ll press on for now, and leave editing thoughts for later.

Is the line-by-line dialog at the beginning of chapters too annoying?

Would you like more options to just refuse to say anything in chapter 2? I made a variable tracking whether you said you were suspicious at the beginning, but never ended up using it.

I’m also curious how many people end up calling Twelve by some variation of his real name, instead of the number.