Unnamed Sci-fi Game- Demo as of 4/5


#1

Okay, the closest I’ve ever come to doing something like this is posting some fanfiction, so bear with me because I’m going to be awkward and anxious.

A Summary of the Story: The Darwin, an American ship containing a small army of super soldiers enhanced with animal DNA, travels the known universe attempting to keep the peace between distant planets of human colonists dealing with emerging governments, alien inhabitants of varying sentience and low resources.

You are not one of these soldiers, just their doctor. (And keeper/designated voice of reason.) Have fun with that.

What’s been written: At the moment, I’ve carved out a basic codex in the stats page, more or less finished the introduction chapter and I’m working on the first actual chapter. All in all, it’s about 39k words and that first chapter I mentioned is less than a third written. I might have bitten off a bit much with that chapter, but you live and learn. And never do that again.

Demo: https://dashingdon.com/play/alicante/darwin/mygame/index.php?cb=60417
It is so far from okay that I should be embarrassed but here, take a stab at it- mini update 4/9.

Things that will probably happen: Alien and human conflict, discussion of the morality of genetic modification (that’s kind of a major plot point), a planet of AI’s, problems courtesy of an eclipse, nepotism, human/alien trafficking and super soldiers that hate receiving medical attention.

Other things of varying importance:

  • Romance is a thing- Five options, three female and two male. Six (Another male character, but he’s kinda… Yeah, I’m still debating on him)? And there’s an aromantic character that you can form a close relationship with, but she’s not exactly going to be your girlfriend. Five for sure, anyway. Some of the characters have preferences, but none are locked based on your gender or bits. At least one is demisexual, all but one are content with an asexual relationship and while you will probably have frank discussions about the physical aspects of your relationship(s), there will not be any explicit content.

  • In relation to the above- polyamory is also a thing. Not with every character, but it’s possible to have a V or a triad depending on the individual characters’ relationships.

  • Science- I am a writer, not a science major. I have literally no idea whether any of this is even a little plausible, but feel free to help me sound semi-intelligent if you science well, please and thank you!

  • Branching- A majority of the story happens in the presence of the soldiers, but you’ll be allowed to focus on maintaining professionalism and sticking with your fellow medics. Because you’re a doctor meant to stay away from the front lines, you’ll only have so much influence directly. However, with your relationships, you can change the outcome of various situations.

  • The universe- A lot of lore and story information can be found in the stats page. Feel free to ask clarifying questions and let me know if something seems missing.

  • Your character- Your origins are established a bit later in the story- your home-planet, class and family situation are all up to you, whether or not it has a great deal of impact. You’re a recent graduate from a school that only admits virtual geniuses, so you could be anywhere from a prodigy that got a doctorate at 20 or somewhere in your thirties. Maybe I’ll find a way to let you establish that, maybe I’ll let you make your own assumptions, we’ll see.

That’s… about it. I look forward to seeing what you think! I love this community and I think your input will really help this project along.


Where are the moral/ethical lines in interactive fiction?
My top WIPs as of right now
#2

With regards to the ethics of genetic modification, I would love to see different characters show us multiple perspectives. Here’s an example:

Say Characters A and B were both genetically modified without actively having chosen that…

Character A was a prisoner and had the procedure performed without consent.

Character B’s genetic condition came of a natural birth from two parents who were modified previously, so Character B accepts their situation a bit more, but is still somewhat conflicted because of their difference to “normal” humans.

Something like that?

Great idea @Alicante, I’d love to see you develop this. Best of luck!


#3

Huh, I’ve never actually put a character in a place of lacking consent. Now that you’ve put the idea in my head… Thank you for that!

I was more thinking about acceptable risk in regards to human life. Is the possibility of permanently screwing up a person worth the potential of a soldier beyond human mean and such. The medical procedure is highly experimental, only been happening for a few years now. It wouldn’t even be happening if the military wasn’t convinced that the rewards outweighed the risk. But you’ve given me food for thought.

Glad you like the idea. :slight_smile:


#4

Looking forward to playing the demo!

I have dabbled in coding and creating demos and have helped people create their demos before so if you would like help on any of the “behind-the-scenes” sort of stuff just “@” me or pm me. I might be able to find an old post of mine with directions to create a demo of you would like me to.

I also will be going to college for biomedical engineering this fall (I’ll be a freshman so I hardly would say I know everything). While I don’t have much college knowledge I have taken two years of biology in high school. If you have any questions or would like to discuss things again just “@” me or pm me.

My first question is this (since it seems we might be looking at the insides of people quite often): how are these animal/human mutants created? Is their DNA changed so they code for different things leading to their organs looking different? Do they just have some sort of injection that gives them the desired qualities for a short period of time? Are my questions too nerdy? :nerd_face::yum:


#5

Thank you! I appreciate the offers- expect me to take you up on them.

Not too nerdy :smile: just really catching me off guard because I never came up with an exact procedure. But the ‘DNA changed so they code for different things’ is what I was basically going for. Honestly, I expect to do a lot of skirting around the issue and hand-waving. Technically, the MC’s job is to keep the soldier’s insides in, not playing with their DNA; that’s their boss’s job.


#6

This sounds like a very promising concept, and you’ve clearly got some strong ideas about your source material and universe. I especially like that the MC’s role will be as a supporting character rather than a gung-ho warrior type, it would certainly be nice to move away from a purely combative sci-fi experience. This particular medium just isn’t really built for combat, so being a doctor and facilitator for other characters would be an interesting experience.

You mentioned that you were open to any help with scientific rigour and making sense of the ‘hows and whys’ of your world, and I’d like to offer any assistance if I can. Other people on the forum might well be willing to vouch for me, but I was writing a story last year which had genetic engineering and nanotechnology as core components (The link on the forum post is currently inoperable, but if you look up ‘The Myrmidon’ I posted several world-building documents and notes that might be of some use to you) so I have done a little bit of research in this particular field.

PM me if you have anything specific you’d like a little more information on, from space travel to special relativity or maybe particular environments or situations that would be likely to crop up in space. Might help your budding geneticists figure out which ‘improvements’ would be more useful to your pan-galactic peacekeepers.

Quick question:

You mentioned that your characters were essentially spliced with ‘animal DNA’. Is that DNA cultivated exclusively from Earth animals? Or is it taken from a variety of species from multiple worlds?

I’m very much looking forward to your first demo, especially delving into the guts of a good Codex.


#7

I remember Myrmidon! I loved it, by the way, though I haven’t peeked at the forum in a while…

Anyway! Your input and knowledge on the subject is more than welcome- some of the reasons I’ve been hesitating with this project is because I feel like I’m sidestepping the details. I’ll definitely go back and take a look at the world-building posts. And you’re right, this isn’t the best platform for things like combat, so I figured that support would be the way to go. Of course, considering some of the situations the MC can get into, combat oriented skills can be developed.

And yes, strictly Earth animals and only one animal per soldier- generally. Though later in the story alien animals and the discussion of using DNA from sentient aliens comes up. (And now I’m going to have to figure out how to define sentience in this setting… Lovely.)

Good codex? It’s more like me throwing this universe I’ve been building for the last year at the nearest surface and seeing what sticks- I love world building so it might be a little much. I look forward to hearing what you think.


#8

D’awww… Shucks…

Lovely compliment aside, I only started looking at this forum again two days ago, so I can hardly fault you for not immersing yourself.

If you like I’d be more than happy to PM you some documents I put together on genetically engineered wildlife I made for another world-building project. You’d be more than welcome to grab a handful of ideas to build off of, and I’d be happy to be a sounding board and research assistant for the more workaday parts. Just let me know.

A very interesting decision. I saw earlier that you had a notion of taking ‘natural’ born Humans and subjecting them to gene therapy or other such methods to create the results you want. That’s interesting because it would like result in a very invasive series of operations and aberrations that would be likely to have a very negative effect on the soldier’s long-term health. People specifically grown for a purpose would need to be trained instead of recruited, but their bodies would likely be more able to handle the genetic variation because they were custom designed to be the way they are.

That might make for some interesting divides between physically augmented humans and humans grown from specially altered embryos. But that’s by-the-by.

Actually I might be able to help with this one as it happens.

Sentience is used in Science Fiction a lot, and it is almost exclusively used incorrectly. When sci-fi writers say sentience what they actually mean is Sapience, and I’ll explain the basic differences between the two.

Sentience is the ability to feel and experience things subjectively. In essence, it means that when something happens to you, you know that it happens only to you. You understand that you are a distinct being from everyone else and that everybody else in the world doesn’t share your particular sensations.

Sentience means being able to feel pain and to know what pain is when compared to other things you feel. Animal life that doesn’t collect this information and use it to alter its own actions is classed as non-sentient.

That’s it in a nutshell without bringing 18th Century Philosophers into it.

Basically your dog is sentient because it likes some things and doesn’t like other things. A fly doesn’t notice individual things and will happily fly into the mouth of a frog because it doesn’t collect any information that says frogs are bad. It doesn’t know or care about the difference between life and death, and therefore avoids any attempt to embrace either.

Sapience is considered the ability to think and reason, which are at best complex discussions that we could pore over for hours.

In its very simplest terms: Reason is a Human’s ability to figure out how something works even if they don’t have all the parts.

A computer isn’t sapient because it can’t guess what you’re trying to tell it. If you leave a parenthesis dangling in your code, the computer doesn’t make any attempt to guess what you were trying to tell it. It is incapable of that reasoning. Humans don’t need the whole equation. We can guess. We can take the parts we have of the puzzle, compare them to the things stored in our minds, and figure out what bits are missing without explicitly knowing what they are.

That (in brief) is Sapience, the Mark of an Intelligent Being.


#9

As soon as I saw sci-fi I had to say yes. About the romance options though, I say go for putting in the third guy if only to balance them out. To give an actual critique though, I would have to see the actual demo.


#10

Sounds good it sounds a bit like mass effect a bit


#11

@Moreau Please do send me some of those documents- assume most of it is going to go over my head, but ideas and new perspectives never hurt.

I hadn’t really considered going a direction other than gene therapy, but the idea of growing and designing them is something I’ll think about in the future. And the potential physical and psychological affects will definitely come into play- haven’t forgotten about that.

Thanks for the discourse on sentience/sapience! And I can even understand it, so that’s a plus.

@Kattz I understand where you’re coming from, but I’m going to stay on the fence until I’m more sure of where his character is going and whether an actual healthy relationship would be plausible.

@Harley_Robin_Evans Never played it, but it’s on the to do list.


#12

I can see where you are coming from and I partially agree, partially want
to see how self destructive I can make my character in this game out of
pure curiosity.


#13

This sounds like something I would be interested in, I’m all about the sci fi. I like the idea of the MC in a support role instead of a front-line fighter, that perspective could be really interesting.


#14

@Kattz Very. The answer is very self destructive, if things go as I plan. If the player/MC has no attachment to the people and setting involved, burning bridges will be a valid option, though maybe not as fleshed out depending on how you burn and/or jump off of them.

@SirEdmund Awesome, I was wondering if the support role would turn people off of it. You’re not going to be completely behind the scenes unless you try to be, but you’ll very rarely be on the front lines.


#15

This seems quite interesting! I’m
looking forward to the demo.


#16

@Alicante It’s something I’ve thought a bit about. I’m a big fan of Band of Brothers and my favorite episode is Bastogne, where we follow around the medic character as he tries to help his fellow soldiers in a particularly gruesome situation. It made me long for an entire series from the medic’s perspective. So yeah, I’m interested in seeing what you come up with :slight_smile:


#17

That sounds awesome. One question: We’re not bioengineered furry soldiers, but do we get to be a bioengineered furry doctor?


#18

Actually, this is a good question. How visible are the animal traits? Do they just enhance things like eyesight, sonar, etc., or do they change the anatomy and appearance of the character?

Maybe it could vary by individual? I know some players who would be enthusiastic about being anthropomorphic animals, I’d picture an MC with animals ears/eyes/slightly different details being very cool, and others would be most interested in invisible variations.

The animal splicing is a great concept, there’s so much that can be done with animal abilities. It was the most interesting part of Heroes Rise: Redemption, for sure. :smile: Are you interested in help with brainstorming obscure animals and stuff they can do, or is that something you have a plan for already?


#19

@Giratina In short, yes. Maybe. It has social repercussions and can kill you. Like, game over, better luck next time around. Or that’s what I have planned, for now. I’m still working on a system.

Long story short though: yes, you can have a splice and two of the other doctors on board, the ones that do the actual splicing, have them.

@Sashira (Holy shit she noticed me! Okay, fan attack over.) Sadly, no visible changes. I love the idea of animal ears, fur, tails etc. but not this time. And if they were visible, the jokes would write themselves like you would not believe. My poor sniper would never hear the end of the cat jokes.:laughing:

There are a handful of minor variations. Some take to the splice differently than others, whether it’s enhancing something they’re inherently good at or developing an ability that they didn’t previously have. There’s also other side effects. The kitty sniper needs a few extra hours of sleep and one of them had to double the portions of their regular diet. And there are some not so good things, like poorer night vision and a stronger fight or flight instinct.

Not a lot of obscure animals, but I’ll say it a million times: new ideas are always welcome :smile:. Right now I’ve been keeping it basic- bear for raw strength, cat for my sniper’s reflexes and night vision, tiger for a mixture of both and one has a mamba splice. I’m still debating on an animal for the doctors. Obviously something intelligent. I’ve currently put a fox in as a placeholder.


#20

I was reading an article forever ago about a biologist who consulted on new alien species, and often suggested things like insects or deep-sea creatures to add variety to their capabilities. Some ideas for stuff that might be usable -

Ants or bees - they could coordinate other soldiers in the field through a better understanding of individual units as a whole, or even picking up chemical cues from transmitters the people in the field wear

Dolphins - aquatic soldiers, good at working in units, have sonar

Jumping spiders - most of their terrifying ability is size vs. physics, but if you optimized a soldier like this, jumping + venom + (subcutaneous?) exoskeleton would provide your shock troops. (Okay, so that’s technically not an exoskeleton any more. An extra skin layer of chitin?)

Arguably the most “intelligent” animal we know, when we try to find something that’s similar to human intelligence and applicable to its problems: the rat, or some say the mouse. This is part of why it infiltrates our buildings so easily. This is also why it’s used so often in psychological studies like maze-running.

You could also go for something very different to human intelligence, to give the doctor a different perspective. Some of the top animals there are squid, gorillas, whales, crows, and elephants. (Also, again, dolphins and in their own way, social insects like ants/bees.) They all have different things they’re famous for specializing in.

EDIT: Oh, and foxes are also very intelligent… you could just stay with that. Sorry if I’m rambling. :blush: