[WIP] Neon Dreams (23/11/2020) First Look

I never know how to start these sorts of things but here we go.

[For extra flavor, read like a 20th century newsreel presenter]

“Welcome to the Awakened Era, where Megacorporations rule the world and magic and technology co-exist in an uneasy balance. Homo Sapiens has been eclipsed by the dawn of Metahumanity and forced to acknowledge that they are neither important nor special. Your life begins in The Vertical, a gargantuan city once destined to be the nexus of the new world, but has been abandoned for years under mysterious circumstances. In the vacuum, gangs have fought each other to a tenuous cease-fire, but carefully crafted plans passed in dimly lit boardrooms threaten to upset this fragile peace you find yourself in.”

[Aaand Cut]

So yeah, that’s the premise of this little project I’ve been working on. It’s still in a really rough state and I have no idea how long this is going to take me, especially with how I’ve got it all planned out in my head. This is gonna be a rough first impression but I really need to stop dragging my feet on this. Expect to see more details as I eventually get around to it.

Note for Early Readers (Somewhat Important)

I envisioned this first demo to be a little glamorous than it turned. [Some more champagne and crackers celebrating a job well done. Rather than coffee, instant noodles and a patchy rush job.] Oh well. As of writing [23/11/2020], only 1/4 of the opening routes is complete (The Protectorate) (Wow, it sounds worse when I say I only managed to get about 25% of what I planned done). Man, I really wanted to put a more complete taste of Act 1, but I did give myself a deadline to meet. Hopefully once I know this is actually out there and there’s a possibility that people might see it will light a fire under my ass to keep at it. And hopefully you stick with me long enough for this to get better.

A Few Words On Feedback

So, given it’s been a while since I’ve been able to write fiction, forget something as ambitious as this, I’d like to get some feedback on a few things in particular, so I can settle back into a style of writing that doesn’t feel all over the place.

However, given I’m the type of person to rewrite entire pages if you told me a single paragraph felt “off”. I’d like to actually make progress on this thing instead of constantly reiterating on the same content, I might scale back feedback on completed sections after the initial impressions. So please keep feedback on sections I’ve already addressed related to the simple stuff, or else give me a really compelling reason to change something.

With that in mind, I’d really appreciate if you could offer me your thoughts on how I accomplished the following:

For (the first playable quarter of) Act 1:

  • Introducing the reader to the world and the characters in detail, but in a way which doesn’t come across as your character as having never met them before. i.e. Avoiding “born yesterday” syndrome.

  • In a similar vein, giving the player character their own predetermined “routine”, but allowing the reader to influence how that routine is carried out.

  • Experiencing the “average day” of the main character while also engaging in early foundational world building and character interaction that is interesting enough to avoid being boring. The intent is for the first half of Act 1 to be a bit of a slow burn allowing most fbefore [SPOILER] happens and things really get going, but I don’t want it to feel like it drags on, since first impressions mean a lot.

  • Acknowledging the reader’s choices. While having completely unique routes for each starting perspective would be nice, I would probably die of old age before I finished this game, and I would like to avoid that. Having the reader go “hey, it recognised my class/ race choice” occasionally enough to give off that impression is what I’m aiming for instead.

  • Punctuation. There’s nothing that quite drives me up the wall more than my own punctuation (tied with people who don’t put back the luggage tray in airport security). If you notice I haven’t used the right style of punctuation in my writing, let me know, and rest easy in the knowledge that you may have saved me from going insane.


Character Profiles (Under Construction)

Given I haven’t even finished the opening act yet, telling you about characters that haven’t been implemented yet would be a massive no-no. Bear with me for now.


A Few Questions You May Have. (Or not, the fewer questions the better, really.)

This sounds familiar… Shadowrun, is that you?

Well ya got me there, chummer. Yeah, this is basically Shadowrun with extra steps. This idea has been drumming in the back of my skull ever since Shadowrun Returns hit PC all the way back in 2013. The fact that it took me 7 years just to even get started doesn’t bode well, but we’ll get to finishing that bridge when we get to it. I originally intended to code this as a playable workshop campaign when Shadowrun: Hong Kong came out, but it turns out having to make character portraits and design levels was too much for my puny brain to handle, so here we are, typing words on a screen instead.

Hey who knows, if I finish this, I might actually make that custom campaign too. (Probably not though.)

Any idea on how long this is gonna take?

No. Oh God, please, no. Don’t even jokingly ask this. I have no idea, months at the least, years more likely. If you shot George Martin with a moose tranquilliser every day while he was writing, he’d still finish before this. Plus I have a schedule more erratic than a bumblebee on bath salts, so it’s probably best to tell your grandchildren this will never be finished and they’ll be pleasantly surprised when it does.

Also I procrastinate. A LOT. What can I say? My mere existence is an insult to the concept of “order”.


Changelog:
  • Date of Release: November 23 2020
    Version: “Most Likely To Be Abandoned” (1)
    Contents: A quarter of the first half of Act 1 released.
    Protectorate Route Completed
    Notes: Oh my word this code looks ugly, but we did it. Time to keep at it.

Damn, I’ve run out of things to stall with. Well, here it is I guess:

Neon Dreams

110 Likes

Gasp and Le Gasp Shadowrun! I loved Shadowrun Hong Kong! well, I loved all 3 mind you. But Hong Kong was the one I kept playing on and on .

And I get to play as a Troll :sob: I’m so Happy!

Are you gonna give us the same class we had in the game? And chromes? Cose that be awesome!

I’m afraid…hmm, I’m not one of those readers who give you in depth feedback. But I’m good at the Gushing and make your ears bleed with mah Shriek! So you know…the groupie feedback giver :smile:

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This game reminds me of a PC game I used to play back in high school. Shadow Run was amazing! I was elf decker with a sniper rifle, pistol and two drones, one set for offense the other defense. Man that was some hardcore shit to maintain but it was fun. I should download them again! :grin:

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@Jay_X I was wondering, at a possible later stage in the game specifically for deckers can they get another drone? (Possibly steal one or make one.)

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In hindsight, putting this up before going to sleep and missing out on the first impressions was definitely a great idea that I don’t regret whatsoever. A belated welcome aboard, and I’ll get to filling out the roadmap for features I’ll have in mind.

@E_RedMark, to answer your questions, I’m playing pretty fast and loose with Shadowrun rules, using the same sort of setting but taking more liberties with races and world lore where I feel like I can flesh things out. Class wise you’ve probably realized there’s only 4 right now: Mage, Decker, Shaman and Street Sam (though it’s not called that). Planning on eventually giving players access to a class upgrade to more magics/totems as mage/shaman, an opportunity to spec into a more “summoner” specific class (think , as well as a technomancer if you’re playing as a decker and the options to get cybered.

@Bulk_Biceps, cashing in on that nostalgia feels cheap, but you won’t see me complaining if you stick with me. I’ve got a pretty good idea of how I want the drones to go, but given they’re only one class that I need to account for players not even taking, it might take a while before I get it fleshed out in full. Do expect to be able to live out MechWarrior fantasy at some point though!

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Can I get a Katanaaaaaa?

Also, I do admit that when I saw the decker (I picked automatic elf+decker lol) I got worried there for a sec. Because (May just be me) but in the Shadowrun Serie the game really felt tailored toward well…deckers. But then I made a human+decker and I was HAPPY to see I don’t get some invisible wall that ruin the fun for not going elf+decker. (I had the most fun in Hong Kong with a Troll+Katana+Chromed to the teeths)

There was one thing that got me to raise an eyebrow. If you don’t play a decker and you don’t help that guy (where you can plug and unplug), it felt like ‘‘hurr durr I can’t help you and hurr durr can you guilty me some more cose I’m a different class?’’ kinda of feeling?

I know it’s weird. But the way it end left me with that which I found odd. If I’m playing something else, nobody in their right mind would let me poke around when I don’t know squat about that stuff.

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Just replayed that section, and I get what you mean. May have overlooked the options/dialogue for people who pick ork/troll characters, guess I’m just Humanis scum like that. Did a small expansion of the dialogue to make it feel a bit more organic, as well as an opportunity to shore up the weaker attributes from character creation. I appreciate the feedback on race/class options, you’re helping me cover the paths I tend to overlook as a result of my own playstyle.

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I never played Hong Kong but I really enjoyed Dragonfall because I could screw with Humanis

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Dude I totally forgot about Dragonfall! That was kinda messed up. I felt like they made deckers harder to use for some reason… Or maybe it’s just me?

Anywho! Question for @Jay_X will there be weapons implemented later on?

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Are we going to have dragons or the equivalent of dragons?

@Bulk_Biceps
Weapons options are limited right now given the setting you’re in at the beginning, but expect things to open up once the plot picks up steam. I’ve got a shortlist of a few weapons in particular that I’d really like to write fight sequences for, but your staple katana/rifle options are still going to be there. However, don’t expect a whole stat based combat system. (I only like complaining about game balance, not implementing myself.) It does mean that writing each scene will take longer though, since I’ll intend for each loadout to read differently, but I hope it’ll be worth it in the end.

@CultOfCthulhu
How could I have a world full of intrigue and not have dragons? I’m starting to flesh out the background lore as we go along in more detail, so expect more information regarding that as we go along. But I’ve hidden a reference to the existence of dragons in one of the Protectorate events as well, you may have not caught that yet. Oh and [Spoiler for planned content] one of the core plot points may or may not involve a dragon.

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Remember the rules of a shadowrunner everyone Watch your back, shoot straight, conserve ammo, and never, ever, cut a deal with a dragon and my personal touch geek the mage first.

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Very interesting, will be one to watch.
Found one bug.

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Alright I gotta say, THIS WAS AWESOME! Honestly super submerged in the world already and I cannot wait for more. Great job :smile::+1:

@monroe_mcadoo Hey, good to hear! And congrats on being the first bug report, I imagine there’ll be plenty more where that came from. Counting on you all to spot any mistakes that slip through the cracks.

@Bananahead_101 Thanks, and welcome aboard! It’s gonna be slow progress, but I hope you’ll stick with me.

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Really well done on both the characters and the atmosphere, they feel awesome. I’m curious about the mana transference scene tho, because I can’t recall seeing anything like it in Shadowrun lore before

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@Swarmlord26 Thanks, characters and dialogue are something I’ve always struggled to nail, so I’m glad you’re enjoying them.

Concerning the rest of the lore itself, while I’ve drawn heavy inspiration from Shadowrun, I also want this world to feel like my own, hence the efforts to change up the systems and craft some of my own lore. I also recognize that not everyone who comes across this will be familiar with Shadowrun, so I’m trying to bridge that gap a little too.

Long story short, if you’re expecting a traditional Shadowrun tabletop campaign in book form, I’m afraid you’re going to be disappointed, but I’ll still be trying to capture some of that same overall feel in a different way.

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I yet to read it but i consider myself a fair shadowrun fan (and cyberpunk setting in general) , got decent number in tabletop and PC games. It spawned one of my all time favourite characters… Soo im tad bit hyped for reading it.

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That was good game. I like the cyberpunk fantasy feel to it like Shawdowrun. It’s just a cool setting where cool things can happen without being too realistic which can make things boring.

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[Quick Day 2 Update]
Adding it here in a comment because I don’t have Regular status on here so I can’t edit the original post yet. Guess I kinda deserve it for being a lurker for almost 2 years.

Anyway, mostly admin/planning things. Setting up two links to resources that are mostly for my own benefit, but I like having a transparent process so feel free to check them out.

One’s a “thoughts” page I’ll add to while I continue writing, so you can get an idea of why I’m choosing to do certain things, as well as general thoughts on the process, think of it as a developer diary. Other one’s more of a general progress tracker where I’ll log bugs and spelling/typos. Pretty sure save files get wiped every time I upload a fix, so I’ll probably be batch fixing issues every other week or so unless it’s a major one.

Gonna be a slow week progress wise, got a bunch of university assignments coming up so I’ll be focusing on those for the time being.

Writing Thoughts

Progress Tracker

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