The Heechee Idea

edited May 2014 in Announcements

THE HEECHEE IDEA

Please read in full. This may very well be our project for the Summer.

Last night, as I lay awake in my bed, a sudden state of rapid brainstorming settled upon me. I tossed around a bunch of game ideas in my head before finally settling upon one this morning. I have discussed it with Kerlc, and he approves.

I'll try to keep this as simple and straightforward as possible, since we all know I have a tendency to ramble. I'm pretty sure I'm the only one here who has read this book, but my idea is based off of the universe in Gateway by Frederik Pohl.

My idea isn't based off the plot of the book, but rather, the setting where it takes place. Essentially, through a couple of accidental events, humanity has discovered a massive space station named Gateway filled with hundreds of small abandoned ships left by a precursor race known as the Heechee. Here is an excerpt concerning the ships from the wikipedia article about the novel:
Nearly a thousand small, abandoned starships are at Gateway. By extremely dangerous trial and error, humans learn how to operate the ships. The controls for selecting a destination have been identified, but nobody knows where a particular setting will take the ship or how long the trip will last; starvation is a danger. Attempts at reverse engineering to find out how they work have ended only in disaster, as has changing the settings in mid-flight. Most settings lead to useless or lethal places. A few, however, result in the discovery of Heechee artifacts and habitable planets, making the passengers (and the Gateway Corporation) wealthy. The vessels come in three standard sizes, which can hold a maximum of one, three, or five people, filled with equipment and hopefully enough food for the trip. Some "threes" and many "fives" are armored. Each ship includes a lander to visit a planet or other object if one is found.
Now It has been many months since I read this novel, so I'll be skimming through it soon to collect details and specifications about the ships to make the setting as true to the novel as possible. But the idea here is this:

You and four others have set out in an "armored five" to an unknown destination. It's a huge risk, since nobody is sure how long the journey will take, and if supplies will last. While there is an indicator in the ship that will let the crew know when the halfway point has been reached (shift in gravity) for each destination, it's still very uncertain whether or not anyone will survey the journey. These four other crew members will most likely be very quirky and unusual, just to add to the fun. While we will vote on the final four personalities of the other crew members besides the player, I'm thinking of having a paranoid schizophrenic, former convict and drug addict, the kind yet incompetent newcomer, and a seemingly stable woman who managed to get pregnant before the journey, and doesn't reveal that fact until later.

The gameplay will take place over each day of the journey. The game will be 2D at an angle facing into the ship, and function similarly to a point and click adventure. Most days will be a mini-game of making sure everyone completes their proper shifts, rations food ( not taking more than their share ), and keeping moral up. Certain, preset days will involve solving critical, pivotal events, such as a conflict between characters, discovering somebody has been eating more than their rations, discovering that someone has smuggled drugs, or perhaps even having to kill off a character since rations are running out. Depending on your previous interactions and relationships with characters, along with how you've managed the ship so far, multiple options will be open at each scenario, and choosing certain options will branch off the story. Numerous endings will exist, ranging from everyone dying, certain people not surviving, being killed yourself, making it to the destination yet not making it back, or, if everything is done right, surviving to the destination and back to Gateway.

Programming such a thing will be simple. What will make or break this game is the story telling, character development, and overall appearance of everything in order to invoke strong emotions in the player. We want the player to feel attached to the characters, and the thought of having to kill off a crew member should cause sadness or joy depending on the player's feelings toward that character and their personality. Gritty, dark realism will be involved. I want the psychological effects of a long journey into the unknown to be felt by all.

Thoughts? I really do like this idea a lot, and can see it happening. My original idea was a lot more fluid with the story, but I want to be able to finish this before September. Having events that will happen, yet can be changed depending on prior interactions (getting to know a character's history, showing partiality / preference to a certain character, giving more food for rations, etc), will be the easiest to manage while still creating an engaging game.
/(?##~##)/

Comments

  • Posts: 0
    Seems fine to me.
    "I am sorry but if you don't like cake you're literally hitler
    Like I'm pretty sure an entire chapter of Mein Kampf is all about how much he loathes cake" - Kerlc, 2016

    [3:35:15 AM] Kerlc: they have boobs
    [3:35:18 AM] Kerlc: but they still have 12

    [10:00:19 AM] Kerlc: I actually prefer the penetration
  • Posts: 1,154
    Thanks for the in-depth analysis. /sarcasm

    If I can get Mokushi on board with this as well, and maybe even Jalern, we can go full steam ahead.
    /(?##~##)/
  • OH GOD HELP ME I'M DROWNING IN WORDS


    I'll read it later at 5am in the morning while naked so I can take in the knowledge at full effect.

    edit: Skimmed through it. I don't want to help with a game based on a novel I can't bother reading.
    ➈➈➈➈➈➈➈➈➈➈➈➈➈➈➈➈➈➈➈➈➈➈➈➈➈➈➈➈➈➈➈➈➈➈➈➈➈➈➈
    image
    [7:45 pm] Kerlc: Being a cuck is great'
    Futanari Loli Nazi Succubus Squad ~☆「Sieg Heil」 Your Heart Into Ecstasy!!
    ふたなり・ロリ・ナチス・サキュバス・スクアッド~☆あなたの心をエクスタシーへ「ジークハイル」しよ!
  • There is one large problem to me though. Although it would not be difficult in the programming department, a game such as this seems like it would have to be a big project, and if we don't get a large amount of momentum going, it will die like our other big projects. If we can work through that by creating a plan of how the game creation process will occur, who is involved with what, try to set some smaller goals, and figure out all other logistics this could work. One other problem is that we may not have enough members to make this work, and we would need to recruit more or rely on a bit of outside support, especially in music and art. I must admit that I am a huge fan of games in this sort of genre, so I think it would be great if this did happen, and I would be able to help with this sort of project.

    Also, if Jalern would be involved we would need a grotesque ending involving some sort of fleshy space abomination. I would say it should be the "pregnant woman's child" ending.
    "Gas giants don't discriminate. They have gas for everyone." -ASG
  • Posts: 0
    When you said other members need to be unusual I thought you would say Mexican ( if you know what I mean )

    The idea sound great to me and it could have a second part ( if you remove the option to go back to gateway ) . The second part would be being on that planet ( if a planet is the destination ).

    But as Gravy said it does sound like a big project and if we don't finish it until start of school it will probably die.

    I will help as much as I can.
    russians hitting russians in russia because they are russin'

  • Also, if Jalern would be involved we would need a grotesque ending involving some sort of fleshy space abomination. I would say it should be the "pregnant woman's child" ending.
    The 'All is None Under the Eye of Unborn God Ending'

    ➈➈➈➈➈➈➈➈➈➈➈➈➈➈➈➈➈➈➈➈➈➈➈➈➈➈➈➈➈➈➈➈➈➈➈➈➈➈➈
    image
    [7:45 pm] Kerlc: Being a cuck is great'
    Futanari Loli Nazi Succubus Squad ~☆「Sieg Heil」 Your Heart Into Ecstasy!!
    ふたなり・ロリ・ナチス・サキュバス・スクアッド~☆あなたの心をエクスタシーへ「ジークハイル」しよ!
  • edited May 2014 Posts: 0
    All seems all fine and good for me. Except...
    and a seemingly stable woman who managed to get pregnant before the journey, and doesn't reveal that fact until later.
    Don't. That's the most annoying cliché ever. :p


    Also, the link in the green announcement banner thingy isn't working.
    This is still not our universe.
  • Posts: 0
    Could be interesting. How close to the source material are you planning this to be? My only concern is that we'll be breaching some form of intellectual property rights law if we don't adapt the idea and make it our own well enough. Other than that, I'm interested.
  • Posts: 1,154
    OH GOD HELP ME I'M DROWNING IN WORDS


    I'll read it later at 5am in the morning while naked so I can take in the knowledge at full effect.

    edit: Skimmed through it. I don't want to help with a game based on a novel I can't bother reading.
    No need to read the book, since that will be my job. I'll be spending the next few days skimming the book for info on the ships, and collecting knowledge.



    There is one large problem to me though. Although it would not be difficult in the programming department, a game such as this seems like it would have to be a big project, and if we don't get a large amount of momentum going, it will die like our other big projects. If we can work through that by creating a plan of how the game creation process will occur, who is involved with what, try to set some smaller goals, and figure out all other logistics this could work. One other problem is that we may not have enough members to make this work, and we would need to recruit more or rely on a bit of outside support, especially in music and art. I must admit that I am a huge fan of games in this sort of genre, so I think it would be great if this did happen, and I would be able to help with this sort of project.

    Also, if Jalern would be involved we would need a grotesque ending involving some sort of fleshy space abomination. I would say it should be the "pregnant woman's child" ending.
    Programming wouldn't begin until the game is 100% fleshed out, designed, down to every line of dialogue. Gheiter may be able to help us in the art department, though if necessary, I can use some cash funds to pay another developer. Hell, it may very well be possible that we can start a kickstarter for this. No idea how much funding it'll receive, but it could offset hiring costs. For music, we can temporarily use Kevin Macleode's stuff before we find someone who can make original compositions.



    When you said other members need to be unusual I thought you would say Mexican ( if you know what I mean )

    The idea sound great to me and it could have a second part ( if you remove the option to go back to gateway ) . The second part would be being on that planet ( if a planet is the destination ).

    But as Gravy said it does sound like a big project and if we don't finish it until start of school it will probably die.

    I will help as much as I can.
    We'll have to decide what lies at the destination point. My original idea was a planet that sustains life, since the journey winds up taking too long to have enough rations for even one person to make a full return journey.



    All seems all fine and good for me. Except...
    and a seemingly stable woman who managed to get pregnant before the journey, and doesn't reveal that fact until later.
    Don't. That's the most annoying cliché ever. :p


    Also, the link in the green announcement banner thingy isn't working.
    We shall be brainstorming and voting on character personalities after I do my note collecting. Don't like that idea? Don't vote on it :P Tell others to not vote on it. We'll simply go with the 4 favorite personalities based off the opinions of people here, and wherever I post this poll. The poll will be offsite.



    Could be interesting. How close to the source material are you planning this to be? My only concern is that we'll be breaching some form of intellectual property rights law if we don't adapt the idea and make it our own well enough. Other than that, I'm interested.
    The game will not follow the plot of the original novel, but simply take place in the universe of the novel. I'll look into intellectual property right laws for novels, and perhaps contact the publisher. It's an old book, and the game would help it receive more attention. We'll see.







    I'll be making a category for this soon, along with a topic on ship information.
    /(?##~##)/
  • Posts: 0
    Okay, time to post something about this.

    The idea sounds lovely. I can help out with the mechanical design. As it is right now, with its focus on story and branching, it sounds like Long Live the Queen but with more vagueness about the stats and a much smaller menagerie of characters to follow. Also more focus on the management of the more basic needs, thus akin to Sims. And lest we forget, some elements of randomness.

    The characters as you've outlined them now sound ridiculous. Plz nerf. I'd also suggest not using the universe of the Gateway, just the idea of humanity stumbling upon a piece of technology allowing them FTL travel. That way we can have more freedom when creating the lore of the game. Should keep the story writers busy while designers work on the mechanics.

    If you're worrying about originality and people calling you out on it: science fiction is built on the proud foundation of nicking someone else's inventions andtailoring them to your purpose.

    I'd suggest that when you start programming and that you have two programmers that are familliar with the code so that one can take over when the other has a busy schedule/life and that progress isn't halted for longer periods of time.

    As far as art goes, we need to settle on a style and an artist. If we cannot produce the art in-house, we'll most likely have to employ someone. As such, I propose the art is done the last, when everything else is pretty much finished.

    I shall discuss the mechanics, interface and all that stuff related to actual development when we start the threads.
    [12:49] William "Tankman": yuri loli spaceshipgirls
    [15:42] Jalern: I want to fuk r63 loli mao
  • I'd love to help with this, but finding the time to do this is very difficult for me at the moment.
    If we can use kickstarter I think we should try it.
    To establish peace, and destroy the Strange.

    Member of Planetoid Community since November 2010.
  • Okay, read through this more.

    This doesn't appeal to me very much. Though I will force it to appeal to me, I shall bend it over and infect it with the virile seed of my imagination.

    No, not really. I just wanted to type that sentence.

    But really, I'll find something I like amongst the boring stuff and work on that specific part. Be it a specific character or some sort of sentient space parasite made of the remnants of Heechee memories that form into some grand mass of incomprehensible mind-breaking antithesis.

    I'm not interested in fiddling around with copyright laws. From what I've seen, dancing in that spider's nest is really fucking annoying.
    kickstarter
    Nonononono.

    No.
    ➈➈➈➈➈➈➈➈➈➈➈➈➈➈➈➈➈➈➈➈➈➈➈➈➈➈➈➈➈➈➈➈➈➈➈➈➈➈➈
    image
    [7:45 pm] Kerlc: Being a cuck is great'
    Futanari Loli Nazi Succubus Squad ~☆「Sieg Heil」 Your Heart Into Ecstasy!!
    ふたなり・ロリ・ナチス・サキュバス・スクアッド~☆あなたの心をエクスタシーへ「ジークハイル」しよ!
  • About the characters, I think that 4 other characters is a bit limiting, so maybe one or two more would be better. The personalities seem overly-obnoxious/insane currently. Also it would be nice if the main character isn't boring either.
    "Gas giants don't discriminate. They have gas for everyone." -ASG
  • Posts: 1,154
    Okay, time to post something about this.

    The idea sounds lovely. I can help out with the mechanical design. As it is right now, with its focus on story and branching, it sounds like Long Live the Queen but with more vagueness about the stats and a much smaller menagerie of characters to follow. Also more focus on the management of the more basic needs, thus akin to Sims. And lest we forget, some elements of randomness.

    The characters as you've outlined them now sound ridiculous. Plz nerf. I'd also suggest not using the universe of the Gateway, just the idea of humanity stumbling upon a piece of technology allowing them FTL travel. That way we can have more freedom when creating the lore of the game. Should keep the story writers busy while designers work on the mechanics.

    If you're worrying about originality and people calling you out on it: science fiction is built on the proud foundation of nicking someone else's inventions andtailoring them to your purpose.

    I'd suggest that when you start programming and that you have two programmers that are familliar with the code so that one can take over when the other has a busy schedule/life and that progress isn't halted for longer periods of time.

    As far as art goes, we need to settle on a style and an artist. If we cannot produce the art in-house, we'll most likely have to employ someone. As such, I propose the art is done the last, when everything else is pretty much finished.

    I shall discuss the mechanics, interface and all that stuff related to actual development when we start the threads.
    My responses:

    Paragraph 1: Very true, although I have yet to play that game. The focus on management will be minimal, but existent. The more complex this aspect becomes, the more variables we'll have to account for, which will result in feature over bloating.

    Paragraph 2: Yes, those characters are a bit absurd. As others have stated, we will not be having those personalities, but rather a brainstorming session in a few days for coming up with personalities. Today at work, I decided that we will for sure not use the Gateway universe, but simply borrow a few concepts here and there for our own universe.

    Paragraph 3: Agreed, which is what we'll be doing.

    Paragraph 4: Excellent idea. Gheiter can help, and I have a friend who will be majoring in Computer Science with me. He may try learning GML over the next month so he can assist us.

    Paragraph 5: I will try my best to convey my visual style idea to Gheiter. Hopefully he'll be able to sprite it accurately, although I do not doubt his abilities, so we will most likely be able to sprite in-house. Spriting will also be done last, although concept art will be helpful during the design and storywriting process.

    Paragraph 6: Good. I'll be making our first discussion / decision thread after this post.



    I'd love to help with this, but finding the time to do this is very difficult for me at the moment.
    If we can use kickstarter I think we should try it.
    Completely understandable, and while kickstarter would give nice funds, we would then have to deal with all sorts of ridiculous bonus packages and stuff. Plus, it'll constrict us to a tighter schedule and cause more issues than it is worth.



    Okay, read through this more.

    This doesn't appeal to me very much. Though I will force it to appeal to me, I shall bend it over and infect it with the virile seed of my imagination.

    No, not really. I just wanted to type that sentence.

    But really, I'll find something I like amongst the boring stuff and work on that specific part. Be it a specific character or some sort of sentient space parasite made of the remnants of Heechee memories that form into some grand mass of incomprehensible mind-breaking antithesis.

    I'm not interested in fiddling around with copyright laws. From what I've seen, dancing in that spider's nest is really fucking annoying.
    kickstarter
    Nonononono.

    No.
    I'm 100% sure we'll wind up voting to include a character that will appeal to you. Also, copyright laws shouldn't be an issue if we merely borrow a few concepts.



    About the characters, I think that 4 other characters is a bit limiting, so maybe one or two more would be better. The personalities seem overly-obnoxious/insane currently. Also it would be nice if the main character isn't boring either.
    Perhaps 5 other characters would be best? Since this isn't taking place in the Gateway universe, we can have slightly larger ships and however many different modifications we want. I spent a long time considering how the main character will interact with the other characters, and I've narrowed the decision down to two possible options which I'll detail in the topic I'm about to make.
    /(?##~##)/
  • Posts: 0
    Will the overall art style be isometric, top-down or sidescroller?
    Because I think isometric/orthographic would be nice, although a bit trickier to implement.
    This is still not our universe.
  • Posts: 1,154
    Will the overall art style be isometric, top-down or sidescroller?
    Because I think isometric/orthographic would be nice, although a bit trickier to implement.
    Orthographic, most likely. It'll be at a shallow yet appropriate angle so each room has proper depth.
    /(?##~##)/
  • Posts: 0
    Alright, sounds good.
    This is still not our universe.
Sign In or Register to comment.