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    Design Doc Discussion

    So, just re-visiting this thread as I put together the design doc together. I'm taking a broader perspective initially. Given our global audience, the Elmer Gantry angle might get a bit lost. I'm also wary of getting too far into the whole formal religion thing per se and am thinking of taking more of a cult approach. Any initial thots about this? Also I'd love to hear any ideas/inspiration/elements/gameplay you'd like to see incorporated at this early stage?

    I've got loads of notes and it is all still percolating. Weather permitting, this will mean a good long walk on the beach tomorrow to get the synapses sparking even more-- but the doc is already getting filled in.

    One idea for incorporating our signature model talent into the peace is to cast her as a Spirit Guide/Demonic Familiar/Virtual Assistant/whatever that carries out tasks for you each turn as directed.

    Anyhoo, I know we just landed on this but as I draft the doc, it would help a lot if you mention any ideas/inspiration/guidance/preferences you have with regard to the game at this stage. That isn't to say the design doc will be more than a draft-- there will be ample to make changes there too. I'm just fishing for any early thinking you may have now before I get too far. No worries if you want to see what I come up with first tho.
    Always working behind the scenes

    #2
    Cult has an odd connotation to it, l think one can make a general stab at Christianity without drawing on it so much. I'm concerned we'll have a hard time explaining the point of the cult, unless you want to just capture women SOW style (which seems to lose the point of the faith theme). You'll have to explain this better for me.

    On the female lead, she should be either the foil or the foil's protected lady (a reward dangled until the end). An alternative is for her to be an early conversion (transition to the end game)

    My inspiration is a little Broadway, a little Spanish Inquisition, and a little early Taylor Swift (what a cock tease- you'll get a little blonde singer in this one)

    Influences would go to all those fansadox comics of nuns torturing women to please their twisted demons. I would prefer to have more spanking and bondage in this as well. After all, we're "selling forgiveness", the punishment should be wonderful.

    Another kink I've got for this is a forced (embarrassed) exhibitionism scene, where "she" is forced to wear a chastity belt and a "holy themed" vibrator in public (under her skirt). You'll follow her around and turn on the vibrator as you watch her make conversation in public. Depending on how often you turned it on, you may have given her a fetish. (If I am to add on to the attribute game from S2S)

    In a few Arcana's we've delved a bit darker, but I think we can evade gore and death while still being dark.
    #CufflinksForever



    Avatar: Kloe Kane

    Comment


      #3
      A proposed opening scene (and can be trimmed for brevity):

      You didn't think it could get any worse. Then it did.

      "If I could just get to the next town," you muttered to yourself, trying not to fall asleep at the wheel, "I can call a few old friends, regroup, and be back in the game in no time flat."

      Nearly run out of town on your last attempted revival for empty promises and past-due loans, you were happy just to get out of town alive. Alone, but alive. Driving alone in pitch black, you never saw what you hit... or what hit you. You are thrown from the vehicle and slam violently into the dirt, rolling a few feet before losing consciousness.

      Flashback: Morning bedroom scene with a female (doesn't have to be lead model) - borrowing flashback style from Return to Wolfenstein.

      Pain. Excruciating pain shoots down your back. You attempt to rub your eyes but your arms are restrained, as are your legs. You open your eyes slowly. The holy symbol you carry around your neck is in front of you, no, above you. Hovering over you as if by magic. A low gravely voice calls out from the left side of the room.

      "Ah, you've come to, wasn't sure you were going to make it. Not like it would have mattered, you'd have made a fine sacrifice." You turn towards the voice and you see what appears to be an older man, hunchback, under an old cloak. He seems to be messing with a few vials and reading from a book, but from your position on the slab you're chained to, you can't make anything out.

      "What do you want from me?" You croak out.

      "Many things, ultimately your life." He turns to you, and you see his eyes aren't human, but sunken in and the voids of his eye sockets dotted with a dull red glowing ember where the pupils would be. "But!" he holds out his hand as you start to protest. "Now that you're awake, we can discuss repayment for my saving you from death."

      He explains how he's been watching your past, how you've swindled folk for cash in return for a promise of renewed Faith. It worked for a time, but word has spread, and you're a marked man. He then reveals how he can grant you powers to better persuade the folk you have been touched by God. In return, however, you'll need to (something something for the cult dude - provide women/$).

      With no options really left before you, you nod in acceptance.

      A flash of light, the holy symbol glows a burning bright white and slams into your chest. The pain, so tremendous you scream in agony as the world fades to white.

      You slam awake, the sun is high in the afternoon sky. Your neck strained from the awkward position you were passed out in trying to sleep in your car. Wait. You're in your car. You look down at your chest, and an emblazoned holy symbol is there right above your heart. You look out the windshield and see a sign "<some town> 50 miles".

      Well, better get moving, there are souls that need 'saving', you grin.
      #CufflinksForever



      Avatar: Kloe Kane

      Comment


      • Selectacorp
        Selectacorp commented
        Editing a comment
        very nice!

      • MaxDS
        MaxDS commented
        Editing a comment
        I'm getting backlash for the arcane intro, which is good only because my original design had zero need for it. But I'll take it as a decent warm-up for creative writing.

      • Jefferson
        Jefferson commented
        Editing a comment
        Writing by committee is always tough, yeah. What we need is a good basic outline, and then we can flesh in. It's how most good canon series (Star Wars, Forgotten Realms, Marvel and DC) are made.

      #4
      Yes, I'll admit I'm colouring outsides the lines on this one. This is where I'm coming from: a lot of ideas begin with scenarios like the one you painted above. That's legit as far as it goes-- but then you have to put it into a scenario where as a player you have meaningful decisions to make that actually determine what happens next. It is the difference between a simulation and a game.

      The appeal for this topic is similar to that of other institutionally inspired settings. In CR, you had the Corporation. In SOTU, the State. In this one, you have arguably the most powerful dimension-- the spiritual-- in play. That is how I'm looking at it. Not initially as a sexual opportunity, but with those opps as secondary to exercising power (like all CR, SOTU, SOW, S2S). The sexual opps should be the cherry on top, not the main attraction. The creation and exercise of spiritual power that actually justifies and rationalises all this is the necessary foundation, or it will all feel pretty shallow and meaningless.

      The bigger visualisation challenge for me is creating that scenario in a way that is actually nominally confronting. Without getting into politics, the Christian Church/es isn't and hasn't been a symbol of authoritarianism or repression or whatever for a very long time. Christianity, broadly speaking, appears at the current time to be a spent force (I don't say this with any pleasure, btw; even athiests must admit the contributions Christianity has made and I'm not an atheist). In fact, spirituality seems relegated to the sidelines in a world chasing materialist rewards.

      But THAT to me seems indicative of a 'day after tomorrow' scenario where we are likely to see a revival of spirituality of all types. Spirituality is part of the human operating system; again, even atheists will admit this, defining spirituality in their own way). I fear this may open up a debate I don't want so I'll admit I may not be getting the atheist perspective properly but that is less important than the spiritual gap that has opened up in a post-modern era. This seems like an opp to envision a future setting where these 'cults' spring up to fill that gap in less than politically correct ways.

      So, that is sort of where I am with this mentally. I'm putting myself into the head of a Charlie Manson who must select the 'beliefs' I need in order to justify the ends I want. What will attract the followers I need? How do I justify keeping them in line and willingly get them to follow horrific orders? What is my relationship with the temporal world? How do I grow my 'cult' into a socially acceptable institution? Throw in some preternatural influences, relics, quests, a plethora of types of cults you might start, a range of beliefs that come to you through visions... and yes, exploiting your female followers in different ways and enjoying the fruits of your degenerate labours... big, sprawling, multi-layered-- yeah, that's where I'm at! Feel free to kick off a new thread and let's kick it around!
      Always working behind the scenes

      Comment


        #5
        Umm, somewhat busy for the moment, but I've been preparing some notes both ways on how to build this hypothetical game. Personally, i'd thumbs down the pseudo magical bullshit. Doesn't do it for me. At all. As in, it's the kind of premise that completely kills the fun and makes suspension of disbelief almost impossible. But that's just me. And probably a few others, i think. As such...

        Two major proposals for this title

        1. Have a choice for the PC's origins (here's three, but i'd like to see at least two; while it might seem initially complex, the end results will generally be the same, with each PC type leading to a few unique scenes in the beginning, middle and end of the story (and the transitions being the same).
        (True Believer) - Someone who really believes they are touched by "god", and is out to spread a "real" religion. Possibly Max's guy, but i would prefer a bit more subtlety (at least hint it might be a vision, imo - Gameplay loop would be around collecting and using a "faith" resource of some description.
        (Selectacorp agent) - What it says on the box. A custom order came in for some religious types, and you need to deliver. Someone scouted some potential marks in this region. Gameplay loop is around collecting money, and tailormaking the marks, over and above converting them.
        (Former Psychiatrist) - A psychiatrist who for reasons real and/or imagined finds chances upon the corpse of priest (or some less gruesome subterfuge) to the local parish. Burned all his bridges, he figures why not make himself this little nest of retirement. Gameplay Loop around acquiring and using resources (drugs and the like) to gain increasing control marks. MC flavor.

        2. Back to roots with the "marks"
        Have a clear "prize" in the same sense that CR titles did, but have "stepping stones" on the way to the prize. Archetypes I would like to see
        The Matron - Major antagonist, if not the prize. If not the prize, i imagine she'd be older and married, if she is the prize, probably the well-to-do unmarried daughter of the village chief/former pastor, etc. Holier than thou, distrustful of you and your new ways.
        The Nun - Major antagonist, if not the prize. Open ended as to how old she is, regardless of w/e or not she's the main prize. Corrupting a fresh nun or a older one has its own appeal.
        The Rebel - Major antagonist, unlikely to be the prize. Probably on the younger side; but one of these "crisis of faith" youngsters who want to break from the "old ways", plans on getting out of the hometown asap, etc.
        A chain of 2-3 minor marks tied to each of these major marks that you need to capture on the way up. 2-3 "loose" marks that confer bonuses if acquired. Premise being that you need to acquire lower tier marks and work your way up the food chain. Once you capture the "prize" the game ends because there's no one left to mount a serious resistance to your "religion"; hence why i think the Matron/Nun make compelling arguments for being the ultimate prize; if you control the local parish/village council, it's only a matter of time before you control everyone else.
        Overall, the game will be designed so as to have shorter gameplay time, but the big draw will be exploring each PC type, and pushing for different playstyles/endings in each ones.

        I have a few more ideas in mind, but i'll need to give it more thinking time.

        Comment


          #6
          Agree mostly with Wang, but I want to add a thought. Our faux religion essentially needs to be Christianity minus direct reference to Christ. We should work with western, Abrahamic, and monotheistic religion. Polytheism should be the enemy unless you wanna go for full-blown science fiction. God can be called THE LORD or the HIGH MASTER or some such, we can reference ‘scripture’ and the ‘holy writings’ and church titles should patriarchal and strong, like the HRC. I’d borrow elements from the medieval Catholics, the puritans, and the modern evangelicals. While there may this or that we can swipe from Judaism or Islam, both religions allow for polygamy too openly, which would divest from the fun in coercing sexual slavery. It’s like how Prohibition gives you the debauched Roaring 20s and speakeasies, whilst legal booze just gives us the Ireland of “Angela’s Ashes”. Working an anti-sex, patriarchal, salvation cult [again, Christianity] into a sinful and hypocritical mix with the happy values of SelectaCorp and women’s participation in their own enslavement will be fun and fairly straightforward. If we try to create some pantheistic crap, it’s gonna get complicated and dull. All hail his Noodly Goodness.

          Ramen.

          Comment


          #7
          Technically, this should have been in the feedback thread for E2S, but i think something that SHOULD be mentioned about it;

          Feedback across multiple threads and users has described the custom content (acted scenes) as... well, terms vary, from "watered down" to "not good", but i'll settle for "unsatisfying". Some people have ventured their own reasons for it; generally speaking, the two main reasons put forward are
          1. Zara was a better actress
          As someone who (and this should surprise no one at this point) has a literary background, I thought her acting was... ok. I mean, by the standards of what an indie dev can afford, it was miles ahead of the competition, but in absolute terms, it was... well, nothing spectacular, really. That being said, I will say that the acting in S2S does feel "phoned in" by contrast, and definitely a tier lower. However, one thing i WILL say is that BOTH S2S AND SotU had weaker audio-visual content compared to CR/ML; A lot of that, i think, has to do with the sparing use of these videos; they were few and far between, and all high-impact (read: explicit). There's far more recorded content in S2S, but most of it is just her "talking/looking at the camera" with a specific wardrobe item/assorted makeup.
          2. The execution was better (?)
          Esc made a post on this; I don't disagree, but well, i'm not too sold on it being the only reason why feedback on S2S wasn't as good.

          Venturing my own reasoning on the perceived lack of success of S2S in the custom content department

          S2S, conceptually, put undue pressure on its custom content to overdeliver.
          From the beginning, S2S was designed to have custom content at the heart of its design. I wasn't involve with the discussion leading up to the project selection, but it really feels that, from a game design standpoint, we looked at one element of the game (the Audio-visual custom content) and decided to build an entire game around it. From a game design standpoint, i think it's pretty clever. SC games have been endeavoring to look increasingly 'professional' with the assets we use, and has generally been walking down the road towards eventually having all content for the game either made in-house or custom commissioned. S2S being the way it was deliberately intended to create a fictional space where a single commission for custom content would be justified.
          It's also important to stress that we were committed to the idea; despite multiple recurring instances of "not enough bang for buck" being voiced, pressure to include additional marks was generally resisted. Sure, there's a handful of non-vicky shots you can get now, but, by the standards of previous SC games, even CR1, those feels more like a concession to the idea of having non-vicky rewards than ACTUAL non-vicky rewards. It should also be stressed that throughout that initial period, SC responded to quite a few of these comments with something to the effect "The game was designed with a REALLY BIG payout at the end; even if its not in the game yet, consider this before offering feedback on current pacing". I was among those that accepted that explanation (a lot didn't, btw) and moved on to discussing other ways in which the game could be enhanced. Personally, I want to say i respect how committed SC was to the design document he presented. With the benefit of hindsight though, if you gave me all of the S2S shoot w/o context and asked me "is this good enough to build an entire game around it", i think most people would have said no.

          Are you saying we should never have a game built around custom content again?
          This might come as a surprise, but no. Strictly speaking, the fundamentals of game design advocate building a very good core game first, before making/recording the audio-visual cinematic content to enhance the gameplay. Furthermore, games SHOULD be satisfying in and of itself, and not rely on the cinematic content to carry them, but with this as with the previous point, practice doesn't lend itself to that kind of luxury. Mixed signals?
          Let me put it this way; if the S2S shoot had
          1) Explicit content AND
          2) Zara tier acting
          S2S would have been fine. It's unlikely no one would have complained, but given most complaints are about these two things, that would be 90% of the complaints gone.
          However, if the S2S experience is anything to go by, Zara tier acting isn't something we can assume from your average adult model, and explicit content isn't quite that simple to source either. How to maximise value of future custom content is a discussion in and of itself, but part of the reason why i think we should have a strong supporting cast of "marks" to accompany our big one is to relieve performance pressure on the custom content payout.

          Comment


          • MaxDS
            MaxDS commented
            Editing a comment
            Please be prepared to copy paste this into a new thread when we get the feedback sub forum up.

            I'm going to agree here, it is my understanding that the model shoot is to supplement the game we design, not the other way around (otherwise, we should just get into the adult film business)

            My lofty goal for this is to be SoW lite, a set of models (cut and pasted out of magazines or coin pay sites) and perhaps one of them could be a custom model... And we'll tailor the script better... Also consider a model and a separate voice actor. This way we can get a better shot at explicit content without trying to cover all the bases.

          • Le_Wang
            Le_Wang commented
            Editing a comment
            I hear ya; would have put in a feedback thread if i didn't feel it was immediately relevant to the upcoming title

          • Selectacorp
            Selectacorp commented
            Editing a comment
            The food is terrible-- and such small portions! This was my tale on the feedback for S2S (weird why we're flogging this here but...). Better acting please! Fair enuf. Noted. Lessons learned. Mea culpa etc.

            As far as S2S, and custom content in general, I admit the very concept of commissioning custom content was something I always felt would really differentiate the experience-- and the ability of patrons to make the key casting call was also something fans loved. Was it cart before the horse? Sure-- LW is right. If the idea isn't there, the best talent can't pull it off. But SOTU was built on the key idea-- of personally conquering the haughty Premier and it personified that conflict in a pleasing way. S2S was even more dependent on that structure and, based on trends, it has been the most successful SC effort yet.

          #8
          Double Post (for commenting convenience - topic is different)

          Following up on Jefferson 's post

          To add context to the Abrahamic vs. Christian faith argument; We want to our "church' to be less "Church of Jesus Christ of latter-day Saints" and more "Witnesses of Jehovah". I'd go further; don't put the burden of "creating the religion" on the PC himself, and take advantage of American history; even today, there exists, within the bible belt, many small semi-modern settlements that very... exotic interpretations of the bible. Regardless of w/e or not the PC is explicitly religious, i think it's much more expedient for him to stumble on a small community of slightly loony religious types with a very unique take on abrahamic religion. This idea has a lot of merit

          1) Makes your christian audience feel less bad about the whole thing
          Let's not kid ourselves here, despite being a guilty pleasure for a lot of people, but it's still going to rub quite a few people the wrong way if the ACTUAL BIBLE was referenced to justify acts of sexual debauchery in this day and age. If instead, you're dealing with a bunch of semi-crazy cultists to begin with, most of that tension evaporates, leaving only the nun-sploitation fantasy (also lets you get away with having nuns (gen. catholic) AND pastoral (gen. charismatic revival era) types in the same game w/o seeming inconsistent.

          2) It fits w/e narrative space the player wants to inhabit
          Some players might want to go full power trip and rewrite the word of god, but others might see themselves more as opportunistic con artists (hence the reason why i think we should give players the option to customize their PC in that regard). In the latter case, it might make sense for the PC himself to "write" the holy text, but in the former instance, the PC going that far might not fit the fantasy.

          3) It's more expedient in general
          Going with the premise of a pre-existing/slightly cooky hillbilly religion gives us a lot of narrative space; we can come with "faux" religious events, a "holy text" full of plot holes we can conveniently exploit (you know, as opposed to fishing for inconsistencies in the actual bible).

          4) It's easier to suspend disbelief
          Even though it's disturbingly easy to see how often people pull this off in practice, most people struggle to understand how a "fake" religion (or a flawed interpretation of a real one) created by a single man in the space of a few years can gain any followers. However, give them a "wickerman" (See the Wicker Man, featuring Nick Cage) village where people already buy into neo-pagan/pseudo-christian bullshit, and all of a sudden, it's very believable that these crazy lunatics could, at length, be turned into crazy lunatics of a different flavor.
          P/S: It occurs to me that we could actually go full darkside AND go down the Wicker Man route i.e. if you don't beat the game within the time limit, a cabal of cultists sacrifice you to the dark gods. Which would also introduce the "dark cultist leader" as a potential antagonist, perhaps even THE main antagonist https://s-media-cache-ak0.pinimg.com...fcb1fcb373.jpg

          5) Moral ambiguity
          I think that, unlike previous SC games, where we were clearly "bad guys", i think this is the kind of story that really would benefit a lot from having less clear lines; yes, you're out to score some tail and impose patriarchal values on these people by using their faith against them, but if they are a mass murder incident waiting to happen...

          Comment


          • Le_Wang
            Le_Wang commented
            Editing a comment
            I think we should strive to accommodate different origin stories for the PC; I can see three major storylines, all of which can be potentially be executed within the same game

            If you're up against a village of cultists

            Your origin stories can be

            1) A true believer (of his own take on conservative, Patriarchal Christianity) here to bring these misguided fools back to the "true faith". Fight fire with fire
            2) A doctor with questionable ethics. The knowledge is power/might makes right guy. Enlighten these misguided fools WITH SCIENCE.
            3) The business man (possibly from SC, but there's some prime real estate development to be had here, and these religious nuts are in the way). Corrode faith the faith of these misguided fools the power of Greenbacks.

          • Jefferson
            Jefferson commented
            Editing a comment
            @Le-Wang said - "3) The business man (possibly from SC, but there's some prime real estate development to be had here, and these religious nuts are in the way). Corrode faith the faith of these misguided fools the power of Greenbacks."

            Make the organization that opposes female founded, led, and dominated. It would be like enslaving the idiot mothers of the local PTA, long a fantasy of any teacher who has had to deal with those ...people.

          • Le_Wang
            Le_Wang commented
            Editing a comment
            I think we're beginning to go places with this idea; The location can be a matriarchal commune of sorts, dominated interlinked groups
            1) a peculiar pseudo-christian/neo-pagan cult (the darker side of this religion)
            2) the local convent-school/village hall, run by nuns and well-to-do matrons (The PTA angle)
            3) the "land duchess"; the old blood of the village, big landowners and what not, currently run by a rich southern belle heiress (The bible belt/ranch fantasy)

            Edit: I'm also beginning to see the beginnings of a potential game system; a tri-resource system of sorts where you need to gather and expend resources to make certain action types
            1. Faith (represents your religious goodwill/persuasiveness/understanding of the local religion)
            2. Reason (represents your ability to challenge/undermine local beliefs through subterfuge and intellectual means)
            3. Wealth (represents your ability to just buy certain desired outcomes; e.g you can "buy out" local law enforcement by way of a bribe, paying them to remove, say, some of the Cult's muscle)

          #9
          So I think we're (maybe) headed down the same road. First, my thinking on what constitutes the basis for the cult. Most of what has been mentioned here is Elmer Gantry-- a huckster who is using religion to score and make a buck. What you may be forgetting is that this trophe is based on an earlier time when the presumption of Christian belief was what underscored and made it useful as a justification for getting whatever you want. I contend this is no longer feasible. 90% of the fans wouldn't buy off on it-- it has lost its imaginative power. This is also the segue tho: for when man believes in nothing, he will believe in anything.

          That's why I'd stay away from normative Christian orientation. I had thought of giving the player a choice of the following: transhumanism, neo-digital (matrix-y), satanic, gnostic and a trad christian ('Old Testament). Each would have a number of beliefs that would be revealed via visions and each would have different beginning strengths/weaknesses. OK-- this is where LW has issues. Here's my thinking: without tenets, you have nothing to convert followers with. You need them and I would use them as a way to 'discover' beliefs that are self-serving and have real world consequences. Here's how it might work: you ask for a vision, for which you spend Faith. Depending on various, you receive said wisdom. One vision is the "Pleasure Principle" and once received, you may implement it as a Cult Tenet which then allows for prostituting your followers for financial gain. Successive 'visions' would permit player to build out the public beliefs (and private 'secret rites' type application which would be more self serving in nature, unlocking everything from polygamy to human sacrifice).

          I'm seeing your resource system the same way LW-- I have Faith, Charisma, Influence and Wealth. You'd start broke and only able to influence the most marginal. You'd begin by converting the dregs, then look to setting up a presence in increasingly affluent areas and exchanging your lower status followers for more desirable ones in order to become 'respectable' and achieve acceptance.

          The issue as always is how to merge a strategic level with a more intimate one. I like your archetypes and do think they would fit in a setting like this. I'm thinking these can be brought to life via mini-quests and by commissioned voice overs. We could go with an ExtraLunchMoney.com type webcam model who could be commissioned to do a short photo/vid/voice over gig to 'flesh out' this encounter in an affordable way. You could prolly do each one for $100. Not the talent the studio would provide but if tightly scripted enough, it might work.

          I'm still seeing a star model type as the Spirit Familiar who would effectively work for you throughout the game-- your guardian angel. Perhaps you've captured her somehow and she's reluctant (kind of like a rebellious "I love Genie" Barbara Eden type). tbh, I was thinking Ariel Anderssen might be perfect for this and what I was thinking of in turns of the 'vision' video might be Ariel performing the various Gorean slave positions to deliver the vision... http://wipipedia.org/index.php/Gorean_slave_positions). You'd get the explicit stuff with the ELM girls and get your classy acting and superior looks w/AA.

          Anyway I have more, in terms of the temporal campaign the player would wage as well as different win paths, but this is some of what I've been mentally modeling... thots pls!
          Always working behind the scenes

          Comment


          • Jefferson
            Jefferson commented
            Editing a comment
            We don't need much of an undercurrent of Christianity - America has had multiple Great Awakenings. Our 'Man in Mungoville" could help tp spearhead another.

            https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Great_Awakening

          • Selectacorp
            Selectacorp commented
            Editing a comment
            Agreed-- and we are ready for the 4th Turning. That's why I did add in a trad Christian starting option

          #10
          Originally posted by Selectacorp View Post
          So I think we're (maybe) headed down the same road. First, my thinking on what constitutes the basis for the cult. Most of what has been mentioned here is Elmer Gantry-- a huckster who is using religion to score and make a buck. What you may be forgetting is that this trophe is based on an earlier time when the presumption of Christian belief was what underscored and made it useful as a justification for getting whatever you want. I contend this is no longer feasible. 90% of the fans wouldn't buy off on it-- it has lost its imaginative power. This is also the segue tho: for when man believes in nothing, he will believe in anything.
          My proposal here was to move away from the PC providing the basis for the cult, but the "cult" being a pre-existing thing in the game world. The player would then have the opportunity to interact with, re-interprete, and reshape the beliefs of that "religion" and its followers. This is a significant mechanical and narrative departure, because it allows us to
          1. Set the stage for the NPCs in the game world
          2. Introduce clear structural weaknesses to be exploited
          3. This allows us to have a PC that is not narrowly defined, which opens up a broader spectrum of RP choices.
          Edit: Possible spin - The community in question is undergoing a crisis of faith; The founder of the local religion died, and was posthumously revealed to be a fraud.

          Originally posted by Selectacorp View Post
          That's why I'd stay away from normative Christian orientation. I had thought of giving the player a choice of the following: transhumanism, neo-digital (matrix-y), satanic, gnostic and a trad christian ('Old Testament). Each would have a number of beliefs that would be revealed via visions and each would have different beginning strengths/weaknesses. OK-- this is where LW has issues. Here's my thinking: without tenets, you have nothing to convert followers with. You need them and I would use them as a way to 'discover' beliefs that are self-serving and have real world consequences. Here's how it might work: you ask for a vision, for which you spend Faith. Depending on various, you receive said wisdom. One vision is the "Pleasure Principle" and once received, you may implement it as a Cult Tenet which then allows for prostituting your followers for financial gain. Successive 'visions' would permit player to build out the public beliefs (and private 'secret rites' type application which would be more self serving in nature, unlocking everything from polygamy to human sacrifice).
          I don't have a problem with the idea of there being tenets in the game; from a mechanical standpoint, this is merely a different way of passing major policy decisions in previous SC games.
          What i do have an issue with is
          1) the player having to commit to any one of these tenets from the get go; i imagine a lot of people will want to embrace the religious persona, but i can also see people who want to RP as a more cynical type who only "professes belief" in tenets only as and when it is expedient. Forcing everyone into the religious/semi-religious basket doesn't feel smart or even narratively necessary. If you look at successful preachers, not all of them explicitly religious either; The dalai lama, for example, is a very down to earth figure who relies far more on his quiet confidence and personal charisma to communicate; by constrast, many prominent American pastors persuade by wearing their faith on their sleeves; others still, like Robin Sharma, rely more on traditional oratory skills to shape the views of people around them. I don't see why we shouldn't give players the opportunity to play out w/e of these fantasies they prefer.
          2) A lot of players will want to play "build your own religion", picking and choosing their "favorite" features from different religion types; pigeon holing them into any one of them doesn't seem to offer any real advantages besides forcing people to replay the game multiple times, and still not being able to quite custom build their perfect religion (which giving them the option of building their own religion using a limited pool of points across all options would achieve anyway)
          3) I generally dislike the idea of giving explicit names to the religious "tenet types"; this limits design space, and forces us to make value judgements as to what consitutes say, gnostic belief, but not a satanic one? For example, is the ritual sacrifice of livestock satanic? That's a legitimate part of many modern non-christian religions (Islam practices the ritual slaughter of a bull on Bakreed, for example, and that's an abrahamic religion right there).
          I think these should be more abstractly defined to allow us to fit in things more freely. Also of note: we balk at the thought of antagonizing christians outright, but Atheists are one of the biggest "religious" groups in the world (well non-religious). More than half of chinese (who make up a big chunk of global population) identify as atheists, 1/4 of europeans... statistically, there's a pretty high chance the lambda player will have atheistic sensibilities. As such picking concepts associated with it (humanism, Gnosticism) just feels iffy. Also, things like humanism feel a bit... off. Humanism itself it associated with the Christian reformation in the 1800s, while trans-humanism captures refers the post WWII era, even though people like Camus are generally termed as humanists, not trans-humanists... yeah, it just feels very iffy.
          4) I think there's just too many tenet possibilities right now; it's difficult to make 1 good progression tree, and we're proposing to make 5 as a starting point; that's just asking for trouble.
          Proposal: A diablo 2 like progression tree where you can spend your points across 3 different "skill trees" . In context, i think possible labels could be
          1) Modern (Includes your trans-humanist/capitalist/post WWII beliefs)
          2) Pagan (your "satanic" things. Also includes your old greek beliefs; epicureanism, cult of venus, etc)
          3) Traditional (Patriarchal beliefs with abrahamic flair)
          Having points in the right places will determine what policies you can, and cannot pass.
          Note: This "tree" will represent the beliefs of the target society, rather than the player's personal belief i.e. if you pass "Pleasure society" that means you've convinced a significant part of the community to adhere to one thing or the other. Whether or not the player himself believes in these things is narratively up to them.
          This will also allow us to potentially create different starting scenarios; A pagan cult/ a monastery retreat/a devout community, mechanically distinguished by the number of pre-allocated points in each tree
          .
          Edit: Something that can help differentiate one playthrough from another in a system where you can "pick and choose" across multiple trees is the idea of a "keystone" tenet in each tree; only one of these can be active. i.e. the player can mix and match up to a point, but has to commit to one or other if they want the REALLY juicy/win conditiony stuff. The keystone doesn't have to be the end-point, either, and instead serve as gate-keeper to some of the crazier stuff.
          E.g. Traditional Tree Keystone: Divine Rule
          This also adds layers to the system; it makes sense that you would be able to convince people of something like this because there are forces within the society which will actively benefit from this, and happily ally with you to make it happen. In this case, the "church" seizing on your "christ's vicar on earth" proselytizing as a way to seize power over the entire community for their own leader... which you may or may not happen to control.
          E.g. Possible branch out of Pagan Tree Keystone: Mouthpiece of the Gods
          Institute an Oracle of Delphi like figure; A poor girl (possibly the local religious leader, wink) is put into a drug/sex induced comatose who spouts prophetic words (which you may or may not be dictating to her)

          Originally posted by Selectacorp View Post
          I'm seeing your resource system the same way LW-- I have Faith, Charisma, Influence and Wealth. You'd start broke and only able to influence the most marginal. You'd begin by converting the dregs, then look to setting up a presence in increasingly affluent areas and exchanging your lower status followers for more desirable ones in order to become 'respectable' and achieve acceptance.
          I'm assuming one of these 4 resources represents your "number of actions/turn" and/or "your current level of control in the society" (influence, probably?) and is a "passive" resource in that sense. Otherwise, i honestly thing 4 resources is on the high side from a resource management standpoint. There's a reason why Starcraft, one of the best strategy games of all time, has only two resources to manage, while titles with less and more have all but been forgotten.
          More to the point, each resource point should do something distinctive, rather than just gating access to cool shit behind points
          1. Faith: used to purchase tenet points and cause large structural changes in the community
          2. Charisma: used to persuade individuals to support you in various ways
          3. Wealth: used to acquire more tools, opening up new possibilities (e.g. buying a plot of land so you are admitted to land-owner's club)

          Note: This in turn allows us to differentiate character creation;
          If you pick a religious type as your background, you could 1) Start with more faith and/or generate faith every turn and/or progression allows you to generate more faith
          If you pick a oratorial (an ex-lawyer-politician, THE TRUE FACE OF THE HUMAN DEMON, lawl) type as your background, same goes for charisma
          If you pick a wealthy investor, same goes for wealth



          Originally posted by Selectacorp View Post
          The issue as always is how to merge a strategic level with a more intimate one. I like your archetypes and do think they would fit in a setting like this. I'm thinking these can be brought to life via mini-quests and by commissioned voice overs. We could go with an ExtraLunchMoney.com type webcam model who could be commissioned to do a short photo/vid/voice over gig to 'flesh out' this encounter in an affordable way. You could prolly do each one for $100. Not the talent the studio would provide but if tightly scripted enough, it might work.

          I'm still seeing a star model type as the Spirit Familiar who would effectively work for you throughout the game-- your guardian angel. Perhaps you've captured her somehow and she's reluctant (kind of like a rebellious "I love Genie" Barbara Eden type). tbh, I was thinking Ariel Anderssen might be perfect for this and what I was thinking of in turns of the 'vision' video might be Ariel performing the various Gorean slave positions to deliver the vision... http://wipipedia.org/index.php/Gorean_slave_positions). You'd get the explicit stuff with the ELM girls and get your classy acting and superior looks w/AA.
          Pursuant to what i discussed before, i think what makes sense is to have a conquest game of sorts, but to have NPC "pages" the players can interact with in the CR style; Here's the local monastery - there's this many people in here, X of which are marks, and this is how much control you have over each of them. When you click on these NPCs, you are given a pool of possible choices, out of which some will only be selectable if you've acquired certain tenets/have the relevant amount of charisma/have the right tools. Completing each one of these will treat people to a small narrative blurp, which may or may not be voice acted.
          On the subject of a "guardian angel"... i'm not feeling it tbh. To be more accurate, it feels a lot like Vicky. Needs a lot of resources to be done right, even with resources, not sure if we'll get someone who can do it right, expensive piece of commissioned content that isn't related to the core game itself... Also, is this level of "fantasy" really justified? SC fantasy received <5% of popular votes last time; i don't really see this slide towards explicitly "magical" things justified. Also, i can totally see an "oracular mouthpiece" as a thing you could potentially acquire in the course of the game; it would make sense in fiction, and the fact that it happens later in the game would free us to commit less commissioned content to it. Having a guardian angel from the get go... again, this forces the player into a narrative space that he doesn't have to inhabit unless he wants to.


          Originally posted by Selectacorp View Post
          Anyway I have more, in terms of the temporal campaign the player would wage as well as different win paths, but this is some of what I've been mentally modeling... thots pls!
          In terms of progression, i like the idea of there being 3 centers of influence to attack and gain progressive control of. I think that "tiers" of control make sense, again, i'm using three as the magic number; Tier 1 is you have a say in what this center of power does, Tier 2 is access to the higher ups, Tier 3 is effective absolute control of the organisation. A possible win condition would be acquiring Tier 3 control of any one of these organisations; a more challenging win condition would be to have one of them at Tier 1, one at Tier 2, and another at Tier 3. Again, this is a system that allows the player to dynamically adjust the difficulty, a standard that we've gone out of our way to set in S2S AND SotU.

          To define these centers of power in broader terms
          1) The seat of the local religion itself. End-game being the spiritual leader of the community.
          2) The governing institution (Small communities often have all administrative and civic units packed into a single building. Controlling that, essentially). End-game being the mayor and/or the power behind the mayor (more interesting, i think, that mayor's wife has him by the balls, and that's the person you want to control)
          3) The lay-people and their leaders (The local ranch/agricultural thingamabob/bee farmers (wink)). Essentially, the bread-basket for the community. End-game would be control of major income earner for the entire community (i.e. becoming the owner/controlling the owner of said production unit).
          Edit: Having these powers jousting for power on a turn to turn basis can also be interesting, and a nice spin on our "dynamic world" system from SotU and S2S that doesn't involve the player getting cucked each turn (which frankly, gets old pretty quickly; in fact, we should probably break from that; if i was someone playing SC games, i'd go into the next title thinking "wait, something's happening at the end of turn? Can't wait to see how SC fucks me over in this game).

          Comment


            #11
            so various...

            You're seeing this as a subversion of an existing religious order-- I was seeing it as more of an open sandbox within a society where you are free forming it. No dramas-- but would an open world seem more inviting? I'm seeing a geography based map; are you seeing an org chart?

            I only suggest a cult 'type' for flavour to get the player started; not as a constrictive fit. My instinct is that players would like a starting point if only as a reference point they identify with. As for the comparative religious stuff, again, I'm not making judgements, merely suggesting some hand grips for players to latch on to-- not unheard of.

            As for the tenets, yes-- these are similar to policies/laws/etc that frame the personal narrative you want. Do you pursue tech tree like or do they appear to you randomly or a choice (maybe 3 pop up and you must focus on 1 to be revealed?). I don't see different tenets for different trees-- too complicated (maybe there are exceptions but not many)

            Yes, I see the character creation roughly as you outline. Same characteristics would also apply to NPCs (ie. a high charisma for a female NPC would be indicative of sexual market value and this have implications for how to use that NPC ingame-- I'd also see a graduated level of control-- say unbeliever/convert/initiate/adept to indicate level of player control and unlocking options)

            Yes, I see mini-game interactions particular to each NPC as you've suggested. I think these would be dependent on level of control, player stats and specifics to that NPC.

            As for the Guardian Angel, it isn't fantasy in the sense you're envisioning but I get your point. Angels and super/preternatural beings are pretty prevalent throughout history and religious experiences. I thought this would be a transgressive (and fun) way of incorporating that. It is a way of adding an engaging 'reward'. I'm not married to it but I do think it would give the game that much more personality.

            I think the endings would necessarily be open ended. There would be linear paths like you've suggested (though in my mind, the setting is less beekeeperish and farmy than almost abandoned rural areas on the outskirts (think True Detective S1) to neo noir nightmare cityscapes on the other, all inhabited by NPCs that would vary in social status etc.

            Overall, I'm thinking classic cult types/personalities that are broadly familiar, considering their techniques/history and then setting up a sandbox (w/setting, rules, etc) where the player gets to enjoy the amoral, self righteous or down right evil type they want to laps as in game. One thing that makes this especially appealing is how when successful, a cult can shoot from obscurity to historical infamy (see Manson Family, Scientology) by manipulating the darker elements they see but others don't (again True Detective, Aquarius, etc). That is what is informing my private perspective because tapping into all that is more interesting than serially humiliating the sunday school teacher alone. Do that too if you like, but that is secondary and in the framework of the journey. Ultimately, S2S isn't about demoting Vicky-- it is about ascending the ladder. Vicky as reward is symbolic, but a nice symbol nevertheless. But if it was simply about being mean to Vicky it wouldn't work. Why am I bringing this up? Because, balance is the key. Balancing the mission with the reward is always the hat trick here. Context is crucial; otherwise it is just a clicker to see a NPC shake her tits.
            Always working behind the scenes

            Comment


              #12
              Originally posted by Selectacorp View Post
              so various...
              You're seeing this as a subversion of an existing religious order-- I was seeing it as more of an open sandbox within a society where you are free forming it. No dramas-- but would an open world seem more inviting? I'm seeing a geography based map; are you seeing an org chart?
              What you are seeing is something that sounds a lot like "State of the Church". No drama here either, it's normal to gravitate towards and repurpose older concepts. Issue is, a lot of people have been asking for smaller scale in future games, and S2S imo, kind of cheats in that regard; it's a large scale game with a lot of clickable stuff that obfuscates the fact by having a singular prize... (something something, beating a dead horse, something something). Point is the open world approach you are proposing is definitely A way to execute the idea. It's even a GOOD way to execute the concept. However, it's going in a direction that a lot of people voted against, including patreons. This is not to say that no one wants an open-ended title; While it's hard to tell what Church was about (thanks max XP), it did state something more SoW-ish somewhere in there, but it also sold itself as a tighter experience as well.
              As such, the reason why we shouldn't do it open world is because the likely result is a SotU clone, when people have generally expressed a desire to return to the ML/CR era of game design.

              Originally posted by Selectacorp View Post
              I only suggest a cult 'type' for flavour to get the player started; not as a constrictive fit. My instinct is that players would like a starting point if only as a reference point they identify with. As for the comparative religious stuff, again, I'm not making judgements, merely suggesting some hand grips for players to latch on to-- not unheard of.
              Not unheard of in game design, but most games aren't about religion either. No drama. You suggested a number of hand grips. I think the handgrips you suggested are not good ones for the reasons i mentioned. Not that we shouldn't have handgrips at all.

              Originally posted by Selectacorp View Post
              As for the tenets, yes-- these are similar to policies/laws/etc that frame the personal narrative you want. Do you pursue tech tree like or do they appear to you randomly or a choice (maybe 3 pop up and you must focus on 1 to be revealed?). I don't see different tenets for different trees-- too complicated (maybe there are exceptions but not many)
              i'll propose a tentative "tech tree" of sorts that we can have a look at and talk over in a bit.

              Originally posted by Selectacorp View Post
              As for the Guardian Angel, it isn't fantasy in the sense you're envisioning but I get your point. Angels and super/preternatural beings are pretty prevalent throughout history and religious experiences. I thought this would be a transgressive (and fun) way of incorporating that. It is a way of adding an engaging 'reward'. I'm not married to it but I do think it would give the game that much more personality.
              My point was more about "didn't we just get burnt pinning a sizeable chunk of the gameplay feedback on the performance of a single actress?" Are we SURE we want to do that again?

              Originally posted by Selectacorp View Post
              I think the endings would necessarily be open ended.
              I'm not arguing for narrower endings; I think S2S set a standard in branches we should keep. However, i do think there should be a number of "core" endings the game is built around, with the players being given the opportunity to customize parts of it through their choices (the fate of certain specific NPCs, for example).

              Originally posted by Selectacorp View Post
              There would be linear paths like you've suggested (though in my mind, the setting is less beekeeperish and farmy than almost abandoned rural areas on the outskirts (think True Detective S1) to neo noir nightmare cityscapes on the other, all inhabited by NPCs that would vary in social status etc.
              As a reminder; the proposal Max made explicitly involved someone moving from town to town in rural america with a cutesy/hillbilly-ish tent-revival story. Failure state is dodging the fuzz. It's hard to execute in practice, so i'm proposing we have a singular, well-fleshed out town, rather force spread out the same amount of content across multiple towns narratively. Failure state here would be failing to win takeover before you outstay your welcome. I will admit this is a departure from the base proposal, however i feel it's still thematically consistent with the proposal.
              What that proposal doesn't make me think, however, is "neo noir nightmare cityscapes". You know what makes me think about neo noir nightmare cityscapes though? State of the Union.

              Originally posted by Selectacorp View Post
              Balancing the mission with the reward is always the hat trick here. Context is crucial; otherwise it is just a clicker to see a NPC shake her tits.
              Balancing reward vs. mission is why i'm arguing for a less explicitly open ended game. That balancing act is THAT much harder to hit when you're dealing with a game of that scale. I know a lot of people like SotU, but I also know a good deal of people had issues with it (balancing scale vs. intimacy is an often mentioned one). Personally, the game failed the balancing act for me, a great deal of which was related to the fact that premier neuman didn't do it for me; as such, the game very quickly came down to clicking on NPC to shake her tits. Actually, not even that; i played the game because it was... a good game. Period. It was a well-put together adult-themed single player board game. It did not balance meet that magical balance point, but i still enjoyed it on the pure merit of the gameplay itself. That's something that can't be understated about CR either; a lot of people enjoyed the "solving rubick's cube" part in a off itself.

              Comment


                #13
                I got the slight impression that people looking at rotating the intimate types (CR/ML) with the open world games like SOTU. I think the building a wider religion in a State of the Union game would be a lot of fun, would be my preferred option for this theme, but Max’s proposal did seem like a (smaller) open world where one has to flee the law from an area while trying to gather as many ladies/cash/influence as one can before going to next, then the next, not really winning an area over. So not a CR type game.

                I’m not sure how, even with a smaller open world, to get a great deal intimacy as one is spending a lot of time in a wide world so having less time to develop relationships. CR has you (mostly) in one place where everyone knows each other including your main target and can turn on each other, you got to know everyone and build relations. ML has your three targets in your life daily so you were really concentrated on them. Maybe (with having to leave an area for a time if law rating goes up too high) a select (say three) number of areas that do a CR where everyone knows each other, build relations, can be turned on each other and there is one “target” female in each and can only get one target per timed game. With certain tenants of your faith helping favour one group but annoying the other. Whether that would too far different from the initial proposal though?

                UK perspective: I had to look up Elmer Gantry but the US and it's fiery southern preachers are well known here as here it having many branches of Christianity so here the idea would be understood. Not sure how much it is known in wider word

                I was going to suggest for female lead/option, a fellow religious con-artist who one could discredit//silence/wow into believing your religion but we seem to be moving away from player being a con-artist by default so female I imagine needs to be someone who suits all starting options. Or one per area.

                Guardian angel/vision figure/assistant: If one is constantly battling to win favour with areas/escape law, not sure how much time one would get to explore your assisting lady who would be your lead prize. Something mystical would only work for religious+believes in the mystical aspects (and would need to be clear one is going for that) rather then the con-artists or the professional agents seeking to clean up

                Religion: Perhaps go somewhat in future where the churches have declined (for various reasons like scandal, lack of priests, corruption) even further, pulling out of the area we are on or is barely hanging on if need it as an opponent. However people, for some reason (rise of AI and technology taking jobs and changing society?) are in need of religion and the churches of old don’t fill that need so there are gaps that believers/con-artists are trying to fill. Some go for the new radical age, some go for the satanic in a rebellion against society, some go back to the past of hellfire and brimstone to restore what once was (traditional) and so and so on so you can fit the person/group into relevant archetype. Maybe one preset religion for people to get the idea but mostly select the type of person you are and then create your own religion (with some starting options?) with options/tech tree to supplement and build during the game. If religious, can be through visions, if not could be through reading, a situation arising that needs a theological answer, could be through “realizing the people need something more”.
                Last edited by mackaie; 03-15-2017, 02:13 PM. Reason: format

                Comment


                  #14
                  I think we're deviating very far from the original concept, a SoW styled game (lots of women) with a religious flair (whee). But as I scan through the concepts being tossed around (rpg, sotu remake), I'm wondering if we're trying to go too big with the concept?

                  I'll read through a little more thoroughly in a few hours (it's stupid o' clock work time) and try to sift it all out (you guys love to stream of consciousness once it gets going)
                  #CufflinksForever



                  Avatar: Kloe Kane

                  Comment


                    #15
                    Here's my intro story:

                    Selectacorp has been operating on the fringes for a long time, and with hackers, international journalists and various intelligence groups on its tail, it's becoming harder and harder to stay in the shadows. You are a Selectacorp operative who has hit upon an idea to take Selectacorp mainstream, to create a voluntary, legal and profitable supply chian for Selectacorp without the need for complicated acquisition and cover-up processes. Religion is the opiate of the people, and very appealing in this uncertain and consumerist world. Plus, it's very easy to pull the plug if the operation goes south; who will take notice of another washed up religious nutjob? You are given some initial resources, and must take your modest small town church with its door-to-door preacher and transform it into an international megachurch patronized by the political elite and super rich. Think tele-evangelism meets Scientology meets Hare Krishna with a touch of Islam.

                    State of the Union was a very macro game. My idea for Church is that the player character is still the fundamental chess piece. Unlike Mysteria Lane and Suits to Skirts, you aren't a loser propped up by the invisible hand of the Corporation; you are the real deal, a charismatic demagogue and an attractive ladies' man (or at least you'll build yourself up to there). You'll make appearances across the map, delivering sermons and recruiting Tom Cruise, I mean believers. Your message will be women submitting themselves in every way to men, and you'll acquire both male and female followers. Your church will take over the private lives of its flock; with spy cameras, a system of informants, chastity belts and spanking confessionals. You'll fix marriages with recalcitrant wives and reassure parents that their darling daughters are safe from corrupting influences. That'll get the common folk on your side. You'll eventually drive the fiercely feminist and independent female politicians into your arms and the arms of their husbands and fathers. Your time is limited, and you have to decide whether to spread out wide and increase your influence, or dig deep and enjoy the little intimacies in your, I mean god's kingdom.

                    I've got the feel of this much better in my head than the mechanics, which is something I suspect of those pitching this concept as well. But something could be made of this.

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