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Amablue

An idea I've had in my head for a while now. Tell me what you think

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Amablue    128
Be warned: This will be a long post. A cookie to anyone who reads the whole thing. I need to learn to summarize better. Towards the end I started condensing stuff because I felt I was writing too much. A lot of the plot points could actually be given out over the course of more than one level or scene. And the order of events can always be changed. Also, before I begin, I want to point out that I haven't decided any names yet, so I'm just going to use placeholder names for now. I like to put a lot of thought into finding the right name for my characters. The basic gameplay would be as follows: The camera would follow your character 3rd person style. You would simply navigate buildings and accomplish your objectives as the story progresses. similar in style to Devil May Cry basically. However, this isn't a thread about the finer points of the gameplay mechanics, I just want you to know what kind of game it is. The game starts off with what appears to be a command line with some programs being executed. Something called the "Personality Layer" is being uploaded. A second later the process halts right as the "Memory Layer" starts. The scene cuts to a first person view of someone waking up. Your eyes open and you are in some sort of lab with mechanical parts, desks, white boards, etc., and some very very worried looking engineers and scientists. You hear a voice in your head telling you to remain calm, and to not hurt any of the people in the room, as they are all civilians and pose no threat. However, he urges you to leave. At this point you realize that you're not a human, you're a humanoid robot. Your design is simple, sort of like a slender skeletal person. Think General Grevious from Star Wars, but less evil looking and no organic parts. Once outside in the hall you're confronted by military personnel. The voice tells you you should leave the facility you're in, and directs you out. You fight your way through various halls and floors, eventually reaching the outside. You escape into a nearby forest where you are led by some smaller robots to a safe location. There you meet the voice that's been directing you out: It's a small computer with a wireless signal. The robot that led you here was hacked and reprogrammed by the laptop, which actually has the mind of the former project leader, Dr. Smith. He explains to you his story: He [Dr. Smith] was a neuroscientist studying the mind and ways to interface directly with computers. His research led to a method to 'upload' portions of ones brain to a special device. He intended for the device to be used to help people with brain damage or memory problems, and to prolong the life of the brain. It was late in his life when he got a working prototype though, and so by the time it was functional he wasn't going to live much longer. The military began funding his research with ideas for military applications, and after his death they completely took over the project. However, fearing the military's intentions with his technology, one of the last things he did before he died was to have his own brain uploaded to a computer by an assistant in secret. Since then he's been monitoring their activity (since he died, the military never bothered removing his account from their computers and so he still has limited access to their files through the computer). Dr. Smith then explains how this relates to you. He doesn't know much about you, other than that you are someone else who's mind was uploaded with the same technology. They were designing androids to be used in place of people in combat. He figures that they used your mind as a template, and they've been conditioning you to be a warrior. Smith thought it was unfair for them to simply copy and paste your brain into hundreds of android bodies without being fully aware of the consequences. He was trying to upload your original mind into a prototype android body so that you could come meet him, but they caught Smith hacking the system and shut him down right after the consciousness ("Personality Layer") was added, and none of his memories were saved effectively giving you a blank slate of memories. Still very confused, you resolve to regain your memories before deciding what to do next. You're given a map of the facility leading to a lab where they've kept some portions of your mind on backup for study. The next level of the game is getting to and from this location. When you arrive in the lab you hook up to a computer and download the memories. You have a flashback: You were in the military. It appears to be Navy, or Airforce, you can't tell. It's not important. You have scattered memories of a woman, and a kid. Your family maybe? You might have been married. Whoever this woman is you want to find out more, but you just can't recall anything about her. Something happened when you were in the military, some sort of accident. The memories you recover are very fragmented and scattered. Reinforcements begin to arrive, so you fight your way out, back to the forest outside the facility. Smith contacts you telling you that he got access to some drivers for equipment installed on you (You've got fully functional hardware, but not all the drivers to run it. Downloading drivers is going to be the method to learn to skills and activate new weapons in the game). You can now use a cloaking device that will cloak you from radar (but not sight), making your escape possible. Once back in a safe location you talk more with Dr. Smith. In talking with him you uncover a few more details you didn't realize you knew. You were signed up as an organ donor - That might explain where they got your brain from. You were married, and you did have a kid, but you can't remember anything about them. Dr. Smith tells you he located a repository where they're keeping lots of backups, and more memories are there. You make your way to this second location, and now the military troops are expecting you and their focus is intensified. There will be a boss fight here where you have to face a replica of you, another prototype android with your mind, only this one has been psychologically conditioned to be a killer. you have to fight and defeat it, and you're left wondering whether defeating it is murder or suicide. Once you secure the room, you find a large lab with racks of computers. You connect to them and begin the memory download. You're flooded with memories of you as an android. They're all combat. You're an android, fighting other androids identical to you. It's like you're sparring, but you don't hold back, it's a fight to the death. And in combat, you are killed. Another memory is of you using various kinds of weaponry, and you get shot by someone else and die. Memory after memory of you dying again and again. Even the memory of you dying, just a minute ago - it had already been uploaded to the mainframe. This computer is where they were storing combat data. It was a database of how your predecessors died in combat for the purpose of improving battle algorithms. Back in the real world, a voice responds to you over the PA system. It refers to you by name. He identifies himself as the current project leader, and he says he wants to help. You have trouble believing him though because of the memories of you being killed repeatedly. In his talk to you he mentions something about this being your third attack on the facility (it's only the second, which also confuses you). He says he can help you, but you believe it's a trap. Since he obviously can make duplicates, you doubt he's sincere, and decide to once again flee the facility. They've been preparing for you though, and leaving isn't as easy as it was the last two times. You're tailed the whole time and can't lose them. To lose them you have to dive into the ocean (the facility happens to be close enough to the shore). They don't have boats ready to follow you, so you finally lose them. Immediately upon entering the water you have a flashback. You're human, and you're drowning. You're trapped in a room, underwater on a submarine or the lower deck of a boat. Your ship is sinking, and you're gasping for breath you can't hold it anymore, and you inhale, and drown. In your last moments you think of your wife and your life flashes before your eyes. You want to live right then, more than anything in the world. You eventually find your way back to the safe location where Dr. Smith is. He informs you that he's just been contacted by someone very interesting: Himself. When he was trying to find a secure place to broadcast from he had himself uploaded to the laptop and carried out by a maintenance bot but there was a problem during the upload, and the host computer that was uploading his mind incorrectly thought that the upload had failed, and thus not deleted the local copy of Dr. Smith's mind. The other Smith, it turns out, had decided to continue with his plan to activate a prototype android and let him decide his own fate. The other android did not have a complete set of memories either though, and had also infiltrated the facility to regain memories. That explains why the project leader mentioned a third break-in. The other important fact that he brings to your attention is that he has located a master backup that contains the full contents of you mind. You decide that you're going to go and retrieve your memories, and find your family – that's your driving force in this part of the game. The will to live. Something I forgot to point out: Dr. Smith and the alternate Dr. Smith re-merged upon learning of the duplication, it's now just one Dr. with the memories of both of them. Smith tells you that your other self also knows of the backups and intends to destroy them, and any remaining copies of himself. You find the place where the backups are, and do your thing. Break in through waves of armed guards, fight past security and all that stuff. You reach the place where the backups are supposed to be kept, and you find your other self here waiting for you. You fight each other, there is an epic battle, etc. This is supposed to be the last boss. You defeat him but do not destroy him. You link with him and download his memories into yourself. You see more memories from your life: More of your life with your family and friends, and then you going away on a military sub for a while, and something goes wrong. You start to sink and your drown, but you wake up in a hospital in a daze. You didn't die, but you're barely alive. You can see and hear, but at this point you can't comprehend what's going on (you can in hindsight, but that the time you were comatose). Your wife says her good byes, so does your son. You've apparently been here for a long time, and they've had time to cope with your death. They said good bye and they got their closure. They pull the plug on the machines (though the military scooped you back up before you died, and used your mind for their own military 'droids) You now understand why you were fighting to destroy yourself. Your life is over. It's been over. There's nothing to go back to now. Judging by how many memories of combat you have from being an android, you judge that it's been many many years since your family moved on. There's nothing for you to go back to now, and so you decide to end your life with dignity. You move into the last room, where the records are supposed to be kept. You don't find a room full of computers though, you find a room with what looks like a filing cabinet on the wall: the type you'd see in a morgue. You open the one that has your body. It's got machinery hooked up the the head and it's atrophied, and it's on all sorts of life support. Your original body is the master back up. You plug into it and get one last chance to relive your memories. Then you open the eyes or your real self, and with your original body (using the robot body as a crutch) deactivate the robot and turn off life support, and die. A cookie to you if you read that. That's the first time I ever put it down in words. It's been floating around in my mind for a while now and I needed to get it out. I skipped some plot points, and I only really explicitly named about three levels, but there would be more if this were to actually become a game. There'd also be more about your characters life, and I totally skipped a whole chunk explaining about how the memories can not be directly read by a computer, that they must be interpreted by his consciousness, so they have 'drugged up' versions of his mind in program form to act as a compatibility layer that allows them to read memories. I also left out some stuff about the new Project Lead. I haven't quite decided what to do with him. I want you to meed him at some point but I haven't worked that in, or decided what his role will be. EDIT: holywtf, this 'summary' is 3 pages single spaced according to MSWord. Sorry for the extremely huge post. >_<

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Elhrrah    148
This has potential, has some interesting parallels to second sight that intrigues me. Onward to questions.

Who? Do we learn the name of the VPC?

What? What are some of the details for things such as: VPCs range of facial expressions, voice, height, personality, et cetera.

When? Androids are directly connected with the future. But what time of year?

Where? I assume this is in America, but what region?

Why? What prompted the government to try this?

How? What sort of technology can be found? Weaponry, munitions, first aid, interfacing, communication, et cetera. Is the VPC (view point character) bashing around with gunpowder or ferromagnetic accelerators?

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JasRonq    156
I really like your idea here, its well thought out. I'm imagining Dues Ex sort of game play with philosophical overtones about conceptions of self, consciousness, and what it is to be alive. I'd definitely encourage a strong thought provoking bend to your story telling and dialogue. There are issues and ideas you can explore through this plot and story. It would make the difference between a big hit and just another FPS. Keep with it, you have something very good here to work from.

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Amablue    128
Quote:
Who? Do we learn the name of the VPC?


Yeah. I just haven't decided a name yet. I'm very careful with naming characters.

Quote:
What? What are some of the details for things such as: VPCs range of facial expressions, voice, height, personality, et cetera.


As a machine, the face of the robot body will have a smooth face. The goal is to make it seem emotionless. When you're fighting a computer, the cold emotionless precision is a good way to fake out your opponent. I remember reading about how a computer had beaten a chess champion (It might have been Deep Blue vs. Kasparov) where the human actually had a winning move, but because the computer was so powerful and showed now signs of fatigue he surrendered. That's the reason his face would show no emotions. There's need to be body language and inner monologue to convey his thoughts and emotions.

As a person I would need to come up with some more backstory. I hit the important bases above, but I want him to really be human. I haven't given too much thought to this though.

Quote:
When? Androids are directly connected with the future. But what time of year?


I haven't decided. Not too far in the future. No flying cars or anything. It doesn't matter a whole lot though, you're not going to see a very much of the outside world, mostly just the military base and facilities and the surrounding area, with some flashbacks to a suburban home and family.

Quote:
Why? What prompted the government to try this?


The government saw the potential to have an army consisting of machines that could be manufactured in massive amounts. Since they're humanoid, they could go any place a human could and more. If they were destroyed, there would be no loss of life as far as they're concerned (even though there is a human mind dying in there). With an army like that, they could wage war on anyone they want without as much public backlash since no one soldiers would have to die. It would also mean they'd be able to train and perfect every unit.

Quote:
How? What sort of technology can be found? Weaponry, munitions, first aid, interfacing, communication, et cetera. Is the VPC (view point character) bashing around with gunpowder or ferromagnetic accelerators?


The player character has a lot of built in weaponry like blades that can extend from various points of the body and energy weapons. He unlocks them through the course of the game with device drivers. Since he is a prototype, he's not installed with the drivers as a safety precaution, so that if he wakes up and is uncontrollable he won't be able to do too much damage.

I'm also trying to think of other ways to explore the ethical implications of being able to move your mind into a computer. With a computer its easy to copy and modify stuff. That's how they made replicas that are conditioned for battle. They removed certain memories, and put in memories of battle and training.

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speciesUnknown    527
That's a nice idea and a pretty good twist. However, personally I would not consider turning myself off. Instead, I would be after some revenge. This is the kind of game that needs multiple endings! You could resent the player with a clear choice in the last mission; chase somebody down and kill them, in which case ending A (you shut yourself off) or saving somebody in another part of the facility (ending b - you get your body back).

Also, in selling this to the general public, you might want to change the bit about device drivers. It might be better just to say you "don't have all the software" or something similar.

Also, in the case of the "flashbacks" I would keep them short, maybe 10 seconds. There are various mechanisms for ensuring that people watch your FMV's, my favourite being that you can skip them all, but they are accessible from the main menu after being unlocked. The contrast between flashbacks to the 20th century and a post-apocolyptic level theme would be quite deep, leaving questions in the players mind as to WTF happened.

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neutralguard    122
As a game, I agree. You'd probably want multiple endings.

However, as a story, the ending is perfect as it is. Tragedies always make for the best reads. I liked it. I was making fun of your story as I read it in the beginning, because it was a little bit Robocop, but toward the end, I felt it was more in-line with AI. Very good story. All self-aware robot stories should end with suicide.

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Quote:
Original post by neutralguard
All self-aware robot stories should end with suicide.


That's where the Project Leader comes in.

In the last room, he could come in alone and start discussing with the player what the project is, and its implications, etc. With some branching dialog choices, as well, as decisions made earlier on, you could have multiple (Silent Hill-ish) endings.

For example, one ending could be the one you described: he kills himself. In another ending, the main character destroys the entire facility. In another, he would relinquish his human self, take over the project and wreak all kinds of havoc. You know, something like that.

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Amablue    128
I really would prefer to have it end in his own death. The whole game's theme centers around his fear of death and trying desperately to escape death. It should end with him accepting that he already died and it's not something you can run away from.

I am toying with the idea of having different areas you can visit and collect different memories from his life in different orders which may affect the ending.

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GamerDude27    138
First of all I want my cookie! :)

Secondly, this is an amazing game idea. I can really imagine how the game would feel. The philosophical idea really intrigues me as I have always wondered about how it could play in the game. I honestly think this is one of the best FPS stories and concepts I have ever heard. Are there any plans to make it a reality or is it purely hypothetical?

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CitizenJames    108
i think you introduce the plan to create mass-produced clones of the main character too early in the story. the best thing to keep a story like this interesting is mystery. it will keep the player playing to find out what is going on. the epic scale and profound image of a hanger full of clones of yourself will surely surprise the player and hook them in for more story. its all about asking questions and answering the question only to be bombarded by 2 more questions. that is exactly what made the tv show, lost, so addicting. mystery. so i suggest developing the character more and allowing the player to develope a bond with the character before dropping a bomb like that. i have always wanted to work on a game like this! either art or concept design.., or my specialty, music scoring. oh yeah, you couldnt settle for anything less than a rich, full orchestral score that initiates self contemplation and inner thought. a danny elfman score would fit nice. pm me if you want to collab.

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