14 April, 2018

Revisiting an Old Nemesis

One of my white whale projects is called Apocalypse Diaries. The concept has generally revolved around a single player game, where the players literally buys a diary and writes entries in it day by day from the perspective of a fictional character. The entries they write form the basis of a story, where an iterative system provides writing prompts based on the previous things written while adding plot twists, benefits, complications, gradually developing the character and sometimes changing them as they respond to the events in the world.

It was always intended to play out in two phases... pre-apocalypse and apocalypse... surviving in a Machiavellian world where the highest stakes are loss of reputation, friends, wealth, or possessions, followed by surviving in a world going to hell, where literal life and death are on the line.

After the Catacomb Quest project, I'm thinking of revisiting the concept, perhaps running each phase of the game as a procedural engine in it's own Pocketmod.

The first part of the game would still revolve around a life balance of maintaining social status versus maintaining personal integrity. For this I'm thinking of a incorporating a sliding scale of independence, where a character may choose to identify themselves as one of the in-crowd, or may have quirks that mark them as different. Such quirks provide useful abilities when working independently, but make it harder to be accepted by the vapid and superficial inner circle who determine who has social prestige.

The second part of the game would still revolve around using the resources and friendships built up during the first part of the game. Watching them get used up, and hopefully surviving long enough to find sanctuary. The dominant sliding scale at this stage of the game would be more about he character maintaining their humanity, or conscience, or something like that. The less humanity they have, the more dirty tricks they are willing to take to survive, the darker their story becomes, and the less people will be willing to trust them.

I still need the fundamental core mechanism that ties the whole thing together. Probably a deck of cards...maybe the iterative writing prompts could be generated Texas Hold 'Em style, thete's plenty of scope for interpreting elements of the card draw, ranks, suits and combinations thereof. But the more complicated I make it, the more difficult it will be to fit the rules into a pocketmod, especially if I'm going to hand draw the thing again.

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