4 min read

Null Sweat Prototype 🎭 (How Triple Eye Tells Stories)

This one digs in on how a quest/narrative designer develops a character, story, and mission in our cyberfolk, near-dystopian dungeon crawler (codenamed "Null Sweat").

Last Time, on Triple Eye...

Hey there! It's Lucas again; thanks for stopping by to read about what my team at Triple Eye have gotten up to in October!

In the last newsletter, you got a better look at the redesign we're planning for Project Gumshoe. I'm happy to say that we implemented those changes, and... it's fun! We have some more tweaks to do (to ensure there's a meaningful narrative direction mixed into the gameplay), so stay tuned for more on that.

Also in the last newsletter, I had told you that you'd see a new gameplay prototype in this newsletter -- I decided to keep the teams working on Null Sweat & Gumshoe, though, so that's not gonna happen. Sorry!

In the meantime, please enjoy an overview of how we put together our storylines & lore in the Null Sweat prototype!

Null Sweat Prototype - How We Tell Our Stories

The Background

Null Sweat (our working title for what we would otherwise call "Prototype #2") is a near-future, near-dystopian, cyberfolk adventure.

The game is set around 60 years into our future (in the mid-2080s). Less than ten years prior to our setting (at the start of 2076), a major, catastrophic event (called Obsidian Wednesday) occurred which killed millions of people and left hundreds of millions of other people physically and mentally scarred. Wednesday was blamed on a low-scale hack that snowballed into a surge of systemic failures that brought the global network to its knees.

Thanks to the monumental efforts of 12 Verticals (giant, multinational corporations which control nearly every aspect of business in the world), humanity managed to pull though -- for the most part. As everything started to collapse, talented professionals (heroes, more accurately!) throughout the world just barely managed to hold it all together & keep key systems limping along.

In the decade since, however, a growing divide has appeared between the people who have become like vassals to the Verticals (living in relative luxury - as long as they continue to devote themselves to the "forward progress of humanity") and the folks who are doing what they can to make their lives livable (without giving up their freedom). There is a tech-gap, however it's also an ethics-gap: there are some folks who believe Verticals have forgotten - maybe never really understood - the "human" part of "humanity".

The Storyteller

I met Maitreyi (site) on a creative writing Discord, and I thought her style was just the right mix of introspective & hilarious. She's got a killer sense of humor and timing, and knows just how to keep her readers wanting more!

In October, I asked her to join us on a trial contract: write the background for a character we know is in the game, and have them send our player out on a mission / quest / job.

I think the story she decided to tell is a good one; she's definitely left me wanting more (and I hope you'll feel the same!).

The Story

It starts with a Person In Need...

Once an ambitious, overzealous, highly trained professional with what some would deem as a successful practice; now, Dr. Parker runs a free clinic where many go to obtain locally-made medicines & affordable treatment.

At the height of her career, Samantha was offered millions by Plenn P&P (Physicians & Pharmaceuticals) to buy her practice & work for them directly. Realizing a buy-out would mean treating only the patients with a Plenn P&P subscription, she refused – and lost her business anyway, after a medical diagnosis (by a Plenn physician...!) left her unlicensed and unable to practice medicine... legally.

...and a Place only our Hero/ine can go...

Dr. Parker has learned about a shipment of medicine which is passing through a local International Delivery Services (InDS) warehouse. The shipment is huge, as it's intended to replenish all their regional offices and clinics with supplies.

Samantha tells you that just a small portion of that shipment would last her clinic for months, and then asks you for a small favor...

Help her by rerouting a portion of the medicine from the warehouse to her clinic, instead of Plenn.

If you accept, the job will need to be done quietly (her clinic can't afford the exposure if the stolen goods are traced to her doorstep) and quickly: the shipment leaves the warehouse tomorrow monring, so you have to make your move now, tonight.

...to do a Thing only our Hero/ine can do.

The job is simple (like all jobs usually are, right?):

  1. connect to the warehouse's network,
  2. hunt down the shipping manifest, then
  3. make the appropriate changes to ensure a small portion of the medicine is "lost".

Where things get tricky is in part 2: managing the network security so that your intrusion goes undetected, and then getting out as fast as possible.

If all goes well, Dr. Parker will appreciate your work and come back to you with more jobs in the future. If you bungle this first, simple task, though... it's unlikely Samantha will ring you for assistance anytime soon.

(up next) First Look at Null Sweat's Playable Prototype

A big thanks to Maitreyi for her work on this character & questline! She did a great job putting everything together, and I'm very excited to see what she does next for us in 2024!

In the next newsletter, we'll go further with Null Sweat - you'll get a look at some of the key NPCs, understand a bit of their backstories, and then dig in on what you're actually doing when you play Null Sweat. I hope you'll enjoy reading it as much as I'll enjoy sharing it!

In the meantime, do what you can to help those in need when they ask; every day, you're as much of a hero as you choose to be!