Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Pesticide: Non-Playable Characters

This post seems a bit long, but it is fun, let me explain. I am just starting a new indie project called Pesticide (I'm sure I will mention it a bunch of times over the next year) I just finished the first character description itteration for our art lead. I will be passing it on to him today and thought you all might be interested in what goes down in game documentation.

As I work on this project I will be sure to share how it's going and post frequently. For corporate game projects proprietary protections are the norm, and even I won't be posting everything and anything all at once. But I am not so fond of the "Top Secret" thing when there is no reason to be, and as an indie project, there is no reason here.

Enjoy some first iteration creative writing!

NPC Characters

Our cast is grouped according to players that accompany them. They are often found together, and often define the environments they are found in. A functional relationship needs to exist between these characters at all times. As such they are listed in the documentation together.

A.J. and Tobiasis:

Candace’s two best friends, early in the game they provide a mechanism for driving the action. These two are an “Odd Couple”.

A.J. is the beautiful girl who is socially weird and hyperactive. Always happy she is the one that gamers will fall in love with, but in the context of the game world “do not go there”.

Tobiasis on the other hand is much more serious, he doesn’t take to teasing well and doesn’t laugh much. He is not anti-social but he is also not one to enjoy the loud and obnoxious behaviour of A.J. who is just always around.

Justin (hippie) and Tannis (Poli-sci):

Justin is your Shaggy from Scooby Doo sort of hippie, you know his feet resemble those of a hobbit, never mind retro styling, most of his clothes appear to be sported by the first hippie generation.

Tannis is a University undergrad involved in student government, she volunteers at political events, and always has something to say. Although bookish in appearance, she will talk forever in something vaguely resembling passion on any issue that may be considered important “to the people”.

What Justin and Tannis have in common is the love of protesting. These are the two that organized the protest for the failure of government intervention in the Pesticide crisis.

Water Refinery Plant Employees (3):

Generic plant worker character models that will need to be reused. Is it the same worker or a new one? We don’t know because these generic characters represent the idea of a plant employee more than a character. Three designs are suggested for variation and in case multiple identifiable officers need to be on screen at the same time.

Police Men (2):

Generic Police character models that will need to be reused. Is it the same officer or a new one? We don’t know because these generic characters represent the idea of a police officer more than a character. Two designs are suggested for variation and in case multiple identifiable officers need to be on screen at the same time.

Soldiers (2):

Generic soldier character models that will need to be reused. Is it the same soldier or a new one? We don’t know because these generic characters represent the idea of a military grunt more than a character. Two designs are suggested for variation and in case multiple identifiable officers need to be on screen at the same time.

Louis Strauss (refinery plant supervisor):

Lou is a gruff character, you would have to be to be a trades supervisor. However he has a graduate degree in Mechanical Engineering and his bachelor degree dual major was in Civil and Biological engineering. So there is a profound intellect behind his diamond in the rough exterior. He functions as the “owner” figure of the sanitization plant and could be one of the lead figures for the player, assisting toi unfold the mystery of Pesticide.

Safron Timms and Chuck Jackson (CEO and assistant):

There is money to be made in this time of peril, whether through bottling water or saving the world.

Safron is an aloof multi-billionaire type that may become one of the guiding characters for the player in this game. She may also become one of the key villains. Her fatal flaw is that she cares more about her own personal interests than the betterment of humanity.

She will make the exception for the non-judgmental and fiercely loyal Chuck though. Always there, he is a messenger, secretary, gopher, hit man… whatever. He does not question it and never grumbles. This is just because he honestly believes in being responsible and being loyal not because he is looking to get into the will (not going to happen) get a promotion or because he’s in love with Safron.

Both these characters have very straight forward motivations that are too rigid to be considered unimpressive given the world of Pesticide.

Daniel Hees (reporter):

This rough around the edges beat reporter has been around the block more than once, and he’s got the weather worn outfit to show for it. Here is an on the site news reporter trying to get to the bottom of what’s going on. Premised off of the film noir hero, he’s always on the same side of the fence and always on his own. Candace’s relationship with Dan all depends on which side of which fence she falls.

Agent Jeremy Sasher:

This is the official response to Pesticide crisis. A career agent and extremely talented at what he does. A major player in this story most threads will involve him in some way. Maybe the most normal of all the characters, how would an agent act handed this particular situation?

Nurse Travis Bell:

Dehydration is the problem of the day. The Emergency Ward is a major center of activity in this world. Travis is the guy with all the information. Besides acting as the central figure for a number of story lines Travis is a regular element in the game available to the player. Whenever Travis is not a main story arc character he will be available as a game unlockable to provide hints for the player.

Colonel Dionne Kieren:

What do you get when a sexy and sultry women begins calling for martial law and blowing the crap outta stuff? That is Colonel Kieren. Her character is direct and her stories are direct. The only thing that is contrary is her appearance. While there is a simple visual gag at play here, it does not push into the inappropriate and the Colonel does play as a serious character. Some cartoony exaggeration may play into the character but it should not distract from her believability.

Vinny, Cough Drop, and Tim:

When there’s a need to be filled. The organized crime of this story is premised on traditional organized criminal enterprise (similar to the Outfit).

Tim is the Over-boss of the city Pesticide takes place in. No whacky nicknames, no Italian stereotyping, no ritual initiation, just organized crime. Dressed in comfortable and stylish business apparel, Tim is loyal to himself first and then his interests (which is what he considers the mob) and then little else.

Cough drop was born into the racket. A frail character, he still dresses well, but always looks a little disheveled, likely due to his constant ill health. He got his nickname from the fact that he is never without some variety of cough represent. He would be quite content to not be in the mob so he only ever deals with dull smuggling jobs.

Vinny on the other hand is the wannabe, smart enough to be good with business, and in love with the idea of being a mobster enough to be trusted with tasks, but everyone knows if he ever had to get his hands dirty, he’d be useless. This is probably why Tim partners him up with cough drop. Another set of potential guides or villains for the game.

Salizar. Shesta, and Sparkee:

These are the aliens of the game. Human in appearance if ever out of their protective suits. While identifiable, these suits should not be noticeable unless they are being looked for. Maybe distracting even weird but no weirder than those kids in dog collars. This trio is always about the action and a key part of the story. Outside of the protective gear their skin occupies an odd plastic hint to their skin which is a peculiar shade.

Shesta is the sad realist of the bunch. She is doing what she must for her people, but is disheartened by the damage it is causing, much like a farmer who finds clear cutting the woods for his fields distasteful. Interacting with Shesta leads to the more thoughtful and emotional threads of the tale.

Sparkee on the other hand is a girl with a job to do. She is about solving her planets problems in an efficient and effective way. She’s not a bad person, but working out of town has the promiscuous Sparkke a little sexually frustrated. She can’t wait to get back home and if dropping an anvil on one of the natives will get that to happen sooner, look out for falling anvils.

Salizar is a bit of a scaredy-cat. In an unfamiliar environment with unfamiliar creatures working with dangerous chemicals. He takes his job very seriously and handles it with care and professionalism, but he freaks out if anything is out of sorts and one of his biggest fears right now is that he will be separated from his group and have to live in this unsurvivablly dangerous environment. He may harm someone in the way we would harm a cockroach by screaming and randomly stomping our feet. But when all is said and done, he’d just much rather stay the hell away from the cockroach in the first place.

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