Desperation: The announcement

The time has come to announce my new project I’ve been working on for a while. Details below, any feedback is appreciated.

DESPERATION

Silence finally fell upon the Earth several weeks ago, when armies failed to protect their people from endless waves of flesh-hungry freaks their friends, neighbours and loved ones turned into. The world has ended, and you were late to the party or chose not to come at all. A few survivors, you stand on a sidewalk of what have been a promising civilization, still hoping for the better. You will die, all of you, rather sooner than later. The question is how long will you last until killed by zombies or your own desperation.

Desperation is a synthesis of indirect control strategy, role-playing game and social simulation, set in zombie apocalyptic Earth somewhere in southern Unites States. You play a group of survivors set to reestablish society and rebuild normal life while battling endless hordes of zombies roaming the continent as well as your own personal demons.

Action takes place in random procedurally generated city, complete with infrastructure: mayor’s office, police station, church, diner, post office, gas station, car parts shop/garage, etc. Game features dynamic day/night system, affecting visibility and sight range for your survivors and zombies alike.

Core gameplay

  • Scout, clear and claim any building, structure, area to turn them into facilities of your choice: living quarters, storage, workshop, infirmary, jail, quarantine zone, guard post, mess hall, garden, farm plot etc.
  • Satisfy basic needs – every survivor must drink, eat and sleep, so finding food, water supply and a place to crash is your top priority.
  • Scavenging – the main activity for everybody. Search and medical supplies, clothes, weapons, ammo, equipment etc.
  • Construction materials are vital for your defences, scavenge for them or tear down fences, furniture or entire buildings.
  • Find, hunt or grow your food. Store, conserve or eat before it rots.
  • Make sure your city is safe. Build fortifications – barricades, fences and walls – to isolate cleared locations from the rest of the world.
  • Build traps, deadly ones, ‘Nam style. One can never be too prepared.
  • Scale tall buildings and cell towers to establish watch posts – always see it coming, whatever it is.
  • Find other survivors and integrate them into your community.
  • Protect your children and elders. Non-combatants, gotta save every last one of them.
  • Mind the noise, the more you shoot, shout, bang your hammers, the more unwanted attention you get.
  • Survive to fight another day.

Control features

  • Issue orders, assign tasks and roles. Survivors do everything themselves, so don’t worry about the tactics, only strategy.
  • Establish rules and policies – movement speed across unsafe areas, noise control, ammo spending, rations etc.
  • Assign equipment and weapons. Suicidal loners shouldn’t carry guns, whimps shouldn’t wield a firefighter axe.

Role-playing features

  • Every survivor has his own pre-apocalypse background complete with professional perks and personal traits – PTSD war-vets, lawful cops, untrustworty ex-cons, depressed office clerks, obese teenagers, you name it.
  • Weapons and equiment use and survival skills mastery are limited by basic personal attributes.
  • Every action survivor takes improves his survival skills and eventually can change attributes for the better.
  • Survivors can have pre-existing medical conditions – physical and/or mental, or get such a condition during your game.
  • Every survivor has a set of psychological attributes which determine whether he will keep it together or fall into desperation state and commit suicide, or just become reckless and endanger himself and everybody around him.

Social features

  • Trust – the most important social interaction parameter. Survivors have to build trust with each other to ensure group integrity. Trust is vital when accepting new members into the group. Trust makes leaders – leader is majority’s most trusted person. The lack of trust can lead to separation, people leaving or taking stupid and dangerous actions, like consealing the fact they’ve been bit.
  • Friendship/companionship – you can’t deny people a wish to have sex, or just a friendly chat, a game of cards or chess. These interations, no matter how small, in the rare hours of safe silence, make people a little more happy, a little farther away from desperation.
  • Leadership – leader gets to make decisions that affect the entire group. He/she also has to make hard choices, more often than wanted.
  • Exile/execution/euthanasia – member of group can be found unwanted for different reasons: stealing from fellow survivor, excessive violence or being a walking zombie timebomb.

These are just basic details, there’s much more stuff planned, way more than I wish to write down right now. If you’re interested in supporting the project in any way, contact me.

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