Saturday, June 22, 2019

Hypothetical trailer for a hypothetical game about running around (figuratively) in zero gravity

[Originally posted right here right now.]
[Just something quick and rough]
[Italics are voice over.]

So, you know how it is when you think you're living in a small town on earth that is, perhaps, too isolated for its own good but otherwise fairly unremarkable, and then your entire understanding of reality is shattered when the gravity fails?
[short scene of when the gravity failed, and the immediate aftermath (based on computer physics simulations rather than assumptions about what it would look like.)]
Yeah . . . that.
[adults looking completely freaked out, confused, and/or in utter shock]
[kids having fun 'flying' by launching themselves from building to building]
As near as we can tell, we're in some form of bio-dome or other on some kind of space station, with absentee landlords.
[A town meeting, in the high school auditorium.  Why?  Because the seats are nailed down, which gives people something to latch onto.]

"We're somewhat close to sure," a speaker says, "that the sea migrating into the sky will not cause the local fish population die off, provided that we implement some simple and straightforward safeguards."
Life goes on, because it kind of has to . . .
[People attempting to shop at a supermarket, which has been modified for zero-g by people who clearly had no idea what they were doing.]
. . . and some of us even attempt to understand things . . .
[Two floating people, anchoring themselves by holding onto a workbench.  Said workbench has clearly alien/future/{otherwise unlike what we know} technology strapped to it.]

One Person: "I'm telling you, if we hook the doohicky into the thingamajig--"

The Other: "Then the whole thing will explode!"

One Person: "Don't be so dramatic.  The worst that would happen is we'd void our warranty."

The Other: "We don't have a warranty,"

One Person: "Then everything's fine."
. . . but answers are kind of hard to come by . . .
"It was hard enough figuring out how high up the sky is, now you want to know what it's made of‽"
. . . and no one really knows what to do . . .
Public figure: "Provided we all stay calm--"

Random Heckler: "No one will notice you don't have a plan!"
. . . so any ideas at all, no matter how ill conceived . . .
Leader of a ragtag group: "We'll just steal some construction equipment and drill a hole in the . . . the . . ."

Member of group: "Sky/bedrock/wall/thing."

Leader: "Yeah, that."
. . . are kind of welcome . . .
[Narrator is on screen for the first time, and is talking to members of the rag tag group]

Narrator: "I just want you to know that I'm only doing this--"

Member of group: "--because you're bored and have nothing better to do, we know."

Narrator: "Look, I just want it to be on-record that I think this is a stupid idea that has no chance of working."

Member of group: "When we appoint a scribe, making that record will be the first thing we have them do; let's get on with it."
. . . given the lack of clear alternatives.
[Explosion rips a hole in what looks like reality itself, but clearly has to be the wall around the enclosure.]
Which is more or less where we find ourselves.
[Quick shots of gameplay involving human-powered movement through zero gravity in various environments.]

[Lots of the zero-g equivalent of running (toward, from, between), possible non-euclidean geometry (not sure on that one), and a distinct lack of combat.]

⁂   ⁂

So, where this comes from is long, roundabout, and only tangentially related to what this actually ended up being.  I'll have a separate post on the game Adr1ft (along with what I wanted, and didn't get, from it) in the near future.

The short version: I was thinking thoughts about a person (not vehicle) moving in zero gravity as a game mechanic, and how, properly implemented, that could be awesome.  Then, somehow, the idea of a terrestrial setting came into my head.  Given that terrestrial settings aren't particularly known for their lack of gravity, that's when the "not really on earth" part of the idea came in.

The idea proper started with what became the first two italic bits.

The first bit was never completely formed.  "You know how it is when . . ." something about the sudden realization that one isn't in figurative-Kansas anymore being brought about by the gravity turning off.  (Figurative-Kansas not mentioned, but hopefully that gets the idea across.

The second bit of, "Yeah, that," was always pretty clear.

Those two things were the start of the idea, the next thing I came up with was having people who had scavenged some of the habitat technology trying to understand it with the exchange of:
"I'm telling you, if we hook the doohicky into the thingamajig--"

The Other: "Then everything will explode!"
or thereabouts.  The rest of that particular bit grew pretty naturally.

Everything else I sort of hastily filled in in the process of writing.

The "hastily" is important here because none of it is particularly well thought out.  Nor is there any clear concept of how it fits together.  For example: Did the people at the work bench get the doohicky and the thingamajig on their own, or did they salvage it after the ragtag group blew a hole in the wall? No idea.

I very much don't know what would happen to a body of water if gravity turned off.  That means that I also very much do not know if there's any hope for fish.  (This is well before we get to the fact that fish, apparently, do very badly in zero gravity.)  I just needed something for someone to say in a town meeting.