So about a project I've been trying to work on...

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So about a project I've been trying to work on...

Postby Hellstorm Archon » Tue Jan 19, 2021 8:19 pm

So this will be quite a post, and I'm about to get... really personal. If anything, this may be less a request for help and more "Free Churro" from Bojack Horseman.

What exactly am I hoping to accomplish with this post? To ask for help or seek out guidance? To just spill my guts or to vent?
To tell you the truth, I'm not really sure.

The past few years of my life have been... interesting, to say the least. I officially started to make my way into adulthood, and it's had more than its share of ups and downs. I've had to deal with radical shifts in how I perceived things, I now have responsibilities to take care of things that I previously took for granted, I bore witness to horrible events that happened to the people I care deeply about (up to and including death).

But there was one thing that kept somewhat constant, and that's a project I have been working on, or rather an idea I had since I was literally a teenager.

So what exactly is this project about?

Initially, it started off as a sort of tribute to a certain aggregate review website that not only outgrew said website (and still looks to incorporate those who left), but has also evolved into something else entirely.

Namely, a project that was originally a parody about superheroes has since transformed into an R-rated cyberpunk/post-apocalyptic series of stories containing protagonists that aren't considered the "usual quota", all with an action-horror twist that carries an explicitly anti-fascist and anti-capitalist message (AKA more cyberpunk than Cyberpunk 2077):

After a cataclysmic event that occurred in an alternate-timeline 1988, the world is forced into World War III, and this time, there are no clear winners or losers. All that’s known is the suddenness of the war, combined with nuclear weapons transforming at least 2/3rds of the Earth into an irradiated wasteland, caused most of the world’s most powerful superpowers as we knew them to collapse (namely the United States, the Soviet Union, and China). In their place are figurehead governments run by the world’s most powerful corporations and conglomerates.

After this, much of the world has entered a second Industrial Revolution by the 90s to early 2010s, only it’s the wrong technology being advanced at an exponential rate.

Even though a few decades have passed since 1988 (think the 2020s when the stories start), we now have power armor, androids with human-like AI, cybernetic augmentations, robots big and small specifically designed for combat, and plasma weapons. We’re still stuck with an inferior version of what would be described in this timeline as the internet, hybrid cars aren’t even a thing let alone electric cars, and much of humanity is now relegated to crowded megalopolises complete with 200 story city blocks (think Mega-City 1). The oceans are now toxic dumps, weather has become much more unpredictable (like snow in the middle of North American summer), and about 85% of the Earth’s flora and fauna species are now extinct.
Not to mention that things on Earth are so bad that only the wealthiest of the wealthy are already going "off-world" to colonize places like the moon, Mars, and even the moons of Jupiter and Saturn just so they don't have to "worry about undesirables". And not even the far reaches of the solar system like Neptune are safe from the infinite greed of those who take and take.

Additionally, aliens do exist, but they’re not the little green saucer men from Mars nor are they what you’d expect to find in Star Wars. In fact, they could be extradimensional beings, far beyond the planes of reality as we know it and far beyond the imagination of humanity. These are Lovecraftian horrors from beyond the stars, and the openly fascist world governments in charge have taken an interest in these beings.

And finally, we have the genetically engineered humans designed to be relentless killing machines with efficiency far beyond primitive things like tanks and fighter jets. Unfortunately, the bases on which these death machines are made just happen to be ordinary citizens who were just trying to get by. As a result, you have what are called “transhumans”.

Transhumans are diverse when it comes to the kinds of powers they wield. Some of them can warp reality as they see fit. Some just have regeneration factors and can shrug off injuries that would kill a normal man. Some have been cybernetically augmented to interface with computer systems more directly. And yet, most of them used to be ordinary people, and their humanity is the one thing their “creators” can’t deprogram.

Currently, this is the project summary in its present form.
Just imagine reading that while listening to either Mick Gordon's work on Wolfenstein/Doom or Andrew Hulshult's work on Dusk/Prodeus, throw in some 80s-style synthwave along with it, and you should have an idea of its atmosphere. And don't forget to throw in the poppiest pop tunes from the 80s to keep in touch with one's humanity (yes, that includes "Never Gonna Give You Up").

Think less Deus Ex and more Aliens or BUTCHER. Think less Blade Runner and more The Terminator or Dead Space.

And yes, there will be cat girls.

So why hasn't this gone past maybe like one or two design documents that haven't even been finished?

It wasn't until maybe like a few years ago that this project finally started to take some kind of concrete form instead of just being a vague collection of ideas floating around. And around that same time, I ended up befriending someone who would later become a co-creator of sorts.
Not only that, they were one of the few people I could connect with on an emotional and intellectual level. Deep philosophical discussions were about as common as talking about what kind of video games we liked.

But then things got really bad that year. So bad that I started to have the strongest kinds of... ideations I ever had (even speaking from hindsight, not even 2020 was as bad as that year).

Thing is, isn't trauma supposed to wisen us, make us stronger? I mean, "what doesn't kill you makes you stronger"? In reality, it really doesn't.
In fact, trauma usually makes one weaker, and it fucks with you in ways you can't even begin to describe. It's like dealing with having looked Cthulhu in the eyes except the end result is far more insidious and far more slow-burning.

And then I had a nasty falling out with this person. Things got ugly during the falling out and even well over a year after the falling out.
And I much later came to realize that the trauma I had been carrying wasn't even this person's fault anyway.

So as a result of a falling out with someone who I had told things I hadn't even told my own family about, progress on this project had ground to a complete dead stop. And not just because all motivation to work on it had completely died or the realization that I was completely unable to meaningfully call the project mine anymore without also acknowledging that it also became theirs.
(Hell, as far back as a couple of months ago, I reached out to this friend a couple of months ago in the hopes that we can talk things out and see where to go from here. But realistically speaking, I'm not even expecting a response at this point even though I'm giving it at least a few months because I know that this has been a lot to deal with, to say the least.)

It was also because I was in the midst of some major life changes and transitions, changes that I more or less have to get used to now that I'm really becoming an adult. Plus, there's a non-zero chance that I may actually have at least PTSD (not self-diagnosed or anything like that, I mean the real thing described by a psychiatrist).

So why talk about it here? Well, I've recently came up with the idea of creating a proof-of-concept in the form of a retro-style video game (most likely a "Doom clone") to show that it indeed exists (as well as establish the project's aesthetic).
For the longest time, I even considered using the Wolfenstein 3D engine as a base to get started except... I'm not even 100% sure about that. Considering that it's just a proof-of-concept where nothing is final and everything is subject to change, how much exactly should be left to the viewer's imagination and how much of it should be fleshed out? Should it even be on the Wolf3D engine or should it just be a TC for id Tech 1 or the Build Engine? Should the proof-of-concept even be an FPS or should it be something else entirely?
Who knows, perhaps this is just me overthinking everything as usual.

Plus, true cyberpunk has been severely lacking as even works like Blade Runner and Ghost in the Shell are far closer to "cybernoir" than cyberpunk (the former genre pontificates about how humanity would evolve past the need for even corporeal constructs; the latter states that technology *will* be abused by the vicious, the greedy, and those who relish in cruelty and injustice just for a better bottom line if nothing is done by good people).
And the less said about Cyberpunk 2077, the better.

And after some significant developments in my professional career, I ended up listening to "Everything at the End of Time" by The Caretaker, along with several other forays into music I previously hadn't done.

To say that I've had some experiences would be a major understatement. I've since had a new reminder of just how fragile life is, how it should be cherished and not taken for granted, and how forever can end as soon as tomorrow.

In any case, this project is probably the one thing I've held on to for a significant portion of my life, as I hope for it to become at least the one thing I'm remembered for long after I'm gone.
Even if I don't end up contributing much else to society, I want this to be the one major thing I've helped create.

So yeah, I'm not really sure if I made this post just to vent or if I need some pointers on where to go from here on this project. I just know that making this post hasn't been easy at all. this Funeral Parlor B?
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Hellstorm Archon
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Re: So about a project I've been trying to work on...

Postby Dancso » Wed Jan 20, 2021 3:11 pm

I think it would serve you well to take two steps back from all this. Don't put your project on a pedestal, and don't let emotions control your life.
Focus on something that makes you happy right now, and maybe one day you can come back to the project in a way that feels right to you. Or maybe not, but that's life.
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