A thousand years beyond the fall of Earth, a hangover is still a hangover...
One thousand years ago, the Earth was destroyed. Or eaten by a demon. Or taken bodily into heaven, depending on who you ask. Some people think the Earth is just a story created by the church to cement its authority, but they're the kind of people who often say things like, "Ah, but that's what they want you to think!" and whose views should be taken with several pinches of salt, no matter how expensive salt may now be. Personally, I know someone who even claims to have been there. Or was it his brother? Anyway, it's safe to assume that something suitably apocalyptic happened. The world, as it was known and in whatever form it took, ended... and a new one was born. In fire.
An accretion disc. A whirlpool of flame. A burning sea of Solar tears, millions of kilometres across. Mankind survives in towns and cities sculpted from the scorched and shattered remnants of planets claimed by Sol's rage, orbiting the site of the world's end.
A parser-driven text adventure for the modern age! Sort of!
The Pilgrimage is a game of adventure, danger, and... outright stupidity. In it you will explore some of the sleaziest corners of one of the quaintest old towns currently orbiting the burning sea. Because no town is without sleazy corners, and if it claims not to have them, it's lying and they're probably really sleazy and full of cults and stuff.
For those unfamiliar with the genre and prone to silly questions like "Where are the pictures?", parser-driven text adventure means it is an interactive story, in which you read words... and type other words, in order to make the words on the screen change and nudge the story along. There are no pictures. There are no sounds. It is a text adventure. A book that you play.
A demo is available at indiedb.com: http://www.indiedb.com/games/the-pilgrimage1/downloads
And at itch.io: https://nbrakespear.itch.io/the-pilgrimage
The Pilgrimage is a stand-alone product (it does not use any of the existing IF engines, nor is it browser-based), runs on Windows, and has the following gameplay features:
- A fairly lenient fixed-verb parser, which doesn't care about duplicate words, tries its best to ignore whatever insulting and unnecessary adjectives the player uses, utilises prepositions and accommodates the occasional typo.
- A full 90s RPG-style dialogue system, with dynamic dialogue options, branching conversations, and a direct query system allowing the player to "ask about" a topic manually. Yes, you can ask people about <insert expletive and/or body part>. We all know you're going to.
- A branching story, with characters who remember your actions.
- An inventory system allowing for the use, examination or combination of items (also tied in to the dialogue system, allowing the player to ask about items), for the purposes of puzzle-solving, narrative development and general ridiculousness.
- A dynamic journal system which... may or may not be trustworthy, and whose trustworthiness may or may not be central to the plot.
- A rather pleasing fade effect when text appears on the screen. I know that's a rather superficial thing, but you'd be amazed at how much it improves legibility.
There are no current plans for porting the game to platforms other than Windows because, quite frankly, I only have access to Windows machines and cannot test on or develop for other platforms.
The current state of the project
Leaving aside the inevitable emergence and squishing of bugs, the engine is written and the game's feature list is complete. Everything I would want to do with the story, can now be accommodated by the game.
So what remains, and why am I asking for money?
The story... the content. Call it what you will. The story is planned out, but is not yet written. Much like the process of writing a novel, the next phase is the long-haul slog of simply writing out and testing that which I have already planned. It's not nearly as glamorous as authors might have you believe; it mostly involves late nights spent hunched over the computer, going slightly insane, obsessing over character motivations, and fine-tuning the plausibility of minor details that audiences will never even notice.
The primary goal of this Kickstarter is to generate interest; the game will be developed regardless, though life would certainly be easier if I had some funding; the game is otherwise being developed on a budget of zero.
While there are no plans to expand the actual feature list of the game, sufficient funding will unlock digital editions of two 600-page novels set in the world of The Pilgrimage for all backers:
Sol In Extremis is an epic tale of nautical adventure, mythology and war spanning ten years.
Absolution's Apple is a biological thriller in which a small team of salvagers and criminals launch an expedition to an ancient orbital ruin, in a desperate bid to save themselves from a deadly disease.
If unlocked, both novels will be made available for download in .epub, .mobi and .pdf formats.
Risks and challenges
I am a poor person. I live in a house with no proper carpets, in the kind of neighbourhood often described as "deprived" when one is being diplomatic. I am poor enough that I can't "save up" for things. I also suffer from a chronic illness. These are undeniably obstacles to the completion of any large project.
But in spite of these obstacles, over the past five years I have written two 600-page novels, a collection of short stories, learned two programming languages and created my own game engine without financial backing for any of these projects.
Whether this Kickstarter campaign succeeds or not, The Pilgrimage will be written. But if the campaign succeeds, it might be written a little faster and with a little more enthusiasm, and be rendered a better product by virtue of communication with backers... and by virtue of the fact that my sanity won't have completely imploded under the constant pressure of my obscurity.Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
- (30 days)