Narrative

This section of the Game Project Proposal details the narrative of Altered Conduct and a series of key rules about the Game World and the events preceding those the player is introduced to. It will describe the game world, key circumstances surrounding Zeta, her background, her motivations, and it will go into detail about the main conflict within the story and her opponent, Victoria.


Alteration Implants

In the late twenty first century, humanity’s engineering and innovation has reached unprecedented peaks with the invention of the Alteration Implants, technology that has the power to give individuals access to an array of fantastic abilities. Alteration Implants, more commonly referred to as Alters, are small and elegant devices, which are implanted into individuals who desire them through a quick medical procedure at their place of work. A multitude of Alteration Implants have been developed, each giving humans one amazing power such as Teleportation, Telekinesis, Control Over Time, Invisibility, and more. As amazing and efficient as the Alters are, they have one major limitation. Each human is genetically compatible with only one type of Alteration Implant, which means that as far as its known, no one in this universe can have more than one ability at their disposal. Therefore, if a human is biologically compatible with the Teleportation Implant, then that is the only Alter they can ever use in their lifetime. In order to discover what type of Alteration Implant one is compatible with, one must undergo a medical examination that will test their genes for predisposition, much like discovering what Blood Type one is. This medical examination is rather important, because biological compatibility with the Implants can be a determining factor for one’s possible career options, which will be detailed shortly.

The Benefits of Alteration Implants

The Alters have been immensely beneficial for society resulting in an economic boom and immense growth of a series of sectors. For example, Public Transportation has never been more punctual since the introduction of the Teleportation Implants, while the Film Industry has never seemed more realistic since the Morph Implants, which allow actors to take the form of another person. Some of the most popular Alteration Implants and the industries they benefit are as follows:

  • The Telekinetic Alter which, grants users Telekinesis and is used in the Service Industry, Nursing, Building, Implanting Alters, and the Military.

  • The Flux Alter, which gives users control over different types of electric charges and is used in Engineering, Computer Science, Chemistry, Robotics, and STEM

  • The Morph Alter, which allows users to take the form of different objects or people and is used in Entertainment, Film, Theater, Military, Espionage

  • The Teleportation Alter, which is common in Transportation, Law Enforcement, and the Military

  • The Defensive Alter, encasing users in an impenetrable shell, which is used by Firefighters, Law Enforcement, the Military, in Mining, and other Dangerous Professions

  • The Light Alter, allowing users to generate sunlight, which is common in Agriculture, Ecology, Show Business, and Entertainment

  • The Sound Alter, giving user control over sound, and most popular in Navigation, Military, Show Business, Entertainment, Ultrasonic Engineering

  • The Control Over Time Alter, a rare Implant that allows user to manipulate time itself, used in Secret Services, Military, Law Enforcement, Security

Professional Consequences

Ever since the Alteration Implants were introduced to those industries they have grown and blossomed at unprecedented rates with highly skilled workers wielding these fantastic abilities. However, a natural result from this is that the requirement threshold for entering those sectors has increased exponentially. Employers in those fields always want to hire the most qualified workers, and the most qualified workers end up being those that have the appropriate implants for the industry. Hypothetically, if two individuals had the same set of qualifications, however, one had an Implant fit for the field, then that candidate will always be granted the position as they would have a natural edge. Therefore, certain professions become available only to people with the right biological predisposition to the appropriate Alters. This is why the medical examination, which determines what Alter one is compatible with is so crucial. Traditional career paths are in essence a matter of biology rather than individual pursuit.

The Alteration Conundrum

Researchers, scientists, scholars, and many other individuals are all aware of this crucial issue and flaw of the current Alteration Implant System and are actively trying to improve it. The unsolved mystery of this time, dubbed the Alteration Conundrum, is to discover how one individual can wield more than one ability regardless of their genes. Tech Giants, Billionaires, and governments are all funding some of the most talented teams in the world in order to solve this. This is such a monumental problem and great minds across the globe are all trying their hand at uncovering the answer. Thus far, no major improvements in the field have been made, which only seems to motivate some scientists and engineers even further. It is comparable to the Riemann Hypothesis of modern day, which if solved, would revolutionize computing. However, as with the Riemann Hypothesis, there are those who do not want the solution to ever be found, as the current system benefits them.

Blog Posts Relevant to the Ideation and Development of the Narrative Section: Week 6: Exploring Ideas and Mechanics, Week 7: Project Proposal 4


Background Events

It should be noted that although these events will not be directly featured in the game, they are rather significant in establishing the character, her motivations, and overall vision of who she is. Perhaps a short comic depicting these events could be developed as an artifact in Semester II.

Early Years and Developing Interests

Zeta was born and raised in a large and wealthy capital city, which prides itself with being the center for the most sophisticated technological innovations, collaborations, and tech giants. Although a final name for this city has not been decided as of yet, for the purposes of documentation it will be referred to as Arcadia. With all of its Business Parks, Research Labs, and Annual Conferences, Arcadia has established itself as a crucial hub of the development of Alteration Implants. Zeta is the daughter of Anna and Edward Starling, an ambitious, wealthy, and influential couple who own and run Starling Alteration, one of the top firms for the development and distribution of Alteration Implants. Starling Alteration has two main branches, the research and development branch run by Anna, which deals is improving Implant technology and trying to crack the Alteration Conundrum, and the implantation and distribution branch, run by Edward, which deals with the medical procedure associated with implanting the Alters and their distribution across businesses.

It only became clearer that Zeta had the mind of an engineer and that her critical and analytical thinking held no bounds.

As Starling Alteration demanded constant attention, both Edward and Anna needed to be in the office buildings near constantly, which meant that they would have to take Zeta along to work with them. Even as a child raised in the office buildings and labs of the firm, Zeta expressed keen interests in engineering and technology, often playing with any tech she could get her hands on. What first made her parents see her potential was the natural intuition she would grasp complex machines with and how quickly she would gain an understanding of their function. As she grew older it only became clearer that Zeta had the mind of an engineer and that her critical and analytical thinking held no bounds. Perhaps that is part of the reason why Zeta excelled in her academic career, consistently being among the top students in any of her classes. The fact that she grasped the material as intuitively made school somewhat boring, which is why Zeta sought entertainment in gaming. Even as a child, she had a terrific understanding of rules-based systems and excelled at strategy games. As she entered her teenage years, Zeta showed an interest in high risk strategic games such as Poker and Sevens. She had a talent for expertly reading opponents and calculating what move they might make next. At 16, she entered her first, albeit small, gaming tournament, where her stunning victory at a game of Sevens earned her the nickname Zeta.

The First Professional Position

As she grew, Zeta’s reputation as a talented gambler and engineer was already solidified, with some of the most prestigious universities in the world eyeing her for her academic achievements. Because of her talent and interests in the field, Zeta had long dreamed of getting a Flux Alter, which would allow to become an engineer and a scientist and work professionally in her mother’s wing of the company. However, once she finished High School and took the medical examination to determine what type of implant she was compatible with, it was discovered that Zeta was predisposed to the Telekinetic Alter, rather than Flux. This was completely heartbreaking for Zeta, because she had been biologically locked out of working in STEM professionally. With great sadness, Zeta made the decision to accept the Telekinetic Alter and work in her father’s wing of the company. As an individual with the Telekinetic Alter, Zeta’s professional responsibilities in Edward’s side of Starling Alteration included delivering the Alteration Implants to enterprises and conducting the implantation procedure. Zeta would travel through a series of businesses, with an elegant suitcase full of Alteration Implants for display, and peak the interest of potential clients. The implanting procedure itself is rather complex, as it involves connecting the implant to the appropriate nerve endings in the body and the brain through the use of Telekinesis, however, it is also very repetitive and time-consuming. This meant that Zeta had no spare time for her true passions, which were engineering and gambling.

Zeta would travel through a series of businesses, with an elegant suitcase full of Alteration Implants for display, and peak the interest of potential clients.

In Pursuit of Happiness

this profession was making her unhappy and unfulfilled, despite her parent’s disapproval, Zeta made the radical decision to quit her job and take matters into her own hands. She moved to this universe’s equivalent of Las Vegas, where she would attempt to seek her fortune as a professional gambler. Zeta already had the reputation of a challenging opponent, which helped her enter a series of casinos and tournaments to prove herself in this new setting. Through hard work, sleepless nights, some terrible losses, but many more stunning victories, Zeta became somewhat of a well-known persona in the city, building up her wealth and reputation. Alongside grew her confidence in equal proportions, sometimes to the point of over-confidence. However, despite her impressive talents and public profile, Zeta could never enter the most high stakes and impressive games in the city. For a while, she had been stuck in the league directly below, where she would keep playing the same players that always seemed to have the edge on her. Zeta suspected that they had been cheating, but alas, she had no evidence to prove her suspicions, Nonetheless, she kept trying to win and even began considering alternative routes to victory.

Architectural Study of the Monte Carlo Casino. Some of its elements and prestigious ornaments are likely to feature in Zeta’s preferred casino.

Cracking the Conundrum

Just because things were going as well with her passion for gaming, didn’t mean that Zeta had forgotten about her passion for STEM. In her free time, she would try to find new ways experiment, to build, to improve upon existing technology. Eventually, she became fascinated with the greatest problem of them all, the Alteration Conundrum. By testing on the Alters she had from her previous job, Zeta had an unbelievable breakthrough when she discovered that Alternation Implants an be used as conduits for other Implants. Once that had clicked, she quickly realized how this technology could be used. Zeta took the only remaining Control Over Time Alter she had, established a connection between it and the Telekinetic Implant in her arm, and embedded it into a token Poker Chip with a sensitive pressure pad. Upon testing her work, she was ecstatic to discover that she could now use Control Over Time by tossing the Poker Chip on the side of the pressure pad. This was one of Zeta’s proudest moments as she discovered that she had cracked the Alteration Conundrum.

She had the rush of the highest stake games in the city, wealth that gave her financial security, time for all of her favorite hobbies, and a sense of accomplishment for cracking the Alteration Conundrum.

This gave Zeta an unprecedented opportunity. She had access to an ability no one else knew about and no one else would suspect she had. As she purposefully embedded the Control Over Time Implant into a Poker Chip, she could now smuggle this technology into unsuspecting casinos and pass it off as a good luck charm. In reality, whenever the odds of a game were stacked against her, Zeta would use the Poker Chip to momentarily stop time and tilt them. Her most common actions included peeking at the cards of other player or slightly reshuffling the deck while time is stopped. With this clever method, Zeta busted through the league she was struggling to get out of and became one of the youngest members of the top gambling circle in the city. Now the stakes for her were as high as they have ever been and she was closet to becoming one of the most prominent player in the world. This brought on much excitement in Zeta’s life and everything seemed to be going swimmingly. She had the rush of the highest stake games in the city, wealth that gave her financial security, time for all of her favorite hobbies, and a sense of accomplishment for cracking the Alteration Conundrum. Zeta has always been willing to do anything to achieve her goals and to ensure a series of fun games. Therefore, using her Poker Chip, which is not strictly against the rules, did not bother her. Zeta had never felt as fulfilled, which may have in part contributed to her tendencies of over-confidence and lighthearted nature.


In Game Events

Although these events are marked as In Game events, it has not been completely decided where exactly the Game Story will start from. It was important to me to get the overall narrative settled as the decision of where to start playing from could be taken at any point.

Engineered Poker and The Hastings Corporation

Zeta continued to play with the top players of the city for many games to come. Sometimes, when she was in a really tight spot, she found herself using her special Poker Chip, in order to stop time and have a peak at what cards everyone has. By doing that, she would often find herself turning completely lost games around, much to the dismay and amazement of her opponents. After one particularly crushing defeat, one of her main rivals, Victoria, began to grow skeptic of Zeta’s marvelous ability to get as lucky. Victoria’s intelligence and cunning was equal or even superior to that of Zeta, giving her the correct set of skills and capabilities to investigate Zeta. Victoria began closely observing Zeta during every game they played together. She began to notice that during a very limited number of games, Zeta would fiddle with her Poker Chip in a predictable manner. Additionally, during those games, she always seemed to be able to grab victory from the jaws of defeat. Although Victoria had a series of hypotheses in mind, she suspected that Zeta had access to some sort of masterful cheating tool.

Victoria set out to test her hypothesis by inviting all the players from that circle, including Zeta, to a private game she had organised. Private games are a common occurrence, so no one had any reason to suspect that Victoria had any sort of hidden agendas. In order to determine whether or not Zeta was cheating in some form, Victoria had staged the game in such a way, that she knew the exact sequence the cards were meant to land in. Additionally, the dealer in that game was payed by Victoria in order to ensure that the cards remain in the exact same configuration as she had arranged them. Once the game begun, the odds were naturally stacked against Zeta since Victoria had engineered the whole game. Zeta, unaware of Victoria’s plan had been baited into a dangerous bet, which she couldn’t get out of. Therefore, rather harmlessly, Zeta used her lucky Poker Chip and shifted some of the cards in the deck. Narrowly escaping defeat, Zeta was satisfied with herself, while Victoria’s suspicions were confirmed. Based on the results of that game Victoria strongly suspected that Zeta has access to more than one Alteration Implant, specifically that she could Control Time, despite Zeta being famously Telekinetic.

In order to determine whether Zeta was cheating, Victoria had staged the game, so that she knew the exact sequence the cards were meant to land in.

The possibility of the Alteration Conundrum being solved is a major problem for Victoria. Victoria is head of the Hastings family, famous for their masterful use of the Light Alteration Implant. The Hastings Corporation is blessed with genes that almost always guarantee any successors will inherit the compatibility with the Light Alters, which has helped that company establish itself as the global leader in agriculture development. Using the sunlight they produce from their Alters, The Hastings Corporation and its members have established some of the most sophisticated technology in the field. However, as the top firm in the sector, which is much due to their genetic compatibility, The Hastings Corporation cannot afford to have an overabundance of Light Alteration Implant users. This would allow for more competition to spawn within their field, thus damaging their business. Therefore, if the Alteration Conundrum were to be solved, The Hastings Corporation would no longer be the monopoly that it is as nearly everyone would have the ability to access their Alters, thus costing the company substantially.

Victoria’s Pursuit

Zeta was to face her greatest challenge yet, so she took all of the remaining Alteration Implants she had and incorporated them into a set of three powerful dice.

Victoria had to be clever and discreet about approaching Zeta and obtaining as much information as she could from her about her technology. If she could obtain the solution to the Alteration Conundrum from Zeta, grasp its full extent, then she could find ways to use it in her company. Initially, Victoria sent out a few of her employees to collect Zeta and her Poker Chip for an interview. However, Zeta did not want to willingly go with them, as they refused to reveal the identity of their employer as instructed by Victoria. This made the confrontation physical, with one of the employees grabbing Zeta and seizing her Poker Chip, dragging her towards their vehicle. However, unknowingly, the employee applied enough pressure on the Poker Chip’s pressure pad, that he ended up activating the device, thus briefly stopping time. This gives Zeta the opportunity to escape, however, her Time Stopping Poker Chip remained in the hands of her would be captors. After this narrow escape, Zeta knew that someone was trying to capture her, however, she had no idea who or why. As she anticipated this incident would not be the end of her troubles, Zeta needed to take precautions and find a way to defend herself now that one of her most powerful artifacts had been taken away. Under these extreme conditions, Zeta was to face her greatest challenge yet, so she took all of the remaining Alteration Implants she had at her disposal and incorporated them into a set of three powerful dice. Better equipped than ever, Zeta was now able to try and uncover who was behind this assault and why.

From this point onward, Zeta must discover who is coming after her, what they want to do with her, and how she could work around this newly arisen problem. Zeta’s journey through this process would be the main chunk of gameplay in Altered Conduct. The major challenge ahead of her would be to search for information and answers all the while avoiding Victoria’s employees, which are searching for her throughout the city. The various environmental puzzles and challenges would demand that Zeta reaches her objectives while dodging anyone coming after her. Depending on her location within the city and the specific objectives she is trying to complete, the levels will have different layouts, locations, numbers of enemies, types of enemies, and so on. The specific levels and their corresponding mission goals will be established in the first few weeks of the second semester during the level design process.

The Only Solution

By the end of the narrative, Zeta has realized that it is Victoria and The Hastings Corporation that have been trying to capture her, that they want her research into the Alteration Implants and using them as conduits, and that if the solution to the Alteration Conundrum was made public, that business would suffer. To stop the Hastings Corporation from continuously hunting her down and trying to destroy her most prized piece of work and engineering research, Zeta decides to publish her everything online, sending copies of it across the media, the top research labs, scientific magazines, tech giants, and more, all with schematics of how to create the Poker Chips and The Dice. Within less than a day, everyone in the Alteration Implant Circles knew that Zeta had cracked the Alteration Conundrum, which would revolutionize the way this entire society functions. Upon realizing what Zeta has done, Victoria immediately ceases to pursue her, because if something were to happen to Zeta after her scientific contributions were made public, there would be outrage, sparking a thorough investigation. That’s how by publishing her work, making information and knowledge open to all, Zeta ended an age where biology stood in the way of individual drive and pursuit.

By publishing her work, making information and knowledge open to all, Zeta ended an age where biology stood in the way of individual drive and pursuit.

As for her gambling career, although Zeta believed that she would be disqualified from any rankings and blocked from all casinos, quite the opposite occurred. None of the gambling halls she attended had a rule directly forbidding the technology she used, simply because no such technology had existed up until that point. Naturally, after all of the thrills and troubles from Victoria’s chase were over, Zeta resumed her gambling career and continuously attended her favorite casinos. However, nowadays each time she goes through its doors, she is kindly asked to submit any and all “good luck charms“. After all of the commotion and secret use of Alters in the past, Zeta is more than happy to continue playing by the rules and prove herself a brilliant talent regardless of any assistance.

Blog Posts Relevant to the Ideation and Development of the Narrative Section: Week 6: Exploring Ideas and Mechanics, Week 7: Project Proposal 4.