Archive for the ‘Self Initiated Project’ Category

Due to there being Corporations within my game design project, I needed to create names for said Corporations, and the best way to create unique and different names is through lists of words that I can combine to make different names. Below are a list of words that I used along with some names that I came up with, not all of them were brilliant and most of them will likely not be used, but it’s good to have a wide range for design purposes and I might return to some of them at a later date:

Words

Visualize

Technologies

Flux

Iron

Dog

Cryptic

Molten

Machina

Wolfgang

Exo

Systems

Strata

Rubicon

Stratagem

Cloud

Black

Silver

Realm

Theta

Beta

Alpha

Bio

Wave

Lich

Titan

Blight

Wolf

Unstable

Inferno

Names Created

Cryptic Flux Technologies

Cryptic Flux Designs

Cryptic Flux Industries

Cryptic Designs

Flux Machina Designs

Alpha Designs

Alpha Robotics

Alpha Flux Designs

Theta Wave Designs

Lich Industries

Cryptic Alpha Designs

Titan Designs

Blight Industries

Black Box Industries

Blight Wolf Designs

Unstable Industries

Inferno Designs

Thoughts

At the moment, out of the names that I have created, the two that I will likely use first and foremost are Lich Industries and Blight Industries as these are interesting names and reflect the death and destruction that will eventually be taking place within the game world that I am creating. It also gives me the chance to create some dark identities for the Corporations as it is a Cyber Punk themed game and so I want to be creating characters and identities that reflect the mood of the world that is being created.

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Normally I watch videos on Youtube for tutorials, game reviews and general entertainment. However, I also watch videos from a series known as Vsauce. They offer information and research based upon questions by the general public that post on their channel and recently I found that they had uploaded a video that covered enhancements, and whether humans can enhance themselves in present times.

Below is the video that explains it all:

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So for the self initiated project, I needed to come up with some designs for the environment that I will be creating, and so the first thing that came to mind was mapping out the layout of the area that the design will be situated in, along with some idea as to how the buildings would be laid out, along with whether there would be objectives in place within the environment for when the characters are placed into the level at a later date or whether I would put them in at a later date, around the same time as the characters.

Above are two images, the first rough ideas as to what the map could look like. In the first image I have a sprawling metropolis that I felt could have been used as an environment filled with buildings of all sizes to create the impression of a large cityscape, however, when it came to placing the buildings I found that the map wasn’t really the right sort of layout to make it a coherent map with plenty of buildings in place, but that is just on paper, so I may return to an iteration of this map at a later date.

The second image is more in line with what I originally had in mind, minus the grid of course, because even though it is a turn based level that I am designing, I don’t want to have a predefined movement grid in place as it could limit the player on their character movements within the game play, but I found that building placement would be a lot easier within this type of layout instead of the one in the first image, so I am currently of the mind set that I need to combine the two layouts to create a third design with elements from the two first ones to create a new layout that is interesting to venture through while offering a decent level of building placement so that I can create a sprawling level that the player can venture through with their character without being bored due to the turn based element within.

When it comes to the designing of the maps, I have to take into account the fact that the Corporations of the game have the level divided into territories, almost as if it were gang warfare, with the human resistance working from within, using abandoned and often overlooked buildings as a base while also having several working and high class buildings as fronts for their efforts to resist the Corporation takeovers. While this seems easy on the face of it, I need to create a working level that offers plenty of different buildings and interesting locations for the player to battle their way through with their character(s) without cramming too much into the level so that it looks or feels like a forced endeavor that makes them give up half way through because they feel like it is going to be a long engagement.

Bladerunner is a Cyberpunk themed film that was released in 1982. Starring Harrison Ford as a retired Blade Runner, the film is set within a dark, gritty world full of technological advancements and shady businesses. The film is set around Los Angeles in 2019. Based loosely on the 1968 film Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep written by author Phillip.K Dick.

android (an’droid) n, Gk. humanoid automation. more at robot./ 1. early version utilized for work too boring, dangerous or unpleasant for humans. 2. second generation bio-engineered. Electronic relay units and positronic brains. Used in space to explore inhospitable environments. 3. third generation synthogenetic. REPLICANT, constructed of skin/flesh culture. Selected enogenic transfer conversion. Capable of self-perpetuating thought. Paraphysical abilities. Developed for emigration program. –Webster’s Dictionary, New International (2012)

Replicants are a key part to the film. Replicants are a human clone, designed and programmed for a specific purpose within the world, usually providing manual labour or serving within armies so that “real” humans don’t have to put themselves at risk. Replicants tend to come with a fail safe imprinted into them in the form of a 4 year life span, in which case they are then replaced with another Replicant to take up the same role as the one before.

Blade Runners are a form of police force within the world, regulating and terminating Replicants when appropriate and making sure they stick to the job that they have been designed and created to do. If a Replicant rebels, the Blade Runner hunts it down and terminates it. Replicants may have the appearance and mannerisms of a human, but they don’t have the memories or emotions of a human when they are first created, instead they develop their own attachments and emotions as they progress through their life span, almost as if they are living a normal life when really they are created so that “real” humans can have an easier life.

During my research component of the Self Initiated Project, I have encountered different types of Augmentation and Cybernetics that enhance or control a person in certain ways. In this post, I will be talking about the various types of Augmentation and the strengths and potential weaknesses of both, along with how they could be used to potentially control the bearer.

Neural Implants:

These implants affect the brain and how it operates. While viewing the film Johnny Mnemonic I viewed several different forms of implant and this was among the first of them in the form of Neural Wet Work. This implant was in the form of a hard drive implanted directly into the brain of the carrier, the capacity of which was linked to the brain in case it needed increasing. The carrier of the implant could dump memories through the means of a disposable piece of hardware, thereby doubling the size of the hard drive in their brain.

The main strength of this kind of implant is that while you have a certain amount of storage space but are able to double it at the cost of long term memories, you are able to carry around more information, the strength of the implant of course being able to carry information safely and without having a physical component to carry around in a case, because it is already safely encased in their head. The password to the information stored within the hard drive is also a strength to the implant, as it changes with each upload of information. The carrier will utilize a lock in program that takes random images from the television and turn them into a password, the images of which are then downloaded and sent off to the information destination, which the carrier and host shall then use to download the information onto an external source.

The weaknesses are quite vast however. If someone wishes to steal the information from the carrier, there are several ways to do this. The first of which is to take the head of the carrier, store in a cooler unit to make sure the brain doesn’t decay and the information corrupted, before taking it away and downloading the information for their own means, as highlighted when several individuals within the Johnny Mnemonic film attempt to do to the protagonist.

There is also the added weakness of the password system. If the password download is lost or destroyed, or the sending of said password is interrupted, then there may be no easy way in which the information stored within the carriers head can be retrieved and they may be stuck with it in there for some time, unless of course they manage to hack the hard drive and retrieve the images that way, such as is done with the final image within the film. In order to retrieve the final image of the password in order to download the information, the protagonist has to wire themselves up to the download machine, as is seen in the below screenshot. He then proceeds to access the hard drive in his brain and hack it by destroying the security program before retrieving the password image and being able to download the information.

Below are a screenshot and the trailer of Johnny Mnemonic for a brief look into the themes behind the film along with some of the action that takes place while the protagonist is trying to download the information from his head before it kills him.

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This video below describes how technology has created a new virus that people call “The Black Shakes” and how it has harmed the people and environment of the world, but how humans can’t get rid of it because they have become dependent on it. This leads the viewer to see that while humans have the capability to rid themselves of technology and create a cleaner world or indeed could use technology to create a cleaner world, they have instead chosen to stick with their present course and instead let millions of people suffer as a consequence.

In the Matrix we see the work of neural implants once again, used by both the machines and the humans. The humans use the neural implants to send their minds into the Matrix itself, the cyberworld run by the Machines. In the mean time the Machines use the same type of neural implant when they grow humans, trapping them within the Matrix, their own mental prison so that the human race can power their city like batteries.

https://hunterp13.files.wordpress.com/2014/03/a9f78-jackingin.jpg Neo entering the Matrix.

The humans sit in specially designed chairs and have a connection cable plugged into the back of their head, where they are then uploaded by the ships hacker wherein they are then inserted into the Matrix. This gives the humans an “avatar” that represents their mind within the construct that is the Matrix. Each person that has had their mind freed can enter the Matrix this way, and because they become aware of the rules and are given training, they are able to bend the rules or break them, giving them an edge when it comes to surviving, being able to jump further and run up and along walls, the humans have to use these skills to survive in a digital world filled with programs that could very easily turn on them and kill them. And the fundamental rule of the Matrix is that if you die in there, your body dies in the real world, for as Morpheus tells Neo “The body cannot live without the mind”.

In the war to defeat the Machines or the Humans, both sides have been using the Matrix as a staging ground for their war while in the real world, each side is moving their troops around, fighting skirmishes for either destructive or survival purposes. The matrix has a security system that takes the form of “Agents” three programs that are essentially the same, these programs are directed by the machines in the real world to destroy any freed mind that they encounter, seeing them as threats, while at the same time these “Agents” have to govern the Matrix, deleting programs that are no longer useful or have met the end of their run cycle, pretty much the same as any company that brings out new software or upgrades their software to be more efficient, so it is within the Matrix that whenever a new program is created and placed within the overall construct, the avatar of the older program is hunted down and killed/deleted from the construct.

Limb Augmentation

There are several different types of limb augmentation, each with their own way to help the recipient with their lives.

Within real life, a limb replacement with a prosthesis will usually restore a function to that person, such as being able to walk again, however, within films and games, these can be enhanced and augmented to do a lot more than simply let the person walk and hold items.

In Robocop, he is extensively encased within metal filled with cybernetics and computer systems, not only to save his life, but also to enhance him and his abilities to the point where he is the perfect police officer in the war on crime within old Detroit. His strength is enhanced, he can interact with computer systems and he can see through walls with different types of vision, while at the same time losing a small amount of mobility due to his prosthetic legs as they aren’t able to work to the same capacity as normal legs can, even though he can still walk briskly and even jog a little if he has too.

In the game Deus Ex: Human Revolution, after suffering a large beating at the hands of a mercenary, the protagonist has to have large amounts of cybernetic augmentation applied to his body in order to save his life and return him to active duty. Once he has been augmented, the player is able to enhance the abilities of the protagonist through the use of “Praxis Kits” specially designed kits that can increase the operations of a certain part of the body. The player can choose which parts of the body they wish to enhance in line with the type of character they wish to use and how they wish to go about playing the game. If they want to be able to hack computer systems efficiently and with a large chance of not being caught then they might enhance their hacking capabilities and then rely on stealth a lot more to move about through game missions. On the other hand, a player that doesn’t really care about hacking and more about action and completing missions as quickly as possible might enhance the parts of the body that increase the protagonists resistance to damage while helping them move quicker, thereby being able to clear areas quickly and move through them smoothly at the same time.

While augmented limbs are an advantage and the height of fashion within the Deus Ex world, there is always the chance that the body shall reject the changes, thereby killing the individual or meaning they will have to have further treatment to have their bodies restored to their original state. There is also of course the chance of augmentation addiction as is mentioned within the game, as those that can have cybernetic implants placed on and in their bodies without rejection may become addicted to them and want more and more, until their entire body is enhanced in some way.

It is always worth noting too, that the augmentations on limbs may not always be that of arms or legs, indeed there may be instances where the patron of the cybernetic part may have an arm or a leg replaced with something else or they may have a detachable part of the limb so that they can customize and alter how that particular body part works, similar to a software upgrade, but with the physical hardware instead. An example would be within Robocop 3 as Robocop is capable of replacing his hand with a multipurpose rifle that also supplies him with a flamethrower and a grenade launcher, helping him deal with threats when his semi-automatic pistol isn’t able to get the job done. It is also shown within Deus Ex as the player is capable of performing a kill take down on an unsuspecting enemy, in which retractable blades will stem from the elbows and wrists of the protagonist and they can then strike down their target and then retract the blades once the job is done.

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Blade Runner and Replicants

Replicants are the main focus of the film Blade Runner. Human clones, the Replicant is grown and programmed for manual labour and other services, including fighting in trained squads and even as prostitutes. Replicants, while appear to be human, are grown without emotions or memories when they are created, instead developing their own as they are put into service.

It is the job of the Blade Runner (Police Force) to regulate and enforce that the Replicant stick to their specific role, also checking up on them to make sure they aren’t presenting a problem to their owner. Replicants aren’t seen as people within the society within the film as they are not born, they are grown, therefore they are seen as property to be used and thrown away when their term of use runs out. Depending on the use of the Replicant, they come with a built in longevity, usually four years, so that they can work and then be replaced by either a newer model or another version of the same Replicant batch.

Robocop is a different type of cyberpunk film in that the only person that has augmentations and types of technological enhancements is Robocop himself. He is the only cyborg in the film, even though there are other robots that are automated and have a form of A.I. Robocop is the first of his kind, part man and part machine, he not only has the strengths of a machine, he has the instinct and mind set of a human, especially when his human memories start to interrupt his programming and bringing out the dead Alex Murphy back to the fore of his new form.

There is of course another form of control happening in the world of Robocop, Omni Consumer Products (OCP) a large and corrupt corporation has become one of the leading powers in the world, offering all kinds of military contracts, household products and other such products, while at the same time trying to clear out all crime in Detroit and turn it into what they believe to be a safe haven known as Delta City. At first they try to stamp out crime with Robocop, giving the police force (Which they also own) an edge in the fight against crime. When that proves to be too slow for them, the corporation tries to get rid of Robocop and use other means to clear the citizens of Detroit from their homes, to which Robocop then stands up on their behalf, battling the company that created him.

Observations: While there are cybernetic enhancements within the world of Johnny Mnemonic, in Robocop it is taken to a whole new level when a dead cop with most of his body missing is brought back to life through the use of full body cybernetics, not only bringing him back to life, but also equipping him with a targeting system, a resistance to most forms of gun fire unless it is rocket based, and enhanced strength through the prosthetic limbs that he now has due to the fact that when he was killed, one of his arms was removed and then OCP removed his other arm to save complications.

This could lead me to create a unit, or several different units that have full body enhancements, instead of just different parts of their body, maybe some of the units have been harmed in battle, and if they are low on life, the player can then order them back to the base for medical recovery, that way they can then have them encased in armour, and have them “upgraded” into cyborgs, creating a new squad of units. I think I would like to keep them to a bare minimum, like a heavy unit, so maybe a squad of four or five together, so that they can work together as a unit instead of singular units within the game, but at the same time there is the chance that I could turn them into singular units designed to work on their own in isolated missions, but they are really tough to destroy, meaning there is a 50/50 chance that they will succeed, instead of having a slightly weaker unit and having a team of them.

In terms of weaponry, while the film was created in the 80’s the concept of a robot policeman was already pretty far advanced and ahead of its time. However I also want to consider the advancements in weaponry and the fact that there were A.I units already in production, with advanced machine guns and rocket launchers. There were also several rifles that were pretty standard for the time, along with the semi-automatic pistol that Robocop himself owns. I want to consider whether there will be advanced weaponry within my project designs, or whether I want to have older guns from the 80’s and more recent with some advancements or possible enhancements through technology.

Set within a world that has been consumed and wrecked by technology and the diseases that it has created, namely Nerve Attenuation Syndrome (NAS). Johnny is a courier of information, utilizing a wet work implant within his mind; he can upload information of a certain size, carry it safely to the download location for his clients, and then download the information to another computer.

Technological implants come in all forms and shapes, from the wet work hard drive implanted within the protagonists head, to the artificial arm that is on the local bartender due to limb loss, meaning technology can be used to replace lost limbs, to the preacher that is present throughout the film who has had many different parts of his body augmented with some sort of technological upgrade, meaning he is stronger and faster than a normal human, at the cost of his organic parts in exchange for these enhancements or augmentations as they are also called.

Observations:

Technology: Utilizing the different ways in which I could implement technological augmentations for a person and their enhancements in strength and speed, as well as intellect, I could create several different classes of unit with in the game, with each one costing different amounts to create and train, with different researches giving the player the choice of which units they wish to unlock and upgrade as they progress through the game. This could be done through a tech tree style system, with the player choosing between defensive, offensive and Intel related researches. There could also be vehicles with various upgrades for the corporation forces, while the resistance members have their own hand crafted vehicles created from salvaged technology that they have had to piece together, and through that the resistance player could utilize the tech tree to improve their vehicles and unlock new technologies as they capture corporation held territories and facilities.

World State: Normally within cyberpunk films there is a corporation or set of corporations that are working to either control some part of the world, take over the country that they are set in or they are trying to enslave the population. In the case of Johnny Mnemonic the corporation in question is trying to kill the protagonist so that they can gain the information within his head and then subsequently make money off of it by selling a cure to NAS. Of course there is also a resistance element at work within the film that are trying to battle the corporations by hacking and sending out information for free, as is often the case within cyberpunk films. Hacking is usually a key element within these types of films, along with internet connections and various visualizations of the internet as characters within these films interact with it.