Tying Up Loose Ends

I realized this morning that I still had to tie up a few loose ends in the encounter I added a couple weeks ago. There were two outcomes that required some adjustments to other encounters in the game.

So I spent most of the day working on those encounter revisions. One of them involved DMC authorities, so I ended up doing some research on prison systems and rehab. I was curious whether cryonics would play a part in future incarceration, since it could conceivably be cheaper to keep prisoners in stasis. A technologically advanced city which is pressed for space and food, but has ample electricity, might prefer prisoners who don't need rooms, toilets, food, and beds.

Of course, this raises the question of rehabilitation vs. punishment, and whether being preserved without conscious awareness really is a punishment at all (provided one doesn't care about family and contemporaries). Or, for that matter, whether it even solves the problem of removing criminals from society (since they just get deferred until later). There's also the question of mind-altering or mind-wiping, either accidentally during hibernation, or deliberately (e.g. Demolition Man).

Of course, cheap labor is also a valid approach for a place like the DMC. Meager accommodations could still be managed, especially if it meant a cheap, semi-skilled workforce. Perhaps such prisoners earn their keep working in facilities such as recycling plants, where humans separate more complicated garbage (e.g. electronics) into easier-to-recycle components?

In the end, I decided getting into that topic would mean a whole chain of encounters, which was more than I had time to do right now. The DMC is my main task, and this was just something I needed to clean up before continuing. Furthermore, a death penalty, while perfectly dystopian, is a bit unfair for an encounter the player may not see coming.

So I decided to go with exile from the DMC. It's not so far-fetched, it leaves the player a chance to keep playing, and it's a really simple encounter chain to model, so I can move on to the remaining DMC services sooner. Plus, it still leaves the door open for me to add sneaking into the DMC in the future, if I have time. (pun intended)

Anyway, I think I got both loose ends dealt with now. And when testing them, I also managed to find and fix two things in the game code. So it wasn't a total loss.

Hopefully I can start on that medical facility tomorrow!


Gaegamel's picture

Looks really nice. I can really imagine the city in front of my inner eye.

If you decide to use statis-capsules, how about you implement a scenario, which shuts down the DMC electricity and causes havoc in the "prisoner"-quarter, since they have reduced their security (no more cells needed, because no more raging prisoners or anything like that).

Scavenger's picture

I'd agree that stasis may make not as much sense from the standpoint of law as it may seem at first. Costs in energy and expensive equipment to maintain life functions of held prisoners just plain aren't excused by anything. Prisoners during the time of their suspension do not make any revenue to even costs of their imprisonment nor they undergo any reeducation to become an useful member of the society later. Plain waste of resources. Mind alteration makes more sense but if elites would be really able to use such then the whole new slew of possible gameplay issues await explanation and/or threatens immersion.

Divrann's picture

Just wanted to say thank you for the status updates, no matter if it's just brainstorming ideas or coding them in. I only wish that other indie devs would follow your example and let us know what's going on more often, even if its something as "small" as the spark of idea. It really helps to give the feeling of caring about your backers, at least to me. Looking forward to digging around DMC :D

dcfedor's picture

Glad you're enjoying the updates, even if they are just brainstorming. I think updates are important. I always enjoyed learning about behind-the-scenes development when I was following games, so I try to share some of that with others. Plus, as you point out, many of you are essentially "backing" the NEO Scavenger project, and it's only fair to show you how those funds are being used!

Re: stasis, the more I think about it, the less sense it makes. It seems far more likely that prisoners would be monetized somehow, probably filling gaps that are traditionally hard to fill in first-world economies. Whether or not it's ethical, places like the DMC need to squeeze every bit of economy out of their "resources," even if some of those resources are people :)

Dan Fedor - Founder, Blue Bottle Games

Banjo's picture

Instantly thought of Demolition Man too! :P

I like the exile idea from a lore/story point of view too... it hints that the hostile looters and such you encounter "out there" are likely exiles and thus explains their preference to attack rather than talk/team up with you. In the world as I imagine the DMC/wasteland so far, I'd honestly expect exile or execution as the viable legal means of dealing with "criminals". Well, maybe organ harvesting... :)

I think the starving homeless and shanty-town folk would be the DMC's best source of "cheap, exploitable labour". :(

My Mods:SaveMan|Fishing|Shouldered|Bottles

dcfedor's picture

True, I hadn't thought of the psychological impact of exile. That might explain some behavior!

As for the cheap labor in shanty-towns, that may be true. I think many immigrants are likely just that: starving homeless types that got into DMC for shelter and food, in exchange for their underpaid labor. I also figure that people are in high supply in the DMC, and the real shortage is space and resources like food and sanitation. And since there's nowhere else to go, they're pretty much stuck working for the lowest bidder.

Dan Fedor - Founder, Blue Bottle Games