Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Trebir and his Trolif

I'm bad at inventing names. So this might or might not be a working title. I'll probably stick to this title or steal something from a random Staninslav Lem story, because the games supposed to be something like a short story by Lem, illustrated by MÅ“bius. Maybe some Philip K. Dick in it. All of that unintentionally, I don't plan a story like "oh, a bit of that and a piece of Philip K. Dick" it's more my inability to explain it "yeah it's cool and good and...yeah, like a Philip K. Dick short story...but cooler!".

So where do I start? My back hurts. Since a week or so I guess. So one day I took a walk around the block and I thought of a story: You are some kind of robot or android who isn't aware that he's artificial (but in the current state of the game, the player will see that at the first glance), he thinks of himself as human just like we think of ourselves as human. The world he lives in is like a little town, he lives there with his parents and each of the inhabitants has a "Trolif" (which is short for "tree of life"...nah, I have to change this) that grows in their respective gardens. They also have a charging station (like the borg) they have to recharge at each day at dusk, but to them, unaware of their artificial nature, it's more like a religious ritual. It's not only a battery charger it also transfers their (somehow filtered) thought and emotions to their Trolif, which makes the strange tree grow different sorts of even stranger fruit. Which the robots do not eat, because robots do not eat, so it falls to the ground (that happens once a day) and gets collected by some sort of miniature creatures that also live on that planet. They are about 1-2 foot tall and the robots don't know too much about them, cause they mean no harm and they are kind of cute.

And they need name! By the way, the name for the protagonist came from the combination of Tree and Arbor (tree in latin), which is coincidentally also Robert backwards which reminds me of a children's book I read when I was a child called "Robert und Trebor" about a child called Robert and his imaginary friend Trebor in the Jungle behind his wallpaper. If you wonder where the 'i' comes from...I'm not the world's best typer.

If anyone ever reads this and plans to play the game, be aware: MASSIVE SPOILERS AHEAD
(I assume they will only be spoilers if the game will ever be released, but I'm pretty confident this time, because I already thought of an ending)

As the story progresses (well, there's not even a start yet, that's the next gap I need to fill) Trebir will fall in love and there are gonna be heart-shaped fruits on Trebir's Trolif, but his love interest is a rebel and eventually plans to cut down her own Trolif, assuming they play a pivotal role in the suppression of humankind (erm...robotkind?) by some unknown (ancient?) force that invented the charging platforms only to keep the robots from travelling far. Trebir is much more of the convenient type and is concerned about his girlfriend, he heard of people disappearing when their trees are damaged, but he doesn't know what to believe and what not.

The truth is that those tiny little critters are not only the suppressors but also the creators of the robots. Their diet consists of fruit from the Trolifs, but as industrialisation grew, they became less and less nutritios and sometimes even poisonous to the inhabitants, because the trees have some kind of conciousness and the fruits are the expression of their emotions. So the people tried to lighten the mood by using even more technology and after many failures they found a way to make the trees happy: The true happiness of their robot slaves, fed through a wire. Of course the robot slaves were not happy (this is the strangest part of the story...robots...emotions...maybe, pretty maybe the planet is a future earth and the inhabitants find relics of their predecessors and create the robots after their image.), so they had to create a nicer environment resembling human cities. While providing the necessary technology (charger, watering for the trees, etc.) they hide in faraway cities and disguise as harmless and simple animals.

The ending to the story, which is kind of only the beginning of a greater plot, that may continue in another game or most likely will be left to the imagination of the player, is something like this: The rebellious girl disappears, Trebir suffers and decides not to "recharge". Trebir shuts down and the tree, fed with Trebir's grief and some of his (artificial) humanity, grows arms and legs and walks away. End. So there's the possibility that the trees reach a new level of evolution and since Trebir lived on as his tree, his lost love might live on if the same fate happens to her...

The interface:
Because there's a lot of 'emotion' in this game, a special focus will be on the verb "think". This somehow resembles the idea of another adventure creator (whose name I forgot, but I will add is here later on), whose game will feature a short term memory, which adds more interactivity to dialogues. For Trebir, it's because in some way the protagonist is the tree and the only thing he can do (in the beginning) is thinking and growing fruit, which is linked directly, so thinking is essential to the game.

Those are my seconds thoughts about this game and there's already one screenshot:

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