Cosmisa - Millenia After
Not imminent - THEME
This game idea has been cultivating in my mind for a better part of a decade: I want to do a scifi-adventure game with an emphasis heavily in the philosophies; transhumanism, behavioralism and an all-encompassing religious dogma. And mecha-girls. We need those.
My design process for games goes often like this: I have this vague, colorless, odorless blob, a stub of an idea in the back of my head. It can be something as simple as a phrase, or perhaps a visual of some sort. When I experience something in my life that resonates with an idea-blob like this, I add it to the blob and see how it looks like. In short, it's alike mental sculpting. The process is slow, but such methods have the best yields in my opinion.
Despite being an artist, I'm not a particularly good visualizer - I use tons of references, but I do have a knack of combining excellent ideas and building upon existing frameworks of ideas. Cosmisa, or the idea-blob of it, has seen many forms, and no doubt will be altered yet again before finding its shape. I'll elaborate below.
The Cosmisa project started somewhere in 2008 (according to dates from the old files), though back then I called it 'Flare' or 'Heliotrope', neither of which fit that well. The idea then was that you, as a player, control a person who has recently died. Your corpse is used to test the regenerative qualities of an intelligent artificial suit. The suit is of very advanced materia, and melds with the wearer, never to be taken off. Something goes wrong (or the process just lasts 200 years or so), and you are woken centuries later by the suddenly activated suit. You find yourself in a strange laboratory complex, hidden deep underground. Everyone is gone, and the base is derelict. You start to emerge from the place, only to discover that you are somewhere very deep.
The research complex you awake in was part of a larger whole - a city of tunnels, chambers and tubes, an underground megacomplex. You must ascend the great chasm that dominates the middle of the faculty and attempt to reach home. Slowly you come to realization that the surface of the planet has been decimated in a horrible cataclysm many years ago. There are few survivors, sharing the megacomplex with you, though they have largely degenerated from once a civilized race of men to warring tribes living in the ruins of the dilapitated megastructure.
The settings, events and places you'd find in this world would be strange as ever; overgrown subterranean gardens, a cozy hidden village living off of excess heat from enormous geothermal pumps, a subspecies of blind men adapted to living in perfect darkness, a monastery of the end of the world (cult of the apocalypse), and an arcology with snobby residents unaware of the state of the world. I also came up with the idea of HCP-technology [Human Conciousness Preserver]. The gist was that you could absorb the conciousness of a dying person to save him/her from true death. I kind of used this idea in Bloodbrand, with the nightmare mechanism.
I made some progress, and even a semi-workable demo in RPGMaker XP back in the day. Here are some screenies: 1 2 3 4 5. I made these maps with Rhinoceros (since that was the only 3D software I could use back then), and the characters with Photoshop. Turned out that RPGXP is trash for making games any more complex than Final Fantasy 1. All this I did previously looks very lackluster to me now, and I don't intend to use any of this in Cosmisa, but as always, it's an interesting phase of the project and serves to illustrate where I'm coming from.
So the blob got some more plaster stuck on it. I really craved to get rid of the chasm-setting, as I ended up using that idea (and many others from Cosmisa) in my other project, TAKO. I decided to scrap much of the earlier content and started anew.
Few concepts I initially toyed with
- Humanity has evolved into an interstellar race of reclusive vampiric beings: immortal, sterile, inhuman.
- Appearance: long limbs, bald, extremely pale, dark eyes, androgynous.
- Immensely long travels made in trancelike states.
- People are kept apart since problems arise when they are introduced to eachother. The doctrine of forlornity is the ruling edict, and people shun away from eachother.
- Each person has a nearly indestructible cyberbody and unlimited ability to replicate.
- Love for oneself and another is a state of being, the ideal constant which keeps these beings sane.
- Operators of stations are homogenously taught by premeditated memories of each predecessor, with no true insight of learning experienced ("we do not need insights, we need simply require calculated knowledge of operation")
- The protagonist finds a near-insane subman from a desolate orbital station which has sent a signal for assistance. The man is driven mad by his solitude, and longs for real human contact.
- From the viewpoint of an ancient terraformer who keeps conducting his duty due to a religion instilled in him aeons ago. Singularity has altered mankind immensely; cosmisa begins to recall her mission; no genders, only classifications;
- Spiderlike abyssant accustomed to work in low-G.
- The overmind: Cosmisa has been subjected to horrible experiences to augement her empathy.
- As you fall into the black hole, the black walls closing behind you, you can see in a glimpse the millions of years flicker by... In an instant, Andromeda collides with the Milky Way, the mess clashing with a next galaxy a moment later... The clusters of billions of stars dance a dance of eternity. It is all a mesmerizing sight to behold - there is no return, you are lost to time and space.
- MAMACELL; a central unit bred for the purpose of administration. Her ultimate goal is to preserve the purity of the human race, although she herself is a gene-mutant who will be exterminated upon arrival to destination.
- The term "Soul" was invented as a means to persecute and dehumanize synthetic people, claiming that it was something which they inherently lacked, having been created out-of-womb.
In the future, the descendants of the human race invent a way to spy the actions of every living being born on Earth. As time is relative, they are there in essence and can see who is worthy. They select the kindest, the selfless and the spiritually elevated people to be saved upon their death and brought into their utopia. These beings with the blessed heart become the Cosmisa. They cannot of course alter the course of fate, but they can observe and extract when it means nothing (on their hour of death).
My third idea: Generation starships fascinate me and I wanted to include this concept in Cosmisa. I envisioned that the events of the game happen inside a humongous, almost endless-feeling starship, of which some parts yet harbor human life. However, so much time has passed since the ship started from the solar system that most passengers are not even aware that they are riding a giant vessel, its purpose to bring the seed of human life to an exoplanet far away. The ship would be so large that the population inside it has diverged to 'tribes' who keep to themselves or are in open conflict with eachother.
- A spacecraft will have the general internal arrangement of a skyscraper, not that of a passenger airplane. The floors will be set perpendicular to the axis of thrust, and "up" will be the direction the spacecraft is thrusting.
- The 'shield' flying 'above' the ship gathers building materials from particles smashing onto it while the ship is in constant transit. These materials are used by automated construction robots to build more space for the population dwelling within.
- Slowly pressurizing more areas of the ship, as the plants of hydroponics / eden gardens create oxygen.
- If your rocket has a multi-megawatt power plant, an absurdly high thrust thermal rocket propulsion system, or directed energy weapons it will need huge heat radiators to purge all the waste heat. Otherwise the rocket will melt or even vaporize. Radiators look like large wings or arrays of panels, and thus the 'porous' shape of the ship.
- I like the utilitarian shape of the Borg ship from TNG; I'm taking similarities.
- Modules 'weaved' unto one another for structural support and integrity.
- NO windows. Windows represent structural weakness, and there really isn't much to see in any event. Unless the spacecraft is orbiting a planet or docking with another ship, the only thing visible is the depths of space and the eye-searing sun. And unlike submarines, windows on a spacecraft also let in deadly radiation.
- Self-replicating robots building the structure evermore with some simple, inherent logic. The spaceship has only one direction to grow - upward, by pushing the separate particle shield further away from the ship. Below the ship are engines, and extending the construction to the side will result in parts of ship not covered by the shield, and battered by microparticles in near FTL flight.
- Impossibly tough materials, capable of not collapsing unto itself by the sheer mass of the structure.
- The inner parts having their own atmosphere, due to the gravitation created by an enormous cylinder inside the ship, which also is creating a magnetic field to shield the ship from deep space radiation.
- Biosphere - a giant, magnetically balanced, spinning sphere on whose inner surface the gardens exist, the initial "world" of the protagonist. A fusion fire burns in the core of the sphere, providing light and warmth (artificial star). A long tower leads to the furnace fire, which is in actuality a pipe magnetically conducting the power of the engines to the sphere's center.
The protagonist is born into a small and humble village somewhere in the oxygen spheres (these are overgrown ecodomes attempting to replicate the conditions on tropical regions of the Earth). She is made part of a cult that's worshipping a female deity MAMACELL, who sometimes communicates with the dwellers. The heroine is made to resemble MAMACELL, as are other servitors like her (they are functionally priestesses of the cult) and admitted to a convent where she must spend the rest of her life.
Something cataclysmic happens (the "impenetrable" crust of the dome is breached) and the heroine is thrusted into an adventure where she must first come to terms with the realization that her world is much grander than she what she had been told before, then navigate the megastructures of the lonely ship and encounter strange unseen things and places, and lastly to discover MAMACELL and learn the truth of her existence and purpose.
This project is largely in ice, although I will continue to shape it when I feel like it. I currently have no plans to start making visual concepts, at least until I've finished the Keito projects, and probably Bloodbrand as well.
(c) Heikki Kuusipalo 2017 - return to skyesken.org