Author Topic: Neofeud - A Dystopic Cyberpunk Adventure / Visual Novel  (Read 9308 times)

Jubal

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Re: Neofeud - A Dystopic Cyberpunk Adventure / Visual Novel
« Reply #15 on: December 31, 2017, 05:18:23 PM »
That's fantastic news, well done! :) I mentioned it at the top of the latest "Updates": https://exilian.co.uk/forum/index.php?topic=5474.0
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Silverspook

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Re: Neofeud - A Dystopic Cyberpunk Adventure / Visual Novel
« Reply #16 on: January 03, 2018, 09:10:21 PM »
Thanks, Jubal! And also thanks for adding Neofeud to the Exilian update!

Also, the Neofeud sale is ending today, if anyone was thinking of picking it up on Steam. :)

http://store.steampowered.com/app/673850/Neofeud/

Silverspook

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Re: Neofeud - A Dystopic Cyberpunk Adventure / Visual Novel
« Reply #17 on: January 06, 2018, 10:52:51 PM »


Neofeud, a cyberpunk adventure and one of the Top Indie Games Of 2017 on IndieDB is now available on the Mac! Get it here: https://silverspook.itch.io/neofeud

In addition, I have recently interviewed Francisco Gonzalez of Grundislav Games (maker of Ben Jordan, Shardlight, A Golden Wake) on adventure games and his upcoming game, Lamplight City!


Jubal

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Re: Neofeud - A Dystopic Cyberpunk Adventure / Visual Novel
« Reply #18 on: January 08, 2018, 12:44:35 AM »
Ooh, I'm not sure I realised you had a podcast :) Do you mostly/wholly cover adventure gaming, or?
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Silverspook

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Re: Neofeud - A Dystopic Cyberpunk Adventure / Visual Novel
« Reply #19 on: January 10, 2018, 06:59:27 AM »
Not exclusively adventure gaming, no. I generally cover indie game devs, writers, often in the cyberpunk / sci-fi genre, although I don't really have any strict rules about who/what I cover. It's partly a way to help co-promote folks and also to have an excuse to socialize as indie dev is often a kind of voluntary solitary confinement. :)

Jubal

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Re: Neofeud - A Dystopic Cyberpunk Adventure / Visual Novel
« Reply #20 on: January 11, 2018, 10:23:22 PM »
Ooh, I'll try and have a listen once I've caught up with Monster Man :) (Also, feel free to put up a separate thread for the podcast if you want?)
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Silverspook

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Re: Neofeud - A Dystopic Cyberpunk Adventure / Visual Novel
« Reply #21 on: January 12, 2018, 12:30:15 AM »
Ok great! Should I post the podcast thread in this forum? Let me know if that works or if there might be somewhere else appropriate for game-related podcasts.

Jubal

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Re: Neofeud - A Dystopic Cyberpunk Adventure / Visual Novel
« Reply #22 on: January 15, 2018, 10:11:18 PM »
I guess the "general gaming" section would work if it's more general than you feel fits in the "Indie Game Development" banner for this area?

Link: https://exilian.co.uk/forum/index.php?board=11.0
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Silverspook

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Re: Neofeud - A Dystopic Cyberpunk Adventure / Visual Novel
« Reply #23 on: January 17, 2018, 04:24:34 AM »
Ok I've added a thread for the Silver Spook Podcast there!

Here's a sneak peek at some of the latest work on Neofeud II:




In the above livestream I do some work on the actual game involving implementing this background in Adventure Game Studio, adding character walkable areas, point-and-click hotspots, etc.

I also received the "ballistic missile alert -- take shelter immediately!" message right before doing this stream as I was in Hawaii. Pretty insane experience and I also react to having my phone inform me that my wife, kids and I were about to be nuclear annihilated in this stream.

Jubal

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Re: Neofeud - A Dystopic Cyberpunk Adventure / Visual Novel
« Reply #24 on: January 20, 2018, 11:13:28 PM »
Guess who finally had a chance to go play through Neofeud :) I messed up a fair few times along the way, but completed some sections of it pretty smoothly. I'd guess it took me about 5 hours?

It's got a really good plot, and I definitely got very sucked into the world/storyline, good job! :)

The ending was interesting (spoilering for any reader who hasn't got there yet):
Spoiler (click to show/hide)

Oh, and the one plot point I never worked out:
Spoiler (click to show/hide)
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Silverspook

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Re: Neofeud - A Dystopic Cyberpunk Adventure / Visual Novel
« Reply #25 on: January 21, 2018, 06:56:46 AM »
Thanks for both buying and playing through Neofeud, Jubal!

I did intentionally want to not give any clean, "And then everyone lived happily ever after!" sort of conclusion to the game. At the end of Neofeud, the "Ascendant Leader" has a final line that is intentionally very, very ominous: "Perhaps I'll dabble in some foreign regime change", which is a definite reference to the United States' imperial policies in the 20th and 21st centuries. Because I feel that pure happy endings, while they feel good, are often too forced, and aren't really true to reality. Revolutions, even reforms, never end with a society living happily ever after, but rather just with new leadership, new challenges, and all the same human weaknesses and flaws that existed beforehand. The fall of the USSR left the US, the West, and capitalism victorious -- but that did not mean the world and all its people lived happily ever after in a capitalist utopia. Quite the opposite, I would argue -- just turn on your TV or mainstream social media for evidence. For example, the average person in the US now has the worst quality of life of all developed countries. It also has over 37 cities that have poison for drinking water, and half the population is at or near-poverty. And things are getting worse.

(Mind you, that particular character I mentioned isn't necessarily a metaphor for America, I just made all this analogy up right now.)

Even the characters themselves I wanted to be very flawed, and not always acting in the most "morally righteous" way, because that is how I find human beings actually are most of the time, and in the way that they are portrayed in great fiction such as the characters in Breaking Bad. While there are outright autocrats, yes, a big part of Neofeud is the way that power is abused, at every level. From the "honest-to-Jobbs" royalty to the business class to the executives, the legal class, the bureaucrats, the police forces, and at the most basic level, just taking advantage of marginalized groups for your benefit -- for example when Karl threatens a particular robot kid knowing that they can be locked up for almost no reason whatsoever, just because he wants a cigarette. It's about a struggle, on every level, not between the 'good' fighting an 'evil', but between human weakness and human strength -- between people choosing to abuse their power and oppress or ignore the oppression of someone beneath them if it's convenient, means a promotion, more dollars, tenure, etc. and if choosing to stand with the oppressed might mean losing personal status, power, getting fired, or even possible physical harm (i.e. like Karl and Jezebel in Sentient Services). In this sense, each of the main characters, while they may wind up in some good circumstances at the end, all have some serious flaws, and times which they chose to use their various degrees of power in very questionable, if not outright nasty ways.

Anyway, those are just some of the things that were in the back of my mind while I was making this game. thanks again for playing Neofeud and your feedback!

As for the question about the "blood"; I can't really answer that without giving things away which will be incorporated into Neofeud 2. Stay tuned! :)
« Last Edit: January 21, 2018, 09:12:53 AM by Silverspook »

Jubal

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Re: Neofeud - A Dystopic Cyberpunk Adventure / Visual Novel
« Reply #26 on: January 21, 2018, 11:14:13 AM »
Sure, that makes sense :) I guess there was just this hit of "hang on, this is still a regime I'd probably go protest against" which was interesting for me!

And yes, definitely looking forward to part II. Also, if you want an extra character voice and can put up with a British accent, give me a shout; I'd love to voice someone! I do spoken-word storytelling so I'm fairly used to performing a bit vocally, but I've not gotten my voice in a computer game yet. :)

A couple of things about Norton:
Spoiler (click to show/hide)

And a terminological-mixed-with-worldbuilding question: there are a lot of references to "liberals" through the game, which is a term I have a lot of interest in. I got the vague sense that in Neofeud, "liberals" is primarily code for "middle class or fairly wealthy, essentially status-quo/centre on the fundamentals of the system, but with philanthropic tendencies and opposed to direct violence against the poor", rather than the definition of "someone on the centre or left with a strong democratising and anti-statist streak" definition which is more how I'd think of liberalism (as someone from the UK). Would that be accurate?
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Silverspook

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Re: Neofeud - A Dystopic Cyberpunk Adventure / Visual Novel
« Reply #27 on: January 21, 2018, 08:56:47 PM »

A couple of things about Norton:
Spoiler (click to show/hide)

I haven't heard that one before myself! Norton's reference certainly wasn't meant that way. The entire concept of what a "person" is has of course been completely altered in Neofeud, in which individuals who are part animal, by design or by choice, are commonplace. I think in Neofeud it isn't a matter of making fun of trans individuals by saying, "They'll claim they're trans-species next", but rather that there *literally will be* trans-species individuals, and what will that mean for us as a society, and for the (post)-human condition. Given the facts that human-pig hybrid organisms have already been created, both the Chinese and American militaries are investing hundreds of billions of dollars into genetic research, and regulatory agency capture by the ultra-rich is essentially total in many countries, I see this as a very likely possibility. While the specific reference to, "Having a trans-species operation" might only happen in that one line of dialog, there are many references to transgenic individuals, genesplices, chimeras, etc..

I think part of the point of that particular bit is that such a trans-species operation "Ain't that cheap," which implies that while the ability to alter one's physical nature, even substrate or species is possible, it is very expensive and reserved for the privileged who can afford it. I'd argue this is even the case for gender reassignment surgeries, which can cost in the tens of thousands of dollars if one has no access to medical care, which is the situation of many not-privileged and marginalized individuals in our world today. Similarly, the Neofeudals who can swap entire bodies like changing clothes, as a form of fashion, is a conspicuous signifier of their wealth and status, in the way $100,000 bespoke suits, gigayachts, and having several luxury mansions and condos in places like London, Monaco, and Hawaii are signifiers today. 

Quote
And a terminological-mixed-with-worldbuilding question: there are a lot of references to "liberals" through the game, which is a term I have a lot of interest in. I got the vague sense that in Neofeud, "liberals" is primarily code for "middle class or fairly wealthy, essentially status-quo/centre on the fundamentals of the system, but with philanthropic tendencies and opposed to direct violence against the poor", rather than the definition of "someone on the centre or left with a strong democratising and anti-statist streak" definition which is more how I'd think of liberalism (as someone from the UK). Would that be accurate?

Yes, liberal can mean a lot of different things, but in the US it has often come to refer more to the "socially liberal", meaning pro-choice, for racial equality, gay rights, decriminalization of marijuana, and generally letting people live however they want. The wealthy or "JFK-liberal" / "Limousine-liberal" can refer to that sort of middle-class / wealthy who don't rock the boat so much, but give to charity. A lot of Hollywood celebrities, Democratic Party insiders would fit into this category. So yes, liberal can be a confusing term, without even having to understand "neoliberal". But I'd argue that everything can mean a lot of different things in our post-truth world, depending on what the consensus reality manufacturers decide things should mean! 

In Neofeud, when they refer to, "Those Bleeding Heart Liberals", or "Do some photo-ops holding poor transgenic/robot children in a mixed-species community garden makerspace to get the liberals on your side," etc. they are definitely talking about those like one of the particular female main characters, who are coming from a middle/upper-middleclass or ultrarich background but who care about or at least don't like to see the underclass, poor, marginalized races, species, substrates, etc. stomped on. Incidentally, the motto of the Bill and Melinda Gates foundation is, "All people deserve a chance to leave a happy, productive life," which that one princess mentions at one point. (The particular female main character may be a bit of an outlier in that she is a more "radical" liberal.)

Perhaps one of the darkest suppositions in Neofeud, that I'd wager may be even more dystopian than any William Gibson novel, Bladerunner film, or Black Mirror episode, is the idea that the mechanisms of revolution and reform -- such as the combined social mobilization of the underclasses in the socialist, communist, and Trotskyist parties in the 1930's -- have been utterly mastered and controlled by the very sophisticated global oligarchy. Controlled by not just things like teargas and agent provocateurs, but mass-media manipulation, disinformation, routine co-option of movements into pro-capitalist fold (rock and roll -> stadium rock, punk reduced to mall-punk fashion, "resistance" becomes cat ears and a hashtag, truth-to-power hip hop becomes gangsta rap $ worship / Kanye West) control of a post-net-neutral internet and a complete obsolescence of nearly all humans by AI/automation ("I have literally thousands of ex-doctors, ex-lawyers, ex-professors, ex-EVERYTHINGS waiting to take your place").  Neofeud suggests a near-future where popular resistance is *not even possible* and the only fleeting hope is that the children of Royalty become so disgusted with their horrible parents that they kill their own mothers and fathers.

It's pretty bleak, but also one of the underlying themes of Neofeud is of course the way in which cyberpunk dystopia is already here, it is just human society is very good at papering over the dystopic parts. As I mentioned, being from a ghetto and having been a social worker working with homeless children, marginalized and immigrants, much of Neofeud is not sci-fi speculation but my personal experience. It's reality. In Hawaii, where we have the highest concentration of billionaires on the planet, and entire tent cities of *working* homeless people who have their personal possessions routinely destroyed and told to "move on", where 80% of condos in many areas are uninhabited being used as wealth vaults for Mark Zuckerberg or some Chinese magnate, we are already  at the whim of the neofeudal elite, as is the case in many cities like San Francisco, New York, etc..  Major US cities are currently offering up their entire tax bases to Amazon Corporation that are supposed to be used for fire departments, roads, police, in exchange for setting up shop there. In some cases, control of the government, democracy itself, is on the table.

By overlaying pre-French Revolution-era visuals -- the levitating Palace at Versailles, obscene amounts of gold and manicured lawn, etc. -- over a near-future sci-fi reality in which the titles of analagous modern ultra-rich and powerful are intentionally blurred (i.e. "King / CEO" Warren Clington-Busch, "Viscount of Marketing", Kanye XII, etc.) I wanted to highlight this fact that we've returned to or are heading toward essentially the pre-enlightenment, Bourbon King / Game of Thrones / feudal era degree of inequality, and autocracy as a norm. What is a billionaire that can buy entire governments (such as is the case in the US), but a King or an Emperor? Why bother with the distinction and call a spade a spade?

That said, I don't think our situation is entirely hopeless, but I do think we are in much, much more dire straits than many people imagine, and being horrified and (constructively) outraged is the appropriate reaction.
« Last Edit: January 21, 2018, 09:49:26 PM by Silverspook »

Jubal

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Re: Neofeud - A Dystopic Cyberpunk Adventure / Visual Novel
« Reply #28 on: January 21, 2018, 10:52:05 PM »
Sure - I certainly understood how you meant that line and didn't think you meant it as I've often seen it used at all, but I figured you might not have come across the present connotations of it so I thought I'd flag it up - mainly since it's something that'd make me a bit reticent to, for example, badger friends in that community to play NF, which is otherwise a game I think several of them would love. It's not, I should clarify, the reference to trans-species characters in itself that I think could be an issue at all, that's fine, just that the only reference to gender issues you make is in the context of that species/genetics issue, which can be a bit of a sore point for people at present due to the heavy use of "genetic essentialism" arguments to attack trans folk. And yes, the point is well made on the costs, gender reassignment is definitely a massive expense - in countries like my native UK, it's available on the National Health Service, but with a massive waiting list; there are very few clinics that can do it and people are literally waiting years. Anyway, it's your game etc, I just thought it was worth pointing out :)


And yeah, the reason the particular term of liberal interests me is mainly that I am a liberal (in the sense of "a member of the UK's Liberal Democrat party") and so the meaning of the term a debate I get caught up in regularly. I guess the sense of liberals being "socially liberal" holds in the UK, though perhaps with an added sense of liberal implying opposition to statism and entrenched power, so the UK's liberals are also traditionally pro-civil rights, anti-surveillance, anti-monopolies, anti-hereditary wealth accumulation, in a way that I guess isn't necessarily implied by "liberal" in other countries. Though I'd also be considered part of the (explicitly named as such) "Radical Liberal" faction within my party... whilst I didn't feel like I very strongly identified with any of the characters in NF, I guess the female lead comes closest - not that I could ever dream of having that level of power or birth or resources, but the feeling of "I'm trying to fix this, I can see that people are suffering, I don't really know what I'm doing and I'm not really acting from personal experience but ultimately I know I have to do something" feels quite familiar.


And yeah, I felt like could definitely see your experiences running throughout the plot and through Karl's character, which was a really strong part of playing through the game. I think a lot of it hits home really well and I very much agree about society's ability to paper over dystopia. One thing I've noticed from moving country last year is to what extent people are always more horrified by basically the same thing happening somewhere else: Austrians are baffled at how Brexit could have possibly happened and mock the insularity of Britain, whilst shrugging their shoulders at the literal neo-fascist faction that now forms nearly half their government, whilst Brits will happily decry the rise of a fascist party in Austria whilst not really making the connection to the increasingly brutal raids and information networks that their own Home Office is using to terrorise migrants. There's always a big incentive to deny the problem in front of you, because that's the one you'd have to do something about.
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Silverspook

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Re: Neofeud - A Dystopic Cyberpunk Adventure / Visual Novel
« Reply #29 on: January 22, 2018, 01:05:13 AM »
Oh, are you in Austria now? I have recently interviewed the creator of a game called Spinnortality, which deals with a lot of these topics. I believe he is also from the UK but living in Austria. He mentioned that same development happening there.