Drawing from the tabletop role playing game Heavy Gear by Dream Pod 9, the Heavy Gear Fan Game takes place on Terra Nova, a former Earth colony, some 4,000 years in the future. Terra Nova is a super-earth exoplanet: it is slightly larger than Earth, but significantly less dense, resulting in gravity of 1.1G. Its slower spin rate means that a single Terra Novan day is close to 36 Terran hours. While Terra Nova is located within the Goldilocks zone of its old orange-hued sun, Helios, this zone is situated much closer to the star, meaning that Terra Nova completes its yearly orbit much faster. These orbits are known as cycles, and instead of months they consist of four Seasons: Winter, Spring, Summer, Autumn, each comprised of eight 6-days weeks, or 48 36-hour days. A cycle consists of 192 of these Terra Novan days, or 288 Earth days.
Unlike Earth, Terra Nova has almost no axis wobble, and thus generally does not experience very pronounced seasonal changes. This is the primary reason for the disappearance of the traditional Solar monthly gradation calendar, since seasonal changes occur gradually throughout the entire cycle, rendering monthly breakdown meaningless for purpose of meteorology. The other reason is that Terra Nova has two moons -- Hope and Charity -- both of which have irregular orbits that are not conducive to a lunar calendar.
Terra Novan calendar begins on the date Terra Nova was discovered by Earth, and the current games takes place in TN1941.
Terra Nova is primarily desert planet with little surface water, and nearly all of it is concentrated around the polar latitudes. The far North features a cooler climate with strong seasonal temperature changes and very mountainous terrain covered in deciduous and evergreen forests. The Southern hemisphere is a much more tropical jungle climate interspersed by extreme mountain ranges and vast swamplands. While surface water is a rarity outside of polar zones, the entire planet is honeycombed by a vast underground fresh water system called the MacAllen Cave Network.
The tropical and subtropical latitudes of Terra Nova are inhospitable to human life, featuring many natural hazards: temperatures of over 50 Celsius during the day, corrosive volcanic ash known as the white sand, and lethal sandstorms that can reach speeds of over 300 kph. The polar population commonly refers to the entire area as the Badlands. However, settlements and even occasional city-states can be found here. Most of these communities are focused around exploiting the naturally abundant resources found in the Badlands -- everything from rare ores to valuable gemstones to oil. Many travel to Badlands to get rich; many others escape here for political, religious, or social reasons.
A BRIEF HISTORY OF TERRA NOVA
Earth, circa 4,500AD: after an end of major ice age -- the worst one in history -- humanity rushes to reclaim the planet stolen from them by ice over two thousand years ago. This sparks a golden age unlike any other, and even as men reclaim their lost ancestral homelands, they turn their gaze back towards the stars. A study of strange particle emissions at the edge of the solar system leads to the discovery of the key technology that would make colonizing other planets possible: the Tannhauser Gate. By focusing a powerful beam of exotic radiation on a super dense particle cluster, it is discovered that its effect on the curvature of space-time can dramatically expand in both size and magnitude until space folds upon itself, creating a shortcut to a distant entangled cluster elsewhere in the galaxy. A journey of several hundred, perhaps several thousand light years can now be done within several hours.
Earth reaches out towards the stars, leaping through Tannhauser gates until it finds it Terra Nova -- the first (although not the last) of the colonizable planets found within the Tannhauser network. It is a new hope for mankind, and is carefully portioned out to the highest bidders, mostly corporations and trusts, which find that they are able to exploit its vast natural resources better than the dwindling ones back on Earth. By and large, in the first half a millennium of its existence, Terra Nova is settled prevalently via concentrated corporate camps focused on exploiting a single natural resource. This trend remains true all the way until the collapse of the colonial system.
Roughly a millennium after the discovery of the Tannhauser gate particle, Earth finds itself in a bad place. The glaciers are completely gone, but ice is far from humanity's only problem: its rapidly dwindling natural resources and a massive population explosion put living space at a great premium. Simply put, Earth is filled to capacity, full of people it can no longer support, and yet it finds itself spending much of its precious production upon developing the faraway colonies. Finally, massive unrests and a coup in the planet wide political structure coincide to allow the isolationist radical element dictate colonization policy. They waste no time shutting down colonization program in its entirety, recalling all vessels and stranding the fledgling colonies.
Terra Nova is left as a planet of perhaps several million colonists living in isolated city-states, left to their own devices on a hostile frontier planet. This is a trying time, and mankind comes close to perishing; however, after several hundred cycles, two major powers emerge above all others: the Southern Republic, a curious mix of extreme social freedom and equally extreme political repression, and the Norlight Confederacy, an almost mirror opposite, greatly valuing political freedom of those who subscribe to a particular brand of the state religion. Both of these are major superpowers who head their respective Polar Leagues: Allied Southern Territories and the Confederated Northern City-States.
Although each city-state has its own culture and values, there are some general differences between how the North and the South work. The North values and protects political dissent, but is very socially and religiously strict, though their social policies may still be considered liberal by current day standards. It operates similarly to the United States, but with a much heavier emphasis on religion. The South is extremely socially and religiously diverse, but does not tolerate political dissent. Think a socially liberal Soviet Union, if it happened in France.
The namesake of the franchise are humanoid bipedal fighting systems called Gears, 4 to 6 meter-tall machines which evolved from construction equipment to tools of war in terrain too dense or cluttered for conventional vehicles. They generally possess a single pilot and are powered by a V-engine design not very dissimilar to the ones found on many motorcycles, although they have a much higher performance and are capable of guzzling almost any combustible fuel, from kerosene to ethanol (optimal performance is usually achieved through diesel or gasoline).
To assist combat pilots on the battlefields of 62nd century, Gears are endowed with very advanced self-learning Artificial Intelligence subroutines called Neural Networks, which link sets of receptors from every major component to the central computer in a pattern similar to that of a human, permitting Gears to learn through experience and develop reflexes that can supplement and sometimes outright replace those of a pilot. While a vehicle that can dodge hypersonic projectiles can be a great advantage in the field, it also means that Gears can pick up bad habits or mannerisms from external stimuli, and must be regularly trained and conditioned to maintain optimal performance. Some Gears have an intelligence level equal to that of a very clever dog and have even been known to operate without input of their pilot for extended periods of time, but the Leagues of Terra Nova have outlawed further advancement of their intelligence and autonomy as a precautionary measure against technological singularity.
Unlike most mecha-oriented settings, Gears are prominent but do not dominate the field, but for the most part occupy the role of heavy mechanized infantry, capable of long-term autonomous operations with high degree of survivability. However, both vehicles and infantry play key roles on any Terra Novan battlefield, even though they are not considered quite as glamorous. Air power can also be a major part of any war, but Terra Nova's turbulent, unpredictable atmosphere and rapidly forming high-altitude sandstorms make air support a very unreliable factor. However, the planet's unique superdense magnetic field has resulted in the development of maglev technology on a strategic scale, permitting construction of landships -- massive floating vessels that can range in size and displacement from a light conventionally powered corvette all the way to a multiple-reactor super landcarrier that exceeds dimensions of any twentieth century vessel, a veritable floating city amongst the dunes.
Our story takes place on one such vessel: the Allied Southern Territories Landship (ASTL) Nagato, a medium-displacement Battlecruiser. It carries a regular crew of 1,500: some 200 members of the 385th Allied VTOL Wing The Crescents, 500 marines and naval crew of the vessel, and roughly 800 members of the 72nd Peacekeeper Interdiction Regiment, The Wild Hunt.
The Peacekeepers are a militarized law enforcement arm of the Mekong Dominion, one of the members of the Allied Southern Territories that was founded as a league by expatriate corporations who wanted to bring Eastern culture and traditions to Terra Nova. Mekong Dominion is a fascinating, often lawless place where the rich live in stark contrast to the poor, money can legally purchase and dispense both justice and citizenship, and technological marvels of postmodern cityscapes are surrounded by undeveloped, rural wilderness.
The Dominionites are known across the planet for being merciless and truly outstanding traders with a mind of their own. Even though they, like all other Southern leagues, live in the political shadow of the Southern Republic, there is no guarantee that this status quo will last for much longer. What Republic can get by force, the Dominion achieves through cunning; what Republic conquers, Dominion buys out; where Republic brings a sword, Dominion brings a trade agreement. It is a land of the famously clever and the infamously corrupt, where almost everything can be bought for a price -- aside from the Peacekeepers.
However, no organization, especially one tasked with hunting down terrorists and dissenters, can play entirely by the rules. This is why 72nd exists outside of the established regional structure, reporting directly to the office of Chief Constable, and this is why the Dominion leases the Nagato from the Southern Republic for an enormous cost. Some scoff at the Wild Hunt for being little more than mercenaries from other leagues, burnt-out BlackOps and desperate Badlanders tarnishing the Peacekeeper uniform. Others see them as necessary, effective, perhaps even heroic.
As usual, the truth is somewhere in between.
As a member of the 72nd Peacekeepers, you'll play the deadliest game in the Southern hemisphere: that of politics and intrigue, clandestine backroom deals and BlackOps operations gone FUBAR in the worst possible way.
- Unlock different PoV to see the story from another perspective.
- Different characters get different events, though there are also global events.
- Each PoV has its own art style to reflect how they see the world.
- Build friendships to unlock character events.
- Multiple endings
- Character specific mini-games, depending on their job.
- Tactical turn based combat displayed on a hex map.
- Combat uses Heavy Gear war gaming rules.
- Build reputation by impressing superior officers.
- Spend reputation on modifying your Gear.
The first segment of the story allows you to play as Alvere Moreau, a very strange young mechanic who just joined the 72nd. He attempts to situate himself in his dream job, get to know his coworkers, and avoid being assassinated for breaking the equivalent of the Geneva convention.
This game is primarily a visual novel, with choices affecting branching story paths. Each character has their own timeline, with the player following along on their adventure. These stories intersect throughout the game, allowing the player to see different events through the eyes of characters with varying levels of involvement. Characters of higher military rank are unlocked later in the game, giving a new perspective on the events going on in previous storylines. I also have plans for a collection of data files that are found throughout the game which give insight into the world of Heavy Gear and its technology, politics, sociology, and more.
We are also implementing a dating sim-esque mechanic which keeps track of the players relationship to various characters. (Of course this value is different depending on what character they are playing!) There are plans for a friendship stat, romance stat, and possibly a rivalry or enemy stat.
If we get another programmer, or if I find myself with enough time to learn, we will include a battle system based on the Heavy Gear role playing game. Battles will take place on a hex map and use the rules for Heavy Gear's war game with some modifications. The player will be assigned a Gear or other combat device when they start playing as a specific character. Depending on the feasibility of the programming, we would like to add another stat called "reputation" which can be spent to personalize your Gear. (You will start with a standard model.) You would be able to exchange your weapons, add or reduce armor, and apply various upgrades that will aid you out on the field.
There is also a possibility of several mini-games or alternative mechanics to allow the player to participate in other activities aboard the ship, besides combat. Said activities may include: mechanical repair, hacking, selling stuffed animals, filling out paperwork (more of a joke than a mini-game), or sneaking about the ship unseen.
I have attached a very large file that shows the command structure of the Nagato, which may prove helpful when looking over the following characters. Not all of them are there, since not all are a part of the 72nd, but most of them are. Each character will have a full sprite, but for now I am only including a mugshot. Art is not final art, as much of it is old and will need to be updated.
Strengths: electronics and programming, wealth, breaking the fourth wall.
Weaknesses: delusions of grandeur, insufferable, Weird but Tasty
Hobbies: hacking, gear training, finding “adventures”
Strengths: Gear piloting, quick thinking, leadership.
Weaknesses: impulsiveness, politics, stubbornness.
Hobbies: shock music, gambling, conspiracy theories
Strengths: charisma, Gear dueling, politics.
Weaknesses: arrogance, recklessness, vanity.
Hobbies: fencing, singing, romantic entanglements.
Strengths: detective work, interpersonal skills, connections.
Weaknesses: combat paralysis, aloof personality, indecisiveness.
Hobbies: sewing, trideo games (action/MMOs), singing and acting.
Strengths: tactics, close combat, Gear piloting.
Weaknesses: strategy, interpersonal skills, alcoholism.
Hobbies: dance, ancient books, trideo games (strategy)
Taiga Evangelyne Wintersmith// Sous-Caporal // 19 cycles
Rashieve Nyarlathotep// Unknown // 36 cycles
No screenshots yet, but look forward to them in the future!
PLAN & PROGRESS
Most likely we will not implement advanced mechanics, including the battle system, on our first release. We are aware that all of this is extremely ambitious and want to put our priority on the story and character art first. We are not working on the project full time because we have to work day jobs to pay our bills. I am also working on other projects to enhance my skills, and to provide me with additional experience on what it is like to produce a visual novel.
I figure once I am more experienced with the programming aspect of Ren'Py I will be able to say for sure what we will and won't include in the game. Unfortunately, this means that this game is not coming out anytime soon! This will take several years at least, and perhaps more unless another programmer is interested in joining. (Currently I am both the artist and programmer.)
But, we are both very dedicated to this project and will continue working on it. The progress may be slow, but we will not drop it!
Story Outline: 80%
Character Designs: 90%
Friendship Engine: 60%
Battle Engine: 0%
Reputation Engine: 0%
Gear Customization: 0%
1st Set: 25%
2nd Set: 3%
3rd Set: 0%
4th Set: 0%
5th Set: 0%
daikiraikimi: Art and Programming
noxchaos: Writing and Music Selection
- Are you familiar with the Heavy Gear role playing game/war game?
- Which character are you most interested in?
- What do you think about our plan to implement different points of views, with related art?
- What kinds of art styles would you be interested in seeing? (Provide examples if you like.)
- What do you think if the Reputation system? Do you think it would add to the game?
- Any other feedback?