Playtest: Orchestra

Finally here, it’s the not-very-long-awaited Orchestra!

Current Features:

Characters with well over a dozen skills!
Several random encounters, including gasp story!
One city, Tokyo!
Six character classes, including the hardcore-mode Rebel!
Wounds and healing! Shady street doctors!
Character advancement automatically through use (non-cybernetics) and through points at a custom interface (all skills)!
A Codex with various background histories of the setting.
Jason Bourne inspired violence!

Soon to Include:

“Heat”- police attention system
Actual main story lines, namely the first section of one following the biotechnology giant Metamorphysis.
Unique cybernetic augmentations, psychic abilities, and equipment.
Grenades for everyone!
An in-game shop to buy a trauma stick… or an assault rifle.
edited by Kyle Willey on 11/21/2012
edited by Kyle Willey on 11/21/2012

I poked around for a few minutes, and wanted to give you my initial read – wow! This looks to be a massive world with a large number of options and qualities, and will be great for people to really sink their teeth into when the main storylines are ready. I like how you handled the Codex; that will make it easy for people to go back and review the world-building stuff. The descriptions for quality changes are very cool as well.

Thanks for the feedback! I basically built the whole game around the framework of eventually being a massive open-world game, and I’m rapidly adding content. About 15 of the current storylets are unfinished and unavailable or for my use, so right now the effective perceivable storylets is around ~45, so it’s still really small on the player’s end, but I’m working on a tiered system of random encounters- one-shot, normal, and long; 1, 3-5, and 6+ storylets respectively, and the player will be able to choose in the random encounters list so that they can get a longer, more rewarding mission (only normal or long encounters will give achievements, or chains of one-shot encounters) or a very dynamic one-shot encounter. Right now there’s one one-shot, the one with the man being pursued by thugs, that has over fifteen possible outcomes.

Very interesting. I am interested to see how you handle such a wide range of abilities. I think it will be a challenge to kepe them all relevant, without a couple of major one overshadowing a lot of less useful skills. But on the other hand, it give syou a lot of freedom to make very open ended scripts with many possibilities. I think it’s ambitous.

Part of the goal of the game is to have a couple one-shot random encounters that are explicitly best served by each skill, and to design the longer random encounters around using flexible trees of skills as the best options. You’ll still be able to use a favored skill a ton, but it’ll be more difficult. In addition, higher level content will be added eventually (toggled in a settings menu), to allow players to get more advanced content if they want to have harder encounters with more rewards.

The faction selection card doesn’t seem to go away after selecting Corporation.

It shouldn’t, so that the players can re-select. However, thanks for notifying me, I should add a note about that!

It shouldn’t, so that the players can re-select. However, thanks for notifying me, I should add a note about that!

EDIT: Oh yeah, even though the functionality has been there for a while I just got around to adding in Shibuya Underground Market, and with it some weapons, and even earlier today I added in “A Corpse at Night”, which allows you to find the first “body armor” in the game (it’s a lined duster that can conceal weapons). This represents another good chunk of content (not quite as much as “A Cat” will be when it’s finished, but a good chunk), as well as progress toward a major milestone.
edited by Kyle Willey on 11/26/2012

I don’t like bumping my own thread, but I am so that I can make an important announcement to the playtesters: I’ve had the death penalty way too high for low-level characters, so if you chose the “heal at home” option and lost all your skills PM me or send me an e-mail through the game so that I know to restore your character’s skills: include your chosen class and your character’s name.

In addition, November’s Happy Feedback item will be the Bug Smasher, a mythical hammer of justice! If you haven’t sent me something with your thoughts on the game, send it in for the Happy Feedback reward, and if you have, then remind me with your character’s name.

EDIT: The glitch has been fixed, I’m waiting on the two people I’ve heard from to give me their character names.
edited by Kyle Willey on 11/27/2012

Bumping my own thread (again) here, but I not only need feedback but I’d also like to commemorate my hundredth storylet with a special present: A Freebie Link!

This link will give three free Five-Point Achievement coins that give random awesome (and not-so-awesome) stuff to those who use them. It won’t expire, so everyone should use it!

Thought you might like to know that the difficulty to use Dominance-Creation to heal myself is significantly different if I get it from the sometimes deck (almost impossible) vs getting it as a must in response to getting hurt (chancy).

That’s intentional-it’s meant to be easier to fix wounds while fresh using Dominance rather than when they’re old. I should make some fiction blurb talking about how Dominance is highly linked to mental state, and having stuff be a way for a while makes it harder to undo.

Is there any kind of upper limit on Heat? I’m driving mine as high as I can and still haven’t drawn anything I didn’t get at “On the Run”.

There’s no upper limit, but there’s still a lot more heat stuff to come after Milestone 1.

I hate bumping my own post, but I promised in the news that I would post a link to the milestone for Orchestra. Since I just got my website up and working, I figure I may as well take the opportunity to link to it (I know, spammy, right?):

Warning: SPOILERS. Also, unfinished, since I’m coming off a cold and very little sleep and hectic family gatherings. I’ll be updating it over the next day or so until it’s finished.
edited by Kyle Willey on 12/27/2012

I’ll be hosting a livestream of Orchestra development later today (Twitch). This is waiting on me doing some troubleshooting to ensure everything will work (I haven’t had problems, but I want to be sure I won’t) and for some stuff my computer’s doing to finish running. I estimate that it will be about one hour or a half hour before it’s going, so stay tuned. I will be describing my work process, design decisions, and such as I run through the stream, and I will answer questions asked in chat. Ideally, I’d like to start doing this weekly at an appointed time and sporadically, in part to build community involvement in work on Orchestra and in part to keep myself disciplined (I have had a ton of work this week IRL, but I’m trying to get Orchestra growing at the same rate it used to).

I’ll be working on the first Metamorphysis Storyline mission, getting it ready for people to do experimental play. I’d continue working on the A Cat storyline, but there would be very many spoilers if I were to do that now.

EDIT: And we’re live, because my computer was faster than I thought.

EDIT 2: The non-spoilerific stuff is done, but expect part 1 live experimentally tonight or tomorrow. If you wanna watch the livestream, you can access it here: Twitch
edited by Kyle Willey on 1/19/2013

Sorry I missed it, Kyle. I don’t have time to watch the whole thing right now, but I took a look at the beginning of the recording. It could be an interesting way to share thoughts and techniques and to discuss the design process.

I guess my question is though, are you crisp enough about what you’re trying to get across in each session? The idea of just dropping in on the creative process has its own appeal, but an hour or more is quite a big investment of time, especially if you’re hoping people will come back each week. For example, if you had the text pre-written and ready just to paste in, that would help keep it snappier. Just my opinion of course.

You can type a lot faster than I can, though ;-)


I’m probably not going to manage to give a good concise thing ever, but I plan on doing several more livestreams, preferably covering 1) story mission creation, 2) the creation of gear, especially modifiable weapons, 3) making one-shots, 4) monetization, and 5) the expansions (at least one each).