First, I want to thank all our new backers for signing on, and some of our backers that have upped their pledge! We’re half-way to reaching our goals in only 4 days, and ready to shoot beyond! I’ve got some stretch goals in the wings that I think will really enrich the game, but we’ll cross that bridge when we come to it.
In the mean time, please keep getting the word out! ask your favourite internet writers why they haven’t covered Net Gain yet, share the Kickstarter with your friends… the more backers that join our happy community, the better the game becomes for all of us!
Stages of Development
Let’s cover where we’re at, and where we’re going. Currently, Net Gain is an Internal Build. The game has a lot of systems that power it, and I’ve spent the past few months building, tweaking, and rebuilding those structures until I was confident in the core features.
As it says, this three-panel layout is only what I was using to rapidly prototype and iterate the various systems, and are no way indicative of what you’ll see when you play. The images seen on the Kickstarter and trailer are the GUI designs planned for the public Prototype.
The public Prototype being released in June will have most of the core elements of the game in place. Those core features will be expanded into everything we have planned for “Net Gain 1.0” over the year.
In these content updates, I’ll be talking about our goals for the final game, so not all features mentioned will be present in the Prototype, but the core gameplay will be there!
Missions are the cornerstone of the game. Your role as Broker is to devise these missions to do whatever it takes for the corporation to profit!
The core elements of a mission are the Target, Objective, Security, Plots, and Assigned Operatives.
Your first missions are usually about generating Intel. Intel is an abstract value for how much you know about something. For a corp this is stuff like financial records, employee directories, executive holiday locations, morale surveys… anything that can be turned to an advantage! You target the Corporation you want to investigate (perhaps a rival robotics corp), and you’ll be given a selection of objectives. For investigating, you could set up a spy operation, or just a one-shot investigation mission to collect a burst of Intel Once you have Intel it will be used to uncover targets within the corp you can plan runs on, such as their exposed assets or vulnerable staff.
There are three layers of security:
- Domain: The city you’re running the mission in. The higher the enemy presence in the city, the higher their domain security.
- Location: The security of the location you’re targeting. Bigger more important companies and corporations will have higher security
- Asset: If you are pursuing an asset, there may be additional security protecting it.
For each rank of security, you’ll need a plot to get through that layer, and a final goal plot to complete your objective.
Plots are these small “narrative moments” that happen during your mission, such as using a fake passport to get by security, seducing a lonely secretary into letting you into a server room, casing a building for weaknesses, or so on. Depending on your target and objective, there may be a certain type of plot required: Investigating requires lots of plots about sneaking around, spying on things, talking with people, and occasionally a supporting hack or steal plot.
This is where your operatives on retainer chime in: if they think their skills are a good match, they’ll recommend plots that could fit the type. The plots they recommend have challenges, numerical representations of something they must overcome by applying their skills. They may not be able to complete all the challenges in their plot, so you will assign other operatives to pick up the slack.
Plots come with more than challenges, though. Each one may have its own unique requirements, costs, or consequences for selecting. You’ll have to determine how to best apply your resources to complete your objective.
You can also get plots based on advantages you’ve collected: If you’ve turned someone inside the enemy organization, you may get a proposal for a talk plot that calls on your mole to take care of things for you, keeping your operatives from facing more risky challenges at the cost of our hold on that double-agent.
If none of the proposals fit your needs, you can spend Intel to generate new “outside-the-box” plots, that may require hiring new operatives to fulfill the challenges involved.
Once you’ve build your road of plots to your goal, the mission is approved and set into action!
Mission is Go!
Your operatives will automatically attempt to follow the plan you outlined, using their skills and resources to overcome the challenges and reach their goal. most plots they will be able to resolve on their own, but sometimes if they fail, or simply by chance, they’ll face a critical Event.
An Event can be good, bad, or a mix of both. The operatives will call on you for orders, and you’ll have to decide what the best course of action is. Again, you might have some collected advantage that you can use here, depending on the crisis that comes up!
Ideally, the operatives complete their plots, make it to their objective, and escape… but things are never ideal! dilemmas or failure can force operatives into NEW plots, squeezed into the current plan. Depending on *how* things got off track, these could be car chases, elaborate cat and mouse games with assassins, finding hiding places for things to cool down, or possibly even a firefight! These plots must be completed, and then the operatives can usually get back on track if they resolve it carefully… but every plot that wasn’t planned for means another chance for things to go wrong, your operatives burning unplanned resources, and possibly more dilemmas. As the broker, it’s up to you to decide whether the operatives should continue on track, retreat, or wait for the heat to die down.
Heat is what happens when things go wrong. Depending on what and how, heat can stick to locations, operatives, corporations, or even brokers! Heat in a location makes security tougher, heat on an operative makes it harder for them to lie low, heat on a corp leads to bad press, sanctions, and counter-attacks, and heat on a broker – something that only occurs when things have truly hit the fan – can lead to you being targeted by your rivals who will attempt to hunt you down!
Sometimes the best solution is to have your operatives plow through it, and sometimes you’ll want them lie low to wait for it to pass. If the operatives each their objective and there’s still heat on the operatives or in the location, they’ll have to make new impromptu plots to escape. Hopefully they’re not too worn out, injured, or low on resources to make it through… being caught with stolen property is a quick way to the interrogation room!
Of course, the important part is the objective. As long as your goal is completed (and if you’re stealing something, that at least one operative makes it back with the package), you’ll seize the Net Gain! In the case of our investigation mission, our operative comes back with a load of Intel we can use to uncover assets for stealing, staff for turning, waits to hurt their reputation, straight up financial robbery, and all sorts of fun objectives!
Operations are a type of mission that, when complete, the operatives don’t return to base – instead, they stay in the field and continually work the Goal Plot. You could, for example, set up a spy network in a rivals territory. Your detectives will hang around, continually sending back new Intel. It’s still a risk, and if your men are exposed you’ll have to plan a hasty extraction, but supporting operations can provide all sorts of useful benefits: Intel on corporations, resupply of resources for your operatives in the field, safehouse networks for them to hide when things go bad, “coyote” operations to smuggle operatives and supplies, smear campaigns… All of them use the same mission planning structure to put in place, then stay operational until a problem or you call your guys home.
Next Up: [???]
What would you guys like to hear about next!? We could still talk about the Economy, the operative’s Loyalty system, or anything else you’d like!
I know it’s a lot to process and I’m sure I didn’t hit on all the details, so if you have any morequestions about missions, post em below and I’ll get back to you!