Guest Article: Black Banner Media and Games – Gunmetal Grey

Gunmetal Grey
By Thomas Hedges

GunmetalGreyHello all, and thank you very much for taking the time to read my article. My name is Thomas Hedges and I’m going to talk about my upcoming RPG called Gunmetal Grey. It’s a Sci-Fi RPG set in a post-apocalyptic future, in which the earth has been nearly destroyed following the catastrophic events of World War Three. After the war, what was left of the population of the planet united, and turned their gaze towards the stars in search of a new home world. Huge cities were built to act as beacons to communicate with and launch exploratory starships fitted with experimental FTL drives. The rest of the world dwells within these cities, taking refuge from the radioactive storms and barren wastelands. The first ships were launched in 2110, and it’s been nearly a century since any news was heard. In the hundred years, the earth has fallen further, the poverty line and crime rates raising through the roof, the cities built as salvation have become a hell to its occupants. This is where your characters will live and work. They can choose to work with the Government employed GEA to help enforce the law, or fight against them to help citizens break free from the law. Your characters will have access to hundreds of weapons, pieces of equipment, vehicles and suits of hacking tools at their fingertips.

The world of Gunmetal Grey was heavily influenced by many of Neill Blomkamp’s films, of his dark, industrial slums of south Africa. I loved the way that technology was represented, by this sort of basic utility, only things that needed to be there were there, like the police robots in Elysium. Even the humanoid police robots are stripped down to bare essentials, only just resembling human figures. This is how I envisaged the technology of Gunmetal Grey.

Following on from this, and because of the purpose of the cities, computers and networks form the backbone of society. After playing Ubisoft’s Watchdogs, I fell in love with the idea of a central OS for every electronic device, that every computer, smartphone, TV, games console, even CCTV and security systems connected together. I adapted this concept for Gunmetal Grey in the form of AxelOS Loadbearing system. The system was designed to use the processing power of every device connected to it to process equations needed for communicating with the exploratory probe, but now it’s simply used as a universal network. Those that know what they’re doing with a computer can take advantage of this, and bend the OS to their will, depending on their level of competence. As a programmer myself, I wanted to create a fairly accurate hacking system, so I designed the Node system. Different actions require different amounts of Processing power to crack any security protocols preventing the player from gaining access. To gain processing power, a character can do three things; upgrade the device they are hacking with, piggy-back access points or permanently enslave a processor. Each one must be done via different means. Upgrading devices costs money and has a cap to the power. Piggy-backing can be done wirelessly, making it convenient, but only provides a small amount of power. Enslaving a node must be done by physically accessing and installing a back door virus into an access point or device, but provides the full amount of power the device possesses.

Of course, not everything can be done peacefully, and therefore I designed a fairly extensive combat system. It’s mainly focused around firearms, which makes close combat weapons deadly, but I spent time making the system simple but accurate. The system (which I have yet to name) takes into account the size of the target, the weight of it, body armour, the penetration protection of the armour, the force the bullet hits the target at and of course if a bullet hits an unarmoured target. Needless to say, this leads to plenty of graphic damage tables to explain just what part of your enemy you’ve blown off using your .500 revolver. But, needless to say, this is going to happen to either yours or your friend’s characters at some point, which is why I designed the tier skill system. Some skills, in this case First Aid, have tiers depending on their percentage. The higher tier you are in that skill will allow you to utilise more advanced equipment related to that skill. So, in this case, at Tier 1, your character might be able to stop a wound from bleeding, and can use basic equipment from a small first aid kit. But at Tier 9, they can perform field surgery and remove bullets or debris from casualties and given the right conditions, even bring someone back from the brink of death at Tier 10.

But for all these fancy pieces of equipment, sometimes you simply need brute strength or intelligence. Or perhaps you want to be able to run faster, jump higher or do that Sudoku problem you’ve been struggling with for months. For you, there are Character Upgrades. These take the form of genetic splicing, drugs, transplants, reinforcement of limbs and Biomechanics. If you’ve got the right amount of cash, you can become a walking tank, or have a computer built into your nervous system or have a titanium exoskeleton. This kind of thing stems from my love of Sci-Fi, and in a way partly influenced by Matt Damon’s Exoskeleton he has fitted in Elysium. All of these things combined with Vehicles, contracts, assassinations, drug deals, police chases, gunfights and heists make for the core of Gunmetal Grey. If you like what you see, stay tuned fro more updates and hopefully the launch of the website soon enough.

Anyway, this was just a small snapshot of my game, and hopefully you’ll be interested in playing. I’ll soon have a website up for it so you can see update notes, artwork and even contribute if you want to. Gunmetal Grey will be released in 2016, so stay tuned. Thank you very much for reading, please comment if you have any questions or want to contact me!

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