Villa Therese Tech Demo (0.0.9.3B)

If you are a backer of Total Rendition, you have noticed the recent Villa Therese Tech Demo. This is essentially the little sister of prototype 0.0.9.3A. I already mentioned a thing or too about the original plans for 0.0.9.3B. I hope I have made good on the promise of having 0.0.9.3B more gameplay than before, especially since certain aspects of Total Rendition’s intended gameplay have temporarily become dormant. This, just to make sure the new features are implemented in a fashion that is worthy for Total Rendition!

Now, you may wonder why I released a prototype that does not show Total Rendition’s gunplay, weaponry or even NPC’s, when all the previous versions did have all of it. And future versions will have them again too. Yet, at the same time, Villa Therese tech demo emphasises the interactive aspects of Total Rendition. Because in the end, Total Rendition is not (just) a shooter. Total Rendition will feature a wide array of weapons and allows the players to make use of them. Yet in the end, it’s not the point of it. Unlike, say, Call of Duty or Gears of War, you are not supposed to need weapons if you want to use alternative solutions.

Instead, there is a segment with Tzipora Herzog talking to herself what to do with a laptop containing compromising information about one Gerard van Hoorn’s exploits. It is arguably the first prototype of Total Rendition that has a narrative – and morally – meaningful choice. Unless I find reason to change it, expect that future versions will contain that very segment.

Wacky inventory

I have also made a point of making the game’s journal system tied to the player character’s smartphone. You cannot use the in-game journal without the smartphone because it is effectively an in-game app. The smartphone also one of the few items that does not need an inventory slot, alongside keys. Weapons, on the other hand, will occupy an inventory slot.

Now, while weaponry isn’t featured in the Villa Therese Tech Demo, it has already succeeded in providing with inspiration for what direction Total Rendition will take in that regard. For instance, if you wish to carry an assault rifle with you, expect it a take 60% of your inventory space. A munition cache is to take one slot in your inventory. Again, this is a very deliberate design choice.

While firearms will give you immense amount of power over life-and-death, there are drawbacks. For one, they take up lots of space. Space that could otherwise be used for utility items, such as lockpicking sets. Open carry of firearms is illegal in the Netherlands, where Total Rendition takes place. This too, will be reflected: Doing so will draw police attention when outdoors. It will also make most NPC’s (that is people) feel intimidated by you. So you might want to think twice before drawing that pistol. While both André Weiland and Tzipora Herzog may be distinguished warriors, they are not that much more powerful than the average person. Just as in real-life.

In that sense, the chief design challenge of Total Rendition is to balance the enjoy-ability of its gameplay experience, with a sense of realism as well as being a medium for its narrative.

Villa Therese

The discussed prototype takes place in Villa Therese, the mansion of Gerard van Hoorn. In fact, it is to become a recurrent location. Villa Therese will probably see numerous revisions as Total Rendition matures in development. It will become bigger and especially more detailed. If you noticed the safe in Gerard van Hoorn’s work room, it will soon be protected with a keypad. If you played Deus Ex or System Shock, you will (hopefully) especially get what you mean!

Work hasn’t started yet on the promised Linux version. However, it’s hopefully gets into circulation soon!

-Mordechai Gabai