Sun Dogs: A Transhumanist Open World Text Adventure

Sun Dogs [official site] doesn’t look like a text adventure. Its solar system is colourful, clean and handsome and the motion of the spheres is soothing to watch. But there are words to discover out there in the spaces between the planets and in the diverse transhuman societies that have managed to adapt to almost every environment. There are RPG elements, including the ability to gain skills, collect items and modify your body. And when that body dies, your mind will transfer into a new one. Sun Dogs is definitely weird. Here’s hoping it’s wonderful. More details and video below.

I’m not sure quite what to expect but I certainly know what I want this to be and that’s a vaguely surreal sci-fi take on the masterful work Inkle are doing with their text-heavy choose your own adventure designs. 60 Days in a transhuman solar system – 80,000,000,000,000,000,000 Days work as a subtitle, I guess.

To wash away my dreamy speculation, here’s what the developers of Sun Dogs are saying. There are loads of updates on the devblog and most are worth reading but this one stood out:

“This weekend was supposed to be a deadline for a chunk of writing, but since I reached that last week, I set my next deadline and got to work on the next bits. I also finally resolved a longstanding design issue, related to the sleeves (bodies) that you can inhabit along your journey. There are still a few of these left that will eventually be picked up once the first writing pass is completed.

“Notes today are continuing from last week, a collection of thoughts on sci fi in general, and that ‘hard’ and ‘fantasy’ spectrum. I roughly prefer a region in between, leaning to the ‘hard’ end. Most cyberpunk sits here as well. It’s the most fascinating to me because it feels achievable, grounded, but still wondrous and surprising. I can put myself into this world, and I can maybe understand its rules, imagine how I might react to the events of the story.

“These settings usually depict outlandish or impossible things by having some sort of future technology underpinning them. The trick to selling the new magical things you’re doing is to make sure that they are grounded and portrayed in a believable way, not necessarily explaining the thing literally. The stories that I enjoy are the ones that feel like windows into a fleshed out world. That’s what I am trying to achieve with the game.”

Sun Dogs is made by Nic Tringali and Rebecca McCarthy. The release date is set for the end of October.

11 Comments

  1. Ejmir says:

    Intriguing.

  2. Captain Joyless says:

    Is the title a Schismatrix reference?

  3. hymnharmonia says:

    Probably worth mentioning that the game is now on Greenlight! link to steamcommunity.com

  4. Shadow says:

    Transhuman? Space? Cyberpunk? Sleeving? Eclipse Phaaaaase!

    Damn, I’ve been dying to play that game for so long. I just can’t seem to gather enough like-minded people.

    I suppose this Sun Dogs thing might be entertaining in a vaguely similar vein.

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      Harlander says:

      You could try gathering some peeps on the RPS forum for Eclipse Phase, if internet-mediated play is your bag. There’s been success with similar endeavours in the past.

      (Though I’m a bit disappointed you could run Transhuman and Space together without also thinking of Transhuman Space)

      • Shadow says:

        While I’ve heard of Transhuman Space (was it a GURPS supplement?), when it comes to transhumanism I’m primarily familiar with Eclipse Phase.

        Well, there’s also Shadowrun, but I suppose it doesn’t quite get there.

  5. Beefeater1980 says:

    Shame, RPS! Shame! *rings bell* Shame! *rings bell* Shame!

    There is an old 80s space RPG called SunDog. It’s likely that the title deliberately recalls that.

    link to en.wikipedia.org

    CRPG addict played it here: