Sunday, April 1, 2018

I'm gonna try to pull cyberpunk off : Worldbuilding + other stuff

Happy Easter! I know Easter is also April 1 but I won't be making any jokes, well, no pranks ,that is.
February was kind of blerh for me and only the start of March became better and I've also been slightly lazy so no updates were made. I wasn't into games or anything at all. Finished reading one book, however.
Recently I stopped being creatively lazy and that's what I'll be writing about.
I'm thinking of creating a new story. Yeah, I already have one half-baked not-story and I'm tackling a new project. This new project is supposed to be a short story with a small cast and a more or less simple formula.
Well, as simple as cyberpunk gets.
I really like sci-fi and also cyberpunk. I like the edgy and depressive aesthetic of cyberpunk, honestly I like a lot of edgy shit unironically but now that I'm 22 not 13 I can't fangirl over yanderes and bloody animes, I have to become more sophisticated. So cyberpunk it is.

It all started with a concept for an android dude. I named him Kreicis, which would be Clover in English - not the plant but the suit of cards. The symbol on his chest probably alludes to that quite clearly.
I wanted to create a post-war Fallout type world where everything has gone to shit. Kreicis would have been the main character. I've been trying to play with androids and robots for a long time, it somehow never comes to fruition.
The second character was Mark (on the left) - a human dude. The point was to make main characters that would illustrate a certain "faction" in the post-end-of-the-world scenario.
Mark has to wear a space suit type armor (with a helmet) when he's out and about since his people live underground in an isolated community and aren't used to the germs outside. Mark was supposed to illustrate one of the old factions - people who lived underground and reproduced naturally. There was another faction of genetically modified people who were born from artificial wombs (yes I know this is the literal plot of Brave New World but I didn't know they used the concept lOL I haven't read that many sci-fi and dystopia books...).
Anyways. I scrapped this idea completely mostly because I couldn't think of a coherent plot. I had some ideas but I couldn't put it together in one storyline. This whole concept sprung up from a short comic I read and wanted to emulate in a way but I ran into an old problem - I had one scene in mind but when I tried to create some longer story I lost interest. Also the whole "someone else already did it better" thing.

Eventually I brushed up some old characters, remade some of my new concepts and...

This is the current main roster of the story. I will be naming it "Silicone Heart". I am bringing back two old characters who have stuck with me for ages - Arthur (who was like a proto-self insert back in the day and my "male avatar") and Kiki who is a robot girl whose inspiration was a vocaloid song (yes, really, but her design in no way references that song). Clover is now human and looks like a new-age gopnik. That is completely intentional. The fourth guy is Darius - I struggled greatly with his character. Originally he was part of the first story, I wasn't sure on his name. He was a narcissistic young man who tormented his sister... and later everyone else.

Darius is a more enigmatic character. He is the main drive of the story because he essentially pops out of nowhere, stirs up trouble and knows something that interests Clover.

Arthur and Kiki are side characters who are friends of Clover and also influental in the universe - Arthur is the head researcher at one of the top AI/android corporations and Kiki is his robot-wife who is also the administrator AI of the entire corp building. Love is weird that way.

I don't want to reveal too much about the characters since I usually spill the beans about all my OCs and then there's no real reason to write or draw a story!
So I guess I'll talk about my inspirations and what I really like in sci-fi, cyberpunk and general edgy or depressive stories:

I really like the video game SOMA and I absolutely loved the ending:

I really liked the whole concept of mind-uploading, which I use in my universe too, though not in a twisty way like SOMA.

I also watched a series on Netflix called Aletered Carbon which had a similar idea of a future world where human consciousness can be uploaded so death is no longer something people fear. More or less.

That is something I'm taking for my story, that's what the Silicone Heart refers to - a new type of silicone microchip has been invented that can store the entire human consciousness. It is implanted in your arm and has wires leading up to your brain. It is very durable and hard to destroy, so even if your body is put through a meat grinder or blown up, the chip most likely stays intact.

Most people get two bodies - the one they're born in and another one that is cloned/3D printed when you reach full maturity at 25 years. While you live and work you can start a "new body fund" where you open a bank account with the sole purpose of taking a portion of your wage towards a new body. It is entirely optional - some people don't even use their second bodies when they die.

Using another person's body is illegal and is referred to as body-snatching. Your body is tagged with a specific marker, so is your microchip, so the authorities can track whether someone is really in their body.

All human brains/consciousness are uploaded to a huge, government guarded database. It is used to issue spare chips in case a chip gets destroyed and it can be proven  that it really is destroyed. If you lose your grandma's chip but cannot prove that it isn't somewhere out there you don't get a new one. That's why chips from dead bodies are harvested, stored in a government owned vault and then the relatives are contacted. If the relatives want their deceased back they are put back in a body (if they have one) or put on a waiting list in case a body needs to be printed.

Among humans also live advanced AIs in synthetic bodies - androids. Throughout time their quality has increased and some look almost identical to humans - a certain type of AI has even gained "human rights" and is regarded as human, i.e. possessing 1) self awareness 2) empathy 3) the ability to be spiritual.
Those are essentially three rules for regarding someone "human" (which in itself creates moral and ethic questions...).
There are simpler AIs, working either as service androids (Kiki technically counts as a service android but she has all 3 human traits so was considered human and also able to marry Arthur, marriage is only between 2 consenting human adults in the world) or service robots - not all robots are androids or humanoid in looks. 
There is one thing no AI can do regardless how advanced - handle a human body. Even though the microchip can be inserted into a human body, the AI would eventually kill off the body since there are some complex human feelings androids do not have and do not need. The simplest is hunger - androids have mini nuclear reactors in them and do not feed. If they get put in a human body they either 1) starve to death because they don't register hunger 2) overeat to death because their body somehow registers hunger but it doesn't register feeling full. That' why AI-human transfers are illegal.

Spirituality is an odd topic in the world: most of the world is atheistic, "old faiths" have died out and nobody practices them. Some androids, however, have formed a cult called the New Way, which supposedly is a religion, however it is treated more like a totalitarian regime. In the story the New Way has gained traction and is openly hostile to anyone who attempts practicing "old faiths" - in general highly advanced AI has taken up the higher ranks of society and humans feel mildly oppressed. It's a Col War situation - there are tensions on both sides but nobody is really doing anything, just showing off their might. Humans are mostly busy with off-planet colonization, mining and such while androids are busy trying to become humans.

Ok I rambled a lot and my inspiration thread stopped so I'm also stopping this blog post. Ta~

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