Nostalgia: The Nomad Fleet Dev Diary – Episode 2
Last summer I spent a few days relaxing in Finland with my old friend, Tommaso. He wasn't even 18 when we first met, but we’ve always shared similar tastes. Back in the day we enjoyed our fair share of beer, parties and concerts. I think we also shared a love interest. Not simultaneously, though that would’ve been fun.
Though I’m older than him, I must admit he’s achieved more than me: he left Italy several years ago to pursue his education in Finland, and after completing his studies in Helsinki he not only found a job at Housemarque, a really cool video game developer, but also settled down with a beautiful Finnish girl.
I, on the other hand, have two cats.
Anyways, one night we were at his place, dining Italian (of course) and chatting with Harry Krueger, Lead Programmer for Resogun. We talked about our lives, our work, and what we would do if we could actually choose our livelihood.
My answer was, “creating stories”. Harry asked: “Stories for what? Novels? Videogames? Movies?”
“Creating stories, period,” I said.
A few days later Tommaso and I were on a ferry heading for an island, when Tommaso asked me out of the blue if I would be into writing the setting for a tabletop RPG. My immediate answer was something like, “Yes. Dunno. Maybe.” At the time, I was involved with a new project for Hive Division, for whom I’d already written a few scripts for movies/series/shorts that hadn’t yet seen the light of day. Writing screenplays is cool and fun, but you’re constantly compromising. Also, the budget is an ever-present sword of Damocles hanging over your head, and you must often face the fact that most of the things you want to do, you can’t. One remedy is to keep things small and simple: no VFXs, one location, only a few actors, and a strong concept. But then you discover that it’s still too big for a low/no-budget production.
My mind returned to Tommaso’s offer, the ferryboat and the gentle waves. This time around, my answer was, “Ok, let’s fuckin’ do it.”
The idea of creating a brand-new world is dazzling, intoxicating. There’s no budget to worry about, and the VFXs are as lavish as your dreams are. So I started dreaming as big as I could. The first thing I discovered was that a single world wasn’t enough for me. I wanted to write a really big, very complex plot. I wanted to create a whole universe, so I started fantasizing about the time before time; about the Divine Spark that birthed everything that was, is, and will be. Tommaso and I spent weeks on this, creating our own cosmogony, molding the cosmos from zero to infinity. It took us six-plus days, but we did it.
Alas, a single principle doesn’t provide much latitude, so I added Humans. This time, the task was much easier because Nostalgia’s history of Mankind is the same as the “real world’s history”, to a point. From Jurassic times to the Thermophiles; from Christ’s crucifixion to 9/11; from Beethoven to Elvis; from the Lumière Brothers to Michael Bay. Then I started twisting modern history, driving the Earth to the edge of an epic transmutation which only served as our story’s beginning.
For a reason we’ll discuss later, a large part of the world’s population has embarked on a multi-generational space journey, heading for a destination that they will, over the centuries, forget. This is the premise of our first setting, The Nomad Fleet -- but we have plans for two more main settings and some minor settings too.
We developed the Nostalgia saga in order to cover the entire destiny of our species and our universe. If we achieve our goal, Nostalgia’s overarching story will span from a doomed Earth haunted by Phantoms, to the Nomad Fleet and its lost passengers -- and from a stellar-sized statue-shaped ship where the Divine Spark is held in chains, to a toroidal planet upon which giant gods walk amongst the living. Then we’ll head for the end of Everything and face he/she/it who really orchestrated all of Nostalgia’s events.
But for now, we’ll just start with our protagonists, who are abandoning their refuges and leaping into the boundless unknown.
In the next dev diaries, we’ll reveal new details about The Nomad Fleet. Stay in touch for (a lot) more!
[continues in the next episode]