As you may know, I’ve been developing a game in my spare time. If you don’t already know about my game, here’s a quick elevator pitch: The Red Market is a narrative monster hunting game where you track down strange and wonderful creatures, then asell them for a profit/cook them into a horrifying stew/release them into the wild/be consumed by them bones and all.
You may like The Red Market if:
- you like story-heavy games like Sunless Sea and 80 Days
- you’re interested in folklore and mythology and strange monsters hiding under your bed
- you don’t mind being mildly scared and/or spooked
(You can play the in-development version here)
Anyway, I didn’t bring you here to pitch The Red Market at you. I brought you here to pitch a new game at you. I came here to announce a new side-side project, (don’t worry – The Red Market is still my primary project, as I’ll explain in Part 2, coming later today) that I’m tentatively code naming either ‘BiblioTech’ or ‘PortFolio – Rare Books for the Startup Age’.
Look, I know they’re not great names, but I’ll almost certainly (maybe) come up with a better name long before release. For now, let me explain the game:
is a 3D first-person game about sourcing rare books from decrepit old libraries and selling them on to fabulously wealthy customers. You play a loyal employee independent contractor with pension and generous benefits absolute job flexibility, working for a new tech startup dedicated to ‘taking the stress out of building your rare book collection’.
Set in modern-day Britain, the game sees you scouring estate sales, bankrupt book shops, and funding-starved public libraries for books, having tea with your wealthy customers, (make sure to laugh at all their jokes – gotta keep up those 5-star reviews!) and trying to connect the right customer with the right book for massive modest profit.
The Hunt for Rare Books:
Players will explore simple 3D levels to search for rare and valuable books on shelves/in display cases/hidden away under floorboards, then return them to your shipping box, all under a strict time limit. Not going to make it to the shipping box in time? Throw that book as hard as you can and hope it lands true. (Any books not landing in the patent-pending BiblioTech / PortFolio padded shipping container will likely become damaged, and your negligence in this matter will result in your pay being docked)
Do you take the time to read through the books you find, and get a better idea of who will pay top dollar pound sterling for it, or save time – just skimming the title and blurb, and hoping for the best? Time’s ticking down, and there are other distractions and obstacles in the buildings you explore:
- Avoid leaking ceilings and creeping damp, or else your priceless books may become damaged, losing collector value
- Navigate around nosy butlers, who will insist on serving you tea and biscuits (and wasting precious seconds)
- Keep your footing on those just-waxed floors…
- And more – each building you visit will have its own twists and challenges
Something Approaching Leisure Time:
When you’re finished with your shift, you can spend your precious evening hours reading through some more of your finds, allocating who to sell which books, making social calls to your illustrious customers, or even engaging in hobbies for their own sake. (yet never escaping that nagging feeling that you could – you should be doing something productive right now)
Create Your Very Own Independent Contractor:
New members of the BiblioTech / PortFolio family are invited to take a mandatory Personality and Private History Test. This will let us know about the unique skills you can bring to the team:
- Were you the Speed Reading Champion of North Lincolnshire (1998-1999)? Save time on your shifts and read those pesky books much faster.
- Did you set your school’s Sixth Form shot put record? Hurl those books further, harder, and with more accuracy.
- Did you study the classics at Swansea University? You’ll find those Latin texts much easier to deal with.
- Did you apprentice at a builder’s firm just before the financial crash hit, leaving you out of work? You’ll find it easier to discover hidden alcoves and rooms hiding valuable books, and you may even be able to fix that persistent leak before the room is flooded and all the nice books get completely ruined.
Meet Your Customers:
As you deal with your customers you’ll learn more about them, and have a better idea of what books they will and won’t like.
Here are some customers you might meet:
- Cardinal Wolfram – an avid collector of apocryphal Christian texts. (but make sure not to try selling him anything outright blasphemous)
- Matilda Oubliette – an up and coming painter with a hidden interest in the occult.
- The Florence Institute – a Christian sisterhood dedicated to the spiritual education of the children under its care.
- Tomoka Matsunami – the cooped-up daughter of an eminent diplomat, who’s absolutely desperate to read about that wide world just beyond her reach.
Pour Over Strange Tomes:
As you work you’ll encounter countless new books to read. These won’t be long text-dumps, though. Instead you’ll read them in parts – one intriguing snippet at a time. (think more Dark Souls item descriptions than Skyrim books) Or ignore the reading all together, and just focus on the finding and the selling and the polite conversations over lunch.
Here are just a few of the books you might find:
- The Bronze Bull of Praha (in the original Czech)
- The Earth: Definitely Not Flat?
- Tombs of the Pharoah: Caroline Epping, Her Work, and Her End
- All Quiet on the Western Bundt: 100 Baking Recipes for the Modern Home
- Peeling Back the Caul
- The Learned Goose, and Other Clever Beasts
- An Illustrated Children’s Hagiography (Saints N-S)
- Febrile Waters: Sightings at Night in the Black Sea
- A Full and Frank Encyclopaedia of Bee Law From the Roman Age to the Modern
That’s it for now. You can read part two of this post here. There I write a little bit more about the plan for development, and why exactly I’m announcing this game right now.
In the meantime, if you want to follow updates on The Red Market you can hit ‘Follow’ at the bottom right of this blog. And if you want to follow me in general, you can find me on Twitter here.