Personality Quirks!

Hey there!

Lesley Mathieson here. I hesitate to call myself the “Designer” on UnEarth Initiative because this has been such a collaborative process across the whole team. So let’s say I’m the Design Organizer. I try to take everyone’s great ideas and collate them into complete concepts to be implemented.

Today I want to talk about one of those concepts – Quirks. The Colonists who participate in The UnEarth Initiative have been chosen by a highly selective and rigorous process based on their complete lack of perceived contribution to society. In short, your elite team of guys fighting for survival on an alien world are a collection of ex-convicts, debtors, delusional eccentrics and just plain slackers. And as such, they are frequently eccentric individuals and these personality traits are represented by Quirks.

Every Colonist starts with a Quirk assigned to them, even the ones born on planet. A Quirk is an unusual personality trait, such as Kleptomania, Insomnia, Agoraphobia or Extreme Pickiness. Even starting Quirks that sound negative may have some positive ramifications. So a Kleptomaniac may take items from other colonists’ quarters (possibly causing some conflict), but may also be more likely to return from a diplomatic expedition to an alien race with an unusual artifact. Quirks both give the Colonists more personality, and challenge the player to make strategic decisions by taking Colonist quirks into account.

In addition to starting Quirks, colonists will also gain more Quirks through events that have an impact on them. These are directly related to the event that occurred, and may be positive, negative, both, or neither.  For example:

  • Paranoid: After nearly dying in a recent assault, Daniel always carries a weapon around at all times. If a weapon is removed from his inventory, he will stop all work while he searches for another one. He is better prepared for future attacks, but creeps out his fellow colonists a bit.
  • Imaginary Friend: After being stranded for a month on an away mission, Melissa has invented an imaginary friend to talk to. No plus or minus here, you just see her standing alone with a speech bubble occasionally.
  • Friend of the Hover Sheep: After crashing his scout ship and making his way back to the bunker by convincing a group of hover sheet to adopt him into their herd, George has an uncanny ability to domesticate animals easily, but will never willingly fleece a sheep.
  • Minion of the Plant God: After a strange alien plant grows in the Colony, Pedro becomes obsessed with caring for it, and will protect it at all costs. Who knows what the plant may ask of him next…

Some abilities can only be acquired through Quirks.

Colonist Quirks, like personality traits in real life, are not static. They have the potential to evolve over time based on the Colonists’ actions. These “volunteers” may have been chosen because they were misfits back on Earth, but if you find the right job for them, they can become a real asset to the colony!

Some scientists have whispered of more… mechanical… ways of altering quirks, but as with any brain-altering technology, results can be unpredictable!

Now you may have noticed that there haven’t been any pretty screenshots in this blog so far. Unfortunately nothing relating to this topic is in a very photogenic state yet. So, instead, I’ll leave you with a shot of every colonist’s favorite job: Hover Sheep Herding!

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