Narrative & Level Design


Hack AI

Keen Software requested I send the following sample. I returned it in five days. 

The project was cancelled before it began, but Keen Software noted:

"We were impressed by your work"


1. Write a 300 word description of the overall game storyline
- Use your own words to describe a game story that:
Is very funny
Has characters as the primary focus of the game
Takes place in a 3D, dynamic environment (take a look at videos of Space Engineers or Medieval Engineers for reference) and builds on our existing technology
Is about the player helping Marek Rosa build AGI (general artificial intelligence) and conquer the world/universe – this can be through bringing money to Marek, securing trade secrets for him – however you imagine it

2. Write a 3-4 page script excerpt for the game
Do not try to write the entire game story in 3-4 pages – we’re looking for an excerpt from a script you might write
The script should be composed mainly of dialogue
The script should include game design queues, i.e. “player goes to this location” and “player does this thing” so the context is clear
Include a 100-300 word contextualization of the dialogue, so it’s clear which part of the story you’re writing (what happened before the scene, what might happen after, where the characters are, etc.)
One character should be the player; the other characters should be game characters

300 WOrd Description

Lowly programmer Marek Rosa wastes his genius in a cubicle working for the lowest-ranked company on the OmniRank 100 CyberFriends. He spends his days creating boring AI companions, but when he isn’t building the next cybernanny or artificial girlfriend, Marek’s nights are spent scheming against his superiors. He wants to be more than a meager
programmer in a terrible corporation. He wants to be CEO ... of the planet.

To do this, Marek must eliminate his rivals in both the real world and cyberspace. His plan is to create the ultimate master AI, one capable of subduing whole corporations. Unfortunately, previous attempts at an AI that powerful have been notoriously unstable. The AI requires a carefully balanced personality to stop it from going completely insane. Expensive emotional
subroutines must be purchased and installed correctly or the AI will … misbehave. Without a humor module, it will break under stress. Without affection subroutines, the AI will think Marek is an inferior “meat sack” and try to destroy him. Too much affection will make it obsessively jealous, and it will try to imprison Marek like a pet. The possibilities are endless, and endlessly

Marek doesn’t make much as a programmer and taking over the world costs money. Instead of buying subroutines and equipment, he’ll use his advanced AI to steal them from other programmers and corporations. In the real world, he’ll use his AI to help him steal equipment and other valuables, or to disable his enemy’s systems. In the virtual world, the AI is a fully-formed combat companion that helps Marek navigate cyberspace, steal subroutines, and fight his enemies.

If Marek can build up from a lonely apartment to a corporation with a following of loyal hackers,
all while keeping his AI sane and powerful, he could scheme his way to the top.


The player has chosen to infiltrate the GunTex corporation to steal weapon schematics to add to the player’s weapon fabrication database. In HackAI, facilities often have very few human employees, as most day-to-day operations are handled by AI robots and holograms. In this scene, the player has a mildly unstable AI the following subroutines: Bestie! (An Attachment subroutine making the AI a “best friend”) Psychopath (An Inhibition subroutine that allows the AI to be violent) Inventive (A Creativity subroutine that allows the AI to suggest actions) and Le Professionnel (An Aggression subroutine that configures the AI’s aggressive behavior to be styled like a french assassin).

GunTex is located in what was once the state of Texas in the United States of America. The lobby has a cowboy western aesthetic and the robot and hologram AI’s have Texan accents.
Player approaches the receptionist hologram RECEPTIONIST.


Howdy! Welcome to GunTex Global, makers of high-end gun and gun-related products for the discerning gunthusiast! Please
submit credentials. 

Player selects option to have AI spoof credentials to RECEPTIONIST.

(Le Professional)

I believe these are what you are looking for.

RECEPTIONIST scrambles visually for a moment, then makes various scanning SFX. (Based on the stats of the Player AI, the security level of the badge received would be based on that score. In this case a higher success is achieved.)

(enthusiastic, distorted)

Thank you, DIRECTOR OF MARKETING! One moment while I create a temporary badge for you. Please enjoy a complimentary handgun while you wait.

A door opens in the receptionist desk and small handgun on a fancy tray is dispensed. The player has the option to take it and add it to their inventory. After a moment, a badge is dispensed.

(enthusiastic, distorted)

Thank you for waiting, DIRECTOR OF MARKETING. Please take your new badge and enjoy your day, darlin’.

The player infiltrates the office, sneaking through the hallway, attempting to remain hidden. The hallway ends at a door with a HUMAN GUARD protecting it. (There would be a number of ways the player could approach this, but in this instance they will use the AI to impersonate someone on the radio. This dialogue is for a fail, wherein the Bestie subroutine failed.)

(on PA speakers)

A notice to all guards, please be on the lookout for a guest in the building. Make sure to get out of his way, as he
is far too important, and handsome, to be stopped by security.

(on PA speakers)

Hey! Who the hell is messing around on the radio? Central, we have a likely security breach, do you copy?

(After the Bestie subroutine failed, the Inventive subroutine activates to disable the radio, but the only option after this is
mentioned by the Psychopath subroutine.)


I have taken the liberty of disabling communications on this level, the guard will not be able to alert others, however . . .


You’re going to have to kill him, if you want to keep him quiet.

The player elects to use the handgun to kill the guard and proceed into the next area.

Rows of tables line the walls of the research lab, each with large ballistic weapons in various stages of construction. Two scientists work at tables inside the lab near the target computer that contains the mission objective. (The player could sneak or fight his way to the computer, but in this instance, the player elects to use their AI, which highlights that it can overload the scientist workstations, causing them to explode.)


I have an idea on how to move ahead . . .


. . . but it’s going to be gruesome.

(The AI highlights what it can do and the player selects to overload the workstations, killing the scientists.)

(Le Professional)

Au revoir.

The player approaches the terminal and instructs their AI to begin the hack. (In this instance the AI fails to hack undetected.)


Accessing system. Firewall detected. Disabling firewall. Alert! Security countermeasures detected!

(Enthusiastic, Disembodied)

Well hi there! It looks like you’re trying to access restricted files. I’m sure it’s just a mistake, but to be on the safe side, why don’t you sit tight, partner. GunTex brand security androids are on their way to sort out this little misunderstanding.

Three shotgun-wielding androids emerge from a security elevator and file into the room. (Here, the Inventive subroutine will take the initiative to possess one of the androids without the player selecting it to, however it installs the Bestie subroutine.)


Please drop your weapons. Place your hands on the floor . . .

SECURITY ANDROID shakes painfully for a moment. 

(Distorted, Bestie)

Don’t worry, friend, I’ll protect you! Nothing is as strong as our friendship!