I procrastinated a lot this week and primarily did housekeeping work on the actual game.
Not much actual exciting development happened this week. I was mostly focused on catching up on my own technical debt and correcting small mistakes before they snowballed into larger ones. Code organization was a big focus, and I cleaned up the asset loading to be less bespoke. Also fit the current code into Bevy’s game state system, which lets certain systems run in specific “states”. This makes implementing things like a main menu as well as pause screens way easier in the long run.
I’ve been sort of setting a lot of my works in the same general world, and Freelancers will be set in this world. I’ve never properly sat down and actually written up anything about it and generally I served the work over the world so there’s some inconsistencies. Ironically a lot of the world building happened in quite a few things I never properly published. So I’m going to take the chance to solidify the exact setting.
Events leading up
Global climate change lead to the largest economic crisis and periods of civil unrest the world had possibly ever seen. The majority of governments of the mid to late 21st century were seen as having failed the people by letting things get this bad in the first place, and the mismanaged recovery efforts only further weakened trust and faith in the majority of governmental entities. In some places people turned to aspiring and charismatic dictators that would become the next authoritarian dictators, in others the global economy collapsed into isolated city states and decentralized communities. However, most of the first world more or less remained stable and power structures didn’t shift much. When the world seemed to be collapsing around them, most people turned to the corporate conglomerates that were one of the last sources of stability.
Earth’s severe climate problems only worsened over time, and while pollution was decreased it ended up being too little too late. Much of the land in not otherwise temperate areas became useless and uninhabitable as cycles of extreme drought and biblical flooding on the scorched and thrashed previous farmland became perpetual badlands and mudflats. Population concentrated largely in coastal cities that gradually grew more dense. Famines followed, which only alleviated once new farming techniques and hydroponic facilities became common.
Perhaps paradoxically, these development lead to perhaps the most extreme period of economic growth to ever occur in the post industrial era. Many political systems collapsed into essentially glorified boards of directors for multinational corporate “governments.” Corporations effectively being the regulators resulted in a period not unlike the initial gilded era industrial boom. Unprecedented technology resulted in a key difference though, being that the population drastically outstripped the needs for any unskilled or semiskilled industrial employees. Even many skilled laborers found themselves no longer having a place in the new economy.
Poverty exploded, but most didn’t seem to notice as the luxuries of the lower class grew. Many found themselves thankful to simply not be on the other end of a gun barrel. Over time, the “corporate states” grew in power and influence until remaining government bodies were assimilated or conquered.
While wealth disparity is worse than it has ever been in history, it might not be so immediately apparent. Conditions in the massive cities can be roughly considered “acceptable” for the majority of people. Few own land or property of any kind, with the majority living in rented apartments or multi family housing.
The average apartment generally has space for a nuclear family to live cramped or a single person to live somewhat comfortably. Cheaper and lower cost apartments are built in mass structures and often sponsored by an employer, with the employer providing low cost or free housing as long as residents remain working with them.
Humanity has expanded to colonize the stars with the aid of Deep Jump technology. Space travel and freight became a routine part of even life on Earth with the construction of multiple space elevators. Exotic materials and basic metals and gasses became obsolete to mine on Earth itself following the standardization of asteroid belt mining and intersterallar gas transport, further eliminating sources of heavy industry.
Work in the 22nd century shifted strongly as the “robotic revolution” drove many out of their old jobs.
The hyper wealthy elites live nearly entirely isolated from the rest of society. Few step outside of their forever climate controlled and air filtered lives, as all of their needs and desires are within. Many of them no longer work at all, their own assets generating enough wealth to never have any threats to their livelyhood ever again
Almost everyone else is either a criminal or a non-employed worker. Traditional employment is reserved for those wealthy enough to land a desk filling office job of questionable utility.
Of the non-employed, workers fall into two main types: Contractors and Freelancers.
A contractor is someone who works a specific position, generally someone with specialized skills or working for a company that provides specific services. Contractors are paid by completed work, and despite the name their “contract” period is only as long as each task requires to finish. It can be seen as an emergent hybrid of the older “gig economy” involving pickup of tasks and payment on completion with the “salon” model of allowing companies to take a cut in exchange for use of their space or equipment. Many do not have the resources to take any other option.
While contractors are a specialized subset of the “gig worker,” it is how most find their employment in the overurban cityscapes.
The Freelancer was a phenonmenon that emerged following the collapse of the United States of America’s federal government, and the formation of the Unified Conglomerate. The lack of worker protections as well as a more laize faire attitude of the new government resulted in the most desperate of the desperate effectively reinventing the indentured servant. As soon as the idea became a convention, many recognized it as a lucrative, albeit risky work opportunity in an attempt to get a leg up in the cutthroat world.
A freelancer “sells” themselves into a contract agreement in which they agree to work for a fixed term or within specific conditions. During the length of the contract agreement, the freelancer is effectively owned by the owner of the contract and the owner is considered fully responsible for upholding all terms of the contract.
What exactly they end up doing varies heavily based on who purchases the contract. Some do highly undesirable employment such as very high risk or particularly filthy work, others end up as meat shield security against street gangs. Perhaps the most divisive positions involve the “personal servant” work, with their duties ranging from housekeeping to sexually satisying the owner of their contracts.
Unfortunately for a freelancer, they don’t necessarily know exactly what kind of work they are selling themselves into. Many attempt to ensure their own safety and tastes are somewhat taken account of with the terms of their contracts, but most end up being able to compensate somewhat well. Common contract terms are ensuring the freelancer’s health, work restrictions, and keeping couples or family members together.
Consider this a part 1 of world loredumping. I’d appreciate feedback, even if it’s rambly and probably boring.
Next week will be AI