Blog: 2020

A look back at Neurocracy's Kickstarter campaign

With 376 backers having pledged a little over £12,000, we're beyond thrilled to report that Neurocracy's Kickstarter was successful! We even managed to push on to our first stretch goal in the campaign's final hours, meaning we are now able to contract and work with an illustrator for the visual aspect of Omnipedia.

In this blog post, we'll take a look at why we decided to go with crowdfunding for Neurocracy, the preparation that went into our campaign, and what we learned from the experience. Please note that this is specific to Neurocracy and not meant to be a general roadmap for success! There's no single way to guarantee a Kickstarter's outcome, but there are ways to increase its chances.

Creating a futuristic Wikipedia for Neurocracy

Hello! I'm Matei "Ambient.Impact" Stanca and I'm responsible for the development and design of Omnipedia, Neurocracy's futuristic counterpart to Wikipedia. In this blog post, I'll be touching on what we're using to construct Omnipedia, two specific systems of Wikipedia it simulates, and how accessibility and responsiveness remain paramount all throughout development.

When we first started work on Omnipedia, the obvious choice of software to build it on was MediaWiki, which is open source and powers many wikis across the web (including Wikipedia itself). The issue was that I have virtually no experience with MediaWiki, which is designed to be an actual wiki. Given that Omnipedia only needs to sell the appearance of a wiki on the outside, we decided to go with Drupal.

How Neurocracy blends science and fiction

We have two blog posts for you today! The first is over at Gamasutra, which goes into specifics on how exactly Neurocracy leverages Wikipedia as an interactive narrative device. It looks at whether Neurocracy is more of a novel or a game (spoiler: it is) and examines how using Wikipedia as a medium can provide novel approaches to interactivity and non-linearity. We also posted a Twitter thread that highlights the problem of having to replicate Wikipedia's sheer expanse of content, or at least the feel of it, and how the solution led to an interesting narrative mechanic. The second blog post, which follows just below, details the balance between science and fiction that we're attempting to establish with Neurocracy.

The story world of Neurocracy, such as it is

Hello again! We are so very pleased with the initial response to the unveiling of Neurocracy, with the premise of browsing a futuristic Wikipedia immediately resonating with people and our nascent Discord community taking its first deep dives into the world of 2049. If you're interested in joining that community and getting early access to Neurocracy, you can do so right here!

In our introductory blog post, we painted the broad strokes of what Neurocracy is and what we hope to achieve with it. In this follow-up post, we'll be taking a closer look at the story world of Neurocracy as it's presented through the various articles available on 2049's version of Wikipedia, which we have dubbed Omnipedia. To do that, let's highlight one of Neurocracy's principal characters: business magnate Xu Shaoyong (with his surname written first in accordance with Chinese naming conventions).

We are making Neurocracy, and you can too

Hello! Welcome to Playthroughline, a narrative design team composed of writer Joannes Truyens (that's me) and web developer Matei Stanca (that's them). We've previously used this blog for musings on narrative design in videogames and a series of movie scripts that poke fun at them, but now we are focused on something new. We are currently developing Neurocracy, an anthology of sci-fi stories told entirely through a futuristic Wikipedia. That's the elevator pitch, and what follows is the stuck-in-an-elevator pitch.

In generous terms, Neurocracy is an interactive narrative experience that combines elements from alternate reality games (or ARGs), hypertext fiction, and epistolary novels. It depicts a near-future society (set in the year 2049) in which a Chinese biosecurity network has come online and grown to encompass the entire world, elevating China to the status of global superpower. Neurocracy uses the medium of a fictional web-based encyclopedia known as Omnipedia that exists within the world of 2049 and closely resembles present-day Wikipedia in style and layout.