The History of The Sixty - The Important Personnel of Valentine Z
By: Valentine Z
First Created: 2nd of May, 2020
Hello there, my friends across NationStates! Thank you for this wonderful opportunity for me to talk about my lore and worldbuilding, and as a result, I decided to talk about The Sixty, possibly my most ambitious project in NS so far. Maybe a little history and inspiration, possible challenges, and what I am doing to improve upon.
The link of the project can be found here: https://forum.nationstates.net/viewtopic.php?p=34883406#p34883406
The History of The Sixty
The characters’ concepts came a little right after I have decided to build Valentine Z as a world instead of just answering the issues every now and then. It started around 2016 when I first only have two characters - Valentijn and Clarissa. Back then, they are the only two characters that I have developed and named in Valentine Z. Additionally, they are not even husband and wife, or Clarissa stemming from another world. Valentine Z supposedly started as Cold War escalation, which was still in-line with current Valentian lore. The twist? Valentijn is a citizen / not-so-high-brass of the Eastern Hemisphere. Clarissa likewise for the Western Hemisphere. Middle East would be the hotbed. Valentijn tried to negotiate for world peace, but he was a victim of an assassination attempt, which in turn would send him to a hospital. The plan would be for Valentijn and Clarissa to gain more power [how?] and eventually, they will become the survivors and leaders of the nuclear war that was less disastrous with a smaller body count. There is no terraforming, no radiation removal, no fancy sci-fi tech. Just the world somehow recovering from radiation with MT… in 10 years, and becoming a happy utopia.
This was unfortunately not to my liking and after a few more iterations, I have added more and more characters throughout the years and eventually, I went with 60 characters, and soon 61 characters with Valentijn having a women counterpart of himself (Valentina) from another world. I have created other characters across other puppets along the way – one example would be Holly Aceline “De Stralend en Wonderbaarlijk Licht Koningin Van Haar Mooie Universum” Aurora Symantha Vreugde Astrid Lavender Lexis Lilac Harmony Tsi. Marlie Nova Radiant Lapia Starlight (the name is clickable), which all stemmed from one artist’s preliminary drawing. For Valentine Z, however, I have stopped at these number of characters for what I can use.
The Inspirations/Concepts for The Sixty
There are quite a lot of inspirations and concepts that have went into my personal worldbuilding project. First and foremost thing that encourages me to write more is the fact that there are many characters (which I will refer to as models, to differentiate from my own characters) that I can use from games, movies, and other media in general. I have made it a point to credit whichever art and character I have borrowed, and this was then followed by me coming up with the name, along with a few other relevant information regarding them.
The second inspiration is Overwatch, more or less. Other than the fact that many of my original writings use and borrow models, the first-person shooters that I have played over the years inspired me. I know there was Team Fortress 2 before this, but that was less of me disliking the game; as much as I love that game, I missed the opportunity to play it extensively. I just never got into it. Anyway, back to the Sixty. So, where did Overwatch and other multiplayer games fall into here? It would simply be in the stats that I have made, along with the abilities that they have! You have the Attackers (as the name suggests, they are good at attacking the enemy), Defenders (good at defending a point and creating a breathing room), Tanks (not a lot of attacks, but they can withstand a tremendous amount of punishment), Support (not a lot of offensive and defensive, but they can heal and keep others alive through many means). My own take would be these All-Rounded characters, who are those that can fit into many, many tasks and roles, and possibly due to their overpowered and broken nature of them.
There are also smaller inspirations from games such as Rainbow Six: Siege, or Warcraft 3 (in terms of the mechanics), or DoTA. I don’t really like the system of levelling up even for my fictional world, because it would mean that some people will become underpowered or overpowered, since they were not balanced too much.
Valentijn is more or less a very subtle self-insert of me. After all, since I am the owner of this nation, why not make myself as the character of this nation? Ahh, that aside, despite the staggering stats and other traits that he has, I have certainly tried my very best to not make him a Gary Stu – He might be big and loving, but he certainly have his quirks. He is a bit clumsy like me, a little explosive like me, and to humour myself, Valentijn is an overcompensation of myself because of my lack of “being tall”.
Clarissa is my best-written character out of the all of them, a completely original idea and backstory that I have written myself without referring to anything else. She was based upon the sketch that I did when I was bored, but over time, she was improved upon many times! She came to be as a robot because I was unable to draw hands at that time, and instead I gave her a robot claw! The robot idea stuck and thus I started writing more and more about her, and eventually made a nice little version of her in Sims 4 (thanks to Custom Content and Mods / Modifications). Her specs are off the charts and unbelievable in many way because that was based on my OOC gripe about mobile phones nowadays. Until the most-recently unveiled LG V60 (not a shameless advertisement), I was pretty much apathetic on the types of phones that Apple, Samsung, Huawei, etc, came up with. It’s just… underwhelming and disappointing. They have a few things going for them, only to disappoint you with one flaw or a quirk.
There was a bit of a challenge when it comes to stuff like this. Most of the time, I have to unfortunately use the existing media or whatever else is available on my disposal, because I absolutely am awful at art. I am, however, rather well-versed when it comes to Photo and Image manipulation, namely Photoshop.
Since I make absolutely no money out of these, and was simply a form of (PG-13) fan-fiction, I am more or less free from copyright strikes, and Cease and Desist letters. At least, I hope so! I have given credit as best as I can, but if for some reason an artist or a company wanted me to take down their stuff from my lore (which has not happened yet; thankfully), I will gladly do so and might pick another media to use. Most of the writings are my own, but I have to borrow several assets – models, abilities, among many other things, to add a twist of my own. The list of inspirations and legalities can be seen here, given to as best of my knowledge and abilities.
Another challenge is the nature of the project. You will see that there are quite a handful of characters that are unfinished, as of the time of this writing. This is when I realise that I am just a single person on this project, while the inspirations that came to me are from media outlets or video game companies that have a lot of funding and more importantly, a lot of people behind the project. As a result of this, I stopped at 60 (61) characters for Valentine Z for roleplays. I have suffered a bit of fatigue along the way on how to make them unique, which could be seen with a few characters having nothing but an “Assault Rifle” as a primary weapon, instead of something more… creative. I doing constant changes and patches along the way, mitigated this, almost as if The Sixty themselves were in a video game. Nerfs, Buffs, character changes, concept changes, overhauls, you name it!
One more challenge I could think of is how all of this would translate into a RP, since the system that I am using is certainly not going to be universal for all the others. On top of that, it would be strange to see that a headshot from a gun would only provide critical damage, which would take a huge chunk of a target’s health, but won’t fully kill them. This is a big departure and segregation from real life / RPs that have actual damage models. I have used this successfully in a RP before (with permission from the OP on what I get to control; I ran it through with them before posting): https://forum.nationstates.net/viewtopic.php?p=34425541#p34425541. On top of that, I have also asked a RP mentor (Kylarnatia): https://forum.nationstates.net/viewtopic.php?p=35368542#p35368542, which more or less echoed and helped me out with my own doubts and concerns with this model and my way of RPing. In order for me to use this, I would need to clear it with the OP of the RPs. The feedback still matters, and I really appreciate the mentors and other players helping me out. Ultimately, however, I only used this model and damage tables for F7 and for other light-hearted posts, and as a result, it was more of a personal project and not for me to build a world (with other players). It’s an isolated project, but still one that many people told me that they appreciate, so to speak.
The names were a small challenge until it’s done, having 60+ characters (if you count my puppet nations as well).
The Future of The Sixty?
I have quite a couple of plans for this personal project for the time being.
First would be to finish all of these characters, that is for sure. It certainly is not a beautiful sight, in my opinion, to see my work with many empty spaces and blanks, when there could be a diverse range of characters along the way. The problem is the aforementioned setbacks of making sure that they are still unique while being believable.
Secondly would be to ensure that they have “Before/After” of the bodies. One thing that many people have sent me a feedback, and to realise, is the fact that the nationality/ethnicities of these characters did not match for a good 66% of them, or even more. For instance, No. 38’s Carissa has Ada Wong (from the Resident Evil series) as her appearance, but she is of Maori descent. This has absolutely no malicious root from me, and would be easily explainable by the Valentian tech of synthetic bodies that allows the citizens of Valentine Z to volunteer to extend their lifespan by backing up and uploading their consciousness into a new body. The nationality/ethnicities were shoe-horned in order to show the diversity of Valentine Z, but I now realise that this is a potential for further worldbuilding – to add the appearances of these characters back in the 20th Century (Valentine Z is currently in 2088) that would match their ethnicity and nationality that they came from. Such a thing would add more depth to these characters, along with a look that they always prefer. I always wanted to address and talk about this idea of “If you could choose your own looks while keeping yourself, who would you rather become?” Some people would have a different look, some would change only a few traits, and some are proud of who they are and would keep the same body for decades.
And last but not least, there are still things being added in - characters are being redone or revamped, buffed, nerfed, just like you might see in a video game, except without it being video, per se. One of the biggest changes is to this character who doesn’t really have a lot of stopping power in the start. A lot of inspirations came from a lot of the media, and at the end of the day, while I still borrow quite a heavy amount of elements from existing things, I still hope and would like to think that I have created something a different whole from these pieces.
Updates: As it turns out, the nationality and appearance differences are not accounted by the evaluation and further explanation of synthetic bodies - something that Valentians use for cosmetic purposes and not for a bigger goal like eugenics. Ohhh, the Valentians definitely did not like that.
Anyway, as it is said here, extracted:
There are perhaps a lot of implications and potential problems that arise from this. Mainly, the altering of history beyond recognition, loss of culture, and more importantly, eugenics. Let me preface that we will never go into eugenics, and we have proved this to the worlds around us by having conditions if a person wants a synthetic body”:
- The original DNA must be submitted to the Valentian Government (provided that the citizen, as aforementioned, wants to be part of this program). This original DNA, in turn, will be used to revert the synthetic body back to the original form if there’s a case of procreation.
- With the citizen’s approval, this original DNA can be altered only to eliminate physical and life-threatening genetic diseases, such as sickle cell anemia. Mental conditions such as autism cannot be eliminated as we Valentians believe that autism and other mental states are NOT considered a disease.
The important idea for this synthetic bodies is that a person can try out different looks (like a character creator of most video games) and different traits, but to change their lineage for the long-term future is considered eugenics, and that the Valentians consider diversity and the freedom of synthetic bodies a wonderful thing to have, though with limitations in-place to prevent history from repeating itself.
And with that, concludes the talk about The Sixty – The Important Personnel of Valentine Z. It is certainly a wonderful experience for me, and I am more than happy to talk about it here and to develop it on NationStates because of its PG-13 nature. I am certainly not the one to write ERPs, and I certainly am not a fan of writing M18 or R21+ content. It is simply what I like doing – a parade and diverse range of tall (and short) characters that I can talk as.
On a very final note, some folks might have seen these characters in other places I have ventured to, namely NS Sports. In particular, I have participated so far in NSSCRA 8, NSSCRA 9, WGP2, Baptism of Fire, and World Cup, and these characters would make the rounds there as frequent faces.
Thank you very much for this opportunity, and I wish you all a great day ahead! ♥