"Terrence had never been a coward, nor had he been a hero. He was one of the men who fight wars because they must be fought by someone. He was the kind of man who would allow himself to be torn from wife and home and flung into an abyss they called Space because of something else they called Loyalty and another they called Patriotism. To defend what he had been told needed defense." ("Life Hutch" by Harlan Ellison)
Captain Ernie Terrence is the lead character of Life hutch VR and it is through his eyes that players experience the story. Ernie is meant to be a regular guy who gets thrown into extreme circumstances. To reinforce this, we created a backstory that includes the death of his parents at the hands of the Kyben aliens, life in an off-world orphanage, and his eventual escape to the military where he meets his future wife. While none of these elements figure directly into the story, they do give us the color and richness we require to make him feel real. Using this history, the design team has put considerable effort into creating all of the details of his spacesuit, ship, and even his face, to ensure players can connect with him and relate to the challenges he faces. We have also incorporated plot elements and practical aspects of the gameplay that we need to tell the story, such as the light attached to his helmet, his jetpack, and important life support readouts. These elements, when combined, will allow us to put the player inside this incredible story of survival, wits, and perseverance.