Abandoned 2303: Sci-fi thriller 3D short idea, need your feedback


Hey everyone,

I am going back to school this year for 8 months to make a 3D short. I basically have 8 months to pull this off which is probably impossible. This is the story I have so far, and I need to make roughly 2 minute short out of this. Most of it is story so far, hopefully you all can help me make it a little interesting. I am also interested in collaborating with others on this.

Here it is, first draft:

[b]Working Title: “Abandoned 2303”[/b]


The year is 2303, on an abandoned and dieing planet earth.

General Story:

200 years ago the human race was forced to abandon the planet and colonize in a neighboring solar system 20 light-years away. A massive asteroid crashed onto Earth and the impact forced it out of its original orbit drastically changing the environmental conditions as such that it would not be able to support life. Those who were confident of the ill fate of Earth managed to escape to another planet that was very promising in sustaining human life. Planet Gliese 581 C, located in the Gliese system is now known as Earth 2 and has become the new home for human life. However, this new home has brought forward new problems and challenges,

Present day, the surviving human race is dieing from a devastating plague that is native to their current environment. Resources are severely limited and the majority of the population is sick. A small team of scientists and a mercenary take it upon themselves to head back to earth on a small ship to try and find a trace of un-affected human dna which holds the possible cure for all humanity and hope for a brighter future. Their greatest hope lies with the possibility that the dna survived throughout all these years, as impossible as it may seem, this small team is very determined and know that this may be their only chance to save their kind.

In orbit the team detected a strong trace of possible dna in a small ruined city somewhere in what used to be North America. They land their ship close to the city and send the mercenary to find and retrieve the dna sample. To their surprise they have come back to a planet that looks nothing like they expected, it has been re-manufactured.

What the team doesn’t know is, although all intelligent life on the planet is non-existent, some helper androids that were left behind managed to survive and evolve past their original programming. And they are very bitter about being left behind.

These small androids have managed to survive for 200 years with whatever the humans left behind. They have made a small community inside the ruined city, and the only piece of human dna on the planet is nested right inside their little mechanical heaven. This dna has been preserved perfectly by the androids inside an airtight device and is placed inside a special chamber deep inside the city. The dna is found on an worn out teddy bear that must have belonged to a child.

Our hero, the mercenary must go into the center of the city, not knowing of the danger ahead of him, and retrieve the dna sample. However, once he gets there, he will encounter resistance from some very old friends.


[font=Arial][size=3][b][font=Arial][size=3][font=Times New Roman]I’m new here at CGTalk. I am a writer, who is actually better at concept creation and world-building, than the storytelling – though, I am good at that too. I am using the screen name “worldmender” because this is something that I am very good at – taking somebody’s concept creation and making it better. “Better”, in the sense of making the concept: more realistic, logically consistent, and scientifically plausible. I know a fair bit about the physical sciences, my day job is as a social anthropologist and professor, and I have worked in radio broadcasting (including the writing and producing of radio drama).[/font]

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[font=Times New Roman]As a fellow creator, I realise that we get attached to our work and therefore, I will be gentle with my often blunt criticism


Okay, here is what I have pulled out of the text as your major – must-have – plot items. Something has happened that threatens the human race. Some flee that catastrophe only to discover a new threat – the plague. An expedition returns to Earth after a 200-year absence to search for DNA that may cure the plague. They encounter androids who are "bitter’ about being abandoned.

And now onto the slaughtering of what I hope, are not too sacred of cows

Interstellar travel is probably not going to be easy. That said, Faster-Than-Light (FTL) drives are a major plot device or given in science fiction. Thing is, if you are a civilisation capable of interstellar travel and you have enough warning of an impending asteroid impact to establish an extrasolar colony; you also have enough warning time to fit the offending asteroid with an interstellar drive and launch it out of the Solar System. Also, the current theory as to how the Moon was formed was that a Mars-size planetisimal impacted with the early Earth – there probably was little or no change to the Earth’s orbit from this impact
Gliese 581 C – you’ve done some research – is an actual world, a super-Earth, that could be potentially habitable

The question is
Does your story actually require a population of surviving humans to actually leave the Solar System and return back after 200 years? Or do they just have to be gone for 200 years? If it is the latter, then forget about the catastrophe, interstellar exodus, only to discover plague, therefore return expedition plotline. You really don’t have to leave the Solar System

Trim it down
The plague is the catastrophe. I don’t know what type of plague you had planned – most likely a natural virus or bacterium that was native to Gliese 581 C. Well, now it will be something that appeared on Earth: a natural mutation, a mutation in response to human activity, or something we genetically engineered either deliberate or by accident. It is the worse plague in recorded history – 85% mortality rate. Unaffected populations are transported to a pre-existing habitat in geosynchronous orbit and placed in stasis. Meanwhile, on the planet, scientists work to try and find a cure for the plague. They fail, and everything collapses. Up on the habitat, the crew – those who manage the habitat – place the systems on automatic and enter stasis themselves. They set the system to revive them in 20 years, but something goes wrong and they are revived 200 years later.

Present Day: A team of scientists and
You have made your main character a mercenary – very common in military-style science fiction – but is this really a good idea? You know what your character is all about, I don’t. Nevertheless, a mercenary usually only cares about one or two things, getting paid for their services and settling any old score that they may have with some person or group – they usually don’t give a damn about saving humankind. If all your really need is a character that is good at martial arts and combat, make them a security/police/peace officer/whatever, instead. That way, they will share the same major goals as the rest of the team.

So, the team descends to Earth.

The androids
Android is an ambiguous term; it can refer to a humanoid robot (e.g. C3PO, Kryten – Star Wars, Red Dwarf) or to an artificially created human (the Replicants – Blade Runner). Humanoid robots are unlikely to have emotions, unless we programme them that way, and even if they evolve beyond their programming it is unlikely that they would evolve emotions. Biologically artificial humans would probably have emotions. I bring this up as you state that the androids are “bitter” – an emotional response – to being abandoned. Given the title of your project, the feeling of abandonment is obviously central to your story.

That is all I can suggest for now. I hope this is of some help

All the best,



Well that is some great critique… but I’d like to do some more suggestions.

First of all everything that can be cut you have to cut it. 2 minutes is really short to tell a given story and if you have to put some kind of 200 year of history into that, well it’s going to be so quick that the time used not going into the emotional side is more or less wasted.

So I am going to suggest to even cut it down more dramatically. Keep everything you have now as background for you and put little details in the text and textures that hint at this backstory. But don’t tell this straight out.

Start with the team landing on earth and write down what they encounter and how both teams handle each other… and if they come to an understanding or not.

That is the part that is human (and we can relate to) and where the conflict (which is interesting) lies… all the other stuff is less important. So unless you envision some great visuals you can’t do when starting with the team landing on our planet start really small… there is only 2 minutes, which is 4 times 30 seconds or 4 brand intro movies (like the nvidia one).

Finally if you are not wanting to go with the above and still want to do everything… give it a news item theme… a few scenes from all the parts of the news item, some background some shaky handycam work from the surface team. Then it will get more of a believeable tone then when you just put scenes together from a plague, a spacecraft, scientists and a team opposed by androids. (see starship troopers)

BTW a welcome to worldmender. Good to have some more story people around. It would be great if this part of the forum actually got more traffic and in progress stuff.


thanks worldmender and matsman.

I do have to keep it short. So i do plan to use a lot of the backstory for visuals. One of my goals is to design a city street that depicts the backstory, or what may have happened. The main character doesn’t have to be a mercenary, I am not set on that. With the suggestions provided so far, it makes more sense that the main character be some sort of a scientist. I am in a digital character animation program so I do need to put emphasis on the character but also personally, I want to show off some environment work.

I’ll think more about the character today and get back to this thread with some ideas based on your suggestions. Thanks again, this was a lot of help.


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