Advanced Studies in Pattern Magic - WIP (Updated 5 Jun 2021)

Unlock the secrets of the universe using pattern magic, and then get tenure by publishing those patterns! Can you stop potential dimension-ending horrors while not missing that one faculty meeting you absolutely have to go to?

Pattern magic is dangerous. A practitioner channels magic by staring at physical patterns that reconfigure their brain, allowing them to draw on cross-dimensional energy and create magical effects. If you’re not careful, though, your brain will never be the same…

As an undergraduate at Winfield Phillips, which has one of the foremost pattern magic departments in the world, you learned how to be a practitioner of pattern magic. After a long, hard fellowship and seemingly endless job applications, you’ve landed a coveted tenure track faculty position back at Winfield Phillips! Of course, the main reason you got it was that a professor vanished unexpectedly, and the university was desperate to fill his position. Oh, and Darcy, your best friend from college? The one who cheated you out of the fellowship you really wanted? Darcy’s a professor, too, and is angling to be department chair.

Then there’s the ongoing tug-of-war between the university and the college town over the university’s expansion plans. Guess which new professor gets to negotiate that mine field! Oh, you also have to organize a pattern magic symposium sponsored by Repro, the rapacious pattern magic company. Repro’s very interested in your research. Well, really, Taylor Coleman, Repro’s founder, is interested in your research. You’ll have to balance those duties with your teaching load, research, and student advisee’s needs if you want to get tenure. Though if those mysterious magical effects don’t stop popping up around town and threatening our dimension, tenure may not be worth what it once was.

Current Demo 3/19/2021: Chapters 1-5, about 160,000 words. Previous saves should still be good.

What I’m looking for: Chapter 5 brings us to the halfway point. I’m curious about general reactions to the game at that point in its story.

Features:

  • Create new and irresponsibly dangerous magical patterns.
  • Wrest forgotten patterns from magical tomes that literally fight you.
  • Develop theories about magic that will let you understand patterns at so deep a level that it might break your brain.
  • Seriously, patterns are very dangerous, you probably shouldn’t study them, not that I’ll convince you to stop.
  • Play as male, female, or non-binary.
  • Romance (which can be ace romance) a brilliant algebraic geometrist who doesn’t know about pattern magic, the city councilwoman assigned to work with Winfield Phillips, the Repro CEO, the friend who betrayed you, or even the extra-dimensional being who comes to live in your head.
  • (Look, I told you pattern magic is dangerous, you can end up with a being from another dimension sharing brain-space with you.)
  • Deal with petty university politics, because even practitioners who can bend reality to their whim get all snooty about who was supposed to bring cookies to the faculty meeting.
  • Discover the Vastness.
266 Likes

I have just gotten to the student center for coffee and tea, and I check my stats, when this happens:

choicescript_stats line 303: invalid @{} at letter 31; ‘background_e’ is equal to 0 which is not a positive number

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@Sargent this has been an absolute pleasure to read and I look forward to being able to see the complete product. Your characters were so we’ll written that I almost instantly got attached to all of them. Your pacing is spot on you give the reader a great deal of information but manage to parcel it out in a manner that is easy to digest but also engrossing to the point that it’s hard to put down. In all honesty this has been the best WIP I have seen posted since Cataphrak posted Sabers to the forum along time ago. Please keep up the good work.

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Just finished the demo (twice), gotta say…it’s really surprising.

Cose, it’s school . Lot of peoples romantize school, but school can be hell for some and not a playground you wanna play in again .

Course, faculty, college whatever you wanna call it. Different dressing, same snotty idiots, power hungry jerk, and sensible peoples you can meet. Some stuff changes, and others stay the same .

The pacing seem fine, though going in and out of the flashback can be desorienting . At least for me . At first, I was confused we were a student since the summary above say we gonna be a teacher . See what I mean?

Was dreading School setting, teacher or student…it’s school! Homework! Jerks! unattentive teachers that are just work and work and work lol

I got an idea how it all look, I think the magic stuff are faaaaaaascinating . So good work on that .

I’m not enjoying Darcy though. Seriously, is she gonna be always there like a puppy tagging along? do we get to repay her for what she did ? And mah girlfrieeeeeeend…will we ever see her?

ahem where was I? I also was kinda afraid I get stuck with some ‘fraternity’, was glad I can tell them no thanx . But was surprised for all their…huffing and puffing, their reaction was ‘‘Sure…whatever’’ . I would’ve though they would try again to get you to join or something? not that I’m big on being harassed by a frat I have no interest in :stuck_out_tongue:

There are also, too many characters . Can be overwhelming and tracking everyone, who is who?

That’s the thing. in my 1st playtrough, I went all logic . Then picked ‘reasoning’ thinking it is the same thing, and failed a few thing by the end of the demo .

Noticed also that logic and ‘stoic’ maybe? show up alot, but someone who is freindly and like socializing doesnt show up at some point in the choice…either that or I missed it.

Like I said, don’t care much for frat brotherhood of mischieve .

One thing I’m confused about, where do we live? do we live in the damn building? the pacing was good, but a bit overwhelming . As far as I’m concerned, we rush rush trough everything with flashback in between .

repeatedly . In her lying mouth for good measure :smile:

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That was a fun start, glad to have another ‘School of Magic’ related game :smile:

I’d love to, but I’d rather try and fix what we had :kissing_heart:

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I’m not sure if this is the case or not, but to me the first chapter reads as if intentionally a bit confusing and disorienting, because of what happened I would assume. Whether intentional or not it worked very well with the story and had me very invested towards the end of said chapter.

Small complaint would be the mixing of the conversation options and stats, it’s a bit annoying to have to go to the stats page every time there’s a choice to see what my “best” choice is. I generally don’t like stats having this much impact on your choices though, so maybe I’m just biased.
As a whole I liked it a lot and I can’t wait to see what comes next, good luck! :relaxed:

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Stuff

As @Ramidel pointed out, when I check my stats in the student canteen, this shows up;


Also;


Maybe it’s just me, but since we already know Denise, the “your orientation leader” part seems kind of redundant to me.


During the flashbacks, I had a hard time trying to understand what choice influenced what stat. Think you might want to take a look at that.

Overall, I liked it! I’m a sucker for magic schools (blame Hogwarts) and particularly those which employ a hard magic system :grin:

Looking forward to this.

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I noticed this happen when I wanted to see my stat before I pick a name. But this is among the wips that I like! I really love the theme.

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you made a real gut punch there at the end of chpt 1, damn

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Whoa! Thanks, everyone, for your initial thoughts and feedback! I wasn’t expecting this level of response. It’s overwhelming in the best way.

@Ramidel, @moonfungus, @Eiriri, thanks for catching that bug. I’ve fixed it in the Dashingdon-hosted version.

Just so you know, there’s a reason I paid very close attention to Catra’s arc on She-Ra.

To make sure I understand what you mean, could you give me an example, either from the demo or one you make up?

Will do. I’m trying to deliberately echo the wording from how the stats are described in the information page, but since that’s not working I’ll try a different approach.

@bottleWater, I’m glad that landed for you. One of the items on my mood board is Night Vale, both for its lighthearted approach to near-horrific subjects and how it can be funny and yet still get you in the feels.

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The game is quite interesting. The flashback component of Chapter 1 is well done, though it was a bit jarring as the M.C at the start is a Professor and a fair amount of time is spent laying the foundation by looking at their past.

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I have a question! can we get back together with Darcy? and will Darcy get jealous if s/he saw us with another ROs as s/he said they did and still care about us?

I really love this wip that I’ve been replaying it so many time!

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I quite liked this story. It gave off vibes of Sam Hughes’ Ra, which is awesome. It’s always cool when stories take the idea of a “school for magic” seriously.

One thing I might change though, there’s a mild overuse of the adjective “politically” in the choices. The other stat tests are more subtle, but I don’t think that there was ever a choice that involved the political savvy stat and didn’t contain the adjective “politically.” Just y’know, something I might fix, but the game is excellent overall.

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Well, I can tell you that the pacing is great and I definitely want to punch Darcy, but I appreciate that we aren’t required to be overly mean to them.

Like in the case of not wanting to out them for their ‘waste of time’ comment. It was nice to be able to take the high road, even if nothing but good feelings come from it

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I’m in the middle of my work day, so I can’t give detailed feedback when my lunch is almost over, but DAMN. This is wonderful and I am in love with it. I have more specific thoughts that I will type up as soon as possible.

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I really like the story so far. And yeah, i really really really want to punch Darcy.

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Great story :+1: Now I’m torn between hating Darcy or giving her second chance :thinking:

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Sure, what I mean is just when the conversation options mixes the two different stat “categories”, if you will, preventing the player from focusing on one or even two different stats.
I think the most glaring one was during the meeting with Taylor and Darcy, where there just wasn’t an option that I could even pick because the 3 stats(which to me at least feels like a lot already) I had “lvld up” weren’t available as options at all in one of the choices, and even though there were plenty of options they were all doomed to fail no matter what. Maybe that’s just because it’s not finished, or maybe that’s how you intend it to be and it’s just something that I don’t personally enjoy… it’s not a huge deal, and maybe in the end getting a choice “wrong” or failing doesn’t matter that much… it just feels off to have to play around min-maxing the “right” stats to get all the interactions “right” or you just feel kinda stupid when your character just falls over and takes it because the stats you focused on just weren’t there as options to use.
Again though I will admit I am biased, I generally am not a fan of stories that put much weight on stats, particularly in conversations.
I hope that makes more sense, I’m not great at explaining this tbh lol.

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This was great. I enjoyed the setting of the hidden magical department, and I liked all the characters met so far, especially Dr. Ellison and Gabriel. I liked how the world is being slowly revealed by having the MC set up their class/research/etc. instead of just jumping right into teaching. I really enjoyed the magic system, and how you presented how both exciting and dangerous using the patterns can be.

Right now, though, despite liking the magic system overall, the use of patterns and synesthesia seem too much like plot devices. In both cases, I think more description, and being shown how those patterns and synesthesia look in this setting, would help make it believable that the character has such a trait and that this world has such magic. Otherwise we’re told the patterns are complex and can be improved by calligraphy, and that the MC can associate the patterns with colors, but there’s no details of that complexity and little mention of the colors and how they connect to which patterns.

I also thought that even during my friendly playthrough the MC’s relationship with Darcy seemed a bit forced. The moments that stood out were when the MC and Manish have to follow him to the Xi Theta Phi group even if the player chooses otherwise, or how the closest choice to disagreeing to help with Darcy’s memory pattern is the one where the MC just can’t be bothered, or even how there’s no choice to say you really have moved past Darcy’s betrayal eight years later despite the memory. Since it makes it seem like no matter what the player chooses the narrative is going to lead the story in a certain direction when it involves Darcy, I found the other storylines to be more interesting.

This happened during the sophomore elective memory

“Jerk,” Manish smiles.

You

“So what’s the plan?” Darcy asks.
There rest of the sentence after “You” is missing.

Looking forward to exploring more of the magic and the dimensional effects! :relaxed:

3 Likes

Okay so i finished the demo and i enjoy it! The first chapter is quite confusing to me, and i don’t really get what pattern magic is. I also had to read twice or thrice to understand some of the explanation (If i think about it again, i think that’s more because of my english because it’s not my first language).

What i really enjoy is the setting and the characters. Magic school! The flashback when you’re still student! Our rival who used to be our friend! I love darcy and manisha (is this right?) and curious whether our relationship will be repaired or not. I also love that sometimes the outcomes can be really different.

I think the choice is quite clear and i understand what the stat is being tested. Except for the reasoning one, as someone already pointed out.

The story lines that i’m interested for now is about manish, what happened with them? Will we ever meet them again? I’m also curious about sharing brain-space with another-dimension-being. I don’t really care about the symposium, maybe because i failed that statcheck and taylor choose darcy over me, lol. Might try again.

I don’t know if this is spoiler, and i don’t know how to mark something as spoilery so i’m just gonna put some spoiler warning here. About darcy, it’s interesting that my impression of them keep changing throughout the story. At first i’m wary of them because i read the summary before playing the demo. When i first encounter them i found them annoying, but kinda warms up to them as the story progressed. But now, yes, i just want to punch them.

I also notice that sometimes there are pronouns error. Both darcy and manish are nonbinary in my playthrough, but sometimes they are referred to as he/him. Unfortunately i forgot to take screenshot. I will try playing again and find those if it helps. :blush:

1 Like