After I learned about CoG and their Hosted Games, I started working on a story that I had wanted to write before but couldn’t figure out a good medium. But I’m completely new to coding and don’t know the kind of things that are and aren’t successful in Choose Your Own Adventure games (even though I used to read them all the time when I was a child). It’s still in the outlining stage mainly at the moment, so I can’t share any of it at the moment, but I have a few portions of the rough draft and the basic ideas that I do want some comments on. I know the usual rule of thumb is to only be constructive, but right now I don’t have the time to waste on something that simply won’t be enjoyed by other people, so if no one likes the idea I need to know.
Before you read my description of it, yes I know that the way I’m saying it sometimes rather comes off as a video game, at least it does to me which is a problem I’m working on fixing. I can see in my mind’s eye the way to make all this work in ChoiceScript, but I imagine it will take a lot of work.
The basic idea is that a catastrophic event occurred some time ago which has left the city a shambles and quartered into cardinal districts. Each of the districts have a challenge (and the game will be broken up into a mixture of challenges and choices depending on the district you are currently in and what you wish to do about it.), East, South and West being a hostile enemy and the North believing to have been destroyed. There are three main goals in each district which present challenges, both in trying to achieve them or ignoring them: The main goal is always the largest supermarket in that district of town which hold many items needed for survival, usually some weapons and it offers protection from the hostiles to an extent. The secondary goal in the sense of survival (one of the stats is survival and it represents the food, water and tools all lumped together for convenience (I don’t want too many stats and I don’t think the player would appreciate having a separate stat for each) that you have on hand) is the smaller storefronts which offer less protection and usually hold fewer supplies but are good bases for collecting more food and tools (bonus to survival stat) and making it more likely to be able to pull off the final goal (opens a choice to attempt the final goal for if you don’t have other criteria needed). The final goal is the protected center of town where the hostiles seem to have originated from, each one will give a clue.
Right now, there are three main endings which may be expanded on in further development. I have read repeatedly on these forums that people don’t like it when there’s one good ending for the story (which is one reason why I’ve considered scrapping the project) but the idea is that the end of the first story wouldn’t be the end entirely. But, this leads me to the need to ask if, for Hosted Games, there’s the ability to have the player’s stats and choices saved so they can be used in a sequel. If there isn’t than I’m worried about how much enjoyment can be gained from playing through it and that the ending will not be satisfactory as I have currently envisioned it. I want the choices to all matter, but there is a definite ending if the player, through whichever method they choose, get all three clues from the districts.
As I said, I’m in the outlining stages and have a few ideas for stats, other important factors for both the story and the stats screen but I know I’m just getting started, as well as with learning the code. I will finish this post with the rough draft of the scene with the exposition. This is the first rough draft and I’m not sure how closely it will resemble the final exposition scene.
(As of the time being, the game begins with a short dream scene with foreshadowing and the main character waking to the house they’re in burning. The exposition scene takes place just after they get out.)
You sit in a tree looking over the city from the crest of the hill the house stood on. Dawn is breaking and the tricks the light plays on the city make it seem almost mystical yet no less horrible. About a decade ago, there was a massive explosion in the North District. Some claimed it was terrorists, some said government experiments and some even said it was an earthquake, mainly because of the seeming aftershocks that followed it. The “aftershocks” were almost as devastating as the explosion, less like an earthquake and more like what Hollywood portrays as a sonic boom. They were these great pushes of force that would shatter windows and knock over people and objects. They even caused a couple of buildings to collapse.
Everyone was told that until the government could figure out what had caused the explosion and the “aftershocks,” the entire city would be locked down. It was a total invasion of human rights, but most didn’t mind, at first, just wanting to solve the mystery and get it over and done with. But the military came, built their walls, investigated and then seemed to simply disappear. The whole city was cut off from the rest of the world and they had no answers.
The day of the explosion, there were several “aftershocks.” Then their frequency slowed down. They slowed down enough for the walls to be built. They slowed down enough that people felt they were ready for them every week or two. People got used to them. Then they got more frequent. Then they got more isolated. Finally, small sections of each district were virtually destroyed by seemingly constant “aftershocks.” Everyone in those isolated areas in the center of each district either died or ran. After they stopped, everyone was too scared to go back at first, worrying they would start again.
That’s when the real trouble started. From the epicenter of the “aftershocks” in each district, there started happening strange things. In the West, they noticed small buildings and strange structures being erected overnight. In the South, people started behaving beyond abnormally. In the East, people just started disappearing.
The southern intruders revealed themselves first; a group of aliens that apparently hadn’t intended to appear in the middle of the city and weren’t happy about it. No one knows how, but they seem to be able to control human minds, making them perfect spies and infiltrators. Everyone who can avoids the South District these days.
The West is probably the strangest of them all. Robots of all different shapes and sizes that just keep building. If you try to enter their constructions or take anything off of them, they will react lethally. There are a few bands in the West, but the more the robots build, the less room there is.
In the East there are… You don’t even know how to put it. Creatures? Things? Monsters is very common, though Ghouls, Creeps and Beasts are used interchangeably. Whatever they are, they’re fleshy, like humans, but they aren’t built like us. They’re quadrupedal and built for speed. The pads of their hands and feet are rough and can draw blood if you’re scratched by them, which is bad because they seem to secrete some kind of toxin. They have large, open nostrils that flare and snort when they run or hunt. They have mouths, but no one’s ever lived to see one open. The Monsters aren’t good climbers, so most people in the East live in tall trees or higher stories of buildings with the bottom floor barricaded.
Every district is a nightmare in its own right. No one even knows what terrors might await in the north. But right now you have to worry about yourself and your friends. What’s your biggest concern right now?
(This scene ends with a choice that explains that whichever creature they choose as the one they’re most worried about dictates which of the three districts they start in.)
I do appreciate any constructive help, especially when it comes to if there’s a way for Hosted Games to have those stats and choices saved from one game to another, but I have to choose a project to work on and right now I’m most hopeful about this, but need to know early on if this will even be enjoyed by the type of audience that play these games. If no one’s going to enjoy it, I don’t see a good reason to do it.