AMYGDALA: Encode Demo [WIP]

I’ve nearly finished the demo for AMYGDALA: Encode, where you’re awoken and removed from a strange facility. With no memory of your past, you can choose which memories to awaken, who your friends are (or aren’t), and, perhaps most importantly, what you think of the new world you find yourself in.

5 available ROs with a 6th soon to be added
-2 female, 3 male, 1 afab nb
Tad

Summary

The young man who rescued you. He’s friendly and kind, which sets him apart from his more prickly companions. He’s quite tall and muscular–it’s clear that he stays active. His full name is Thaddeus, but he doesn’t seem to like being called by his full name.

He has rich mid-tone skin and long coily hair that’s pulled into braids. You’re relatively certain he’s of Asian and African descent, given his mix of features.

Maria

Summary

The young woman who rescued you. She’s not easy to approach and, so far, your interactions with her have been met with hostility or sarcasm. She’s of average height and is curvy and muscular. Despite the fact that her and Tad clearly butt heads often, they seems to be close.

She’s tan and has thick curly hair. She must have bleached it at one point, but now her roots have grown out. When she speaks she has a slight accent, which makes you think she’s probably Latina.

Greer

Summary

Amy’s mysterious companion. You’re not sure what to make of them–they keep mainly to themselves and don’t seem to seek out conversation with others. They’re tall and gaunt.

They have thick black hair and dark skin. They seem to be Middle Eastern or West Asian.

Amy

Summary

The de facto leader of the group. She’s almost as friendly as Tad is and managed to make you feel more at-ease than anyone else since you woke up. It’s clear she wants something from you, but she doesn’t seem inclined to push anything just yet. She’s a bit shorter than Maria and chubby.

She’s clearly East Asian.

Darwin

Summary

A young man who puts you on edge. It seems that he manages to unnerve everyone around him, not just you–you’re not sure what he does, but it’s clear that everyone in the group views him as invaluable. You suspect they’d have kicked him out long ago otherwise.

He’s a touch shorter than Tad and thin. His skin is pale and milky, exaggerated by a lack of regular sunlight. He has dark brown hair and piercingly light eyes.

Currently the demo spans 8 chapters and is about 40k words total (including code and branching paths), with probably another 2-5k needed to fully complete the demo. I plan on updating at least once every few months.

To play the demo, go here: https://dashingdon.com/play/squidink/the-zombie-game/mygame/

Feel free to post any suggestions, comments, etc. about flow and mood especially. Typos not really necessary (if you find one that’s especially bad, feel free to comment and I’ll try to fix it.
You can also comment about it here on tumblr to follow for updates https://amygdalagame.tumblr.com/

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Error with Maria

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Oops, sorry about that… it should be updated now! Thanks for catching (and giving it a try!)

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This is a very cool idea, and your writing style is pretty impeccable!

Spotted a few typos but forgot to take screenshots: “interpretted” should be “interpreted” when the group is explaining how the Wave signal was interpreted wrongly during the Blackout, and there’s a capitalization error on the page where the others are saying Greer is a night owl who you won’t see much of before noon.

When messaging Amy on the computer, I’m not sure if this typo is intentional or not: Amy: ‘If you need to get in touch with us this shoudl work until you have a phone.’

Excited to see where this goes: the mystery of MC is very intriguing, and I’m curious if there are actual ‘zombies’ in the game! For maximum outreach you might want to consider putting info about the ROs in your main post, since I know that’s what lots of readers look for, lol! (Thought I’d be into Tad but Darwin and Greer got me like :eyes:) Good luck on this!

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Any typos in the messages/chatroom are intended! Just in real life

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Aaaand I’m hooked.
Best of luck with the wip.

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Story is really nice but most of the chapters seems too short. Keep up the good work.

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I got this error when I decide to go with Amy and Greer. These are the sequence of choices I made:

  • I’m happy to just hang out with you two.
  • Cafe

nonbi

Just how many chapters are you planning on writing if 8 of them correspond to 40k written words?
This kind of gives me the impression they are all short. Either that or the story is going to be on the smaller side.

A few typos

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I’m loving the demooooooooo. Comissar already put up the typos I was going to report :>

Darwin is my best boi so far despite picking Greer first and I’m really looking forward for more.

Also, if possible, can you please add indifferent or quiet choices? ^^

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Thanks for the comments everyone! @Vashnik thanks for finding; the error should now be fixed. @IvoryOwl it’s actually going to be much longer (don’t have an exact estimate since i add minor scenes as I come up with them). This “demo” is purely exposition, but you’re right the chapters are short–As per your and Dwayne’s suggestions I’ll be condensing them in later updates!

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aww man i thought we were a homunculus

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I’m bad finding typos or code mistakes, so I just want to say that your story is amazing so far, I already love the characters and the way you write. Definitely intrigued to know how this is going to end.

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I like this WIP! It’s definitely far from what I typically enjoy, but I was immersed in it pretty easily. I second the questions about the chapter length: will this story be on the shorter side, or instead of having them sectioned off in chapters, should you use page breaks instead?

Other than that, can’t wait for more content!

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I’m gonna start by saying, love the demo, love the characters. I have a bit to say regarding flow, mood and the contents. Don’t take what I say that seriously though, it’s just an opinion; one from someone that sometimes don’t know what they are talking about. Honestly, don’t even know if what I say here is something you want to hear. if it’s not, feel free to ignore it.

Will put it below and in a orderly manner (I hope) to avoid any kind of spoilers for those who have not read it yet.

thoughts.

I will put in separate tabs to facilitate reading.

i. flow/chapters

[tl;dr]: inconsistent point of views in the first chapters and some of the chapters could be read as a whole unit, although it works fine as it is.

[more elaborated] First, a minor observation. The flow of the first 3 chapters feel kind off to me. Just to be sure we are on the same page, I will separate the chapters as follows, since I could have counted wrong:

                             1. two pages, first person; one choice.
                             2. only chapter with another pov.
                             3. back to nines, first reaction of nines to maria and baby tad.
                             4. first interaction with maria and baby tad.
                             5. first introductions to maria and tad.
                             6.  continuation of 5, travel/car scene. first batch of exposition.
                             7. continuation of 6, shower. second batch of exposition, quite heavy,
                             8. next day, wake up. arm shenanigans and pass out.
                             9. time-skip. accommodation. kind of dates.

i. [chapters 1 to 3 — points of views]

Alright. Now, onto the flow. Personal opinion territory, the switch between nines pov to tad’s and maria’s pov kind of flunks a little bit the flow. (chaps 1 to 3). I would suggest put chap 2 first, as it’s the only stance (as of now) of a different kind of chapter where the player is (kinda) not the focus. I don’t know. It’s up to you. I don’t even if what I suggested would help, anyways.

ii.[“chapters too short”]

I… don’t really have any problem with it, really. But I see where they are coming from. Chapters 3 to 7 could be one big chapter, since when changing the chapters the scenes continue without a break. For example, from the first batch of exposition from chapter 6 to 7, it’s just a continuation but nine is still awake, just taking a shower. I don’t know if this makes any sense, but it’s the general vibe I am getting with these complaints.

Again, I don’t mind at all the short chapters. :’)

Edit [12/09/19]: only saw after I posted that you plan in condensing the chapters, so… sorry for taking up you time with this.

ii. meaning

[tl;dr]: Personal Opinion™ but sometimes, nine acts out against some choices you make. But they are justifiable, I get it.

Look, this will sound stupid no matter how I write, but I don’t know, sometimes I don’t feel much of player agency, but maybe I shouldn’t expect it as much? Probably my fault, but I will elaborate.

One of the first choices would be the dichotomy between: “open your eyes” or “move your arms”.

Probably reading too much into it, but, after this a lot of choices follow in the same vein. It paints a image of either an apathetic nines (“I want to go back”) or an action-driven nines (“I won’t give up this freedom”). So when a conflict arrives at chap 6, the one where nines start to question whether they want to run or stay it feels kind of out of place.

Nine’s outburst is understandable, being kept in the dark and all, and you mitigate after with the choices of nine to react calmly after. But, the fact the they even had the outburst, idk. If playing with a Nines that is apathetic it doesn’t feel good(?).

Also, might I add. “What are you gonna do, shoot me?”. If you choose the apathetic/kind of suicidal, a cool follow up could happen. The angts of, “Why am I even here when I don’t want to be.” or “I wouldn’t care either way.”

This theme, though, it dissipates in the following choices. So maybe I am reading too much into it, oh well.

Onto other instances. Not a lot of room to choose how Nine feels after the beginning (1 to 3), and maybe that’s not your aim at all, and if that’s the case; then forgive me for being dumb and not being able to read what’s written on the wall.

An example of the above, the pacing of Nines when being confront with the information of the Blackout. They feel all panicky about having an piece of metal into their brain, but they (it’s probably your purpose but bear with me I am dumb) never question on the why. Does Nines think that they would have resorted to installing themselves, or did something happen? What vision of nines has of their older self, as in, did they think that they were capable of doing the experiments just for the sake of it?

I know this might come across as useless information, since if you needed it you would have set up for future use. After all, you wouldn’t do extra work to add choices to never use them. It’s just, a point of view. It’s just, my opinion.

Another instance of player agency, Maria’s outing. Kind feel sad that I can’t react to her liking Fantasy, or pick the last book from the two she filters out. Could be a nice place to develop some more of maria’s character ot Nine’s, but maybe that’s just me.

I will be honest though, just played the Maria and Sam’s outing as of yet. Not really interested in the others as RO.

iii. flow of the plot

[tl;dr]: pacing could be an issue, but it’s not really that worrisome. also, some plot connections feel kind of missing sometimes.

Just some observations about the plot, or the flow.

  • It feels as though Nine is able to overcome their coma quite fast. Noticing that they go from being taken from the pod to all events that happen through chaps 3 to 7 all in one day is kind of wild. I guess they can do that because they are superhuman?

  • Still, I feel they shouldn’t be able to talk at all, maybe not even understand Tad and Maria in the beginning. But maybe that’s just me projecting, hell it probably is. Cutting their hair, leaving DNA evidence, maybe that’s not relevant at all but it irks me a little bit.

  • I will say I am never a fan of exposition, but I have seen worse. The way you did was in line with a lot of professional titles such as fallout:new vegas or any of (rip) old bioware games. Maybe interchange some memories along? Or more scenes like the neat reference to the RO in one of the questions.

  • Oh, yes. The memories. You said that you plan to make this long, so you might start to add snips and bits of the conscious memory only after to be able to build up to them, or the main reveal of Nine’s origin. Completely ok with that, but I would have started already after the second batch of exposition. But that’s just me.

  • After Nine’s blackout from healing their arm. Greer mentions that nine should tidy up the kitchen but then they forget about it. smh, poor amy.

  • The healing arm is never brought up again (yet), even after the full meeting where Nine is able to go out ID and all. While I understand that Greee couldn’t give two fricks about a arm healing itself, Maria or Amy would probably feel curious about it.

  • Regarding the Bath, wouldn’t the other characters be concerned if Nines took too much time with it?

iv. minor things

[tl;dr]: as states, just minor stuff, this can be totally ignored. (as kind of my whole post, but I digress)

As if what I wrote above wasn’t minor as well, but this is just stupid nitpicks/suggestions.

  • When Messages are presented, I always find cool to write the time they were sent, as it is a form of giving extra information and telling things. But you can do it as well in the way you did, so no harm done.

  • (romantic) and (flirt), idk feels kind of cheap when it’s the same text. I get when it is spoken it has different tones, but idk. Not a fan.

  • In choices, when exchanging pages [Next] could probably be used as a way to give out more information, if you wish to do so.

  • “Haha. No. Unless?” sjhdkajshdkasjdn??? got a chuckle out of me but immersion went out of the window.

  • In the last chapter, after choosing for the second time the daily activity, the page of the description of the second activity, is like, way too long (for me anyway). I would break it up a bit.

Oof. Sorry. I think I went too long. Oh well. You are probably tired of hearing, but please feel free to take this with a grain of salt. It’s just an opinion, and if in any way I came across as harsh, I apologise.

I don’t know if this is the feedback you deserve (or want), but it’s what I can give.

Cheers.

(Sorry for grammar mistakes and the like, it’s 4 AM and it took longer than I expected to write this. I still feel as if I am forgetting stuff. Oh well.)

Edit [12/09/19]: fixed the typos, but can’t save my grammar. and oh boy there were many of them.

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thank you so much for all this feedback–very helpful and gives me a lot of ideas for things to revise/add in. I’ll likely be referencing your suggestions many times in the coming weeks!

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I like what you’ve got so far.

Typos and Stuff

As a note, Arabs are not the only Middle Easterners. There are many ethnicities in the Middle East, and some people would definitely bristle at being called Arabs. I’m speaking as an Arab myself. If the goal with including ethnicity/race in the character creator is inclusivity, changing “Arabic” to “Middle Eastern” is probably a better way to go about it.

Looking forward to where you’ll take this story!

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That was different. In many ways. All of them good. :relaxed:

Looking forward to read more!

I wonder who this Cain is?