AMYGDALA: Encode NEW Demo [WIP] (updated 7/15/2020)

After a (very) long hiatus I return, bearing gifts! The prologue for Amygdala is now complete, and has undergone a rewrite. I’ve also made MANY changes to the world state, and as a result the characters have along with their environment. So, I hope that everyone who was kind enough to give the first demo a try will give this new one a try as well :slight_smile:

A short summary:

Summary

You awaken in a world that you recognize, yet is foreign to you. You have no memories of your name, your past, or how you came to be asleep. After you are rescued by a group of strangers, it becomes increasingly clear that your body, and mind, has been modified.

Attempt to make your way in the world once again and redefine your purpose for existing, or chase after a past currently lost to you. This is a new beginning. It’s up to you how you use it.

*Note: this story is written in first person, but you play as the player character.

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

Tad

Summary

The young man who helped rescued you. He’s friendly and kind—more than Maria, anyway. 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 dark skin and long coily hair that’s currently styled in dreads. He’s clearly of mostly African descent, but given his unique features you suspect he might be mixed. He dresses mainly in work clothes: thick boots, jeans, and flannels, but always manages to look put together, even when covered in dust or dirt.

His eyes are bright and he already has the beginnings of laugh lines near his eyes, despite not being 30 yet. He also has deep dimples on both cheeks, full lips, and high cheekbones.

Maria

Summary

The young woman who helped rescued you. She’s a bit colder than Tad, but it’s clear she’s more than willing to help you and others in need. She’s a bit taller than the average woman and is quite curvy. She seems to be quite close with Tad.

She’s deeply tanned and has thick curly hair. Most of it is bleached into an ombred honey-blonde, but her roots have are dark enough that they look black in unnatural light. When she speaks she has a very slight accent, which makes you think she’s probably Latina. Her clothes are stylish and mostly fitted.

She has a very strong jaw and plump lips. Her eyes are large and chocolate-brown, emphasized by mascara and eye liner.

Greer

Summary

Amy’s quiet housemate. They keep to themselves and seem less interested in your predicament than the others. Still, they tolerate you living with them. You’re not sure what to make of them, but clearly they’re very close with Amy. They’re very tall and gaunt.

They have thick black hair, an angled face, and dark skin. Probably Middle Eastern or West Asian. Their eyes are downturned and dark enough that they appear black, and their eyebrows and eyelashes are long and thick. They have dark cricles under their eyes most days, but it’s not clear whether thats from a lack of sleep or is just their natural complexion.

They wear almost exclusively too-big athletic or streetwear, clearly more concerned with comfort than style, but somehow always manage to not look frumpy.

Amy

Summary

The woman whose house you’re staying in for now. She’s as friendly as Tad with a motherly streak wide enough that you suspect it will become smothering soon. For now, though, it’s helping you feel more at-ease. It’s clear she’s interested in discovering what happened to you, but she doesn’t seem inclined to push anything just yet. She’s the shortest in the group and chubby.

She’s clearly East Asian—her hair is in a short messy bob, not quite long enough to be put up, but close. Her eyes aren’t hooded and her cheeks are full and rosy. Her bangs cover most of her forehead. She has some freckles on her face, focused around her eyes and nose.

She prefers flowy clothing and layering, usually wearing a cardigan and jacket over her dresses and skirts. Her wrists are always framed by delicate bracelets and her ears normally sport a multitude of dangly earrings.

Darwin

Summary

A young man who puts you on edge. You can’t yet tell whether his social faux pas are intentional or if he’s just bad at reading a room. Still, the others seem to like him well enough, which means you’ll probably not be rid of him any time soon. It’s still unclear how he knows any of them.

He’s shorter than both Tad and Greer, though he’s still safely in average territory. He’s quite thin and pale, and is visibly not one for physical activity. His hair is dark and wavy and he has piercing light blue eyes.

His sense of style is rather nondescript. He’s able to dress up when necessary, but by-and-large he prefers to keep things casual.

The prologue is at about 35k words, not including code. There is a complete character creator and the next update will probably be chapter one, or part of it, depending on its size. There is also a skip option that JUST includes stat picker and character creator, for later updates to streamline testing. It is usable, but not relevant at this time

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

I’m looking for: Any odd transitions or spots that lack good flow, especially, but all feedback is welcome.

You can also comment about it here on tumblr to follow for updates: https://amygdalagame.tumblr.com/

There’s also a Discord server for the game now: https://discord.gg/dy6wq3X

347 Likes

Error with Maria

1 Like

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

1 Like

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!

10 Likes

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

4 Likes

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

1 Like

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

1 Like

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

2 Likes

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? ^^

2 Likes

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!

2 Likes

aww man i thought we were a homunculus

1 Like

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.

1 Like

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!

2 Likes

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.

6 Likes

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!

4 Likes

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!

3 Likes

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

Looking forward to read more!

I wonder who this Cain is?