Before You Close Your Eyes (WIP)


#1

I have been working on this game for a VERY long time, and have just released a new demo which includes a new scene.
Here is where you can play it (there may be some quirks…Also the formatting is intended for iPad which is why it might look a little strange):
http://www.beforeyoucloseyoureyes.com/gamedemo/mygame/index.html

Here is some background and history:

Would love to hear what you think. I’m very sensitive to feedback here, so, please, be gentle.

Thanks!


#2

I wrote a lot describing onto how I felt about your project, but decided to remove it. I’ll just say this: Overall, I think this is a 3/5 game. Personally I do not like these type of games, as It is causes too much of an emotional stir inside of me. Good luck on your project.


#3

“causing too much of an emotional stir” is exactly what I’m going for! Thanks so much for trying it. :slight_smile:


#4

First, my disclaimer. I’m here because I was asked to have a look at the thread. There’s a reason I’ve not been on the forum lately, and part of it’s I’m having huge issues with my social skills. So please don’t be offended by anything I say, or if I phrase things wrong. My attention span’s shot to pieces, I’m just lacking in tact and providing any sort of feedback is a huge struggle. But I was asked so I’m taking a little look. (Yeah and I currently have no filter as to appropriateness so sorry if all that was TMI).

You’re in need of a spellcheck. Actually, I think you’re in need of an editor, or just some reworking of it.

I guessed it was a dream.

I’m not clicking with your writing style. I’m not finding it evocative. If anything I’m finding the opposite of Shell_San, that I’m not really feeling any emotional stir, just rather detached. I was told I feel fear, but I didn’t feel it. That might be my own current mood though. I’m not very good at writing description either, and I dislike second person because I find it does create that distance and it’s really difficult to work around it.

I woke up before my alarm then why’s it saying I’m late for work?

The car crash is described in a dream-like state. It feels as if I should actually have a chance to interact with it, but there it is, sandwiched in the middle and the choice provided afte isn’t immediate.

These questions, I don’t like the, It’s chargen, but I’d rather it were part of the story. I’d rather be shown than told. Provided a chance to be brave (or not), to be nice or selfish, and all of that. Seeing the numbers broke the immersion for me. I’d rather just be told it in words. Like, I’m a compassionate person who puts others needs before my own, I’m a coward, and I have a proper respect for the law. Or whatever.

In the Callen section. There’s some inconsistency in regards to the choices, there’s a huge page of text which I can’t react to, then there’s a tiny snippet which I have a lot of choices, which don’t seem all that important. Also help the injured girl, or walk away, seems like too black and white a choice. Can we offer to help her in exchange for her help? Can we accuse her of being a monster in disguise? I think you could edit the section, put some of the info dump into the answer to her questions. Or start immediately with her asking for help. It needs some reworking.

I’m also asking myself what’s the hook? At the moment I’m not hooked. Person from our world travelling to a fantasy world? Or just a bad dream? Or what? I think starting with a dream is actually doing things a disservice. You’ve a better hook there, a better place to begin.
Little girl, hurt, injured, needs help. And you lost without a clue as to where you are. You could also weave in the compassion question there, and it actually has impact.

Start there. Then when we flash back, or forward, or whatever to the other world it will come as a surprise that this isn’t a fantasy game after all and there’s something more going on.

Anyway just some thoughts. My attention span has gone and I can’t focus anymore on progressing further. Sorry. I may have a look later and try and write some feedback that makes sense…


#5

I agree with a lot of what @FairyGodfeather pointed out.

I went to your KickStarter page before playing the game and I was really let down by the time I actually finished playing. I did get that fairy tale impression from the game but it wasn’t as prevalent as I would’ve hoped it to be.

Honestly, I nearly wasn’t able to finish playing the demo. The game doesn’t seem to have a discernible plot to it–where is the story actually going?

I really dislike the stream of consciousness narrative during the first scenes–very tiring to read

I didn’t feel as though I was the one playing, it was more like I was being told and I didn’t really like that. There is no option to name the character or make proper dialogue choices and I found that this made the MC hard to relate to. It didn’t feel as though I was making any *real* choices. The other characters of the story aren’t realistic enough either.

The game is very drawn out and lengthy and I got bored quickly while playing (one of the reasons why it was hard to finish). It definitely isn’t engaging enough for my standards, sorry.

Altogether, it sort of felt like a script to an actual video game–where you would walk the character up and those options would appear etc.–and not like a multiple choice game (or at least the ones found on CoG).


#6

Firstly, while I remember, Choice of Games uses second person for the main text, and first person for the choices. Have you considered doing that? It might help some of the distance issues.

I haven’t played any more but I have at least been thinking about the game a little and trying to find some insight as to what it was that was bothering me about it. I think, to some extent it’s because it feels like you’re asking the wrong questions.

I have a conversation with Callen, but really there, I assume there’s two important questions in regards to the story. Do I help her, or do I leave her. (Actually it could be three I suppsoe, do I help her, do I hinder/hurt her, or do I just ignore her.) You can of course break that down into further choices, do I help her with expectation of a reward, do I help her then leave her, do I go to the city and send help back for her, etc, how do I help her?

But the majority of choices in that section are questions. The trouble with those questions is that she doesn’t seem to give very satisfying answers to some of them. If I ask her about her parents, for instance. The answers also seem to be repeated later, once I’ve helped her. Also what happens if I choose not to ask any questions? Should that even be a choice? Storywise it’s the same as just walking on. I also find that when I’m asking a number of questions in quick succession I start skim-reading, or I just click through the list and ask them all. If I have to ask them all, that’s not really a choice at all.

Also, why doesn’t she ask me for help? Why isn’t she crying or something? She’s stuck on the road, she needs help, why doesn’t she ask for it. Or try to hide from me. Or react in some way other than just sitting there.


#7

What @heyyoungblood says “Altogether, it sort of felt like a script to an actual video game–where you would walk the character up and those options would appear etc.–and not like a multiple choice game (or at least the ones found on CoG).”

That’s exactly it. I think, if this were a JRPG or an adventure then it would be a good one, at the moment it’s not reading like a choice game.

I don’t actually think that it’s unfixable as a choice game, but I do think it’s in need of a hefty edit at least. Actually, I might even suggest a rewrite.

There’s a chance because you’ve been working on it for so long that you’ve actually overworked it and lost perspective. What you have written on your kickstarter page is wonderful. That’s a wonderful choice there, a difficult moral one, well written and just the sort of choice that I love having in games.

Actually, looking at your history of writing games I’m stunned that you’re an experienced professional, with such a solid track record. And a bit embarrassed to be telling you my own opinions since you’ve so much experience.


#8

@FairyGodfeather
Those sort of “let’s trick the reader into thinking he’s made a choice, but in reality he’s essentially just pushed ‘next’” choices are becoming more frequent in CoGs, which is very annoying. They were extremely numerous in Tin Star and Unnatural.


#9

I don’t like those fake choices either.

In my WIP, I’m just using them to help the reader reflect on her choices/thoughts. Sorta like, “Did you mean to hurt Hero X?” or “Who do you think is the most trustworthy classmate you’ve met thus far?”


#10

@HornHeadFan
But with these, you aren’t even making a decision so it’s not a real choice.


#11

@Samuel_H_Young

The ones in Unnatural aren’t trying to trick people, well that wasn’t my intention they are something I am working on for future updates.

The deal with the bully choice is one I felt worked sure the player can choose to fight or not but just because the MC wants to just talk doesn’t mean the bully wants to - which I thought would be more realistic. I thought NPCs shouldn’t automatically agree with the player all the time.

However a few has said about lack of “choices” so I will work on them some more.


#12

I don’t think it’s about trickery. I don’t think fake choices are a bad thing either. I’ll even say that there’s situations where choices like @HornHeadFan’s are useful. I’m not fond of the passiveness of them but they’re used in the official games for a reason and I think they can be an effective tool.


#13

@Nocturnal_Stillness
The bully choices were certainly real; even though the outcome was the same, it made sense and gave the reader more of an identity because it allowed you to choose how to try to deal with the situation.

And guys, I’m not reffering to *fake_choices, but when the reader is given options where no decision is made, and the “choices” are literally just the same thing as the next button.


#14

@Dreamtime

The bad: Beyond the three character creation choices, not a single choice did anything. The story is confusing and filled with continuity errors caused by the meaningless choices and/or lack of explanation.

The good (and a little bit more bad): I like your writing and I think the story would be good if it wasn’t so confusing (“I died in a car crash and woke up in this paralel universe where children from a cursed city go missing.” is all I managed to pick up from the story so far and I am not sure if even that’s correct). Some actions, even though they have no meaning, have unique feedback. I liked that. I went through the demo about four-five times and every time I discovered something new. That is an extremely good sign you can improve this game a lot. The only problem is those new things were always very short and pointless.


#15

I killed a little girl for no real reason…


#16

Stoned her to death…


#17

Hi everyone,

Thank you for all the feedback. Its true the game is kind of slow and meandering. This game is largely inspired by the gamebooks I read as a kid (such as Lone Wolf and Sorcery) which are also a bit slow and meandering. I am an explorer personality type and love stories where its more about the journey and seeing all the different things on the way. That may not be everyone’s cup of tea, I realize that, and thanks to those of you who tried it even though its not really your thing. (ps. the story really is going somewhere – its just taking its sweet time).

I think maybe a little bit more information would be helpful, especially if you got bored and didn’t play through more than once. The choices you receive at any given node are based on what your personality traits are when you get there. So, @FairyGodfeather there actually ARE more things you can do with Callen, but some of those choices are suppressed because of your personality traits. The personality traits can change during the course of the game at certain points as well, based on you reacting “outside” your established personality profile. What I’m trying to get at is that the options you have on screen are always consistent with who your character is. Maybe that doesn’t quite gel yet, but that’s what I’m after.

There were lots of good suggestions above that I will mull over. I’m curious though about this assertion that the choices in the game don’t “do” anything. Could someone speak more to that?

@DSeg thanks for all the positive comments. Could you give me an example of something new you found that was “very short and pointless?”

@FairyGodfeather I am a professional game maker yes, but please don’t be embarrassed. I’m trying something a little weird and a little experimental so any and all feedback is super useful. Also, I probably do need an editor. :stuck_out_tongue:


#18

@IAgamer how could you?


#19

@Dreamtime Here is an example of something new that is very short and pointless and a meaningless choice: Instead of going to the city, I head to the forest.

I get pleasantly surprised thinking I found an optional scene of some importance.

Two pages later, I am attacked by something and I wake up the next morning. The problem is, without any explanation, I wake up at the outskirts of the city. That is exactly where I would have ended up if I decided to go to the city in the first place. That’s about it. I don’t know if it changes bravery, but if it does, it doesn’t change it much because I didn’t see any difference. Therefore, my choice to go to the forest is completely meaningless.

Imagine this situation in a game. It gives the scene some flesh and railroads the player where the game designer wants them to be, but it changes the game later on in various ways and by doing so it makes the choice important and the game nonlinear:

The player’s goal is to reach the city, but they are hungry. They can go to the city immediately or go to the forest to find something to eat before the trip. If the player goes to the city immediately, they are exhausted from the trip because they were hungry. If the player goes to the forest, they eventualy get to a dead end and have to fight a pack of scavenging animals who think the player wants to steal the body they are eating. The player can run away and immediately go to the city after all, get wounded in the fight or win against the scavengers. If they get wounded, they have to run away and now they are not only exhausted, but also hurt. If they defeat the animals, the player has a choice to find something to eat or search the corpse since the dead man maybe has some food, but they can’t do both because there is no time. If the player decides to find something to eat, they find some berries and eat them. If they decide to search the corpse, they will find a ring and enough food to eat now and save some for later.

The possible results of the choice of whether to go to the forest or not:

  1. exhausted, not hurt
  2. exhausted, hurt
  3. not exhausted, not hurt
  4. not exhausted, not hurt, items gained: ration, ring

This has a lot of potential to change the game in many ways that require a small to moderate amount of work: the player is too exhausted to notice some details untill they eat and rest, the wound gives them a disadvantage in a fight, the wound gets infected, the player gives the ration to a beggar to gain information, can sell the ring for money, can have an enchanter enchant the ring, can give the ring to their love interest, can use the ring to jam a clockwork machine…


#20

@DSeg
This is why I MUST have you as a beta tester for my sequel!