Choicescript Game Jam?


#1

I know there was a previous topic on this but I’m starting a new one, since it was a bit old and nothing came of it.

Would anyone be interested in a Choicescript Jam? (Actually I’d be willing to extend it to interactive fiction since I know Twine might be easier for some people and I know learning choicescript in a short space of time is tough.)

Theme wise, would people be interested in some sort of diversity, or discrimination theme, or even flipping traditional game stereotypes?

Like how Choice of the Dragon does, with the very first game and the whole kidnapping Princesses or Princes. (Of course that’s a fake choice and you end up with a Princess regardless. We could totally change that!)

Or maybe even playing with the Damsel in Distress stereotype? (YES I WATCHED THOSE VIDEOS! But rather than discuss them, I’d much rather just see if I (or you, I bet you could) could do better.)

But really, as long as we get a theme that everbody’s interested in it shouldn’t matter.

It would have to be before November since NaNoWriMo is then and everybody gets busy. Would August work for people? (Or would September be better?)

If so what length of time would people like? A weekend? Slightly longer? In such a short space of time I know we’re likely just looking at a single scene/vignette, or the equivalent of a short story as opposed to a full length novel, however I absolutely love short stories. So I still think this could be doable.

And one of the great things about having something designed to be super-short is you can go absolutely wild with the choices and the consequences thereof. If all the branches are short, you don’t really need to worry about keeping them under control.

Anyway.

Would anyone be interested?


#2

I’m not exactly sure what you mean by a “jam” in this context, but if it’s some kind of collaboration project, I’d be interested. August is vastly preferable to September, though I will defer to the majority on this.


#3

I would ask how it would work. I mean as in, pun not exactly intended ‘Whose line is it anyway?’ - Get a bunch of people working on the same story at once and there needs to be some sort of understood system for who works on what, when. There needs to be an understood organization that several dozen random people can follow… unless you plan to make several dozen choices at each branch. But let me assure you, 36x36 with only two choices is a task no one wants to take on, much less the exponential increase from there. If someone wants to take the reigns, and run it like a story quest, taking the audience responses into account, that might work a lot better. But whoever does would receive flack for suggestions not taken, or trying to add their own spin on the story if the audience doesn’t like it. I’m merely making a cautionary statement- I’m not saying the idea wouldn’t work, I am saying that a sizeable amount of organization would be required to pull it off.


#4

I’ve never done a game jam before either. :stuck_out_tongue:

I should have linked the other thread, shouldn’t I have?

I assume it’s we all kinda get together, and jam, like people do with instruments (never done that either) and we come up with something great at the end, all making our own little things.

Or maybe it’s like making jam with fruit and you just throw everything into a pot, boil it with sugar and hope for the best.

Okay google tells me

A game jam is a gathering of game developers for the purpose of planning, designing, and creating one or more games within a short span of time, usually ranging between 24 and 72 hours.

I think we all hang out, either on this forum, or we could use a chat room (or likely both), chat, and make our own separate games based around whatever theme’s picked. And we end up with a lot of little games. Although if people want to work in pairs, I can’t see the issue with that either.

We could probably game jam a giant community game too. That’d be a different level of craziness (and possibly fun). If so I’d definitely want to steal Fantom’s idea from the community making game thread. (Unless that thread’s already making @Fantom’s game since then I think we’d need to fight it out.)


#5

I have personal experience! I’ve participated in the Global Game Jam, Ludum Dare, and a handful of one-offs.

Initial disclaimer: There’s no need to follow any of this if people don’t like it. We should do what makes sense for the CoG community.

Here’s a typical game jam outline, based on the Global Game Jam.

  • The jam lasts 48 hours, starting at 7 PM Eastern on Friday and running across one weekend till 7 PM on Sunday.
  • There is a theme for inspiration, which is announced right as the jam starts.
  • People organize themselves into teams, or work alone - whatever works best for them.
  • At the end of the game jam, each team or individual posts their work up for everyone to see, along with a short postmortem presentation - what went well, what was problematic, what they would do differently next time, etc.
  • If you don’t finish in the weekend, that’s okay! Turn in what you have at the time limit, make your postmortem, and then keep working on it later if you want to.

#6

I’m definitely interested in this idea.


#7

It seems to me that this would be fun to do if they could all be ‘bundled together’. Kinda like with CScomp, having all the shorts wrapped together in one game, like the first choice being ‘Which game would you like to play?’ with a list of the titles.


#8

Sign me up coach! I really enjoyed CScomp and this burst of writing is not only very fun, but can also be a great source of inspiration.


#9

It could definitely be a fun and motivational experience.


#10

We don’t really celebrate it where I’m from, so correct me if I’m wrong, but isn’t Halloween coming up soon? Like in a month or two? If it is, I think a cool twist on what @fantom suggested in the other thread about making a community game, might be a collection of campfire stories?

Basically, each writer involved writes their take on a creepy ghost story, as if we’re all sitting around a campfire in the forest. The connective tissue between all the games would be a scene around the fire where each “camper” steps to the middle and tells their creepy story. The player then plays through the story, determining how it pans out, whether it has a happy ending etc.

So the theme would be “scary story”, and everyone involved would need to write a short game that plays out like a mini horror (kinda like Monsters by @Shawn_Patrick_Reed, but on a much smaller less complex scale). Once we have all these stories, we stitch them together around this campfire setting, and the finished game is the player choosing what story to go through and in what order.

I don’t know if I explained that very well?


#11

@Left4Bed Halloween occurs on October 31st. It is presently July 20th. So it depends on if you consider three and a third months away soon. XD

I really do like the campfire stories idea, though. I would absolutely -love- that. And, hey, November is national novel writing month. Not that this would be a novel, but it would be writing…

I absolutely love this idea. Absolutely and utterly, I’d be like, sign me up! XD


#12

This sounds really interesting. I’m down to jam :slight_smile:


#13

So, so interested!

Keep in mind the IF Comp is due at the end of September (“Creatures Such As We” placed second last year).

I just did a month-long game jam. The organisers announced a theme on the first day of June, and everyone had to write a game by the end of the month. The game length was meant to be 10-20 minutes. It was VERY hard to keep to that time limit. ChoiceScript lends itself to deeper, longer stories.

So, my thoughts:

  1. Collaboration is definitely allowed, but maybe not required? Collaboration is hard to coordinate quickly.
  2. I think a month is a great period of time - a weekend sounds crazy (although also fun) - because CS is so good for richer stories, which tend to take time to play and edit and think about. If we did a weekend (or even if not), could we then have a playtest/beta-fest/edit-a-thon the following weekend? Maybe everyone could playtest three other games or something like that.
  3. I like the idea of a unifying theme, rather than all of us attempting to work on a single game.
  4. Can we vote on a winner who gets published on steam and/or paid money?

If we wanted it unified, we could have a basic “world” setting so all the stories are set in the same world, with the same magic system, and people can choose to have interactions with other people’s characters or not eg. I might have a vicious pirate gathering treasure, and she could rob someone else’s protagonist as an NPC. People who liked interacting characters could outline their basic plot and characters for others to use. We’d need a timeline and/or a technology standard or time travel for it to feel consistent.

I invented a fantasy world some years ago called Rahana. Everyone is dark-skinned, there is no currency (just barter, usually for beautiful things rather than useful things), and it’s tropical. I designed it as a reaction to the classic white-men-elves-dwarves-etc worlds of so much post-Tolkien writing. It’s meant to be feminine (and women are more likely to be in power). I already have a CS game planned in that world (plus I used it in the game jam above - linking it to our world for the first time), and a series of Rahana print books coming out from 2016. The best part is that it’s very much a world of islands, and every island is different culturally and physically. It’s medieval-ish, but with 1700s-ish ship tech.

Or we could use a more “public” setting, like steampunk - that would take some thought to avoid white men taking over again, but there are a lot of possible angles of attack (and a surprising amount of online stuff about non-white Victorians).

I think game jams are basically like NaNoWriMo - everyone supports each other, but most people work (like mad) alone.


#14

And I was sure no one else would be interested. :slight_smile: I’m glad that there’s interest.

Halloween is a no, because it’s just before November. November is NaNoWriMo and we’ve a number of people on the forums who enjoy participating in that.

Personally I’d rather not a campfire stories theme, or scary stories since I’m really not into horror. It is a great theme, it’s not something I myself could participate in. (But if that’s the theme everybody loves and someone wants to step up and take charge feel free.)

Good idea in theory, definitely a good idea if everybody wants to create a collaborative project.

If we’re doing a common theme though, I’d say let people decide afterwards if they want to bundle their works together or not.

Firstly, any such project is going to need someone to edit it. Secondly, there’d be a bunch of rights issues. Also, what if someone creates a story in the jam that they absolutely love and wants to spin into a fuller length game and get it published?

@cvaneseltine It’s great we’ve someone around who’s got experience. :slight_smile: Thank you!

A 7pm EST start time might be a bit tricky for me. That’s like 1am I think. 7PM GMT would be much nicer. Maybe with a later finish time though. So, maybe not an exact 48 hours. Friday to Sunday does sound good though.

@Felicity

  1. Collaboration should definitely not be required. I was thinking more that it’s not forbidden if people want to.

  2. We have several month long things happening on the forums. We’ve got LordIrish’s contest, we’ve got NaNoWriMo. I was thinking within the 24-72 hour time frame. Which I know is a really hard push to get something finished and you’re dealing with different challenges than you would with a month long jam.

  3. But the prize is taking part! And the satisfaction of completing something. If someone wanted to donate prizes I’m sure no one’s going to tell them no.

We can’t actually decide if something gets pushed to Steam, unfortunately. And Choice of Games has a minimum word count now. (Of course as @cvaneseltine says nothing’s stopping people finishing games and completing that word count after the jam’s over.)


#15

Oops, I was trying to make sure the people in California had time to get out of work! Didn’t properly think about that.

The Global Game Jam actually rolls it, site by site - it starts at 5 PM wherever you are, with a moratorium on sharing the theme on social media. I can imagine something like that working here - “make it 48 hours, be honest, read the theme under this spoiler tag when you’re ready to start, have fun.”


#16

I feel like that would be a cool way to make a super epic game… every game split could end up with a completly different story outcome with enough writers.


#17

Sounds like fun, I would like to join but alas I cannot code…


#18

Same but I can’t really write.
and i’m only just now learning to code. :sob:


#19

You can make a choice game with very, very limited knowledge of choicescript.

There’s a couple of ways to do this. One is to use Chronicler.

Two is just do a really, really simple game. You don’t need to worry about stats or anything else. All you need are a couple of commands, and to know about indentation.

I’m going to use my Santa Claus game as an example. You can play it here and the code’s here. There’s absolutely no reason you can’t make something similar during the jam.

Your plan to capture Santa was cunning!

*fake_choice
	#Sleeping pills in his cookies
	#A net at the bottom of your chimney. 
	#Extra strong Christmas Spirits!
	#Just going to wait and see.

It works! Santa falls for your trap and now you have him.

"Ho, ho ho! Free at last! Didn't you think there was a reason no one should ever see Santa? You've been a very naughty boy and now you're going to pay."

*fake_choice
	#"I'm a girl!"
	#"What do you mean?"
	#"I'm not naughty!"
	#"Now you'll pay for your crimes, Santa!"

This uses just one command. *fake_choice All you need to know is that *fake_choice tells the game it’s time to make a choice, and that # tells the game that this is one of the choices to be made.

And there you have it, a very, very simple game.

Now, if you want to be a little more complicated , and have your choices have an immediate impact and lead to different paths you can add in the *goto and *label commands. But you don’t really need to worry about anything else.

Anyway what I’m trying to say is don’t let an inability to code prevent you from entering. You don’t need to code anything complicated. You don’t need to write anything complex either. You just need to have fun!


#20

maybe. I can use label and goto and I also know how to set stats and other stuff. now I just need to actually make the story which will be much harder for me.