College Tennis: Origin Story (WIP) - Updated 21 Dec '23 [468k words]

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Arghhhh, I didn’t…but someone clearly did.

Danke for the info!

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BIG NEWS!

@burninglights has agreed to let me use the code to build a playthrough for anyone to use. (Ko-fi will have other options available as well in the near future). Ideally, I hope to eventually build multiple paths, but will start with whatever is most in demand.

Here’s a poll to see what you want me to focus on! https://forms.gle/oH68ye2CyS6K8Bhy5

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I just finished playing the last two updates in a single sitting (I like having a chonky chapter to dive in) and you delivered on everything I was anticipating, and more.

The extra lines with Sam at the beginning are a very nice touch. I always enjoy having a bit of context for my character's established relationships, and they do a great job at that.

I really like the changes you made to Rayyan's outburst for the doubles line up. Personally I find that now it flows better if we come from a win in the doubles against Tobin and Deepal, and Rayyan's reaction is understandable while still being unfair. He's an ass (affectionate), but the bonus scene from his pov helped putting everything into context.

Also, I loved the part in the locker room where we can hammer him with every one of our successes and put him with his back to the wall (literally), it's great narrative and great gameplay. The whole scene flowed very well and felt like the recognition of everything my character had done in the previous chapters. It was extremely rewarding to play/read, especially as a R-mancer. Well done!

I also really enjoyed Rayyan's apology at the court. It was another rewarding scene, finally making a crack in his armor and taking another peek at who they are as a person - definitely another pay-off moment in my playthrough.

This time I decided, in addition to romancing R, to pick a few heart options with Sam too (the ones that could work for two blind idiots who have spent half their lives joined at the hip) to see how the story would evolve. Well, it's my fault, but reading Sam's POVs while knowing that my MC is too much of a dummy to realize what they're doing and knowing that it's too late for them to return Sam's feelings was devastating, especially because I know that things would have gone very differently if Sam had done something in high school. I don't want to downplay all the fantastic work you're doing with coding and gameplay on this IF, but it's stuff like this that gives this story an extra gear. You really have a talent for writing about feelings in a way that's spontaneous and honest, without trimmings, that makes it all so... real, and relatable to one's past experiences. Shout-out also to the make-up night training with R after his apology: I've never cared about sports, but that scene is filled with that universal joy and enthusiasm of doing something you love with someone you care about and who gets it. It was really an emotional moment.

The doubles match was, again, really engaging: it felt good to win it with Rayyan after all the drama of the previous chapter, and especially while managing to play as their equal.

Now I'm ready for the usual week or so of post-CT:OS blues. You're a terrific writer. Thank you for consistently delivering quality content despite the various hiccups (losing twice the files and going through surgery? Ugh!). My only question is: are you sure you want to keep being a urban planner and not become a full-time writer? :grinning:

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The results are in!

Right off the bat, the biggest finding is that the tennis is what people care about, with 56.5% listing it as top priority. Sadly, academics only brought in 13%. I get it. Thus far, not failing is the only academic milestone with any benefits. Maybe a day off for high marks would help? Oh well. I can say that I won’t be neglecting relationships and will put a bit extra into charisma so that players can easily adapt this playthrough into a more relationship-focused one. It really doesn’t change much.

Sam strongly win out the rest to win the RO championship (which fits my personal headcanon), but credit to Rayyan for a surprising 21.7%. Sadly, Tobin finished dead last, with only 2 of 23 picking the captain.

Playstyle was the one I was most tense about, because I was worried I’d have to focus S/V, but only 1 person put me through that. Instead, 8 votes for All Court means I have to try and keep everything somewhat balanced.

One of the most interesting results is that while not many of you want to date Tobin, a lot of you want to partner with the captain. There were 5 votes for Harris, only 1 from someone with romantic intentions. Rayyan, on the other hand, had 10 votes, 4 from those who wanted a different kind of partnership.

Finally, I worry that this playthrough might be less in demand than I hoped, since no one marked CT:OS a 4 or 5 in difficulty. In fact, the average score was 2.

So, this playthrough will focus on tennis, with significant effort toward charisma and relationships and just enough into academics to keep from failing. The goal for tennis is simple: winning every match. I won’t promise winning every challenge, since I suspect that would take full focus. However, as of the match v Emerson, charisma doesn’t need to be too high to make a good impression.

At this point, I now have the files up to and including the match against Emerson, so I will get to work this week and start making some progress.

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Oh man, absolutely devastated to hit the wall just before the singles matches. I haven’t played since Update 6 so you made a ton of progress, but the thing that always gets me with WIPs is the mounting sense of anxiety as the story gets better and better because I don’t know when but I know soon I am going to reach the end of the update.

For feedback so I’d say something that would be nice to see more of is just more interactions with the other freshmen and lower-ranked players on the team. There’s plenty with the top 4 and it makes sense given that they’re who we play with/against, but some more time getting to know the lower-ranked players would be cool. Especially Jax & Emerson. I felt bad after beating Jax and want to be her friend.

I love that there are a ton of times where there are choices to go for flirt/romance paths but in the same instance there’s a way to just be like “Totally into X but this ain’t the time.” Similarly, the option to just stay silent is something you have a lot of in CTO, and I’m often wishing to see that in a lot of IF; I try to be pretty stoic in real life so it’s offputting sometimes if a character is snarky or just feels the need to say something in every dialogue.

I’ve been going the route of light flirting with G, Tobin, and Rayyan, having started off the Sam thing with “holy shit long distance bad idea” but that is clearly OTP so I’m really thrilled at how you managed to thread the needle with G in particular where she gives advice on MC’s relationship with Sam while being into MC herself. I wouldn’t say no to a G/Sam poly route - what lovely chaos that would be.

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I can’t believe I’ve never come across this one before. Admittedly, the sports Choice stories have never been my jam, but this is so well written and engaging that even my non-sports loving heart had an amazing time with it. Notably, rather than glossing over the actual sports sections to get to the juicy drama and relationship parts (like I’ve done with some of the other sports games in the past) with this one I actually enjoyed reading the sports sections as well.

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Far too much energy for his own goo! :laughing:

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Eh, lots of us have had that problem at times.

For any moderators reading this, I am referring to typos. ~wink~

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I really hope you never do much with testing the personality stats. I really like being able to play an absolute laid back goofball… until the second a match is about to start then going into total intense focus mode. If there were choices locked behind personality stats I’d feel obliged to be more consistent in my personality choices, even though that is less realistic to me.

On an unrelated note, your writing in the Rayyan make out scenes is top freaking notch. Writers can often have a hard time making a scene hot without it being explicit and you have managed that perfectly. I got full body tingles reading it. It pairs especially well with a hypercompetitive MC.

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@0Meletti

Yeah, I don’t think MC would need to decide or act on whether to turn pro in freshman year. But I think it would affect how MC reacts to each win or loss (+ how they view each achievement). E.g. an MC that is bent on turning pro would be under a lot more pressure to perform well (and already be on par with most of the best players on the team), even as a freshman, but an MC who isn’t would view freshman year way more as a ‘settling in’ year.

@Winas181 Yay! Glad you thought the ROs all had equal screen-time. I think this might not always feel like the case (some chapters feature more of one character than the others, etc) but this is inevitable due to organic plot reasons… but I do at least plan to always balance the emotional highlights (the aim is to have every RO get an equal amount of significant scenes / beats!)

@rozane A raw sheet would be totally fine!Interesting that the irony is high endurance builds get way shorter matches. I will have to think about that one more. Relatedly, yes, sometimes I entertain myself by inventing new skill checks (and I also take way longer rewriting / perfecting each ‘match’ than I should). As for pronoun switches and story inconsistencies, I’d love that!! DM me if you’d like to be added to the beta-testing team, but basically you should only start checking through the inconsistencies when I’m done with the next chunk (so that you’re looking at the latest copy).

@AnneWest Totally makes sense!!

HAHAH. Max and Sam do have similarities, yes… :stuck_out_tongue:

So happy that you enjoyed the game and the concept. I agree that other sports would work well. As I’ve mentioned before, I was writing a football/soccer game previously but it evolved into CT:OS. I already have totally workable mechanics for soccer, and would love to write that one day but… too many dreams, not enough time :stuck_out_tongue:

This was an absolute pleasure to know. Thank you hahaha.

@Sujan_Dhakal HAHA. Savage.

@Where_One Lmao!! I think a cheeky shout-out or reference to “manga tennis” (or just Prince of Tennis) would be a cute 4th-wall-break idea.

@fsix Gotchu! Will take a look at this! Thanks so much :slight_smile:
Agreed on the condition changes, am currently changing all the condition increases / decreases to plain math instead of Fairmath.

Spot on!

@Starchess hahaha yay!! Glad to have you back on board! :raised_hands:

@Anthony_13

Full disclosure, D was very, very early-on, one of the possible fling candidates. So were Thalia and Mike. But I have a huge-enough cast and wanted to focus on a smaller group of ROs to give them more depth and attention. Hence I pruned till I kept only the ROs that would have very unique, different routes (with different tensions / paths / emotional beats), got rid of those that are slightly more similar (e.g. Sam and D are, in some ways, quite similar!)

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@ZestyPixel Welcome on board!! So happy you gave CT:OS a go! :smiley:

@JohnKittz Awesome, the next update is for you!

@fsix Understand the feeling! I think I really wanted to make balancing MC’s social life and being serious about tennis feel like a ‘trade-off’, because I do think it IS hard to be a serious varsity athlete (with dreams of being the best / one of the best in the country) without feeling like one has to give up certain things on the weekend etc. It’s also my sneaky way of making folks play the game on different saves / playthroughs :stuck_out_tongue:

Agreed that I could balance it out with allowing MC to do it while having a toll on condition. I think in some cases, there should still be a cap on activities.

P.S. Thanks SO for the detailed edits, I have read through them and will implement the feedback in the next update – just checking if it’s cool if I DM you to clarify if I do have anything I’d like to ask!

@Lee_Lee HAHAH!! This was a delight to read. I’m so glad that a Tobin-route felt rewarding and surprising, and that it tied in nicely with the other events (e.g. doubles partners etc.)

@Songsmith YAY! Glad you enjoyed the game and that the glossary helped :slight_smile: This is definitely still in the “hang out with all the ROs” and get to know them better phase, so I definitely don’t want folks to feel like they’re being locked-in already. Thank you for the comment!

@Edie_Dreyer HAHA good excuse to play again indeed.

@Bracco Oh my gosh your entire comment is just so kind! glad you liked the changes to the Rayyan scene (writing the ‘hammering with successes’ bit was very enjoyable for me, and I thought it was a nice way to reward players for their earlier successes - extra thrills!) Ugh, I really love your analysis of the scenes and how they felt – it’s always one thing to write a scene and go “I think this is good”, and quite another thing to have real in-depth feedback from readers on what they thought about it! :smiley: So thank you again!

HAHAHA. Well. One day… I hope :crossed_fingers:

Finally, as @kckolbe mentioned, he very kindly offered to get the ball rolling on the much-requested walkthroughs, and I know he’s gonna crush it!

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A thought I’ve had before while playing this game (and meant to say before but never got round to it), but I’ve noticed that you seem to use ‘deuce’ to mean when a set reaches ‘5-5’? Indeed, when looking at the glossary, you’ve wrote: "However, if both players reach 5 games each, instead of winning the set at 6 games, either player needs to win two more games (i.e. 7 games) to win the set. This is known as a ‘deuce’."

It was something I noticed after the first time I played Deepal, where for some reason they said afterwards something like, “I can’t believe you made us play two deuces!”. This left me very much confused, because having two deuces in a three-set match isn’t exactly unusual (quite the opposite in fact). It was only when I was reading through the scene again and I looked at the score line (I think it was ‘5-7, 6-4, 7-5’) that I realised you must be meaning ‘deuce’ as a set that reaches ‘5-5’ - except that’s not what deuce means (unless I’m misunderstanding something?)?

As far as I’m aware, ‘deuce’ is simply when the score goes ‘40-40’ in a service game (which is how you’d always announce the score in English when this situation occurs, despite what you’ve stated in the glossary). I’ve personally never once heard the term being used in a different way (and certainly not in the way you’re using it)

I’m sorry if this seems like something pedantic to point out, but as someone who follows and watches tennis, it comes across as rather jarring to me whenever one of the characters uses the term incorrectly (and I haven’t seen anyone else in this thread mention it, so I thought I would) :sweat_smile:

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Of course; feel free, i’ll be more than happy to help with anything.

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oh man. i wasn’t sure if this was gonna be my cup of tea because i know jack-shit about tennis, but you’ve done phenomenal work. It’s hard to put into words how alive and real this story feels. It’s also the first game that didn’t send me into an anxious spiral when choosing which parts of college life to prioritize (i’m not sure how you pulled that off, probably some dark magic)

one thing i’ll note tho is that it feels like Lee is never present in any team scenes and the only reason i even noticed is because i kinda wanted to befriend a fellow enby :pensive:

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My mc does like Max and Mike best out of the non-ro cast. :stuck_out_tongue_winking_eye:

Incidentally I think, given that he is a bit of a polyglot, my Merry Crisis mc used to be an English major in college. And I really hope this mc will eventually get the option to select astrophysics as his major as he’s better with the exact sciences than my Merry Crisis mc. Plus in the event of a career ending injury it would be hella cool for him to become a bona-fide NASA scientist.

Naw, Sammy is a lot cuter, hotter and sexier. :heart_eyes:

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God, this was SO good! I can’t wait to play the full game!

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YOOO been long time I haven’t visit this WIP, when will this game published or is it still in WIP ?

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Definitely still in WIP

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For what’s worth, the author has published planned work/release schedule for both of her games a while ago. You can find the details in the post here: https://ko-fi.com/i/IG2G7TRLKG (the high-res version of the image has all the actual details)

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