Copyediting code written in Chronicler: Possible or Pointless?

For those who may or may not have known, I took on the responsibility of writing my own Interactive Novel a bit over a year ago. To put it blunt, coding sucked and it made my brain hurt, causing me to nearly bail until I found the wonderful Chronicler tool by @BenSeawalker. Sure, it’s outdated and is pretty unknown, but I found it to do exactly everything the regular Choicescript format did, and it performed as I needed by minimizing as much code as possible and putting it into a visual format similar to Twine.

There’s just one problem. Looking at it in CSIDE when I bug test and compare it to other code, it just seems… scrambled. It removes the need for *goto commands by doing it for the writer, but the pre-assigned labels are randomized numbers ranging from 8 to 10 digits, meaning you don’t know what the hell goes where unless you pay attention. (btw Ben, in your next version, please have the labels count up from 1 if possible)

With that said, as I near completion with Chapter 1 and I freshen things up in preparation for submission to Hosted Games… just how much of a nightmare will it be for you copy-editors? Will I need to go through and label every individual “bubble” for navigation, or would you approach things top-to-bottom patching up errors?

The game runs perfectly and the *goto’s shouldn’t hinder performance, they just will likely make things messy. It doesn’t help that the order of the story arranged in code is different than how it appears in both Chronicler and the normal game.

Under the dropdown, I’ll have an example image of what you’d be dealing with, I just want to make sure I’m not wasting my time finishing a story that can’t be navigated.


This is one of the simplest and smallest scenes where the player character will be able to select a preset name, or input their own. I will note, in this scene, the code is actually somewhat in order with story plays out. An instance where this isn’t the case is the beginning of chapter 1, where in the same scene the player selects their stats. Well, to the program, the header and intro paragraph which should be first actually appear hundreds of lines down, whereas the stats which appear towards the end of the scene are at the top. It gets jumbled at times, especially with longer more complex scenes.

Here it is in code form.
notepad, .txt

And here it is in playable form.

Copy editing is done by HG themselves (I think it’ll be @RETowers?), so I think it’d be the best if you mail HG about your concern. On the other hand, a simple trick to tidy up your labels is by using Search-and-Replace function Ctrl + F.

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Actually, copyediting is only done for HG titles getting a Steam release. It’s always best to make sure stuff gets ironed out on the writer’s end for a HG release.



Rachel also is no longer on the staff of CoG, so she will not be involved with your publication either way.

Regarding: leaving it “messy” – you will be going back into the code to fix bugs that crop up, to make any revisions suggested by HG and if you plan on writing a sequel or series of books … I would go top to bottom and address issues now instead of being forced to do so later when conditions and solutions may not be worked with under ideal circumstances.


I agree—the code is really for you because you’re the one who’s going to have to go in to fix bugs and typos. I know people on here can access the code to these games, but honestly, QA shouldn’t ever be using the code to bug test—they want to be using whatever version of the game is closest to release (unless the author specifies they want help with code).

So my opinion is, you only really need to make the code less messy if you can’t understand it yourself, or if you need it to be accessible to other people.


When I did a copyediting test to apply for a copyediting position for COG (disclaimer: I wasn’t hired), I actually edited the file with code in it. I just wasn’t allowed to directly edit the code. So making your code cleaner is actually a really good idea as it helps the copyeditor follow along without getting lost.

Chronicler is a bit outdated tbh (not to knock the dev’s efforts, as it’s an impressive tool). I recommend using CSIDE in conjunction with implicit control flow to remove unnecessary labels altogether instead. Bit more legwork and it’s not as visual, but it really does simplify the coding process exponentially.


Let me add that being your own copyeditor is no reason to make things harder for yourself. By which I mean, resist the temptation to say “oh, well, it’s just for me, and I understand it, so there”.

You don’t know how many months or years later down the lane you’ll want to look at this code or when you’ll want to get someone’s help to look over a particular bit that has been giving you trouble. So it pays to make the code into something that is easily understood, not just something you understand.


So if no one will have to copyedit and read my code (for mobile release), all due respect, why should I go in and do hours of renaming thousands of labels? As I said before, I know nothing of coding other than the choicescript that I learned in conjunction with Chronicler, but overall it just seems like it’d be wasted effort.

I’d have to agree with @hgbird, I rarely need to navigate my code other than bug testing which is literally just searching a specific line for a typo, so even I wouldn’t be using it.

Make sure it works. Make sure if something is messed up you can fix it (since you are on the hook for any fixes post-release). Otherwise, don’t worry about it.


The game needs to have been fully tested by people from the forum usually in its entirety. This will make it harder on any testers that look at your code. Numbered labels may also make your life harder to find the sections reported by testers for edits, but nothing a “find” command won’t help with.

I personally wouldn’t have set up labels as number strings as it makes stuff harder to identify and more prone to errors if you have to edit later on, but if that’s the only option your program gives, you might have to roll with it. I don’t think there’s any reason you can’t have labels like that so long as the game passes all the auto testers for HG.

Bear in mind it’s also going to inflate the wordcount with all the unnecessary labels so it may have implications when released on the store with players complaining it didn’t seem as long as advertised. (Since total wordcount including coffee is listed on the stores.)

Echo other sentiments here. Make sure as well as you can, all grammar and bugs fixed before submitting as there is a good chance it won’t get copyedited or checked for bugs that don’t crash the game. (Only steam releases are copyedited and many HGs do not get an initial steam release). COG will probably not comment on your game before release unless there is a game breaking bug that turns up in the auto testers or it doesn’t meet their requirements.


It’s definitely your prerogative. If you don’t plan for anyone to look at the code and you can navigate fine, do what you think is best. Although I will agree with some other sentiments here that if you do need to have people look at your code, they won’t be happy if it’s sloppy. When I was in college, one of my biggest pet peeves was being asked to help with someone’s code only to find they had the messiest naming system they could’ve possibly come up. But this was an environment in which it was assumed we were working as if we were part of a team and not just a single hobbyist working alone on a game for fun.

If you plan to get your game published with Hosted Games, it does need to go through an open beta, and messy code is going to annoy hands-on testers and curious players, but open beta testing doesn’t actually involve testers sifting through code—they should be playing an as close to finished as possible version of the game to catch bugs that the devs missed during alpha testing.

That being said, most WIPs on here are in alpha. This forum is unique in that regard as—traditionally—there isn’t really such a thing as open alpha testing. Closed alphas are for black-box testing, while white-box testing should only ever really be done by the devs writing the game. There’s a time and place to talk about that in more detail, but it’s probably not in this thread. :joy:

To generally improve the quality of your script.

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In all honesty, label names aren’t super important unless you have a ton of them. When I’m fixing bugs reported by a beta tester, I just use the Find command to locate a specific phrase in the screenshot to find what needs to be fixed. I rarely search for labels. I even name them things I can find and I still barely use them. Unless you intend to have other people looking at your code, label names aren’t super importat.

In regards to Steam releases, I’m pretty sure the HG submission form asks if you want to be considered for a Steam release. In other cases (game is released initially with no Steam release), I suspect CoG approaches the author and asks if they want their game to get published on Steam.


Hey all, I am still alive, been out of the loop for awhile though. :confused:

The last update to Chronicler disabled the “human readable code” feature because it caused crashes in certain edge cases that I didn’t have time to fix.
Originally it would generate the code in such a way that it would use labels only when absolutely necessary (to prevent story code duplication).

Seeing as I’ve received a few messages about the old Chronicler recently, I’d be willing to release a final patch that fixes the issues and enables that feature again.