Cyberpolice (Major Update: Not Yet - Minor Update: 19th of September) (WIP)

No update today.

Didn’t get too much work done, but hey, at least I didn’t play Rimworld too much, it was other stuff that got in the way. :stuck_out_tongue:

Tomorrow, I hope.

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No update today.

I spent most of my work time thinking rather than doing, but this might be important for the future. As I was writing, I distinctly felt like I’m using way too much effort on certain things that could be done more efficiently without too much loss(or indeed in some cases an increase) in quality.

This mostly relates to dialogue and character interaction. That stuff is detailed for sure, but extremely inefficient to make and I spend way more time on it than I’d like to which makes everything bog down(especially for introductions as I discussed a while back). As such, I’ll probably make/polish future scenes in a somewhat different fashion that focuses less on dialogue and more on other things. (the Gargoyle stuff will still be done in the old method).

It’s not as bad as it might sound. Dialogue and the like will still be present, but won’t be as detailed for future characters(unless everyone hates the new method of course). However, if things work out like I’m envisioning it won’t feel like a complete tonal whiplash and will mesh tolerably with the prior stuff rather than being a massive downgrade.

It’s kinda hard to give an example of it, but you’ll see it in action soon enough once the interrogations are finished and we move on to other stuff. If it works it’ll make it way faster for me to finish everything. If it doesn’t and I have to do everything in the time consuming way, at least I tried it out. :slight_smile: (the fact is that text-wise the majority of the game is dialogue which makes progress slow and this aims to crack down on that)

As for the Gargoyle stuff, it’ll be ready tomorrow for sure, since I’m going on a short trip from Sunday to Sunday and I’d really like to get it out before that(which will give me a real deadline that I usually need to really work :wink: ). Fortunately I’ll be able to write stuff during this trip, but probably not upload anything, so once I get back I’ll hopefully have something ready anyway so it shouldn’t delay anything in practice(especially since it seems I’ve recently fallen into the habit of weekly updates :stuck_out_tongue: ).

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Good luck with implementing this change - it sounds like a difficult thing to pull off this late into a project, but I’ve faith in you! For what it’s worth, I’m interested to see what else/how quickly you can produce in terms of content when the summary-of-the-case scenes are cut down on (I presume that’s what you intend, to some degree?).
However, this WiP has become and remained the only WiP which manages such an interesting and delicate balance of action and dialogue that i have not yet skipped through a dialogue heavy scene and I have never felt bored of reading one (although I admit mild surprise at times - Ms. Badr can really run her mouth when she wants to!).

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Updated with next file.

Contains: Gargoyle interrogation.

Current average playthrough:

  • Total average: 96,500 (was 93,500, 3,000 increase. All in all the Gargoyle interrogation is 17,000 words or so, so a fair amount of variance but also length.)

Finally got it out. Mostly due to personal laziness and poor timing of stuff, rather than it being super laborious or anything. It really should’ve been ready on Tuesday as planned, there’s no real excuse. :smiley:

The scene is decent in my opinion. Could be better, I guess, but it serves it’s purpose as far as I’m concerned. Opinions(and data) are welcome, as always, whether positive or negative. Can’t fix something if I don’t know it needs fixing.

I guess the only problem with it is that the variable choices that you might or might not see are either a bit too common or a bit too rare, it’s kinda weird. Some are spawned by really obscure past stuff, some come from super obvious stuff. There aren’t really that many middle of the road options. But that’s mostly a “creator nitpick” I’d guess, rather than a real problem. But we’ll see.

As for the stuff I mentioned in the previous post about the new idea for dialogue and character interaction, you’ll see what I mean once we get to some new stuff(visit to City Hall or revisit to ABGS headquarters depending on your path). In short the point is kinda to make use of “quick cuts” more than a long-winded scene. Sort of editing out of much of the “pointless” stuff that I always put in because I feel it “needs” to be there even though it doesn’t(mostly relating to character interaction). It’s a bit tough to explain, much easier to show in practice.

Next up is Zoe interrogation, regardless, which won’t be affected by it. It’s not intended to be especially long either, at least compared to the Potira and Gargoyle stuff.

In other news, as I mentioned earlier, I won’t be able to upload stuff for a bit over a week now(next upload roughly the second of August?).

The good news is that I’ll probably be able to get some work done despite not being able to upload, so once I get back I’ll hopefully have something right away.

Thanks!

I hope it won’t be difficult, since if it is it’s definitely a bummer. :smiley:

Not entirely sure what you mean by this, so it’s kinda hard to give an answer, but I think the answer is “maybe?” :stuck_out_tongue:

What do you mean by “summary-of-the-case scenes” exactly? And is the end of the sentence cut short or do I just have poor reading comprehension? I can’t quite understand “…are cut down on”, feels like it’s missing a word or three.

Thanks for the praise. It’s always nice to hear that I’ve managed to create something good or even great. It’s certainly a fear of mine that some parts are boring to some readers, especially if no one posts about it yet everyone thinks it. Too much positivity with too little criticism can lead to staleness and I’d hate if my work is stale just because no one dares/bothers/wants to say that a thing or two could use some(or major) improvements. It’s really tough to see whether something’s dry or not as the creator, for me at least.

People running their mouths is a personal bane of mine as far as writing style goes, I just can’t make them shut up enough! (which is exactly what the new style of writing is supposed to combat. Whether it succeeds or not remains to be seen, of course, but I hope it’ll cut down some of the excessive text without taking away the charm).

PS See you in a week, everyone!

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I think I probably just word vomited a bit, if you’ll forgive my coarseness. Essentially, I meant to say that I’m curious to see how the new writing style will mesh with the old. Extensive dialogue seemed, till now, to be the way in which you conveyed all the details of a scene (for example, what to consider when deciding how much media coverage to give the case) to the reader. If you refrain from writing this much dialogue in the future, I’m curious as to how you will get all the details across!

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Ah, so that’s what you meant. In retrospect it makes perfect sense now. That’s what I get for reading a post when it’s 2am. :yawning_face:

As for cutting down on the dialogue… I’m curious as to how I’ll do it too. :smiley:

I have some ideas, but they might be applicable only to certain scenes, not all. It remains to be seen.

It’ll definitely be a challenge, but I don’t think it’s an insurmountable one. If it is, well, I’ll just change back to the old style. Hopefully I’ll find a new way, though, since I really spend way too many words to say something that could be done in way, way fewer words.

I’d say that for the most part the heavy exposition is done and in the future it’ll be more of a case of implications and for the player to figure out via context and the like, but who knows.

Anyway, sleep now and tomorrow the railway. Unless there’s something I need to address in the morning, my next post will be a week in the future.

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The interrogation was pretty fun

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What an impressive game you’ve got so far! I have to say, when it said 1-2 hours of playtime, I was a bit sceptical - but I was proven wrong.

I’m not usually one for police/detective style games/stories, but this definitely like a departure from what you’d expect; most games of this type of genre usually have a bit too much of an emphasis on stats for my taste, but this definitely feels like a bit departure from that. There’s definitely more of an emphasis on the story, characters, worldbuilding - all the kind of things that I greatly prefer in the games that I play. There’s obviously a case that still needs to be solved, but it seems as if my choices, rather my stats, are what’s going to determine the outcome of the story which I love.

The story’s intriguing, the characters are interesting and multi-layered, and the world you’ve created is fascinating (one which I’m so eager to explore and find out more about). I think the best part of this game is the number of different ways you can seemingly roleplay your character, and I’m eager to find out how our choices (big or small) are going to affect the story, our relationships with other characters, and the world around us.

Overall, I think this a great game already, and I can’t say that I have too much to really complain about from what I’ve played so far. The only sort of criticism I would aim at the game at the moment is that sometimes (to me at least), there’s a bit too many walls of text. Even for someone like myself who loves what I’m reading, it can be hard to maintain concentration for a long time when it seems like after reading one massive page of text, there’s another . . . and then another. I never thought I’d say this, but maybe you could break some of this up by adding in a few more ‘fake’ choices here and there - or maybe allow the MC to have a moment to themselves in their mind, reflecting on the current situation? IDK.

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First code is: 1B

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The interrogation was pretty fun! The sheer number of gangs kind of surprised me, and I focused a bit more on staying in character than scaring or relaxing Gargoyle, but even so.

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Yeah, I still hope you do though because my mc’s are on opposite sides of it with Still…my grizzled, cynical old var vet is more suited to and likes playing the bad cop better so Still can use his synthetic charms to play to good cop, while with my idealistic young kid (who has a huge crush on Still, but that is beside the point) is naturally better at playing the nice one, which means it is better in that case if Still plays the cold synthetic android bad cop. :thinking:

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Alright, I’m back again.

Back to work tomorrow.

Didn’t get too much sheer writing done while I was gone, but did get a bunch of planning for the “framework” of a few scenes, which is nice.

Thanks for the data-sheet, it’s very useful! And good to know it was fun.

Heh, thanks. Nice to hear Cyberpolice appeals to you.

And you’re quite correct in that your choices and the story and such are important to me, though stats do have an impact on a bunch of stuff, especially once I put the sub-plots in. Although I suppose you could consider the stats themselves being choices of a sort, since they’re not numerical but rather “descriptive”. I’ve always thought that the biggest strength of interactive fiction is the modular story rather than the “game mechanical changes”, so to speak.

:grin:

I’m eager to show how those choices are going to affect the story and the characters too! We’re getting to the parts where they start really mattering.

Awesome.

I totally get the criticism about the walls of text and I do agree with it, which is why I’ll be taking a good long look at them once I do a second polishing pass on the game(after most of it is finished, except the finales). They’re exhausting and the information can probably be told in a better way, and so on. I left them as they currently are since I wanted to move forward on this “first version” rather than spend a lot of time polishing the text while a bunch of things were still in the air(whether I’d be able to implement certain scenes and so on). Once the basic version is done, it’s a lot easier to trim down the walls of text and make the scenes flow better and so on, so it should be fixed before the game is ready.

As for whether I’ll add fake choices and the like to fix it, we’ll see. I do think such things create the atmosphere, especially specific to the player playing the game which morphs “the story” into “their story”, which is kinda a big part of interactive fiction to me.

I’ll think of something, that’s for sure, whether it’s just chopping the text into smaller bits or doing something else, but it won’t be exhausting in the final form.

Thanks! Very useful.

Great. Guess the scene turned out fine after all.

Gotta have some gangs for it to be believable and not too obvious for the player. :wink:

It’s totally fine to stay in character, preferable even, I guess. The cooperation/fear stuff isn’t really a thing to aim for as such, rather it’s the consequence of your choices. It’s a bit different than in the Potira stuff(if you happened to have it too).

I’ll add it if I can. If the player can’t play the type of character they want, what use is interactive fiction in the first place? Then again, there are also practical things to take into account such as finishing the game in a reasonable timescale, so we’ll see. Probably should be doable, I think, as long as I can frame it properly from my own point of view. Theoretically a “what approach should we choose” scene with Stillwater shouldn’t be all that hard to make, which would then have some small effect on the interrogation itself. But we’ll see.

By the way, I’m especially interested in hearing opinions about multiple playthrough with different characters. Does it feel different enough? Are the different responses to the dialogues and the like unique enough that it makes for a separate experience? I guess so far there aren’t THAT many path branches and the like, so the vast majority of the stuff is relatively the same, but that’ll be remedied once I get the sub-plots in(hopefully in the not-too-distant future).

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This is the main branch difference, with actual consequences thus far, between my mc’s my non modded older detective cannot get a really good resolution to the whole Potira thing, either it’s letting her escape or apprehend her with massive property damage. My somewhat augmented kid can actually pull off catching her with only light property damage.

Apart from that it does already feel more different between the two of them because the dialogue is wonderfully done and the npc’s react with different (flavor) text to almost every choice. So, yes, the tech optimism of my kid does already give the game different feel than the tech pessimism of my war vet to make it feel appreciably different even if both of my mc’s are more science focused.

For example my vet mc can in fact shock Still by having no strong reaction to the decerebrated corpse and making the offhand remark that he has in fact seen worse, while my kid mc predictably does get a little queasy at that sight. So that does make the narrative flavour and the feel of the scene quite a bit different between my two mc’s, imho.
And that is just one example. But really thus far the dialogue in this game feels top tier. Possibly right up there with the jolly good and evertree series.

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No update today.

Probably tomorrow to wrap up the final interrogation.

Excellent. It’s exactly what I aimed for, so it’s nice to hear all my effort hasn’t been in vain. :slight_smile:

Thanks for the detailed feedback.

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No update today.

Pretty much finished with the Zoe interrogation, but still needs some fact checking to make sure it doesn’t contradict anything, so it’ll have to wait until tomorrow.

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No update today.

Was unexpectedly busy and when I had time to work I wasn’t in the state of focus needed to go through fact checking so I skipped working. Tomorrow, then.

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No update today.

Pretty much the same thing as yesterday. Fortunately tomorrow is Saturday so I can’t imagine that the same thing would happen then. :stuck_out_tongue:

I really need to get get back on schedule, these week long breaks wreak havoc on my ability to work, it seems.

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Updated with next file.

Contains: Zoe interrogation(if you arrested her rather than making a deal).

Current average playthrough:

  • Total average: 96,500 (was 96,500, couldn’t check for reasons detailed below. Around 6,000 words overall, and since this is a tertiary option of a secondary branch of a main branch the increase to the average length is probably like 200 words at best :smiley: )

Alright, this took way too long. To make matters worse, I just managed to break my testing browser by accidentally pressing yes rather than no on the prompt that pops up, and thus it “updated” itself so I can’t use choicescript on it anymore, which means I can’t randomtest anymore, which means I couldn’t see if the code was working or not, nor could I check the length. Total pain in the ass to fix for several reasons, and I ain’t doing it now, so I hope nothing broke with the upload. I did go through it and it seemed to work plus it’s very simple code-wise, so it’s highly unlikely it caused any problems but you never know.

If you’re afraid for your saves, might want to wait a while until I can check it or something. :stuck_out_tongue:

Might be able to do it tomorrow, maybe not, busy day for the most part.

As for what’s next, it’s probably a short trip to City Hall for those that chose to cooperate with them. After that it’s the corporate cooperation variant for the same “tier” of scene.

For those who are brave enough to try, feedback on the new stuff is nice, but overall not super important since it’s an extremely fringe scene(unlikely option of a sub-branch of a branch), and I think I got it done pretty okay even now. The numbers aren’t all that important in it compared to the other interrogations. Unfortunately the “skip to” option for this scene doesn’t take everything into account that it should, and I’m too tired to fix it now so it’ll have to wait for maybe tomorrow(supposing I can fix the darn randomtest stuff).

Hopefully next week will be more productive, though I already know I probably can’t work on Tuesday and Wednesday.

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No update today.

Made some okay progress. Since I probably can’t work much tomorrow, on Wednesday and perhaps not on Thurday either, the next update will be at the weekend earliest. Kinda crazy how I’m way more busy in the summer than I was during spring.

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No update today.

Finally got back again. Will probably be ready tomorrow or on Sunday.

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