Includes stuff related to second morning, before heading to the slums.
Current average playthrough: 64,500 words.
This part was a surprisingly big pain in the ass to polish, I have to say. Took way, way more time and effort than I expected, especially given the minor increase in overall length. I’m still not entirely satisfied with it or the pacing of the morning in itself, so I’ll be taking a look at it after the rest of the batch has been uploaded.
Speaking of the rest of the batch, the interesting stuff starts from now on.
This game gives me very Detroit: Become Human vibes which is a good thing.
My suggestion would be to keep in mind is that as interesting as the investigation is, personal relationships and emotional intimacy are important too. Especially how the main plot affects those relationships and vice versa.
In the aforementioned Detroit they did a good job of getting you invested in the partnership between Connor and Hank or in the survival of Kara’s found family, so it doesn’t just have to be romantic relationships.
I believe you have stated that later you are going to go back and explore friendship/rivalry dynamics, I look forward to reading when you do.
Characters and their interaction are what transform a plot into a story, and ultimately it’s the story that matters as it’s what makes interactive fiction what it is: a personal journey.
The plot is essentially the tool I use to explore the characters, which naturally leads to situations that are interesting. In that sense the investigation is the framework around which the character interaction revolves. One cannot exist without the other, as both affect one another greatly.
And indeed, I will later on make the friendship and rivalry aspects more “meaningful”. Currently character relationships are just represented by a number that on occasion will change some scenes, but later on I’m aiming to make entire scenes that only revolve around the characters and their relationship to you. The numerical relationship meter is fine for most of the time, since it allows me to make simple changes to the scenes based on the overall attitude of the character toward you. This applies to “dramatic” stuff too, so it’s pretty useful(will someone jump in front of a bullet for you, or betray you, etc).
However, for a deeper handling of the stuff, I’ll need to do something else. At present I’ve stored some distinct variables depending on what you’ve said to a character, but so far they aren’t used in any way. For example, on occasion Stillwater says “I’ll ask you about this later” or something to that end. I’d like to cash out that promise and make a scene where he actually does that and you can talk with him about a variety of subjects. Likewise, if you’ve pissed someone off there might be a scene where they try to get revenge on you in a petty way, or such. The point is to call back to the things you’ve chosen in the past and make them a part of the story in that way. On occasion these call-backs can be done in other scenes too, where someone will refer something you’ve earlier said or done, etc.
Not totally sure how I’ll do all of this in the end, though. Basically I’d want for each “active” character(essentially the sub-plots and some other things activate characters so they become relevant to the game, otherwise they’re absent from the story) to have a scene or two like that, but that sounds pretty unrealistic workload wise, especially if I have to take all three to six theoretical possibilities into account(friendship, neutral, rival → combined with romantic variations of each). Realistically speaking I’ll probably limit it to the three “main” characters(Stillwater, Mouse, Carrington), but we’ll see. In any case they’ll have the priority.
As for when it’ll happen… probably not for a while, but I’m not shipping the product without the bare minimum version of it, that’s for sure.
No update today I’m afraid, hopefully tomorrow. Saturday for sure.
Again, it looks doubtful I’ll have everything in by Sunday(I most likely can’t update then either), since the amount of stuff is high and my pace is slow. But at least progress is being made. I really need to know how to make realistic time estimates, it seems.
It’s been very interesting and I can’t help but wonder are there any plans for the war veteran/victim of an experimental weapon? I know there’s a dream/flashback sequence, but I’m curious to see if will affect a subplot of some sort in the future.
Also congrats on the progress. Slow progress is still progress!
The backgrounds will affect various scenes later on, but not too much for the most part. The war veteran background in particular is somewhat relevant to one of the subplots and I’ll be taking it into account in the dialogue. It’ll provide an alternative method to solve a very important situation, at least, but other than that I don’t have anything planned unless I’ve forgotten something(which is completely possible since I rely on notes rather than memory for that sort of thing. ). Partially it’s a bit of a problem since the player might never run into that subplot, in which case the background is sort of wasted in a sense.
The Corrupt background will lead to some variations on some scenes, but won’t have the type of big impact the War Hero might. For one scene in particular it’ll sort of make some things “easier” and other things “harder”, but it’s a bit hard to explain. That’s the plan anyway, the scene I’m talking about hasn’t been made yet, I’ve just made a rough “pre-draft” of it. Might end up scrapping the idea altogether if it gets too complicated.
The Hero background doesn’t have any scenes tied to it that I remember at the moment, though I’ll probably add one or two in at some point. On the other hand, it’s the background with the most “flavor” dialogue tied to it, and other characters might comment about it.(for the most part not implemented yet, I’m afraid, but it’s pretty easy and doesn’t take too much effort to put in, so I’m pretty sure it’ll be in once the final version is done).
The Unnotable background is similarly relatively unused at the moment, though it has less flavor stuff planned compared to the Hero. It’s a sort of “take this if you don’t want any of the other backgrounds” option rather than anything amazing, for the people who prefer that sort of thing and want a “mundane” experience. So far at least, you never know how things might change after all.
The real problem is that it’s easy to plan all kinds of amazing things, but making them work takes a huge amount of effort. I may have put too many options in the start to begin with(mission type, background, cybernetics, skills, etc. At one point I intended to have the “where did you learn your skills” dialogue that you have with Stillwater near the beginning affect some scenes drastically(especially the NCU/New Crime Unit option), but that’s more or less scrapped at the moment, since I had to cut a character and a subplot out entirely because it wasn’t feasible to implement. I hope I can still salvage the idea and use it in a less “heavy” form, such as it being a part of another subplot, but we’ll see if that’ll happen).
Realistically I won’t be able to “cash in” all of the cool stuff that the reader expects that’s going to happen from all the background stuff I’ve set up. When I originally put them in, I had all kinds of wild plans but the more scenes I complete the more I realize that I probably “promised” too much with them. Still, I’d like every choice to have at least 2 minor references and 1 major reference, or a scene, related to it.
Precisely for this reason, aside from the dream sequence, the exact nature of your “flavor choice” doesn’t usually matter. What I mean is that it’s important that you’re a War Veteran, but it doesn’t really matter whether you have the “Logistics” version of it or the “Experimental Weapon” version of it, that’s there more to provide immersion and context for the player rather than create new text as such. There might be a dialogue option or a reference here and there, but they’re for the most part very rare. Don’t expect anything like the dream sequence in the future, I’m afraid. The problem is that if I choose to do it, I’ll feel compelled to do all the variations for all the backgrounds, which is 10 different segments. And that’s a lot of work that could go into something else. On the other hand, if people really like the specific variations of the backgrounds, then it might be justified. It’s hard to say when I don’t have any sort of huge review process where every reader has to fill a dozen forms to tell me what they like and don’t like about Cyberpolice. I sure would love it if I could do something like that and get over a hundred answers to analyze. (at present I don’t even know if there’s a character/scene/etc that the readers as a whole consider lame or pointless or annoying, that I might be able to fix, or on the other hand something that they really love that doesn’t get too much screen time. Single opinions such as yours are well and good, but it’s always better to know if it’s just one person in one hundred that thinks something, or if its twenty or even fifty in one hundred. Makes it a lot easier to decide whether I should put more work to something).
Aside from the dream, the “broad” background options also affect the text at times even now, such as the letter you find in the envelope(The writing that’s in the letter is based on your background) that you might see before or after the dream sequence.
Sometimes it’s good to receive unsolicited advice, since one can’t ask advice on something one doesn’t realize might be a problem.
Unfortunately I’m the sort of person who isn’t really ever happy at what I do, since I love planning things way more than actually making them, which invariably leads to me having to cut away over half my plans, so the end result always feels like a sad shadow of the original idea. Still, it’s better to finish something that’s “good enough”, than to never finish something that is “perfect”.
I probably should stop replying just before I go to sleep, since it’s obvious that my replies are long and incoherent to a degree.
Unfortunately no update today despite the fact that I spent quite a few hours polishing the next segment. It’s pretty big and there’s no natural cut-off point, so it’d be kinda weird to upload just a part of it since it’d stop in the middle of a conversation(as the code/scripting doesn’t function properly for the latter parts yet). Instead, I’ll put it up on Monday once I finish the segment entirely. (Sunday there won’t be anything).
It’s pretty annoying that I haven’t uploaded anything for days due to a combination of laziness, being busy and now this. Hope that’ll not be the case next week. I think the daily update schedule is really good for me at this stage, since I loathe the polishing part, but it’s a critical aspect of the process, and a daily deadline is exactly the kind of thing that motivates me to work.
On the other hand we’re finally getting to the part where things get interesting for me personally, since it’s all about player choice and the consequences that arise from that. Essentially this segment is where the scenes start changing drastically depending on what you’re doing, both immediately within the scene and in a delayed manner later on. Although many of the choices the player has done before now have far reaching consequences, they don’t have too many big immediate ones. Depending on your choices, you might actually do some police work like arrest people in the current scene.
Don’t worry, I’ll make the note system, but I’d first like to upload the current “version” of the game entirely. After that it’s way easier to make a note system since if I do it before polishing the stuff it’ll mean I’ll just have to do it again. I’d rather do it just once than twice.
You could wait until it’s ready before you try again, so it’ll be less frustrating for you. (Hopefully within a week, but seeing how poorly my estimates have held so far it might be longer than that. )
Didn’t manage to finish the segment yet since I expanded on it a bit instead of just polishing it.
I think it’s pretty great now. There’re four distinct “endings” to it that each have some potentially interesting consequences. You’ll be able to see some of the more immediate consequences in another big segment later on in the upload schedule(second to last segment, so it won’t be uploaded for a few days).
(actually six endings, but two are sort of variations/combinations of the four, so they don’t really count. Then again, I suppose you could think that there are only two real endings and the four are just variations of those, but whatever ).