Disecting games


Who else here likes dissecting games? After a play-through or two I will often go through the /scenes/ folder and read all of the choices and requirements. I’m often surprised by authors stating something, (goldcoin 1, freezerburn 1 in Quarentine, for example) that doesn’t ever come up again.

Which makes certain games very frustrating for me because I can’t dissect them effectively (Partly because I didn’t realize I could just buy them through my web-browser, just through chrome). For example the martial artist game which, when opened in chrome, doesn’t let one access its webaddress. I often feel cheated after buying these on chrome because, well, I can’t take them apart. >.<


You can definitely get to the code on Chrome, you just might have to go about in a roundabout way. I wonder why you feel cheated though, do you also get frustrated because you can’t look at the source code of the latest AAA games, like COD, Assassin’s Creed, Halo (or whatever it is that strike your fancy)? If you don’t, why not? What makes a COG game different?

I’m not saying you’re wrong to feel cheated, but I’m very curious as to your thinking on this.


CJW: part of the joy of the choice games, for me, is getting at the source code so I can see all the possibilities. It’s the same reason I love reading walkthroughs for the triple A games. (sometimes I’d rather read the walkthrough than play the game. The starcraft walkthroughs are facinating, as are the walkthroughs for Crusader Kings, Victoria, etc and the total war walkthroughs). Anyway, I feel cheated when I buy games that don’t have walkthroughs also.

Yes, I know that I’m a bit weird.

Anyway while most of the chromestore ones are easy to access (type mygame.js into the location bar, check scenes). But certain ones stand out to me as difficult to access because they open in a new window without an address bar, so I can’t tell where they’re located.


Fair enough, you can probably work out the location through performing some shenanigans in the developer tools (F12 in Chrome). Try checking the Network tab (you may need to refresh) that’ll log all the loaded resources and display their filepaths.


@Blueness feel free to dissect Vampire for me!


Already have looked through it pretty well. Let me just open the text files and remember.

Let’s start with “New_orleans”

“met_carlos” seems pretty mysterious. Is it possible to ‘met’ him if he’s not your sire?

Speaks German is basically impossible to get unless you’re German. This makes it redundant, you could have just checked for “Ethnicity German” instead. Still, I guess it makes sense if it’s a stylistic thing

Speaks latin, on the other hand, is a nice little easteregg that is acquirable during one of the timeskips and again later in chicago from the looks of it.

For ethnicity
Each ethnicity has it’s own foibles, so that seems good, but sometimes the distinction is very large, and sometimes it’s very small. Chocataw is (so far) the hardest to play, as it gives you the most punishment and fewest bonuses so far. African is second hardest, because while it hurts in some places, it helps in others. And the differences between the ‘white’ ethnicities is small. Which feels about right.

‘pagan religion’ closes a surprisingly large number of doors (free_masons for example).

“new_orleans_newcommer” Diablerie doesn’t come up again (Except set from false to true in vickysburg, it’s never actually checked), and taste_for_vampire_blood seems synonymous and *is* checked later in a couple places

“New Orleans Affiar”: nothing particularly wrong with it

“new_orleans_governers_visit” Do you do anything with “lied_to_jesse_about_poem”? Also, why why why does jesse like you less if your tech is higher than 1 when he points out the lights to you? I never understood that.

“Karlstien” This one has to be the biggest mess: Do you do anything with ‘ansem dead’ or ‘sod_plot’? If so, I can’t really see it. The whole Karlstien thing feels half finished, which is strange because it has some major effects.

Wish I had the option to build/design my own croft after reclaiming one from the wilderness. Also wish I had the option to do karlstien without either fleeing New Orleans in disgrace, or never visiting Orleans in the first place.

“Vickysburg_seige”: Learned harmonica only comes up again in scoring. Seems kinda pointless.

“Vickysburg_depot” Diablerie doesn’t come up again, and taste_for_vampire_blood seems synonymous and is checked later in memphis

In memphas: It doesn’t seem rational that you only seem to notice the paving stones if you don’t notice Clothro.

How do I set ‘carothers_casey’ to true? It’s called repeatedly, but not set in the prior game

There’s all sorts of ‘met_(name)’ that you don’t call (at least Aichinger, applethorp gets set true once and never touched again)

Honestly all of the ‘met/heard of’ things are a real bloody mess. I would recommend taking them out and just having a scene where someone introduces you to everyone at the reception.

In Memphis_1876_plague you set exposed to true… and do nothing with it. It’s a temp value too!

I’m taking a break from reminiscing and checking the files now. There’s more to say, but this is a good start I think, if a bit disorganized.


As far as I know, any time you have a ChoiceScript game open in Chrome (whether it’s a Chrome app or on Dropbox or whatever) you can access the code for the current scene through the console.


Also, more on topic: I also like to peek at the code for ChoiceScript games after I’ve played them a few times. Mostly because when I see an author do something really neat in their game, I want to know how they managed it. :slight_smile:

I have to say, though, that it’s not at all surprising to me that games aren’t always coded in the most efficient way imaginable. Having a few more variables than necessary in a CS game has little to no impact on the finished product that most readers actually see. So if it all works, it’s not necessarily the first priority for an author to go back and redo their code to look nicer - as opposed to, say, fixing typos, adding new content, doing marketing stuff, or other things that players will notice.


@CJW Could you give us a bit more detail on how to use developer tools to view game files? I’d be interested to see what’s going on behind the scenes in a few of my favourite games.


It’ll vary between game and how they’re packaged/hosted etc.
Do you have one in-particular I can demonstrate with? Preferably not a Chrome one as I don’t own any on that platform and don’t really want to buy one just for this.