Dragon and the Djinn - BETA CLOSED

Dragon and the Djinn, by Athar Fikry

Everyone knows the story. The young man who came out of nowhere to become the Emir of Ghariba when the previous ruler went missing. The djinn who helped him by granting wishes. The Grand Vizier Jaafar, whose noble birth and political skill placed him in the palace at the Emir’s right hand.

What they don’t know is what happened next - and that’s where you come in.

A dragon has appeared, threatening the safety of Ghariba and its new emir’s precarious reign.

You have a destiny. You’re not sure yet what it will be: perhaps you will protect the city, or become the greatest wielder of magic in the land, or gather enormous wealth.

You also have a sister. She believes that it is her destiny to slay the dragon, with a magic sword made by the warrior Iskander who has traveled from a far-off land in search of legendary creatures to fight.

Most importantly of all, you have a djinn, given to you by Jaafar himself. Your djinn will help you achieve your destiny by granting your every wish…or so you hope.

Navigate the politics of palace, court, and city; make allies - or enemies - among the people; all while the dragon soars overhead, threatening Ghariba more with every passing day. To find your way forward, you’ll have to use your magic, your wits, your courage, your faith, and of course, your djinn.

Will you help your sister slay the dragon? Will you try to slay it yourself? Or will you try to befriend it, learning deeper secrets of magic and the city’s past? Or will you simply take advantage of the chaos to make yourself the richest person in Ghariba?

Be careful what you wish for…

Directions for beta testing:

Email us, beta AT choiceofgames for access. (This changed several months ago, so take note if you haven’t beta tested in a while.)

Do not send DMs/PMs through the forum mail system, Discord, text message, carrier pigeon, or any other method than email.

When you send your EMAIL, include:

  • the game you want to test in the Subject line of the email.
  • your forum-name
  • your real name (first and last)
    –if your family/surname comes first, please indicate that. I will assume that your given name is listed first unless you tell me otherwise.

When we receive your email, you will go into a queue. As we post new drafts, we admit more people from the queue. When you have been admitted to the beta, we will send you a link, a username, and a password as a reply to your email. Please don’t worry if it takes a few days or more for you to hear from us: if there are a lot of testers, the queue may be long; and we can’t confirm receipt of every request. Please do not email us multiple times about joining a beta.

When you have feedback to submit:

  • Return feedback to beta@choiceofgames, preferably part of the same email thread/chain, rather than a new one.
  • Please send screenshots or copy/pasted quotes as often as you can; it helps us track down whatever observation you’re making. In particular, the author may see things that you don’t, and/or the screenshot may contain more information than you realize.
    If you’re submitting feedback using the Bug/Submit button in the game, make sure you include your handle/name in the body of the email. The Submit button obscures your email address, and I can’t give you credit for feedback if I don’t know who you are.

DO NOT POST ASKING WHAT THE BETA EMAIL ADDRESS IS. The first test to becoming a beta tester is inferring what it is based on the above paragraph.

Lastly, you cannot be testing two games at once. Send feedback on one and you can apply to another.

Tips on How to Give Feedback
I’m looking for “high level” and “low level” feedback. Not mid-level feedback.

Low-level = typos and continuity errors. A continuity error is when a character’s gender flips, or someone comes back from the dead, or you run into a plotline that just doesn’t make sense (because it’s probably a coding error).

For these low-level issues, screenshots are very helpful. If you see a problem, take a screenshot, or copy and paste the text that is in error, and email that.

“High level” feedback has to do with things like plot, pacing, and characters. “Scene A didn’t work for me because x, y, and z,” is useful feedback. “B character was entirely unsympathetic, because u, w, and v,” is also useful feedback.

“Mid-level” feedback describes things like grammar, style, word choice, or the use of commas. As I said above, I do not want mid-level feedback. In particular, DO NOT WRITE TO ME ABOUT COMMAS.

“I had a great time and saw only a few spelling errors,” is not useful feedback. In fact, it’s the sort of thing that results in you not being given access to future betas.

Some examples of useful feedback:

In Choice of the Dragon, you get to choose what type of wings you have: leather or scaled. Someone wrote in and asked about having feathered wings. Great suggestion! Done!

In “The Eagle’s Heir,” someone asked about Eugenie. They said that the romance moved too quickly–because she only appeared in the last third of the game–and wished they could have had an opportunity to meet her earlier. So the authors added an opportunity to meet her and start the romance earlier in the game (in a scene that already existed).

In “Demon Mark: A Russian Saga” several people commented on how the PC’s parents were unsympathetic, so the authors added a choice or two to deepen the relationship with the parents in the first chapter, to help better establish their characters.

Similarly, pointing out a specific choice and saying, “this is who I imagined my character was at this particular moment, and none of these options seemed right for me. I would have liked an option to do X instead,” is also really helpful feedback.

Another useful piece of feedback: if you choose an #option and then the results of that #option don’t make sense. Like, if you thought an #option might test one stat, but it seems to have tested a different one.

22 Likes

This is to announce the beta testing, not discuss the game.

New draft! Just a tiny continuity fix with some repeated text in Ch 1.

This is version 25578.

New draft! Changelog includes:

  • Assorted typos fixed
  • Clarifications about how language works in Ghariba
  • Thief no longer appears out of nowhere in ch 3
  • PC’s motivations no longer change mid-battle.
  • At the end of the game, the dragon no longer alternates between being alive and dead. (This was a tricky bug to fix, so please keep an eye out for its recurrence!) [EDIT: Oops, sorry - this one hasn’t actually been fixed. We have identified the cause, though, so if you do notice it happening, don’t worry; we’re on the case!]

This is version 25582

5 Likes

NEW DRAFT! Lots and lots of updates in this one! Changelog includes:

  • MAJOR stat overhaul: several stats have been combined into Performance and Subterfuge; and Impulsive/Deliberate has been expanded to cover more situations. This should clear up some of the confusion over which stat was being tested when, and should make some late-game stat tests easier to pass.
  • in Ch 3
    —if you’ve already met Parveen in ch 2, it doesn’t act like it’s your first time meeting her
    —no bottle in your pocket if it wasn’t there before
  • in Ch 6
    —if you free your djinn here, then you can’t make a wish afterwards
    —edited the meeting with Murad for clarity and consistency
  • in Ch 7 if you leave the palace, the continuity afterwards is now improved
  • in Ch 12, if you’re trying to save the dragon and don’t already know who the dragon really is, your djinn explains it.

We are still working on the continuity issues, especially near the end of the game, especially ESPECIALLY the bit in Ch 13 where the dragon alternates between being alive and dead. If you happen to catch one of these errors in your playthrough, please do still note it, but also, never fear - we’re already trying to fix them!

This is version 25616

5 Likes

GIANT MASSIVE UPDATE!!

Changelog includes:

  • HUGE stat recalibration throughout!
    — all of the destinies are easier to achieve
    — all of the romances are easier to initiate
    — you are more likely to get the prophetic dream
    — it is much easier to learn about your djinn’s past
    — it is more likely that the djinn will be persuaded to appear as they did when they served Emira Durreya, thus leading to a whole bunch of plots that were unreachable before
    — it is much more likely that you will get good results from your wishes.
    — it is much more likely that Murad and Parveen will ally with each other

  • Tons of continuity fixes!
    —in ch 3, Jaafar’s location is now consistent; and character names show up properly
    —in ch 5, if you have not yet decided what you want to do about the dragon, you are always given a chance to decide; and you have more opportunities to do research. You also have more opportunities to talk to your djinn, get info on various people, and get fancy clothes :slight_smile:
    —in ch 6, if you choose to help Murad, the correct scene now shows up
    —if you have multiple loyalties and get kicked out of the palace, you now get directed to the correct choices.
    —if you stop being a double agent, the game now remembers that.
    —if you refuse to spend time with Roaa, there are now other scenes for you to do
    —in ch 10, if you are creating a distraction but not helping Murad, the correct sequence of events shows up
    —in ch 12, you no longer skip around in the chase, and Aziza no longer suddenly appears out of nowhere
    — in ch 13, if Aziza steals the lamp the game remembers that, and in turn tracks more consistently whether she is trying to assassinate Alaaeldin and whether she has succeeded at doing so.
    —in ch 13 and 14, Alaaeldin no longer alternates between being alive and dead
    —in ch 14, you no longer drop into a scene that acts as if you have left the city when you haven’t.

Huge thanks to all of the beta testers who have given such excellent feedback so far! If you’ve already played, please give it a second try so that you can see what’s been changed.

This is version 25749

4 Likes

New draft!

Mostly cosmetic changes in this one: exposed code on the stats screen fixed; typos squashed, filenames shuffled to match the actual chapter titles.

This is version 25757

2 Likes

New draft! Changelog includes:

  • Smoothed out character ethnicity/origin discussion in ch 1
  • Fixed continuity in conversations about Yusr’s background in ch 2 and 7
  • Clarified choices in conversation with Roaa in ch 4 about what you plan to do about the dragon
  • Fixed a rare but crashing bug in ch 12 that happened if you freed Xiao Yu but didn’t give her any conditions.

This is version 25814

2 Likes

GREAT BIG GIANT UPDATE!!

Changelog includes:

  • Glossary and world guide!! This fulfills the wishes of many testers. If you’re one of them, check it out and see if it gives the help that you were looking for. If not, please let us know what would be more helpful: additional terms, different formatting, etc.

  • Cast of characters! It’s visible from Ch 2 onward. We think we’ve got all the major ones in there, with new characters added as you meet them, but if you reach the end of the game and discover that there are NPCs who you feel should be there but aren’t, let us know.

  • It is now much easier to get the very important nightmare

  • Lots and lots of stat recalibration, so it is now much more possible to kill the dragon and assassinate Alaaeldin if you’re trying to do that.

  • Ch 3: clarified Sayyid Yehya’s speech about his past

  • Ch 5: fixed a bug that made Iskander spontaneously appear when you were having lunch with Yusr; improved continuity between the PC’s conversation with Qaid in this chapter and Roaa in ch 4.

  • Ch 6: If you go out in the desert with Roaa, it’s now explained where the jund went

  • Ch 7: Changed the criteria for your djinn transforming into their former shape so that it’s much more likely to happen, which in turn makes a lot of other scenes more likely

  • Ch 8: if you haven’t previously found out that Parveen broke out of jail, you’re surprised by that here.

  • Ch 9:
    — clarified Durreya’s plan to kidnap Emira Yuehua
    — fixed a bug that led to a meeting with Thurayya even if she hadn’t agreed to it
    — smoothed out continuity leading up to the scene with Aziza
    — fixed a bug that led to missing content with Yusr

  • Ch 11: added a scene to account for the possibility that you’re chasing the dragon to help her without having freed the djinn

  • Ch 12: It is now much more likely to end up in the cave with the dragon and Emira Yuehua

This is version 25913

3 Likes

GIANT NEW UPDATE!

We’re heading into the final stage of beta testing. If you’ve already played, now is a great time to do a second playthrough so that you can see what’s changed. If you haven’t already played, now is your chance!

Changelog includes:

Lots of typos fixed
Lots of small continuity errors fixed, most notably the game remembering where you stayed the first night
Lots of transitions smoothed out
Achievements!

Ch 6

  • Iskander no longer appears out of nowhere
  • If you abandon your belongings when you’re escaping, the game remembers that

Ch 10

  • You only start in the palace if you’re helping Murad. This should also fix some continuity issues in ch 10-11 - most notably the random appearance of the thieves and the inconsistency of the PC’s intentions towards the dragon

Ch 11

  • you always have a weapon or can get one if you want
  • Iskander no longer comes back to life if he’s been killed
  • better tracking of what you do and don’t know about Durreya’s plans
  • if Alaaeldin is attacked, his reaction after the battle now reflects that

General endgame fixes

  • recalibrated the likelihood of Roaa being wounded or killed
  • Kh can heal Durreya after escaping the jund
  • It’s easier to get into the secret passage and tunnels
  • training montage before the big battle!
  • Aziza frees Xiao Yu at the end
  • More consistency about which destiny you’ve achieved

This is version 26096

2 Likes

New draft! Changelog includes:

  • Recalibrated interactions with the Lithami so that it is now easier to gain their support
  • Recalibrated a bunch of romance stats
  • You no longer meet Thurayya if you don’t have her support. “Promise for realsies this time,” says the author :slight_smile:

Ch 10

  • It is now much more likely that you will begin in the tunnels, which means that all of the scenes that depend on events there are easier to reach
  • Recalibrated damage to the city walls, so it is much less likely that they’ll be destroyed

Ch 11

  • Recalibrated damage and health stats for the dragon and Roaa, so that it is now more possible to hurt or kill them if you want to do that
  • Fixed continuity regarding the PC’s injuries (if they have any)

Ch 12

  • Fixed a loop that sent you repeatedly through the coup scene

Ch 13

  • Recalibrated all of the monarch stats, so it is now possible for Parveen, Durreya, or Murad to become the ruler
  • It is now much more likely to get happy endings! Especially if you opposed Alaaeldin

This is version 26154

1 Like

New draft! Changelog includes

  • more typo fixes!
  • exposed code fixed
  • You can now still reach the scene where you hang out with Yusr even if Parveen kicked you out for switching sides at the debate
  • Better transitions from the wall sabotage scene into the training montage
  • Kh no longer appears out of nowhere in the distraction scene in ch 10
  • New text at the start of the chase to account for the possibility that you aren’t robbing anyone and don’t know anything
  • if you’re with Kh during the chase, you now have time to react to the discovery that Durreya used to wield Kh

This is version 26162

Another giant update! Changelog includes:

  • Everyone gets the backstory on Durreya being turned into a dragon
  • More accounting for different outcomes of the Xiao Yu plot, especially if Xiao Yu has been freed and Durreya is dead
  • more recalibration of the paths where you’re trying to kill Durreya or Roaa
  • More recalibration of the tests that determine who’s on the throne at the end
  • LOTS of continuity edits in ch 9-11, especially regarding where you start in ch 10 and 11, who has the sword when, and accounting for additional combinations of personal, political and dragon-slaying intentions.

This is version 26349

We’re going to be wrapping up beta testing in the next week or so, so if you haven’t played, now is your chance! If you have played already, this is a good time to try again to see what’s changed.

2 Likes

NEW DRAFT! LAST CALL!

Changelog includes

  • Lots of continuity fixes! Most notably:
    — if you are riding the dragon in the chase sequence, the flags are all set correctly so you no longer randomly teleport into a different place in the battle
    —if you want to save the dragon in Ch 11, you always get sent on that path instead of to the Lithami
    —improved continuity in the epilogues, tracking who you’ve spent time with so you only hear about people you’ve actually interacted with before

  • continued recalibration of slaying the dragon

  • continued improvement of continuity and calibration in assassinating or deposing Alaaeldin

LAST CALL FOR BETA TESTERS. You must get in your feedback by SUNDAY APRIL 3.

This is version 26869

7 Likes

This beta is now CLOSED!

Thank you to everyone who tested. Stay tuned for the release later this year!

3 Likes