Ghost in the library(wip 57k)

I have been at over a month now and feel it is starting to take shape. Of course it’s a long ways from completion, and needs a hammer or two to press it out and make sooth. So any feedback at this point would be helpful. Thanks.


On my first few playthroughs (I’m a little busy so it might take me a while to play through it a few more times):

  1. The stat sheet being on the bottom of the page was a bit jarring for a second, but maybe that just 'cause I’m conditioned to looking for it in the same place for every ChoiceScript game.

  2. You might want to change the email address (the one) to your own in case someone decided to actually use it.

  3. Got a bit of a kick out of the fact that you can drill your damage down by going back and forth between stats sheet and the game. Just a note that because of the way ChoiceScript handles random numbers, the number has to be rolled up on the page before it is used, otherwise it going to the stat sheet, then back, will redo the randomize command (and apparently will also re-trigger *set commands). You can bring yourself into negative health before the game even starts that way.

  4. I’d like to see the price of the investigators that you hire along with their description (such as: Name, Description, $###) like how you did with choosing the place you stay at.

  5. In the same scene breaking up the team members onto different lines, might make it a bit easier to read. (So, rather than: Member one: blank Member two: blank
    It reads:
    Member One: Blank
    Member Two: Blank)

  6. Partway through (when loading up the van) there is a parentheses ( in place of a curly bracket {. It reads: “Lets load up, $(npcnamefirstone}”

  7. On the line before that I got the sentence: “Loading the vans took less than half an hour. You ckeck with Shawn,, and he tells you everything is ready.” Check is spelled wrong, and after Shawn it has two commas.

  8. Inputting your own name, If you don’t add the period after your middle initial, you’ve got to go back and re-add it. Possibly something along the lines of:
    Middle Initial (Just the letter please) *input_text middleinitial *set middleinitial middleinitial&"."
    might be a little nicer. (This is a very minor complain though).

  9. About the Stat Sheet: Another line between the individual members on the stat screen would make it a little more legible. Remember that you don’t even have to use the *stat_chart command on the stat sheet if you don’t want to. Also, you can “fall out” of the *stat_chart command if you want only the top half to be in a stat_chart format.

  10. While playing I got the error (Google Chrome):
    {arguments:undefined,type:undefined,message:"line 91: invalid ${} variable substitution at letter 1",stack:"Error: line 91: invalid ${} variable substitution at letter 1 at Scene.printLine ( at Scene.printLoop (http:.../scene.js:103:18) at Scene.execute (http:.../scene.js:262:10) at Scene.<anonymous> (http:.../scene.js:205:20) at safeCall (http:...util.js:35:20) atXMLHttpRequest.onreadystatechange (http:...scene.js:203:13)",name:"Error"}
    I’m pretty sure it comes from a combo of picking the camping gear and then picking the first option about the drive: “I am looking forward to the drive, maybe get to know the group better.”. If I change who I pick though, it changes the line number of the error (to 123).
    (Edit: Actually I’ve reproduced it with the “hotel” option. I think it might be related to the choice of NPCs. Also got the same erro with “line 87”)

  11. The spacing seemed a bit awkward at times. Like there are too many spaces before a choice. Also the fact that the text runs all the way up to the top of the screen (without any title or button up there) gives a strange, slightly ‘disjointed’ feeling. While the text running all the way up could possibly give a bit of a ‘good’ horror-like, disjointed feeling, the extra spaces on the bottom don’t, giving more of a ‘too much white space’ sort of empty feeling, which, while possible to use to good effect, feels out of place when done throughout the game.

  12. Adding a tiny blurb about each character in the stat sheet, such as: “Member One: Shawn Ward (The technician)” might make it a bit easier to keep track of what skills they have. Maybe I’m alone on this one though, as I just seem to have horrible abilities with keeping track of names.

  13. I noticed that sometimes when I check the stat screen after choosing my team, one or two of the characters names will be listed as “blank”. I’d look into this a bit more, but I only just noticed (tacking this on after everything else), and I’ve got things to do.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ As for the important part, the story itself, It's rather catching. The characters feel very much alive, with their own problems and quirks, even with as little time can currently be spent with them.

The website listed for the player’s company did raise a sort of “the internet does not work like that” innate annoyance reaction (although more of a “lol, internetz doeznt work lik3 dat” than “I actually don’t like that” annoyance), mostly aimed at the fact that altering (as opposed to replacing) text variables is impossible with ChoiceScript (with the exception of adding on bits).

Anyways, getting back on track, I love your characters, and the story has the beginning of something gripping. The only real complaint I can find is the spacing throwing the pace of your writing a bit off at times.

Thank you, I do have plans to expand the list of team members at a later update. Without giving any spoilers there are four other npc’s that can join the group currently programmed in. As to linear feel, I hope to over come that feeling with the choices that will be available to the reader as the game progresses. I have a system already in place for tracking, good or bad it would probably take to long to implement a new system, even if it is better, but that does not mean your input would be a waste of time. I maybe able to use what you offer in the next CoG I write. I have two more planned right now. ‘The Aztec Path’ and "Thief’s Apprentice’, of course these are a little down the road from here.

Thank you very much. This is a hugh help and will start working on the fixes right away.

It is a promising story, and I really enjoyed the work you have done so far.

Some specific comments:

  1. The game stopped after I picked van, like Reaperoa said, but until that point I was hooked (great start).
  2. Picking your team mates is a great concept and made me feel invested in the group. If possible, I’d add more team mates, since it feels like I basically am taking almost everyone with me. I know tracking lots of people can be time consuming but there are ways to do it with variables. I can explain more if you’d like but don’t want to waste your time if you have a system. Let me know if you want input.
  3. Starting off with a flashforward is good to heighten the conflict since you know you (as a reader) are heading into an inevitable confrontation. My only issue is that I now know where I am headed, so it makes it seem linear.

Overall, it is impressive, and I am looking forward to reading more.

I have completed 80% of the fixes, and uploaded them. I need to take a nap before work so will resume the work tomorrow,

@JimD I do have to argue the feeling of linearity the confrontation gives. It feels more like reaching that spirit is a goal to me, rather than something that I’m forced to do. I mean, that thing is the ‘Big Bad’ whether it be the ‘Main Boss’ or the ‘Dragon’ that I have to defeat. So long as potential paths off the rails aren’t dangled all over the place which just wrap around and send me back down a pre-determined path (like: Day three choice: Leave and never come back: If you choose it you decide to come back the next day) then I feel no need to resist.

Additionally, the intro highlights two important things to me:

  1. This is a ‘sh*t goes bad’ sort of story. This thing will pick you up and smash your face in if given half a chance. It will kill you without hesitation, and without some random ‘it pulls the rug out from under your feet when you’re by the stairs’ sort of thing (although it may very well pull the rug out from under your feet when you’re by the stairs too, as highlighted by the falling bookcase the gets mentioned). The intro makes it clear that this thing is not a shimmering blue ghost that floats around saying ‘boo’ and occasionally manages to knock over a few books. Instead it is a being of pure darkness which will smear your blood all across the floor, and hang your remains from the highest point of the building with your own entrails. Now you can prepare for it.
  2. And, in fact, you are prepared for it. This may be the biggest baddest thing you (as the PC) have ever taken down, but you have taken some bad things down before. Sure, it messes you up, but you’re still nonchalant about it. The PC is not ‘holy crud, I’ve gotta get out of here.’ but instead is: ‘Why did I pick this job?’ And it does it without ‘defining’ your character. You can still be a dick, you can still be ‘Mr. Nice Guy’ or you can stand in the middle. The only thing it does with make you (as the player) aware of what you’re facing, and tell you that your character can actually get things done.

@lordirishdas A few more corrections: When choosing your team, there are a few typos (I’ve tried to render them as closely to what I think you were going for as I could):
Shawn Ward:
“Shawn Ward - He has five years in the field, outstanding tech skills with anything electronic, he is very out spoken.”
Corrections are:
“Shawn Ward - He has five years in the field , and outstanding tech skills with anything electronic,. He is very out spoken.”
There were two sentences combined into one. Without the last piece, the first sentence no longer needs its first comma, instead it should have ‘and’ written out. ‘Tech’ skills with anything electronic is redundant, and a bit flow breaking, and should either be ‘technical skills’, or ‘skills with anything electronic’.
It should read:
“Shawn Ward - He has five years in the field and outstanding skills with anything electronic. He is very out spoken.”

Davis Green:
“Davis Green - He has twenty years in the field, has worked on some very big cases and has a solid understanding spiritual haunting, currently works for another group.”
Corrections are:
“Davis Green - He has twenty years in the field, has worked on some very big cases and has a solid understanding of spiritual hauntings. Currently works for another group.”
There should be an ‘of’ after understanding, hauntings should be plural, and is also the end of the sentence, meaning that currently needs to be capitalized.
It should read:
“Davis Green - He has twenty years in the field, has worked on some very big cases and has a solid understanding of spiritual hauntings. Currently works for another group.”

Sally Winford:
“Sally Winford -She has four years in the field, she has worked along side you with other groups, good common sense with nerves of steel.”
Corrections are:
“Sally Winford - She has four years in the field, and she has worked along side you with other groups,. Good common sense with nerves of steel.”
You forgot the space after the dash, and need to break the sentence up. The comma needs to become an ‘and’ while the end of the sentence needs to be turned into its own sentence.
It should read:
“Sally Winford - She has four years in the field and has worked along side you with other groups. Good common sense with nerves of steel.”

There are similar syntax errors throughout the rest of character choices. None of them are nearly bad enough to make it even kinda difficult to understand what is being said, but they are a bit eye catching (in a bad way, as they are errors after all).

Also: I noticed that you left the “This is a stats screen!” message at the top of your stats screen (the default message from the sample game). I don’t know if you intended to do that, so I though I’d just draw your attention to it. If you did want to leave it, I’d recommend at least changing it to something a bit more subdued and fitting to the game. Currently it just seems a little too ‘perky’.

Also, the corrections are rather nice. Although the parenthesis instead of a curly bracket seems to be a bit of a problem for you :stuck_out_tongue: . I noticed two more cases of it with: “$(npcnamefirsttwo}” If I could be so bold: The way I fixed a similar problem was to ctrl+F the error and replace them with the proper punctuation.

Good work, and I anticipate seeing more.

That is awesome input, and very welcome. Yes I have a fair bit to still fix, just ran out of time for the day. Have to go to work to keep the lights on, so will be cracking it open tomorrow to work on some more. I will work to resolve the linear feeling. The flashforward is only one of fifteen or so paths that can be followed. The goal is to be a very open game that you feel free to explore. Thank you.

I did a ctrl+f search in all the scenes and could not find any. In the last update I removed all of the other coding. I switch to the old *print command, works better for me to see as I program lol. I wonder if you may need to clear your history, I have to often when trying to see the changes. I have uploaded the new changes, still need to fix spacing problem, but may not get to that until this weekend. Ran randomtest and fixed a dozen or so errors. Then ran for forty-five minutes not finding anything.

@Reaperoa I see your points but it’s somewhat a preference thing. I can’t start a TV series mid-season, since I need to discover everything as it happens. When a story begins with a pivotal scene that will be revisited, I just tend to be waiting for it to happen, instead of allowing it to happen.

All of your points are valid. I just find most flash forwards are a writing exercise that pleases the writer more than the audience in many cases. Typically, they work when they present key info you may need for the journey back to that point. So the writer establishes some focal points and then uncovers their meaning as the story progresses. Good examples are the TV show, “Lost,” or the movie “Memento”. Suspense is built, and I agree in “Ghost in the Library”, this does help in that regard. I’m looking forward to reading the rest of the story and getting to that climactic scene.

Thank you. I may revisit the flash in the next set of updates. I will keep it, but perhaps rework it so it is much more open. Not so finial as not to have the reader looking for it at each turn of the page.

Hey, this is looking pretty neat. I can’t really mention any bugs that haven’t been mentioned already though. I just wanted to give my support.

I have to say that I was a bit confused by that part with Kay going to court. Are Kay and Craig together because it seems like it must be the case when you think of him even if he’s not there, but since there’s no other mention of this it’s rather confusing.

It’d also be cool to be able to choose who goes in which van at the point when you decide instead of it being determined by the order in which you pick the characters. But I guess that’s not really a big deal.

Anyway, I’m really looking forward to seeing how this continues.

Kay and Craig are bother and sister, I need to define it a bit more. It is a bug I need to fix, it is only suposed to bring up Kay going to court if he is in the group. I do have planed you choose who goes in what van in later updates, and thanks for the suport.

I see. Well I sure hope the main character and Kay taking a private break on the site doesn’t lead to instant death at the hands of the ghost for either of them… would be way too predictable. I guess with the way the stats are instant death doesn’t seem like it’ll be all that common.

It seems like you’re planning to have a lot of opportunities for character interaction, which is cool because the whole, group of characters interacting while stuck in a small location and stalked by some threat concept is one I feel doesn’t get enough use in video games.

-Minor typo. At the start when you say placing and ad in the newspaper, you wrote add instead.

The game seems to run quite deep, look forward to it.

Another minor typo after you choose your team.

“I am glade you all are able to join me for this hunt.” you say.

I really like the premise of the story. Seemed a bit Ghost Buster like in the beginning, simply referring to the theme. I appreciated the option of customizing the team instead of having a preset team. Actually very original.

Thank you all, sorry I have been really sick for the last few days. Hopefully will feel better soon and get back to writing.

How do you place spaces in the stat screen so to help break it up?

I have updated the flash, working on also fixing and updating one more time then moving on to next section. I want to make the it possible to choose who gets on what van. I am unsure the best way to sure to handle this. I am thinking.
*label load_van
*hide_reuse *{npcfirstnameone} \*gosub van_loaded \*goto load_van \*hide_reuse \*{npcfirstnametwo}
*gosub van_loaded
*goto load_van
*hide_reuse *{npcfirstnamethree} \*gosub van_loaded \*goto load_van \*hide_reuse \*{npcfirstnamefour}
*gosub van_loaded
*goto load_van
*hide_reuse *${npcfirstnamefive}
*gosub van_loaded
*goto load_van

*label van_loaded
*if (van_one=“Blank”)
*set van_one “npcfirstnameone”
*setref “npcfirstnameone”
*elseif (van_two=“Blank”)
*set van_two “npcfirstnametwo”
*setref “npcfirstnametwo”
*elseif (van_three=“Blank”)
*set van_three “npcfirstnamethree”
*setref “npcfirstnamethree”
*elseif (van_four=“Blank”)
*set van_four “npcfirstnamefour”
*setref “npcfirstnamefour”
*elseif (van_five=“Blank”)
*set van_five “npcfirstnamefive”
*setref “npcfirstnamefive”
*goto the_ride

Will this work or is there a better way. Sorry for the length of the post.