Help me choose: film noir/scifi, constrained whodunit, or gameshow!

Coding and writing are both side hobbies of mine, and I’ve always been a (major) fan of these games. Since I will probably never have such an abundance of free time again, I’ve decided to dive headlong into creating a story of my own.

That said, I’ve got three major concepts swimming in my head right now, and some difficulty in choosing which one to pursue. The consensus seems to be to (1) choose something I’m passionate about and (2) stick to a manageable rather than ambitious plot. I’m really into every one of these ideas though, and given cautious constraint, I don’t think brevity will be an issue. So, I’m basically asking you to weigh in as a gauge of interest!

  1. Film noir / detective / sci fi: I’m a big, big fan of the 1940s film noir detective genre. You know - shady people, moral ambiguity, world-weary wisecracks. It’d be a fairly prototypical format as far these games go; you would start destitute and unknown, then gradually build a name for yourself through increasingly difficult and high-profile cases. Each chapter would then deal with a case - investigation, interrogation, sleuthing - and meanwhile, you’re navigating all kinds of criminal and governmental politics as you solve crimes. I put “sci fi” there, but it’d feature in a lowkey way, mainly functioning as a vague futuristic setting. I suppose a better name would be neo-noir.

  2. Classical whodunit: It’s cliche, but it works. Your character gets invited to a secluded mansion, along with, say, 5-6 other people. Someone gets murdered. You’re trapped there for a few days. Can you survive for that long AND deduce who the killer is? The operative feature here is constraint. I would only be focusing on a narrow frame of time, and a narrow group of people - which frees me up to trade breadth for psychological and exploratory depth. You’d get to interact extensively with the suspects, the mansion, and the time frame (the plan is to have different stuff happening at the same time at different places, which means you wouldn’t be able to solve the mystery without repeat playthroughs unless you’re a lucky genius).

  3. Trashy gameshow: Think the Bachelor, the Apprentice, Big Brother, etc. These are shows I enjoy, uh, non-ironically, and I think would be hilarious to implement. The tone would be mostly tongue-in-cheek, and I think the format of player elimination naturally lends itself to a good game story. I’m thinking gossip, backstabbing, deluded temper tantrums… you know, the best in shallow TV!

I’ve got sketches of plots and characters for all of these, so there’s no dearth of ideas. Let me know what you think!

@kakistocracy I like the first idea more than the others, noir is very appealing. I hope you have an abundance of ideas for it. Also, welcome to the forums, very nice to meet you.

Do the first, and don’t abandon the project like the last person to tease with a <1950’s game.

@2Ton: Thanks, nice to meet you too!

@ADNox: It’d technically be set in some distant, mildly dystopian future - though it would have a 1940s mood and texture to it.

… do I get to wear a fedora? If so, you’re already one step closer to the most epic Choicescript game ever.

How about a game where you’re a detective hired to investigate mysterious murders in a game show, no one knows who done it ( :wink: ) so you have to go undercover as a contestant?

@Winterborn Wow… someone get this man a Nobel Peace Prize, he is my new hero.

And damn not fedoras :confused: those are so tasteless now, and clche give me a sombrero that’s a real detective’s Hat!

Forget Fedora, it’s time is over.

Forget the Sombrero, I am not a Mexican.

What if someone, instead of a fedora or a sombrero,… wants a Bald Cap instead. :-)) LoL X100. Just joking. I prefer the fedora.

Woman…but thank you. :smiley:

I like the whodunit idea. I hosted a live murder mystery once, and it was extremely entertaining. I guess that genre has also appealed to me. Plus, you can randomize the killer so the game can have replayability.

I like the first idea very much, although it would be interesting to read gameshow story as well, so good luck to you

I’d love a sci-fi/noir detective game. That’s the idea that grips me the most and makes me go I want to play, in a way it wouldn’t have if you hadn’t said that it would have a splash of sci-fi. I think having a chapter format would also help keep the game from overwhelming you. I think it would be really interesting and I’ve love to play it.

I think a whodunnit would be interesting too but it’s not something I’m as passionate about. If it had a splash of sci-fi and/or fantasy to it then I’d be more interested.

I’ve actually been wanting to work on a trashy gameshow based game myself. My idea was music based, however, I needed a partner in crime for that concept and when I advertised someone liked my fantasy idea better so we’re writing that instead. I think it would be a lot of fun though to have that sort of game. Although if you want your game to be original then I’d suggest against that route. If you don’t care too much (and personally I don’t) then definitely go for it.

There was an episode of… Psych where he went undercover to solve a whodunnit in a contest of some sort. There was one of… Diagnosis Murder I think it was, which did similar. I think it’s also a fun premise. BUt, stick with one idea is probably better.

Haha, brilliant. You ought to get a job synthesizing random genres.

Looks like “hat selection” will have to feature into the customization process!

Yeah, I was thinking about randomizing the killers too - it’d be kind of Clue-esque, and furthermore throw suspicion on every character. Big fan of your work, by the way!

Thanks for the insight. And yeah, now that I think of it, that premise of Psych rings vaguely familiar. Anyway, good luck on your game too. :slight_smile:

It seems like people are leaning toward the film noir idea, so, failing some new and compelling reason, that’s what I’ll start! The good thing is that I won’t need to brainstorm, because I’ve had ideas and characters and mysteries on this genre for years. The bad thing is I’ll have to find a way to condense and streamline stuff so that it’ll be manageable to write and finish, haha. I’m always in danger of overdoing something, so I’m going to constrain myself from the beginning. Thanks for the feedback.


The Film noir/detective/sci fi story concept is of greatest interest to me as well.

YAY!!! A couple of my favourite games are in the Noir genre, Discworld Noir and Bladerunner. I’m sure there’s others. I also like dystopian settings, I think they mesh well with the Noir genre.

I have a new concept for a game every week. :slight_smile: My own problem is not getting distracted by them and sticking to my current plan. The current plan is three projects. o.O if I get any of them done I’ll move onto the contest game.

I think a Clue-esque game could work. One of the few text adventures I finished was Moonmist, which different killers with different motives and clues leading to them, depending on what choice you initially took.

I think writing a murder-mystery game in choicescript would be fascinating. I’m suddenly thinking of Phoenix Wright, Ace Attorney. That’s a great example of a story-based game, where you have to gather clues to who a murder is, in a short episodic format. Of course it’s on very heavy railroad tracks and if you make a wrong choice you’re forced onto a write one. But I think examining it in more depth would provide some insight in how an extremely popular series structures that sort of story in a short, manageable way.

Yes! I’d love to see a film noir game, always loved the genre. So, welcome to the forum and good luck with the story. Also, fezes are cool.

Thanks guys! Adding fez to the selection of hats, haha.


Oh cool, I’ll have to keep an eye out for those projects of yours! And man, I played an Ace Attorney game or two back in the day. That shit was addictive. But yeah, I love the whole idea of investigating mysteries, and I think it can make for a compelling storyline.

How would you make the clues and game change according to a randomized culprit? Just coding the clues for a find-what-happened puzzle in a four-room apartment gave me a headache when I was new to CS.

How dare you not mention thee almighty bowler! Just look at that rounded crown!

Anywho, I believe that the classic “Whodunit?” would make quite the interesting CoG.