I'm new. A published author & graphic artist. Here are my starter questions

Hey, Everyone. I’m new to this community and thereby thought that I’d say hello, introducing myself. My name is B. L. Blankenship. I’m a published Western Horror author. My books are extremely violent in perpetually every way & I intend to make a text based Western Horror/Splatter Western that is likewise. In truth, I just found out about “Choice of Games” today at like 3:30AM, or something. You can find more out about me as an author via: “www.facebook.com/GodWalksTheDarkHills”, howbeit plugging my page isn’t my full intent on being on here. Frankly, I know that I’ll need some help. So straight out the gate, let me ask a few questions to programmers:

Q1: On the startup.txt you use it like a table of contents for the different pages as you would in a concordance of a Choose your own Adventure Book, correct? If not, please explain.

Q2: The startup is where I set up my menu “credits”, “about”, etc, right? If not please explain.

Q3: Can I make it where the game is is Sepia for everyone, you know - cause it’s a Western.

Q4: Assuming that I am going to have a STATS page, how do I set that up (ex. Strength x%; Dexterity x%; Luck x%, etc)?

Q5: Regarding story and choices, do I write them like this example:

You are in the woods and the path forks in three different directions. What do you do?


Hold your ground till someone comes along


Take the path on the left


Take the center path


Commit ritual suicide


…Is that correct, if not please write out that scenario where it’d do what I’m saying, but correctly.

Q6: Is there a way to have the games interlocked with each other for the purpose of a scoreboard (i.e. players’ highscores)? *Anyone who knows what L.O.R.D. (Legend of the Red Dragon) is likely gets where those scoreboard thoughts are coming from. I know that if that were possible it’d create the opportunity to have a non-linear mission based game like Grand Theft Auto online meets L.O.R.D (i.e. a true “Never-Ending Story”). Just curious.

Q7: Finally, are there any ways to put pictures into any of the parts/pages of the game for cover art, or story art?


This post should give you all the relevant information


Welcome to the forum. Also, nice, more Western Horror :smiley:

Now, for your questions:

  1. Startup is to create your variable and achievements. CoG/HG games usually don’t have a table of contents, though I do think some games have tried? Usually a ‘reading’ aka play-through is handled through and ‘auto bookmark’ that lets the reader/player continue where they left off. There’s also the possibility to code in a save feature, as there’s no internal one (yet) in the codinglanguage (When uploading a WiP to dashingdon, however, you can use their plugin to create savefiles, which makes testing much easier.)

  2. About and Credits are done elsewhere. Some authors have it on an extra ‘credits’ scenes that appears after the story is over and before the *end command (which ends the gamefile and creates the ‘play again’ etc choices)

  3. I don’t think so, but maybe there is a way to have it start out in sepia by default? (Also, if there is, thanks, I’m stealing the idea for my game :smiley: )

  4. First decide what stats you want to use, and which are shown. I recommend playing a few games/demos and looking at their stat pages. Then just ask how to do a certain thing. (Also, you can check those games code by adding scenes/choicescript_stats.txt behind the gamename in the addressbar. For example: https://www.choiceofgames.com/plays-the-thing/scenes/choicescript_stats.txt
    from the recent ‘The Play’s the thing’ game

And 5:
There are two ways to make choices:
One is the ‘choice’ command, which will require providing a *goto command in some form for every option:

   #Option 1
      *goto label1
   #Option 2
      *goto label2

and continue the story at the respective labels.

Or fake_choice which can use gotos but doesn’t need to, if the text is meant to continue to the same text below. For example:

   #option 1
      text that continues to
   #option 2
      text that also continues to
   #option 3
      text that does not continue to
      *goto label3
this bit of text.

*goto label4

*label label3
the above text but to here.

*goto label4
*label label4
And then they both continue here.

In this scenario option 1 and 2 will have the text appear thus:

text that continues to/text that does not continue to this bit of text.

And then they both continue here.

while option 3 would look this:

text that does not continue to the above text but to here.

And then they both continue here.

I hope that helps


Thanks @MeltingPenguins & steal away at any ideas you’d like to. I’ve put on a few festivals & find that in the world of festivals, you should want everyone else’s to go well. If they all flopped and yours didn’t, the vendors wouldn’t be successful enough to do yours either in the future. Everything is that way. Some top notch Interactive Novels that people enjoy will cause increased popularity. I’m a really visual guy, so I think in pictures. When I’m writing novels I think if it were a TV series what would happen in each episode (i.e. chapter) and how would the season go (i.e. the entire book 22 or 13 chapter book). …Or something like that, be it "if this were a videogame w/ missions/tasks, or mini-series, or whatever. =)


Firstly welcome to the community mate!
I’m also pretty new here but it’s been amazing so far the folks around are really helpful you couldn’t possibly be in better hands.

I’ve played at least 85% of the Cog and Hog titles and I have run into books with images so it can definitely be done!
I’ve also been opportuned<this word is confusing! > to run into a few titles with sound too!

So yeah those are possible… Although I’m running into a bit of a snag implementing them into my new project(still haven’t gotten my dimensions right😅)

I can assure you that the Choice script journey will not disappoint you!

P. S

I’m stealing your sepia idea too… If it can be done :wink:


I’m not at my computer atm so please excuse any errors.

Not really, as readers will never see this list when they read. This is just for you and for ChoiceScript.

In general, startup.txt is where you put the most basic information your game needs to function. This is where you write the name of the game, your name, create a list of scenes, create all the stats that will be required across multiple scenes, and an achievements list (I believe there is a max of 50 achievements you can create).

For the scene list, the order in which you list them in startup.txt is the order in which they will be shown to a player.

Say your scene list looks like this:


This means that when a player starts the game, they will be shown chapter 2 first, then section 3, and then part 1. It’s a literal interpretation of what you’ve written in the code. If you wanted them to read in numerical or alphabetical order, you would have to arrange the scenes yourself.

For players to jump around these scenes like in CYOA books, you have to utilize different commands in the coding language to manipulate where ChoiceScript will take a reader next.

If you’re like me, then this is where you have to read documentation and definitions of the different commands before you can begin to read another game’s code. In that case I highly recommend reading through the ChoiceScript Wiki to familiarize yourself with the commands. The Intro to ChoiceScript on CoG’s website also goes over the very basic commands you’ll need to create a functioning game in detail. In addition, they also have a detailed article on the stats screen which will help a lot in setting up your first stats page and the different commands needed to change them throughout your game (I believe this should cover Question 4).

I don’t believe there’s a way to make it a default setting.

No, it would look more like this:

You are in the woods and the path forks in three different directions. What do you do?

    #Hold your ground till someone comes along
      *goto page_2
    #Take the path on the left
      *goto page_3

    #Take the center path
      *goto page_4

    #Commit ritual suicide
      *goto ending_1

*label page_2

There is not, unfortunately.

The only images that you add yourself are those that appear within the game proper. You would used the command *image followed by a space and the file name (all commands must be followed by a space to be recognized).

To put it simply, the command within the game’s code would look like this:

This is a sentence.

  *image image_name

This sentence is enhanced by the art above.

As for the cover art, you don’t have to do much more aside from procuring it. Some time after you’ve submitted your game for publication, you’ll be contacted for assets (the cover art, app icon, etc). They will inform you of what sizes are required and once you deliver, they take things over from there.


I’m making terrific progress. I’ve perpetually finished the game’s prologue, or rather it is finished except for me dressing it up. The basics that I need to know are what I need is this:


  1. Can I easily change the color of the background & fonts within the “Startup.txt”
  2. How do I hyper-link text to websites & such
  3. How do I make a larger menu up top; example: “Credits”, “Other Games”, etc.
  4. How do you make more than one button, like where people have a button where someone can play for free or pay. What is the code for that?
  5. How do I make it "goto another txt-file for that chapter in the game?

6) How do I go about getting my game published. I mean as someone with a wide background in music, I could tell you places to go to mass-market your albums/songs. As a published author I could do the same with books. Interactive Novels (this) is new to me. *Regarding this: Be Advised this game will purposefully be over-the-top violent and all.

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G’day mate, I was scrolling through the forum and couldn’t help but notice your post… choice script can be overwhelming especially for new users like us so permit me to help out where I can!

  1. I’m not certain you can go crazy with the fonts at the startup.txt page…I believe the most you can do font -wise is adding the bold and italics
[b]You can do this to get bold texts![/b]

[i]you can do this to get italics[/i]
  1. I’m not entirely certain you can link to another website or need to via the choice script …(I might be wrong tho)

  2. I don’t believe we can tamper with the C.S menu, so your credit section might need to be another page on it’s own…and as for other games …I’m not certain how to go about that (I’m pretty green) but I’ve seen it done before …someone else would probably shed more light.

  3. I don’t believe choice script supports multiple buttons…I’ve never seen an instance where it’s been done…in those scenarios you’d still have to approach it with a *choice command.

  4. This one is pretty easy, so if you’ve got a scene titled “The dragon’s lair” all you’d have to do is use the goto_scene command, e.g

*goto_scene The dragon’s lair

or alternatively use the scene list command to arrange all your scenes so choice script would go through each of them one after the other

  1. I don’t have first hand experience here but I believe we’d need to contact choice of game via mail…that has to be it…

Sorry I couldn’t be any more help and good luck on your story/game!

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Welcome aboard, it might take some time getting used to, but I’ve walked the same path as you are, so I’ll try to answer some questions.

  1. Can I easily change the color of the background & fonts within the “Startup.txt”

It’s best to think of this as an old-fashioned book. It’s made to be read on a lot of devices, the thrill is in the text, not the graphic profile. That being said, you can play around with these things if you are comfortable with how CSS works. I made a small change in my game, which was basically just changing the colors of the stat bars from the normal red/blue. That had to be requested from CoG when it was time for publishing, since I don’t control that part of the program. I would advice you to ignore formatting niceties for now, once you get closer to being done you can deal with that.

  1. How do I hyper-link text to websites & such

Not sure if you can, but I suspect this is another thing that will have to be dealt with on the CoG end.

  1. How do I make a larger menu up top; example: “Credits”, “Other Games”, etc.

Once again, since this is on the CoG end of things, I suspect you would need to contact them. A more extensive credit page can be added just like any other page in your story, even accessible from the stat sheet if you want to.

  1. How do you make more than one button, like where people have a button where someone can play for free or pay. What is the code for that?

That code will be added by CoG at the time of publication. What I did was mark the point in the game where I wanted that offer made to the reader, and they added it for me.

  1. How do I make it "goto another txt-file for that chapter in the game?

I’m not sure exactly what you mean here. There are a few ways to do this. If you are done with the chapter (like in a normal book), you end the chapter with *finish and it automatically will shift to the next chapter in the chapter list in the startup file. If you want to go to a specific chapter and not just the next in the list, or to a specific scene in another chapter you use the *goto_scene command

  1. How do I go about getting my game published. I mean as someone with a wide background in music, I could tell you places to go to mass-market your albums/songs. As a published author I could do the same with books. Interactive Novels (this) is new to me.

Three ways:
1: If you still are very early in what you write, you can write a proposal to CoG and see if they will have you on as an official author. This means more rules, more help, more oversight and money being paid out up front once various parts of the game is finished.

2: If you want to do this on your own (like I am), you can publish the game through their sister company Hosted Games. This means less rules, less help and less oversight. It still has to be tested and functional, but essentially you are on your own. You don’t get any money up front, but get 25% of sales once platform fees are paid.

3: If you feel comfortable with hosting the game yourself, putting it up on various platforms and the like, you can get a choicescript license. I think that means 25% of sales income to CoG, but don’t quote me on it.

The difference between 1 and 2 when it comes to money depends on your sales. If you have bad sales, option one pays better since you are guaranteed your advance. Once you have earned back your advance, you get the same 25% as 2. If you sell well, you will end up earning the same kind of money.

I, personally, have had nothing but good experiences with Hosted Games, they have been very helpful with the whole publishing process (I used option 2). Of course I am tempted by option 3, but I also have a full time job and is writing in my spare time, so I don’t have the time to really dig into the whole publishing bit myself.


You can, with a JavaScript trick, but…

A) users would still be able to change the settings manually. In my opinion, it’s not good to mess with that. As a user I wouldn’t like if the game took that option away from me, I always use the dark theme for exemple.

B) Legend has it that using JavaScript will make your game unbublishable (though I’m yet to hear from someone who went through that experience :thinking:)

Like this

Like this

You can do that with the command *link_button, it works the same as the *link command, except it styles the link like a button. It means, you can’t run code or send to a different part of the game, it’s just an external link. Like @malinryden said, you don’t generally dabble with that. It’s not even that useful.

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