Interest Check (before I get far into the project)


#1

Currently, I’m working on a project that is rather ambitious. It’s at the start of the project, so I haven’t put a lot of work into it yet. With it being ambitious, I want to make sure I’m not wasting my time, especially when coupled with the dropbox changes coming up.

So, the project . . .

I often hear people say ‘choices don’t matter’. I want to try to rectify that, by giving something akin to a pnp system where you can freely wander a city/world, with a complete rpg system designed (so basically, a text-based rpg). There should be a lot of reactivity, with the players basically forming their own story. So, at the start, the story might not be present and will only be uncovered as you go. Basically, I’m thinking of (with the default backgrounds, and I may add more) just having the player/reader arrive at a city and then saying ‘try to survive/live out your life’. As you go, you’ll uncover event chains etc. and get to know people, thus providing the story, with options and happenings governed by previous choices and time passing.

I don’t know if this is making sense, plus I ramble and I’ve not got all the kinks worked out yet, but think of something like Fallen London in terms of structure where you have hubs. Only the stories aren’t short. They’re fully represented. Granted, I haven’t played Fallen London much, but I find it harder to get into than it should be due to the short snippets of text. If it’s not making sense anyway, I don’t mind answering questions (I’ll make every effort to be as concise and clear as possible).

Now, I’m under no illusions about this project. And yes, people will likely advise me not to attempt it. It is, afterall, a project best suited for multiple people, given the sheer workload involved (I’m luckily out of work and have a lot of free time on my what will be sore hands). However, if I can pull it off, I am right in thinking there’s at least some interest? While I am doing it partly to share and for my own enjoyment, I also need an income. It has the benefit of being the type of project I can infinitely expand with in-app purchases, offering things such as new backgrounds, areas, stories etc. (which would of course be hefty updates) and there would always be room for free updates as well (provided CoG wouldn’t charge for that sort of thing, given that there may be costs for uploading patches. I know there is for console games anyway anyway)…

If there is no interest though, I’ll return to the less ambitious story in terms of workload.

Edit: Also, I forgot. I have a choicescript question:

When using *if statements, is there any way to stop there being spaces between punctuation and such? As an example:

“I want to go,” said Jim
*if something = true
,
taking his eyes off the road.

Sorry, I don’t know how to do the choicescript formatting here, but normally, there would be a space between Jim and the comma from the *if statement. It’s a bit annoying, as I want my work to be correct, but instead of copying chunks of text for multiple *if statements, it gives a more accurate representation of the word count if anyone knows how to fix it so there’s no space.


#2

Well there is alway interest for this type of games. For example I have a lot of interest in this but the question is weither or not its something you will keep an interest in or not.

I saw a good bunch of games with a similar premise but most died because the author lost interest or hope.

Something certain is that it would train your skills with choicescript coding though and that is alway a great thing. Every project you work on will make you better if you do it with an open mind.


#3

I’m not interested. It seems a bit too disconnected. A lot of choices with no grounding can make the main selling point, plot, or direction really weak.


#4

Thanks. I’m definitely aware of interest being lost somewhere down the line, because it is a absolutely massive undertaking.


#5

Any chance you can change the title to something more specific? We seem to have an awful lot of Interest Check posts, and I get rather muddled by which one’s which.

Also consider if choicescript the best language for what you want to do? Choicescript does some things really well. It’s not ideal for open worlds though.

I believe that Fallen London actually lets you make games using their system, Storynexus, or at least they used to. Maybe you’d want to poke around in that a bit. I’ve not actually experimented with it though. I believe they also let you monetise your games, or at least they used to. I’m not sure how successful it is though.


#6

Thanks for your honesty. Actually though, that is what I want to rectify. So, I’m glad you mentioned it.

So, your character’s just entered the city. You’re given a choice of where to go (or maybe just initially sent somewhere). When you get to, for example, the tavern . . . you meet a character. I want to give the character and the tavern an entire story. A lengthy one. Also, if I do things right, a lot of the stories should be connected.

So again, I want to rectify that issue if I can. And believe me, I wouldn’t sell the product if I can’t get the stories to a good standard. By good, I don’t mean best-seller quality, because of the sheer amount of text and coding, but yeah . . . they certainly wouldn’t be poor. To give you an idea, I first self-published a story three years ago. During that time, I’ve only published one other short story. So, my standards are high. I abandon many projects because I’m simply not happy with them.


#7

Why do you want to do this?

Why do you want to do this in choicescript?

Do you have a track record of completing games?

Why not start off just planning to write the tavern story? Write it all, to the end, get it finished to the high quality you want.

I’m going to say that’s bad. One short story in three years isn’t much. If you’ve a track record of abandoning projects I think you’re being overly ambitious with this idea.

There’s a reason we right games with limited choices, and reasons why the Official Choice Games tend to be more focused and have less choices than Hosted Games. Too much choices become extremely overwhelming for the writer, and makes it very difficult to finish your project.

I’d say focus on writing a small short game. Offer as much choice as you want in it but aim for ‘short story’ not massive open world. Just tell one of the many stories you want to tell, tell it well though, get it polished, see how long it takes.


#8

Fallen London isn’t monetised anymore, unfortunately, and being able to earn an income is important for me.

Choicescript is essentially the only option I know of, without going out and building my own engine. Plus I have an already established market.

I’ve already got a functional system designed anyhow. Hub wise and time wise. I’m having a lot of problems keeping track of the variables though. It’s just a matter of organization, however, which I’ll work out in time. The inventory system will be tricky though. I have a lot to work out though, like . . . do I want to implement random checks, or do I want to have straight pass or fail checks. Combat might be tricky to work out too.

I’ll see about changing the topic. And yeah, I hear you on the interest check threads. I honestly debated even posting this, especially as I talk a lot about doing things and don’t. But I just literally cannot afford to waste my time on this if there’s no interest, so I figured I should ask before progressing further.


#9

Is there a reason you’re using interactive fiction?

That you’re not going and just using RPGmaker to make a RPG? People sell RPGmaker games, port them to mobiles and stuff too. And they have a slightly higher price point to choice of games. Of course you do have to do a lot more work on selling and marketing.

And nah, I don’t have a problem with you making an Interest Check thread. Just that it has such a generic title. :stuck_out_tongue:


#10

In fact this lead me to think that nothing actualy stop them from writing each stories individualy and have each of them be a game. It could be a game by zone wich would let you get better, receive reviews for each game/zone that will help you get better and it wont be one huge project.

I have no idea how save importing work for CS but I believe you could make it so each zone is doable at any moment depending on if you bought it since each would be a different game.

That way you keep the open world feeling without having an unbearable project, a gradual compensation for each game published, extra experience and it will leave you the time between each game to recap and prepare the next game better, hopefully helping in limiting plot holes and such.

I tried to write a story before but couldnt go very far because of my ADD but I have been on this forum since it exist and I speak out of experience following other similar games. Dont take it as professional advice.

Edit: After re-reading I noticed my message look weird. Its an answer to fairy addressed to the author.


#11

I think it sounds interesting or at least the type of game sounds interesting, did I miss the plot for your game or did I just skip over it? I wouldn’t be surprised, I tend to do that.


#12

I am interested but would wanna know a bit more about the story or game itself.


#13

Fairy, I know it’s bad. Trust me. I wish things were different, that I had lots of stories published, but things aren’t different. I have reasons for it, namely not being satisfied with the stories I’ve written since the published ones (so you can call it a lack of faith in the stories themselves). I’m totally aware of the ‘massive workload’ I’m taking on, and I’m equally aware I may never get far with it. I’m out of work though, so I can afford to give time to it and anything that’s worth doing is hard. I think Allen Gies has proven that massive projects can be completed too. Regardless, I’d prefer to be able to say I tried. Also, I don’t know if you’ve heard of it, but Age of Decadence is a rather nice story (in terms of it being completed and supposedly a great RPG.) I do have the less ambitious project to fall back on as well, though I’m not sure that it’ll be as appealing as other choicescript games/stories due to having a set character and being more novel-like than game-like, despite the choices definitely altering the story’s path.

As far as RPG Maker goes, I own RPG Maker VX Ace. It has limitations, and I’d have to learn Ruby to do anything that the default engine doesn’t allow you to do. I’m a writer/editor, not a programmer, with a love of RPGs/interactive stories and I have absolutely no graphical talent. Plus I’m not too keen on the small amounts of text you can fit into a text box, and you’re limited to displaying four choices at a time (without a tedious workaround, more for the player than the designer). I’d likely also need to pay for Steam Greenlight if I couldn’t find a publisher. I also rather dislike the stigma attached to RPG Maker games, though I guess CoG has that as well (they’re ‘simple html files’). Still, I might look into it, but yeah . . . I don’t think it’s the best fit, especially with CoG already having an audience.

@Nathan_Morgan You missed no plot. I don’t even have one myself yet. Just a concept. Even if I had one, however, it’s the type where you make your own story based on the choices you choose. For example, right now, I’m working with the initial concept of a new criminal gang rising up that you either deal with or join. That would just be one of quite a few different stories. Each with plenty of writing given to them so the stories feel worthwhile and hopefully I can make them relatively connected if I do go ahead with this. Anyway, it’s not the kind of work where I can go ‘this is the plot’. All I can say is there will be different stories that you can take part in within a fantasy city, which will be rewarding and not short. As it happens though, it might turn out I might have to reign in my sandbox thinking and ‘focus’ the story. If it happens, it happens. Whatever works best. At which point, I’ll be more than happy to give plot details. I can, however, give an indication of the type of world I want to create. I want it to be gritty and as realistic as a fantasy world can be. I’m often interested in social commentary, so . . .

@cyanide That’s partly what I’m thinking of with regard to zones, only they wouldn’t be their own games. With regard to saves, though it’s not what you meant, I do have to overcome the obstacle of having a save system for beta-testers. It would be physically impossible for people, myself included, to test without one. The testing tools that come with choicescript won’t suffice either, I reckon, and well . . . there needs to be a beta-test for a project to even be considered for publishing.


#14

Age of decadence is in my top 3 favorite rpg of all time you know. I’m happy to hear it being mentioned here. I think its a great example of what a branching rpg should be like.

Anyone here who dont know what age of decadence is, go look it up right away. All path are fun to do. Seriously. I started a game expecting to be glorious. Finaly my story ended up being a story of betrayal, cruelty and backstabbing. I became one of the head inquisitor of a new religious order I did not believe in. It was a bittersweet ending but the story made it satisfying.

And thats just one many possible endings.


#15

Firstly, not a criticism. I’m a terrible one for getting things finished too. So call this a reality check from someone else who has grand ideas but doesn’t implement them.

Allen Gies did not start with a huge project. Allen Gies published Marine Raider, then Apex Patrol, then Tin Star, then The Shadow Horror. He’s certainly one of the most prolific hosted games writers. I’d suggest playing his games starting from the first one. See how they progress and what he learns from each game. Look at the path that takes him there.

That sounds good. I’d say go with that project. I think that sounds far more appealing to me. You’ll note that many of the official choice of games do have set stories. Heroes Rise, for instance has a set story, a set protagonist too and while you can tweak some aspects of that protagonist, there’s plenty you can’t change. But it’s still a really popular story.


#16

Gotta agree here. I would say try something smaller first too. And a set story and character is easily countered by an interesting character and branching story.

The only thing that make a set character bad is the character itself if its not written well. If we cant control who they are let us control how they think.


#17

Well, when I say set character, you have no option to customise their gender, name or sexual preferences (though romance options will definitely be included.) To be honest, I could show that project now, and it is the one I showed ages ago. But I want to get ‘part one’ finished first, which would be . . . the first four chapters. By waiting and not showing it now, it should allow you to see that your choices have a real impact and, despite the set character, you can still shape them. It’s more like . . . presenting you all of the options that are possible for the character in question. Everything that would go through their head, and letting you act as their conscience. Basically, it allows me to tell a more cohesive story with a rich character, while forcing people to consider things and walk in someone else’s shoes. I remember you using a Batman example ages ago, Fairy? So, I think you might have an idea of what I mean. (I have an odd memory for small, insignifcant things, don’t ask. :wink: )

It’s funny really. When I’m not writing stories, I don’t tend to be too clear and I can ramble. As soon as I write a story though, it’s probably too tight for its own good. I guess it’s the years of ‘make every word count’ advice that has affected me so. I’m a firm believer in it.


#18

I think I understand what you mean. Just mentioning though, you might make a few angry by not giving a sexual orientation choice XD

That said I would have ni problems against that kind of story if its not too railroaded.

Like I said, a set character is easily countered by a good story but it wont work if you dont have meaningful choices. Otherwise it will be a novel more than anything else.


#19

You said something really important I think.

That’s your strengths. That’s also what choicescript is designed to do. It’s designed for writers to tell interactive stories.

Your idea that you’re asking for the interest check on, is just an idea. It’s not a story currently. It’s an ambitious project where you speak of things like fighting and inventories and stats, but not what the story actually is.

Aha! I just looked through your previous topics and I can guess the project you are working on.

I do have a question for you. Is there a reason you can’t rework the story to work for a character that allows you to customise their gender? That lets you pick their name, or even choose between being Carl or Carla Rivers.

It does take work to make those sorts of changes though. And well you don’t need to. There are a number of games with set gender protagonists.


#20
  1. I want it clear the reader isn’t the character. I’d say more, but I guess it’s best leaving for when I do share the project again, if I do. I know I made a balls up of it last time. That said though, it’s looking like it’s the better project to focus on (and I knew it was). There’s still nothing stopping me working on this in the meantime though.

  2. I have a fear that if I were to allow the reader to choose their gender/character, I’d have to write a lot more. It might not be the equivalent of two stories, but . . . it’s something I’m not willing to do. It’s the type of story where the writing needs to be as good as it can be in order to work, and for chapter 1 alone before I started editing it . . . it was around 3,500 words, with only 1,200 -1,500 words seen per read. The gap is only going to widen, and I want a single read to be of a decent length, comparable to normal novellas/novels (so at least 20,000 - 40,000 words per read).

On that note, can anyone help me with the *if problem, please?

I’ll post a quick example. (Excuse the formatting, if it’s wrong)

    "Here you go.
    *if drink_beer = true
        "Two beers
    *if drink_water = true
        "One beer, one water
    ."

When I look at the project, it would read “Here you go. One beer, one water .” as an example. The problem being the space before the fullstop after water. I use that trick with *if statements, sometimes for something as little as a punctuation mark or single word, in order to cut down on copy + pasting and to give a more accurate word count. I guess I could rework sentences so it’s not a problem, but I’d prefer not to. It’s bugging me. (That was also probably not the best example)