Looking for Co-Writer/Story Consultant/Minor Programmer for New Game

So…some may remember that a while ago I introduced myself by saying I was writing a science fiction crime mystery game, and the demo got pretty good reviews.

I’m definitely not giving up on that game, but I just want a change of pace (especially after getting into some anime).

But I’m a busy person. I’ve come to the realisation that I can’t work alone on something without expecting it to take a long time to finish (my ideas always tend to be rather grand). So I’m asking for help.

Basically, I’m looking for someone who can help shoulder some of the load. I’m a perfectly proficient programmer, so I have no problems there, and I also think relatively high of my self in terms of writing skills, but if someone is willing to work alongside me on my next project, I’d be welcoming and appreciative.

What you’ll be doing is pretty much the same as me. Coming up with ideas, characters, settings, dialogue and choices, and hopefully some coding if you’re good at it (it takes so long!).

I do have a vision and a rough plot already thought out for this, but I’d rather not say what it is beyond that it combines high school life-sim and fantasy/RPG/action elements (also, I’m imagining the characters in a manga/anime style and definitely taking inspiration from it, if that has any bearing on things). Of course, we’ll share the credit if this ever gets finished (no guarantees; I do have a second life to live outside of writing).

If anyone is interested, please reply, tell me how you might be able to contribute. We’ll have to discuss somethings via PM, but start out here.

Please note that being able to program is not strictly what I’m after (I know we’re not supposed to ask for programmers), and I will likely handle the bulk of it, but it would help if you did know your way around ChoiceScript!

I also have relatively high standards, so don’t be offended if I turn you down (I’ll be nice, I promise).


i could give some ideas but my grammar writing skills is not very good though

I should be more specific. The exact qualities I’m looking for are:
-Some writing experience (understanding of plot and character creation/development)
-Some experience writing natural dialogue
-Some experience with light comedy/high school settings (I normally right entirely serious stories)
-Some programming experience (enough that I can rely on you to at least code a scene and let me edit it later)

I hope I’m not asking for too much.

Agh, I’m ‘orrible at all the above (especially comedy, apparently people say I’m very funny but only due ta my social awkwardness), save grammar and writin’, an’ even then only in chunks. But I’m supportin’ ya, y’know? An animu style can come off cheesy if ya don’t do it good enough, but I am lookin’ forward to this nonetheless.

I’m going to be controversial here.

Make your ideas less grand. You have the power to make this game happen on your own, without anyone elses help. Turn to the forum if you need beta-readers.

If your ideas are too broad, and most people’s are, start working out how you can narrow them down.

There’s some extremely valuable skills in writing games that no one ever seems to reall talk about. The first is the ability to finish what you start. I think that that’s far, far, more important than any other skill. I’ve lurked on enough game-creation, and writing forums to realise that most people just won’t finish.

Which I’m not judging, since personally I’ve had so much fun and excitement beginning projects, with the initial buzz of excitement and creativity and when it comes to the hard work of slugging through to the end once that buzz has worn off I usually fail. Perseverance is not one of my strong traits, procrastination is my best friend. :slight_smile:

Write to your strengths and in a way that offsets your weaknesses. If you can’t write comedy than don’t write a comedy game, for instance.

You will not be able to include everything that you want to in a game. Some things you just won’t have time to implement. Some things you won’t have the skill, be that the writing skill or the programming skill. Some branches are completely pointless.

In my Julia game, for instance, I had one branch where you decide to go back to bed and just ignore the fire and choose to do absolutely nothing about it despite people trying to make you. While that was great from a choice point of view, it did absolutely nothing for the story. I thought it was funny and that it completed the whole idea of giving players as many choices as possible, but gameplay wise it just didn’t work so I killed that branch.

I pruned other branches. There’s an opportunity in the game where you can pray to the gods. Originally I had planned a whole section of different gods you could pray to and what would happen if you prayed. I ran out of time to implement it though and that wasn’t a bad thing. What would have been the point in pouring in so much effort to so many choices when the end result was ultimately the same?

Sorry I’m digressing. What I’m trying to say is that if you have limited time then work with what you have. Having a more focussed game doesn’t mean that it’ll be a worse game. Have faith in yourself. Know that you do have the power to make the game on your own.

Ignore all this though if what you ultimately want isn’t a finished game, but you just want to have fun with someone else creating a world and a game.

Thanks for your comments, @FairyGodfeather.

I completely understand where you’re coming from. I to have tasted from the fountain of distraction and fallen to procrastination on many occasions. And I’ve also had to cut ideas from my games.

The problem is that I don’t want cut so much that people think I’m rail-roading them. Too often I see complaints of games being too linear and not offering enough difference for choices. Admittedly I find myself straying from some ideas because they are too difficult to implement, but I’m trying to strike a balance where there is an acceptable degree of variety.

The truth is that I want to try something different, including working with another person. I acknowledge that we may not (and probably won’t) get something finished, but it’d be an added bonus if that became the case (and, if there is someone as equally motivated as I am, it will help me stay on track).

Sometimes I just get tired of writing totally serious stories. And I’m not saying this will be a wacky adventure. What I actually have planned is very realistic and grounded (in a sci-fi sense - yes, it has sci-fi elements as well), but I want to throw in some humour every now and then.

It probably sounds more complicated than it is, and maybe I should just explain it to see if that makes things easier to understand…

Ok look, this doesn’t work…
I can’t help but feel that you’re shooting yourself in the foot.

You claim to be a:
perfectly proficient programmer

And then say:
hopefully some coding if you’re good at it (it takes so long!)

It really doesn’t take that long, particularly if you’re good at it.
That’s the whole point of choicescript, to make programming these things a metaphorical breeze.

Then you admit that any help given may be proven worthless: Of course, we’ll share the credit if this ever gets finished (no guarantees; I do have a second life to live outside of writing).

It also feels like you’re implying that the rest of us don’t have a second life outside of writing - well - we do, and it doesn’t stop many of us finishing our games.

And then after that, you say…
I also have relatively high standards, so don’t be offended if I turn you down (I’ll be nice, I promise).

I can’t remember if it was a quote, line in a book or what, but the words “Any help freely given…” come to mind.

I am not trying to “get at you” here, I’m just conveying what I felt whilst reading this thread - I think some clarification amendments could go a long way.

I say this as someone whose goal was to create a game with as much choice as possible.

There’s nothing wrong with some railroading. Most games are railroaded to one degree or another. It’s finding the balance of which choices are important to the storyline and the development of the character and which are not.

You can make a bush of a game or a tree. I deliberately set out to make a bush, and you know that I’ve had comments that there were aspects buried at the bottom of choices which most players will never get to see. I said “I wanted choices to be significant.” I include one choice in the game which essentially lets the player skip dealing with the whole scenario. I wanted that there because I thought choices should matter, but in offering that choice I actually stole something from the story experience.

Take Choice of Romance, if you’ve played it. I’m using that as an example because it has a set four endings. You can end up with the adventurer, the merchant, alone, or the Monarch. Then there are different variations upon those endings depending on your actions. At no point in time can you say “actually I don’t want to get married” so to an extent you’re railroaded into playing a certain scenario. Your game ends early if you choose any option but the Monarch, but the choices are there.

I actually think that it would have been a stronger game if they’d removed the other two suitors and just focused on the Monarch. The adventurer is essentially a false choice, since wooing them means you can’t progress onto the rest of the game. The merchant path at least allows you to have an affair with the King too.

I have a point in here, in that it’s railroaded, but there are choices within the tracks. If you choose to take a different track it ends prematurely and essentially that second track doesn’t really offer much of anything to progress the story, just as having your character die doesn’t progress the story. Hmm actually the third option is fine, I guess, since otherwise there might be similar problems to Hero’s Rise with the main character forced into a relationship. At least knowing there’s other options made playing through the monarch path a little more palatable to me and being allowed to just not choose the monarch.

You’re better to write either a small bush, or a narrow tree.

Hmm another example. My friend loves The Walking Dead game. I haven’t played it. He loves all of the choices it offers. I stared at the story graph though and said “but that looks like a tree not a bush”. http://venturebeat.files.wordpress.com/2013/03/the-walking-dead-graph-by-gamesbeat.jpg I suppose there must be a lot of illusion of choice in the game, or perhaps there’s other stuff effected by your actions which isn’t on there. I’ve not played the game.

I think it takes great skill to write a game which is on tracks while still offering choices and better yet letting the player believe that those choices matter. It’s not a skill I have yet but I plan to practice until I get it. The alternative is burning myself out trying to create a game that’s far too big for me. (Believe me I’ve been there.)

I love Zombie Exodus by @JimD. It’s one of my favourite Choice games. There’s an awful lot of choice in it. That game is on tracks. You must find your sister, you must escape the city, you must set up at the cathedral, certain events must happen. But I get to make the important choices. I get to interact with the NPCs how I choose to. I can choose what my relationship to the various characters is. I can let people die, or I can save them. So there is no saving some of them, but there’s enough I do have a choice over that the ones I can’t save don’t matter quite so much. I think Zombie Exodus does a fantastic balance of railroads and choice.

However I for one definitely would not want to implement a relationship system that complex.

Sorry I’ve wandered off topic a bit. I’m trying to get things clear in my own head too as I prepare to write my game.

If you want to try something different then you certainly should. I hope you find the partner you’re looking for.

A tip for the humour, drink lots of caffeine, stay up for far too long, type the first thing that comes into your head, profit. :slight_smile:

There’s nothing wrong with writing a particularly linear plot. I think having a general outline of point A to B to C is well worth writing with or without many choices. The benefit to completing that plotline is you can go back, examine it and think “What if, instead of this, he goes this way” and you can add on other plotlines/pathways that either branch off into its own original story or tells the story from a completely different viewpoint.

What I find when writing it like that, is that you’ll be much more accepting of cutting things and leaving them out because you’ll have the safety net of being able to include them in other pathways as you add to the story later. Writing them all at once can be quite, restrictive in a sense partially because you have to think of the various methods and routes at the same time while you risk an all or nothing approach.

I’d love to be able to help, but my comedy isn’t particularly great(!) and I have my own works in the pipeline but do go for it :slight_smile: One word of warning though, if you do partner up with someone is try and be aware that if you both have separate writing styles the reader may feel the story comes off disjointed if you’re both working on the same path.

Best of luck though. :slight_smile:

Adding in choice, and making the story bushier, does take a considerable amount of work. People read a page of my story and it likely takes me 2-3 hours of work before testing. Of course, it is rewarding to have stories that people enjoy. But people want more choices, more relationships, more paths. That all takes a lot of effort that simply most choice-game writers get tired of exerting.

So, if you are ready to make a complex, non-railroading story, I say great! Just be ready to beat your head against a desk a few times a day.

Very Truly Yours,
A nearly burnt out choice-game amateur writer

@CJW Okay. On your first point: I meant what I said when I said I was ‘perfectly proficient’. I have no problems programming. ChoiceScript is a breeze compared to anything else I have done. It’s just the volume of work that I’m looking for help with.

On your second point: I’m sorry if it sounded that way. I didn’t mean to imply that.

On your third point: Upon review that doesn’t paint me in the best light. I look like a snobby jerk. I apologise for making it seem that way. The fact of the matter is though that I do have high standards. I’m not going to accept just anyone. This is a long shot.

The more I think about this, the more I realise it isn’t going to work. I’m not being fair on any partner I may find, because really, I’m just looking for a work horse to shift some of the load onto (well, not completely, but mostly).

Thanks for the wake-up call.

@FairyGodfeather Actually, it was The Walking Dead game that inspired me to switch from writing regular novels to writing choice games. The graph actually represents the game pretty well, but I still loved it.

When I mentioned rail-roading, I didn’t mean that I wanted to create a completely sandbox game or anything like that. In fact, in defending The Walking Dead game from some of the complaints it received about illusion of choice/not having enough ‘true’ choice, I’ve made the point that it would be completely illogical for the developers to design whole sections of the game that split off drastically from the ‘main’ narrative - most of the time it’s just not feasible. I know the same applies here.

The game that I have been working on before this new idea came to mind is essentially a futuristic detective story. The problem I encountered was that I just kept thinking of new was a player might approach a situation, and creating branches for those paths, because they felt completely natural, and something that, if missing, I, as a player, would ask ‘why can’t I just arrest him now?’ or ‘why does he always get away? Couldn’t I just have done this?’ and so on.

@RVallant What I’ve been doing up to this point is trying to handle all of the choices and options at once. It can become a long and tedious process at times, writing slightly different versions of scenes. I’m still trying to find a good balance, but your suggestion is interesting. I may just have to give it a go, as it is somewhat the opposite to my current methods.

Thanks for the good luck, however…

In writing this, my attitude grows ever more cynical and realistic. Was this really going to work out? Would there even be someone willing to take on this burden for little reward? Someone on my wavelength? No. Probably not. This was actually a pretty dumb idea, and I feel kind of ashamed for bothering with it.

In the end, all I want to do is try something different. Write in a different style. Write collaboratively. Share my enthusiasm for bringing something to life with another person.

It’s true that I don’t have a lot of time on my hands, especially at the moment, but sometimes you just get that itch, you know? I have to write something, but I didn’t want to return to my previous attempts (at least not for now), but I didn’t want it to just be a waste of time either. My thoughts were that if I had someone to work with, to share ideas and themes with, to motivate me and in turn I’d motivate them, maybe we’d build up enough steam to actually get something good going.

I do have trouble seeing things through all the way to the end. Its hard when you have all these ideas swirling in your mind, but there’s no way they can all be used up in single piece of work (well, they could be, but it would be one weird piece of work).

Anyway, I’m rambling. It’s going on 4am. Maybe I should have put more thought into this before I posted it. Maybe I just don’t have the time at the moment for this. If nothing else, I’ve learned a few things.

The first thing being that I shouldn’t stay up until 4am. I need to sleep…and think.

Also… @Bagelthief - another reason I shouldn’t stay up. Right…write…that annoys me that I can’t change it now.