Lost Artifacts: The Search for El Dorado [WIP} (Romance/Fantasy) New Poll!

I’ve begun work on a game, Lost Artifacts: The Search for El Dorado. In it, you play a researcher on a desperate quest to find their missing mother. It’s a fantasy-mystery-romance game, with all the drama that comes with it.

The pitch:

Your mother is missing. Not dead, no. There was no body. And even when the investigators said that they had to assume the worst, you never gave up. You’re determined to find your mother and the best place to start is by retracing her steps, searching for El Dorado.

Three years later, you’ve finally had the funding for your first solo archaeological dig. It’s up to you, with the help of Doctor Scott, famed anthropologist, and a team of misfits, to go on the expedition to Colombia. Little did you know there is more than competition for its discovery. There’s more at stake here. Because if you fail, you may lose your mother forever.

Magic, long since forgotten, threatens to awaken and destroy everything in its path.

Info you should know:

Currently, it’s one chapter, about 9,500 words, but there’s not a whole lot of spread in this one so it should be a decent-sized read. In this chapter, you’ll meet one and a half main characters (half because it’s through a memory). You’ll also be able to decide your relationship with your mother, and two characters. Establishing a platonic past relationship will not prevent you from having a future romantic relationship.

I don’t know how often I plan on updating. I’m a full-time student with very limited time, but hopefully, I’ll be able to update every few months.

This book is very romance based, so while there are options to play without romance, I highly recommend playing with the romance. Also, choosing not to flirt will not prevent you from entering into a romance with a character, but it will change the scenes/interactions.

Also, I’m a writer, not a coder, so if there are errors or things you’d like to see that involve choice script, please let me know. Also, the stats page is a definite work in progress, so that is subject to change. Finally, I have no idea to implement a save in the game, but I want to, so hopefully the next update will include save options.

A few notes:

Romance Options

Doctor Lucas/Laia Scott (Scotty) (m/f) (RO)

Doctor Scott is an Oxford University professor and colleague. Tall and thin, with terrible eyesight and an accent that people fall all over themselves to hear. They’re brilliant, well-spoken, and incredibly kind. They’re good looking in the kind of way that is easily overlooked. With soft, pale eyes, a kind smile, and a slightly crooked nose.

Sal/Sofía García(m/f) (RO)

They’re the jokester of the group and have a hard time being serious. But they carry a natural charisma and make friends easily, which makes them the perfect translator and tour guide, especially as a native Colombian. They’re average height, with a mop of dark hair, and large, warm brown eyes that perfectly complement their brown skin.

Blake Ito (m/f) (RO)

You met Blake during your last year of college on an expedition in the Himilayas. They were the hired muscle, and from what you gather, ex-military. Though you can’t be certain as you’ve never meant someone more cagey about their past than Blake. You managed to track down their information after receiving the grant and hire them to come with you. They’re incredibly tall, with thick corded muscle on every inch of their body and grey eyes that see more than they let on.

A secret RO, also gender variable, whose details I’d rather you find out in the story.


Feedback I’d like:

Continuity errors: if there’s something wrong with the code, please let me know.

Options you’d like to see: If there are options or actions you’d like to take that weren’t available to you as a reader, let me know. I’ll see if I can incorporate them into the next update.

Feedback on characters: what do you think of their characterization? Are they different enough? And in future updates, who’s your favorite RO?

And just for fun, favorite scenes. Let me know what you liked about this (if anything).

  • Non explicit, implied sexual content
  • Violence
  • Discussions of grief and loss
    (let me know if you think there should be anything else added to this)
Update log

1/7/2023: Initial upload (preface + chapter 1), 9500 words
1/8/2023: Bug fixes and more variation added to chapter one, total now around 10500 words

Please let me know if you have any questions. I’m happy to answer them!

To play the demo, go here: https://dashingdon.com/go/12901


“Laia Scott is a tall, langley woman. Her white blond hair hangs in soft waves to her shoulder. A pair of wide-rimmed glasses sit on a crooked nose. She is exactly like she looked in her picture.”

Langley is a “for electromagnetic radiation incident upon a surface, a value of energy per unit area equal to one calorie per square centimeter,” named after a last name that comes from the Old English “Long Glade.”

So I’m assuming you meant a different word there. Lanky maybe?

“Quaint.” She glances my way, an amused twinkle in his eye. “Don’t you think?”

“I suppose,” I can’t help the grin that spreads across my face as I park the car. “Charming.” I do my best impression of his accent.

Of course." She says. “Lead the way.” Doctor Scott picks up his suitcase and follows me out of the room, past the small kitchen, and to the set of stairs leading to the second floor.

Maybe it’s because I’m meeting him for the first time, in person, but calling him anything other than the honorific felt strange. I’d been using Scotty before. But that was before. And this is real.

My heart pounds against my chest. I wonder if he can hear what he’s doing to me through my pulse.

“Well,” Scotty says, clearing her throat. He steps away, opening a thick book.

“Tell me about what you’ve found. I want to hear everything, from beginning to end,” Scotty says, glancing my way.

Scotty should know everything by now. We’ve been communicating long enough for him to know what I’ve discovered. I suppose it doesn’t hurt to recount what I’ve learned. I can’t take all the papers with me.

Pronoun mismatch, that should be her.

It’s early yet, I know, but Blake seems written to be a man and we can just change the pronouns, I’d suggest adding some details to help differentiate. Like we know she’s tall and muscular, what is her body shape, like is she curvy or does she have the athletic “rectangle” body shape?

Does she add any feminine flourishes- perfume, makeup? Heck, even mentioning she doesn’t would help with immersion I feel.

Something like “You take in her strong features, her face striking sans makeup,” or “As she leans closer, you take in her scent, she smells of sweat and soap, as befitting her utilitarian style” would help me forget that other players are playing with Blake as a guy.


Thank you so much for the feedback and for pointing all that out! I definitely missed a lot of those gender switches. It should be fixed now.

And thank you for mentioning the feedback about Blake! I did alter the appearance for Scotty, but for some reason it didn’t occur to me to add different details for Blake. I’ve added a few lines now that should help make her seem less like a guy. Future scenes (present day scenes) will include more distinct details as well.

Thank you so much for your help and feedback! I appreciate it!

Hello! The premise seems interesting but, sadly, there’s a bug that doesn’t let you continue the game after meeting Scotty.
Also, I would suggest having more reaction choices, for example, about how we feel about or mom or Scotty, because there’s only 2 options available and maybe that could restrict some players!
I’ll be waiting for the next update :heart:


Didn’t get very far due to error but I’m interested so far :slight_smile: keep up the good work

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I found it odd that we’re assumed to not have one-night stands frequently if we select to have had one. Is that a set trait of the MC? It’s not mentioned anywhere as a set trait, and my expectation was that selecting to have had a one-night stand would place me as someone who is likely to do that, lol. I’m guessing it’s probably for plot reasons, since it’s primarily a romance game. Maybe it would be good to include that note in the choice itself, rather than only after selecting it?

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EDIT: Alright, since I can read code I have a bit more to say about the game itself, past the game-ending bug.
I felt like MC was a little inconsistent. If you choose to have a one-night stand and to have a crush on Scotty they come across as very blushy - very inexperienced and the way they describe everything is romantic. Especially the one night stand/kiss paints a picture of a man or a woman who doesn’t make a first move, is content with crushing from afar and they’re gutted when someone they were just involved with (who made no promises or as far as we know might’ve not be interested to begin with) leaves to the point of looking for them right after. But your first flirt option gives us this dialogue tree:

The shy option fits with MC’s established personality but the bold option will clash with it. I’ve read it and I was wondering “…where did that MC from the flashback go?”. But I don’t like to play shy MC’s either so I would probably select it if I played this game normally.
Perhaps it would be better to choose whatever MC acts more bold or not sooner? Maybe build on that flashback with Blake?

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I felt that


I have the same error that doesn’t let me proceed after Scotty says hello to us. BUT I love the plot and the story itself has already captured my attention despite not getting very far. I hope the issue is fixed soon so I can play more!

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Should be fixed! Thanks for being patient with me! I’m still learning code and how to do all the branching.

I can take that out. It’s not a set trait of the MC. I was thinking that might be okay since it is two years earlier. Would you prefer if I made it a choice? Ask the reader whether or not they frequent on night stands? Or would you prefer I take it out completely?

Do you think maybe giving people more options to interact with Blake in that flashback, whether they’re bold or shy, will help? I don’t necessarily want to move the flashback any later. Just as a note, whether or not a person is bold or shy isn’t tracked right now, that’s something I’m planning to do as I clean up the stats page.

You mean Sophia is “Colombian”. Columbian is for people of Columbia, nothing to do with Colombia.

Also, if she is a native Colombian “Sofía” would be better. Reading “Sophia” in Spanish would be “SOH Pee Ah”.
Sofía García. Don’t forget the “tildes” they are important in Spanish.

Thanks for catching that! And for catching my spelling errors!

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No problem!

By the way, what inspired you to write about this? There are no interactive fictions out there about expeditions of “lost lands”, so this is a breath of fresh air.

Well I could see the MC’s flirting style and how they interact with Scotty being two different things, honestly.

Scotty isn’t just some random person the MC meets at a bar on a Friday night, Scotty is someone the MC admires a great deal, which means the MC wants to make a good impression on Scotty.

I could see the MC basically being Joey from Friends with everyone else of the appropriate gender(s) and still being starstruck by Scotty.

That’s what I was thinking - if you’d like, of course, the flashback could be expanded a little bit to include choices.
It’s all about characterizing the MC really. How much customization would you’d like to give the player? It’s not like we have to decide if they have frequent one-night stands, or how experienced they are in romance, this could be headcanon’d, but it did come up in the game.
How old is MC btw?
I don’t think you have to track shy-bold flirts. People can flirt in many different ways. I know it’s a bit of a cliche now, in IFs, to either be bold or shy but it’s not you know, a rule.

Pronoun mismatch for fem Scotty- “Please keep your hands to yourself,” I say, extracting my arms from his.

Thank you! It’s kind of a long story. I’ve always loved myths and things that take place in “lost lands”, i.e. Camelot, Sherwood Forest, Atlantis, Olympus, El Dorado, Shangri La, etc and the different cultures surrounding them. I’m also a big fan of adventure books/shows, like Indiana Jones (low key almost went into archeology in school instead of what I’m doing now because of all that). I’ve had this idea for a long time but I wanted to write it as a book. However, most of what I write generally is YA and having different genres is difficult for authors to find success in. Since I love IF, I thought I’d turn the idea into a game and here we are.

This is all true. Scotty is renowned and someone the MC has been talking to for a while, so they admire them regardless or in spite of having a crush.

Let me see what I can do.

I imagine them to be roughly between 25-30. They have their masters degree and it’s been two years since they graduated from college. Depending on how long you decide it took them to get through school, which can vary, there’s a range. But I wouldn’t say older than 30.

Thanks, I’ll fix that when I upload some new stuff for the flashback. Sorry that’s been such a mess for you.

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Hm, well, if it comes up at all later it probably should be a choice. But if it’s unimportant, it’s probably better to leave out any mention of it and let the player fill in the blank.

I just uploaded an edited version of the first chapter.

Changes I’ve made:

  1. Hopefully caught all the places I forgot to put the code in for gender
  2. Allowed for choices in the flashback with Blake. There’s a lot more variation now. Among those changes are:
    *Ability to choose whether or not you’re bold or shy with your interactions with them.
    *Ability to determine whether or not you typically have one night stands.
    *Your reaction to them leaving without saying goodbye.

If any of you happen to read it again, let me know what you think!