A most entertaining read. ^ _ ^ Thank you very much.
One thing I plan to maintain through the story is plausible deniability. The uncertain question of if any part of the story is supernatural in any form, or perfectly explainable rationally. I personally think that it helps the story to keep that a question, rather than an answer. I plan to delve much further into the various characters' personal reasonings and, well, depth of character, as the story continues. I'd like to add expansion to MC reactions... eventually. Coming back at some point and adding more variety in emotions; more and less- but there will still be some points where the game takes the character out of the MC's hands a little. I'm not sure if it's the case for everyone, but - pulling an example from my own life, I remember from my time in the military moments where I did not feel entirely under my own influence; angrier as a person... or a time when I became extremely callous. Perhaps people who are not in extreme circumstances don't understand that sometimes the thing you want to do in your head isn't the thing you end up doing. It's the circumstance that leads to regret, and maybe it is something that only applies to some people and not others. A person who is not blind may be able to empathize with a blind character, but could not truly -know- what it is like except by imagination. So it goes, perhaps, with feeling out of control of oneself. It's true that I want things like, for instance, the possibility of more regret for what happened to Gary, or more snapback with Sonya on MC's emotions- but sometimes the player leads the character into things that aren't so easy to budge. Something like, after falling for a character, falling back out of that state, may not be as easy for an MC as it might be for the player of the MC- and that's the point where I'll just need to ask people to trust me, until the game gets finished and a full revision polish run over it. Same goes for other things, as well- revenge, forgiveness, depression, and so on. I want to add more choice, and more variety of reaction- eventually, but there's also going to be a lot more of times where the choice is no longer in the player's hands- they've already made their bed with deciding the character's personality through past choices. A player that really doesn't want a character to do something, but the player understanding why they do and seeing how it's they caused it, is the sort of thing I would like, when it comes to Monsters.
An interesting thought: How would you describe a painting? Would it take a proverbial thousand words to do so? With the characters, I can bring up a little here or there about one or another, but the most powerful description for the characters is the story itself. Sometimes, the fastest way to describe them is by writing more story. I need to get the stuff that's in my head, to you, in a sensible way. To me, nothing in the story doesn't make any sense- but sometimes what's in my head is future information. Which I need to make sure I cover, at some point, or it will never get conveyed properly.
Sometimes, thoughts about characters are correct. Sometimes they don't have enough information, but thoughts are sensible with what's given. Sometimes people think things that are off base. Whatever the case, the story is the best medium I have to communicate the characters to you, and some amount of information is bound to be lost on both sides, - both me in conveying it properly, and a reader picking up on all the context and sub-context. Heck, sometimes someone will just have life experiences that make a certain character sharply make much more sense than to someone else who 'kinda gets it'. Not like the 'kinda gets it' is at fault or to blame- heck, they're probably the lucky one in some ways. But then again, I can only write things that I can concieve of myself, so some things will probably be different from how you would write things if you decided to write a fanfiction or such. XD glances at certain people Thing is, thinking about things your own way, deciding things your own way- that's totally valid. I might spoil your notions sometime later with further information, but I like when people think about things in the story no matter how close or far off they are.
To @Ponku and @pimenita and @buggygirl11 - I appreciate your thoughts on the NPCs and your perspectives about the MCs. I know how the FBI must feel - 'I can neither confirm nor deny the validity of that statement'. For your thoughts on the various characters, this must be the case. Though I hope to, at least a little, explain more to you through the story itself, when I get moving forward with it again. I don't know how to explain this very well, but one of the most important things that has influenced my life are things (in a general sense) that teach life lessons, and are experiences about life. There are certain things that pass this along, from one person to another, not by telling, but by showing. Anime, music, good books, sometimes games and movies. It's a thing that, at least for me, I've come to be able to know when I see it. And it's something not all art and entertainment can do (or, at least, do well). If I can, I intend to make Monsters a story that connects with people in individual ways. Maybe not all of it; maybe the character connection isn't perfect, and such- but I want it to be the kind of story that makes you take your own experiences in life and apply them, learning a little about yourself in the process. I feel like a proud sensei if I, through my writing, coax someone to look at something from an angle they had not considered before. Even if it's not a fundamental change, or anything resembling a change- the consideration of something challenging, at length, is rewarding to me as a writer and... as a person, trying to pass on a little something here or there about life.
I do believe that people can fundamentally change over time. I also think that change is rarely dramatically sudden, and only stands up through the challenge of time. And that it is often hard to see it happening, and only truly visible in hindsight.
I'd like to pose a thought. Is love a choice? To be more specific, let's define it as the romantic love of being attracted to someone- and pose it in the context of a CS game. Or, maybe I'm phrasing it wrong... have any of you ever been in love when you haven't wanted to be in love? raises hand That's happened to me more than once, so if my life were a CS game, and the voice inside my head was a player repeatedly selecting a 'no, this person is bad for you, stop being so miserable!' choice... the me of the time would have failed at having the stats to succeed at that choice. In a sense, I would have been out of my own hands and limited in what I could do. If someone else jumped into my head... assuming there was any autonomy left to me after that, with just a limited experience of things through my perspective, but without all of my thoughts and memories, someone else might easily be able to get me out of heartbreak... but I, myself, couldn't. That's where I question the difference between character, and player. Does it make sense that, from my own experience in life, I think it ironic to show that sometimes the character can play the player- simply by being how they are? I want to explore the concept of meta knowledge, though doubtful I'll have any good opportunities any time soon. Essentially, what I mean by that, is that there's a difference between what a character knows and what a player knows. Just like, and I'm not sure this is something everyone truly understands, there can be a difference between what someone wants to do, and what they do. What reason is there for there to be a difference, rather than exactly what's decided upon? It's a bit like, if someone popped into my head, and again assuming I have any autonomy left- if someone tried to make me smoke anything, I'd tell the voice in my head to fuck off, and squarely say no. If it were a game... would the choice to try convincing me to do so be something that should be written in? What are your thoughts? There was a time in my life, where I chose not to drink at all. I rarely do, but even so, at one point, I decided to give in and try it. Why would I do that, I ask myself, yet still never want to smoke? Why give in on one thing, and not another? Someone else might give in... but if someone else were playing my life as a game full of choices and did so when it would not be 'me' to do so, would they be me, or would I be them?
So it goes with me wondering about Monsters. Because not everyone will be able to think about it from the perspective of having my thoughts on the matter- how much should the player control the character... and how much should the character control the character? Let's explore some thought-experiment examples: Let's say a player has made choices that give a character a very high lust stat - 75+ or what-have-you. Now let's say a character (it doesn't matter which) propositions the character, but the player isn't interested. Oh, but the character is. Clearly the player has made the character someone who would be interested, even if the player would not be. - Another example: A player creates a psychopath character, who sees an advantage to be gained by causing great misfortune to a character the player likes. The player doesn't want the character to do the thing, but the character would, because the player sculpted them to be that way and isn't going to have a stroke of conscience just because the player does.
The situation with Gary is an example of this. Rather, that some MC's -can't- kill Gary, because of how they've been played... just as some people wouldn't be able to, even if they knew it was the only way they could survive. Yet on the flipside, all of those who could always have the option not to. Some might die for deciding not to, some might not. Suppose either of the following scenarios were true: In the first, let's say I make every MC able to make a choice that could kill Gary. In the second, let's say I make some characters ONLY able to kill Gary, and not able to choose not to. In either case... would the story be better?
Some things should expand, in the future, but I think the game is stronger with 'chosen character autonomy'. Which is philosophical, as much as a matter of practicality in scripting. I mean, I could do more variety than I have even now... it would just be even slower progress. It's got to be fair to say, though, that I don't know what I actually will expand on until I actually do. Eg, NPC reactions, MC individuality, additional choice options, ect. For now, what is, is, until it is more. XD And eventually... it will be more.
Anyway- doing a 90* turn... in other news: I've had a toothache which has been driving me to distraction the past few days. A constant dull to medium ache. I very much ought to consult a dentist soon, rather than later, but I also very much would like to put it off until after turning in my CScomp, which I'm still in the process of working on (and will be right up to the deadline). Certain... issues... regarding it, have been solved, but there is much work left to be done.