Murder, Mob Bosses, Spies, and Students (WIP) (Demo fixed as of 12/24!)


#1

EDIT: Update 12/24
Charity is now no longer the personification of genderbending nameswap glitches, Sir Morgan now gets capital letters, Terror and Comprehension are now invisible (which may change), and deductions are now taking place. Whew.

EDIT: Update 12/22
Further pronoun, name, and spacing issues fixed. I hope. There’s also now a kidnapping.

EDIT: Update 12/12:
Pronouns fixed, added more page/paragraph breaks (those abominations looked smaller in textedit, sorry), fixed the issue with Sister E’s missing spaces, fixed capitalization after quote marks.

Story updated after the first murder. There is now more murder. Cheers!

I have no idea how to start this, so uh… hi. I realized halfway through this year’s NaNoWriMo that my plot was better suited to a game than to a book, so here I am. With a decent chunk of gamebook, I guess.

You play as a 15-year-old with a photographic memory who has been press-ganged into spying on a secretive school by the mobster Morgan. When students start dying, you get caught in the middle of a federal investigation, and much plot, scheming, and disaster ensues.
(I swear this is better than it sounds?)
You can customize your character’s name, nickname, and gender, and your actions affect stats (brash<–>shy, empathetic<–>cold, and strategic<–>impulsive) as well as comprehension (which unlocks some options and helps you solve puzzles) and terror (which is something like a sanity meter; if your terror gets too high you lose options and start losing comprehension etc). There aren’t any romances so far, mostly because I can’t write romance and I don’t want to inflict my attempts on anyone.

I’ve never worked in ChoiceScript before, I have exactly one beta who refuses to touch anything game-related and thus has only read this in book form, and I am testing as I go, so please, please, please let me know if I have missed anything – if there’s pronoun errors, or if names aren’t consistent, anything, really.

Also, if there’s anything story-wise that you think needs fixing (or that you think I should add/subtract), please tell me. I like constructive criticism more than I like my base plot.

(Current demo is from 12/24, the link should still work)
DEMO: http://dashingdon.com/play/23Murasaki/bloodbath-fever/mygame/


#2

The premise sounds good. I’ll check out the demo when I can.


#3

Ohhh Sounds really good mate imma play the demo right now and tell u what I think.


#4

Thank you! I will try to keep the demo updated- that is, I’ll put up new stuff every day or two, if I can.


#5

Well, shit, I really liked it! I never expect much from new works, but I loved the writing, and the characters seem pretty interesting. The mc reminds me to the Samurai of Hyuga’s mc, in the way that the mc already has a set personality but you mold it as the game goes on. And I fucking loved that from SoH, so, yeah, looking forward to it.


#6

Haven’t finished my first play through yet, but can tell you it needs more paragraphs.

Will edit post with further thoughts once I finish a play through.

Edit: your first bugs:

first: number of instances of Sister Eurydice missing a space after her name and the next word.

next bug:

murder_1 line 62: increasing indent not allowed, expected 2 was 3

closest text: It was too horrible. My legs gave out beneath me and I collapsed to the ground, shaking helplessly. I couldn’t breathe…!


#7

Oops, I thought I caught all Eurydice-related spacing errors. It’s not even every time her name comes up!

Anyway, thanks for letting me know. I’ll fix those things next time I update the demo! :smile:


#8

I’ve noticed quite a few gender related pronoun-type errors. I assume the genders of the whole world flips according to the MC’s gender?
I can also Guess that you wrote this primarily from the female perspective, since boys are sometimes given female pronouns.

Story-wise, I haven’t finished it yet …
But good job so far, you write really well, your technique.


#9

Haha yeah, the original story was with all female characters. If you don’t mind, can you tell me what scenes the errors are in? I’ll fix them for the next update! :smile:


#10

I think this game has a lot of promise

My favorite part has to be the mc. Her genius level intellect coupled with a detachment to reality nearing the level of insanity is one of the best protagonists I’ve seen in awhile. My favorite part has to be when she overhears another student get called a genius and thus decides her and the other student are mortal enemies because “She’s not a genius! I’m a genius!” Please, never lose this character (actually, ignore that advice because character development is important. Just…never lose this level of writing)

I do have to mention the spelling errors, and there are a lot of them, which is understandable considering this is just a demo. If I were you, I would focus on capitalization errors since those were the most common

Also, I’m not entirely sure how the Comprehension/Terror systems work since a lot of the time I would gain one of them for seemingly no reason at all and without me making any choices that led to it, whereas other times I would make a brilliant deduction only for my comprehension to not increase by any amount. Maybe iron that out a little and make it easier to understand what will cause a status change


#11

Capitalizing variables is haaaard…! I do wish they’d automatically capitalize at the start of a sentence, but that’s life. I’ll fix those if I find them.

Are there any specific spelling errors that you recall? I’ve stared at this file for so long I may have gone cross-eyed; I don’t even know where the problem areas are anymore.

Comprehension is supposed to be associated with the overall plot arc- both it and terror rise (and sometimes fall) on their own as well as changing according to your choices. Brilliant deductions that have less to do with the plot at large should (keyword: should) increase your strategic (or empathetic) stat. That said, what was the point where you thought comprehension would improve and it didn’t? It’s possible I lost a *set variable along the way.

And I’m glad you find the protagonist amusing- she’s fun to write! (Obviously, geniuses are like highlanders- there can only be one!!)


#12

Sorry about this. I write long posts.

Before you go looking for particular errors, I think you have some global issues.

1. Walls of text. You need more paragraph breaks and page breaks. I opened your game on my phone, saw the text, and suddenly I did not want to play. CS games work best when the text is presented in short pieces, with as little scrolling as possible. Since text loads so quickly, having a “next” button is often preferable to scrolling.

2. Pronoun variables. The gender-dependent variables you are using seem to be assuming a female MC. That becomes a problem when one of your lines is
*set her "him"
That leads to in-game text like

“My brother barely leaves him room, for mercy’s sake! I have been the one to teach him since… since… well, since the beginning, I suppose.”

My brother nearly jumped out of him skin.

Gail had him face in him hands

You need separate variables for singular possessive pronouns (his/her) and object pronouns (him/her). Try replacing the line above with something like
*set himher "him" *set hisher "his"
…and doing the same for the female MC variables.

3. Adverbs. About 2% of your story consists of words ending in -ly. That is a lot. You don’t have to eliminate all of your adverbs, but you should keep them out of your dialogue attribution, at the very least.

“Yes, I have people,” he agreed pleasantly.

"… You don’t think your people would tell you the truth,” I said slowly.

“Oh, hush,” she said gently, brushing my hair off of my face.

Dialogue attribution generally works best with minimal description. If someone says “yes,” you already know he is agreeing. If someone says “Oh hush,” you know already know she is speaking gently. Descriptive dialogue attribution gets distracting, and relying on adverbs for it is considered a bad writing cliché.

“I can’t find the oranges,” said Tom fruitlessly.

“I just dropped the toothpaste,” said Tom crestfallenly.

This is an easy fix. Highlight the offending words and hit delete. The result is almost always better.

4. Consider more description. This is more of a suggestion than a fix, but the best text-based games often come with clear scenery description. You can be vague about some things when you’re writing a story, but players need a clear picture of where they are and what is going on if they are going to make choices with any confidence.

In your opening, all I know about the setting is that I’m in a room. The room has a door and it has people in it, and the neighborhood isn’t great. That’s it. I don’t know what sort of house or family this is, or what sort of world I am in.

Contrast that with a scene from, say, Ratings War:

The alleyway opens onto a concrete courtyard, surrounded on all sides by old, crumbling brick apartment buildings. They were new back when people still thought something could be done about climate change. Faded lines on the pockmarked concrete reveal the ghost of a basketball court, although the hoops are long gone. Circling the court you see short, flimsy plastic barricades with “CRIME SCENE” printed on the side. Looking over the barricades, you see some small plastic pyramids. They’re net markers that track who enters and leaves the scene, as well as the locations of evidence. They record a variety of data so the police can recreate the scene digitally after it’s cleaned up.

Now I know where I am—not just the immediate vicinity, but a bit about the world I am in as well. This may not be your style, but you might consider it.

For all that, this looks like an interesting idea. Not a lot of CS games commit to fleshing out a protagonist like you are doing, and that lets you give your characters a bit more personality. I might play this a little more.


#13

I do have different variables for the his/him issue, it’s just a matter of finding all the planes that they go. Thank you though! That should be fixed in the next update! Along with the random failures of capitalization that happen when TextEdit thinks a quotation mark is not a quotation mark for some reason. :confused:

And oops about the walls of text. They look perfectly manageable in TextEdit and on my laptop, but that may not work on phones, yes. That’ll go on the fixing list, thank you!

… Writing the protagonist is easier than writing description. (Can I get away with saying the protagonist is just unobservant about that sort of thing? Probably not haha)

And long posts are greatly appreciated, don’t worry! :smile:


#14

I was going to make some suggestions but @BabbleYaggle said everything. Mainly, breaking up those blocks of text. Makes your game more…approachable.

Anyways, I like it. The somewhat predefined MC is cool. :+1:


#15

Mainly stuff that involved the mc actually doing her job of spying on everyone. Like when I decided to follow Lise (is that pronounced Lice, Leese, or Lisa?) after she snuck out, and noticing when that one girl took something from the dead person’s pockets. Basically, any choice in the game that involves the mc doing her job

Well, no specific ones. Mainly because, and I not to sound mean, but they’re all over the place (especially capitalization and pronouns). It would take ages to point out every single one. Which comes with added difficulty considering that I can’t take snapshots of pages in the story


#16

Lise would be pronounced like just the first syllable of Lisa, unless I have been lied to. And hm, those didn’t trigger comprehension bonuses? That’s odd. The first time you try to follow her it shouldn’t trigger anything much because she slips away, but there should be a comprehension bonus to the pockets thing for sure and the scene with Lise and the nun in the rose garden :confused:

I’ll have to go through my code yet again, I guess. That’s not the first case of the mysteriously missing variable. EDIT: Both of those scenes are, actually, coded to give a comprehension bonus- the pockets scene as soon as it happens and the rose garden scene once it’s over. If that’s not happening, then my code is deeply borked and I am sorry.

And if it’s a matter of pronoun and capitalization issues, those will be sorted in the next update (hopefully), unless I have lost an entire page again. That’s the code being a jerk, and therefore fairly easily fixed. I hope.


#17

The demo has been updated! Hopefully everyone has the right pronouns now. There’s also more murder! Yay!

The link should be the same; please yell at me if it doesn’t work.


#18

Extended content or just fixed content?


#19

Both (hopefully)! Errors fixed and more scenes added.


#20

When I ask Mary about the school it doesn’t let me advance and a tab appears, saying: "startup line 1133: increasing indent not allowed, expected 0 was 2"
Oh, and btw, what was up with this line?:
“Madame Morgan’s thugs should do something useful and kill patience off” ಠ▃ಠ