Murray Hall (WIP)

So I’ve been working on this game for about a month now, and it’s starting to get serious, so I wanted to ask all of you for your opinions on a few things before it’s too late. But first, let me tell you about the game.

The game takes place in a fictional small town in Georgia in the United States, midways between Atlanta and Athens. The player is a recent high school graduate who has gotten a job at the local theater, Murray Hall. They then make friends with their seven other co-workers in a dating sim type structure. After seven “days,” things take a turn (which I refuse to spoil), and the script takes on a more mission based form in which the player can choose the order in which they want to do things, which carries the game to its conclusion. The decisions made in the relationship building stage of the game will have direct repercussions in the mission stage, mostly relating to how the other characters act.

One important thing about the game: the player can have some pretty massive variation, which results in some pretty massive story branching. Apart from the seven major skills, the player can choose one of SIX gender options (male/female/trans(pre/post op)), one of FIVE races (white, black, asian, latin@, or middle eastern), and one of FOUR optional disabilities (bad vision, a half amputated arm, paralysis of the legs, and arrhythmia). And not one of these is purely visual. Each of the other characters will react differently depending on your specific player’s combination. For example, one of the character’s brother was killed in Iraq and so they will (perhaps irrationally) despise a middle eastern player, a transwoman might have a hard time finding a date if she’s attracted to a bigot, and a wheelchair bound player might have a hard time participating in an optional soccer game. ALSO each race has a different family/housing situation, and a history that is split depending on gender.) This variation is a VERY important part of the game, and one of the primary injectors of conflict. If you expect to be able to woo everyone in every playthrough, you better be really good at manipulating others, or dealing with racism, sexism, and ableism.

Lastly, there are SEVEN normal romance options, two straight, two gay, and three bisexual. That means there are FIVE romance options for each gender (an even if they won’t date you, I’ve still written in the awkward scenes where you find that out!). Yes I do hate myself, why do you ask? Also, characters who are not the player’s chosen romance are not just relegated to background characters, like in most games. They can, and will, become jealous, try to start love triangles, start relationships with each other, and just generally remain active players in the story. Romances are tracked independently of the character’s approval scores as well, so you can be in a love/hate relationship if you want, or you can be best friends with a character without necessarily wanting to bone them. Finally, each character’s personality can change if the player helps them work through their personal issues. All of this adds up to an incredibly diverse cast that can change drastically in each playthrough.

Lastly, just a quick listing of the main characters (AKA romances) to get you losers excited.
James David : A well mannered (and well built) Black man, almost too well mannered, if you ask me. He runs camera one.
Karen Ferreira : A sheepish and strange Latina (Brazilian) who seems to be holding in a dark past. She is the janitor.
Molly Yu : A hilarious and up-beat Asian woman who loves old sci-fi movies. She works at the food stand.
Nicole Shafer : The (White) daughter of the hotel’s owner, who also happens to be a nationally famous pop star. What.
Ryan Walker : An incredibly handsome white man with an artistic mind just itching to break free. He runs the ticket booth.
Sam Blake : A mysterious white man with an abrasive attitude. But hey, he’s hot. He works at the food stand.
Zoe Mendes : An absurdly tall Latina (Argentinian) with an agreeable demeanor. What’s she hiding? She works camera two.

Just FYI, there are a few more characters that play major roles in the story. These are mostly the player’s parents, which vary with race, other character’s parents, a couple townsfolk, and one SECRET CHARACTER who is the sassiest mofo this side of the Mississippi.

Anyway yeah. If you’re looking for genre, I’d say romance/mystery, with heavy emphasis on character interaction so get excited if that’s your cup of tea. I am working a demo, which will encompass the entire first day (which currently has 20000 lines (4/5ths done), so keep your eyeballs open and your ears tuned in. It should be up in AT MOST a couple weeks, but I have an unstable living situation, so we’ll see.

This was kind of a brute force description and I’m really tired, so I probably missed a lot. If you people have questions, fire away.

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Hot damn that was long.

Yes, yes it was.

It kinda sounds cool, though, so I wouldn’t mind giving it a try once it comes out. No questions come to mind yet, though - I’ll probably have some once I’ve seen it. :slight_smile:

I think it’s an interesting, if monumental task that you’re setting for yourself. Well done on already having written so much.

No genderqueer option?

Also why both pre and post op trans?

There’s no genderqueer option because A) I don’t have very much experience with genderqueer people, and B) it would be a painful amount of extra coding to make it work. Hopefully all the genderqueer folks understand!

And there’s both pre and post op because surgery status is a MAJOR thing for a lot of trans people, and can be a major issue for a lot of people in relationships with trans people. A couple of the characters are the type to take issue, so it’ll mostly just modify those relationships. Also, there will be different details during specific scenes, such as what types of hormones the player has to take, or what kind of underwear they have to use. IT’S IMPORTANT.

Well, you definitely can’t include everyone, I was more asking since you said six different gender options.

I generally dislike the focus on operations, and what work a transgender person has, or has not, had done. I wound it rather awkward that you stated that they were both different gender options.

It’s not a simple matter of having an operation or not, and I am glad that you’re aware of that. I was equally pleased to see that you mentioned the importance of hormones.

There’s not even one single operation. Yet the media, and literature in general, seems to focus on surgery being the ultimate goal of all transgender people, and that if they haven’t underwent the surgery they are somehow not as transgender. There’s a whole lot of judgement.

Which isn’t to say that it doesn’t matter and I am glad that you have a more nuanced view of things. I was just wondering why not offer trans as the option, be that MTF or FTM and then further along the line have the issue of where they are in transition, as opposed to having the choice right at the start, which seems to put the focus on these operations.

However, if it is something that’s personal to you, and that you feel is important to do it your way please continue to do so.

Fun Fact: I am a transwoman, and I completely agree that surgery is often seen as the big old be all end all for trans people, when it really, REALLY isn’t. I initially was going to have it simply say “Transman/Transwoman” and then have the surgery distinction be a later choice, but in the end, the option is primarily going to affect the other character’s reactions to the player so I had to do it early so the player knew what they were getting into.

In my experiences with lesbians, for example, they all absolutely will not have anything to do with me until AFTER surgery. So for a romance game, it’s kind of an important thing. But now that you mention it, I might just make one solid state for both, probably post-transition, and ignore that whole issue.

Since you are trans I say write what you want and tackle the themes that are important to you. If that is the differences between pre-op and post-op then definitely go for it.

I’d think, if the main character’s able to pass, and if the story isn’t about being transgender, then the subject of whether they’re pre or post op only needs to come up with a romantic partner, and you can place the choice there. Just a scene where you come out to your romantic partner.

But, that’s just how I tend to prefer to tackle trans issues and I’ve yet to find a way which I’m comfortable integrating it. I do “which pronouns do you prefer” question, and make no assumptions in regards to gender even when the player picks. I had one game I was working on, where another trans character comes out to you and you can admit to being trans yourself. But that was a game which wasn’t based in the real world, so a lot of trans issues are different and magic can do so much more than surgery.

Generally I don’t like to make a big deal of it, but that’s my own sensibilities and I do truly admire the game-creators who create more strongly trans-themed games. I do like the idea of a romance game, where you can play a trans character.

would there be an option to name your romance option?

I think naming non player characters (aside from a pet, like in Trial of the Demon Hunter) would make it too difficult for the author to refer to his/her readers about characters, because they’d all have different names for that character.

Yeah, there are no options to name your lover, but with a couple of them, there are options later in the game to give them an affectionate nickname.

Oh that’s pretty cool

It sounds interesting so far. I really hope you keep working on it (it’s really sad to see stories die before they’re even born :frowning: lol) And, I love that you have so many character options. Especially the races, because I have a Middle Eastern/Egyptian heritage and of course most games don’t have that option.
Also I like that the characters will react to your differently based on your choices. In my opinion, games where the gameplay’s more or less exactly the same regardless of race/gender/class, etc. kind of takes away the point of choosing it in the first place