Noblesse Oblige Developer Diary - out soon!

Just curious – why would you consider showing them?

I generally like transparency, and if there are stats that may make a difference to how a character acts I like players to be able to see that, and to get a sense that “here’s something that will branch, so if the value is different next playthrough things may turn out differently next time”. In Royal Affairs I have a similar thing that’s visible - but I think the visibility is more successful there because in general theyn can be seen more clearly in character behaviour (eg Asher being diffident / bold). Whereas this is more of an internal thing. It’s a lot of food for thought!

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You could always add an option to toggle them on/off, if that wouldn’t be too complicated to code.

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Rys… why was the chocolate eating scene so sexy! Haha.

But for real, I’m excited for Rys as a character. I’m having a VERY tough time deciding who my MC will romance. At first I was all for Danelak but Pascha is growing in me and Rys swooped in all mystery like

I guess my MC will just have to flirt with everyone!

Keep up the good work, I can’t wait to see where the story goes.

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In the name selection at the start if you pick ‘Calin, after my Jezhani grandparent’ from the gender-neutral it gives you the name ‘Aurel’ instead.

Unrelated, I’m not sure I like the RO gender randomization being recommended in a game with so few ROs. It works for me in a game like CdlC because there’s so many potential choices(10, iirc) that everybody is almost sure to have a few possible choices no matter what their preference is. This lets me play as a male interested in female ROs without having to break the flow to choose at every introduction and without seeming like a male attending a female-only school. Just makes the world feel a bit more natural.

In this game, though, I’ve selected random 4 times in a row so far and still haven’t had a female RO choice, and in a romance focused game it feels a bit weird for the randomization to just completely drop a gender from the romance options when it’s the version specifically recommended by the author for a new player.

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It’s very interesting to revisit the Crème de la Crème verse from the perspective of a royal, the demo has been pretty fun so far.

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That makes a lot of sense! I will adjust so the randomised option isn’t specifically recommended on a first go.

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Love the universe, played the demo once, and I expect to do so several times more. I haven’t gotten a full sense about the plot’s pace and how I feel about it, which I anticipate to do so with more playthroughs, but on first glance:

-When I tell Rys that I won’t be doing her snooping, then proceed to do so anyways, she asks me about the result of my snooping as if I had agreed to do so. (it would be, I suppose, better if I have to engage her rather than her expectedly asking about something which she had acknowledged I would not be doing)

-As others have commented, I’m not sure how I feel about NPC stats being visible by default. For example, I now understand that Rys has some sort of grievance or perceived injustice based on her vengeance/justice stat, not something I would have inferred from the plot. Similarly I now know the the axes along which other characters will have to align, such as Pascha wavering between kindness and selfishness. It makes thing appear somewhat 1D when I know the polarities they can be pulled towards. In contrast, in CLDC, I enjoyed seeing characters behave differently in different playthroughs, knowing my actions affected them, but not having a cheat sheet which would allow me to explicitly tug them in a direction or another, which I felt was very life-like. I generally play stat-less, but having the expanded stats hidden by default, I feel, adds immersion AND does not reveal the scheme which our characters will eventually choose between; it makes it seem much more open, rather than bipolar.

-I enjoyed the game & the writing is wonderful. I’ll be actively following development.

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Personally, I think that simply showing NPC stats is hardly a ‘cheat sheet’—in some ways I think it actually helps my immersion, since these things might actually be more obviously visible if you were living your PC’s life with the NPCs, becoming familiar with them, and seeing their behaviour in person. Moreover, in real life people do try to tug others in specific directions all the time, and for better or worse this tugging is often based on an oversimplified, bipolar model of the other person’s psyche.

Then again, I tend to play these games while simultaneously reading the code, so my standards for cheat sheets and immersion might be respectively higher and lower.

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Ah, yes, I do believe our definition for immersive is different; a game becomes immersive for me when I DON’T understand how to get precise stuff done, much like my relationships in real life :joy: :joy:

I also inspect the ChoiceScript stat objects for games, but only after I’ve had my fill of the game, as once I see under the hood, it’s suddenly less of a story and more of a finite state machine to me.

There’s probably a lot of subjectivity in that, and it’s interesting that the stats for other characters topic is generating some insightful exchanges.

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@FabricSeat @Julius_Caesar

Huh, I had not considered that there could be different definitions of immersion. For me it just means that what I know/believe and what my character knows/believes are the same (as far as relevant knowledge).

That could explain why some people seemed to simply not. get. it. when I said that their story lacked immersion. They probably had some other definition and thought the level of immersion was fine.

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Oop, that’s an oversight - thank you for spotting that.

Upon reflection I’m leaning towards not having the character stats visible - I agree that it feels both a bit too revealing while also not bringing much clarity, which is not the intended recipient!

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Another non foolish update!

Now that I’ve drafted Chapters 7-8 of Royal Affairs, I’m turning my attention back to Noblesse Oblige, which is currently at 52,000 words with a playthrough length of about 19,000 words. This puts me right on track for the interactive romance novella length that Noblesse Oblige will be - a delicious appetiser compared to other Etiquette and Intrigue titles’ monstrous banquet.

I’m now getting to work on the structure for Chapter 5, which I’m very excited about as things are hotting up in more ways than one! I’ve updated the Noblesse Oblige demo to include Chapter 3. Please enjoy, and as always I love to hear feedback of whatever kind - it helps me a huge amount during the development process!

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Here is some of yesterday’s somewhat silly, but useful in the long run, notebook planning. This is the sort of thing I do before I start coding a chapter - it’s stuff for the upcoming Chapters 5 and 6.

Plus ça change, Pascha:

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I crossed this out in favour of something more surprising. But I thought you might enjoy my stream of consciousness planning:

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Inadvertently summing up a big chunk of my creative work:

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You are a brave soul.

I doubt my handwritten notes will see the light of day.

:two_hearts:

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Most of them were too spoilery but I always enjoy comparing whatever I scrawl down to the finished thing - there’s usually something strange that don’t make it through (such as Creme’s very early twin and supernatural sickness storylines that I never went anywhere with!)

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A nice update for a Monday afternoon! I’ve finished drafting Chapter 5 - with some balancing, spellcheck and playtesting still to do, but the bulk of it is done. I’m really pleased, not least because I ended up planning a HUGE amount of nicely-flavoured but plot-unnecesssary content which would have made the chapter large even for a bigger game, and was able to trim it away without really missing it.

Current total wordcount: 75504 words (over my target by 3000 words, insert “I’m in danger” gif here)
Current average playthrough: 23407 words
Current playthrough to wordcount ratio: 0.3, ie players will see around 30% of content on each playthrough (a bit under target, though not quite as dangerous as going wildly off the rails for the final two chapters)

Some mildly spoilery bits below:

The reason the chapter got so big was that there is some major branching in plot at this stage based on which character route you’re on, which vastly affects what you know, what you get up to in the chapter, and what your expectations are for Chapter 6. I also decided to give the player the option to combine two routes if they choose, eligibility for which is affected by their choices earlier in the game (if you’ve totally alienated a character, you can’t go to them for help with something).

The major thing I’ve just finished is intimacy scenes with the romance options - I’m glad I structured the chapter so the rest was already done because it ended up being a lot of words. I’ve gone for much more explicitness in these than in my previous games - with an optional fade to black, and points where the character can slow down or stop when they want. Which is a bit nervewracking, because it’s very easy to get wrong, but I feel pleased with them so far.

Chapter 5 also has the ability to start a polyamorous relationship between two of the romance interests, which I was originally planning for right at the end but felt it deserved breathing space.

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Returning to this subject after a few months dormant, I agree that Vigor doesn’t quite work as a word to refer to this stat. Currently the stat guide refers to it as physical strength, force of charismatic personality and in practice it’s used for things like being loud/distracting, cheering people up, and acts of physical strength like breaking an object or hitting someone.

I don’t want to split the stat into social/physical as I like keeping this game’s stats very broad, with each one covering lots of situations. How do people feel about “Energy”, “Drive”, “Spirit” or “Force” as a word for this stat (Spirit overlaps with Creme’s stats but that wouldn’t be a disaster)?

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I like “Energy” or “Force.”

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Energy or Spirit for me.

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