Nocturnal Aurora, Book 1: Sin of Sloth (WIP: Alpha | Update #1: 12/23/2020)

Huh. I thought it was intentional.

Well I know mc’s siblings are basically his parents, but most little siblings go, “have you lost your mind?” when an older sibling calls them sweetie or is even overtly nice to them. My oldest aunt babies my mum (the youngest of many) because she basically raised her, but not even she uses that much verbal affection like that.

Idk if it’s a thing you should change (you probably can’t at this point), but mc’s older siblings seem to be impossibly nice people both inside and out. I guess it’s that that makes me creeped out. I’m used to less overt affection between family members. And I haven’t seen any other side of the two siblings other than caring, sacrificing, and smart that makes them seem two dimensional “mary sue” to me atm. I’m sure this’ll change with more content revealed.

So far I’m satisfied with the “tsundere”-ish choice to go “Ugh, go away” while only half meaning it.

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I just read all the comments below my last one.

I think it’d be better to remove “let me feed you” because that was the most jarring part for me. Silently holding up a spoon to your lips would ‘go down easier’. Unless you can somehow change the wording. “Let me feed you” just sounds so infantilising. Or at least to have an option to protest.

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A (Belated) Happy New Year’s to all of you, dearest friends! I wish you and yours the absolute best, with hopes that 2021 brings you much improved health, wealth, and happiness – in its own right, as well as by virtue of it not being 2020. :sparkling_heart:

I thought I should post a brief update on my progress.

Unfortunately, life happened, so the holiday special I had intended will be indefinitely postponed. I did do some work on the main game, and some of the dialogue I wrote for the short story will probably be reappropriated for future use, so it was not all for naught. :stuck_out_tongue_closed_eyes:

I know what form the new prologue will take now, which is moderately different from what I had planned before. I do not anticipate it to be too long (unless inspiration strikes), but it will not be short either, and getting it right is proving much more difficult than one might think. Consequently, it will take more time than the length might suggest! (You will actually get some indication of what the story will be about with this.)

Chapter 1, which is currently the Prologue, will probably be revised a bit, in the following manner: more paragraph breaks and possibly page breaks, more choices where it makes sense, removal of some extraneous confirmation choices, and expansion of certain scenes.

I will additionally be including a third-party, third-person interlude between Chapter 1 and the future Chapter 2, although I want the interludes evenly spaced between the chapters, so it will likely be repositioned after Chapter 2 when the time comes.

The personality system will be overhauled with the next update, no matter what. I need to figure out the best approach as soon as possible and implement it in the choices, before any endeavors in this regard get exponentially more difficult. (I also wish to avoid negating save files too often.)

The hopeful projection is now January 22nd, though I am still aiming for January 15th if possible.

Take care! :revolving_hearts:

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Some thoughts, but as always these are more to give you ideas rather than strict guidelines. :wink:

When it comes to personality expression in flavor text:

I cite Mind Blind, a gorgeously written demo that uses what I outline here. :slightly_smiling_face:

A technique I’ve seen employed before that works really well is coming up with 3, or 4 (3 seems fundamentally easier, imo) core personality response types, with subtypes that could combine the two most dominant traits if close to equal, or output a response based on equalized attributes spread between the 3 or more core traits.
Aiming for a predicted Goldilocks zone, rather than exact numbers tends to save a bit of headache in this area of IF creation. As the creator, you know how many choices made individually would add up to their respective qualities, so those zones should be simple to check for at each major junction that uses those qualities for planned responses, or even words/lines that might change in the middle of a sentence based on prior player input without needing a choice to activate.

The reason you’d want the core traits to be few in number is because the responses based solely on the individual traits, or combinations start to really add up. Say you pay points into just one core trait, and nowhere close to the same focus on the other two, for instance… The main core trait has it’s own response, closely followed by anything that’s close to equal. That wouldn’t be the order of the code’s process of elimination, but I think you follow where I was going so far.

I really do recommend the WIP Mind Blind, btw. Jo’s a really entertaining author, and her story more than showcases the complexity of the personality tracking technique I was describing. :grin:

Having said all that I must admit, there’s no need to be an exact replica of that system, or even to take any part of what I mentioned as useful at all. I just like that system’s “checks and balances” because it simplifies the process of personality flavor, without compromising complexity of the flavor variation itself.

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Thank you for your very helpful post! :heavy_heart_exclamation:

My first thought for the personality system was actually along similar lines; I had considered a few “archetypes” that could be calculated on some sort of subroutine (once per chapter?), rather than keeping track of numerous opposed pairs and the like.

I had ultimately rejected it because I did not think it would fit a series as well as it might have a standalone game, but the more I think about your words, the more logical it seems.

I think I will try something like this after all – and I’ll peek at the code of Mind Blind to see how the author handles it, if that is acceptable with her! (It is indeed a phenomenal work, by the way. :heart_eyes_cat:)


Since you clearly have put thought into this, I was wondering if I might be so bold as to solicit your opinion for my initial concept?

The primary categories would be:
Beneficent – doing and being good; being earnest
Whimsical – approaching things humorously
Dolorous – seeming distressed or reserved

The combination categories would be:
Beneficent + Whimsical = Charming – friendly and witty
Whimsical + Dolorous = Macabre – characterized by black comedy
Beneficent + Dolorous = Melancholy – earnest but pensive

The choices would give a certain amount of stats for each of the two it reflected if it were a combination, and double the amount for the sole trait if it only reflected one.

For example, a fully beneficent choice might give %+4 in Beneficent, whereas a charming choice might give %+2 in each of Beneficent and Whimsical instead.

What do you think about this approach, and these archetypes?

I also had the idea of running a subroutine at the beginning of each chapter to set flavor text for that chapter. (This is as opposed to running one each time flavor text appears within a chapter, which would easily get out of hand.) Your choices will continue to matter, but might not be reflected in flavor text independent of choices until later.

Do you think the per-chapter subroutine would be a reasonable approach?

(If Mind Blind does something like this, I promise that is coincidental – I have no wish to copy things without permission, and have not checked the code!)

Naturally, you need not answer these questions all, or may only respond to what you would like. Thank you so much for your assistance throughout already! :sparkling_heart:


Happy Cake Day, incidentally! :smiley:

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The names, and their combinations are lovely! :smile:

Once per chapter would probably work beautifully if there are no drastic changes to personality in between that first check, and two, or three choices later in the same chapter when a new stat (or even two) is suddenly dominant… For a lot of WIPs, to check on how things are running, I might bounce between the stats, and the story. There are some where I don’t even think about the stat screen until “oops, I was supposed to be ‘test reading’ this…” comes up. I was not bouncing between the stats, and story on yours, incidentally. Reading an authors’ OP is generally how I know to be watching the stats at all, though some early WIPs incorporate some large shifts that need to be tracked for consistency. It varies. WIPs that are planned to be a series, or at the least two books that must communicate in some way by loading book one’s tracked info need to be optimized for balance if the main personality stats are still allowed to shift, and vary later in the series. :thinking:

As you may have surmised, this is where the “game development” side of WIP planning comes into play. A lot of author’s tend to leave stats for later, instead opting to just build the main spine of their story’s arch, and implementing refined stats later once all the story is as complete as they want it. That does help with the stress, and headache of the process if you don’t have the headspace to work on that parallel to the plot development. Real-world obligations can congest this for a lot of people. Still, having a plan for your system saves future-you a fair bit of trouble in the long run, even if you decide you want to scrap some, or a large chunk of what you planned when implementation, and balancing take place.

I’m looking forward to what you come up with. :blush:

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something has the 7 sins
cogs in my brain start workin overtime

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This is very interesting, but for me those stats are extremely irritating and that stat section is WAY too messy…

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I’m not. :laughing:

In all seriousness, thank you so much for your input and explanations!

I do agree that future me would thank present (or then-past) me for putting in some effort earlier! As you said, even if I end up redoing most of what I had implemented, or being forced to rebalance, at least the template would be there.

Time constraints are my biggest limitation with Nocturnal Aurora, followed by the hopefully rare instances of writer’s block and the common obstacle of my unfamiliarity with programming. I am aware that choosing the platform of interactive fiction necessitates extra work, and that writing will require concurrent coding if I want to make things easier for myself, given that I hope to make this book the first in a series.

I’ll see if I can handle personality – and skills – reasonably well. I very much want players to be interested in them for flavor and for finding different paths to the same ultimate goal, and I wish to enhance replayability, but the stats should be secondary to major decisions that are intended to be what drive the plot. :smiley:

As for looking at the stats, the hope is that people might want to do that on occasion (or often, if such is their desire), and that they play to their characters’ strengths. However, min-maxing should never be necessary.


An understandable reaction!

Hopefully the next update will interest you, since you will actually briefly meet the Seven Deadly Sins through a major character’s eyes in the Prologue, and witness a hopefully interesting conversation in an Interlude. :eyes:


If you mean the personality stats, they will be replaced completely with the next update, probably in the way that has been described above. If you mean the skill stats, may I ask why? I want them to be fun and intuitive.

What do you mean by the “star section?” Are you referencing the game settings, or perhaps the stats screen in general? I would love to improve readability throughout, so please let me know how I can do that! :smiley:

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oh i am absolutely looking forward to that :eyes: :eyes: :eyes: :eyes:

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Hey , question
are you sending out some subliminal messaging to try and get me to floss my teeth ?

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Update on the Next Update

Explanation

Greetings, friends! :sparkling_heart:

I sincerely apologize for not updating when I had hoped, and for the lack of communication! Life has been even busier than I had anticipated.

Rather than post a relatively minor update late, I chose to combine the next two updates and extend the delay such that I could offer readers a meaningful update instead. This update will still likely not be as large as I had originally desired, but I want readers to be able to proceed in the story as the main character (and to be able to flirt a little!), on top of getting a much better sense of what the narrative is about. I also wish to more coherently set tone and themes. :stuck_out_tongue_closed_eyes:

The next update will include the following…

Game Mechanics

  • There will be a new personality system.
    • Your personality will be set within each chapter according to the number of “points” you have accumulated in each category. This will usually be for flavor and some subplots; the main plot will not require one type or another, though it will change at least a little according to your type.

    • There will be three primary categories.

      • Beneficent – doing and being good; being earnest
      • Whimsical – approaching things humorously
      • Dolorous – seeming distressed or reserved
    • There will be four combination categories.

      • Beneficent + Whimsical = Charming – friendly and witty

      • Beneficent + Dolorous = Melancholy – earnest but pensive

      • Whimsical + Dolorous = Grim – characterized by black comedy

      • Beneficent + Whimsical + Dolorous = Reserved – quiet and restrained

        • This one might be a bit confusing! I decided upon this because I wanted a “reserved” option without either adding one artificially or adding a silent alternative to all the other choices. The idea behind this is that a reserved personality can be considered a balance of all three of the primary categories, and that moderating oneself generally suggests coming across as subdued.
    • Your personality will be recalculated and decided at the beginning of each chapter. This means your choices will continue to matter, but there won’t be a subroutine run after every choice, and personality changes will feel a bit more natural.

Choices and Code

  • Existing choices will be updated to reflect the updated personality system, and new choices will be added in the flashbacks and a couple other places in Chapter 1 (what is currently the Prologue), as well as in the new content.
  • The code will hopefully be simplified where possible, though given my extreme inexperience with programming, I think I did an acceptable job the first time around! :stuck_out_tongue:

Writing Mechanics

  • Larger paragraphs will be split apart, with transitions where appropriate, for better readability. Additionally, longer pages will be broken up.
  • Confusing sentences will be restructured, and unnecessarily rare words – where they don’t make sense – will be changed.

Content: Chapters

  • The current Prologue will be turned into Chapter 1 and potentially expanded a little, in terms of choices and suggesting characterization closer to my original intent – with Kiara especially.
  • The first, and likely larger, part of Chapter 2 will be published. This will include both “routes:” one with Izzy and one with Bogdasha.

Content: Interludes, etc.

  • There will be an entirely new prologue, set in the third-person from the perspective of a major character (in the series, not necessarily in Book 1).
    • The current Prologue will become Chapter 1.
    • This will hopefully set the tone for both the book and the series as a whole.
  • Interlude I, set in the third-person from a to-be-disclosed perspective, will be published.
    • My intent is to offer one interlude after every two chapters, from a number of different factions, in a way that enhances the story and the supporting characters.

Hopeful Projection

  • Friday, March 05, 2021
    • Remember, these projections – though hopeful – are on the generous side, in order to allow time for myself without having to delay updates constantly. I might implement updates before the projected date; if this occurs, it may be on a Friday (which is preferable), or it may be only a few days in advance.
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I have really enjoyed the demo, though I have to say, the memories bit can be quite overwhelming. I think it’s too much info and too long without making choices. Heheheh aside from that, I think u did a good job, OP :smiley:

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I fully intend to break up those segments into additional paragraphs and pages, and to add at least one choice to the two longer memories. Hopefully that will make the section more readable and entertaining, providing information without overloading or boring the reader.

Thank you for the feedback and for your kind words! :revolving_hearts:

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I love this, the way you write is unique and I REALLY enjoyed it. And the funny bit is amusing, it’s really different :heart_eyes:
Can’t wait for the next update and the finish version :revolving_hearts:
Good work😁 and don’t forget to stay healthy.

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Greetings, friends! :revolving_hearts:

I know I’ve already delayed the update fairly significantly, but unfortunately, real life continues to temper even my cautious expectations. I fear that my joke about taking five years to publish just the first book seems to be more akin to reality with each passing day.

That said, the update intended to be released on March 5th will be delayed until such time as it is ready.

At this time, I will no longer provide projections; updates will come when they will, though I shall do my best to publish them as soon as possible, and to minimize the variation in the periods between each update.

If, at any point, I conclude that I will not be in a position to update within sensible time frames (i.e., if it would take more than a few months to add one chapter), I will place the project on hiatus until I am able to update – even if said updates will be infrequent. Rest assured that I have no wish to abandon this project!

If worst comes to worst, I will try to compress the entire story into one fairly long book instead, and work on that as time allows. Otherwise, I will slowly but surely work on the first book, and hopefully eventually publish it before proceeding to the second one. :smiley:

I sincerely apologize for the disappointment, and hope you will understand.

I truly hope that you and yours are all safe and well! :sparkling_heart:

Best regards,
Robin

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Take your time to finish it,and ensure that your real life doesn’t get interrupted by this project. I really appreciate that you didn’t just go “yeah no I can’t do this anymore” and instead opted to continue this story,even if the updates are gonna be slow. Writing a branching story is really damn hard,and that’s coming from a person who got a brain fart after writing 8000 words.

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