And I’ve finished my Halloween Jam submission, which should be posted soon on the Halloween Jam demos page! Now that it’s finished, so that people know what to expect, I feel I can finally reveal what the feature is that I’ve been hinting at. Let me preface this by asking you a simple rhetorical question:
What is a ChoiceScript stats screen to you? Is it a place to keep track of character stats? Is it a place to put character descriptions? Is it a place to keep inventory? It certainly can be! However, my idea was something inspired by the premise of my game and by a little game called “The Medium”.
In Golden Eyes (my game jam submission), the stats screen is a scene the player can access at any time. Sometimes the scene will have nothing. Other times it will have hidden conversations, or choices. regardless of what it has, I treated the stats screen for this entry like a second scene that was continuously ongoing with the main one throughout the story.
Two scenes simultaneously available to the player at all times.
Now, normally this would be impossible, because if you *goto_scene out of the stats screen, the Return to Game button never changes back into a Show Stats button. So, the next time you would hit the show Stats button (which would actually be the Return to Game button) it would take you back to the page which you initially entered the stats screen to begin with. But through a bit of searching, I found a workaround.
A specific command made especially to go from the stats screen to the main story while changing the button back into Show Stats. It’s essentially a *goto_scene that works from the stats page. Here was the problem I ran into. Just like the *goto_scene command, if you want the story to pick up from a specific spot, you need a label. This was the problem with switching constantly between two scenes and having them move together simultaneously. I needed to make it so that every time the player went back to the main story from the stats screen, they would pick up on the page they left off on.
There are over 98 labels in a game with just over 20k words. Almost every single page has a label, and every scene starts off with a massive list of *goto commands that take the player back to the spot they were at before hitting that Show Stats button. Granted, there is one bug I could not fix, simply because of how everything works.
If a player hits Show Stats and uses the Return to Game button instead of the Next button from the page break, they get sent back to the first time they viewed the stats screen in the game. But I did put a warning about this at the very start, so hopefully I don’t get too many messages about it. This has been… an experience.
Am I going to do this mechanic ever again? I’m not sure. Probably not to this extent unless someone smarter than me finds a way to streamline what I’m deeming the “Dual Scene Scenario”. BUT I did learn a lot about what I could possibly do to create a checkpoint system in my games (one that is much more lenient than the one used in this one). So I got some practice with that!
I hope people enjoy this, and I hope they pick up on all the mystery along with the horror. A lot of things are inferred, up to the readers interpretation, although I had a specific thing in mind for nearly every detail written here in each scene. It’s been a long time in the works… and honestly, I’m both proud and glad that it’s finally over.
Best of all… I’m extremely excited to continue working on The Bureau! I hope you all enjoy my small little demo project called Golden Eyes!
If you’d like access to the game while it’s in the process of getting posted by Mara, shoot me a DM and I’ll send you the link to the dashingdon page!