Official COG WIPs - WDYT?

Continuing the discussion from COMING THURSDAY: "Mask of the Plague Doctor," New Author Interview, DEMO, and TRAILER:

So, how are folks liking the COG title WIPs? More, less, helpful, not, a good way to beta a game without joining the official beta? Let us know what you think.


As an aspiring writer found it very interesting to see how a professional handles the making of a project. Then, I think also helps the company to give exposure to the fans that a current project is coming and create some desire for the game.

I personally think is a great way to develop a relationship between Cog, authors and forum members.


What Mara said.
And I think it’s also mutually beneficial to author and audience, as a lot of CoG writers might be professional, but it’s their first venture with choicescript. So a WiP thread can help with the stumbling stones of coding.
And even established CoG authors benefit greatly, I’d say, as a WiP thread allows to smooth the story out at a much earlier state than at the open beta phase (as in, it’s easier to fix hiccups and implement ideas etc).


I think its very awesome to play a WIP without officially beta testing it.


I thought both @PParrish and @Wiwyums were pretty attentive to constructive comments of the “I was wishing for an option to do X here” or “I want to be able to do a playthrough where I can Y the whole time.”


Honestly, I can’t think of a downside. More input is almost always better, so long as you’re able to glean what’s helpful from what maybe isn’t as much. I am glad the option for a private, invitation-only beta is given for CoG and HG stories. That being said, there aren’t a lot of circumstances where I’d say it’s the better option, unless it is being done in conjunction with a truly public beta option as well (like a lot of our Patreon folks seem to do). The community wants to make their voices heard, the author wants to maximize how much the community is aware of them and what they’re doing. Works well all around.


<3 Nice. And that’s what I meant. Looking through some negative/neutral reviews, a lot of genuine criticism (compared to the nonsensical ‘evul es-jay-dubbleuh propaganda’ ones) comes down to the player being disappointed at not being able to do X or Y when the game felt as if that would/should have been an option.
And often paths just don’t occur to writers (speaking from experience) until it’s ‘too late’, so that’s something the WiP threads definitely are a boon for.


I honestly love WIPs , firstly it let us see plethora of different styles and colour imaginations of the authors we have here , secondly i personally just love to see all the problems and pitfalls an author falls in during the making of the story(kinda sadistic i know) and at the end of it all coming out as an better and improved author , thirdly it gives me an idea about what i am going to buy and whether the story is to my taste or not.


This is probably one of my favorite things CoG has done recently. The best part about CoGs is how you’re almost sure to get a good quality one. They may not be the best at times, but they’re almost always at least decent. Now that there’s WiPs for them, I feel like CoG games can really get taken to the level that some of the best HGs are at, without any of the risk of HGs.


Here’s something a close personal friend posted in another topic that might be relevant here:


I really like WIP threads. I haven’t been involved in the recent ones just with how life is going right now, but I deeply appreciate the opportunity to give feedback while it’s still actionable.

I don’t feel like I have the time or skills to be a proper beta reader at this point, but I often have one or two thoughts or questions on things and it’s nice to interact.


I personally think it’s cool.

Many of us wants to be a beta tester, but cannot due to life marching on it’s own beat. With the WIPs, I think we can contribute as much as we can without being a full-fledged beta tester (I still would like to become one, maybe later when studies doesn’t weigh down on me).

Plus, it’s interesting to see how CoG writers develop their stories and what their thought process are.

Anyway, sorry for the ramble. I think it’s cool and it’s something I look forward too😃


Except when the WiPs are incomplete and on hold for a long time… They’re awesome and like 'em a lot… Can replay as many times as one wants, just like beta… it’s fun…


Personally, I don’t trust myself to be a beta tester. It’s a lot of time and commitment that I’m not always sure I have. The WIP threads, however, allow me to engage with content without that extra pressure. Even if I don’t leave constructive criticism, it’s still nice to have a place where I can tell an author that I think they’re doing good work and can’t wait for the finished game. I can’t speak for others, but I know that as a creator even surface level comments help keep me motivated about work I’m doing. And I like reading change logs! Seeing some of the behind the scenes process! To me, at least, I think they’re a great way to connect authors to this community.

I also think it’s great publicity in the community. I know in particular Mask of the Plague Doctor would be a game I would have zero interest in if I hadn’t checked out the WIP. Now I’m planning on buying it when it comes out. I just don’t see any significant downside to having WIP threads for games like this be open.


First, credit where it’s due - Mask only had a WIP because @Mary_Duffy brought it up early in the writing process (I know she’s said elsewhere that COG WIPs weren’t her idea, but mine happened at her suggestion).

I found it helpful, definitely. Echoing what @Wiwyums and others have said, really. It’s a great way to learn early on that you’ve neglected an ‘obvious’ path or option that players will want to see. Two (non spoiler) examples from my game - there’s a point where the protagonist is forced to take off their mask for an event. People really didn’t want to do that! So, at first I added the option to resist doing that … then that evolved into being able to resist and actually succeed at leaving the mask on (which can also then assist you with a later stat check).

The second, broader, change, was learning that a lot of people just wanted to ignore (as much as possible) being drawn into political schemes. You can’t avoid that stuff entirely, of course, but it did shape where the game went. There’s a major event that players can now skip entirely and concentrate on their medical investigations instead (which gets you a reward - but at the cost of not being able to influence something else of importance). I had a couple of beta testers comment on how it seemed really cool that that NPCs would be undertaking their political plans whether the protagonist was involved or not - and I agree! It’s neat to have characters pursue their goals independent of the protagonist (as long as it’s suitably telegraphed).

I suppose I don’t know whether a WIP would be ideal for every writer. I’d certainly not make them mandatory or anything. But the two main things that could derail one would be an antagonistic community (not a problem here, you guys are great!) or a writer who felt they had to adopt every single piece of advice/criticism.

One final thing - I noticed that towards the end of my WIP, the comments and interaction started to dry up compared to the start. I don’t know if this was because people had already decided they wanted to play it on release and didn’t want it spoiled ahead of time, or fatigue at having to play through the early chapters soooo many times each time there was an update (totally understandable). There were several requests for a save state to avoid the latter, but I don’t know how feasible that ever was.


That was honestly my main misgiving from an editorial standpoint–too many cooks can spoil the broth. I was concerned authors might feel they had to do things that weren’t true to their or our vision for the game. But so far every author has navigated those waters very deftly.


I like the WiPs for CoG titles.

From the ‘tester’ side of things, I like not being in the official beta test? The WiP offers a more casual atmosphere and I don’t feel pressured to “find” something to critique the author on. If that makes sense.

It honestly feels like you’re in a casual/easy going writing group and offering feedback to the author.


I found it really valuable for Crème de la Crème! With Blood Money I was fortunate enough to have a lot of very useful beta feedback but even so, it was nerve wracking on release week to wonder whether people would enjoy the concept. Having the chance to see whether people liked the Creme concept before beta was lovely! It was great to hear what people had to say and just generally test the waters. Writing is an isolated activity and I find it easy to get in my own head over it, so having a range of opinions is useful, and the suggestions and feedback were really helpful.

Honestly it’s also nice and fulfilling to bond with other people on the forums, and to build up some hype for a project - hype both for players and for myself. Knowing that people are enthusiastic about a project can help motivation a lot!


As a consumer I really like them. I know I don’t have the dedication to be a good beta tester. So the WIP are a great way for me to get engaged and still get excited about things I might see in the future. I can’t say for sure, but without the WIPs I feel like I probably would have wandered off and quit buying games by now. While I wait for games I know are coming or going through the final stages, the WIPs keep COG fresh in my mind since I check a couple times a week to see what is new in WIP land.


In my case, I stopped posting because I was expecting the release, so Day one purchase. But I think is normal people dry the feedback after several months. Still, I think the uniqueness of your game and the atmosphere will make a lot of readers. I wish you luck.