Polls about COG, HG, and IF games

Would you play a game with a fixed character and storyline, like a traditional game? The gameplay style is like a cross between Ace Attorney Investigations and L.A. Noire, meets vampires.

You are an aristocratic vampire hunter, responsible for the protection of your assigned domain. Five years after you have eradicated the last vampire in your domain, they have suddenly reappeared. You track them down… only to uncover a plot that revolves around your own questionable past.

I haven’t actually finished plotting this out, so that summary may change later on - but that’s the gist of it.

  • Yes
  • No
  • It depends (please explain)

0 voters

3 Likes

The storyline sounds quite interesting and I would definitely be up for something like that, even if it was fixed. As for the fixed character, I would certainly appreciate some level of customization even if it wasn’t a lot, just to help me relate to the character more.

2 Likes

I won’t mind if the player character is fixed if we can alter small details like first name/gender.

6 Likes

It worked in Samurai of Hyuga imo. We can choose name and gender. But personality and backstory are more or less fixed. Backstory is set, personality can be changed partially, but some things are always the same (our ronin is disappointed in life and uses alcohol to escape their problems). But if more things than that would be set I’d wonder why I’m not reading an actual book bc in those it’s clear that I’m getting the pov of a fully created character, while in a CYOA I would expect to have some control.

Name: I want to feel like I’m playing as a character mixed between the authors imagination and mine, instead of just borrowing the authors character.
Gender: Some people, me amongst them, aren’t comfortable with the MC set to certain gender.

5 Likes

Those are excellent points, I didn’t consider them earlier but I can do that. Maybe some other flavour text bits too, if I can think of any.

I guess what I’m trying to do isn’t really a CYOA, but something you play through and beat - like a traditional game. Once that plot is out there’s going to be little replay value anyway.

3 Likes

I think The Path to Greatness was like that too? I didn’t actually read that one, but irc I’ve read the author say somewhere it’s more set than most CYOAs. I suppose if you are clear about in the description then the right audience would be the ones giving it a try.

this reply is a little late, but i’d like to note: having to scroll a lot, regardless of how much I like the game, is a surefire way to make my attention span completely dip. If I find myself suddenly scrolling a lot, I just can’t pay attention for long. The text starts looking like a big wall of black lines and I just need to do something else after a minute or two. Wouldn’t matter if it was a totally new story or my favorite title ever!

4 Likes

For IF that use stat checks, which would you prefer?

  • Being able to choose between difficulty levels (hard = higher stat checks, easy = lower stat checks)

or

  • Different levels of passing/failing (e.g high pass = 70, medium pass = 50, fail = < 50)

The threshold for stat checks with difficulty levels will change overtime as you have chances to increase your skills. For example, on hard difficulty, the first arc of the game lets you gain max 30 points in a skill, and lets you pass with a 25. However, by the third arc, you can gain an extra 30 points (now you have max 60 points), and it only lets you pass with a 50. Anything below that is a straight-up fail.

Another example of the difference between these two.

For both of these examples, let’s assume that you’ve had four chances to raise your strength stat, each time adding +5. However, you chose to raise your strength stat 3/4 times, having chosen to raise another stat over strength once.

Set difficulty levels

*set strength 15

A monster appears. You must attack it, for exemplary purposes.
*if difficulty = "hard"
  *if strength >= 18
    *set succeed true
    *goto areyouwinningson
  *else
    *set succeed false
    *goto areyouwinningson
*elseif difficulty = "medium"
  *if strength >= 14
    *set succeed true
    *goto areyouwinningson
  *else
    *set succeed false
    *goto areyouwinningson
*else
  *comment difficulty = easy
  *if strength >= 10
    *set succeed true
    *goto areyouwinningson
  *else
    *set succeed false
    *goto areyouwinningson

*label areyouwinningson
*if succeed = true
  You defeated the monster. Hurrah!
*else
  The monster eats you. Dang it.

*finish

TLDR:

  • If on hard, you will fail (min. 18 strength needed)
  • If on medium, you will pass (min. 14 strength needed)
  • If on easy, you will definitely pass (min. 10 strength needed)

Different levels of passing

*set strength 15

A monster appears. You must attack it, for exemplary purposes.
*if strength >= 18
  *set high_success true
*elseif strength >= 14
  *set med_success true
*elseif strength >= 10
  *set low_success true

*label areyouwinningson
*if high_success = true
  You defeated the monster with ease. Hurrah!
*if med_success = true
  You defeated the monster, but it took you some time. Mom's gonna kill you for being late.
*if low_success = true
  You barely defeated the monster, having to hide in a bush most of the time.
*if ((high_success = false and med_success = false) and low_success = false)
  You were eaten by the monster. Dang it!

*finish

TLDR;

  • Since you have 15 strength, you will get a mid-pass. While you survived, there will be a side effect due to not being able to get a high pass (being late).
  • I prefer being able to choose a difficulty level
  • I prefer the game to have different levels of passing

0 voters

2 Likes

How would you feel with a character with a fixed given name and surname? Here’s the thing - the character doesn’t want to have that name either. He always refers to himself with his middle name, and this is what you can choose.

So for example his name might be John Jay Jones II. Formal communications will always refer to him as John Jones II, strangers might call him Jones, acquaintances might call him John. But he doesn’t actually like being named John after his father - he wants to distance himself from that. No one’s ever called his father by the middle name Jay. So he always refers to himself in his internal thoughts as Jay, and some friends might do too.

As for the surname - everyone knows that he comes from the Jones family. No point in creating an alias surname for him. And also the fact that his family is nobility and he can use that surname for clout and leverage. He doesn’t necessarily like it to be related to the Jones family, but it doesn’t mean he won’t exploit it.

  • I’m okay with only choosing their middle name, which is what they use to refer to themself as.
  • I’m okay with only choosing their middle name and surname.
  • I’m okay with only choosing their middle name and given name.
  • I’d still want to choose their given name and surname (in addition to his middle name), both of which they don’t like.
  • Other (please comment)

0 voters

Maybe I’m overthinking this.

1 Like

Is this about a character we play as or just a character? I have differing opinions depending on your answer.

It’s the player character. Sorry, I thought I mentioned it.

I picked the first option. I’m fine with their first and- surenames set and their middle name (which they prefer) choosen by me. But would that also mean it’s genderlocked? That could be more of a problem for me. If the genderlock isn’t necessary then you can use an unisex firstname to make the game accessible to more readers.

All right. I’ll just offer my two cents then.

  1. Not all cultures have names that includes middle names or surnames.
  2. Not all cultures have names where the younger person gets a II, III, Jr, etc suffix if they are named after an older relative.

I see the example you give and just think this: okay, I can’t play as my own race here, at least not without utilizing a bunch of headcanons so it would make sense.

A naming choice like yours, while plot-relevant, will alienate players. Depending on the last name and first name you decided on, it will alienate even more.

I do like the idea of baggage that comes with people forming an impression based the family you came from, however.

4 Likes

@Cari-san The John Jay Jones name is just an example. You can select your gender, and the name comes with it.

@Greyscales Yes, I realise I’m making something closer to a traditional game that you can win instead of a real CYOA. It’s kind of a set story, and you play as someone descended from English nobility. Or a parallel world to that - it’s definitely not real life because there’s magic and vampires involved and lines and divisions between people are drawn differently. (There may also be bomb-throwing anarchists.)

The player character is still considered noble, yeah, but they’ve become a mostly unwelcome presence (initially through no fault of their own, though failing to play high society’s “game” afterward and falling on the wrong side of some powerful people don’t help), and there’s resentment on their part about that. The character’s backstory is set like this.

It’s still very much in the planning phase, though. Someone wants to kill them now, and I haven’t gotten that part fully figured out yet. Trying to figure out if I can actually code this thing, too… What I’m doing so far feels very clunky.

2 Likes

OMG! 500K words! Is that even possible? :scream: :scream:

Save checkpoints can be included in longer games (both Tin Star and Choice of Rebels did it, in XoR at the end of the game we can even go back to checkpoints choosed by us insted of just going back to the last save checkpoint), just saying.

When I read the description of a game I check word count (that’s a must for me). My judging system based on that looks like this:

  • Less than 100 000: It’s probably rushed. Or even if it’s quality is good enough it would end too soon. I pass. Latest example for that would be Rain King. The description was interesting then I saw the word count and I immedately gave up on it. The description sounded too complex for everything it promises fit into a game with 51 000 word count lenght. So I just passed up on it.
  • 100 000 to 200 000: This is risky. These games are also “short” enough that they could suffer from being too rushed, but they can also be done well. I could name examples for both.
  • 200 000 and more: Now this length is enough to write a game with the right pacing, building up characters, the world etc., to fit in everything with the right quality, so if the description is interesting then I buy it. Still I tend to think the more the word count more promising it sounds to me.
5 Likes

Damn, I’m the opposite. The longer the game, the more bloated it becomes. I’m much more comfortable with shorter games that explore a specific premise than massive epics. I find it’s a huge issue with Hosted Games in particular – they get really, really big and kind of lose sight of the point.

I’d rather play a 50,000 word game with a strong premise than a 500,000 word game that meanders. Honestly, I think Choice Script favours shorter games over longer ones, structurally and mechanically. People want to write novels when the system works better for novellas.

8 Likes

I’m actually of agreement here @will. I do think long games can work really well, but they need someone who is good enough to keep all the story threads and variables organised enough to keep everything on track, and not having the pacing of the story become too slow or wander unnecessarily.

Problem is, longer games are more highly rated than shorter ones. I’ve heard sentiments frequently like “I wouldn’t bother with a game under 100k as it’ll be too rushed, and even then I’d prefer at least double that to even try it, with the more words, then the more likely it’ll be worth reading”. Obviously everyone is entitled to their own opinion, but it is disheartening. It makes it really tempting to want to deliberately inefficiently code to bloat the wordcount out, or not go through and cut scenes back that don’t really go anywhere just to get people to try my games (which often do fall on the shorter end so I am really, really biased to often liking to read shorter, faster paced CSGs I admit) although I’ve resisted that temptation and just deal with knowing that if I choose to write shorter games, they’ll generally be looked over because the wordcount is low.

There are certainly games that are shorter and can feel incomplete or rushed so I can see where the sentiment comes from (and it doesn’t help that with the pricing, it may feel like you’re getting more words for your money with longer games) but by the same token, if the game’s story arc takes a certain length to tell, pulling it out to double that to make a bankable game doesn’t always do it any favours storywise either.

10 Likes

I think the best option here is to have game choices define the MC personality, and then have a few lines for each situation that will be used depending on the current status.

For instance, if your choices so far have established your MC as a quipper rather than a stoic individual, it’s ok to have the MC make quips without direct player input (i.e., not at a point where you make a choice).

100% agree here. I don’t think total wordcount tells customers much at all, and pressure to increase wordcounts (when prices cannot be proportionally increased) creates a sort of ‘race to the bottom’ for authors when it comes to hourly earnings.

4 Likes