Research magic that probably won’t destroy the world! Teach impressionable students, ideally without killing them! Survive faculty meetings! Evict the alien living in your brain! Oh, and stop an otherworldly threat from ending everything. No biggie.
Professor of Magical Studies is a 500,000-word interactive fantasy novel by @Sargent. Your choices steer the story. It’s entirely text-based, without graphics or sound effects, and fueled by the vast, unstoppable power of your imagination.
You’ve been hired for your first faculty position at Winfield Phillips, the exceedingly normal New England college that happens to have a secret magic department. It’s a great first job, or would be except for Darcy Bozeman. Your former school friend used magic to cheat you out of a coveted fellowship, almost derailing your academic career before it began. Now Darcy’s a fellow professor at Winfield Phillips, and is still working to undermine you.
It doesn’t help that you have too much to do and too little time. You have to get your magical research started with the help of a not-very-skilled student. You’ve got classes to teach to students who are supremely uninterested in what you’re trying to teach them. The college president assigned you a mathematician as a faculty peer, which will only take time away from your actual work. The town council is angry at the college, and you’ve been volunteered to be the liaison between the college and the council. And don’t even get started over the arguments about who’s going to clean the stockroom.
Armed with a cutting-edge knowledge of magic and untried political skills, you’ll have to juggle your work and navigate the demands of being a new faculty member. Oh, and then there are the mysterious issues plaguing magic that are only growing worse. That surely isn’t a sign of anything ominous that is threatening reality as we know it.
- Play as male, female, or nonbinary; gay, straight, asexual, aromantic, or poly.
- Create new and irresponsibly dangerous magical patterns.
- Develop theories about magic that will let you understand it at so deep a level that it might break your brain.
- Seriously, magic is very dangerous, you probably shouldn’t study it, not that I’ll convince you to stop.
- Improve your student advisee’s skills and confidence, or terrorize them to boost your own research.
- Deal with petty university politics, because even magicians who can bend reality to their whim get all snooty about who was supposed to bring cookies to the faculty meeting.
- Romance a brilliant algebraic geometrist who doesn’t know about magic, the city councilperson assigned to work with Winfield Phillips, the CEO of a magical company, the friend who betrayed you, or even the extra-dimensional being who comes to live in your head.
- (Look, I told you magic is dangerous, you can end up with a being from another dimension sharing brain-space with you.)
- Uncover what really happened to the professor who vanished, leading to you being hired.
- Save the world from an extra-dimensional threat—or use the threat to become leader of the survivors.
Will you be the world’s savior, or its downfall?
Directions for beta testing:
Email us, beta AT choiceofgames for access.
DO NOT POST ASKING WHAT THE BETA EMAIL ADDRESS IS. The first test to becoming a beta tester is inferring what it is based on how we describe it above.
Do not send DMs/PMs through the forum mail system, Discord, text message, carrier pigeon, or any other method than email.
When you send your EMAIL, include:
- the game you want to test in the Subject line of the email.
- your forum-name
- your real name (first and last). Please indicate if your family/surname comes first as well. Beta testers’ names are listed in the game’s credits, which are accessed with the “About” link you’ll see within the game. If you don’t want to appear in the credits, or you want to be credited under a name other than your real one, please let us know.
Do not email us multiple times about joining a beta. If you don’t email us as soon as we post a beta, you go into a queue. As we post new drafts, we admit more people from the queue. Eventually, we will get to you. Some beta processes last longer than others, and it may take up to a few weeks to reach the front of the queue.
When you have been admitted to the beta, we will send you a link, a username, and a password as a reply to your email.
When you have feedback to submit:
- Return feedback as part of the same email thread where you were admitted. Copying beta@choiceofgames on that email is the best way to make sure your comments are seen as soon as possible.
- Please send screenshots or copy/pasted quotes whenever you can; it helps us track down whatever observation you’re making. In particular, the author may see things that you don’t, and/or the screenshot may contain more information than you realize.
- If you’re submitting feedback using the Bug/Submit button in the game, make sure you include your handle/name in the body of the email. The Submit button obscures your email address, and I can’t give you credit for feedback if I don’t know who you are.
A few more notes:
- You cannot be testing two games at once. If you are already testing one game, send in feedback on that game before you apply to another. If you apply for multiple games at the same time, you will likely be admitted first to whichever game has testing slots open up first, and we won’t be able to admit you to the other one until you send in your comments for that one. (From an admin standpoint, it’s easiest if you don’t apply to more than one game at once – applying to multiple games makes it more likely that we’ll miss admitting you to one of them.)
- If you’re admitted as a tester but realize you won’t be able to send in feedback for that game, please let us know! You won’t be penalized in any way - we’ll just take you off the list of testers for that game. But if you sign up to test a game and don’t send comments or withdraw, it will affect your chances of being admitted to future betas.
- There’s no standard length of time for a beta testing period to last, and we usually don’t know exactly how long a game will be in beta when it opens. The best way to know how long a beta will be open is to follow the thread for updates.
- It’s fine to send multiple feedback emails, but if you have a lot of quick comments, it’s easier to keep track of them if you bundle them into one email.
Tips on How to Give Feedback
We’re looking for “high level” and “low level” feedback. Not mid-level feedback.
Low-level = typos and continuity errors. A continuity error is when a character’s gender flips, or someone comes back from the dead, or you run into a plotline that just doesn’t make sense (because it’s probably a coding error). For these low-level issues, screenshots are very helpful. If you see a problem, take a screenshot, or copy and paste the text that is in error, and email that.
“High level” feedback has to do with things like plot, pacing, and characters. “Scene A didn’t work for me because x, y, and z,” is useful feedback. “B character was entirely unsympathetic, because u, w, and v,” is also useful feedback.
“Mid-level” feedback describes things like grammar, style, word choice, or the use of commas. As I said above, I do not want mid-level feedback. In particular, DO NOT WRITE TO ME ABOUT COMMAS.
“I had a great time and saw only a few spelling errors,” is not useful feedback. In fact, it’s the sort of thing that results in you not being given access to future betas.
Some examples of useful feedback :
- In Choice of the Dragon, you get to choose what type of wings you have: leather or scaled. Someone wrote in and asked about having feathered wings. Great suggestion! Done!
- In “The Eagle’s Heir,” someone asked about Eugenie. They said that the romance moved too quickly–because she only appeared in the last third of the game–and wished they could have had an opportunity to meet her earlier. So the authors added an opportunity to meet her and start the romance earlier in the game (in a scene that already existed).
- In “Demon Mark: A Russian Saga” several people commented on how the PC’s parents were unsympathetic, so the authors added a choice or two to deepen the relationship with the parents in the first chapter, to help better establish their characters.
- Pointing out a specific choice and saying, “this is who I imagined my character was at this particular moment, and none of these options seemed right for me. I would have liked an option to do X instead,” is also really helpful feedback.
- If you choose an #option and then the results of that #option don’t make sense. Like, if you thought an #option might test one stat, but it seems to have tested a different one.