That is not only an acceptable alternative, it’s better. And Cleo? I’m swooning, honestly.
Thanks, glad you approve! And yes, I also am a Cleo fan. I hope she’ll be a hit with readers, whether or not they romance her.
Loved Cleo, seriously, what a woman, her dynamic with our character is awesome, great to have another archeologist in our party. And so good to see our loyal friend Sam back! I really like them.
I loved the direction of this chapter of being more mystery stuff than the other ones, the only thing I have to say is to keep up the good work, this game is fantastic.
PS: More Cleo, please.
Thanks for the kind words, I’m glad you liked the mystery story angle. I’m trying my best to keep each chapter distinct. You’ve got Big Jungle Adventure, Light-Hearted Crime Caper and Chaotic Violent Hong Kong Triad-Fest to come, so it should stay nicely varied!
A question, but how many chapters do you plan on releasing publicily before a closed beta takes place?
Hello! I chanced upon this gem, have fallen in love with it so far, and am only in chapter 1 still!!
What I love most about this work are the accuracies in historical references and random topics like employment laws not really applying to PhD students. That one hit me hard, so close to home. I actually found myself looking up a lot of terms and historical/cultural references that I didn’t know. You sent me down a fun little rabbit hole.
I’m not sure which typos/grammatical errors have been covered already because I have not read thru all 125 posts on here, just a few of them. As a result, I’ll make another post later about any errors I came across.
I will add as a suggestion (because I saw it addressed above) that you give a little heads up in the description about the main character being a blond haired/blue eyed, white southerner like people do when they gender lock the character.
I’m a black female irl and normally play a dark skinned female character in these games because it’s one of the rare places for me to do so. If looks aren’t mentioned, I headcannon it. So that Aryan race line really just threw my immersion out of the game. With a heads up tho or maybe an opening scene that establishes the player’s looks before anything starts, the immersion likely would not be broken.
@SourPeaches I was planning on just doing the whole thing as a public beta. Is that a bad idea? (Sorry if that’s a naïve question, I’ve never done anything like this before, so the whole world of beta testing is completely new to me and I don’t really know how other people do it!)
@Kattz Thanks so much for your kind comments, I’m really happy you’re enjoying it! I think your comment about breaking immersion is probably right. When I get a moment, I’ll take a look back at the Prologue and see if I can find a way to get that information out to the player right at the start. I’m also considering reworking the “Aryan” line to make it a bit less jarring (although the present version does at least have the virtue of emphasizing just how much of a dick Schneider is!)
Every author/developer does their testing differently … there is a recent thread active that discusses this more in detail. To answer your question: It is not bad or good.
If you have questions about an entire public beta and how it works (as well as all the benefits) I am sure @Havenstone would be happy to help … his published game was done in an entire public beta fashion.
Edit: Here is a relevant post by him - the links in it should give you a way forward if you have more questions:
Thank you, there’s a lot of useful stuff in the linked threads. I’ll give this a little more thought; for now, everybody, continue under the assumption that this is a full open beta, and I’ll update you if that changes!
I liked the line very much actually (for the emphasis on Schneider’s character, not what it implies of course). I would suggest, however, for you not only to keep that line but use it to emphasize how absolutely nutz the Nazi racial ideology is. Explain the contrast in the actual definition of an Aryan as a completely different racial group that invaded India way back when, not this blonde haired blue eyed nonsense as if no other race could have blonde hair and blue eyes because that’s not how genetics works.
In one of the characters’ rants about Nazis they could highlight the obsession with their definition of the “Aryan race” and explain how wrong they are. They could give the real definition and say how they looked nothing like how Hitler describes the race. This would not only help to drive home how insane your bad guys are but also to show how bad the spread of misinformation gets. When people hear Aryan today, they genuinely think it means the definition that Hitler made up and not dark haired Indo-European people who have nothing to do with his little race war.
I feel that you have the opportunity to use this because you have the player play as and with people of doctoral level knowledge. People who should know enough to address this, especially if they play as a world cultures or history professor. Though they aren’t the only ones who would probably have knowledge of the actual definition of Aryan.
These are all, of course, suggestions.
No thanks, those are good suggestions. Not least because the MC is an archeologist, so they’re likely to know even more than the average person about how deranged Nazi theories of history and pre-history were.
Finally read the latest chapter. Great job, really entertaining (and Sam, I just want to protect Sam )
Alright, now for the fangirling: Maria Garcia Perez will be the death of me and I’m so ready (also love that MC keeps introducing her as Maria Garcia Perez each time). What do you think this is? My redemption arc? I love this woman, love her love her love her. My dude and I are marrying her insolent self so hard we’ll erase the right for everybody else to get married ever again from reality. Each time my dude was like “You’re better than this, come to the light side”, she called him and imbecile. Love her.
Thanks so much! Maria’s a character who is taking even me by surprise. I’m finding that I like her a lot more than I was expecting I would! I mean, she’s willing to work with the Nazis for money, which makes her pretty awful, but she’s not actually a Nazi herself, and she has a lot of charm, so she’s winning me over. But Maria fans need not fear: she’s going to be getting a LOT of screen-time in Chapter 4, Chapter 6 and the Endgame, so there’s plenty more Maria content to come!
Alright, a slight update, and some thoughts on the project.
I’ve tried to address the issue of the “ethnicity-locking” taking people by surprise by (perhaps somewhat clumsily) inserting the information that the player is set as a white American into the very first page of text in the Prologue (after the title screen). I hope that means that it doesn’t take people by surprise and spoil immersion later in Chapter 1. If we ever get to the point where the project is finished and goes on sale, I’ll try to make sure that there’s some kind of advisory in the marketing blurb, mentioning the fact that the MC is ethnicity locked for story reasons. I hope that means that nobody will go in under false pretences!
On another note, the more I think about @Kattz’s suggestion about discussing the errors in Nazi Aryan theories, the more I like it. I’ve provisionally decided, however, to address this in Chapter 4, which I’m currently working on, rather than in Chapter 1, as suggested: there’s a point in that chapter where that conversation can occur very naturally and organically and effectively. If that doesn’t work, I can always go back and work that content into Chapter 1, I’m sure.
On the question of the status of the beta, I’ve decided, after much reflection, to keep it as is, as a fully public beta. I understand that there are cons as well as pros to this, but I think the pros outweigh the cons, especially the fact that it will get me the widest variety of perspectives and sets of eyes. I continue to welcome feedback of any and every type, but now that we’re at the half-way point and the main characters are established, it might be particularly good to start thinking about “big picture” type issues. Does the story make sense and hang together? How’s the pacing? Is the whole “episodic structure in a framing narrative” thing working? What would you like to see more of? What would you like to see less of? I should also say that, if anybody has feedback but is nervous about posting it on an open forum, anybody is very welcome to PM me about the project at any time.
I’ll be a bit less visible and responsive next week: I’m going to be out of the country (having appropriately archaeological adventures in Rome), and I won’t be taking my laptop with me, and I’ll be super busy while I’m there, so apologies in advance if I take a long time to get back to anybody over the next week or so. Thanks again everyone for continued feedback and support!
I think this is wonderful.
OK, I’ve been agonizing still more about the “ethnicity-locking” aspect of this story. The more I think about it, the more I’m convinced it’s necessary, but at the same time the less I like it, which is a pretty bad position to be in! So I’ve had a few thoughts about a possible way forward, to increase representation without compromising the story: I’d really appreciate people’s perspectives on whether this is a good idea, especially (but not only) from people whose preference is usually to play as a non-white MC. Apologies if this post gets rambling, and apologies for angsting over this yet again, this is just the type of thing I worry about, probably excessively!
So the reason I decided to ethnicity-lock the character is, above all, Chapter 3 (and to some extent Chapter 4, but that isn’t out yet so I don’t want to talk too much about that). Basically, Chapter 3 takes place on the MC’s home turf, segregated New Orleans, which was clearly not a “colour-blind” society, and in which the MC’s ethnicity is going to determine all kinds of things, including what job they do. So, if I wanted them to be an archaeologist at Tulane, then very bluntly they would need to be white, because that was the law back then. I did think about loosening those restrictions and coming up with some kind of bullshit excuse to explain how a POC could have got some kind of special exemption and been allowed to teach at a white college, but I decided against that, because, despite all the stunts and swashbuckling and alligator-feeding, I do want these stories (Chapter 3 above all) to take a serious look at questions of race, prejudice, colonialism and oppression, and I didn’t want to dilute the reality of segregation by giving the MC a magic pass to get around the Jim Crow laws. It was an aspect of the oppression and hardship faced by POC in that society that they weren’t allowed to teach at white colleges: I didn’t want to sugar-coat the reality by pretending that there was a work-around when there wasn’t, as that felt disrespectful to the struggle that people went through back then.
However, I am aware that, back in the days of Jim Crow, there were people of non-white ancestry who were able to “pass” as white, and who, by doing so, were able to get jobs that were, by law, restricted to whites only. So I wonder if this could be the start of a solution? If, for example, it is possible for the player to specify at some point that they had, say, a non-white grandfather (doesn’t have to just be African-American, I can offer a range of options), and the MC has always identified with that heritage, even if the law has necessitated that they “pass” as white. This could be a good way to make people who prefer to play as non-white characters feel a little better represented, while at the same time staying true to the difficulties and legally-imposed limitations that POC faced under segregation. Do people think this would be a good idea? If you prefer to play as non-white MCs, would something like this help you get into a character who is semi-ethnicity-locked as white? Or do you think I’m barking up the wrong tree?
Basically, history has saddled me with the necessity of ethnicity-locking my main character (thanks a bunch, history!), and I’m trying to find ways of improving representation while working within that necessity. Any thoughts on this, or any better ideas about how to do this, would be most, most welcome.
(On another note, I’ve barely started Chapter 4, but Rome was great and filled me with lots of archaeological inspiration, so I’ll get on it properly real soon!)
So in response to this I have to say I agree completely mate with everything you said as it represents the core of what make a great Historical Fiction great and that’s the history of the time it’s in. Every great historical fiction I’ve read over the years doesn’t shy away from the very unpleasant truths of the past and you haven’t done and in fact you’ve helped expose the difficulties of numerous issues faced by different communities around the globe and helped give a broad perspective on them. It is also and unfortunate part of the past that the MC would not be able to travel as freely if he was not of a certain ethic descent or financial background in this time in history and by giving the MC this background you have enabled this adventure that we are on. I would not view at as being saddled with a ethnicity locked MC but a chance to add more NPC’s of different ethnic backgrounds to help expand the knowledge of your players and show the historical plights of marginalized people while still telling the great story that you already are. Keep up the amazing work mon ami I look forward to chapter four and know that you have a guaranteed buyer in yours truly.
Thanks for the kind words: I’m glad the whole “colonial resistance” angle is getting noticed! And thanks also for the confirmed buy: if just one person buys this thing, that’s all the validation I’ll need!
If it would make you feel better to add that option, then by all means do so! But I don’t think it’s necessary. I think most people understand why you had to. And if they pass as white, it’s probably not representative enough for POC who want to relate to their character anyway. I think trying to change this too much might make the game’s message weaker instead of stronger.
That’s interesting. It hadn’t occurred to me that this might make the message weaker. Thanks, that’s given me something (else!) to think about!