BIG INCLUSIVITY UPDATE!!
(Actually it’s not that big, but it is a thing that’s happened, so I should tell you about it).
As you can tell from recent messages, I’ve been fretting about diversity and inclusivity recently. I’ve decided to go ahead with the “granddad” thing I mentioned a few posts ago for now: if people who play through it feels like it dilutes the story, as @Isabella_Taylor worries above, then I can very easily take it out, as the code is pretty detachable. Here’s how it works in the updated version. During the conversation with Sam which you can have in the desert in Chapter 1 (which is now basically compulsory), the player can get into a discussion about their ethnicity. Players who are happy to play as Whitey McWhiteface can choose the option which says that the Spillanes have always been poor white Irish. Players who want something a little different get to play the exciting new game of Choose A Grandad: they can choose Grandpa Milton (who was African-American), Grandpa Jack (who was Chinese), Grandpa Mohe (who was Cherokee), or Grandpa Alejandro (who was Mexican). At present, it doesn’t have a massive amount of impact elsewhere in the game: it can come up during the conversation with the “cheery Nazi” in Chapter 2, I plan to give players the opportunity to discuss it at length with Cleo in Chapter 4, and I’ll try to find other moments throughout the work where it can get referenced.
I’ve also updated the bit in Chapter 3 with the amulet in the cellar: now, if the player has chosen to bring Sam along, there’s a little bit of non-b solidarity between non-binary MCs and Sam, which wasn’t there previously.
I feel like every little step I take in this direction helps to make the game more inclusive, and therefore better. But do please let me know whether or not you think these changes are working: any feedback at all on this aspect of the game would be particularly welcome.
Unfortunately my final year of school is ramping up and demanding all of my attention every time I try to give a bit of it to anything else. I’m gonna have to put a full review on hold until April when my college’s engineering showcase is over.
I will comment on this tho:
From a creative standpoint, I believe you have the skills to pull off an incredible work regardless of whether you allow the player to choose their ethnicity or not. I am proud of you for trying it out at least and am wondering how it will affect people’s perceptions of the character in such a racially charged time. I think it’s a good opportunity for you to expand in your research and writing to a degree. That being said, do what you think is best in the end. I, personally, like playing dark skinned characters because I’m an African American female irl and have little opportunities to play as such. That doesn’t mean, however, that I can’t relate to a male or a nb or a female character of another ethnicity when the writing brings out that character’s emotions. If you feel that ethnicity locking the character is best in the end, from what I’ve seen of your writing, you will do well enough to continue making this a decent work regardless. I’ll support you and give proper critique either way.
Now from a monetary standpoint, it is better to include more ethnicities than blonde/blue eyed Deep South American. Choose your own Adventure games are based deep in player freedom and choice. The basic rule of thumb is that the more freedom of creation you can give your character, the better. CoG specifically tends to be popular because of the ethnic and sexuality inclusivity it offers players. So essentially, if you want to garner more interest and therefore more money, gender locking, sexuality locking, and especially ethnicity locking generally is not the way to go. That being said, again, I will support you if that is what you choose to do.
And that’s it until April. I’ll be trying my best not to drown myself in code before then. I’ll be looking forward to this update as well as any others you have by then.
Thanks so much: as always your comments are detailed and incredibly valuable and insightful! I’m not that concerned about the money angle (I mean, money is nice, but I’m doing OK and don’t need an extra income), more doing this for my own fulfilment, but I definitely want to create something that makes people who read it feel welcome and, as far as possible given the constraints of the subject matter, represented. I’m hoping that the new changes will help with that; we’ll see what people think.
Best of luck with the rest of the school year. I’m sure if you’re even half as good at academics as you are at giving feedback on this forum, you’ll ace it!
PROGRESS UPDATE: there hasn’t been any.
Not quite true, but I’ve been swamped at work in my real job, so this has slowed to an absolute crawl. But it’s still happening, I’m super excited about Chapter 4, and I’m about to start writing a scene that I’ve been looking forward to writing for months. I’m really going to put you through the wringer this time! Almost 1/2 way to a full alpha draft of Chapter 4.
On another note, I’ve even (during procrastination breaks at work) been sketching out super-rough plans for a sequel. No substantial deets yet, other than I’m planning a hectic medieval treasure-hunt and a massive, adventure-packed road-trip across Europe on the eve of war. I definitely want Book 2 to be a European story, as a way of soothing my Brexit heartbreak. It’s a long way off, but I’m 90% sure I’m going to do it now!
I wanna slap myself for initially dismissing this WIP as just another cheap WIP that was going nowhere and ignoring it. Played it yesterday and it’s so good! It could easily be in ny top ten, maybe top five! Loved all the chapters/adventures, specially the Shambhala chapter since it really made me feel like I was on a long voyage trekking up the Himalayas. The stats are really fun and they allow for so many different builds (I went with the charming gunslinger trope)! And all the characters are really fun and I like them, will we see Cleo and Stevo again in the future chapters or are their stories over? And does the MC has a canon age or range or can we decide? I kinda like being a genius historian in his late 20s.
I got one or two suggestions but I wanna see the next chapter first to see if they are valid. a very minor thing I would say is regarding Maria Garcia Perez, in the Hispanic world when talking casually about other people we tend to use just their first last name, “Yo, get Rivera here.” I saw a few times some characters talking about “Garcia Perez this or that,” which is something we don’t usually do (but again, those characters aren’t Hispanic so would they even know/care?). Just a very minor nitpick. Keep up the great work, I’m really looking towards the next chapters!
Thanks so much for this post. Top ten / five is super high praise, especially considering how many great WIPs there are right now, so that made me very happy indeed!
As for your questions:
Returning characters: Cleo is a potential RO, so she will be back. In fact, she’ll be back real soon, as a main companion in Chapter 4! Stevo is not slated to come back this book, but as I mentioned in my last post I do have a second book planned, and I intend to bring him back in spectacular fashion then, assuming he made it alive out of Tibet.
MC’s age: I’m happy to let players imagine this for themselves. In my own head-canon (which I don’t plan to make actual canon), they’re a very junior academic, someone who just got their PhD in the last few years and are just starting out in their first academic job, which would mean that, unless they were a crazy child-genius, they would be somewhere in their late 20s or early 30s, which is young for an academic because it takes so long to get a PhD.
Spanish-style names: thanks for that! I have a Spanish friend who explained to me how the double-surname system works, but I should probably have done more research into it. Having said that, I do like using her full name, because (to the ears of an English-speaker) it just makes her sound so badass!
SUPER-URGENT VITALLY IMPORTANT PROGRESS UPDATE:
My plans for tonight involve sitting down and writing my first ever Choicescript sex scene! I’m very nervous about it, which I guess is appropriate since it’s my first time (blushes).
This could get awkward. May the gods of Epic Interactive Novels Fueled By The Vast, Unstoppable Power Of Your Imagination smile on me.
I hear that none of the Choicescript nominees won a Nebula this year, so maybe I can get us a consolation prize by winning a Bad Sex Award!
You can do it, Prof. I believe in you
I clearly don’t. I wussed out, and decided to rewrite an earlier scene I’d already written but didn’t like instead. Too damn awkward. I’m going to have to hire someone to write my sex scenes for me!
I know you’re joking, but people that write erotica aren’t perverts or creeps. Or, they may be, but not because of that.
Bwahahahaha! Let me guess, this has never happened to you before?
Oh God absolutely, I didn’t mean to imply that at all! Just trying for a laugh without thinking it through. Will edit the comment. Apologies all.
EDIT: just to make it absolutely clear, I have nothing but total respect for people who write erotica. Especially after the last 24 hours, when I’ve learned just how hard it is to write erotic content well!
I knew it and never thought you really meant it! But thanks for changing it. Someone who hasn’t read the whole thread might have taken it differently. Xo
Wait… we were trying to write erotic content well?
Best of luck with that sex scene! I do have to ask though if there is an option to not have sex or skip/fade-to-black it?
Chapter 3 Stuffs
This was a very enjoyable chapter. You did a great job of balancing levity with the more dark and serious parts of the story. Cleo is incredible, and so was working alongside her.
And Sam! Sam is back! I really, really love the way you write them. The moment in the cellar with them absolutely warmed my heart. Especially the nb addition. I really want to give them a hug.
Also, I had accidentally tapped the option to fire a gun while we were running away, but it was 100% worth it for Sam’s reaction.
Fairly certain I died of laughter. This is being written by my ghost now.
I really enjoyed the bits where our (Spillane’s) personality got to shine through! Like the bit with the personal lodgings. I really, really love it when stats are used for more than choices. It really helps enrich the storytelling.
I am a person of simple pleasures and one of those pleasures is finding references to things I like, such as Ace Attorney. Quick and easy way to get a laugh out of me, so thank you for that. Additionally, during the bit with Cleo where we have to make the connection that Elliot is illiterate and therefore innocent, could you please add a “back” option? It would help greatly in the event of mistaps and misclicks.
Previous Chapters Stuffs
I replayed the previous chapters a few times in order to test the implementation of the ethnicity update. From a technical standpoint, I only found one issue so far. In the Chapter 2 convo with the nazis, this bit popped up even with the Irish ethnicity.
I hope you don’t mind, but I took a dive into the code. I think this bit
should be either " *if grandpa != “Seamus” " or " *if ethnicity != “Irish” ".
One more typo in Chp 2
Also, in Chp 1, could you please add a verification bit to the point where we input titles? To prevent finding out it was autocorrected all the way in chapter 3.
As for the ethnicity update overall; from what you’ve shown so far, the way you’ve integrated it into the story makes in feel very natural. So far I don’t think it has diluted anything. I do understand and share the concern that it might not be representative enough. However, I do lean towards keeping it in. Regardless of which option you choose, you have an incredible story in the making here.
Thanks so much for your kind words and your eagle-eyed typos and code errors. I’ll get on them this weekend, it’s all super-helpful!
I think I always intended to add in those verification / back options, but I kept putting it off and then forgot about it, so thanks so much for reminding me.
On the sex scene: it will be optional, of course, in that it’s only available to players who are actively pursuing romance with that character. I’m planning to add a “let’s just cuddle” option, for players who do want the romance but would prefer to keep it sweet and chaste. I may also (because of your comment) add a “fade to black” option, so players who want to get physical but don’t want to read the gory details can. And it’s not going to be massively explicit anyway. I’m trying to keep these chapters at least vaguely consistent with the tone of their model, the Indiana Jones films, and they were always pretty PG when it came to sex.
When you write those scenes you gotta at least put in a reference to that weird scene between Indiana Jones and Willie
Ha! Well, I always preferred Marion Ravenwood from the first film. Both as a character and as a romance. I always thought the romance between her and Indy was really well written and underappreciated!
I read the first two chapters and really like the Indiana Jones feelings of the game, then came the third chapter and it seems I went from watching a good adventure movie to a bad political drama.
I had high hopes for this game, but this last chapter made me lose a lot of interest.