"Silk Road Stars" (WIP) - Space Trader cyoa

I’ve begun work on my first ‘real’ ChoiceScript game, “Silk Road Stars” (working title).

Play as an independent merchant-captain on the frontier of human-controlled space, about to make your first big trade. Will you get rich or infamous, start a war or stop a conspiracy, embrace the corporate grind or take over the family business?

Your guess is as good as mine, because it’s only about 4% done :open_mouth:
(That’s ~6k words.)
ok, update uploaded, 09/04/19, 10k words, 5% done

With lots of factions to deal with, including various alien species, the commerce police, and an interstellar crime organization, you’ll have plenty of paths to take. And with a variable (and limited) crew selection, every play-through will have unique twists.

To play-test the first little bit, go here:

https://dashingdon.com/play/ibol17/stcyoa/mygame/

Then come back and let me know what you think.

Thanks!

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Call me Michael, and let's get a drink.

There’s something vaguely wrong with that, that I can’t put my finger on. I think most people would say “Call me Michael. Let’s get a drink.”

Also, Michael sounds really patriachal - like he’s practically conmmanding her to call him Michael and get a drink. If that wasn’t your intention maybe

Call me Michael.. please. What would you like to drink?

Or something like that.

Lonan heads for their quarters.

I’ve forgotten what kind of a creature this is (maybe this info should be in the stat screen lol) but shouldn’t it be either “Lonan head…” or “Lonan heads for his/her quarters” ? I don’t have Streetmentioner’s Guide though, but maybe if you wrote “Lonan heads for crew quarters” it might work?

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So Far So Good. Can’t Wait For More.

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Lonan is neither male or female and prefers (according to the text) they/them pronouns.

Ohh, I’ll be keeping an eye on this, this is nice!
The only thing that seemed weird, though, is the use of kilometers to measure distance in space. Kinda ruined the immersion.

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It’s the one true measurement. Of course it’d be used. :wink:

Not for space tho? I expected light-years or parsecs, tbh, since (I’m guessing) MC’s gonna be travelling quite far. But that’s just my opinion, of course.

I think personally that bad grammar is bad grammar, regardless of what anyone prefers. Language loses it’s ability to quickly and effectively communicate if you stray from convention.

If you say for instance “cat have a I” what does this mean? How many cats are there, what’s an I ?

People can understand each other only when they speak a common language. If you write a book, you have to use a common language, otherwise how would your readers understand anything you write?

Hey everyone and thanks a lot for playing.

Grammar and phrasing and stuff that just doesn’t feel right is exactly the kind of thing I need to hear about.

The reason that kilometers are used in that case is because those two planets are in the same star system closer together then even Earth and Mars. There will be light years don’t worry :slight_smile:

I have added a few more details and put short descriptions in the stats screen, thanks to this early feedback.

Lonan’s pronouns are neutral, and I think the reason for the confusion is that when I first posted this, Lonan was automatically (and accidentally) added to your crew with no choice or description.

Thanks!

As one of the few people on these forums who can’t click Sci-Fi votes fast enough when interest threads pop up, this is a delightful surprise.

Also tough to make a sci-fi story feel unique, but early indications do feel like it’s a new universe I haven’t played in before so that’s nice.

Don’t really have any constructive comments on writing that others haven’t pointed out, but might be nice to throw a paragraph or two in for your crew to flesh them out a little bit early on if that’s not already planned.

To go against the grain in this thread, I don’t mind using km, especially for same solar system travel. AU wouldn’t be a galaxy standard and is relative to Earth, and light minutes / hours doesn’t feel like it would be a practical measurement for a ship traveling at less than light speed, although they always sound cooler. If you’re taking a vote, I like keeping Kms. :stuck_out_tongue:

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Update, a few days later:
New stuff uploaded, including changes from feedback here. (thanks!)

Also includes the option to skip chapter 1, but if it’s your first time playing, I’d suggest not doing that :wink:
Find it at https://dashingdon.com/play/ibol17/stcyoa/mygame/

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Ah, my bad, I must’ve missed the part where it said so. Now kilometers make perfect sense, sorry!

Love the update, everything’s pretty cool so far. Would’ve liked more choices, though, seeing as sometimes we get only one. I know it depends on our skills and/or crew (I’ve replayed, like, ten times at the very least to see what changes), but that makes some playthroughs feel less-- engaging, I think, is the word I’m looking for? I would’ve liked it more if we could do something and fail spectacularly at it rather than not having an option to do it at all.

Also, some choices don’t really affect anything at all, which isn’t that noticable, I guess, unless you play a few times. Having even a small difference (one sentence would be enough, really) would’ve been nice, imo.

Also x2, caught an error in the first chapter. Playing a nb MC automatically sets our name to Jo, only letting us to pick a surname.

Hope I wasn’t too nitpick-y.
Keep up the good work, I’m really looking forward to seeing how this story will develop! c:

It’s pretty much impossible to have an nb choice if you’re not nb. It ends up weird and fake… it’s probably why no male actor ever plays a woman and no adult ever plays a child (except in a comedy) - it’s impossible. @Laguz is non-binary, and might be of some help, but personally I think it’s impossible - if it was possible there would be movies like that already.

It’s probably best to just avoid gendered pronouns, and not be writing about what you don’t know, because people who do know will know it’s all fake and wrong. For instance

Lonan the super-evolved trans-human can handle anyone

comes across (to me) as being very, very sarcastic, as if you’re implying transsexuality is some sort of super-power. It seems really obvious that you didn’t actually want to put in the nb choice in the beginning, but you felt you had to. Literally no one says “good morning, young person” - you put that in because you felt you had to - in other words you’re being patronizing, and everyone knows that but they’re too nice to tell you. You could have just had the character say “Good morning” and left it at that. That last line could have been

You could have just had him say "Good morning" and left it at that.

But that locks a gender. Or I could have written

You could have just had them say "Good morning" and left it at that.

But that’s going to be ambiguous - who is “them” ? so I went with

You could have just had the character say "Good morning" and left it at that.

Which is gender neutral and also specific.

I had the exact same problem with Outcast - this overly condescending, patronizing, let’s-bend-the story-to-fit-in-the-nb-people thing.

I think you know as well as I do that they are them, and we are us, and we’ll never be them and they’ll never be us, so maybe we should just be us and try not to be them (because we never will.) Just like the male/female thing, how does that change the story other than the name? it doesn’t, because you can’t, because you’re not female or nb and you won’t ever know. So why’s that option there? what purpose does it serve, other than to be a sop?

You can’t write a story from a female POV because you are not female. Similarly you can’t write a story from a nb point of view because you are not nb. There seems to be no point in requiring a person’s gender when it will do absolutely nothing for the story (and it won’t because you can’t write a story from an alternate gender’s viewpoint simply because you aren’t that gender.)

Baldur’s Gate had someone like that - https://baldursgate.fandom.com/wiki/Nalia_de’Arnise

I can't stand seeing all these taverns around the city. They exist simply to drain the poorer classes of their money and throw them into such a stupor that they can't even realize their oppression.

Leaving the gender of the MC ambiguous works, but it can also make more work for the writer in being unable to use pronouns, and possibly with the romance options, if other characters have gender preferences of their own rather than being set as player-sexual. I know that as a writer I tend to go for the gender choice, like you see in most COGs.

I am not familiar with this WIP so excuse me if I’m wrong, but I understand from the comments that Lonan is non-binary, not (necessarily) trans. Perhaps the confusion stems from the term “trans-human” being used, which I understand to mean something else entirely. Transhumanism is the very stuff of science-fiction, so it’s natural that it appears in this story.

I humbly submit that perhaps gender doesn’t change the narrative because it doesn’t need to.

Hath not a woman eyes? Hath not a woman hands, organs, dimensions, senses, affections, passions? Fed with the same food, hurt with the same weapons, subject to the same diseases, healed by the same means, warmed and cooled by the same winter and summer as a man is? If you prick us, do we not bleed? If you tickle us, do we not laugh? If you poison us, do we not die?

(P.S: I understand that @Laguz uses they/them pronouns. I’m sure they’ll appreciate it if you edit your post to reflect that).

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Well if it doesn’t, and doesn’t need to, I don’t understand why it should be there at all. It seems like a thing which everyone does because everyone else does.

@Laguz is fine with non-gender pronouns.

I’m only one person, and that was my impression, I didn’t even realize this word “trans-human” existed and didn’t mean, well, a trans human. We already know Lonan’s gender so it’s an easy mistake to make. I’ve a feeling a lot of other people will make the same mistake, given that the one term is a lot more common than the other, but that was my one personal impression with it :slight_smile:

Don’t speak for me, and don’t call me “he”, especially after I’ve put my pronouns in my profile.

You’re right sorry, I totally missed that. Sometimes when you’re off guard, it just creeps in. Changed it, It’s so simple to correct a mistake (or mis-assumption) you wonder why more people don’t do it.

Tell me something though, when you read that “trans-human” line, did you think he was talking about a trans human?

As someone who has consumed more science fiction in my life than any one person probably should, when I read that I read it as a human who had undergone extensive manipulations through either genome modification or technological implementation. Making them superior in some way or ways to a non modified human.

I did not read that statement as anything relating to gender, nor have I ever seen it implied as such in any other science-fiction stories where it’s been used.

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Welp, that escalated quickly, didn’t think we’ll be discussing gender, of all things.

Not writing female/nb characters just because you’re not the same gender as them is like saying you can’t write about space pirates because you’re not one. True, we all think and act differently but that’s because no two human experiences are the same; gender has very little to do with it, unless you think it somehow dictates what you can and can’t do (which it really doesn’t have to). So yeah, no harm in being inclusive, unless you’re using offensive tropes/stereotypes to do so (which the author didn’t so I digress).

Also, transhumanism is a known theory, so there was no confusion on my part about Lonan.

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So far I’m really enjoying it — the demo drew me in right away. I like how it gets to the action fast and how it gives just enough details about the world to build interest without bogging down the story.

FWIW, I did not get the impression the game was shortchanging the NB choices or was being patronizing.

Regarding good morning young person

I haven’t heard anyone say “good morning young person”, but I have heard people say “good morning young people”, so I can totally imagine it being a common phrase in a futuristic society. However, it’d be simple to rewrite the choice if you did want to get rid of that wording.

Some minor things

This line was a little confusing:

Blar is an excellent helmsman, he’ll steer the conversation right.

First half is talking about his piloting skill, second half seems to be talking about his social skill.


Ran into a bug when selecting the stun gun:

&*set localweapon “stun”


Looking forward to seeing the plot develop and spending time with our crew.

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