The Butler Did It (BETA IS OVER)

Hi all!

The Butler Did It was a finalist in the Choice of Games contest, and it was kind of a mess. Thanks to the help of a couple dozen absolutely wonderful testers, I’ve improved the story and fixed errors galore.

Now I’m hoping to get more feedback and testing done before submitting to Hosted Games next month. Here’s a little bit about the game.

Life in Port Terris is tough. There’s never quite enough to eat, there’s never quite enough work, and your friends have a nasty habit of getting snatched up by the Constables and their bots. When the majordomo of a Great House offers you employment, a warm bed, and all the food you can eat, it’s a tempting offer. Never mind that the alternative is a long stay in the City Dungeons.

It doesn’t take long to realize that things are a little bit off here, to say the least. At Coburg Manor, you’ll make friends, battle enemies, and uncover a mystery far deeper and stranger than you ever imagined.

The game is:

  • Whimsical steampunk with a hard edge
  • Full of thrills, chills, and spills
  • More of a Choose Your Own Adventure than an RPG
  • Pretty long! A bit over 300,000 words, including code

I would love to hear any feedback on any aspect of the game, but especially:

  • Bug reports
  • Feedback on stylistic or formatting choices
  • Spots where the story doesn’t seem to flow or make sense. The game had a lot of bugs where sequences weren’t triggering, leading to gaps in the story. I’m pretty sure I’ve found them all, but you know…

If you’d like to dive in, the game is available on Dashingdon: Beta is now closed!

And I’ve created a survey that I would love for you to complete after you’re done playing (whether you reach the end or not!): Survey is now closed!

Thank you all!



Known Bugs

Fixed 6/20

The Artifice-Honesty pair now displays properly
Numerous typos fixed
Text tweaks for continuity
Goose is much more reasonable during the riot (read: easier stat checks to get her to call off the attack)
Improved glossary menus
Fixed conversation path with Metro that caused Linus to incorrectly flip to evil

Fixed 6/21

  • You now only get one shot at love, and it occurs in chapter 5. Choosing a romance path (or no romance path at all) will lock you out of the other choices for the remainder of the game.
  • One pronoun. I couldn’t find other instances where the pronoun was wrong. If you do see one, please let me know. A screenshot or string of text to search for would be extremely helpful.
  • De-cringed Goose’s romance (a bit)
  • De-Schrodingered Linus
  • Increased stat gains across the board. I don’t want the player to fail stat checks in general, unless they’re trying to or made some really weird choices. If still seems difficult, or if it now seems too easy, please let me know.
  • Improved hunting/climbing/cave sequence
  • Addie will no longer teleport into the Advocate’s room
  • Addie will also no longer insist that you join her for the night; you can refuse without consequence
  • BOOPABLE SNOOT (you can pet the dog)
  • A peaceful solution with the Advocate is now possible as intended
  • Various typos and small continuity issues

Fixed 6/23

  • The Advocate won’t reference you “killing” him earlier if you didn’t do so
  • Improved journal-writing scene on the trip home
  • Linus’s inert body will no longer teleport outside the mine
  • Further de-Schrodingered Linus, he is very troublesome
  • Improved and fixed minor errors relating to the Metro and Linus scene
  • If you are slow to reach Linus and Dr. Grant, Linus will now get Dusted every time, as intended
  • Improved “status quo” ending
  • Improved “Plan A” ending
  • Another pronoun or two


  • Another pass at stat balancing
  • I may have figured out a way to systematically search for incorrect pronouns, but it will take a couple days.
  • Cover art is in the works with a due date of 7/15.
  • Hopefully that’s about it, I can’t imagine there’s much left to fix (knock on wood).

I really like this game and am super happy to see how high it ranked in the contest! I will buy the crap out of this when it comes out!:+1::grin:


Thank you so much! Nineteen twenty characters!

it will was fun play this


Is there any romance in this game?

Yes, there are three characters to romance!

Thank you, I’ll be giving the game a try now

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So… I’ve got a bit of feedback. I’ll post it here if you don’t mind, since the surveymonkey box is too small for me to work with.

Overall, liked the story and liked the ending especially. It was funny, too. You’ve probably a bit undersold the sci-fi aspects in the summary, which was slightly misleading.

The relationship system didn’t seem very nuanced, at least not in the beginning chapters. My MC would’ve probably liked to get to know Adelia, Dmytro, and Linus as people, but it kept having other suggestions of over-familiarity (both romance-wise and as being best friends or whatever, which was a bit too hasty, I felt). And, I’m sorry, but the convos with Adelia and Dmytro in the workshop and kitchen about the other was just… awkward.

Anyway, as I said, liked it overall. I’ve added some low-level stuff and a few comments below. Hopefully it’ll be helpful, and congrats on being a finalist (and being able to finish such a long game in the first place!)

The artifice-honesty opposed pair is still not showing up properly. Also, if you select glossary of terms the only choice at the bottom is “glossary of terms” again, no going back to the stats page.

Chapter 1

  1. Still, the man is nothing if not punctual, and you’re only waiting for a few minutes before he shows up Missing period at the end.
  2. The man also has a mustache to rival Cornell’s. You wonder idly if facial hair equals status among the upper class. This seems to suggest that Cornell is somewhat higher class, but that’s not the impression I’m getting, and the MC most likely knows quite a bit about the police.
  3. It’s so late, and no one lives in thie part of the City. Typo.
  4. It looks as thoug one of the drawers is ajar, and you quickly head over to take a look. Typo.
  5. Is there missing dialogue/action here or just new paragraph?

  1. He reaches and takes the disc out, replacing the empty box in the drawer of the reception desk. How’d he know it’d come from there? My MC brought it to him.
  2. "To be clear, sir, you’ll wish us to engage in further larceny? Missing quotation mark at end.
  3. "I’m so glad. You’ll be happy at Coburg Manor, both of you, and the work is most fulfilling. Missing quotation mark.

Chapter 2

  1. "I think mostly, I am here to work on machines. (Dmytro). Missing quotation mark.

Chapter 3

  1. It’s titled as chapter 2 again.
  2. You do so, and find it quite comfortable. The back is a bit rigid, though. Reaching behind, you locate a thin cord hanging down." Unnecessary quotation mark at the end.
  3. So… the MC is sent off without so much as a shower? How can they possibly look presentable after a hard day of work the previous day, especially if they choose not to have a bath in the evening?
  4. She reaches over to lift her, takes a sip, and sets it down, all without looking away from her task.
  5. This part (screenshot below) seems weird. My MC has just said that they’re not from the Constabulary, so should the next option be available again?

Chapter 4

  1. What if this is all a trap to ensare you and the Lady, catching her thief redhanded?

  2. The releases your hand and leans back, looking up at the Manor. You’re almost there. This is in the steam car with Coburg.
  3. “Coburg Manor maintains only a very force of guards, less than two dozen people so far as you can tell.”
  4. Nobody knwos much of what the Army does, actually. Leading on from this, maybe you could clarify a bit or drop some more hints about it? The MC doesn’t seem to meet many other characters from the army, so either they work for the other Houses or there aren’t many who work in the army to begin with.

Chapter 5

  1. Didn’t particularly like being railroaded into violence with the mob. I understand that there was a stat check, which my MC failed, but even so they’d chosen the most diplomatic routes up to that point. Even if there wasn’t enough time to reprogram the demolition bot, the MC could have sent it in a completely neutral direction rather than back into the mob, couldn’t they? It’s just a little inconsistent, that’s all, especially since the MC seems so squeamish in the interrogation.
  2. The obsession with Society and the business reforms brought by the Imperial Throne has unquestionably improved life in the City. Maybe this could be expanded on? Apart from the scheme about making more arable land available or something, I don’t seem to recall many business reforms or signs of this “obsession with Society”.

Chapter 6

  1. So many pieces of of your new life simply don’t make sense.
  2. When Coburg asks what the MC thinks the Houses and all the pomp and circumstance is for, after MC answers she replies, “Truthfully, I don’t know either”, even though that dialogue sounds out of place if the MC chooses anything other than the last option.
  3. Some of Owens’ dialogue is not italicised and there’s a stray [ii] tag there.

Chapter 7

  1. With a little practice, you can send the small flying Automaton to a distant point to take a photograph, and then return. It’s even capable of tracing out more complex routes, although you find it difficult to control." No beginning quotation mark.
  2. Addie nods and unslings her pack. Reaching in, she draws out an Sutogyro, folded up into a rod.

Chapter 10

  1. And then he coughs, a long, rattling fit of coughs, spitting up what looks like black coal dust. You, Goose, and Mrs. Wembley take an instinctive step back, then when he finishes, Goose picks up a pinch of the it.

  2. This came up after the clash of the titans page break.


Loved the game so far, I am currently at starting of fourth chapter

At the end of tea party probably at end of chapter3 when we go to rest we get select to learn about steampunk device multiple times while rest options can be selected only once

In next scene in garden when mr odens gives first assignment he thinks us mistake eventhough we followed orders and stayed to guard or at night didn’t spend time with adelia

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I have played until chapter 7, and by now, i like it very much!

I have found some minor issues:
chapter 2

  • I can pick “I’ve got to make time to study my gearsmithing.” until the end of the night (as Dark_knight said above)
    This let me grow my stats
    Use of Machines: 20% -> 66%

chapter 4

  • Day with Owens, he says “Young Master {$name}”

chapter 5

  • When i train with Merritt, I thought I won the first match, but in the end he says I have lost all rounds.
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@Retrovirus Great! I really thought I had caught all the typos, I’ll fix all of that.

And many thanks for the other feedback. I don’t want to telegraph the sci-fi twist too much, but I will try to make it more clear in the description that there is a twist of some sort. As for the rest, I think I’m done reworking this game, but those are all very valid points that I’ll take into the next one.

Edit: Adding to this, you definitely should not feel railroaded into violence with the mob. That’s intended to be the oddball option… Most people should be finding a better solution, and it dictates how your relationship with Goose goes for the rest of the game. I’ll make some checks easier there.

@Atrius Awesome, thanks!

@Dark_knight Ah, I think I know what you mean. Thanks!

Happened to run into a bug, where when I met theMetro, it seemed after I was done talking to her, the scene brought me back again to the same one, this time however Linus was infected, in the other time I saved he wasn’t infected (Had to kill him :sob:)

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Also this

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@FauxCoeur Excellent, thank you!

I’m going to upload a new version in the next hour or so, so save games will invalidate, and it will probably kick you off if you’re currently playing.

No problem happy to help.

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And done!


The Artifice-Honesty pair now displays properly
Numerous typos fixed
Text tweaks for continuity
Goose is much more reasonable during the riot (read: easier stat checks to get her to call off the attack)
Improved glossary menus
Fixed conversation path with Metro that caused Linus to incorrectly flip to evil

I’ve noticed two significant bugs:

  1. I chose to help Addie at the first opportunity and succeeded but the text still tells me that her and Dmytro are angry because I refused to help either of them.

  2. I chose to talk to the Advocate, hear him out and not attack and keep his secret but the text still states that I killed him and he refuses to help me later.

Maybe a finish tag is all that’s missing and because of that it just goes to the next label?

Besides all that, this was a fun ride! It’s the first one that motivated me enough to make an account so I could offer feedback. As it started out, I felt like Study in Steampunk met Tally Ho and I was hooked. By the end I felt like I was in a Banks Culture novel. Everything, from Metro’s personality, to the Advocate’s drone-like behavior and of course, the tech!

Excellent work and thank you so much for making it available to play!

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• In the very beginning, I chose to take the antler off of the robot after I disable it. When confronted by the constable, I waved it around and showed him what I’d done. Later, when he approaches me, I still get the dialogue where he accidentally sees it behind my back and I say “oh, that, I can explain”. So I already showed him the antler and he rediscovers it as if the previous flaunting didn’t take place.

• If I DON’T let Addie take the mind to the meeting, then choose the “politely approach” option, the following dialogue starts in the middle of a conversation rather than me actually approaching.

• [quote] You grunt in agreement, swerving to avoid a stray dog laying on the pavement. It lifts up its head as you pass, then relaxes again.[/quote]

I want :clap: To pet :clap: The dog :clap:

• When going on an adventure with Addie. We can kiss her to start the romance. What about a verbal option for people who don’t want to kiss right away (“this was fun, I like you a lot”), or people who didn’t realize the other options don’t open to any other romance. Also she invites us into her room afterwards and we immediately accept. What’s going on in there? Did we just cuddle, did we hook up? Wus good? It’s assumed we’re like doin it right… Some people might not want to fall into bed like that though. Clarification about what we’re doing, and an option to decline her offer would be nice.

• I always appreciate when the author has a glossary that explains terms and lore. Thanks! How would you feel about a little explanation of the stats as well? The skills are pretty straightforward but I’m not entirely sure what the other bars are for (tbf I haven’t finished playing yet).

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First of all, props for the genre and theme. I’ll come back later with more in-depth review, but I just wanted to pop by to compliment you on your work.

But I do agree with @cottoncandy that having a Glossary (especially with as a colour world as yours) and a description of the cast are both a great help. Adding an explanation of stats could increase its value though.

And as @A.Karimov has written, your story has a touch of Study in Steampunk in it, to which I can only say “Awesome!” and go on reading.

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