The GameMaster (Nearly out of Beta!)

Hello everyone! My name is Yirby, and I am this close to finishing my second interactive novel, The GameMaster!

“A cool summer’s storm – the perfect backdrop for a table top RPG with your friends Erica, Jackie, Terrence, and Zach! Play as a group of gamers, and immerse yourself in the world of the GameMaster. Your choices shall define you and your teammates as you journey through this strange and dangerous world, full of swordplay, spells, and dark magic! But can you get out alive?”

I’ve already had several Beta Testers go though this and correct quite a few bugs and errors, but I would appreciate it immensely if some kind-hearted individuals could comb through it one last time, and give me some helpful critiques as well.

I’m showing my ignorance here a bit, as I also don’t know the ins and outs of publishing the game to the hosted games site once it’s finished. I attempted to publish it about a month ago, and I was hopelessly ignorant of the system itself, so I would like to gain some expertise before attempting to try so again (and next time I won’t waste any of Jason’s time!).

The link to my game is here:

If there are any glitches, spelling errors, problems, or you just want to yell at me, please respond. I value all criticism very highly, as I want to make a career of game writing one day. Thank you all very much for your support.

While I thorroughly enjoyed the prologue and idea of this game, I felt as if there was little to no customization (If I can’t choose at least gender and name, I feel rather angry), very few choices in relation to how much reading I was doing (One choice per 8-9 pages), and my pet peeve of a CoG; first-person instead of second-person. I don’t feel like I’m controlling my actions; I feel like I’m controlling the actions of a complete stranger.

I agree completely with @Aquos_Boost

Thank you @Aquos_Boost! I love a lot of the ChoiceScript games here, but I feel like my personal background is significantly more in Game Writing then with interactive novels developed with ChoiceScript. In most games with powerful, compelling story lines, you play as a protagonist, not necessarily as yourself (Portal, Legend of Zelda, Halo, etc) and I wanted to follow the example of these games.

While there is a lot of reading in the beginning, choices are actually more than one per every three pages. I realize this story is very word heavy, but…well, it is an interactive novel after all :).

Would you be surprised to know that this story use to be written in second person? Under the advisement of my teacher (This work was created from my Senior Design Project) and my beta testers (All of which said the second-person broke their immersion) I changed it from second person to first.

“I don’t feel like I’m controlling my actions; I feel like I’m controlling the actions of a complete stranger.”

You are. That’s the game. In fact, I would argue that is most games. You could argue that this is an Interactive Novel, but as a game writer and developer I would argue that games and interactive novels are so close they’re almost negligible. In not all Interactive novels you need to play as yourself, and not all games you need to play as other people. It’s a mixed basket of experiences.

But that’s just my two cents. Thanks everyone for commenting! :slight_smile:

I think what this game might need is a save feature before a battle in case I die. That way I won’t have to go back to the beginning.

sincerely, this has nothing to do with a Cog this go more with virtual novels with you go zero control zero importance and your choices are fake and only a path is good is a story more for delight games is similar to wizard choice lack of customitation i never buy a cog so limited, there is no room for Mara in there no room for roleplaying

First I really like your game idea and writing style. I don’t really mind if a game is written first-person or second-person.
But about the customization part I totally agree with @Aquos_Boost and @MaraJade… Of course it’s only my personal opinion but I really can’t empathize with a game when there is just a fixed character and I’m not even able to change gender or name… I just don’t feel connected to the character… it’s more like reading (playing in this case) a regular book with a set main character and not a choice game… i don’t want to offend you because I’m sure you put lots of thought and time into creating this story/game but that’s just my point of view. :slight_smile:

Interesting. I’m getting a lot of the same feedback, but it’s different from my original beta-testers. I don’t think I’m going to radically alter the game to allow the player to fulfill the role of Seth, but it’s something to think about should I develop another ChoiceScript game. Thanks!

Other then character customization, are there any other large critiques?

I think it would be a lot better if there were at least twice as many choices

I agree needs a lot more choices

Am I the only one who likes the fact that Seth is already defined as a character. It think it’s a fresh breeze among CoG games, as most games all allow you to flesh out your own character, which isn’t bad. But this reminds me awfully lot like the old novels I used to read and that’s fine too. As long as this main character will be given the proper back story to work with, I’m fine with it. It’s a change, which I think is good.

The main jab I have with this game however is that the interaction between the ‘role-players’ and the ‘characters’ aren’t really separated well… As in when you are role-playing your characters it sometimes cuts back into the original group, such as in the initial part where everyone is supposed to meet up. Next to that I feel limited in choices, as there is a lot of dialog between choices, and the choices you make don’t feel as if they make an impact on the story.

Other than that, I commend you for your dictionary on older English words, I didn’t even had a idea what some of them meant sometime, but after searching it up, it fits really well in the context of the story.

I’ll keep tabs on this. GG.

Not only more choices, all your choices are tailored to the same tipe of player, that makes replay value below zero. And as @GinMerric said no choice seems really afect nothing even in dialogue and if not afect there are no choices at all.
This could make a interesting book or an arcade game A cog no way.

First off, great job. I can see considerable work went into this game. Your characters are well-developed, and I really enjoy the theme.

Many of the criticisms others have expressed are valid for publishing as a Hosted Games project. These games have a certain set of common elements of which players are accustomed. As interactive fiction, your game works but it just differs from CoG/Hosted Games projects.

Generally, stories are in the 2nd-tense, though “Life of a Wizard” is 1st person and well-received. The difference is that LoW has so much customization and so many choices, the POV doesn’t detract.

Hosted Games also have a fair degree of character customization. We’re not talking personalities but replayability is provided by picking a strong, charismatic character in the first play and a cunning, stealthy character in the 2nd play (for example).

The third is the degree and impact of choice. Hosted Games projects have a great deal of choices that impact the game. I believe the guideline is every 2-3 screens (500 words) should have a choice. Also, choices should matter. In looking at your code, you don’t have many variables tracked that impact later events.

Like I said, as an interactive story it has extreme merit; it just differs from CoG-style games. I actually really enjoyed the story but would be concerned that publishing it under the Hosted Games label may lead to some confusion by the fan base. And please don’t take the criticisms as a negative – the framework of what you’ve done and the writing itself makes this a worthwhile project. I just encourage you to consider adding some customization and some degree of tracked stats that add replayability.

It’s amusing and well written, but I found the characters kind of grating. Zach was insufferably irritating at the beginning, but gets progressively more bearable. Jasmine however just keeps reminding me of people who’ve ruined games for me. I guess the insecure, aggressive, psychopath who you’re never quite sure is roleplaying or just being themselves is a mainstay of tabletop RPGs, but they don’t exactly make the game enjoyable. Especially when you’ve been forced to deal with as many as I have.

Also, the fact that I’m controlling my players’ actions kind of feels weird in the context of supposedly being a game master…

Still, I’m curious to see just how this continues.

I guess this isn’t very useful criticism considering how deeply integrated into the essence of the game both of those things are…

I like the concept. I haven’t replayed it a lot of times, but it is my way to start babbling immediately.

I agree that it would work better with a clearer delineation between being “inside the story” making the choices the fantasy characters would make for them; and being the game master in a room trying to steer the players and hold onto the reins of the game. I love the duality of it. But, for example, I wouldn’t want to see the gamer stats while I’m in the POV of the fantasy world. I’d like to stay in that (double) suspension of disbelief.

Maybe an indicator (other than the names) would help draw a line between each side? An “At the table” header every time we go back to it?

More frequent choices, including ones that give you a sense of the game master steering things and influencing how the gamers behave…I’m in agreement with wanting to see that.

One other thing that might be making pages feel long is that some of the ones I encountered had a lot of dialogue. How more description in more places, that pulls in all the senses (sights, sound, taste, prickling of the hairs at the back of the neck, etc. etc.)? There’s rich description in the setup scenes, really digging into the minds and motivations, that didn’t carry through to pages I found later, which felt like listening to a game instead of being in it, if you get my meaning. But there were places with great description, like the waterwheel (a typo: “pus-filled clots”).

Gotta admit, I loved using the Zone of Truth. But I think you meant “foul” here: “using only the most fowl of ingredients.” Although “fowl” works too :slight_smile:

Here: “I binded him like he binded me…” I would use: “I bound him as he bound me.”

I liked the quirky, fun touches like the Extremely Small Forest and the “The what?” reaction.

I always wonder, when games let you pick from a long list of questions, whether you’ll get cut off, or whether the order in which you ask changes the answers. I think it’s in Choice of the Deathless where the person is getting agitated and might end the questioning, so there’s a tension to ask for only the most essential information.

Finally, I really like the idea of one of the gamers being hard to handle and getting worse or better depending on the game master’s actions. And I love Jackie–I was a little worried when her description first started that the tone was going in a weird direction, but then it all turned out great.

And then I got the entire party killed. I’m going to have to try again :wink:

One thing that kind of confused me… I wasn’t really sure how to read Jackie’s introduction. Is she a lot younger than I thought and “transitioning” through puberty, or is she a transsexual, or is Erica just really confused?

I guess if it’s the former it makes her grating personality more understandable.

The game seems pretty interesting so far, but I’m not sure how much difference my choices make. It does get a bit confusing knowing when it’s the players or the characters speaking, but I don’t mind it not being personalized in that sense.

I think there’s a paragraph missing:

“No one is arguing whether men are better than women, or vice versa. If Erica wants to play a male, I see no reason why she shouldn’t be allowed to do so. I’ve played a female before. It’s just flavor; who you want to play.”

“That wasn’t the only reason!” I pouted.

“Oh? Then why didn’t you play a male, hmmm? Why couldn’t you play a seductive male? Or was the only reason you choose to play a female is because you think it would be ‘weird’ to play a male succubus?”

on a side-note, I find it funny that the transgender is upset with the girl for wanting to play a male.

“They could not slightly me, lest some unimaginable punishment befall them and their families.” - should be slight

“…using only the most fowl of ingredients.” - Unless he’s only using birds, should probably be foul

“I recall feeling oddly abandoned when he told me, as if a piece of me was missing, and replaced by something fowl and dark.” - should be foul

I find Jasmine to be really annoying, she’s not a strong woman, she’s just a female brute. She seems to be a very shallow character.

" He turns back to you. 'Is there anything else you require before you apprehend this thief?" "

I’m not sure which character I’m supposed to be playing at this point…

““We run their immediately!” Erica gulps.” - should be there

““So how do we know we’re going south?” Jasmine asked absent mildly as the party left the town.” - should be absent-mindedly

Haha Territh amuses me. I think I like characters with ambiguous morality. And poor Zin getting picked on. I can’t tell if he’s in dog form or human form or some sort of hybrid though. Is he a really small werewolf? And the Extremely Small Forest is pretty funny too.

I finished the cave and we’re meeting tomorrow - then I get an error when I click next. “line 80: Non-existent variable ‘partymoral’”

Honestly, the game is unique, but i feel that at least customization of name is a must of every COG if there is little to no customization at all, because it feels as if im playing for someone else other than myself. Be mindful that im not saying it’s a bad game, as it has a fair chance to become even better. I think i should say the characters are crafted well, and honestly can’t wait to read more about them!

What was your first interactive novel?