Sounds like exactly my taste. Hope to see more of this!
I’ve been meaning to leave a comment on this WIP forever — I absolutely love what you have so far , I think this is such a promising game!
Just because I can’t help nitpicking things, I noticed that there’s quite a few choices had only two options and that the first choice was a gender one — technically the COG guidelines advise against those things, buuuuut I might say that the beauty of HG is that you need not adhere strictly to the guidelines, and in your case I found the game engaging regardless so I didn’t mind at all. Personally I think it’s just fine as it is, but I just thought I’d throw this out there in case you wanted to consider it.
At first, it wasn’t clear to me from the choice to select what memory to revisit (getting lost, mother’s death or father’s assassination attempt) that the ones you don’t pick also have happened, thought it could be more of an alternate timeline thing where you pick the thing that did happen. This is not a big deal, however, and I’m not even sure what could be done to hint right away that all those things have happened.
I think it’s maybe a tiny bit odd for Oswald to discuss childbirth with a female MC (if you ask about Elizabeth) without any hint that the MC would traditionally be expected to go through this herself, but I can see how that’d be tricky to implement (we have no way to know if the MC is trans for instance) and anyway he’s so nervous thorough the whole trip that it kinda works with his character regardless.
While we’re on the subject of the trip, I admit that I don’t quite see why Oswald holding the MC’s hands is sort of treated as a big deal, I got the impression that the characters saw that as a very inappropriate thing to do? Anyway, there’s already options to recognize that it’s awkward but still not make a fuss over it so again it’s not really important.
The MC is summoned to dine with the queen by a maid who looks quite lowly — wouldn’t the Queen have noble ladies-in-waiting attending to her instead? I’m aware this is not a strictly historical setting though so are pretty free to do as you please (it also surprised me to see a fountain pen mentioned later on — I had been imagining the whole setting as very Renaissance, but perhaps it’s meant to be inspired on a later era?)
If the MC leaves the banquet after dinner rather than sticking around with the heirs, they tell their father the next morning that they “spent most of the night with” one of the heirs. I think that’s possibly a bit of an overstatement when all they did was walk back to MC’s room together? (Though admittedly, I don’t know how big that castle is. Suppose it did take most of the night just to walk back).
Then again, perhaps this scene could be fleshed out a bit more, so we can talk a little with whoever is walking the MC to their rooms? Melanie says there are ghosts in the corridors but then never tells us where they’re supposed to appear when she escorts us.
Is there any reason, why, during the funeral, we can keep checking on the same people, even right away? (After choosing to see what each of the heirs is doing, for instance, I think we can check again indefinitely here, as the options aren’t greyed out? Don’t think I’ve ever tried it so I don’t know if it triggers different text or anything however).
I don’t often check the stats screen in these games, but I did once and I think it’s super-polished already. I also really appreciate your taking the time to implement a checkpoint system for every chapter.
It’s a good thing that I thought to check too because I think I spotted a little bug there :
Once you meet Cameron, Robin’s description changes (I assume this is actually Cameron’s). And Cameron, meanwhile, gets no desfription:
(It’s interesting how Cameron switches genders depending on the MC’s gender — I think that’s what does it, at least — can’t help thinking Mama Skliros is going to want to arrange a match there… )
Like I said, other than some very minor nitpicks I really have no feedback to give on this, I found it very interesting and well written and have played several times now to see the different routes, even at this early stage in development.
Ahh, thank you so much for the comment! This is really thoughtful and detailed; I’m glad you liked the demo and thrilled that you’re invested in its improvement! I’m just going to work in order!
I actually never read the COG guidelines (because I’m a clown), so thank you for pointing this out to me! I’ll definitely add more options for the sparse choices in the future - I don’t want such a significant part of the story to feel restrictive for the player.
Retrospectively, I totally understand the confusion here but am unfortunately equally unsure as to how I should clear it up before the decision itself. I tried my best to do so AFTER, but that’s not fair to a first-time reader who’s just trying to make their backstory more/less tragic. I will definitely think about it as I continue working!
You’re giving me too much credit with these thoughtful contingencies! /lh I actually just didn’t think to have a gender check in this scene, and I agree that assuming your MC’s biological capabilities would be silly. However, I think the “I spent time with X” conversation at the beginning of chapter three could really benefit from one, since a lot of Dad’s comments involve gendered social conventions. Are there any other situations where you felt like your chosen gender should have been addressed within the narrative (or, conversely, situations where you felt unnecessarily limited but it)? I’m personally more than willing to sacrifice some “immersion” in the setting to make everyone feel happy and comfortable!
I see! I intended to show that your relationship with your father wasn’t very physically affectionate, since Dad is (and I say this with deep affection) a shambling conglomerate of social insecurity. I think that changing the phrasing of your options for responding would convey that the “horror” is on his side and not necessarily yours.
Since the “research” I did for this setting consists of exactly one Catherine of Aragon biography, I’m positive that there are about as many historical inaccuracies as there are words; thank you for focusing on the ones that seemed particularly blatant. I’ll definitely fuss with that.
This was literally me deleting the “disable reuse” command because it wasn’t viable for replaying the chapter with my checkpoint system and forgetting to replace it with something else. I’ll make sure to fix that.
That should be fixed in DashingDon - thank you for looking at the stats screen and catching that!
Wow, I’m sorry about how prohibitively long this was! Thank you again for reading and responding so thoroughly and constructively - I really appreciate it! I’ll certainly be working on your suggestions in the coming weeks!
Ha! Can you believe she was actually the first thing I thought of with the “queen leading the king’s armies into battle” choice?
Good to know I wasn’t too far off with my imagining of the setting then (the collar that Robin pins on herself was always elaborately Elizabethan in my mind ).
Hmm, I don’t know — there’s the after-dinner activity, but I’d honestly leave that as it is: there’s a clear gender segregation, which is accurate to the time, but the MC can still choose what to do, so you can play an unconventional character if you wish. Seems like a pretty good compromise (I still haven’t played making anything but the traditional choice here, so I don’t know if anyone remarks on your doing something unusual in that case).
There’s also Robin — obviously having a same-sex attendant is the more historical choice. So while perhaps the narrative could acknowledge that it’s not the most frequent arrangement, or we could get an option when they fall asleep in the MC’s room along the lines of “it doesn’t bother me, but if they spent the night here both our reputations would be ruined”… At the same time I feel people who consciously choose Robin to be a different gender from the MC know what they’re doing, right? So those players aren’t prioritizing historical accuracy to begin with and they might not welcome any differences that make the characters’ lives harder in that regard.
I’m all on board with this, though — it’s like you read my mind, actually!
I’ve talked a lot again so I’m just going to close off by saying I’m really interested in what everyone else has to say about these matters.
Yes, absolutely! If anyone has criticisms/comments/questions regarding how I wrote gender, historical anachronism, and/or the convergence of the two, I would love to hear them! As of now, I’m just planning to edit Dad’s dialogue at the beginning of chapter three (in regards to acknowledging your gender - I’m still making the other changes, of course).
I know this would be tedious, but are we going to be able to spend time with all of the siblings and still be able to get one of them as a RO? You never know if you wanna romance one but elect another lol
I’m not sure if you’ll be able to hang out with each of them individually, but I’ve been trying to give them enough characterization in the group events that you’ll still be able to make an educated decision. You won’t be choosing who you want to support until most of the way through chapter 4, so if it still feels like you don’t know enough of them by then I can definitely add more events!
My little sister drew Melanie - her favorite heir - for anyone that likes art with their demos! Since I can’t embed images, that’s a link to my Tumblr: it’s a personal blog, but it’s ended up being mostly game stuff recently because I don’t have much going on in my life.
I made a few tiny little changes, mostly based on the lovely and detailed feedback from @Myrtle, and have been getting some work done on chapter four! I know I don’t have a consistent schedule or even a good estimate for updates, and I’m sorry about that, but know that I’m always trying to make progress!
This is interesting so far. Unfortunately, I don’t really have much feedback at the moment (although that might just be because of what time it is ) but I’ll definitely be keeping an eye out for updates.
Reaally liking this so far. Don’t usually like something this quick.
The characters are all charming and well written. I can’t wait for more.
Keep up the good work mate!
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