The Bring Out Your Dead game jam took place a few years ago and was about showing off your abandoned work and thinking about what you learned from it. I entered The Wedding Party (which I originally started in the now-defunct Inklewriter) which would have probably ended up a pretty long ChoiceScript project. I got some nice feedback about the setting and characters, and did a bit of writing about it too.
I thought I’d link it here out of interest - do have a look and see what worked and what didn’t, and critique if you feel like it (I’m not shy, it’s 5 years old now!). If you learn something from it, that’s cool!
From my angle, the reasons it stalled included:
- I didn’t really plan it beyond what’s there, so the actual events of the wedding party, theoretically the climax of the thing, were a mystery
- The villain, who was going to turn out to be your assistant Evelin didn’t have strong motivations and I didn’t have much idea what she was going to do beyond the initial blackmail threat
- It was waaaaaaay too complicated for a first long game. At that point I’d written several short pieces of interactive fiction but this was outrageously ambitious. All of those quests you get given during the breakfast? Were going to be detailed story arcs that altered depending who, if anyone, you were romancing. There was just far too much stuffed into it (especially given my lack of planning)
I’d have done it differently with the help of the CoG Design Guidelines to follow (they weren’t public when I was writing this) - there would have been more intentionality in the choices, and fewer binary choices. The structure of it as is means that there’s a lot of setup/lead-in and not as much problem-solving; if I was doing it again, I’d give the player more agency to take action in these early stages of the game.
As far as the question of when to give up on your WIP goes, I gave this one up at the right time. If I’d carried on much longer, I’d have gotten tangled up in plot that didn’t quite work, and been more demoralised when I stopped. Still, it was good to get to grips with ChoiceScript (it was the first time I’d used it) and I like a lot of the setting and some of the characters. The aesthetic of the whole thing is something I find appealing. Take a look!