Trench - beta testers kindly requested!


#1

Hi everyone. I have a new game/interactive novel in the works, called Trench, and would love for any and all to check it out. You’re a fresh British infantryman at the Battle of the Somme – one of the longest, bloodiest battles of World War I. Your objective is merely to survive from the battle’s first day on July 1st, when 20,000 British soldiers were killed that morning alone, until the battle’s end in November. Along the way you might find yourself up in an airplane, or riding along in a tank, or even being a clerk. Perhaps there’s a brothel in your future? You might get sent to the hospital, or to the firing squad, and you might give in to your inner demons and wind up chatting with ghosts and skeletons as though they’re your friends.

Anyway, please feel free to look it over and send me any comments you might have. andrew.schaefer@sbcglobal.net. Or you can post them here.

https://dl.dropboxusercontent.com/u/61954623/web/index.html

Thanks!


#2

How do I get to the brothel?


#3

Never found it interesting concept although pat should be put


#4

I mean never mind lol


#5

You know you can edit your comments, right?


#6

Whoops thanks for reminding me forgot about that feature


#7

Hi, I’ve read up to august, not sure and I think its very good. It all seems to work well and there are very few spelling and grammar problems. I would however like to make some more general points:

-Ordinary soldiers, such as the one you play as were overwhelmingly working class and would have spoken with strong regional accents. For me, the MC is a bit too softly spoken. The officers are a decent portrayal of the privately educated, upper class elite.

-In terms of implementing this, for instance on the very first page, you mention Albert, but that the sergeant pronounces it “al-bear”. He more likely would have said Albert, being ignorant of French pronunciation. Good example of this is that the Belgian town of Ypres (pronounced E-ph) was known british soldiers as Wipers.

-On a similar point, you mention that our soldier is in the Durham Light Infantry. It might be nice to give it a bit more character by giving this a bit of meaning. Maybe characters could use North-East slang, refer to the to local football team Sunderland, say some of the soldiers, if not even the MC are miners or ship-builders (biggest industries in the North-East). If you like I could give you some pointers with this as me and my family are from this part of the world and I’ve been to the DLI museum many times

-Minor point, 2nd page you said soldiers in drab green uniforms, the British army wore khaki brown

-Another minor, pernickety point, slightly later you use the American term freshman which is just a tad out of place in this setting

As I say, I think this is very promising so far, hope this feedback has been helpful!


#8

Thanks so much that is very helpful. Glad you’re liking it so far! Great idea about embellishing the Durham Light Infantry, and anything you have in mind that might be good to see would be largely appreciated. I’ve family in York but they’re not locals.

On the accent issue more generally, I tried to find a balance between authentic speech mannerisms and contemporary readability. It’s like the Downton Abbey thing – people complain that the characters use all sorts of modern terms and don’t speak authentically, but if the downstairs people in particular actually spoke the way they did in real life then nobody watching in 2014 would understand a word. So the MC uses more or less standard English with slang terms thrown in. (The sergeant says “Al-bear” just to key the reader in to how to say “Albert.”) You probably were part of the good discussion on the issue on this forum a little while back and I remember people generally saying that it was too distracting to write dialogue too slangy. I figured better to be a little less authentic than too much, if that makes sense.


#9

Fair enough, obviously you can too far with accents and you still want it to be comprehensible. It’s really up to you and you’ve got to take into account the modern reader.
I don’t want to seem like I’m banging on about it but maybe given the setting you could use British spelling, like ‘honour’ rather than ‘honor’ but that’s a very minor point, just perhaps to make it more authentic.
Funnily enough I was in York yesterday, watching York City get beat 3-2 by Southend United, small world eh?
On the whole DLI thing, you could just mention things along the way within conversations perhaps, like maybe where the MC or other characters are from, what they did pre-war, what there lives were like, just to sort of give it a bit of unique character and identity. In terms of places, Sunderland and Newcastle are the biggest cities in NE with strong shipbuilding and coalmining traditions. There are also many pit villages in County Durham with lovely regional sounding names like Seaham, Spennymoor, Shildon, Sedgefield (they don’t all begin with S, promise!)
Anyway, don’t want to sound like I’m preaching about the North-East (I definitely am) but if you want any info/pointers, I’d be happy to help. In terms of local slang, ask away.


#10

The Minstermen!

Yeah you’re right about spelling and such. I’m going to have to make some of those changes. But heaven help me if I have to start writing Geordie!


#11

Awww yeah! I love WW1 games in general, and i love even more games that depict war as it should be!
The plot itself is interesting, you “glued” me to read more and more of the story, The only thing that i was frustrated with was the Challenge scene, i didn’t quite pay attention and got riddled by bullets by failing it, which made me go all over again in my journey against the Fritz, i was slightly annoyed, there should be a memento on the stats screen or something, but that’s just me, other than that, great story, i’ll give it my third or fourth go right now, see if i can locate the challenge word.


#12

Ha! Gotcha. It’s meant to be somewhat realistic – you pay attention or else you die. The challenge word is said three separate times, specifically so people notice it, but I think it’s all on the same page. So if you click next without getting the word in your head then you’ve got no way to find it out.

But thanks so much for the feedback and glad you’re liking it!


#13

Uh-oh! I’m in that page once again and haven’t found the word again! but the game is really fun and really makes me feel like a soldier,so great job!


#14

Hmm, hope there isn’t something wrong with the code. FWIW, the word is either “cricket,” “throne” or “house.” It’s not case-sensitive.


#15

Yay! Thanks for the word! inb4 get’s killed in the next scene


#16

Here’s what I think: You could publish it now with what you got and have a game to be proud of. My few complaints is that I’d like it if we could customize our girlfriend a little more, like her name and appearance. I would also like it if our mystery ghost friend had a name and a bit of a backstory


#17

Muchas gracias @undead. I’m on board about the ghost. I can already think of a good story.

On the sweetheart, however, I intentionally left it vague. I figured it could be up to your imagination to make her whatever you want, especially since she’s always on the periphery. Does that make sense?


#18

Really enjoyed this. I appreciated all the detail and research. I eventually got a very interesting playthrough where I began as a clerk, then was sent back to infantry, then ended reuniting the Perkins brothers. I’ll definitely play through a few more times. Great job.


#19

@distracteddad

One thing I noticed was that it is impossible to be a Lewis gunner and get the paper from Perkins. If that is your intention that’s fine otherwise I would add in another opportunity to add 10 fighting at the expense of another stat in startup or Trench v2.


#20

Thanks so much @sandwoman.

And @cascat07, I uh, um, never thought of that.