Voltaic [Ch: 1/7] | 4/1/2020 REWRITE UPDATE!

Hey all! A quick update on where Chapter 4 stands currently. Unfortunately, real-life obligations got in the way, and progress was much slower than I anticipated. I’m done with Adrian’s “becoming official” scene - now I just have to move on to Carlton and then Sabrina. After that will be the get them together/break them up scenes for Adrian/Carlton and Sabrina/Jordan, and then we FINALLY get to the super-fun scene where Madison confronts MC about the event.

Unfortunately, I have no idea when this update is going to be out. I’m full-swing in the job hunt as I look for a full-time job, and I don’t know what my availability looks like in the upcoming months. But I’m thinking that I should be able to finish Voltaic entirely by April or May of 2020 (and that’s a long estimate - depending on my availability, I might be able to finish it sooner). I’m not giving up any time soon! Hopefully you all don’t mind the wait. :slight_smile:

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My bro Trevers, I didn’t knew you had planning your own game! As soon as I’ll be back home I will give it a try :sparkling_heart:

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I hope you enjoy it! :slight_smile:

So I tried to read the other comments not to ask something that is already asked but I got tired halfway because I’m too late to the party ahahah So forgive me if it’s already been said.
Am I the only one thinking it’s a bit unfair to let me decide if I want to mend the relationship with Madison whithout actually knowing what was the cause of the “major break event”? I feel that as MC I should be given that information

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That choice doesn’t lock you into anything, and you’re free to change your mind throughout. The event is being hidden for dramatic purposes :stuck_out_tongue: but you’ll get to figure it out in Chapter 4. The purpose of keeping it hidden is to test whether your MC is the bigger person in the face adversity.

Damn plot devices, they break my immersion LOL You can’t keep hidden something that the MC should already know, shame on you! :laughing::laughing:
I’ll go on and let it slip for now, bro :wink:

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I wasn’t sure if I was going to like this, as I usually prefer more blank-slate MCs, but the characters and dialogue are great! The group really feels like childhood friends, and I enjoyed how the MC can create a web of relationships as they encourage everyone’s crushes/friendships. I also liked how how all the choices have impact and are often called back to.

A minor complaint is that I was looking forward to the science fiction aspects in the story, so by the time I reached the spin the bottle scene it started to feel like the plot was dragging on a bit. That scene made the MC feel a bit inconsistent, too, as some choices had the option to kiss on the cheek while others didn’t.

Another thing is that Olivia’s character seemed to drastically jump between liking and disliking the MC even when her relationship stat was high. I thought her reaction to the MC kissing Jordan on the cheek was odd as well since she already said it was allowed in the rules. The MC’s relationship with Jordan also didn’t seem to fit his relationship stat – it read like they were getting along really well, but by the end of the demo he was the lowest at 17%. :laughing:

The stats page, and how it reads as MC’s notebook with the bios and pictures, is great. If I had one complaint about it it’s that before the player chooses their gender/name it shows the picture/description of a male MC calling themselves “Unknown”. I feel like having that description suddenly change if the player doesn’t choose a male MC, as well as the “Unknown” part, breaks the immersion of it being a notebook somewhat.

Finally, I agree with @Roby95 about it being strange that the player doesn’t find out sooner about the major event that broke up Madison and the MC, but only because in the beginning it says it pops into the front of the MC’s mind every time they see her. Perhaps if that line wasn’t there then it’d be easier to accept that the MC doesn’t mention it even in their thoughts or the narrative like the other first half of that paragraph suggests.

Looking forward to chapter four! :relaxed:

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Thank you for the lovely feedback! I’m glad you enjoyed all the character dynamics. That is a huge focus here, and I’m glad it paid off for you.

Unfortunately, this is something that is unavoidable given how I planned the story. I definitely let Chapter 3 drag on for quite a bit, but given that things in that chapter are now integral to the rest of the story, changing that is hard. I’m coming to terms with the fact that most of the story is operating on an excuse plot (shames self). The sci-fi aspect is going to kick in at the end of Chapter 4 and continue for the remaining three chapters, so it’s coming! :slight_smile:

The spin the bottle thing is probably an oversight. I rushed that section because I wanted to get Chapter 3 out (I was so sick of working on it at that point tbh hahahaha). I can look that over. As for her treatment of the MC, I’m planning to go back through and add moments where the MC’s relationship changes some of the characters’ dialogue with them. I flew through Chapter 3 because it was so long, and now that it’s fully written, I can probably add some more variability based on relationships.

Same as above, I think I’ll add some more variability based on your relationship with him.

It shouldn’t be possible to view the MC’s bio page prior to selecting your gender, so that might be an issue with my coding. I’ll take a look at it.

That’s a good note. I definitely need to revisit the first chapters and fix some things up. I’m going to see if I can drop some hints, but I prefer to keep the event hidden until the most dramatic moment. However, I can probably rewrite a few things to make it have a bigger presence even if MC won’t admit what it is.

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I decided to move ahead of my current spot (finishing Sabrina’s final flirting scene) for a bit and work on the big Madison confrontation. Here’s a small snippet of what you might encounter depending on how you’ve treated Sabrina all night.

Progress was stunnin’ for the last two days, and I’m currently feeling great about some job prospects, so I’m hopeful about getting this WIP finished before the summer. :slight_smile:

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Alright, here we go :wink: :+1:

This got quite large and complex, so I hope it still makes sense. I tried to structure my points as coherently as I could, but it is still a bit of a web at its core.

Disclaimer that I dislike teen drama as a genre and this is sort of Teen Drama: the Game, though I tried to be as objective as I could. I also haven’t read any of the comments in this thread, though I did read your initial post, so if I bring up something that’s already been mentioned to death, it is not to nitpick but because I am ignorant of that discussion.

I’ve also skipped over grammar/typos and smaller inconsistencies as I figure others can get those easily enough and this lets me spend more time on higher level feedback. I’m assuming since you were interested in me specifically looking at it, you are in need of Shark Brand :tm: constructive criticism, so that is what I tried to focus on.

I like the idea for this game and am curious as to how successfully this can be done in a purely written medium. I’ll be interested to read the chapter where things shift. I think it’s ambitious and interesting and different, and while I’m sure it might turn some off for not being the usual type of game, I’ll be curious to see how it evolves and what it eventually solidifies into. The tone and the writing remind me of a number of recent indie games and feels like a bit of a hybrid of Life Is Strange (especially with the themes of coming of age and time/outcome manipulation) and Oxenfree (good vibes! I like both of these games).

Minor coherency issues
  • This is purely personal preference, but currently you just have a blank slate for naming the mc. I tend to find just a couple name choices to be much more user friendly, especially for testing purposes, but also in general.

  • I’d suggest rebranding the “wallflower” stat as something more neutral and not evoking shyness. A lot of what I would consider neutral decisions seem to contribute to this stat, like staying out of arguments, but I wouldn’t say that abstaining from an argument has anything to do with wallflower tendencies.

  • You have an end of demo screen in between chapters that might be confusing people

  • I was initially puzzled because this is listed under gender choice but when I checked the stats the mc is a guy. We do eventually get to a certain amount of mc creation, but I would suggest hiding the mc’s bio until that point to avoid confusion and possible frustration for people thinking they were duped.


the way this is structured makes it read like the mc is saying this at first.

all of these "uh"s are grating to read. there’s ways to show timidity and uncertainty that flow more naturally and don’t break up the sentence structure as jarringly.

again, here, it sounds like Olivia is saying this.

this seems like a big assumption to make unless it is well known that Carlton is openly bi, in which case this should be said beforehand, either in dialogue or in the mc’s thoughts.

what has Olivia (and Adrian, really) been doing throughout this conversation with Sabrina? hasn’t she been in earshot? if not that should be said

this reference is odd with a male mc

i didn’t actually click on this option so maybe the actual result reads better, but this feels like a homophobic reaction if you have a male mc (maybe that’s what it’s supposed to be?)

in where? there’s no context (a chapter later it’s said there’s cabins, but nothing here)

Major structural/development issues:

So I was running into a handful of problems that after getting to the end of the full demo have solidified into three (and maybe a smaller fourth) things I’d like to bring up (this is, as always, my perspective only and you as the author are of course in your right to ignore it in its totality if you so choose):

  1. clearly defining the mc
  2. pacing of the first half of the game (up to the Event)
  3. no perceived center to the story (which I will get into, but relates back to both above points)
  4. structure of the purpose of the time at the fire pit (which relates back to points 1 and 3)
1: the mc

This mc is not a traditional CoG mc (and I noticed from your FAQ where the mc’s photo is mentioned more than once that it sounds like it might be tripping people up). There are two reasons to address this, the first is more for the reader’s benefit and the second is for yours.

This is very much a game where we take control of an established, set character vs creating our own character (as is popular enough with other games that it is the standard that readers assume will be met). The freedom in this game is instead to have the ability to manipulate the variables in the surrounding npcs more so than in the mc (at least that is what I gather from your description of how it will work, we have yet to see it in action).

(As a side note, this also means we, as the player, are a character in this story. In the notebook, the main character is speaking directly to us, but in the story we and the mc are the same. This is in a sense breaking the 4th wall, acknowledging that we are holding the reins, but that we and the mc are separate.)

I am not here to say one way is better than the other, as I don’t really hold an opinion in either direction and think both contribute something different to a story. I do want to point out problems you might encounter with the choice you have made that you might want to address or at the least be aware of.

I do think you might want to consider explaining this distinction between a standard mc and your mc clearly in the introduction of the game. This would help to set the reader’s expectations and let them approach it from a more open-minded perspective instead possibly of a sense of disappointment or frustration that they aren’t getting what they usually encounter.

The second thing I want to mention is that having a set mc will cut down on replay ability. It means our freedom to control the mc’s actions, values, words and appearance is reduced considerably from mc creation and control games (we can’t play stoic once, charming the next, or lawful good one playthrough and chaotic neutral another, etc. Technically you mention we can preserve the npcs as they are in a “good” sort of fashion later on, but the mc’s actions earlier contradict this, which I will address later). I am obviously making an assumption here that wanting to replay the game is something you are trying to evoke in your readers. If that is not a priority, then this is much less important. People I’m sure will have an interest in replaying to change outcomes in the later half, but character creation is a major aspect of replay.

Then there is the limited character creation we do have, which consists of name, gender, and sexuality (but not appearance, including race/skin color, interestingly). When we get to gender selection, the bio photo changes to another premade mc. I’m not entirely sure what the point of choosing gender is when we can’t create more than one mc of the same gender anyway. It sort of feels like character creation that was abandoned in the middle of the design. What is the point of giving us gender and name selection but not race/appearance selection? The first two have the effect of making the reader feel like this is our character that we are customizing, but then the absence of the latter (and on top of that, a mandatory photo) makes it feel like that’s sort of ripped out from under us. Mixed messages.

Because of the bio photo, there are technically only 3 mcs in the entire range of the game. A lot of people like to replay with different mcs and the way it is currently set keeps people from doing that. This has the effect of making the game feel more bottlenecked, like there is a strict way it should be played and a discouragement in deviating from that. There is a certain expectation that comes with a gender selection screen, especially in readers who have played a number of other CoGs, and I can certainly see some frustration happening at that disconnect. I do think if this was laid out before the game started, people wouldn’t have as much of an issue with it.

I saw in your FAQ that appearance has specifically been addressed with the bio photos, but if you wanted to easily fix the majority of this issue, removing the bio photo and appearance description from the mc’s bio would be by far the easiest solution. If that’s not something you want to move on, setting expectations would seem useful.

2: pacing, 3: what is it all for?

These next two points are partially wound around each other, so I want to talk about them together.

With the way that this game is structured, everything hinges on the reader being interested enough in the other characters to make it to the half where the main event occurs. This sets an incredibly high bar for you, the author, because there is currently no driving purpose to help you hold interest until that time (there obviously will be a plot, but the reader doesn’t see that yet). Right now there is, from my perspective, nothing pushing the story forward. It almost feels like a sort of purgatory, with conversations that repeat and pacing that never seems to move anywhere. It feels like everything is waiting (which is technically what’s happening). I’m assuming the event hasn’t happened yet because you need enough information about the other characters revealed that there’s something to work with later. Right now, it feels very much like we are getting infodumps after infodumps with no reason why (or more directly, it feels like we aren’t getting anywhere because you need to tell us stuff first. Like a museum tour with too many instructions at the beginning when everyone just wants to see the dinosaurs already).

This conundrum sort of reminds me of the game Clue, in that the reason for them all together is specifically for an Event to happen, and then anything that was going on beforehand falls to the wayside. But a certain amount of information needs to be dropped before the murder so that we have something to go on afterwards.

This is where pacing and purpose intertwine. If you have a point of interest for the first half, the pacing can be structured around that. Right now, the game is stacked with all of these questions determining relationship dynamics and how the mc feels about people (necessary things to know for gameplay, of course) one after the other almost like a survey. There’s an unnatural feel to them because there’s nothing within the story triggering the majority of these questions, so they’re just asked out of the blue (I’ll list some examples in a second).

The most obvious place for this interest to come from is the mc’s motivations (which is currently a blank slate anyway).

The event between the mc and Madison is the strongest contender for the focus for the first half, especially as it is round-about discussed in almost every conversation, but I think you are holding your cards far too close to your chest with it. I’m assuming, from the comments in the game that the mc doesn’t want to discuss it that it will be revealed at a later time, but this has the consequence of having nothing to hold onto until that point from a reader’s perspective. Right now, you are holding the two most interesting major events back from the reader which leaves nothing for us to play with in the meantime, and no hints that it will get more interesting for us to want to stick around.

Now, let’s finally get around to actual shots from the game.


Decisions about how to respond to Madison need more context, both for the questions to make sense and for creating a stronger initial point of interest (if that is the direction you want to go). We are asked this with no knowledge of the event itself besides one small hint (that Adrian doesn’t think we are at fault), and this alone is not nearly enough to be able to answer this without choosing blindly. This question should be juicy foreshadowing for how the night could go, but ends up seeming much less impactful because context is taken from us (tbh, this whole friendship rift is so drama heavy, you could lean quite heavily into it without it getting stale).

We run into this problem again during the walk if we go speak to her. Context is lost left and right during that fight because the reader doesn’t know what we’re fighting about. There’s no depth to their tension and it makes their words shallow.


This is a good example of important questions being stacked too close to the front. We have barely seen anything of Olivia or what her and the mc’s dynamic is like. Because of this, we again have to answer blindly since we don’t know her enough to have an opinion. At the very least, we need a moment with her first (an inside joke, anything to establish the friendship) before choosing sweeping statements about it as a whole.


This paints Olivia in a terrible light and we have yet to learn anything about her that would make her character more nuanced. Did she ever apologize to us? Seem uncomfortable? Why do we like her? Why were we (are we) friends?


I’m not sure if Sabrina is supposed to come off as incredibly nosy and inappropriate or if this is another consequence of stacking questions too close to the beginning, but it really sours me on her character in general. Especially because she just keeps going:

This is an incredibly weird question for a complete stranger to ask. On top of this we are also forced to give her an answer instead of telling her to mind her fucking business. At this point she’s either oddly obsessive about us or all of these questions are being filtered through her mouth into the story and it’s damaging her character. But on top of all of this, we cannot give a good answer because we have no context for the event in question. This question, especially, requires knowing what happened, or at the least having a pretty damn good idea of what went down.

There’s a lot of telling and no showing happening so far. Wouldn’t it be more interesting to see these things play out in real time? Instead of asking us if we’d reconcile, give us a chance to decide to have that conversation (and maybe watch it blow up in our faces). Let us play around in the world you’ve created instead of asking what we would maybe do.

Again, why is Sabrina giving us her opinion on something that has nothing to do with her when we don’t know her?

I’d also like to bring up the point of character voices. A lot of these conversations feel very similar. The same types of questions asked, just rotating out the asker, the same types of comments made, everyone is interested equally in asking invasive questions and giving away quite a lot in answers. Madison is really the only one who feels solidified during these conversations, and I think that is because our relationship to her is clearly defined (and because she is the only one not asking the same things). Even Adrian brings up the same questions everyone else is, and because we keep going back to the same topics, it’s making everyone sound the same. Would everyone actually care about the rift with Madison? Does everyone actually need to know your motivations and what you plan to do? No one has anything else to talk about? If you wanted to make sure all the characters have similar information about the rift, it might be better for it all to be done in a group scene. For example, if you get them drunk first and have it all hashed out in a big circle, the intimacy you’re looking for would seem more natural.


this, in contrast, stands out as the only time someone doesn’t want to discuss deeply personal issues.

again, this as the default for these interactions seems really odd to me. it feels like a therapy session. this kind of trust should be earned between characters and not the starting point.

Why are we stopping? Why are we scattering? We know what direction to go, this feels tedious and slows things down even more.


this is what i’m talking about regarding repeating invasive questions. it feels like Carlton is interviewing us for a tell-all. And again, there’s a lot of telling and no showing. give us a scene with Olivia and Adrian butting heads instead of this conversation and let Carlton be a witness to it. we’re spending multiple chapters just getting to the campsite, use that time to show different relationship dynamics with scenes of them interacting instead of telling us second hand how it works.

So far there’s a strict repeating pattern of isolating a character individually, interrogating them for information about themselves or others and then fucking off to someone else. Why is it structured this way? The fun in having a large cast is to have them interact and see what happens, but so far everyone is very isolated with the mc as the only connecting point.

4: why are we here?

Which brings us here. What is the purpose of the fire pit?

To manipulate and meddle and nothing else, it seems. There is also no ability to skip any of this, which means it is a mandatory, set part of the mc’s personality that they will involve themself in everyone’s business and seem to have no morals regarding messing with others’ lives (or apathy about all this drama). The issue I have is that this is non-negotiable. It’s not a choice to play our mc this way, it is a rule, and all of the options further this decision. I mentioned much earlier that we might be able to play a good character by keeping everyone the same, but this eliminates that as a real option.

It also as a whole continues this feeling of purgatory, of waiting, because still, even though we have finally arrived at the place we have been talking about the whole time, nothing really happens. No changes. No plot. What’s the narrative arc? We’re sitting around and chatting again but what’s the point?

What is the purpose of our time at the fire pit?

again, this dialogue feels like a forced therapy session.

So because she won’t share deeply personal issues with us, we lose any interest in speaking to her? We are then forced to start digging for this information however we can. Why? Why do we care? It’s not even a choice to keep investigating, it’s a mandatory scene change.

and off to the next scene, where we act incredibly manipulative. for what purpose? where is all of this going? why are we being so meddlesome? why aren’t we relaxing and getting wasted? isn’t that why we’re here? what is our mc’s motivation for any of this behavior?

I think overall, though it seems like that might have been a lot of criticism, it can all be narrowed down to just a couple of points, and addressing those will fix the rest (it’s just that those few things reverberate out and effect a lot of other things).

I think a project that doesn’t follow the usual script is going to, by its nature, be a bit of a tight rope walk as there is more trial and error involved, but I also think that’s exciting and interesting and everything that attempting a creative project is about.

Anyway, that’s it! Hopefully this was helpful to you in some way, and I’m flattered you thought my input was valuable enough to abstain from attempting to duel me (though I still would have won). I suppose we’ll see if you still feel that way after getting through all of this. :grin:

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That’s why I hinted that I wanted you to look over my story, shark. You’re a gem and a half! I’ll respond in full once I’m on my laptop, but overall, I think your criticisms are incredibly helpful and definitely point out some issues I knew were present but couldn’t see clearly.

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Whew, that’s a lot of typing! I responded to pretty much everything. I tried not to skip over anything, but if you felt like I missed the point on some things, feel free to put me back in line (if you want - I don’t expect you to hash this out with me ad nauseum, especially because you don’t like teen dramas).

Minor Stuff

Anything I didn’t address here was something that I agree is an issue and will correct.

While I can’t say that I played Life is Strange, I can say that Oxenfree is the biggest inspiration for this game. The other game that influenced it is Until Dawn, but that influence isn’t super present currently.

This is actually a bug that I’m fixing in the next update (or maybe I’ll fix it in a smaller update).

It is not homophobic, but I see how the wording could give that impression. I’ll fix that.

The MC

I’m actually curious by what you mean by this. There are dozens of opportunities to change the NPCs and their relationships to one another. Do you mean that you aren’t seeing the results?

[quote=“sharknap, post:291, topic:49417”]
I do think you might want to consider explaining this distinction between a standard mc and your mc clearly in the introduction of the game. This would help to set the reader’s expectations and let them approach it from a more open-minded perspective instead possibly of a sense of disappointment or frustration that they aren’t getting what they usually encounter.[/quote]

I totally agree with this and I’m definitely adding this to the startup.

Replayability is something I’m concerned about, actually. The variation I tried to give was through the three personalities and which one the player chooses more often, but I think that I sort of pushed it to the side a bit. I’ve been thinking about incorporating both more stat checks in Chapters 2 and 3, and also dialogue variations for the MC depending on which persona they embody more. I think that’ll add replayability.

My issue, I think, was that I tried to have my cake and eat it too. When I initially pitched the idea in the Interest Check Thread, one of the questions I asked was, “Would you be okay with a set character, or do you want gender and/or name customization?” Most people answered for the latter, but I think that I was still in the set-MC mindset when writing. So when I started creating the MC, I was like, “These are three MCs I envision in this story.” That’s why I limited customization so strictly – now, however, I see that it ended up hurting more than helping.

The bio images are here to stay, but I do agree that I could preface the game more with warnings that the MC is different from other COG MCs. I think that would add some clarity.

I’m also thinking that I’m going to cut back the customization. I know this probably won’t be a popular option, but I also think that this story just isn’t one the player can insert themselves into it. I also feel like having less customization will allow me to focus on creating specific MC characters instead of trying to make a mass appeal to a variety of personalities that I realistically can’t represent without being vague.

Pacing/What is it all for?

Yeah… I definitely understand that, and your analysis helps put that in perspective. I think my issue is that I felt I needed a lot of room for backstory, and then I ended up creating too much room and had to fill it. There’s many things I think I could cut out of Chapters 1 and 2 that would be better suited for Chapter 3, which would speed the pace up quite a bit. I do feel like I’m writing a lot of similar things throughout, so maybe I can pin down when to actually bring certain topics up and get rid of occurrences of them elsewhere.

I do agree with that, and I think that I was hitting on it slightly but was confuscating everything with setting up the sideplots and with keeping intrigue. This is why I try not to write surprises into my stories – I guess I should listen to myself. :stuck_out_tongue: I do think that I could give a bit more information of the event itself without revealing it, and as I read over some of the instances you point out, I’m formulating ideas about how to drop some breadcrumbs of information, so thank you.

Duly noted. This is definitely the place where I can talk about the event that happened.

I do think this is a good idea as well. I realize looking back through the conversations with her that there’s more of a focus on her insulting MC than there is on actually talking about what happened. I think that’s the best opportunity for dropping in some hints.

I’ll add in some more moments with Olivia. On the whole, I did sort of abandon her throughout the story and that affects a lot of the dynamics, so I think that I can fix that and give more depth to her friendship with MC. I gotta work that friendship rift.

Excellent point - I can definitely add nuance here. This is, imo, a really good opportunity to define the tension between Madison and Olivia a little better.

Actually, she is supposed to come off as nosy. Inappropriate, not so much. I can take a look at her chat and see if there’s a way to rework it.

All good points. I think I might rework her chat in Chapter 2 to focus on her integration into the group in a different way. (I also want to build her relationship with Adrian more since there were many complaints about her getting involved with Adrian’s problems.)

I think my issue with this was that I wanted the tension to sort of fracture the group, but maybe I should’ve brought them together first. I suppose it’s hard to fracture something that wasn’t in one piece to begin with. I think Chapter 2 just needs a huge rework in general to refocus everyone’s priorities. I don’t think I explored everything as fully and cohesively as I wanted to.

This is something I intend to correct by incorporating some stat choices depending on your friendship with people.

I’ll rework this scene. This was intended to give the player some more time with Carlton, but looking back, it’s just so messy and pointless, and it makes no sense no matter how I look at it. Why would Olivia need to check a sign to see how long it’s going to take to get to a campsite she’s been to for the last however many years of her life? :joy:

All excellent points. There’s a lot to fix in Chapter 2, and literally all of the things you pointed out are helping me conjure up different ways to express what I want to say. Looking back, Chapter 2 feels more like a biography than a group of friends interacting with each other.

Why are we here?

Yeah. So, when I was drafting Chapter 3, I originally wanted to go with something open-ended, but I had doubts. When I asked for feedback, most people wanted it to be open-ended, and then I made the decision to require MC to get involved in some things so that they couldn’t just skip the entirety of the chapter. But now that I think it about it and now that I know how someone really feels about it… I kind of think that you could skip Chapter 3 without consequences. I think that I want to rework this chapter into something more linear, but also something that allows players to skip what they don’t want to do, even if that means skipping everything.

I think that’s the obvious issue I was missing - the purpose here was to allow alone time with specific characters and to influence relationships, but I think my approach was too lineated. Everyone’s sort of separate, and at least in Chapter 3, the MC’s actions don’t really influence anyone other than whoever they’re interacting with at the time. I think that might be a repercussion stemming from the open-ended-ness.

Since the purpose of talking-about -Sabrina’s-home-life scene was to, well, talk about her home life, I designed it that way intentionally because it would be pointless to have that conversation and then not get the information. But maybe that was me thinking as a game dev and not a human. :crazy_face:

Definitely agree. For my first project, it’s pretty ambitious, and I think I ended up losing my vision for the story because I was being pulled in different directions feedback-wise and wanted to make a story that gave people what they wanted instead of giving them what I wanted to give. There’s a lot to think about now that you’ve given me such wonderful criticism.

Truthfully, your feedback helped me way more than you realize. Not knocking anyone else’s feedback, but yours specifically focused on overarching problems that I couldn’t see because I was so bogged down with the details. You actually helped me realize where the plot of the first three chapters needs to go, and I think I can rework the story in a way that’s smarter and leaner now. So, no worries, I don’t intend to duel.

Yet.

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I won’t leave you hangin’. Not much point in me writing all that if you’re left confused about it. :smile:

I was referring to what you say will happen after the Event:

General relationship and smaller npc changes I did see.

I can say that I didn’t notice that there were supposed to be three distinct personality choices (you were tracking it in the stats, but I didn’t really see it reflected in game), and I don’t think the current choices available show that this is something you’re trying to do. Making the differences less subtle as well as dialogue variations, as you mention, would be helpful, yeah. It might be useful to look at other games that do this well and see what type of template they use for writing out choices.

I think you could still do this, if you state in the intro that there are basically three mcs to choose from, but that each of those mcs is premade. It’s all about expectations.

That is if, of course, you wanted to try to preserve the original plan vs changing it up, which is also a good option.

As an idea, if you wanted to keep it really simple, you could have people choose their mc, and then choose their mc’s dominant personality trait (of the three) and then the flavor text and dialogue variations could change throughout the game with that first choice. We would still have the ability to choose more minor variations in our mc, but the major one would be set at the beginning.

A narrow scope can be useful when writing out the skeleton of a story (especially as this is your first game). You can always expand on it later, too (a much easier task than shrinking it).

I think you’re right on point. Conversations where we don’t know all the details but where the audience can sense the depth and complication can be really fascinating to witness (and this is usually done by revealing intimacy that would only be there between people who know each other well and have a history).

“Inappropriate” might be me losing objectivity a bit, to be honest. I was not a fan of this conversation. I do think she is oddly pushy and jumping over boundaries here, though. I suppose that’s still inappropriate. :man_shrugging:

This is a good observation.

As a suggestion, if you switched things around, got to the fire pit very early on, have them bond while drinking, that might be a good time for a juicy fracture.

That was my question :laughing:

I don’t know how I feel about needing to skip an entire chapter of your work. Is chapter 3’s purpose purely to meddle? Could it have a larger purpose with meddling being one of the smaller directions to take within it?

I think this is slightly missing my point. Those things you list can happen around anything else. Bonding moments happen around other plot, are initiated by plot. Those are auxiliary goals, but what’s the primary goal of the fire pit story-wise? The fracture in the group? Something else?

Yeah. it’s very if A–> then B, but you have to leave room for the player’s involvement as a variable.

Excellent! I’m glad I was helpful.

Ohohoho. Not worried :yawning_face:

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One of the things that I agree with here, that really stuck out for me was the Sabrina comment. I mentioned it a million years ago in this thread…but she seems so sweet and that she wants so badly to be pals with everyone, then you have a conversation with her (fairly early on so she doesnt really know you yet) and you mention Adrian being your bestie, and she says something like “Oh…Adrian is your best friend? He doesnt talk about YOU that way…” which is SO SUPER BITCHY AND UNCALLED FOR/INAPPROPRIATE!!! Then in that same dialogue tree she mentions how great of friends you and Adrian are…I think she is maybe my least fav character because of how confusing/wishwashy/fake she seems.

I also agree with a lot of the other things you said, but that one really stuck out (and the Olivia stuff…why do we care?) I DO really like this story…and I hate playing a teenager, so that says a lot. :heart: I like most of the banter and cannot WAIT to get to the spooky premise :smiley: (I LOVED UNTIL DAWN AND IT TOTALLY REMINDS ME OF THAT!!!) Anyway, carry on. And best of luck to the author!! Even with the rando setting the spin the bottle moment was fun :heart:

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Hi y’all! I just wanted to let you know that rewrites are currently in progress. I finished Chapter 1 today, and I’m currently working on Chapter 2. The main things that are getting changed are the order of specific conversations and the addition of significantly more group scenes. One thing to anticipate is that, overall, the chapters will be shorter and you’ll learn different things in a different order. Specifically, Chapters 2 and 3 are becoming a single chapter – many conversations are getting deleted or reworked, and most of the actual bonding with characters will now occur at the fire pit (and in the same vein, these interactions will be significantly shorter). Spin the Bottle will also now be the final “scene” of the new Chapter 2 and will lead directly into the confrontation with Madison, which will take up the majority of the new Chapter 3 and thus lead directly into the electrocution.

Hopefully these changes will handle some of the issues that shark graciously pointed out and, in general, make Voltaic a little more consistent and easier to read. While this will reduce the variability overall, characters should feel more consistent and easier to like, and MCs should feel more defined. There will still be a total of 7 chapters, but these changes should make the game faster and better.

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Can I still kiss Sabrina though

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Of course you can!

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So in the rewritten new chapter 2 specifically?

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All currently public chapters are being rewritten. But Chapters 2 and 3 will be condensed into a single Chapter 2, and the new Chapter 3 will be the old Chapter 4.

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Nice
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