When Twilight Strikes [updated 30/08/2021]

@Gshen

I have expressed similar opinions before and I must say I agree with you on the overwhelming amount of animosity and violent tendencies thrown at the MC.

I absolutely understand that there are people who will hate you in life the moment they lay eyes on you and/or for no apparent reason, that’s alright. However, I think that in the context of a story there should at least be prior reasoning for it or have the reader engage either actively or passively on why things happened.

There would absolutely be no problem whatsoever - to me - if I had seen or been told what, in no uncertain terms, had transpired between the MC and B before the main story so that when we interact I can understand why the character is constantly trying to get into a dick-measuring contest. At least this way I might be inclined to see beyond that and try to reach out to them.

As it stands, I have zero inclination to do so because every interaction has been either cold indifference or plain animosity with no tangible history. Which just leads me to going “Well, then screw you too.”

While on the flipside there are weirdly conflicting actions taken by the other characters such as Rylan being violent towards a pacifist MC. It had already been established that Rylan escaped your grasp before, why would he go to such lengths as to fight you when from the start he wanted your help? Especially if you’re willing to talk.

On top of that, even if you absolutely refute everything he says and is openly hostile to him he will still get all casual friendly chit-chat to the MC later on. Even attempt to get them to know you better. Like uhh, excuse me? Didn’t you beat the ever living crap out of me earlier and didn’t I tell you to “fuck off”?

This is part of the reason why I read IF stories with a focus/heavy emphasis on Romance with a degree of hesitance. I feel like unless if the story gives proper depths, complexity and development to every RO (which is bloody damn difficult) regardless if you actually want to romance/be friends with them or not then the story gets populated with a bunch of characters you are not engaged in; don’t particularly care for; but have to engage with whether you like it or not. Which - to me - almost ruins the experience, unless if the story is extremely well crafted such as this one and others.

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Even though my pure negative run is just for the hell of it and I don’t actually intend to play a character who’s an extremely racist sourpuss towards everyone, I did actually find myself coming to dislike just about all the intended ROs for one reason or another, and it factors a lot into what you’re saying about them not really being nuanced enough - or rather, for me, the nuances they have just grate against me in a way that I don’t particularly care for. No matter how clear I make it that my character’s intent is to continue hunting Rylan down regardless of how the plot plays out, she always laughs it off like I’m full of hot air, and so far all of one time was shocked and offended by it. Like, lady, at no point in time have you managed to change my opinion of you, I’ve actively attempted to attack you every time I had the chance, and every other time we’ve interacted, I’ve informed you on no uncertain terms that I still intend to haul you before a judge, why does it suddenly surprise you that I’m not your friend?

I have similar grievances with the other characters too, but I don’t want this comment to turn into an essay, so I’ll just leave it there.

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I’m always a fan of your writing and got a chance to play the update and I loved it!

Honestly, I’m torn between all the ROs. Originally, I thought I’d romance Blane for the rivals to lovers trope because I’m a sucker for that, but then I fell for A, and then Rylan, and this update had me loving N and K intrigues me… so, y’know, you get the idea. I really enjoy interacting with all the characters, too. It’s going to be great to see how they develop throughout the series, and with the hunter depending on the type of relationship we have with them (I think Blane is still my fave, I’m sucker for a half-Fae that hates me).

I really enjoy the plot of the story and I’m excited for the next update to see how the mission goes. You and your story are magnificent, never forget that <3

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I agree. I think the main factor is that the way this story is written so far would work fantastic as a novel where information is just what it is and is taken at face value. Some supporting character hates Frodo Potter Jackson? Sure, let’s see how that plays out. However, as a piece of IF where MC agency is pretty much the entire point of the experience there seems to be very little power given to the player to dictate how things play out when the ROs are concerned.

To me it seems like how the story is written you are expected to go along with the characters or at the very least interact with them. What happens when the story expects you to do something but you are inclined not to? Then pretty much player input is meaningless. It means we can’t start our investigation solo because B and N have to help. It means Rylan has to tag along even though the MC hates their guts and wouldn’t be caught dead aiding a criminal. It means K is the only way to get a new lead even if he absolutely hates everyone who works for the Agency. So the characters MUST be engaging and interesting to the reader and react accordingly to the choices, otherwise the entire thing falls flat. Either that or don’t give us the option to be antagonistic in the first place if it doesn’t actually matter.

I don’t want to sound too overly critical or overly negative. I do see a lot of potential in this story and I want it to be fantastic and succeed. If the author has a vision for their story and believes this is how it should play out, then I hope for nothing but the best.

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at first i was inclined to agree but i do see your point. obviously, this is a demo so there’s a lot of room to change and i think Rylan’s introduction might be one of the major ones. i wrote that scene at a time where i was more unsure of my story and looking back, Rylan is not the type of person to attack someone if they’re being passive.

Blane’s treatment of the hunter is something i won’t be changing, however. i understand how frustrating it is to be insulted constantly without knowing the context behind it, but please keep in mind that the hunter doesn’t know the context behind the comments either. what you know is what your mc knows, and this is something yet to be revealed. as such, you can act accordingly.

in all honesty, that’s really just their personality: pretend things aren’t happening and act as if everything is fine by making jokes. as per your other comments, my reply to the person above may help you.

i find this comment a little odd because that’s the point of the story. the synopsis itself states that you will be making a ragtag team of allies (of which you now have confirmation of who they are). if the characters aren’t your cup of tea then that’s unfortunate and you don’t have to keep playing, but if you choose to do so, you’re stuck with them and there’s nothing you can do.

if i were to write a version of this book where you went to find Caine solo, it would be a completely different story and not one that i am trying to write. i understand player agency and will keep these comments in mind when i refine the game for the official release (which will be a long time from now) but this is something that i don’t quite comprehend.

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aw Mila, i’ve always admired you as an author so thank you for your comments. seeing you on my dashboard on tumblr and your comments on here really make my day. you’re so incredibly sweet and everything you’ve said to me goes back to you <333

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Fair play that I should be having a rough idea of what I’m getting myself into through the synopsis itself. It’s not that I do not enjoy the concept of forming a ragtag team of allies that I may or may not flirt with; there are other stories I’ve read that have accomplished similar feats with great success - Wayhaven Chronicles and Diaspora are two that come to mind.

It just felt that in this story, as it currently stands, there’s characters with a lot of baggage and history with the MC throughout all of which the player wasn’t present for - B especially and Rylan to a lesser extent. It left me feeling like unless if I completely turn a blind eye to any slights and try to work through everything to become friends I am stuck with these people who already have a solid negative opinion on my character, yet I don’t have an opinion on them more meaningful than first impressions (which for Rylan is a fairly bad one since we fight on first encounter). It made the prospect of interacting with these characters a bit hollow and off-putting, as if I’m being thrust into someone’s shoes to clean up their mess rather than build the bonds I want to build. That feeling was only compounded when no matter what I did I was still being thrust into situations where I have to interact with people I’ve spent a while antagonising. Maybe if the MC had never interacted with these characters before and I was provided a clean slate it would feel better, but that’s neither here nor there.

What I hope I’m doing is provide a bit of criticism as to why I have disliked the characters in this story thus far and deconstructing the reasons for that. Whether you choose to adopt any of it is up to you but do not think of this as an attempt to peer-pressure you into changing an aspect of the story simply to fit a minority or, God forbid, just me.

This is merely an opinion and that’s that. If regardless of all that this is the vision you have and the story you want to craft, then I wish you the best of luck. Now I might still dislike the end result but that’s entirely me. I will continue to support your efforts and provide what I hope to be constructive feedback.

Because God damn I think your prose is beautiful. It’s well crafted and with some fantastic dialogue despite any “grievance” I might have. It’s some great writing and I can definitely appreciate that. :slightly_smiling_face:

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thank you for your comment. criticism can be hard to word but i’m thankful you’ve done it in a way that isn’t aggressive nor rude, as some others i’ve gotten have been.

as i’ve stated before, no one really understands why Blane dislikes the mc so much—not even the mc themself. as a result, there’s not as much baggage as you may expect because of this. really, all you’ve missed out on are past insults and the build-up to the level of dislike Blane currently holds for the mc (though i can definitely add this information in-game with a bit more context if that’s helpful). a huge part of their planned relationship with the hunter is to find out why they dislike you so much, which is why this part is currently a secret.

as for Rylan, i’ve already discussed that i am planning on making a secondary path where Rylan doesn’t attack the hunter at first sight, depending on whether or not you attack or aggravate them first. it’s really up to you whether this changes things or not, but i quite like this new branch either way.

finally, you stated that you feel like you’re being thrust into situations with characters that you actively dislike and antagonize. i can understand how annoying that can be but i do this so that you can form opinions on the characters after seeing different sides to them/interacting with them more. the scenes in chapter three (while waiting for the announcement) and chapter five (K magic discussion and getting food with Rylan) are examples of this. this isn’t to say that you have to change your opinion of the characters by the end of the book, but it’s to give you chances to do so if you wish.

in general though, since your criticisms do seem to stem from the fact that all the characters have prior relationships with the mc, i’m afraid there’s only so much i can do for you. i’ll take into consideration some of your points as i definitely see what you’re talking about, but severing whole histories is obviously not possible. perhaps this mechanic as a whole is not for you (or maybe my story just doesn’t shape it in a way that is catered to your tastes).

regardless, i do hope that the main game (with it’s various changes) will be something more to your liking. despite everything, it’s wonderful to hear that you like my prose, even if my characters are not something you enjoy quite yet.

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That’s quite alright. I wasn’t expecting any of that sort. Frankly, having the text allude to something or go into a vague reason as to why is enough to satisfy the fact that there is a reason, you just don’t know it yet. That’s preferable to simply stating that the character hates the MC and then what we get for a reason is “You don’t know”. It would eliminate the feeling that B’s hatred towards us is unjustified.

Personally I didn’t have much issues with Rylan until I replayed the WIP a few times to see the different routes and they all ended with a fight no matter the interactions, which made the character feel one-dimensional. This change is definitely a welcomed one. Although Rylan’s personality is still the same and it naturally puts me off, I think with being able to talk it out at first despite any lingering animosity will remedy most of the issues.

Criticism towards anything one enjoys, especially if it’s something so lovingly crafted, is harsh and biting. The least I can do is make it as objective, respectful and constructive as I can so it’s healthy for all parties. I am not pointing out flaws and saying how something isn’t good enough for the sake of being contrarian. I want the story to be as good as it can possibly be; I am only pointing out things I might have issue with so we can have a civil discussion on top of that and see if there’s anything to take away from it. This is basic common courtesy in my book.

I don’t doubt my enjoyment of the story. Don’t let the criticism take away from my overall enjoyment - I cared enough to write several posts on the topic after all. I think with some tweaks, added bits here and there and maybe an extra route and it will be a fantastic read.

I’m very pleased if anything of what I said was useful to you. :slightly_smiling_face:

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This actually puts me in mind of the post I made when I first joined the forums, about the players having the ability to say no.

To wit: I don’t actually have a problem with how this story sets its plot in motion. Not only do you have the option to say no when Rylan initially attempts to rope you in, you in fact have the option to just attack them without bothering to let them speak, and then refuse to hear them out after the fact, such that they have no other choice but to rope A(rden, in my case) into the plan instead. And then, when Arden tells you the plan the next day, you can voice several very valid objections to said plan, ultimately forcing her to cite workplace ethic at you to make you go along with it (“I am your partner, partners don’t work alone, I’m going along with this whether you like it or not, and you’re coming with me”).

At that point, for my overtly hostile MC, his character evolves from stubbornly saying no to begrudgingly going along with the plan, because he ultimately realizes that the situation is bigger than his own feeling on it and he has too much respect for Caine to be picking this particular hill to die on - but with the caveat that, whenever a chance presents itself, he will constantly remind Arden that she’s dragged him into things under duress, and likely will not be forgiven.

As for B(lane) and N(oelle) joining the investigation, what they say on the matter is argument enough for them: Caine’s their boss too, they have a vested interest in getting him back to IOAS alive and well.

As much as I dislike K(aia), there’s even a valid reason for their involvement, that being that they’re the only Warlock with the power needed to do the big Caine-finding spell in the first place, so it really is them or bust. And at the end of the most recent update, they’re revealed to have a, not friendly, but tolerant relationship with the head honcho of the vampires, so them coming along to speed up the inevitable swimming through supernatural red tape could be invaluable to finding Caine.

So, the cast of characters my character is stuck working with are definitely not an issue, in and of themselves, and the plot is perfectly fine for me. It really is just that the ROs’ respective character nuances feel relatively static, in ways that don’t really mesh with me: Blane will always hate your guts over a statistic, Noelle will always play peacemaker between everybody, Arden will always be the one who’s the most invested in the plan (even though she proclaimed to hate Rylan worse than my character, initially), Rylan will always be a thorn in the ass, and Kaia will always disdain everyone and everything. It makes it really seem like everybody’s a bit up their own back ends when my character responds accordingly to their personalities thus far (hates Blane, hates Noelle by association, never really got along well with Arden to begin with and is pissed off at her now, DESPISES Rylan, dislikes and distrusts Kaia), and everybody suddenly acts like it’s this new, offensive thing that he’s doing that had never been provoked before by any of them.

Rylan acts like a pain in the ass for the umpteenth time, then gets miffed when, shocker, my character - who has never liked her and has seen very minimal change in that regard - shoots her down hard? Come on, Rylan.

Blane gets offended that my character, pragmatic to a fault and who clearly has no use for her in the first place, and who she already thinks lowly of, herself, would “cheat” his way to victory in a sparring match where no hard ground rules were set prior to the match starting? Blane, what evidence did you ever have to suggest that he wouldn’t do exactly that? He’s the kind of guy who holds hard and fast to the rule of, “nobody gives a shit about honor in a fight.”

Kaia looking down her nose at everyone from the word go, then getting pissy when my character shoots down Rylan’s offer to be their friend later? The vibe I catch from that is, “I hate you, but how dare you not love me,” which I have to admit does little to endear Kaia’s character to me any.

Honestly, Arden being very awkward and quiet around my character now and Noelle finally getting fed up and telling my character to stop being a dick are the only two responses that have made sense to me so far, because yeah, Noelle is justified in getting her hackles up for being mistreated over literally nothing, and yeah, Arden is justified in being severely cowed by just how hard her partner is suddenly giving her the cold shoulder over her forcing him to join a plan that he objected against, several times, as being a bad idea.

It’s nothing that completely shatters my immersion or makes me not want to continue reading, mind. The story, itself, is great so far, and I’ve been genuinely enjoying what I’ve read. I just feel like the characters’ personalities are somehow equally full-bodied, but not robust enough, is all.

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Just for curiosity’s sake. If this is the case then why am I not allowed to simply ignore Blane completely? If there’s no relevant reason (from what we can see so far) for Blane’s antagonistic behavior, then there’s no reason for me to engage.

I don’t mind Blane disliking the Mc, but I’m not going to stand around insulting someone just for the sake of it; I’d rather walk away.

Which raises the question: Why must the Mc always be the one to initiate a positive relationship with characters that treat them like crap? If a character is being hostile towards the Mc, then I, in turn, am not going to be friendly. And I don’t think that should be a problem for the characters themselves (or the relationship stats, for that matter) because I’m simply treating them the same way they treat the Mc.

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Oh, I’m very happy to hear that, because this is one of the reasons I said before that Rylan was the character I liked the least by a margin (at the beginning, I mean)! Especially considering my MC is cunning-geared, so he really wouldn’t have attacked at all.

With that being said, if I may add my grain of salt to the debate, the fact Blane is so aggressive and antagonizing without proper reason is one of the (admittedly many) reasons for me to love them and to plan to romance them. I love the fact Blane is like that for reasons nobody knows, because that compels me to try and discover what the reasons are and try to help them if possible, which I find extremely engaging. The effect wouldn’t be the same if that situation hadn’t festered for a while at this point.

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Just played this through and it’s really good so far!! I love all the characters and got real invested real fast😄 I’m already looking forward to doing multiple playthroughs for different ROs (I NEED to win over Blane at some point, I just know that route will be so fulfilling). A and Rylan are battling it out for my number 1 spot right now, though!
Personally feel like all the characters act pretty understandably for the world/circumstances they’re in as far as we know. Obviously there are things we aren’t aware of yet, but that’s the point of playing the game and just the nature of this type of story, I think? To find out what everyone’s deal is and see how your MC navigates that.
Anyway, I’m excited to read more in the future!

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thank you for the encouragement! your comments truly did put things into perspective for me so i’m very appreciative.

i read your post and basically what i’m seeing is that you’d like more flavour text that caters to personal playthroughs. that i can do but i’ll have to decide if that’s something i patch up in an upcoming update or something to leave for myself when i complete writing the entire book.

at the end of the day, they’re still an ro and a prominent character in my story so i’d like for players to get a feel for who they are. if you ignored them in every single scene they’re in you’d get no development with them, which, fair enough i suppose. perhaps i’ll try to find a better balance for being able to walk out of the room when they’re there than what i currently have written.

in my defence, however, you’ve only been forced to be in a scene with them four to five times now (all with someone else in the room with you) and have had choices (chapter three) to not interact with them.

hmm, i’ll work this out for the main game. it’s completely valid to be rude towards characters (that’s why there are so many options for it with Blane) but you bring up a good point. i’ll look into it.

i think this is quite interesting so thank you! people hate Blane for this very reason so i’m surprised that this can also compell people.

i think people hate Blane because they’re an asshole but with no reasoning behind it. i understand that but since that’s the point of their character, there’s not much i can do haha. glad to know they have you as a fan though :))

ahh thank you!! and yes, Blane’s route will be extremely satisfying if you’ve been trying to get them to become friends with you (or lovers). i’m super excited to write it. and i’m also super excited that you love A and Rylan. i adore them <33

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WEEKLY UPDATE — September 05, 2021.
(i meant to post this yesterday, hush)

What I Did.

A bit of a short update but I’m currently in the middle of settling into my new home (for university, ew) so i don’t have much to say.

Basically, what’s happened this week is I’ve started chapter six. Yay! As always, I’m a little stuck at the moment because it’s been a while since I’ve sat down and actually written a chapter, but I’ll get there.

I have a lot of plans with this chapter (and it’s all planned out, thankfully. less brain work) so if you’re planning on picking a romance route or getting to know a character platonically, this one’s for you. I’m so excited to start the solo branches of each character and write from their povs. You’ve gotten to read from A’s, N’s and Rylan’s perspectives before (depending on the route) but I now I can introduce Blane’s and K’s! It’s going to be such a blast and hopefully, everyone replays to do at least two routes (to make it all worth it /hj).

Goals For Next Week.

  • Continue chapter intro
  • Start branching off into solo routes (?)

Stats.

  • 158,840 words (+ 1.56k)

That’s all I have this week! It’s not been the most pleasant time of my life right now (the stress of moving and school have gotten to me, alongside tumblr anons) but thank you to anyone who’s taken time to give me in-depth feedback on my story. It’s extremely helpful and I look forward to applying it <3

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I didn’t mean ignoring them every single time they appear. Just when they’re being needlessly antagonistic. If you’re going to start fights with me for seemingly no reason, then I’d rather not talk to you at all. It’s not worth my time. That’s what I meant.

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WEEKLY UPDATE — September 20, 2021.

What I Did.

i’ll warn you in advance: it’s not very much. since new years (when i started writing this), i’ve never had to balance school, a part time job and my story. that all changed this week and let me tell you, it’s not fun.

but you don’t want to hear about that.

what i’ll say is the things i did manage to write are really exciting. last night, i began writing the ro’s reactions for being paired into duos to enter crimson rogue and though this will probably eventually be a pain in my ass, it’s been really fun. each ro have very different reactions to the news (i’m sure you can guess who’s on board and who isn’t) but even then, there’s flavour text that will adhere to the specific circumstances of an ro’s relationship with the hunter. like, for example, if the hunter dislikes and has been rude to N, they might not be as inclined to say yes unlike if they’ve been treated well. as you can tell, the entire thing is extremely tedious to write and will give me a very short average playthrough word count despite the overall total (which is always annoying), but i really enjoy the customization to the story. it’s why i’ll continue doing this despite wanting to bang my head against the wall lol.

speaking of customization though, for the past week, i’ve also been contemplating changes to the current demo. i know what i’ve put out will be drastically different from the main game (the core components will stay the same but the writing will be improved (because god, what was i writing in january) + more branches and flavour text will be added) but the perfectionist in me wants the changes to be done now. if this continues to bother me any longer, maybe i’ll do a patch update when the entire demo is out.

Goals For Next Week.

  • continue ro reaction scenes
  • start pov scenes

Stats.

  • 165,800 words (+ 2k)

i know i don’t have much this week so hopefully, next week’s update will be a little more exciting. who knows, maybe i’ll even get bold and post a snippet…

(also, if you want to get my weekly updates more consistently/stay updated with my story, my tumblr is much more active than this thread)

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WEEKLY UPDATE — October 03, 2021.

What I Did.

i have no idea how i wrote so much this week. well, actually, i do but i’m still as surprised as you probably are.

those pov scenes really bumped up my word count. i was super inspired when i wrote them and they ended up being about a thousand words each (with their various variations). i absolutely adore how they came out. i mentioned last week about how they give a deeper insight into each ro’s head and that still stands today. i don’t think it’s enough to make anyone change their minds about the more asshole ros like Blane, but it’ll give you a different side of them at least. theirs is particularly interesting i think.

on another note, i finally got the point where you reach the club!! the hunter hasn’t quite reached inside (you’re still in line) but at the very least, we’ve left the apartment. this part is less complicated than what i wrote previously so it’s nice to get a break from branches and write something more straightforward. that isn’t to say there aren’t several things you can do in this scene, because why would i ever make it easy for myself, but there’s less if statements at least.

i’m currently finishing up a scene with the hunter and A where they apologize for pushing the hunter into the plan if they didn’t agree to it in chapter four. it hurts my heart to write about how upset they are that they’ve hurt the hunter, but it’s a necessary scene that needs to be done. sometimes you bicker and disagree with people and talking out those issues is the best you can do.

Goals For Next Week.

  • finish intro to club scenes
  • begin initial scenes once entered the club

Stats.

  • 178,060 words (+7.3k)

thank you for reading!! N’s birthday is in a little over a week so i’ll be posting a short story for them on my tumblr their special day. keep an eye out :))

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I sure hope not, considering how much I love them - would be bad to stop, right? :rofl:
Yes, I know you didn’t mean it that way, but it was funny to me since my feelings couldn’t really change more for the positive at this point.
On a more serious note, I can’t wait to read that PoV :heart:

Is there an alternative scene if the hunter wasn’t pushed into it, or if they even were the one who actually started the whole thing, like in my playthrough? Not that there is a need for alternate scenes, really - I’m just asking out of curiosity!

Anyway, congrats on the progress!

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