(WIP) Defacto Detective

Hello!

My name is Ondrou and I’m working on an interactive mystery thriller called Defacto Detective!

Premise
You are blackmailed into solving a cold case—the disappearance of Daniel Oswald—as you weekend alongside the suspects in an imposing mountain mansion.

The Suspects

Michael Rhodes

Employer: New Hampshire Today

Occupation: Investigative Journalist

Sharply dressed and handsome, Michael’s got the chiseled face and lean figure to match his job in front of the camera’s eye. New Hampshire Today pays his bills now, but he got his start on Ridgeport Nightly, where he covered Daniel Oswald’s disappearance.

Kayla Essence

Employer: Self-employed

Occupation: Freelance Psychic Counselor

Claims to possess preternatural abilities. Her sense of style lands somewhere between Stevie Nics and Sedona, Arizona—turquoise, beads, small crystals in her earrings. She makes her living using her talents to offer counsel, comfort, and mystic solutions to common and uncommon problems, which apparently includes organizing Daniel Oswald’s candlelight vigil.

Henrik Dodson

Employer: Ridgeport Police Department

Occupation: Police Seargent

Solemn. Stern. Serious. A bunch of other ‘S’ adjectives to describe a man in his early sixties with no smile wrinkles. He likes to read books about justice and society, probably, but it’s hard to tell if he really enjoys even that. Worked for Ridgeport law enforcement at the time of Daniel Oswald’s disappearance, and continues to do so now.

Mysteries for You to Solve

  • What happened to Daniel Oswald, all those years ago?
  • Who is guilty?
  • Who are you, and why are you being blackmailed?
  • Who is your blackmailer?

I’m looking for general and conceptual feedback on what I’ve got so far. This test contains about 85K words (I think) counting code and 80K without, though you’ll probably only see a fraction in a given playthrough. v0.1 includes roughly a third of the game’s overall content, and the game itself is intended to be pretty nonlinear about what order you’d like to take the chapters, so aside from the intro, it’s not necessarily the first third.

If you enjoy your playthrough of this open alpha and would like to be added to a circle of beta testers for future closed tests, please let me know! That’s something I’m looking to form : )

I’ve never really coded an interactive novel before, so I apologize if things get glitchy!

Features

Non-linear narrative and progression

  • You decide where to investigate and when. Once a chapter is selected, you will have a set amount of time to progress the story as much as you can and discover as many clues as you can find

Not-so-Blank-Slate Protagonist

  • The demographics of the player character are irrelevant to this story, and other characters will make no mention of the player’s age or gender. What is important to the story is your unique criminal skillset, a mystery for the player to uncover about the character they are playing

Clues Summarized in Stats

  • Important information and clues are logged in your stats. Scrolling to the bottom of your Stats Screen will present a list of options on topics to review. When new information is available, the menu option will show in bold to indicate new content
Trigger Warnings
  • drug abuse
  • implied kidnapping and murder
  • future tests might include small amounts of path-dependent gore

Links

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Broad Feedback Requests
  • Is it fun?
  • Does the structure feel innovative?
  • Is the pacing too slow or too fast–do you feel like you have enough time to find clues in each chapter?
  • Are you invested in the mystery or is it too confusing?

Spoiler Alerts for Available Content and Future Content sections

v0.1 Available Content

Prologue
You open the letter from your blackmailer

Sal’s Last General and Stop
You meet the other suspects at Sal’s Last General and Stop and enter Reilly Manor. This intro chapter is meant to familiarize the player with timeup mechanics where unlike normal interactive novels, instead of a linear branching narrative, you will have a fixed amount of time to investigate as many avenues as possible. Because this is meant as an introduction, the player should have time to explore every option if time is spent wisely

Exterior
You search for clues around the outside of the house. This chapter features randomly occurring time-based events around four major location nodes (front, back, east of house, and west of house)

Rooms
You search for clues in people’s rooms while they are away. This chapter features risk vs reward content. You must invest your time wisely to maximize the discovery of clues while exercising caution to avoid getting caught. Michael’s Room will open up at random after the player has already spent some time searching to force the player to quickly reevaluate on the spot any plans they might have developed

Woods
You pair up with Kayla, a suspect, for a walk in the woods. You get lost and must navigate a maze in which clues are scattered. This is a much larger map than Exterior, but does not feature time-based events as the goal of this chapter is to seem bigger horizontally rather than bigger vertically

Transitions
There are 6 scenes randomized and placed between chapters. These are meant to mark the passing of time. 3 can be played in any single playthrough of this test version, though all 6 have been implemented

Stat Screen
You can keep track of your condition, relationships, and clues here

Planned Future Content

Unlockable Secret Adventures
Three mostly linear extra chapters will be available if you:

  • Find the boathouse key
  • Find enough clues to reveal your past
  • Find enough clues to discover Reilly Manor’s hidden room

Interrogations
You’ve found clues. Time to ask tough questions

Get Murdered!
You suspect them. Now they’re onto you!

The Attic
Scavenger hunt-themed chapter where you must find items to access areas or find areas to understand that you actually need an item you passed over before

High-Stakes Poker
Play poker against Michael and wager your clues against his

Another Chapter
Idk yet lmao

Three More Chapters If I’m Feeling Bold
The original plan was 9 chapters with the player having time to play 6 to add to replay value, but I’m tired lol

Allies
The option to team up with a suspect who trusts you at the cost of considerably worsening your relationship with the other two

The Final Confrontation

  • Hopefully you have enough evidence to back up your accusation. Hopefully you have enough preparations and luck to survive
  • If you have completed the adventure of reckoning with your past, you can leverage your skills as a seasoned criminal against the culprit. Without doing so, the encounter will be much more difficult

Different Endings!

  • Everyone’s guilty!
  • No one’s guilty!
  • Forget who’s guilty–team up against your blackmailer!
  • You’re a bad investigator and failed to successfully accuse anyone!

Hard Mode
Suspects are more suspicious of you. They’re more easily offended. The murderer is murderier!

46 Likes

Will there be ROs?

3 Likes

Currently I don’t have any RO’s planned, but could definitely consider adding options for Michael and Kayla as a possible path when allying yourself with one of the suspects!

Would that make the game more interesting for you as a player?

15 Likes

Totally, and by the way thanks for taking in perspective of the reader.

8 Likes

This game is super intriguing! I’m hooked

1 Like

I’m loving it so far! One thing I might aadd though, make an option where you’re the murderer trying to frame one of the suspects! (Probably wouldn’t work) but it would be so fun! Haha maybe your character could be amnesiac too, finding clues about yourself…

3 Likes

I’m surprised this WIP isn’t getting enough attention! I love the mysterious aspect of it, and I’m genuinely intrigued to read the next.

Some small stuff


The paragraph repeats on this one.


This is an endless loop whenever I press Next, so imma assume this is the end for now, but just wanted to give you a heads up if it was unintentional.

I’m looking forward reading the rest. Goodluck on this WIP! :smiley:

1 Like

Happy to, ofc :v::relaxed:

Ty!!!

Hmmm… That might be a little wider scope than intended for this project… Though maybe I could add a secret ending where you’re actually the blackmailer and lying about why you’re there.

Thank you for the feedback!

Thank you!! For the bug mentions and the kind words. I’ll get to debugging after work today. Those infinite loops are sneaky!

1 Like

Hi

A bug here . I click on next the it display the same page

Thank you!!! Fixing this

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