(WIP) Message in a Melody (working title) [Update 2/15/24: CH 1-8, 72K words]

Can the power of music save the human race?

When you and the Raqullan regime descend upon Earth, the plan is to force all humans into submission. Otherwise, exterminate. But when you learn about this curious practice they call music, you realize the humans may be worth more than just labor.

Music does not exist in Raqullan society, and your curiosity to learn more may be enough to keep the humans alive long enough to understand it. Is it an art? A tool? A weapon? You may have to come to a conclusion when the fate of the human race rests in your claws.

Message in a Melody is a 120,000-word interactive science fiction novel by Tyler S. Harris in which your choices control the story. It is entirely text-based—without graphics—and fueled by the vast, unstoppable power of your imagination. There are some opportunities to click a link and hear the song that inspires the scene. Open in a new tab to listen if you’d like.

  • Play as male or female. You do not have to choose a sexual orientation and can play as straight, gay, bi, or aromantic.
  • Become a master of science, oration, weapons, or perhaps even a musical instrument.
  • Build relationships in a manner similar to humans. Find a partner, a companion, or even a lover.
  • Help a friend to research weapons, cure a disease, bring animals from your home planet to Earth, or become a musical prodigy.
  • Be the first of your kind to perform music for a human audience.
  • Gain enough power to become a member of the Raqullan High Council, or throw it all away to become a starving artist.
  • Discover songs (achievements) as you play. Can you discover the entire playlist?

Will music be the bridge that crosses the divide between Raqullans and humans? Or will the troubled waters from the first contact be too much to overcome?

Content Warning: Dark themes and violence.

Currently this is mostly complete (11 out of 12 chapters), but I will post in installments so I can incorporate feedback as I finish the last chapter. I plan on posting an update each month.

Open to any and all feedback, but some things I need help deciding on:

  • Should I allow the PC to choose their sexuality, which will restrict their ROs (there are 4 total)?
  • If you think of a great alternate title, feel free to share.

Dashingdon Demo: https://dashingdon.com/go/15473
Moody Demo: https://moody.ink/play/tylersharris/message-in-a-melody-working-title/mygame/

Compared to Zoo-pocalypse

If you played my first IF, “Zoo-pocalypse” on HG (Zoo-pocalypse), I’d say this WIP is vastly different (and, dare I say, vastly better). Besides just being a better story imo:

  1. The final version with all 12 chapters should be at least 120K words, much longer than Zoopoc.
  2. MIAM is structured more in the CoG format than Zoopoc was.
  3. Zoopoc was extremely violent. This has much less violence (although there is still some). You can also take a more peaceful approach in this one.
  4. There are ROs!!!

If you were not a fan of Zoopoc, I hope that you will still take a chance on MIAM. If you liked Zoopoc, I can’t wait to see what you think of MIAM!

Romance Options

There are 4 ROs. All of them have a “project” they are working on throughout the game. You can get close to them while simultaneously helping them to bring their projects to fruition.

Jivu (M): A weapons manufacturer who closely follows the traditions of the Raqullan Empire. You may have to break his hard shell and find the soft center.

Phargona (F): In many ways the opposite of Jivu, and prefers to live in nature rather than the city. She plans to bring a species of animals to Earth from your home planet.

Natheibo (M): A scientist who ends up conducting research on human diseases. Not quite Sheldon Cooper, but does relate most things back to science, even romance.

Bwaenju (F): Most sympathetic to humans, she is in charge of getting a nuclear power plant up and running in a nearby city. You help her less with the power plant and more with her newfound interest in playing music.

Currently, General Iryklav is not an RO. But I’ve had one request to make it so by @MadAdam. Perhaps if there is enough demand, I will have no choice but to give in.

Update Log

OP January 19, 2024: Chapters 1-4
Update February 15, 2024: Chapters 1-8. Small issues fixed in first chapters, save option added to Dashingdon, nicer looking links.

83 Likes

This sounds amazingly good.

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This sounds like a pun but at the same time doesnt…:laughing:. Though she is very right, playing zoo-pocalypse I know your going to make this one just the same: Amazing.

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I am glad you liked Zoo-pocalypse! Thank you for your continued support :smiley:

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Quick note while playing:

“I could help you with your weapon research, if you need an apprentice.” (Weaponry > 40) (apprenticeship)

I was able to select this option repeatedly. It did not get grayed out. Was that intentional?

Ahaha, I remember reading a short story where Earth was saved from aliens because of music :laughing:

Super interested in seeing where this goes. I’m not sure whether or not the mechanics made sense, since I didn’t notice where nonsensical mechanics might have been happening, but maybe I just missed it? Anyway, got some Vernon Vinge vibes, which is great and always a treat.

Some typos I noticed

wield


see

and

There’s missing " SOMEWHERE, I can’t tell where the spoken stuff actually ends.

fission

you,

your

diplomatic (unless you were trying to make me think of diplomacy with dimples, in which case, good job)

Missing "

the

Missing "

weeds (I presume)

appearance

I’m

There’s some… extra paragraph/line break?

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I mean, that’s basically the plot of Mars Attacks.

Anyway, really interesting concept, and I’m quite curious to see where this’ll go.

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I love music and I love aliens so it immediately caught my attention. And I’m glad that MC is on the other side - the invaders. It’s unique.

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This seem to be a great game, although I have two questions. First, is there a difference between the two demos? Second, would you consider adding a save option for the dashingdon demo?

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Ah yes, it appears I haven’t perfected the “selectable_if” and “disable_reuse” combo. I believe this should be fixed in the next update. Thank you for catching this.

3 Likes

Another feedback item, you might want to put something like “youtube link” behind the web address in your *link command. So that it looks like this:

YouTube Link

Seeing the web address in full can be jarring.

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Wow! Thank you for your keen eye! I am kind of mad I made so many mistakes. Hopefully I will make your reading a little bit easier in the next installment haha.

I have also added some Vernor Vinge to my reading list. Quite a delight to be compared to a Hugo winner haha!

This was lovely, a really nice start. It is the first sci-fi WIP I’ve read in a while that feels uplifting and hopeful? The catastrophe has happened and I love that it starts in the aftermath, tons of interesting potential that I don’t think is explored enough. it’s almost always about the battle, rarely about picking up the pieces.

One question, will there be romance? No problem either way, but I really want to romance the general and make him a music-lover. :joy:

Edit: Nevermind the romance question, I reread the description lol. Just count me as a fan with fingers crossed I can romance the general.

2 Likes

I’m getting Macross vibes…

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I liked Zoo-pocalypse. It was refreshingly different to most of the games I’ve played of late and had quite a bit of replayability which was great. Will need to tray and check out your new WIP when I can get the time free to read it :slight_smile:

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There should not be any differences between the two sites, I just used dashingdon for my first WIP and know Moody is a more recent option. Use whichever you prefer.

As for the save option, I can try to work on that. I know the plugin isn’t added by uploading just the “scenes” files, so maybe I can try to upload the ChoiceScriptSavePlugin as well? I have not done this before but am willing to try. I know I should have everything set up so the final version has a save option.

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I’m just going to self-plagiarize a post I made on another WIP.

Go to your game’s dashboard in dashingdon, and click Edit Details. Check the box next to Use CJW’s smPluginMenuAddon?. There’s a link next to it which tells you the code you need to add to your startup.txt file for this to work.

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Oh wow I was wondering what that option was for haha. Thank you so much for the help. @Denzil_Melgior_Nagel the save function should be available now.

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Playing through right now, will just say its refreshing to have a non-human MC that isn’t the usual fantasy based subjects (orc, elf, halfing, werewolf etc)

3 Likes

Zoopocalypse is an example of a minimalist Choicescript game. With most of the thing you’re expecting like romance and detailed exploration stripped down or lacking altogether, it felt like a different approach, a breath of fresh air.

Here’s hoping that this WIP could also be of that approach! Already I see some influence from Lies Under Ice rubbing off.

2 Likes