[WiP] Not Your Mother's Shire (c10a: Game of Throats)

Update: Put in a long day today and churned out 8k wds for Vampire: The Masquerade - Sangre Frontera, bringing total word count to 11k. 11% to target word count, and finished 1st half of 1st of 5 chapters, “Preguntas.” Got permission from Outstar today to put up a Dashingdon as long as I take it down at the end of the contest. So, I’ll get some content out there tomorrow. Go team! :vampire:

Outstar

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Outstar! I was a fan of hers before she began working for WoD. Seeing her interact with anyone in the CoG community just warms my heart, being such a fan of all three subjects.

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@Vexius_Krexius I’ve followed her for years too. I’m happy she’s met with so much success.

I have a WiP thread up for my Jam game, Vampire: The Masquerade - Sangre Frontera, here. As of now, you can play the first chapter, “La Mano Negra, or The Black Hand,” which is 11k words. I’ll redirect all further conversation about that game to that thread. :raised_hand_with_fingers_splayed:

I’ll also petition you for help. A lot of the contestant entrants are working in teams on 2D or 3D games, while I’ll have trouble just meeting my target word count in the time frame. I’d appreciate any feedback as well as any help with editing or debugging. Cheers, and thanks either way. :beers: :drop_of_blood: :vampire:

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So I’m late to the discussion again, but regarding the VtM game, you sound really enthusiastic about writing it. And sometimes the only question you need to ask is ‘am I really enthusiastic about writing this?’. I’ll check that demo out later.

I would be honoured! And hey, there’s nothing wrong with eating insects, they’re an ethical source of protein.

I haven’t forgotten that I was supposed to be naming something too, I’m probably overthinking it now trying to come up with something cool when it’s not that big a deal, haha…

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Late, but worth the wait.

Thanks! Sadly, I can already tell that game will be much better. It helps to write within an established world, but I also benefit from the year I spent coding NYMS. The smaller scope helps, as well, to keep the plot tight. The pace quick. Although, some people have already complained it’s slow, but you blow up a meth compound in the first chapter, and a horse plays chicken with a Hummer in the second.

Nah, we all decide what’s important to us. You have the time. Appreciate all your support. Cheers! @Elysian

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@dwsnee You’re gonna hate me. Haven’t read your baby in a bit. And so I’ve decided to make up for lost time and run through the whole thing for new feedback. Don’t worry, you can repay me by not killing Llorick, you evil fuck.

  • I see we still can’t use our first melee weapon. Game development is easy, so you’re just stalling on that to mess with me. Well, duly noted, friend.

  • The Blizzard Duchy Yeti fight is still as frustrating. I know you didn’t change it yet, but its been quite some time since I’ve first had that sentiment, so this simply reaffirms my original thoughts.

  • I didn’t enjoy the desert duchy clothing options. This is the only tame, slightly generic set of those choices.

  • I still think the tattoo options with the pirates in the Coastal duchy are a tad uninspired and boring. I honestly almost preferred to not choose any, and I’m a tattoo lover and haver.

  • Yin has improved and feels the level of powerful I thought it should. I only hope you keep this up as we approach the final chapters.

  • There is now a depth in choosing your loyalties that really shone in the court scene. Trudy’s revelation was shocking and, as a player romancing her, I can’t wait to see your plans if this intriguing plot thread. Great, fleshed out scene and the tension and betrayal was as nigh as a serious game. Fantastic work here, bud.

  • Oh, also, her romance scenes were adorable and so wholesome. I can’t wait to try Llorick and Octa’s next.

  • Swearing our fealty to one dragon has been teased, and I fail to recall noticing it in my previous playthroughs. Will this indeed be a possibility? Maybe even helping one slay the rest and become the sole ruler?

  • If that happens, can I fucking ride Bunkisi now, Dad? Or, at least, can Vexius?

  • The Llorick/Marquess conundrum has seemed to take a real backseat in the recent chapters, and I was heavily invested in it with my character. I hope that comes back with a proper scene/dialogue or two before the big chapter.

  • You know, there’s a real lack of fantastical weapons in this fantasy game. The ice dagger is still my favorite, its dope as hell, but besides that, num-chuks are as far out as we can get. I feel at least a couple more are needed and would flesh out that side of customization a little closer to how clothing is. Ideas: rune sword (maybe specifically enchanted to slay dragons), a blinding shield, a dire scorpion stinger spear (poisonous?). Currently, nothing else feels as “fantasy” as the ice dagger. Just feels imbalanced and weird.

  • I don’t think I’ve mentioned this before, but the mermaid scene, you know the one. In the Coastal Duchy. I don’t…like it. We couldn’t do anything, and there was context for that, but then you can just accept or deny her and she just…leaves. When its over, you can’t get track her back down, or talk about it with anyone, I think. It just feels so pointless its offputting. I’m guessing for the ones who indulge her, you’re gonna reward with something or whatnot, but for those who don’t want anything from her, it just happens and then that’s it. Its either a bad scene, or one which needs more thought.

That’s all for now. As always, merely meant to be constructive. Saw a lot of typos, will make a big post for those later if I’m still awake. Cheers, mate!

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Yeah, a lot of stuff needs work. Writing is rewriting, and anyone who tells you different doesn’t know. My priority so far has been to develop a minimum viable product: a working code infrastructure with gender-swappable ROs and interchangable story order at many points with multiple endings, each one defensible. Secondly, I have wanted to create a compelling and unique cast of traveling companions. When I pitched CoG, they said they don’t really have games where the PC has a party, and I see why. I have tried to tackle this with my sidequest system that treats it so that you have one party member multiple times every chapter. Also by staggering who is where and when, I was able to limit how many times per chapter. Anyway, I don’t disagree with anything you’ve said.

-re: melee weapon use, desert clothes, tattoos–these will be easy to fix. I intend to go back and make PC choice re aesthetics more meaningful. Very easy to add a fifth *selectable_if choice to any decision point. So, stuff for if you’re wearing leather pants or have a beer-o-clock tattoo.

-Myrna. I’ll think on this. There’s more to her, but not everything always comes up. She was an agent of Tzob and had been one of Vera’s orphans, grown up. I had something planned, but parachuted it.

-Yin. One of the things I’d like to do is a create a meter that runs the whole games which increases by 1 every time you use your Equilibrium (Yin, Yang, Yolo) powers. Then, I can set a number as a threshold to do some sick stuff end-game. I haven’t yet, bc I want everyone to be able to playtest everything.

-The yeti, I can fix no problem. Lots of people are unhappy w Betty, so when I finish, maybe I’ll poll everyone and see how they want that fight to go.

-Weapon variety is a tough one. Every time you use them I have to write 5 different paragraphs. So, I’ve kept them mundane (except for ice dagger) to counteract the absurdity of my magic. I had wanted to code in an armageddon kazoo for a bard-class character. I may revisit this but, for now, it’s low priority.

-Llorick. I should probably do more w the possession thing. There’s a pretty big reveal coming, but I don’t want to say too much.

-Bunkisi. You’ll just have to wait and see.

-Typos. Yeah, and there’s more coming. CoG guys get help with that. I just want to finish first.

21 days left in Vampire Jam, then I’ll swing back around to this. @Vexius_Krexius Thanks for taking the time to write all this. I’ll bookmark it for when I’m done.

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Hey. So I’ve been to the coastal bit, and I’m in the icy bit. Two things:

  1. When I went back to the menu of choosing which duchy to go to, I could choose to go to the coastal one and do the whole route over again. Is this… Intentional? Is this game-breaking? Am I stuck? I can click on the other routes, too.

  2. Met two of the dragons and so far I haven’t been able to ask either of them about Yester, even though that was the only clue I was given to find them. Is this a bug or part of the game? I have the acorn to remind me, it was mentioned at the beginning of the icy route.

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@Sandersy_Streams Hey, welcome to the forums, and thanks for reading my story. I’m flattered to have been your first post!

  1. Definitely not supposed to happen. Probably not game breaking, but you would be the one to tell me.

  2. They all function independently, and two of them know what’s going on with that. Still, I should present the option to ask, so they can say, “Who? I’m a dra-gon. Don’t care.” Good piece of insight.

Keep it coming. I’m a year removed from having fresh eyes, so I’m always happy to hear how to make things better. Cheers! :dragon: :dragon: :dragon: :dragon: :dragon:

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What I have to say after finally giving this a long reading session to catch up:

I wonder what toad-dragon steak tastes like? Surf n turf, but mostly chicken? Don’t get my MC wrong; he wasn’t about to ‘pick sides’ or anything of the sort because what did he really know about the deeper threads of the conflict? But an innocent kid who just wanted to make friends with everyone? Nope. You’re done. You screwed up big time. There’s a special place in heck for that kinda cruelty, Blubbo, and you’re going to be a VIP. Naturally, we both very angery at Bunkisi. Even Saz seems to think it’s BS, which says a lot. :pensive:

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How old are all the RO’s?

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Hmm, I suppose I never say. It’s a medieval period, so people tend to adult earlier and die sooner. In the U.S., where I’m from, a 16-yr-old 250 yrs ago could have been a parent, farm-owner, and Revolutionary War combatant. Now, they just qualify for a driver’s license, can’t buy a ticket for a rated-R movie, and can’t legally drink alcohol. :us: :oncoming_automobile: :beer:

But it’s also a fantasy. :elf: :mage: :dragon: Elves, for instance, live for hundreds of years and hardly ever age beyond the prime of their youth. Even Zale, who is human, is a sorceror–so he/she appears like he/she is sub-twenty. Sorry if this is an unhelpful non-answer. I try to keep it loose so people can interpret according to their romantic preference. This is the best I can do without getting really into it:

Llorick/Llivette > Zale > Saz > Octo/a > Vera/o > Trudy/Rudi > Yester
(This is for actual, not apparent age–minus spoilers)

Saz > Octo/a > Vera/o > Llorick/Llivette > Zale > Yester > Trudy/Rudi
(This is for apparent, not actual age–minus spoilers)

Hope this helps @hilite

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Exhausted after logging >300hrs in 29days for Vampire Jam '21. After some rest, I will be returning to finish this game. Thank you all for your patience and support.

In the meantime, if you want to play a completed game by me (legally set in the World of Darkness/Vampire: The Masquerade universe), you can find it on itch, here. It’s a text-based vampire western. :writing_hand::cowboy_hat_face: :vampire:

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Hey there, I have some feedback if you’d like it but firstly I just wanted to mention that I’m having the same error as 7bloodbane7 with the error message when you try to select an answer during the conversation about Trudy in chapter 9, preventing me from moving forward at all. It seems like you’ve been very busy so no pressure if you just haven’t gotten to it yet, but I wasn’t sure if you’re aware that that’s still happening!

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I’d love to hear any feedback you may have. Thanks for offering. I haven’t gotten around to fixing the c9 trudy issue, but it’s the very first thing on my list–I’m trying to be disciplined about rest this week so that I don’t burn out before I finish NYMS. Trying and failing. Thanks for reading my story! I’ll post a note when I have that bug ironed out.

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Awesome, thanks for trying to fix that issue! And no pressure, I’m sure you’re busy! Here’s my essay:

Firstly, it seems like a TON of work has gone into this game so far, with even more to come, and I’m incredibly grateful for your dedication. I’ve been playing this game for the past week or so and it’s taken up many hours of my life, including the ones I spent thinking about it when I wasn’t playing it. In a good way. It really captivated my attention for like a whole week, and I simultaneously wanted to get to the ending to find out what happened as soon as possible, but wanted it to never end because I was having so much fun playing it.

I appreciate that there was never pages and pages of text with no choices, nothing wrong with that but personally it makes games very hard to pay attention to and get into for me. I was so interested in the story that I read every page without skipping anything, when normally I just skim through stories to get enough information to make choices because there’s too much reading. I appreciated getting the choice over even seemingly small and dumb things, like what outfit I wanted to wear. I liked that things from the past kept reappearing and there was a lot of callbacks to earlier events or things, made it feel rewarding that I was actually paying attention.

I think the wit and silliness mixed with very sincere and serious moments was done really well. It switches from fun and comedic to emotional or thought-provoking from moment to moment in a way that doesn’t feel abrupt or unnecessary. When I started the game I thought it was going to be a light-hearted adventure but I could never have expected what I got instead. In one scene I was introduced to a tiny baby radish god being carried by a kangaroo and in the next scene I was crying over his brutal murder. Holy shit.

The puns, wordplay, and very descriptive writing style make it so fun to read. Every character you meet and places you go are very unique, each place has it’s own theme and each character has their own personality, and the details of the world are very creative and silly and it makes exploring the world extremely fun, you never know what you’re going to find. Whether I’m in awe of how beautiful the landscape is or I’m rolling my eyes because of some place with an extremely ridiculous name, I enjoyed every moment in this game. I was very impressed by how no matter how silly some of the conventions of this world were, they were always very well thought out and had a purpose in addition to just being there to be funny. Loved the concept of having different places to go to on a larger quest, it made sure the game was never boring because you’ll periodically move on to a completely new place to explore and new people to meet. Although I often found myself feeling sad when I had to leave a place because I had gotten used to it and didn’t want to leave yet, lol. I wish I could continue this road trip with my friends forever.

All of the romance options were fantastic, which is very impressive! How did you make me like all of these characters, especially since they often don’t like each other?! And sometimes don’t even like me! It sucks because I can’t choose all of them! (Looking forward to those poly options you may have planned…) They all had their own personalities and opinions and I got to really know them and become friends with them through travelling with them. I like that you had to learn the other character’s personality and get to know them and how to act around them rather than them falling in love with you just by talking to them.

I really like the concept of forcing the player to travel with two companions with opposite worldviews so you don’t end up with a bias towards one because you haven’t been exposed to the other. Knowing that I probably couldn’t please all of my friends and the tension of fearing that they might leave me or hurt me if I disagreed with them was really intense and genuinely terrifying because I loved all of my companions. Wondering if they were keeping secrets or conspiring against me made me feel very unsafe and insecure. What if all my friends end up hating me and they all leave me? What if I can’t please all of them? What if they choose a different side than I do? I hate and love you for not letting me get to say goodbye to some of my friends or getting a very brief and sad goodbye before I sent them off to war, and not even knowing if they were my friends anymore in some cases. Damn.

The plot is very simple and easy to understand, the way this world works is easy to understand, but it’s still a compelling and complicated conflict. I love when games give you opportunities to talk to characters about what they/you think, and lets you establish your opinions (or lack of them), and also recognizes that your opinions might change as you learn new things or in different situations. There are times when the game allows you to not be sure about how you feel, and times when it forces you to take a stand on your own opinions and beliefs, and I think it did a good job of knowing when which of those times were appropriate. And the conflict was more complicated than just “you can be on the good side or the bad side”. Unlike in games that immediately let you know who the “right choice” is, I spent most of the game being genuinely confused about which side I agreed with and who I should be rooting for. That was very well done and I think it’s hard to do as a writer. We might have an instinct to make one side clearly the “bad guy” and the other the “good guy” but I appreciated the nuance. Many good stories have enough tension just in playing out your fight for victory and to do the right thing but there aren’t a lot of stories that actually capture the process of determining good from bad or what exactly the “right thing” is. Especially when there may not even be any good options. I loved how the leader of the “good” side was someone I really disliked and the leader of the “bad” side was someone I really liked, which made figuring out how I felt even more confusing, in a good way. The “plot twist” with the leaders switching sides was brilliant, I’m not sure I’ve seen anything like it before.

If I had any criticisms, the only thing I’d possibly want to change about the game is that I feel like the exposition is too quick. I feel like there could be more of an introduction to this town and the people in it and the conflict between the two fighting parties to set up for the rest of the story. When Applebrook or any of the characters from there are mentioned later on, I didn’t feel like I had much of an emotional connection to it/them. It didn’t really feel like my home, and it didn’t feel like a place I had a strong attachment to that I’d want to return to. I feel like it could make the return of characters from Applebrook later on have much more of an impact and feel more exciting. It might also be nice to have a bit of a slow-paced introduction before getting right into the conflict and excitement.

Another very small thing I might suggest would be the option to customize the MC’s genitals for the sexual content. I see that there is at least the option to play as a nonbinary character, but I played as male and there were some details in certain scenes that assumed that my character had a penis. It might be nice to be able to select from trans man or trans woman options when choosing your character’s gender as well as cis man and cis woman, but it’s not too big of a deal.

My only other criticism: not enough pocket goat content. Would prefer him as the main character instead. I think we all know who the real hero of this story is.

Other than that, I wanted to mention that there are some descriptions of Vera having a rock hand after I’d talked her out of doing that procedure. Did I miss a part where she changed her mind, or is that an error?

That’s all from me. I’ll be waiting as patiently as I possibly can for the next chapter!

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@meldarion_aerandir Every writer wants readers like you, but none of us deserve you. Thanks for the thoughtful feedback. Thanks for understanding a lot of the things I was trying to do. When you spend all day in a room by yourself, you really have no idea if what you’re doing works or if it’s any good.

Beats me. We must be into the same kinds of imaginary friends. To distinguish voice, I assign rules to every person’s dialogue. Over time, I believe this makes for distinct patterns. e.g. Saz never says more than x words in a row. Trudy never says exactly what she means. Zale becomes aggressive when he/she feels vulnerable. Then I assign 3-ish main adjectives to people to make sure their scene actions are in character. Lastly, I try not to have anyone ever quite agree. Things are more interesting that way. I think it adds to that “interactive” bit of “interactive fiction.” Not just when you touch your finger to the screen. By leaving things nebulous, you’re forced to draw your own conclusions. Plus, your decisions effect the information you have to make further decisions with. I think this is part of mob mentality. An echo chamber of self-reinforcing viewpoints, as we choose again and again to hang out with the same types of people.

I was going for this. There are people, and I am one of them, who want to go through a playthrough and max the rel stat for every character. I just don’t see why that should be possible. Even if you’re all on the same side, there’s rivalries, jealousies, and limited time. To me, this should be one of the main reasons for replay. So, Saz will only like you if you don’t bullshit. Zale is more comfortable having enemies. The mechanism which increases your standing doesn’t function the same between characters, and the same word or action can increase/decrease your standing with someone else. I pay a lot of attention to people, so I wanted there to be a full set of believably different people. Writers who aren’t people-perceptive tend to write one or two types of people hidden behind the masks of people who are ostensibly different, but only in superficial ways. For me, this begins and ends with a person’s flaws. We think it’s our strength that endears us, but I’ve never found that to be the case outside of swaggering barroom bravado and pickup lines. Flaws anyway, tend to be unhealthy exaggerations of strengths, in my opinion. If you look closely–you seem pretty intuitive–you might be able to see how I built each character around a central flaw. I think Shakespeare might have done something like this, thus the term “tragic flaw.” Romeo seems built around impetuousness, while Hamlet, the opposite, seems built around procrastination which leads to overacting. Macbeth: ambition. Iago: jealousy. Not trying to draw a comparison to the Bard, just trying to answer as honestly as possible. Besides, even his idiots are witty and metered. I vowed that my idiots would be idiots. :wink:

I agree with this. Thank you for saying it. When I first started, I was unsure anyone would read, since I was trying something strange and hadn’t made a name. So I went for en media res hook. Also, I didn’t know where the story was heading. Or if it would be a comedy. Or how comedic I could be with sustain. Now, I code a lot better and have a fleshed out vision and it’s the beginning that isn’t in alignment, which is the first thing people read! If I let myself keep fixing things, it will never be finished. I’m embarrassed about my design decisions and coding simplicity a year ago. But that will probably always be true. Even in this month-long game jam I learned a dozen things I wish I’d been doing with NYMS the whole time. Who knows anything? Certainly not me. Probably, I’ll majorly rewrite the beginning. I think it’s the last thing any writer can write.

Re: customisable genitals. I’ll consider this. Having written all the other options, this would no longer be the workload it might sound like. I would just need alternate sets of prose that choose one set of anatomical descriptions paired with the opposite set of pronouns.

This is obviously true and should be fixed immediately.

re: stone hands. Yeah, I’ve been in my head about it. 1st I wanted to give the choice. Then, when I assume Vera’s POV, I think she’d do it anyway. She has abandonment issues and is always chasing merit. Now, I’m not so sure. I’ll probably make her do it anyway, but make the PC’s advise about it dramatically change your relationship.

Thanks again for the vote of confidence. I’ve thought of dropping it all more than once for more than one reason. Most of them are some version of “this is crap.” Is this how you want to brand yourself with your first project? What if you get typecast? Humor doesn’t translate. Talk about going after a niche market segment. Think about all the other things you could be working on instead. Etcetera. It’s nice to know it’s improving someone’s life. I’m not fishing for praise, just being transparent.

This is what I most wanted the reader to feel. Cheers! Please let me know if I’ve missed anything.

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Alright, folks. Sort of drunkenly finding my bearings as I return to this story after being so long away and so hard after something else. Let’s finish this, shall we?

Looks like I have some broken things to fix in those places where chapter selection is variable.

When I left c10a: A Game of Throats, it was 37,163wds. If you go with the Dragonfall or Benevolent Rulership, you end up rolling around war-chaos with Phill. Finished at 14,860 wds. If you go with the Dragonsworn, you end up rolling around war-chaos with Melvis. Not finished at 9,692wds. Then there’s a variable-ending boss-fight convergence. Finished at 12,611wds. TL;DR: I need to write 5k-ish words for the Dragonsworn to make things even. Then edit and debug. I’m hoping to get you the chapter here soon.

Start wearing purple.

EDIT: put in 1,700 words but had to do a lot of reading to remember what this story was about again? I’ve fixed that c9 selection error for @7bloodbane7 and @meldarion_aerandir --so that should be good to go next patch. Some cool lines from today: “I have become death, the destroyer of manatees.” Also, “Tis madness, but there is odd meth in it.” Cheers!

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image

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c10a: Game of Throats uploaded. Brain quit before I could edit. So, for a cleaner read, wait a while.

Hodor

Finally got to reveal what I’ve been sitting on for a year:

In Asmar, “dragon” is a revolving role/title–if you kill a dragon, you become the next one of that elemental aspect.

So, what did you/do you think of the “big secret”?
  • Coolest. Thing. Ever.
  • Oh. Oh, no. OH, NO!
  • This is going to be bad for someone.
  • Saw it coming. (I am a liar.)
  • Woot!

0 voters

I expect there to be emotional reactions to happenings and character deaths. Please use spoiler tags so you don’t ruin anything for anyone who doesn’t welcome ruin. Cheers! :dragon_face: :question:

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