WIP - Qing Collapse, China 1835 - 1911, Historical Game

@jry I think making a MC in this game would be bad. Because then most of the MCs would be a dark villian straight out of hell.

Late 18th century Qing China was an extremely violent genocidal dynasty. The rabbit hole. For eg. this:

Since the MC would be sitting for the Imperial Services exam when he is in his late 20s or early 30s in the 2nd decade of the 19th century, he should know them.

He should have a view on that. And it won’t be a great view, if he supports the Qing dynasty (which should always be an option in this kind of game). Also railroading people to play as a soft-hearted “chivalrous” MC would be extremely unrealistic and unpopular.

Also not sure how many would want to play a genocidal “Great Leader” game. And how such a MC can even believe in making China a republic or democracy is beyond me.

Rather than that, I think a changing point-of-view mechanics, where you jump from character to character (famous people), where each character’s action influences the whole “spirit of the nation” which decides what the country becomes, ultimately would be a better alternative.

If I am not wrong, you were planning to do such a thing, but limited in scope and optional, aside from the main character. I would recommend you to make that the whole premise of the story.

After all, as @Bryce_Kaldwin said, one man couldn’t have changed China.

Also I think it will be easier to do because you don’t have to invest much work and time in coming up with Personality stats game mechanics. The man/woman’s personality is already known more or less from historical accounts. Only what action he undertakes in a given situation leads to the betterment/detriment of the country. And it will certainly help in the gender-choice department, because from what I understand if this game has an MC, it would have to be gender-locked if it wants to be realistic.

But, then it won’t be alternate history, which is the main thing the author wants to focus on, as far as I understand.

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You don’t need to change China. The point of the game doesn’t have to be this power fantasy where you come out on top as the new paramount leader. The collapse of the Great Qing ultimately is by itself a great backdrop to tell stories because of the ability to be a villain, a hero, or just a guy who is trying to survive.

That’s why I feel that an MC centered story is a good idea. Since it allows an incredible amount of flexibility.

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Great so far, though I see a few potential choice that could still be implemented to improve on the overall experience:
1, MC starting background, it could help in the start of the game to establish what type of official we’re playing from the start, which can range from a brother of Daoguang emperor to a scion of a Han merchant. Hell maybe even an secret member of the triad.

2,Better stats display. It would help to know my existing military strength and standings in the court better. Foreign favor/ influence and ire could also be factored as separate stats

3, More Possible endings, rather than building a republic or constitutional monarchy, one might instead desire a Prussian monarchy or an enlightened absolute monarchy under oneself to be a better fate for China. It’s not like this is historically implausible, either.

The game as is now is a promising skeleton, though it could still use some finer meat to prime it up.

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The MC should have some sort of background and it could affect how others view you and some of your stats.
For example if you were born a noble in the capital you’d be closer to the Qing dynasty and have good skills in politics, if you were born in a poor farmer family you could aim to improve peasants life and have a better reputation with them and so on.

Maybe add some relationships as well where you’d be able to meet influential people (like businessmen, generals, diplomats and so on) and have a personal life too

It will make the story feel more personal, the way it is now you don’t really feel like you’re role-playing someone

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I enjoyed this WIP a lot.

That said, like others have noted, I would have liked to overthrow the Dynasty and put in either a Ming Restoration or my own. To be honest, China probably wasn’t ready for a Republic in 1911 and the Qing Dynasty (as a small minority of the population oppressing the vast majority) was never going to be popular given the increasing rise of nationalism.

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Thanks for the feedback.

@Frogs, @TheDrake - Characterization for the MC - Working on some minor character customization in the advanced options mostly based on where you were born. I’ll work out from there.
@DarkKnight, @Bryce_Kaldwin - changing Point of View, a point of compromise: I’ve been mulling jumping into side characters to get a more personal view. The very different morality of the time is a bit of a puzzle for me but I think trying third-person narration goes a very long way for the user to play non-post-modern characters.
@expectedoperator - Non-Military Paths; That’s a good point about shifting from law to army; I’ll make a different thread for non-militarists during the first opium war.
@Lucienz1 - Was a Qing Constitutional Monarchy Possible? I think it was a long-shot and the Qing were probably going to fall… but Chinese nationalism seems far from the most robust movement and the Empire. I think there’s a chance the Qing could have survived as the Devil-we-know in a country where reformers were not marching to the beat of one drum.

Progress;

  • Today I worked on correcting some historical problems in the Western Empire.
  • A Side-quest - I toyed for the 5th time trying to make personal story side-quest of pirates in the South of China; It’s supposed to be a self-contained chapter with the consequence of a) a minor buff to the navy / Britain /or the triads so far as the broader plot is concerned.
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I’d avoid a change of viewpoint. The largest sale factor in these products at least IMO is the fact that ultimately, you’re supposed to inhabit the MC of the novel. It’s much harder to do so, if you have multiple characters floating around. Another crucial aspect, at least from a sales generation aspect that I’d consider is replay factor.

For instance, you can do one playthrough as a true Confucianistic Minister who does his best to defend the ancient traditions of the Middle Kingdom and in the next playthrough you go through as a genuine reformer who builds their own Beiyang Army and tries to do a Yuan Shikai.

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Hmm; One Hosted Game that I loved was Divided We Fall with the changing characters. But that was designed from the beginning to balance those characters; Mine obviously hasn’t so the transition might be awkward.

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Yeah, you’d have to block and storyboard out, for example, four different characters and their stories. With the scope you’re going for, I think that it’ll be best to storyboard out for one, but block out endings for the one.

But, most importantly, you have a story you want to tell and tell it. Whatever makes you comfortable and lets you put out a product that you are proud to ship out is the goal.

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I liked the setting and the scope. I would be interested in the characters in that particular setting, perhaps following a family, if characters die due to consequences etc. Perhaps even perhaps the smaller setting of the first opium war. But I respect the difficulty of the topic and respect the work you have received.

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Working on characters; It will take me a few weeks to add in some character streams:

Right now I’m working on Lin Zexu - a Chinese governor who made a strong stance against the British selling opium. Main interaction is if you defend him and try to rehabilitate him, triggering nationalist sentiment and helping an old broken man. I’ll try to have a political element and a more small-scale element to the character streams.

Major Characters: - Empress Dowager Cixi is a must but I have to be careful with her as there is a lot of historical scrutiny. The more scrutiny, the less room I have to play with.

For some characters, I’ll make amalgams; Example, The Ever Victorious Army had multiple foreign mercenary captains. For the sake of simplicity, I’ll combine them all under one name.

Depending on the character, the MC will have 1 - 5 interactions. The characters will provide some sort of support in the Climax.

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Not sure if it’s been said before but what I liked about your previous game was how it still played/read as a person. In this one you’re basically just a random Chinese magistrate, no name, no family, no connections, it makes it feel a lil dry imo.

The book would, for me at least, be better if you retained some elements of more classic CoG games where you play an actual person who affects the outcomes of late Qing China. Basically like the Tudor game.

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Not sure if you’re actually Chinese, but here is something you could keep in mind: A Chinese who serve the nation (国家) is literally to serve both state (国)and family (家). And given the time span of the game, it actually makes more sense to make it about 2 generations of a familial dynasty, the first risen to prominence during the 2 opium wars and the second taking more active role in the sino-jap war and eventual revolution. By current design, the MC would have to be in the 100s by the end of the game.

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Why are you interested in making a game about the Qing in the first place?
Just curios

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I recall this game/demo from a while back along with your other mini-demos from you were developing Tudor Intrigue; intriguing concept; one thing I noted though was the apparent lack of content in your demo here in Dashingdon compared to your demo on Inklespot; Was there any issues with the Inklespot demo or did you want to start from a “fresher” state?

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@ [Jonathan_Giang] - Switch from Inkle to ChoicescriptL you are correct; I wanted a blank slate. The Inkel game was a fun way but I found Choicescript better supported and I’ve become more polished. I’m still working on getting a lot of images up and streams running.

@FizRoy, @TheDrake **Personality: **Getting a bit more personality seems to be the theme in this forum that would elevate this game from a sub-par hosted Game to something that holds up in the upper echelon. I don’t think I’ll satisfy everyone but I think some modest work (a home region and a family) can go a long way. I did have vague, but unfinished plans to make this multi-generational with a grandchild taking over what the grandfather started.

@Cathe Why I’m interested:

  1. Historical SubstanceI find the period of history very underrepresented and there are some interesting reason for that as both Chinese nationalists and Westerners are very embarrassed of events like the Boxer Rebellion
  • drugs/declining empires/ rapid economic change are interesting to me
  • I like the idea of hopeless odds.
  1. Personal Connection; I’m not Chinese but traveled in China quite a bit and married into a Chinese-Canadian family; My wife’s family is amused by the project, but not particularly interested in history like I am.

  2. As an aside, I am somewhat concerned of being non-Chinese writing this and inadvertently slipping up but so far, I haven’t sensed this subject matter hits nerves like that. I’ve generally found most Chinese people (disproportionately Chinese Canadians), to be fairly receptive and where critical, providing helpful criticism. I’d cautiously suggest, they seem happy happy to have their history explored. If I extended this into the 20th Century, such a story would inevitably hit much more scrutiny and I’d have to tread much more carefully in both tone and substance.

Progress: I’ll try to activate a [home region] stream; It will hardly fulfill any cravings for in depth peronsonalization of the MC but it will be a start.

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Yeah, the main thing to consider is that you do what’s comfortable for you right now. For instance, start off with just a family, a home region, and naming your MC. Then, when you start to write a bit, maybe you can add personal letters from your family or something. It doesn’t need to be a transformative piece by any means at first.

Writing is an art and a craft, few people can just start painting and pump out a Vermeer eh? Continue on telling the story that you want to tell and determine how far you want to go right now.

Depth is nice, but if you as the author feel out of depth trying to insert a character driven experience, then it’ll make it harder for you to convey the aims of this piece. Which is to explain the collapse of the Great Qing.

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