(WIP) The Bureau - Chapters 1-4 (550k+ Total Words) UPDATED 04/30/2024

I really love this story. I always play quite a stoic and logical character, cos that’s who I am and find it hard to play as someone else, so I’m really glad to see that choosing those aspects of my character make a difference and that there isn’t any out of character dialogue for my MC.

I found the story well written, the scenes flower very well, I was well immersed in this world and these characters.

I replayed a few times with different interactions with the different RO’s and I’m so glad to see that the choices I made really did impact what was said and how others reacted, it didn’t feel like I was getting a lot of the same text each time too, there were a lot of differences which made it feel like the choices really matter and it’s not just the same scenes with names being swapped out. You can see the effort put into this story and I adore it.

Well done.

I see there’s an update and I can’t wait to read more :smile:

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Thank you very much! It always humbles me when I see posts like this, and it genuinely makes my day better. I appreciate the kind words a lot and will continue to try and make this story the best it can!

I am extremely relieved to hear that! I try my hardest to make sure each path feels unique in some way and I’m happy that my work has been paying off thus far. I’m excited to hear what everyone’s favorite path is!

Appreciate you guys so much!

EDIT: There was an error with a bad label in the update, however I was made aware of it and I have fixed it! The bad thing with TBI’s, you can’t randomtest them because of infinite loops.

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A new extra scene? Eeeeeeeeeeeee!

I’m a bit of a lore/worldbuilding nerd and I just wanna say that these extra scenes breath so much extra charm and depth into not just the characters but the world as well. I’ve seen a lot of WIPs have incredibly interesting ideas but fall flat in execution. This story does such a good job of slowly revealing little tidbits of the universe you’re building while also still managing to make me fall instantly in love with the characters that inhabit your world. I wish more games had these extra scenes like yours does.

I also want to give you a giant amount of kudos for the investigation mechanic. It’s such a fun mechanic to have in a game where you’re solving crimes and it really makes me feel like I’m playing one of those old school text-input Sierra games. I’m sure it was a ton of work to get it to even function, so I just want to say brilliant work!

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I do so enjoy the text box investigations.

I found a few typos. I’m pretty new to this forum so hopefully I’ve managed to upload the images properly.

Typos and spoilers

Missing H

One instead of on


Bad instead of bag

I’m not quite sure what’s wrong with this line, if the us should have been an up or something else, but it didn’t sound right.

Once again I do love all the descriptions, there are enough but not too much that it confuses me, it’s easy to imagine what the surroundings look like. Tbh I’m autistic and can struggle with getting a mental image of exactly what an author is describing to me, especially if they are overly detailed and it can be hard to see what they imagine without a visual aid, which then can disturb my immersion because I tend to focus on that lol. But this story has been surprisingly easy for me to see in my mind.

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May 4th, 2024 Update - An Eventful Week!

Hey guys, just wanted to keep you up to date with what I’ve gotten done this week. First off, the entire scene of Alvarez’s therapy session, and the final flashback of the night that Kate died, is finished. I got the entire scene done this week, which honestly, I’m very happy with. On top of that, there have been complaints of word bulk in my story, and there was one scene in particular I agreed with that. I was still pretty new to coding when I wrote the first half of this story, and I’d say I only really started to get the hang of it when I implemented text box investigations.

Lance’s after funeral scene has been stripped down from a total of around 260k words, to a total of about 22k words. Now, that is a TOTAL, and that does not affect how many words you see in the scene. I had lots of stuff copy and pasted in that scene in particular, but the average wordcount per playthrough is still the same. In fact, I was even able to add in a brand new small flirt choice at the end since I had the extra room. So technically, there’s more content than there was before.

I’ve also fixed a couple of grammatical and spelling errors in the warehouse scene, and I’ve begun sinking my teeth into the Lance extra scene. I’ve slightly modified that extra scene list from how it was previously, and I’m pretty sure this is the final version of it. Just as a reminder, those extra scenes are going to be released here to view for the Agent Tier before they’re released with an update.

I’m going to post a picture of the updated scenes list, as well as a picture of a small snippet from the flashback for the $3 Civilian Tier and above Patreon Subscribers. Thank you for sticking with me!

Stay Brilliant,

-Vi


Thank you! My ideas with the extra scenes were to essentially give people a bit of a thing to work towards in the game. A reason to go back, try new routes, etc. For instance, there are scenes heavily involving Alvarez you can unlock by doing Ryder’s route, and there are scenes heavily involving Hawks that you can get by doing Lance’s route, etc. They’re kind of like collectibles that expand the characters and the world with scenes that weren’t pivotal to the main story.

I do love the TBI (Text Box Investigation) mechanic, but I’d be lying if I said it wasn’t a pain to implement at first. Even now, I know when there’s a TBI, there’s a good chance I’ve missed a game breaking bug within it, because I can’t randomtest that part of the game without it going in an endless loop, so I have to test it all manually.

But now that I’ve fully gotten the hang of that mechanic, it’s genuinely really fun to put in and pretty barebones once you know the code for it. To anyone wanting to implement it into their games, I promise that it seems a lot more complex on the surface than it actually is. I just know that it’s going to be a staple for this book and for future installments, and will be the thing mechanically that makes it unique from other mystery stories on here, which is what I wanted at the end of the day. Not that it’s a better system than other CoG games, but that it’s a different system than them.

I was playing L.A. Noire when I implemented this system, and it’s all because I kind of wanted to capture the feeling of something like that, where you piece things together along the way. So, thank you L.A. Noire!

Thank you very much! These will be fixed with the next update! The half sentence in the last image you posted is because sometimes CSIDE starts autosaving the chapter in the middle of you writing, and you can’t write anything while the chapter is saving, so sometimes a couple words are skipped because of it. Not complaining about that, btw. I love that it autosaves and it’s an easy enough fix once I know about it.

I’m very glad to hear it! I try not to make the TBI’s too flowery or anything, although I do throw in details about the room the PC is investigating that aren’t relevant to the case, because they might look relevant. Essentially, red herrings to keep people on their toes and make them think a bit more about the clues they’ve gathered, and decide what’s important to the case and what just looks like it’s important to the case.

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Does someone knows the password for the laptop?

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@Sokolo

there is a book in the massage room in the dresser. The last word of the title and the three numbers after it, that’s the password in all lowercase without spaces.

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Now I get it I thought because it says it doesn’t use capital letters I was like so just the number :sweat_smile: thanks.

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May 14th, 2024 Update + Sneak Peek on Patreon!

Hello everyone, I apologize for the bit of the drought here for the past week and a half or so! Again, these scenes will end up in the base game, but you get access to them first over on Patreon, as that’s kind of what people want from Patreons.

Lemme tell you, coding intimate scenes, even ones that don’t go fully into sex scene territory, is more work than coding fight scenes… Seriously, in this scene alone, there are over 48 different variations that are all going to be pretty much completely different from one another. Just being a more flirtatious top is 3000 words total so far in this current scene because of gender variables between the PC and the RO. It is nutty (no pun intended).

That being said, for those of you that don’t want the spicy content or are not going for Lance as an RO, have no fear! This hangout scene for Lance can simply be entirely platonic and you can just be two buddies hangin’ out watching a movie. And for those of you that don’t like to view the spicy text but still want to say that your PC canonically slept with Special Agent Lance, you can do that too! There’s going to be an option to choose scenes to Fade To Black in the very beginning of the game, so that if you choose to go into a spicy scene, you don’t have to break the immersion of the story by choosing the option right then and there. Instead, you choose it before the story even begins!

In total, I’m guessing this extra story will probably be somewhere around 40k-50k words long. I’m most certainly getting one of the lengthy ones out of the way early here. I hope you guys enjoy the sneak peek, and I will try to come up for something to do for Thursday, but a lot of my energy and resources is going to be trying to finish up this extra story.

If you’d like to join in and comment on the spicy parts of The Bureau story, there is a new Adult Section Only Discussion thread that I made in preparation for the upcoming update. You can learn more about how much spice you can expect to see from over there. I’ll put the link here, but it’s also at the top of this page with all the other links. https://forum.choiceofgames.com/t/the-bureau-adult-content-discussion/153641

As always, stay Brilliant,

-Vi

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Hey what happens in the siege of Peter Lambda with the lockers? Is there a key to decipher or how?

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In that section, it’s a text box investigation. I think I’m actually going to add an optional tutorial in the beginning of the game explaining how those work since the only tutorial for them are currently in the victim’s house if you go with Lance and Hawks.

But until then, the way those work, is that you type in something in the room to investigate. For example, if you want to try to investigate the lockers, you would type in “lockers” and if there’s something important about them, you’ll find a clue. After that clue description, it will take you back to the description of the room, and you can type in something else to investigate. Hope that helps explain things!

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I love this game more than I can tell you. The writing is brilliant, the characters are superb….but I beg of you, please include an option to skip the text box investigations. I hate them. There is nothing more that will bring me out of a story and a beautifully narrated character arc than a sudden “now you have to pass a random word test to progress” sort of challenge. Particularly when there is no back button. My reading comprehension is good, as is my memory, but these for some reason are incomprehensible. I never guess the word (well, maybe 1 of 10 times I do). In this instance, I have played this game 8 times as a wip. I adore it. But I can’t pass a particular text box input requirement and can’t progress the story. I am unwilling to research it as a cheat because as a game player, I don’t think I should have to. So, I’ve read some of the content but not all. I literally cannot pass a certain question. As a wip, it’s merely frustrating. If it was a full game and I paid money for it? I would be livid.

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Out of curiosity, which of the two text box investigations couldn’t you get past? Is it the password in the victim’s house, or the warehouse infiltration with Hawks and Ryder? Because I can give one piece of advice that wouldn’t really be giving a hint or anything, just something some people may not know for the password section. Clues you pick up will appear as notes on the stats screen in the victim’s house, and it’s very much the intention to make that a way to look at the information you’ve gathered so far to help deduce, with the information given to you at the laptop about the password restrictions, what it would be.

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I’m not sure, I thought I was with lance and hawk, but could be wrong. In the room there was a dresser, a massage table, some shelves and a window if that helps.

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Ah, yes, that’s the Hawks and Lance investigation. If you’re specifically having trouble leaving that room, you just have to type ‘leave’ and you’ll be back out in the hallway and able to pick a different room. If that was the problem you were having, I might’ve misunderstood the original problem if it’s not!

EDIT: What might also be helpful is, with the next update, instead of putting the tutorial for the Text Box Investigations in a single page during the game, I’m moving it to the Stats screen so that people can access it at any point in the game if they need a refresher on how they work.

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Okay, I reloaded and typing “leave” did work for getting me out of the loop. And I love this for people that love this, but I also want to read your story, and can’t figure it out because it’s just not intuitive to me. It’s just not the type of game I play or have any knowledge of, but I want to read your story so bad. It’s up to you, it’s brilliant either way, but I hope you give consideration for us more narrative readers, because your story deserves a wide audience.

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For sure, and I’m definitely still considering how to best handle things for people that are having a bit more trouble with the text box investigations. It’s a bit of a balancing act, because I definitely still want people to enjoy the story, while also feeling like they’re actually investigating things and interacting with things in those scenes.

Being able to view the tutorial at any time is one way I’m trying to rebalance this issue and moving the instructions of how to leave a text box investigation earlier in the tutorial is probably a good idea as well. I’ve also thought of the potential for being able to toggle on hints, which would bold words in the description of the room that lead to clues. Of course, a toggle for text box investigations is also on the table for accessibility options as well. I’m just not sure which I’ll end up using yet.

Essentially, I’m playing around with accessibility options and am going to be implementing them as more updates are released to test the waters. Still, it’s great to read that you love the story enough to play it multiple times over! It’s very much appreciated, and I hope I can continue to provide worthwhile content!

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I’d just put something like “[Enter “leave” to leave the room]” above the text entry box, honestly.

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Please do, besides of the usual arguments I’ve seen here already, I have quite a few friends who dont understand english very well, and use translation software overlays (or just google translate) to play CoG/HG. Those types of software dont mix well AT ALL with this sort of system, a lot of info and nuance gets lost on translation.

Quite a number of friends of mine struggled a lot with these on Samurai of Hyuga (3, If I remember correctly). And the go-to solution was always just to turn them off outright, since they bogged down the whole experience so much for them.

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I’ve heard everyone loud and clear, and since I needed a little break from writing the extra scene I’m on, I went ahead and figured out how to work a toggle option for Text Box Investigations. Starting next update, you will be able to toggle seamlessly between TBI’s and regular choicescript choices for the investigation portions of the game! Obviously I want the game to be accessible to as many people as possible, so this will help serve that end. The Text Box Investigations will be on by default from the beginning of the game, so if you want to play without them, simply turn them off whenever you wish while you’re playing. You can also toggle them back on if you ever wanted to try playing with them on as well!

TBI Toggle Preview GIF

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