WIP - The Search for Dr Livingstone (now with save system)

Welcome to the WIP for: The Search for Dr Livingstone

Links
Game: https://dashingdon.com/play/lisamarlin/the-search-for-dr-livingstone/mygame/
Tumblr: https://lisamarlin.tumblr.com/

Total word count: 31k
Average words per play through: 20k

Update log

Update 16/6 Added Tuesday’s journal, got rid of chapters

Story Premise

It’s 1869 and the British explorer Dr David Livingstone is missing in the interior of Africa. No one has heard from him for more than three years and it’s unknown whether he is alive or dead. The Times newspaper in London is sending you, a young aspiring journalist and adventurer, to follow in Livingstone’s footsteps and track down the man himself – if he’s still alive, that is.

You will mount an expedition into the heart of Africa. Along the way you’ll face inhospitable terrain, hostile tribes, Arab slavers, dangerous animals, and more. You’ll experience life in a typical African village, and have the chance to get to know the diverse members of your party better.

You’ll have to put together your expedition, taking into account the supplies, resources, and skills you need to give your expedition the best chance of success. On the expedition, you’ll need to decide how best to navigate the various threats and challenges along the way. Think carefully – not only the success of the expedition, but the lives of Dr Livingstone (and others) may depend on your choices.

But will you find Dr Livingstone in the end?

Historical context

This story is designed to show the hardship of expeditions to the interior of Africa in 1870, as well as the realities of this period of history. Even though the slave trade had been officially abolished by all Western countries by the late 1860’s, slavery continued well beyond this time, as well as racism, inequality, and abuse. I have chosen to depict this period of history as realistically as possible, even though this can be confronting at times (often). In doing so, it is not my intention to insult or offend anyone, especially POC. However, I think it would be more offensive if I were to omit or ignore these realities.

The story is vaguely based on Henry Stanley’s route during his 1871 expedition. The main character, side characters and most of the events are fictional. However, the places, tribes, and many of the minor/incidental characters mentioned are real and I have tried to depict them as accurately as possible, based on a reasonable amount of historical research (though remembering that sources are scarce and biased especially when it comes to 19th century Africa).

Warnings

One of the aims of this book is to highlight a number of historical issues, including the East African slave trade. As such, slavery, racism, and other abhorrent practices are depicted openly.

This novel features:

  • Abuse, including implied sexual abuse (nothing explicit)
  • Slavery
  • Racism and inequality
  • Death (including avoidable NPC deaths)
  • Violence and conflict, and descriptions of the aftermath of violence and conflict
  • Harsh language
  • Animal cruelty (nothing explicit)
Highlights

-Play as female, male, or non-binary
-Variable side characters with the choice to set genders and some names
-Develop your character including personality traits and skills, in order to set yourself up for a successful expedition
-Track your expedition’s assets and supplies, including food, medicine, and currency, so that you can make it to the end
-Team up with Arab slave traders or find your own way
-Face a lion barehanded
-Experience life in an African village in 1870

TL;DR: This is completely based on a true story, except for the things I made up.

This book aims to give players the chance to replay history without prejudice and do better than other historical actors like Henry Stanley, while making every effort to acknowledge the realities of history. Whilst the impact of the Transatlantic Slave Trade cannot be denied, the East African slave trade, which pre-dated and outlived the Transatlantic trade, is equally horrific and much less known. It is also important to remember that slavery and slavery-like practices continue today in parts of Africa and the rest of the world, notably human trafficking.

Some people may find this story controversial, but I think it is important to depict the atrocities of history, particularly when they relate to current world issues.

Perhaps remembering the atrocities of the past will help to eliminate those today and prevent still more from happening in the future.

And now:

I will be eternally grateful if you have a read and leave a comment and some feedback. All feedback is welcome, but I’m particularly looking for high level feedback, as well as glaring errors.

If you want to give me feedback on grammar, punctuation, or style – great. But what I really want to hear about is things like whether you found the plot or the characters believable, if you thought the story was too slow, or if there were any parts that left you confused (or annoyed or something else). Similarly, if you came across continuity errors or things that don’t make sense, please let me know. I’m getting better at coding, but there are probably a bunch of mistakes still in there!

Having a full-time writing job, this project is something I have been working on for several months now in my spare time and I am happy to share it with you.

Thanks so much for reading – I really appreciate it.

52 Likes

YESSS! I’ve been looking forward to this one so much. Will try to read it tonight after I’ve got through my big work backlog. Congratulations!

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Congrats on your first demo, will read and come back with feedbacks.

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So i gave it a playthrough, and I really liked it. Will definitely be keeping my eye out for updates! There’s a great sense of time and place, which is important for immersion. I predict that some people will dislike first person narrative, but I enjoyed it a lot (I never really learned to love second person narration, I just grudgingly accept it as necessary for IF, so I’m happy to see someone not giving in to it, and the journal format is very engaging). It’s certainly an engaging mystery, and I want to know what happened to Livingstone. I don’t feel like I know my crew well yet, but I’m beginning to feel attached to some of them (Chef and the grumpy Captain in particular). You might want to consider dropping a couple of opportunities for actual conversations, with options, in there (I remember being surprised that I didn’t get that when I had dinner with the captain in Marseille, instead I just got told that I felt like I was beginning to get to know them, which felt like a bit of a missed opportunity) The process of setting starting stats is pretty long - might be the slowest build I can remember encountering in one of these - but honestly it’s so engrossing and well-integrated into the story that I don’t mind. Honestly, great, and I want more!

You might like to consider adding a save system to the demo for the sake of your readers and testers. It’s not a problem yet, but the longer the demo gets the harder it is for readers to keep replaying. CJW’s save plugin works very well, and is easy to implement on Dashingdon.

Also, it looks great. How did you get that custom look? And how did you enable the functionality to choose more than one option at once (on the name selector screen)? Also, while on name selection, you might want to offer a “go back” option to players who choose the “select a default name” option. It’s possible that a player might choose that, decide that they don’t like any of the names you offer, and then be locked into choosing them, which means they’d end up getting saddled with an MC name they don’t like.

I took a few screenshots below, with comments. It’s mostly pedantic stuff, but some of it may be useful.

“Provenance”, not “providence”.

Livingstone2

“One in five”.

Livingstone3
“They”, not “The”.

Livingstone4

Missing word, “where”.

“Piqued”, not “peaked”.

This was a weird one. I’m assuming the second paragraph is the destination for all of the options. However, it’s not appropriate for the American Civil War option. This guy’s the editor of an internationally-renowned newspaper. Is he really going to be all “Oh yes, the American Civil War, I heard about that”, like it’s something to be proud of? Also, why would he say “Why didn’t I hear your name in connection with the American Civil War?” Like thousands and thousands of people fought in that war, of course he didn’t hear all of their names! I fear that the American Civil War option here probably needs a custom paragraph all of its own, as the default one doesn’t work.

“Reported his death”, or “reported him dead”.

Close quotation marks after “Livingstone”, and “good luck” is two words.

Livingstone11

Yeah, this is a big one. I had randomly-selected genders, and the game set the Captain as non-binary. It reliably returned “they” pronouns throughout, BUT I’m afraid that having “they” pronouns enabled in gender randomization takes more work than that. “They” pronouns take plural forms of verbs: “they STAND very straight”, “they ARE standing”, etc. So, you potentially have to mess with your verbs as well as your pronouns in these cases. I think Hannah Powell-Smith has posted a really useful bit of code that helps with this somewhere, maybe search the forums. Sorry to be the bearer of bad news, but this does mean that there’s more work for you here! (Also, while on the subject of pronouns, the game set Dr. Parsons as male with “he” pronouns for me, but there was one moment - on the train from London - when he was designated as “she”. Sorry, forgot to get a screenshot).

“look TOO good”.

You need to capitalize the pronoun at the start of this sentence.

Sorry if a lot of that is pedantic, I hope that some of it is useful!

5 Likes

@Schliemannsghost
Firstly, don’t apologise for being pedantic - it’s great! The more pedantic feedback the better. :grinning: You make some really good points - thanks so much for taking the time to read and give such detailed feedback!

Re: conversations - I get what you mean, I plan to have the opportunity for the MC to have convos with two characters of their choice in the very next section (which will depend on the friendship points the player has built with the characters, which will be one of the driving factors of the game). But yeah, maybe I can make it more clear in these scenes by not giving an opportunity for it - I’ll look at revising this. The idea is that I want players to chose between two characters views constantly throughout the first part of the game, which should be difficult choices. Afterwards, in camp, they can then interact with these characters and get to know them better. Should be clear with the next update.

For the custom look, this was a theme in dashingdon - I liked it to and think it fit the story well so glad you liked it! The functionality to choose more than one option at once I first saw in Mommy, We Created a Plot Hole! (A Meta-fictional Adventure) [Updated Feb 8 | 96k+ Words] game. More here How do I put multiple choices on one page?

I’ll look into the go back option - this is a good point. Honestly I thought I had this already. :neutral_face:

Save system might be coming with the next update, but as I understand it, if you have a save system you can’t add any variables to your startup file without it breaking? I’ve seen how saving works in your game - I really like the system you’ve implemented. Once we enter the interior of Africa with all its dangers, I definitely want to give the player a second chance.

You are absoutely right here! Thanks for pointing it out!

I am using this and this passage must have slipped through as I went back correcting, will edit this weekend! If you see any more let me know. Are you sure the book set the Dr as female and changed to she? They are all standard ‘male’ and Dr could be used for both genders, I must have forgotten a pronoun there as well, it is the same section. I will look into it as well as the rest of the grammar, thanks for that.

I’m really glad to hear you liked the first-first narrative and the journal format. I know what you mean about the slow build, but I don’t really see it as setting stats, but rather part of the journey. I agree this might not be for everyone and I am ok with that, I wanted to do something quite different from other IF novels, so I hope others like it too!

@CC_Hill Thanks for your support - looking forward to your comments too!

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Yes, it was consistently “he” pronouns for the doctor except for one instance of “she” that I noticed, so I think that has to be an error. And I did actually find quite a large number of “they” pronoun with singular verb-form in the case of the captain, the screenshot I took was an example but I didn’t take them for the others. If I do a replay, I’ll set the captain up as nb and keep a lookout for others!

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I will start by saying that I have no idea who Dr Livingstone was, no isea about his stories or book. I don’t know anything about it at all.

Yet, I was able to follow and enjoy the demo as it’s a very compelling story and now I want to know what happened :slight_smile:

I like how the story start. Tuesday character is intriguing and it was nice to play as him, and being able to make choice base on how he would react.

Thought: If we ever end up meeting Tuesday, I hope the code remembers how we play him. For example there were choices for Tuesday to be a quiet and non-confrontational character, and there were choices where he could be telling on the Sepoys (Which are the choices that I made). So hopefully if we ever meet him, I hope he doesn’t come off as quiet when all the time I played him to be someone that can stand up for himself. :sweat_smile:

The way the story progress is great. We can follow the player through their journey and I like the diversity of characters that the player meet along the way. It’s a nice concept to give the player the choice to bring in some members or not, For example I took in Azizi, and I’m looking forward to see how he interact with the rest of the group.

I Personally like the chef and the Capt. Corey is a little sus at the moment and I’ll def keep my eye on him.

Overall, great demo, interesting start. Looking forward to see what come next.

I love the chapter headers, nice artwork.

Typo’s

image

image

2 Likes

I haven’t yet had the chance to really sit down and play through this yet—though the premise intrigues me, and it’s definitely on my list—but while I’m here, a couple points I felt compelled to address:

This is not quite true. You can absolutely add new variables to your startup file without causing any problems with existing saves. What ends up happening with a lot of WIPs, however, is that authors will tend to rework existing systems, or introduce new variables, such that you have to play earlier parts of the game again in order to set those variables to values the rest of the game will recognize or accept—which can potentially cause problems with future events not triggering as they’re supposed to.

It’s possible to circumvent this by only introducing new variables as they come up in the game, without needing to work them into pre-existing chapters (or doing so in a way that doesn’t absolutely require replaying those chapters), but depending on how variable-heavy your game is, this might require a lot of foresight. You’d essentially have to consider which decisions are likely to have an impact on future chapters and code in variables appropriately, even if you know they won’t come up again for a long time. You also have to trust that you’ll get your foundational systems/mechanics right the first time, which is sort of questionable for any WIP.

That all being said, though, I think it would, overall, be beneficial to implement saves, even if they do end up breaking between updates. At best, players get to jump straight into most of your updates without having to replay long segments of the game, and at worst, the game breaks and they have to start over each time…which is exactly what they would have to do anyway if the save system wasn’t implemented in the first place.


On the subject of perspective; I will say that unlike @Schliemannsghost, I am not typically a fan of first person in IFs. I have never really seen the appeal, generally tend to feel lukewarm about its implementation, and am actually a strong advocate for second person, which is significantly more to my taste in several ways.

With that having been said, the journal format is really innovative and, from what I’ve had the chance to play, absolutely managed to win me over. It provides a lot of character to the narrative just from the way it’s framed, and really draws you into the historical nature of the plot in a way that feels natural and immersive. Totally justifies and validates the use of first person, in my mind, despite my biases.


Anyway, I’ll hopefully have more to say once I’ve gotten the chance to run through the whole thing, but even from what little I’ve seen, I’m already quite interested. The presentation alone provides a strong start—looking forward to exploring the game further.

2 Likes

Great story, I love it.

In this page, the answers seem to repeat themselves.

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It turned out I forgot to flip the boolean! Seven times… Should be all good now.

I’ve fixed this now, and also tweaked one of the other responses that didn’t really fit either.

The code certainly remembers :wink:

Ah I see - then there will definitely be a save option in the next update.

Really glad to hear this. I started writing this book in second person and rewrote most of it to make it first person, then decided to also use it for the side-story. Most of the historical journals that are available are written in first person so it felt appropriate.

Thanks everyone for pointing out all the typos, it is amazing how many slip through! Should be all fixed now!

3 Likes

Very interesting subject matter - though I’ve only a passing familiarity with the topic, I was looking forward try this out.

Initial Impressions

Prologue

It is the name given to me by the men who came to my village in the night, took me from my family, and sold me for a bag of rice.

This line’s great; it really defines what the intro (and the game) will be about. Tuesday’s journal is very interesting in how this horror (to modern, Western sensibilities) is laid out so plainly, almost banal manner. And I guess slavery, for them and the people of the region, was normal. An institution that existed before the Sultanate of Zanzibar rose to power, before Ajuuran, before Aksum.

Partly I wonder whether showing cruelty of this level would be seen as unrealistic by some and draw some complaints over it being gratuitous or suchlike – and while I’m not that familiar with the slave trade (I’m a bit more familiar about the Atlantic trade) it seems bitterly plausible to me. I think these things do have to be put out in the open, and not glossed over.

On every journey to get ivory, one in five of us didn’t survive. I’ve heard when they bring people to the coast to sell in the market it’s even less - only one in ten make it all the way. But the slavers don’t worry about this.

I think these lines help bring the scale of the human cost into perspective. From my experience, a lot of material on slavery – whether Atlantic, African, modern etc – go with big numbers, the total sum. In my experience people don’t really comprehend big numbers that well, so this really gets the death toll across well.

All in all the prologue was quite a good hook and only made me more eager to read on.

Chapter 1

I think Wallace’s expedition could be explained a bit more. It’s sort of mentioned and not really addressed, and a bit assuming the player already knows what it is.

Throughout Chapter 1 I got the impression that the PC was very much set-in stone as a person with great self-doubt – almost lacking in experience, namely through prose such as:

Despite the anxiety rising in my chest and my own doubts about whether I can do the job, this would be an amazing opportunity.

I don’t really mind this, but it felt like it didn’t really fit with how I envisaged my PC – a grizzled veteran of the ACW who’s seen quite a lot of the nasty stuff out there, and a bit of an abolitionist too. Also it seems they’re portrayed to be a British volunteer who fought for the Union, and so they willingly made the trip across the Atlantic, which I think would indicate a bit more self-confidence. I’ll go into this a bit more later.

C1 Post-Times

McKinsley seems to be a bit on edge when the PC first meets them, perhaps because the PC’s a civilian and they’re a soldier. However, given the PC’s potential military experience of their own – either in the ACW or simply because they’re called Captain, they would react differently? e.g. When McKinsley stands to attention, the PC stands to attention too, addresses them as McKinsley or by their rank. And they’d potentially have something to bond over, being ex-soldiers.

“That seat is in the key strategic position. I need to sit there in order to maintain the security of the party, which is my duty.”

Amusingly enough, my choice of seat was also for the same reason.

Rhodesian Ridgeback

Does Rhodesia exist yet? I’m sure the dog breed exists at this time, but I don’t believe Rhodesia has yet been claimed at this time?

Ask about the letter Koorje mentioned for safe passage.

If you don’t pick this option when speaking with Tippu Tip it initially seems like you can’t get the letter at all, which seemed a bit unfair in the moment. Since getting it later isn’t really a problem, perhaps it would be better if you could just get it here?


General Comments

What stands out for me having read it, is that I think the pacing in Chapter 1 was a bit too fast. It’s almost a bit whiplashy after the prologue, which seemed to be slower and where the scenes were all laid out; once you enter the Times offices a lot of things are introduced at once and in quick succession, without any real time to take note or absorb it in.

Arriving in Zanzibar and meeting the Consul seemed especially a bit of a blur. Cory shows up, then you’re with the Consul, then you’re choosing a dog and then the Consul’s talking about the expedition. It’s somewhat hard to keep track of everything – I’m not even sure when I agreed to let Cory join the expedition, but after meeting with the Consul it seemed like they were already “a part of the team”.

However, at the same time, C1 seemed really long; almost a bit exhausting to read as everything was going so quickly, but there wasn’t any time to stop and take stock. I wonder if the pacing would not be better served by pausing and starting a new chapter midway through, perhaps when traversing Suez. Zanzibar seemed very distinct from everything that went before since there’s so much content there. Perhaps Zanzibar could also be split into two chapters; one being the introduction and another being the preparation. While a detailed preparation wasn’t yet available, I’m quite interested to see how it plays out.

It was also somewhat hard for me to keep track of all the characters, and they all seemed a bit flat. I think that’s mainly because they’re all introduced so quickly and in such such quick succession, so that they aren’t given enough time to establish themselves. Those that do – the Captain, Dr Parsons, Chef and Cory – also seem a bit tropey, and that there isn’t much beneath the surface. Consequently it’s kind of hard to have an attachment to them.

There’s also some inconsistency when it comes to selecting dialogue choices. Sometimes, the PC doesn’t say anything following the choice, and the other character answers immediately; at other times, the PC says something following the choice. I personally prefer the latter, but either way the inconsistency can be a bit off-putting.

While I am very interested in the subject matter and that’s enough to keep me reading, perhaps some more opportunities to develop the PC’s character and interact with the other characters might be worth including? As mentioned before, I felt the PC was a little bit too fixed in outlook, which while not a major issue for myself might be for others. Yet it almost feels like the PC’s background wants to be explored more, given that they were potentially there for so many significant moments in history, feels a bit odd it doesn’t seem to play a larger role.

Aside from that, I enjoyed what opportunities there were for the PC to express themselves - especially with regards to how they regard slavery, such as in the slave market or dealing with the foodhouse owner. I’d welcome a bit more of that, and on other things too to shift the personality bars around a bit more.

The other characters being a bit more developed might increase attachment to the story; while I’m aware they’re not the main focus, those with limited knowledge of the background might find it easier to connect with these NPCs “for the ride”, and in doing so experience what you’re trying to highlight where they might have avoided it in the first place. I hope that makes some sense?

As I mentioned initially, the atmosphere and verisimilitude is what really draws me in. I like all the attention given to the senses – from the stink and poverty of London to the buzzing slave markets of Zanzibar. It’s just the few things I mentioned above which are breaking the immersion at points. But aside from all that, I found it quite interesting to read.


Typos, Bugs etc

Prologue

Halvidar

This crops up a bit in Tuesday’s part. I guess it’s meant to be “Havildar” (the equivalent of sergeant), unless it’s an intentional typo for Tuesday (who may not be familiar with its spelling)?

He said he may have to give them another trial, but he knows they are an incumberance.

I think it’s encumbrance?

Chapter 1

“Is that so?” Delane looked at me meaningfully, and I knew exactly where he was heading. “And were you awarded any honours for your service in that conflict?”

“Ah yes, I heard about that.” As Delane went on, I knew exactly where he was heading. “However, I don’t remember your name being mentioned?”

Comes up when choosing the Civil War option. Scripting error?

“Capt McKinsley reporting for duty Capt…”

Two full stops with Capt. Also, the abbreviation for “Captain” is a bit inconsistent throughout; sometimes it’s Capt, other times it’s Capt.

Captain McKinsley aske me meaningfully.

Asked

She assured me that she was happy to accompany us and show us around if I would find it useful as she was heading the same way anyway.

Before I knew it, Cory had taken the lead and headed for town.

Cory seemed to know where he is going. He led us from alley to alley and brought us straight to the British Consul in the nicest part of Zanzibar.

Pronoun continuity error. Cory’s pronouns were she/her in this playthrough.

The whole conversation grew more akward by the minute and as she showed us her burn marks

Awkward

I offered her to join our party if she wished, but I told him she’s free to do whatever she wants.

Pronoun continuity error. PC was referring to Kanzi here.

Personal Info

Personal skills

text Capt. White Name

Skills

I had selected my PC’s name as “Edward White”, to be addressed as “Capt. White”; on checking “Personal Info” after the end of the meeting with the editor of the Times, this was what appeared.

Dr Germaine Parsons(English Missionairy)
Mrs Yvette Bouché (French Chef)
Mrs Cornelia Peeters (Belgium Jack of all Trades)
Kanzi Zuri Taraji Zuwena Makena Njeri Kanzi (Local African from the foodhouse)
Manga (Local ‘Faithful’ appointed by the British Councel)

Bunch of typos when checking stats at the end of the game; Missionary and Consul

Interested to see how this develops, best of luck!

4 Likes

I rarely take the time to leave comments on demos, but I enjoyed this one immensely. It’s wonderfully immersive, and I appreciate the diversity of choices. I also like how carefully the characters are crafted - I only “knew” Tuesday for a few pages, and yet I now feel I must know if he survived. My only complaints would be the stat screen. It’s quite low contrast and a bit jumbled, which made it seem slightly confusing to me, and the font wasn’t among the most user friendly. Overall, I really wish there were more historically rooted games like this one on here, and I’m very much looking forward to its continuation:)

1 Like

@Thfphen110 Thank you for your detailed comments - you make some good points! I will go through your feedback and incorporate it in my edits as well as keep these points in mind as I keep writing. As a first time interactive writer I find it difficult to find the balance between text and choices as I do not want my choices to be meaningless. I particularly found the points you made around character development and how you envisaged your PC very helpful, never thought of having a character being a captain class with Capt. Kinsley, this is all so valuable!

@fool Thanks for your feedback also - glad you liked it and I understand what you say about the stat screen. Only at the very end of the demo it should be somewhat operational as it grows as the story does. That being said, it has not been my priority yet so I understand your remark about it feeling jumbled. The font should be the same as the rest of the story as it is a theme at dashingdon.

Thanks all, and please keep the feedback coming!

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I completely agree, that’s why I flagged this in the intro. Of course, I am referring to the historical context - bear in mind that this is not intended to be factual or even historical fiction, I think “historically-rooted fiction” (thanks @fool for this term) describes it best.

I can send you a list of the journals I am using, from various 19th-century explorers as well as some works on influential Arab figures to get a feel for the time but yes, they have all been written by Europeans. My partner wrote his university thesis on the subject and conducted research in Malawi gathering accounts from locals about Dr Livingstone’s Zambezi expedition about 10 years ago, so I am using him as a source also. Comparing the Arab with the European journals about the same time frame is interesting as well, especially when it comes to views on slavery which is challenging to write (though interactive fiction helps as I can show both sides).
I want to show the player (at least some) of the historical realities and try to give them every chance to do better of course. But these are big challenges. I am currently looking for first and second-person sources about the African experience in the 19th century but these are difficult to find, so I also try to read between the lines of the other sources.

With your background, if you have any more information or sources on the subject please do let me know!

Good question. I have tried to make this clear in the intro:

My main aim is not to write a history book, but rather create awareness and spark interest in these issues. I am making up the complete route the player takes and give the player dilemma’s to make better choices than people made at that time which is quite a bit of a challenge as sometimes, there are no good choices. The prologue and the rest of Tuesday’s story is as accurate as possible based on Dr Livingstone’s journal as his journals are very extensive and almost daily written, though Tuesday is a fictional character. Do you think I should make this more clear? Was there anything in the book you encountered specifically?

I also wanted to encourage readers to get curious and do some digging - I think it would be great if someone reading this book thinks “wow did that really happen/did that person really exist” and then goes and looks it up, and learns more about the subject; the journals are fascinating. I think this also encourages the critical thinking that you mention in your comment.

If you find something in the book that is one-sided now or in the future please do let me know!

Sorry for the essay, but you raise some important issues that I have considered carefully (and I am still thinking about how best to approach). I do not want to start any general discussions about general historical accuracy in this thread, so if you want to have a discussion about this topic, please send me a pm. If you find something in the book, I would love to hear it here.

Bear with me as I am a slow writer - honestly, I don’t want to spend all my spare time in front of a screen after doing this in my day job! I plan to have a chapter where your expedition will be unable to continue and is stranded in a local village. Here the player will experience local life in these times and I will try to give a more local view on certain subjects (again, based on the limited research I can do but I am trying).

I hope this answers your questions.

5 Likes

I’ve been waiting to see this, nice to see a WIP! Looks like you’ve done some seriously deep research into this, wow! The setting is immersive and the narrative gives you a lot of context at what’s happening, so it’s easy to get into even for someone unfamiliar with the setting or circumstances.

I agree with the others here that things seem to happen too fast. The first chapter is quite long and you’re doing many things, rapid-fire. It feels like you’re doing one thing, and then you suddenly jump to another when playing it. What you do could be detailed out and the chapter be broken into shorter chapters, maybe?

I’m also interested in seeing more of the NPCs. I’m curious about them, but so far, everything between them and the PC seems impersonal, because the narrative is like an account telling this happened, instead of having dialogue with them. Maybe it’s an effect of the diary style this is written in?

I see that you’ll address conversations in the next update. Just a suggestion, and you don’t have to do this if you want to keep the current style, but maybe the sections where you’re interacting with characters or doing plot-relevant things can be transitioned off of the diary style and into more of a traditional narrative style. This can also help slow down the pacing. Broader strokes of the plot and actions can be kept in the journal style like you already have, but I’d really love to have more in depth interaction with the NPCs. The army captain and the missionary so far stands out, probably because they were introduced first (and you did have the time to spend with them), but the rest of our expedition members suffer somewhat because are introduced too quickly.

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I get what you mean, but I was worried that people would be bored if it took too long to actually start the expedition, so I wanted to go at a fast pace until this part.

Don’t worry about that, everyone still has a role to play! I cut the demo off but on the boat you are now taking you will have the opportunity to get some of your crew members better, with more dialogue. :slightly_smiling_face:

I think this is a really interesting idea and I will definitely look at it. I’ll keep going with the present style for the next section to show you where this was going as well as the dialogue planned for the conversations - but I’ll have a think about it how this might work for more of it!

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Personally, I love seeing the scenery and every little detail of what’s going on in the world, so I won’t get bored. But I get that may not be for everyone.

Maybe the chapter subheadings can be used to separate what’s happening, if you decide to make the scenes longer within the chapter?

Looking forward to more!

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A small update is out!

I have included the second set of papers from Tuesday and made some minor adjustments to the previous chapters.

Also, it took me over an hour but I finally got the save plugin to work. :grinning:

I honestly do not know when the next update will be. I have almost finished the complete Tuesday storyline which now stands at an additional 10k words alone, and most is in the final editing phase. However, I won’t be able to show you any of it until I get the second story line to where it needs to be.

When I started writing the conversations I discovered that it’s better to write the endings and big dilemmas first / at the same time. So the bad news is that there will not be an update for a while, but the good news is that once there is an update, it should go a lot faster!

Enjoy!

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