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Author Topic: Subtly Fantasy an Interactive Fiction Game  (Read 323 times)

Gamedragon

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Subtly Fantasy an Interactive Fiction Game
« on: June 08, 2015, 04:36:30 am »

I'm back and I'm making another game. This time however I am not using Unity, no, instead I am using Twine a free tool that lets people easily and quickly make Interactive Fiction games. Don't know what an Interactive Fiction game is? Well Twine has some examples on it's website and one of my favorite games, Choice of Robots, is one of these and I encourage you to take a look at it as it really is bloody good.

Anyway onto my game. I'm calling it Subtly Fantasy because I intend for this game to have elements of fantasy in it while remaining in our world. Of course, the amount of subtlety and fantasy present in the game will depend upon the player, you could either play a psycho who believes that the "shadow people" are telling him what to do or you could play the regular business-person who just takes delight in the simple magical seeming events of everyday life. I'm going to be using this thread as a devlog so that I can post some of my thoughts while making the game and provide a place to post some of my updates.

So if you like the sound of any of that I would ask you to take a look at it on itch.io. If you would like to have a look at the very early build this is the link. If you do have a play I would definitely like to have some feedback, any feedback is good feedback and so I would ask you to give it to me whether it be good or bad. I would also like you to tell me if there are any options in the game that you would love to have or if there are some options there that you think have no place in this game.

Anyway, I'm going to get back to actually making it now.
« Last Edit: June 08, 2015, 05:31:14 am by Gamedragon »
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FallacyofUrist

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Re: Subtly Fantasy an Interactive Fiction Game
« Reply #1 on: June 08, 2015, 07:02:44 am »

Huzzah.
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((Things like that happen when you roll 6/6 on Awesome. Usually, you would had moved first, since there was enough distance between you and None, and your plans were ranged. But between max roll and Nones inheritant lightness as a spirit, he leapt twenty meters forwards, landing on you two.))
I'm good at coming up with affinities. Awesome was just one idea.

Spiderking50

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Re: Subtly Fantasy an Interactive Fiction Game
« Reply #2 on: June 15, 2015, 05:50:04 pm »

I hit a dead end after punching a kid and believing my mother is right.

Gamedragon

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Re: Subtly Fantasy an Interactive Fiction Game
« Reply #3 on: June 16, 2015, 12:59:01 am »

I hit a dead end after punching a kid and believing my mother is right.

Yeah, as I said it's early in development.

Huzzah.

Why the huzzahing?



Anyway on to development stuff. If you played the game and chose, as Spiderking did, to punch a defenseless child then you will have found out that your father beats your mother. What happens after this is, in my opinion, not a very good scene. And so I have removed it. Now instead of having your father lecture you about beating up children something else will happen. Want to know what? Well you will have to play the updated game when I finally upload the updated version to itch.io.

In other news, while I was playing around with node-webkit for a Science assessment, I figured out how to package a Twine game as an executable. Would you guys rather I uploaded it in this form or uploaded it as an html game?

Gamedragon

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Re: Subtly Fantasy an Interactive Fiction Game
« Reply #4 on: June 24, 2015, 02:53:32 am »

A productive day today although not quite as productive as I would have liked. I turned off my internet connection so I could focus instead of browsing but then the TV called to me and that distracted me instead. But I still got quite a bit done and fleshed out some writing and finished a few of the current choices. I'm probably going to do the same thing tomorrow and try and get some more done. Anyway the latest version is now the version currently available online.

Gamedragon

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Re: Subtly Fantasy an Interactive Fiction Game
« Reply #5 on: June 25, 2015, 02:28:03 am »

I did a good amount of work today I got through quite a lot of work and did some editing of previous passages. I'm planning on doing a write-up of some of the decisions I have made so far and some of the ones that I'm going to make but I need a bit of time to write, edit and think on it before it will be ready for posting. I'm also planning on creating a blog so that I can post things there as well but I'm not sure on that point because I don't know if I really need it. Anyway, the latest version is up and available here. I'd like to ask now for anyone who has played the game to give me some feedback, you may have none or the feedback may be quite... harsh, but I still ask for it because it will help me make a better game. If you do have any you can either send me a PM, post here or email me at ochandle607@gmail.com. Thanks!

Retropunch

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Re: Subtly Fantasy an Interactive Fiction Game
« Reply #6 on: June 25, 2015, 06:21:52 pm »

I do think the 'subtle fantasy' is a nice premise. If you want blunt feedback here it is:
My number one rule in interactive fiction is never to ask the player what someone else did (did your parents pack...). I know some games do manage to pull this off, but personally I feel that it completely breaks any immersion or feeling that you *are* that character.

Secondly, all these choices about picking what your teacher looks like and what you ate/movie you watched seem completely unnecessary and, bluntly, really, really bloody boring. They're not interesting choices and they do nothing to move the game on. While you may have some later ideas for how they'll interact, they're just not a good introduction.

Honestly, My advice would be to completely get rid of the whole 'what was your past like' bit and move straight to something more interesting. Move way past all the childhood stuff and put the player in an interesting situation. If you need realllllly want to do a character building thing, have it in 3-4 questions that make sense of how they might affect future outcomes (did you grow up wealthy or poor?) and then go to present day, with the player in a tricky situation.

Perhaps in that situation they'll come across something strange that'll tip them off to the possibility of magic/fantasy? Perhaps they'll accidentally get teleported across the world and need to find their way back, coming across lots of strange things along the way?
 

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With enough work and polish, it could had been a forgettable flash game on Kongregate.

Gamedragon

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Re: Subtly Fantasy an Interactive Fiction Game
« Reply #7 on: June 25, 2015, 07:08:09 pm »

I do think the 'subtle fantasy' is a nice premise. If you want blunt feedback here it is:
My number one rule in interactive fiction is never to ask the player what someone else did (did your parents pack...). I know some games do manage to pull this off, but personally I feel that it completely breaks any immersion or feeling that you *are* that character.

Secondly, all these choices about picking what your teacher looks like and what you ate/movie you watched seem completely unnecessary and, bluntly, really, really bloody boring. They're not interesting choices and they do nothing to move the game on. While you may have some later ideas for how they'll interact, they're just not a good introduction.

Honestly, My advice would be to completely get rid of the whole 'what was your past like' bit and move straight to something more interesting. Move way past all the childhood stuff and put the player in an interesting situation. If you need realllllly want to do a character building thing, have it in 3-4 questions that make sense of how they might affect future outcomes (did you grow up wealthy or poor?) and then go to present day, with the player in a tricky situation.

Perhaps in that situation they'll come across something strange that'll tip them off to the possibility of magic/fantasy? Perhaps they'll accidentally get teleported across the world and need to find their way back, coming across lots of strange things along the way?

Hey Retropunch,

First of all thanks for playing this and offering up some feedback because that's always useful and will hopefully help me make a better game. Now onto the feedback:

Quote
My number one rule in interactive fiction is never to ask the player what someone else did (did your parents pack...). I know some games do manage to pull this off, but personally I feel that it completely breaks any immersion or feeling that you *are* that character.

I feel like while this is true I also feel like at the moment my game needs it. Do you think that if I changed the tense and wording of the questions it might help. For example: "When you were in the second grade you parents packed..." I think that I will remove the whole lunch scenario where you choose what you ate though as it really doesn't add anything I will be keeping the beat/talk scenario though as I have plans for it. On a similar note I just removed the Earliest Memories part as it didn't work, it may appear again though in a different form.

Quote
Secondly, all these choices about picking what your teacher looks like and what you ate/movie you watched seem completely unnecessary and, bluntly, really, really bloody boring. They're not interesting choices and they do nothing to move the game on. While you may have some later ideas for how they'll interact, they're just not a good introduction.

I have only just added the movies bit and I do agree that it doesn't actually make the story move forward so I may remove this part. I disagree, however, with the part where you pick how your teacher looks. I actually like this part and I believe that it is really the first example of subtle fantasy as it shows, in my opinion, how a child can see things completely normal as being special and wonderful. I wonder why you found that bit boring, some of the people I have talked to have really enjoyed that particular scene and even though they may have been trying to save my feelings I don't believe they were as they are not what you would call nice people.

Quote
Honestly, My advice would be to completely get rid of the whole 'what was your past like' bit and move straight to something more interesting. Move way past all the childhood stuff and put the player in an interesting situation. If you need realllllly want to do a character building thing, have it in 3-4 questions that make sense of how they might affect future outcomes (did you grow up wealthy or poor?) and then go to present day, with the player in a tricky situation.

I am planning on moving past the child stage pretty soon now but I don't think I'm going to get rid of too much more because some of the choices you have made here are going to greatly affect the later game.

Thanks for the feedback Retropunch. I am going to implement quite a few changes from what you've told me so I really do mean it when I say thank you.

Retropunch

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Re: Subtly Fantasy an Interactive Fiction Game
« Reply #8 on: June 26, 2015, 08:32:18 am »

I just think that the whole 'scene setting'/history thing is completely unnecessary. The player can either make up their own back story, or you can unveil it as the game play progresses. All the stuff about what movies you watched, what you ate, what your teacher looked like all just seem like random, stand alone bits that don't really mean anything to the overall story and certainly don't drag a player in.

Start in the story, and then backtrack if you need too. Have flashbacks or dreams (this works well in such interactive fiction as you can even distinguish between time frames with a different colour background and whatever) to do this and expand on each choice more to make it actually mean something.

If these elements really do come into play later, make it clear how it does. Start with something like

'The first time I thought about magic was when I was a child. This coloured the way I would look at magic for the rest of my life.
As the new teacher walked into the classroom my friend Tanya leant over "don't you think she looks like the creature from that movie? you know! the...ahh whats it called? '
A) do you mean ewok?
B) do you mean an elf?
C) I really don't know what you're talking about'

You choose B; It was true that you often saw something...alien about others. Something that seemed distant, something you couldn't put your finger on. Ms. Turnall certainly had these qualities, and it made you wonder if there would be others that had these traits even more strongly.'

Or whatever - show the player that their choice means something and fill them out a bit. But whatever you do, really keep this bit short. Unless you're a well known developer/writer, no one is going to want to sit through ages of character development when they don't know if the story is even going to be any good. Keep it short and too the point, with a proper story that grabs you right from the start.
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With enough work and polish, it could had been a forgettable flash game on Kongregate.