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The Dream Thief (Riddles & Puzzles 2016 Contest)

one year ago

Having been inspired by the new CYS Contest for Riddles & Puzzles, I have come up with a story idea called 'The Dream Thief'. 

Basically this is a multiple play on words based on different elements/motifs in the story. I won't explain the full metaphor at this stage as it would remove all the intrigue from the story. Instead, I will present you with the story description:

____________________________________________________________________________________________________

The Dream Thief.

He has left me hurt, humbled, robbed and broken-hearted...but not broken. I'm not going to let you win.

Throw whatever of life's problems you dare at me, I WILL overcome it! You can't take away from me any more - what do I have to lose?

____________________________________________________________________________________________________

I already know the big puzzle I will use for this one, and I will probably throw a riddle or two in there as an element of the big puzzle I have designed in my mind. This puzzle is going to use a feature that, as far as I know, hasn't been applied in the same way on CYS, so I am very excited about constructing the puzzle. However the puzzle is just the second part to the story, in the first part I provide a quite detailed characterisation of the protagonist and present some puzzles with a definite survivalist element to it. 

So you know, after I have written this story, there is a very good chance I will write a sequel to it. I'll be ending at what is a giant turning point in the story, where the protagonist will have the whole world (at least the human world) ahead of him. 

All questions/thoughts/feedback are welcome, and since this is my first Advanced Game I'll actually be publishing, expect me to have a few questions of my own!

Current Progress: 0/?? (my estimate would be 200 pages if I had a lot of time, but we'll see!)

The Dream Thief (Riddles & Puzzles 2016 Contest)

one year ago

I currently have 78 'pages' (most of them still incomplete) but it will end up being more, assuming I have the time to complete it. If I run out of time I will probably have to cut out the smaller (but still sizeable) puzzle in Chapter 1 which at the time of writing is yet to be started.

The Dream Thief (Riddles & Puzzles 2016 Contest)

one year ago
How in the name of Santa Claus did you write 78 pages in roughly 24 hours?

EDIT: Wait, you just said you had zero a few hours ago!?

The Dream Thief (Riddles & Puzzles 2016 Contest)

one year ago

They're not fully written as such, they are just the skeleton for the structure of the story.

The Dream Thief (Riddles & Puzzles 2016 Contest)

one year ago

Ah. You work like I usually do, then. Granted, I have busted out a dozen full pages in an hour and all... but when I start a game, I do like creating the most note-worthy framework as a starting point. 

The Dream Thief (Riddles & Puzzles 2016 Contest)

one year ago
I really like your description. Good luck on finishing your game. Can't wait to see what you come up with!

The Dream Thief (Riddles & Puzzles 2016 Contest)

one year ago

While I'm not going to unveil my first page in a hurry, as I have a twist in that page I want to keep secret for now, I will say that with my game, you are guaranteed to experience some of the story - you will not die in the first few pages or anything like that, however you will need to make the right choices in Chapter 1 to even reach the giant puzzle in Chapter 2. In an ideal world I would love to develop the incorrect choices into separate paths that ultimately end in failure, but we will see if I have the time to do this (being realistic, I probably don't). 

I have the entire Chapter 2 puzzle (save a couple of riddles/sub-puzzles) set out in terms of how I want it, I just have to type up all the descriptions to pages and items and program the variables/scripts to do what I want. Hopefully I don't give too much away in saying that the key to solving the Chapter 2 puzzle is to be in the right place at the right time. 

 

The Dream Thief (Riddles & Puzzles 2016 Contest)

one year ago

Wow, this sounds very ambitious for a first advanced storygame, and in 10 days!? I really hope you manage to complete it in time. Sounds really promising even though you've actually given us very little detail. I like that. Hopefully you can apply this style of revealing things a little at a time to give maximum suspense in the storygame itself.

The Dream Thief (Riddles & Puzzles 2016 Contest)

one year ago

Thanks, I'll do my best! I knew from the start this was going to be a challenge, but you have to do something different to stand out and I'm very passionate about my whole motif and how the various sub-motifs affect it. 

I have the whole introductory part completed (it's quite long, but without it the story and character would feel shallow to me), now branching out the story with different choices. I'll start on the first puzzle later today.  

The Dream Thief (Riddles & Puzzles 2016 Contest)

one year ago

For what it's worth, I've decided on significantly extending a path I was originally going to make a quick dead end, as I appreciated it would fit in well with a major theme of my story, and also it features a concept I was quite interested in exploring - namely, surviving on the streets as a homeless person. To be honest the alternative path is something that could easily be turned into a full story of its own; obviously I don't have the time to do that, but I will give it a bit of attention so the story is less linear. Hopefully this will encourage my readers to play through the story more than once (even if they 'won' the first time). In case you're wondering, this alternate path probably won't contain any direct puzzles or riddles, unless I have oceans of spare time (which seems very unlikely), but I may well extend it again after the competition.

PS The story is currently at 114 pages (but most are yet to be written). At this point I'm thinking the total number of pages for the finished story could easily be 250.

The Dream Thief (Riddles & Puzzles 2016 Contest)

one year ago

I have a quick question, given that it's my first time writing an advanced storygame - how much time should I leave for programming the variabes/scripting/items? I'm concerned it will take me a long time to do, at the same time I know all the fancy features in the world won't count for much without good writing. Also I will find it a lot easier to apply relevant items if the story is all written up already. 

I have 125 pages at least partly written by the way, however 50 of those are just 'insert the number' pages so it's not anywhere near as much as it sounds, especially since I haven't used any advanced features yet aside from the Chapter divisions and such. 

If the advanced features take as long as I think they will, then I am probably about 1/3 of the way in completing the first draft of this story. I just hope I have enough time to give it the proof-reading it needs. 

The Dream Thief (Riddles & Puzzles 2016 Contest)

one year ago

If you're smarter than me, you'll focus on finishing the story first and worry about bells and whistles later. Scripting taking a while, item creation taking a while, inserting variables, it all depends on how many of them you plan to use and the complexity. It can be pretty quick if you know what you're doing, but if you're still figuring out how you're going to use them, your guess is as good as mine if not better.

The Dream Thief (Riddles & Puzzles 2016 Contest)

one year ago

It's been a while since I updated my progress, so here's another update. 

I have around 170-175 pages at the moment, and that's without adding every single page! About 74 have proper writing on them, 51 of the pages are for one of my riddles, and the rest are blank pages. 

I've mainly worked on Chapter 1 in the last couple of days. I've mentioned some big changes already, there will be more big changes from what I originally planned, but I'll keep you guessing about those for now. One thing that will remain is the large amount of exposition at the start, it will take time to read, but I think you will find it worthwhile, especially since your choices affect the protagonist's experiences. While I could have a 'skip to the action' option for those wanting a quicker game, I think the main character needs a lot of development for this to hit home, and the story is very much about his struggle through life, so I don't want to compromise that. 

I do wonder how often I should reveal the character's thoughts, at this stage a lot of my description is about how the character responds to his environment. The main danger I have with my plot at the moment is that certain endings will feel a little bit random (this is hard to avoid with one of the major paths I have constructed, where 'random' events are commonplace). I have done my best to make it realistic (including researching anything I am not sure about) and have the plot fit together, however to create more of a 'riddling' theme to this story I have set it out so you will sometimes die of a cause that is explained only if you follow the 'correct' path. 

Anyway, feel free to share your thoughts on the above. If I am able to fully execute the plot I have set out, it will probably be a total of 350ish pages (probably more when item pages are included), but I suspect I will have to cut some corners. I think the original main path I had in mind for Chapter 1 will be hard to execute (it would require a lot of research) so if I run out of time, I will probably turn it into a 'bad' ending. 

The Dream Thief (Riddles & Puzzles 2016 Contest)

one year ago

Now at around 200 pages (150 actually written). Note that I am including the riddle answer pages with this count. I'm feeling more optimistic about finishing the story properly than I did a day or two ago, I have so much content already that it will not be too costly if a couple of paths have to be truncated due to lack of time. 

Since I'm getting a little busier, I'll set a goal of writing 50 pages a day, that should allow me to finish Chapter 1 in the next twenty-four hours, and Chapter 2 the day after that, leaving me about 4-5 days for variables/items/scripting/proof-reading/testing.

The Dream Thief (Riddles & Puzzles 2016 Contest)

one year ago

Just so you know how I've organised the puzzle/riddle element, I've put a ton of riddles/puzzles into this story, however I have spread them out so that you get a different puzzle/riddle to solve depending on which path you take (not counting the big puzzle if you make it to Chapter 2, or the general 'riddle' of the story). Also this is going to have the highest maturity rating, as there is some swearing in the story and also adult themes for some of the paths (although I've refrained from gratuitous graphic descriptions). Having said that, you may well play through the whole story and wonder why it has such a high maturity rating - hence the disclaimer. 

I'm currently at 300 pages, in case you were wondering. Most of that work has been on puzzles I couldn't resist including into a particular path. 

The Dream Thief (Riddles & Puzzles 2016 Contest)

one year ago

I think I may have underestimated how much work this was going to take! I've been spending nearly all my spare time on this story, and still it's a long way from completion. I've written up about 250 pages, and still there is a lot more work to be done!

I have about five paths left to write up for Chapter 1, it is taking me a while to write each one as I have to do a fair bit of research to make sure what I'm writing is realistic. As an example, I had the idea of my character making musical instruments himself, and I had to break that down into steps in my research to make sure I didn't write something completely ludicrous. 

Also, it's not easy to write up the responses to dialogue choices, since whatever you write, you know that there will be someone who believes 'No one would ever say that'. I've tried to make most of my characters a little bit quirky or unhinged to give them some individuality and hopefully make the reader react to them in some way. There isn't really time to develop the minor characters, for instance, there's one character that is completely ordinary and bland, but he is needed for the story to make sense. 

I can understand the popularity of the fantasy genre now - you don't have to worry about making things so realistic! But for the setting of my story, it's essential to show the problems people in the protagonist's plight really go through. 

It would be a big help if you have any ideas on how to get the balance right between staying true to your vision, and altering/explaining the story in anticipation of any criticisms that may come up. 

Hopefully I can find the time to complete the puzzle for Chapter 2, I was really excited about it as it would also give me the opportunity for various variables/items/scripting techniques, but at this rate I would probably have to sacrifice a lot of proof-reading to complete it. 

The Dream Thief (Riddles & Puzzles 2016 Contest)

one year ago

I commend you on your ambition and I look forward to reading this story in particular.

The Dream Thief (Riddles & Puzzles 2016 Contest)

one year ago

Thanks Kiel!

Another question to all of you out there following my thread. Would you be interested in having music for certain pages? If so, how would you want it to be incorporated? It's just an idea I had right now from the thread in the Advanced Editor sub-forum. 

Just finished a sub-path by the way, will get to work on the next sub-path (which divides into another three sub-paths!) soon. It's all mapped out already, I just need to write it out nicely. 

Current page count is 320 pages. Hopefully I don't need a sleepless night on the final day to get it done!

The Dream Thief (Riddles & Puzzles 2016 Contest)

one year ago
320 pages!? OMG. Anyways, you could do some soothing background music or sound effects for solving riddles.

The Dream Thief (Riddles & Puzzles 2016 Contest)

one year ago

Yeah, it's now 326, but with 296 of those being fully written. I don't have a lot of pages to add, we're probably looking at around 400 pages for the finished story. 

Actually I had a completely different implementation of the music in mind, I was thinking more along the lines of a 'theme song' for pages. I might wait until the whole story is done and decide at the last minute whether I implement this. 

I'd originally thought when writing this that I would just have a lot of exposition at the start, but there are also certain paths where you have several 'non-choice' pages in a row, as I felt inserting choices would have been too forced. Time is also a factor of course. 

Just for fun, I'll share with you a riddle I rejected when settling on different riddles for my story: A wealthy man set a challenge to his two sons, that they would race each other by camel to decide who would marry a beautiful woman, and that the person with the slower camel would win. The brothers couldn't decide how to settle the winner, but when they heard some advice from a wise man, they immediately started racing the camels.

What did the wise man tell the brothers? (It will be more fun if you don't Google, but you knew that already, right?)

The Dream Thief (Riddles & Puzzles 2016 Contest)

one year ago

I now have 350 pages! It looks like I'll have the draft of Chapter 1 done by the end of the day, with all the paths written up. Then I should have time to complete Chapter 2 as I already know what I want to do with the variables/scripting/items as such. It's a good thing I really dived into writing the story up early, otherwise I would have no time to proofread after this is all done. Even now, with the volume of stuff I've written, there's no way the writing will be perfected, but I hope to catch out all the obvious typos and make the story and characters more interesting. 

Every now and then I get a couple of slight doubts about my writing style, maybe that's mere self-consciousness from observing some of the other stories that have been written and noticing how differently those authors have written their stories, but hopefully I'll get some feedback on that when I do publish and have the time to iron out anything my story is missing. Once I have Chapter 1 done, I'd be happy for people to try out that component of my game and post their feedback (both positives and areas for improvement) on this thread, although I feel it would be fair to ask that the game isn't rated until it's been published.

The Dream Thief (Riddles & Puzzles 2016 Contest)

one year ago

Looking at the time I'll have for writing/programming stuff, I'm not sure I will have time to complete both the survival puzzle I have in mind for the very end of Chapter 1 and the big maze/evasion/logical puzzle I have in Chapter 2, so I wanted to ask: if you had to choose between the two, which would you choose? I've already done some actual writing for the Chapter 2 puzzle, but I have the Chapter 1 puzzle planned out, and it would take a lot less time. It would be a bit sad if my published story didn't have the big puzzle, but I will still have a full story without the puzzle (although the epilogue ending would be a giant cliffhanger as a result). Most likely what I'll do is write up the Chapter 1 puzzle to see if I can do that smoothly, and then make a call on whether to focus on proofreading what I currently have (but then the ending will be weaker and it would be hard to win the 'best riddle/puzzle prize'), and pushing for the epic puzzle but accepting that Chapter 1 will be quite close to a first draft for the story. 

I have sneak preview enabled for my story so if you're curious you can read it and message me with your thoughts (please don't comment/rate the actual story though until it's published). Actually I've had sneak preview enabled all along but no one's typed the link, heh. At this stage any feedback on the beta is worth its weight in gold. 

PS 389 total pages, and all of Chapter 1 is written up, in case anyone is wondering. I may well segment the story into further chapters, depending on how much time I have left over. Now writing up all the pages for Chapter 2, once I do that I just have to get all the variables, items and scripting to work before I get to the final but essential proof-reading phase.

The Dream Thief (Riddles & Puzzles 2016 Contest)

one year ago

By the way, the approximate final page count is looking like 435 pages (including item pages) now. These variables will be completely last-minute, but I know exactly what I want to do with them, so I just have to hope it's easy and relatively fast with the guides on my side!

PS If anyone is reading my story and notices any sudden change from first to second person in the main character's narration, please let me know. I've written the story in first-person, but I have a bad habit of suddenly writing in second person sometimes!

The Dream Thief (Riddles & Puzzles 2016 Contest)

one year ago

New update. I'm at 510 pages now, I only have a small number (I'll guess 40 since I tend to underestimate how many I need at the end) of pages left to write. I've decided not to ditch Chapter 2, since I already put a lot of work into it I felt I should bring it to fruition. I even toyed with dividing Chapter 1 and Chapter 2 into two separate storygames and submitting both for the contest, but I quickly rejected that idea. The variables only apply for a small part of the story and I already know all the items I'll have (though I still have to type them up and do the item effects, hopefully that's as easy as it sounds).

Hopefully I will have a full day to proof-read this mammoth (it will probably be 8/8 play length) of a story, but we will see.

The Dream Thief (Riddles & Puzzles 2016 Contest)

one year ago

... I can confirm it'll be 8/8.

xD Incidentally, your speed is frightening. I do believe you're the first person I've seen on here that can out-do my page count per hour even at my best. Maybe it wouldn't have made a difference if I finished my game, haha. 

The Dream Thief (Riddles & Puzzles 2016 Contest)

one year ago

Thanks! Having written so much, I really want it to be good, I've poured my heart and soul into this project for over a week now, spending literally all my spare time each day writing this story. If there's ever such a thing as a labour of love, it's writing. 

 

The Dream Thief (Riddles & Puzzles 2016 Contest)

one year ago

I wish I had your time and energy.

The Dream Thief (Riddles & Puzzles 2016 Contest)

one year ago
You have spare time?

Lucky bastard!

The Dream Thief (Riddles & Puzzles 2016 Contest)

one year ago
It's probably a good idea to keep everything in one storygame, since there doesn't seem to be an upper limit on how many pages you can have.

And to think you thought this entire game would be just 200 at the start of it all. An 8/8 length story in a week has to be some kind of insane record.

I'm looking forward to playing this behemoth, so good luck!

The Dream Thief (Riddles & Puzzles 2016 Contest)

one year ago

Sure, I'll definitely be keeping all this in the one storygame, although it's basically Part 1 and Part 2 of the series I have planned. Heck, Part 1 is so large you could probably divide it into two or even three parts. 

Yeah, the reason I'd imagined the game to be 200 is because I had a very different story in mind, the one I changed to required a lot more work (but I knew it was a much stronger storyline than my original plan). To be fair, most of these extra pages are for the puzzles/riddles and their answers, I was originally going to have only a couple, but I figured since it was a Riddles/Puzzles theme, I may as well have them all over the story. 

Now the first draft of all the 525 pages of writing (both Chapters 1 and 2) is done, on to applying the advanced features from here! I'm battling against the clock, so literally any tips on using the Advanced Editor are welcome. I've already asked a few questions in the Advanced Editor sub-forum, basically any shortcuts for items/variables/scripting would be brilliant. I've already written up all the item pages for when an item is activated, so it is time to put it all together!

By the way, I probably won't have time to attach images to all of the different items. Hopefully that doesn't detract too much from the sections of the story where they apply.

The Dream Thief (Riddles & Puzzles 2016 Contest)

one year ago

I am so happy...Chapter 1 is complete! Not just the words: the variables, items and scripting are all complete. If you do make it to the survival puzzle at the end of that Chapter, please let me know how you find it in terms of the difficulty and how realistic it is. There is one element I'm tempted to include in that puzzle (it would make it tougher and more realistic), but I'm going to focus on getting the Chapter 2 maze complete so I have a full story to publish come Feb 29. If you're wondering why you're hitting dead ends all the time in Chapter 2, that's because I haven't done any variable/item scripting there. Though if you really feel like it, at the time of writing you can technically visit every area but one of my Chapter 2 maze. Having done a 'trial run' with my puzzle at the end of Chapter 1, I estimate that Chapter 2 will take no more than twice as long - meaning I will make the deadline, but without much time for proof-reading. Well, that's a risk I'm willing to take, as I'm confident that the gist of the 544 pages I've written is decent.

As always, thoughts on the sneak preview either in a PM or on this thread are welcome.

PS I probably won't use the music links idea. for two reasons: 1) My writing should be strong enough to establish the atmosphere without needing music to assist 2) I'm concerned it will distract the reader from immersing themselves in the story world. However I have had the character mention certain songs at places, so if you don't know the song, you can always listen to it on Youtube to then imagine the character singing it or playing the song through in his head in the situation in front of him. 

The Dream Thief (Riddles & Puzzles 2016 Contest)

one year ago

Okay, I have to admit, hearing how how fast you were typing out pages, I was a little worried that they would be super short and riddled with typos and grammar errors.

But this...this reads like a masterpiece you've been spending months on. Your writing is FANTASTIC, there are so many different choices, it's gruesome, gripping, great! I was already impressed by the second page, but the more I read, the more immersed in the character I became, especially since you let us choose exactly how the main character develops. I found the choices very believable for each situation, the consequences felt organic, and all in all, I'm still picking my jaw off the floor because I'm stunned at how good this is.

I'll be playing the hell out of this once you've published it, and leave you a more coherent and structured comment then. But until then, GREAT JOB!!!! :)

The Dream Thief (Riddles & Puzzles 2016 Contest)

one year ago

Wow, thank you so much for the praise! I really appreciate it! I'm happy that you want to explore the world as well, as even if you reach the epilogue on your first try (which would be pretty impressive), you can learn more about the protagonist and occasionally the other characters in some of the side paths. 

I'm still working on Chapter 2, I have all the items and item effects done, so once I have the time variable programmed properly, it's basically done (as much as something that has not been proof-read thoroughly can be 'done' anyway). That will take longer than you might think though - I haven't been able to use the five-variable 24 hour clock for the game as I don't know how to script it, instead I've had to use just one variable for time. You'll still be able to keep track of the time in the game, but you'll have to do the calculations yourself. I know this will detract a little from the story, but I've run out of time to learn to do advanced variable scripting. 

If I make the rookie 'mistake' of publishing without play-testing and proof-reading over and over and over again, it will probably be out within five hours. Don't stay up waiting though, heh. 

PS I've decided I will add a sequel to this story after the contest, I don't have a set time for it though, after writing this I probably deserve some sort of break.

The Dream Thief (Riddles & Puzzles 2016 Contest)

one year ago

Okay, the variables, items and scripting are all done! Took me a whole day to do, but I did it!

Since there's still not quite 24 hours until the deadline, would you be willing to test The Dream Thief? I particularly want to hear about any issues/glitches in Chapter 2, e.g. an area appearing twice in the choice of options. Of course, to get there is not easy, you will have to among other things get past the survivalist puzzle at the end of Chapter 1. If you're stuck there, I offer the following hint:

The stream provides

The time of publishing really depends on what feedback I get. If people check Chapter 2 (I.e. the maze) and don't find any major problems, I'll probably publish right away. If I don't hear back, I'll do a few hours of checking it all again myself before publishing.  

The Dream Thief (Riddles & Puzzles 2016 Contest)

one year ago

The Dream Thief is officially published! This is the most nervous moment for me, seeing how the community responds to the story...

By the way, there's still a bit over 20 hours until the competition finishes, so if there's anything that can be improved, let me know and I might be able to fix it in time! And if you're finding a puzzle too hard but you want to progress with the story, just PM me or post something in a thread and I'll give you a hint.

PS Final page count is 552 pages, in case anyone was curious. 

The Dream Thief (Riddles & Puzzles 2016 Contest)

one year ago

By the way, I managed to beat my own Chapter 2 puzzle with a time of 33, so let me know if you manage to equal or beat that time! I don't think it can be completed any faster, but I'd be happy to be proven wrong. 

I'll also probably end up editing this story again as I found quite a few typos when I read through my story more slowly. After the contest is over, I might even add random variables and several items in the earlier parts of the game to add to the authenticity of the environment and its unpredictable nature, with available items that boost your rolls for those events. However, it would take a long time to engineer such a thing, especially when I am not very experienced with the Advanced Editor.

The Dream Thief (Riddles & Puzzles 2016 Contest)

one year ago

So what do you guys think of the game, now that it's published?

The Dream Thief (Riddles & Puzzles 2016 Contest)

one year ago

Since my story has been published for about a day now, I wanted to thank those people who have already played my game and also respond to the comments I've received so far. Admittedly I was hoping for a better reception, but I knew that my conception, while original, would not appeal to everyone. 

First of all, I'd like to thank everyone who said they enjoyed my game - I'm really happy to have written a game that had such an effect, and it makes all the hard work I put in feel worthwhile. The only criticism I've received so far is about the structure of the forest survival puzzle at the end of Chapter 1, and actually my original intention was to structure this part of the game just like the earlier parts.

However, when I tried to execute that structure, I wasn't happy with it, and after doing some research into surviving in the wild, I understood why - because when you are out in the wild on your own, you have to think about many things at once to stay alive (actually, this is also true for the puzzle), and I felt segmenting each aspect into its own linear choice would take away from the setting I was aiming to create. I also had the motivation of making use of the puzzle form so I would have an extra puzzle in the story to contend for the 'Best Riddle/Puzzle' award, although I admit that it was a quite rushed effort at the end. 

With more time I would have fleshed out the pages of the puzzle a lot more to indicate the protagonist's thoughts during each day to continue the flow of the earlier parts, but I wasn't sure how I would execute this, so with not much time I kept it simple to try and emphasise the character's changed focus to a dream of mere self-preservation as opposed to trying to create a new and better life for himself. 

I'd be happy to discuss any other points regarding the story. 

PS I just found two mistakes in my forest survival puzzle, sorry about that. The first is that, if you try trapping without having a certain material to make the trap, there is no previous page link (somehow that slipped past my checks). Just click 'go back' and it will do the same as 'previous page'. Unfortunately I forgot to set all the variables for the 'Cave' section properly, I thought I had, but I'd overlooked that the sickness page comes up when it shouldn't there. Again, it doesn't affect the puzzle much, as moving to the cave relatively early will cost you the game (you dehydrate and starve twice as fast because it takes you longer to reach resources), still I should probably have left it out. I would edit that part, but the game is submitted for the contest so it would not be fair to edit after the deadline and before the contest is over. There are also a couple of cosmetic mistakes on the Chapter 2 puzzle, the only ones I found (again after the deadline passed) are that the names of places change slightly on a couple of pages (e.g. they get a '2' next to them on the list of choices). Again, it shouldn't make any significant difference to your experience of the game.  

The Dream Thief (Riddles & Puzzles 2016 Contest)

one year ago

Drat, if I'd known I had five more hours to edit, I would have fixed the above mistakes! Oh well...

The Dream Thief (Riddles & Puzzles 2016 Contest)

one year ago

I have now posted the Walkthrough to my game. But I'd like to ask that you at least attempt the game, puzzles and riddles before getting help from the walkthrough. The game link is: The Dream Thief

The Dream Thief (Riddles & Puzzles 2016 Contest)

one year ago

As I've had a new comment on my game that has brought up different points to earlier comments, I'd like to respond to them, admittedly this thread is kind of old, but it will be good to have a record of my thoughts for when I refine this story sometime after the contest.

Before I do though, just an off-topic note - a commenter stated I 'down-rated several games with (my) recent comments.' Let's just set the record straight - of all the contest entries, I gave three a higher rating than the current average, four a lower rating than the current average, and I rated the rest the same as they were already. Yes, my comments to the contest entries were pointed, but that's what makes a good review - giving credit where credit is due, and indicating very clearly where and how the story can be improved. 

I have nothing to add to the comment on my output, other than thanks for the praise. 

There were a few new criticisms of the format and length of the story. I accept that there are some typos, for a story of this size to be written in such a time, this is inevitable, although I don't think it overly detracts from the story. Of course, it would be nice for these to be pointed out, so I may correct them. As for the criticism of the lack of flow of the story, I had originally assumed this was just for the transition from the homeless life to the forest survival/dream survival, but I think it is a broader criticism that the story does not flow in general. I find this criticism a bit hard to understand - there is a natural progression in the protagonist's life in the story, as well as the depth of his thoughts and the new skills and confidence he acquires as time goes on. The story follows a consistent pattern of the protagonist struggling with something and overcoming it to succeed in life, only to have that taken away, throwing him back into life's struggles, in this case for survival. So I would be interested to have a specific example (aside from the transition from the homeless life to the forest survival, which I already addressed in the previous post), as it's not possible for me to apply this feedback to my future work if I do not understand it. 

The commenter also noted that 'some pages tended to blur together causing it to become almost boring'. Once again, I find this criticism difficult to understand, although of course I would very much like to. I feel each page was divided appropriately, either indicating a specific time (e.g. what you did in the day/night) or a specific event (or part of it, in the case of a puzzle/riddle/important interaction). But being made aware of a particular page where this transition in time or the interaction would of course only make the updated version of the story better as I could then refine the page. Is it the ellipses that have this effect? Well, boring is a subjective term, but I can understand that a story largely focused on a man's fight for survival and how he has to develop emotionally/socially and learn new skills will not appeal to everybody. Well, on every page you are faced with a decision that will seriously affect your safety, earnings or resources, with branching paths for several of the sub-optimal choices, so I can say I tried my hardest in the time. 

Finally, as for 'nothing to really make me like the character', I'm going to put this down to ignorance, possibly due to unfairly stigmatising the character on the basis of his condition. But again, it's a risk one takes with the concept of this story. 

Furthermore, the commenter essentially declared that the puzzle section of the game was unplayable. Well, I checked which pages had no links before publishing, and there were four in total. I made sure all of them would be changed by using a specific (or in certain cases, any) item. This has been done in several games on the site, so I believe the criticism of 'unfinished pages' stems from a misunderstanding of the game and how the items are to be used. I'll freely admit that the forest section had its flaws (I already indicated a couple earlier), but I am interested to know any others you found so I may correct them in the future. 

To be honest, I don't really see what was confusing about Chapter 2 (the village maze) - it was indicated in the note that the people in the village are out to get the protagonist, and that therefore avoiding the people would be imperative. Perhaps you did not keep track of what time it was in the story, which is quite important to avoiding contact with the village people (except in rare cases, where you have the tiger skin to camouflage yourself).

While it doesn't relate directly to the game, I also received a complaint that the walkthrough was hard to read or understand. Well, other than a typo of 'The Cottage House' being T32 when it should be T31, it was as clear as it could possibly be - I spelled out every single action one needs to do to get to the end, without a single superfluous word. I also just ran through the section again, and nothing was out of order or missing - so, to be blunt, the commenter didn't read the walkthrough properly. As for the last couple of parts, the reader could view the map of the place by using the map you can pick up at the village, and furthermore, when you are at the locked door, surely it is obvious that you should try to open the door with the keys? I will stop here as I am slightly insulted by the very critical remarks that are quite obviously out of place, and don't wish to speculate.

As for the large puzzle not being fun, too hard and not engaging, well...that is a view of it, though I do struggle a little to understand someone being disengaged by a puzzle where you are trying to survive, avoid various obstacles, use different items for different purposes and predict when people will be in certain places. I would appreciate any suggestions on what types of puzzles you would find most appealing, so I may cater to such a taste in future storygames. 

Finally, as for the puzzles themselves, the commenter stated that 'there weren't many puzzles in your game'. Either the commenter does not remember the definition of a 'puzzle' given by Sethaniel for the contest, or is simply being disingenuous. I have not counted the number of puzzles/riddles in this game, but I would guess that there are at least thirty (I am counting every correct item usage as a puzzle). As for the difficulty of the puzzles, yes they are challenging, but for most of them, you could guess them and get to the answer relatively quickly and progress with the story if one is really stuck. The puzzle at the old smithy is an old classic that can be found on Google, while the one at the school can either be avoided, or you get the answer pretty much given to you at a certain place, as I point out in my walkthrough. I can accept that some people will get frustrated by a logic puzzle, you can't please everyone. 

It's somewhat unfortunate that, while several criticisms were made of my storygame, there weren't any suggestions as to how the storygame could be improved to remedy these supposed problems. I do hope that the comment was not intended as some 'pay-back' for my honest review of the commenter's most recently published story. Ultimately, the point of making these comments is to show the author what elements of the story we appreciated, and how they can improve for the future.

TL;DR:

  • I feel my comments on the other games were constructive, indicating where stories delivered and how they could be improved. 
  • In comparison, the commenter's review I have replied to here, while bringing up several supposed issues, doesn't offer any suggestions on how to fix/improve them, which I invite here. 
  • I can't see any evidence for the story prior to the forest survival section not flowing, though I would be very happy to be notified of any such pages where the transition could be improved.
  • The commenter finds a constant fight for survival, and fitting in on an emotional level in a new environment while battling grief for what was lost boring. I consider it an unusual taste for stories, but there you go.
  • Not everyone is going to connect with the protagonist the same way, of course, but to say there is 'nothing to like' about him could only be said if the story was not read or comprehended properly. 
  • There are some issues in the puzzles, but the game is still playable, and unless specific problems are brought up, I'll assume the commenter exaggerated the issue, as from my playthroughs (with the exception of the cave option), the game is not affected in a way it shouldn't be from the largely cosmetic mistakes.
  • Chapter 2 and that later section of the walkthrough was very clear, it is hard for me to understand what elements the commenter found confusing in their playthrough.
  • The puzzles were criticised harshly, but they could be worked out with brute force, avoided/given the answer to, or in the case of the logic puzzle, searched easily on the internet. 
  • So while one can certainly respect the commenter's right to an opinion, one can also respect my right to question how much of it is substantiated by evidence, and invite any problems to be brought up more concretely (with reference to specific pages of the story) so they may be fixed in the future. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Dream Thief (Riddles & Puzzles 2016 Contest)

one year ago
That's a massive block of text to reply to one comment. I can understand wanting to set straight a misconception a reader may have made about an aspect of the game or whatnot, but I just get the vibe you're taking this a little too personal.

"There were a few new criticisms of the format and length of the story. I accept that there are some typos, for a story of this size to be written in such a time, this is inevitable, although I don't think it overly detracts from the story. Of course, it would be nice for these to be pointed out, so I may correct them."

- True and fair, but you cannot expect people to take note of every incidence of a typo in your work, note the page title, paragraph number and line. Unless there was a particularly egregious one (e.g. referring to a character by the wrong name), I wouldn't expect anyone to even give an example.

- Not everyone has the time or desire to go into great depth, analyzing every story they read here. Critics are under no obligation to explain why something didn't work for them.

"Finally, as for 'nothing to really make me like the character', I'm going to put this down to ignorance, possibly due to unfairly stigmatising the character on the basis of his condition."

- That just reeks of sour grapes, mate. A reader says he/she doesn't relate to/like the protagonist, and you proclaim the reader ignorant? I'm sorry, I wasn't aware you had insight into the life experiences and mentality of all of your readers. With an attitude like that, it'd be more appropriate for the reader in question to call you arrogant.

The Dream Thief (Riddles & Puzzles 2016 Contest)

one year ago

Well, I want to get as much feedback as possible for my story, as I'm very passionate about it, and I want to know how to make it better. As you point out, it's not obligatory, but I won't find out if I don't ask.

Basically the point of my post was to try and understand where someone is coming from, and then take that feedback on board. Admittedly I probably went into more detail than necessary, and that message may have been lost. 

OK, what I meant by that quote was that I felt I showed a lot of qualities the character has in my story - he's smart, has learned to care for other people, finds pride in his work and tries to do the right thing by others as well as himself. And he manages in the story to do many things that some would take for granted, but which are a big challenge for him. Maybe this is more obvious to me (having the story all in my mind) than for other readers. I do feel there's been some misunderstanding here, hopefully I've cleared up what I meant (and I accept that my expression could have been more tactful). 

The Dream Thief (Riddles & Puzzles 2016 Contest)

one year ago
All of those traits may very well be true about your character. I haven't read all the submissions yet, and only started on yours today, so I couldn't say one way or the other at this point. But even if the character is all of those things, that doesn't mean everyone is going to like him.

"... he's smart, has learned to care for other people, finds pride in his work and tries to do the right thing by others as well as himself."

I'm willing to say similar things about Daenerys Targaryen, but the first time I read through 'Game of Thrones', I still actively wished for her to die every single turn of the page. Not only did I not like her, I HATED her. She has plenty of positive traits and is probably intended to be a well-liked character. And most people do like her. But not everyone. Leaning one way or the other isn't a matter of ignorance - it's a natural variance in how different people have divergent world views.

On the other hand, I love Sand Dan Glokta from 'The Blade Itself', who could truthfully be called cold, cruel and indifferent.

There are no set traits that automatically make a character likable or unlikable. It's a sum of the reader's personal experiences and the intricacies of the character and his/her world. A universally likable character is nigh impossible, even Santa Claus has his detractors.

The Dream Thief (Riddles & Puzzles 2016 Contest)

one year ago

OK. I do hope you like what I've produced.

While I haven't watched Game of Thrones, I do understand your point. I suppose it's also true that there are a lot of different ways certain actions could be interpreted, especially when received on a passive level (through a story). I'd like to think that adds to the richness of a story, but that's of course for others to judge. Sometimes I think about something so 'rationally' that I forget other people can have a more emotional (that's not to say worse) response. 

The Dream Thief (Riddles & Puzzles 2016 Contest)

one year ago

Oh man glotka was the best

The Dream Thief (Riddles & Puzzles 2016 Contest)

one year ago

I'm not going to comment on any of the entries until after the contest.

I just wanted to express my hatred of Daenerys.  Never read the books, only watched the show.

And one of the things I hate about her the most is how obviously she's intended to be liked. 

It's like there's one part of the story that's cold european medieval, where the author revels in displaying his willingness to flaut story-telling convention by killing every interesting, semi-heroic, potentially likeable character, abruptly truncating their plotlines with no resolution.

And then there's purple-eyed dragon princess, who isn't in the same story as anyone else.  By that I mean she doesn't play by the same rules.  Her storyworld could just as well be the fanfic of a 15 year old girl. 

(See: TV Tropes Shilling the Wesley) I get so sick of everyone telling us how great Daenerys is.  Anyone who disagrees with her is obviously wrong and evil, and all the characters we like can't stop talking about her.

Even Tyrion, the most popular of all popular characters, drops his involvement in cold europe and dashes halfway across the story so that he can stand around doing nothing but repeatedly assuring the viewer that Dany is awesome and he respects her and believes in her rightness for empressness.

Okay.  Enough derail.  

I do have an opinion on Future/Bucky's conversation, which I will quite possible discuss post-judgement.