HelpfulConnoisseur, The Reader

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How to Write A CYOA Story? on 7/7/2021 7:44:59 AM

I'm not sure what Gower meant about games like that not being allowed. I don't believe there are any restrictions on linear games here beyond reaching the minimum ratings. However, I don't think it's correct to call actual branching storygames "pushing the envelope" considering that those are the norm among highly rated or even middle-rated games here. I'm not sure why the options you listed in the second paragraph are the only ones that came to your mind. Stories don't have to diverge only at the beginning or circle around in order to not be linear. They can actually branch out like the branches on a tree. You played Love Sick, which is a good example of this. Every choice leads to another set of choices, which lead to another set of choices, etc. until the end of the game, with each path leading to a different ending. Obviously, Love Sick is a smaller game, and you can't have exponential branching like that for a much longer game. In that case, you can look to epics like Eternal, which branches in the beginning, middle, and end, with some choices ending in death to keep the number of branches manageable. The only hard limitation on CYOA is the amount of time and energy an author is willing to put into writing a story.


BLM defeats MeToo! on 7/2/2021 4:51:43 AM

It's worth mentioning that it's not just his lawyer saying this kind of stuff, since that's sort of to be expected. A bunch of black male celebrities were also supporting Bill Cosby although most have since deleted their social media posts. Instead, I'm just going to screenshot some tweets from the left's favorite racist, Tariq Nasheed.


Death Board on 7/2/2021 4:13:00 AM

I didn't consider that you could choose neither option, and I agree that that's probably the best option if it is indeed available unless your life currently sucks and nobody loves you. Between the other options, I still maintain that jumping between bodies is the best option. Haven't you ever wanted to see what the world will look like in another 100 years? In 1000 years? 10000 years? If you're young enough, you might live to see 100, but with this option you can follow the course of humanity until its demise, and you won't even have to witness every boring detail since you'll have long intermissions spent in the school. I assume we'll inherit our new body's knowledge, so we won't be terribly out of place in the world. And if we ever get into a really shitty situation or a really shitty life, we can just kill ourselves and return to the school. It's not half bad. As for lurking as a human in the school, you can build a new library or two new libraries or even 100 new libraries and not pass even a tiny fraction of the eternity you'll be spending there. Eternity is a long time. You make a good point about the age of the high school. If the high school changes to match the appearance of a typical high in the current time period, that could make the stay slightly less boring, as the school is upgraded with new technologies as well as new bathrooms to match contemporary social norms.


Death Board on 7/1/2021 4:26:07 AM

That's a good point about the rich and powerful. I would still choose the ghost choice regardless of whether I can choose who I appear to once a year. Even if I get a random person every year, I will still eventually find 13 who are willing to go with option 1 simply by chance. Even if it takes 100 years to get those 13 people, that's still better than being stuck in the school for all eternity. I think people underestimate how boring that would be.


Death Board on 6/30/2021 1:52:14 AM

I would choose option 3 without a second thought. I don't want to stay in the school for all eternity either as a ghost or in a physical body. No matter how much entertainment there is in the school, it will eventually run out, and you'll be bored out of your mind. With option 3, I can easily find one person each year who's vindictive enough to choose option 1 and thus return to the real world every 13 years to live out a full and interesting life. I could also target a rich or powerful person as my 13th to live a particularly good or interesting life and even alter the course of world events.


Rising Honor on 6/28/2021 7:27:19 AM

1. I'm glad that we will indeed start the game out as a commoner. I think it would make your game quite unique in that respect, though it also greatly increases the scope of this project and the types of storylines that will need to be generated. In fact, it sounds like the kind of project that would usually take a professional developer team years to develop, so I hope you will have the patience to complete it. The merchantman sounds like an especially fun role to play as since he'll be travelling far and wide. The regency does sound like an interesting mechanic, and I haven't seen it implemented in this way for any other game.

2. These all sound quite promising, but I don't think I can make many more comments on settlements until I see how the RPG aspect of the game will work. What will entering a settlement look like? Will you get a random event like in SkyBreak, or will you get a menu list of the places that are open to the public? Or will the player physically travel through the settlement as in a visual RPG with potential for encounters along the way to his destination? If you take the Skybreak approach, it won't be so necessary to make each settlement as unique since players will get different events going from place to place regardless of how unique each place is. If you have a list of places to go, then uniqueness becomes more important. Even two settlements in otherwise identical situations should still "feel" different. This is easier in a visual RPG, where you can change the appearance and layout of buildings. In a text game, looking at the same list of buildings at each settlement can get boring. I don't have a solid solution for this. You can have a unique landmark in some cities, but that's sort of a one-off novelty that doesn't change the overall sameness of the settlement. You could also fill the buildings with different characters, but there's still the problem of generating characters with unique enough personalities in a procedurally generated game. I suppose I'm just having trouble envisioning how you will procedurally generate coherent storylines from interacting with characters that aren't hand-crafted. I don't mean to discourage you, but I can't help but wonder if you're in over your head the more I think about it. I recommend checking out a game called WarSim, which I mentioned in passing in my previous post, if you haven't already. It's also a procedural generation game about ruling a kingdom. If you read the synopsis, it sounds remarkably similar to your own first post.

In 'Warsim: The Realm of Aslona', your only goal is to keep the kingdom running, whether you thrive and become a mighty empire or fall to ruin. How you rule is entirely up to you, you may become a harsh dictator charging people a tax for breathing air, or a blood-hungry warlord commanding armies and mercenary bands on invasions of enemy land, or perhaps a charismatic diplomat with vast trade networks and alliances.

Warsim's core focus is allowing the player to do whatever they want, with the relevant consequences of course (and perhaps we've gone too far in that aspect). Do you want to destroy the bank because you owe them a 1 gold loan, sure, want to imprison every musician who visits your court to disuade bards from visiting you, done, want to gamble and waste away all of your gold betting on scorpion fighting and dice games, yes, yes and yes!

The difference between Warsim and what you are proposing is that you're proposing to add additional storylines beyond just ruling as a king, and more importantly, Warsim only procedurally generates its races (equivalent to your cultures), not its places. Each location is hand-crafted to be unique, and the explorable locations consist of a wide variety of forts, markets, arenas, etc. There are few regular settlements like villages or towns. Plot-relevant characters are all hand-crafted, with only disposable characters such as bards, pit fighters, etc. being randomly generated. Enemy nations are also procedurally generated, but there's no RPG element involved since you don't actually visit them. In fact, the only places you can visit are your capital city (where you build everything) and the hand-crafted locations that initially start out outside the realm of any kingdom but can be conquered. Warsim has been in development for over 4 years, and it's a far less complicated game than what you're describing. It's far easier to hand-craft interesting and engaging places and characters than to generate them. One thing that comes to mind is you could explore an area of the realm in general instead of a specific settlement and in that way get unique encounters, while similarly situated settlements remain same-ish for management or trade purposes. However, that seems to be returning to the Skybreak approach, which honestly is starting to sound like the easiest way to go.

3. Sounds good. If the other kingdoms are actually going to face events and decisions, it might be interesting to incorporate leader personalities to influence what decisions they make.

5. I don't think you quite understood this question. In Victoria II, aristocrats are landowners who own the land worked by your miners, loggers, farmers, etc. and profit off their labor. Capitalists are rich people who build factories which profit themselves, their workers, and their country. I was wondering if these elite classes would be included. Factories don't seem to fit the theme of the game, but some equivalent of the capitalist class could still start guilds or businesses.

6. This sounds quite promising. Like I said earlier, I like the idea of having merchants in the game. It might be a challenge to control the job desirability of the merchant occupation though. If people flood into each occupation until they reach an equilibrium where every job pays the same, that won't be very realistic since merchants historically made more money than a farmer. In fact, the same can be said of a blacksmith, which is a skilled labor. Perhaps artisan jobs can have a skill barrier, and becoming a merchant has a wealth barrier. That might be difficult to implement though since it implies keeping track of the skill and wealth of every individual and when they die, though you're already tracking people's needs being met so maybe I'm overstating the difficulty. Idk, I'm no programmer.

7. Sounds good!

I'm sorry that I rambled on a bit; this turned into a stream-of-consciousness word vomit because my mind can't handle anything more organized than that right now. I also hope I'm not putting pressure on you to make this game some sort of epic; it's certainly not my intention. If you want to scale back to something manageable, that's perfectly fine!


Rising Honor on 6/25/2021 10:53:32 AM

This is quite amazing! I feel like I'm reading a Paradox dev diary. Some question and comments, though I realize you most likely don't have answers for all the questions since this is still so early in development:

1. In the first post, you said that the player is a "common nobody". I may be misinterpreting that phrase, but to me it indicates that you start out as an ordinary citizen, and the game would be a sort of open world RPG based on daily life and exploring the world around you with the potential to rise to power if you choose it. This update seems to have quite a heavy emphasis on ruling, and the fact that you've change the game's name to "Monarch" seems to indicate that you can only be a ruler, which makes this seem more like a kingdom management type of game, which is of course also a fun genre. I just wonder how you will incorporate the RPG aspect since kings don't generally roam around exploring the wider world especially not outside their own kingdoms, and in this world your own kingdom is only a tiny part of the map. Of course, you could take the WarSim approach and ignore realism to allow the king to explore at will. I suppose it's a topic for another update, but I also worry about how you will handle the story component of a procedurally generated game.

2. Related to my previous worry, how much do you plan to make each settlement unique? Will the king be able to explore a particular settlement, and if so, will there be any difference between exploring two culturally and climatically identical settlements? Also, how will the economy between each settlement, each region, and each country be different?

3. I love the idea of an economy based on supply and demand. Too many games like this make you micromanage how many people get to be miners vs. loggers vs. farmers, etc. Since you're a fan of Vic II, I assume the demand will change based on our own activities as well as those of other kingdoms. Will the demand from other kingdoms be pseudorandom, or will it be based on the particular situation within each kingdom? In fact, will the domestic situation within other kingdoms even be generated each turn, or will they be like a black box represented by numbers ticking up and down?

4. Will there be any way to intervene in the economy such as through subsidies, tariffs, or state enterprises? Will the technology improve over the course of the gamespan?

5. Will there be the equivalent of aristocrats and capitalists from Victoria II?

6. How will internal and external trade be simulated? Will settlements and/or regions have different resources or otherwise hold competitive advantages? On another note, will the supply and demand change through anything other than governmental actions?

7. Will different cultures have different propensities to occupy a particular trade? Will they behave differently in other ways in terms of the game mechanics, or will they just be arbitrary labels?

8. You were probably going to do this before release anyways, but please add overall sliders for changing tax rates for the entire population or an entire culture or an entire industry. Also please add the actual percentage of income that's being taxed at the end of the slider.

Overall, I love what I see so far.  I think the most important aspect to the success of a procedurally generated game like this is that there's a sense of uniqueness to every individual, settlement, region, country, and culture such that they don't become just numbers and names on a screen.


Death of an Angel on 6/22/2021 3:15:47 AM

The rape part seems slightly implausible. Surely, she could have demanded to get a rape kit to prove she hadn't had sex recently.


Summer Sales on 6/21/2021 11:46:02 PM

Once a person has become unpersoned, you can never speak of him again. I know it's cliched, but 1984 is truly prophetic. "He did not exist: he had never existed." I've heard that Satisfactory is still quite unpolished compared to Factorio. Is that not the case?


Summer Sales on 6/20/2021 10:41:33 AM

No sales here unfortunately, but I figured I'd post in this thread since it's gaming related. Just this past week, Reddit has tried to cancel two major game developers and appears to have succeeded in at least one of those cases. About a week ago, it was discovered that Scott Cawthon, the developer of Five Nights at Freddy's, donated to Donald Trump and several other Republicans. This led to a massive shitstorm first on Twitter and then on Reddit, with some people claiming that because he donated to Republicans, he must hate gay people, of which there are apparently many in his fanbase. You can read the Reddit thread on it here. He responded here saying how much he loves the rainbow people and that he was willing to be cancelled for the greater good. 2 days ago, he announced his retirement, supposedly to spend time with his family, and reiterated his love for the rainbow.

Next, we have Michal Kovarik, the lead designer and one of the founders of Factorio. A couple days ago, he made a blog post about some coding method that was first introduced by some guy called Uncle Bob. Now, this Uncle Bob is allegedly a racist, sexist Trump supporter. Obviously, Redditors demanded that Kovarik take down the blog post or at least the portions mentioning Bob. In response, Kovarik replied, "Take the cancel culture mentaility and shove it up your ass." The comment has since been removed by moderators of the subreddit for violating the subreddit rule to "be nice", but you can still see it by scrolling a couple pages back on his user page. Redditors did not take this well and for some reason decided to label him as a transphobe even though AFAIK neither he nor Uncle Bob ever mentioned trannies. He also made some comment about statutory rape being an "SJW term" but later said he didn't know what statutory rape was when he made that comment. In any case, here's the current thread about the topic. Lots of comments about how heartbroken they are that they wasted thousands of hours on a game developed by a transphobe as well as those on the other side saying they'll buy the game to own the transgenders. For his part Kovarik is still fighting against cancel culture in the comments but says he has "nothing against trans people". Time will tell whether they will succeed at cancelling him or getting him to bend the knee.