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Jonathan Hawkins

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A member registered Mar 26, 2018 · View creator page →

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Hi ninedaydecline, you're exactly right and on the right track for where to go. I pulled a rather cruel trick in this part in that, when you reach that section of forest where none of the directions seem to advance properly, there's another direction you've been "taught" not to go, but which is actually the correct path for that one screen/area of the forest maze.

In case that's confusing, the pattern through the repeating forest maze to find the old man is SEWN, where North is assumed heading up, South is heading down, etc. and it's the one where you're supposed to head West that is a bit of a cheesy trick on my part for players, since heading West on any of the other parts of that area takes you back out of the forest maze.

Mag isn't one you can befriend directly or play as. She appears mostly as a part of Wiz's story. It would have been interesting seeing things from her POV more though.

Digsby on the other hand, after you assist him with the crates, leave the area where he's usually found and come back to it again. He won't be at his shop stand, but he's elsewhere in that same area instead. Easy to miss.

Fun fact: Digsby is actually one where you can fail to progress his quest properly. If you chose to not help him with his delivery, you won't be able to become good friends with him.

Thanks for all the wonderful feedback! I appreciate getting it, and I'm glad that you enjoyed your time with the game overall.

To answer your question as best I can, it is possible to play in a way that allows you to reach Good Friend status with almost every one of the "significant" characters. Basically if you interact with them and are able to gain acquaintance/friend/etc. statuses, then you can become Good Friends with them.

However, you have to reach Good Friend status with them prior to having them disappear or switching to them as your player character, because once either of those things has happened, they are effectively "lost" for the remainder of the game as far as being able to continue their quests or get to know them better. As long as you reached Good Friend status with them though, you'll get to see their extra little ending scene.

The one exception to the above is Madeline, as she is something of a special case. You can play as her if you've "died" in the game enough times, but no other characters can really meet her or interact with her in the normal ways like the remainder of the playable / significant NPC cast.

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I'm glad that helped. It sounds like now you're just missing a few of the last trickier-to-find ones.

For #13 you'll need to visit the Servants' Quarters, which if you haven't found that area yet, try sneaking by the guard in the Main Entrance lobby area of the mansion. Careful not to confuse it with the Guest Quarters area too.

You have to do something particular to find it once you reach the Servants' Quarters though. It won't appear with just a random encounter like most of the others do. Check the surroundings thoroughly and you'll find it.

Page 18 is found in the Study area where Trudy is first found with Morty. There's a single encounter in there that you may have missed due to the smaller size of that area.

I'm just guessing here, but you might also be missing Page #3 as well? That's another tricky one that usually ends up being one of the last few for players to obtain. It requires a few steps, including interacting with the creature that gives you page #18 in a specific way, before you can complete it successfully.

#12 is optional, and can be found in the second part of the Guest Quarters. You won't be able to get to it until you've successfully completed the encounter in the first section of the Guest Quarters though. #12 is another one that isn't a random encounter either actually, so that might be why you missed it if you've already explored that area.

Hi Firefairy, thanks for reaching out. The garden area was the point of the game where I realized that up until then, the "smell" sense had gone very underutilized, so following your nose, so to speak, will help you in multiple encounters in this area actually. One of them that doesn't involve the "smell" sense will progress using "taste" instead.

The mushroom creature encounter was the one that was most intended to throw folks for a loop in this area, so congrats on already getting that one figured out. There isn't much that requires curiosities in this area, so you should be okay without having to hunt down more of those for now. See if that's enough help to get you on your way again, and if you're still having trouble, I can give more specific details on what to do for particular encounters if you'd like.

You're welcome! Glad I could help.

It was one of those things where I figured most players would try to leave the room in the more normal way after having entered it so unusually, and they would unlock the door in the process. But I understand it being frustrating and confusing if you happened to miss you could do that, and instead went back the way you came in.

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Hi n03113, I'm glad to hear you're enjoying the game. Which door are you referring to that you can't figure out how to open? I can only think of two doors that might be stumping you.

Spoilers ahead for those who wish to avoid them.

If you mean the door in the Guest Quarters, have you successfully completed the encounter with the Foul O'Door? If so, you may just be missing the combination to the lock. You can find that in the Basement.

If, instead, you mean the door in the Garden area by the fountain, it's locked from the outside only, and leads to the secret room area that you discovered via the Basement. To open it, simply exit that room from the inside first to unlock it.

In any case, if you've already completed the game and the side quests, you're not missing any essential content from the experience behind locked doors.

Thanks for your detailed post and thoughts about the game. I can appreciate differences in viewpoints, and though my intention was not really based in glorifying suicide in what I was presenting, it's of a sufficiently unusual nature that I could see why it might be viewed in that light. In fact, I was half expecting more backlash in general over presenting arguably radical viewpoints of death and those kinds of things.

I had some frustrations with the RPG Maker format too, but it was the tool I had available to me to work within that I knew how to use, and having zero budget to put to the game, I did the best I could with what I had available to me. Although I do understand it leaves a bit to be desired on the player side as well, but I appreciate your suggestions for feedback on what you would have preferred to see, even if I may not be able to actually enact those changes necessarily, it's nice to hear from folks about the things they prefer.

I'm not quite sure just from reading your description of the issues you came into contact with from the Block Rocks and using the entrance from Wiz's quest, but you may have run into one issue that I was never quite able to figure out how to solve. The way I set up the progression through the mansion was such that if you started from one direction, and then came back into it from the other partway through, there was an overlap of sorts, where the particular transition between the Kitchen area of the mansion and the Main Hall would basically not allow you to progress as usually intended. It didn't necessarily break the game as far as I was aware of anyway, but it was disruptive to the overall flow, as it sounds like you're describing in your comment.

In any case, even if that particular issue wasn't what you were trying to describe, thanks again for taking the time to provide feedback on your time with the game.

Page 3 is the red slime creature we were talking about before, and Page 18 is found in the Study area where Trudy is located, so you haven't missed anything. You'll collect both of those as you progress through the remaining portions of the game.

You're welcome. I'm glad you got it figured out. The mushroom is a sneaky one!

The sand is not a curiosity that is usable in encounters, so that may be why you weren't seeing it. If you check the curiosities menu while you're on the map rather than during an encounter, it should be appearing in there.

Hi Pippinghotbread, thanks for posting, and I'm glad you're enjoying the game! Let's see if I can help you along your way.

First off, the rabbit creature's page is optional. It's not strictly necessary to progress in the game, but it helps you to gain access into the mansion via an alternate route as part of Jack & Wiz's friend quests, if they are still accessible on the island and haven't already moved to the afterlife area. You can only find the rabbit creature in the forest itself (it's the only creature encounter that happens outside of the mansion grounds) and you'll want to use your sense of touch on them to progress through the encounter properly.

Trudy can be found in the Study area of the mansion. It's way in the back and is the last area right before you enter the final area of the mansion. To gain access you'll need to have gotten all the pages from the garden area first.

The red slime creature is one of the last ones that you'll be able to actually do, and it's tricky. To complete it successfully, you need to have an Empty Ice Cream Cup in your curiosities inventory, and you'll need to use it on the creature that you encounter in the Study area. After that, if you come back to the red slime encounter, you'll have what you need to see it through correctly.

Hopefully that helps you get unstuck, but if you need more specifics or have other questions, feel free to reply back!

Today I decided to re-structure the list and break it down into individual posts for each section. This will allow for future expansion of each section to some extent, without worrying about hitting post character limits.

I shortened the original post, and added a list of quick links to the bottom of the first post to quickly access an individual section (or you can just scroll down this topic thread and see all the lists that way.)

I've also added a new entry to the audio section for the Yellowstone National Park's Sound Library resource.

Tutorials, Wikis, and Guides:

Audacity

GDevelop

GIMP

Godot

HTML & CSS (and a lot more, like: JavaScript, C++, Python, SQL, PHP, XML, etc.)

Inform

Kdenlive

Twine

Creativity and Utility Software:

Audacity (free audio recording and editing software)

Calligraphr (create your own font)

Tip: You can use a mouse or drawing tablet to fill out their template without printing it.

The Character Creator by Frederic Guimont

Fantasy Map Generator by Azgaar

GIMP - GNU Image Manipulation Program (a free alternative to Adobe's Photoshop software)

Kdenlive (free video editing software)

LibreOffice (a free alternative to Microsoft's Office suite of software)

Medieval Fantasy City Generator by watabou

OBS Studio (free screen recording and streaming/broadcasting software)

W3Schools HTML Color Picker

Icons:

Feather Icons

Fonts:

Font Library

There are a wide variety of font licenses, but the large majority of fonts found on Font Library use the OFL (SIL Open Font License), which is a generous license with few restrictions on use.

Artwork:

Lemma Soft Forums

The long-standing (un?)official forums for Ren'Py and visual novel development in general. The resources curated here include a wide variety of things, not just artwork.

Open Clipart

Wikimedia Commons

Video Clips:

Pexels

Pixabay

Photos:

Pexels

Pixabay

Unsplash

Wikimedia Commons

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Audio:

Dig CC Mixter

Free Music Archive

Individual tracks are uploaded by users and released under a variety of CC licenses.

FreePD

The music found here is all licensed as CC0, also known as the "Public Domain" CC license.

Freesound

Individual tracks are uploaded by users and released under a variety of CC licenses.

GDC Game Audio Bundles from Sonniss.com

Note: You might not be able to download the 2015 version as easily as the 2016 and 2017 versions. You can try contacting the Sonniss website admin directly using the means provided in the 2016 & 2017 pages, and ask politely for links to the 2015 content if it is still available.

Incompetech

Most are available under either CC BY or CC BY-SA licenses, but check for each individual track to make sure.

Peritune Material

Note: For non-native speakers, it is advisable to open the Licensing Info link in a translation service, such as https://translate.google.com/ (following these directions to translate entire webpages using Google Translate) in order to get a better idea of the use terms.

Punch Deck

Many of these works are released under CC BY licenses, but always check to make sure before using them.

SoundImage

WindSphere

Note: For non-native speakers, it is advisable to open the Licensing Info link in a translation service, such as https://translate.google.com/ (following these directions to translate entire webpages using Google Translate) in order to get a better idea of the use terms.

Yellowstone National Park - Sound Library

Me too. I wanted to make even more of them than I did. Maybe I should have! I'm glad you liked them though.

A version of Death? Preposterous! playable in your web browser has been released today. You can find it here: https://jayrayhawk.itch.io/dp-web

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Game Creation Software:

Interactive Fiction

Visual Novels

2-D Games

3-D Games

Yesterday I added a new devlog post explaining the recent change in pricing model for this game, as well as taking a look back at everything that has happened since its release back in March 2019.

For those curious and interested to learn a bit more about behind-the-scenes stuff, you can read the post here: https://jayrayhawk.itch.io/dp/devlog/194130/moving-to-a-pay-what-you-want-pricin...

I appreciate the informative reply despite the time lapse from the original inquiry by HexVexed, thank you! I'll let that be my starting point for reference.

I just found this template recently and was wondering the same thing.

I'm not sure where to find the inner workings of it, as I'm just learning my way around Ren'Py, but I noticed that there was multiple page functionality on the Music Player section of the Extras menu.

Perhaps you can examine how that part is put together, and repurpose it for the gallery areas as well?

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I was able to find the issue and fix the errors that I had made in setting up that particular encounter. I released version 1.2 of the game today and it should fix the issue you were having with not being able to collect page 5 for any future players at least. Thanks again for bringing it to my attention.

Okay, thank you for the additional details. That clarification was helpful. I will try to see if I can reproduce the issue, and if I can find some way to fix it so it works like it's supposed to. I apologize for the inconvenience but I appreciate that you've let me know this is happening. I don't think I'll be able to resolve it for your particular save file though unfortunately.

So in the meanwhile you may wish to start a new file and just get to that point of the mansion again, but get both curiosities before engaging with the encounter this time, and it should proceed like it normally was supposed to. There's no grand reward for collecting every page or anything like that, so you don't have to worry that you missed out on anything terribly important in your original file. On the plus side, once you've already experienced the game, subsequent playthroughs go much more quickly when you already know what to do.

You're welcome! And congratulations on finding that little secret!

That's what I think is nice about the RPG Maker software is that anybody can do it. All it takes is a few months getting comfortable with using it and then once you are used to working with it, you can start making things pretty well. Don't be surprised if it takes a few years though to make a decent length game, especially if you're going at it by yourself rather than with a team of folks. A lot of hours creating goes into even short game experiences, and it seems daunting when you try to look at the whole thing before you start.

I'd say the important thing though is to enjoy your time creating whatever you envision, and just focus on what you're enjoying in the moment! String enough days like that together and before you even know what happened, you'll have a game. Passion and persistence are really the secret ingredients for making it all come together. Keep it fun though too! It doesn't have to feel like work, though some days it might. Also remember to give yourself rests too, especially on days when you really aren't feeling motivated or creative enough to make progress. Forcing yourself too much during times like that will start to come through in what you create, and you might feel unsatisfied with the end result in the long run. It's okay to rest, even for long stretches of time if you need it, just stay the course and keep at it little by little! That'd be my advice in a few paragraphs at any rate!

Anyway, back to your comments. I had to make at least one way into the mansion that didn't require any condition to be met so it could be used no matter what took place in a given playthrough. The way this game was designed, because each person is able to play the game a bit differently, there were a lot of possible ways to experience the sequence of events. Possibilities also include things like skipping characters entirely if people just happened to miss them, and other situations where your options for entering into the mansion become restricted. It goes without saying that it would have been a bad experience for players and a poor design oversight to get stuck in the game with no way in or out of the mansion from no real fault of their own.

That last bit of your comment sounds a bit unusual... it might be a bug and I'm curious to know more about what exactly you're experiencing there. Once you have both the Princess Doll and the Tiny Dragon curiosities in your possession, it should play out the scene properly when you pick up the toy soldier using your sense abilities during the encounter. It sounds like it's not doing that for you however. What are you seeing after the dragon disappears? Does the game act like you haven't gotten the Princess Doll curiosity at all?

Off the top of my head, I'm wondering if it has something to do with the fact that you partially progressed the scene before having the Princess Doll, then went back to get it, and now it has perhaps messed up the event's usual progression somehow. I was fairly certain that I accounted for that sort of possibility in the way I set it up, but it's possible some issue eluded my testing. Any other details about what exactly you're seeing and doing during that encounter would be helpful for me to try and narrow down the possible issues.

Hi curtmc!

Thanks for posting your experience with the game here. The bug you found is a known issue, and I usually see it happen most often during the introduction scenes of the game, but it's sadly possible during the ending cutscenes too.

Included in with the game download is a Help & FAQs text file, and in it I explain the issue you stumbled upon in more detail, but the gist of it is, it's an elusive bug that seems to happen with the RPG Maker MV engine itself, and as far as I am aware, there's really no way to fix it on my end.

It can happen when players are pressing or holding down buttons when the game takes over control of moving the character (during cutscenes or etc.) Doing this speeds up the text and events on screen, and sometimes RPG Maker seems to skip some movement instructions in its haste. Then the game gets stuck and you just have to close it manually as you observed.

Basically, the only real "solution" I've found is the same conclusion you came to, just try not to press or hold unnecessary buttons during parts of the game with scripted movement, and the scenes should play out normally without issues.

For those reading who wish to avoid spoilers, kindly ignore the remainder of this comment.

Let's tackle your other questions:

Pages 5 and 12 as you've no doubt surmised are optional, but I can understand wanting to experience them all (5's encounter is especially fun if I do say so myself.)

You are correct that there is a princess doll involved with Page 5 (good instincts!) and to find it, you'll want to search carefully on the shore. There's a somewhat hidden stretch of beach that you may have missed.

Page 12's encounter is indeed in the part of the mansion beyond that. It's a bit of a tricky one, but it has a nice reward that makes it easier to progress in the mansion without having to backtrack to recover. Probably not much use for you at this point since you've already finished, but perhaps as a convenience for a future play through, or just for completion's sake.

As for Bennie's location after you first get acquainted, she likes to spend time on the beach, getting nice fresh air and some time away from folks for awhile. Search the shoreline areas again and you'll find her.

Hopefully that helps! Thanks again for reaching out, and I'm glad you had an enjoyable experience with the game overall! If you need any further clarification on the hints, just ask.

You're welcome!

I tried to use different ideas and situations with the encounters, and having to get a second copy of a page was just one idea I had to hopefully surprise players and add some variety to the overall experience.

It was never really my goal to make players feel stuck though, so I'm glad that helped get you back into enjoying the game.

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Hi Irin, thanks for reaching out. I'm sorry to hear you're having issues playing the game. 4GB of RAM should be plenty.

Are there some other RPG Maker MV games where you don't have the stuttering issue? If yes, then it might be related to a particular plugin used by the games that are giving you trouble, or it might have something to do with the version of RPG Maker MV that was used to create the game (Death? Preposterous! was made on an older release of RMMV, version 1.5.2 just FYI.)

If you're having the same issue with all other RPG Maker MV games you try to play though, it might be something related to the engine itself, or your particular system perhaps.

In any case, I'm not certain I'll be able to help solve this sort of issue for you, and you may be better served contacting RPG Maker's support team to get their assistance directly.

However, a few ideas off the top of my head that you might try if you haven't already:

  • Playing the game in Windowed mode instead of Full screen (or vice versa.) You can toggle between modes in the game's options menu, or by pressing the F4 key while the game is running.
  • Updating your graphics drivers to the newest version supported by your system, or if you're already using the newest drivers, maybe trying a slightly older version to see if the issue is present (sometimes new versions can cause new issues too.)
  • Try running the game in compatibility mode (I really don't think this should be necessary normally for MV games, but it's worth a try if all else has failed.)

That's about the extent of what I can think of to suggest that might help. I hope that you're able to find an answer that works for you. If I can help in another way, feel free to reach out again!

Hi Sophia, thanks for your question. The rocks with faces will only move when you collect the pages that they require from the other creatures that you find. If they aren't letting you pass just yet, it means you still need a page from somewhere in the surrounding areas.

It sounds like you already did the quest that gives you one of the items you need to enter the mansion. You'll want to get another Blueberry Pudding page if you haven't already, and you do that the same way you got it the first time. You'll also need the other page you can find in the hedge maze area. Now that you have the curiosity from the quest, it will be possible to get the second one you need to pass the rock.

Let me know if you need further details but hopefully that helps get you back into enjoying the game.

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I have a few possible ideas in mind around showcasing or incorporating community contributions, but I'm not sure yet what would work out the best overall. Maybe it will need to be a combination of multiple things.

On the one hand, I really like the framework in place on sites like Writing.com's Interactive Stories List (and similar setups that I've seen elsewhere) where people can write small sections of story, offer players/readers a choice of "where to go next" from there, and additional sections can be added by other authors.

I don't have the resources available or the know-how to set up something quite like that, and I'm honestly not sure that's the exact direction I'd like to go with this anyway, but it would be one way to do things that gets people involved in the imagination and creation process.

I think though, it can also be limiting in some ways. For example, if folks want to contribute to the Cosmosphere, but would rather create something else besides writing stories, that sort of setup is not of much use to them. Not only that, but having potentially multiple parts of a single story written by many different authors might not be the best experience in terms of cohesiveness either.

Embracing the writing aspect though, since that's where I feel my personal talents lean, I tried to find the most accessible software for creating it that was available on the widest variety of platforms, and I settled on Twine for that. It has a lot of advantages I think, including outputting to HTML so stories can be enjoyed in a web browser regardless of device, and being very easy to understand how to write in at its most basic levels.

If anyone reading this knows of something more flexible in terms of sharing and collaborating, and that's equally simple to learn to use at an entry level, I'm open to suggestions to changing formats down the line to better fit the overall vision. I'm talking for people who never play games, or have never done programming before, folks that might not even be all that familiar with technology, who just want the simplicity of opening a blank text editor and being able to write something.

For now though my main ideas I've been able to come up with for potentially incorporating other folks' creations into the current experience are:

A Community Contributions section, either here in the message board, on the main Cosmosphere of Armastus Itch.io page, or else I could add it into the actual game content itself too in its own section. I think it would make sense to link to other projects there, to direct people to the other creations that have been made within the collective of works.

It would also be possible, but much more manual and time consuming, to add actual works into the main project, and collect them using some kind of submission form or that sort of thing, but I'm not actually sure of the best way to go about that, or if that's even a realistic approach with the scope increasing over time, and it again is limited to just creations within Twine in that case. So I'm not sure about this idea honestly, and would prefer linking folks directly I think, even if it is to other Twine projects.

With the way the license terms are set up for this, folks can easily download the entirety of the Twine project, open up the HTML file in Twine themselves, and set about modifying it or scrapping what I've done entirely if they want and just using the framework for other things, whatever else they want to do. People could write alternate stories or endings, or change things about how I decided to go about them, and even create their own Itch.io project pages if they'd like. There's a lot of flexibility and all that really needs to be done is attribution and sharing your own modified works, which was something I wanted to encourage for sure.

I think in these cases it might make more sense to link to the person's project so they can make it their own experience within Twine, as there might be fundamental changes to the interface or features they want to implement differently or etc. and I'd love to build out a robust section of links to other creations like this, or a showcase of plenty of things that aren't Twine games either if folks so choose to create other types of content, or even if they made IF stories but with other software like Quest or Ink, etc.

I also can see the appeal however, if people wanted to write their own stories within Twine and just wanted to add their own takes on the world, maybe make their own characters or stories or however that ends up working out, and being able to get those added into Twine as part of the main list of stories. That would require manual incorporation on my part into the core experience most likely (or else keeping track of everybody's changes would be an insurmountable task for me) and to that end I would at the very least start including author names and information next to the story so that people knew it wasn't me writing it but it was a community creation. It may just be easier for folks to create their own separate thing and just point people to it here, but it would be especially neat I think to be able to bring them all together under a single experience I think too, if it were reasonably possible somehow.

This is where I start to question how to go about it, and I haven't yet discovered a truly satisfying answer or solution that blends all the possibilities I'd like to have covered in a way that's appealing just yet. For now I'm just leaning towards having people let me know about their own Cosmosphere creations, probably here on the discussion boards somehow, and putting links to other folks' creations somewhere, possibly multiple places, in order to showcase them for interested folks to explore.

Any thoughts or ideas/suggestions you all can think of for how to make this sort of "catch-all inclusion" that I'd like to have work out, please reply to this post and let me know. Maybe you all know of something that exists out there that I'm in the dark about too.

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I have a lot of notes of ideas that once upon a time I rather fancied. As I go back through them, especially some of the older ones, there are some that I still find appealing and would like to use going forward. This list however, is for the ideas that I don't think I'll be making use of, or that I don't feel strongly enough about to want to include in the stories anymore. At least not for the foreseeable future in their current form anyway.

But, I figured they may help spark other ideas that were more interesting, and perhaps they could evolve into something that does seem like a good fit for my current story ideas. Or even if they never did anything for me personally, perhaps you can find something you like here that kindles your own imaginative ideas.

I'm not really sure how to best organize them, so this list will be pretty random, but let's give it a go anyway.

Starting Life Over In Another World

At one point in time, my idea was for things to be like an “Isekai” genre story. For the unfamiliar, these kinds of stories basically begin with the main character dying on Earth, and starting a life in a totally new world as someone different than themselves but retaining their memories of their previous life.

I had intended to tweak it a bit so the character would have no memory or recollection of who they were, and they'd have to learn to adapt to the environment of the new world, and then eventually having them sort of remember at some point along the way. While I suppose it's possible that I could still approach things like this for some story in the future, the idea is less appealing now than it once was to me, and I'd rather just have a story take place in a world normally instead, without the extra layers of complexity for little benefit.

Names Hold Power

There was a concept of "real names hold power" that I've seen elsewhere in the fantasy genre, and for awhile, before I had more solidified names for Caliope and Lilian, I was calling them by their false names "Silk" and "Velvet" which... would have been the names they would have used with people who weren't close to them, but the ones who they really trusted would learn their real names.

It's still a somewhat interesting idea to me, and I could see plots being built around trying to discover someone's real name, but I never really figured out what the point of that idea was, and what exactly to do with the power one would hold. I had too many unanswered questions, like: What would happen when somebody knew your real name? Could they control/manipulate you? Harm you easily? Did it make the character's knees turn to jelly at the mere utterance? What were the advantages and disadvantages overall? What if people just never said their real name, how would anybody discover it? What about the ones who never knew their own real name, and only had false names? It just didn't seem to come together for me in a meaningful enough way that I wanted to move forward with.

"Eclipse"

Copied from my notes:

The council that governs the laws concerning acceptable conduct for individuals of magical aptitude, Eclipse, is formed. It starts out innocently enough, but corruption is pulling the strings behind the scenes, and there have been implications that their true goal is to amass their own private army of magical talent, effectively monopolizing power. Some resist their control and break away from their rules and regulations. Eclipse calls these rogue magicians “The Lost”.

This is one of those things that I might still use someday. Some of these ideas I still like, and other parts not so much. The names "Eclipse" and "The Lost" are not that big of a deal to me anymore, they feel a bit generic now perhaps. Not terrible, but not all that inspired in these particular use cases either. I do like the idea that there is some kind of authoritative body that is trying to control what people can and cannot have the freedom to do. I may still use that in different forms, or I might even mirror the ideas presented here in some way. I also find it appealing having a group of rogues or outcasts or similar who decide to do things differently even though the world at large rejects them. At the moment though, I see these sorts of ideas as more of a "down the road, if at all" kind of thing, where it's not the current focus, and I wouldn't be surprised if I left them alone and never used them at all either.

NEST

Copied from my notes:

(Natural Environment for the Sustenance of the Traumatized) This is the public-facing guise (Nuanced Estrangement of the Senses for Takeover) The true purpose of the facility. Basically it is suggesting careful re-conditioning of one’s thoughts and beliefs. This true meaning is obviously not disclosed to the ignorant populace. A branch facility that is run by Order designaries. Eclipse makes no secrets of the fact that it supports this facility’s functions. On the surface it appears to be part orphanage/school for children and young adults who have nowhere else to turn. However at its core it is really a mental conditioning facility/magical prison with its sole purpose being to turn persons of magical aptitude into thoughtless puppets of Eclipse, obeying every command they might be given without question, fulfilling the “great mission” of bringing salvation to “the lost ones” that do not yet understand the greatness of Eclipse. In short, Eclipse uses this facility to bolster its number of magically apt recruits that will act as its mage “army”, that Eclipse may assume full control of all territories by ruling through fear and threat of aggression. The facility is extremely well protected magically, and inhabitants are all but trapped within a magical barrier that surrounds the grounds of the facility.

My idea for this originally stemmed from an alternate origin point from a very early version of the story. There were more moments of tension and fear planned in that early version from 5 years ago, and I scrapped almost all of that and went in a totally different direction from those early concepts, so this idea got mostly shelved as a result. As far as "NEST" goes, as cool as those acronym definitions are, looking back on that I can see myself changing the name to something else entirely. I tried too hard to push the double meaning, I think. I do still like the whole "brainwashing" concept with the hidden motives behind recruitment, but the whole thing relies very heavily on the existence of Eclipse to make sense, and their goal of building a magical army. I don't hate it, but I'm also not as fond of that idea at this point, at least for the current stories I have going, so the likelihood that this would be used verbatim is slim at best.

Arrival of the "red bloods" onto planet Armastus

Copied from my notes:

People do not need to consume food to sustain themselves, thus there is no “eating” per se, and no hunting of animals for the purposes of food. Some still kill them for other selfish/malicious reasons (though it should be against the rules I’m thinking), but not to eat, as eating does not happen.

Blood is silver rather than red, so when people are feeling flushed their faces start to sparkle with silver coloring. It matches the color of the waters of the world, since that is all that the populace at large consumes for sustenance.

These ideas... I'm still kind of torn on.

Silver blood is just a maybe at this point. I remember that being a holdover of the old idea I once had that eventually "red bloods" would arrive on the planet from Earth, but now I'm not sure I want to tackle that sort of interaction between the expectations of the average Earthling to those of Armastians. I still like the idea conceptually, and I think it could help compare and contrast the uniqueness of Armastians that is sometimes challenging to portray, but it's also a big undertaking.

Maybe this is another "down the road" idea that has some promise, but... we'll see. The idea of having it relate at all to Earth is kind of off my radar for now, as my goal here is to make something as unique and different as I can, without relying on Earth/Human conventions, at least to the extent that I am reasonably able to manage that sort of uniqueness in my words and approach.

I did keep the waters silver colored. I liked that idea.

I'm not sure where I stand on the "no eating" idea. It would be interesting to explore on the one hand, but on the other hand I feel like making that be the default for every being on the planet seems a bit of a stretch perhaps. I could imagine this one though because it would be neat to try and think of things inside of those terms and that framework, so we'll see.

If I did go with that idea, I'm not sure what the "justification reasons" would be for folks killing animals... and those are unquestionably acts of violence towards others, so I would definitely prefer to have that be a part of the Negative Returns feedback loop if they did go around doing that. I'd have to flesh out this idea more fully I think to get it to a workable state.

That, combined with the fact that this was going to be one of the major differences between Earthlings and Armastians, and it all just feels like it kind of has to come together as a package deal or not at all, at least in the way that I have it set up here. I like them on the one hand, but I also just don't see myself using them as blanket rules for the entire populace. Maybe they could find their place among a particular race or species at some point, or within the confines of a single story/setting, but applying these restrictions to everyone just seems a bit much to me right now.

Magical Quandaries

I'll be honest, I still don't have the ideas for magic in Armastus 100% locked down. I went back and forth on a lot of ideas, some of which I still like, others not so much looking back on them now. The majority of the ones listed here are not ones I decided to go with, at least not in these exact forms here.

Some of them are also quite a few years old now, back when I had envisioned magic and the stories in general to focus a lot more on battles and power struggles between magic users vying for supremacy, and that's just not the direction I desire to take things anymore.

Even recently I have been trying to brainstorm better and solidify ideas around what magic is and what it looks like in the world. I think what I ultimately decided on was allowing multiple varieties of magic to exist, but they all stem from a single "source" in a way, but even that was a struggle to even begin to narrow down. I feel like I'm at least getting there in making some progress with it now, but I honestly wouldn't be surprised if some of these ideas rose from the depths of the scrapyard and featured in some way shape or form in the future.

Copied from my notes:

There should be a general kind of utility magic, “commoner’s magic” that resides in the atmosphere and can be used by anyone. These are not powerful abilities, and are of limited capacity, but they assist in basic everyday tasks in ways that physical effort may not necessarily accomplish.

A good idea would be to create some kind of portable container for different types of magic. Think a little magic vial with a stopper on it for a plain example. In this way, certain types of magic could be used even by people not proficient at them.

People have compatibility levels with types of magic too. Think of it like different tastes in foods, some people don't like the tastes, some become legitimately ill when trying to ingest certain foods, etc.

If a person tries to channel a magic they are incompatible with, it could cause a various number of effects. Most harmless of which would be that they simply are unable to perform a spell at all. Others might be able to be performed but then proceed to wreak havoc on the person, dizzy spells or immense headaches or that sort of thing, and these states of distress do not allow the person to concentrate enough to utilize the power for a proper spell.

There should be different colors and shapes and properties of the various types of magic. Different styles and methods of evoking power should be possible too. For example a type of power in a mage’s language of written characters.

Elemental magic will attract those who are keen to the particular types. It would be good to have it be a bit of a mix though, for example a water magic source wouldn't just have water magic and that's it....other things that might apply to make it more interesting, wind magic for example, storm magic maybe, think of locations like the sea in this case, and some things that might make sense that are themed around the sea.

When a magic user goes to channel magic, they do so in different ways depending on their types. Each user has a “well” of energy that they can feel inside of them, the deeper that well of magical stamina, the more “power” their auras give off to other magic users who have developed such senses. It is possible to hide the true depths of those wells from the perceptions of others with training/experience.

Familiars can come from the animal kingdom, the spirit kingdom, the realm of death (necromancers), or mythical beasts. Their size, capacity for magic, stamina, potency in battle, special properties, and even the number able to be called, all vary greatly depending on the latent ability of the magic user, their personality/disposition, and to some extent their experiences (maybe a particular type of creature is in servitude to a particular family bloodline and will serve any offspring of this bloodline when called).

These creatures are noble and have their own society and social hierarchy in most cases. Some are proud and will only serve those they deem worthy, others are caring and generous and will attempt to assist any who are in grave need. No one group is necessarily stronger than the others, it all comes down to the symbiosis of the magic user and the familiars, as well as the levels of power being compared. The smallest of animals could potentially defeat a mythical beast with the right combination of circumstance and skills.

Ideas for Types/Classifications of Magic:

Fire
Fire magic has its origins in the molten core of the planet.

It is primarily offensive and destructive magic. To some degree it depends on the creativity and capability of the user, but it is a rather difficult magic type to utilize in a defensive manner.
It also has many practical utility purposes as well, heating a magic steam engine for example, or simply warming the local atmospheric temperature.

Fire magic holds similarities to Lightning magic.

Magic users who are adept at both Fire and Lightning magic have been dubbed “Spark” mages.

Light
A broad categorization of magic that focuses on luminosity. This is technically classified as an astral magic, as the first origin of light is from the stars.

It can be used for any number of things, and as it is a broad categorization, actually encompasses a number of different magic subsets including Lightning, Shadow, and to a lesser degree, Fire magic.

While it can be used offensively, especially Lightning and Fire, the core Light magic focuses on manipulation of luminosity of a given space, either increasing it, or in the case of shadow magic, decreasing it or changing the way it appears.

Wave
Wave magic is based on sound and vibrations in the air, creating invisible force. It is a sky origin magic.

Thunder magic would be one example of wave magic. Tremor magic or frequency magic could all be related as well. Musical and Vocal magics are also considered to fall into this category.

Life
Life magic is another broad category of any magic dealing with giving or manipulating life. This is a land origin magic, in the roots of the trees and the lives created within the soils and waters.

Healing magic falls into this category as it restores life to the person being tended. Flora magic as well, as it is the manipulation and often rapid growth of the local flora to serve the user’s purpose.


Extremely rare/dangerous. Wave + Vocal + Chaos??? Allows one to control the actions of others around them by speaking instructions to their mind. Must be near enough to hear spoken words for it to function.

Other ideas for categories of magic classes that I didn't come up with descriptions for:

Water, Earth, Stone, Metal, Gem, Steam, Magnetism, Gravity, Tree, Bubble, Psionic, Lightning, Shadow, Thunder, Tremor, Frequency, Musical, Vocal, Healing, Flora, Fauna, Symbology / Writing, Drawing / Artwork / Painting, Living Sculptures

Kids would have needed to leave the room

Believe it or not, at one point not so long ago, the original idea that I was going to use under the name "Armastus" after having found out its word meaning in the Lao language, was going to be an 18+ Adults Only comedic fantasy adventure sort of thing. I have no personal issues with this if people want to create their own stories and take them in that sort of direction (and even if I did, I wouldn't be able to stop you from doing so anyway) other than to say if you do decide to do that sort of thing, make sure people understand that your story contains Adults Only content, so it does not come as a shock to those who do not wish to engage with that sort of tale.

I've since backpedaled on the decision to make it into an 18+ tale, mostly due to lack of desire on my part at this point to go in that sort of direction, and I imagine Armastus now as being something of a teen/young adult audience in mind, but maybe younger than that too, I'm not really sure yet what it will look like. Ideally it can appeal to as many people as possible, and I think that can be achieved through different creators and forms of manifesting the story and characters and the worlds within the Cosmosphere of Armastus over time.

Though that said, I do still have a lot of interesting ideas written down in those notes pages that I may re-purpose into the current Cosmosphere of Armastus stories at some point, so I don't think it will all have been a wasted effort or anything, even if most of it never sees the light of day.

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I actually do not have first-hand knowledge on this, so have had to look it up a little bit online. Here's what I've found:

  • Armastus supposedly means “Arousal” in the Lao language, per Google Translate anyway. Lao language is the official language of Laos, and is also spoken in Thailand, per Wikipedia.
  • If you do a google search for the word, you’ll see it called “Love” more frequently instead. From what I can tell this is the meaning of the word in the Estonian language.
  • There’s also apparently a movie with "Armastus" as its title, and a cafe by that name in Tartu, Estonia.
  • The “u” sound at the end is pronounced "oo" like in "too" or “zoo” for some examples. For English native speakers it may take some acclimation and practice to avoid pronouncing it like the word "us" at the end instead, or maybe that's just me.

And that's about as much info as I've been able to find up till this point.

I'm uncertain whether or not the Lao meaning of the word carries any implications with it. While I have no personal issues with the Lao meaning either way, I am favoring the Estonian definition overall I think for the purposes of this endeavor.

"Universe of Arousal" sounds fine and all, especially if the word is intended in a more broad and general sense, but I think "Universe of Love" has more appeal to it. Call me cheesy if you must.

If anyone reading this has clarifications or can provide more concrete information about the accuracy of these findings, I'd appreciate it.

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While I enjoyed working on an RPG, I learned that doing a project like that on my own takes a lot of time, and that I don't really have all the skill sets that I need to make it into what I really envisioned in my mind, since I'm no artist or musician or etc. So while I won't say "never again" outright or anything, I also don't really see it happening outside of a situation where perhaps in the future I could work as part of a team on another non-violent RPG project.

But you're right, the entire concept of non-violent RPG is almost unheard of... there are very few of them out there to my knowledge at least. Perhaps the idea will appeal enough that some other folks will want to try their own hand at making them, and the sub-genre will start to spread over time. I was pretty inspired by Undertale, for its ability to have encounters that didn't need to be solved violently, and how it generally did things in unorthodox fashion, even going so far as to highlight the absurdity of, and parody, many conventional RPG cliches. Non-violent games or generally wholesome ones seem to be on the rise in popularity recently, which is a promising sign I think overall.

All that said though, I'm already working on a new initiative that for the moment is taking the form of an Interactive Fiction story with different characters and stories broken out into chapters. Writing is more my forte I think overall, and as I'm learning my way around Twine at the outset of this new project, it's also nice to not run into the road blocks and limitations that I had trying to make an RPG, where most of the things I wanted to do were outside of my wheelhouse of skill sets. Here my only limitations are how well I can or cannot draw out the reader's imagination with words. And importantly, the boundaries to creativity and imagination are much fewer with this approach as well. Fewer limits means more things become possible to explore and create.

And with the new project I also have a focus on some novel ways of looking at things, including repercussions surrounding violence and anger. So it might not be along the lines of what you're looking for necessarily, but I think it will surprise and hopefully interest enough folks to eventually build a community around it. I envision it as a collaborative, or at least free/open, universe where folks can take what I have started and run with it themselves in their own projects, or contribute ideas for building it up over time. Maybe an RPG based within its universe would be a possibility for the future. I can't imagine what shape(s) it will all take yet, but that's okay too. As it has been said, when nothing is certain, anything is possible.

I'll get more into the details of all that when the time comes though. It's not quite at a good enough starting point to where I feel I'm ready to start putting out public builds just yet, but I don't think it will be terribly much longer until I get things there either. Unlike with Death? Preposterous!, where I waited until it was done before putting it out there for folks, this time around I plan to develop and release builds gradually over time, so it will be more of a work-in-progress for the long term sort of endeavor that I get to share as I go, which should be more fun overall I think.

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What is Twine?

Twine is the name of a free software that lets you create what's called Interactive Fiction. For the sake of simplicity I will call creations made with Twine "games" though there is debate between some people about what constitutes a game and what doesn't.

Regardless, you are able to enjoy creations made with Twine easily from any modern web browser on many mobile devices and computers.

It is also free to use and create with, and there are versions available at https://twinery.org/ for computers using Windows, macOS, and Linux operating systems, as well as a version you can use online from their website, which potentially enables you to create Twine content even on mobile devices, Chromebooks, etc.

If you've never used Twine before, don't worry. I'm new to Twine too. I've never used it before starting this project. The basics for use are simple. Let's go through them here together.

Using Twine Online (and Offline Too)

  • We'll choose the "Use it online" option for the sake of this simple tutorial
    • Using the download version is almost identical once you get it successfully installed on your computer, so most of these starting tips should benefit you regardless of your choice.
  • Next, you'll want to pick the "Tell Me More" selection, and the Twinery website gives you a rundown on the basic features of the online version. It's quick and helpful, so I won't repeat much of it here.
    • Harlowe vs. SugarCube story formats are often talked about online with Twine, and your choice becomes important when you want to learn to do more with Twine beyond the basics. For now, just remember that by default you're using Harlowe.
  • When you've finished reading the few introduction sections, go ahead and choose the "Go to the story list" option.

Creating Your First Twine Story

Here you'll reach the main Story List page, which is basically your home page within Twine. It looks like the below image:

Twine's Main Stories Page
  • To start, we have 0 stories, so click the green +Story button on the right side to create a new one.
  • Twine will ask you to give your story a name. You can change it later on if you just want to put something temporary for now. I used "Tutorial Story" for this tutorial.
  • When you have decided on a name, click the green +Add button.

Give your Twine story a name.

  • From here, Twine takes you straight into your story's main editing view.
  • (Note: At any time from this view, if you want to return to the Story List, just click the Home icon at the bottom-left of the screen, next to your story's name.)
  • This view features a blue grid on its background, and you'll see a white box near the middle called "Untitled Passage" that says "Double-click this passage to edit it." in lighter gray text inside of the box. Let's go ahead and do as it suggests.

Twine Passages

Passages in Twine are like unique pages in a book, or different screens in a game, if you prefer.

  • Each passage has a unique name to identify itself to Twine. By default, this one is called "Untitled Passage" and we can edit the passage's name by selecting it with the mouse and pressing Backspace or Delete key on the keyboard, and replacing it with a name of your choosing.
  • Where it says "Double-click this passage to edit it." you can do just that and start typing, and this is the text that will appear on the screen when you play your Twine game.
  • For mine, as you can see in the image below, I've named the passage "Start" and I've typed in the text: "This is the first content you will see when you start the game." (Note: You can leave out the quotation marks. I have them written here just for clarity.)


  • Click the "X" button at the top-right of the passage to close it.
  • Now your changes will be reflected in the editing view of your story. Your new passage name appears and the start of its new text contents will be shown too. You can see mine in the image below.


Linking Passages Together

If you wanted, you could use the "Test" or "Play" buttons at this point to test out what you have done so far. You will see a black screen with the single line of text we typed into the first passage appearing in white text. A nice start! But let's do a bit more.

Interactive Fiction has a variety of ways it can be realized using Twine. Progression to different passages of text is a fundamental use regardless of the type of experience you want to create with it. So let's look at how to create a second passage and move between the two.

It may also be helpful for you to visualize navigating between passages in Twine as similar to what you would do when clicking links to go to different pages within a website.

  • Let's double click the "Start" passage again to go back in and add more content to it.
  • We want to create a new passage and add a link to it. To do so, surround a portion of text in double square brackets [[ ]]. Whatever text is inside of these brackets will be the name given to the new passage (if it doesn't exist yet.)
  • So as you can see in the example image below, I've added this to my Start passage underneath the first line we wrote earlier: [[Click me to go to Passage #2]]


  • Now click the "X" at the top-right of the passage again to return to the editing grid view, and you'll see your new passage has been created automatically.
  • You'll notice there's an arrow pointing from the Start passage to your new one, visually symbolizing that there is a link going one direction from your first passage to your second one. You can see an example of this in the image below.


  • Just like with the first passage, we can double click this new one, and change its name and contents as we please.
  • "Click me to go to Passage #2" is a long name that I'd easily forget, so I want to shorten it to simply "Passage 2" for ease of use. Just like before, Double-click the new passage you just created and change its name.
  • Click the "X" again to close Passage 2, and double click your Start passage to go back into it. You'll notice the link has changed to match the new name you gave the passage.
  • But if we want it to still say "Click me to go to Passage #2" but also be able to name the passage itself "Passage 2" how do we accomplish that? Using the pipe key (hold SHIFT key on your keyboard and press the \ key to type a | pipe.)
  • All you have to do is start the link with what you want it to say, and then follow it by a pipe, and then after the pipe comes the name of the passage you want to link to.
  • So for our example, in the below image the original text of the link in the Start passage has been replaced with: [[Click me to go to Passage #2|Passage 2]]


Now when we play or test our game, we can see that the text for the link says "Click me to go to Passage #2" like we imagined, and we also have the freedom to name the actual passage something different from the visible text of the link.

But if we click the link now during testing, we're stuck! How do we go back? Simply make a link in Passage 2 that points back to our Start passage.

  • Double-click Passage 2, and add the following example link: [[Go Back to the Previous Passage|Start]]
  • Now you should have arrows pointing both directions between the two passages on your editing view, like in the image below, to show that you can navigate both from Start to Passage 2, as well as from Passage 2 to Start.


Branching Narrative And Play Testing Your Game

That's really all you need for the basics. At this point you can begin offering the player/reader choices in your narrative if you so choose, or directing them around to various passages easily using the above steps.

Here's a quick example of an expanded Passage 2 to begin to introduce player choices, with new passages for what you want to show when they choose each option.

  • Adding the following to Passage 2 will create two new passages and a choice for the player/reader to make in your branching narrative story. You can simply add them beneath the first link you created that brings you back to the Start passage.
  • [[Choose the Door on the Left.|Go In Left Door]]
    [[Choose the Door on the Right.|Go In Right Door]]

Then you will see something like the below image on your editing grid view.


And when testing the game, Passage 2 will look like the below image example, with links to click on and navigate through your story:


Intermediate Basics

This is enough to get you started and creating content in Twine, but it will quickly prove insufficient once you begin wondering about other things you might be able to do, or how other aspects of Twine function beyond what is covered here.

Of course online searches are a great way to find out more information than a Twine neophyte like myself can provide, but for starters I can direct you to A Quick Twine 2.2+ Tutorial by Allison Parrish, which will probably serve you much better than my short tutorial has. It does an excellent job of breaking down terminology and functionality, and is still for the most part aimed at beginners to Twine.

You can also try the content found in our very own Master List of Free Resources and Software in these community forums for additional links to helpful Twine resources that the community has curated.

Troubleshooting


Error: "i[e.name].finally is not a function"

(More info here: https://github.com/klembot/twinejs/issues/625)

You may receive this error when you try to Play or Test your game using the online version of Twine, especially if you're using Firefox or you are trying to play/test on a mobile device in either Firefox or Chrome browsers.

If this error is happening for you, and you've already tried multiple web browsers with no success, you may need to Play or Test your Twine game on a computer or other device instead, until the issue can be better resolved in Twine's online client with Firefox and on mobile devices in general.

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You're welcome. I'm glad I could help. I made that one a bit particular looking back on it now... it wasn't ever really intended to throw players for that much of a loop, just maybe a little bit of a detour was all I was imagining, so I'm sorry for the confusion there. You're not the first to have been tripped up by that particular request so, I think in hindsight it was perhaps a bit too strict or particular in how I designed that one.

I'm not sure if folks noticed, but one other fun fact related to this particular request is you can examine the one pickaxe Smith does have hanging on the wall in the workshop, and it mentions it is in need of repair. Since only a small handful of objects in the game allow you to examine or interact with them in such a way, I figured most players would not even think to try to check it, but for those who did notice there was one hanging on the wall of the workshop and thought "Why can't I just use this one over here?" I figured it would be a good idea to include something alluding to its poor state prior to repairs.

At one point in time I had envisioned for the game adding a lot of little elements like this for players who like to walk around and examine everything. I tend to enjoy it when games do this, as it allows you to draw out additional details through the writing that you may not be able to show very well just with imagery necessarily. When it came time to start writing hundreds of unique descriptions about pots and pans on the counter, the plate on the kitchen table, that one chair with the squeaky leg, and that random bucket of laundry in the corner, in other words stuff players might not ever even have need or reason to interact with, I ended up deciding not to go forward with that idea, even though I still like it.

It would have taken literal months to write unique descriptions for all of the things you could see in every area of the game across the game's cast (Darling might think "Bennie's kitchen utensils lay atop the counter. They seem well worn." but Bennie examining them would have to say something else "My old worn out kitchen supplies. They were the best I could get on such short notice." instead etc.) and it's really just for something that was not that integral to the overall experience.

It would have been nice though. Maybe in some future game.

Hi sharpestcookie, thanks for your question. First I'm glad to hear you're enjoying the game, and appreciate the kind words. As for where to find the pickaxe handle, it really only becomes available to you when Smith directs you to go find it, so that's part of why it can be kind of difficult to "find" when you've probably passed by the area where it is at many times. When you are at this point of Smith's request though, look for a new shiny spot in the Main Crossroads area that wasn't shining before that point.

I kind of wanted to evoke a feeling of seeing something that you might consider was useless to you, not really taking much notice of it, until all of a sudden there was a reason to need it and then it became noteworthy, by implementing that sort of limitation there. I'm not sure it worked out for the best overall, looking back on it now, especially considering the majority of the rest of the curiosities in the game can be picked up whenever, regardless of needing them at the time or not, but at least it offers a little variety compared to the rest I suppose.

And yeah that's smart of you to try and ask Jack for wood as that seems to make sense... It's a bit of a stretch honestly, but what I was trying to imply with all that was basically that Malignaunsse had started creating something of a monopoly on the island's resources and was kind of hogging stuff, including lumber supplies and tying up the workloads of Smith and Jack for the most part.

It was kind of difficult to depict a lumber shortage with a big sprawling forest also available but... if you can think of it more along the lines of "we can't spare any right now because it's all going to this guy and his crazy demands for his orders" on the note of lumber and pickaxes, that's more or less what I was hoping would come across, even if it's a little hard to get that sense just from looking at the areas in the game.