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Hi there. There's no feedback option on the main game page so I'm commenting here. First, I think using the text message structure really helps the Twine elements come alive and feel real. But I think there's something a little off about how long/elaborate the messages can be. Lots of parts of this game don't really feel like text messages. Here are some options:
* shorten some messages, and frame others with "hang on while i copy/paste" or something like that to keep the text message illusion alive
* frame it more as a conversation (a phone conversation, perhaps? or maybe a chat app like discord or slack where longer messages are good
* something else - maybe they are screensharing to us what they're writing, etc. You might even look at some graphical elements to show this. Check out the Twine forums for help with this.
Some of the best moments in the work are when you embrace the "conversation by text" part, especially things like the main character nervously broaching themselves as a possible partner. In those moments the choice to make the game "texts" is highly effective. So I would not recommend losing those moments and switching to a standard narrative stance.
This game is a great example of what I always emphasize about worldbuilding - that unless you're literally Tolkien (and not even he was always Tolkien) it should exist only and forever to highlight character traits, strains and expressions. It took me a little while to figure out what "90s turn" meant, but when I did, it made me laugh at the "1390s" clarification in some of the responses. It was exciting to me to discover something about the world and the characters that wasn't just dumped in my lap. It's one of the more skillful examples of this feeling and technique, for everything from blood pubs to vampire psychology. At the end of this game I felt like you had actually taken me both into this world and into the life of these characters.
Kudos on an absolute delight of a game, can't wait to see what comes next.
In my opinion the difficulty was just right. Definitely something to be proud of since it would have to be tailored to fit the limitations in draw distance and the movement speed/pattern of the monsters. Nice job and good luck with what comes next for you!
16 - 16 - A nice little atmospheric point and click, a breather after a few "run run run" games. However, the giant eyeball ending...cmon. The digitizing candles are a really low key build, you can think of something better.
17 - Vale - Great lightning effects, good atmosphere. Again, this feels like the nightmare of playing a video game. I also like that you can move around inside the credits.
18 - Spooky Library - Again, this seems to not be connected to the previous game. i appreciate the new aesthetic, however, I have to say that the fixed camera angle makes death come...often without you really being able to see what kills you. Would love to see more of this one.
19 - Abraxas - Really solid....stealth (?) mini game. The ending's a good horror hook as well.
20 - 999,999 - A nice little showcase to close it out. Not a bad ending at all.
* being a little stricter about endings and difficulty levels could have achieved the goal of the collection a little better
* the menu system, with the documents, faux disks, etc., is an absolute masterpiece!
* these games lack brightness and contrast features. i understand you want horror games to control these elements but this is an accessibility question for many users.
Best wishes, looking forward to the next thing from these creators.
11 - Day 11 - Excellent, but perhaps unsurprisingly given the predecessor, it doesn't seem to be part of the narrative. However, everything in it feels like it could have happened in a PS1 game.
12 - Avert Your Eyes - The presentation of this really hurts the concept. What, flamethrowering floating, murmuring eyes in a cave isn't scary enough without a smartphone and pixellation? It is.
13 - (weird collection of symbols) - The second arcade style action game in the collection, this one a runner. The graphical style at first seems grating but as it proceeds you start to feel like you're playing a game that was found in raw code rather than designed. Really cool.
14 - (some kind of eyeball thing?) - I just got done watching a 3 hour video on Pac-Man, so it's great to see a horror/creepy version. Sticks around just long enough to be fun.
15 - 15 - Similar to the previous game (interestingly enough), the map is small enough that even finding "that darn last book" isn't too hard. Fun game with just enough pop-in to feel creepy.
6 - Dream Aether - At first I was a little taken aback by the lack of horror in the horror anthology entry but it was actually a nice vaporwave breather (get it?)
7 - Ball // Out - Tried to bridge the gap back to horror but I couldn't finish it because it was too hard. This entry raises the question of difficulty in "connected" anthologies like this, because perhaps I would have appreciated the next game more if I had finished it.
8 - (Can't tell the name) - A real pleasure of a game, capturing both the truly haunted/cursed PS1 vibe as well as actually working on the feeling of the movement and attack mechanics. Perhaps the game that most of all lets you develop a bit of skill in it (knowing when to backstep, for me, specifically, was a great feeling when I figured it out.)
9 - Swell - I liked the concept as a horror game concept, eating or being eaten, but even once I knew what I was doing I couldn't do it.
10 - Organ Even (I think? Hard to read) - Of course the best thing about all Alien videogames is playing the facehugger, right? Right. This combines that with a literally collapsing level geometry for an unsettling pleasure. A little hard to see where or how you're progressing though.
Quick notes on each game (as i play them through, in groups of 5)
1 - Torch. Great intro game. A lot of "haunted PS1" games don't capture what a PS1 game actually looked and felt like. they're just generic smashed-graphics games. This one does some work to make it look and feel right. It's playable enough and creepy enough to launch the series.
2 - Ms. Blanch - Again, great job at feeling like a dream or a nightmare of a video game. Also, a very good rhythm as the game gets, uh, darker.
3 - The participants - The first game I felt really popped with the "narrative path" element of this collection. Not what I had assumed would happen next at all. However, the flashing glitch elements were not necessary. The color-division and edge-of-screen tearing was glitchy enough.
4 - Emerge. A little more by-the-numbers. This type of game is what I expect from a project like this. I think the ending is great but there could have been other moments like that building up to it where controls were a little bit orthogonal.
5 - Drip. A completely unexpected experience; not at ALL what I expected from a horror game collection. I would have made it even a little more cursed. Solid feeling play.
Here are my comments:
+ great use of ambient sound, top tier
+ levels are great, right size, feel great
+ the sloppy mouselook is terrific
0 doesn't seem to fit the description on itch - there really weren't any "early MMOs" that look or feel like this
- Inability to adjust brightness may make game inaccessible, depending on monitor setup and vision needs of the player
- itch says you can just walk back to the exit, but that's sometimes quite a long way. a quit-without-saving-further option would be helpful. also the itch page is a bit inaccurate, there are many doors you can walk through that do not save the game
Best wishes, this game is really cool.
We did a pretty extensive playtest on this, I don't want to go into too much detail here because I don't want the feedback to linger past the current test documents...i'm also not on twitter or patreon. is there some other way i can get the feedback to you?
Nice job. I will echo what others have said that the sound design in this is fantastic. Realizing what the "whirr" sound was after you find the handwritten note was really exciting. However, I would urge that if you use unity in this way that you provide some gamma correction options. The dark parts of the house weren't scary, they were just......impossible to see in. This is a common thing with monitors Of A Certain Age. Overall it's looking great.
I backed this on Kickstarter and then played it in an online convention that replaced a regional convention when the pandemic broke out. Here are three things that we learned that might help others have a good experience:
- Get a small notebook, steno sized is fine. At the top of the first several pages, put one of the key questions you have to answer when you Jump To Conclusions. So at the top of page 1: What is the Nature of the Area?, top of page 2: What caused the Fall?, etc. This way when you Jump to Conclusions, you never forget a question and you have plenty of room to cross off your previous thoughts and write a wholly new one if the fiction has gone in that direction.
- When introducing the game to new people, emphasize that, other than Lore, everything you say must be introduced with a light touch. You are gonna say some cool stuff that is going to get overlooked or misinterpreted by the other players. You have to always have your Conclusions but you can't hang onto them so tightly that you can't change your mind about what's actually happening. If you have a really cool thing you DON'T want people to overlook, you will have to introduce it in a piece of Lore.
- Lay out the full economy of each act at the beginning of the act. Be sure everyone understands how many scenes there are, and how many are required to be danger scenes. Walk all the way through the epilogue when explaining Act 3, including that there is only one scene at the end to show how things change as a result of the wanderer's journey.
We had a great experience with this game, it has similarities to classics like Swords Without Master, Dirty Secrets and Primetime Adventures. Highly recommended.
GenCon is a belching mess of boredom wrapped in a sweatsock. RinCon is a delicious cane asada taco served for only $2. Come to RinCon this year and I'll buy you a Sonoran hot dog and we'll play some good games. I'm gonna be part of the Indie RPG Arcade, which is comparable to Games on Demand in other conventions. It'll be fun!
Penny goes even further than this. You're actually not asking what happens next...you're asking what you do next! Penny for my Thoughts is the opposite of a roleplaying game - it's a game where you literally are forbidden by the rules from making significant decisions or statements as your character. That's what the other people at the table do. It's really fun.
I don't know why you wouldn't call a game - even a multiplayer game! - a ritual in the first place. If you go to a minor league ballpark early enough for batting practice and stay late enough for the cleaners to come through the stands, you'll definitely see the ritual; it might not be completely contiguous with the game of baseball, but it's entwined enough that I sure as heck am not qualified to pull them apart.
Pokethulhu (available free) did a few things of interest to this question:
1 - It approached play as an episode of a fictional TV show.
2 - It put the bestiary in a cartoonily-appropriate world. Just as the pocket monsters were little cute cthuloid monsters, so too was the world a kind of combination of Halloweentown and Lovecraft country.
3 - It used 12 sided dice because those looked like the in-world version of Pokeballs
Great topic, very important. I am a lawyer and you did a good summary. Typically the amount of money involved in a roleplaying game is so minimal that actual litigation isn't advisable to anyone who will ever read a web forum. However, you never know what will hit big and you definitely should keep an eye on what you own and what you don't or can't. Specifically, here, I'm thinking of game mechanics as different from the fixed expression of game mechanics. It's actually quite hard (and half-untested - a long story) to patent game mechanics as a process. But you can obtain copyright on expression that you do of game mechanics (texts, etc.)
I think that's a more reasonable fear for a participant than for a designer. In other words, a game designer ought be explicit as possible so that the participants in the game can keep things behind the curtain. The incentives for a designer are, as always, completely opposite of what the incentives for a game player are.
If it's just a game I'm buying to "support" the author (long stare right into the camera), I don't do anything with it.
If I'm thinking of a campaign, I put the campaign idea in a folder and put the folder by my desk. Every so often I come across a new roleplayer or I learn something new about someone I already game with, then I take the folder out and see what I think I can put a group together for.
There is a code of ethics that's been promulgated by the USCF but there is actually a LOT of problems with questionable/borderline behavior at chess tournaments. It was hotly discussed when I was running tournaments back in the 1990s, and I don't know that it's resolved.
For example, here's International Master Jeremy Silman reminiscing about "odd behavior" he has experienced at the chess table. Ultimately his only response is that if it crosses a line you should report it to the arbiter or tournament director. But we all know that without clear lines pre-drawn, leaving it to the judgment of someone often just permits the standard old discriminatory lines to be drawn. So actually I think chess is a good example of a competitive game that is really digging around trying to find some way to address the safety and comfort of participants.
Ahhh, that's great. I need to get back to doing what I have done in previous games. I used to frame just about every game I ran as old timey radio dramas, with an opening monologue and theme music.
The bad news is that due to droughts over the last few years many pinon nut coffee roasters have diminished or even eliminated the use of actual nuts in their roasting. Here's hoping at some point they can get back to it.
You: Gen Con, a convention which takes place in Indiana where the local food is some kind of mushed up casserole thing which is too spicy if someone puts two shakes of black pepper on it, a sweat bunker hell of D&D nonsense run by shouting in a crowd of thousands
Me, an intellectual: New MexiCon, where you can get fresh green chilis in every meal and every snack you eat all day long, and pinon nut coffee with your breakfast, a veritable paradise of cool games run in private rooms and relaxed, fun people
Back in the day, Berin Kinsman created a tiddlywiki specifically for game organization, called the Ten Foot Wiki. Unfortunately as cloud computing took over the world, Tiddlywiki had to seal up some security holes and became harder to use . Let's share some world and campaign organization tools here.
I got in on the Realm Works kickstarter so it was cheap for me, but it's kind of the Most Bonkers detailed thing. The GM version is $50 though. :o Find it here.
Drivethrurpg has a lot of "adventure planners", which are pre-printed PDFs which have a lot of the most common shit in them (but they're typically for fantasy or D&D-a-like games). Now, I kinda like the Fat Goblin Games ones because they 1) use form fillable PDFs a lot 2) are often broken down into different types of pages so if you are like me and need like 500 NPC pages and 3 monster pages then you can do that easily, and 3) if you're Extremely Into It they'll even send you a hardbound print copy that you can fill out? :o Anyway, this is their category: Fat Goblin Games Gamemaster Journal section on Drivethrurpg
If you still want to try TiddlyWiki, it's still quite popular but the tools are a little bit more opaque than you might remember them being. Give it a try.
Anyway, post other campaign/world organization software and tools here!