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Synzia

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A member registered 233 days ago · View creator page →

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Thank you for the feedback! I worry about those walls of text. Splitting into multiple pages didn't seem like the right answer, but I should have split some paragraphs up, that's for sure. I'm used to novel writing, but I should have written it more like a newspaper column.

If there are any grammar mistakes or pronoun problems you know of off the top of your head, I would love to know about them so I can fix them. The way the pronouns work was when the player chooses male or female, the pronouns are set accordingly, so $pronoun is she, $pronouncap is She, $pronounpossess is her, etc. I know that at the end I was rushing a tad and for some reason kept adding capitals to things that shouldn't be capitalized. I actually uploaded the game a second time about five minutes after the initial upload because I thought I had found and fixed all of them, but I guess I didn't!

My condolences about your cat, losing a loved one like that is awful.

Replied to Cam in Bridges comments

Ah, thank you for your feedback! I did base it own my own experiences and fears with my dogs, so I'm glad that came across! Sorry for making you upset though.

I was worried about some of the passage lengths. I was going for a sense of inevitability, like no matter what options you chose, you'd still end up in the same place, but I can see how all five areas together could drag on. I wonder if that could be alleviated by giving the option of going to the Vet sooner somehow, if the player chooses

Thank you for your feedback! I never thought about the dog being wet lasting too long, but it makes sense. I guess I should have just stuck to the dog being sandy. That gets the same point across I think.

I'm glad the story struck a chord, though I'm feeling guilty that I made people sad. Sorry

Seems like a good idea! Here's my game!

Game url

https://synzia.itch.io/bridges

I'd like feedback on

Since this is pretty much only text, I'd love feedback on the writing! What worked, what didn't? If you could specifics, pointing to specific lines or paragraphs, that would be great so I know exactly what I need to work on.


[Day 14]

It's done. Writing those endings may have been one of the hardest things I've ever had to write. About the only good thing about me crying (yeah I cried. A lot. I'm really emotional sometimes) while trying to write it was that I had accurate reference points for my character's reactions.

But its done. And I think it turned out well. I never got around to working on CSS or anything, but I'm okay with that actually. That was sort of a reach goal for me anyways. My original goal was to make a game, and I succeeded at that. I made one I care about too.

I sincerely hope that y'all play my game and....well, I'd say enjoy it, but its not a very happy game. So I guess appreciate it?

Thank you for reading, and please play my game "Bridges" if you get the chance.

[Day 13]

Short one because its late and I really should be sleeping.

I did work on the endings today, and roped in two more playtesters. The game is nearly complete. Its missing the final ending, the transition screen to the endings, and the final paragraph in the last area of the game. I'd really wanted to get at least all the endings complete today, but, as I suspected, writing the endings is really emotionally draining. I hate leaving this much to the last minute, but I don't really have a choice. It'll be down to the wire, but I'm confident I'll make it. Here's hoping work isn't too busy tomorrow.

Excerpt (Library)

You look at the variety of music before you. You're normally a fan of blasting rock music in the house. Its loud, its fun, and sometimes the lyrics speak to you. But every time you turn up the stereo at home, $name gets wound up. Not in a bad way, $name seems to like howling along with some of it, but you don't want $pronounindirect to accidentally hurt or over-exert $pronounself when $pronoun is supposed to be resting at home. You look at your other choices. There's an awful lot of classical music here, old orchestral stuff. You've never listened extensively to classical stuff, but what you've heard hasn't been bad. Its not always your cup of tea, but you're willing to give anything a try. Plus, you figure classical might be a little easier on $name.

[Day 12]

I didn't get as much done as I wanted today, due to coming from work with a massive headache. Luckily, the weeks from hell at work seem to be coming to an end soon. At least for me. For now. We'll see, retail is always an adventure.

Anyways, I thought I wasn't going to get anything done, but I couldn't fall asleep until I had at least done something. So I did almost finish up all of the areas. The area that was only a quarter complete is now more like 2/3rds complete, with the last third being variable implementation elsewhere in the game. One of the other areas that was a little more than halfway done is now almost complete, with just a single passage left to write, which should be easy since its companion passage has already been written and I can easily borrow text from that. That leaves just a little more before I write the endings tomorrow. Which really does need to get done tomorrow because Friday is a workday and I've just been informed I'm going to be enlisted in baking, cooking, and being a gofer for shower preparations as soon as I get home.

Here's a short excerpt. Let's hope for a good tomorrow.

Excerpt

You see a portable CD player about the size of a watermelon near the table holding the brushes. It looks like something from twenty years ago, but it looks like it still works. The staff probably listens to music while they groom pets here. You put the rock CD you checked out earlier into the old player and press the triangular play button. You usually listen to music through your smartphone, like a lot of people these days, but you feel a bit of nostalgia using the CD player. A strong beat erupts from the CD player, and you hastily turn it down, hoping the staff doesn't wonder what you're doing. Now that the music is at a much more comfortable level, you bob your head along to the beat and hum with the opening riff. $name wags $pronounpossess tail, and gives a tiny howl, just enough to show that $pronoun's listening and recognizes the music.

[Day 11]

I woke up today at a reasonable hour for me today, and worked on the writing more. Two of the five areas are essentially done, two are more than halfway done, and I'm just left with one area that's maybe a quarter complete and the endings, which I have been putting off writing.

The concept of the game is you are taking a sick dog to all of its favorite places shortly before it passes away. My original concept was to let the players find this out once they reached the ending of the game. However, I can't do that. I don't think its fair to the players. Just seeing how I'm reacting to writing it, I don't want people who are like me, who don't deal well with this sort of thing, to go into playing this totally blind.

I had the idea for this game way back, around the time I realized one of my dogs was really getting to be old (He's 14 now, still kicking), and that I hadn't really taken the time to process the passing of another dog, who was old yes, but who was taken by cancer rather than old age. This game was conceived as a way for me to try and cope, as I don't do well with change at all, let alone a major change like the death of a loved one. I've been worrying myself, sometimes to the point of being sick, about my old dog nearly every night since that realization. This game is like a way for me to accept what I know is coming soon. A lot of what is written is taken directly from my own experiences with my old dog, my sick dog, and how my young and healthy dog reacted to it.

Its for that reason I've been putting off writing the endings. I just know its going to be really emotionally draining. And, to be honest, if the game doesn't get finished, it won't be because I was too ambitious or because I couldn't figure out how something worked. It will be because I avoided writing these endings.

With that in mind, I do intend to finish it. I will write these endings, because I need that closure. And because, I guess, I want to share what I'm feeling.

A bit of a downer of a DevLog, but the game isn't all sadness. There's some happy moments too.

Excerpt (Cafe)

You figure $name might like a little treat. The server looks excited and hurries away before almost immediately returning with a tiny cup overflowing with whipped cream. The server kneels and holds the cup out to $name. $name sits up and sniffs at it before lapping at it, covering $pronounpossess nose with the whipped cream. The server seems happy. If someone loves dogs, this might be one of the best perks of the job. $name finishes the cup pretty quickly and licks at $pronounpossess nose, getting the last bits of cream off.

Excerpt (Pet Store)

$name goes straight for a plush toy. It's an amorphous $couleur blob with embroidered eyes. $pronouncap cranes $pronounpossess neck and tries to nudge it with $pronounpossess nose. You take it off the rack and hold it out to $pronounindirect. $name happily takes it in $pronounpossess mouth and bites down hard, causing a shrill squeak to be heard. $pronouncap chews on it some more, making the squeaking noise ring through the store. $pronouncap seems content now.

Excerpt (Beach)

Instead, you direct $pronounindirect back to the seagulls that had just settled onto the sand again. You feel a little bad using the seagulls like that, but it does get $name away from the water. You watch $pronounindirect for a bit longer, enjoying the sight of $pronoundirect chasing the birds with such reckless abandon, as if $pronoun is a puppy again.

Tomorrow will be finishing up the last bits of the areas so I can just write the endings on Thursday and leave Friday for fine-tuning. I know the jam lasts until Saturday, but I'm helping host a bridal shower that day and might not have much time because of it.

Thank you so much for your continued replies! You're giving me great feedback. With this being my first time making a game, I've been very unsure of what I've been doing, as if I could somehow do it wrong. But with the time constraint here, there's no time to fret about it, I just have to go for it.

[Day 10]

I got exactly one thing done today after work. The Pet Store is now mostly written.

Here is a short excerpt

Excerpt (Pet Store)

$pronouncap immediately heads for the aisle lined with a variety of toys, from plushies and squeakers to tennis balls and little puzzle balls. $name wags $pronounpossess tail and looks up at you expectantly. You always let $pronounindirect pick out a toy when you're here. You could let $pronounindirect pick out another one now, though you're not sure how much use $pronoun'll get out of it.

Do you let $pronounindirect pick out a toy?

To be completely honest, I thought I wasn't going to get anything done today. I got home from work and pretty much immediately fell asleep. When I woke up, I was dizzy, so I decided it was best to not struggle through writing. But the dizziness cleared up enough for me to get this done. Now its back to sleep for me. Tomorrow is one of my days off, and I have to get a lot done tomorrow if this is to turn out even close to how I wanted it.

(Edited 1 time)

[Day 9]

Every main area has at least a paragraph written about it now, which in retrospect doesn't seem like a lot, but something is better than nothing. Its interesting, I'm finding myself torn between trying to restrain my expectations and trying to go above and beyond. I don't want to exhaust myself, but I also am used to writing entire novels, so writing anything less constantly causes my brain to yell "You aren't writing enough!" and then it devolves from there into useless self-criticism. Thinking about yourself and your work critically isn't necessarily a bad thing, but being your own worst critic can be.

I know this devlog has turned into more of a journal rather than a strict update on the progress of the game, but I guess that's because this is really as much for me as it is for everybody else. I want to save this devlog so I can reflect back upon it and learn what worked and what didn't, both in terms of making games and working under time constraints.

Anyways, here's a few small excerpts to round out the log. My goals remain the same for the next few days, especially since I have work again tomorrow.

Excerpt (Cafe)

You approach your favorite cafe in town. Well, its one of the only cafes in town. Still, this one definitely has the best food and drink, and the friendliest staff. You can smell the home-made pastries from down the street, mixing with a strong coffee scent. $name sniffs at the air, $pronounpossess tail wagging a little. $pronounpossesscap appetite hasn't been too great recently. Your not even sure if $pronoun has eaten anything in the last day besides $pronounpossess medication and a bit of rice you shared with $pronounindirect from your takeout food.

Excerpt (Park)

The park is mostly just a wide expanse of grass surrounded by some evergreen trees that don't mind the salty wind from the coast. There are some other people here with their dogs. You know almost all of them by name, but you don't much feel like talking with them today. Today is all about $name.

You found a stick! You wave it around and $name gets excited, tapping $pronounpossess paws on the ground, waiting for you to throw it. Do you throw the stick?

[Day 8]

Yesterday, I gave myself the day off because I got home from work, exhausted, covered in price tags and customers' germs, I wanted nothing more than to curl up in bed and watch YouTube videos. So I did. Watched hours of people playing Stardew Valley and ate an entire stack of Ritz crackers. It was great. Still, even if I didn't do any physical development, I didn't take a break from thinking and planning about the game.

As such, when I woke up this afternoon (I ended up sleeping until 1 p.m. 13 hours of sleep never felt so good), the first thing I did was add in the remaining choices/variables I had planned for. Meet the new and improved story map, likely the final version (for real this time).

I'm finally getting these variables to show up in other parts of the story. For instance, if you go to the beach, and let your dog go swimming, the people at the cafe and the library might not be too happy. But that doesn't mean the cafe and library are off-limits if you went to the beach first. You just might have to sit at one of the cafe's tables outside, and the library people won't let you near their music collection (but the books are okay!). I also got some writing done for the park, a little more for the beach, and just a bit for the cafe.

I finally had two people (my sister and her friend) play test my game in person (my other play tester is sadly far away from me, so I can't observe the choices made). It was very nerve-wracking to watch people judge my game in real-time, especially since I knew my sister would not pull any punches. Which she didn't. I asked her opinion and she flat out said, "I have no interest in text-based games since its just a book. So I can't really give an opinion." I tried to press her for more, but she just kind of shrugged and said, "It is what it is" in a tone that very obviously suggested she wasn't comfortable saying what she really wanted to say. Obviously, this isn't really what I wanted to hear, and a little disheartening, but it somehow also makes me feel...better somehow? I think the first time someone criticizes your work is always the worst. After that initial disappointment, you just want to do better. You look past anything that isn't helpful and focus on what is.

And besides, that's what this game jam is all about right? Learning what you can do to better yourself and your skills? Its hard to know what to fix if no one will tell you what's wrong.

I have work again tomorrow, but a shorter shift. I'm hoping to get another good chunk of writing done so I can focus on just fine-tuning the game after that.

Thank you for the reply! I do my best to plan during down time. I used to never plan or think about what I was doing when writing, but participating in NaNoWriMo the last several years while also working and attending school has forced me to put any available time to good use.

(Edited 1 time)

[Day 6]

Another work day, which means another day of my brain being fried. But I did manage to get some actual writing done today! I'm finding myself using the same techniques I use to get through NaNoWriMo, as you can see in the excerpt that I copy-pasted below. Mainly it involves me writing the easy stuff out so its done and leaving the hard stuff for later, even if it means working out of order.

Excerpt ("Beach")

You decide to head to the beach. $name always loved to play in the salty water. You haven't been in awhile, but you figure $pronoun might still like to wade in a few inches and bark at the seagulls that frequent the sand.

Blah blah blah

You let $pronounindirect off $pronounpossess leash and watch $pronounindirect trot over to where the seagulls are resting. $pronouncap doesn't sprint like $pronoun used to, but $pronounpossess bark is almost as loud. The seagulls squawk in return and beat their wings to escape.

Blah blah blah

$pronouncap slowly sits then just flops over. You hurry over to check on $pronounindirect, worried something might be wrong, but then $pronoun rolls over onto $pronounpossess back and wiggles a bit, covering $pronounpossess coat of fur in sand.

"$name!" you say in exasperation. You're going to have to give $pronounindirect a bath now. Apparently satisfied, $pronoun rolls back over. $pronouncap seems exhausted by even that little bit of effort. You can hear $pronounpossess breathing more now, and $pronoun doesn't seem to want to stand just yet. You decide to sit on the sand next to $pronounindirect.

I'm getting much more comfortable using variables and setting new ones. I found out it was easier to have choices set up so they take the player to a new screen rather than set up a prompt and add text to an existing screen. So a few more passages are being added. Like so.


Cafe has now become Cafe->WhippedCreamYes or WhippedCreamNo->Cafe End then onto a new place. This will likely be added to each of the places, but these little intermediary screens won't have more than a sentence or two in them most likely. I set this one up specifically because $whippedcream is referenced in "Beach" and I wanted to make the reference worked. It does, but now I'm having to think about formatting and working on removing whitespace because Harlowe/Twine has an annoying habit of creating whitespace where unprinted text or variables are, leading to awkwardly long beginnings and paragraph breaks.

Next couple of days will be more writing, more choice implementing, and maybe looking into CSS and learning how to pretty up the game a bit. I'm no good with doing my own graphics, and my only formatting experience has been with forum BBCode, but there are a lot of good resources out there and here in the jam. I'm sure I can find a tutorial and free-to-use graphics.

[Day 5]

Another day of work, more exhausting than the last. Retail is like that. Because of work, I really didn't get much done today. Luckily I just got called off of Saturday so I intend to implement a lot of the ideas I'm currently writing shorthand notes about when I get the chance.

Notes from today included ideas for choices the players can make at each location they visit. Some will have lasting consequences (good or bad), and some will only have consequences depending on the order of the places you visit. For instance, one variable is $whippedcream. Eaten at the right time, everyone is happy and nothing goes wrong! Eaten at the wrong time, and someone gets an upset stomach. Another is $stick. If you get the stick at the right time, it can come with you to another location. Your dog might like that.

Goals for the next few days involve developing these ideas and writing them out in full so I can just transcribe it when I need to rather than wing it while I'm trying to also implement variables. We'll see how that goes though, since work has been so busy, and I just want to sleep for fifty years.

(Edited 2 times)

[Day 4]

I'm updating this on mobile super late, but today I did manage (with a lot of help) to fix all of the linked passages so that they worked how I intended them to. That took up most of my time actually, so while I didn't get much done in quantity, I got quality work done

[Day 3]

I had work today, and funny thing about working an 8-hour retail shift, it tends to tire you out. I'm not a high energy person to begin with, so when I got home, I really didn't want to work on my game. But I have work every day this week except tomorrow, so if I don't dev after work, this game won't get done. Still, I mostly worked on the story today rather than the map links since my brain is a bit fried and all I can think about is the products I have to sell.

I got the introduction done, and am currently working on the second passage. Writing is my strong suit, and I can write fairly fast, but I'm having to slow myself down and remember to put my variables in.

Below is the beginning of the story, after you pick a name and sex for your dog. Originally, the story was meant to be written in such a way that you would not know your friend was a dog until the end, but I'd rather have people go into this knowing what they're getting into. I don't think the story will lose much the way I'm writing it now, and it allows me to write much more naturally and freely.

Excerpt:

You sit in your chair, reading the morning newspaper. $name is on the floor, idly playing with a toy. It's an old-fashioned scene, a heartwarming one. The atmosphere is only disturbed by $name's wheezing breaths. You haven't been able to do much since $pronoun got sick. You think $pronoun's getting worse. Today could be the day. Or tomorrow. You see $pronounindirect on the floor, $pronounpossess eyes dull, $pronounpossess body frail. It might be time for one last visit to the vet, but $pronoun isn't ready. You're not ready. You'd always heard it was better to go out with a bang rather than a whimper. $name is only four, but maybe the phrase could still apply. What are you going to do? Do you go outside, even though $pronoun isn't at $pronounpossess healthiest?

Yeah, the story is going to be a little sad probably.

My goal for tomorrow is to get the story map links squared away so I can focus on writing and not worry about broken passages after getting home from work. I added some special names in as a test to see how I can get sentences to print or not print depending on the scenario, so I'm going to be thinking of little variables to put in while I'm at work this week!

[Day 2]

Taking your feedback into account, I modified my plans and decided to try working with variables to achieve my goals.


As you can see, this is a much simpler story map. I was able to (with the help of of some lovely jammers) implement a prompt for a name variable, as well as figure out how to set pronouns for the named character. And (after a few hours), I was able to figure out how to allow all five places to be linked without allowing the player to visit any place more than once, though when I tried to implement it multiple times on one page, I'm seeing errors. Pretty sure it has to do with another variable I'm working on. Syntax errors will be the death of me though.

So, barring anything crazy happening, this is the finished map! Now I'm working on getting some other variables in place, namely one that increments by one for each place so that when the player reaches five places visited, there is only a sixth and final place left to go. I also wrote the first part of my start screen, so the story is officially on its way!

Yeah, I'll just have to see how similar they end up being. My idea is that the player will act differently depending on whether they went 1-2-3 or 2-3-1 or 1-3-2 or 2-1-3. Even ending up in the same place after the same amount of choices won't mean the same thing happens. But if the passages end up being super similar (and I have the time, because I sincerely think variables will take me longer than writing, I have much more experience writing then I do with variables), then I might try it!

And I'm using the desktop app version 2.0.10.

Its possible! And definitely something I've considered. It's mostly going to depend on what the final skeleton map looks like, and how comfortable I am with using the first two variables. Setting up the passages themselves isn't too time-consuming since I'm not writing the story yet, so I'm happy to just use it as a tool to figuring out the progression of each route.

Created a new topic [DevLog] Bridges- COMPLETE
(Edited 2 times)

Hi! This is my first time making a game, so any feedback is greatly appreciated!

-Game Title: "Bridges" (Tentative title)

-Engine: Twine

-Genre: Interactive Story

Quick Description: You have the choice to make their last days better. What will you do?

[Day 1]

I jumped into this having only read tutorials on how to use Twine, and opening it once or twice to get used to the interface. Never made anything really beyond a single linked passage. So I'm happy with my progress so far, considering I'm generally a person who lacks motivation to get things done!

I haven't started writing the story extensively yet, but I'm not too concerned about that since that is my area of expertise. Still, if I'm calculating things right, I will have 332 passages to write. Which is. A lot. Granted, some will be almost direct copies of others, but I'll still need to tweak each one, as making each choice unique, even in small ways, is a goal of mine.

Here's a look at the current story map. I used the small view because my passage titles are full of spoilers to help me keep track of where I am. I'm putting all the placeholder passages in first then I'm going to go back and put the actual story in. The idea is you have to visit 5 areas, but the 5 areas can be visited in any order, and the areas you visited previously can affect how the new area goes.

 photo Jan1st2017DevLog.png

My goals for the next few days is to finish the skeleton map, add two simple variables to the beginning (name and sex), and possibly add a couple extra variables that will affect choices in minor ways, where they won't need a new passage rather than a simple extra sentence or a small event.

1. Hi there! What's your name? Want to introduce yourself?

I'm Sam, but mostly I go by Synzia online. I'm a recent college grad (BA in English-Creative Writing).

2. Did you participate in the last jam we held? If so, what do you plan on doing better this time? If not, what's your reason for joining?

I did not, but I wanted to join because I want to create games for fun and for a living and I figured I might as well get a jump on the process!

3. What games are your favorites? Did any of them inspire you, or made you want to make your own?

Pokemon, Skyrim, Bastion, Transistor, and Overwatch are some of my favorites. Honorable mentions to the Borderlands series and both Portal games. Bastion in particular was the game that sparked my interest in making my own games. I read a review of it and immediately began saving money to get a console to play it on. I eventually got it on Steam and played it all in one sitting. I was in community college at the time, and didn't really know what I was doing with my life, but Bastion gave me the courage to actually pursue a game career!

4. Do you have experience with game development? What did you do/with what engine?

I do not. I've been messing around with Unity and with Twine (I'll be using Twine this jam), but I've never done any extensive work with creating games. This jam is my first step! I've taken programming classes before (Python, a bit of C++, and an intro class to Linux) so I won't be totally lost when it comes to variables and such.

5. Tell us about something you're passionate about!

Writing! I love writing, I love telling stories, I love sharing stories. I write mostly fiction, mostly novels, but I've also worked on short stories and non fiction/memoirs. I tend to be verbose (oops). I also just like learning. I'm that kind of person that spends hours getting lost on Wikipedia and then spends the next few days spouting the random trivia I learned. I also enjoy helping people, as I was trained as a peer counselor and worked with a nonprofit that assisted LGTBQIA+ youth.

6. Any advice to new jammers (if you're a veteran)?

I'm a newbie, I'll take advice if you've got it, I'm incredibly intimidated actually (I'm usually much more of the lurking type, but I'm trying to push myself more!)