Personal wishlist for Choicescript

Choicescript is fast to learn and fun to write in (like Inform 7, yay), but there are some things I wish I could do with it.

  • Change default black text on white appearance
    • A beta-tester commented that it was uncomfortable to look at, and it’d be cool to be able to insert your own banner or logo
  • Be able to play-test game from a certain point
    • Like skeins in I7. I get that I can use a placeholder variable to get around this, but it’d be nice to have around.
  • (related) Dedicated text editor for Choicescript
    • syntax colouring for *choice and #options for example
    • Playtest within the editor
  • Keyboard shortcuts
    • YESSSS keyboard shortcuts for ‘Next’/*page_break and things like that
    • Like how Duolingo does it!

Alter Ego

by Peter J. Favaro, Ph.D.

Yes, I’ll admit the “Ph.D” was rather offputting. Surely anyone who feels the compulsion to put their academic qualifications in a piece of interactive fiction is writing this as part of some paper, or just really anxious to let people know that “Hey! I’ve got a PhD!!!”

Anyway.

It’s a life simulation game, basically. Where your actions and attitudes affect how you turn out in the end. What makes it interesting is probably that it’s a Choicescript adaptation of a 

Much spoilers below.

Things I liked:

  • I liked the sandbox nature of the game – it felt like an RPG, albeit a superficially WASPish one (i.e. white Anglo-Saxon Protestant) set in a generic ‘Murica.
  • The platform suits the game, and the customisation of the interface was well done. 
  • Well done, too. I got emotionally involved.
  • The author(s) are aware of requests for features, and I realise that adding those in would be a Herculean task.

Things I didn’t like:

  • vagueness of NPCs – any details about ‘your best friend’ or ‘your mother’ are kept very, very vague. Just names, like Cindy or Mrs Hendrick, which tell me nothing
  • vagueness of details in general – As above, the whole game is set in some white-bread, generic, one-size-doesn’t-quite-fit-all ‘Murica. 
  • sections on the Intellectual Sphere use trivia questions to gauge your intellectual ability. This feels lazy. Google is your brain. (*note: the authors are aware of this)
  • So when I say ‘life simulation game’, I mean ‘simulation of life as a white cis male/female in a generic American setting’. 
  • attitude + action combinations which aren’t compatible… well, these don’t make too much sense. As a sandbox game, I’d like to have as much flexibility as possible. And then, according to the authors, it’s a game which clocks in at 220, 000 words, so. 
  • some of the conclusions drawn by the narrator were trying to assume a lot. Being excited for a sleepover means you don’t appreciate the security your parents provide??

I liked the direction of the game, though, and the variety of options already present are quite generous.

Progenitor’s Folly: Killing Orders

By Clinton Ma.

Set in New Caldonis, an overindustrialised city along the lines of China Mieville’s New Crobuzon, you play Miranda, a young scientist, who wakes up in a boardroom with an assassin on her heels.

The game immediately launches into action sequences which would not feel out of place in a movie, though the density of text in some scenes broke the rhythm somewhat. Still, for a game which advertises itself as a fast-paced, adventure thriller, which initially seems a tad much for a debut game, it is technically excellent and very well implemented.

Progenitor’s Folly could be considered almost a genrebreaker for Choicescript games. For one, it eschews the ‘personality questions’ which are commonly used to establish the character’s stats. Instead, it plays more like so-called ‘traditional’ IF. As short as this game is, it is heavily story-based. There is not too much in the way of characterisation, nor in setting the scene. Is this a weakness? Maybe. One must get one’s expectations right.

Despite some tiny spelling/language mistakes here and there, Progenitor’s Folly is a promising start for what the author says is a planned trilogy.

Progenitor’s Folly: Killing Orders

By Clinton Ma.

Set in New Caldonis, an overindustrialised city along the lines of China Mieville’s New Crobuzon, you play Miranda, a young scientist, who wakes up in a boardroom with an assassin on her heels.

The game immediately launches into action sequences which would not feel out of place in a movie, though the density of text in some scenes broke the rhythm somewhat. Still, for a game which advertises itself as a fast-paced, adventure thriller, which initially seems a tad much for a debut game, it is technically excellent and very well implemented.

Progenitor’s Folly could be considered almost a genrebreaker for Choicescript games. For one, it eschews the ‘personality questions’ which are commonly used to establish the character’s stats. Instead, it plays more like so-called ‘traditional’ IF. As short as this game is, it is heavily story-based. There is not too much in the way of characterisation, nor in setting the scene. Is this a weakness? Maybe. One must get one’s expectations right.

Despite some tiny spelling/language mistakes here and there, Progenitor’s Folly is a promising start for what the author says is a planned trilogy.

The Nightmare Maze

Sickly white moonlight floods the Boston night, and from your bedroom window you can see the damp rooftops shine, a static sea of silver and black. The monotonous bells of your downstairs clock inform you it is 2 AM on the morning of June 17th, 1854, and your skin starts to crawl as you realize there is little chance you will be able to stay awake much longer.

Was playing this yesterday. Not too bad.

The aim of the game is to reach 100% insight so you can figure out what’s going on in this poor chap’s nightmares. The premise was very promising. However, the game felt lacking in depth and I was rather disappointed when I reached 100% insight, or indeed 100% lucidity. The explanation for the nightmares was a bit wanting in depth. At the end, it got harder and harder to feel for the player-character as a person. Pity.

One thing I want to try for myself is Choicescript– the ability to tweak stats is quite appealing.