It seems there’s a very good chance I’ll be doing a new game with Choice of Games. Looks like it will be more of a fantasy outing this time. Watch this space for more news as I have it.
The game is out and you can get it here. For a limited time you can get it at a discount, only $2.99.
Claw your way to the top of Moreytown, a furry slum for human-animal hybrids. Will you take down the gangs who rule the town, or take them over instead?
My game is almost here. It will be released this Friday, May 5th. Mark your calendars.
I will post links when it goes live, but to whet your appetite in the meantime, here’s the interview I did about Welcome to Moreytown for the Choice of Games’ blog.
If you’ve been interested in the saga of my game development, good news! You can be part of the saga! Choice of Games needs beta testers for “Welcome to Moreytown.” All you need to do to become one is click on this link and follow the instructions. The beta window will not be open for long, so if you’re interested, sign up today!
Just a little update to let you know I’m still alive, still busy doing game things like revising my final draft for my editor. Now that’s done, we’re on to continuity and beta testing. In the meantime I had to come up with some additional “assets” for the game. One such “asset” is some descriptions of the game.
No more than 50 characters, suitable for the Subject: line of an email.
Okay, I can do that.
We recommend coming up with 20 of them.
You think that sounds bad? It’s really worse. Especially because, well, I’m a novelist. Pithy ain’t really my thing. When your publisher’s documentation of their needs actually uses the word “grueling,” you know you’re in for a good time. It’s especially grueling because this is no trivial bit of work. One of those 20 lines may be the first glimpse someone has of this game, so it’s kind of important.
PS: I was going to put up a political post instead of this, and then I looked around and told myself, “Yeah, that’s what the Internet needs right now— MORE POLITICS!“
The first draft of Welcome to Moreytown is done!
After a few more run-throughs I should be handing it off to Choice Of Games by the end of the week. The bad news, for those of you itching to play this thing, is that we still have rounds of editorial comment to go through. Then, unlike my other fiction, there will be the beta testing and more comments. So don’t expect this to be available on iTunes for another six to eight months, at least.
As I mentioned in my last update, writing this thing resulted in a cascade of complexity at the end, resulting in a distinct 28(!) separate paths into the Epilogue. And that may be understating things because there are a few end states that overlap into the same entry point.
I’m in the home stretch
Here’s an update for those of you interested in my Choice of Games project. The first draft of Welcome to Moreytown is almost complete. I am working on the final chapters now, and I plan to turn it in to them before the end of the year, assuming the Christmas holiday is more forgiving of my time than the Thanksgiving one was.
An interesting, if predictable, wrinkle is that the closer I get to the climax, the more complex the writing becomes. I don’t even know exactly how many parallel paths the PC can be on in the penultimate chapter, but there are a lot of them. Enough that this chapter alone may weigh in at around 20K words.
However, we seem to be on track to see this game available some time in 2017.
My effort on the “Welcome to Moreytown” game proceeds apace. I am currently finishing up chapter seven of twelve, and hope to have eight completed by the end of the month. Entirely coincidentally, a member of my writing workshop had her game critiqued, which prompted a discussion with yet another member of the group who teaches game design… (As an aside; is it me, or is there much more overlap between the gaming and SF communities nowadays than there was five or ten years ago?)
Anyway, that discussion brought home what a different mode of writing this actually is, and not just because of the amount of coding that is involved. It’s almost the inverse of script-writing. With a script, as a writer, you must leave stuff out. A lot of stuff. As a novelist, it can feel like most of the stuff. Most of the visuals, costuming, stage business, all relies on other people. That’s why scripts are so lean vs. prose, a feature film script can run about 100 pages, and if there’s more than a couple hundred words a page it’s probably too dense.
With this type of gaming script, you end up writing a lot more than you would with comparable prose. Code aside, it’s possible for a player to go through the entire thing and only read about half of what you’ve written. Also, given the permutations, it will be a very rare pair of players who end up reading the exact same portions of it.
Also, what a computer can do, opposed to the old choose-your-own-adventure games, is allow choices that change narrative elements other than the story’s plot progression. An obvious example, if you play one of Choice of Games’ free sample games, is the swapping of gender. In the “Choice of Broadsides” game, your gender selection affects the entire navy. But there are other interesting things you can do. An example from the WiP “Welcome to Moreytown,” is the choice of PC species comes with choosing a primary sense (vision, hearing, smell) that doesn’t do a lot to affect the story, but changes the descriptions of various scenes throughout the game. Another example, the PC meets an NPC and the player chooses how they see that NPC: irritating, ridiculous, creepy or interesting. the encounter proceeds roughly the same way for each choice, but the descriptions provided to the PC differ according to that first impression, and it colors every time that NPC is refrenced or encountered through the game.
Needless to say, a much different experience.
If you’re unfamiliar with CoG’s work, think of it as a (much more) sophisticated digital version of the “choose your own adventure” titles from the 1980s.
My current progress on the project: I just crossed the halfway mark on the draft of the game. If we count by chapters, I’ve finished six of twelve so far. If we go by “word” count, it’s probably short of halfway because I suspect the code part of the writing will become more complex as I close in on the climax.
That “word” count is a good way to give you some idea of the difference between this kind of project and straight prose. In a typical novel, my chapters typically run an average of 2,500 words or so. The chapters in the game probably cover the same range of plot development as my prose, and display to the reader/player a similar amount of narrative.
However, when we include the code along with the narrative the reader/player doesn’t see (for instance, because they went out the door rather than the window) each game chapter runs from 5,000 to 10,000 “words,” that’s 2x to 4x the amount of writing for a comparable prose chapter.
Some non-spoilery details about the game so far: You will be playing a non-human— fox, tiger, rat, capybara, etc. The setting is a non-human ghetto, the eponymous Moreytown, in a unspecified US metropolitan area. It will have street gangs, drugs, and explosions. It will have fights, cults, and, potentially, interspecies romance.
I will keep everyone posted as this works its way through the development pipeline.