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Seeking feedback for interactive fiction

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I wrote an interactive story thingy about religion. A beta is available here: http://we-are-1.net/CYOA_1.swf

It still needs music, and I’m still doing some editing, so any feedback/error-finding would be appreciated.

I wrote the story as an atheist, but my views changed drastically while I was editing it. So that was weird. I wrote an autobiography explaining that odd little transition; I’m planning to include it as an unlockable within the game (if you get 15-20 endings or something). It’s currently available to read at we-are-1.net

Any feedback for either one would be appreciated.

 
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I ended up rather enjoying it a bit. The style of dialogue was a bit strange. I suppose that you were going for a more relaxed/humorous tone but this mainly just kept me from becoming more fully immersed in the story. I can appreciate your writing style and it would not affect my view of the story too much in the end, but I think I would enjoy it more and become more immersed in it if it had slightly more serious dialogue options. Given the nature of the subject, I suppose that the problem comes from me expecting for the execution and dialogue to be more serious as opposed to comical. Of course this is just my opinion and others may prefer to had the comical dialogue options to keep the story from getting too serious and feely.

Other than that, I still enjoyed the story, I explored 3 of the endings and I will say that some of the choices were pretty hard to make. I could either jump after faith or attack god. Even though I really wanted to jump after her I knew I wouldn’t really do that, but on the other hand, I didn’t quite want to attack god. Having to choose between such extreme choices was difficult but I guess that’s just part of the fun! Out of the three endings you could reach from those two choices, the jump after faith ending was my favorite. It was kind of sad and I don’t quite know how I feel about it, but this confusion of feelings made it good! The dialogue itself was a bit awkward but still well written and gave me a bit of feels.

I may end up doing more endings later, but I am done for now. Just one last note: is the ending counter not functional yet or is the fact that the endings counter never changed a bug?

 
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Interactive story thingy about religion.


Suggestions:

1) The otter story by Terry Pratchett went at an automatic speed. While I was able to keep up, I fear others may not. Maybe add a button press or mouse click?

2) I felt the drawings of Faith should have had eye patches, no?


Typographical errors:

1) After the choices of “Listen to your father, Faith! It’s not cool to get high and deny Christ. Plus, there could be children around!” and “Mellow out, old man!” – After selecting the latter, on page 114 in the Alien Bar, Faith says, “Yeah, lisen [sic] to [name typed here].”


Compliments:

1) God having a fanny-pack is quite silly.

2) I don’t want to spoil much here, but on the way to Ending 20, where God pushes the bookcase on the three in an apparent assassination attempt was pretty funny.

3) “Crystal math” – Hurr hurr :-P

4) I like how the three drugs (Flying Saucer) were so descriptive and detailed ;-P


If ya don’t mind I’mma jot my endings here, since, as was said, the counter is borked:

13, 14, 19, 17, 21, 16, 1, 18, 20, 8, 3, 5*, 6**, 9, 10, 11, 22, 12, 15 (I got pretty tired at this point. I may pick up another time.)

*I couldn't resist ;-)
**Oh gawd, I suck at maths. pls dun judge


Summary:

I thoroughly enjoyed the two hours I spent playing. While I usually don’t care for these types of games, I found myself interested in this one. Overall it seemed to have a serious tone, but then again it did have its share of humorous moments. I couldn’t shake the feeling of you, Greg, while reading. Maybe it’s just because I know you (stalker alert), but I definitely felt your presence and opinions throughout the story. The game surely made me think about the central ideas you presented, and I bet that was your goal. I was a bit confused when I started playing, but after getting a couple endings under my belt, I was able to wrap my head around what was going on.

You certainly have a knack for creating these ‘Choose Your Own Adventure’ games and I’d definitely say this is more than good enough for you to continue doing this. As a gamer, though, I could appreciate more interactivity and possibly side games added. As an example, in the part where Faith is driving the motorcycle while being chased by the cops, a mini-game where I shoot at the cops would significantly expand the game and easily attract a wider group of people. I realize this would be tough, but it’s just a thought. The games wouldn’t have to be lengthy or detailed, but just something fun and interactive.

As to keeping the general idea of what you’ve been doing, I would love to see you try something out of your comfort zone and maybe a more comical story. I’m sorry to say that I cannot remember much from your first game (Thousand Dollar Soul), but I might go back and try it out once more.

In a summary of the summary, I have hardly any qualms about the game and really liked it. It was nicely polished and the story didn’t appear to have any huge plot holes. The story was compelling and detailed, too. It kept me interested long enough to want to keep trying out different endings and I became invested in the characters after a short while. I might have enjoyed a goofy character that had various comical remarks, but again, maybe that’s a path for your next game. I think you did a great job, and in Kong fashion, I give you 4 stars.

I might read the autobiography at a later date.

 
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I’ve only read the autobiography, and wow, it’s quite an experience. You express things others claim couldn’t be expressed in words, and your stories really touched me. You’re clearly beyond my level of experience and knowledge on spiritual matters, but you know that you’re still far from perfect and down-to-earth. In spite of my atheist bias, and following your advice to try and find things that you disagreed with, I didn’t notice anything except for external bias; your wife convinced you that there were unexplained crop circles, and you now believe in unexplained crop circles. From there, you could very well go deeper into mysticism and religion (of sorts). Sadly, I didn’t play the interactive novel (it’s the artistic name for “interactive story thingy”) because I just don’t play games anymore. But if it has the same kind of message and writing as your autobiography does, it’s going to be great.

 
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yawns I see this at 1 am. _ Commenting tomorrow.

 
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I confess that I haven’t attempted to play Greg’s interactive fiction. I dove straight into his autobiography. Reading it, I could see some uncanny parallels between his life and mine. At the same time, I could see how we are polar opposites in some ways. I found it interesting that he experienced his visions by using psychedelics. I, on the other hand, experienced my visions through meditation. I understand what it’s like to see huge tapestries whose figures have the glow of stained glass, the softness of watercolor, hues of an intensity that I’ve never seen in the “real” world, and animated life within the tapestries themselves. I have a diary from many years back that describes my experiences in altered states of consciousness and my attempt to understand them. For the most part, I’ve kept these experiences to myself, but I’m hinting at them now to say that I understand some of what Greg went through. Ultimately, those experiences aren’t as important as the message that we are one, that we are here to experience life in all its terrible beauty and to express unconditional love to others as well as to ourselves.

Greg, we’ve traveled different paths, but we’ve arrived at the same conclusion.

I’ve never heard of The Law of One until now, though. Thanks for letting us know about these books.

 
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Thanks for the feedback, everyone! It is tremendously valuable to me.

I suppose that you were going for a more relaxed/humorous tone but this mainly just kept me from becoming more fully immersed in the story.

Yeah, it was definitely intended to be pretty relaxed. The story was serious at one point, but it just got so silly and ridiculous in later drafts that in the final version I couldn’t take it seriously anymore, so I changed the writing style to reflect that.

Just one last note: is the ending counter not functional yet or is the fact that the endings counter never changed a bug?

Not functional yet!

1) The otter story by Terry Pratchett went at an automatic speed. While I was able to keep up, I fear others may not. Maybe add a button press or mouse click?

Yeah, that’s placeholder. In the final version that quote is just going to be on one page in the loading screen.

2) I felt the drawings of Faith should have had eye patches, no?

Yeah, whoops, that’s not in yet — I meant to mention that in my original post. Good catch, though!

Typographical errors: 1) After the choices of “Listen to your father, Faith! It’s not cool to get high and deny Christ. Plus, there could be children around!” and “Mellow out, old man!” – After selecting the latter, on page 114 in the Alien Bar, Faith says, “Yeah, lisen [sic] to [name typed here].”

Especially helpful, thank you! I will fix this. I haven’t even run the text through a spell check yet, haha.

I was a bit confused when I started playing, but after getting a couple endings under my belt, I was able to wrap my head around what was going on.

Just what I wanted to hear! That’s a relief.

As a gamer, though, I could appreciate more interactivity and possibly side games added.

I agree, which is one of the reasons I was reluctant to add a badge to my first one. Actual interactivity is beyond the scope of this project, though.

As to keeping the general idea of what you’ve been doing, I would love to see you try something out of your comfort zone and maybe a more comical story.

That’s what I was trying to do here after Thousand Dollar Soul, haha. My next story is actually going to be serious again, since it’ll be more of a direct sequel to Thousand Dollar Soul with Faith as one of the characters.

It was nicely polished and the story didn’t appear to have any huge plot holes. The story was compelling and detailed, too. It kept me interested long enough to want to keep trying out different endings and I became invested in the characters after a short while.

Thanks! It’s a relief to hear that you didn’t find any major plot holes. I definitely noticed and edited out a few in earlier drafts.

You’re clearly beyond my level of experience and knowledge on spiritual matters

We’re at the exact same level. You just haven’t consciously realized it yet!

Sadly, I didn’t play the interactive novel (it’s the artistic name for “interactive story thingy”) because I just don’t play games anymore. But if it has the same kind of message and writing as your autobiography does, it’s going to be great.

The message in the game is actually pretty much the exact opposite, since I wrote it all prior to having the experience. I think that’s what makes it extra funny, to me at least.

your wife convinced you that there were unexplained crop circles, and you now believe in unexplained crop circles

She actually didn’t convince me of anything about crop circles; she only inspired me to research it on my own. I initially started researching it because I wanted to disprove what she was saying, or at least provide counter-evidence. I was not prepared for how deep that rabbit hole went. Like I said in the conclusion, I realize this autobiography does not contain enough information to convince the reader of anything regarding crop circles. All I can say is that I very, very strongly recommend you research it on your own. There’s no shortage of books and websites. There’s a surprising amount of consensus among people who have spent a significant amount of time looking into this.

Reading it, I could see some uncanny parallels between his life and mine. At the same time, I could see how we are polar opposites in some ways.

Thank you for pointing this out. I believe that this journey is timeless and universal, existing in all cultures throughout all of human history.

I, on the other hand, experienced my visions through meditation. I understand what it’s like to see huge tapestries whose figures have the glow of stained glass, the softness of watercolor, hues of an intensity that I’ve never seen in the “real” world, and animated life within the tapestries themselves. I have a diary from many years back that describes my experiences in altered states of consciousness and my attempt to understand them. For the most part, I’ve kept these experiences to myself, but I’m hinting at them now to say that I understand some of what Greg went through.

I can understand why you would keep these experiences to yourself — I’m guessing that you realize that no matter how much you explain it to someone, they’re not going to grasp even 1% of it. There’s something kind of maddening about this, but I’m comforted to hear that others have experienced something similar. Experiencing it is really the only way to understand the scope of it; there’s just no other way. There is no visual representation of anything in our waking physical world that even comes close. I’ve started meditating since the events described, so I hope to one day revisit these visions through purely natural means.

Ultimately, those experiences aren’t as important as the message that we are one, that we are here to experience life in all its terrible beauty and to express unconditional love to others as well as to ourselves. Greg, we’ve traveled different paths, but we’ve arrived at the same conclusion.

I believe that this is the only conclusion for anyone who seeks the answer hard enough. Everyone’s paths are different, but I hope I was able to illustrate the important aspects of mine.

I’ve never heard of The Law of One until now, though. Thanks for letting us know about these books.

Let me know what you think of it!

 
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I would make it simpler to navigate, but that’s just me. If everything else finds it smooth, it’s good to go.
I won’t comment on the story as that is simply content.

 
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I don’t have time to read your whole autobiography on one setting, but it really is making me think. It’s extremely interesting and relating to my own life. I personally prefer this to the game, because this is really making me wonder.

 
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I have yet to play the interactive story but I have read part of your autobiography.

I’d like to ask if I may have permission to have members of my club (FFRF) read your autobiography as your transition itself intrigued me. If we do get permission we’d most likely take apart your autobiography into chunks and analyze it and discuss about it. Most of our club members are atheist but right now we are in the process of expanding our Free Thought collection in the school library and your autobiography seems to fit into what we are currently working on.

I must say that for your autobiography it was definitely engaging. As an atheist I could definitely see parts of your thought process but the way that your views shifted interested me (and my club advisor). I’ll write more comments later!

 
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I must say that for your autobiography it was definitely engaging. As an atheist I could definitely see parts of your thought process but the way that your views shifted interested me (and my club advisor). I’ll write more comments later!

QFT. What does FFRF stand for btw?

 
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Originally posted by DragonArcherZ:

QFT. What does FFRF stand for btw?

FFRF stands for Freedom From Religion Foundation. While the title of the organization can be mis-leading (my club is not about taking away one’s religion or “converting” them to atheism), the main purpose of the foundation is to work on lawsuits (eg. huge stone tablets of the ten commandments on public school grounds).

My club previously has had several members of the religious community (until they graduated last year). We are currently recruiting more members again this year due to the fact we’re all seniors ourselves now. While we are predominantly atheist that does not mean that our club is an “atheist” club. We welcome anyone who is interested in the separation of church and state, not the removal of church from people. We also welcome anyone who wishes to present on their own religion (eg such as the Muslim Student Association club which I was a part of last year also).

We are currently (as said) working on building our Free Thought collection of books. We have a nice mixture of books about atheism/religion so far but we’re still building our collection. I thought that the autobiography, as it started out as an atheist standpoint, would be a great way to kick off the new additions to our Free Thought collection soon.

 
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I’ve updated the original link — it now points to we-are-1.net, which is where I’m planning to host the autobiography permanently. Pass it around if you want — it should be easier to read than the Google Doc, and I’m not going to put any ads on the site.

I thought that the autobiography, as it started out as an atheist standpoint, would be a great way to kick off the new additions to our Free Thought collection soon.

That’s great — let me know if anyone has any reactions. I am definitely a supporter of FFRF.