Play-testing: Evolve

Hi everyone. My game’s currently called “Evolve” and I’d love some help with play-testing. The problem I’m encountering doing this myself is that every time I encounter a mistake by play-testing myself is that my character goes in the wrong direction! And then I can’t test the fix without getting all bogged down. So if people are willing to help I would greatly appreciate it.

The game currently has around 12 cards, and the ability to determine your gender, motility, kingdom and a few other things. Please let me know if something doesn’t make sense, doesn’t work right, there’s typos, etc. Thanks!

EDIT: I’ve taken the link down to do a few more updates. I’ll post when it’s ready to go again!
edited by Caitydid on 8/8/2012

Tried, It went multi-cellular, noticed something you might want to take note of. when i evolved, I had the search for food card in my hand. this is unusable for a multi-celled and I can find no way to discard it.

Pretty fun, but I suspect that “Arise from the Primordial Soup” card isn’t supposed to appear more than once. I end up being Immobile 3 and Flagellum 1 and Ambigious and Single Cellular and Multi-Cellular and a plant… :)

The Death card doesn’t work.

As Doomlewa say, if you went multi-cellar the food card can’t be discarded.

The thing’s I’ve noticed are the qualities and inventory seem to be messed up. The text is overlapping the picture and some don’t even have pictures. Also since this seems like a educational game in nature might I suggest a sort of Eco-pedia where one could click on terms to learn more about them? Unless of course embedding isn’t allowed with this tool.

Yeah, I chose to be multicellular and now I can’t do anything. It seems like there are only three cards available, getting food, exploring the environment, and finding out about yourself. The first requires unicellularity, the second requires food and resources, and the latter doesn’t progress the story.

Also, yes, the “Arise from primordial soup” card can be drawn multiple times.

A suggestion: Perhaps only give the opportunity to branch into different kingdoms after the story has progressed by some time? Start everyone out as a bacteria, and give them the opportunity to become multicellular once they’ve gotten the ropes. Multicellularity didn’t evolve for quite a while in real life, anyway. You could even have colonies as an intermediary step, a sort of hint at what’s to come if you want to be multicellular.

Even if it is very rough, though, this looks like it will be awesome! Can’t wait to see more. : )

Edit: Also, it seems like qualities don’t increase when used in challenges? That makes things…rather difficult. Furthermore, it seems like it’s impossible to play the “explore your environment” card, as I can’t seem to get Resourcefullness.
edited by Little The on 7/30/2012

Thanks for the comments everyone! I appreciate you looking through the game, it’s really hard to catch the mistakes without playing. I’ll get to work on these suggestions, and keep expanding as I go. :-)

Sorry, edited the wrong thread >.<
edited by Aximillio on 7/30/2012

I’ve had a play with Evolve and it’s looking like a splendid beginning.

It’s good that you’re doing something quite different with StoryNexus. Most of what we’ve done with the technology so far is a single person running around and having adventures. It’s good to see someone putting it to a radically different use.

But, I do have a few bits of advice, so here they are:
Don’t leave text blank - there’s just the default ellipsis after ‘It’s Alive!’ Even if you don’t intend there to be much or any text, it looks like a mistake and you’ll get reports about it. You could paraphrase the title if you don’t want any other text there.

You should have a look at Lateral qualities (MajorLateral and MinorLateral quality categories). These are good for qualities that have a small number of distinct levels. So, instead of having ‘fungi’ and ‘animal’ and all that as different qualities, you could have a ‘Kingdom’ quality that has ‘Fungi’ and ‘Animals’ as quality levels. Have a look at the reference document at quality categories and Quality Level Descriptions to see how this stuff work.

As other folks have said ‘Arise from the Primordial Soup’ looks like it should be played only once. You could have it give a quality out and then put a max 0 requirement on that storylet. That would ensure it gets played only once.

As an overall design point, you should watch out for combinatorial explosion. That’s when you’ve got a bunch of qualities (like ambulatory, kingdom, vegetarian, whatever) that could unlock content. You could end up having to write a huge amount of content (right that’s the ambulatory carnivorous fungus content done, let’s go on to the ambulatory carnivorous bacteria content…). So you might want to have a think about how you’re going to lock and unlock content with your various qualities. In general, you want a small number of qualities compared to how many storylets you want to write.

But this is good stuff, and I’m looking forward to seeing more of it.


Excellent feedback Nigel (and everyone else)! When I’ve done another set of updates I’ll let everyone know, probably by this weekend.

Not sure if this is your bug or Failbetter’s, but after playing the “It’s Alive” card, the decks/opportunities/storylets section of the UI is blank. My username there’s Aspeon, my qualities are A Stranger, Single-Celled Organism, Immobile, Ambiguous Creature, and Life all at 1.

(Safari 5.1.7 on a Mac, if it matters)

huh, yeah. I seem to have lost all ability to play cards, even pinned ones. Maybe I created a contradiction somewhere that made it crash? >.<

I’ll have a look.

I got the tech department (in the person of the entirely magnificent Henry) to take a look, and it should be fixed now. For the moment, could you not swap any storylets between Sometimes and Always? That will make the bad thing happen again until it can be fixed properly - which will probably be a day or two.

Sure, I won’t touch it, and thank you so much for fixing it! I was able to destroy my first character so I can keep testing a few things out.

The ‘Blessed rain’ card seems to appear even above 5 Adaptivity. Since the action is locked at 6+ adapt, this makes it impossible to get rid of.

Edit: The same thing happens with the ‘drought’ card
edited by Aximillio on 8/3/2012

The two cards that were getting stuck have now been fixed. Sorry about that!

Hermaphroditic and asexual organisms register as male (rather than having both Gendered:Male and Gendered:Female or Gendered:Neuter), the “SUB…” pinned card has no actions and remains after a reset, and I seem to have somehow gotten locked out of going multi-cellular.

All of that’s most likely due to the fact that I’m in the system programming those parts at this very moment. Sorry about that! I’m going to be posting soon welcoming people to stage two of the beta test, with a major restructuring of story progression.

I got to the stage where I selected both my gender and what type of creature I was, but for some reason neither of these pinned cards disappeared after doing so. I might also suggest adding more basic cards that test the defenses quality, or increasing the frequency of the self-improvement card as that made it so that I could get both of my other qualities into the double digits before any of the aforementioned pinned cards showed up.

Can’t populate because I am lacking a key of dreams?