Playtesting: Black Vacuum and White Stars

Humanity has moved out to space, and they’ve been there for so long that to study any history before the fabled Day of the Moon you’d have to go to Earth itself. People are just as comfortable on spaceships as on planets, sometimes more so. There aren’t any aliens yet, but the various cultures that have sprung up are so diverse that one barely needs another species. This is the galaxy where you live. Whether you’re running from your past or trying to have a glorious future, whether you become a renowned diplomat or an infamous pirate, you’ll have planets galore and light years between the stars to explore.

I’ve only put the very first segment up, and I’ll try to add new content at least once a week, depending on my classes and how much I have to work on NaNo. It’s still a bit rough, so any helpful comments are most welcome. If you have a problem, let me know and I’ll try to fix it as soon as I can.

Thanks for playing, and I hope you enjoy!

Edited with correct link.
edited by CharlottePike on 10/21/2012

Typo in the link leads to

We cannot find the StoryNexus world you are after.
Please choose a world from the list in the navigation bar.[/quote]
Also, after choosing a gender and motive, I get stuck in a loop of ‘Where will you begin?’ if I choose to be a diplomat’s aide or hang around a spaceport - when I chose either of those options I simply return to the home page where the same ‘Where will you begin?’ card was still pinned. After choosing the University option I was moved and can now continue, but it’s not the choice I wanted. sad face Is this intentional? I chose to identify as female and the University option had a female icon in the list of requirements, whereas the other two didn’t…

Sorry about that. I made those cards at the very beginning and started work on the University first, so I must have forgotten to go back and set them to move you to the correct location. The female icon is for a quality that is unique to the University and has nothing to do with your chosen gender.

I’m not sure if I can move your character to another location, so another apology for that. Thanks for letting me know, though!

If your locations are set to qualities, you can just go to the debug menu and give Corentin the right qualities for the section they wanted, after you get the character name that is. :-p
edited by Kitsune on 10/21/2012

Ooh, interesting. This looks like it could be closer to hard sci-fi.

-The motivation options at the start are a bit limited. There’s no real “sciency” option, like “I want to discover things”. It’s just glory, riches, or boredom. I guess I’ll pick the latter, that seems closest.

-If the “History” quality is going to be a crucial part of our characters, maybe it should be promoted to a visible sidebar quality?

-Thank you for including an option to opt out of romance subplots. Perhaps create a flag quality, though, so I don’t have to keep seeing the card? Or, better yet, make it a pinned card. Plots that are carried out through opportunity cards get very irritating very fast.

-“A fight!” card: Doesn’t have any options for what I would actually do, which would be to try and break up the fight. Maybe include an alternative diplomacy option, or at the very least a “discard” option to walk away or something?
–Also, I fail to see how whether or not someone else gets discovered and accosted has any bearing on my abilities…?
[You’re glad to have had an evening away from studying] Yeah, that is not me.

-Hm. So we still have standardized grading in the future?

Huh. So that’s everything so far.

Unfortunately, I don’t have enough information to get a good picture of what the overall setting and tone will be like yet. It seems promising, though I can’t say I like the grindy opportunity-based storytelling style I’ve seen so far. I’ll have to see how things develop.

Thanks for your feedback! To answer a few questions:

The History was originally just going to be a reason to give players a higher version of one stat, but I’ve been thinking about making it do things in the main storyline. I didn’t really consider a science option (oops!) so that will definitely be something to add.

I’ll toss in a quality of “Not romantically inclined”, which should help with the romance bit.

Once I have some time (soon, I hope), I’ll go back through the cards and see which options I should amend/add, starting with the fight.

In the main area, I’m going to try having a more continuous storyline rather than just having the same things happen over and over. I meant for the beginning area to just have a feel for the world and bump up various stats, but I may have to adjust that a little.

Thanks for answering!

I can’t speak for the other starting areas, obviously, but the school definitely didn’t give this impression…despite being, well, a school. It would make sense to give some context and flavour text to the things we’re studying instead of simply being excuses to stat grind. History, current events, and any advanced sciencey stuff you have in this story would all be perfectly understandable things to include in a school environment.

I’ve accidentally played through both the University and ‘real world’ beginning areas - many thanks, Charlotte, for all your help! - and I have to say I enjoyed the real world far more. For one thing it had more opportunity cards, so grinding up your stats enough to leave wasn’t as laborious, and the content itself appealed to me much more - but I agree with Little The, that adding a little more detail to the starting areas to give context would be more engaging, as my spaceport experience seemed a bit generic - does it have a name? is it grungy and broke-down, spick and span and brand new, or something else entirely? I appreciate that you’ll want to get on with writing more of the out-in-spacey stuff after the starting areas, but making the beginning a bit more atmospheric will increase the chance that people will stick around for the story to come.
It also seemed a little odd that after I’d gotten myself a job on an old ship, the ‘look for a job’ card kept coming up, offering to try again for the job I already had or try for a job on a newer ship. Perhaps when you successfully get a job on either of the ships, a quality might be added i.e. ‘you are now: a lackey on ship A’ so that the card doesn’t appear again and the story is more continuous, although this would necessitate a new card for building up Diplomacy - or maybe there could be cards to build up your connections or skill within your job?
I look forward to voyaging out into space! :]

To both Little The and Corentin Os: I’m working on expanding the world-y feel of the various starting areas and will try to add more opportunity cards at least weekly as part of the new content.

Corentin, I had planned to just have the “look for a job” card to pop up regularly to imply that you were getting jobs on multiple ships, but that’s a great idea! I’ll see what I can do about working it in.

I just thought I’d give an update on where I am with the story. I’ve been busy with school and NaNoWriMo, but hopefully in December I can get a lot of work done.

I’ve been working out what the rest of the world’s like and have started creating the “captain” storyline. I’m having a little trouble working out the various ranks, but I think I’ve got that nearly ironed out. There will be a few other options beside becoming a captain, there will be options within options, and the history you chose for your character should come into play. If anyone’s finished the first bit of my world and is now Out in Space, could you let me know which part you finished? I’ll be assigning special qualities to the various starting areas which might help you depending on which option you choose.

I’m also adding extra content to the established part of my world, but, considering the aforementioned NaNo, it’s going slowly. Again, in December I should be able to add a lot if I get enough ideas.

I am currently Out in Space, and I chose the University route.

What’s your user name?

Will Penning.

Another little update: my computer had a faulty hard drive, so I haven’t had a chance to work on my story. I do plan to get a lot done before the new year, and I might even get a chance to put out the first part of the main world.

I played through the going to school portion and I thought this was nicely planned out. I have a very short attention span sometimes, and your prose and the structure of the grind was actually a lot of fun, and I could see how interesting it might be to create different kinds of characters. I look forward to playing more of this!

I’m tickled to finally have a place to play a character who’s been sitting in my head for way, way, too long!

I am very early on, in “Looking for Work”. The card “Fixing the engines” has an available but blank option (a challenge on creativity). Did you mean to lock it under key of dreams or did you text not get saved one time?

Heh, maybe I’ll click it an see what happens. It’s almost impossible for my character’s creativity… :)
OK, it has a result, " That’s probably good".

Hope that enough info to find and edit the missing text!

Hanon: I’m glad you’re enjoying it! Thanks for playing, and I should be able to put up the first part of the main world sometime within a few months. I’ll be rather busy, but I’ll do my best.

Kir: I must not have saved the text for that option. I’m fixing it now; thanks for letting me know!