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The Thirst Frontier - Post feedback here. Messages in this topic - RSS

Firky
Firky
Posts: 110

12/13/2012

The Thirst Frontier.

http://checkers.storynexus.com/s

This is a story of loneliness and friendship, obsession and release, curiosity and laziness. It was inspired by a road trip I took around Australia with my husband and kids.

It doesn't entirely adhere to Storynexus' usual model and suffers for this, in places. I wanted to see if I could use the tool to realise my idea, rather than use the model to inspire an idea.

Thanks for playing. All feedback very welcome.

Meg

- I will forward any and all creator royalties from your Nex spent to Unicef's Clean Water for Children initiative, http://www.unicef.org.au/Donate/One-off-Donation/Water--The-Ripple-Effect.aspx
- If you find any bugs, submit a report and I'll fix it ASAP.





edited by Firky on 2/26/2013
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CharlottePike
CharlottePike
Posts: 39

12/13/2012
I've completed one round of turns, and it's interesting. It's far more plot-related that most of the other games on here, but that's not a bad thing. In fact, it makes me a bit more curious as to how it will all turn out. As to the background of the story, I'm torn between wanting more and being content with what's there. You definitely have a concrete world that stands very well on its own, but I would love to know how it came about.
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Firky
Firky
Posts: 110

12/13/2012
Thanks very much for playing. It's probably 45 turns long-ish, until you get to 5.6.107 and just home with a phone and door. Thanks for your observation. I'm hoping you will get much more information on the world as the story progresses but that it's intriguing enough, at this stage, to keep people interested - but I'd change it if people reported that wasn't the case, or flesh it out a bit. (And yes. It has a different structure. It has a definite climax, in several days time, and several variations on a definite ending. It's more like a traditional story structure, really.)
edited by Firky on 12/13/2012
edited by Firky on 12/13/2012
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Hanon Ondricek
Hanon Ondricek
Posts: 417

12/13/2012
Liked it a lot, though I love that theme the text font is hard to read. Very imaginative. I have no idea what's going on, but like the quirky noir-ish feel of it. I don't feel I can keep track of all the qualities going in and out, but that works. At first I thought this was going to be a story about vampires, but I was wrong.

I hit a dead end in the Slammer on 5.6.107 - got no pinned cars.

I'd play more, but I have no real clue what's going on. Nice work.
edited by HanonO on 12/13/2012
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Firky
Firky
Posts: 110

12/13/2012
Whoops. You weren't supposed to be able to get to the slammer. (Well, you can on 5.6.107, but you weren't supposed to in testing. I should just close that off. Or, I'll try and release a few more days.)

Thankyou for playing, HanonO.

When you say, "I don't feel I can keep track of all the qualities going in and out, but that works," yes, things like "a passing thought" are really there because there is no "show card only once" feature. They cancel each day, but I thought they could provide a reminder of what just happened.

I dunno. I am a little worried about that, though. The qualities do (deliberately) go in and out a lot. There are some balancing issues, too, at the moment, mostly in later days. Maybe, I'll try to solicit more feedback specifically on that point, as I get more days "released" for testing.

Thanks so much.

Edit: To clarify, things like "compounding thirst" and "strained" and "jugsoaked" aren't the same as the transient qualities. I'll wait to see how people interpret them. (Must release more days.)

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edited by Firky on 12/13/2012
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Richard
Richard
Posts: 304

12/13/2012
Firky wrote:
Hi.
(PS. There may still be bugs in here. I'm not really sure the best way to test it myself. I created an alt, but I have to wait for refresh, so I can't test it rapidly. I am testing it with my creator account, too, but it looks quite different, due to what I have/haven't unlocked so far.)

Just very quickly on this, what I've done is to create an Always card which is locked by a quality called "Playtester's Passkey". That card in turn has a branch that refreshes actions. (If you don't know where to find that option, in the editor, look in Advanced Options under Qualities Affected.)

I've set the action cost to 0 so that you can play it even if your actions have already run out. Thus, anyone who has the Playtester's Passkey can use that card to refresh their actions for free.

I can then use the Debug menu to give the Playtester's Passkey to anyone I want to be able to run through rapidly - notably my alt account, by also friends who are helping with an initial read-through. In fact I've created an access code to give it to my friends, so it's easy to invite them and set them up all in one go.

Cheers
Richard
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Firky
Firky
Posts: 110

12/13/2012
Oh goodness. Thanks. I'll get onto that before I unlock more.
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Richard
Richard
Posts: 304

12/13/2012
And on the actual game:

[Significant spoilers here for anyone who hasn't tried it yet]

I really, really enjoyed it. I like the economy of the writing. I love the fact that you've started right in the middle of the plot, which few people have the courage to do. I certainly don't.

And the first three or four cards are masterful - the way I chose to play them, I got a sense of escalating commitment to a lie I wasn't sure I wanted to tell, which was a wonderful hook for the rest of the storyline.

Similarly, I like that when I went to the bar and got drunk, that was a committing decision which cut off a load of other cards I'd intended to try. I wasn't expecting that, and it's a nice counterpoint to the usual feeling in SN games that you can just keep doing things till you get the answer you wanted.

My only real feedback is "carry on".

Having said that:

- I too found myself getting a bit weighed down by all the "thoughts" you pick up. Maybe you could use custom level change descriptors to make the mechanic less obvious? You'd still see them in your Inventory, if you looked, but you wouldn't keep getting told you were collecting them - you could make it display a more story-related message instead.

- Because I'd got that sense that everything I did for keeps, it jarred that I could keep calling my mum over and over again.

- The way that Doubted works doesn't feel intuitive to me. When you're doubted, the quality increases, and that makes it more likely you'll be believed next time. Feels the wrong way round - though I can see it probably has to be that way for gameplay reasons.

- At some point, I seem to have picked up both "the trapezist may have been jugsoaked" and "there was no left hand to catch". Is that a bug? I chose "no left hand" back at the start. If something's deliberately given me the other one as well, then I think that ought to be a spotlit moment; if it's a mistake, then I'm afraid I don't know when it happened, though I suspect it was at the bar.

I'm only at the start of Day 2 now - I'll play more this evening (it's currently morning where I am!)

Cheers
Richard
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Alexis Kennedy
Alexis Kennedy
Posts: 1374

12/13/2012
I am crazy busy over here but very much looking forward to trying this out. It sounds like you're doing something unexpected.


(Richard, your solution re Playtester's Passkey is a good one - would you like to add it to the wiki?)
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Firky
Firky
Posts: 110

12/13/2012
Wow! Thanks, Richard. It's night here. (Australia - that will probably become clear through my use of language etc in the story.) Bed soon, but I'm just trying to debug the ending, it's chunky, then get more unlocked. I have actually "finished" but I can't unlock it until I've solved some major dramas with balance and consequences. And bugs.

1. I don't understand what you mean. Custom level change descriptions? Like, a passing thought 1 Blah blah, 2 blah blah etc? I can't do that because each thought is tied to one storylet to ensure it isn't shown twice. So. it requires 0 passing thought and, when finished, sets 1 passing thought. The passing thoughts are then canceled at the end of the relevant day. (Day is also a requirement.) They have to be unique. (Unless I misunderstand you.)

2. That's an excellent point. And the phone sucks. I'm not sure how to make it better. I'll reflect.

3. Man. I totally forgot this was backward. Thankyou. I need it to be - doubted = less likely to succeed in lying, but I don't know how to do it. Someone suggested reversing the success and failure outcomes, but the feedback provided is then wrong. Can I set a doubted challenge at -2, say - and then that would make it harder the more doubted you are? I don't understand how this works.

4. That's bad. I don't know how that happened. I've checked the Woolshed's storylets but I can't find anything there. How did you notice this? Did you get 2 different, contradictory truth notes? You don't have Consequences 1 and 2 do you? That would be terrible. (And, how?)

Thanks Richard, for your time. That is very helpful feedback.

Meg


PS. Hahaha. I wondered if anyone would get jugsoaked. (The second day is deliberately benign, because I figured people would try it on the first day, then learn. Getting jugsoaked becomes particularly bad later if you told the top lie in the very first storylet. Heheh.)

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edited by Firky on 12/13/2012
edited by Firky on 12/13/2012
edited by Firky on 12/13/2012
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Firky
Firky
Posts: 110

12/13/2012
Alexis Kennedy wrote:
I am crazy busy over here but very much looking forward to trying this out. It sounds like you're doing something unexpected.


(Richard, your solution re Playtester's Passkey is a good one - would you like to add it to the wiki?)


Thankyou. I had an idea and used your tools to realise it, rather than used your tools as inspiration. (Although I do enjoy Fallen London.) I'd hoped this was cool, given what I'd initially read about this being research and such. :P Hopefully, it's cool.

(Also. I don't entirely get what Richard said about the passkey. Still trying to figure it out. Explicit wiki entry would be good ...)
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Richard
Richard
Posts: 304

12/13/2012
Ah yes, I did notice "dunny" - which I don't think is a word most people here in the UK would understand. But that's fine, because like "jugsoaked", it's clear from context what it means - so people will just accept it as being what it's called in this world.

On your points:

1. I didn't explain this very well. I appreciate that you need to have multiple Thoughts. What I'm taking about is called "Change Descriptions" in the Qualities editor - they affect the message displayed underneath the storylet when a quality changes. So for example, if you set a Change Description which starts at 1, then instead of it saying "You now have 1 x Passing Thought", it could say something like "A passing thought: You should really call your mother..." It's just an idea; it's not unambiguously better or worse, just a thing you might try.

2. Take away the Passing Thought that you should call your mother once you've done it :-)

3. No, if you set it to test a minus number, it'll just be a really really easy challenge. And you're completely right that reversing the outcomes will create a positive feedback loop and break everything. The only solution I could suggest is to completely invert the meaning of the quality, so that rather than Doubted, it becomes something like Convincing. Or just don't worry about it: lots of people won't even notice, and those who do will get to think they're terribly clever. It certainly doesn't spoil anything.

4. I'll try again this evening with my other account, and see if I can reproduce it - I remember more or less what I did, so I can try to do the same things again while keeping an eye out for the problem. But yes, I've got two truth notes which I think are contradictory (based on my understanding of the plot), in addition to the one about the Ciph smiling at me. I don't have any Consequences yet.

Cheers
Richard
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Richard
Richard
Posts: 304

12/13/2012
Alexis Kennedy wrote:
(Richard, your solution re Playtester's Passkey is a good one - would you like to add it to the wiki?)

I'll certainly do that - probably tomorrow. I need to, y'know, actually write some storylets now ;-)
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Alexis Kennedy
Alexis Kennedy
Posts: 1374

12/13/2012
Firky wrote:
I'd hoped this was cool, given what I'd initially read about this being research and such.


Very much so.
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Firky
Firky
Posts: 110

12/13/2012
Morton wrote:


4. I'll try again this evening with my other account, and see if I can reproduce it - I remember more or less what I did, so I can try to do the same things again while keeping an eye out for the problem. But yes, I've got two truth notes which I think are contradictory (based on my understanding of the plot), in addition to the one about the Ciph smiling at me. I don't have any Consequences yet.



AWESOME. Bug squashed. Thankyou. I found it due to knowing you had a smile and that it was at the woolshed.

When you were telling the Players about the Smile, you told it rousing and failed, then succeeded. Very rare, in the scheme of things. I'd set the wrong truth.

Frowny face. This is going to be very prone to bugs. Please report them. It's the way I'm using the model. (And I have small kids, a job and I'm usually working on this either at the playground or with commissions piling up. My apologies.)



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edited by Firky on 12/13/2012
edited by Firky on 12/13/2012
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Lily Fox
Lily Fox
Posts: 346

12/13/2012
Just played through 30 actions of this (I'm on the train on 5.6.107) and... WOW. This is great! And a pleasure to see someone try something different with StoryNexus.

More than any other world, The Thirst Frontier immediately made me play a character. I picked my responses and stuck by them. I avoided actions that didn't fit with this broken, attention-seeking yet stand-offish habitual liar in my head, where usually I'd try them just to see what happened in a testing-the-games way. Like I avoided calling Mum or listening to her messages, but after the funeral I had to hear a friendly voice, or there was no way I was touching the dunny while sober but get a few jugs in me and make way!

The ciph intrigue me. I get the feeling what they are is supposed to be a mystery for the reader but I'd really like to get a better idea of what they look like, what their origin is.

Please, keep this up! Looking forward to more.

--
@LilyLayer4
Fallen London character: Lilith B.
Author of Maelstrom - Play - Discuss
Author of City of Phire - Play - Discuss
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Firky
Firky
Posts: 110

12/13/2012
Lily Fox wrote:
I avoided actions that didn't fit with this broken, attention-seeking yet stand-offish habitual liar in my head, where usually I'd try them just to see what happened in a testing-the-games way. Like I avoided calling Mum or listening to her messages, but after the funeral I had to hear a friendly voice, or there was no way I was touching the dunny while sober but get a few jugs in me and make way!


Freaking awesome. Thankyou so much. You have no idea.

Honestly, recently I've been busy and "strained" and, probably, too "jugsoaked" and I was thinking I just wanted to chuck this whole thing out the window, even though it's vaguely nearly done. All of you have been amazing in this thread. Give it about 10 days and it'll be finished. (This is only around 10-15%.)

Thanks everyone. :P

(PS. Don't worry. You'll know the Ciph well, if you want to.)
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Richard
Richard
Posts: 304

12/13/2012
I've now played through to the content boundary, and I understand better how the phone works. Obviously it does make sense that you can keep calling your mum. But perhaps only once a day.

Also, I remembered one thing I'd meant to mention but forgot about: a tiny mistake right back at the start. I decided not to burn the note. But the text at the start of the next card (explaining why you're late) sort-of implies that you did burn it. Only sort-of, so it's not exactly wrong, but it's still a minor wrinkle in what's otherwise a very smooth progression of storylets.

Cheers
Richard
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Hanon Ondricek
Hanon Ondricek
Posts: 417

12/14/2012
Firky wrote:
Whoops. You weren't supposed to be able to get to the slammer. (Well, you can on 5.6.107, but you weren't supposed to in testing. I should just close that off. Or, I'll try and release a few more days.)

Thankyou for playing, HanonO.

When you say, "I don't feel I can keep track of all the qualities going in and out, but that works," yes, things like "a passing thought" are really there because there is no "show card only once" feature. They cancel each day, but I thought they could provide a reminder of what just happened.

I dunno. I am a little worried about that, though. The qualities do (deliberately) go in and out a lot. There are some balancing issues, too, at the moment, mostly in later days. Maybe, I'll try to solicit more feedback specifically on that point, as I get more days "released" for testing.



A lot of SN games succumb to what I can only refer to as "quality bukkake" where you're overwhelmed by things changing and shifting in and out.

Usually people are setting up the world at the beginning, but I usually don't like if I'm in a storylet that says "Have a cup of coffee" and I click OK and I get "Your Well Groomed has increased by 1! Occurrence! Your LactoseIntolerance is now at 3! Romance with Laura 4 is now at 5! TortoiseRace is now at level 7! Stuart And Miles are now at 12! You have begun a quest: Unwitting Jewel Thieves!" I start wondering what the hell is going on with this cup of coffee and feeling like the author is a waiter who keeps skipping my table.

You actually have a lot of things happening, and not a lot was explained (mostly because things had names that were alien but familiar to your world) but I felt that actually contributed to the Noir atmosphere of a buzzing mind of things occurring.

I like and agree with the idea that your passing throughts would be more nicely communicated by quality change descriptions. When I see "you have Passing Thought 3" then it feels like I need to click over and search through them to see what's up. I started ignoring it. If the change description says "You ought to go visit your chums at the Pub" then I don't feel like I'm missing much by not searching out all the hovertext. Once the qualities got out of hand I relegated them to texture in my mind and stopped worrying and kept reading.
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Firky
Firky
Posts: 110

12/14/2012
Hmmm. Thanks again.

I don't know if it matters if people don't read passing thoughts. Stuff like, "you promised you'd go to the woolshed" I figured would just help a bit with where to go, etc, in early stages. They are all supposed to be called, "a passing thought," and line up next to each other in the inventory. Some still have numbers and letters that were helping me track them. They'll disappear.

Still.

I've been just trying to look into some qualities, but firefox is back to crashing on that page. It was doing that, then stopped, now is doing it again.

When Richard says, "What I'm taking about is called "Change Descriptions" in the Qualities editor - they affect the message displayed underneath the storylet when a quality changes. So for example, if you set a Change Description which starts at 1, then instead of it saying "You now have 1 x Passing Thought", it could say something like "A passing thought: You should really call your mother..." It's just an idea; it's not unambiguously better or worse, just a thing you might try."

I'm doing that with jugsoaked, for example. So, you get different messages at different levels, as it goes up. But, jugsoaked is one quality - whereas each passing thought is a quality unto itself. Do you mean just having no mouseover description for each passing thought, just a whole lot of blank ones in the inventory, but he description shown at the time you get it. (I think that's OK, but I'm not sure about an inventory with 6 blank passing thoughts lined up next to each other ... )

Note: I've now added restart and refresh cards. I did the Playtester Passkey thing, but just made it for everyone, for now. I already had a restart option for myself. Thanks!

Edit: I think what I'll do is, go and edit all the passing thought cards. Make sure I remove numbers and letters. Then, I'll write a quality change description at 1 which is the same as you get when you mouseover it in the inventory. That way, it removes the "You have one passing thought" thing. You can just read the passing thought straight up, and if you want to refer to something before the end of the day, you can, otherwise ignore them. Like a transient journal. I'll also make the text more meaningful, fun to read and hint based. That's probably the best I can do, but thanks for feedback on these. I think this solution is a measure better. (If not perfect.)



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edited by Firky on 12/14/2012
edited by Firky on 12/14/2012
edited by Firky on 12/14/2012
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