Tuesday, November 12, 2013

What am I doing?

Last night, as I was working on one of my favorite scenes from Chapter 2 and chatting with a friend, it occurred to me that some players are going to be unhappy about a certain lack of choice... again. Similarly to how Brash was "overprotected" in Chapter 1, now we have someone else. So the friend asked what the players complained about in Chapter 1 and I told her about Brash, and then after a discussion, I suddenly got inspired to make another change in the old module. True, it leads to nothing new in the long run, but she convinced me that the illusion of choice is important. So I have been working on the old module instead of the new one. Don't throw stones at me. :D

To sum up the new content, here is a draft of what Brash will be saying in the end:
"Tell me, you little fuck. Do you wanna walk on your own, or should I carry you like a pig all the way? If I stuff an apple in your mouth, we could hide you in the witch's food storage, for a surprise kill after dinner."

But if you do manage to escape, you will be rewarded with a game over. (OK, Lamb is having an evil moment. xD)

This doesn't really help the situation with the other character, in Chapter 2. If he is completely indestructible - regenerates very quickly and nothing can do permanent damage - would you still want to attack him? I've been thinking of, and half-implemented, an option to tell him to stop bothering you. He would probably obey but still talk to you if there is something important. But if he really makes you mad at some point, what is there to do?

I am talking about Raze, of course. You are supposed to be very special allies and he should practically be the main character (after you), but what if the player doesn't think like me at all? :/

As I may have said somewhere, there will be an option to get rid of him, but not yet. For now, he is too important, because, well, this is the story I am telling. I don't have one about random pirates and completely new characters. And yes, it's not supposed to be a linear "story", but if you knew how difficult it is to handle the consequences of each branching, and so early on... In the end, I think I only tend to branch the plot if both branches seem interesting and doable to me. By "doable", I mean that I wouldn't have to make 5 completely new modules the size of Chap.1 to cover for the newly introduced choice.

If I remove the main characters, there will be nothing left. Someone suggested an alternative to Brash, who isn't even as important as Raze - another, more agreeable NPC who would practically do the same in the end, minus the rude stuff. Well, after Brash fulfills his initial role, he stops being important, but I can't invent an alternative character in a few days. It took me 8 years or so to invent Brash. LOL


  1. Alternative character or not, I still want to murder Brash. Once he loses his plot armour, of course. I haven't found a character in recent years that makes me even half as furious.
    While this is a sign of good narrative and characterisation, I feel it brings about a certain need for hyper-violent gratification. Preferably sooner than later, but it is your plot.

    1. Aw, well, as long as you can wait for the proper time to kill him, instead of hating on the work. But I fear it won't be as hyper-violent as you hope.

    2. I just finished the thing I was planning for the Chapter 1 update - doing something more brutal to Brash in the end. I'm quite satisfied with his screams. Too bad that I didn't remember to do that immediately. It makes sense. He is in a gas chamber, and you have a torch... :/

  2. I'm one of those who likes Brash but honestly it really doesn't matter. You want to make your players happy but ultimately this is your story. People will either love the way you tell it or they won't. There is no way you are going to please everyone. I enjoyed your Prelude & Chapter 1 exactly as they were released.

    It's up to you but I wouldn't overthink it too much. Obviously people are enjoying what you're doing as we all keep coming back for more. Tell the story the way you see it :)

    1. I agree. Like the poster above said - it's your story and there is just no way of pleasing everyone. Your chacracters are very uniqe and very deep along with the story you tell. I'm sure that as much as many others - I just can't wait to see the next chapter just as you wanted it to be :)

      The mod is very companion-centric so if you start taking them away...will it still be as good of a story?

  3. I know I can't please everyone, but I wouldn't want to make them angry if I can help it. Sometimes it might not be so difficult to provide a different choice, and I'm (over)thinking about whether I can find such choices. Then again, I see no point in it if the player hates most of the game so much that I can already predict he won't like the sequels. There will be at least 1 nice companion later (if you don't consider Arana nice), but I'd say the game won't be worth it for those who hated Chapter 1 so much. It seems that with series, the sequels are mostly played by those who liked the previous modules, and I hope that's true. Why would someone who hated it want to waste their time (and mine) by playing another module they will hate?

    I'm actually pleasantly surprised that most people who voiced their opinion had understanding for my work and accepted the modules as they are.

    I sometimes catch myself straying into the realm of masochism, as I like to say - providing options that are a lot of work and not many people are going to get to see them. There are already such situations. Practically every branching that assumes Brash is alive is masochism, in a way. Say that at one point, he can be killed for real. But if he isn't killed immediately, there is an additional situation that can end in fighting him. Then if he's still alive, there is a situation with 3 choices... And I keep wondering why, when those who hate him will kill him immediately and not see any of that. :D But that is already done, and I believe it brings some fun to the game, whether you replay differently, reload, or just read the conversations without playing.

    1. On the subject of masochism, I remember reading something in ADWR that surprised me in a weird way. If Vico is against the princess and Bran wants to defend her, Vico can force himself on the princess again, but as I understood it, it only happens if Bran loses the fight. Why would the player not help Bran if they hate Vico?? When I read that, I thought "wow", but also "who is going to see this?" xD

    2. Only answer I can give to the ADWR question is maybe she thought Bran would be able to take Vico in the fight and just decided to stay out of the way(?)

      I know it's not an exact comparison, but I like Brash more than I liked Vico. Even though it's only been basically one chapter with Brash, I think he's a bit more complicated than Vico. Yes, it's easy to hate Brash. But to me that adds spice to the story. Kinda in the "love to hate" sort of way.

      There were many a time I wanted to put a knife (or other sharp object) into Vico. But perhaps like in this story, he's a means to an end. So that's why I'd reason my character would decide to keep him around and breathing.

      As you said you're not going to please everybody. So just write the module how feel is best. I think it's good enough that even people who don't care for Brash will play it anyway. And if they don't...well, their loss. Since I think it is their problem and not yours.

      As involved as this as you are, I can see where it might be easy to over-think some things. You're doing great with this storyline so far. Keep with it.

    3. Besides, just look at the poll! People are equally interested in all charaters so far and even eagerly await sailors of your making! :D

    4. I would have stayed out of that fight with Vico, but I don't imagine I would be getting that outcome in the first place, since he's only supposed to turn on you if you acted like you hated him. And I liked him, for the most part. Then his gladiator reward thing ruined the whole romance for me. -.- And also that he was so willing to kill me. Why could he not offer to play dead when we talked before the battle? That jerk!

      As for the poll, I mean to make another one after Chapter 2 to see what people think then. Since the demonspawn should be getting more screen time now, opinions might change, though in which direction - don't know.

      The sailors are giving me a headache. They are not finished yet, so they are slowing down the production. x)

    5. I can, honestly, only agree with what has already been said in this specific thread. While I -- and everyone else, I'll bet -- truly & totally appreciates the amount of precision & effort you're putting into the story, it's still entirely -your- story & we, the players, are the ones being honored with the opportunity to play this game you're creating & immersing ourselves in this tale you're weaving. If something is required to make your story run the way it should, then by all means -- do what must be done! There is -so- much more to this module than simply a single NPC -- even if that NPC has significant screen time & we're forced (or, in my case, delighted!) to spend time with them. In many games, or books, or movies, a protagonist is often saddled with somebody they don't particularly like &, typically, that experience helps shape said character in how they adapt to said individual. It's the same here, really, given the wide array of responses (& subsequent personalities) you allow us.

      I'm a fan of both Brash & Raze, personally -- I find them both complicated & fascinating in their different ways. My opinions were formed, however, after exploring their dialogue (in multiple play-throughs) & I understand that some might not want to be bothered to do the same. That disappoints me, because I feel that not eating all the meat in a meal -- even if the first taste didn't exactly strike you as appetizing -- means you only get to experience half of what's being offered... but I get it. Even that's a personal decision of the player, though, & not something that's your fault. I think you're doing everything fantastically -- you're a wonderful writer, you've got a twisted & amazing mind, you've got such a provocative tale... & if folks quit on you simply because they're not allowed to kill somebody immediately now now now instant gratification, then maybe they're failing to appreciate the other aspects that make this game fabulous.

      I'm going to assume that the majority really wouldn't do that, though. Or I'd hope they wouldn't. Hell, even if they did, you'd know the fanbase that stayed with you loved you & your work for what it is, yeah?

      In the end, though, you've got to do what feels comfortable to you & gratifies you (I, myself, tend to be a hyper-perfectionist, so I know if something "bugs" you, you'll -need- to do it simply to get it out of your system, haha) -- just be careful you don't overtax yourself or lose faith in what you're doing & how beautifully you're doing it. Really, 'amazing' doesn't cut it. Neither does 'thank you,' but I'll keep saying it: Thank you so much. We're not worthy, we're not worthy. <3

    6. Aw, well, thank you for the kind words. I sometimes need to be reminded and encouraged. When I get caught up in planning something, I tend to forget things. Sometimes my module bores me so much, because I tested different parts of it hundreds of times, that I don't know if others will find it fun. (But now that I've started to replay C1 after a break, I'm finally having fun, too.)

  4. One of the concerns I always have when modders describe really ambitious goals for their games and whatnot is if they are biting off more than they can chew. Especially in a multi part series like yours. I guess I should really just trust you to figure out your own limits, but I just feel the need to encourage you not to try and accomodate every possible player's whim.

    With regards to some people being upset at not having a nice companion, well, I take that in stride as part of the narrative. I've played plenty of games where the PC got along with all their henchmen, but there ain't nothing wrong with conflict with someone the situation forces you to work with. Having an antagonistic relationship with some people adds a lot of depth to the story IMO.

    I have enjoyed the series immensely so far, and am eagerly anticipating the next chapter. Thanks for all your hard work.

  5. i'd suggest you to do notes (what you want/would change) and do that in Demonhear Reloaded.
    i.e. complite series as they are,and see FULL picture of things (not based on like 30% of whole picture) THEN change/make things that you would like to and release extended edition of your module. it would be better for everyone.
    for us as a players we will get our hairy hands on it faster.
    for you as creator,you will complete your story and will see full picture of it.
    once was said by one of the egosoft High Ranked Employee "we want to do everything,but we have deadlines,otherwise we can hold our game in development stage forever. sacrafeces must be done" not 1:1 quote but it was something like that.

    1. complete* sacrifices*
      dem typos...

  6. Hey guys, let me share my cents with you.
    Vico is a chaotic evil character even if he loves the princess he still an evil person. His love is about possession, lust and desire; even if sometimes he seems to care about the well state of the princess he cares even more about himself. That duel scene represents exactly what Vico is, if he loves the princess he will still try to kill her, even if planning get her resurrected after it he first think about himself.
    In my opinion Valine did an amazing job with Vico, he represents most of the bad guys, women fall for them thinking they can change them, but they will be disappointed.
    About Brash, he is an interesting character as well, I think he is more violent and wild than Vico but well less charismatic and yet somehow more good hearted.
    The problem in my opinion is things are a little rushed with him; you meet him, tag along with him and suddenly are having a romantic kiss under a tree. Something is missing there, too little time to create a bond, you just love him or hate him but neither option is deep. I particularly didn’t miss Brash after he is gone.
    Differently from Brash we have Raze, I think people are willing to have him along even if their character doesn’t like him, he was introduced into the game in a terrific way: he is mysterious, connected to our character, resourceful and has a tremendous personality.
    I’m not saying that every henchman in the game need to be introduced slowly as Raze, I liked the way Arana appeared in the game, and things did flow with her in a natural way.

    Anyways, I already typed too much. Xoxo.

    1. Vico suddenly seemed forced into his alignment, since all the other companions were OK, so there needed to be one who would act like an evil bastard. It kinda breaks my illusion of love if he's willing to kill her*. And it wasn't right after they met, he had a lot of time to grow to love her. Or, an alternative theory is that Valine wanted to backstab Vico's fangirls and laugh at them. :D I could understand that, but I was hoping that Valine actually liked him too. But it seems not, since she made him do all those disgusting, unforgivable things (dark elf wenches >.>) ...

      * The ideal romance option for me would be an evil man who is *good* to his woman, and I guess I was hoping Vico would be that way. In any case, he was crazy enough to be entertaining. I still fondly remember some scenes with him.

      Well, if Brash left an impression on the demonheart girl from the start, the kiss would not be too early. For her, it depends how she sees him. For him, it's not too early, because he started liking her almost immediately, but it's crazy, because he knows he shouldn't be doing that at all. Something about not wanting to be with dead girls... An ordinary woman would get used and disposed of much sooner. :S

    2. We can see the way Vico is obsessed for the princess in many occasions.
      He was probably involved in Carol’s death.
      He reproved her prostitution.
      Wanted to kill Rizzen and the Barbarian hench, forgot his name lol.
      So we can see Vico as an evil bastard guy who fell for the princess in a sick way, if he can’t have her he will rape her, if he can have her he will protect her and take care of her, still he doesn’t care about her feeling.
      Its passion not love, he desires her badly but wouldn’t trade his life for hers, neither accept her with someone else.

      But I’m sure he was the preferred Valine’s character.

    3. Now I like how you summed him up. :D The only thing that bothers me is the trading of lives... They should have tried something desperate, like fighting everyone in that arena instead of fighting each other, or Vico could have said he has the skill to play dead. But since he fell for her in a sick way... Valine tells it as it really would be. Evil bastards who genuinely love one little girl aren't very realistic, but these are fantasy worlds. :D

  7. So... if life is short, when do you (all) think it would be a good time for Raze to hump the girl? LOL. I was thinking... again... and I definitely don't want him to be a pig like Brash, so I think I might have to change or delay something, to make him more cool. The plan so far is that the girl can have sex with him if she wants to, but she doesn't have to, yet, and she can still somehow earn the "romance" status. Still, just having the option for sex present might make it seem like it's too soon (?)

    1. Humping should start after dancing with the demon in the pale moonlight.
      Bonus points if he uses the amulet (pull on the amulet, go after the chain and then touch the skin.)

      Honestly I have no idea, since I'm horrible at foreseeing other peoples stories. It might be nice to have his offer come a bit later or in a middle-ish part, but have an option to ask him pretty soon. For gentlemen points he could propose to delay it, but still accept if the girl insists.

    2. I imagine you'll get a variety of different answers. I read the prior comment regarding Brash & his 'acting too quickly' & I, honestly, don't think it was rushed at all. Considering the direction that one's relationship with Brash could take, his kiss could be seen as being motivated by more than romance -- & let's not forget that throughout Chapter 1, we only -glimpsed- who Brash is... & while he's obviously not a cuddly sort, he's at least a mentally chaotic sort. Who knows what's left to discover in future modules that might build up a better understanding of his behavior & choices? We've as much to judge of Brash as our demonheart does -- & whether she despises him or finds herself softening up to him, that'll help dictate the "why" of his advances, methinks.

      As for Raze: I view it the same way, really.

      Raze is a character that -you're- making & we've only had a limited time to get to know him so far. There's obviously more to him that we've yet to discover -- & when those details are discovered, then our demonheart's all end up responding in a variety of ways. Some of us might play our demonhearts as wanting to hop right into bed with him (& that's perfectly alright!) & others might want to approach it more slowly (& that's also perfectly alright!) -- so... hell. XD

      Maybe make the possibility arrive early on, with the option to maybe shyly, or coyly, or warily turn it down -- & then, later on, (if the demonheart seems agreeable to that sort of thing) bring it up again? I can only imagine that might be complicated, though, & involve all that fancy relationship point stuff... but it's half n' half, anyway!

  8. The demonheart girl could try to seduce Raze for protection, he is way stronger than her and only he can protect her from Rivera, so if we have a devious girl she would try it soon as possible.
    If we are playing as a nice girl, she wouldn’t have sex for interest, and well he is a DEMON. So things need to be worked here, know him better and see what happens. In this context the sex would come later.
    We can’t forget about Arana, our girl could be in a relationship with her and still interested in Raze for protection or love, either option things would be fun. Besides that, Arana showed interest in Raze so she could also cheat our girl or compete with her, lol.

  9. My female characters were always attracted to the bad boys, especially the possessive ones. That is why, even though Bran was awesome, I still like Vico more in ADWR. The same happened with Baxter in Gladiatrix Series. And it might not be a surprise if I prefer Brash to Raze.

    You can't please everyone, but the characters like Brash are what makes a good drama. And seeing from your poll, Brash got the highest vote after Sailors, Bandits, and Farmers, right? See, players love him more than Raze so far, and it only shows how great you created this Brash character.

    I don't think the PC and Raze should wait that long, as long as it's mutual.

    1. The sailors only got #1 after I said the ship is out. xD Everyone pretty much has the same percentage of votes.