Aug 27

2010

Announcing “Choice of the Vampire”

Posted by: Dan Fabulich | Comments (91)

Vampire splash screen Choice of Games is pleased to announce the release of Choice of the Vampire, by Jason Stevan Hill! Play it on the web, or download the iPhone version or the Android version.

Begin your two-hundred year journey as a vampire in New Orleans, 1814; choose whether you will seek love, power
or redemption as you negotiate the growing-pains of the young Republic.

We hope you enjoy playing “Choice of the Vampire” and we encourage you to play it, tell your friends, and to recommend it on StumbleUpon, Facebook, Twitter, and other sites. Don’t forget: our initial download rate determines our App Store ranking. Basically, the more times you download in the first week, the better “Choice of the Vampire” will rank.

91 Comments

  1. Deviija says:

    A wonderful game and type of narrative storytelling framework. It and Choice of Romance are my favorites. 🙂

  2. Stormlich says:

    Amazing game, looking forward to part 2!

  3. CPFace says:

    Played through once, my initial impression is that it’s just as dense and satisfying as the previous post suggested. It reminded me of Broadsides in that it was very engaging despite the fact that I don’t really care much for the genre. I found it interesting, in particular, that my playthrough really didn’t have a lot of elements that I associate with vampires. It wasn’t violent or gory, I didn’t play a monster or a tortured soul — the vampire society presented was very understated, just a splash of flavor added to the historical proceedings. This game could have been more of a power fantasy like Dragon, but it wasn’t. That was pretty cool.

    I noticed that a lot of pages had choices that were visible, but grayed out and unselectable. I’d never seen anything like that in the other games, and it was slightly annoying since a few of them were choices that I would have liked to make. Is this a bug, or some new feature of the ChoiceScript system?

    I also notice that Vampire and Romance both end on a teaser for a sequel, and… I dunno, I find it slightly dissatisfying — it feels more like they just “stop” rather than reaching a conclusion. There’s nothing wrong with breaking your narrative down into single-sitting pieces, especially for a story that the player will want to try multiple times, but Dragon and Broadsides left room for sequels while still leaving the player with a feeling of closure. (To be honest, I’m not sure if I could demonstrate the difference; it’s more of a gut feeling, and it could be completely baseless.)

    Really glad to see this one go up though. 🙂

  4. Noelle says:

    Can’t say I like this one as much as I do the others. I don’t feel like I have much control over anything, like I was rushed into a romantic relationship with Clotho (when I wanted to pursue one with my maker), and I didn’t really feel like your choices made much of a difference on anything.

    Ah well, I guess I’ll just have to stick with the other ones for now. I’m sure your next game will be more to my liking.

  5. Joseph says:

    *phew!* Finally got through the first playthrough. Definitely didn’t expect the amount of information needed to process to play this game (I did really badly).

    That aside, was very engaging. I found myself jumping with joy at my accomplishments and totally despairing at my losses. It was very hard to tell which pieces of information I needed and which pieces I didn’t. It felt somehow that the stats, while still a major part of this one, didn’t have as much impact on the results of specific choices as in broadsides or dragon. Next time I play it, I will fetch myself pen and paper to keep notes on.

    I loved interacting with all of the characters. I made a complete fool of myself several times. Sometimes it was hard to predict the reactions of some characters, but I suppose that’s life. You guys did a real good job of making me care about all of the characters and I wish I could have befriended them all (but I didn’t, I will try to though).

    Thanks for another great game. Am downloading for my iphone right now.

    Have a nice day, by the way.

  6. Dave says:

    Great stuff once again.. I loved how the writing created an atmosphere of growing alienation and detachment.

    I played it a few times using different characters and “maker” choices and got pretty much the same linear plotline each time (New Orleans, Clotho, Vicksburg etc.) Then, I tried choosing West as the maker and was pleasantly surprised by the amount of totally different content that unlocked – I almost missed finding this altogether.

    Something that would makes these games less linear and even more flexible/replayable would be to intersperse a variety of random short vignettes in between the planned scenes of the plot. For instance, a few brief scenes where you have to hunt someone using your powers, or you find yourself trapped in a compromising position during the day & have to get out of it, or are pursued by a vampire hunter and can attempt to evade him, kill him or turn him on one of your rivals. A bunch of random scenes like this could be used anywhere to help break up the linear plot, and would prevent any playthrough from being exactly the same.

    Re the grayed-out choices, in some cases it would be nice to show a tooltip when hovering over it (eg “requires Compassion”), but in most cases it seemed clear from the context why you couldn’t choose it.

  7. Faye says:

    I am amazed at the sheer number of different paths to take, and at all of the historically accurate information. This game has many facets and seems much deeper than previous games. I am very impressed.

    Off to replay it for the fifth time!

  8. Dave says:

    (Possible bug: when you ask Anselm about the priest in the rectory, it jumps straight to meeting the priest.)

  9. Kateri says:

    I enjoyed my playthrough, though I did sort of feel a lack of choice compared to previous games at times. I was also confused by the greyed-out choices – while sometimes it was obvious why a character of a certain background couldn’t select a line, often it seemed random, and I wondered why I couldn’t choose certain things that I wanted to.

    Also, possible bug: I started out illiterate (slave background) but shortly after coming to New Orleans, the text said I learned to read and write, and my stats marked me as Literate. Then somehow I got reset to Illiterate again by the time it came to read Clotho’s letter! Pourquoi?

  10. Gianni Santucci says:

    Wooooo Two in one month?! God must love me!

    Keep up the fantastic work!

  11. William says:

    UNLIMITED POWAH

  12. I’m afraid I agree with Noelle that there was a lot about this that didn’t sit right with me. Obviously there’s a fine line to walk in games like this, and people’s tastes vary, but I also found that the game felt very linear and I often felt that even when I *was* being presented with choices, the text was strongly guiding me in a particular direction. Clotho is a very good example, when she shows up the game tells you explicitly that you are attracted to her (or at least that you don’t want to leave) and I felt I was getting very strong hints that I was expected to be pursuing this woman whether I wanted to or not.

    I think a lot of it comes down to matters of taste. I have no idea if this is true, but the game seemed to have a different philosophy to some of the other games, in that there seems to be a lot of scope to go down *wholly* different path (like going with West and getting a completely different opening) with the downside of seeming to have less choice *within* those paths, but I could be mistaken in that.

  13. Text Gamer says:

    Wondering if anyone was successful at the piano? I choose all the musical and artistic options yet I couldn’t successfully play a piano piece? Odd!

    and there was a snippet of text can’t remember that ended in ….TODO Which made me think that it was part of a to do list that didn’t get done.

  14. Youngzman says:

    This was….amazing to say the least. It had the “I’m an unstoppable beast” feel from Choice of Dragon. More of a gripping backround history than Broadsides. And the heartbreak because of the impossibility of leaving Clotho alive. This is just awesome and i doubt that vampires (real or not) don’t live like this. They have their own politics to deal with, social class, and a government. I like the grayed out features. Next playthrough i’ll try for a drunk =] i thought this was going to be a game on the wall of shame, but you’ve completely strayed from the ‘Twilight’ type of vampire. And for that i thank you. Also, keep it up.

  15. Flora says:

    I hate to say it, but I was really, really disappointed in this game. I was looking forward to it because I’ve enjoyed the other games so much, but I found it poorly written and just really dull. I hated the written out accents – never a good sign. I also didn’t like that the choices were greyed out instead of just not showing up. It made it so that discoveries of other paths were less exciting, and also it was just plain frustrating. Didn’t really feel like I affected the outcome much, and none of the outcomes were particularly interesting anyway.

    I’ve talked with some friends and most of them feel the same way. I really hope to enjoy your next game more.

  16. Katherine Farmar says:

    I’ve played and enjoyed all three of the previous games, multiple times with each game, and now that I’ve played this one three times, I have to say that it has a distinctly different feel — it’s more immersive, and I have less of a sense of “gaming”. That is, with Dragon, Broadsides and Romance, once I’d played the game once I was aware of certain specific goals I was aiming for as a player — whether that meant content I wanted to unlock or outcomes I wanted to achieve — and making choices based on those goals and my character’s stats, regardless of whether that made for a coherent character or story.

    But with Vampire, I felt a much stronger sense of who my character was from the very beginning, and I felt that the game was paying attention to that throughout, so that I made choices based on that sense of identity. The fact that certain choices were visible but not actually choosable had a curious effect: they came across to me as conveying the limits of what my character considered thinkable or doable, and that further reinforced my sense of who he or she was. As a result, I became rather attached to my first character, a romantically-inclined French priest called Pierre Richard. He felt well-rounded, and I didn’t feel like the roundedness was all my doing, either.

    My three playthroughs were very different — there seems to be a much wider range of possible story types than with previous games. Or maybe it’s more that this game has more options that appeal to me, so I’m exploring the decision-tree more thoroughly. Either way, well done: I’m really impressed.

  17. Jason says:

    I’m enjoying this one at least as much as Choice of Broadsides. Maybe even more. I feel like there really are several story lines to discover even though I’ve only played twice now — two very different characters who had two very different endings (my second game I died!)

    Looking forward to part two. For now, I’m going to go back and play another half dozen times.

  18. JD says:

    Great job guys; I have played Choice of Vampires several times now and plan to play it many more. A few things that were diffrent compared to the other stories so far was that some options were unavailbale but still showed up. i’m fine with this but i’m still having a difficult time finding ways to pick the options I want to pick. Maybe if only pickable options could show up to not show us somthing we can’t pick on the other hand its nice to know the path is there. So as far as that goes i guess i can see benifits to both ways. Also this story and romance both left filling a little uncompleted i get that part two is on the way for both and i greatly anticipate both i just fell like i didnt finish the story. That said I enjoy your stories/games very much they are by far the best that i have played. They are very fun, greatly written, and still make one think. Can’t wait for the next one and as soon as I get some money on my itunes acount the first thing i buy will be any choice of games products! 🙂 keep up the great work and i wish you all the best.

  19. cg says:

    why is there only one indian choice when there are two or three black or white choices

  20. cg says:

    is it possibal to get past level 3 shapeshifting

  21. Gary says:

    Spoiler alert

    Fun game, played twice and got pretty different adventures. Noticed some minor bugs, second play through I had multiple romantic encounters, and each time was told that my “parts” didn’t function to my surprise, whereas I figured the second time I would jump right to vampire style loving. Secondly, I could be overestimating, but it seemed like I had a really good repertoire with Jesse, to the point of him repeatedly writing me wishing I could return, but got the same result of there being no great loss on his part, especially since I will vex him no longer.

  22. Deviija says:

    Spoilerish —

    @Gary Hm, it could be a bug or it could be how the relationship (friendly to one’s face but truly not friends) plays out in High Society, or it may be because one has to have a very high charm skill to charm him, or that you made choices that bumped up against his ambitions when dealing with the other vampires? I played through this morning to see if I could get the same result as you, Gary, but I instead received the letters and an ending about how truly sad Jesse was to lose my character.

  23. gASK says:

    This comment may contain traces of spoiler!

    This is by far my most favorite choice game. It has immersive atmosphere and while the main storyline is pretty much the same no matter what gender, race and background you choose, it differs in narrative enough to feel like a whole new game – I especially like the influence that the languages you speak have on the game. I have played through dozen times now and I still discover new options, new details and backstories (playing as Indian or German-speaking only character was especialy revarding). The variety of skills and their impact on game is also great, since you can only master one or two during the course of a game.

    The only cons of this game is it’s “unpolishedness” – since it is so complex and vast, it is full of small bugs and errors. There are options, that are never accessible, no matter what you do. There are options that change your stats “counterintuitively” (while this may or may not be intentional). There are places missing text (once or twice I have gotten the aforementioned “Next Page” without any reaction to my reaction and the game went on ahead). There is one place, that has TODO instead of text (It is near the begining playing as the beast I think, I have not gotten it again since). There are minor inconsistencies (like the above mentioned “sex” discovery, some things are explained twice to you etc).

    Nevertheless, this game is great and I sure hope there will be more games like this one. Thanks!

  24. LJ says:

    Spoiler

    My favorite part of the game was the cheat version even though it wasn’t finished.

  25. Dominic says:

    Wow. The depth and complexity of this game is almost beyond belief, as far beyond Choice of Broadsides as that game was beyond Choice of the Dragon. Just the impact and thought put into character knowledge of languages and literacy is impressive. It looks like it’s still in the middle of expansion; I can’t wait to play it all the way through.

    That said, as gASK mentions, there are a few things that feel less than polished. Looking at the code, there are a few checks for conditions that could not possibly be met. For example, if you run away from your trapped maker after the initial character creation, there’s a check for an alternate way to go to St. Charles if your shapeshifting is four or higher – but there’s no way even to have shapeshifting 1 at that point.

    Even when checks are possible, they often seem to be set with very restrictive requirements, considering the levels of skill that are available to you at the time they are made. I know it bothered me on the St. Charles approach that my only choices were to threaten the farmer or kill him for a place to stay – why does pleading for shelter require greater than 50% compassion? Someone at 50% compassion is hardly a ravening monster.

    Moreover, if you choose to intimidate him and don’t have 3 charisma or strength, you’re forced to kill him. (Incidentally, these are the maximum levels you can possibly have at this point in the game). A totally average character in this situation will therefore have no choice at all but to kill the farmer.

    Absurdly high requirements like these are scattered throughout the game; many of them are either unachievable, or only achievable if a character is thoroughly specialized in one approach. I honestly think it would benefit the game to lower all skill requirements of 2 or above by 1. Attribute requirements would probably demand a more careful examination.

    The rest of St. Charles is fairly satisfying until the end, where the people turn against you regardless of any and all the choices you have made. While I appreciate the need to drive the narrative forward, the implementation here is frustrating, as until this climactic scene it’s certainly possible for things to play out as though the people of St. Charles look upon you as a powerful and largely benevolent protector. The lampshade-hanging of “the ingratitude of these people amazes me” from Anselm does not do much to resolve the inconsistency.

    And why on earth does Anselm insist on going down with the house if you elect to run away? It’s absurd. You can only save him from dying if the people hate you.

  26. Dominic says:

    Incidentally, is there an efficient or accepted way to report bugs? I’ve noticed at least two; the ‘learn latin’ choice at the first time jump is available even if you already know latin, and in the Clotho plotline, Yves’ debt is only treated as canceled if you tell him you want to see Clotho again, not if you give him the money to pay it off and then try to find her on your own.

  27. Jason Stevan Hill says:

    You can send bugreports to support-vampire@choiceofgames.com

  28. JD says:

    Just a quick question in the comments Dominic mentioned something about looking at the code if someone could tell me how to do this that would be great. Thanks in advance.

  29. Aylin says:

    -May contain spoilers-
    I’ve ran through this a few times as of now. The game was enjoyable but it felt bugged and that the choices didn’t really change anything. It seemed like some of the choices were either die or get to the usual outcome. The storyline is rather a disappointment in comparison to the vast number of choices; however the historical aspect and the supernatural aspect was very well merged. The game was also some-what depressing…seriously did both Clotho and Sillas have to die?
    But overall I found this quite entertaining and would say it’s my second favorite Choice of games behind Boardsides

  30. Dominic says:

    For each game, if you add “scenes/” to the end of the URL, you can check the text files containing the game code. I like to open it up after I’ve played through two or three times, to see how everything works and if I’m missing anything big.

  31. Myth Thrazz says:

    This “looking behind the scene” I would consider rather a bug than a feature. I think the /scenes directory access should be forbidden. I was shocked it’s not.

  32. gASK says:

    On a completely unrelated note – have you thought about adding a donate option to your site? Since I would like to support you in your quest to bring us more of these games (and by support I mean by donating some small amount of money), but I do not own an iPhone or Android to support you by buying your games. And I believe I am not the only one who would like to do this. I could not find any note about this idea around this site.

  33. PugMama says:

    WOW! After doing as Dominic mentioned and seeing the number of scenes I am doing for the next installment, lol. Some very interesting sounding ones like “love demise” that is “to do” in the list.

    Also I have to agree with gAsk, a donate would be cool for those of us without the two OS’s.

  34. PugMama says:

    Woops not doing! Dying for the next installment hah Terrible typing skills.

  35. Ooh, I never realized you could look at the source code before!

    I second Dominic on the over-restrictive requirements. Again I recognize that there’s a fine line to walk here, but often it feels like the game isn’t so much *responding* to my choices as *judging* them.

    Why do I need Compassion to romance Silas? Why do I need to specifically “know about vegetarianism” to get the option to feed exclusively from animals?

    Again this is partly personal preference. I don’t think RPG-style task resolution is a particularly good fit for this sort of game.

  36. JD says:

    Thanks Dominic this made the stories a better experiance.

  37. Dominic says:

    Daniel – you don’t actually need to specifically know about vegetarianism to feed exclusively from animals. Knowing about it beforehand is one way (or would be, if that flag could set true significantly earlier than the Vicksburg depot vignette), but you can also answer that if you have >60% compassion and 3 or more willpower. The latter, admittedly, is a high bar.

    As for romancing Silas – I don’t necessarily see that the basic idea is unsound. If you’ve established yourself as a callous monster, certain feelings would be out of character for you. However, the precise placement of the cutoff may indeed be undesirable; if I were designing such a game, I would probably not consider a character trait so solidly established as to cut off choices until at least 70, 75, something like that. 60 is only a single 20% shift from the baseline.

  38. le blue dude says:

    In my opinion there are a few too many stats

  39. Ah, I must have misread the code on the “vegetarianism” thing. Although as you point out, getting Willpower 3 requires you to quite seriously min/max the system and I’ve had a lot of characters who have managed to arrive at the feeding debate without Compassion 60 despite not having done anything particularly callous.

    I do get the reasoning behind restricting options on the basis of your Attributes, but I think it’s easy to overdo. Players are relatively self-policing, if it wouldn’t make sense for a very Callous player to select a romantic dialogue option, chances are the player won’t select it anyway, and if the player does select it, then it’s presumably something the player believes their character would say.

  40. Dan Fabulich says:

    @Myth, we normally leave the game code available to help other ChoiceScript authors learn from our code (and our mistakes). (We can lock it up, too, if you’d like.)

  41. Speaking personally, I’m very pleased that the source code is available, for exactly the reasons Dan cites.

    Plus I think it creates a nice sense of openness. It’s nice to have a games company that puts everything out there instead of saying “No, you mere mortals may not look upon our BELOVED SOURCE CODE!”

  42. Gary says:

    I too am glad to see a finished product to learn from.

  43. Jason Stevan Hill says:

    If you’re trying to learn from my code, I should point out an idiosyncrasy: my percentage traits are reversed. If you will, they are more like a needle than a bar. Thus, if you kill someone, your Compassion *increases* (ie the needle gets closer to the ‘Callous’ endpoint). Similarly, if you profess faith, your Rationalism increases (ie the needle gets closer to Superstition).

    However, because the rest of the CoG games use bars instead of needles, we reversed the labels on the Character Details page. Therefore, when you look at your character’s traits, you see a standard bar. But, if you compare those traits to the code and don’t realize this idiosyncrasy, you could get very confused very quickly.

  44. Ammie says:

    Vampire is very much unlike the other games in that it fleshes out your character according to the world you’ve built for it. I personally like that. While it restricts my options, it gives my character his or her own life. It also allowed for more immersive storytelling than something comparatively more open-ended.

    I do agree, however, that the numbers given to this approach aren’t well-balanced. And I think there are too many variables to allow for a successful approach outside of picking a few stats and capping them.

    Very cool game, though. I liked the historical accuracy. And I enjoyed that having a successful mortal romance had its moments of undead humor.

  45. Gary says:

    I’m curious as to how the continuations will work, will we get to carry over our character?

  46. Dominic says:

    Based on the fact that there are a number of partially-written vignettes past those currently available in CotV (and, in fact, you can see a little of what follows if you set your first name to ‘Continue’), I would assume that the continuation will simply take the form of more being available after where it currently ends.

    Also, a neat little trick – there are two points right now where you get a randomized bonus of some kind; one right after you pick your background skill, and one after arriving in New Orleans, during the period where your sire is explaining everything to you. If, on the page where the bonus is assigned, you go into your stats and then back, it re-randomizes the bonus, so if you’re of mind to you can get whatever appeals.

  47. Gary says:

    I totally didn’t notice the password part before >.<

  48. Dominic says:

    That’s because it didn’t have one before. There have been a few quiet updates.

  49. Erana says:

    I really love this game. I don’t much care for vampires generally, but I love how if mixes the nigh-invincibility of Choice of the Dragon with the whole, “not being a dragon in a high-fantasy world” thing.
    From years of overanalayzing video games, and having taken some te to get to know how Choice of games work, I’d like to know how to think of my stats. (disregard the needle stats for this comment) For the most part, I found certain skills -namely Stealth, Strength and Charm- to be the “core” stats of the game, perhaps fulfilling in a way the “powerful warrior, lithe ranger, guileful Mage” trinity so often found in games. Each of my playthroughs consisted of having at least a 4 in one of these stats, or two 3’s.
    In addition, I found I could develop past 1 only two skills, (with three skills past 2 on only a few occasions, thanks to the random boosts.)
    Moreover, I found that In-story, I only seemed to be able to really utilize only three of these skills- with one or more of these skills being Strength, Stealth or Charm.

    Now having explained my hypothesis, I’d like to know how many stats a player should reasonably attempt to juggle with one character when playing the game as intended. Are the apparent trends I see in-game a matter of the game’s length? Is there any actual truth to my, “core playstyle stat trinity” theory?

    In addition to the above questions, I’d also like to ask for a definition of “intelligence” and, “fighting” by CotV game logic. Charm seems to me to be a measurement of manipulation skills, rather than how much instant appeal the character has as I had first assumed. I hold a similar feeling on strength seeming to cover what I would presume to be governed by fighting. How do these skills manifest themselves in-game? Have they simply not been significantly implimented yet, of have I missed these occasions?

    Shapeshifting also seems a bit vague a term. During gameplay, it seems to act like Druidism does more standard RPGs- the protagonist, when developing this stat, seems to gain a connectedness to nature- will this aspect of the emphasis remain a constant, with the actual shapeshifting being naught but an ability, or will it giveway to the character becoming some sort of more animal than man (figuratively) monstrosity? Or perhaps this is something that will be revealed either through lore or a first-hand account?

    Realising that this will be an expansive gaming experience, I’ve resolved to creating several character arcetypes to do my initial explorations of the game with. Knowing what stats do what would be helpful in determining how to build them.

    And I say this from my inner-completionist; when approaching a Choice of game, I strive to be as earnest with my choices for my first several playthroughs, messing around with different origins and branches ‘n the like. It’s after the game loses it’s new-game luster that I allow it to be a treasure hunt. Of course, if I didn’t do this, I wouldn’t have ever even found Clotho’s name. In fact, I would have been too buisy going,”oooh, harmonica!” to even realize that Silas was a potential love interest. These games are best served multiple times, after all.

    Just two more things:
    1. The whole, “your dominus is stuck in a burning building”scenario is perfectly acceptable on it’s own. However, most people like playing the “Good” guy, or at least the, “saves the maker they selected only moments ago” guy. People are also not always going to read as much as they damn well should.
    therefore, many people would likely look at, “rush to his aid!”as the only respectable decision.
    I read the passage and (while partly fearful of you pulling a Robina Williams first-thing) thought to myself, “if I were a new vampire, there were a fire, and the sun was coming up, what would I do?” and proceeded to have my character flee. The whole, “impending dawn” matter seems a bit overlookable in this passage, considering the fact that observing it results in a completely different first-half of the game.
    2. I wish the intentions of Jesse were made a bit more clear when he talks about having an admirer- I still feel guilty about choosing, “should I encourage her affection,” expecting that I might be able to get them together. I understood he was a bit of a flake, but not a downright jerk.

    I think Ive said enough for now.

  50. Poking around the source code really helps with understanding the mechanics. From what I can tell:

    Fighting is actually worked out using a “combat” score which is a sum of several factors, 1.5 times your actual “Fighting” skill, plus strength, plus agility, plus bonuses if your shapeshifting is high.

    Shapeshifting seems to combine what I can probably best describe as the “Animalism” and “Protean” disciplines from the old Vampire: the Masquerade, I’ve not seen much indication that it will inevitably lead to you turning into West.

  51. Dominic says:

    Regarding how man stats you can develop-

    Obviously, development comes from a variety of sources. Strength, agility, charm, intelligence, and willpower all start at 1; the other stats, being essentially skills, start at zero.

    Choice of sire gives you one point – Perception for Father Carlos, intelligence for Saint-Chapelle, charm for Van der Ahe, fighting for Itamaraca, streetwise for Winters, and stealth for West. (Until a recent update, your perception was raised to 1 for free soon after embrace; this devalued a choice of Carlos, so it’s probably good that it’s gone)

    Choice of background gives you anywhere between one (French aristocrat, Charm +1) and five points (scotch worker, +1 creation, strength, lore, agility & charm). But it isn’t as simple as ‘more = better,’ since background also determines your starting languages and literacy; there’s a great deal of value, for example, to beginning with English.

    You can then deliberately invest one point into an attribute (to a max of 3, which is treated like the non-supernatural maximum), and one into a non-supernatural skill. After this, you get a random skill or attribute gain – generally raising the attribute to no more than three, and the skill to no more than 2, though there is some variation.

    If turned into a vampire before the game start, you get another attribute increase (not capped at 3) based on the choice you make in the burning building – strength if you save your sire, agility if you run, willpower if you kill him.

    If your sire is West, and the two of you are together at this point, he gives you a point of shapeshifting and up to 1 point of lore.

    Otherwise, upon entry to New Orleans, you get a point of lore if you don’t already have one, from the quaestor explaining things to you. Furthermore, if your sire is the quaestor , you gain a random bonus, which may increase a skill by 1 (to a max of 3), teach you English, make you literate, or increase your income by 10 and your wealth by 1000.

    After this point, skill and attribute development slows substantially. If you explain things successfully and don’t lie to Cecil in New Orleans, you can get a point in lore. After that, there’s no further development until the first time jump, after New Orleans/St. Charles, where you can select to develop a skill or attribute before Vicksburg; this is the last such chance in the game.

    So, the maximum total of skill/attribute increases you can potentially get is, I guess…fourteen. At least 2 of which will be Lore.

  52. Ruarok says:

    Very good, in fact truly awesome game. Sneaky touch I laughed my head off at was the fact you can’t name you’re character Edward Cullen :L I tried it for a laugh one playthrough, the game refuses to let you do it 🙂

  53. Gary says:

    Ran into a bug in Vicksburg, chose not to introduce the new vampire to WIthers, got two slightly different meetings between me and her consecutively after. Here is my character code if that helps:

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  54. Aro says:

    i was looking at the scenes and it said after you leave west you had option to go to new orliens or head up missisipy but it say if your shapeshifting level is above 3 you can turn into a bat and fly to a new place

    can you get shapeshifting level that early in the game and if so how ?

    🙂 Aro

  55. Dominic says:

    No, you cannot get that level shapeshifting that early in the game.

    Gary, while I’m not certain of precisely what you saw, the program flow in vicksburg_refugee appears solid to me, and in a quick test of refusing to pass on an invitation, it did not appear to repeat. There is in fact supposed to be two meetings in close proximity – perhaps you simply misinterpreted this as an error?

  56. ice says:

    Love the game, can’t wait for part 2 coming out

  57. Gary says:

    That is fairly possible, I was kinda tired last night, but it definitely seemed like there was repeated dialogue… I’ll try to reproduce.

  58. Mallamun says:

    ***SPOILERS***

    While I love, love, love Choice of Games, this is the first time that I have to step in and say that I’m disappointed.

    Clearly, a LOT of thought was put into the actual writing, and into the historical accuracy, but the flow and the interactive quality of the story was lost in the process. There are times when one sequence simply does not flow into another, no matter how much you try to fill in the inconsistencies with your imagination. (Eg., in the last came I played, I went through about 10 pages espousing how much the people of St. Charles adored me; I avoided all the pitfalls, didn’t take bribes, didn’t kill any locals, and was even so favored that when the second priest arrived, they shunned him in favor of yours truly. …then suddenly, they arrive at my house with pitchforks.)

    The interactive quality was almost non-existent–I felt more as though I was getting a random story based on the dice I was rolling, and not as though I was making meaningful character choices. While chance makes it exciting, there needs to be SOME element of predictability in the choices that are made, or they don’t feel like choices.

    I also was not a fan of some of the impossibly high stat requirements to unlock certain choices that would in fact have flowed nicely with the story/character.

    There are also signs of downright sloppiness–maybe because this is the most involved, multibranching game you’ve written so far… but the little innocent mistakes here and there that are easily overlooked in other games sort of overpowered here. I think you might also have gone in over your head with the scope of your vingettes, since they sometimes copy and paste together very inelegantly:

    In one game, I was pursing the matter of Clotho’s seance fiasco, trying to figure out where she went. (Apparently I was desperately in love with her? I was just kind of thrown into that romantic bit; I never meant to pursue her that way.) So here I am, making choice after choice, trying to find her… I try to threaten some men into giving me information- oops, no, actually, you don’t threaten them, you lose control and KILL them. I’m forced to run- and then que to “Do you kill the farmer?”

    Not another word, not another thought of the Clotho plotline that I just spent 90% of the game thus far playing. I went through a lengthy romance with her, and a lengthy conspiracy sequence, and then apparently move onto killing farmers without a care in the world. Even just ONE sentence saying, “Guess you’ll never find out what happened to Clotho” would have made it feel less like you were just desperate to tie the loose ends into the next vingette.

    Anyway, I’m sorry to be so harsh, I love your work… I just hope you can learn from some of the mistakes made in Vampire and apply it to future projects.

  59. Shooey says:

    I was really bothered by how, even when you choose to be a female, the person you fall in love with is female as well. I’m not homophobic exactly, but it still makes me feel uncomfortable to be forced into a gay relationship.

  60. PugMama says:

    We really need a forum! I have so many other things I want to ask players and this is the only way!!

    SPOILER

    Was anyone successful in getting the needed lore/perception/speak french combo needed to hear the convo about shepherds and wolves, I can never get the greater than 2 lore to get the longer scene which leads to the scene with Calkins on the cliff. Im dying to follow the shepherds and wolves storyline but cant seem to get it right! I check the code carefully (I thought) and still can’t get that perfect mix (and be strong enough to subdue Calkins, I either sacrifice that or my ability to speak french defeating the whole purpose)

  61. Dominic says:

    Well, let’s see. The Lore 3 is the hardest single requirement to meet, so let’s start with that…there’s no way in governors_visit to raise lore, so you need 3 before it, no way in affair so you need 3 before that, no way in Jesse so you need 3 before that. You can get a point of lore in newcomer, up to the three we need, if you educate the newcomer about the way of things…which requires english.

    So by the end of the initial New Orleans vignette, we need either 3 lore, or 2 Lore and English – keeping in mind that we also need french, and that you can only acquire french in affair if you don’t know english.

    So…lore. Two backgrounds give lore 1, the scotch worker and the catholic priest. If you’re literate and have intelligence 2 or more, you can get another point of lore…but the scotch background isn’t literate, so the only way this is even remotely possible is with the priest background. Hm. Which doesn’t help at all for the later combat check, but we’ll worry about that in time.

    So, (french) priest could get the 2nd point of lore, but we need intelligence 2, so we have to spend either our attribute development or our sire on that. We still need perception, so let’s say the sire is Father Carlos for perception, and we spend the attribute development on intelligence – now we can spend the skill development on lore to get lore 2. Still don’t have English.

    random_trait goes to fighting; we’re going to need it.

    Save the sire for strength + 1, taking us to 2, and a current sum of 4.5 combat.

    Random refinement, in NO, goes to learning English; this permits us to communicate with Cecil and get our third point of Lore. Now we have perception 1, lore 3, and speak french – we can overhear them. But we only have 4.5 combat – can it be brought up in time for the fight? If you wait until after his soliloquy, you only need combat > 6…but…

    There’s only one further skill development chance, at timejump1. The most efficient way to spend your points is on fighting – this takes us up to 6. But we need > 6. I’m fairly certain that it is not, in fact, possible to get that scene, because of how carefully you have to build your character in order to overhear them in the first place.

  62. PugMama says:

    Thank You Dominic! I feel a lot better knowing I wasn’t the only one finding this impossible. Ten playthru (of just the portion to the cliff) and I could only get a combo that included 2 lore, not enough to have lengthy cliff scene or the extended explanation at the party, since it must be greater than 2.

    I hope in a later version this is fixed as that story line was the most intriguing for me. (Which all may guess based on my many attempts to get there, lol.) I say fixed cause I assume that since it has connecting strings (If you view the Chicago scenes you can ask about this there and be told it was with Calkins) through out the game, it was meant to be achievable.

  63. Aro says:

    #Head for New Orleans.
    *goto 1823

    #Head north on foot.
    You make your way through the bayous, scrambling for shelter along the way. The going is tough, but you are up to the challenge.

    *goto intro_to_karlstein
    *if shapeshifting > 3
    #Use my powers of Shapeshifting to turn into a bat and fly north.
    Shedding your mortal form, you set out into the night air, free of the fetters of the earth. Like this, shelter will be easily found.
    *goto intro_to_karlstein

    I dont understan how you can get shapeshifting level that high in game

    is it immpossible

    if not coulde some one tell me how ?

    🙂 Aro

  64. Dominic says:

    It is impossible, Aro.

    Regarding the Shepherds and Wolves topic discussed above, it should also be noted that it is only by building an extremely specialized character, with intimate knowledge of the game code and gaming the random skill development to get what we want, that it is even possible to come as close as we do. Someone playing normally will not get even remotely near to achieving it.

    Part of the problem, I think, is due to the relative weakness of the characters. The checks themselves (for the most part) are not unreasonable, given what they are meant to represent, and given the scale that an attribute of 1 represents an underdeveloped personal characteristic, 2 human-typical, and 3 above-average. But interpreted thusly, it is clear that most backgrounds leave the player sadly deficient, measured in reference to typical human capability. Indeed, the most a background does by itself is raise an attribute to the human average; the fact that the Choctaw interpreter gets agility +1, for example, just means that he begins stupid, weak, tactless, and impulsive, instead of stupid, weak, tactless, impulsive, AND clumsy.

    One fairly clear solution would be to have character attributes begin at 2 instead of 1, and then perhaps adjusting the backgrounds to have an occasional attribute minus where it would be appropriate for the character to have a deficit in that area. A number of backgrounds (slave, irish, appalachian) could have a minus to intelligence due to a lack of education. German might have a minus to charm due to being a warrior, of sorts. A few backgrounds (French aristocrat, priest, isleno?) might have a minus to strength, due to being unusually leisured. But on the whole, it would raise the starting character to being generally above average, physically and mentally, rather than being generally below. This would also help address some of those otherwise-unreasonable checks.

    …though, I will admit, it would not help the Shepherds and Wolves issue very much specifically, due to the precise requirements to overhear it in the first place. Lore is a skill, and would not be affected by the above. Only one background can even -potentially- get lore 3 by the time the check occurs, and if you happen to choose to be a spanish priest instead of a french, even this possibility closes off. I would suggest, perhaps, that it not require lore 3? After all, the suggestion of the text when the check is successful is that you are -already familiar- with the wolves-versus-shepherds debate, due to your extremely high knowledge. If you’re overhearing the discussion, you should be able to get a sense of the debate going on notwithstanding that it’s new to you.

  65. I suspect that part of the problem is inconsistent interpretation of what stats mean.

    Stat points are *awarded* to players on a basis which (I think) assumes human average to be zero, with 1, 2 and 3 points being above average, good, and human maximum (certainly Perception 4 is where you start getting actual telepathy, and I believe Stealth 4 is where you start being able to turn genuinely invisible).

    Unfortunately the way the attributes are *checked* in the game seems to be based on the assumption that human average is somewhere between 1 and 2, with 3 being the minimum for any kind of consistent performance.

    The most egregious example of this in the game is when you get the option to attack Clotho, and need a combat score of *six* to beat her. I mean okay she’s a plucky, independent woman, but you actually need to have *focused* on your combat skills to take her down.

  66. Dominic says:

    There’s no way that human average is meant to be zero for attributes. Witness things like saying grace at Clotho’s dinner; charm 1 gives you “You do your best to say something coherent, but it mostly comes out as a jumble.” Charm 2 “You do an acceptable job with your invocation,” and charm 3 “You wow them with your oratory. You even detect a few tears.”

    Attributes do indeed appear to start being supernatural at 4. Skills, however, are another matter; shapeshifting is supernatural even at the first dot. Stealth is supernatural at 2 – “Your powers of deception have reached supernatural levels. While you remain still, mortals are incapable of seeing you.” Perception is supernatural at 3 (“As you ponder the scene, you reach out with your mind and realize that the bound figure is not Clotho.”) and perhaps at 2 (“You have the feeling that there are others–his family, perhaps?–inside the dwelling.”)

    Rather than saying that they’re awarded on an alternate interpretation scheme, I would tend to say that the awarding is simply not cognizant of what your initial attribute distribution would imply.

  67. Dominic says:

    Also, six to beat Clotho is not actually terribly unreasonable, if we go with the “2 is average” approach. Give her average strength and agility, and a bit of fighting ability (2, 2, 1), and her combat score is 5.5.

  68. Rather than saying that they’re awarded on an alternate interpretation scheme, I would tend to say that the awarding is simply not cognizant of what your initial attribute distribution would imply.

    I think we’re basically saying the same thing, it’s just that I’m assuming that Jason *didn’t* intend for player characters to start out as being subnormal in most areas, and below average in the rest. I can’t believe that he actually intended for somebody who picks the “Blood of my Warrior Ancestors” background *and* specifically says that they trained their combat skills to be *worse* in a fight than the average human.

  69. Ken says:

    So i’m a first time poster here , i enjoy all of your online games immensely , but i have a question , is it possible to have more options for having a lover? i know its supposed to be like “real” as in not everything’s gonna be happy happy , but is there something you can do to fix to have a choice other then to kill off your love interest?

  70. Tc-25 says:

    I’ve noticed few bugs here and there. The mist noticeable one is simply having a “next” instead of a reaction to your choices. As many above have stated, without playing with my stats, I’ve failed to come up with a character that resembled a supernatural predator of any kind, at times being defeated by a single trained guard in combat.

    But- more to the point of all this- just curious when we can expect the next installment?

  71. Max says:

    Absolutely amazing game and I love the simplicity (just make choices) and the depth it brings!

    Any updates on when we can expect a new chapter?

    Keep up the brilliant work that you do!

  72. Dominic says:

    TC-25 – That happens when there’s additional content for characters in slightly different situations. If it’s a bug, it’s an exceedingly minor one.

    As for the combat thing – many of the checks were somewhat high, I’ll grant, though they were revised down recently. But even with that, it wasn’t exactly difficult to produce a skilled combatant. Pick Villanueva and the German background, and your starting combat score is a 7, enough for all but beating multiple soldiers at once and Calkins. With one more strength, agility, or fighting, you can pass every combat check except ‘Jesse and Estafania at once,’ which is not actually possible.

  73. Thesupercuteandfuzzy says:

    On the “Shepherds and Wolves” discussion, I have just finished playing through every possibility of stats I can come up with (using the French priest background) and I can not manage to get all of the “Shepherds and Wolves” references. I’m good up until Calkins. Through some experimentation with other characters, I discovered that there is one final reference if you bind Calkins, right before you push him off the cliff(or not). [i]has[/i] anyone managed to get all of the references? If you have, I would be fascinated to hear how you did it.

  74. Dominic says:

    TSCaF – it’s quite possible now. The easiest and most reliable would probably be to pick the Choctaw Interpreter background, embraced by Itamarca. Pick strength and fighting to develop, and flee at the burning croft, but then head into New Orleans and beg forgiveness for doing so. When you get a chance, instruct Cecil truthfully in the ways of vampires.

    At this point, you have everything you need. You should overhear the discussion successfully at the meeting, and be able to subdue Calkins successfully in Vicksburg – just rush him and drag him in. I’ve verified that it works.

  75. Zed says:

    Really enjoyed this one, mainly due to the diversity of play compared to the other ChoiceOf games — for one thing, having more and often mutually incompatible goals to shoot for is a good thing. 🙂

    Was wondering, for those looking at the source code, where do I find it?

  76. Thesupercuteandfuzzy says:

    Dominic- Woot!! Thanks for your help. : D

  77. Dominic says:

    Zed – add ‘scenes/’ to the end of the url; e.g., for Vampire, it’s at http://www.choiceofgames.com/vampire/scenes/

  78. Zed says:

    Thanks Dominic!

  79. Romar says:

    When does chapter 2 come out?

  80. Prevenge says:

    Ah, been planning to write a game for this platform for a while, but I’ve always been too lazy. 😛
    But: this game is great! The main problem I had with it was, like everyone else, that it ends. It’s been really frustrating that there isn’t a large, weighty Choice of Games … game … yet. This one is large and weighty, but at the same time it isn’t because it just kind of -ends-. :(.
    Also, you maybe should sell your games on PC and stuff – I’d probably buy them. Don’t have an iDevice. 😛

  81. Chris says:

    AMAZING stuff! I’ve never played a game like this before. The detailed plot, characters, and prose are all phenomenal!

  82. John says:

    Here are my goals – I’ll let other folks tell me if they’re impossible.

    1 – Choose West for a sire, and learn as much Shapeshifting as possible;
    2 – Speak Latin, so as to be eligible for eventual Quaestor status;
    3 – Have a high enough willpower to feed on animals only.
    4- Get a sign of recognition from the Spanish vampire with Catholic mysticism

    I have tried doing a lawyer and a priest.

    When I choose “lawyer” I seem to let my faith slip, so the Spanish vampire tells me about shepherds and wolves, but then she doesn’t teach me about mysticism. Getting high Willpower seems to require most of my background choices, so I may have to settle for having low Shapeshifting during the pre-modern period (when it is remarkably useful).

  83. John says:

    To feed from animals only, I know I need a Willpower of 3 and a high Compassion.
    However, nothing I do seems to raise my Compassion – it starts low and continues getting lower, no matter what I do with the doll and my dying grandmother.

  84. John says:

    With regard to my earlier comments, it seems that I can make a character with West as a mentor and I can use the obvious choices (admit to the doll, kiss the grandmother, rescue the mentor) to get my callousness down to 28. However, immediately after that, for no apparent reason, my callousness jumps from 28 to 42.

    With a mentor other than West, I find it is easy to keep my callousness below 40, and to get the “feeds from animals” option which is called “vegetarian.”

    This might be intentional if the programmer wanted West’s vampire tradition to prefer humans as the most suitable food choices.

  85. Rick says:

    If your mentor is West, it seems that it is possible to hit a label as follows:

    *label 1823_beast
    *set new_orleans_quaestor_given_name “Pieter”
    *set new_orleans_quaestor_surname “Van der Ahe”
    *set new_orleans_quaestor_address “Heer Van der Ahe”
    *set jesse_is_broodmate false
    *set taught_three_rules true
    *set Shapeshifting +1
    *set Compassion %+20
    *set lore +1
    *set Independence %-20
    *set Anachronism %-20

    However, note that genuinely “nice guy” choices result in negative compassion values, so the +20% to compassion is probably what causes your Callousness to go from 28 to 42.

  86. SeaJay says:

    Is this game gonna go to modern day?

  87. Desiree' says:

    When is the next part going to come out?! This was such an intriguing game I haven’t been able to stop replaying it!

  88. Steve says:

    The conspicuous absence, among grandiose and extreme eternal-life-goals, of the choice, “I don’t know yet, but it’s OK because I have an eternity to decide,” which led to settling on one, followed by reluctant lies in an effort to backtrack, and thus even narrower choices, frustrated me. As a result of my fumblings, my character was to get in touch with a random person (or vampire?) that likes whiskey. I clicked no thanks, but then realized that the consequence was, in all likelihood, merely to skip content. I promptly became a quitter.

    The “…are you lying?” nonsense (give me the choice to be lying BEFORE I give an answer, please) stung a little. The greyed out choices so early on made me doubt the protagonist I’d chosen. But it was the semi-obtuse choices with unclear consequences, and lack of feedback that truncated my play-through. I felt like, this time, the game mechanics were inhibiting how comfortably I could put my mind in this vampire world you created.

    I’m going to give it another go now, though. Complaining took the pain away. You are excellent writers and I fully support your efforts.

  89. Jason Stevan Hill says:

    Something idiosyncratic to the Vampire code: the closer the number gets to the pole, the more of that thing you are. So, if your Compassion is going down, that means you’re more Compassionate. If your Compassion goes up, that means you’re more Callous (less Compassionate). So, when you say your Compassion is dropping, no matter what you do about the doll and your grandmother, you are actually making your character more compassionate, which is what I think you’re trying to do.

  90. Olive says:

    I like the game alot (I’ve played it many times, infact) but I felt like no matter what you do to save your relationship with Clotho or Silas, they’ll always end up dead.

  91. Megan says:

    I love this game but it always seems like Silas or Clotho die no matter what. Other then that its great! When’s the next part going to come out?

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