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Jan 28

2021

Fate of the Storm Gods—Control the elements as a force of nature!

Posted by: Mary Duffy | Comments (0)

We’re proud to announce that Fate of the Storm Gods, the latest in our popular “Choice of Games” line of multiple-choice interactive-fiction games, is now available for Steam, Android, and on iOS in the “Choice of Games” app. It’s 33% off until February 4th! You can also pick up Bendi Barrett’s first game, Avatar of the Wolf for 25% off!

Harness wind, earth, fire, and all the forces of nature to destroy your enemies! Will you stabilize the broken magic of the weather, or revel in its chaos?

Fate of the Storm Gods is a 275,000-word interactive fantasy novel by Bendi Barrett. It’s entirely text-based, without graphics or sound effects, and fueled by the vast, unstoppable power of your imagination.

The world-below is the realm of humans: mundane, short-lived, often helpless creatures. But you are a Weather Builder—a resident of the upper-world, controller of all things atmospheric and a veritable Storm God! In your Workshop of the Westerly Wind at the peak of Mount Gion, you and the Master Builder regulate the weather in the Western lands.

When a desperate human royal climbs Mount Gion and breaches your workshop, you learn that the weather in the Southern lands has descended into chaos. Floods destroy whole cities in high-lying areas. Fertile plains deteriorate into desert within months. Furthermore, the Builders’ loyal automaton servants, the homunculi, are slaughtering humans without provocation.

This must be the work of the Weather Eaters, enemies of the Builders since time immemorial. The Weather Eaters feed off of maladaptive weather, sowing anarchy and strife wherever they can. Now, your ancient feud threatens to break the weather and tear apart two worlds.

Armed with a suite of elemental powers and the aid of your trusty (and deadly) homunculus, you must leave Mount Gion for the first time, putting yourself between the will of the Builders, the needs of the humans, and the ire of your enemies. Will you use your elemental powers and your wits to mend this rift before it’s too late, or will you prioritize accumulating power and influence in the midst of growing chaos?

• Play as male, female, or nonbinary; gay, straight, bi, asexual, or poly.
• Ascend to the highest level of skill in the weather-building arts and become a Weather Master.
• Pursue romance with a stalwart royal, a criminal mastermind, a devout Weather Builder, or a villainous Weather Eater!
• Negotiate peace between warring factions or crush your foes under your thumb.
• Discover the secrets of the broken weather system and the complexities of bringing order to it.
• Decide the future of one of the last remaining human strongholds.
• Help guide the growth of your loyal homunculus companion, Humil, as they learn what it means to think for themselves.

The fate of two worlds is in your hands!

We hope you enjoy playing Fate of the Storm Gods. We encourage you to tell your friends about it, and recommend the game on Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr, and other sites. Don’t forget: our initial download rate determines our ranking on the App Store. The more times you download in the first week, the better our games will rank.

Jan 25

2021

Author Interview: Bendi Barrett, Fate of the Storm Gods

Posted by: Mary Duffy | Comments (0)

The world-below is the realm of humans: mundane, short-lived, often helpless creatures. But you are a Weather Builder—a resident of the upper-world, controller of all things atmospheric and a veritable Storm God! Fate of the Storm Gods is a 275,000-word interactive fantasy novel by Bendi Barrett, author of Avatar of the Wolf. I sat down with Bendi to talk about his upcoming game. You can try the first three chapters today. Fate of the Storm Gods releases this Thursday, January 28th.

I love how both your games, Avatar of the Wolf and this latest one, transport me into a world of mythology that feels familiar but also completely new. Tell me about what inspires your worldbuilding.

At the inaugural Narrascope convention in 2019, I went to a talk by Ian Thomas (Author of Pendragon Rising) and he talked about horror and how effective horror leads the viewer to drawing conclusions that essentially scare themselves. For me, world building is similar in that you’re sketching a world and your goal is to do so with strong enough fundamentals and a compelling enough hook that the reader will fall into it and even forgive some of the fuzzy bits at the edge where maybe things don’t quite work as smoothly.

For Avatar of the Wolf, I was laser focused on a sustained mood. I wanted to magnify the strangeness and outsized influence of the animal gods, but I established early on that there was no ambiguity about their presence in this world. The narrative came out of a question about how people might adapt to a world where faith was a sort of by product of the direct evidence of divine presence.

In Fate of the Storm Gods you play as an apprentice Weather Builder just starting out and going into the human world for the first time and you don’t have the luxury of that sort of blanket faith. So I built the world around the idea of how a powerful, sort of mythical figure might go about making sense of this world that, to quote you, feels “familiar but also completely new.”

Both worlds bloomed out of a narrow focus on how one particular being—in this case both powerful and quasi-divine—experiences the world and grew from there.

Storm Gods revolves around the power to control the weather, and this is managed by these semi-celestial beings the Weather Builders. What weather based powers did you enjoy writing?

I think lightning was my favorite weather power to write. Lightning is a terrifying force with such an outsized impact that in the game I wanted it to feel like an exclamation point. So when lightning is on the table, things are usually pretty final and if lightning doesn’t work then you might have a problem on your hands.

But the PC also has access to flame powers and earth powers through different means and it was a lot fun trying to think of how someone who has been training with these powerful forces for a long time might employ them in response to particular challenges.

But yeah, probably the lightning.

Also, my favorite part of the game might be the homunculus and their brethren. Tell me a little about these creatures.

In the world of Storm Gods the homunculi are a sort of species of metallic-seeming servants built by the Weather Builders to perform tasks for them. They’re tall and imposing, but otherwise come in a variety of forms. They can be incredibly deadly when necessary.

At the start of the game the PC learns that some of the homunculi have become violent and that’s a part of what brings them to the human world alongside a representative of the humans and a faithful homunculus called Humil, whom the PC grew up with.

I think that the story of Storm Gods is also the story of Humil, who changes in significant ways over the course of the story right along with the PC. I’m really glad to hear that Humil’s journey connected with you, because writing Humil’s arc was an amazing ride and I can’t wait for people to meet this character.

I think if something ties the PC in Fate of the Storm Gods to the PC in Avatar of the Wolf it’s that there’s maybe an outsider/identity question that occurs for each. Can you talk about that?

There’s a lot of weight placed on the shoulders of both these PCs early on: In Avatar you have a dead god to avenge and in Storm Gods there’s a world-spanning crisis to investigate. In both stories these pressures give the PC the opportunity to reevaluate their allegiances and maybe question some of the assumptions that they’ve nurtured up until that point. Ultimately, that’s what I think identity is: a set of assumptions about yourself that you accept as fact and then encourage the world to accept as fact, which is why I love having NPCs who will kind of question your PC’s identity and ask you repeatedly to either double down on your convictions or bend toward new configurations.

As for being an outsider, I think that’s an important ingredient in the alchemy of identity. While in these extraordinary circumstances both PCs find themselves newly independent—in Avatar, it’s from a hungry god; in Storm Gods it’s from a patient, but exacting teacher—and they have to define themselves in a larger context, deciding what they stand for and what they don’t in a world that they may not yet fully understand.

I don’t envy either of these characters for the tough decisions they have to make, but hopefully it makes for compelling storytelling.

What else have you been working on? 

So many things! However, nothing close enough to imminent release to talk up yet. I encourage anyone who might be interested in keeping up with me to follow my work at benmakesstuff.com or on twitter at @bendied. I promise I am attempting to be better at regularly updating both.

Jan 07

2021

Two New Hosted Games! “Relics of the Lost Age” and “The Brothers War

Posted by: Kai DeLeon | Comments (0)

Hosted Games has two new games for you to play!

Relics of the Lost Age by James Shaw

Relics of the Lost Age

The Nazis are on the trail of six ancient magical artifacts powerful enough to crush all opposition and conquer the world. But they didn’t take one thing into account: you.

Relics of the Lost Age is a swashbuckling 350,000 word interactive adventure novel written by James Shaw, where your choices control the story. It’s entirely text-based, without graphics or sound effects, and fueled by the vast, unstoppable power of your imagination.

It started out as a routine dig in Palestine. But soon you find yourself racing across the desert on a quest to track down a fabled ancient relic before the Nazis can get their hands on it. And that’s just the beginning. The Third Reich are mobilizing right across the globe, on the hunt for mysterious ancient Relics of Power, objects which could put unimaginable supernatural forces into the hands of the armies of darkness. And the only thing standing in their way is you.

Step into the weathered boots of a swashbuckling 1930s archaeologist and strap in for a wild ride around the globe, finding adventure, romance, and mystery at every turn. Do you have what it takes to locate the Relics, vanquish your foes and save the world from a thousand years of darkness?

  • Play as male, female, or non-binary; gay, straight, bi, poly, or asexual.
  • Find romance with a fearless explorer, an exiled prince, a passionate archaeologist, or a tormented spy.
  • Take on a rogue’s gallery of memorable and despicable villains, including the Nazis, the mafia, Triads, Klansmen, renegade soldiers, and ruthless treasure-hunters.
  • Travel widely in a lovingly recreated 1930s world, exploring the deserts of Palestine, the high passes of Tibet, the noxious politics of Louisiana, the jungles of Congo, London’s cut-throat art-crime scene, and Hong Kong’s deadly Triad underworld.
  • Experience epic gunfights, visceral brawls, and wild stunts in vintage vehicles.
  • Uncover a sinister secret lost for millennia.

Archaeology just got a whole lot more exciting.

Clans of Éire: The Brothers’ War by Fionn Graham

The Brothers' War

In pre-Christian Ireland, where family bonds and the honour of one’s tribe are worth dying for, and where the old gods are forever watching, you must be as guarded as the hound, as cunning as the fox, or as brutal as the boar to survive. You have fallen out of your father’s favor and are being sent along with a dispatch of hardened warriors to help your uncle quell the ever-frequent viking raids to the east. You must impress your father to reinstate your right to the throne of the Boar Clan… or you can seize it for yourself. Your father’s numerous enemies are conspiring against him, the peasants are rising in revolt, his own guard outposts are deserting him and even his most trusted may be tempted to rip his throne from under him. 

The Brothers’ War, a Clans of Éire Saga, is a 60,000 word historical-fantasy interactive fiction written by Fionn Graham, where your choices and decisions control the world around you, including characters you meet, your possible romances as well as the enemies you make. It is text-based without sound or special effects, supported by occasional celtic la-Tène style art and fuelled by the vast, unstoppable power of your imagination. The people of Éire whisper of a time when your father’s time on land has ended, and when, or whether, you will take his place. Through politics, persuasion, battles and knowledge, you must secure your future throne… or die trying. 

  • Play as male, female or transgender, gay, bisexual, straight, aromantic or asexual.
  • Explore a unique land rich in culture, religion and tradition
  • Take part in military plannings, court cases and more.
  • Fight and negotiate with Bandit hoards, Peasant rebels, Viking settlers and more.
  • Discover the lighter -and darker- sides of your clan’s traditions and policies.
  • Select a variety of distinctive physical traits, as well as starting skills and abilities.
  • Conspire for or against the chieftain of the Boar Clan, your father.
  • Learn and improve your skills through teachers, instructors and elders.
  • Hire mercenaries and buy better combat equipment to gain the upper hand.

As your father’s influence trickles through his fingers, which side shall you choose?

James and Fionn developed their games using ChoiceScript, a simple programming language for writing multiple-choice interactive novels like these. Writing games with ChoiceScript is easy and fun, even for authors with no programming experience. Write your own game and Hosted Games will publish it for you, giving you a share of the revenue your game produces.

Dec 17

2020

The Luminous Underground—Blast spirits out of a haunted subway system!

Posted by: Mary Duffy | Comments (0)

We’re proud to announce that The Luminous Underground, the latest in our popular “Choice of Games” line of multiple-choice interactive-fiction games, is now available for Steam, Android, and on iOS in the “Choice of Games” app.

It’s 30% off until Dec 24th!

Blast spirits out of a haunted subway system! Can your team defeat rival exterminators, shoddy gear, and City Hall?

You’ve been a daemon dissipator for years, carrying a rainbow blaster and learning the ins and outs of magic to zap electromagnetic monsters into static. After following the jobs from one end of Septenland to the other, you’ve settled down here in Barrington: an old city. A weird city. A city boiling with spirits, specters, and daemons. It’s the perfect place to start a company of your own.

The Luminous Underground is a 660,000-word interactive secondary-world science fantasy novel by Phoebe Barton, where your choices control the story. It’s entirely text-based—without graphics or sound effects—and fueled by the vast, unstoppable power of your imagination.

Your team is just you and McCowan, your friend and business partner, but it’s hard for two people to run an operation like this. When you applied for a contract with the Barrington Transit Commission, you didn’t expect anything but a flat rejection. But you got it! And now you’ve got to find more teammates, sharpen your skills, and put a dent in the spirit population while staying well clear of the electrified rail.

But you’ll find that Barrington’s underground is much more than its tunnels. There’s a forest down here, teeming with crystalline trees that glitter under your flashlight. There’s a portal to the Vitalscape, a super-luminous alternative realm of being. You can enter it through a mural, but you’ll need a crystal tuning fork to get back. There are giants, robots, daemons, and even a giant robot daemon.

Of course, corruption and mismanagement festers down here. Is this all part of your competitors’ attempts to secure the subway contract for their own? Is City Hall’s stingy maintenance budget to blame? How much can you get paid not to fix this problem?

Are you ready to patrol your patch of subway, or will you stand by and let it crumble?

• Play as male, female, or nonbinary; gay, straight, aromantic, or asexual.
• Descend into a magic-drenched subway and face down spirits beneath the streets!
• Help time travelers integrate into the incredible world of today.
• Dig up megacorporate corruption while you dust off vacuum tubes.
• Investigate mysterious disappearances down in the underground.
• Cooperate with other outfits in town, or act on your own
• Lead the mayor to safety through a gauntlet of terrors!
• Save the lives of a missing crew under an impossible sky.
• Calm down a giant woman who’s got you in the palm of her hand.

Strange things are crawling out of the subway. Someone better call you.

We hope you enjoy playing The Luminous Underground. We encourage you to tell your friends about it, and recommend the game on Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr, and other sites. Don’t forget: our initial download rate determines our ranking on the App Store. The more times you download in the first week, the better our games will rank.

Dec 14

2020

Author Interview: Phoebe Barton, The Luminous Underground

Posted by: Mary Duffy | Comments (0)

Blast spirits out of a haunted subway system! Can your team defeat rival exterminators, shoddy gear, and City Hall? The Luminous Underground is a 660,000-word interactive secondary-world science fantasy novel by Phoebe Barton. I sat down with Phoebe to talk about the world of this immense game, and learn more about her process. The Luminous Underground releases this Thursday, December 17th. 


The Luminous Underground is your first foray into game writing, but certainly not your first sci-fi or science fantasy rodeo. Tell me about your work.

Certainly not is right! I started out very committed to the whole “hard science fiction, must not break physics, breaking physics is bad” thing, and I had some short stories published in magazines like Analog and some anthologies. It’s only recently that I’ve been able to let myself write other things, and I find that the whole “science fantasy” idiom of The Luminous Underground can be very relaxing. It showed me that some of the hardest knots to untie are the ones you tie yourselves. I tend to write a lot about isolation, and considering how much emphasis is placed on the subway tunnels in The Luminous Underground, it’s a theme that comes through whether or not I’m thinking about it.

What did you find most surprising about the process of writing an interactive novel?

The pace of the writing itself took me a while to get used to, and even then I never really got used to it as much as I established an uneasy truce with it. Having regular choices so that the player can keep interacting with the story is important, but since my style of writing is start-to-finish rather than skipping around to whatever interests me most at that time, it felt like riding a bike down a street with a million stop signs. I was always focused on giving the player a satisfying resolution to their choices, but it meant that, in combination with my style, it was a very gas-brake, gas-brake process.

This game is HUGE! 660,000 words. Safe to assume the longest thing you’ve ever written? What about the story itself made it so long?

Definitely the longest! I never expected it to turn out so long, and back when I was looking at the contract, part of me was all “I don’t know if I can write ten thousand words in eight weeks, but I’ll do my best,” and over two years it unfolded to cover much more than I’d expected. The length came about because I didn’t want to gloss over anything–I wanted it to be chewy. This might come from my previous experience with interactive games: before I started writing The Luminous Underground I played Hollywood Visionary, and what surprised me the most about that game was that you only get to make one movie during a playthrough. I think that I wanted there to be a lot of “there” in The Luminous Underground, and I wasn’t satisfied with the idea of a page being, say, three one-sentence-long paragraphs, or the player only being able to skim the surface of the world. Plus, the story radiated out in ways that I never expected. There’s so much in the final version that I’d never even imagined when I wrote the outline.

Do you have a favorite NPC you enjoyed writing most?

Alice, absolutely! Not just in The Luminous Underground, but she’s my favorite character out of all the ones I’ve ever written. She exploded from the outline to the finished product: originally she was just a person you hire who has some interesting abilities, but when I wanted to foreshadow an event later on in the game and establish what things are possible in the game’s world, the idea of her being an unwitting time traveller opened so many opportunities. She’s really the deuteragonist of the game, and since the player character’s arc in any given playthrough is defined by the player, I took a lot of the arc-building I wanted to do and gave it to her. Besides, I really wanted to do good things for her, seeing as how I started her off on very unenviable ground. I’d love to write Alice in more things, but considering how much she changes through the game–in ways that I’d love to talk about here, but don’t want to spoil–it’d be a careful balancing act.

What are you working on next?

I’m in the early stages of putting a novel together! It’s not the first time I’ve tried, but after 660,000 words of game, it’s a lot less daunting. Otherwise, I’m working on more short stories and am starting to learn Twine. I’m not going to let this be a one-and-done when it comes to games by me.

Dec 03

2020

New Hosted Game! After the Storm By Luiza Alves & Will Jamison

Posted by: Kai DeLeon | Comments (0)

Hosted Games has a new game for you to play!

Rebuild society after the climate apocalypse! Can you keep your settlement alive?

It’s 40% off until Dec 10th!

After the Storm is a 185,000 word speculative fiction interactive novel written by Luiza Alves and illustrated by Will Jamison. It’s mostly text-based—without graphics or sound effects—and fueled by the vast, unstoppable power of your imagination.

Climate change has run its course, and you have to deal with the consequences. Pick your way through a heartbreaking post-apocalyptic landscape and try to obtain some sunglasses. Gather allies or go it alone, hold on to your humanity or lose it in the directionless expanse. Establish a settlement, open up trade, defend yourself against invaders, build a better world, or just one you can stand to live in.

  • Play as male, female, or non-binary; gay, straight, bi, or asexual.
  • Go out of your way to help others, or focus on your own survival.
  • Recruit and romance a surly doctor, a talkative mechanic, a sensitive artist or a stalwart leader.
  • Turn on the stars in a long-abandoned planetarium.
  • Defeat a gang of invaders in battle, or outsmart them.
  • Bring civilization back with a revolutionary power source, supercrop, miracle cure, or strategic alliance.
  • Rise to power in your new world order, or focus on helping your community.
  • Start a family, adopt a stray cat, and write a book!

Will you create a community based on shared values, or under strict rule? Will you carve out a life for yourself? Fall in love? Start a family? Make art? Or will you fail to protect your settlement and spend your days in exile?

Luiza Alves developed this game using ChoiceScript, a simple programming language for writing multiple-choice interactive novels like these. Writing games with ChoiceScript is easy and fun, even for authors with no programming experience. Write your own game and Hosted Games will publish it for you, giving you a share of the revenue your game produces.

Nov 12

2020

Jolly Good: Cakes and Ale—Get yourself in and out of another fine mess!

Posted by: Mary Duffy | Comments (1)

We’re proud to announce that Jolly Good: Cakes and Ale, the latest in our popular “Choice of Games” line of multiple-choice interactive-fiction games, is now available for Steam, Android, and on iOS in the “Choice of Games” app. It’s 30% off until November 19th!

Get yourself into and out of another fine mess! As the newest member of London’s elite “Noble Gases” social club, you’ll win glory, renown, and much-needed money through various cunning schemes that will seem like good ideas at the time.

Jolly Good: Cakes and Ale is a 1.2 million—million!—word interactive comedy of manners by Kreg Segall. It’s a standalone sequel to Tally Ho inspired by P.G. Wodehouse, where your choices control the story. It’s entirely text-based—without graphics or sound effects—and fueled by the vast, unstoppable power of your imagination.

As the close relation of an earl, you’ve managed to join the once-rather-elite Noble Gases just as you find yourself embroiled in dreadful scandal. But surely your clever new servant ought to be able to solve this knotty problem with both elegance and unruffled grace!*

*Elegance and unruffled grace not guaranteed. Allow four to six weeks for full servant acclimation. While supplies last. Additional restrictions may apply.

Lead your new social club through a world of pranks, debts, close shaves, passions, rivalries, and untold heights of splendor and absurdity amongst the cream of society. Will you lean into your shocking reputation, fight hard to redeem yourself in the eyes of the fickle public, or just relax with a cocktail by the fire? What is most important to you: your own comfort, loyalty to your friends, or the expectations of your family? Navigate the joys and troubles of membership in your new club: planning parties, gaining new members, taking down rivals…or winning them over as friends.

But it’s not all shenanigans and hijinks—there’s also hanky-panky. Find love with a dreamy artist, a former neighbor with a taste for rebellion, a dashing clubmate with a flair for the dramatic (and for golden trousers), or even your own servant! And, of course, spend time with some old friends from “Tally Ho.”

Perhaps–just perhaps–with the tireless aid of your cunning servant, your rollicking social club, and your merry new friends, you can weather the storm unscathed and manage it all before everything comes crashing down! It seems most unlikely, however.

• Play as male, female or nonbinary; gay, straight, or bi.
• Maintain appropriate boundaries with your servant or find yourself emotionally enmeshed.
• Choose from one of five scandalous backgrounds, significantly affecting the story, including museum thievery, over-festivity, and public brawling.
• Rub elbows with a famous actor, a politician, a diva, an annoying journalist, and a renowned artist—or maintain a lower profile, eluding the police and a criminal mastermind.
• Become unwittingly or wittingly entangled in the affairs of multiple secret societies, wealthy would-be sponsors, and criminal enterprises.
• Dress as a bellhop, a parlor maid, a military officer, or in bathrobe and slippers!
• Muck about with wireless radios and experimental steam-powered printing presses.
• Triumph in boxing, swimming, cards, handball, competitive eating, and spitting.
• Break into hotels, cars, safes, bookshops, dressing rooms and art galleries, some of them intentionally!
• Ghostwrite love letters, craft speeches, and edit damaging newspaper articles.
• Smash windows, pitchers, punch bowls, expensive tables, fine art—and hearts.
• Carry your club to victory in a tournament or get rich betting on other clubs.
• Enjoy access to special features—we prefer you not to call them “cheats”—with our “Extra Helping” in-app purchase.
• Pore over a detailed hint guide, available in our “Pleasantly Tipsy” in-app purchase.

We hope you enjoy playing Jolly Good: Cakes and Ale. We encourage you to tell your friends about it, and recommend the game on Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr, and other sites. Don’t forget: our initial download rate determines our ranking on the App Store. The more times you download in the first week, the better our games will rank.

Nov 09

2020

Author Interview: Kreg Segall, Jolly Good: Cakes and Ale

Posted by: Mary Duffy | Comments (1)

Get yourself into and out of another fine mess! As the newest member of London’s elite “Noble Gases” social club, you’ll win glory, renown, and much-needed money through various cunning schemes that will seem like good ideas at the time. Jolly Good: Cakes and Ale is a 1.2 million—million!—word interactive comedy of manners by Kreg Segall. I sat down with Kreg to get the scoop on his latest game.

Jolly Good: Cakes and Ale releases this Thursday, November 12th.

Jolly Good: Cakes and Ale is the first Choice of Games title to reach and exceed a million words. Tell me how you do that for a game that isn’t a sprawling epic fantasy, but in fact an homage to P.G. Wodehouse?

The trick is that as far as the characters know, they are in a sprawling epic fantasy, with the fate of the world at stake, mystical rituals that must be mastered, and grand evils that must be defeated. Only the world is the clubhouse, the ritual that must be mastered is how to placate one’s aunt, and the grand evil that must be defeated is that chap over there who insists on wearing lavender-and-yellow argyle socks with evening dress.

Cakes and Ale takes its inspiration from Wodehouse’s Drones Club series of short stories, and I tried to infuse my game with the feeling of those tales: various adventures piling up next to and on top of each other, different minor characters suddenly taking center stage for a few moments, blinking at the unexpected spotlight and then stepping back, and the setting focused upon a single clubhouse and perhaps a five mile radius around it.

Because I was based this game’s structure on short stories, I was able to be more sprawling, and I allowed myself to explore a particular story at length, even if it started multiplying into several side stories unexpectedly and ridiculously. My mental model for Cakes and Ale was for you, the player, to assemble a lengthy anthology of short stories that let you build and play your character, and get to know them intimately. Wodehouse’s stories are high comedy, but, as in Tally Ho, my goal is to walk the line between the comic and the dramatic as often as possible, dipping into multiple genres.

You’ll be spending quite a bit of time with your character over the course of the Jolly Good series, so I want you to love them and becomes invested in them and their friends. But to do that, especially to have you feel something for the NPCs, you need time with them. You need to have many scenes with these characters, in conversation, in action, in romance should you choose those routes, and in repose. So because I have a very large cast in this game, I needed to give you a lot of opportunities to hang out with these people. I want you to know and recognize all the names of your clubmates and feel things about them.

But that takes a lot of words.

Have you played any interesting interactive fiction while working on Cakes and Ale ?

Choice of Rebels: Uprising, which I played while outlining this game, is a master class in setting up a multi-part game and investing in super-branchiness and meaningful choices.

This is my third game for Choice of Games, but the first time that I have written a game that is going to have a direct sequel. Those who have played Tally Ho know that I really like to give all of the important NPCs secrets and branchy personal plotlines, and it was surprisingly challenging to set up those stories without resolving them fully while at the same time giving them a sense of completion!

Crème de la Crème, which I played a good deal as well is also stellar and should be played by everyone who likes sparkling conversation, elegant prose, and social intrigue. I am not wholly convinced that the world of Tally Ho and the Jolly Good games is a different world from that of Crème de la Crème.

Any regrets about making it so long?

To be perfectly honest, in the last few weeks before submitting the final draft I wanted to add an additional adventure to chapter five involving a bathrobe, a hotel detective, and a local magistrate with insomnia, a side story which would have added 40k more words to the game.

But then I was talked out of it by my friends and loved ones on the grounds that 1.2 million was a perfectly respectable number and that I should consider leaving some words unwritten for other people to use. And so I acceded.

What do you think players will enjoy most about this game? 

I hope that you compare notes with another player and realizing that they played through the same game but had essentially none of the same adventures as each other.

I also hope there are a few choices that make players want to step away for a bit and take a long walk around the block as they mull off a particularly tricky decision.

Finally, I very much desire for at least one player is required to send their clothing to the dry cleaners because they upset their beverage from pounding on the table in a fit of helpless laughter.

Who’s your favorite NPC?

Either Lord Chum (the main character’s uncle) or Parsnip (a charming young lady you may meet in Chapter Six)–incidentally, they are both characters whom the player may wholly miss in their playthrough–because they were both so much fun to write for and have such distinctive voices.

I hope you enjoy your time with both if you should happen to run into them. Please send them my very warmest regards.

Any personal advice for a good playthrough? You’ve added some interesting cheat mode and hint mode DLCs this time. 

Here’s a smattering of advice:

The different scandals you choose in chapter one will each give you a rather different chapter five. The various adventures of chapter six may become available and unavailable throughout the evening, depending on your relationships and previous choices, and the time.

Roleplay. Whether you play a sly opportunist, a impulsive adventurer, a wry fashionista, a good-natured nincompoop, or an oblivious intellectual, I want you to do what feels right to you in the moment without feeling like the game is out to get you. Don’t sweat the numbers. The stats are there in the background, and yes, various skills are being raised and lowered and checked. But don’t allow them to cause you the least bit of stress.

You cannot do everything in one playthrough. Pick a few plot threads and pursue them if you wish to see them through. Or dabble a bit if your character is a dabbler. That’s all right too.

There are no good endings or bad endings in the game. Every ending you get to will be able to be continued in the next game. You will not be locked out of a romance because of a choice you make here. You will not ruin your game by choosing something that you want to do but suspect that your skill is too low to accomplish. Indeed, some of my favorite parts of the game are only reachable by failing tests. You will be rewarded with funny consequence for failing things.

And, if you like, the DLC will let you mess with the numbers in a stress-free manner on the fly as you play, to experiment with different stat values and combinations easily.

Anything you care to share about what’s next in the trilogy?   

Next is Tea and Scones, where I will be drawing more of my inspiration from Wodehouse’s Blandings books. If Cakes and Ale is largely about club affairs, Tea and Scones will be much more about family, and will take place in the environs of your uncle’s lavish estate.

My sources in the Noble Gases tell me that there will be high-stakes golf, a most unsafe wishing well, a jumble sale, a variety show, a deadly treasure hunt, helpful Girl Guides, and a dramatic revelation on a rooftop under a full moon in high winds.

I would not be surprised to learn that various problems, escapades, and assorted friends, rivals, and associates from your club will be certain to follow you there, as well as a few characters from Tally Ho who didn’t show up in Cakes and Ale .

You can expect that the direction you choose to take the club in the final chapters will strongly influence the flavor of the adventures you’ll have in Tea and Scones. I can already tell that Tea and Scones will be satisfyingly lengthy, to account for all the big choices you make in Cakes and Ale.

Nov 05

2020

New Hosted Game! Score of a Lifetime by John Lance

Posted by: Kai DeLeon | Comments (1)

Hosted Games has a new game for you to play!

Money! Romance! Cars! Half a billion dollars is up for grabs. Track down the fortune without letting a new flame steal your heart—unless that’s your plan! When a vehicle with a million-dollar bounty goes missing, you and your boss know it must lead to an even bigger payday.

It’s 33% off until Nov 12th!

Score of a Lifetime is an exhilarating, succinct 43,000 word interactive adventure/romance novel by John Lance where your choices control the story. It’s entirely text-based—without graphics or sound effects—and fueled by the vast, unstoppable power of your imagination.

  • Play as male, female, or non-binary; gay, straight, bisexual, aromantic, asexual, or polyamorous.
  • Discover a hidden fortune and return it… or keep it for yourself!
  • Find romance with a charming used car salesman and/or a beautiful, high-powered personal assistant.
  • Solve puzzles to unlock the biggest possible payday.
  • Get yourself invited to dinner with the 1% or take everything they have.
  • Feel the rush of a cross-country car chase.
  • Choose the path that works for you: strive to become a novelist, take an entry-level job and climb… or stay at home and literally never leave the couch!

John Lance developed this game using ChoiceScript, a simple programming language for writing multiple-choice interactive novels like these. Writing games with ChoiceScript is easy and fun, even for authors with no programming experience. Write your own game and Hosted Games will publish it for you, giving you a share of the revenue your game produces.

Oct 25

2020

Continuing Development on “Choice of the Vampire”

Posted by: Jason Stevan Hill | Comments (3)

I’m thrilled to announce that this Thursday, we’ll be releasing the long-awaited next volume in the Choice of the Vampire saga: St. Louis, Unreal City. Before continuing, let me make a note on nomenclature: I refer to St. Louis as the Fourth Volume, after The Battle of New Orleans, The Siege of Vicksburg, and The Fall of Memphis. I recognize that this is a little confusing, since New Orleans and Vicksburg were released as a single game.

As with the release of the previous three volumes, development is ongoing. The initial release of Vampire in August of 2010 was only 137k words. It was, at the time, the longest game in ChoiceScript. It is now over 220k words. When The Fall of Memphis was released, it too was comparatively massive, clocking in at 263,000 words; it has now grown to 311,000.

What’s more, both of those numbers do not represent the full scope of the additions. With the introduction of certain code features, such as *gosub and *implicit_control_flow, I’ve made the code more efficient—I’m able to do more with less.

Thursday’s release represents a solid, playable draft of St. Louis, Unreal City, and currently sits at 300,000 words. You can see the roadmap for the addition of new content to all three volumes here. My intention is to continue to work on this roadmap over the next six months or so—while also listening to player feedback about accommodations for particular OCs—before beginning work on the fifth volume, Chicago. (As always, if your character would have said or done something different at a particular moment, take a screenshot, email it in, and tell me who/what/why!)

Structural Changes

In addition to the raw content of the game, there have been a number of structural changes to the game. For example, I’ve removed the save/restore function. I’ve done this for several reasons, but the foremost of those is because existing saves would be at a severe disadvantage going in to St. Louis because of the all the new content that has been added over the past seven years. Much of the story simply wouldn’t make sense.

There is currently a manually-implemented checkpoint system in the game. (Protip: don’t check your stats immediately after restoring to a checkpoint. There’s a UI bug we haven’t figured out that will crash your game.) The checkpoints are between each volume; there is only one “save slot.” This is intended to let you explore the different corners of a volume without having to entirely restart your game.

The game has also been converted to an IAP-style system, rather than the volumes being spread across discrete apps. I always wanted the transition between the volumes to be seamless and not interrupted by the artificiality of saving a file and then having to restore it into a different product; now, my original vision has been implemented.

This does mean that there will be some hiccups as users have to be given access to the Memphis IAP if they previously purchased the Memphis app. The good news is that we’ve done some prep work here already.

  • If you already own the Fall of Memphis Steam app, you have automatically been credited the Fall of Memphis IAP (which Steam calls DLC) within the Choice of the Vampire app on Steam.
  • If you purchased Fall of Memphis on our choiceofgames.com web site, or previously sent in your Memphis receipt, you can open the “Choice of the Vampire” app for iOS or Android and click “Restore Purchases” to access the Memphis IAP.
  • Otherwise, please contact support-vampire-transfer@choiceofgames.com. We’ll work with you to transfer your purchase into our web site, allowing you to restore your purchase in the app of your choice.

In conclusion, I hope you enjoy the game. This has been a labor of love over the past ten—nearly eleven!—years, and has relied on the support, generosity, and contributions of a lot of people. As always, if you like the game even a little bit, please go and write a review; it really helps!

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