Happy New Year! A lot of time has passed since my last newsletter. I apologize for the lack of updates, but since the last newsletter in early November, I’ve added roughly 40,000 words to Safe Haven Part 2. I’ll get into that more below. As my due date draws near for finishing Part 2, I am already planning new projects and will discuss those too. Finally, I’ll talk about how you can write games like I do.
Part 2 Completion
Yes, Part 2 is finally near completion. I am wrapping up some missions in chapter 7 and will be sending my files to my editor in early January. The next step is to wait for them to proofread it and code their portion. Unfortunately, I have no control over what happens after I turn in files. Once it is out of my hands, the files go through several people who are all working on other games for Choice of Games. Part 2 will go in the publishing queue and it generally takes 2-3 months to be published. Make sure you are signed up for my Facebook page or follow me on Twitter for fast updates. I will also post news in my newsletter, hopefully every 2 weeks.
As for beta testing, I will be inviting readers to test the near-final build of the game from January 1st to the 7th. If you want to participate. Only two criteria exist:
- This build is pretty close to the version used for the app. Of course, I will make changes based on tester feedback, but if you test the beta version, you won’t see much more in the released version. Don’t leave me a bad review because you tested and expected more in Part 2!
- I have tried to run betas through WordPress, Google Groups, and over email. For this beta, I am running it through the Choice of Games forums. You will need an account there. Go to this thread and leave a comment stating your interest and one thing you liked or disliked about Part 1.
After I turn in Part 2, I am taking no breaks from developing other games. First, I have been working with another interactive fiction writer, Mia, who has contributed to Safe Haven, Part 2. Now that we have worked together, we’ve decided to develop a new game for the Hosted Games label. This new Choicescript game will be set in a boarding school during the start of a zombie apocalypse. You will start of before the outbreak and have to survive the chaos of the initial spread of the disease. Once the apocalypse starts, you’ll have to contend with the staff, different factions of students, and the outside world. We are still working out the details, but Mia will be primary writer, and I will be producing and coding the game.
Also, I teased another project on social media this week. Heart’s Choice is a new label focused on adult/erotica games. My good friend, David Monster, has been writing erotica for years but does not know how to code or make games. I decided to work with him in a way similar to Mia and will be coding and producing his new title. I haven’t cleared discussing the details of the game but can say it is a mature, male-on-male game. Many of you may be surprised by this; after all, what does a straight guy know about gay male erotica? Not much. But David has a great concept for a game, has a lot of fans of his work, and is a very hard worker. I want to help him bring his story to others.
My third project is still in the planning stage, but I am working on a proposal for the Choice of Games label. When not working with Mia and David, I will write and code this solo project.
Where does that leave Safe Haven, Part 3? After writing about zombies for over two years, I am taking a slight break. However, I still plan to continue that story as long as it interests my readers.
How to Develop a Game in Choicescript
Someone asked me on my Zombie Exodus Series Facebook page, “What’s the simple steps to go from downloading the package to finish and publish the game?”
I could go into great depth but here is how I would do it:
- You need to understand the basics of coding. Really, you need to understand variables, Boolean expressions, and IF statements. If you do not know these concepts, go learn them. At the least, search online for a basic tutorial on coding.
- Make a forum account at https://forum.choiceofgames.com/ You will find a wealth of resources there.
- Before downloading Choicescript, I would get comfortable with Choicescript game code. Take a look at code of Works in Progress. To look at code, navigate to a game and change the last portion of the URL to mygame/scenes/ This will show you a list of the files used in the game. Clicking any file name displays the code.
- To code in Choicescript, you need a code editor. I recommend Notepad++ or CSIDE (The ChoiceScript IDE). Both are free. I will continue this how-to using Notepad++ as the editor. For tutorials on using CSIDE, visit https://choicescriptide.github.io/
- Download the ChoiceScript source from GitHub and extract the zip file.
- Once extracted, go to the new folder it created and open the files in Notepad++
- Delete all .txt files except startup, choicescript_stats, and ending.
- Work on your game. Start with easy choices and simple IF statements. As you finish every thousand words or so, run the game in Firefox by clicking on web\mygame\index.html in the folder you downloaded in step 5. See how the code you wrote looks in real-time.
- When you have written 10,000 words, run QuickTest and Randomtest. Both are tools to find errors. They are found in the top level of the folder you downloaded in step 5.
- If you want feedback on your game, consider posting it online for others to read. 10,000 words is a good start for feedback. You can post your game for free on DashingDon’s site.For info on using DashingDon’s site, read this forum post.
- Refer to the Hosted Games guidelines for how to submit your game. Specifically, this form linked below lists every item and asset you need to provide.
To learn to code Choicescript, you may also want to read the following tutorials and guidelines: