December 21st, 2015


Cryptic Update

So I've been working on Cryptic Stitching again--between my renewed enthusiasm for life (thank you, chemistry!) and thinking how much I missed Quippet and two people simultaneously sending me notes telling me how much they enjoyed it, it just seemed like the powers were trying to tell me something, so I pulled out the machine.

It's going better this round. Twine was very flexible, (in some ways TOO flexible!) but also ugly, and I dislike the recent move to cloud-only versions. Ren'Py, the visual novel engine, is actually working out better, and has much easier potential porting to tablet, (in some distant future) as well as a lot of built-in things that work easier for me. (I also suspect that Twine is much easier straight out of the box, and Ren'Py requires that you learn essentially Baby's First Python.) The hard part was hammering out an interface that I didn't hate with the burning passion of a thousand suns. (Fortunately, in Ren'py this does not hinge on fifty css style-sheets all coordinating in some miraculous fashion, unlike Twine.)

So I've got the Prologue ported, anyway. It's gone to an interactive fiction format, rather like an otome game, but it's very light on graphics, because if I tried to do a full-on visual novel, it would be released sometime a thousand years from now.

At the moment, actually, it's text with occasional little character graphics down in one corner that look like this:

I have no idea if people are gonna want to play a weird little Choose-Your-Own-Adventure style interactive novel with weird little doodles like that, but since this is not breaking every ten minutes, and unlike StoryNexus, there is no chance support will stop in the next decade, this has a much better chance of getting somewhere than it did before.

...y'know, in my copious spare time...

ETA: Heh, I wrote all that, and I left out the best part.

God, this is fun. I'd forgotten how much I love these characters. Even though you're the chosen one and all, this is basically a story about a community. I get to a particularly good bit of dialogue by the Tangerine Rabbit and I start laughing. And the coding is all the joy of a technical challenge at something I'm not an expert at and haven't solved ten ways from Thursday already, so when, for example, I got the inventory system up and running, or somebody on the Ren'py forums showed me a really elegant way to handle tracking what areas a player's gone to, I want to get up and dance around the room.

Hell, I actually get into a flow state, and I haven't been there in ages. But I go "Okay, I'll do this ONE little thing..." and start writing if/else statements and suddenly it's two in the morning and Kevin is snoring in the bed next to me and my neck has a crick in it and I'm going "Wait, what?"

It's nice to feel that way again. I don't know if it's the project or the meds or a glorious synergy of both, but it's...nice.