Chapter 3 of Scout: An Apocalypse Story has been released! Once demoted, you are trying to make yourself useful to the Community and your team. Help Sabine prepare for her first scout (or not), gather information about the people in black who tried to kill you, and try not to miss scouting too much. When presented with a plausible theory about the People Across the Orange Plains, will you take a risk and seek out an answer?  

This story is at about 45,000 words thus far. I am planning for it to be 10 chapters, 100,000+ words upon completion (probably closer to 150,000 at this point). 

Next chapter? Update on my Tumblr here as life has thrown a bit of a curveball at me for the next month or so!

Follow me on Tumblr | Support me on Ko-fi

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Summary

It has been over a decade since a worldwide natural disaster obliterated the natural planet and decimated human civilization. There are small groups of humans still alive, fending for themselves, trying to create communities amongst the rubble. 

You are a 24-year old scout living in a small community on the edge of the Orange Plains. You lost your mother and your sister before finding your way here. You are primarily an academic, and you put your skills to use on regular scouting missions. With your best friend and your scouting team leader in tow, your small group is a pillar of the Community. 

On your first scouting mission of the hot season, you meet the leader of the People Across the Orange Plains. Will you break from the Community you have known your whole life? Ask a romantic partner to join you? Discover secrets that your own people have been hiding? Become a leader yourself? 

Gameplay

Choose your name, pronouns, appearance, and scouting team position. Choices you make throughout the story will affect your standing in the community, your relationships, and significant plot points. This is primarily a romance game. 

Romance Options

There are 4 romance options in this game: Two male, one female, and one you can choose between M/F. 

Elle/Ezra Taylor: Your best friend and another member of your scouting team. Charming and intuitive to your every feeling. You two have been inseparable ever since you both arrived to the Community around the same time. Recently, you are worried about losing your best friend to this new tension that seems to be developing between you both. 

Oliver Shen: The leader of your scouting team. Impossible to impress. Easy to annoy. He has absurdly high standards for your scouting team and is constantly on your back. You enjoy openly challenging him on a regular basis. Oliver is intimidating, and you’ve never quite gotten along, but there are signs that he values you more than you initially realize. 

Sabine Langford: A new addition to your scouting team. She is your replacement when you are put on probation. Sabine is a rule follower and abhors any risk-taking behavior from your team. You resent the addition of a fourth team member, especially one that seems to constantly be reprimanding you or getting in your way. But, when you’re in trouble, she always seems to be there. She has been paying attention to you. 

Gage ??: Leader of another civilization group across the plains. You’ve run into each other briefly before on other scouting missions, and it has never ended well. He has shown a keen interest in you, and not only for your scouting skills. Gage intrigues you – he is from across the plains and could show you a completely different way of living through this apocalypse. If you’ll let him. 

Content Warnings

Violence, language, sexual content. 

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Development log

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Comments

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I am in love with this game. Hoping it would get an update soon.

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Hey it's more than two weeks .

when will chapter 4 release ?

Check the author's Tumblr! She tends to post updates there. :)

Your writing and characters are fabulous and sucked me in right away! I definitely look forward to more chapters, you've already built such a fleshed-out world inside my head that I can't wait to explore it more!

And I already love annoying Oliver, so thank you for that 😅

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I am obsessed with this. 

I promise you I really  said  'nooooooo' out loud when I reached the end of the  last chapter. 

You are awesome.

Okay, so I really love this story. I love the MCs personality, (especially their dynamic with Oliver), and I care about all these characters, and I feel strongly when things happen to them, which is a testament to your great writing ability that you can do that with a story that’s only three chapters in. I’m so grateful you took the time to write this, because it’s been one of my favorite stories recently ❤️  But there are some things in chapter three that felt weird to me, and I wanted to communicate those to you if you want to hear them? But only if you want to hear them, and I don’t want to post any criticisms on a public forum like Itch if you’d rather I message you privately  ♥️

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Thank you very much for your feedback! I'm happy to receive any comments you have either on this forum or privately. I'd only encourage you to read the other comments on this thread first and my replies as some of your concerns may already have been addressed. Thank you!

Hello,

While the story is rather interesting, and characters well structured. I have to point out that you should add some more information to the save files ~ I mean "Slot x" does not really help, especially for someone that is used to save quite often and later wants to load the "last save file" ~ I can only see "slot x" ~ no date or time when it was saved.

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This is currently a limitation of the coding software I use in Twine. Short of re-coding with a different software (which is still an option), I have to find a technical workaround. Believe me – it's on my to do list. Thanks for your input. 

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The feels in elle's route. Cant wait for the next chapter ❤️

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Thank you!

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I just finished chapter three and I have to say this is amazing. I've been playing for hours without tiring at all. I love the writing and the way the mc behaves is very natural and believable. I often find with romance games that the mc's behavior and/or courses of action are so arbitrary and not relatable that it ruins the feeling of immersion, but this is a perfect example of the opposite. I truly enjoyed all of the characters as well. You gave all of them a distinctive charm.  I'm surprised at how invested I already am with the story and all of the characters, including the mc. I truly love this! Thank you for sharing it <3

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Thank you so much!!

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chapter 3 is great :D im really loving this
 i began to feel disoriented or a loss of immersion a few points (i think most during the scouting discussions and thought trains). mc can sometimes be so in their own head that i forget where we are, though that's probably intentional, i'd like more sensory detail- distracted observations, environmental awareness- casually mixed in with dialogue+progression to keep the long thought trains/exchanges grounded

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Thank you for your feedback!

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Hello, I found your story on itch.io by chance, while searching for interactive fiction, I admit that in the beginning I wasn't really interested, as apocalyptic stories aren't my favorite, but I decided to give it a try, and I wasn't  disappointed.  

I fell in love with the plot and the setting, for starter, it was a nice change from the typical zombie apocalypse or alien invasion, and having it take place in the desert is definitely a bonus for me, the characters felt alive, with each a distinct personality, the scenery description was well balanced ( I find the desert relaxing which makes a good contrast with the whole plot and the dangerous feeling that the scouting missions bring ). 

All in all, it was a surprisingly good read, but I admit that there was some things that bugged me, which are related to the interactive part, that is, I sometimes felt restricted to a choice and thus railroaded, especially concerning Sabine, I don't know if I am the only one but her taking our place made me feel really frustrated, and I wanted my choices to reflect that, for instance, when she asks if we can train her, I would have liked the option to deny ( I know she didn't steal our position in the team, instead it's the council which put her there ) but her, feeling already a part of the team, and having no problem showing that, it's like she is just rubbing salt in the wound, and I despise it to the point where I want to avoid her or at least being able to express my bitternes. Besides, I would have wished to not forgive so easily my fellow teammate about not reacting to the news ( losing our place in the team ), I get that E is our best friend, but I wasn't expecting to choose to hold out but end up forgiving them. One last thing, concerning the new chapter, I chose to sleep in Gage bedroom ( since he suggested it instead of Leah and I didn't want to impose ), but I didn't anticipate it being translated into flirtation, I mean i don't think I have clicked in any flirtatious choice ( if there was any ) for my Mc to flirt back, or thinking it's flirting and blushing.

In a addition, I have some questions if you don't mind:
-First, what does it mean to be a scholar in the community, and why people react the way they do to the Mc being one ?
- Mc was raised along E with other kids in this same community, so why is only the Mc a scholar, did they have a special mentor ?
-Will we get more flashbacks and insight about Mc childhood life, parents, and how it comes they are in the desert community now ?

Sorry for the long review, but I couldn't hep myself, you should feel proud of your writing, for it has made me react strongly to the story, I hope I didn't take too much of your time or came of as rude, and thank you in advance for your reply.

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Thank you for your review! I think this was the one that came in on Tumblr in pieces, so thanks for sending it in full! I love hearing that you like the setting and that the scouting missions feel dangerous. 

In terms of the interactive part – I'm repeating myself from Tumblr a bit – but I hear you on the lack of interactive choice in some scenes. Particularly the Gage scene I think can be improved with another branch or making it clearer that his room is a romantic option. In terms of forgiving Sabine, I appreciate this commentary as I think it points out a weakness in my writing in terms of displaying why exactly the MC is such a forgiving personality (at least, in the beginning). The MC needs the social relationships in their life to be free of long-term conflict because they need them to survive. Making an "enemy" of Sabine or treating her openly badly is going to have some very serious consequences in this world, as opposed to a modern one. MC is forgiving (to Sabine and Oliver and Ezra/Elle) because they are required to be by their circumstances. At least...that is where we begin the story. 

I'm attempting to strike a balance between being very open about the MC's motivations and personality arc and narrative and letting it unfold more naturally. I can completely understand how this can feel like railroading and not enough choice for the player. That's another balance I'm attempting to strike and hopefully improving on as I write and get more helpful reviews like yours!

I would love to answer your questions, but all of them have some if not all answers coming in the next few chapters so I will have to restrain myself for now. Thank you very much, again, for your comments and I haven't interpreted them as rude at all! Scout is a one woman project so I'm hoping for any and all feedback. 

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This story is super well-executed thus far! The MC is extremely relatable and all of the romance options are charming. The plot is also intriguing and I can’t wait for it to develop further! Seriously good job, I’d love to see more!

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Thank you for playing!!!

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Thank you for making this interactive story, it is truly a delight to read and it makes me feel as if I am really going on an adventure with MC & the gang. You got the touch! Please keep creating for as long as you can! Stay safe out there!

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Thank you SO much! Hope you're also staying safe and healthy!

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Great new chapter! A lot of memorable scenes and moments in this one. Keep up the great work!

Published the prologue for my story, and it's certainly not as easy as it seems at first blush. Although, I do keep expanding the scope and the number of choices to be made which is making it quite complex. I certainly have a newfound level of respect for you doing so much of this by yourself.

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Thank you so much! Would love to check out your story! Hoping (as with my experience) your coding gets easier as you go. 

You can tell, I think, why my branching isn't crazy complex. 

It's posted here on Twitch, you should be able to find it under my profile, called 'Survival Games' as the working title. Mine has gotten crazy complex and I'm just in Chapter 1... I've lost track of the number of branches I've got to keep track of that split and intertwine several times over. I've even added in a framework for attributes and achievements, and a normal and "darker" world which has all added a bit more complexity to things. The Devlogs in the game break it all down.

I've got no hope of keeping up with your writing skills, so I've had to up my game in the GUI and interface. :-)

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Wow! The chapter 3 was excellent .  Looking forward to chapter 4!!

Well please tell when it will be released ?

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Thank you!!! I'm planning on 2-3 weeks, really aiming for that 2 week mark. 

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(Some spoilers up ahead <3) 

I loved the update! I absolutely adoooooreeeed Oliver's scene bc people grabbing a character's chin to make them look at them? It is a weakness of mine. Also, I found very curious that the MC did not write a letter for E, but that actually added more to the angst of doing their route. Can you imagine the angst after E basically turns their back on the MC's question about their feelings for them, only for the MC to be gone the next day without any explanation? E must be worried and feel guilty af. But yes, I live for that angst. OH AND GAGE?? I already love this man. Let the MC bite you again, please and thank. 

Keep up the good work, you are doing amazing!

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Yes, definite angst incoming!! Thank you SO much for your support, it means the absolute world 💚

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How can you make me choose between Oliver and Gage T_T  too cruel :( I love this game already, and it was such a nice surprise when I saw that it updated. The writing is amazing and so descriptive, I feel all the feels when I read through it, and I get such a vivid imagery in my head. I love you, keep going, and thank you for developing this game! 

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Thank YOU so much for your support and lovely comment! So grateful you like the game and are keeping up with it!!!

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beautiful T_T I saw on tumblr that you'd updated and I rushed to play it. Gosh I'm being tugged in two directions between E and Gage. Like omg. E gives that best friend type of romance, they already know you and they're taking a step further. While Gage, observant Gage, wants to get to know everything about you, they wanna know your ins and outs, your dark gritty past, what makes you you. and i CANNOT. Gosh the fear of being known but craving it at the same time.

Question: will there come a point where we "lock in" to a romance path?  Or is just kinda like points that stack the more we choose to hang out/think about a character?

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Ahahaha so glad you liked Gage's introduction! Thank you so much for playing!!

You will be locked into a route next chapter! I wanted to give some time for everyone to get to know the characters and shape the narrative before making you choose. 

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pls tell when will you release chapter 3 ?
this was the best visual novel i have played till now.

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Thank you so much! Chapter 3 should be out by the end of July!

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I'm in love?? T_T this game is blissfully nostalgic for me. It's in the same genre and has a similar setting to Aloners, which was my first ever otome/visual novel/interactive fiction game when I was 15. It really set the bar high for me and only very rarely have any other games come close to that type of quality story-telling (not to mention where the characters are diverse).

Keep on writing! I'm sure there are many others out there like me who're thankful and excited to see your work and watch its progress unfold ^_^

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Thank you so much!! Aloners is also one of my favorites so I take even a slight comparison as a huge compliment. 

Thank you for playing, and I am keeping up enough with my writing that Chapter 3 should be out by the end of July!

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One bit of feedback/question:

On the page where you decide whether you are concerned with the electricity quota, does the Scout Profile jump ahead of itself? Bolded parts are for my emphasis.

If you select '“Don’t leave the pot on too long.” You don’t want to take more than your share.' then the Scout Profile updates to say "Scout <name> illustrates the value of a collectivist mindset in the Community. <Name> puts other Community members first and makes a significant effort to know and support all members."

If you choose the oppose, '“Never mind.” You’ll be fine being over this month. Maybe next month too.' then the Scout Profile updates to say "Scout <Name> displays a worrying preference for individualist thought and behavior. Sometimes disconnected from the Community at large."

In the bolded parts, it feels to me like that part should be filled in based on your conversation with Grandpa Jones, or at least tweaked by it based on the three choices. On the one hand, it could be an odd mix to be individualistic and also support the community, but on the flip side, you could be community first, but just rule abiding and not wanting to go 'rogue' by doing something you aren't supposed to. I assume the conversation with Grandpa Jones is tracked for later, and just isn't shown as part of the character in the Scout Profile?

Anyways, as I said in my earlier post, great game!

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Thanks for the feedback! The scout profile personality is based on general individualist vs. collectivist choices. As this is your first choice in the game, it's going to shift that personality trait even before you've necessarily talked to others in the Community yet. 

The Scout profile changes on a dime, particularly in your first few choices, but it's based on general personality traits as opposed to specific actions. 

Works for me! I really like watching the Profile develop as you begin to flesh out your character in-game. I also like that there are some conversations that just stay as conversations, even if you offer to do something (or Ezra/Elle does). There is no immediate requirements to do anything, it just gets lost/forgotten in the chaos and life of going on a scout.

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Thank you!! I know I've said it before but your feedback has been really helpful!

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Great start for a game! I'm really enjoying the story telling and am able to feel that I can visualize the different characters and world as things happen.

I don't mind that there are existing backstories between Ezra/Elle and the MC, that hint at a little more coming. It's heavily implied that there is an extensive intertwined background between them as two best friends. Things seem to be taking a slight twist with both very tentative and nervous about risking a step that might ruin the friendship.

Also, love the scout profile! A great way to build your character as you go.

One question though, and I've come across it on a few TWINE games thus far. I downloaded the HTML here on Itch and play it locally. I have my save that is the character I play to play through it from start to end. In order to not spoil things that character will be the first to go all the way from beginning to end and is built around the character/profession I like the most. However, I had a technical issue with my browser, and was required to clear the cache. This resulted in my saves being wiped. Is there a way in Harlowe to export the save games to a backup file? I'm not very familiar with twine other than a few google searches.

It's not a huge problem, as it's currently a short and very fun story. But as the chapter count starts to rise it'll be harder to remember and recreate all the options and choices my character made.

That aside, this is probably one of my favorite games thus far on Itch, and it's only at Chapter 2!

edit: removed incorrect information about another TWINE game for save exporting. Wrong engine. Sorry!

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Thank you so much for your comment and question! 

On the saves – this is something I'm in the process of working on. The Twine/Harlowe save mechanisms are...abysmal at best. The cache saving style of saves is definitely not my ideal setup. I'm considering a few workarounds for this that probably won't be implemented as soon as Chapter 3, but I'm hoping will be implemented by Chapter 4.  This has been on my list for some time, but this comment is helpful in prioritizing next steps for improving the saves!

I'm so thrilled you like the story so far, and thank you again for playing!!

Started playing around with Twine and Harlowe. Not sure how good of a writer I am, I'm much more of a technical person. But figured I'd give it a go. I definitely see what you mean with Harlowe's limitations saving.

I decided to switch my effort over to Sugarcube. It certainly has it's own quirks, but I think I'm picking it up. Saving is magically easy, the exporting your saves to a physical file and (re-)import them at will is fantastic.

Ugh I definitely should have just learned SugarCube from the start. Ah well, lessons for next game!

The lack of syntax highlighting makes it a lot easier to make a mistake in Sugarcube. Harlowe makes it really easy, say if you forget to close a macro to notice it before you've gotten too far. I've even had to add a custom story javascript to do some things that are already built into harlowe. For example, customizing the menu bar in Sugarcube takes a couple of lines in there. Also, I always store my variable as all lowercase, and then if needed uppercase the first such as a 'he/she' at the start of a sentence. In harlowe you just use the built-in '(upperfirst: $variable)' macro in-line and it's easy. In Sugarcube, I had to add a custom story javascript to do that, and then it's referenced as a function. Once it's implemented it's easy to use, but took a good bit of playing around to get it working... but now I have a good template I think.

I am building mine in Sugarcube now, but am also working on it in Harlowe at the same time. Been a good experience to figure out the pros and cons of each. Maybe I'm just sadistic.

If you get stuck I'm willing to try and help, if needed.  No pressure, just an open ended offering.

Oh, this post has given me so much to think about. I think my preferences for coding are maybe...simpler is better for most things, but trickier is okay for things like saves/menus? Which Harlowe provides, for the most part. Thank you for your thoughts, this is fascinating. 

I may genuinely take you up on that offer, if you don't mind! I don't see myself switching to SugarCube for this game since it's in Harlowe/I'm familiar with Harlowe and on a deadline already but...maybe for next time? Thank you so much, again. 

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Stumbeled over this by accident, and now I've fallen in love with your writing, truly a joy to read. Thank you for sharing!

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if you like this game you might also like The Neptune Diaries and Perfumare. So maybe check them out if you like the creating your own story and choosing romance paths stuff. 

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Thank YOU for playing!!! Really hope you enjoy the next chapter!

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although the game hasn’t proceeded very far yet, I really am enjoying the story and the overall vibe given off for the scenery. I was just wondering when you will have another chapter out? No pressure if you don’t know. Anyways, I really love this story so far and I’m excited to continue the Gage route. (  I always go for the mysterious edgy boys first) I will most definitely check out any future games if you do decide to make any. :)

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Thank you so much for playing!! Next chapter should be out within the last two weeks of July!

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Just throwing in my two cents, but I really enjoy how the romances have been introduced so far and personally disagree that the flirts were "too much too soon" for Oliver. While we've just gotten introduced to the characters as readers, the MC has clearly been working with him for some time. They at least know him well enough that they've (potentially) given Oliver a nickname and taken to teasing him, so it didn't feel out of place to me that feelings/attraction have already started to develop.

I was actually trying to go down a purely Ezra/Elle route my first playthrough and read all of the scenes available with them. When the cig rolling scene happened, however, I was immediately compelled to stop and restart and go through all of Ollie's instead, like 'oh my, hellooo.'  I'm a sucker for Ollie flirty/sexy/romance scenes-and you write them so well! More, please! :)

Also, I'm not usually that interested in the "best-friend" RO in games, but Ezra/Elle is perfection. Every scene between them and the MC makes it clear how much history they have between them-so warm and natural (the added romantic tension is just hnnng!) Can't wait to flirt with see more of the other two!

Thanks so much for sharing this game-your writing style is *chef's kiss* and I'm looking forward to future updates! Sorry for the long-winded gushing, this game has just ticked all of my boxes. :)

P.S. The "boo boo kisses" bit had me crying.

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Wow – thank you so much for this beautiful compliment. I am beyond grateful for your feedback and really, really struck by your words of support. Don't apologize for your wordiness, I love it!

It's really helpful for me to have these perspectives, and I know it's not always comfortable/easy to leave direct comments on someone's work, so know it is appreciated. Hope you will continue to enjoy Ezra/Elle and Oliver's routes in future chapters! Thank you again 💚💚💚

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this is really nice thank u :)

i do agree w the 'too much too soon' in terms of the sexy stuff, esp since i ended up more interested in the edgy distant guy (cue eye roll)

also the music and background pics are so lovely, i can sit on this site for hours comfortably

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Thanks for playing!! And thank you for feedback :)

I can’t get it to work. Help!

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Hi! Could you be more specific? Are you getting an error message or it's just not loading? 

I'm really enjoying this WIP so far and I'm excited to follow the development!! The world and stakes you've created feel realistic and engaging, and I'm looking forward to learning more about the background and circumstances of the Community!! So far, I'm getting sketchy vibes from Oliver and Sabine, but Ezra is a treasure (and so is Elise. mom goals). I really like the vibe of the community and the theme you're setting up of communal healing :)  Below I've left some (rather long, sorry) feedback and personal opinions; you're not obligated to slog through it, of course -- I really admire this project and your work ethic regardless of suggestions you take. Thank you so much for sharing your art with us <3

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In terms of critique, I did notice typos throughout -- e.g. "signficant," "physcial", and "unfortuntely" -- as well as a few grammatical/phrasing issues but I assume since this is a WIP, that will all get taken care of. I just wanted to point them out :)

Also, I didn't understand the scene in Ch1 in which Ezra and MC are...dancing? I'm unsure what you mean by "the miming in a mirror thing" and I feel that the actions described are hard to follow, especially with all the changing lefts and rights.

Something that I find a bit disorienting is the speed at which the relationships in the game move -- as a reader, I've just met these people, and within a few minutes of playing, your character is already, for example, engaged in a seductive tobacco rolling scene with this guy we know little-to-nothing about. It just feels a bit...too much too soon to me. I wish that we could have more time to become familiar with these characters before the game puts you into romantic scenes, since they're still practically strangers to me. I wanted to talk to Oliver more in that scene to see if we could get more information on the ruling or plans, but your character just immediately forgives him and it goes into this romantically-charged scene, which felt really jarring to me. I feel like that tone makes some sense with Ezra, since reading it, I believe that they have a long-term relationship, but I don't get that sense with the other characters. It feels unnatural to me.

Similarly to the previous point, this is a more structural concern -- I mentioned the theme of communal healing earlier. I feel like, while tackling this theme is a valiant goal for the story, at the moment it feels a bit spoon-fed to the reader, in my opinion. You mention or state outright that a character of the community is traumatized or healing multiple times throughout the first 2 chapters -- as a reader, I would much rather be shown this through characters' or the community's actions, facial expressions, behaviors, routines, etc than have it told outright to me after a scene via the omniscient narrator's version of the MC's internal monologue. There are so many interesting behaviors and struggles that could come from situations like this and i think it would be really interesting to have that explored more subtly and deeply. Again, this is a wonderful theme to be tackling, and I'm incredibly excited to see how you handle it. :)

Lastly, I played the Historian path, and I wanted to point out that, to me, the profession you're describing sounds much more like an anthropologist than a historian. I'm studying anthropology, and the processes you describe (visiting events, taking objective notes, etc) are pretty much exactly what anthropology is, whereas history is less of researching current events that will become history and more researching events that already are history. At least, that's my understanding -- it's a super minor point, but I figured it's worth at least bringing up!

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I hope none of this comes across as harsh! I really do love this WIP -- your worldbuilding is intriguing, I find the format interesting, and overall I'm hyped to see where the story goes!! I'm just hoping to give some impressions that I got on my read-through for the sake of constructive criticism.

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Hi - thank you so much for your thorough comment!! It definitely does not come off as harsh – this is a one woman project, so I find feedback like this really valuable.

Not going to address everything in here, but for one, yes typos will definitely be fixed! I'm really chewing over your comment on the speed of relationships, as my original intention was to make it clear that MC and Oliver have known each other for some time, and so the assumption is that they've had little moments similar to this in the past and it's just now ramping up. It's helpful to me to know that that's either not coming across, or it isn't laid out well enough. 

Your point on spoon-fed healing/trauma processing is well-taken. It's definitely more explicit than I would probably portray in something like a visual medium, but it's more of a background theme than I would say a "goal" of the writing. The healing from trauma is intended to provide justification for some of the actions that the characters take and to further color their personalities, but I'm not sure they'll be explored much beyond that in terms of "healing." I hope this doesn't make the game less interesting for you! I just don't feel particularly strong about attempting to really heal them from that trauma in the bounds of this story (or if it would even be possible). 

I also hope this doesn't sound like a harsh reply - it's given me so much to think about moving forward, and I'm so grateful for the time you spent to think through and write up this response. 💚💚💚

(+1)

You're not harsh at all either!! Massive kudos to you for being so open to constructive criticism <3 (also, kudos for the best profile picture on this website)

My only further response to your response is to bring up what you said about using healing from trauma as justification for characters' actions. As a complex trauma survivor, I think that this is bit of a shaky line to walk -- trauma is not ever an excuse or justification for negative/antisocial/abusive behavior. Abuse, manipulation, aggression, et cetera -- while they are common responses to trauma -- are never justified responses. I think that it's completely reasonable and even admirable to want to display realistic (i.e. sometimes maladaptive) responses to struggle, it's important to also not put forth a narrative in which those maladaptive responses are portrayed as healthy to readers and characters. Of course, I'm not sure what your intentions are, but your wording stuck out to me and, just in case, I wanted to provide my perspective as someone who has dealt with these issues.  Even if psychological trauma isn't a major theme of your work (which, btw, I'm hyped either way; you're in no way obligated to make your art any darker or grittier or more psychological than you want to!!), it is a sensitive topic that I think it worth putting additional thought into while writing. Sensitivity readers are also a great resource!

Again, thanks for much for your kind and thoughtful response! I'm really excited to follow Scout's progress -- you're a very talented writer!! :)

(+5)

I created an account just to be able to comment on this game. I'm at a loss for words to even begin to describe how amazing this game is. The characters are  well developed and I'm completely invested in the story line. My favorite is Oliver because I'm a sucker for tough guys that are only vulnerable towards the mc trope, plus I feel like Ezra is way too good for me and deserves the entire world. I'm looking forward to Chapter 3 please keep updating :)

(+1)

Thank you so much for reading!!! Your comment on Ezra made me laugh out loud. Definitely continuing to update – Chapter 3 is coming at the end of July. 

(+3)

HELLO ??? THIS GAME IZ SO GOOD IM IN LOVE FJKHDJFK THA WRITING STYLE IZ SO FUCKING BEAUTIFUL  ELLE/EZRA AND OLIVER THEM . ALSO LITERALLY EVERY CHARACTER WE MET SO FAR CHEF KISS IM SO HYPED FOR MORE THANK U SM FOR YOUR HARD WORK 

(+1)

AHHH THANK YOU! I'm so thrilled you liked it and cannot WAIT for you to read more!!!

(+4)

My gosh, the update was so good! Look, I'm an Ezra girl, but Oliver? The scene with his tattoo???? I'm dying, that was so freaking cute. The intimacy between the MC and Oliver is so different from the one with Ezra and you make such a good job in writing both! I'm a fan of the whole "silent longing" and "the stoic type who was a weakness for the MC" so Oliver romance is surely becoming one of my favs too. But man, the scene with Ezra was also amazing! And Sabine! Such an interesting character. I'm looking forward to seeing more of her and your work in general! Keep up the good work <3

(+2)

Thank you SO SO much for playing! I'm so happy that you're finding something fun in each of the RO routes. I typically go for the silent type in text games and so figured I would be better at writing those routes - but I've been seeing a lot of love for Ezra, which is so lovely. Thank you from the bottom of my heart for your continued support!!

(+2)

E(zra, in my case) already has my heart in the palm of their hand... Oliver is my best bro and I would die for him, Gage seems like a rude boy and I would absolutely kick his ass. (softly bc i like him) And I'm super excited to meet Sabine more and learn her personality! This is definitely an inspiration to me for my interest in making visual novels! Love the atmospheric writing, the snippets of characters' personalities in the little things they do, and how neatly everything is tied together! One of my favorite visual novels I've read thus far, for sure!

(+2)

Thank you so much for playing!! Gage needs his ass kicked at least a little. 

Ahh, so cool you're interested in making visual novels! I am solely a text based person because I can't draw for shit, but I'm sure I would adore anything you put out. Thank you again for reading and commenting, it is SO appreciated!

(+4)

A lot to say, but I'm going to start with if anything happens to Oliver I will tear this desert apart with my bare hands. No one will be safe from my wrath. "This is it; me, distracted" grind that shit up into a powder so I can season all my food with it.

Besides infatuation, I'm really impressed with your Twine set up. It's crazy colourful and you've got a lot of menus which, even if you found it easy, was probably a mess to put together and I'm super impressed !! Also, the multiple save files; my god the multiple save files. I've had such an ordeal trying to bully Twine into relaxing and just letting it happen ;; Which kinda Twine language there did you end up using?

I did notice a few instances where my Elle was referred to as Ezra (and sorry I can't be more specific about when: I was a bit slow to the uptake for some reason, so I didn't make specific line notes), in the scene where Elle/Ezra is piggybacking you away from Gage (I think it happened when you were meant to be getting off Elle/Ezra's back and choosing who to lean on in the rover), and the scene just before (Commiserate with Ezra or something similar, both the prompt and the bit before where Elle/Ezra is suggesting that the info was bad), but other than that everything totally checked out.

I really did like the kind of atmospheric setting— the desert, the broken down motor, the shack— versus the like, common human elements like the party, making tea, the white hot rage of being disrespected by a superior because you're right and they're wrong and they hate it...a balance of genre and just human realism.

Anyway the council is about to catch these hands if they try to softblock me from my job ¯\_(ツ)_/¯

(+2)

I am FLOORED by this comment – thank  you endlessly for your thoughtful notes. That you paid so much attention to the game is making my heart happy 💚💚💚💚  I'm so glad you love Oliver. Emotionally constipated is often my go to choice in these games, so I try to do him justice. 

I use Harlowe for Twine because SugarCube stressed me out. But at this point, I've started doing so many workarounds for Harlowe I might as well have just started out using SugarCube in the first place...ah, well. So glad you like the menus and colors! It's hard to figure out what is too much for the eye after a while working on the same game, so I'm happy it's not too intrusive.

The multiple saves will actually be the death of me. I spent so long trying to make it work and save as current date/time and eventually I just had to accept defeat. The multiple saved slots seemed like an okay compromise, but I'll still be pissed off about the saves when I'm a retired old woman.

THANK YOU for catching the Elle/Ezra bugs. They should be fixed now! 

Thrilled you felt the more "apocalyptic" vs. modern-type elements were balanced well. This isn't supposed to be too far in the future, so it's not supposed to feel so divorced from reality that it's a completely different world. At least, that's what I'm attempting to go for.

The Council may or may not be...catching hands...a few chapters down the line.

THANK YOU AGAIN for playing from the bottom of my heart! 💚

(+3)

I absolutely love this. <3 The first chapter left me excited for more. ;)) I'm usually picky on what I read, so believe me when I say I think you write very well. I also love the fact that we can shape our MC through the choices we make. You can expect me to play until the end hehehe. 

Am curious though, are you working on this on your own?

All the best in writing future chapters! 

(+1)

Thank you so much for reading - I'm so glad you're enjoying it!! 

I am working on this by myself - it's a one woman project :) 

(+5)

Scout is an amazing game!! I love your writing so much, and Ezra, and Oli, and everyone!!! I'm sooo eagerly waiting for next update, can't wait to read/play more of it. You're amazing!!

(+3)

Ahhhhh thank you so much!! I'm so, so happy you liked it! This is the first time I've released a game on itch.io so I really appreciate you commenting and coming back for more! I'm trying to keep to about a 2 week release schedule, so look out for an update in about 9-10 days. 

(+3)

This game is so good! Your writing is amazing, and the characters are incredible and oh man, I'm already a goner for Ezra. The premise is also very interesting, and the MC is such a badass. Also, the Scout Report (I think it was called that?) tab is very well done, and a very creative way of introducing the MC's stats. I'm looking forward to seeing more, and keep up the good work!

(+2)

Thank you so much!!!! I'm so happy you liked the writing, and Ezra :) Currently in the process of writing a hella soft scene with him for next chapter. Things like the Profile/Report page are somewhat complicated to code - so I'm thrilled you noticed and considered it a well-executed feature of the game! 

(+2)

Gosh, I can't wait! The whole "so desperately hungry" when Ezra looks at the Scout was *chef's kiss.* That longing right there is my cup of tea <3 

(+4)

Awww! I totally in love with this story! Amazing storytelling, beautiful character personalities, able to create a mc, and my favorite because i'm a sucker for childhood/best friend romance. This is really superb writing and i'm so freaken excited for the next chapter! Will you do any additional like add ons or side stories to this? I know this question is like kinda hard to answer since were still on chapter one but if you do or have time I would be so happy to spend money for it!<3

(+3)

I'm so glad you liked it - thank you so much for playing!! I find the childhood romance actually somewhat difficult to write, so I'm really glad you're enjoying it. On the additional/side stories: I'm not sure yet! I'm definitely considering it. Thank you again for your support!

(+5)

I absolutely love this. I have a weakness for post-apocalyptic fiction and this one is done so neatly. The amount of choices makes it easy to shape your own character, and the story is simply amazing. Can’t wait to read more!

(+2)

Wow - thank you so much!! I'm so glad you liked it. I'm obsessed with Perfumare and (knowing your writing) this feels like such a great compliment. 

(+5)

First chapter was cool. really loved the setting and the characters were unique and all had their own thing. hope to see more and good luck on everything.

(+2)

Thank you for playing!! I'm trying to keep to a 2-3 week schedule, so Chapter 2 should be out this month. 

(+1)

No pressure, i'm along for the journey.  :~)