A rather bumpy FLIGHT

April 2, 2023 at 12:45 pm (Uncategorized)

Here is the tale of a story that you can now buy for $5 here.

Way back in 2019, I wrote a game for the IF Comp. I’d done well with “Scarlet Sails” in 2014 so I used ChoiceScript but tried my very best to disguise the engine and myself with a fake name, new intfiction account, and by altering the visuals of ChoiceScript as well as breaking some of the basic stylistic writing rules of ChoiceScript (I wrote “Flight: An Alchemical Adventure” in first person, only ever allowed two choices, and used a mostly-parallel scene structure based on stories I’d done for the Tin Man Games “Choices That Matter” series). 

Reader, stealth is not my forte.

It was immediately obvious exactly who I was and what I was trying to do. If memory serves, my name and all the usual ChoiceScript credits came up immediately when anyone clicked on my link. Oh well. Still a great story! Still super well-suited to the IF Comp, which I adore!

I had thought the deadline was October 1, but luckily I checked the due date and realised it was not 1 October but the end of September. Whew! Imagine how cut I’d be if I missed the deadline after pouring my heart and soul into this story!

At the end of September I settled in for an incredibly intense 48 hours of editing. In a fit of paranoia, I checked the deadline one more time.

Reader, it was already over. The deadline was 28 September. Not 30 September, which for some reason had stuck in my mind.

After falling about raging at my own stupidity for a day or three, I gathered myself and kept working on the story, knowing that the delay would be good for it. 2020 would be a GREAT year. A real winner. It would be the best year I’d ever had.

Things in 2020 didn’t go entirely to plan.

I wrote two more chapters in the story, polished it to a glossy shine, and then accidentally posted an open link to the game for beta testers…. disqualifying the story from the IF Comp forever and ever amen.

Cue more falling about weeping and raging. (Fun fact: two people had clicked the fateful link. I was probably one of them. Still disqualified. Isn’t life fun?)

No problem! I was always planning on submitting it as a Hosted Game to be published at Choice of Games after the IF Comp anyway! I’d give it just a few more tweaks since I had so much free time now, and I’d submit the game to Hosted Games and start raking in the royalties.

Those little tweaks took me two more years. 

I love and hate this game, as I love and hate myself.

Finally it was ready and I submitted the game to the Hosted Games queue at Choice of Games. For the first time in my writing career, I was asked to make significant changes to a potential Hosted Game—apparently murdering children is (checks notes) bad. Who knew?

Okay, no problem. I’d change the protagonist’s past crimes from murdering orphans to murdering tourists. Everyone hates tourists. Easy peasy. There were references to the protagonist’s gently-murderous past throughout the book, so that meant another line by line edit, but so what? This was a great story! Everyone would love it!

I took another half year or so (lightning fast by “Flight: An Alchemical Adventure” standards) but finally resubmitted the game. Sadly, it was still deemed too offensive for Hosted Games.

Ah, crap. I could thoroughly defang my deliciously evil protagonist (the best part of this story) or I could publish the game elsewhere.

Luckily for antiheroes everywhere, itch.io exists. 

So here it is, a grand little story that almost killed me (much like an orphan and/or tourist who fell into the hands of that naughty protagonist pre-1783).

It was 48 hours from being finished four years ago. Now, at last, it’s really truly done I swear.

I hope you like it.

You can buy it for $5 here.

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