Admiration Point postmortem

I wrote a postmortem for Admiration Point on my old videogame blog.

I discussed

  • early endings not working well for IF Comp
  • difficult-to-find endings not friendly to most players
  • my decision to have the player decide how to use their feelings, but not using that decision to change any of the game’s options (I want players to role-play, but to do that, they need to have the option to play out of character)
  • my gratitude for people playing and reviewing my game. Thank you, it helps me feel seen in an extremely personal way.

Me, while writing my postmortem: Dang, hardly anyone got one of the first two endings, I should make it easier to get those!

Me, after re-reading those endings: These are kinda cringe, maybe it’s better that no one saw them.


Thanks for writing and sharing the postmortem, and thanks again for the game – I really enjoyed it!

Would you mind sharing (probably via spoiler-blur) what the numbered endings you’re referring to correspond to in narrative terms? I’m interested in the ending and testing dynamics you mention, but confess that I’m having a hard time mapping the discussion to the ending I got (and the ones whose existence I sorta intuited). Thanks!

Sorry, “first” ending is ambiguous. As of Monday, I created a guide to the endings that is up on the game’s IFComp entry right now. Endings 1 and 2 happen if you get Sean to collaborate on the grant proposal with you.


Ah, thanks – this makes more sense! From the plot-tree graphic you posted, I’d somehow gotten the impression that endings 1 and 2 were early dead-ends but now I see it’s the reverse.

FWIW I wound up with ending 1 and didn’t find it cringey – at worst maybe a little abrupt, but the emotional dynamics made sense given where the characters were at.

1 Like

I really liked your behind the scenes blog entry, was like DVD bonus content! As I mentioned in my review I am an Admiration Point Admirer, and much more sincerely so than that came off. I hope this isn’t out of line, but I would really like to ask what was behind the design decision I alluded to here in my review:

I was positively crestfallen, when amidst the super slow and organic building of tension, I was abruptly confronted with a metagame choice: do you pursue an affair, try to stay friends or cut off contact?

Your game has really stuck in my mind and its killing me that I can’t suss this out. The best I’ve got is a meta “dispel all illusions” effect, but that doesn’t feel quite right to me. You’re well within your rights to keep me twisting, but I figured I’d ask!

1 Like

thank you so much for reviewing Admiration Point! I’ve been bragging about your review to my friends all week, haha.

I think I mentioned the metagame choice in my postmortem (it was true to my personal experience, that I had to both make a decision about what to do, but then make future decisions consistent with that choice) but I can explain it a different way: I wanted the player to have the experience of second-guessing their own decisions. In thinking “oh, I decided to just use my feelings to help me in my job, but I really want to know what happens if I kiss Sean” or “Well, I was just going to ignore my feelings, but that doesn’t seem to be working very well.” It’s easy as a player to change your mind suddenly and think “I meant to do that all along.” I thought the best way to hold the player accountable would be to write it down and remind them of it! Your review has me second-guessing my decision though, haha.


Ah, got it now. You wanted to ensure the “can you actually stick to your guns?” was part of gameplay. Which was also fun, btw. I guess I just wasn’t ready for the level of self-honesty needed to even define that line in my play through.

I mean the character wasn’t ready. Totally the character.

Thanks for the insight and congrats on a creating a unique, compelling experience!

1 Like

Thanks for the game and the post-mortem! They were both really interesting.

As a single data point about the side-bar’s effectiveness: I literally never noticed it existed until the game was done and I looked around the screen a bit. I think this says more about me than it does about your game, but at least you know that a game without the sidebar would have played the same for at least one reviewer :wink:

(I think I’ve trained myself to ignore bits off to the side/top/bottom of the screen, since that’s where the ads are.)

1 Like

I just played it for the first time. Enjoyed it; well done! A very interesting and effective use of IF I think. I can see it influencing things I do in the future.

Thought the setting was great, and interesting, though the technical stuff was a little dense for my personal taste and I found myself wanting to hurry on to the tantalising bits.

The first time I played I got ending 5, then I was keen to play it again and be naughtier and got ending 1. Surprised how much longer the second playthrough was.

Interesting post-mortem, as well. I’ll have to start writing my own.

Edit: I also didn’t notice the sidebar until near the end of the first playthrough. And sometimes I noticed, when the passage was short, I wasn’t able to scroll down to see all of the sidebar.

1 Like

The stats in the sidebar don’t display until after you choose what to do with your feelings, so if you got ending 5 first, you wouldn’t have seen them at all. Another weird design decision I made :face_with_monocle:. I did have technical issues with the sidebar (it still doesn’t really work in mobile). I hope I can develop my skills and learn how to fix that in the future.

Thank you for playing! :smiling_face_with_three_hearts:

This was interesting to read! I avoided looking at it before the contest was over because a post-mortem while alive is like a vivisection…

I liked this game because it spoke to a lot of experiences I have had, but I thought it would be so niche that others wouldn’t feel the same connection. I was pleased to see many other people like the game and put it on top 10 lists.

I do agree with your self analysis about endings. One thing I found when playing every Choice of Games game is that it’s intensely unsatisfying to play a long choice-based and story-focused game and get a ‘bad ending’ early on that doesn’t wrap up the narrative threads. People often play games only a single time, especially when on a crunch, and even when replaying is on the table, if you don’t have wildly branching or changing content it can be tedious to replay. I do think bad endings are a good thing, but only if they wrap up everything (one game called Mask of the Plague Doctor did that, where you can succumb to darkness but it lays out what happens to everyone else in an extended ending) .

Overall, this was one of the entries that affected me the most. Thanks!