Testing for a WIP IF game, An Unexpectedly Green Journey (Orc life-simulator)


04/052024- GAME SUBMITTED TO HOSTED GAMES- THE DEMO WILL SOON BE TAKEN OFF OF DASHINGDON

Game has now been submitted to Hosted Games. Much of the last week or so has been spent preparing the text, titles and screenshot scenes for eventual publication. -As I have mentioned, I do plan future updates, once the game is released. This will depend, somewhat, on the reception. I also have some ideas for future DLC- though I will soon start a new project which will take immediate priority.

The full draft of the full game description:

Called stupid brutes, orcs are hated and looked down upon by all the GITS! If only an orc could unify the clans and turn the hordes against their enemies. Harness your might, and the power of gods and demons, to remake the world in the visage of an orc!

“An Unexpectedly Green Journey— An Orc Life Simulator” is an interactive novel by James Isaac. It’s entirely text-based—1.5 million words, without graphics or sound effects—and fuelled by the vast, unstoppable power of your imagination.

Born in the baked, dusty plains, you emerge into a world of stagnation and decline. Orcs simmer in this backwater, a hopeless people dismissed as culturally stunted and irrelevant barbarians. Once, an age ago, orcs had the briefest glint of a place in the sun and held the continent of Behatland by the throat, only to fall before the united forces of the world. What hope have you to make something of your life beyond scrabbling for meagre survival?

But the fates have conspired and presented you with an opportunity. The elves are in perpetual retreat to match their ever-diminishing forests. The time of dwarven glory has long passed. The great human empire totters on the edge of decadence and the unravelling of the traditions of their ancestors. Demons tempt those of wayward faith. Worse, there are whispers and sightings of something far more sinister stirring in the Ashland to the west…

The world slumbers fitfully before the tantalizing tendrils of an encroaching nightmare. Someone needs to kick this world awake, wring its neck, roar in its face and hack at it with an axe before eating it! IT IS TIME FOR THE ORCS TO RISE AGAIN!

From the moment you first open your eyes to the instance of your last croaking breath, you will take the role of a mighty orc. Become anything from a bone idle glutton, fit only to be forgotten, to the ruler of the greatest empire the world has ever seen. Wield your influence and connections to build great armies or a holy city. Usher in an age of peace or demonic devastation. Make a mess and eat a load of halfling offal!

  • Explore an open world full of danger, opportunity and adventure.
  • Grow your orc through every stage of their life, from the moment of birth, through childhood to adolescence, from youth to maturity and, finally, into old age.
  • Rise to become the chief of your tribe, the king of all orcs or the emperor of an entire continent. Then face off against a final threat powerful enough to challenge even an emperor.
  • Command vast armies, with a diversity of units, and crush dwarves, elves, humans and halflings too!
  • Raid rival warbands riding atop your ferocious boar.
  • Master the arts of a shaman. Wield the will and magic of the orc god to build and manage a Holy City and breach the realm of divinity.
  • Succumb to temptation and devote your soul to the Powers Beyond and Below. Weave demonic taint across the world and burn it to a cinder as you become the Dark Lord itself.
  • Devote your life to gluttony and join the fabled Big Bellies in epic feats of gut-busting consumption.
  • Fight in arenas across the land to earn wealth and glory. Perhaps, one day, you will claim the title of Grand Champion.
  • Join an adventuring guild and go questing with a party of brave heroes across the land.
  • Or live a life of simple mediocrity and leave all the fighting to the stupid gits who want to die young.

20% Grub. 30% Glory. 50% Slaughter. 100% Orc.

UPDATE FULL BETA TEST v0.9, (27th March 2024):55k words added, totalling 1.54 million
-Play the final act of your orc’s life into old age.
- ‘Adopt’ a pup and help to influence and raise him into, perhaps, becoming a chief.
-Keep track of your pup’s development on the stats screen.
*-Contact old acquaintances, if they still live, to shape your pup.
-Spend your loot improving the tribe or influencing the current chief’s entourage.
-Decide on how you meet your fate, in exile, as a chief maker or idling away your years.
-Receive a final judgement on your orc’s life.
-Added a tester option to jump straight into old age, using a pre-made orc.
-Expanded the ending screen for Big Bellies who complete their path.
-Added a cheat mode which, in the finished game, you will have to track down. However, for testing purposes, you can find it on the stats screen at any point, except for old age. -Old orcs lose the blessing of the Crone of Fate and cannot cheat, for narrative and game balance.

UPDATE 12: (8th March 2024) 160k words added, totalling 1.49 Million

*-Added a Dark Mode to heal your eyes from bright backgrounds. Select it in the game menus.*​

-Become the chosen shaman of the Krog faith and build a holy city around Krog’s Rock.

-Follow Krog’s guidance and create a glorious settlement for the ages.

-Or stray from the path and watch your city crumble or fall into the abyss as a place for demons.

-Decide what to build and who to hire while keeping track of your city’s Faith, Defence, Law and Wealth.

-Visit your citizens for minor quests and research great powers.

-Face off against an imperial crusade or travel beyond the ether to battle the gods themselves.

- Added a new stats screen where you can peruse the current state of your city, accessible once you rise to the position of shaman.

UPDATE 11 (23rd January 2024): 130k words added, totalling 1.33 Million)
-Journey along the Odd Job trial, passing through 5 settlements on the Royal Road, and become gainfully employed in a variety of tasks, from performing dentistry on an ogre to being the muse for an aspiring bard.
-Arrive in Grandardgard, the Imperial Capital, to take part in higher paying jobs, from cleaning the city sewers to investigating suspicious rumours about a dragon-blooded noble and crewing the maiden flight of the first Imperial Airship.
-If of good character, venture into the New Shires to work for the halflings, from mundane jobs such as farming or gardening to taking part in a sideshow.
-Most jobs are one-time only though some are repeatable, with varying outcomes.
- Added a highly suspicious Imperial Works Record CV on the stats screen, available once you take your first non-tribal job, recording your experiences along the Royal Road, in the New Shires and Grandardgard.

This update is more back to basics. Your orc will wander the world and take part in more mundane tasks, though some have a smattering of ‘epic’ flavour, available to mature orcs, though tribal jobs are available to young orcs too.

Lots of events, so I will greatly appreciate the work of typo hunters and searchers of logic errors.

UPDATE 10 (15th December 2023): 230k words added, totalling 1.2 Million)
-Lead your warband against rivals across The Plains
-Engage in the tactical use of your boar cavalry, goblin skirmishers and orc infantry to slaughter and loot your foe.
-Increase your Raid Boss ranking to gain fame amongst your tribe
-Your foes are procedurally generated from different areas of The Plains, each with their strengths and weaknesses.
-Enslave your defeated enemy, or buy up slave stocks from Seraka the Shackla to supplement your horde.
-Your victories and defeats are added to your battle record on the stats screen.

UPDATE 9 (1st December 2023): 97k words added, totalling 972k)
-Continue your adventures in the Royal Road Adventurers Guild.
-As your adventuring band rises in fame, deal with ever more important and dangerous quests.
-Find the link between your adventures and, if you can, defeat the demonic powers behind recent upheavals to be proclaimed a Light of the Empire.
-Further befriend and get to know your potential companions. If you get on with them well enough, perhaps you may see them during your old age, when all adventuring is done.

UPDATED 30th October)

(Updated and added the first part of the Adventurers Guild path for mature orcs. You can choose adventuring companions and engage in quests which increase in difficulty as your renown grows. The code was a bit more complicated here and, although I have done my best to avoid errors, some may have slipped in!)

Hi Everyone,

I am nearing completion of my Choice Script game, An Unexpectedly Green Journey. Here, you will take an orc from birth and adventure around a lore-heavy world. Perhaps you’ll become a shaman, a chief or king, a gluttonous big belly or even a demon lord!

I would say the game is, roughly 75-80% done, content-wise, at 875+K words.

I would love for people to play through it, see how they enjoy the concept and, hopefully, flush out bugs and typos.

The link to the current demo is on DashingDon

You lend your help, with bugs and things, here, or on the relevant Choice of Games Forum.

To all those who fancy a chance at living the green life, I hope you enjoy your adventures!

Cheers!

7 Likes

Hi! and Welcome to the forum!

Just a little fyi for you about the current events happening on the Forum:

Good luck with testing!

5 Likes

Ok, I played the online demo.

I generally don’t like choice games, but this is exceptionally good. I played it through in one session without pause because it has tension. Like “Hmm, what comes next?”

I didn’t like to see my beloved orc die (after unsuccesful try to mix some medicine), maybe he could get crazy instead.

I think the game has a bit of replay-value, if you take a different path.

Instead of long young phase and short, repetitive adult phase I would like it vice versa.

The graphics are good, but I would like the game the same if it were without them.

2 Likes

I’m a sucker for anything to do with Orcs. I think I was an Orc in a previous life.

I took a peek and the writing is spot on. (I totally agree with you, Peter!) I’ll definitely give it a proper run in the next day or so. Thanks for sharing your game!

Quick question: I’m not too familiar with ChoiceScript games. Is there a way to make it dark themed with the game engine itself? I used Dark Reader for Firefox and just cranked the grayscale and it feels so much easier on the eyes for desktop reading, but I thought I’d ask in case there was some settings that you had made that might be better.

1 Like

EDIT: JUST A QUICK HEADS UP

-DashingDon has a save system, ideal for testers.

-It is important to note that the final release will only have the checkpoint/hub saves, which you will see at various times in the game text, rather than the options tabs.

-Keeping an eye on your stats will help get through many of the deadlier events, although this game does not require stat ‘micro-management.’

-I have included an option, when you start, which skips to the Dark Path option (which is the most recent at the time of writing). This is a breakaway fork of a late-game path.
EDIT: The extra starting option now starts before you enter the ‘mature hub,’ to help speed access to the arena path, which has just been updated. Decline to become a shaman and choose to adventure away from the clan, where you can join the Green Battlers and become a prizefighter.

-I have used the Stats tab to add ‘flavour’, where I can. Here, not only will you see your orc’s stats, but a map of the world- which can change depending on your actions, and diplomatic relations and an optional tab, which has a map of the world at your birth and bits of lore. It is possible bugs could show up here too.


@Pebblerubble

Thanks for giving the game a go! The art is just my feeble pixel scrawlings- I agree, it is not necessary, but if it is not off-putting I’ll probably keep it in. The maps I use are more important for lore and world-building, but these are found in the Stats tab.

The adult phase is much longer than the childhood phase- unless you die! Although the adult phase still has many incomplete paths, the fullest path is implemented, where you can lead an orc to become a continental emperor.

To reach the later game paths (many not yet implemented) you have to wait until your orc is 32 or more. Then return to your tribe and challenge the chief.

I have tried not to include unfair deaths, particularly with younger orcs (you can’t die at all in the childhood part of the game). This is something I can take a look at, as I don’t want it to be overly frustrating.

@HAL9000

Thanks for giving the game a go. I, like you, feel like I lived the life of an orc in a previous incarnation! We are a rare breed, but we are destined to rule the world after ‘a right propa ruck!’

As far as I know, I can add a dark theme and tie it to the options in the game, although it is not native to the choice script code. It is a very good idea. I don’t like the white background either and have had another comment like this before. It is something I will certainly do, although, since I may have to learn a few new things to do, I intend to finish the game first, then add the polish.

Cheers to both of you. A tankard of grog on me!

2 Likes

I gave it a proper go this time.

I haven’t ever played a ChoiceScript game before so practically everything about it was new to me. Most of the following feedback is just my personal preference.

I died after the goblin and racial tiered fights where some armoured dudes approach you (I think) and you have that big fight. 2 hits and I was a goner. To be fair, you did provide a warning, but my orc was old and too proud to back down. :wink:

  • I liked that most of the choices were concise and quick to read. Especially when you have 4 or more things to choose from. There were only a few times when a choice felt like a paragraph of text. In those cases where you feel the need to explain more about a choice, keep them short, but present a page with the additional information and a chance to back out or proceed.

  • I’m not a reader so I did find the occasional page with large amounts of text to be a bit jarring when being fed 2 to 3 paragraphs of text normally. I would break those rare pages up into multiple pages.

  • I would like the option to see my stats in a super-condensed form at the top of every page. The switching back and forth between stats and the game after each training segment was inconvenient. Though this might be the only way ChoiceScript works?

  • I found the graphic images to be larger than they needed to be on a desktop. They could have been half the size or cropped in a wide aspect ratio so that I don’t have to scroll past the picture so much to get to the text content. I found the battle strategy images especially large. On a phone, this might be preferable so perhaps some CSS for desktop only could be used for images.

  • When I tried to make the fights entertaining and varied, I got smashed. ( I really wanted to land those strong attacks.) When I just dodged heavy attacks and parried normal attacks while only spamming quick attacks, I found great success… but it was not interesting.

  • I really enjoyed the unique descriptions of each combatant. Since fighting is prevalent, I would encourage some more “trash talk” from each fighter. Try and get under the player’s skin a little and reveal a bit more story perhaps during the fights. Also, some fight descriptions felt very visceral. I liked that a lot.

  • I only found one broken image and a single misplaced pronoun of a female warrior swinging his weapon when previous pronouns used were her.

  • I did find myself skimming the text a bit when there was more than 3 paragraphs on a page.

Overall, I enjoyed the story and felt that I was living the life of an orc. Loved the deliciously gross and savage choices offered. The writing is top notch.


From one orc aficionado to another, I wish more artists showed orcs the love that Bayard Wu does.

https://www.artstation.com/bayardwu/albums/848819

1 Like

Thanks Hal,

I feel that Choice Script is designed to make it simple for non-coders to be able to make a text and choice-based game, without worrying too much about coding skills.

I have learnt it along the way and am capable with it now, but I am not a coder and so my insight here is limited. I think the stats screen is set to be the place to view your stats.

-Some very constructive issues are highlighted here. I agree, some of the images are far too large. I will standardise all images to smaller sizes, with the exception of the maps on the stat screens.

-Will definitely break up the text more. I, too, find walls of text off-putting.

-With the game’s large scope, the fighting system was always going to be simple as the arena is just one path. I may tweak it a bit. But I have a hint for you- if you are stronger than them, give them a big whack when they parry! Or, hunt for weak spots when they parry. I wanted to ensure that agility-focused orcs and strength-focused orcs had a way to win.

-Love the idea for fight banter. I will consider adding something like that for the bigger arena fights!

  • If you ever have time for a playthrough again, the fullest content of the game can be found by becoming the tribe’s chief, where you get to expand your orc lands, perhaps conquer the world and even save the world from a shadowy threat.

Thanks for your valuable insights. I only wish I was an artist to conjure up images like the one you posted! My pixel-tries are just to add a dash of colour really!

Cheers!

1 Like

Sweet! Now you’ve given my orc the knowledge to dispatch his foes with ease. :slight_smile:

Definitely let us know when you have another update!

Regarding combat:

  • I’m not sure if you did this or not (I think this was touched upon already in your story), but it would be nice to have a first battle be a sort of tutorial where a mentor is barking out suggested strategy at you. “Move out of the way, dog!” suggests dodging and other such encouraging words. Maybe it could be an optional choice if you get your ass handed to you, a considerate orc could offer his mentorship, then subsequent playthroughs can always avoid that tutorial battle part.

Anyway, now I’m installing ChoiceScript because after looking at code examples, it’s just so well structured. The code doesn’t get in the way of sharing a story. What a great language!

1 Like

Hi Hal!

In your first fight, (the training one against an orc named Backside) Shufla advises you on what to do when your enemy moves first (every odd-numbered round). This is to help the player learn a few tricks. Though much depends on your character’s cunning, strength and presence in later fights.

I share your thoughts about Choice Script. It is simple and intuitive. I am sure anyone who knows how to code could do some great things with it easily. Those who don’t, like me, can pick it up quickly.

The Choice of Games community is also very supportive and helpful. The major downside is the lack of a save system, due to Choice of Games’s philosophy of ‘making choices matter.’ I feel that, for longer games, this can be frustrating. Although it is not too difficult to create your own checkpoint save system.

For demos, the DashingDon website actually provides a better save system than is available to Choice Script.

A great tool to use if you want to test choice script out is CSIDE. Here, you can see your code better and run it through quick tests and random tests to catch errors.

I don’t have permission to post links yet, but if you search CSIDE and Choice Script you can find it.

Thanks again for your time, Hal,

(Orcs rule!)

2 Likes

I really appreciate you sharing the basics of ChoiceScript. Everything you said is super helpful and completely relevant. It’s like you’ve been down this road before. :wink:

  • In your game, I tried using the save system at the top of the page with the pull-down menu and it always gave an error when loading, but said that saves were successful. But the check-point system (in the choices) worked fine. I was using Firefox on Win10.

Anyway, I look forward to the next major story update. In the meantime, I’m going to see what all the fuss is about with this here ChoiceScript thingamajig.

1 Like

I played it again and it was a surprisingly different content, and lots of content (this time I roamed the lands). A really good game.

I also took a glance at the stats. I was again surprised, because there are so many stats (including Appetite, Reputation, and reputation at dwarfs, elves etc.) Nice :slight_smile:

2 Likes

@Pebblerubble

Great to hear you diving in again. I have tried to make it possible to enjoy several playthroughs and have a different experience each time. Of course, it won’t be completely different.

One of my aims was to make the Stat screen a part of the experience, to add flavour to everything. It can show your list of battles, and arena fights, it will show your growing conquest over the world. Also, it will show the ‘big bads’ conquests too. As you said, it shows your diplomatic reputation. If you become a demon, it will show the world’s terror levels and your demon powers.

Players can ignore it or delve into it if they like seeing a record of their orc’s life in the world.

Cheers for taking the time to look at my project!

1 Like

Hi, orcs and adventurers. Just a quick head-up for those who are interested.

I have updated and added the first part of the Adventurers Guild path for mature orcs. You can choose adventuring companions and engage in quests which increase in difficulty as your renown grows. The code was a bit more complicated here and, although I have done my best to avoid errors, some may have slipped in

3 Likes

UPDATE 10 (15th December 2023): 230k words added, totalling 1.2 Million)
-Lead your warband against rivals across The Plains
-Engage in the tactical use of your boar cavalry, goblin skirmishers and orc infantry to slaughter and loot your foe.
-Increase your Raid Boss ranking to gain fame amongst your tribe
-Your foes are procedurally generated from different areas of The Plains, each with their strengths and weaknesses.
-Enslave your defeated enemy, or buy up slave stocks from Seraka the Shackla to supplement your horde.
-Your victories and defeats are added to your battle record on the stats screen.

UPDATE 9 (1st December 2023): 97k words added, totalling 972k)
-Continue your adventures in the Royal Road Adventurers Guild.
-As your adventuring band rises in fame, deal with ever more important and dangerous quests.
-Find the link between your adventures and, if you can, defeat the demonic powers behind recent upheavals to be proclaimed a Light of the Empire.
-Further befriend and get to know your potential companions. If you get on with them well enough, perhaps you may see them during your old age, when all adventuring is done.

You can engage in the raid boss battle as a young orc, if you meet the requirements, although it will be harder and you are limited to the amount of battles you can take part in. However, as a mature orc, you can fight in up to 25 raid battles.

A great chunk of this update’s word count is code (maybe 100k). I have pushed my neophyte coding abilities to the limit here!

These events are procedural and give your rival Chief differing names, surnames or epithets, different tribe names and place names, and differing casus belli, depending on which part of The Plains they hail from. Refusing a fight does not result in a defeat, but fleeing from a fight you start does. Sometimes it is better to flee if a battle isn’t going your way, or else you’ll almost certainly be killed.

There is no wider narrative to these battles. Raiding is a bread-and-butter part of orc life. I felt I needed to add these battles to add more orciness to the game. A successful raid boss may well have different options when he reaches old age )yet to be implemented).

FUTURE UPDATES

This game has become huge, far larger than anything I first imagined. I have decided to not implement a Thieves Guild path. To me, this seems a bit like throwing the kitchen sink in. If this was a goblin life simulator, I would, however, I don’t feel this path would suit an orc. Orcs would be the muscle, the thug or brute, used for intimidation and not really suited to the sneaky aspect of thievery. It would limit the enjoyment of a thief’s path. Perhaps, in a later game, I might use many of my ideas for a more fitting character and wider narrative.

My next update will flesh out mundane jobs for orcs, those who do not wish to engage in battles and adventure. I imagine a wandering orc passing from town to town doing more menial activities. Of course, this can be done between other events in a mature orc’s life. As a whole, this should give the player the impression of taking part in a world where not everything is ‘epic’ in nature.

After this, I will work on the city paths. Perhaps, at the same time, I will work on the shaman path, or do it after. The shaman path will potentially be the last big hurrah, a game path which diverts from others, as you rule your holy city around Krog’'s Rock.

When this is done, I will venture into the old orcs paths. This will be a more gentile affair, but hopefully, give satisfaction to readers and players by tying some events back to your younger life.

Cheers!

3 Likes

Using his stealth and cunning, the orc procures some coin from the unsuspecting victim…

“Hey you!”, you shout from behind the man.
“Huh?”, he says in a startled voice as he turns around.
But before he can react, you hit the stranger squarely on the head with your fist, rendering him unconscious (hopefully, not dead) and pilfer his pockets.

* cue heavy metal riff with an 80s rocker screaming “Orc stealth!” *

1 Like

:rofl:

Exactly! Every quest would change the setting and victim but have the same outcome!

1 Like

orcnewxmas

2 Likes

UPDATE 11 (23rd January 2024): 130k words added, totalling 1.33 Million)
-Journey along the Odd Job trial, passing through 5 settlements on the Royal Road, and become gainfully employed in a variety of tasks, from performing dentistry on an ogre to being the muse for an aspiring bard.
-Arrive in Grandardgard, the Imperial Capital, to take part in higher paying jobs, from cleaning the city sewers to investigating suspicious rumours about a dragon-blooded noble and crewing the maiden flight of the first Imperial Airship.
-If of good character, venture into the New Shires to work for the halflings, from mundane jobs such as farming or gardening to taking part in a sideshow.
-Most jobs are one-time only though some are repeatable, with varying outcomes.
- Added a highly suspicious Imperial Works Record CV on the stats screen, available once you take your first non-tribal job, recording your experiences along the Royal Road, in the New Shires and Grandardgard.

This update is more back to basics. Your orc will wander the world and take part in more mundane tasks, though some have a smattering of ‘epic’ flavour, available to mature orcs, though tribal jobs are available to young orcs too.

Lots of events, so I will greatly appreciate the work of typo hunters and searchers of logic errors.

Next, I am planning to delve into the shaman path, one of the more epic and consequential paths for your orc.

After that I will flesh out the general city builder path before moving to the final section(s), the conclusion to non-epic orc lives, in the old orc part.

2 Likes

UPDATE 12: (8th March 2024) 160k words added, totalling 1.49 Million

*-Added a Dark Mode to heal your eyes from bright backgrounds. Select it in the game menus.*​

-Become the chosen shaman of the Krog faith and build a holy city around Krog’s Rock.

-Follow Krog’s guidance and create a glorious settlement for the ages.

-Or stray from the path and watch your city crumble or fall into the abyss as a place for demons.

-Decide what to build and who to hire while keeping track of your city’s Faith, Defence, Law and Wealth.

-Visit your citizens for minor quests and research great powers.

-Face off against an imperial crusade or travel beyond the ether to battle the gods themselves.

- Added a new stats screen where you can peruse the current state of your city, accessible once you rise to the position of shaman.

FUTURE PLANS

Okay, I feel with the game being so large, other city paths will be redundant. The shaman and chief paths, in my opinion, offer different styles of playthrough to not make the game repetitive and feel rewarding. So this means one final section is left- Old Age.

I do not plan for this to be a huge section, more of a conclusion to your orcs’ lives (those who don’t become chiefs and shamans. I hope to validate earlier choices and give options to spend the loot. I like the idea of your old orc taking interest in an orcling or pup and offering guidance to him, to give you a sense of legacy, if you so wish. The largest problem is setting the boundary for when to transport your orc to old age. I’ll try and figure it out.

After this, I want to go through everything, take out the skeletons of unused events, rebalance a few things and implement some of the testers’ suggestions- the list is quite long.

1 Like

START
Testing Option for the MATURE ORC- SPOILERS.
Enter Snooky’s tent, knowing you may not return.
click “next” until the picture comes up (nice picture!)
“next” →
holydevelop line 18: Non-existent variable ‘holymeter’

2 Likes