Tara explains: Letting the reader choose their gender (& very basic coding layout example)


#1

Author: Tara Star (TaraStar on the Forums, tarastarofficial on Instagram).

NB: Don’t worry! This is a long, complicated article, on a very advanced coding topic. Take your time to read through it very slowly, absorb it, and feel free to leave questions in the comments.

Okay. This is probably going to be a very confusing article, but the DMs and emails I get are mainly to do with customisation, so I’m going to (attempt to) talk about how you can let the reader choose their gender. Many of you might have seen this in some more advanced stories, and the reason it isn’t used often is because letting the reader choose their gender is a LOT of coding work. Still, here we go! Before we start though, please read through my first article on customisation (if you click on my profile, or search “Tara explains” in the search bar, it should come up somewhere) :blush:

Right. So, to start, you need to create two characters, one of whom the reader will be. I like to call them FEMALE and MALE but just create two characters with simple code names.

Then, you need to let the reader choose their gender to start, using basic coding like this:

label gender_pick_one

AUTHOR (talk_excited)
You can choose your gender! Pick carefully…

choice (GENDER)
“Female!”{

NARRATOR
Are you certain you want to be a female?

choice
"Yes!"{

goto making_female

}“No!”{

goto gender_pick_one

}}“Male!”{

NARRATOR
Are you certain you want to be a male?

choice
"Yes!"{

goto making_male

}“No!”{

goto gender_pick_one

}}

Now, you need to create two labels: if you used the coding above, one would be label making_female and underneath this you would then have the customisation template!
Now, you can either use the Avatar templates on the portal, or I really like to use Amelia Rose’s amazing templates which have all the hidden features on them. So, once you’ve chosen your template, you need to copy and paste the code onto a Word document.

Now, let’s say in the template for a female character, the template calls the character MC but you want to insert your character FEMALE into the template. You need to select the word “MC” then click Ctrl + F at the same time. Then click the drop down arrow and find the “replace” button. Where it then says “replace” it should say MC and where is says “replace with” you should write FEMALE and then click replace all. Hopefully, this will now allow the character that you created to be customised in that script template!

You then need to get a NEW Word document (NOT the same one!) and paste in the male script template of your choice, then replace MC or whatever the template uses with e.g. MALE if you are using my coding.

After doing all this, you need to then put these edited customisation templates into your script. I’m going to assume you used my earlier coding, so you’d then need these labels:

label making_female

#paste in the female customisation template

goto made_avatar

label making_male

#paste in the male customisation template

goto made_avatar

Now, I’m not going to paste in all of the coding because the templates will take up 2000+ lines of coding in total, but you get the idea (hopefully). After this, you’d then need to start your story like this:

label made_avatar

if (GENDER is “Male!”) {
goto male_story

}else{
goto female_story
}

Now, the code above will work if you’ve been using all of my example coding because at the start where the reader chose their gender, we gave this choice the label by writing (GENDER) next to it. This means that we can now refer to this choice to ensure that if the reader customised a male avatar, that they don’t play the story with a female avatar.

The next bit is where it gets tricky. You need to have two different scripts: one with the main character as FEMALE or whatever you called her, and one with the main character as MALE (these are the characters that the reader could have customised depending on which gender they wanted to be).

So, what’s the easiest way to do this? I’m going to share with you my top tip: you only need to write one set of coding! How does this work, you say? So, you need to write the code for what happens in the story like this (DO NOT ACTUALLY WRITE THIS YET):

label male_story

#all of the coding for this episode

However, when you’re writing your story, you now need to create a new character on the portal (male or female) and create a REALLY obscure name that you haven’t used ANYWHERE (none of the branching, customisation, choices, dialogue… nothing at all) else (I chose the name SUZY for example). So you need to write the entire script exactly as you want it, but call the reader’s character SUZY instead of MALE or FEMALE. Then, comes the clever part.

Copy and paste that part of the script (not the customisation bit at the start, but the plot of the story where you’ve used the name SUZY or whatever name you chose) and paste the same script on to two different Word documents. Then, using the Ctrl + F trick, replace the name SUZY with MALE on one version of the script, and with FEMALE on the other Word document version of the script.

Next, you need to go back to your Script writer and edit the male and female story labels:

label male_story

#coding with the character MALE
goto end_episode

label female_story

#coding with the character FEMALE
goto end_episode

label end_episode

NARRATOR
To be continued…

So, that about summarises it! I know this seems really complicated, and to be honest, it is a lot of work, so I’d only let the reader choose their gender if you’re confident with what I’ve written and understand all of my example coding and labels! Also, if you used the character SUZY in your original version of the Script before you replaced it with MALE or FEMALE then you would have used female animations for SUZY’s character. This means that you might need to edit a few of the animations as if the reader is the character MALE then they won’t be able to do the female animations.

If you choose to let the reader choose their gender, you also need to ensure you test BOTH paths so you’re confident all the labels and gotos work, as you don’t want the reader switching gender! Right, just in case you’ve completely zoned out by now, I’m just going to show you the complete script you should have once you’ve done all these steps, assuming you created the characters MALE and FEMALE to represent the reader depending on which gender they chose:

INT. BLACK – DAY
@author walks to upscreen right THEN AUTHOR faces left

label gender_pick_one

AUTHOR (talk_excited)
You can choose your gender! Pick carefully…

choice (GENDER)
“Female!”{

NARRATOR
Are you certain you want to be a female?

choice
"Yes!"{

goto making_female

}“No!”{

goto gender_pick_one

}}“Male!”{

NARRATOR
Are you certain you want to be a male?

choice
"Yes!"{

goto making_male

}“No!”{

goto gender_pick_one

}}

label making_female

#customisation of the character FEMALE

goto made_avatar

label making_male

#customisation of the character MALE

goto made_avatar

label made_avatar

if (GENDER is “Male!”) {
goto male_story

}else{
goto female_story
}

label male_story

#coding of the episode with the character MALE
goto end_episode

label female_story

#coding of the episode with the character FEMALE
goto end_episode

label end_episode

NARRATOR
To be continued…

I know this must be really, really confusing, so I recommend reading through this all again (although if you’ve read down to here you must be really determined to let the reader choose their gender or really interested in the coding of it!) and I hope this makes sense to some of you! Feel free to DM me on Instagram for help (I’m tarastarofficial) and I’ll do my best, or if this is overwhelming you, if you haven’t already check out my other article on a slightly easier way of including customisation in your story. Anyway, good luck :blush:


#2

I appreciate all of your helpful templates! :):relaxed:


#3

I’m so glad that you’re finding them useful! xx


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