Carassaurat wrote: Anarchy wrote:
Carassaurat wrote:Balancing Act (⌐■_■)
So the final structure should look like this:
superficial choices -> main storyline reworked to include Mr. Coworker -> more superficial choices -> interesting time travel storyline where the superficial choices pay off -> branching into different endings
I don't agree with you there. Yes, that would have solved all of Balancing Act
's problem, but it would also remove much of its strength; I very much like how you need multiple playthroughs to get the full story, and how the choices aren't always simply about which route you want to take, but from which perspective you want to see something (it doesn't go all the way there, but we can agree that the Mr. Coworker thing is good). I don't mind a set story — I enjoy a kinetic novel as much as a visual novel — but I think that if you decide to use choices, you need to do something more with than have a cosmetic difference later on. Though those cosmetic differences are done very neatly in Act
and I certainly wouldn't want to see them gone, they're hardly the best thing about it. They work well in combination; wishing away the law enforcement is basically the decision to die just a few moments later, but how you do is determined by a seemingly superficial choice you made earlier, the confidence/style/appeal one.
Instead, I wonder what would happen if it would split into two branches about halfway through, one in which Garrett is being targeted by Mr. Coworker (in various ways depending on the previous choices) and one branch which includes the time travel (again with various endings). If it could be telegraphed that it consists of essentially two branches, everyone would at least notice both; now there are so many ways to end it that not everyone gets to see every ending. Of course, then you still have the problem that you might play them in a sub-optimal order...
It's a difficult one, this!
That's an interesting idea... Hmm, you know what. I think I have an idea on how to at least ensure that the reader gets the Mr. Coworker route before the time-travelling route.
You set a single If...Else... condition on the "go back in time" choice. If the reader's seen the Mr. Coworker route, then you go straight into the time travelling route. Else, if by chance the reader HASN'T seen that route, the protagonist disappears, and then we have a short scene from the spirit's perspective. Garrett has just traveled back in time... and then Mr. Coworker appears. They have a short exchange that should be appropriately mystifying to readers who haven't seen the time-travelling route, but should make complete sense in hindsight once you've played that route. It should also be tantalizing, not confusing, so that the reader is enticed to play the Mr. Coworker route to find out more.
See, though, the other reason I want the time-travelling to be a mandatory part of the main storyline is something that I think Auro brought up in her review. The existence of Mr. Coworker doesn't make sense if you don't choose the time-travelling part, unless you cop out and explain it away as yet ANOTHER random coworker - though the capitalization of Mr. Coworker tells me that yes, that it is most definitely Older Garrett. So yeah, big plot hole right there.
I don't think that it takes away from the story's strength to have the important bits be linear. I did like that confidence/style/appeal choice and how it affected how you died - the thing is, I think that that kind of choice could definitely be combined into the main storyline. You just don't have Garrett die - you have him ALMOST die, and then live to do a time-travelly bit, which might be different depending on what situation you just escaped from, whether it be rabid fans or Mr. Coworker.
Like I said, I don't mind that the choices don't impact the actual storyline, but from what perspective
you see that storyline, and that the choices I make are reflected in the narrative in a way that feels significant. My choices haven't actually changed the important parts of the story - but it makes the act of choosing feel significant, like I'm truly in control of the character and the story.