But structurally it was nicely done. It was divided roughly into nights, and each night had a number of tasks that had to be completed to advance the main plot and end that night. There were also areas (Santa Monica, Chinatown, Downtown, etc.) that were unlocked as the main plot of the game progressed. Side quests could usually be solved in the area they were acquired in, although some required returning to areas you'd already explored or waiting until you unlocked a new area.
So there was a nice blend between following the plot and exploring -- since time didn't progress until you completed the night's main plot quests, you could always put off finishing those in favor of completing some of the side quests in your journal, or do some main plot stuff if you wanted to see what was going to happen next. And there weren't so many side quests that you started to wonder why your character was running around helping random strangers instead of actually continuing to save the world.
And the stats were extremely light -- nearly every puzzle had several ways to solve it based on different skills. If you were tough, you could fight your way through a guard, if you were sexy, you could sweet talk him, and so on. And the game experience was different enough depending on what stats you chose to increase that it was easily worth playing through several times.
Yep, that's exactly what I meant! Well, the whole game, technically -- there's actually a complete "room" system with navigation in the game. I originally wrote in an entire complex of about fifteen or so rooms, but weeded them out as they weren't ever actually used for anything. So the whole system is complete overkill now! More of a demo of how a system like that could work than a real implementation of it. In retrospect, I just don't think that was the right story for that framework. Or maybe it could have been, with a bunch of side quests as originally planned, but there just wasn't time.monele wrote:The bar part, uh? . Sadly, there wasn't much to do and the exits were very straightforward. I guess that the room system probably needs a minimum number of rooms and things to do to make you forget you're hooked to the storyline.
Hee, or worse with the second kind, (if you're a bit of a perfectionist) you're stuck programming in tons of responses to what an inventive player might think to do/say/interact with. The rule of thumb for IF is "if you mention it, the player will try to interact with it" and you at least have to have an "it's not remarkable" response prepared.monele wrote:The second kind means you're limited to those verbs and interactions will always take place in the same way (lest you confuse the player). The first kind *might* allow a lot of freedom since all the actions are simple sentences that *you*, the author, make up and decide, again with freeform text, what they do.
Fortunately, with VNs, a lot of that is elided by the very nature of the medium; nobody will feel gypped if they can't click on the fern on the table or the lamp post, even if they're shown in the background or mentioned by the text.
The issue with the first method, though, is making it interactive without being too much of a hand-hold for the player, I think. One of the nice things about player-controlled input ("put x on y") is that the solutions to puzzles aren't always obvious, because the player can literally try anything... with pre-defined sentences, it's a lot harder as a programmer to keep the 'right' answer from being handed to the player without any effort on the player's part.
I agree 100%. Maybe it's Bard's Tale trauma or my own special brand of spacial inadequacy (yes, I get lost a lot), but I hate it when I can't actually see a map or at least have a general idea of how areas fit together. Even if it's just clicking on the edges of the current screen to move 'left' or 'right' as in the King's Quest style games.dafool wrote:The thing is, it is highly recommended that these sorts of room-structure thingies are visual... I mean, if I were presented with a plain menu that says "Go Up. Go Down. Go Left. Go Right." I would bang my head against the monitor in frustration. You really will need to design the place well so it is intuitive where a player can go next.
But I think some of that can by mitigated if the navigation is text-based by either having a very small room complex, or by having an area map overlay or screen.
That's the worst part -- I always program using modules and with as much reusable code as possible. So I finish up the framework, it's there, a blank stamp, ready to be filled, and invariably something else has caught my attention. On the plus side, it does give me a lot of code to use for later projects.dafool wrote:I think I have discovered a way around this. Yeah, it was overwhelming at first when I first sat down and well "Aww, hell, now I would have to code all of this crap up."
But I did it step by step, and used modular programming methods... so that it is just a sequence of calls to subroutines (which represent certain situations).
One thing for sure... before anything else, make sure you have a navigatable room system that doesn't crash.
And I hear ya on the 'doesn't crash' bit. I thought my room system was just about done, and didn't realize that it just didn't work with rollback until I'd ported in about 10,000 words of text. Fortunately, I had a separate functions file and it was a relatively easy fix, but it was still unnecessarily stressful.
I'm excited to see, it however you decide to proceed! MB1 is gorgeous.monele wrote:Actually, you're describing MB1 as it was supposed to be here ^^. But MB2 might steer away from that. As I said, I might abandon stats and focus on choices. If you take a scale with story on the left and game on the right, the current project would be quite far on the left.