Replayability

A place to discuss things that aren't specific to any one creator or game.
Forum rules
Ren'Py specific questions should be posted in the Ren'Py Questions and Annoucements forum, not here.
Message
Author
User avatar
monele
Lemma-Class Veteran
Posts: 4101
Joined: Sat Oct 08, 2005 7:57 am
Location: France
Contact:

Replayability

#1 Post by monele » Thu Nov 23, 2006 12:47 pm

Ok, here it is. It's not complete yet but I've written enough for you guys to debate I think ^^.

Feel free to make your own little description of games and add opinions here and there ^^. If this all goes well, I guess this could go on the wiki to make this into a nice document for makers who are wandering about this concept.


++ Replayability And Length

++ True Linearity

A kinetic novel. A single story, and nothing you can possibly do by interacting with the machine to make it steer in any way. A movie or a regular book would be just as linear. Except for interacting with the interface, there's no real *game* interactivity.

++ Perceived Linearity

Most games with a linear story, but a gameplay that automatically makes things rather unique (platform games, strategy games, fighting games... anything, really). Strangely, these are probably the most popular games out there. There's a *lot* of interactivity. While you might not be able to change the story, the attraction is elsewhere. Just hear people playing a VN for the first time while being regular gamers : "Uh?... All I do is click and click? This sucks!". Well yea, the power to change stories comes with a cost I guess ^^.

++ Replayability

Here are examples of games offering replayability (or not...) in various forms. These are analysis of what they offer and how they implemented it. There will be as few spoilers as possible. Since the structure is what's of interest, it shouldn't be too much of a problem. Short summaries of the games will still be given, but nothing more than what you could learn from a review I think.

++++ Indigo Prophecy (Fahrenheit)

*Faking replayability*

It might not be very well known overseas and it's not a VN but an adventure game. You are Lucas Kane, a bank employee (working on computers there) and one night, at a restaurant, you are... possessed, somehow, and forced to kill an innocent man. When you can move again, what will you do? Hide the body and wipe the evidences? Run away as fast as possible? Try to get out as if nothing happened? It's up to you.
Well... that's what the huge ad campaign said about the game. Playing through it the first time was, I admit it, a total blast. The game is really well done, leaning very strongly towards the movie feeling. But when I played the second time... oh dear, what a disappointment! Everything... everytime I had wondered "ohhh... what if I didn't pick this choice?"... was a waste. Because the game tried *very* hard to keep you in its single track.
One of the worst examples I can find is a part where you need to gather clues. Understand that you play the role of Lucas, the "murderer", but also the role of police agents trying to find and arrest Lucas (interesting gameplay element). When you play Lucas, what you do can leave clues of the investigators. When you investigate, you try to pick up these clues (fun stuff). Where it really hurts, though, is that, when replaying, I realized "hey, let's try to leave as few clues as possible". Ok, so I do this, knowing the game well enough. Then I reach the point where I'm supposed to assemble clues to make the final proof. In my first playthrough, I had to assemble 5 elements to make the proof. But this time, I realize I could *never* have more than 4 elements. I kept thinking "no way, I just forgot one combination!"... but no... if you actually played the perfect fugitive, what do you get? Well the investigators only need to assemble 4 elements to make their proof... Neat.

Anyway, I don't want to make this too rant-ish, but basically, this game, while still being one of the best ambience based adventure games I've played, greatly disappointed me with these gimmicks. Whatever you try, the game just punches you in the face and brings you back to its extremely linear route.
It wouldn't have been a problem if commercials and author interviews didn't talk *that* much about "freedom" and all the "what if I did something else back then?" idea, when it wasn't actually implemented. Basically, this game suffered from bad advertisement and needs to be played only once if you don't want the whole thing to break down.

My opinion : the idea isn't bad. In each scene, you can actually do many things in any order, and omit some of them. While not impacting on the story or even the gameplay in any meaningful way, it makes the game feel very life-like (what other games lets you rummage through your fridge and drink some milk, or booze... take a shower... surf on the web, check your e-mails... order a meal at the restaurant, etc...). The fact they don't impact on an already great story isn't bad either... as long as you don't say they do ^^.

++++ Figures of happiness

*Branching stories*

Note : my memory of this game is a bit hazy... feel free to complete and correct this ^^

Figures of Happiness is a hentai VN. You play the role of a guy who quickly ends up as a ghost after making a promise. This game, while not absolutely memorable, still got to me for a few reasons. First, the story is rather interesting, but most importantly, it has a *lot* of branches. I once made a chart to be able to find all the endings and I was surprised to see I didn't have enough room on my piece of paper (a regular letter format). It has a rather long main branch which serves to introduce everyone, the whole problem of being a ghost and so on... This branch includes mostly dead ends (at least that's what I remember), and ways to meet a few girls outside of the two main ones. In any case, you'll reach the central point of the story.
You'll quickly have to choose between two new main paths, each focusing on a couple of girls. The good point in replayability is that each of these main paths is *very* different. It really focuses on a small part of the cast which lets a lot of things to discover the next time. Within these two branches, though, it's mostly a matter of making the right choices for the girl you want. They also include unique choices that lead you to special endings (with the supporting characters). All branches don't have the same length. Sometimes you'll end the game early in this second part, sometimes it will really last for a long time.

My opinion : when I played it, the game seemed really huge and with a high replayability factor. I hope my memory isn't playing me tricks on this one ^^;. The charts used were really tree-based. I don't think there were that many branches coming back to a main one. It was certainly a lot of work to make such a story, but it's probably the most enjoyable when you play it again since once you start seeing new stuff, it's up to the end of the game.

++++ Gloria

Gloria is an old hentai game taking place during the beginning of the last century. You play the role of a MIT (int the english version at least ^^) student being hired to tutor a girl of the Gloria family. The beginning of the game is rather linear (going to the mansion, meeting everyone) but it still offers unique scenes depending on your choices. The earliest ones can give you a quick game over, but I still found them amusing (those who played might see I mean). Once you're in the mansion, you start earning love points with the girls depending on how you talk to them. It doesn't change things right away, but it will definitely come back later.
The main thing with this game is that it's *very* difficult to know exactly what the consequences to your choices are. Fortunately, it's rarely frustrating and illogical... but at times, you'll get very unique scenes that do make sense, but can't really be predicted... and might not even be reached voluntarily. I'm pretty sure the game uses either a lot of variables, or a *very* detailed events tree.
Quickly, you'll have to choose which girl of the family you want to tutor. There's a bit of a fake choice here since you can only tutor two of them, but I think choosing one of the "impossible" girls first might still have an impact later. So, that's two main branches from that point. Each has a unique storyline and gives access to its own unique scenes. Sometimes you'll be able to woo one of the other four girls for example.

Another interesting point in this game is the ending. There are two parts : one deciding who you end up with (if anyone), and what the mansion you're living in becomes. It all depends on your choices. Both are not *totally* independant though. Basically, you can end up with any of the girls... or alone... and things can go well with the manor... or not... or even really well... And sometimes both parts are linked together (things go well and are related to the girl you ended up with). According to a FAQ, there are 48 paths (not counting very small variations that would also lead to seeing everything). I'm pretty sure each path offers at least something new... either in the form of an ending, or in the form of a new scene during the game.

My opinion : while I'm now somewhat bored of this game, I'm still amazed by its complexity. But it comes with a price: except for the first, what, 5 playthroughs, you won't really see much new stuff anymore. As I said, one or two new things per playthrough. It's a good thing because chances are high that you *will* have a little surprise with each game, but it's bad because you'd mostly be skipping through 99% of the whole thing.
Interesting interface note : my version doesn't have any skipping functionality. It can be somewhat emulated through keeping the Enter key pressed, but it will even validate choices this way and is a bit dangerous.


++++ Princess Maker 2

This is an upbringing simulation where you raise your daughter, given by a god/goddess, and try to make her a fine lady.... or not ^^;.

There isn't much story in this game, except maybe for the RPG part of it. Replayability comes from the large number of possible endings (54), each being a possible future for your daughter. Naming a few : cook, artist, nun, evil queen, great adventurer, magician, teacher... etc...
The way you raise her, what you make her do throughout her teenage life, decides what she becomes when she reaches her 19th year. Sadly, I find that she will mostly end up as a house wife, because you tend to have her do housekeeping jobs to startup.
The good point in replayability, apart from the many endings, is that the game has quite a few unique "domains". The most obvious one being the RPG part. Instead of sending her to school, making her work, etc... in the rpg part, you control her through forests and dungeons and have her fight monsters. Quite a change from her usually quiet life :). In the many times I played the game, I only tried the rpg part the last time. And I didn't go far because I didn't train her enough and didn't *really* want to go down that path. Just saying that, according to faqs, there is a *lot* to discover in that part. Little events, objects, and so on...
There is also the "social" part of the game where you chat with people from the royal guard up to the king. This gives access to endings such as "the princess". It's not as big as the rpg, but you have to focus on it if you want results too.

My opinion : while not really a VN, of course, the game shows that many endings isn't forcefully good for replay value. 54 endings looks cool... but really, you won't play 54 times. Most importantly, without a FAQ, there's no way you'll get them all in only 54 playthroughs. I don't think anyone has that much time to waste nowadays?
On the other hand, there's this concept of having a few "domains" in the game. We could see these as "main branches" with the difference that you can go to any branch, whenever you want. A good VN example of this would be having a main branch per girl and allowing the player to choose who to talk to, quite often. After enough times, the relationship would reach a point when it can go further into details, and you start going down that girl's path. You could keep checking out the other girls' paths, but you probably wouldn't have enough time for everyone (this is assuming the game puts some time limit to avoid two-timers ;p).

++ Replayability... Mandatory?

It could have been the very first question. Is replayability even a good thing? Is it necessary? Does it bring something that good that it requires so much effort to go through?
It probably depends on your motivation and your resources. Big companies, having enough money, could hire more writers, more scripters and be able to add many branches and test them. If you're a lone creator, this could take many years and still not be that great.

What I realize is that many kinetic novels or games offering fake replayability are actually pretty good nonetheless! They might not be very interactive but they still tell a good story and even have a greater strength since their story can be very detailed and always work.

There's no definite answer to this. Replayability is fun. Wether you actually replay and see new things, furthering the experience... or you just play once but think "hey... I shaped -my- story and it was cool". But of course, replayability is hard and you'll often have to reduce the size of a single playthrough or have things be less detailed.


==== SECOND PART ====

Adding a few games, maybe the most important ones, before diving into the depth of replayability mechanics.


++++ Ever 17

While I haven't played this one, I think I understand the concept : you can play through once, but you just won't really be able to understand the whole mystery. Now here's an incentive to go back at it... especially since you can pick two very different point of views right from the beginning (not even a main branch?!). Each protagonist gives access to different girls, hence explanations... And then, once you've gone through all the possibilities, you unlock a final explanation which, I hope, leaves you with a great feeling ^^.

I'll be playing this during these Christmas holidays and I truely hope I'm not making it more than it is... but I think it's probably the game closest to what replayability should be... Replayability as a part of the *whole* game... not just as a gimmick to lengthen the game. Every playthrough adds something to the story and is actually needed for the full experience.
I think we're close to what Fate/Stay Night does, except you don't *have* to play through three sequential parts in a fixed order.

++++ Fate/Stay Night

Here again, I haven't played the whole thing but there are interesting things in there. The game plays more or less like a VN with fake choices, meaning lots of dead ends. BUT... Each dead end is actually well done! You sometimes have 5 or more minutes of reading before it ends with your death... and you can see why it happens. You don't really feel cheated by a one-liner death that has you crying because you forgot to save. I could actually see myself replaying such a game just to see what happens when you mess up. But wait, there's more! Everytime you die, you get a comical scene with the characters of the game, chibified, explaining why you messed up! It's not like we actually need advices, since all we need to do is take the other path, but, from what I gathered, they're pretty funny and are worth dying for ;).
It's not over yet, though... Once you finish your first game by avoiding all the death traps... You can restart again. Except this time, the story changes. Same protagonist, same overall story... but some elements are different. The story will focus more on a character which was only secondary before. I don't know if you actually go through some identical scenes or not, but even if you do, I know that at least a big part of the story is totally different. This is probably similar to Ever17 in that regards : you haven't truely finished the game until you've played through three times.

++++ Ever17 & Fate

It's really an interesting take on what the interactive medium can give. While movies could do that in a linear way, they would never be able to offer any actual choice. Here, the player controls where the story goes and always gets to see something interesting, even when it goes bad. Also, with the gimmick of restarting the game, the authors can show different point of views or wholly different takes on the same universe or theme.


=========== THIRD PART ============

++ Ways to implement replayability

+++ Story flow

Before really looking at how to make a playthrough different, let's look at the way the story *can* be different.
In any case, the difference between the kinetic novel and an interactive novel would be the fact it doesn't always follow the same path. Using Ren'Py, I can see two ways to do it :

++++ Branches

Following the main branch, you will give a choice to the player at some point. His choice will make him take one possible branch among many. Branches are neat in the sense that they allow you to draw charts rather easily. It helps to follow the story flow and detect inconsistencies. It doesn't mean it's not powerful since there are many ways to use branches. You can branch out, then branch back to the main storyline, and so on...

(this part needs more details about the many possible charts genres)

++++ Variables / Story Allocation

Variables allow you to make things a bit more unpredictable in the sense that you can react to things *later*. You just remember things that happen... choices that the player makes, and then, whenever you want, you can pull these memories out of your bag and react to them.
An example is letting the player choose wether he wants to help a poor girl, as a kid. Then, later in the story, as an adult, he meets that girl again. You "remember" wether or not he saved the girl and react accordingly ("oh, I remember you!").
Variables can make things very complex, but also a lot more lifelike and unpredictable for the player.

++ Replayability tools

How to make a replay interesting : possible solutions...

++++ Flavor text

This is probably the easiest to implement... but it can quickly become the most daunting task of them all.
The idea is to react to things that have happened earlier in the story. It works with variables. Basically, you remember that the protagonist learnt something about flowers... then you can have him say something charming to the girl about them.
Maybe the protagonist lived some particular event with one of the girls. Later on, he could make a reference to this event.
Flavor text never really chances the course of the story. It just proves to the player that we at least remember his actions and we react accordingly.

++++ Reacting to the past

This is kinda the same as with flavor text since we remember the past and react accordingly. The different is that what you did in the past will actually effect the course of the story. Did you help Mihoshi with her waitress job? Then later on, she will still be working there... otherwise she won't and might be in a pinch with money and all.

++++ Role system

An idea that would make things more "technical". Instead of basing scenes on a unique character, you actually assign them to a "role". For example, we could have a scene that needs the protagonist (probably mandatory in such games ^^) and a strong person. Each character would have a "strong" flag set or unset. If we happen to know Najika, the tomboy, she will be taking part in the scene. Otherwise, the next one might be one of your male friends.
The problem with this system is that scenes might lose their uniqueness because they would rarely be assigned to only one character. It would also force the author to make things more generic, less personal, etc...
The advantage is that you might not have to write as many scenes as usual since multiple characters could fit. I think this would work better with a game where you don't have to meet everyone on each replay.

++++ Reacting scene

One very classic tool, not a new one : have a scene after choices that shows an immediate result of your choices. Just thinking of a game that would follow a linear path until just before the end but would give choices here and then and provide one unique scene for each, you can get a game that can be replayed at least once, maybe twice. An example of this is Quartett by Littlewitch.
In Quartett particularly, the choices also made love meters go up, and when you reach the last part of the game, you would follow the (long) ending of the girl you had the most points with. Oh and, once you had all the endings, you would get a finale ending (played immediately after the last unlocked girl's ending).

++ Elements influencing replayability

++++ Skip function

While the skip function is of course something mandatory nowadays, especially for those with not enough time on their hands, it has a flaw : it destroys the mood on a replay. I'm basing this opinion on my Gloria games where skip isn't an option. Instead of skipping, I'd simply click-click-click or use the Enter key to go quickly through known scenes. But without the safety of the "skip seen messages only", one is forced to be careful and still read here and there. This helps keep track of the story until you reach an unknown part. With the regular skip function, you just hit Tab and don't care much what's going on, but when you reach the unknown part, you're suddenly a bit lost as to which context you're in.

This is nothing really big, but I think it makes you lose some value on the replays.

++++ Length of a playthrough

The longer a playthrough, the less likely a person will want to play the game again and the more time they will wait before actually doing it.
While long games are good because if you're enjoying them, it's for quite some time, it is still a problem with replay motivation. It's something to keep in mind when trying for a replayable game.
Making a short linear game will make people remember that single occurence. It's not bad at all. Making a short replayable game means you actually worked on a middle-length game. People who liked the game are most likely to return to it and squeeze a little more entertainment out of it without thinking they should really start doing something else.
Making a linear long game might turn away some casual gamers, but those who actually play will probably get a lot of enjoyment out of it. Given the length, there shouldn't be a need for more when reaching the end. On the other hand, there's no real incentive to "replay" since there's only one story. It doesn't mean one won't take it again later, as one would do with a good movie.
Finally, a long replayable game equals the work of a huge game and people reaching the end once will probably keep it aside for a while because they've just had a lot of it already. If they do start a new game immediately, chances are the new game won't last for long (well, if you're like me...). Longer games, replayable or not, are just better taken a while later, when memories get a bit fuzzy. Of course, when that time comes, the fact you can get a different experience out of the game is really a great thing.

In the end, it's a matter of how much work you can put into a game and your target audience.
Last edited by monele on Sun Nov 26, 2006 4:39 pm, edited 2 times in total.

User avatar
papillon
Arbiter of the Internets
Posts: 4051
Joined: Tue Aug 26, 2003 4:37 am
Completed: lots; see website!
Projects: that magical diary sequel, that vampire-raising game
Organization: Hanako Games
Tumblr: hanakogames
Contact:

#2 Post by papillon » Thu Nov 23, 2006 1:40 pm

54 endings looks cool... but really, you won't play 54 times. Most importantly, without a FAQ, there's no way you'll get them all in only 54 playthroughs. I don't think anyone has that much time to waste nowadays?
I can vouch that actual players of Kishi have indeed wasted enough time to get every single ending. Without a walkthrough. (Which was necessary, since it was one of these super-hardcore players who figured out that one ending was broken and got me to fix it.) Of course, a playthrough of KK is shorter than a playthrough of PM. :) And MOST people don't have the energy to find them all, at least not anytime soon.

User avatar
monele
Lemma-Class Veteran
Posts: 4101
Joined: Sat Oct 08, 2005 7:57 am
Location: France
Contact:

#3 Post by monele » Thu Nov 23, 2006 2:06 pm

Eheh, well I'm sure at least *one* person got through PM2 many times... at least to make this FAQ ;).
Actually you point out a big problem with this analysis (and any analysis for that matter?) : everyone is different. I remember the time when I would play game that lasted 60 hours and not have any problems with it. I would not understand people who looked for games that lasted only 10 minutes. Now, I'm slowly playing games shorter and shorter :).
So what I did was trying to take what I think is the general opinion around here, meaning that people want things that are rather short. Tell me if I'm wrong though ^^ I might have taken the opinion of a few for the opinion of the majority.

User avatar
DaFool
Lemma-Class Veteran
Posts: 4171
Joined: Tue Aug 01, 2006 12:39 pm
Contact:

#4 Post by DaFool » Thu Nov 23, 2006 2:07 pm

Nice.

I think someone mentioned that for independent creators going for two plays (1+ replay) might be enough. Have the game have enough different experience worth a second immediate replay. Then its up to the actual story quality, atmosphere, and charm that makes people want to replay it later on.

edit: We had more time to play games in college. Now working full-time we only get more responsibilities and less time. Ironically, we have more time to discuss games since we have constant internet during light days.

User avatar
papillon
Arbiter of the Internets
Posts: 4051
Joined: Tue Aug 26, 2003 4:37 am
Completed: lots; see website!
Projects: that magical diary sequel, that vampire-raising game
Organization: Hanako Games
Tumblr: hanakogames
Contact:

#5 Post by papillon » Thu Nov 23, 2006 2:45 pm

No, I think you're right that very few people have that sort of dedication. Especially as we get older and crankier. That's why casual games are so popular - they appeal to the coffee break mentality instead of games that take over your life.

With the princess-maker style thing, there's a set of "good" endings that you really aim for, though, and you can pretty much feel like you've "won" the game if you've gotten those endings. I think most people feel pretty content if they've managed to marry the prince and/or become the Ruling Queen. And it's not something you're likely to pull off on first try, so you've found some other endings along the way. I expect players won't rest until they've managed to be a princess or a queen, but they're probably not that bothered if they haven't become a full-time babysitter. After that, the extra endings are useful to help build a community between players. "Have you seen <ending x>? It was really funny!"

Games that are full of secrets give people more to talk about. Most people will never see everything the game has to offer by themselves, so they share what they know with each other.

I still pick up PM2 and play through it sometimes... There are probably endings I've never reached. I'm not really sure.


Actually, there's a point. With multiple-ending games, should it always be clear how many endings there are and which ones you've unlocked?

User avatar
Choark
Newbie
Posts: 15
Joined: Mon Nov 20, 2006 10:15 am
Location: England,liverpool
Contact:

#6 Post by Choark » Thu Nov 23, 2006 4:27 pm

I think one game that forces replayability is Ever 17, or at least for me it did. Apparently to get the ultimate ending you have to first get every other ending, which I have yet to do as I only have a few under my belt. I suppose I’ll have to abuse the “skip to next choice” button but I really dislike doing that.

When thinking about replayability I don’t think the size of the game ultimately matters. A game that is over 30 hours long can be replayed over again and again by some people but give another game that lasts barely an hour to these same people and they may never actually finish it. From personal taste I’ve replayed Heart De Roommate over again and again, mostly for the silly characters, fun of the game, and silly in-between chatters between the episodes, and as I said I’ve yet to get the ultimate ending in Ever 17, which I was told was one of the best VN translated into English. Now I’ve probably put quite a good few hours and more into HdR but for Ever17, that is meant to have a long playthrough, I doubt I’ve put in half that time.

Of course I may not have been as pulled in by Ever 17’s story as a lot of other people were; therefore I’m not as keen as to replay it. But then it maybe because its actually longer then most VN's so replaying it to get an ending seems harder. So replayability there is effected by length. Damn.

Personally I would of maybe liked Embraced by Green to be longer, for it to have had a introduction so we could of got to know the two main characters more and there relationship before the actual crisis. Of course in doing that the immediate you’re in danger atmosphere may have been lost. But I would have liked it to be longer because I enjoyed it enough for me to think it warranted a good extra half an hour playtime onto it. Others probably think it’s just long enough and others maybe even think it’s too long.

Actually one of the most interesting replayability/extra things to happen for me in a VN happened in Private Nurse where you would open up diary entries depending on who you completed the game with. What these would do would give you a day with the girl you ended up with before a key event in the game that wasn’t actually gone into while playing through the game before. You didn’t actually make any decision in these entries but I thought it was a nice way of giving extra play time to the game. Though I do suppose this is less replaying the game of more of completely new content opened up after finishing it. Adding something like this to some games would be nice.

Of course replaying a short game is a lot easier then replaying a really long one, especially if your feelings on the game aren’t anything extreme like “I love it.” So you can forgive shorter games for making you replay through them multiply times to get more endings then really long ones.

--==--
Telling you how many endings you’ve unlocked and how many you’ve got at least normally gives you an indication of how many you have to collect if you’re into collecting endings. A lot of people are so for them it would be cool. I don’t normally mind if they tell me or not as I will replay through a game trying different things if I actually want too but dislike trying to force myself just to get an ending.

Personally one of my favourite things to have in VNs is a Flow Chart, which shows you key scenes, where they split up and shows you the endings that way. With ones you haven’t seen being blanked out. It can make it easier to keep a track of decisions and when branches occur that way for sure, but some people may dislike it for making it seem so obvious.

I think replayability is there for those who really enjoy the game. The original length of a title is normally based on how long you think this game will hold them. Finish too soon and they may feel cheapened, finish to late and they may never finish it or the love of the game may diminish. Of course with a VN what someone considers finishing it is different as well. Some only say you’ve finished it if you have every ending and don’t consider going through the game as replaying but more as continuing there playtime. Others say when you reach whatever first ending you get is the ending and every time after that is a replay. And others say that when you reach your first good end is the first completion.

For a game; to try and answer what is a good length and what is good number of replays to have to very hard. But I think I’ve rambled on enough. Especially as I don’t think I ended up answering or debating that much.[/url]

User avatar
F.I.A
Miko-Class Veteran
Posts: 546
Joined: Wed Sep 21, 2005 10:49 pm
Projects: Winter Shard, EVE, Hyperion
Contact:

#7 Post by F.I.A » Thu Nov 23, 2006 4:41 pm

Well, I think replayability is there so that it feels like the game is worth the money. That is from a consumer's point of view in general. Hence, most commercial VNs have numerous endings.

If anything, I use the mutliple path feature to include bits of informations here and there in my game, which is to help the users to fill in possible plotholes and curiousities.

Rather than replayability being fun, I think that replayability is only possible when the consumer is having fun playing the game. My liking for Kanon has guided me throughout the whole game, repeating sceneries until I end up playing through all possible endings. Same goes to some other genres like RPG, where I end up spending roughly 140 of unearthly hours on Shin Megami Tensei Nocturne alone.
「通りすがりのメーカだ。覚えとけ。」

----------
Winter shard
Image
WIP: Hyperion(Trace unknown), ?????(Progressing)

User avatar
papillon
Arbiter of the Internets
Posts: 4051
Joined: Tue Aug 26, 2003 4:37 am
Completed: lots; see website!
Projects: that magical diary sequel, that vampire-raising game
Organization: Hanako Games
Tumblr: hanakogames
Contact:

#8 Post by papillon » Thu Nov 23, 2006 4:47 pm

*grin* With Ever 17, that's not replayability. You're still on your first play. You just don't know it. You HAVE to play all paths to complete the game. :) And yes, that's a pretty huge undertaking if the story doesn't grab you.
Last edited by papillon on Thu Nov 23, 2006 4:50 pm, edited 1 time in total.

User avatar
monele
Lemma-Class Veteran
Posts: 4101
Joined: Sat Oct 08, 2005 7:57 am
Location: France
Contact:

#9 Post by monele » Thu Nov 23, 2006 4:50 pm

I think someone mentioned that for independent creators going for two plays (1+ replay) might be enough.
Right now, I think it's a good idea. Either that or just going with something linear. Stories, for VNs at least, should always prime over replayability. Only good stories would make one want to play again anyway.
We had more time to play games in college. Now working full-time we only get more responsibilities and less time. Ironically, we have more time to discuss games since we have constant internet during light days.
Sadly agreed ^^. But I like to discuss games so it's okay :)
I expect players won't rest until they've managed to be a princess or a queen, but they're probably not that bothered if they haven't become a full-time babysitter. After that, the extra endings are useful to help build a community between players. "Have you seen <ending x>? It was really funny!"
Mmm... you're right about this. We've seen this with many of the games on these forums actually. It's even more obvious since you usually have more than one girl and not everyone can like them all. Tastes will dictate who wants to finish with which girl.
This is huge for me because I always thought of a game as being played by a single person. I want that single person to experience everything... But it might not even be interesting. There are many players out there and the chances are great that if you add up all their experiences, they will have seen everything there is to see in the game.
With this in mind, it might not be so much about offering replayability, as much as offering personalized situations. This will make the game enjoyable by more people and it will inherently make it playable more than once!
Actually, there's a point. With multiple-ending games, should it always be clear how many endings there are and which ones you've unlocked?
For the completists out there, it's a good thing. And even for the casual replayer, it's good to know if there *is* actually something more to see. Take a game like Embraced by Green. It's supposed to be played twice at most. One time you lose. The experience gives you the clue to reach the good ending. You play again and win (well, in theory ;) ) and that's it. If you won right away, I'm not even sure it would be worth replaying. So yes, knowing that there is a bad and good ending is a good thing. For something like Kykuit, though, I know I would have stopped trying quickly if I didn't know there was so much to discover. Same thing for O3 probably.


Ah, almost posted this but there is a new reply ^.^

I think one game that forces replayability is Ever 17, or at least for me it did.
Good thing I added it then :)
From personal taste I’ve replayed Heart De Roommate over again and again, mostly for the silly characters, fun of the game, and silly in-between chatters between the episodes
Another game that has the "main branch splitting in X branches" thing. Meaning you will at least get half of your new playthrough be about new stuff (well, I suppose, I never played it a second time).
So replayability there is effected by length.
This would be debatable since each person can allow different amounts of time for games but yes, if you scale things accordingly, replayability is definitely affected by time. For casual gamers like most of us, a 30 minutes or 1 hour game is probably something we could get back at easily. For regular gamers, taking up a 10 hours game again to try and unlock everything is probably common (I at least remember playing Metal Gear Solid 2 and 3 at least... 10 times, combined... that's when I was still a regular gamer XD).
Though I do suppose this is less replaying the game of more of completely new content opened up after finishing it.
I see this more as bonus content, yes. But it's something I'd also like to see more often ^^. Bonus content, while different from replayability, offers the one thing that (also) counts for me : something more to chew on ^^. More insight, more story, more time spent with memorable characters. Parting with great game universes is always tough, so anything that can make the good feelings linger on is good imo :).



By the way, I updated the first post to add Ever17 and Fate/Stay Night. Feel free to complete my descriptions since I haven't played any of them completely and can't confirm their mechanisms.

Matt_D
Regular
Posts: 77
Joined: Tue Oct 31, 2006 3:28 pm
Contact:

#10 Post by Matt_D » Thu Nov 23, 2006 6:23 pm

Man Ever17 ate up a whole week of both me and my friends time.


Things to bare in mind though

The character branch is after the initial introduction as opposed to at the very begining of the game (which is in itself a master stroke) Becouse there are two paths per protagonist there are blocks that can be skipped I'd say 50% on the second girl for each character. When you flip between characters only about 10% needs skipping (mostly technical information on the situation.) So don't expect a completly origonal game each time

Once you get to the end of the 5th path you're just like "woah genius - but what a silly name..."

You alone are caught in the infinity loop!

But yeah you arn't so much replaying ever17 as working to an end. It'll either grip you or it wont lol.


Replayability has been something on my mind of late I've been trying to think of any game that holds my attention for more then 20 hours other then Civ call to power, Moo2 and Arena : eldar scrolls. I think to make interactive fiction really replayable you'd need an additional element e.g. a strategic combat element (the idea going around my head at the moment) and having a very large number of randomly triggered events. Being able to use an Object orientated approach would really open this up and a different way of storing data. *shrugs* I think my first encounter of a pic the girl type piece of IF was actually wingcommander 3 (the red head girl really was the only choice, even though the true ending was the manky mechanic.) Renpy.random.int gives many possibilites
Last edited by Matt_D on Thu Nov 23, 2006 8:23 pm, edited 3 times in total.

User avatar
monele
Lemma-Class Veteran
Posts: 4101
Joined: Sat Oct 08, 2005 7:57 am
Location: France
Contact:

#11 Post by monele » Thu Nov 23, 2006 7:29 pm

Let's avoid spoilers ^^;... Especially about Ever17 which I'm getting for Xmas @_@.... Or use the spoiler tag for anything a bit too revealing.

Mixing VN with another genre is of course a possible answer to this. But maybe it's a bit easy :). Randomness seems a bit similar to me. While surprising, it might be frustrating. Let's say randomness shouldn't effect big things about the story. If it determines a question the girl asks you with you having just as many chances to reply right with any of them, it's fine. If it determines wether you get the second main branch instead of the first one... maybe it's too much :)

Matt_D
Regular
Posts: 77
Joined: Tue Oct 31, 2006 3:28 pm
Contact:

#12 Post by Matt_D » Thu Nov 23, 2006 8:21 pm

I tagged the bit about the times but lol it'd take a short novel to explain that game. ^^ hehe you're in for a good christmas.

It may be an easy way out, I dunno about easy though lol ^^, if you can roll the second game aspect into the narrative plot then... who knows


#### okay long boring example that I start just fantasising in best to skip it.

for example we'll take a kind of dse you are a mech pilot on a large battleship you interact with a number of characters on board the ship, some of those characters may be support personel, command personel, other pilots and even civilians. So you have a common dating sim there, to add to this you have random encounters around the ship some could be totally random, others based off of reaction indexes and some off of time/location and a mix of them all.

Then you have operations, on operations you would have to select the things you were going to do (maybe rpg style). Depending on how far through the game you were would effect what you controlled (early on you're just taking orders, but later on you command your own squad etc) now then events during operations could have a direct effect back home. Girls who like a guy with a high kill count could swoon for you if you're good at laying waste while more pacifist ones grow to hate you. If your smart and out fox your enemies it could go the otherway. Also certain failures could result in fatalities.

The command element would only be a minor driver to the IF element and in my head it's just things like selecting "attack/defend/yadda" in classic console rpg fashion. But i also had images of getting into scuffles with Marines and such like. There are basically five endings Die, Get captured, Get court marsheled, Survive, Survive and have a girl.

//yeah this is one of those wouldn't it be cool ideas as opposed to reality lol//

######### blah over

It's something you can do with dating sims but not I think with actual stories becouse actual stories just don't support that kind of twisting element becouse a story has a begining middle and end, if you mess with that too much you are creating something of a free roaming world. Taking on more of the qualities of text adventure games, without the infuriating parser.

Something interesting I saw on here was a conversation about responces to characters that sometimes you just totally disagree with what your character is thinking ie "This girl is a total pain" where as you're thinking awww she's soooo sweat! I think that was what kick started my thoughts on this whole subject matter.

User avatar
papillon
Arbiter of the Internets
Posts: 4051
Joined: Tue Aug 26, 2003 4:37 am
Completed: lots; see website!
Projects: that magical diary sequel, that vampire-raising game
Organization: Hanako Games
Tumblr: hanakogames
Contact:

#13 Post by papillon » Thu Nov 23, 2006 8:26 pm

I believe there are some japanese games that are strategy-RPGs with a HUGE cast in which you can have that sort of variation, different girls responding to you different ways because of the way the fights go, and so on. I would expect the storyline of each girl is pretty short and simple though, since the PRIMARY focus of the game is the combats.

Nobody translates those, though, so we may never know. :)

Matt_D
Regular
Posts: 77
Joined: Tue Oct 31, 2006 3:28 pm
Contact:

#14 Post by Matt_D » Thu Nov 23, 2006 8:56 pm

Yea I think the guys who put out ever17 have one (something with psychics dunno though) on their dvd play range, I was thinking about it in the other direction of course (more IF then second genre thing). But it's a way of adding an extra deciding measure, time + location + stats + actions + performacne(combat performance in example and all the other measures that gives you) + random and any combination of the above.

However the whole idea brings planning to a whole new level, you'd need to seriously graft before you could even think about putting anything into practice.

User avatar
Jake
Support Hero
Posts: 3826
Joined: Sat Jun 17, 2006 7:28 pm
Contact:

#15 Post by Jake » Thu Nov 23, 2006 9:17 pm

papillon wrote:I believe there are some japanese games that are strategy-RPGs with a HUGE cast in which you can have that sort of variation, different girls responding to you different ways because of the way the fights go, and so on. I would expect the storyline of each girl is pretty short and simple though, since the PRIMARY focus of the game is the combats.

Nobody translates those, though, so we may never know. :)
I got the impression that the Suikoden series was kind of like this? Not necessarily with a romantic bent, but with a cast of a hundred-and-something (107?) with many little subplots for different characters that go different ways depending on other game factors/progress/success?

I've not played any of them, mind, I'm going descriptions from a guy at work. They sound intriguing, though...
Server error: user 'Jake' not found

Post Reply

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: Bing [Bot]