Organizing your routes?

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Organizing your routes?

#1 Post by Shinoki » Mon Apr 10, 2017 6:57 pm

How do you organize your routes? (ie. how the choices in the common route affect which route the player gets on)

Do you use relationship points?
Do you have a set of choices that a player must choose in order to get onto a route?
Do you leave a premature bad ending if a player fails to get onto a route? (ie. doesn't get the girl, cuts off at the common route end)
Or do you instead have it so the player gets with whoever the player has the most affection points with?

Personally, I tend to use a mixture of having relationship points and set choices that the player must choose during the common route of the game. The set choices tend to lead to important scenes, which set up the individual character routes, making them story relevant. I like to sprinkle choices here and there that give the player interaction time with the characters, letting them gain relationship/affection points.

If the player chooses all the set choices required for a route and has enough relationship points for the character, then the player is set onto the character route. If the player fails to meet those requirements for any of the routes, I tend to have a premature bad ending specific to whichever character the player was closest with.

However, sometimes I feel dissatisfied with how I organize/outline my visual novels, so I want to know how you all do your route deciding things and some advice.

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Re: Organizing your routes?

#2 Post by Desichan » Mon Apr 10, 2017 7:28 pm

I tend to just get the basic idea of where I want branches in my own games, and start putting stuff in. I don't really base things off of affection points, but I moreso make premature ends, and I may make dialogue branches, that bring things roughly to where they were before.

I personally just try to plan how I want the story to go, then make branch of points, where I feel necessary. I personally just plan out the main endings, and go from there. For my current game, some parts of the routes, may have a dialogue choice, that you can answer, but it won't affect anything in the long run, others have a spot where the game legitimately branches off.

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Re: Organizing your routes?

#3 Post by TheJerminator15 » Tue Apr 11, 2017 4:21 am

Firstly I make a general outline of the branches so I know what direction each route heads into and how exactly they differ from each other. Then as I'm writing the common route I add choices in at specific points, some of them mundane and only changing a few lines of dialogue, some potentially ending in a bad end. It's typically the mundane, dialogue focused choices which I use to for relationship points since that's where you would typically get closer to other people, through regular interaction.

I don't actually intend to have a premature bad end if they fail to get onto a route, becuase my choice system is a mixture of dead end, serious choices and flag raising choices I intend to have a choice set in place for the branching point if all of the flags are equal and it doesn't automatically jump onto one of the three routes. Of course the choice will limit how many of those routes are available but I think it's a good method of retaining agency within the player's grasp whilst also forcing them to pay attention to choices if they want the third route.

I don't plant any bad ends, but I add them where appropriate such as battle scenes depending on how to approach the situation.

Personally my main problem is the common route, because I'm awful at character introductions and setting things up well enough to keep a reader interested to play the routes so it's a regualr occurrence of me tearing my hair out.
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Re: Organizing your routes?

#4 Post by Mammon » Tue Apr 11, 2017 5:10 am

Thus far I've used a system of every choice being a branch into a new route rather than an eventual deciding factor. In my next project however I plan to use relationship points. So... It matters more what would work best for the story rather than what the player wants? If you can make a lot of different storylines rather than a semi-kinetic plot with different love interest then a every-choice=route-split might be better. But when it's a standard romance or harem game where you've got to pick between a few love interests then usually the relationship points would work best. However with these kind of games, drastically different routes within a LI-route might be more confusing than anything else. Or not, it all depends on how you do it.

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Re: Organizing your routes?

#5 Post by Scribbles » Tue Apr 11, 2017 8:14 am

I have a "loveless" route in Pinewood Island if love levels aren't high enough with any of the guys. It has it's own story, and 4 endings. I originally intended for it to be a lot more simple, but it featured a character I am fond of.

Other than that the love interest is decided on whoever has the most "love points", which is partly decided when you choose to spend time with them, so hopefully it's not too difficult to achieve :) The endings are decided on choices and love points, which were a little harder to keep track of, but I managed it somehow. lol (lots of variables)

my only premature endings are... uh... death related.... lol
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