Ren'Py specific questions should be posted in the Ren'Py Questions and Annoucements forum, not here.
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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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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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.
Manipulation Teaser Demo: https://drive.google.com/open?id=0BzJ4E ... zV6TWVaclk
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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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