Ren'Py specific questions should be posted in the Ren'Py Questions and Annoucements forum, not here.
I’m in the process of planning my first renpy project. I like the idea of the player having control over the player characters personality and what things they like. Every now and again a secondary character will ask the player character about something from their past, and the player can decide whether that was something they liked, or didn’t like, with variations based on what personality traits they’ve acquired over the course of the game.
But as I’m planning out these topics, I’m thinking, maybe these could also be used to gate the endings available to the player. Basically, the choice to return and confront their past, or to start a new life someplace else. If they hated more things about their past than they liked, it would make sense that they would not want to go back, but, this would also make these choices less about world building and player agency, and more about unlocking things whether the player is actually interested in the conversations or not. Both have merit I think.
What about you guys, what do you think? Would you prefer to be able to explore likes and dislikes of your character without having any significant effect on the gameplay, or would you like those choices to be more integrated into the game mechanics and endings?
I've decided to also link some previous (last year) threads regarding choices in VNs to also add other opinions from previous discussion.
Re: pointless choices: viewtopic.php?f=47&t=47743
How to write good choices in VNs (discussion what the kinds of choices there are, like player interest, superficial, life or death choices, etc.): viewtopic.php?f=47&t=47538
Categorization of choices (balancing worldbuilding and personal interest of MC choices): viewtopic.php?f=47&t=46305
I think it also boils down to personal preference. If there is a balance between choices that help me explore the main character without having too much bearing on the story AND choices that gate me from reaching a specific outcome, then it's all good. When done right, it shouldn't feel too restricting, and it'll be fun to explore the different sides of a story (case in point: if I pick choices that say "I hate the things in my past", it will steer me to the ending path that leads to starting a new life, whereas picking opposing choices will lead me to a different story branch).Would you prefer to be able to explore likes and dislikes of your character without having any significant effect on the gameplay, or would you like those choices to be more integrated into the game mechanics and endings?
I agree that both methods that you're suggesting have merits, but the key to making it effective is keeping track of all the choices and making them consistent. Make sure you plan carefully and good luck!
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Maybe to enhance other choice or feeling, or to add to the character - it can work. It may seem pointless from choosing point of view, but from the deeper meaning / epression / world building / character development - it should be done deliberately and carefully. It should do some job is what I am trying to say I guess.
Like In Quentin Tarantinos films. He add some pointless dialogue, it might seem sometimes. BUT they "sound cool" and I guess it is done for that feeling. To make viewer experience some cool stuff. And It is legit then imo.
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So "pointless" choices to me are fine, especially if they aren't truly pointless. (i.e. regularly being asked "do you prefer eggs or bacon?" "Oh, eggs, I'll get them!" "Now would you prefer coffee or tea?" "Oh, coffee? I like that, too!" endlessly would get tedious. But if they're choices that lead to branches that rejoin and have slightly different flavors, that's cool and adds re-playability.) I also think different choices that lead to different endings is pretty awesome, since again - re-playability.
If it doesn't contribute to the story, but it makes the play session even better, then your game as a whole will be better for it, and your readers will have an even better experience.
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