Technical question about writing a script for the game

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Angius
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Technical question about writing a script for the game

#1 Post by Angius » Fri Jun 19, 2015 10:41 am

I am not asking about writing a good and interesting story, or deep characters, I think I can manage that. What I have problem with is how, as in in what software and what way, write it.

When it comes to writing stories I always use WriteMonkey, IMHO it's the best software to do so. But it may be good for kinetic novels.

In visual novels choices, paths, branches - all of these are very important part of the story. But how to include it in the script? Should I make a Dev Wiki and write it like an interactive gamebook, with choices being links to different pages? Or is there a dedicated piece of soft for this? What to do if, instead of using branching, the game is supposed to use point system (choice A = +1 point for path B unlocking at point C)?

I'm stuck at this point. The characters are outlined, the general idea for the whole story is well-known and discussed thoroughly, general ideas for different girls' paths are known, but how to put it on paper (well, screen) in the best, most efficient, and most cohesive way?

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Re: Technical question about writing a script for the game

#2 Post by Jate » Fri Jun 19, 2015 11:24 am

When it comes to branching stories, I usually do the outline in twine. Its setup is like postcards on a board, so it's easy to see the overview, and it highlights segments with broken paths and such which is super helpful. It can get a bit cumbersome with bigger stories, but it's what's worked best for me so far. Points I just incorporate into the outline.

The writing itself I usually just do in Renpy directly with spell check on so I don't have to go back and fiddle with formatting when switching over from something else. Though I know I'm the minority there.

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Re: Technical question about writing a script for the game

#3 Post by verysunshine » Fri Jun 19, 2015 11:31 am

Jate wrote:The writing itself I usually just do in Renpy directly with spell check on so I don't have to go back and fiddle with formatting when switching over from something else. Though I know I'm the minority there.
What text editing client are you using to get spellcheck?

I plan things out using a freeflow diagram, then write in Ren'py, though lacking the spellcheck.

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Re: Technical question about writing a script for the game

#4 Post by squark » Fri Jun 19, 2015 11:42 am

There are two main ways to implement branching that I know of. One I don't particularly like and one I do. You could manage both with flags, or rewrite all the common/non-specific text in each file for the first method.
One is the "lock-in" method. This essentially sets one choice in particular (usually early on) as the route you're now going to take, and there's usually no way out of it. For this, the common text rewrite is the easiest way of managing it. Not exactly branching, but it is valid though I don't much like this one.
The one I usually go for is to use "points" as a hidden value. My ren'py language is a little rusty, but I'm going to try something here.

Code: Select all

 #Menu choice points system
   menu:
      "Go over there":
         $ apoints +=1
         # Stuff that happens next goes here
         
      #every other choice goes here.
Remember, Ren'Py is as versatile as you can make it.
I'm sure I don't need to tell you this, but breaking a menu loop is done by setting a new label on the previous indent level. And it is quite persnickety with its indents - one erroneous space and it throws about fourteen errors at you.

Path unlocking is handled pretty much as you've described it. You can use an in-game points system to accomplish this, or set the persistent data to unlock as per New Game+. I'm not sure how to do that yet though.
You can do all manner of VNs without knowing anything about Python. Anything more complex will, though.

Hmm... you could write it as an online CYOA book if you like, I'm not going to tell you not to. That's simple to do with HTML anyway. I think if you have a handle on XML or Flash you could make something interesting with that genre.

As for keeping the characters cohesive... I wrote personalities for mine and keep them close at hand when I sit down to write something. Efficiency is down to each individual writer, however. I can't really help you too much with that one, but if it's going to be long and deep with so, so many choices and trees, I wouldn't go with diagrams like verysunshine. I tried that a few times, and I lost where I was and what I'd accounted for with all the conversation trees I'd made.

The best advice I can give is, when starting a multibranch VN, don't have more than five or six NPCs. Until you get a really good rhythm going.

This is all personal opinion and what I'd do.
Hope I've helped somewhat.
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Re: Technical question about writing a script for the game

#5 Post by Angius » Fri Jun 19, 2015 12:10 pm

Thanks for the answers, looks like I'll try to do it with Twine (at least the general outline). The more detailed script, with dialogues and whatnot, I'll probably just write as separate scenes in separate files, and assign them to plot points in Twine...

Well, I'll figure something out in any case. It's not like I have a hard set deadline or anything, thankfully :mrgreen:

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Re: Technical question about writing a script for the game

#6 Post by trooper6 » Fri Jun 19, 2015 1:15 pm

I think this is a great article about writing scripts for an interactive branching game: https://www.choiceofgames.com/2015/01/w ... six-steps/
That author likes the program Chat Mapper, which I haven't tried yet.
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Re: Technical question about writing a script for the game

#7 Post by Jate » Fri Jun 19, 2015 2:12 pm

Angius wrote:Thanks for the answers, looks like I'll try to do it with Twine (at least the general outline). The more detailed script, with dialogues and whatnot, I'll probably just write as separate scenes in separate files, and assign them to plot points in Twine...
If you find a better alternative than Twine, let me know :P
verysunshine wrote:
Jate wrote:The writing itself I usually just do in Renpy directly with spell check on so I don't have to go back and fiddle with formatting when switching over from something else. Though I know I'm the minority there.
What text editing client are you using to get spellcheck?
Editra. The option's in preferences under general/files, at the bottom.

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Re: Technical question about writing a script for the game

#8 Post by Angius » Fri Jun 19, 2015 2:56 pm

verysunshine wrote:What text editing client are you using to get spellcheck?
I recommend WriteMonkey I mentioned before. It has not only spellcheck, but also built-in thesaurus, and even an option to quickly get an explanation what certain word means.

Also - it's free. Both free of charge and distraction-free.

Oh, and I just downloaded Chat Mapper and am checking it out.

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Re: Technical question about writing a script for the game

#9 Post by noctos » Fri Jun 19, 2015 4:05 pm

I'm also using Twine! For me the biggest concern is that it gets tiring to make new notes all the time. It was mentioned earlier that using Twine can be hard with long stories, and I agree. At the same time, the need to organize a story becomes greater with bigger projects, and Twine's method is excellent for that.

For the writing itself I use Google Docs. I have a lot of docs, though, and organizing them gets confusing at times. I sort them into folders and try to keep my project organized, but sometimes it's just messy no matter how much I rearrange things.
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Re: Technical question about writing a script for the game

#10 Post by trooper6 » Fri Jun 19, 2015 4:24 pm

noctos wrote: For the writing itself I use Google Docs. I have a lot of docs, though, and organizing them gets confusing at times. I sort them into folders and try to keep my project organized, but sometimes it's just messy no matter how much I rearrange things.
I don't use Google Docs because my understanding is that Google claims copyright over the things you store in Google Docs. And while I can't imagine that the courts would uphold that claim...the question would be, do you have enough money to beat Google in court if they decide to take your stuff?
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*Currently Doing: Coding of emotions and camera for the labels--On 5/10
*First Next thing to do: Code in all CG and special animation stuff
*Next Next thing to do: Set up film animation
*Other Thing to Do: Do SFX and Score (maybe think about eye blinks?)
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Re: Technical question about writing a script for the game

#11 Post by Kailoto » Fri Jun 19, 2015 5:56 pm

Part of it depends on how you outline your piece, too.

For me, I use Scrivener. It works best for me because I plan out beforehand all of the individual scenes that need to be written. I usually do this is a makeshift flowchart, where I use individual boxes for individual scenes, and use the connecting lines to indicate choices and split paths. Then I assign a number to each of those boxes, and write out each scene as I feel like it, sorting them using the numbers I'd assigned. Then I compile them all into one script and add in the choices. Scrivener allows me to work piecemeal but keep everything in one place, and unlike Word or Google Docs, I don't have to worry about formatting.

This system works exceedingly well in my opinion, as it allows me to work extremely fast and makes proofreading later on easier. But it has its limitations, too; it doesn't work in games where there are a lot of choices in a single scene, and it requires a lot of planning and outlining before you start writing. It's a system tailored to how I work and think, and as such might not be the most useful to you.
trooper6 wrote:
noctos wrote: For the writing itself I use Google Docs. I have a lot of docs, though, and organizing them gets confusing at times. I sort them into folders and try to keep my project organized, but sometimes it's just messy no matter how much I rearrange things.
I don't use Google Docs because my understanding is that Google claims copyright over the things you store in Google Docs. And while I can't imagine that the courts would uphold that claim...the question would be, do you have enough money to beat Google in court if they decide to take your stuff?
I don't mind writing outlines or sharing assets through the service, as Google has no rights over the intellectual properties contained therein. And it's a near indispensable tool for collaborative projects, as I've yet to find any other service that allows for such a level of editing and commenting with such ease. But I wouldn't use it in solo projects of for storing finished manuscripts, mostly because their formatting has limitations and it's really not designed for that.
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Re: Technical question about writing a script for the game

#12 Post by trooper6 » Fri Jun 19, 2015 6:19 pm

Kailoto wrote: I don't use Google Docs because my understanding is that Google claims copyright over the things you store in Google Docs. And while I can't imagine that the courts would uphold that claim...the question would be, do you have enough money to beat Google in court if they decide to take your stuff?
I don't mind writing outlines or sharing assets through the service, as Google has no rights over the intellectual properties contained therein. And it's a near indispensable tool for collaborative projects, as I've yet to find any other service that allows for such a level of editing and commenting with such ease. But I wouldn't use it in solo projects of for storing finished manuscripts, mostly because their formatting has limitations and it's really not designed for that.[/quote]

I use scrivener for my academic work. I haven't thought about it for branching stories yet. Hm.

For sharing I use Dropbox, because my understanding is that they don't claim ownership over your intellectual property the way Google does. My university has specifically advised us not to put our research or manuscripts on Google Docs because of their claims of ownership of the intellectual property of things put on their service.
A Close Shave:
*Last Thing Done (Aug 17): Finished coding emotions and camera for 4/10 main labels.
*Currently Doing: Coding of emotions and camera for the labels--On 5/10
*First Next thing to do: Code in all CG and special animation stuff
*Next Next thing to do: Set up film animation
*Other Thing to Do: Do SFX and Score (maybe think about eye blinks?)
Check out My Clock Cookbook Recipe: http://lemmasoft.renai.us/forums/viewto ... 51&t=21978

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Re: Technical question about writing a script for the game

#13 Post by Kailoto » Fri Jun 19, 2015 7:04 pm

trooper6 wrote:For sharing I use Dropbox, because my understanding is that they don't claim ownership over your intellectual property the way Google does. My university has specifically advised us not to put our research or manuscripts on Google Docs because of their claims of ownership of the intellectual property of things put on their service.
Hmm, I'd have to check their ToS to be sure. Either way, it's not something I think Google would ever act on, given the considerable public backlash if they did. It makes sense for academic institutions, though, because safer is always the better bet.
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Re: Technical question about writing a script for the game

#14 Post by Katy133 » Fri Jun 19, 2015 10:14 pm

To organise branching paths, I've used Twine (which uses a similar visual format to mind-mapping) and the collapsible headings in Microsoft Word 2013.
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Re: Technical question about writing a script for the game

#15 Post by noctos » Sat Jun 20, 2015 4:45 pm

trooper6 wrote: I don't use Google Docs because my understanding is that Google claims copyright over the things you store in Google Docs. And while I can't imagine that the courts would uphold that claim...the question would be, do you have enough money to beat Google in court if they decide to take your stuff?
Oh, I didn't know about this at all. I'll definitely take a look at their ToS and consider moving my stuff elsewhere. I don't imagine they'd want to take anything I've written, but still... Thanks for the heads up.
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