Everything matters?

Questions, skill improvement, and respectful critique involving game writing.
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Everything matters?

#1 Post by Luxa » Sun Apr 08, 2018 11:44 am

Hi everyone, I'm currently working on my second project Alliance (WIP: viewtopic.php?f=43&t=49065) and I want to make it very interactive i.e. give the player the opportunity to influence the story with every decision, similar to what Life is strange has done. That means that I'd have to write multiple variations of one scene, depending on the player's previous choices. As I don't have much experience as a writer, I'm a little concerned if I could pull off such a complex project. Have you ever tried to do something like that and maybe have some tips? Do you know any examples of visual novels that made this approach work? Do you think it's a viable approach?
Besides, I'd really appreciate it if I could get some feedback on the concept and characters, so if you don't have anything better to do, please check out the WIP-thread.

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Re: Everything matters?

#2 Post by parttimestorier » Mon Apr 09, 2018 12:09 pm

Does Life is Strange actually let you influence the story with every decision? My impression of it was that it actually had a pretty linear plot, but a lot of little variations along the way made the player feel like they could change anything they wanted. I think that's the way it works with a lot of interactive story games like that, and it could also be a good way to approach trying to write one like it. For instance, maybe there's one thing the player has to get done, but they have a couple different choices that can lead to different ways to do it. Or there are some side characters you can either befriend or ignore, and maybe you get a nice little scene with them near the end if you were nice to them, but they don't actually majorly affect anything. That way you don't need to worry about writing a ton of different versions of the story - just one main plot and a bunch of little scenes that can be slightly different along the way.

I'd also add that most people who read visual novels are used to having limited choices. You don't need to worry about trying to please everyone by adding choices for every option someone might want to try. Interactivity is fun, but your target audience will also be happy just following a story and seeing what happens.

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Re: Everything matters?

#3 Post by Mutive » Mon Apr 09, 2018 2:23 pm

Generally I'd try to rejoin story lines as much as possible.

Let's say that you have 2 choices. That's not much. But if you give two choices 10xs, that gives ultimately 1024 different possible outcomes. That's...almost impossible. (And assumes that you're only using 2 choices in each menu and only 10 menus...)

What probably makes *more* sense is to have the story lines rejoin and have certain choices flagged so that they appear.

(So that rather than have two scenes, you have something like the code below:)

Code: Select all

if relationship == True:
		LI "Just so you know, I love you."
		LI "Now let's get on with the adventure!"
		LI "Let's get on with the adventure!"
This makes your choices matter while dramatically condensing the amount of writing you need to do.
Enjoy Minion!, my free to play game at: https://mutive.itch.io/minion

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