How to use choices for VN storytelling

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droo_radley
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How to use choices for VN storytelling

#1 Post by droo_radley » Wed Feb 17, 2021 1:45 am

Hi everyone, during the development and writing of Gloom and Doom, I realized that I was able to use the choice mechanic in my VN in ways other than just as a plot-branching tool.

So I've summed up the 5 different types of choices I could use and how they contribute to the overall storytelling, and you can read the guide here.

This is different from the essay that YossarianIII wrote below (which is a very good read, I might add) in that this isn't "the types of choices characters have to make" but "how to use choices to improve the game".

Hope you find it useful!
Drew,
Neo Tegoel Games
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And please check out Gloom and Doom - a comedy VN about supernatural slackers

cheonbyeol
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Re: How to use choices for VN storytelling

#2 Post by cheonbyeol » Wed Feb 17, 2021 11:40 am

This was so great and opened my eyes, thank you!

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felix
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Re: How to use choices for VN storytelling

#3 Post by felix » Thu Feb 18, 2021 3:12 am

Excellent summary! Bonus points for the mention of pacing. People all too often forget how important it is, perhaps more so in games than books or movies.

As for the question about love, let me quote one of the most famous lines in any videogame: "What can change the nature of a man?"

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Re: How to use choices for VN storytelling

#4 Post by droo_radley » Fri Feb 19, 2021 8:09 am

cheonbyeol wrote:
Wed Feb 17, 2021 11:40 am
This was so great and opened my eyes, thank you!
Oh you're welcome! I'm just glad to be of some help!
Drew,
Neo Tegoel Games
Come chat to me on Twitter!
And please check out Gloom and Doom - a comedy VN about supernatural slackers

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Re: How to use choices for VN storytelling

#5 Post by droo_radley » Fri Feb 19, 2021 8:21 am

felix wrote:
Thu Feb 18, 2021 3:12 am
Excellent summary! Bonus points for the mention of pacing. People all too often forget how important it is, perhaps more so in games than books or movies.
Thank you! Yes, pacing is very important in games, because you always want the player to feel engaged and that the plot is going somewhere. I found this out during testing when some players complained that they were beginning to tune out a little during lengthier blocks of text, and asked me to include more choices.

It could also be the nature of VNs where the player is just clicking a mouse or tapping a single button on a controller for the majority of the game. You need them to break out of that loop regularly, lest the game becomes a drone. There was this game once, I won't name it, but before long it becomes inherently clear that the safest and most effective tactic was "Force-lightning, jump-slash x 3, repeat until enemy is dead". After doing that same repetitive motion for 30 mins, yes, you can fall asleep during an action game!
Drew,
Neo Tegoel Games
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And please check out Gloom and Doom - a comedy VN about supernatural slackers

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Re: How to use choices for VN storytelling

#6 Post by BlackbirdVortex » Sat Feb 27, 2021 11:53 pm

Great article. I've been reflecting on how to break up my longer text sections without creating new branching paths and having to do all the writing that comes with that, so this is very helpful. And timely. Thank you!

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Re: How to use choices for VN storytelling

#7 Post by droo_radley » Fri Mar 05, 2021 9:48 am

BlackbirdVortex wrote:
Sat Feb 27, 2021 11:53 pm
Great article. I've been reflecting on how to break up my longer text sections without creating new branching paths and having to do all the writing that comes with that, so this is very helpful. And timely. Thank you!
You're welcome! It's a bit trickier than a blog post where you can just drop in a random meme or GIF to break up the walls of text, but it can be done! Good luck!
Drew,
Neo Tegoel Games
Come chat to me on Twitter!
And please check out Gloom and Doom - a comedy VN about supernatural slackers

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Re: How to use choices for VN storytelling

#8 Post by snoqie » Fri Mar 05, 2021 12:58 pm

Wow, this was an absolutely wonderful and enlightening read! Thank you so much! I'm in the middle of my project and after having read your guide, I took a moment to look at the last 200 lines I wrote and... what do you know? I only have 1 player choice (yikes!!)!! I think things the options you point out definitely make a VN more "alive", interactive and fun!

Going to go back to add in more~! Thanks again ^ ㅡ^

Edit: Just wanted to add that the idea behind "Reflection choices" - I had never thought of that!! That's so brilliant!
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Re: How to use choices for VN storytelling

#9 Post by elixxxirium » Fri May 07, 2021 11:15 pm

I really enjoyed reading your article. A lot of things to think about. The thought of using certain choices to help with the story's pacing blew my mind. Thank you!

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Re: How to use choices for VN storytelling

#10 Post by droo_radley » Tue May 11, 2021 11:21 am

elixxxirium wrote:
Fri May 07, 2021 11:15 pm
I really enjoyed reading your article. A lot of things to think about. The thought of using certain choices to help with the story's pacing blew my mind. Thank you!
Thank you so much! Feedback like this really psyches me up and motivates me to want to keep making VNs and writing more guides. Thanks again!
Drew,
Neo Tegoel Games
Come chat to me on Twitter!
And please check out Gloom and Doom - a comedy VN about supernatural slackers

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