How to do Multiple Endings?

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Praeliumm
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How to do Multiple Endings?

#1 Post by Praeliumm » Mon Jun 06, 2016 3:37 pm

I was curious as to how other folks would do/are doing multiple endings for a game.

Is it determined on an end-game choice (ie. Sacrifice yourself or sacrifice someone else) regardless on the other choices in game?
Or maybe it's based on a point system, like in relationships to other characters?
And there are also endings that require a specific item, right?

Are there other ideas out there too?

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Re: How to do Multiple Endings?

#2 Post by Googaboga » Mon Jun 06, 2016 4:20 pm

I've seen VNs include some gameplay element(s) like mini games or simple stat raising and have the ending you get be determined or partially determined by how well you do with that. That type of system is generally done in combination with a point based relationship system.

If a game has some type of mystery it could have different endings based on how much you bothered to learn about the mystery.

There's also collage/combined style endings where instead of one big scene, the ending is broken up into many different scenes and the specific scenes you get can be determined by a variety of ways. That's the style of ending I tend to use in my games.
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Help with choice-based endings/point system?

#3 Post by SophiaElizabeth » Tue Jun 07, 2016 4:50 am

Sorry if this has been asked before, but I looked everywhere for help.

I'm struggling with how to work out the whole choice-based multiple ending thing.
My idea is to have three possible endings (good, normal, bad) and a visible affection bar. However, I'm genuinely bad at numbers and thinking technically.

How do I work out:
How many choices, how many answers, how many points (plus or negative) assigned to each answer, and how many points required for each ending?

Or is there another way of looking at this? How does everyone else work this out?

I feel like it is probably very simple, but my brain is saying no, haha.

Any help would be greatly appreciated!

Cheers.

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Re: Help with choice-based endings/point system?

#4 Post by Taleweaver » Tue Jun 07, 2016 5:51 am

1. How many choices? Depends on how long your story is. If your VN is supposed to feel interactive, give the player frequent opportunity to make choices, and put as many in there as the story can handle.

2. How many points? Depends on whether some of your choices are more meaningful than others. For example, relationships? "Slap his face" should be worth more negative points than "Refuse to kiss him".

3. How many points required? Depends on the ending. How difficult should it be to attain? If difficult: almost all of the points or even all of the points a player can possible gather. (Kana: Imouto had that for the ending where Kana survives.) If not so difficult: less points.

Just wing it until it feels right.
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Re: How to do Multiple Endings?

#5 Post by AllegroDiRossi » Tue Jun 07, 2016 3:35 pm

There are so many different ways to determine endings, and it really just depends on what you want to do.
  • > There's early-branching games where you make decisions early on that take the game in widely different directions with hugely different endings.
    > There are late-branching games where your choices really only affect your ending scenario, such as whether you collected all the items you need or whether you got specific information from X or built up a rapport with Y.
    > There are stats-based romantic games where your endings are chosen by whether you have enough points for A's "good" ending or not.
    > There are stats-based non-romantic games where you build up skills and your skills determine whether you succeed/survive a scenario.
    > There are quick-triggered bad ends that come from specific choices made a short or long while ago.
    > There are games that assign a kind of stat to your choices (think morality or sanity) and take the game in different directions depending on your choices.
    > There are games that trigger endings or extra scenes based on whether you've hit certain criteria (saved as flags like, saved G from drowning, make T smile, etc.).
    > There are endings which are obtained by completing a chapter/arc/story and that unlocks a new chapter/arc/story.
And of course, there are any number of games that utilize a mash-up of any of these different approaches to make their own game mechanic. Finding an approach that best matches the tone of your game can make a good scenario a great game; likewise, forcing a good scenario into a bad mechanic can create a clunky game. The great thing about making a game is that you can do pretty much anything you want, whether that's what others have done before, something entirely new, or something in between.
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Re: Help with choice-based endings/point system?

#6 Post by KittyWills » Tue Jun 07, 2016 6:08 pm

This is how we mostly do it in our group. Others may have different methods.

-Our Writer writes the "First Draft" of your story first. Get all the plot and characters and how things, for the most part, are going to go. She'll also add notes about points as she goes.
-Then I, the coder/number person, goes through the script and makes sure it's all balanced. Character A needs more places to gain negative points. Character C's path is to short compared to the others. I'll add some of the choices depending how point based we are.
-Then Writer takes the script back, makes any plot and point changes and we repeat the cycle in till we find a version we feel is the strongest.

I've found there really is no secret trick to figuring out your game play formula. Some games have very minimal choices that cause large changes very quickly. While others have lots of choices that will make small chances in till you have enough of them answered. It's just a matter of finding out what works best for you and your game and looots of re-writes. lol

I also recommend TWINE or other branching programs to help map out paths if you are a visual mapper person like myself.

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Re: How to do Multiple Endings?

#7 Post by Taleweaver » Wed Jun 08, 2016 2:13 am

Service announcement: I've merged this topic with the "Help with choice-based endings/point system?" thread since they basically both revolve around the same question.
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Re: How to do Multiple Endings?

#8 Post by Parataxis » Wed Jun 08, 2016 8:36 am

I have three projects with vastly different takes in this.

For the big project we have a point system for the five character routes and we're handling it basically like KittyWills group, with the added twist of having the audience be limited to 3/5 "character chapters" on a single play-through that are basically prerequisite to play through to get a character's route, and that we are explicitly weighting it to make some character routes easier to get than others. We also have 2 "keystone choice" bad endings at the end of the story no matter what route you are on, that should be simple to avoid if you've been paying attention but seem too important to just have happen in a cutscene.

For the tiny project we just have two rounds of binary choices that split everything into 4 endings of different genres. But each total playthrough is maybe 5-10 minutes long so we can get away with that.

There's also a project still in the pre-construction stage where we would have 3 "sliders" that determine your characters situation between certain variables and then that generates 8 potential endings after a particular checkpoint.

I think that the important thing is to figure out what works for your story and run with it.

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Re: How to do Multiple Endings?

#9 Post by SophiaElizabeth » Wed Jun 08, 2016 7:23 pm

Taleweaver wrote:Service announcement: I've merged this topic with the "Help with choice-based endings/point system?" thread since they basically both revolve around the same question.
Cheers, I appreciate all the answers and info.

However I am struggling more with the math side haha.
For example: lets say that the bar has 30 points, you need
+20 for the good ending, 10+ for normal, and -10 for bad, how would I work out how many Q&A's and points assigned etc?
I've been trying to think of this like a simple math problem in order to have a something to stick to, but would it be better to just write out what feels natural and divide up the points evenly?

Sorry if it's a silly question, I may just be thinking about it too much haha.

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Re: How to do Multiple Endings?

#10 Post by KittyWills » Wed Jun 08, 2016 7:33 pm

SophiaElizabeth wrote:
Taleweaver wrote:Service announcement: I've merged this topic with the "Help with choice-based endings/point system?" thread since they basically both revolve around the same question.
Cheers, I appreciate all the answers and info.

However I am struggling more with the math side haha.
For example: lets say that the bar has 30 points, you need
+20 for the good ending, 10+ for normal, and -10 for bad, how would I work out how many Q&A's and points assigned etc?
I've been trying to think of this like a simple math problem in order to have a something to stick to, but would it be better to just write out what feels natural and divide up the points evenly?

Sorry if it's a silly question, I may just be thinking about it too much haha.
Pick an easy small number.

Start with 10. Each choice gains you +1 happy point. Once you gain 10 happy points you get you trigger the Good Path.
And maybe some choice gain you +2 happy points. The Bad choices either gain you none or +1 Sad point. Once you gain 5 sad points you get the Bad End.

It's easy to overthink the numbers and think you need 100s of them. But working small is perfectly fine. And if 10 is to small use 20 and then 30.

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Re: How to do Multiple Endings?

#11 Post by Klawzie » Wed Jun 08, 2016 11:11 pm

SophiaElizabeth wrote: For example: lets say that the bar has 30 points, you need
+20 for the good ending, 10+ for normal, and -10 for bad
Is it possible to get +9 to -9 points? If so, what ending do you get then? (A sort of catch-all, "Well, a lot happened, but I feel like nothing's really changed." ending?)

To reply to the actual question you had -
For me, the way I am working on some of my concepts is to just assign numbers as feels right to the choices and then do the math after I have all the numbers assigned. Then I rearrange as necessary. (For example, deciding to edit the points one response gives to +3 points instead of my usual +0 - +2 because getting that answer "correct" requires having paid attention, or recognizing that I have a string of questions where it's easy to get the "right" answers and maybe I should throw in an extra option for one of them to mix it up if the section is meant to be less straight-forward.)

In advance, I made a little note to myself along the lines of, "Forgiving route. Only has to get 75% of the possible points to get a good ending." or "Harder route. Have to get about 90% of possible points to get a good ending." Since I'm not really a math person either, those percentages aren't literal, but rather an indication of how where the cutoff point should sort of feel like. If I follow the route and do the math and find out this route has 41 possible points if you got every "best" answer, I'm not going to whip out the calculator - I'll probably just decide that 35 looks about right for "90%" of the correct choices. But before settling on it, I'll also do all the math to find out what the total of points looks like for "second best choices". If a "second best" route is 19 possible points, then 35 points for the good ending seems wildly out of sync and I should probably go back and look at how I'm assigning points.
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Re: How to do Multiple Endings?

#12 Post by MoonByte » Thu Jun 09, 2016 9:36 am

My current little experiment game has so far 13 endings with 53 specific outcomes.
Most are based on point systems (mostly the amount of affection the player collected with characters), though some endings are overruled by other variables (if you murder an innocent person, than you will be send to the regarding berserk-ending). In some cases it is a combination, for example when you have the affection above x and activated variable y, you get a different ending than without that variable.
It's a lot of calculating and even more writing (as in, loads of if-statements), but it allows for a big variety of endings.

Weird is Normal - for comparison - has five endings (three romantic, one single and one fail), but the flavour text of the endings changes based on who you befriended and what you did.
And there will probably be a secret ending that gets unlocked, if you managed to activate certain variables, leading to a special story setting which leads to the actual true ending.

It is even quite simple, actually.
I have plenty of menus and just add numbers based on how the player reacts to them. If I have a character that enjoys flirting and the player flirts, he gets a +5 bonus. If he is friendly, he gets +1 and if he is rude and prude, he gets -1. For example. And if you did give person X a great present, you activate variable present_x and no matter how well you did in affection, you might add flavour text for having given that present (or maybe even give a late-game bonus of +10, if you have done that).

There are many ways to play around with endings.
You can keep them small, but very relevant (literally every choice gets saved in a variable and gets a regarding flavour text), big but unimportant (loads of numbers leading to fifteen endings, but none refer to what you actually did during the game), a mixture.
There is no right or wrong, just experiment with it :)

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Re: How to do Multiple Endings?

#13 Post by Parataxis » Thu Jun 09, 2016 10:05 am

In terms of specific point values, our team is sort of leaving them to the end after all the choices are written. Instead we're marking each choice with "Character +" "Character -" Character ++" and "Character --", or just "Big Plus/Big Minus." Then at the end we'll tally how many choices we have and how many potential +/- characters can get for a standard "I am not an asshole" play through. From there we'll decide who is "too easy" or "too hard" to get and adjust point totals accordingly. Notably, however, ours is a simple threshold with just "character route earned or not" and no good/bad endings determined by point value. (These endings are instead triggered by direct choices of the player as the protagonist.)

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Re: How to do Multiple Endings?

#14 Post by Praeliumm » Thu Jun 09, 2016 7:55 pm

My current project deals with this kind of system but instead of one set of points, there's actually multiple sets that affect the ending. And honestly, I don't have an maximum for that yet because I'm just pretty much winging it, having point increases and decreases based on the action of the player. Is it easier to have that maximum/minimum points for an ending?

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Re: How to do Multiple Endings?

#15 Post by KittyWills » Thu Jun 09, 2016 10:08 pm

Praeliumm wrote:My current project deals with this kind of system but instead of one set of points, there's actually multiple sets that affect the ending. And honestly, I don't have an maximum for that yet because I'm just pretty much winging it, having point increases and decreases based on the action of the player. Is it easier to have that maximum/minimum points for an ending?
Yeah, work with set numbers. Otherwise it turns into a math related nightmare. Plus it makes all the paths more balanced and easier to edit if you want one harder or easier to get then others.

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