Closed Poll: Meaningful choices?


Edit: This poll has been closed, thank you for voting.

I am afraid that my game might have too many choices…

I have been trying to make sure that 90% of your choices actually change the story somehow, but i’m starting to think that players are going to feel overwhelmed at the possibility of changing stuff with every choice and possibly messing up the story later in the game.

Here is an example:

you could cause a lot of chaos in a village to become more evil, unlocking more choices, but later in the story you wouldn’t be able to meet some characters and buy stuff from traders because the new mayor would be a much more strict and paranoid leader and the village would have a LOT of guards to protect it from things like you.

It is just that I feel horrible whenever I think about using *fake_choice or having pointless choices.

So, what sounds better?

What I have written so far looks more like the second option, and that is why I wanted to post this.
If people don’t say anything, the second option is probably what the game is going be, but I wanted to hear your opinions about the subject. Is it bad to have too many meaningful choices?

Link to the original thread. (I just moved my old post)

  • A solid storyline where you make some choices about where it is going but in the end everyone gets the same 2 or 3 endings
    *(This version would have more fake_choices and romance options because your choices would not deviate from the main storyline too often)
  • A more dynamic world where things you do at the start can change the future completely, resulting in 10+ different endings?
    (This version would make the world more dynamic, but your early choices could have heavy consequences later in the story)


Personally, I like a good story over complete freedom. That being said, I like it most when there is a balance between story and choice. My advice would be mix up the choices so that some choices do nothing except add a little flavor, others make minor changes, and few have a major effect on the story.

Of course, you can also make an excellent game based heavily on freedom of choice even if the story isn’t so deep. I think it depends largely on what sort of story/game you want to make.


I always prefer multiple paths and endings for replayability, but that doesn’t mean that I won’t play straightforward plots also.


I like a good balance. As long as the choices aren’t pointless and the MC doesn’t do too many things without input from the reader, I’ll probably enjoy the choice balance. I’d like either one, to be honest.


Originally, my objective was to write a story shaped by the player, who would be able to look at the game over screen and say: “wow, so this happened because I did this, and that happened because I chose x instead of y” or “What would have happened if I did this instead of that?”

But I could always change my mind and spend more time thinking about a big storyline that would have a beginning, middle, and ending, with focus on the interaction between characters and how you get to the end.

Obviously, the first option still has a story, but it changes a lot more.


I like interactive, I always viewed life as an interactive adventure with only one shot, the only difference is well… what everyone complians about (too lazy to count) and you only get on le shot.


I say stick with your original intent of making meaningful choices. It’s never a bad thing to have “too many” meaningful choices, indeed more CYOAs (and RPGs for that matter) should have them. If this leads to more and vastly different endings that’s a good thing.

The only real downside of having them is you increase your own workload since you’re attempting to account for every variable of change. Each change creates a “new timeline” as it were. If you’re up for that challenge go for it.

If you’d rather not burden yourself with quite as much work, you can still get around it a bit by not making the changes excessively huge. Not every stepped on butterfly creates a fascist state run by Nazi dinosaurs, sometimes things just turn out slightly better or slightly worse.

Also you can use “fake choices” to a small degree (And sometimes it really is unavoidable). The larger the story the more you can kind of get away with them. It only becomes a major problem when almost every choice has no real meaning and the story might not be that large to begin with.

I sort of get the impression though, you prefer to make your story with as many meaningful choices as possible and want to really avoid fake ones, which is why I say you should stick with your original plan.


This smells like a phenomenon I read about called consumer dissonance. Once in a while, even if everyone says “I want X, you should make X” but nobody would actually like X if you made it and you’d be better off doing Y. No idea if it’s the case here, but it made me feel that way. Wildly diverging storylines are much -edited harder to convincingly write, no wonder most of the stories on CoG so far only have a few endings. I’d say go for the many-endings version if you like, but you may find it surprisingly difficult to write well.


I use both. Even with my fake choices they mean something lol. Write what makes you happy :smile:


I don’t see what’s wrong with having too many choices that matter, unless it makes the story short. If you’re prepared to put up with the workload that comes with plenty of meaningful, story altering choices, then go for it. A compromise might be best to make the one story as good as it can be and to cut down on the workload, but it’s down to you, you know?


I might be able to get around the workload problem by using the branch and bottleneck pattern at the end of each chapter.

Right now, it looks like 2/3 of the users voted for more freedom and 1/3 voted for a big solid storyline.

I am going to try to use both by having a lot of branches, but merging the most similar ones at some point. Each chapter will have 2 or 3 possible endings, just like the demo I posted.

Edit: 3/4 voted for freedom and 1/4 voted for the story.

That is pretty interesting! Going to close the poll tomorrow to make it official.


I’m pretty sure this one doesn’t have dialogue options, and there’s so many choices it takes way too long to play.


You don’t need complete freedom, but a variety of endings definately influences how many times I replay, and thus how much enjoyment I get out of the game.

There are games that have good stories that I’ve played once and promptly forgotten about, but all the games I played and really, really liked either had 4-6 major endings… or in one or two cases had very different paths to get to the same ending.

The real key is to make the player feel like his or her choices had some bearing on the ending, either in act 3 or the epilogue.

(Slammed is a good example of this, I think. Mecha Ace also has some very interesting directions as to where the ending goes.)


Everything ok? You edited the thing three times then deleted, what’s on your mind?


When you said this

I'm pretty sure this one doesn't have dialogue options, and there's so many choices it takes way too long to play.

I thought you were talking about this game, so I said
"how can you be so sure? This game actually has dialogue options, just not in the demo :smile:"
but then I saw that you were talking about life as an interactive story, that’s why I removed my reply.


Gotcha. How’s the game going by the way? Mine’s still under works and it’s pretty tough,


Making progress. I spent hours just to write the choices for a simple dialogue between the player and another character!

This might take a while, but I believe the replay value will make up for it.


Just being honest, I’m a few days in and still coding what is still character creation.


Character creation would be the part where you choose the name of your character, sex, hair color, backstory, etc.

I guess you could also call it “character customization chapter” :expressionless:


yup. race, skills, gender, starting alignment, and Era lived in are part of mine, although I suppose I’ll add some hair choices for the races with hair.