Continuity Variables: Thoughts and Opinions


#1

Did a quick count and found I have by now 30+ variables that are solely for continuity. Things like who you talked to, what you said, who you stayed at etc.

So, are 30+ too many? Or do you think it’s these little things that make a game more enjoyable?

Are there games that do not have special continuity variables? How are they working out?


#2

I don’t really see a problem with it. It’s all under the hood anyways, and if you’re willing to go to all the effort to add in those little things, more power to you.


#3

As a reader, I really appreciate small nods to past interactions. The minor details tracked by the type of continuity variable you’re talking about can really help with immersion – it’s nice to see that your choices affect the world beyond, like, major plot-changing decision points.

As far as how many is too many, I think that really depends on the writer. Afaik, adding a bunch of variables doesn’t significantly affect how your Choicescript program performs, so it’s really a matter of personal (authorial) preference. From a coding/ease of use perspective, it probably makes sense to think about naming conventions if you’re going to have a bunch of tracking variables, but Notepad++ lets you search through multiple text files anyway, so even if you’re a bit messy, it’s not that big of a deal?

Idk how you’re doing it now, but if you did want to cut down, you could consider going back and adding tracking variables once you decide there’s something you want to reference, rather than creating variables in the moment that you may use in the future. (Ignore me, obvi, if this is obvious/what you’re already doing. I personally have the impulse to create variables just in case, and it’s often more harmful than helpful for me.)


#4

Seriously 30 aren’t too many I have far more than 30 and I only about 50,000 words writing. But Well I am obsessed with continuity and in a game about romance searching details what character not do are important are least for me.

Lol Now I am worried if I am planning tracking too many things :sob:


#5

I think little (or large) nods in continuity are definitely enjoyable. It’s what makes your choices feel like they matter, and it’s always a pleasant surprise when what you thought was a throwaway choice is referenced in the game’s narrative, even if it’s just one word changed. If you play through a game enough times and see how many changes you can actually cause, it makes the game that much more enjoyable.

I think the game where continuity nods worked best for me was Choice of Robots. It really felt as though my actions had impact, from the type of material I built my robot out of to the robot’s first playground. I think that as long as you can manage all the variables without getting overwhelmed, it would add a lot to your game. I may be biased though :sweat_smile:


#6

I’m firmly in the “more is better” camp on this subject. Even if it has no real “game” impact, they’re an invaluable resource for making the world feel more alive and for helping the reader feel more invested in that world.


#7

It works better for smaller games with less characters and more conversations imo. The more the player needs to be recalled to remember something from a conversation or the more conversations/actions influence future events, the more variables. 30 seems pretty standard for a game that isn’t even small. Different medium obviously but OXENFREE uses only true/false variables for every event except those that change relationships and they have HUNDREDS.


#8

I often use heaps of them too. I don’t think 30 or more is too many if you need them.

One small trick if they’re building up in the startup, is if there’s variables that only relate to something within a particular chapter, you can add them temp variables at the top of the page instead. (But then they don’t save if you move onto another file.) Doesn’t really matter though, they work either way :slight_smile:


#9

I have a lot of temps too.
And I should have mentioned i have 30+ continuity vars… and am not done with the first chapter…


#10

Yeah, I got a few of those. It feels odd when I’m in debug mode because I’ve got them printing side by side with major plot twist variables. But I know that once I enter beta mode my testers will get back to me with questions like “why didn’t dad remember that I sent him that sassy letter three weeks ago?”

So I figure it’s probably worth the trouble.


#11

I literally always notice tiny things like that. You can never have too many of them if it means that my micropig partner in crime remembers the pen I found at the murder site. :stuck_out_tongue:


#12

My startup page is choked with stuff like that. And the temp variables at the top of each scene can be pretty elaborate too. It’s not very efficient but it gets the job done.


#13

In my case the main… issue (?) Is that a lot of things dont get referenced in the same scene… so… lotsa stuff to *create


#14

How do you sort them? Alphabetically or by function? I think if you keep a really good naming convention, it’ll be… Well, “okay” is a strong word. But manageable, I guess.


#15

I separate the by the days they occur on in the story.
Like day 1 etc