Disliked Elements, Mechanics, and Tropes

I don’t disagree that a lot of weird terms can be off-putting, but I don’t really see how this can be fixed. The king and prince still need names, as does their home, and presumably the other places mentioned. “Lunar beastlings” could maybe be replaced with “moon gods” and perhaps you don’t need a specific term for a “noctorne” (although it’s a unique enough concept that if it’s common, maybe you do), but otherwise I don’t see how you would change it. Your “fixed” version just removes all the names, which works for a quick summary, but they would definitely need names in the actual story. Would you use real world names, and for the places as well as the people?

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For me personally it’s not that those things need names, it’s more that often author’s tend to info dump that information, rather than piecing it out as needed during the story. And, just as often, they name things that never have any real relevance in the story they are trying to tell. In the above example is any of that backstory relevant if it has no impact on the story of an orphan growing up in a neighbouring country, or is it simply world building that amounts to padding?

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The next few lines in that reply give a possible solution. Give a brief summary, and then give yourself chances to elaborate further
Compare:

They gestured to the painting "That's a painting of  King Haindar who is the hero of the Seven Ellyid-Cormor Wars and  his firstborn son, Prince Dazgal, the Noctorne, a man born with the soul of one of the Lunar Beastlings who ruled the land of Mitharash in the Age of Slumber. "

#Whoaaaaaa.
#Fascinatimg
#neat, where's the coke. 
The man gestures to the painting. "You like it? It's one of the few remaining portraits of the  war-hero king and his son, the prince, who was born harbouring the soul of an ancient moon god. Everything else is either a copy, or painted with only second hand descriptions to work off on."

#"War hero... King Haindar, right?"
	He nods. "The very same. This was after the Seven Ellyid-Cormor Wars, more specifically, that wracked the other nations-the wars that propelled him to fame-or infamy, depending on who you ask. There were many others he fought in, unusual for our otherwise generally peaceful kingdom, but this is the one most closely associated to him. "

#"...when you say, "ancient moon god"..."
	He laughs at your tone. "Funnily enough, that was the king's exact reaction when he learned Prince Dazgul was a Nocturne. To have a son with the soul of a Lunar Beastling? The very same creatures who ruled Mithrash in the Age of Slumber?" He clicks his teeth. "I daresay if he died that very night, his soul would be laughing all the way to the ends of the earth."
*If opinion!=1{
#"It's a good painting."
	*Set opinion 1
	The man grins. "Glad you like it. It's a bit of a rarity in Ellisatren due to our position on the White Coast, so it never fails to	 draw attention from a guest."
}
*If opinion!=1{
#"It's...ok I guess."
	Set opinion 1
	He laughs diplomatically. "Well, I suppose that's lucky for you, since like I mentioned, it's one of a few. I do hope you'll find the rest of Ellisatren more interesting, since there's not much else to see on the White Coast."
}
#Before you can say anything else, a door opens and in walks in...

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I was momentarily wondering what’s wrong with space exploration :laughing:

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I don’t disagree – I gave up on Dune precisely because I couldn’t get through the chapter 1 infodump – but I don’t think that was what they were complaining about. Their “fix” is exactly as lore-dense, it just doesn’t have any of the proper nouns, and I was wondering how a fantasy story could work without even any names (and this includes names made of English words, like “the Age of Slumber”).
And sure, this doesn’t mean anything to an orphan growing up in a neighbouring country… unless they end up falling in love with Dazgal and having to help him break his ties with the Lunar Beastlings, who are trying to return the world to the Age of Slumber as a direct consequence of the Ellyid-Cormor Wars. And even then you wouldn’t want to just infodump, but you would need to give these things names.

@8Milkpower8: True, it’s a lot easier in Interactive Fiction, as you can just give the player the bare minimum, and then let them ask for more details or not, but for most stories, you don’t have that luxury and have to gauge exactly how much they need to know vs how bored they’ll get. But again, unless I’m completely misreading their post, it’s the fantasy names specifically that @rfzhao is complaining about, not their presentation.

EDIT: To be clear, I’m not saying that @rfzhao is wrong; everyone interacts with fiction in their own way, and there’s nothing wrong with that. I’m just trying to understand what the issue is, and how it might be avoided, if possible.

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To be clear, I am mostly talking about the description/marketing aspect of the game. If Prince Dazgal is a major character in your game, then obviously he will need a name and his condition explained, and it’s likely that the country and his father will be discussed. Worldbuilding is good and important for stories. Not knocking worldbuilding. It just doesn’t have a place in the description to me, because I am a stranger to the setting and all these terms don’t illustrate concepts to me the way they do to the author, they don’t communicate information, and they might as well be filler, like a clump of static in the middle of a paragraph that should be as clean, efficient, and interesting as possible.

A big part of it is the Made Up Word phenomenon; I fully agree with @8Milkpower8 here that Homestuck’s silly word usage and combinations don’t trigger the same effect to me, so I think it does have a lot to do with completely unrecognizable words slowing down my brain.

Still, I think the problem is bigger than just Made Up Words. A lot of authors have trouble differentiating between what is important for the world and what is important for the hook. For instance, elves are a concept that has established an English word behind it (thus not Made Up to the brain). Lets say in this setting there was a war several hundred years ago between elves and humans which ended up causing an unending feud between the two races because of x y and z war crime. The relations between elves and humans is an important part of worldbuilding then. In the plot, you are an elf thief hiding out in a human city, looking to heist an artifact from the same period as the war. Thus, this worldbuilding fact has an obvious effect on the whole narrative that needs explaining when you go into depth… but the hook, or even the first few pages, is not the place to go into depth unless you know exactly how to pull it off. Using something like “You are an elven thief trying to plan the heist of the century. There’s just one issue: your prize is held in the capital city of the humans” trims it down to what is actually interesting, and the hidden information actually serves to generate more interest than it would otherwise: why is it bad to be in a human city? why are there segragated cities? what caused elf-human hostility?

I think an author who has done really well at this kind of witholding information to just what’s important is @HarrisPS . I am now someone who is very interested in the worldbuilding around the setting and the different countries in the CDLCverse, but I wasn’t before I read it and I was skimming through story descriptions. Imagine if the description for Royal Affairs screeched to a halt to give you a run down on Westerlin’s electoral policy. Time and place.

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I don’t know if this is exactly the right place to put this but me personally I hate how choice of games is just not to the level it used to be. I am by no means saying I could do any better but I feel like the games used to be held to a higher standard and I would actually enjoy reading them. I grew up secretly reading and falling in love with some stories and now it just seems like they let just about anyone release their projects which I am not against everyone should have a chance but at the same time they should be held to a standard to where not just any half baked or pointless story is release. Choice of games used to be filled with complex and well thought out games that would bring u back dozens of times now it just seems like either they r unfinished or just flat out terrible.

Were they? In terms of actual requirements, nothing changed for quite a while now. Hosted Games always accepted almost everything, and the official Choice of Games writers have used the same design principles for many years. Or at least I think they have—any of them is free to correct me, but recent games seem to follow the 2016 design guideline fairly closely.

As for the readers, I think they hold games to a higher standard than they used to. It’s hard to play old CoG stories without thinking “yeah that wouldn’t fly today” every once in a while. For example, compare the relatively recent Royal Affairs to the far older Affairs of the Court and tell me they weren’t written with completely different standards in mind. The former takes care to make every gender variation of every RO feel natural in the whole of 482k word story, the latter has less than half that word count, throws in fake gender selection and then splits the story into three parts like it’s Fallen Hero or something.

I think it’s those changing stardards that can make the newer games feel worse. There’s a reason we don’t see Zahary Sergi on these forums anymore—writers need to try harder now than they used to, and not all of them manage terribly well. Shame, but no reason to let nostalgia blind us to how the brand evolves, and how it’s mostly for the better.

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I guess I see your point but not every good story has to be edgy or have a huge word count. I just think that the past few games released have just been terrible no matter what point in time they would have been released in it’s like they don’t put any effort into them or someone just had a funny idea in their head and decide to make it a novel. I feel like choice of games should in some way be some what more strict on what is released and what isn’t some of this stuff just clogs up the page and makes it look bad to new readers and drives away old ones. It’s a shame that it is harder for writers now a days and there’s nothing we can do but not all change is better and this certainly isn’t. Most games are bland and boring or just straight up odd. I guess it’s just the newer age coming and changing things.

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I think its mostly that the standards for Choice of Games feel a little outdated. Since the standards are so strict, it limits the kind of games that authors create. The standards are fairly limiting and if an author’s proposal for CoG is rejected, they cannot submit another one for twelve months after. I’m guessing that unintentionally leads to “safer” proposals for games because the authors have one shot to get it right.

Another part of it is probably that Hosted Games has some absolutely amazing games (with very dedicated fanbases) so even if CoG hasn’t gotten worse, it feels worse by comparison. Hosted Games has evolved to improve the genre while CoG has remained relatively static.

A third part could also be the marketing. Sometimes new Hosted Games don’t even have release threads. It makes it easier for less popular ones to be swept under the rug. I guarantee there are as many “bad” Hosted Games as CoG, they just aren’t really noticed because no one knows they exist. On the other hand, CoG is both the “main” line and the one that is much more advertised with author interviews and all so all of its games (including the “bad” ones) are more likely to be seen.

I will say, not all more recent CoG are terrible, there have been a number of pretty good ones. Lies Under the Ice had problems, but it definately felt unique. Hannah Powell-Smith’s games are always very solid choices. Going back a year or two, The Dragon and The Djinn, Siege of Treboulain and Parliament of Knives were all bangers. I’m also really looking forward to Kyle Marquis’ take on Werewolf the Apocalypse in one of the upcoming World of Darkness games (since Night Road was pretty fun).

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Hmm, usually Discourse puts a link in automatically so apologies for any confusion - I’ve moved a discussion that was getting deep into Dishonored over to Video Games.

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YOU KNOW WHAT BROTHER, I GOT SOMETHING REAL SERIOUS ON MY MIND. WHAT THE HELL IS UP WITH THESE NEW POWER FANTASY ANIMES WHERE THE WHOLE “APPEAL” IS AN OVERPOWERED MC. THE MC IS USUALLY BORING AS HELL, NO PERSONALITY BESIDES “OH MAN I HAFTA GET MY REVENGE ON EVERYBODY WHO WRONGED ME”, NO FRIENDS, NO NOTHING. SECOND, THEY TEACH HORRIBLE, HORRIBLE LESSONS TO THE YOUNG PEOPLE (USUALLY DISILLUSIONED DUDES) THAT WATCH THEM.

NONE OF THESE PROTAGONISTS HAVE ANY FRIENDS OR CLOSE RELATIONSHIPS. THAT’S GARBAGE. FRIENDSHIP IS AWESOME. TOP BODYBUILDERS, STRONGMEN, MARTIAL ARTISTS AND ETC. HAVE FRIENDS BECAUSE FRIENDS PUSH EACH OTHER TO THEIR BEST. MEANWHILE, THE PROTAGONIST IN THESE POWER FANTASIES ARE GENUINELY REALLY SAD PEOPLE CORRUPTED BY THIS LAST FOR POWER, NOT STRENGTH.

AND THEN THE TRAINING ROUTINES IN THIS SHIT IS USUALLY AWFUL, SAITAMA’S TRAINING ROUTINE IS A JOKE, STOP PUTTING IT IN YOUR COMIC BECAUSE YOU THINK IT’S LEGIT. I SEE ALL THESE PEOPLE USING IT IN REAL LIFE AND YOU KNOW WHAT HAPPENS? PAIN. THERE’S NO VERTICAL OR HORIZONTAL PULLS, NO VERTICAL PUSHES, NO HINGES, AND NO FLEXIBILITY AND MOBILITY. IT’S INCREDIBLY UNBALANCED. ALMOST ANYBODY CAN DO 100 SQUATS. VERY FEW BEGINNERS CAN DO EVEN 10-20 PUSHUPS.

ANYWAY, TRAINING SHOULD BE FUN AND LOOKED FORWARD TO. NOT A DAILY QUEST YOU HAVE TO DO OR ELSE YOU GET PUNISHED. LIKE WEIGHT TRAINING? AWESOME. CALISTHENICS? FANTASTIC. BOTH? BETTER. BODYBUILDING? POWERLIFTING? STRONGMAN? GENERAL ATHLETICISM? A HYBRID? ALL WORTHWILE ENDEAVORS AS LONG AS YOU ENJOY IT AND PROGRESS.

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I disagree. Or rather, I disagree that this approach works for everyone. I have been seriously training for strongman competitions for about 3 years now. 4 general strength sessions a week, plus general increased exercise in other areas of my life. I’ve been waiting for that moment where I’ll start enjoying it because I’ve tried a lot of different physical activities over the years and I’ve not enjoyed any of them, so I’d quit and move on to something else, because the advice I always heard was “find something you enjoy”.

I’ve come to the realisation that I just don’t enjoy physical exercise. And that’s okay. I still do it, because I know it’s good for me and I’m an adult and as an adult sometimes you have to do things that aren’t fun that are good for you. I don’t think anyone would ever describe brushing your teeth, or cleaning your house as fun or enjoyable, but you still do it because it needs to be done.

But also, yeah, fuck Saitama.

That’s a very generous use of the word people… :rofl:

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I’m pretty sure there are people who genuinely enjoy cleaning.

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My wife had the good fortune to have one as a roommate, just before we got married. I’ve always suffered by comparison. :slight_smile:

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Don’t most revenge fantasies have like one friend? Unless it’s to the point where everyone was killed. Besides. I’d say like Gojo’s whole personality was being the strongest. And having no friends.

It in fact a daily quest that you lose out on if you don’t do It is a chore.

This breaks my heart. It really does. I like somewhat set IF protagonists with defined relationships (I LOVE Ortega from Fallen Hero’s relationship with Sidestep, I LOVE Sam’s relationship with the MC in CT:OS, I LOVE all of the commander’s old friends in the Exile). I even like the band and Seven from Infamous. Predetermined “best friends” can almost always be sold to me and I will find myself being endeared to them.

However… I reread the Mind Bind demo this weekend and I can’t help but feel like Sally was such a forced character narrative-wise. It was the first time that a predetermined character relationship felt that way to me and now I think I can understand why some people don’t like it as much - something I didn’t understand before because most examples have been positive for me.

To be fair, I do know the logistical reasons why Sally is present in the story, but she doesn’t feel necessary to me in the way that the rest of the main cast is - and it’s especially obvious when I’m being told a deep connection exists and Button could never live without her but I, as the reader, still wonder why she’s even there half the time.

TLDR: I’ve realized that strong predetermined relationships and bonds can be a serious hindrance if the player/reader is not invested in the involved character(s). It seems like a fine line to walk between telling the story you want to tell while also ensuring that readers feel they can engage with the narrative in a way that’s satisfying.

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I remember playing resident evil 7, and my friend insisted on saving Mia over Zoey and I was like I don’t know her, Ethan does, but as far as I’m concerned she chopped off my hand. Generally I’m fine with it though

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Mia vs Zoe was an interesting choice because saving Mia also felt like the canon choice. And sometimes when a path is laid out as if it’s what you’re supposed to do, it can make us want to do the exact opposite - bad endings be damned lol.

That actually might also be another reason why the whole forced relationships thing can be grating if it doesn’t gel with you.

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To be fair I’ve never played a run where I dislike Sally, but I always thought Mind Blind was pretty good about letting you decide your feelings towards all of the characters. I know there is at least one explicit option where you can say you resent having to rely on Sally, and you never would have been friends with her if it weren’t for the unique circumstances.

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