History and religion in games

How much do you care about the history,religion and other stuff when you play a CoG?

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It depends on the game, if you for example have a fantasy game in a different universe a bit of history always adds a nice touch. But a game set in our time where you play as a robot doesn’t really need any history.

And well, if you play a game set in the medieval ages around the crusades then religion might be a quite important factor in the game. But if you have a game about zombies on the moon then I don’t think you need religion in the game.

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It depends on how integral to the story it is. If it’s a brand new world then I would like enough background to immerse myself in the story setting. If it’s set in modern times than I’d prefer only that which is necessary and relevant to the story. However, I don’t like to be beat over the head with modern political or religious stances. So anything that comes off as preaching, proselytizing, or punditry will have me abandon the game without looking back. I get enough of that stuff in my every day dealings with social media and don’t want to experience it in a game. But, hey, that’s just me, your mileage may vary.


I agree with the previous posters. If it’s a game like Tin Star, for example, providing historical information to set the scene is essentially mandatory; much of what happens in the game is informed by the events of the time, and you can’t assume the reader/player is familiar with said events. If, on the other hand, it’s a game like Psy High, set in modern times in a somewhat generic coastal town, the player really only needs the details that are specific to the plot; extraneous details would only serve to distance the player from the story.

Ok the game I’m writing is about magic and you are a student who’s has to survive being school and try not be killed.It’s set in a fantasy world so I’m trying to see what people would like to see.

Yep, giving the player some information about history and religion would most likely help with the immersion. You don’t even have to be incredibly detailed about it.

I’d start out by providing two openings: one that gets the player right to the action, and one that gives a more detailed prologue that sets the scene. That’s one benefit of making a choice-based game instead of writing a novel: you can let the player choose what they want. As you write later scenes, you can feather in more specific details to support the situations as needed; these will provide callbacks to the prologue, refreshing that information for players that chose that route, while still providing enough supporting information for players who chose to skip it.

I was thinking of maybe letting the MC go to the library in their free time if they wanted to know more about the world and what’s happening.

Perhaps you could add books that the MC has already read to a menu in the stats screen?

Like in a reference section of the stat menu?

Yeah, or maybe just “choices” in the choicescript_stats file, like what Cataphrak did on Guns of Infinity.

Generally, not at all. Unless it’s relevant to the plot, or a particular strength of the author’s writing.

Is it something you like writing and are interested in? Is it an important theme to your game?

I think Choice of Rebels is the prime example of a game where both history and religion play a prime role. They’re extremely important to the setting and to the gameplay. But even then I only need to know what’s relevant to me, what I directly interact with.

Personally I prefer the background information integrated, and everything not needed brutally chopped out.

And afraid I disagree with @Jenna_V I hate prologues that do world-building and I almost always skip them. To me it’s the characters I care about most, they’re the reason I’ll read a book, or choose not to. Only once I’m invested in those characters, and then the plot, do I care about getting the prologue stuff. But even then, chances are I’d much rather have it delivered to me through other methods.


That is a good idea. some people like to read the history of the world while others dislike it, you could even just have a choice in the stat screen which has important info about it like Sabres of Infinity and Choice of the Petal phrone does

Ah, but that’s exactly why I suggested it. Some people prefer to skip the extraneous detail, some don’t. The choice to skip it would be there for you. =)

In a game, I think the first text you see should be something that immediately hooks you in. It should have dramatic impact, it should leave you wanting to read on, to discover more.

So, if the first text is a prologue, then I think it’s failing on that front. Prologues tend to be passive, they’ve already happened, rather than interacting with them you’re left just reading about stuff that’s already happened and which you can’t change. If I can skip a prologue without it dramatically effecting the game I don’t think it should be there.

Give it to the drunk guy in the tavern to ramble off, and let me tell him to stick a sock in it.

Now I do like the having Codexes (or whatever you call them) on the stats screen so you can check them at any time. Generally speaking I won’t actually check anything because that two (or more) clicks to get there is annoying. Whereas if I’m reading a paper book I do often flip from the glossary to the main text so I can be sure I understand words. (Again I won’t on an ebook because lazy.)

I agree with FairyGodfeather, you don’t need to focus on world building unless your story ends up delving into topics where we’d really need that information, like in a revolution (Choice of Rebels was the EXACT reference I was going to make, but FairyGodfeather beat me to it ;P). That being said, you can still include world building, but try to make it come up in an organic way. Think of books that have good world building without just writing dense blocks of it, and see if your story would work including world building like theirs!

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What if your story doesn’t follow the basic Tolkien/sci-fi/modern settings?

I feel like it would be hard for the player to understand the world without some exposition, even if the information has to be in the dialogue or actions of the characters.

But I do agree with you and FairyGodfeather about organic world building.

If you want a good character-driven story, definitely pay a lot of attention to religion and history. Without a strong sense of religion and history, you risk your characters coming across as flat.

I think what @FairyGodfeather is getting at is the need to avoid exposition dumps, where you suddenly throw a big chunk of historical data at the reader with little or no context. I personally find exposition dumps as off-putting as facile treatments of religion - but not as off-putting as the author giving too little consideration to the history out of which their own characters evolved.

I look at it this way: history tells you where your characters came from. Religion tells you how they got from there to here.

@vampierkid222 A game set in a fantasy world does require sufficient background information for the player to know what’s going on and why. I think the games mentioned above, Sabres of Infinity, Choice of the Petal Throne and Choice of Rebels are all good examples on how you should provide such info.

I like your idea on letting the MC read books on the world. Will it be like reflected in a lore stat like in the Hero of Kendrickstone?

I was thinking of something along those lines like if you read a book about a certain type of magic or people they may get point in that category. And thank you all for your response.