Knowing of stat checks

We all know the scene. You’re playing a game, going through the choices, when all of a sudden, one is faded out. Do you prefer being told why it failed, or does that break immersion?

My answer is close to the one I gave here:

I prefer to tell people what is happening and why, but in text rather than numeric stats. I like numeric stats for stat screens (or a combination/choice between text and numbers) but I hate how it looks when a piece of writing has math all over it. Just my preference.

There should be some clue as to why you failed. Were you not fast enough, tough enough, did you have no one to help you when an ally was necessary? Is there a stat that corresponds to that? Good to go. “As you fade into the sweet grip of death, the thought plagues your mind… if only you had been well-hydrated enough to avoid this terrible fate. But the vitamin water, forgotten in your knapsack, is lost to you now.”

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I was thinking more along the lines of different choices becoming available. I’m pretty sure you use the feature frequently in Monster High. Like how I couldn’t tell Artemis that I wanted to wear her skin as a hat, but it was faded, and I had no idea why, my choices up until that point didn’t really put the character in a mental state to be above saying something like that, so I was left wondering what it was.

Oh, I actually really like the grayed out choices! They’re not always necessary, but I like putting them there too so that the player knows their choices so far have 1) had an impact, and 2) these other options were considered by the game designer.

There’s also the delightful ones where every choice is grayed out that the character wants to say, but due to mind-control/etc can’t pick. It simulates that feeling of helplessness, which I personally really like (pretty sure the last of the Choice of Romance series included this?).

If it’s unclear why the option is grayed out, though, that is understandably frustrating. It helps if there is some context given. If you haven’t been a particularly vicious person, it makes sense you wouldn’t be able to pick particularly vicious options, and vice versa with the compassionate choices. If it feels arbitrary, though, you should let the developer know - particularly if it’s a WIP! That feedback is very helpful.


Good point, and something I’ll try to address in edits. In the last go-round I made most options easier to select, since on Day 1 you haven’t had a lot of time to shape your personality. That particular choice depends on a combination of your species and Humanity, which isn’t obvious and also hasn’t had much time to play out or change.

I didn’t even think of mind control but very good point. I do think they are neccisary, but I don’t like the feeling of not knowing what I did that caused it to fade.

I don’t like being told what I need to succeed at a check, at least not in numbers.

I do like some greyed out choices, but not always. Selectable if can be useful to tell a player there’s more to explore.

They can also be really distracting. When I was testing The Lost Heir, for instance, there were constantly choices to steal things. I was playing a goody two shoes character, and yet those choices where there, niggling away at me like a little devil on my shoulder saying ‘steal something, steal something’ and I found that actually made it more difficult for me to immerse myself in the character and spoiled my enjoyment a bit.

And sometimes greyed out choices can ruin the game. Like having a greyed out “Accuse Jack of being a traitor!” when you thought he was your best friend, but now thanks to that greyed out text you know, or at least have a niggling feeling perhaps he’s not as honest as he claimed he was. So, well that influences the story, even if you couldn’t select it.

(While not choicescript, I think Depression Quest makes great use of greyed out choices in order to simulate depression and how it removes your choices.)

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I was a werewolf at the time, but I suppose it would make sense to have it blurred for Goblin MCs, after all, you depict them as pacifists if I remember right. Actually, Thinking about that, I kind of want to do a Goblin playthrough, just to see how the fight between Artemis is handled/avoided.

Day 1 should be a time to kind of define your character I think . There will be 6 other days, so why not devote Day 1 as a way to start defining the way your character acts before blocking choices? Kinda like an extension of the initial character creation. While blocking the choices does show responsibility, I feel as if implemented too early they can stunt the character’s growth kind of. (An obvious exception would be a magic system. The player shouldn’t be able to react with abilities they don’t have. Although I suppose that does come into play with racial picks as well.)

Forgive me if I’m wrong but isn’t there a way to stop an option from displaying at all? Not just faded but not even appearing to exist. Do you think that would help immersion?

That would be the *if or *if not command.

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That can be used during a *choice statement? Where can I find the related syntax?

This is from the wiki.

Same thing works with *if

Edit: Wiki liink

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Thanks, I knew how the *if command works thanks to previously experince before CS, I just didn’t know it could be used in a *choice statement.

For the book I am writing now, I can not decide which system to choose. Faded choices in my opinion, limits the reader. Often when I read thsese gamebooks, I was in situation where I was able to only choose one option from ten, because I did not have any skills needed. So for the book I writing now, I decided to use a “middle groud” between all these systems. Choices still have skill requirement, but that does not mean you can not risk taking it anyways. Sometimes the risk pays off, sometimes it does not.

Here is a picture of the system,

Rq means requires

What do you think?

@Nikssims, have you considered having some failed responses without alerting the player to the prerequisites? Like, if you click the first one but don’t have the speech prerequisite, you might get…

“Though you plead with the officer not to arrest your father, you find your speech-making skills fall short. The officer looks at you coldly and moves towards your father.”

It’s completely acceptable to do so without including the numbers, especially since your stat-fail in that example is very self-explanatory. :smile:

Alternatively, just hide the options that the player is unable to use. If you dislike the grayed out options, it’s possible to simply check with an “if” statement whether or not the player has the ability to make the choice. If they don’t, they don’t have to see it.

Personally I find numbers more distracting than grayed out options, but your mileage may vary. :blush: If you’re going to include it though, I feel it might make more sense to put the prereq after the text; that way, we can see what our options are before seeing what they require.

Gotta agree with Swan here, although I’m a bit curious, why is the bottom one marked “last chance”?

Ah, that is because you initially have to choose to support kingdom or revolution. If you choose to support the revolution you get the choice’s that I posted. It is a “last chance” to decide if you want to support kingdom or revolution. Because afterwards the game branches out in 2 big directions. Like you have to confirm your choice.

I’m not fond of seeing what I can’t have unless it’s got nothing to do with a characters personality. Eg- I prefer not to see choices greyed out if it’s against the character I’ve created. It breaks the story, I don’t want to see an option greyed out asking if I want to skin the guy alive if I’m playing the ultimate good guy… But find it acceptable if I can’t get a horse because I don’t have enough money. Or can’t select to climb down a cliff because I don’t have a rope.


Fair enough. I honestly didn’t even think of that.