Lengthy Games - Opinions?


#1

Id prefer to keep this an ongoing conversation if at all possible, just for constant input and an exchange in ideas.

When I first joined The CoG forum I had just finished playing Heroes Rise, and that to me was like the foundation of what a CYOA game should be. Your actions had consequences, those consequences affected game play and altering them changed the ending. Then I got into the Way Walkers series and I was absolutely smitten, I think it was the longest choice game I’ve played (Next to Tin Star, I think?) and there was such a delightful amount of lore I wanted to triple that word count in my own game.

I had a generalized plot, but then I began to doubt myself on motivated and rather it made sense for MC to do certain things in order to advance the plot. I had story mapped out that was almost similar to Dragon Age Origins in terms of End Game goals and player character interaction, but then it became daunting.

I had plot but was there enough interaction, I had multiple locations but were there options to explore those locations in depth? I had responses that increased stats, but would I be able to make every single one of those stats relevant?

When it comes to Choice games how do you enjoy them?

Is it more fun to have one long game that you can come back to again and again, or is it more exciting to wait for a new installment?

Is a ‘True Path’ more exciting, or is it more immersive when every action has an effect on the story?

How much interaction do you enjoy? Should your character’s actions affect beyond your immediate group? For example-- should what you do in one town spread to a place you haven’t even been before?

Do you approach interactive novels differently than other forms of gaming? Does it not make sense for a novel to try and achieve the same sort of interaction as a video game?

I hadn’t known about interactive novels before Choice of Games, unless Goosebumps counts. I guess I’d kind of like to open the floor for all sorts of opinions about this medium both as a writer, and game developer, I suppose?

What sort of characters get your attention?

Do you expect certain things from one form of gaming to another?

What sort of Choice games do you reach for, and which ones do you tend to skim over?

And more specifically to my case-- in a lengthier game would you like more intimate encounters?
Do you want to just complete objectives and advance, or does it make it that much better when regions are broken down to individual places and your character gets to experience interactions with characters that have no effect on the plot at all?

I just want to talk about writing games, I suppose!
Thoughts?


#2

My opinion: Super ultra mega long books WITH installments too. Yes, it is probably a pain for you to do that much work, but your pain, my gain, dude xD

I like to read them as if it were my story, as I said in another post, so also as much romance and interactions as your mind can handle.

Actions, should they spread? Yeah, especially the bad ones. We all know how, for example, if you kill someone and you get busted, when you move to live to another town there is this hush-hush about you and the rumors. Same with the “oh, this is the guy who killed the dragon!” ones, they should at least give people an opinion about you that later on you could try to change with your actions if so you chose.

Characters that get my attention, well, for love interest, the shy ones like Brigid I think in Fate Haven, or Patch not being able to say love, those are always a must for me xD
Also, those who get my attention in general would be those who act as nemesis, or companions. See nemesis as a totally oposed path vs my character’s.

About games I like, well, I like to be the hero or villain, see action, some fights, awesomeness, being badass and such. And I usually avoid detectives, follow hints and guess the culprit, solve the mystery etc. I like direct confrontation, not mental quizzes xD


#3

Personally I always prefer games where the Choices and Consequences system - something I think Life is Strange Developers conned a phrase as - is evident and done properly. But I suspect trying to get everything carried over from installment to installment doesn’t always work. One only has to look at Telltale’ Walking Dead games lately to see how they tend to only let a few things carry over, and often than not blend into the same thing anyway. So I like both but I think one long game tends to allow greater flexibility?

I am actually debating this whole concept myself with my Spider-Man Civil War fan game given I have strongly considered releasing it in three parts - was originally going to be six - but I may well try and do the whole thing instead.

As for True Paths I think those are usually a bad call. There’s no harm having a ‘I’m the Hero’ or a ‘I’m the Villain’ set of endings, but usually saying one ending is as things should be tends to make choices by the reader which are otherwise seem less important.

I like a good amount of interaction myself. I suppose it’s no surprise I like Lucid’s games more than most given that those empathize a great deal of choice, especially with more free form stuff like Life of a Wizard or Life of a Mobster. But the butterfly effect you suggest definitely can be considered!


#4

Well, quite lengthy stuffs you type, there. And I think your question is not limited to the topic of “Lengthy Games.” It’s basically IF gameplay core.

Now, I don’t think I can answer all of it, but I’d like to point out some stuffs I think interesting.

[details=Replayability vs. Series]Between replayability vs. new installment, TBH, I prefer new installment. Not because replayability can get quite boring, mind you (or maybe it is :confused: ), but leaving a story finished or do some cliffhanger will do the tricks where replayability can’t.
You know, there’s this saying “the process of thinking continues in the background, on the subconscious level.” (Also the reason why watching anime one episode per week’s more interesting than watching it “marathon-ly.” IMO)
[/details]

And then,

[details=Delayed Effect]interaction that affects not just local events, but also can accumulate and counts toward the ending. This may also known as “delayed effect.” *CMIIW
And for me, such things is a must for most, if not all, Interactive Fiction. It’s not your usual novel after all.
[/details]

But I quite like the “true path” thingy.

[details=Endings or Paths]In this case, I’ll take an example of yet the same game I mentioned all over the place before: Hollow Knight. (If you play the game or don’t want to spoil yourself, feel free to not spoil yourself)

[spoiler]In Hollow Knight, there’re basically 3 endings: Good, Bad, and True, although all endings can be considered bad depending on your views.

So, you’re a Hollow Knight. And there’s another Knights before you. Your task is to contain an intangible being, hostile cosmic power, lovecraftian deity, which goes by the name The Radiance.

The story of the game is that the previous Hollow Knight is no longer able to contain Radiance any longer (since this knight isn’t purely Hollow), and you’ve to take his(?) place before The Radiance are able to “leak out” and spread its influence. By the way, you contain Radiance by letting yourself being “possessed” by it. If The Radiance possess a hollow being, it can do nothing since it’s hollow.

At some point of the game, there’re few interactions which can determine which ending you’ll get.
The Good: You successfully take place of the previous Knight
The Bad: You learn the truth of your origin and your task of containing The Radiance (thus tarnishing your pure hollow status)
The True: As you learn the truth, you tried, gain, and hone a new secret ability which allows you to meet The Radiance face2face and slay it

Now, let’s not derail the topic, shall we? (but feel free to reply my comment and ask about the game, tho)[/spoiler]

IMO, the way that game handles the endings is purely awesome. It’s like, you can replay the game, get a different ending, and get better understanding of the universe.[/details]


#5

@derekmetaltron
As for True Paths I think those are usually a bad call. There’s no harm having a ‘I’m the Hero’ or a ‘I’m the Villain’ set of endings, but usually saying one ending is as things should be tends to make choices by the reader which are otherwise seem less important.

I cannot stand this kind of plot development. It leads players into thinking that the choices they make are important, but then at the end saying, ‘Actually, there’s only one ending anyway, so your version of events isn’t canon and won’t actually effect anything.’

Just like Mass Effect 3 and Choice of Romance. :disappointed_relieved:


#6

It’s definitely a problem a lot of games based around important choices have. Granted that it’s an hard thing for writers on a project to maintain, but they don’t always tend to reflect it that well. Some examples…

Walking Dead has recently suffered via the multi season format Telltale uses because choices set up at the end of season two meant nothing when season three started via a set of messy flashbacks for Clementine which brought practically everything to the same point. And of course this was done because Telltale wanted New Frontier to be a new start for the franchise and pretty much have you playing as a new character anyway. Though the series was already suffering from the fact that it had a complete writer;s change for every season too. The writers who had crafted Lee and Clem’s relationship and journey so well in Season One have lost since gone. Telltale still writes a lot of good games, especially Tales From The Borderlands, Batman and Wolf Among Us, but I think their multi-season content with Walking Dead (and likely Game of Thrones) tends to suffer.

Life is Strange was a stellar choice experience and good handling of the relationship between Max and Chloe (whether you chose to look at it as friendship or romance) but was seriously let down by a sub par final episode but also a final choice ending which rendered all of your choices moot by its conclusion, as powerful as a decision it happened to be. Given how it managed most other things though I am fairly confident about their next project in Vampyr.

I do think most Choice of Games and Hosted Games titles handle long term planning and making your decisions matter much better though. :slight_smile:


#7

Lengthy games are like a good series. I don’t want it to be over. I want to be able to come back and escape life more than once. I think every writer should make a piece, book, or game as long as they can. If it tedious, then it isn’t the right thing to be doing. The author should enjoy the things they write as long as they can. Their characters should be a second family, the problems they face emotionally impact the writer. If not that, then for the readers sake, make it a world they can get lost in for more than just one or two days.

Choices are a hard one. At times I find myself making some that are too cliche, some that are too soon or don’t fit the mood. But they should all ultimately matter. Even if it is three games from now, it should matter. Take for example the latest installment of my own game( haven’t posted it yet :upside_down_face:) If you are on bad terms with the leader and your owner, you don’t get to attend the war council, which in turn will impact the beginning of the second game. All choices should have consequences.

Personally my characters are real to me. They have emotional baggage, some happy, others shy. Some changed by years of killing and scheming. If you want a long game, you want characters people can understand. When people connect with characters, it makes it easier to become one with the world. Service yourself first, if you aren’t happy with your characters and dislike them, odds are your audience will too.

As far as games I like, I’m an all round kinda girl. As long as it’s something that has a good story and is intriguing, I will be satisfied. If it’s cliche or I feel like I’m getting things shoved down my throat ah, not so much. However, Medieval Fantasy has always been my cup of tea.

Good luck, I look forward to whatver you write.


#8

I think when it comes down to it, most choice games, are like real life in the choice transfer aspect. For example, if you interact with someone in the real world, and for some reason you argue with said someone, and you get slapped, you’ll remember it, but after a few weeks to a month, the memory will fade. Say a year later you meet that person again, in a different situation. They are friends of one of your enemies for example, and your subconscious brings back that memory of that person slapping you, because of the situation you are in. Most of these choice games are meant to focus on ‘in the moment’ choices. Some will save, and carry on to affect and alter later events, some will just be key choices in the moment.

In my opinion, these games have it right as far as real life likeliness. You gotta think to yourself when your creating these key choices, “is this gonna carry over in the next 5 in games years. Is slaying the dragon that murdered the king, gonna matter when I become king later, or I get cast from the kingdom for not kissing the feet of the douche bag Kings son, who now holds the throne?” Probably not. But the new Kings captain might bring it up in a fight when you invade the castle for revenge. Or a drunk brings it up in the tavern you’ve ended up in after the outcasting. If I were you, and I know this post is late in relativity to yours but may still help, is on a separate word document, take note of all key characters you interact with, and the big choices they have made, or events that may alter interactions later, and keep track of it. That way, when
your in a predicament where you can’t think of any events or choices, you can go back, and find characters or choices that might progress the story. For example (I know I give a lot but it helps), the douchbag new king is evil and cruel, and you need to figure out how to end him. It would be to easy and boring to do it yourself. So how about using the younger brother, whom you defended from the older brother in the beginning before the king died. But that would be too boring also. So, why not use the mother, the queen, who you’ve had a somewhat romantic interaction with through the years. That will work. Younger brother attempts to fight his brother, the new king, to remove him from throne. In a turn of events the older brother wins, and in a fit of rage, a culmination of all that is happening, attempts to kill the younger brother. Before that can happen, the mother steps in, and stabs the new king through the chest, ending his reign, and ending the cruel tyranny. Instances like that, is where writing a separate lost of characters and choices that you have made regarding them, and how they reacted to said choice, can help progress the story, and lengthen it out.


#9

I prefer both quality and quantity


#10

I am more inclined to buy a game if it is absurdly long, I like lengthy titles fer sure. I do like series though I have to admit it a point for long single entry games as opposed to series is you don’t have to worry about waiting for the next installment (I am horribly impatient) or the series being dropped altogether. Also (and I personally feel this is true for traditional books as well) I feel as though a lot of “momentum” can be lost in-between installments. Like the first part of a series can have a lot of good ideas and clear cohesion but the core of it can get lost along the way. I can’t tell you how many times I was enraptured by the first book of a series only to drop off halfway through the third or second book, this is in regards to traditional books, but I can still feel the dissonance in some of the games published here.