Looking for a realistic game setting-Can i use school but without studying?

Hi, i’m working on a game about how people (teen-young adult in particular) interact with each other. It will probably end up being a teen drama.

I’m looking for a realistic setting for the game to take place. I was thinking about using a high school setting, but am not too crazy about adding study/grading options. I want the focus to be on interacting with other people, so I was thinking about making most of it take place outside of school (after school, weekends, parties, etc) with only brief references to class.
I want the focus to be on these stats:

                        Society vs. Rebel (this is whether the character tries to fit in with the crowd or go against it. it'll have a major effect on the ending.)
                         Confidence (Shows how much confidence/self esteem the character has. I'm thinking about locking out/opening up new choices based on this stat, and it will also affect the ending.)

                          Karma (goes up or down based on good or bad choices. i definitely want to lock out/open up choices based on this stat, and this will greatly affect the ending too)
                         Image (this is how good your character looks, will probably open up optional choices but won't  affect the ending much)

I think a study option (that actually does something in the game) would make the game more complicated to write, since I’d have to put in a grading system and then have it somehow affect the game. (I’m only thinking about story and design right now, so this has nothing to do with coding). maybe I just could throw some tests in, and how the player handles them affects confidence and karma (whether or not they cheat)…

Any other ideas on whether or not to include studying, and how to keep it simple? Any other feedback is welcome too.

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Like the idea, and could go either way on studying.

You definitely don’t need to have study/grading options. Think about how many movies and tv shows and books are set in schools, and how little time they spend on how well the characters are doing in class and their specific grades, unless it’s plot-appropriate.

What did you plan for Image? An opposed stat with Alternative at one end and Fashionable at the other? Ugh fashionable isn’t the word I want though, but I’m drawing a blank. I meant hmm, like normal stylish, expensive designer clothes based on what’s currently fashionable, via stuff like goth/punk. Or did you mean that at 0 they’ll have no sense of style at all and not be noticeable, whereas at 100 they’re a trendsetter, be that in what style? Or did you just mean it as physical attractiveness?

There’s no reason why you can’t just have the tests so inconsequential that you let the player pick how well they did in them.

I’ve no idea about studying. I rarely bothered to study at school, and I did homework sporadically based on if I enjoyed the assignment or not. This didn’t have any bearing at all on me passing my exams though. And now as an adult, when school is but a distant memory, my exam results don’t seem to matter at all compared to how important they seemed back then.

So this is like high school or middle school? imma just assume it’s highschool I remember I was quite the stud… I even dated a teacher but then again I was the only student in the class because I was homeschool’d… Wait what?

Well, you could have a generic “grades” score, and then, during classes give the option to do something social, or pay attention improving grades, and after school a study option vs hanging out or going shopping or whatever.

You don’t necessarily need discrete grading levels, something like Grades = 80-100: “your grades were excellent this year, your parents are quite pleased and you can expect more leeway this summer”. If you don’t want to write a punishment or penalty for bad grades you can set it so without any effort the player ends up with average grades, basically making good grades a bonus score type thing.

That was just spitballing though, it’s totally fine to remove grades and schoolwork if you aren’t trying to make a high school simulator type game. Just throwing in little references and maybe a “you’ve completed your homework, how will you spend the rest of the day?” or some sort of “Midterms are coming, this might be a good time to cram with one of your friends” type event that boosts your relationship

Since Margret Thatcher had recently died maybe you could do a setting in her time?

Their were lots of teens and children divided by rebelling to the government while others were kept on a leash by their rich parents. Their were lots of teens actively and secretly lashing out in their own way - This was an era where teenagers were more active with politics but had dealt with it in their own way, by being teenagers.

The trouble is studying is generally boring story-wise. Unless you plan to have studying at the library where you can meet interesting people, or having a friend who you do homework with, it just seems to be something that actually prevents you from engaging in the story. You can study or you can go on fun adventures and meet your friends and do things that are fun.

Now you could offer an intelligence stat, allow options for it to be raised, and just use that for exam results. But really if exams don’t matter, if they’re not intended to be a focus of your game I don’t think you require it.


I was at school when Margaret Thatcher was in power. Her time is called the 1980s. :slight_smile: Ha, it’s amusing to think of the image you portray it. I was, admittedly, not a teen at the time. I’d prefer a modern setting.

@FairGodfeather Really?! Us kids are given too much of an exaggeration of history sometimes, I have too much imagination and I always did this to make history more . . . Interesting.

To have a school setting but no study, set it during the summer holidays/spring break.

I hope anyone who read my last post knew I was joking about dating my fam, anyway I know what to do yo… maybe you can focus on the core classes as their own stats like for example.

Algebra: 0
Social Studies: 0
English: 0
Science: 0
Foreign Language: 0

And have 2 extra curricular classes that give you like some sort of specialty? and you could make the class paths sorta help with making friends like you could be good at Algebra and help an NPC out with their homework, or vice versa. or if you have high foreign language you may be able to befriend the exchange student, and I think if it’s based in a school enviroment school should play a big part of it, and have schools events have proms, possibly spelling bees, track meets, ect.

I kinda also believe the School grades should effect the conclusion, possibly the main plot should revolve around doing well in school not just socially but grades aswell, like maybe you have a few friends and they all have different plans for college and you have to meet certain grades and aspects to go to that college and stay in contact with a friend or just get the job of your dreams.

I think if someone plays the game and gets like D or below on all school work I think they should get a not so great ending, or get a premature ending if they get to many failed tests XD I was a D student in real life, like if it’s senior year you could make it you get your diploma or not or if it’s freshman you can span the story over what? 4 years that’s cool

There should be a detention stat too that effects stuff like if your invited to school events because XD in rl I got logged over 70 hours of detention in one year possibly more, and they eventually kicked me out so I guess if you hit detention too many times its game over, but having zero detention hours logged shouldnt always have a desirable outcome, like I improved alot of my relationships with my teachers because they put more effort on me because they knew I was a troubled child who wasnt all bad.

@Trollhunterthethird I feel so old now. The eighties was history. o.O I’ve heard 80s movies being referred to as classic films. It’s strange to think that there’s adults alive nowadays that weren’t even born in the 80s.

History’s generally about the highlights anyway. I’d certainly advise against doing a game set in the 80s unless you either lived through them, or wanted to do a game based on the various 1980s movies. I suggest Heathers as inspiration as opposed to The Breakfast Club.

I hated school. I’m so glad I’m no longer there.

@FairyGodfeather I hated school too well im still having to mess with college stuff but I still hate school with a passion.

@FairyGodFeather that’s what i was thinking, there’s a lot of stories out there that don’t really include studies. i didn’t know if that would carry over in a game.

By image i mean physical appearence/attractiveness. Things like do they put makeup on, do their hair, dress according to a certain theme, basically how much effort do they put into their looks? The look doesn’t neccesarily have to be trendy, since you can go either preppy (or whatever’s popular) or punk/goth and look good either way. that’s why it’s separate from the society/rebel stat. so it’s pretty much the 0-100 scale you mentioned.

also, i don’t want to set it in the 80’s. i don’t know anything about the 80’s and can relate to this decade much better!

@TDilz i might put in references like you said, that’s a good idea.

@2Ton i like the detention idea, so i might try to fit it in. maybe the kid can either be a troublemaker in the classroom or just pay attention and study. The stats and things you set up would be great for a school simulation game (i’m thinking the very first episode of surviving high school), but i want the focus on this game to be on a character-driven story, so i don’t want to go that in depth with the studying. i haven’t decided on the time frame yet, but i’m thinking a 4 yr time frame like you said. in that case i’ll need to include grades in the ending somehow… ah well the kid’ll prolly pass with no effort :stuck_out_tongue: i also like the idea of having school events.

i might throw in a teacher romance option, just to shake things up. maybe. :-?

@Phoenixred019 Dating teachers? sounds controversial so I support it 100% XD I think most people had a crush on one teacher at some point, so dating aspect seems cool especially if you can get your grades raised a bit.

Good! I agree entirely with setting it in the present day.

Think of it as a story, not as a game. It’s perfectly possible to tell a story based in school without needing to worry about exams. Exams are only a small part of school after all.

I would be strongly opposed to any game which allows for the dating of teachers. I would find that sort of path particularly creepy. I know that it is a staple of the high-school genre but I find the idea horrible.

Maybe dating a teacher as a high school freshmen could be a lil awkward but by senior year I think it’s cool.

Is it just me or is there always a pedophile-esque teacher or something in the school? In my high school we had a pedophile principal who was asking students to move in with him and even tried to propose to a girl after she graduated. XD I found that funny but creepy, and I was surprised how like none of the staff has even mentioned it when it’s hella obvious he is calling girls to his office for ‘interviews’ and giving them his personal number to contact him whenever he is ‘needed’ and religiously wants to take shortcuts through the girl’s lockerroom, when he knows there are girls in there.

One of the teachers at my school was a paedophile. It makes me angry just thinking about it. He was a predator that molested children. It wasn’t cool and it wasn’t funny.

I don’t think there’s anything cool about dating a teacher. Teachers are in a position of authority and they should not take advantage of that. I think it’s perfectly reasonable for students to be portrayed as having crushes on teachers, but the teacher should not, under any circumstances, reciprocate. If you want to do that sort of relationship then do it college age, 18+.

I think that the best examples of doing a school roleplay where you give huge emphasis on interacting with others, and minor to moderate emphasis on the studying itself would be Persona 3 & 4. (Though of course, minus all the dungeon fighting and stuff.) P3 & 4 is by far great examples in which you have to manage your time to be able to get your studies high, raising appearances/behaviors/personalities and what not, and getting to know every single one of your classmate/friends in-depth.

Though, I can see how troublesome it will be and how very different this game can be if you choose to be either a girl or a boy, because, well, a girl would put much more time into makeup and they would probably do very different activities and would have a bit more discrimination rather than boys would have. At least, from what I observe and from what I hear from other people.

But overall, I love this idea. I just really, really, really love it. I’m a big sucker for these kind of games, and your idea is great! Keep it up!

@Random What’s Persona? I keep hearing about it alot but I dont know much about it I kinda tried to watch an episode and was highly lost

EDIT: @FairyGodfeather I dont think people being taken advantage of is funny or people being forced to do something against their will is funny either, I suck at clarifying myself so sorry if I made it sound like, “Rapists are funny” not what I mean at all.

I dont think the principal was a rapist or had slept with any of the students I just thought it was funny he went out of his way to flirt with younger girls. when it was obvious no one was interested. I think the guy is creepy but I dont think he would force himself on anyone, all the girls he flirted with were bordering on 17-18 I know thats still underaged but if they agree to date him I dont believe that’s illegal in anyway I think it’s the sex part that determines if it’s wrong or not, ive never read a law that saws a person of age cant date a person who is underaged.

I also kinda think if someone goes after a teacher and the teacher accepts them I dont think the teacher is the predator I think the student would be benefiting more, since the teacher would have more criticism placed upon them, and even possibly lose their job, while the student would probably have more leniency in class and tell all their friends they are dating the teacher.

@2Ton Don’t watch the anime, it’s kind of bad, or so I heard. The games are awesome though. So I recommend watching a Let’s Play of P3 or P4 instead, since they tell you everything from top-to-bottom and you’ll understand it.

Basically, you’re this high schooler with a group of other high schoolers, and you all have this power to fight these monsters called Shadows, either at midnight for P3, or during the afternoons for P4. You then have to manage your time between school, your social life, as well as fighting these Shadows at night. And usually, you need to increase your charisma, intelligence, and a few other traits to be able to interact with different people.

It’s also actually kind of like a Choice of Games, since you can actually pick what dialogues your character says, which can decrease/increase your relationships with people and evoke different responses. Except with more, you know, images, animations, and a hell lot more of fighting.

Actually, if I have to make a comparison, it’s almost like Heroes Rise in the style, since they both have a linear storyline, but gives the player’s the ability to shape the protagonist’s personality through the dialogue choices. But then again, this comparison may be an exaggeration.

But then again, it’s really hard to explain everything, so I really just suggest you watch a Let’s Play of this thing. Or you can also read Wikipedia about it really.