Marked romantic/flirting choices

Depends on the game, but I generally prefer an emoji-free experience, and one where there can be surprises in my interactions with the characters, not ones where I understand and control everything. Ambiguities and misunderstandings are an interesting part of life. I don’t like relationship stat bars or other explicit reductions of the relationship to a number, either.

All this no doubt puts me in a minority, so don’t take me as your audience exemplar. :slight_smile:


In theory, I agree with this. In practice, I’ve had too many people (mostly authority figures and horny men) misconstrue my most innocent statements to appreciate it happening in a game, where there isn’t even an opportunity to set the record straight about what I meant.


I love these. I find them really fun. I should add more of them.


Yeah, thats the best solution, there are some cases where you need to have this sort of thing.

For example, Shae, one of the ROs of When Life Gives you Lemons. During one of their interactions, you can slap them when they try to kiss you, that has a heart next to it, because she is freaky like that.

If it didnt have a heart, like all other romantic choices, most people would assume that the slap would damage the romance. But it doesnt.


But if sometimes a player thinks it’s platonic but the choice is actually for romance, wouldn’t it be better for them to have maybe a symbol that they can recognize.

I have symbols in my choicescript , cause I don’t really like emojis. But is there a difference? :thinking:


I’d wager it depends on the symbols in question (are there people who would say pi is an emoji?) and the age and familiarity with the technology in question of the person you ask, but I could be wrong. (In my opinion, :spades: is an emoji, ♤ is a symbol.)


Here are my symbols:
And pi is not an emoji…or so I think.:thinking: :pie: hj
(tbh im too cheesy :cheese: )

⋆.ೃ࿔*:・Increases Romance points= ♥️⋆.ೃ࿔*:・

⋆.ೃ࿔*:・Decrease Relationship points= ✗⋆.ೃ࿔*:・

I am terrible at reading tone, so I appreciate the indicators. Particularly for Choicescript which has no back button. I do not have any particular preference for the format of those markings, in the context of just marking the romance choices. For emotions in general, it gets rough if you try to differentiate between too many secondary feelings (feelings wheel attached for anyone unfamiliar with what secondary feelings are).

I agree with others here that it can lead to a must-get-points mentality, so it is important to consider if the marking system you are using fits with the playthrough experience you have in mind. For example, if you are doing a quest-focused game where romance and relationships are sort of secondary to the story, marking the romantic choices is going to be a perfect fit to reduce player frustration. It may not be a great fit for a romance game where almost all dialogue choices only impact flavor text, but you may still want to mark high-stakes choices that will lock you into or out of romance.


This thread has been really useful for learning about different perspectives!

I’d sort of leaned towards trying to make it clear from context clues and dialogue tags (e.g. “You’re cute,” I flirt), but it seems like a lot of folks really appreciate having the explicit indicator. I don’t think I’d ever do general tone indicators - I always specify with dialogue tags if I believe there’s any ambiguity or interpretation - but romantic ones seem important. (that’s why I asked after all!)

I’m still not completely and 100% sure about them… mostly cause I have a habit of hedging or dreaming up edge case scenarios. For instance, @HarrisPS mentioned right at the start that interactions could have different overtones depending on whether there’s an established relationship, and I agree with that! It makes me a little concerned that somebody might then go “hey wait, there was no indicator but then that interaction was flirty!”

Also the case of like. Okay this is an active romance scene. The characters definitely know that this is a date… is it necessary to mark everything all romantically when the staging is so upfront?


Personally I don’t like it, it’s sort of immersion breaking to have certain dialogue options marked (and I wish Bioware never started that trend.) but I do understand that with the way choice scipt is running that it would become a hassle to miss something just because the choices weren’t clear enough. If only they would finally implement a save system so people can just go back in peace to pick a different choice without feeling pressured to play perfectly from the get-go. It would A) appease people who don’t want their immersion to be broken by having symbols suddenly appear and B) help people who want to go explore different choices by just going back to their latest save. Alas we can’t have everything in life so as a compromise I hope that authors will include a toggle to turn symbols on/off.

This is also just my personal feeling but I’d rather have authors focus on constructing meaningful dialogue options instead of just throwing a heart at the end of some vague sentence that may or may not indicate a flirt option. Isn’t that the beauty of cog?


Well that’s a really good question, there are different levels of romanticism like in-
When life gives you lemons there’s a heart for maybe small love a little flirt, but fire for explicit scenes.

And honestly that’s what makes When life gives you lemons unique from other WIPs .(:clinking_glasses: cheers to @CC_Hill )

But as @Cedion most symbols identify if a choice is romantic or not. But-you do have a point, authors should have an option to toggle but that’s a lot of work. I think symbols help readers, Just imagine if you clicked on the most platonic sounding choice but it turns out romantic.

That’s why authors have them. In many choicescripts there are options that are the same but one means romantic. :smile:


I know from experience that this happens in games (and vice versa), so I definitely see the argument. That said, isn’t the issue here the phrasing, not the lack of marker? If the writing is muddled and unclear, slapping a heart emoji is just a band-aid solution. I worry that if you set out with the heart emoji in mind from the start, it might become a crutch.


Welcome to the forums!

And your right it’s kinda like saving the reader from falling into the wrong choice and having to restart. But my question is to the people who experience it, does it make them like symbols more?

Then there shoiuld be another choice later on for the player to dial it back down?


The only game I can think of that gives you constant in’s and out’s of romance while still allowing you to pick another ro is Fallen Hero. Maybe Stars Arisen I can’t remember exactly

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Emoji indicators? Absolutely not. Some other type of symbol indicator? Maybe, but like others have said include an option to turn them off.

I think this might be the best choice, even if it might put the author at risk of being too vague. Tone indication works best in the style of the game, so choices reading as a part of the narration are definitely the way to go, hells, if you think its at risk of being too vague include the whole first paragraph of the next page.

I think the best indication for when you’ve actually romanced someone is getting an achievement that says character romanced. Then if you’re afraid it’s coming too late and now they’re already locked in, include an option to immediately backtrack.


“You’re breaking up with me? B-but why!?”
“Achievement unlocked.”


Why do people need these indicators in the game if they don’t need them in real life? there’s something to think about.

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Because in real life, relationships are usually built on more than one or two conversations. And most people communicate as much through tone and body language as through actual words.


I’d argue that plenty of people do need these indicators in real life, actually! (Often more than they need them in a game.) They’re just not as easy to implement in real life.