Page Length: When Does it Become A Wall of Text?


#1

I was recently going through my game files and adding page breaks, when I noticed that my pages tend to vary quite a bit in length. Personally, I don’t particularly care for long bits of reading before being prompted to make a choice or push the “next” button, but I have an extremely short attention span.

What I’m looking for is a public opinion on how long you prefer your pages to be, or if it makes a difference to you at all. Any thoughts on the matter would be greatly appreciated.


#2

This is something I’m struggling with as well. My pages aren’t even that long, but when I’m tired I’m too lazy to read it myself, which isn’t a good sign. I tried to make them shorter, but I feel like I already put the page breaks in the most logical places, and moving the “next” button would disrupt the flow of the story.

Another thing I noticed that affects readability is the length of the paragraphs themselves. While the paragraphs I write look pretty short in Notepad++, on a webpage with ChoiceScript’s huge default font even a few sentences look like a wall of text, and it makes me want to doze off as well. I tried to cut my paragraphs down, but I’m not too fond of two-sentences paragraphs.

Well, I guess what I’m trying to say is this: I’m going to bookmark this thread. :stuck_out_tongue:


#3

I think that depends a lot on your story, CoD for example has very short pages but CotV has very long pages, if I remember correctly.

Both work well for me.


#4

I think you should be limited to 140 characters. >:-)


#5

Lol @eposic

For me it just depends on the story, and the flow of the story it’s self. I do not think you really can set a rule for this, just write what works, and if it does become to long most us around here will be happy to let you know.


#6

I concur with Lordirish, it does depend on the type of story, but for me it’s more focused on whether the text is interesting. For example, the long expository paragraphs about politics in Choice of Intrigues/Romance utterly bored me as they felt secondary to the plot, the writing style wasn’t particularly noteable and poltical intrigue bores me.


#7

I agree, CoR/CoI did seem to drag a little at parts, particularly on subsequent play-throughs. It could’ve done with more choice or a deeper plot, the characters - bar your romance and cousin - just didn’t draw me in too well.


#8

It kinda depends. Sometimes I have about 1,000 words before you see a new choice, and other times I have only about 50 words before you see a new choice, so it evens itself out. Now if I were to have perpetual 1,000 word walls before new choices, that would be too much.


#9

One thing that makes wall-o-text easier to deal with is making the text dynamic.

Thus, if you’re using *ifs and string variables to make a given wall of text different each time you see it, it’s much more interesting/forgivable.

At least, that’s what I tell myself.


#10

Personally I try to make sure text doesn’t go over 4 pages on Word before placing choices (or a single “continue” break), but I’ve been known to discard that rule to extend it to 5 or 6 pages (once even 7) if the story needs it.

Really I’d rather a writer go a bit overboard than just write a bunch of 2 sentence pages. As long as the story itself is interesting and actually has paragraphs, it’s not going to be a “wall of text” to me.


#11

I agree with customizing text to tailor content to the player. Otherwise, I don’t mind reading long stretches of text if the payoff is a choice with impact. I have read some CYOA that breaks up text with superfluous choices and that just irritates me. I’d rather read 10k words than have the story interrupted with a choice on the type of pet I like, unless that pet choice has direct impact on the story.


#12

I do test-runs on my tablet. If I need to scroll to get to the end of the page, I consider paring down the text or inserting a *page_break somewhere.


#13

While I’m all in favor of customizing text, IMO, it doesn’t help with the “wall of text” problem. First-time players may never know that the text was customized; if they have a bad experience with walls of text, they might not even bother finishing/replaying the game!