Perils of Adventure (WIP)


#1

First things first…I am acutely terrible at coming up with titles for my stories and games, so this title is subject to, and most likely will, change.

Now that that’s out of the way…I just wanted to say hi to everybody. I’ve played most every game on the choice of games website, and I love them. I also love visual novels, but since my drawing skills would probably (most definitely) detract from what I am trying to create, I stick to creating pictures with text. :stuck_out_tongue:

Perils (I need to come up with an actual, exciting name) is set in my own custom world from which an eventual novel will come, and I have great ambitions for it. I do have a bit of the intro coded and its playable, but so short that I’m not sure its worth it yet to put it up for people to have a look at. I decided to make a discussion thread for the game here and garner some input from the lovely folks on the forum who are more experienced than I. And outside opinions (besides my husband, who is most likely certainly biased) are always welcome.

The game begins with the protagonist returning home in shame after being ignobly ousted from their chosen profession by circumstances out of their control, becoming embroiled in the troubles of your home town, finding unexpected romance along the way, and dodging the consequences of your unfortunate recent past. It is a high fantasy setting of my own design, though I am not sure how much texture of the world I’ll be able to throw in without blinding people with giant walls of text.

I don’t want to share too many details of the plot…I’d rather get the intro done and throw it up for everybody to try out and see what they think. That said, I did come here with a couple of questions.

Second person, that is, ‘you,’ is definitely not my favorite way to write. I’ve read other threads on the forums here speaking of immersion and I would probably tentatively agree that ‘you’ seems the best way to draw the reader in and have them feel like they are the star of the story and developing their own character. But since you are ‘you’ and not a specific character, I’ve been struggling with the thought that the more I try to leave it open, the less interesting it becomes. If I can assume nothing at all about the protagonist, it makes interactions with other characters seem less meaningful, or maybe even boring.

In other words, is there a way to have a happy medium? I think that writing with second person is something I can deal with, but one thing I was considering doing is making a more restrictive main character.

I guess I need to use an example to explain what the heck I’m talking about. Lets use Commander Shepherd in the Mass Effect series.

You had the opportunity to choose Shepherd’s gender, their background, and service history, and through choices in the game, the ‘renegade’ or ‘paragon’ choices to shape their character. My Commander Shepherd as I played it might not be the same as your Commander Shepherd, because of the choices I made, but that character is still not ‘you.’ The fact that they voiced the character definitely added to this division. In Dragon Age: Origins (yes I’m a bioware nut) your main character was much more open ended…there were a lot more options to develop them. There was no strict main character in that game, unlike the second one, where you were most definitely Hawke, no matter how you modified that character.

So here is my question. Which do you think is better for a choose your own adventure game?

Would you be turned off if a writer restricted your character, instead preferring to completely imagine your own, or placing what you consider to be yourself in the role? The lack of choices in the former might make for a more compelling narrative…but that could be the novel/fiction writer in me trying to force it. Am I better off going against this feeling and going with the latter?


#2

A degree of character definition is definitely a good thing for a CoG. In Choice of Romance, for example, you’re a young, impoverished noble in need of a good marriage. So DA2 is definitely an easier road to go than DAO. Define what you need to define about the player character.

Note: If you define the character’s gender, certain sections of our community may give you crap for it. If you want to do that, then be up-front about your intentions and don’t be deterred if you receive people flaming you over it.


#3

personally if I couldn’t create my own character in a choice game I don’t play it is the problem I have with the last Bioware games. Hawke is the most horrible example where the immersion felling is zero or below that.

You could do a Mass effect way with different backgrounds but if is only one or two similar you kill all the replay possibility you don’t have fancy graphics to help immersion that Bioware character and please give the possibility of being bad renegade at least sorry for the wall of test it’s a difficult matter


#4

@Ramidel: As far as gender is concerned, one of the big things I made sure of was to make it so that you could play either gender, since I’m one of those people that definitely prefers to play a female protagonist and am always internally disappointed when I can’t play one.

@MaraJade: No worries, I wouldn’t consider your post a wall of text at all. I wanted feedback, after all. Though I don’t share your opinion of Hawke, I do agree that replay value is important in a Choice game.

The choices of character that I have planned out so far are:
Background:
Three choices of growing up, impoverished, middle class, and minor noble family
Gender: male or female
Profession: either a mercenary or an assassin, both with unique circumstances.

Also, there are choices as you how you entered either profession, depending on what you pick. I am trying to put a lot of personality choices in, and my aim primarily is (hopefully) to steer away from a strict ‘renegade’ or ‘paragon’ path in favor of more realistic shades of grey choices. For instance, the circumstances with which you are removed from your (mercenary or assassin) order contain hard choices and are not without consequence even if you choose the ‘noble’ path.


#5

well so far you are doing good selection of choices I think every one could create a good immersive character with that but what is the difference between mercenary and assassin for hire? many mercenaries kill for money, maybe other name to clarify it.


#6

I think there is no need to apologize for not-included character choices.
If I write a game about soldiers in WW2, then you have to play a soldier in WW2… or another game. That’s it.

Weigh up the pros and cons of playable concepts and decide what you want to include into your game.

  • Including a gender choice in a high fantasy dungeon crawl where gender would only influence some dialogues? => Almost no effort but a higher chance to give the player exactly that character he/she wants to play.
  • Including any background choice in a game where you play Julius Caesar. => Come on, you’re kidding…

If there is no possible character concept that I like… then, it’s not my game.
But that does not mean you would have to give me any choice at his background.

Better having one interesting but fix concept than the possibility to create one out of 1.000.000 possible idiots.


#7

Seems good so far, you added a good amount of variables but you didn’t make it seem impossible to code. If you want to you could try take the approach NS did with unnatural. The MCs past is set and also the career you set ( My brother found it really interesting but didn’t like SRT, so he is waiting for episode 7) but the player made choices that impacted the story and how your cases went. That added replayability and was well written, so as long as you don’t restrict the choices to the point where you’re completely rail-roaded.

EDIT: I had a thought on the title, how about: Unfortunate misadventures of a damned soul.


#8

Just like to pop in with my thoughts on this:

Sabres of Infinity has a very restrictive character selection process: The main character is a male, Tierran (the “protagonist” country) aristocrat aged 14-30. While I did catch a bit of flak for restricting some of the choices (gender, in particular), I feel that it gives me a lot more freedom to write, especially regarding the character’s setting-specific preconceptions and prejudices: “depth” as opposed to “breadth”.

However, what I have learned is that the more you restrict a player character’s customization options, the more you have to treat the player as a character in a world, as opposed to a competitor in a system of rules and challenges. The objective becomes to tell a good story with interesting characters in a vibrant world, not to allow a player a power fantasy where he or she is capable of an unimpeded, meteoric rise.


#9

@Marajade: You’re right about that. In this context, I’m using mercenary as more of an honorable group for hire. They aren’t affiliated with the rulers of any particular town, and generally keep their noses clean. In this story, they were hired to retake cargo that they were told was stolen from a prominent merchant. The job seemed fairly straightforward, but got complicated very quickly. In the end, the choice the player makes ends up deciding whether or not the leader of the company lives (a man that you respect and admire) or whether you save a group of people involved in the job that went wrong. You can’t save both. You can pick the one you have a personal acquaintance with to save, thus costing the lives of others, or save the others, thus sacrificing his.

@Ioelet: You gave a great example that definitely helped clarify things in my mind. In this game, gender primarily only affects your romance choices, and perhaps the way some of the characters react.

@Trollhunterthethird: I like your title idea. I’ll keep it in mind. Also, my preference is more for a tighter main character than an open ended one, but I think that what I have will work. I’m already thinking of my next game and I might change it up and go for a specific main character, though I will always give the the choice of gender, which I think is important. I think I can handle specific reactions pretty okay with the Elseif statements. The coding takes me a while, specifically when I mess about with indentation.

@Cataphrak: I definitely like where you’re going with your ideas. That is the type of story that I prefer writing, generally. For my next effort, I’m even thinking of using a different perspective, possibly first person. I think third takes you too much out of the action, but first can be fun. Especially if I’m more restrictive on main characters. If I can write two distinctive partitions of a character, starting with the gender, and still giving people the freedom to create their own distinctive take, it could be very interesting.

Here’s another question. How much detail is too much?

For instance, do you think its too much to ask a series of questions based on the appearance of the character (for my current in progress game), where the character is more open? I thought idly about keeping those in permanent variables and then creating tailored scenes that use them (I know that Choice of Intrigues did that). For instance, if your love interest reaches forward and brushes a strand of hair behind your ear, that scene could change depending on what kind of hair you have, or they can comment on the shade, something. In the area of color I would not give you a write-in of what color you want. If you picked red, for instance, I can indulge in the use of various synonyms. But if you wrote in pink well…that would be it.

Or even, if I’m feeling devilish, reward your character’s choice of long, flowing, impractical hair with an enemy grabbing and yanking on it.


#10

I personally subscribe to the “less is more” school when it comes to physical appearance. I feel that’s one concession to player self-insertion/preference I can allow without compromising the story. SoI’s cover art has a white guy with blue eyes and brown hair, but I’ve made it clear that he’s by no means the definitive main character, or even the main character at all: The Dragoon Officer could be a 140 cm tall albino with green eyes or a bald, 210 cm giant with the darkest skin humanly possible and muscles upon muscles upon muscles. That’s one thing I can let the player decide, and it helps that it means it also means I have less to keep track of.

One thing about putting a lot of stats into your game is that you’re constantly worrying about making them useful and making sure that decisions have consequences. While it might seem like a good idea to make a twelve-question sequence picking out physical traits from a list, the players will be expecting most of those decisions to be relevant further down the line.

Once again, just my opinion.


#11

@Emelisa you don’t need put different text for colors or hair type there is a command that do it for you

your wash your {hair} {size} hair.player will read “you wash your red long hair”

and for the grab by enemy is easy to do too I make similar things from my game.


#12

True enough! I’m trying to avoid putting too much stats in. Sometimes I have a tendency to make things a trifle too complicated. I’m finding creating a CYOA game quite different from novel planning, but refreshing.


#13

You could let the player choose whether he wants to choose every detail of his appearance…


#14

I like choose details and isn’t more work in code


#15

I personally find it easier to simply visualize the details. After all, if there is no information at all about the player, the player can be virtually anything. The only bounds between reality and the game would be how far you are willing to let your imagination run.

If you add choices for the description of your character, no matter how many choices there are, there will always be some restriction in how free your character can be. There will be restrictions that limit the movement of your imagination. I personally support the idea that there shouldn’t be anything to cram your imagination into.

Let’s take the Fleet, for example. On my first playthrough, which was admittedly rushed, I didn’t notice the lack of description to the character. Therefore, I WAS the character, to the extent that there was no difference between me and the captain.

If we add a character desciption, I feel we would be limiting the extents of your imagination. Although that is only my point of view. Other readers might disagree, and I’m not trying to start a debate on this. Sorry for any strong comments, but I just can’t resist posting this. (Come think of it, I never seem to be able to resist starting arguments. Sorry.)


#16

I agree with you, Wyrmspawn. While customization is nice, it’s not necessary and allows for the reader to imagine what they like without being bound to a certain set of details.


#17

I think it is also important how these facts are used in the game.
Typing “brown” as haircolor just to get a next page where you can read
“Your haircolor is brown.” sounds like fun if you are 6 years old and sit in front of a computer for the first time… or just finished your first line of coding and proudly checked if it worked.

I would like it, if your choices change something in the game.
Another character who doesn’t like you, just because he thinks all blonde girls were stupid (after you chose “female” and “blond”) but was afraid of you if you chose a tall black-haired guy.


#18

I agree with @loelet I include different ways to talk or solve situations in function what character dress is physical etc that’s why I love choose this type of customization


#19

So, on the plus side of adding appearance choices, more chances for customized scenes. On the down side, less room for imagination. It all depends on which you think is more important.


#20

Well, I’m fine with describing the character as ‘you’ in traditional Interactive Fiction/Gamebooks… Or uh, being some character with an Actual name, for example, Secret Agent Mongoose. But in Choicescript, you get to customize your name, appearance, masculine or feminine etc. Now, what I’m saying is that some viewers go fine with pretty much anything.
I’ve even appreciate the Choicescript game, ‘Heal’ where you get a preset character. The game is actually pretty interesting.