Personality Variables vs Personality Variable (in the singular) [Poll]

I’ve looked through a few dozen topics and haven’t seen this particular question asked, so I’d like to see some opinions from the community.

When it comes to being able to have 3-4 personality types for the player chara
cter, EG: sarcastic, sincere, angry, flirtatious, or whatever else, would you prefer it be on an opposing pairs scale (EG Sarcastic vs Sincere, Angry vs Flirtatious), a numerical system (with the top numerical value at any time winning out in prewritten, non-choice scenes), or a one and done set (where the first time you select a personality choice, that becomes how your character interacts with the world)? Or, alternatively, a way that I haven’t personally thought of.

Each has its pros and cons, so I would love to know what most people prefer.

  • Opposing Pairs Scale
  • Unique variables, top one wins out
  • Set personality with a single choice
  • Other (please comment)

0 voters


I honestly prefer personality traits to be in opposed pairs, especially since it’s easier on the eyes for me compared to a numerical system
The last one can be interesting, too, though I think a lot would be put off by that approach.
Why not make a poll?


Because I’ve been gone a year and forgot that was a thing to do, and am adding it now :stuck_out_tongue:

That was my biggest concern. That’s currently how I’m writing things - a) it makes things easier for me to code, knowing I have to code an estimated 300,000 words (plus code) and b) I like the idea of a person’s personality just being it, but I want feedback from the community, as well :slight_smile:

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Don’t worry. I don’t even know how to make one :joy: I just knew it was possible.

It also gives a smoother flow to the narrative, I think. It would probably work with shorter stories, but yeah, a lot of folks prefer to shape their character’s personality as the plot goes on. I was so tempted to use that system for my WIP before I started it :laughing:

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I’m neutral towards the opposed pair system. Sometimes it’s executed very well and I have no complaints, other times my MC acts in a sarcastic way when in that moment I wouldn’t have chosen to be sarcastic.

I don’t mind a numerical scale or one and done set. I think it mostly depends on how the author balances player personality and player agency. I don’t have a lot of strong feelings for personality variables and I could go one way or another since I prefer pre-set protagonists like Sidestep from Fallen Hero.

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What do you think about the ability to develop personality with choices later, but it’s still a set choice -

EG: Player chooses sarcastic, but after a few events, has become a more sincere person in their RP. Perhaps from the stats screen, they have the option of adjusting their selected personality archetype?

This keeps it simple enough to code, while also providing player agency to respond how they feel would be most accurate in a given situation for their character.

My concern about opposed pair is the same as @AChubbyBlackCat’s - if the player is normally sincere but accidentally chose one too many sarcastic responses, they may feel their character is responding in a strange, out-of-character fashion.

Me neither. I like it when personality traits go along more with the MC’s actions and decisions rather than simple dialogue events. While there were some fixed aspects to Sidestep, the readers can still have some leeway on how their MC would perceive things and how to feel about them. It’s much more enjoyable to write that way, too.

I can’t imagine yet how that will be done. It’s a little confusing (maybe it’s just me). But if it doesn’t break the immersion, I think it’s fine.

This is also why I hate including sarcasm vs genuine in the personality system. They’re hardly doable if you still want to create an MC with a set past and background. Sometimes it just comes off bland.


I like the opposed pair system, but like @AChubbyBlackCat said, it varies. Like for me I try to give the player the choice and make sure that there is a sarcastic choice in in there. That way the player can decide how to respond and continue to build their stats. I just use string variable and have an NPC say, hey MC is so sarcastic or sincere, depending on if sarcastic stat is higher or lower. if that make sense.

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The way I’m envisioning it atm looks kind of like this:

"How're you holding up?"
	#"I literally want to die," I say in as deadpan a voice as possible. (Set personality as sarcastic, which can be changed in the stats screen.)
		*set (personality "sarcastic")
		*goto after_personality_set
	#"I could really go for a break right now. How about coffee?" I ask honestly. (Set personality as sincere, which can be changed in the stats screen.)
		*set (personality "sincere")
		*goto after_personality_set
	#"I've never been more annoyed at anything in my life," I say angrily. (Set personality as angry, which can be changed in the stats screen.)
		*set (personality "angry")
		*goto after_personality_set
	#"Better now that you're here," I say, a lilt to my voice. (Set personality as flirtatious, which can be changed in the stats screen.)
		*set (personality "flirtatious")
		*goto after_personality_set

Then, within the stats screen, where you’d have choices to go to various pages, add a choice along the lines of

*label main_menu
  *goto People
  *goto Places
#Change my personality type
  *goto Personality

*label Personality
Your current personality archetype is ${personality}. What would you like it to be?
   *set (personality "sarcastic")
   *goto main_menu
  *set (personality "sincere")
  *goto main_menu

or something similar. I kinda just whipped that up, so forgive any mistakes lol

Yeah, I wouldn’t want to do that. I’d like to allow for as much immersion as possible, without requiring every series of player-based interaction to either have the player be silent or have a tree of 10,000 choices/fake_choices

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I think I get it now. That’s interesting :hushed: I feel like I’m starting to prefer this over the others lol. I’d only advise it if you only have one book planned, though. There are more factors that might get complicated if combined with this in case you implement it on a series.

Yep. And it allows for more character depth. While fake choices aren’t totally bad to have a lot of, it’s still better if most of them have more significance on the flow of the plot rather than simple dialogue changes. More interesting that way.


Said “other”. I like when at the start of the game the personality of the MC is set and this is how they interract with the world, but I don’t think it should be set in a single choice.
Samurai of Hyuga does it - the first part of the first game functions as most IF games, with a bunch of opposed stats and each choice affects one of these, and then you reach a point where stats don’t move anymore, and instead you get an attunement stat that goes up or down depending on how much the MC act as they “should” based on that personality (and the main stat the player selected).
But even without the attunement factor, I think that would be my favorite - having choices affect stats for one or two chapters or something, and then not anymore.
A single choice would not be enough, since sometimes one is tempted to undertake a specific action that would otherwise be out of character for them, and if it happens to be that determinant choice, well, that would be bad.


That’s totally fair! There are definitely cons to having any major plot decisions come down to one singular choice.

I think the attunement stat from that game was very similar to the Legend stat from the Heroes Rise series, where the game really rewards you for sticking to the status quo, which I think is definitely a cool way to do things.

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Hmm I see the similarities between Attunement and Legend, but it’s not exactly the same, as Legend mostly rewards you for “doing well” generally, with sometimes additional rewards for staying true to MCs whole deal (mostly for the second game, with the show), while the Attunement truly “rewards” behavioral tendencies, with only sometimes boosts when figuring out things with the input system and/or very good intuition.
I prefer Attunement to Legend because of that.

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I actually don’t mind the third option and would actually like to see it done more often–and that change of heart comes almost entirely from how @Snoe does it in Freak: Amidst the Neon Lights WIP and playtest.... last update July 4th 2019

I can understand the preference for opposing stats in determining personality, but I tend to get frustrated when a game lets those stats be malleable for too long or for the entirety of a game. Like, at a certain point I want to be done customizing my MC, personality included, and just read the story instead of worrying that reacting a certain way in Chapter 17 is going to suddenly turn what was supposed a sweet character into a sarcastic grump. I also find that opposing stats, when underwhelming, tend to reveal what a writer perceives certain traits and actions to be more than they actually enhance the reading experience or MC’s individuality.

And especially if you’re more of a plot or mechanic-based game, I think a choice of different, set personalities would work better than including a personality stat that has to constantly be considered and catered to. There’s also the (reasonable) reader expectation of their personality stats actually being reflected in the narrative and dialogue itself but that isn’t always the writer’s strong suit or what they were trying to focus on. Again, Freak: Amidst the Neon Lights does it so well ^ ^ I’ll almost definitely be providing a list of three or four set personalities for my next big WIP (a farcry from what i’m doing with opposing persona, personality, and demeanor stats with the current WIP lmao)


Largely the same here. I’m not keen on anything that tries to assume actions or behaviours for me. I’d go as far to say as I wouldn’t recommend tracking personality as stats at all. Instead always give the player agency to act, or respond. It’s a lot more work, but there is nothing more jarring than picking an option and getting an unexpected expansion thanks to earlier stat locking.


Yeah, that would be the ideal option, but a lot of hard work.

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This! Especially since people can behave differently in different situations (being sarcastic with your friends and being sarcastic with your boss… are two very different things, and I’d hate the game to force the other on me, because I did the one).

I mean, unless it’s a set protagonist. Then it’d be more fine (depending on how well written they are).


How do you feel about having to choose every single response for every conversation, a la an early, pre-mass effect, Bioware game? Full disclosure, I will not do this, until and unless I rework the game in Ren’py, which is the plan, anyway.

I feel like, in a text-based game, this actually breaks immersion for me. I like my character to have their own voice. I’m not playing D&D. I’m controlling a character with their own background, whom an author created.


i’m of the same mind here and yet I really like that there were individual dialogue responses for Red Embrace: Hollywood (a vampire visual novel). It never felt tedious in that game… then again, that game is a lot about social machinations and consequence (and isn’t just text-based), so it may have just been uniquely suited to working that type of conversation in. I think the reason that works for me with this one game is probably that the narrative felt quite personal to the MC. I don’t think that game tracks personality much, though…

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I loved Knights of the Old Republic, if that’s the kind of games you’re referring to :slight_smile:

I think the character background varies per game/author preferences. Some go very blank slate, and others predefine – some strike a balance. For what it’s worth, I have no issue with predefined characters. If I’m playing a grump, I’ll happily play a grump (if the story is good). My issue is as above, when the text defines my character based on a handful of previous interactions: I’ll always be sarcastic because I was sarcastic a couple of times before. The same would apply if the game just assumed I was well-built/muscular because I chose to bully my way through a crowd, for example. I might want to play a scrawny character, but just happened to feel that was the best option at the time.

On the other hand, if I select “I lift weights five times a week”, then I would be happy for the game to assume that means my strength stat should be quite high!

Also, at any point where the text can vary, you must already have an if statement checking personalities, so why not just replace it with a choice? When you put it like that, it doesn’t seem like all that much extra effort (to me).

But, anyway! This is just my preference, here for discussion. Personality stats seem very popular in ChoiceScript titles, so I’d imagine I’m in the minority.