POLL : Wastelander

I’ve been meaning to ask you people about a really important topic, would you rather prefer a great story or a huge open world sprawling with quests in a text based game? The reason for asking this is because of a really ambitious project I’ve been working for, I’m halfway through and there are some changes I’ve been meaning to make.

I prefer a great story over a huge open world, not just in text based games. I actually used to play MMO-RPG’s for a while, but after a few months I usually lost track of the ‘main’ story (in all games I played, it’s not an isolated incident) because of all the side-quests and explorable areas, and then quickly lost interest. The only reason I even played them in the first place was because of the story. The story is usually easier to keep track of in regular RPG’s, but even then I often quit halfway through just because everything gets too confusing.

1 Like

Yep. I also vote story.

Though to be fair, if there weren’t huge open world games, we’d never get hilarious incidental stories like this one (contains very mild spoilers for Skyrim):


I agree with story over huge world. I’m a sucker for a good story that suck me in. I love a good sprawled out world since there’s a lot to adventure but sometimes I’d just rather get on with the story and not have tons of side things to do to carry on.

yes I’m looking at you Dragon Age Inquistion.

1 Like

I vote story as well. Not only does a darn good yarn do more to draw in a reader and works better to define and create compelling characters but also plays to the strengths of interactive fiction.

1 Like

My vote would depend on you.

Some sandbox games are wonderfully rich in story as well as being open and varied.

There is a thread here that talks about Choicescript being on rails or not… that thread is essential for you to read because it talks about the limitations that are inherit in writing a choicescript game.

The older MMO games required the user/gamer to have more of an imagination to achieve believability because they relied on graphics when graphics were not as good as they are today. The games here utilize that same creativity in the reader/gamer

MMO games went away from the story as they evolved - although I am not in the latest, even the Elder Scrolls was taken away from the story-strengths, and moved towards the “game” part - something that many of its beta testers warned would cause issues down the road.

RPG games should keep a central story in focus but again, current modern day variations have shifted to the perceived popularity of shooters and games like Destiny. I think (and other long time testing vets) think many of these developers are screwing the pooch and messing up… but for now they refuse to listen to us and are looking to multiplayer and “co-op” devises to expand their market into the boy-teen market.

That is another thing - most developers and writers are still stuck believing in a model where only 15 year old males play games. I’ve been breaking this sterotype nearly my entire life but they usually still only listen to what testers like me say only after they mess things up.

Dragon Age Inquisition had a chance but for whatever reason they decided to follow the Destiny gravy train. As a result EA has lost many die-hard RPG gamers.

Anyways to draw that here - there are authors like @JimD and @Lucid that know how to pull off huge worlds and a story… my suggestion would be to follow their lead… they and others like them (too many to name) here do pull off what you want to do.


I prefer an open-world setting, because it offers more variety as to the things that the player can do, much like in the CoG game called Tin-Star.

It depends on how much code your willing to write, I like both myself and working on a project that was first intended to be open sandbox. After many failed attempts, due to the sheer size of the code needed it I have toned it down by 60%. I trying to balance between that sandbox feel and and a great story. I wish you luck if you go for the sandbox approach as it a huge undertaking.


I vote for story over open world, but that’s just me. I’ve always preferred a good story. There are novels and movies out there, where they spend the entire time in one or two places, yet they are amazing. I’m not saying you should limit your world to a couple of places, it was just an example.

But if you are confident enough and have the time, you could pull off a combination of the two. Also, good luck with your game!

Tin Star is a great game. That said:

  1. Tin Star never loses sight of its story. So that’s like a vote for a great story with a highly open world, not a vote for a open world over a great story.

  2. Tin Star might well be the biggest game ever completed in Choicescript. I haven’t measured it against the others so I’m not entirely certain, I can only comment based on feel, and it feels like the author sunk an absolutely huge amount of time into it for some absolutely wonderful results.

  3. We’d have to ask @AllenGies, but I’m uncertain how feasible it is to expect individual authors to put that sort of effort into a single game on a regular basis.

I do think that the best games are a bit of both like Tin Star. Nevertheless when someone asks me to choose one or the other, I’ll vote for the great story over the sandbox every time.


My wife asked me the other evening whether Choice of Rebels was on track to be the longest ChoiceScript game, so I went and reminded myself of Tin Star’s length.

I’d misremembered it as a million word game. In fact, it’s a game that’s almost a million words longer than my WiP so far.

I can’t imagine that being economical in anything other than the veeeeeeeeeeery long run.

I mix of both would be cool… But I think the story should be the main focus. As much as I love Tin Star…It kinda fell flat on its face with the ending IMO. Yeah it was a great final battle, but I didn’t really feel a connection with the baddies. Not enough build up for me. I’m just saying, open world is great if you can pull it off like Tin Star, but I’d take a nice story over that any day.

Oh and I’m a sucker for the post apocalyptic :smile: Looking forward to the game and I hope the writing goes well!

Me neither. Most games that start out that ambitious never seem to get finished, and like you I’m doubtful that the payoff is sufficient to compensate for all the extra hours. Theoretically, over the longer term, if an author can wait that long, it will burnish their rep and help them sell future titles as positive word of mouth spreads and they build up a following of devoted fans. We’re talking about years here, not months, however. A “veeeeeeeeeeeeeery long run” as you say. :smirk_cat: Meanwhile, there are other authors whose games are straight-jacketed railroads in comparison, take less than half the time to make, and that sell just as well, or even better if they pick a more popular genre like superheroes.

@ChrisD I’d have a hard time counting out all of the possible endings for Tin Star. I loved all of the endings I got which were just a fraction of all the endings I read about. Speaking of baddies, on a renegade path play-through I even flirted with, dysfunctionally romanced, and married Regina, the female villain, with her filthy rich shark of a father’s blessing. She was fun. :smiling_imp:

@P_Tigras - Thank you for your praise. I did indeed put in a lot of time to finishing Tin Star. About 18 months and it still had rough spots when the time came to publish the story or let it perish.

It feels as though it would be a bad idea for a first time choicescript writers to tackle that ambitious a game. My own efforts at Marine Raider and Apex Patrol taught me a lot, and took less time (Three months and nine months respectively) to complete. Finishing Tin Star was difficult, especially when the time came to repeatedly edit it. First for variable interactions (Did I put the right variables in the right places, do they represent what they should, and are they reset when required), second for technical results (Do the scenes function the way they are supposed to), and lastly grammar.

In fact, if not for a bevy of Beta-Testers, it might not have been completed at all. That’s why they get such a mention in the credits.

If there were any advice to give choicescript writers when they first get into things it would be to select a short, intense, story to sharpen your skills. Expand the code with your next one and slowly learn what your personal limits for programming are so that you can finish what you start. Always have an outline ready to guide you and limit the sprawl (you can never really stop it though) to something manageable.

I’m glad you enjoyed the Renegade choice with marrying Regina. That was rather fun to write because although there was a precedent for it via the Lackey path, the tone was hilariously different.


Thank you everyone for answering my question and replying to my thread! I’m glad I asked this question as I now know which direction to go with my game, an open world/story oriented post apocalyptic survival game! Too complicated?

Hi LoneSurvivor,

I would prefer a great story over sandbox COYA game with quests. From my own experience, sandbox games with lots of quests tend to get repetitive and bland. I played TES:Skyrim and Fallout: Las Vegas and, while it was amusing for a few hours, it quickly became a chore to complete all the quests without adding much new story. Perhaps you could offer optional side quests to earn extra stats and get a better ending? This way you can do both without it being forced on the player. I wish you good luck with your project :slight_smile:


I always prefer a great story, as long as the PC’s choices matter.

It is my belief that the author’s goals is more determinate than the time-frame.

Way back in the 1800’s the dime-store novel took the outlaw and made him a hero; it was today’s superhero genre. Yet, those authors, for the most-part, are lost to history’s dust-bin for most readers today.

As a genre expands from its infancy to maturity, the authors that transcend that maturity are those that set for themselves the greater goal of writing a “complete” work. The sci-fi and modern fantasy genres are examples where this also occurred.

Making a quick buck or contributing to the enrichment of the entire community really do demand different standards to adhere to when writing.

@AllenGies - in my opinion has contributed to the community’s long-term growth. Even Marine Raider, which with a sister who is a Marine vet, I appreciate more than others, contributes due to the inclusion of female raiders (non-historical) so I see him pushing boundaries in both that work and in Tin Star.

I appreciate his advise, although I took the challenge of attempting a larger project to start with because I wanted to establish a whole world setting for the future of (hopefully) many stories to come.

@Havenstone’s Choice of Rebels is setting the stage, so to speak, for future stories so I expect it to be larger then the norm. Tin Star can be seen either way, so I’m not sure @AllenGies’s intent there.

We, as a community can’t really answer the “Too complicated” question because this will be determined by you. It really should be no surprise that the majority of writers would enjoy a stronger story over an more open world. I can put the question to a MMO guild where its members would overwhelmingly support more of an open world.

If you think you are a strong enough writer and coder to transcend the current state of CoG games genre and draw in new gamers into the fold, you may be opening new market ground that could both be profitable and prophetic.


post apocalyptic ? you got me there…

what i want to see more:great story course,180 degree npc rotation(evil/angel),romance may be,sacrifice,hope,broken dreams etc

open world thing is a good feature as well,but my vote for story line

good luck with your project,have a nice day

I’m more for going for story but set in the big world for if you want to make another novel out of it. Also you’re the one writing it and we’re not so get your Creative Juice and come up with some things for the story you want to write.