Preference: Hidden choices

Currently, I’m working on a new project as a means to get back into writing again. So far it’s going well but right now I’m wondering how people feel about choices that are grayed out vs choices that don’t appear at all when you don’t meet the necessary requirements.

Do you prefer knowing about a choice but being unable to select it due to not being requirements (like a stat isn’t high enough, or you didn’t make a good enough impression on someone, etc etc) or would you rather discover it when you meet the actual requirement for the choice?

For the *selectable_if command, I know some people can get irritated knowing that there’s a choice they can’t select because they don’t know the requirements or other reasons.

For the *if command, an option won’t appear at all if you can’t select it. I fear that with this some people may never discover certain options or routes they could have taken before (primarily if they’re like me an usually stick to one playing style and don’t vary their routes too much.

What are your thoughts and opinions on this matter? And before asking, I don’t plan on making *selectable_if choice that are impossible to actually choose.


I prefer a mix of both. If choice is not too spoilery I prefer know for a future replay what rsnge of different choices could I have.

However, If choice is super spoiler of a part of storytelling I can’t access in my current playthrough but reading text spoiler me that part story I will very pissed. An example.

Imagine a Star wars Empire strike back Cog before anyone knew story. And the discovery of Dark vader is luke father was only a choice for high perception. If I with not high perception read a greyed out Wait a moment you have to be my father!!! Well you destroyed game for me.


I personally prefer them being grayed out over invisable. If it’s a choice that interests me then it’ll motivate me to want to play it again so I can get it. It might be a little aggravating to not be able to pick it but at least you know that you can.

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I’d prefer that choices are greyed out, because it increases replayability as I know what choices I can try and play next time.

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I’m of two minds about it. As others have said, knowing what other choices exist can entice people to replay a game. However, if they are left hidden, then it would make a replay feel more ‘organic’, rather than trying to achieve a specific ending.

From a beta-testing point of view, grayed out choices are better than hidden. After all, how can you know if something is bugged if you don’t know it doesn’t exist? Yes, there are people who like to dig through code as well, but it can be very easy for them to miss something with that much text.


I’ve read somewhere, that these two options are a way to deliver certain emotion :open_hands:

If you want the reader to feel “powerless,” graying-out options is one way to it. It’s like you know you can do something, but you can’t because of something.


Give a changeable option for both?

Personally, I prefer choices to be greyed out. It lets me know something is there, instead of doing every possible thing to finally see the choice. I’d like to know that the option is unavailable instead of not knowing whatsoever that the option is there for me to take.


As a writer, I prefer hidden, because *if is easier to write than *selectable_if. :stuck_out_tongue_winking_eye:

And if I want to find out if there are any other options for a choice, I’ll generally look at the game’s code, so I guess I’m completely in the minority here…


Metagamers lol, always cheating :wink:

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I typically find grayed-out choices annoying while reading because it’s much more in my face about not being able to do something, especially if it’s a limit based on knowledge, or personality. It’s a bit different when a choice is grayed out due to not quite being able to do something, or not being able to afford something, because that gives more of a goal to work toward. I think a good question to ask is whether the player’s character would be able to see the options but think “oh… I’m not able to do this…” or whether the character wouldn’t even be aware of the option at all.

Though, I’d generally caution against having too many of these blocked out anyway… even letting a player try something and then fail can feel freer than just being told you can’t…

Now, granted, I am someone who reads code after my initial playthroughs, so that could be affecting my viewpoint.

Well, not completely, I guess :stuck_out_tongue_winking_eye:
(This is rather uncanny, though :stuck_out_tongue:)


It’s only cheating if you think of it as a “game” you can “win”. :stuck_out_tongue_winking_eye: If you think of it as a story you’re reading, then there’s nothing to “win” except a better story.

This is one case where I feel the greyed-out options works, because you definitely know the items are there, ready to be bought, you just don’t have the money to buy them yet.

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I imagine most people will view it as a game. I mean, there is a reason the business is called Choice of Games :wink:

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I would view it as a game without winning or losing, just whatever goals you choose to pursue… and also a story :thinking:

I prefer a mix of both like Mara. If I just don’t meet the requirements for a certain choice I’d prefer for it to be greyed out but if I can’t select it because of the way I’m playing I’d rather not be able to see it until I play that way.

Well, not completely in the minority. I always dig through the code after the first few times I finish a CoG, both as a means of learning ChoiceScript and what I could have done differently in the story.

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I complete minority am I. I don’t looking code at all in games I like. Is a death of the magic for me and create my style of playing impossible. I role-play as character so I have to be all blind possible.

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Somehow, no matter the question I ask that’s what I usually end up doing. Though it usually results in spending a lot more time on coding than actual writing.

When I write in mind, I try to keep in mind that majority of people don’t look at the code. I fear what people will see when they look at the code though. :lying_face:


I tend to chose whichever fits the mechanics I’m using.

*if choices are more finite and controlling on any given play-session. I’d prefer to use these when the faucet I’m turning on or the drain I’m opening is meant to be more hard-hitting or permanent.

*selectable if choices are more open and accommodating. I’d prefer to use these when the mechanics are a bumper or a flipper, something to influence the reader but not totally control the result. It also serves as a way to redirect the reader, saying if you continue choosing your options the way you are then your expected choices will be narrowing.

As a reader I am relying on the author for cues on what to expect and what not to.

I hope this helps.


The smashing amount of times, I’d prefer to know if there’s a choice I can’t make. It’s more of a personal pick, but it might even increase replayability, leaving it clear that players might get a different outcome if they try this or that.


It depends on the type of story you’re telling, too. Like others have said, generally, if a choice reveals spoilers or if a choice is not something the character even knows is a possible option, then I would keep it hidden. If it’s something like, you’re at a shop and you don’t have enough money to buy certain items, then they could be grayed out.

Personally, I rarely use *selectable_if in my games. A lot of that comes down to the fact that my main project is a story that is heavily knowledge-based (you’re a detective), and that I don’t quite use stats in the way they are traditionally used in some other works.

Even in situations where you might want to do something but your character isn’t capable of doing that thing, I would still have it as an option and allow the character to fail if they’re not good enough. For instance, if you try to chase someone down, but your fitness stat isn’t high enough to catch them, instead of not allowing you to take that action, I’d allow you to give chase, but the person you’re chasing will get away.

Similarly, if you wanted to try and lift something heavy, but your strength stat wasn’t high enough, I’d just have you fail when selecting the option rather than having you see the option but not be able to select it.

I honestly can’t think of many situations where I’d want to present the player with an option and but not allow them to select it. I’d rather allow the character to try something and have their failure lead to a new branch (if only a small branch - but sometimes it could be a big branch!).