I tend to have two perspectives on this: I like having to see the relationships, but I also understand if we cannot see them. The latter is because, in real life, I am not really sure how to quantify relationships; I can at best only think of relationships qualitatively. This allows me to think of the character in a similar way to how I think of real life relationships. So it makes sense not to include any relationships in your stats.
However, if you include relationships, I Iike to see relationships grouped like your third option:
The chronological order option makes the most sense.
However, if your game has a society with little social mobility, with the place of a person in society strictly determined by a person’s birth, sex, wealth, etc., then your second option—
—should be followed. The relationships should be in order of importance to the society the player character is in.
If there’s lot of characters then alphabetical order is the most convenient. Otherwise you’re forcing me to remember if i’ve met the character i want to look up 5 hours back or maybe 10. Or to second-guess whatever social order you’ve used to sort them.
For me, it really depends on the number of characters and the story aspects that those relationships influence.
Small cast of characters: Order of appearance. Should appear as soon as MC meets the character (unless there are plot-relevant reasons for it not to show up immediately).
Larger cast of characters: Alphabetical character glossary for the most important characters with a short description. Ideally, for some characters, these descriptions should be dynamic and change throughout the course of the game based on MC’s relationship status. (For example, Fallen Hero: Retribution offers the iconic “Oh no, he’s hot” when you go for the Herald romance route.) If the game has a distinct romance focus, platonic and romantic relationships could be grouped separately. That way, players will know who is romantically available and who’s not.
This is a really good description of exactly what’s happening in my book, so I think you’re right. Going with social order should be paramount.
That said, this also gave me pause to think:
I never considered seperating romantic from platonic relationships (I think because my favorite romantic games (Harvest Moon & Story of Seasons) don’t do that. But you have a point here! I also like the idea of dynamic text, although I’m a bit worried about implementing it. TAT that’s a lot of work, although it is very engaging. Several of the games I like best do it, and one that I really like DOESNT do it often ENOUGH, and that’s frustrating to me… I worry about creating the same frustration.
My relationships tend to be grouped in the following order: Firstly, in chronological order (the order you met them), then in the importance to the story (social hierarchies especially) and importance to the PC. Then if you have a large cast of characters, not all of them romanceable, how will you keep track of their relationships? And their roles they play in the story?
I understand if you have something substantially new to add to the conversation, but if you’re just going to rehash what’s already been said when the thread was live, all you’re doing is cluttering the feed.