Sequel Writing

I’ve enjoyed having a nice long vacation after the publication of Day After. But it’s time to get back to it and dig in with Grandparenting Simulator.

However, I find the prospect of writing a sequel daunting. Does anyone have ideas or suggestions about writing a followup? The mechanics of it (I know I am supposed to paste in all existing variables from the first game, but beyond that I am a bit lost), the best ways to manage spread, and how betatesting works for something like this. Or really any advice along these lines. From non-authors, any suggestions about what makes for a worthwhile sequel in general, or things for Grandparenting in particular, would be most helpful.

@JimD I’m paging you in particular as probably the most notable author who writes his sequels in DLC form, since I know I am for sure doing that with Grandparenting. It wouldn’t make sense as a standalone title, plus it takes advantage of how many people have the standalone app for it on Google Play (far more than almost any release nowadays would get since their marketplace sucks now). If you’ve got any input about how to work that process, I’d be really appreciative.


Usually, the pull of a sequel is revisiting the setting, and it feels like you aren’t done with the characters yet.

You are not done seeing everything, discovering things, and so on.

A sequel can fail, when they start off ‘In the last episode…’ to ‘Hey look! New brand characters for you to friend! New Romances!’ Urgh. And the old ones? Buried somewhere under a carpet. That totally kill a sequel for me.


Beta testing UnNatural Season Two consisted of having Season One updated to include a save option and then giving CoG the files of the finished game so they can host a beta on their server which is what allows players to use their saves.


I’m actually surprised more people choose separate apps for their sequels as opposed to using the same game. In this way, you do not need to port existing variables because you’re just extending the game.

First off, you have to consider any feedback you received from the first game. What did people like about it? What did people not like about it? This is your chance to do even better in the sequel.

What new characters will you be introducing and how did they improve the plot? Or what do they provide to or reflect in the main character?

Also, how do you want the main character to change? Readers enjoy advancement, and they want to see their main character grow over time, while remaining true and consistent with their characters from the first part.

Were there any left over or unresolved storylines from the first part? People will expect to see them handled in some satisfying way.

There are some technical issues with setting up the game in the same app, and I would be happy to share them in private so we don’t bore the rest of the people here. I’m also working on a video series about Choicescript and will likely include the topic of making sequels.


For TGPS, story-wise you could set if this long visit is a regular thing or a special occasion (since some of the Children travel far and wide for work but still maintain a very good relationship with the Parent, while others are more local but don’t stay in touch as much as the Parents would like). This would be based on the epilogue of TPS. You could also set whether the Parent now has pets (either the same kind that the Parent and Child had in TPS or a different kind), how the Parent fits on the strict/doting axis as a grandparent (ex: allowing the Grandchild to have screentime and sugar beyond the norm (or not)), how well the Parent and Child are aligned in the care of the Grandchild, and have old characters cameo (ex: if the (Other) Bio-Parent is still alive, maybe they resurface, PC and Parent Friend hang out together (if still friends in TPS epilogue) or possibly reconnect (if drifted apart in TPS epilogue), Lana and Lulu reappear (either because they also want to help and spend time with Grandchild, or want to reconnect with that branch of the family), etc.).

I also think it should be a DLC of the TPS app. And of course, I’ll help you beta test it to the best of my ability. I’m looking forward to all the new cheevos!


I wonder how the sequel would work if your child cuts contact with you. One of my characters went full on tiger mom on her offspring and he became an extremely successful man who utterly hated his mother and never visited her.


That is terrific advice, and yes, please PM me any technical stuff I need to watch out for, as that’s specifically the part that has thrown me when I try to get into a groove writing this, knowing how this will work.

I am used to doing open testing as I go, but I guess it may not work so well with this. I’ll have to write and then test after the fact.

@Snowflower For the sake of necessity, I will likely have the kid and their spouse live near your MC, since otherwise it won’t be much of a game. If your kid travels a lot for work, that’ll be included as an element (as will whether they were in a job that made them wealthy or not). Characters like Lana and the friend will definitely make an appearance, but won’t likely be major elements (I think Lulu will work to be an opposite to your child; if your child is well off, they show up to sponge off them, and if your kid just has a regular job, I’ll have Lulu be a success and your kid wrestles with envy of them). The other bio-parent, they might end up as a love interest. Who knows? I know if I have those there won’t be many, but that does seem like an option to consider. The whole doting thing will be covered by the new Spoilage stat.

@vera If you ended the game distant from your kid, I’ll have it that these life events caused them to reach out to you, however grudgingly, to try and repair the rift. There again, it’s kinda necessary or people who had those runs really couldn’t play this game. I can’t do much with the grandkid(s) visiting once a year, you’ll have to be a regular part of their life. Even if exactly how deep you get into their day-to-day will be up to you.


I don’t think there should be a love interest in TGPS at all. TPS did quite well despite (or perhaps because) lacking ROs. Maybe the bio-parent (birth mother or other bio-parent) shows up as a rival for best grandparent (perhaps the Child reconnected on their own if the initial reconnection went sour, or perhaps this plotline is nixed if the reconnection failed) if they are still alive and the Parent chose to talk about the past.


This sounds beautiful. I gotta go check out Parenting Simulator now

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Whatever you do, don’t have 4 or 5 completely different endings that all need completely different prologues in the sequel that must neatly bridge to a shared chapter 1. And if you make that mistake once, definitely don’t do the exact same thing again in book two! :sweat_smile: :wolf:

Anyway, the most important thing I can think of is to make sure that all major choices from part 1 are referenced in the new book. The number 1 thing I see people hating on from sequels is when they don’t think their choices carry over or make any difference. Hit those references hard and early, referencing them even if they make no functional difference to book 2’s narrative.

As the sequel goes on, hit the player with a few references to lesser choices they might have made in game 1 to make them pause and say ‘Oh yeah! I forgot I did that!’ If you can remind them of things they chose that even they don’t remember they did, that’s the sweet spot! It strongly reinforces the idea that the game is listening to their input and that any and all choices can matter.

Best of luck! :sunglasses:


Malin is very much not following that advice :grin:


:sweat_smile: I second this advice. :pensive: (look, book two got split in two, it was not the original plan, alright?)


Remember that if you do decide to have very very significant choices at the very end of the first book to lead into the second book–choices that when the player makes them, they feel like they are making a weighty choice that will pay off big time in the second book…that the person who has to throw a lot of words at those branches later is Future You, not you. That’s Future You’s problem. Let them deal with it.


Excited to see that PS is getting some kind of follow up. :smiling_face_with_three_hearts: DLC or a proper sequel both seems variable. I would also adore a prequel about our character growing up as a kid so we get the full experience, or a spin off where our other half is alive/around and we have a full on family.

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I wish they would give a hand, though. Would be helpful.


I would note that, if you’re writing a sequel, I’m of the opinion that getting your Steam Store page up earlier is better.

If you’re 25%-30% through writing, I think you should feel free to reach out about us getting your page up so you can start collecting wishlists.

Fallen Hero: Retribution was up for like three years before release, I think it probably helped a lot with the opening week sales, which has a virtuous cycle effect.

(Looks hard at @havenstone and @gower.)


Is there still a Steam page for a DLC sequel? Wasn’t sure how that bit worked. But yes, I will reach out when I get to that point. Assuming I even recognize when it comes. I never think a story will be really long and then each one ends up longer than the last. Have to see if TGPS breaks the trend.


Yes, though it’s a little different. That’s what I use for Choice of the Vampire, for example.


Here is how Steam handles DLC:

Which is the store page…

Which is your library…


Which is how it looks when you “manage” your DLC.

Here is the store page for the actual DLC:

As you can see, there are many opportunities to make the sale of your “DLC”.


I think that’s great on steam (and I really like the idea of keeping stuff in the same world in one place), but wouldn’t sequels/extra content be invisible on the other app stores though that way? (Just curious as I’m not writing one at the moment.) Steam makes it easy to see and activate DLC’s, but if you’ve already bought a game on say google store, unless you open the game up again at a later date at the right page, how would you know a sequel has come up? Even if an email went out, if you missed or were not subscribed it then you still wouldn’t know? Just wondering what the benefits of writing things into a single app rather than separate ones is unless the majority of your sales are via steam? (And if you don’t have a steam release I’d think it would probably be detrimental wouldn’t it?)