Showing the player a progress bar of the game's total progress

I’m considering implementing a system that shows the player roughly how far into the game they are. It wouldn’t be super accurate or granular, but it would give the player an idea of how far along they are. From a technical perspective, the only complication would be assessing the length of a single playthrough, and there are tools that help with that.

A more interesting question is whether players would find this to be of any use. For me, IF is a little more like reading a book. I like to know how many chapters in I am, and assessing the plot progress myself doesn’t always yield accurate results.


If it was tucked away in the stats screen I certainly wouldn’t mind, but I think it’s unlikely to make or break a game either way.

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I think that’s a great idea. I would probably limit it to chapters (i.e. “Chapter 4 of 12”), and not anything more granular. As you say, differing playthrough lengths would make that difficult.


Yep, the length of each playthrough might radically different. But I think it might work if you put the [+progression] flags on your main plot only. Or if you’re that kind of person, you can add separate progression bar for your mini-branching stories.

I do something similar to this in my games where at the beginning of each chapter, I put Chapter X of Y

Granted, chapters sometimes vary in lengths, like in The Magician’s Burden where one was 14k and another was 43k, but most of them are similar in length. So this gives the reader a general idea about how much of the story has passed, and it also ensures that they won’t be flabbergasted when the final chapter rolls around.


I’ve got a system like that!

Since the main character is immortal, it would be silly to show their “age” as it doesn’t really affect them in any way. Yet “age” is still there in the stat screen because you learn pretty early on in the game that it’s a progress bar!

Well, more like a time limit. The world ends after the main character is roughly 2,500 years old.

I figured it was a cool way to diegetically bring the story to a close; otherwise you’d just kind of run out of things to do.

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Oh, I like this system. It’s original and interesting. Reminds me a little of the week-by-week system in XOR, although that was limited to chapter two.

And I learned a new word (“diegetic”). All in all, a good day’s work.