Telling the reader when their stats change

Hi everyone! :blush:

So I’m facing a bit of a dilemma here. I can’t decide whether to tell the player/reader when their stats and relationships change, or whether to just update the stats without intruding on the story. I asked my partner and they said that they hate it when games don’t tell them, but I personally feel like adding a (+ Strength) in there, at the bottom or in the text, breaks immersion.

What do you guys think? What do you do in your own games?

Any advice or opinions are very welcome and very much appreciated.


My personal opinion is that I don’t like seeing them. I find it to be an immersion breaker. However an alternate option is to ask people before the game starts and if they say yes set some variable to 1 and every time a stat increase occurs have it show if that said variable is 1

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It depends, if you want to tell the player that their choice changed something, it wouldn’t hurt to add a (“Your Strength has increased slightly”).

Sometimes you want to avoid letting them know about it to set up surprises later in the story.

Personally, I like when a game has that feature.

I had the same mixed feelings when I wrote Community College Hero. At first, I included the little “Your stat has increased” or “your relationship with Captain Cool has decreased” messages but I decided to remove most of them, because as @Zaroukae said, they’re a bit of an immersion breaker.

I don’t think there’s a right answer. Some folks love the little messages. I think the right answer, for your particular gamebook, depends on whether your gamebook leans more towards “story” or “game.”

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I actually like when they say what stats have changed… that’s one of the things I like about Life of a Mobster and The Fall of Daria.

Although… there seems to be people that do not like it so maybe you should use @Zaroukae idea.

Well personally I find it annoying when I’m not told, because I then have to stare at the stat screen after every page, looking for changes. I honestly didn’t even think of immersion though, after my first few playthroughs I lose it entirely anyway as I fly through choices I already know about. I’m loving @Zaroukae 's idea though. (May I use it?)

I believe Choice of Robots does, and I liked the way they had it set up. (I.e "Military +++, Empathy -)

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Thanks everyone ! I don’t think I’ve ever got such fast and helpful responses on a forum.

I like your idea about asking the person whether they’d like to see it or not @Zaroukae. I might just do that.

Your way of writing it is better I think @ballmot, not as clunky.

Maybe I will include just the more substantial changes then @HornHeadFan. As far as my gamebook goes, I think it’s more story based. I’m more of a writer than gamemaker.

@Juan_Jose_Cuevas_Bae and @TechDragon610, thanks for the opinions. I do think that @Zaroukae is on to something.

Yes it does, I though about it right after I posted my response and the way Choice of Robots does it really appealed to me for unknown reasons even though sometimes I had to count how much a stat gained or losed. :stuck_out_tongue:

Hey, you are welcome!! It’s nice to see someone surprised by how fast they get replies…since it is a common thing around here.

Well it’s the first time I’ve posted here, so I’m honestly very delighted to see that everyone is so involved and willing to help others. It’s really great.

I can only describe this forum as a minefield where people are either helping you as they too cross, or just flat out shoving you so they won’t step on the mine.

Personally, my work leans more towards being a game, but I’m hoping to make a story worthwhile aswell.

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You need to consider whether you want your game book to be more game or more book. Personally I think it’s best to just strongly imply it through the text, if you want to strike a balance.

For example:

How do you spend your time?

“I toss around Gambino’s domesticated alpacas and flex.”

You toss around your neighbor Gambino’s alpacas all day and then spend some time flexing in the mirror. Gambino seems to give you an angry glare every once and awhile, but your muscles feel bigger, you’re feeling more conceited, and you oddly enough feel a contempt for and vertebrates.


“I jam to Gambino’s newest song about alpacas”

You spend all day listening to Gambino’s new hit about alpacas until you’re in pain, you think you may have hurt your wrist. Gambino notices you listening to his new song and seems flattered though, he even gives you some albums as a thank you and lets you feature in his newest song about being a nerd.

Rather than:

You toss around Gambino’s alpacas all day and then spend some time flexing in the mirror.

(–Childish Gambino relationship)
(You hate all vertebrates now!)
(–Spider-Man relationship)


You spend all day listening to Gambino’s new hit about alpacas until you’re in pain. Gambino also gives you some gifts and the two of you record a song.

(+Ankle pain)
(+++Childish Gambino relationship)
(Got “Camp” album)
(Got “because the internet” album)
(++++++++++Nerd Swag)
(+++Spider-Man relationship)


Implying it through text is definitely a more graceful way of doing it. I do try to do this as much as possible, since I prefer more story-based gamebooks.

I’ve decided to work with the suggestion @Zaroukae had, to get the player to decide whether they want to see the stat increases/decreases more clearly stated or not.

Luckily for me, I don’t have quite so many stat changes at once as your examples, though they are rather entertaining. :smile:
Any stat changes in my gamebook will be two at most, such as:

++ Grace - Daring


Your grace has increased.
Your daring has decreased.

That sounds like a spectacular idea, and sorry for the size of the post, I like Childish Gambino references! :smile:

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So far I’ve been personally hunting at it through text, but making it clear through the stat mentions.

Heh that was a real wonder for me. After a particular scene where the mc gains several items and stats and codex unlocked. It felt like I was reading a report from my secretary relaying to me everything after I just experienced things. If there wasn’t a break of immersion before here was sure one then.

If the mc can’t get that they gained something from the sentences…I’m at a lost on how else they will confirm the info.

I wouldn’t worry too much, most readers are intelligent enough to be able to understand they now have a changed stat through subtle clues in the text. (Or compulsive checking of the stats screen)

I like having the choice of whether or not I get to see the stat changes. I find they do break immersion and make things more of a game than a story. In some cases that’s appropriate, in others it just annoys me.

If you’re looking for an example of the toggle stat system The Lost Heir has one. You can check out the startup file and the first scene if you want to see it coded up and working.

I did actually have a big problem with the notifications in the Lost Heir, because they meant that if you failed a stat check, you didn’t get a stat increase.