Telling the reader when their stats change

Like FairyGodfeather, I enjoy having a choice to enable them or keep them hidden.

I usually play with them hidden the first time for immersion sake but then I play with them switched on so that I can choose options to diversify my playthroughs. Although, narrative hints at increased stats can be a suitable substitute.

That said, the lack of announced stat checks is only annoying if a stat is significantly increased and there wasn’t any indication of that in the narrative (or until you fail a later stat check).

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At first I was leaning towards having them display in my WIP, but I found that my game had so many stat changes, I felt like it threw the reader out of the story to show them every time. Most COGs don’t show them, probably for a similar reason. (p.s.: Just read the suggestions about toggling the display. Not a bad idea, but it takes that much more writing. Especially if you add it in later, like I’m now half-considering doing.)

I do have the game tell you when your Legend score changes, since it doesn’t happen often and is supposed to be a big deal (either exciting or ominous depending on whether you want to be noticed.)

I’d suggest hiding most (if not all) stat changes if they change multiple times per scene or conversation, and including them if they only change at a few key points in the game. Though obviously there are games that do it both ways. If you don’t announce stat changes, it’s helpful to use text to give clues about when they’re changing. E.g., if I decide that swimming should raise your Strength, I can add in a line about “You feel like you got a good workout” so players have a hint to check their stat screen.

I also lean towards not including small variables on the stat screen (e.g., hair color and length); the game just remembers it and gives a nod to it later.

I think some games benefit from visible stats, some don’t. A game like ‘Creatures Such as We’ doesn’t really need them, since it’s more narrative than game, whereas the ‘Life of…’ games tend to be much more game-like, relying heavily on dice rolls and skill levels.

When success and failure depend heavily on the game mechanics, I feel it’s important to give the player as much information as possible. When the game is more of an exploration of plot and character, the numbers are less important than the story, and can actually detract from the total experience.


Jenna…first…who is that in your profile pic…looks familiar, hate the feeling of not remembering. Sorry for the randomness =p

Second, That’s an apt summary of things. @Sashira I really am thinking that’s the best way to go, rather then doing it now, though it wouldn’t be too difficult at this point, adding in the code to hide or keep stat changes. Probably best to simply nod towards the stats. Where description becomes key to not having the mc repeatedly checking.

I mean if a game tells me I’m hurt…-_- that’s one thing. Then another I’m told I feel completely drained of strength and near staggering down the road. I’m pretty sure I’m almost dead on the second part. The former…hmm is it more of a punch to the gut hurt? Slug to the shoulder? Stab wound need to see the doctor hurt?

Detail is key, though too much and your too busy describing the injury rather then telling the tale and that detracts from immersion just as well.

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Nina Hagen. =)

Some of her stuff is absolutely perfect, some isn’t, but I love her as a human being.

What an intriguing person…I think she seems the type to not lose focus even in the face of many stat changes ^~^, in the meantime thanks, curiosity sated ^~^

I think it depends on what kind of game you’re writing. If you’re going for something that encourages roleplaying and is more of a novel than a game, then I’d say avoid it, as it might break immersion for some players. If it’s more game than story and focuses on achievements and making the “right” choices, then showing stat changes would be pretty helpful.

Mmm speaking of achievements, as much as I like em, I can’t help but feel they can become both spoilers and immersion breaking.

I make a choice, the achievement tells me of my victory or what not before I read what went down. The spoiler part…the achievement peeks in, in the midst of the action or intriguing conversation…immersion so broken.

I guess placements and wording is quite key both stats wise and for achievements.

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That’s a good point. Maybe it’d be better to add “Achievement Unlocked” on the page following the one describing what happened?

Perhaps a blank page after the action just to show the achievement?

Yesh that would quite solve the problem. Rather then wait for an interlude/things to calm down at long last or the mc to settle in. Simply have it on the following page. Just a simple “achievement unlocked” all by itself before being tossed back in.

I think the Achievement Page in general should be kept super vague. For instance, I just flipped to that page in The Hero of Kendrickstone and could piece together many of the plot points. I had just wanted to check how many achievements were there in the first place.

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That seems like a lot of extra *goto commands though, especially if the achievement itself happens on a “main” page that all players are supposed to see.

You don’t need *goto commands, a simple *page_break could work.

So it all comes down to either. Page_break, causing a next button to pop up (blaNk page) which the mc will get their achievement before continuing.


Make the achievement vague so the mc would quite know what they did even if they read the achievement until they finish reading.

Though that achievement does quite stick it in your face like a herald of the court announcing your victories of the state.

I think if you make the next page blank that kinda breaks immersion as much as an achievement popping up mid game, I personally would prefer if it just told/gave you all the achievements at once when you complete the game.

Think of it as a…you just discovered a treasure, dealt with the guard and exploring what’s in the treasure. Finally about to leave, the action done, you unlock the achievement for discovering the lost treasure.

Yeah, waiting till the end to reveal achievements works to avoid these problems, as long as the pre-discovery text and titles are vague enough (or the achievements are hidden.)

I personally hate it when the achievement screen has spoilers - it’s like seeing a trailer that exposes some key points of the movie, which irritates me even if they’re out of context - but I also like having some hints. If there are six ways to defeat the Macguffin, I want to know after finding five that there’s still another way to get through it.

Long Live The Queen (a Steam game COG recommended) does this well; it tells you that you can get an achievement for dying eleven different ways, but only vague hints about what each is.

The Lost Heir stat system really annoyed me; I’d prefer something like 'You are too slow, your party is hit by the bolt (+15 Endurance)

And on topic I really liked what Fatehaven did; although I’m sure some people didn’t like it, but it did mean you didn’t have to always look at the stat page

It’s wonderful hearing everyone’s opinions and advice. Thanks for the awesome responses people!

@Alopax At the moment my game is story-based, so there’s no ‘right’ way of playing it. Going down various roads will lead you to very different places ultimately, but there’s no ‘right’ ending or ‘right’ path. I am currently adding a few achievements to my game though.

@Arcania I will definitely have to make sure any achievements I add don’t give away the plot. That would be a real bummer. You’re right in saying that detail is key too.

@FairyGodfeather Thanks so much for those examples. Very informative and also gave me an idea as to how to organize my script better.