Use of persistent menus

Hi people,

CoG noob here. I apologise if this question has already been answered but I can’t find it.

What is the policy and/or thoughts on persistent menus?

By which I mean:

  1. you make a menu choice
  2. one or more things happen
  3. those things conclude
  4. you return to the original set of choices (with or without your first choice depending on circumstances)
  5. you make another choice etc

Eventually, you exhaust all the options on this menu and fall through to the next item on your *scene_list.

The various examples I have looked at don’t do it this way - essentially traffic is all one way.

I’d appreciate your thoughts on:

  • are there developers doing it this way and I’ve just missed it
  • if not, is this seen as ‘acceptable’ or does it simply not fit with CoG and I should look at going elsewhere

It is fairly easy to implement in ChoiceScript so the technical side of it isn’t an issue.

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Are you talking about loops? I extensively use them in my stories, sometimes you just can’t do differently:

  • You’re chatting with a character, you can ask them three question, and you can choose them from a list;
  • You’re buying something from a store, you have a certain amount of money and you want to pick more than an item;
  • Etc.

If that’s what you’re looking for, then I think it’s commonly used.

That’s essentially what I’m talking about.

I’m designing the story as a series of ‘nodes’, each of which has several options available.

There are about half-a-dozen major nodes (corresponding to the *scene_list). These nodes may lead to other nodes in a sort of spoke-and-wheel manner.

I can also use this method to return to a previous major node (using *goto_scene), unlike (if I understand correctly) the standard *scene_list fall through approach.

So it sounds like I would be using looping more extensively than is common but if the principle is there then I’ll keep going with it.

Thanks

You can structure your story however you like. Here’s the structure for A Kiss from Death.

There are no rules. Go nuts.

7 Likes
*label choicehub
*choice
   #Explore the forest
      Lots of text here, or refer to a *gosub forest scene and return here. 
      When finished with the scene
      *goto choicehub

   #Explore the hourse
      Ditto as per above
      *goto choicehub

    #Finished choices
      *goto exitchoicehub

*label exitchoicehub


If you want to make choices not reselectible put the following after the label choicehub line

*disable_reuse
Otherwise
*allow_reuse

There’s many more complicated ways you can do this with countdown timers and selectable_if’s but that’s the basics of what I think you’re asking

Edit: @will Oh my crap dude! I thought my flowcharts were bad news to follow :laughing:

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Nah, don’t worry, it’s ok. I’d suggest to check “Paradox Factor”—it uses exactly that kind of structure.

Yes, that’s it, thanks. That’s more or less how I was planning to do it, so thanks for the confirmation.

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I’ll check it out, thanks.

Awesome structure!

It might be a bit late to start going nuts but I’ll do my best :slight_smile:

If you expect people to play through the game multiple times, it might be good to keep in some nodes that aren’t fully explorable on any one playthrough.

Otherwise people have less variety to explore on their second and third playthroughs.

But yes, there are plenty of places in Choice of Rebels where I use this. I generally use a temp to keep track of whether all choices have been picked, and when they have, I goto whatever the next bit of story is, rather than leaving the player to click on the single choice left “I’m done talking” or whatever. That’s a cosmetic thing, not a requirement.

5 Likes

@Havenstone that’s a good idea about the not-fully-explorable nodes, thanks.

Does CoG have any stats about how often people do replays and how many replays they do?

That could affect how many different paths you need through the game.

They’ve never shared official stats that I’ve seen. But I believe they’ve indicated that a majority of readers only read through a story one time, which is consistent with surveys on the forums and reddit.

My game, A Paradox Between Worlds, uses this technique extensively; the player can browse through multiple blogs and chats in any order. The source code is available here.

This isn’t very common as the primary structure in choicescript games, but I feel like a lot of the most popular games do have hub-and-spoke structures/repeated menus, like some of the ones mentioned in this thread, as well as management-style games - War for the West, Vampire Regent, Life of a Mercenary, and probably other hosted games. Among Choice of Games, Night Road has extensive use of hub nodes.

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That’s interesting about single playthroughs. It makes sense. I couldn’t see myself replaying a game unless it was unbelievably awesome.
If true, it effectively suggests that more than two main paths through a story is pretty much a waste of time.

Edit: I just discovered the thread that discusses this is detail. I’m following this topic there.

Nice to see good, clean source code. Very useful, thanks.

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I believe that 1-2 playthoughs for most games seems to be the norm from what I’ve heard as well, hence the majority of popular games being comparatively long and linear and creating the expectation that it’s not worth rereading/making branchy games :sob:

Which doesn’t stop some of us. :slight_smile:

3 Likes

Yes well there is your game of course as the poster child of large branching games :laughing:

Don’t mind me, I’m just having a whinge because I like branching games and in some of my WIP’s put decently long non-intersecting sections into games and kind of wonder why I do it as most readers will not know the alternate paths are even there. I’d be better off going for something longer and linear, and find myself feeling like I need to write that way. Anyway, it keeps me happy so given I have to write it I guess that’s a necessary evil (even if it means the release dates get pushed outwards because of the extra time involved fluffing about with extra sections :sweat_smile:)

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