What do you want more of in IF-games?

Ahh I see what you mean now, but I’m more interested in discussions about a villain wrong doings and motives than wanting to take them out on a date.


I don’t usually do this, but I have RO’s in my own game that fit the mental health issues/strong woman and looks it. Don’t know if they would be exactly what you’d be looking for but thought I’d pop it in here just in case!


Just a note, that’s much easier to do if there the character is not blank slate in many cases. Issues with blank slate if you need to account for every decision the player could conceivably make, meaning that often you need to make it so that their character tone is muted if you cannot be sure you can do that, otherwise risk players feels like they’ve been pulled out of character. SOH is one that is often put up as an example that does this balance well, but although it is super popular, I disagree that is the reason why. The game does make it clear it’s set in some ways (the fish killing thing which makes sense). It also speaks with a particular tone that fits a semi set MC and makes it clear that the MC enjoys looking at female attributes a lot. Basically you frequently run into issues trying to do strong MC voices, without a degree of character locking or making people feel like they’ve been pushed out of their character’s voice.

Yeah agree. I do with there was more variety to have deeper relationships that aren’t RO’s more of the time. It’d be a nice change.

Also agree. Donor is another one that does this. The MC is living with an anxiety disorder that you need to take into account when making decisions. It’s another difference between self inserts and character based stories. Would like to see more variety here too personally, but it can be hard to pull off without making a game more character based (and self insert MCs tend to be by far the most popular type of CS game.)

Ink is another in the choice based IF. Could probably throw a few other programs in there like bitsy although they’re more under the visual novel I’d say. If anyone’s interested in discussions of other types of IF, this forum is a good generalist one to check out. It’s where a lot of the comps including IFComp tend to be discussed and reviewed as well.


Prodigal is the god-tier villain in the COG-verse for me, no one comes close to her.


this is what i want, thank you very much. and I really like your work, it’s too good! :slight_smile:

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Yes, in case of rivalmance/friendmance there’s an additional task of writing more than one romance route per love interest and the amount of work literally doubles. The only way to possibly do it is to have a small number of gender-customizable LIs, because having three LIs already equals to six unique romance paths. I understand if doing so may prove to be too troublesome, unless writers themselves have a strong interest in writing something like this. Another possibility is to have a rivalmance available only with certain ROs, probably with a villain or antagonist, like if you want to stay on the good side, you would be “rivalmancing” them, on the other hand if you share their views or potentially want to join them, you would be “friendmancing” them. It’s all can be very specific depending on a game, but it’s fun to think of possibilities nevertheless.

I’ll try to explain what I would consider a blank slate MC with a strong voice. How I imagine it: we start a game with a blank slate MC, and in the beginning we are given the opportunity to develop their personality traits (or even better, we just choose them, like @Phenrex want for their game). Then the traits we ended up with are used to add flavor text in a form of automatic dialogue or reactions for MC, that aren’t chosen by player manually, but are instead coded to appear if MC have these traits. Like humorous character making a funny remark, or a cynical character rolling their eyes when somebody says something naive, stuff like that.

SoH does have similar system, which I personally very like in this series, where we have traits-based additional portions of flavor text appearing throughout the narrative. It’s true that the drawback of this system is that it’s possible to overstep and make too many assumptions about the MC. But I think this shouldn’t be a problem if all flavor text is strictly based on traits that have been chosen by the players. Again, using SoH as an example (I don’t think it’s very spoilery, but I’ll blur it just in case): I’m totally fine with my perverted character making a comment about someone’s attractive physique, after all, I chose for them to be that way. But it becomes a problem when my MC makes a comment about a physique of a woman, who they shouldn’t be attracted to at all, because I’m playing as a gay man or a straight woman. The problem here is not that a trait (perverted) is used, but that a different feature of a character is disregarded completely (sexuality). If my MC only makes such remarks about men, it would be in line with the personality I’ve chosen for them, so it would be fine.

Any amount of flavor text like that can be unacceptable to some players, who want to have control over everything a character says/does, and that’s understandable, everyone has their own preferences, so all I have said by no means a universal solution for making a blank slate MCs interesting, but that’s only what I view as them having a strong enough voice. Also I’m personally not a self-insert player, instead I like to create unique OCs for the games I play, so maybe that’s why I’m okay with games taking the reins sometimes (as long as nothing contradicts my character’s traits/features, of course). Maybe what I’m trying to describe doesn’t even count as a blank slate MC, I myself don’t know anymore :laughing:

I want to add that I have zero writing experience, I speak purely from a player’s perspective, so it’s possible that what I’m imagining is too hard to implement, perhaps it would be an enormous amount of writing or is too hard to code.

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I haven’t seen much friendmance/rivalmance in completed games and haven’t played many WIPs, are there published games or WIPs that can be pointed at that handle it well? I do occasionally think about it, but then I imagine scope going up and up and it scares me off…

I think Dragon Age 2 did it pretty well for Anders and Merrill at least, where the beats of the route were the same but the specifics of dialogue and some of the nuances differed. With Anders it really did feel different, which impressed me. With Fenris I felt the rivalry romance more dialled up the friend romance of “argh, despite myself I’m drawn to you” - which was still emotional and a fun romance, but Anders’ made me feel a different perspective had opened up.


It’s been a hot minute since I played Hero Fall, prodigal was okay to me but if I remember her romance was pretty lacking. I have to play it again!


I suppose, whenever genre-appropriate, I would like more “anyone can die” games, with that statement including ROs (note that while I don’t think ROs should be a mandatory death (which defeats the purpose of making them ROs), they should not have plot immunity because they are ROs).

Twenty guesses which game in particular I will point to as an example.


I don’t know if there’s any CoG/HG that has friendmance/rivalmance. I’m only bringing this up because I would like to play a game that has it. But, to be honest, I haven’t played many games yet, so maybe someone with more experience has seen something like this.

Yes, I absolute love rivalmances in Dragon Age 2! I also liked Anders’s rivalmance the most, it’s so angsty, right up my alley :grin: I think IF game with such distinguishable romance paths for the same LI would be interesting to read, it really helps to see the same character in a different light.

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Romances where sex is optional. It’s not just IF but too many games assume you’re down for that stuff just bc you’re interested in the romance.


Hmm. I don’t like killing off my characters lightly (at least not permanently… I do have one who came back wrong. Which in turn makes him notoriously hard to kill, which… some villains may find out to their horror), ROs or not, but having them hurt (and potentially, consequentially very angry and leave for the rest of the game) due to the MC’s actions is definitely something that I’m plotting… would that count?


It’s just “things that I would like to see more often (when genre-appropriate)” not “hard and fast rules for game and character development”. You do what’s best for your game :slight_smile: .

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Didn’t mean it that way :sweat_smile: I was just kinda curious if that would be close enough to be interesting.

Some elaboration because I just can't resist doing a full-blown villain rant

Although in this case, I’m not sure if it even would be genre appropriate to have an “anyone can die” situation - although there are untold monstrosities prowling about, and weird cults summoning them, when push comes to shove, most of the people there, especially named ones, actually try to prevent others from getting killed (unnamed ones can be another story, like the aforementiomed cults). Yes, even most of the villains. Their villainous goals rarely are more villainous than getting rich (which usually, while it can be amoral, doesn’t involve murder). Or to sue some jerk hero who tried to get them killed.

…okay, there’s a contradiction there.

Well, some (most?) of the villains don’t mind killing in self defence (if they’re attacked by, say, a black ops unit intent on killing them), and Vortex (the aforementiomed one who came back wrong) definitely isn’t above burning down settlements who are practicing human sacrifice (and he’s the one that actually might bring forth the end of the world - again - if he wanted to; luckily for everyone he’s intent on doing the opposite), but most of the more dangerous ones would be perfectly content to disappear into obscurity and never hurt anyone ever again, if armed military (and hero) units would just… leave them alone and stop trying to kill them.

Of course, Void actually went full “destroyer of worlds” for a while. (He also was the only one who got stabbed in the back by his only friend. Or at least it looked that way.) He got better though.

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@Nemureru_Mori @HannahPS
OFNA: Birds of a Feather you can potentially have a rivalmance with Natasha, Elliot, and Jeremy (or something close to one).

Deadend: Gilded Chronicles kinda will have something similar with the corruption/empathy stats it’s going for. Though still too early to really say.

And while they’re not CoG/HG;

The Superstition series from 13Leagues on itch.io features rivalmances with all of the ROs. Throne of Ashes by the same author also features something kinda similar in Ruben’s route (which is the only complete route so far).

And The Bastard of Camelot by Llamagirl while I don’t think will have a full-blown rivalmance you can be stubborn/combative with the ROs while pursuing them.

But’s that’s all of the one’s I can think of that have it or something kinda close…


Thank you for the recommendations, I’m going to check them out later! I’ve heard so many things about Superstition, it must be really good, a lot of people seem to like it.

Actually, I just realized something: The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes WIP also has a system similar to friendmance/rivalmance. OMG, how could I forget about it, I literally mentioned this game myself in this thread earlier :person_facepalming:
We can’t really see how different versions of the same romance would feel just yet, because there are only three chapters for now and we still haven’t met two ROs, but the writer Doriana-Gray posted a mini romance guide on the tumblr, which explains how romance will work. Basically, you collect romance points and friendship points, and depending on their combinations, you can have a different type of relationships with RO - love, crush, bickering-love, etc.

If anyone’s interested, here’s the link for tumblr post


A “legend” system (might be a different name, apologies if I got it wrong) like in Tin Star, where little things you do throughout the game all build up in the epilogue, where the fates of almost every minor and major character are all recounted. The ability to impact the lives of almost every character we meet was really cool.


Your game premise sounds interesting :slight_smile: .

Like I said, it’s not a hard and fast rule. Many of personal top 10 (and a certain submitted game that will almost certainly successfully challenge for a spot on my list) give the ROs plot immunity.

This made me wonder how much disconnect there was between what is said vs. done. Mining data on what plotlines were actually played & finished could be helpful.

I’d love a game with a “Lost” setting, where you’re stranded on an island and have to survive and build a community, maybe even Lord of the flies-esque power dynamics and rivalries.

Or one where it’s just you and another person, so all the characterization-juice and screentime goes into that one other character aside from the MC. Are there any full-size games out there like that? Where it’s just two people?

Another scenario I’d like to see: A dungeon or prison setting.