When does a flavor choice become a text stretcher?


#1

We all know the little choices and their variables that don’t do much but set aesthetics or similar.
Like, what’s your MC’s favorite color? What car do they drive etc.

Choices that might be called back upon later for, as the name suggests, flavor.

But at what point does such variable become an unnecessary text stretcher (aka it just increases the word count)?

Is it when one pretty much reads over the bits where the variable is used? (Compare ‘why using ‘say’ is not a bad thing’)
Is it (similar to the above) when the bits where the variable is used stick out like a sore thump, reading as if they are just there to use the variable?

What’s your opinion on these?


#2

Personally I like when the choices I made come up again.

The only time, when it seems to just expand the flavortext is, when the choice is only used once, and that is the next sentence. If it is used some time later to give a customized experience it is more like a bonus. Each of the variables should not be overused, like in every second sentence or a bunch of variables placed behind each other.

Otherwise I think it is nice to read that the game reminds what you clicked before. ^^


#3

honestly…

I like to see them like tiny opening for any futurs project . Even if you never go there and don’t make a serie…they are just so tiny , they shouldnt bother anyone .

Unlike big choices that if not used well or used too much become cringe worthy fast . Yet tiny choice can kinda just bland over time…unless you use them again .

at least thats what I think…


#4

The key (I would use for myself) is to have a purpose other than just flavor.

As an example: allowing different weapons would have the purpose of facilitating ranged or melee combat in the game, so whether the weapon was an English Longbow or a Plains Composite Bow would fulfill both flavor and purpose.

I’ve learned the actual danger is in giving too much choice - it is very time consuming and work intensive that for each additional choice provided your workload is increased by a lot.


#5

Yes … i agree, for example, if we choose the size or height of MC, let say i choose the size of slim body and the group encounter a small opening at a cave entrance , due to the earlier choice of slim, MC could have an option of squeeze inside the opening … and RO could make remark like " I wish i am as slim as you " :slight_smile:


#6

Not a fair standard, IMO. Different people pay attention to different details. I hear a lot from people who find food or fashion descriptions boring. Personally I love them. Conversely, my eyes glaze over at action descriptions, and especially weapons. Yes, yes, I get it. You did the stabbing and now the other guy is super dead. I don’t need to read a whole paragraph about the special little notch in your hunting knife, or whatever.


#7

As @Kaelyn mentioned, when you give me a choice only to mention it in a simple handful of words in the next paragraph before brushing it off forever. At best you get a few points on a stat, at worst, it was literally nothing but a flavor choice. My input was not needed. The scene was exactly the same aside from my black hair, or saying “good morning” instead of “how are you?” Nothing changed. I understand desire to spice it up, but I prefer choices that have an immediate and lasting impact, at least on stats, else it can become annoying.

Like, too many flavor choices are stopping me from getting to the good choices I (and the story) actually care about.

I’d say a decent question to pose yourself is: “Am I just putting this here because I feel like the text needs broken up? Am I feeling pressured to put a choice for the sake of another choice?” In this case you can always just break it up with a page break. If you insist on a choice anyway, ensure it’s not boring filler. Make each one unique and interesting, then give at least a sentence or two of acknowledgement.

As for when including a choice is important, questions like “Which characters does this affect and how? What stats and variables are altered from this? Is this something another character will notice, remember, and refer to later? Does this place the MC in danger or reward the MC? With what circumstances and stats will the MC be able to successfully complete this action? Does it deserve a branching scene all its own, or a single sentence/paragraph all its own? Will this progress the scene or stall it for time? What is the the MC thinking in doing this action, how can I reflect that in their dialogue and progress? Current setting/context?” etc. are helpful. Because there are, of course, multiple choices, the answers to each question vary widely depending on each individual choice included.


#8

I should have worded things better here:

Sure, everyone pays attention to other things, but I rather meant stuff like
‘ro is wearing a X jacket’
with x being a color that had been picked at some point, but holds no impact or anything on the story. it’s just… there.

Take, as counter example, the least fav food in Hero Unmasked:
It seems ehh-ish enough, but the way it’s used (ymmv of course) gives a sense of positive ‘you gotta be kidding me’ when it comes up afterwards. And it is pretty essential in the scene where you set it


#9

Is it a matter of delay between the choice and the flavor text?

For me as a writer, it’s more that I want to be able to humanize the MC, and present them as a well-rounded character. I don’t want them to feel like a plot automaton.

On the other hand, I want to avoid locking the player into traits that aren’t plot-breaking. Especially when it comes to seemingly small but visceral reactions, like a favorite food. I can vividly picture the review that says the game broke all immersion when my character said that his favorite dessert was honey cake.

I feel like these small, inconsequential choices help with role-playing, and maybe take the edge off of constantly checking your stats page. I just wish there was an easy way to mark them for the player. Like a sign-post that says, “chill with the metagaming and just pick what feels right”.


#10

Tbh you just changed my mind on the matter…a little! :slight_smile: Flavor choices that aren’t necessarily be-all-end-all important or relevant really can help with roleplaying a more rounded and unique MC.

It’s only super annoying when it seems like a constant flow of flavor text and choices on things I don’t really care about the answer to when I want to get to the action, if that makes sense? I’ve seen choice games where it’s a series of like fifteen pages, and each one is only a sentence long followed by a choice. In these cases, I really would have rather gone with the honey cake that I don’t like because I could forget the honey cake and move on in the matter of a page break. It’s harder for me to move on and forget about the flavor text that breaks up the action in the worst possible places, making me wonder why and often losing track of my place.

The ideal gold standard imo would be, if the option to round out your character with unique flavor (like fave foods) was there…and it mattered. Your favorite food, in the course of the story, was referred to more than once in passing! :slight_smile: That’s the immersion I dream of. I understand the workload required to reach it, and hope I can.


#11

I think i managed to word things in a way that half missed the target, sorry Dx I’ll work on it


#12

I think it’s just a complex and subjective issue.