When Starting a Project


#1

I’ve thought for a while about making an interactive story with choicescript, but I’m not entirely sure how to go about it. I’m not too knowledgeable regarding coding and such, but I’m fairly confident in my ability to pick it up. My main question is: Is it better to write a regular, linear story first (keeping in mind what you’d like to use it for, of course) and then add branching pathways and relevant stats, or to write it while coding and write the other paths as they come? As it stands, I don’t have anything very solid planned out (the first few pages of a story and some vague ideas of a plot concept–I’d definitely chart everything out much more before starting). I just figured it’d be a good idea to get some input before taking the first step here😄


#2

The best thing to do is to start small. Start with a small project in mind and only a few branches. Something you can easily and achievably get finished.

You don’t need to chart everything out. Some people do, some people don’t. You could outline, again some people do, some people don’t. Really your method of writing the story depends on you. Try what you think will work, if it doesn’t work change to something that seems better. As long as you write, and you don’t give up, you’ll get there in the end.

Incidentally I did write an article when writing my first ever choice game if you’re interested in what my process was. I was under time constraints though and trying to get something done in 2 weeks or so.


#3

I personally plot the story out while coding, but as @FairyGodfeather stated:

Keep in mind that although I did the latter option, at least I have in my head how the story will go. If there’re possible branching, I just need to adjust it to the general plot inside my mind.


#4

Yeah, I figured there wasn’t necessarily a single “process” (just like with all writing, haha). It’s helpful to read a little more about what works well for others, too, though. I’ll definitely check out your article when I get the chance, thanks!


#5

Yeah; I feel like going in blind could very easily lead to getting stuck. I at least want to chart it out enough so I know what direction I’m taking the story in (as well as to explain the characters’ motivations and WHY certain things are the way they are/are happening). I believe I’ve seen it mentioned on a couple WIP forums, actually–getting stuck due to not knowing where one is going with the story. Personally, I’d really prefer to avoid that if possible. Though I’m sure I’ll end up getting stuck at some points, at least I might have events to write in the direction of. That also gives the option of writing future events as a break from linear writing if desired.


#6

My article might not even make sense anymore. It’s been years since I even read it.

For me, I started with a very basic idea. I knew the beginning and the end.

I then mapped it out roughly in twine.

[details=Outline]

Then I wrote it out in more depth, using choicescript.

Then I beta-tested it. I only managed to get two beta-testers but they were both extremely useful. They pointed out that I’d buried several important aspects of my story at the bottom of choice trees, making them easily missed by players. So with the feedback, I actually removed some choices, and ended up pointing more choices at the important stuff.

I’d suggest reading the game design tag on the Choice of Games blog There’s some really good articles there.


#7

Thank you again! Looks like I have some reading to do before anything else😃


#8

Start on the oldest blog posts. I just found them so useful. There’s a lot on how to keep your game manageable. The design document on the forum’s good too. Again, a lot of the tips are about keeping the game manageable so you’ll actually manage to get it finished.

I’d say aim for something like Choice of the Dragon, not something like Choice of Robots, for your first game. Linear’s good. I’d look at Heroes Rise too. It’s a rather linear, railroaded game, with a few significant branches, and hugely popular. I’d play them through, see how much choice you think you’re getting, then look at the code to see how much is actually there.


#9

I’ve played nearly all the hosted games and COG games, so I know what you mean with this😄