Which aspect do you value most when making a CS game?


#1

So after reading some WiP’s on this site and trying to make my own evaluations on which aspects they focused on, I decided to make things easier on myself and just ask you guys.

The question’s pretty straightforward: when making a CS game, what aspects do you find the most important, the aspects that should get the most attention and focus out of them all?

Is it the lore of the universe? Or maybe it’s the story? The dialogue? Characters? Continuity? Game mechanics? Writing style? Or is it something completely different?


#2

It’s got to be the game as a whole. Whilst some might provide a particularly good plot/set of characters/world, usually that one thing alone isn’t enough to carry the game. You should decide what kind of game you want to write, and go from there. Trying to please others is the wrong way to go, if you enjoy writing it, it’s more likely to get finished!


#3

World building first and foremost. That includes the universe, the lore behind it and the characters who inhabit. Not to mention the consistency of the world. If wizard A can teleport wizard B should be able to unless there is a logical explanation (I e different schools of magic or teleportation magic is unique to their race)


#4

For me it’s the character’s. A main character who feels real, full, and fun to play will get me every time, even if the are problems with the rest of the story. Especially if the events of the story really affect my character going forward. A betrayal makes her less trusting, or falling in love makes her more hopeful.

Good side character help a lot to. Everything from gobig into battle, to falling in love is more meaningful with interesting people.


#5

Dialogue, probably. I live from one one-liner to the next.


#6

Yeah, I feel like you’re going to get a lot of variation in response to this, especially depending on the genre. For supernatural or sci fi stories, I think the world building is crucial, so the reader understands the laws and possibilities of existing in that reality. If you want a mystery or battle game, then mechanics and stats are probably going to be more important than one that is more literary. Some authors here enjoy coding and making the choices as complex and far-reaching as possible, others prefer to focus on the story.

For our current series, we focus a lot on character and story since it is set in an otherwise “regular” modern setting. Since it’s more humorous in tone, dialogue is CRUCIAL. I tend to pore over that, since we don’t want it to come off as either too serious for too long or sounding like we’re trying too hard. I also try to avoid big info dumps (or at least try to break them down or disguise them better) as much as possible, as I think they muck up the pacing and can feel overly convenient. But we also did research on common religious lore and creatures to pull from for inspiration, which I’m sure is especially important for historical fiction. And I’m just a stickler for continuity whether I’m writing, reading, or watching something anyway! I definitely notice little nitpicky differences. :sweat_smile:


#7

I tend to give a lot more thought to the voice of narration and freedom of choices. I like to have the player able to do make their own choices for pretty much everything, and I usually spend a lot of time thinking about what different players might want to do or how they would react, then try to narrate those choices realistically.

I usually find my end in that, however, as my games become far more ambitious than they need to be very quickly.

My current WIP, for example, starts after a war, and the narrator blames the player but gives them a chance to tell their story. Here I would say, oh, the player might want to have been a civilian, or a scientist, or a soldier, or a thief, or a gangleader, or …

It’s fairly easy to see how quickly that spirals out of control.


#8

I was once gone into the same rabbit hole, I tell you. And it’s not a pleasant thing to think about…
But I shall not quit! I’ll write all of those possibilities with all of my might and I will emerge victori… :fist:t4:


All right. On a more serious note though, brainstorming those possible branching is fun, but it’ll greatly put massive burdens on your end. It’s a compromise, after all, between railroad and workload.

My trick, when I encounter such things, is to put all possible branching that are expected by the player. If the branching/path is something that won’t be complained to be not there, then I can consider to not put it there, if that makes sense :sweat_smile:

I mean, no one will complain if you don’t include the option “#Have a tea while watching the dragon burns my city,” right?


#9

While all those things are important, I’d say it’s the characters that’re most important to me. When it comes to fiction, I can enjoy pretty much any setting or plot, so long as the characters are unique and interesting.


#10

It definitely depends on what kind of story you’re trying to create. If you’re doing high fantasy or sci-fi, I’d say that world building would definitely be near if not at the top of my list.

If you’re doing a more mystery-focused piece, I would play a lot of attention to the story- because you want everything to connect nicely and neatly.

If you’re thinking of romance or even more of a bildungsroman ‘follow-the-main-character-from-birth-till-death’ kinda style then I’d pay a lot more attention to characters.

It also very much depends on your own writing style- play to your strengths and work on your weaknesses, if you know you’re best with characters then definitely put some of your focus on making your characters really shine, and if you know you’re bad with, say, action then you need to put even more focus on the action scenes than any other to work them and improve your own skills. (Maybe even write some practice scenes on the side that won’t go in the game but are just to help you get into the flow of them.)

Of course the most important thing to remember, above all, is that no matter how much focus you put on one or two aspects, to not completely ignore the others. All of these factor into the quality of the story you put out there, so you’re gonna want to make sure that you denote at least some thought to the other aspects.


#11

For a sci-fi story or any story not set in the real world, world building is key to understanding the story.

Branching does make me feel burnt out when I have written over 6,000 words, but the average play through is 400 words and the game is very short despite the work I put into it. Look at games like Yugen and Guenivere that have little branching, but are great.

The characters should usually get a majority of the focus as people love interacting with characters and romances.

Continuity is important if you might want a sequel on the future or if the game is not a comedy, but is usually not that important.

If it’s a slice of life or comedy game, the plot isn’t too important.

When I write, I first form a basic plot and then populate the world with interesting (at least I hope) characters and see how they work with or against the plot. I place the MC in the world and try to inform them enough about the world so that they can make semilogical choices, but not enough to overwhelm them or remove all twists. I create the mechanics that allow the MC, NPC, and world to interact, which are usually relationship bars as my story is character focused and then I tweak things as needed.


#12

I think I’m going to have to say the types of choices you can make. For example, in Metahuman Inc. (one of my favorite games ever), you can be a ruthless, lying, CEO, who runs the company with an iron fist, but has lead the company to great success. Or you can be a compassionate, honest CEO, who the employees love, but hasnt done much for the company.


#13

I’m going to say…
A natural flow.
Whether the elements stand out or blend in isn’t nearly as important as the games ability to feel natural or rather to pull the reader into a believable circumstance.

I have the hardest time ‘fitting in’ IRL so that unnatural feeling of being apart from the world is really noticeable in fiction. If all the pieces fit (characters, plot, game mechanics etc) and work together it makes for a much richer experience.


#14

Heheh, I was about to answer “the power and potential of ChoiceScript to make complex program in a simple environment,” but after seeing the other response, I guess I’ll be the only one who gives a radically different answer :sweat_smile:

But either way, :point_up_2:t4: that is the aspect I value the most when writing my game.


#15

Balance is what I focus on the most in development. A weakness in one area (ex mechanics) can be covered up by other areas(ex. strong world building) but without balance then the whole is flawed.

A balance in every aspect of the game must be struck or the flaw will be seen as a fatal flaw in that game’s execution. Too much world building (even if it is the best quality world building possible) is seen as bogging the game down but too little world building leaves the game in an uncertain place as well.

Balance is necessary in characterization, continuity (where retcons sometimes are the only way to continue a series) and even in branching of the story - too much breadth is as hurtful to a game as a lack of breadth.

Balance is also the hardest thing to achieve - especially the more complicated your game gets.


#16

When it comes to what I value most, there’s what takes the longest time but is most important, and what I actually enjoy doing.

I enjoy coming up with ideas for scenes, situations, characterful moments. What takes the most time (and what I most value having done when it’s done) is actually implementing the follow-through for choices. So if a player picks a background or a skill or talks with an NPC, there’s got to be cascaded consequences for this in the following chapters.


#17

There are lots of elements that are important, but I think the one I most care about at present is individualizing the story to the player – making them feel like this particular story is just for them based on their choices. Choices made earlier just wham! come out of nowhere to bite or haunt or save the player. Some code just exists to make some player out there say “WHAAAAT” and if you’ve got enough of those, somebody’s bound to hit one. And even in places where the influence of earlier choices is negligible, I want the illusion of impact and uniqueness to persist.

I could title my next game “Choice of Magics: Xtreme Callbacks” but it’s a bit long.