Your opinions on worldbuilding

I’ve begun work on my new game Hunter Sky, which is a medieval teenfic fantasy about an orphan who wants to become a knight in magical world. Currently I’ve done the prologue and chapter one already, but the question i would like to ask is about worldbuilding.

In the web novel version, i sprinkle worldbuilding in bite sized chunks throughout the novel to not overwhelm the reader, but as a game i feel that may not be the best thing. As in the beginning you probably won’t understand the world as much.

Do you prefer to learn about the world gradually as you play? Or do you want the full grasp of the world from the start?


I prefer it done as organically as possible. So when something new comes up, we learn about it at the moment and carry on. I don’t mind info dumping but I find that in reading (or writing), it flows better to be done as the story goes, in my opinion. Although, I think it can be done sort of both ways, as it could depend on what you’re wanting to explain and how complex it is. If that makes sense!


I think that as long as you’re given enough information to make informed choices by the time those choices come along, it works best.

E.g., by the time I pick a knightly order, I should have been given the information on what those orders are about (the publicly-known information, I mean), but the information about the economic and geostrategic role of each of the kingdom’s regions can wait until I have to decide where to establish a new chapterhouse.


Sure, it makes complete sense. Thank you for replying. I think i will keep the learn as you go by format.

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Hey thanks, i think I’m on the right path based on your reply. I’ll keep at it then.

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You can choose regardless as this is highly subjective depending on the audience. A big problem that a lot of authors in the manga/manhwa/novel world is they write their stories like either a fanfiction/fanservice story or a video game.

Its kind of like the pareto principle, 80% of the quality from a work of fiction stems from the 20% of good writing that involves story, characters, relationships and backstory. The world building and lore per se isn’t that important in the grand schemes of the story and in fact can be a detriment by giving the audience too many characters, names and locations.

Keep it short and simple, no need to explain everything in detail and bore the reader with information.

If I had to choose it would be gradual world building as lots of information bores the reader and mystery is also better in most stories. Funny enough this can also be applied when dating girls lol but thats besides the point.


What, you mean you don’t want my 1000 page Comic Sans font presentation dumped in front of you? I bound and glued it by my own hands! Hm. How about a power point presentation with an overabundance of fancy transitions?:thinking:


I like the information to be kept on level MC/narrator would feel natural, preferably combined with a codex sort of thing where the player can find a more detailed info if that’s their preference, or they find themselves confused. This way these who like to figure things out on their own can, these who like info dumps have easy access to them while at the same time it’s not forced on people who’d rather skip it.


hahahaha facts but you’d be surprised how many authors do this. I guess us guys are just super nerdy.

Exactly. I think there was a game called Whiskey Four that did this, in the codex files the MC also makes comments on the codex as well which was brilliant

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Worldbuilding is a complex facet of storytelling that often becomes a stumbling block for many writers. They tend to either disclose too much information prematurely or inundate the reader with an overload of facts—both approaches typically leading to disinterest or confusion. Essentially, if the reader isn’t sufficiently engaged or invested, lore-heavy segments may come across as tedious and are likely to be forgotten. Successful lore integration primarily hinges on delivering it when the reader is both invested and the unfolding context demands such information.

Lore Revelations Driven by Characters:
Characters frequently serve as conduits to your world’s lore. A prime moment for lore presentation emerges when a character is discovering it. This approach not only binds the lore directly to the character’s journey but also facilitates simultaneous learning for the reader, fostering a sense of investment.

Imagine a protagonist discovering a cryptic symbol etched into a wall, one that’s been subtly hinted at earlier but never fully elucidated. The character’s quest to decode its meaning becomes an ideal opportunity to delve into the associated lore. As the protagonist pieces together the enigma, the reader’s curiosity is satisfied, and the lore evolves into an essential plot component instead of an overwhelming information dump.

However, this tactic can be overused, making the main protagonist appear inexplicably uninformed about their lifelong world until the reader arrives. While this may work in an Isekai scenario or similar, it shouldn’t be excessively relied upon as it doesn’t seamlessly translate to all story types. Likewise, avoid poorly executed iterations of this like the “As you know” information dump where characters redundantly discuss known information for the reader’s benefit. Balancing this approach with other methods of lore delivery is recommended.

Lore Introduced Out of Necessity:
Lore should be introduced when it’s crucial for advancing the plot or understanding a character’s motivation. For instance, in a story where the protagonist is part of a secret society, there’s no need to delve into the intricate details of the society’s formation and rules right at the outset. However, as the protagonist ascends the ranks and the society’s rules start influencing their decisions and life, it becomes necessary for the reader to understand more.

G.R.R.M.'s “A Song of Ice and Fire” series exemplifies this approach well. The complex political and historical context of Westeros isn’t forced on the reader in the opening chapter. Instead, it’s gradually unveiled as characters interact, confront challenges, and navigate the politics of the Seven Kingdoms.

Withholding lore can also enhance the narrative, especially in situations where its understanding would drastically impact a sequence of events. In such cases, keeping both the character and reader/player in the dark can lead to surprising reveals later on. Alternatively, deliberately withholding certain information can prompt readers to revisit earlier moments in the narrative, stimulating deeper understanding and engagement in subsequent readings or playthroughs, and who doesn’t like replayability?

Investment Through Emotional Connections:
Creating emotional bonds between the reader and the characters can significantly enhance investment in the characters’ backstories and personal lore. Bioware successfully implemented this in their games by linking character relationship progression with plot advancement, ensuring that the player has sufficient time to form emotional attachments before delving into character histories.

As such, once the reader forms a deep attachment to a character who is haunted by a past event, it becomes appropriate to introduce the lore surrounding that event. This transforms what might have been dry historical facts into a poignant part of the character’s journey.

Organic Integration Through Dialogue and Action:
Instead of pausing the narrative for exposition, lore can be elegantly woven into dialogue, actions, and environmental descriptions. This tactic is exemplified in J.R.R. Tolkien’s “The Lord of the Rings” series, where lore is often conveyed through songs and stories of the elves. This technique transforms potential information dumps into immersive and meaningful experiences.

For instance, rather than explaining outright that the Queendom of Bardsdale is a matriarchal society valuing arts and employing underestimated spies trained in martial arts, show a character embodying these traits. Introduce a beautiful minstrel, who is underestimated by others, revealing her hidden depths later in the story. Then, as the narrative moves to Bardsdale, let the reader discover that she is an agent of the queen and that most of the powerful figures that the main character encounters in Bardsdale are women. Such an approach allows readers to absorb information naturally, avoiding a disengaging encyclopedia-like introduction.

The Golden Rule - Show, Don’t Tell:
To wrap it all together, ‘showing rather than telling’ is a vital writing principle that applies particularly well to lore. Present lore through characters’ actions and behaviors, societal norms, architectural details, landscape features, and more. This method makes lore feel like an integral part of the world, rather than an addition or afterthought.

Bonus feature:
Interactive fiction provides writers with an invaluable tool: codex entries. Authors like Tolkien have long utilized appendices to stow away extensive lore, and in the realm of interactive fiction, these codices afford writers the opportunity to let readers control the flow of information according to their comfort and interest.

Tucked away in menus, codex entries offer an ideal solution for revealing lore to inquisitive and invested readers at their own pace. This method enables those hungry for depth to indulge in the lore while permitting those who prefer a brisker narrative to bypass it effortlessly. With apt reminders sprinkled throughout the narrative, readers can be made aware of the steadily growing wealth of knowledge at their disposal. They can then delve into this repository to satisfy their curiosity about specific details and then seamlessly return to the main storyline. In this way, the lore enhances their experience without disrupting the pace of their adventure.


Lol, i agree.

This is what I’m trying to do yes. That sounds like a win win for everyone.

Thanks for the detailed information. I really found a lot of what you stated extremely useful.

Thanks everyone for your replies! You guys deserve a round of applause :clap:
I have a better grasp of what to do now.

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Worldbuilding is something that should come naturally. Most people aren’t able to handle a huge infodump all at once. Treat the reader like they know everything, and eventually, they will. Let the characters speak in context, without too much explanation as to what they mean, but most people prefer something more in the middle - EG: ROUSes from The Princess Bride ; they were immediately described as rodents of unusual size. Personally, I find that to be lazy storytelling, but it was done in such a way that it made sense storywise. I find that this is a good happy medium.


Worldbuilding is supposed to be an iceberg: enough lore that if your reader looks under the water they see the ice, but don’t know it’s hollow. Your story will always be the most important to you. You need to know all the details of your lore, not the reader. Sometimes even a brief mention like a character saying they ‘haven’t seen so much destruction since the Frisian invasion’ will entice their curiosity a lot more than you giving them an entire overview of the Frisian-Lalaland relations, their rules, religion, culture, and so on in a single dump. Like feeding pigeons, lore works best in crumbs.

And be consistent. If pigs fly, don’t have cows doing the same on the next page without good reason. Readers notice when your character is bending the world to their will instead of bending to the world.


Worldbuilding should be not only organic, but relevant. Obviously it gets a bit more complicated if the player character is supposed to know certain things the player might not, but generally it’s more natural if lore and other worldbuilding is shown through characters, their actions, and events that happen during the course of the story.


A little of each: I want to have a basic idea of the lore before playing, especially about the more fictional stuff, but I also want to know about the world as I play.

To use your description: I would want information on what exactly magic is, in your work so I can understand the role that magic plays in this society. Magic is something I usually see in fiction, which means that each game/book/work has different rules about magic. I would want to know this before playing a game with magic involved. As for being a knight… I’m aware that irl, knights become knights either through a long period of being a page and squire, or by a singilar act of bravery, so unless you deviate from that, any more specific details can be revealed as I play through the game.

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stumbles onstage clutching a half-empty bottle of cheap whiskey, dressed only in a pizza-stained tank top

Worldbuilding is a complex facet of storytelling that is totally unnecessary and often gets in the way of real story. It becomes a stumbling block for a lot of writers who find it way easier to generate meaningless details about their original fantasy setting than actually sit down and write. Essentially, if the writer is feeling burnt out or unmotivated, worldbuilding provides them with an easy way to make it feel as though they are making progress while they’re actually just spinning their wheels.

Successful lore integration primarily hinges on the writer having a solid grasp of the details of their story and including self-references that the readers will recognise. It doesn’t mean an encyclopedia.

Lore Revelations Driven by Characters:

Characters are the drivers of story. They’re not just story elements you can use to reveal lore.

Lore Introduced Out of Necessity:

There is a classic fallacy of media criticism that excuses unliterary (or even grotesque) elements of a story by claiming that, since these elements are justified in the lore, they are justified in the text. For example, creating a fantasy race that is an obvious analogue for real-world peoples and then claiming they are universally evil is unjustifiable in any text, but many will claim that, because the Canadian Goblins grew up in a land without sun, they did not receive the light of the Sun God and are therefore evil, and therefore it makes sense for them to sexually harass the main character. This is using worldbuilding to excuse shitty storytelling.

In truth, nothing is necessary. The possibilities are endless. If you have some shitty aspect of your world, you can justify it all you like but it doesn’t make a difference. No lore is necessary. The lore serves the story, not the other way around.

Investment Through Emotional Connections:

How do you create emotional bonds between the reader and the characters? Write better characters. Write compelling stories. No amount of worldbuilding will do the heavy lifting for you. Building up pages and pages of detailed lore in a desperate attempt to garner sympathy is a crutch for people who aren’t confident with their writing.

Organic Integration Through Dialogue and Action:

You can tell a lot about a character by how they speak and how they act. For example, you can tell a lot about someone who rocks up and starts an organised list of writing advice as though they are some sort of guru without so much as a citation, every word carefully chosen to suggest that universal truths about writing are being revealed, and that the author is merely a conduit through whom you can unlock your truest writing self.

chugs the rest of the whiskey

You can tell they really love the sound of their own voice!

The Golden Rule - Show, Don’t Tell:

Im In Ur Walls Walten Files GIF - Im In Ur Walls Walten Files Bons Burgers GIFs

Bonus Feature:

I’m not reading your codex lol


This is that second guy in my example that wants to briskly flow through the story.

Anyway, if my method of organizing my thoughts and rambling extemporaneously about my opinion on worldbuilding specifically in response to an asked question doesn’t feel credible enough for you, Brandon Sanderson has a nice and famous course on this. He touches on the worldbuilder’s disease you mention, and on his distaste for appendices (note that this is an author renowned for his extensive worldbuilding), but actually gives a nuanced long-form talk on the subject and how to use your worldbuilding in service of your story by ensuring that you are getting the reader engaged, invested, and wanting to know the lore, along with ways to deploy it while writing without making the reader feel like you’re just cramming your lore in at every opportunity. He talks about some of the points I discussed, though of course he is much better at it than I am.


This is why you get iceberg videos on plenty of things: Hunger Games, Super Mario Sunshine, Despicable Me, etc. (without the conspiracy theories)

Background information is best revealed through this way. Interactions please!
With respect to your question, learning about the world gradually is best so that the reader doesn’t feel overwhelmed by the background information.

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