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InvertMouse

Transparency with decision trees (The Last Birdling)

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Hi everyone ^_^. Thank you again for letting me post my blog entry here:

pBmqy93l.jpg

This time I talk about the choice systems I have used in previous games, and the method I plan to adopt in The Last Birdling. Hope you like it!

LKllbECl.jpg

5JhfSAkl.jpg

 

A few points I would be happy to hear thoughts on:

1) If a choice has no impact on the ending, is it better for the game to be linear? I played Akiba's Trip recently, and I imagine a lot of those choices had no effect on the ending, but some of them were hilarious so they never bothered me. See, I always had this theory. If it has "attitude", you can get away with almost anything.

2) Is it dishonest to boast about x number of endings if most of them are just instant gameovers? This doesn't offend me, but when it is being done all the time, it results in a "yeah let me guess" type of reaction.

3) For those who have played it, how awful did you think Mass Effect 3's ending was? In terms of player agency, maybe it is a travesty compared to older titles like Star Wars KOTOR. That said, back in the days, cutscenes were less expensive to produce (well I wouldn't know a thing about that). Is it really possible to produce multiple vastly different endings when you know most players will miss a bunch of that content?

4) More branches means longer game length. Does it also risk potential fluff routes and less editing time (spellcheck, skim read once and call it a job done)?

5) What is the point of multiple paths if there is a true ending in the end? Though I want to be edgy and say it's pointless, I actually like true endings. Not those everything is magically okay ones, but it's good to have something that tells you yes, this is indeed the end.

6) Does it bug you when choices seem nonsensical, and you are forced to look up guides?

7) I wonder why visual novels often have multiple paths, but it's much less common with traditional novels? Of course, we have the choose your own adventure books. Maybe having to turn to a particular page is just a pain.

Thank you!

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10 hours ago, InvertMouse said:

Hi everyone ^_^. Thank you again for letting me post my blog entry here:

pBmqy93l.jpg

This time I talk about the choice systems I have used in previous games, and the method I plan to adopt in The Last Birdling. Hope you like it!

LKllbECl.jpg

5JhfSAkl.jpg

 

A few points I would be happy to hear thoughts on:

1) If a choice has no impact on the ending, is it better for the game to be linear? I played Akiba's Trip recently, and I imagine a lot of those choices had no effect on the ending, but some of them were hilarious so they never bothered me. See, I always had this theory. If it has "attitude", you can get away with almost anything.

2) Is it dishonest to boast about x number of endings if most of them are just instant gameovers? This doesn't offend me, but when it is being done all the time, it results in a "yeah let me guess" type of reaction.

3) For those who have played it, how awful did you think Mass Effect 3's ending was? In terms of player agency, maybe it is a travesty compared to older titles like Star Wars KOTOR. That said, back in the days, cutscenes were less expensive to produce (well I wouldn't know a thing about that). Is it really possible to produce multiple vastly different endings when you know most players will miss a bunch of that content?

4) More branches means longer game length. Does it also risk potential fluff routes and less editing time (spellcheck, skim read once and call it a job done)?

5) What is the point of multiple paths if there is a true ending in the end? Though I want to be edgy and say it's pointless, I actually like true endings. Not those everything is magically okay ones, but it's good to have something that tells you yes, this is indeed the end.

6) Does it bug you when choices seem nonsensical, and you are forced to look up guides?

7) I wonder why visual novels often have multiple paths, but it's much less common with traditional novels? Of course, we have the choose your own adventure books. Maybe having to turn to a particular page is just a pain.

Thank you!

1) In my opinion, 'meaningless choices' are one of the biggest sins of the fad of creating the 'illusion of player agency' in gaming in general and VNs in particular.  This becomes a particularly nasty trend when the choices that matter are hidden inside the dozens of meaningless ones.

2) No, it isn't dishonest.  However, it can be irritating.  It is quite possible to be perfectly honest and get on people's nerves, and that is usually the case with non-detailed game overs.

3) Mass Effect 3's ending wasn't unexpected.  I gave up on Bioware making Mass Effect's endings making details of what you did throughout the game matter after 2.  I understood the logic, but it was still as annoying as hell.  Even KOTOR did this to an extent, as it was possible to completely reverse your choices up to that point by simply picking the opposite side near the end.

4) More branches can be a bad thing or a good thing, depending on the passion and sense of humor of the writer.  Tsukihime's alternate endings for all the heroines other than Kohaku provided a lot of flavor, for instance... and Devils Devel Concept's dual endings for each of the four non-true heroine paths created some radically different and interesting stories.  However, I've also experienced dozens of 'side-paths' that were basically excuses for fanservice.  It all depends on what you do with it.  As for editing... that depends on who you have got and how tight a schedule you have set.  An inflexible schedule will inevitably limit your possibilities, while a schedule that is too flexible results in development cycles that fans find intolerable in many cases.

5) In many cases, the point of the non-true endings in such a case is to provide perspective on the setting or aspects of the story that add depth to a true route later on.  In other cases, it is simply to make you love characters other than the true heroine so that it will be easier for you to emotionally insert yourself into the plot.  There are lots of reasons to do this, but those are the two I've seen the most often.

6) Yes.  Nonsensical choices that are truly nonsensical irritate me.

7) It is simply easier to do multiple paths using a game engine, from the reader/player's perspective.  One of the reasons the 'choose your own adventure' novels never really gained mainstream popularity was because of inconvenience.  In a game system, you can simply save at important choices and go back later if you feel you need to change things up.  How many bookmarks can you place in a book before it becomes impossible to read?

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8 hours ago, Clephas said:

1) In my opinion, 'meaningless choices' are one of the biggest sins of the fad of creating the 'illusion of player agency' in gaming in general and VNs in particular.  This becomes a particularly nasty trend when the choices that matter are hidden inside the dozens of meaningless ones.

2) No, it isn't dishonest.  However, it can be irritating.  It is quite possible to be perfectly honest and get on people's nerves, and that is usually the case with non-detailed game overs.

3) Mass Effect 3's ending wasn't unexpected.  I gave up on Bioware making Mass Effect's endings making details of what you did throughout the game matter after 2.  I understood the logic, but it was still as annoying as hell.  Even KOTOR did this to an extent, as it was possible to completely reverse your choices up to that point by simply picking the opposite side near the end.

4) More branches can be a bad thing or a good thing, depending on the passion and sense of humor of the writer.  Tsukihime's alternate endings for all the heroines other than Kohaku provided a lot of flavor, for instance... and Devils Devel Concept's dual endings for each of the four non-true heroine paths created some radically different and interesting stories.  However, I've also experienced dozens of 'side-paths' that were basically excuses for fanservice.  It all depends on what you do with it.  As for editing... that depends on who you have got and how tight a schedule you have set.  An inflexible schedule will inevitably limit your possibilities, while a schedule that is too flexible results in development cycles that fans find intolerable in many cases.

5) In many cases, the point of the non-true endings in such a case is to provide perspective on the setting or aspects of the story that add depth to a true route later on.  In other cases, it is simply to make you love characters other than the true heroine so that it will be easier for you to emotionally insert yourself into the plot.  There are lots of reasons to do this, but those are the two I've seen the most often.

6) Yes.  Nonsensical choices that are truly nonsensical irritate me.

7) It is simply easier to do multiple paths using a game engine, from the reader/player's perspective.  One of the reasons the 'choose your own adventure' novels never really gained mainstream popularity was because of inconvenience.  In a game system, you can simply save at important choices and go back later if you feel you need to change things up.  How many bookmarks can you place in a book before it becomes impossible to read?

Great thoughts Clephas! Thank you for sharing 8).

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5 minutes ago, InvertMouse said:

Great thoughts Clephas! Thank you for sharing 8).

By the way, it was smart to bundle all your games together.  I'm curious, so I'll take a look at them sometime next month.

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21 hours ago, Clephas said:

By the way, it was smart to bundle all your games together.  I'm curious, so I'll take a look at them sometime next month.

Thank you so much! Some of the older ones are pretty bad, but they are a part of my history so I had to include them :vinty:.

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2 hours ago, InvertMouse said:

Thank you so much! Some of the older ones are pretty bad, but they are a part of my history so I had to include them :vinty:.

Which would you recommend I start with, considering my stated tastes (strong protagonists, intelligent characters, interesting settings)?

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On 5/8/2017 at 4:29 PM, Clephas said:

Which would you recommend I start with, considering my stated tastes (strong protagonists, intelligent characters, interesting settings)?

I try to get better with every project so I would love it if you could give Unhack 2 (my latest game) a chance, though it does mean you will have to put up with the first game beforehand, which is mediocre in my eyes at this point. If not, then I hope you can wait for The Last Birdling ^_^. Cursed Sight is subjective but thankfully those who like it like it a lot. I still like that one, but if I got to remake it today, I know I would do a much better job.

Thanks Clephas!

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