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Archive for the Game Design Category

Posts: 19

Dec 29

2011

4 Common Mistakes in Interactive Novels

Posted by: Dan Fabulich | Comments (3)

Are you writing an interactive novel using ChoiceScript? Don’t make these common mistakes! Not Enough Delayed Branching In “By the Numbers: How to Write a Long Interactive Novel That Doesn’t Suck“, we draw a distinction between choices that branch the story immediately and choices that cause the story to branch in a later chapter. It’s impossible to write a story with lots of choices if all choices branch the story immediately; delayed branching solves that problem nicely. When authors try to write a linear story without delayed branching, the result is a game where the player makes minor choices that

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Game Design

Jul 27

2011

7 Rules for Designing Great Stats

Posted by: Dan Fabulich | Comments (5)

As we discussed in an earlier article, if you want to write a long interactive novel that doesn’t suck, you’ll need to make to make heavy use of numeric scores or “stats.” Indeed, if you merge branches aggressively as we recommend, the entire game will be about the stats; every decision will update the stats and test earlier stats to make earlier decisions meaningful. In this article, we discuss a few techniques for designing great stats.

ChoiceScript, Game Design

Jul 27

2011

By the Numbers: How to Write a Long Interactive Novel That Doesn’t Suck

Posted by: Dan Fabulich | Comments (13)

Traditional gamebooks tend to be pretty short. The average story in a 110-page book in the most popular “choose a path” series is only six pages long. It’s not hard to see why. If each page of a choose-a-path book allows the reader to choose between just two options, a seven-page story requires 128 pages of text. If you want eight pages, the author has to deliver twice as much text, 256 pages. And if you want to write a twenty-page short story, you need a book more than a million pages long. You’d never finish writing a “short story”

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Game Design

Mar 05

2011

Five Tactics for Designing Games While Depressed

Posted by: Dan Fabulich | Comments (19)

I was at the Game Developer Conference this week in San Francisco; on Monday, Michael Todd (@thegamedesigner) gave a short presentation about his personal battle with depression. It was the best presentation I’ve seen all year, and I’d like to use this space to blog my notes about it. EDIT: The video of Michael Todd’s presentation has been posted for free online. Depression is common among independent game developers. Working on a large creative project all by yourself is a huge emotional challenge. Indie game developers work notoriously long hours, often in isolation. You’re constantly facing the outer limits of

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Game Design

Jul 30

2010

Four Ways to Write a Vignette

Posted by: Adam Strong-Morse | Comments (10)

One of the hardest tasks in learning to write a ChoiceScript game is figuring out a process for writing vignettes that works.  We all have experience writing stories, essays, and other prose forms.  And many of us have written computer programs before.  But a ChoiceScript game isn’t like a normal story, although it needs to tell an effective story, and it depends far more on text and storytelling than a normal computer program, although it is a computer program.  So how do we go about writing a vignette? In previous posts, I’ve talked about how we plan a ChoiceScript game

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Game Design

Jun 15

2010

Look Ahead at Our Future Games

Posted by: Adam Strong-Morse | Comments (20)

We’ve gotten a lot of questions about what games we’re working on and when they’ll be released.  I thought I’d give a quick run-down of some of the games that we have in progress. We have two games that are fairly far along.  Choice of the Vampire by Jason Hill is in beta testing currently.  We hope that it will be ready to release soon–maybe by the end of June–but we’ll keep on working on any of our games until we’re satisfied with them. “Choice of the Consort” is the tentative title for our game about romance and intrigue in

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Announcements, Choice of the Vampire, Game Design

May 24

2010

Don’t Start at the Beginning!

Posted by: Adam Strong-Morse | Comments (13)

When writing a ChoiceScript game, it’s tempting to think that you should write the game the way that it will be played:  start with the first vignette (maybe with some character-generation questions), then write the second vignette, then the middle vignettes, and finish with the concluding vignettes and epilogues (if any).  That can work, of course, but I don’t think it’s the most effective way to approach a ChoiceScript game.  In this post, I explain why and give my suggestions for how to pick a vignette to start with.

Game Design

May 06

2010

How We Plan a ChoiceScript Game

Posted by: Adam Strong-Morse | Comments (15)

Some people who are starting up the process of writing a ChoiceScript game have asked how to plan/outline/storyboard/etc. a game before writing.  I don’t presume that we know the best way, let alone the one true right way to do things, but I thought people would be interested in how we plan our games.  This is a monster length post, so I’m going to put it beneath a cut.

Game Design

Apr 17

2010

Make a “Choice of” Game Your Own: Authorial Intent in IF

Posted by: Adam Strong-Morse | Comments (14)

Authorial intent is a slippery concept at the best of times, but it becomes even more so in the context of interactive fiction (IF), whether multiple-choice games like Choice of Games makes or text adventures with a parser.  In a standard book (or a legal document, which is the context in which I’ve had most of my interactions with the concept of authorial intent), it’s usually pretty clear who the author is.  The difficult questions are how do you determine what the author’s intent is and does it matter?  When J.K. Rowling says that a prominent character in the Harry

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Choice of Broadsides, ChoiceScript, Game Design, Gender in Games

Apr 05

2010

Sailors Are Not Dragons

Posted by: Heather Albano | Comments (28)

… and books are not RPGs. (By the way—hi there! I’m Heather. I joined Choice of Games as writer #3 just as Broadsides development was starting. It’s nice to meet you, too!) This post started as a comment to the “Help Us Switch Gender” thread, but I decided not to post it at the time, both because it got way too long and because I couldn’t make my points without risking spoilers. Now I think I can reasonably assume anyone reading this has played the game (but I put the spoilers under a cut anyway.) The core concept for Broadsides

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Choice of Broadsides, Game Design, Gender in Games

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