How dramatic should decision making be?

Anthyny

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Hello there.

As topic states, how influential do you want your decision process to be in a game?

I'm looking at my branches here and I have a very definite set 9 unique pathways/endings.

There's three solid endings, three soft endings and three "you dun goofed" endings.

A couple endings are enabled/disabled almost immediately in the early parts of the game, including one that is meant to leave the player annoyed/frustrated if they are too reckless/cruel to their party members.

Does restarting the game seem too punishing after achieving said endings? One ending in particular takes about 12 hours to get to before you've realized you dun goofed.

Uh, I'm just rambling now though, so thoughts in general perhaps?
 

Makio-Kuta

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I think that that is fine as long as the player has an idea that that is how brutal their choices can be on their ability to get a good ending. Make it clear that they should save often and keep various save files, so they will instinctively keep multiple saves and can rescue themselves from a 'u dun goofed' ending.


Also, if possible, reward a player who gets an ending a faster way to play through stuff they did already the first time. Maybe the unlock the ability to skip cutscenes if they want, or they keep their items and experience gained from their previous play through into new ones. Just something to make grinding out all the endings less tedious to do would be best I think.
 

wallacethepig

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An ending should be as dramatic as this.

It's fine as long as you have a walkthrough so players know how to get all the endings.

Also, the game should be relatively short otherwise people won't bother to find the other 8 endings. I'm going to assume a minimum of 12 hours of playtime. If there are 9 endings, that makes 108 hours of gameplay, much of it the same. 12 hours is indeed a bit much.

You can also put a save screen before a decision is made, that way the player can save and get all the different endings a little bit easier. (Make sure you have at least 9 save slots available!)

-Wallace
 

Anthyny

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I was pondering about a new-game+ kinda thing, but I was slightly deterred by it because allowing a beefed up player to run through everything again might render the intended difficulty for the other endings to be sub-par.

Now personally I wouldn't mind having to start over for each play through. (For example Vanguard bandits is a favorite if mine, and it makes you start over each time.)

But I'd still like the game to appeal to more people than people who like to enjoy torturing themselves with repetiveness like I do. (Diablo 3 Hardcore MP10 always if anyone understands that lol)

So what percent of players out there are rpg masochists now a days?

Btw, I thank you and am grateful for all feedback.

Edit: @Wallace I put more than 100 hours of play time on any game that will allow me too usually. So now I'm feeling the story may have to be cut since I've been writing it mostly to my standards now. :(
 
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wallacethepig

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So what percent of players out there are rpg masochists now a days?
That's probably pretty low. Most people who would consider themselves serious gamers would play different games, not the same one 8 times again with a different ending.

I put more than 100 hours of play time on any game that will allow me too usually.
Don't get me wrong, I've logged 200+ hours into Dragon Quest IX alone, and who knows how many into Pokemon, but the thing that separates those games from yours is that they both have something new for you to do after you've beaten the game. 8 more endings is only new-ish.

Also, I'm pointing one of the only two flaws in multiple ending games. (The other flaw is just the fact that making 9 endings is 9 times as hard as making one ending.) It's real nitpicky of me, so go ahead and do your thing. I mean, look on the positive side of it: there's a 1 in 9 chance that people will have a different experience than everyone else. It's great that you want multiple endings, I'm just telling you one of the flaws of having them. ;)

-Wallace
 

Zoltor

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My game I made years ago had like 17 or 19 endings(no joke), but it wasn't only about the endings either lol, choices in game also dicted who who join your party, as well as other events(including chosing to head toward a diffent city, which ofcourse would open, and close other routes, exc.

It all depends what kind of gameplay to have in your game, and how you want to go about the replay aspect. You could have it so people need to play throulgh your game multiple time(this is the story telling style of replay, which is common in tactic/RPGs) or you can just make tons of awesome side quests, so people play through once for the story, but then spend thousands of hours on side quests, and other activities.
 

Dalph

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Being able to decide is cool, and makes the overall experience more appealing, to not count the fact that the idea adds replayability to the game.

Maybe you need to decide on a knife-edge sometimes...but knowing that the story will evolve based on my decisions helps me a lot to identify myself in the main character of the game.

I particularly enjoyed the huge amount of choices in the trilogy of Mass Effect (I also tried every freakin' combination in my different playthroughs...but I still missed something)...those games felt kinda...infinite in someway...

The New Game Plus is something that I like, and not because I like owning all the monsters (..ok I love that too) but because as I said I like to see different path branches of a story (if there are any, it's obvious).

I remember that in Breath of Fire IV, you can choose your path only at the end of the game, and that is the only choice in the game that will affect the ending.

One thing is certain, having a lot of endings and different possibilities is exciting as hell, but is also a lot of work, so be very careful with it (it can also be hard and messy to implement).
 

Cozzer

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If your game is story-oriented, dramatic choices and multiple endings can be a trap.

It's not easy to come up with multiple ways to end a story that fit the story itself, and even harder if you have multiple "branch points".

Anyway, reaching a bad end because of choices the player makes in the middle of the game is bad design.

If you have multiple endings based on choices that occur during the whole game, every ending has to be a satisfying one.

If you want to include "you got it wrong" endings, make it so they play immediatly after the player made the bad choice. A sort of non-standard-game-over, or something like that.
 
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Zoltor

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If your game is story-oriented, dramatic choices and multiple endings can be a trap.

It's not easy to come up with multiple ways to end a story that fit the story itself, and even harder if you have multiple "branch points".

Anyway, reaching a bad end because of choices the player makes in the middle of the game is bad design.

If you have multiple endings based on choices that occur during the whole game, every ending has to be a satisfying one.

If you want to include "you got it wrong" endings, make it so they play immediatly after the player made the bad choice. A sort of non-standard-game-over, or something like that.

Yea I hate bad endings from choices made earlier in the game.

Yea, like the way Radiant Historia does bad endings, now that was done right, as a wrong choice doesn't ruin the game, infact It's fun in RH to collect all the bad endings lol.
 

Anthyny

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Thank you everyone for your input. I'll begin my revisions considering these points in mind.

And if anyone else has an opinion, please do share.
 

TheRiotInside

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It would depend on the person I think. Some people like watching a story unfold like they're reading a book, while others enjoy playing the part of the writer while they play. I don't feel like I have to really put myself into the role of the character I'm playing to enjoy it; I just want to have an enjoyable character, you know? I feel like if your plot, dialogue, and story progression are thought-out and done well, there isn't as much of a desire for the player to want to be the one making the decisions.

Another aspect is that if you make other aspects of your game up to the player, like character customization for battle, that can help to fill the void for someone wanting to "be involved" with the game.

From a game maker's perspective, I'd say that balancing a customization system well for unique player builds is much easier than implement story arcs and conditional plot elements and weave them all in properly.

Tell the story you want to tell, and let the player build the character they want to build. Just my opinion :)
 

Zoltor

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It would depend on the person I think. Some people like watching a story unfold like they're reading a book, while others enjoy playing the part of the writer while they play. I don't feel like I have to really put myself into the role of the character I'm playing to enjoy it; I just want to have an enjoyable character, you know? I feel like if your plot, dialogue, and story progression are thought-out and done well, there isn't as much of a desire for the player to want to be the one making the decisions.

Another aspect is that if you make other aspects of your game up to the player, like character customization for battle, that can help to fill the void for someone wanting to "be involved" with the game.

From a game maker's perspective, I'd say that balancing a customization system well for unique player builds is much easier than implement story arcs and conditional plot elements and weave them all in properly.

Tell the story you want to tell, and let the player build the character they want to build. Just my opinion :)

This is the best way to go.
 

TheRiotInside

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Yeah, Zoltor, I cringed when I read that you had all those endings implemented with party member and location conditions and all that. I'm a pretty technical guy, but that sounds like a massive headache, haha. Kudos for pulling it off.
 

Zoltor

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Yeah, Zoltor, I cringed when I read that you had all those endings implemented with party member and location conditions and all that. I'm a pretty technical guy, but that sounds like a massive headache, haha. Kudos for pulling it off.

You have no idea,  lol yea thanks.

The problem Isn't so much with variations in the story, It's the general events that you want to occur nomatter who is in your party, omg talk about a mess.

However if you can manage to pull such off(requires so much more work for each event the different party combinations are gonna have in common), It's gonna make the game look super polished, and It's bound to impress the hell out of your friends(who will be wondering how the hell you did various things).

There's a event I created where a char might marry one or the other char, and I tie other choices in the past, where a 3rd char might get killed during the same event, among other outcomes.

Hell even a simple event where your party is staying at a inn, and they move to their "separate" beds, then all get out, to regroup at the counter, is a big ordeal when working with multiple party formations.

Basically take the effort needed to execute an event, and multiply it by how many party combinations your games allows to partake in X event.

Also needless to say, keeping track of all that is going on, and the switched for each thing, can become very confusing. When you get such events to work, just leave it be, It's very easy to accidently break something, and if something breaks, it will be a nightmare to fix.
 
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