Let me start by saying that this seems like a really active and supportive community, which is excellent. I have already enjoyed a number of storygames, and I hope my comments have been constructive. I hope to become a contributing member of this thriving site.
I have grand ambitions of several storygames I hope to author. I am focusing on only one project for now, but the execution has turned out to be a challenge. I thought I would be able to simply read the forums and teach myself all the tricks. I was wrong. I admit that it is all a bit overwhelming...
I am struggling to understand how to keep my game from growing exponentially with every new decision until the story is unmanageable. How do I make it so that the different paths can converge on a page, then diverge again? For example, say there are numerous paths and personality-developing decisions which all lead, ultimately, to a certain Battle. The Battle will be the same no matter which path you took to get there, but then after the Battle I want the paths to diverge again and remember the prior decisions. Is there a way to do this without copy/pasting the same Battle page dozens of times? Is the answer a complex stat system with dozens of variables for each decision used to shape which options are available?
Is there a way to use the inventory system without displaying it on the screen? Or should I simply treat the equipment as additional variables?
Any input or guidance would be greatly appreciated. I am quite confident in my skills as a writer, but I am unfamiliar with this medium. I want to utilize it for the best possible results for everybody to enjoy. Thank you all.
If you are going for multiple and diverse story paths, I would suggest taking after Endmaster with the way he makes story games; minimum of about 4 pages in a path, and maximum of 21(I think?) in another. (he isn't actively writing, but he has many featured games)
If you are hoping to accomplish a very long storygame, then I would suggest taking after Kiel with the way he makes story games; limiting the number of options in exchange for very long story paths so it doesn't end up increasing exponentially, and using scripting and such to make less work for himself while more play time for the player. (he currently has a game that has 750+ pages that he's still working on.)
If you're hoping to make a story that has a very large game element, then I'd suggest asking Nmelssx, BradinDvorak, or BerkaZerka for help. (The links lead to examples of their work.)
If you're worried about a passage you've written, you can always make a new thread in the Writing Workshop and copy/paste said passage into it to ask for opinions. There are several members who would gladly give helpful advice.
For future help with scripting/coding, you can always ask in the Advanced Editor forum.
As for your question; it depends. How are you planning on making the personality developments? Do you mean that there are different paths for the personality developments, or are you planning on using scripting to change statements on the page to reflect personality changes? It is possible either way, it just is a different way of doing it for either choice.
Edit; Sorry for the long wait. I started the post about 2-ish minutes after you posted, but I had a cat demanding my attention and I'm not that fast at typing in the first place. >_<'
Thanks for reaching out! I understand completely; we, the 'masters' are really subject to the whims of our animals, aren't we? Especially when it comes to cats and keyboards...
Anyway, I imagine a simple stat system where your actions accumulate personality stats (Courage v Cowardice, Kindness v Cruelty, etc.) which will lead to certain decisions being available (or being successful) later in the plot. I would like to have a lot of decisions, but affecting your personality rather than, like, health or inventory.
A (maybe better) example: You meet a stranger and you can either threaten or befriend them. Then they come up again much later, and your interaction will be different depending on your early actions. The progression of the story from Interaction A to Interaction B will be the same no matter what, but Interaction B will be different. Make sense? Is there a way to do that with just one copy of the progression? Or will it necessarily involve copying two nearly identical branches of the story to allow you to make Interaction B different? Because, then, if there are more decisions (and branches) in-between A and B the story will necessarily become convoluted and complex, with an ever-increasing number of branches.
I'm not all that great at scripting. (This is literally all I understand about it still) But I do think it is possible. Could you describe what you're trying to do a bit better?
I apologize, I am not making myself clear. I appreciate you helping even though I am speaking nonsense!
Scenario illustrating what I mean:
On Page1 you meet a man. You can A: punch him or B: not punch him. After doing so you proceed on your adventurous way. Then on Page50 the man re-enters the plot. How he acts will depend on whether or not you punched him. Page 2-49 will be the same regardless of whether or not you punched him.
But will I have to create two identical series of pages 2-49, one for each branch of the decision? Or is there a simpler way or adjust what happens on page 50? Is the solution scripting, as you say? Or is it to add a variable called PUNCHHIM, which will determine page 50 later?
Yes; scripting is how you'd accomplish this. In this case, you'd need to create a page 51 with an alternate outcome and give each link leading to page 50 a script that, depending on the value of %PUNCHHIM, either changes the destination ($DEST) to page 51 or continues to 50.
Welcome and good luck on your projects~
Welcome to the site.
I think others have answered your direct questions so far, but if not, do ask again. Variables can be fun!
As for the exponential aspect of CYS, well, that's how it works. Any story that forces a reader to the same point can be, well, offputting (at least to me). Instead, when I write the story, I know that when a reader goes through the story, they will be reading only a small portion of what I have written. In a recent short story I wrote, the average path through resulted in a nice short story of 1,000 words or so. But total words written is nearly 8,000 because of the various options.
I know it can be hard to grasp, but if you want people to read every word that you write, CYS is not the setting you need.
But I do get the idea of your choices affecting different points in the future. The Shortcut Home is a well-written story that does what you're looking for well, I think!