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Structure

2 years ago

I'm currently in the process of outlining a new mystery storygame that's based off Clue- the board game, of course.

After being invited to a mysterious manor by someone related to an incident in their past, the six suspects (Mrs. Peacock, Professor Plum, etc.) are knocked out and wake up to find themselves scattered around the mansion. After grouping up, they find themselves completely locked inside the manor and their host murdered- presumably by one of them, since no one else seems to be in the house.

Moving past the background, from there the choices the reader makes drastically influences who ends up surviving, or if anyone survives at all. Out of the 18 endings, 12 of them end with everyone's death and are labelled as "bad ends," but the other six have one person making it out alive- one person for each of the six "good" endings. The good endings also give extra information about the situation, providing insight to the reader.

My issue about this is that I want to make a set of pages in this game explaining everything that's going on in each timeline, including the bad endings. In almost every ending, people don't die outright but die mysteriously and quietly- you leave a person in a room and after coming back 20 minutes later they're dead on the ground with no explanation. I want to make a full explanation for every single timeline detailing on what exactly occurred. However, I don't want the reader to be able to access the full explanation of the storygame without having gone through it first. I came up with a solution that I'm currently not sure about- this is the main reason why I'm posting this. 

What I'm planning on doing is having a link to the full explanation on the home page, but you can only access it once you've gathered six items. Each of the six items are placed at each of the "good" endings, meaning you have to play through all six good endings and get all the items before being able to unlock the full explanation. However, this process is obviously tedious and I'm not sure if it would just scare readers away from the full experience. Another concern about this is that players don't know which endings are the "good" ones, meaning they might have to go through all 18 timelines before actually getting all six items, which I'm sure would be very frustrating for the reader.

And this is why I'm asking you all about this. I'm not sure how exactly I should structure this. Should I just let the explanation be accessible from the beginning? Maybe I could give out an optional flowchart so readers would know where to find each ending? Should I just have the link to the full explanation be at the end of each good ending?

I'd like to emphasize that playing through one ending is not enough to understand the true story behind what's going on- why everyone is trapped here, how the host died, etc. While some endings are more revealing than others, it is absolutely necessary to play through the game multiple times to get a somewhat clear picture of what's going on. That's why I preferred to have the player experience every good ending before being able to have the complete explanation. 

What would you think would be the most enjoyable for readers? How should I structure this?

Structure

2 years ago
Well obviously you don't give away a mystery *before* the player starts it. Would it contain spoilers for the others to explain each ending as it's reached?

Otherwise, your original idea seems fine, but just definitely don't lock the player into the game until they've gotten every ending. Just view and present it as a bonus material that only the most dedicated players are going to ever reach. (Make them aware that it's there and that they have to not use the back button to find it, and that each ending increases their score so that you can tell by comments who found it.)

You also don't even have to use an item at all to track how far they've gotten, but I guess if you want to treat it like a medal or achievement that might appeal to someone.

Maybe something like a small badge or banner image for fully beating the game that could go in their profile as well? That's been done before, you just need to give them the html code to paste over at the end the game. (and if you have it turn the image into a clickable link as well, that's free advertising anytime anyone does it.)

Structure

2 years ago

For your question about spoiling, yes. It would spoil literally everything about the game, which is why I was so hesitant about that idea. As for not locking players, I was planning on having end game links at each ending, including bad ends, as well as in the final explanation.

Also, I had no idea that the "Score" variable actually had a purpose: I thought it was just a default variable given to you. Now I see that it actually is shown in the comments, so thank you for telling me that!

A banner image or something along those lines is also an amazing idea- an actual reward besides filling plot for completing all the endings.