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How to handle similar events in different branches

6 months ago

I'm looking for a bit of advice because of feedback I keep getting on stories that I want to avoid this time around. Basically, I'm curious how people typically handle events that happen in multiple branches without making the story seem repitive or copy pasted in each branch. Here is an example:


My cyberpunk story is going to feature a choice between robbing and killing another character. Sort of like choosing if he deserves to die or if taking all his money and riding into the sunset is sufficient. The events in the story happen like this: choice between killing and robbing > doubts/moral conflict that make you question choice > interaction with the person you are going to rob/murder > become convicted of your choice and follow through. 

 

In my mind that interaction with your target would be the same in both branches. My initial thought is that no matter what you decided, both characters would say/do the same thing once they happen to bump into each other. However, the conversation/interaction is going to be sort of long because my goal is to build up the character we are going to rob or kill to make it more impactful (maybe 300 to 500 words). 

 

Would having a block of 500 words that are the same in every branch make this part of the story repetitive? If so, how do I fix this?

 

My initial thought was to mess with the timing and location slightly to make the interaction a bit different. For example, if you choose to kill the other character you go for a walk to clear your head and bump into him out in the hallway of the building you are in. If you choose to rob him, then you sit in your room debating it a bit longer and he comes into your room. Still, it's going to be all of the same information, so the conversation might be pretty similar.

 

The other option I thought of is to only write one interaction with a series of short pages and variables/conditional links so that I'm not copy pasting a lot, but that doesn't change the repetitiveness of the branches to the reader...

 

Anyway, I run into this issue a lot. Any thoughts will be considered and appreciated! For now I'm moving ahead with a slight variation of the location, timing, and wording of the discussion.

How to handle similar events in different branches

6 months ago
If it's one page in an entire path in a largish game, just recycle it, that's not going to be a game breaker for anyone.

Of course if this is a recurring issue then that might suggest that something about the way you design branches needs adjustment.

How to handle similar events in different branches

6 months ago

I'll keep that in mind... I would put the choice after this conversation, but that would delay the first choice in this particular game by too much, I think. Maybe I'll put a fake choice in before or something...