Beginning - fantasy-themed Interactive Fiction


  • I think the programmers need to form a union of some kind ;)

    Though I suppose there is a question that needs to be asked. What is your definition of 'Gamifying CYOA'?
  • I think the programmers need to form a union of some kind
    What is your definition of 'Gamifying CYOA'?
    Not gamifying CYOA - gamifying a story/novel. CYOA pretty much IS a story/novel gamified already. But my loose definition of gamifying a story would be to add reader interaction (which CYOA does nicely) - and beyond that, further gamification might include some notion of peril, tension, 'good' and 'bad' decisions (which some CYOA also does with decisions that can lead to dead ends / death scenarios), maybe character development of some kind.
  • Hmm then I suppose the question should be: how would gamified story differ from a CYOA?
  • Interesting question. I suppose it wouldn't necessarily HAVE to differ; CYOA is already gamified. In the CYOA books I've read, the passage length is more akin to my walls of text at the end of Beginning; a couple of written pages. Having passages of that length wasn't my goal when starting Beginning though, and ideally I'd have kept them in similarly sized chunks as the ones at the start of the story. As already mentioned in other comments too, I DO need to give the player more options to choose from even if the outcome doesn't really change the story much. CYOA also tends to not have 'extra bits', or rather that the extra bits are included in the main text instead of presented as optional asides. I do still like the concept of having superfluous lore that the player can choose to read if they wish, or ignore if they rather, with no detrimental effect to the story if they ignore.

    Incidentally I played an interesting CYOA last weekend that came with the Bundle in a Box; Gamebook Adventures 2: Siege of the Necromancer. Part of a series of 'gamebooks' I believe. Interesting in that it incorporated a character sheet with stats, and dice-rolling combat, into the typical CYOA format. The dice/stats stuff felt a little clumsily inserted though and I'm not convinced that the dice-rolling combat sequences added much to the overall gameplay other than extending the combat scenes.
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    Informed, deliberate player decisions followed by logical consequences and feedback are the essence of any good interactive narrative experience in my mind. CyoA books could be somewhat heavy-handed and random in their dead ends, as have a few Visual Novels I've played. The pleasure as a player in a simulation-based game comes from seeing challenges coming and successfully working your way through using the game rules (especially when things aren't completely going your way). The trick would be to transpose that feeling to a narrative context.
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    I'll just leave this latest Extra Credits episode on agency here, because I think it's super relevant to the discussion.
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