I’ve written a few times before about handling stats in ChoiceScript games, and making particular choices available. But in writing my own WIP, I also wanted to make sure that the story felt distinctly different if the player gave the protagonist a different personality — not just in terms of which choices they were able to make (or make successfully), but also in terms of the inner narrative.
With that in mind, I set for myself the following (silly) goal: when I ran randomtest, after the very first segment of play, none of the narrative output should be repeated across more than 4000 of the randomized playthroughs. That means that
- many plot beats are reached only on 1/3 playthroughs (or fewer)
- those plot beats that do occur every playthrough are narrated in at least three different ways, depending on the player’s stats and relationships
This speaks more to the fiction than to the mechanics, but the aim was to make the moment-to-moment texture of the story feel malleable, not just the plot structure.
This was also a good time to do more with the extreme ends of my choice spectrum: as discussed previously, I wanted to give some acknowledgement to players who managed to work their way into the top (or bottom) 10-15% of particular stat ranges, because that demonstrated a commitment to playing a particular way and should probably be understood as representing more deliberate agency than other approaches. So a lot of my alternate narration is designed to capture those high-end or low-end variations in how people view the world.
As I’ve often found before, it often enriches an interactive fiction to approach that story with some mechanical disciplines in mind.