Design your own character to attend a magical school. Learn spells, brave the dungeons, and try to get a date for the May Day ball.

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In which the authors muse about the value of having a MultipleChoicePast.

Posted by hanako on Jul 12th, 2010

Butterfly:

    So, I have the dilemna of Minor Character Details. The PC is largely a blank slate, but occasionally small character details come up in conversation. I don't want to have to stop and ask the player to choose every time such a thing happens because these details are minor and irrelevant, but at the same time it feels slightly odd if the PC always answers these questions in the same way because you are supposed to be making your own unique character.

    Things like: "What state are you from? Do you have siblings? What sports did you used to play back home? What classes were your favorite back when you were in normal school?" Little things that would come up in conversation with friends or dates, but not affect the outcome of the plot at all.


Caterpillar:

    I suspect most players won't find inability to choose their past incongruous. It's usually fixed, isn't it?

Butterfly:

    Your *appearance* is usually fixed too. This is a make-your-own-character game.

Caterpillar:

    So give them lots of choices and twiddle the conversations accordingly?

Butterfly:

    I absolutely do not want to have to ask the player long menus of choices whenever something unimportant comes up in dialog. Players should not be bogged down in meaningless decisions.

Caterpillar:

    *evil grin* Then I have a REALLY GOOD IDEA. No long menus of choices. All backstory flavour questions are TEXT ENTRY FIELDS.

Butterfly:

    Ack! No!

    For one thing, since we can't actually language-parse the answers, anyone asking a question would have to nod and respond generically, so the player might as well have said ~bwuh-bwuh-bwuh~.

    I'm thinking that perhaps there can be an "Edit Character Details" option on the character design screen, which will bring you to a page showing all these meaningless things which have been randomly assigned, and be able to page through all the options via << and >> buttons, so you COULD set your details from the available choices if you actually cared.


Caterpillar:

    And you could have text fields, since I made a multiple text entry widget.

Butterfly:

    ...having a fixed set of choices means that once in a while a dialog could actually do something different based on what you said. and we do NOT want text fields.

Caterpillar:

    ONE of us does!

Butterfly:

    Is it really that important that you be able to have the conversation:

    Virginia asks, "What's your favorite color?"
    Mary Sue replies, "F@$< you."


Caterpillar:

    Yes!

    Anyway, no list of favorite colors is likely to be sufficiently all-encompassing. What about ecru, puce, croze, or plaid?

    While I *like* the notion of text fields, I'm not going to insist on it. And I'm well aware that they'd lead to players playing silly buggers.


Butterfly:

    Well... for that particular question, I don't mind having a text entry field. If people really want to claim that their favorite color is "blowsgoats" then who am I to deny them that pleasure?

    But for MOST things, I think we need to pick from a list.


Caterpillar:

    Fair enough.

Butterfly:

    Or perhaps I should stop obsessing and just fix the minor details anyway.
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Magical Diary
Platforms
Windows, Mac, Linux
Developer & Publisher
Hanako Games
Engine
Ren'py
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Official Page
Hanakogames.com
Release Date
Released Jun 19, 2011
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