Saturday, January 30, 2010

The Making of The Flower Shop - Writing

Everyone else is doing it...>.> (I stole this cute picture from Deji.)

Anyway, in case you don't know yet, The Flower Shop is out! Check it out. ^o^ And since I'm the writer, let's talk writing!

When I came onto this project, a lot of the sprites were already complete, but the story only had a rough outline with character descriptions of the main cast, so it was up to me to flesh them out and make them run around and do what they did. From the beginning, I had two specific goals. The first was to give Steve a distinct personality. To this end, I gave Steve some honest and sometimes unpleasant inner thoughts because really...we all have them. I actually based a lot of his initial personality and thoughts on things that I overheard during my life on campus. It helps to pay attention to people around you. You can develop more realistic characters if you draw from real life experience.

My second goal was to make things difficult when it came to decision making (because I'm mean). I dislike obvious choices like "tell her she's beautiful/shoot her dog," and I dislike trivial choices like "red is your favorite color/orange is your favorite color." Obvious choices make the game too easy, and they dehumanize the characters a bit. It becomes more of a game where you choose the results that get you the "good end," rather than the choices that you personally prefer. But the preference choices should still lead to distinctly different results. If you get a similar reaction no matter what you say, then it becomes a guessing game. Choices should (ideally) lead to distinct and immediate results. This doesn't have to happen all the time. Sometimes a choice you make won't really make a difference until much later on, but it's wildly frustrating to lose a girl only because you ate a bologna sandwich for lunch two weeks ago instead of spaghetti. I tried to make the decisions lead to logical and different results, and I included some similar decisions for different girls. However, each girl reacts differently, so you can't spam the "right" choice. You have to try to understand her personality instead, which I think makes the game a little more interesting.

Anyway, those were my two goals. I'm not sure if I met them, but that's at least what I had in my mind when I wrote it.


Michelle Pennington said...

I really appreciate having choices that make more sense. I've always hated playing a game where you have to guess what the "right" thing to say is, or if they just hand feed it to you. It just makes the game tedious and/or takes the fun out of it. I do think that some choices, like choosing a place to go to, can have not so obvious of consequences and be somewhat arbitrary. Considering, in real life, you could choose to go to one place over another without much thought and drastically change the events of that day.

mugenjohncel said...

Hello Sake-Chan

OK... the last time we worked together... it was a bumpy but fun ride. Your writing is top notch... period... But it seems Jack already had monopoly on you. I'll go straight to the point... how much $$$ jack paid you and how much it will cost me for you to write for me?... (please make it cheap... please)

Ayu said...

Mugen, check your PM box on LS.

chronoluminaire said...

I definitely agree about your goal for choices. I was considering writing something extremely similar in my recent post about Mermaid Liaisons, in fact :) I hated the choices in games like Snow Drop where "go to the kitchen" on Tuesday morning means girl A's route, but the same on Wednesday morning means girl B's route. Even though, as Michelle said, it's quite realistic, it doesn't make for good gameplay.

Choices like "eat cheese"/"eat tomato" are even worse, unless that particular item has been given good setup earlier as having some meaning to one of the characters involved.

My approach to choices is: have some that are clearly one character vs another, to help people understand they need to choose one; have some that aren't immediately obvious which is best, which can function as a test of how well you understand that character's personality; and have one or two which look like there's a best answer superficially, but actually if you understand the character well then you'll see why one of the other options is better :)

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