I was a big fan of Choose your Own Adventure books when I was little. I can't even remember any specific book or story, only that I enjoyed being able to make choices at every other page. This love of branching paths and different endings stuck with me as I grew up which lead me to love games like the Fallout and Elder Scrolls series. A great example of branching paths, at least for a quest, is Fallout: New Vegas's branchiest pathed quest, "Beyond the Beef". If you're not familiar with it, you're asked to look for a beef baron's son who is missing in one of New Vegas's fanciest casinos. I think it would be difficult to explain how impressively complex this quest is without turning this dev log into massive wall of text so I'm just going to show this flowchart:
When I started making Wayfarers, it was a given to include choices and branching paths. Aside from wanting Wayfarers to be story rich and dialogue heavy, including choices is why I first categorized the demo as a visual novel. My first writing/narrative design job was for an interactive fiction mobile game. I always knew branching paths meant more work than a linear based story but I didn't realize how complicated they could be until that job. The challenge was finding a balance of making the choices have significantly different results while having steady continuity in the main story. Granted this was also mostly because the game is free-to-play and I had to find reasons in the story to (STRONGLY) incentivize players to want to spend money for additional lore, special items, etc. but a challenge nonetheless. Because of this, I was intimidated by putting in the work on the type of choices and paths I had in mind for Wayfarers. I felt I had to make sure I had a good chunk of the main story figured out before including all these branching paths. Thankfully I finally reached a point with the story where I can start putting some into the beginning of the game. Don't worry, there will be absolutely no pay walls :v
My goal is to have choices that leave a significant impact throughout the game. Where saying "Yes" in the first town can cause a unique event to happen 3 towns over. Not all choices are going to be like the screenshot above. I also plan on having choices be more action based where you fight one enemy over another or go to a specific location at a specific time of the game. I don't want to say too much of what these choices are exactly going to influence in the game, but I will say one of the things I plan on making events with choices that can influence the economy of the game.
Hello! I'm excited to see progress on your project!
In addition to draw.io that's suggested in the previous post, I have a suggestion for another tool to aid in laying out your story. It's called Twine (twinery.org) and it's great because it is flowchart-y too (although not as fancy as draw.io) and you can test run your choices here since it is a tool for writing interactive stories. It's also free!
Ah I'm familiar with Twine. I used it to make my Marooned game. Never thought to use it as a flowchart for Wayfarers though. It would definitely be a good way to test variables when multiple choices would be involved in a branching path. Thank you!