Insults, Infidelities, Lies and a Breakthrough

(friday updates are now monday updates!)

Storyteller gives players the freedom to find different solutions for the same level. This is all great and I wanted that, but it means I can't assume what the plot of each level is going to be, blocking me from making an "arcing story" that spans across multiple levels. Until now, I didn't believe there was a way around it.

But this week I tried something really new that I believe could provide a way to give everything coherence. I really hope it pans out because it makes the whole game more interesting!

Some new stuff:

  • Characters do not know about events they didn't witness or were told about. This makes infidelities a bit more interesting. Now players need to take into acccount who knows what.
  • A related feature: characters can be told false information they will assume it's true. These usually end up in tragic situations (see below).
  • The linearity of the game is now broken. You can now skip some stories and some are "off road". Solving certain special stories unlock interesting things!

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  1. Playing Storyteller a year ago, I experienced a magic purity in placing iconography and seeing the game understand/interpret my actions.

    When text blocks were added (and specific to puzzles that use them), i found this feeling diminished -- feeling the forceful hand of the designer and an overt 'way' to solve the puzzles. I'd read the text bubble and it would practically solve the puzzle for me. (I'm guessing your implementation of text bubbles hasn't changed)

    I can't help but wonder if sticking to iconography and interpretation would be a smart move. For example, to represent "Adam is told that Eve died" I could place a speech bubble in which I place a grave showing a dead eve.

    Of course, I haven't played the game in some time (still anxious to playtest), so my guess is there are more reasons to your using it so much than my example?

    1. So I revisited some of the videos/images and I recognize the complexity in trying to design iconography for "Adam loses his memory" or "Adam insults Maria". Certainly text overcomes these.

      Perhaps its just a matter of ensuring what text you do provide doesn't instantly communicate the entirety of the story, and ensures there's still a puzzling question of where it should go and why. I imagine you probably reward using the same text in different locations for alternate solutions/new stories...which solves the problem.

      PS. Love the 'Holy Mountain' homage.

    2. There's two kinds of captions on top of the frames: automatic and player placed. Like you say , the player placed ones are there to introduce abstract changes into the story: amnesia, insults, revelations, etc.

      Then the automatic ones are placed by the game and are, like in comics, a "desperation device". I need them to make it unambiguous what's visually going on in the frame, to train players into what matters to Storyteller, AND there's a principle that I follow in every choice I make: every story must be readable to someone who is not familiar with the game (thus captioning is more important).

      All that said, I still need to trim down and compact the captions text. So in the end, the characters will have a bit more relevance in the interpretation...

  2. I like the bottom comic. Hilarious!