Back from vacation and GDC is close! Time to make a stable build of Storyteller for early playtesting.
One of the complications of letting people play in-progress versions of Storyteller is that small details matter:
Even in a simple story like this, your brain is interpreting the goal text, the rules of character behavior, the sequence of frames, what happens on each individual frame and the expressions on characters. This web of meaning is very fragile: even a slight misinterpretation of any of this things will make the game feel confusing and broken. If, for instance, you thought Adam is heartbroken on the second frame because someone dear to him died, the story would mean a totally different thing.Every now and then, an idea on how to improve Storyteller's communication comes up...
In these two separate frames, which one is clearer about who receives the money?
The subtle "facing" of the chest in the right improves communication. Everything in Storyteller can be improved like this: goal texts can be shorter and less ambiguous. Character behavior can be made more intuitive and culturally universal. Expressions more readable.
Having a stable build means I have to do the best possible job at getting those small details right. And fixing bugs, of course.