Programming Heartbreak

Storyteller's story simulator has no mysterious numbers or obscure algorithms. Each rule in the game strives to be simple, logical and easy to remember. This is because I want players to spend their time figuring out sophisticated stories, not trying to reverse engineer an opaque system.

But this means I need to reduce complicated human interactions into small logical rules. This is made more difficult by the fact that they need to be as culturally universal as possible!

Right now, one of the most complex concepts in the game is heartbreak. Here are some simple cases:

Most of these are obvious, but take a look at this one, taken from an older version of the game:

Adam is, at the same time, falling for Eve and being heartbroken out of her being with Tim. This rule never felt right... people don't do this! But I could not figure it out until recently, after a discussion about it with my non-game designer girlfriend where we reached this conclusion:

If you fall in love with someone who is in a relationship, you would get disappointed but not heartbroken because you never actually failed to get his/her love. However, if you stuck around for a while (aka "vulturing") with the hopes you might get a chance and then your target of love picks somebody else, you are invested enough to be heartbroken.

I am happy with this solution, but it might happen that there's more subtlety to it!


  1. I think that people should only be able to have sex if they are married.

    1. Well... people tend not to follow that rule!

    2. Well this could be your chance to make sure that they do. How about: IF there's premarital sex, THEN God comes down and does the headstone thing to them.

    3. Hmmm.... I never thought of having Divine Commandments in the game. How about having a character like Moses, carrying them?

    4. As long as you can teach people about the One True God.

    5. Uhh, I think Daniel wants to program the game his way.

  2. Awesome, I love that you added "vultures" to the game, that's hilarious!

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