Author Topic: Puzzle dependency chart - is my game too linear?  (Read 754 times)

Lewis

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    • Lewis worked on a game that was nominated for an AGS Award!
Hi folks. Been working on something, and am trying to use puzzle dependency charts to improve the flow of my game. It's my first time doing this and already I'm seeing huge amounts of value in visualising it.

One concern I have based on what I've done so far is that my game may be too linear. While there are branches, and earlier threads that become relevant later on, the vast majority of my game at this stage (designed up to the start of Act 3 of 3, with probably a third of the game yet to be designed) follows a fairly straight path.

I've reviewed a few dependency charts from much bigger games, and obviously they branch a lot more. My game is more like 2 hours long. But any initial thoughts/feedback on this would be a great help!

Returning to AGS after a hiatus. Co-director of Richard & Alice and The Charnel House Trilogy.

Danvzare

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Re: Puzzle dependency chart - is my game too linear?
« Reply #1 on: 21 Aug 2018, 12:30 »
Well it would be nice to see the puzzle dependency chart to be able to form a better opinion. But considering your game is only going to be around two hours long, I think having it linear will be ok. It's easier to make a large game open ended, but there's very little you can do with a short game.

If you really believe that the linearity is a problem though, the only advice I can give without seeing the chart itself, is by telling you to pick a box, and create two new boxes above it. For example, suppose you have a box that says "Get in car", just add two new boxes that say "Get car keys" and "Get petrol". Then just keep doing that until the game seems a bit more open. For example, after that you could add two boxes above "Get petrol" that are "Get hose pipe" and "Get jerrycan". Eventually you'll have several ongoing puzzles at the same time, while more or less keeping your game the exact same.

The only other way would be to show your chart, where we'll then be able to tell you where you can alter parts to have multiple parts of the game ongoing at the same time.

Lewis

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    • Lewis worked on a game that was nominated for an AGS Award!
Re: Puzzle dependency chart - is my game too linear?
« Reply #2 on: 21 Aug 2018, 12:51 »
Um, the chart is in the post, as an small image linked to a big one. Is it not showing up for you?

Here it is, just in case: https://gameifyouare.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/08/puzzle-dependency.png
Returning to AGS after a hiatus. Co-director of Richard & Alice and The Charnel House Trilogy.

VampireWombat

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Re: Puzzle dependency chart - is my game too linear?
« Reply #3 on: 21 Aug 2018, 13:05 »
Are you wanting help with trying to make it less linear or are you asking if it's okay to be so linear? The thing is that if you have a specific story to tell, then it will end up being pretty linear. Some things just can't make sense if you change the order. It comes down to what's most important to you.

Lewis

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    • Lewis worked on a game that was nominated for an AGS Award!
Re: Puzzle dependency chart - is my game too linear?
« Reply #4 on: 21 Aug 2018, 13:19 »
Are you wanting help with trying to make it less linear or are you asking if it's okay to be so linear? The thing is that if you have a specific story to tell, then it will end up being pretty linear. Some things just can't make sense if you change the order. It comes down to what's most important to you.

Thanks! To be honest, it's this sort of feedback that's useful to me.

I suppose my question is, more accurately, "what are your feelings toward what is represented in the dependency chart?"

As this is my first time using them, it's difficult for me to get a sense of how linear the game feels. On paper it looks fairly linear, whereas in my head before I started mapping it out, I imagined it would look less linear, if that makes sense?

I would like it to follow a linear narrative thread, while also having multiple puzzle branches / options for things to be working on at each stage. The other issue to contend with, however, is that there are three distinct 'acts', each taking place broadly in one location, but with these locations linked together via a hub world.

But yes, general feedback really, anything that springs to mind. :-)
Returning to AGS after a hiatus. Co-director of Richard & Alice and The Charnel House Trilogy.

.M.M.

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Re: Puzzle dependency chart - is my game too linear?
« Reply #5 on: 21 Aug 2018, 17:09 »
Are you wanting help with trying to make it less linear or are you asking if it's okay to be so linear? The thing is that if you have a specific story to tell, then it will end up being pretty linear. Some things just can't make sense if you change the order. It comes down to what's most important to you.
I agree - especially when it comes to story telling, non-linearity might get in the way. If your aim is a good "flow" of the story, the aproach shown in the chart seems to be the right one.

Danvzare

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Re: Puzzle dependency chart - is my game too linear?
« Reply #6 on: 22 Aug 2018, 11:51 »
Um, the chart is in the post, as an small image linked to a big one. Is it not showing up for you?

Here it is, just in case: https://gameifyouare.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/08/puzzle-dependency.png
Yeah, the image wasn't showing up before, it's showing up now though for some reason ???
It seems like everyone has provided much better help than I ever could anyway. :-D
By the way, really nice puzzle dependency chart. I mean that.

Looking at your puzzle dependency chart (which is gorgeous and really easy to read by the way), it looks to me as though your game is non-linear enough for it's length. Not only that, but it looks as though you've got a specific story to tell, and as .M.M. said:
non-linearity might get in the way.

Lewis

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Re: Puzzle dependency chart - is my game too linear?
« Reply #7 on: 22 Aug 2018, 13:47 »
Thanks for everyone's responses! It's really encouraging to hear. I've also been able to build in a much less linear final act which has four separate puzzles coalescing into one at the final showdown, which I'm quite chuffed with.

Quote
gorgeous and really easy to read
LucidChart. :-)
Returning to AGS after a hiatus. Co-director of Richard & Alice and The Charnel House Trilogy.