January 4th, 2010 | Posted by:

I was thinking about a recent VN I was playing and tried to determine how they structured their story. After some thinking and trying different paths, I realized they had a “process of elimination” system going on. You were presented with opportunities to go down a path with a certain character and if you turned that option down (which wasn’t always so obvious) you closed off that path/story. This seemed a little more like real life to me. In the first structure that I posted your choices are evaluated to dispense a final outcome, here you’re choices lead you down different paths all together. Some are closed to you in a sort of “point of no return” setup depending on how you make your choices. Like real life, you often only get one shot to go down a certain road.

So I sketched out a diagram, as I seem to like to do, and below is the clean version of what I came up with.

In this structure you are essentially telling a story from multiple angles where some lead down different story outcomes. Like the first diagram, you have your main path that starts with an introduction and offers points for you to learn more about the characters as they are presented to you. The first couple threads don’t change the outcome as much as they help you to learn about the environment and story. A means of giving you information that you are interested about.

Then you have a PNR (Point of No Return) point. This is a choice that if you pick one way will lead you down a new path, if not you continue down on your way. If you pass each PNR point you basically have eliminated all your choices and end with nothing.

I thought, though, that even with an PNR system it would be nice to still have a second chance (SC). This would give you at least one more opportunity to “jump-ship” on the path you are on and go to another. To the reader (player) this would hopefully not be so obvious and it certainly takes some of the mystery away by showing a graph like this.

During one of the side paths you have some options that will eventually lead you to one of a couple endings.

The problem I was having with the first structure was trying to “weave” a couple different stories into one main path. This is a lot harder than it appeared, because if the player has too many options to jump around the different stories that are going on then there will be little sense of a complete story.


This entry was posted on Monday, January 4th, 2010 at 9:53 pm and is filed under General. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.

One Response to “Visual Novel Structure – Option 2”

  1. Wolfzau Says:

    Just stumbled across your blog while searching for some in-depth information on how to effectively lay out a flowchart. I must say great work in making it both detailed and easy to understand.
    Hope your own VN is going well, I’ll be sure to check back in the future for an update.

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