Two things I’d like to talk about today…
One, non-linearity. This is the first story I’ve written where I’m working on chapters out of sequence. Seriously. Until now I’ve followed a very specific pattern of hammering out one chapter after another of a story, posting them online as I write them. But a game’s a different bag, and compartmentalizing content is possible, and I’ve got a lot of moving parts and moving people involved… so the optimal path is to work on things out of order and, if needed, tune up the connecting tissue later.
This is a long-winded way of saying that October’s Patreon update will probably be a sneak preview of chapter 4.1, rather than chapter 3.2. Truth is we’re well past 3.2 and I’d hate to skip another month, so backers will be getting a special testing version of 4.1 if 3.2 isn’t available yet. (3.2 might be coming! Depends on a LOT of those moving parts.)
Second thing I’d like to talk about, choices. I’ve talked about choice in visual novels quite a bit in this blog. I think the reason why I’m soaking Arcade Spirits in these micro-decision moments, roleplaying-focused, is because so few visual novels really satisfy my desire to play a very interactive story.
I’ve tried and I’ve tried but the visual novels I’ve played are typically focused on VERY long stretches of read-click, read-click with no decision making outside of some very vague branching moments. (“You chose to have breakfast rather than wash the dog? Guess you don’t get to romance Shizue-chan.”) It’s weird. I love the style of storytelling but I have a very low tolerance for awkward pacing, unnatural translated dialogue, over the top seriousness and pretentiousness, and complete lack of interactivity.
Rather than sit around slagging off visual novels I chose to sit down and make one that I’d want to play. (He said, after spending a paragraph slagging off visual novels.) My goal is to create a game that isn’t trying to make a sprawling, massively-branching story, but instead an intensely personal experience that you can enjoy again and again in different styles. And I’m sure VNs exist which do this without being soaked on genre tropes… so if you’ve got any suggestions, let me know. Thanks.