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January 9th, 2010, 05:39
I'm not voting, because I'm not entirely sure what the choices entails. But I'll chime in to the best of my ability (and lack of sleep curse you Reed Richards!)

Length you need to find a good balance for. Too short, and it'll be like Eschalon Book 1; ending some 15 hours before I was ready for it to end. Too long, and I'll be getting bored with the game and wandering to other frontiers.

Baldur's Gate has the perfect balance, IMO, of length. Long enough to provide a satisfying experience, while not so long as to cause me to grow bored with that style of gameplay, and go wander off to play Bard's Tale again. Whats more, is I can easily move forward into the TotSC expansion if I wish, or whatever, if I still want to play that style of game.

C&C, means I take it that you'll be having many (or just a few) major plot points that split the story, correct? Depending on where they are, they can add a lot of dev time. Using my own project, most of mine are either luck-based (a few NPC's affect the story, and if dead/not with the party the story has to change, obviously) or occur later, past the half-way point in the main arc. Or occurs anywhere, depending on where you go. There's 3 major plot lines (and endings), with more subtle variants, there. But I digress and plug.

Again, too many branches in the plot tree, and I'll likely never bother taking them. Plus, eventually you'll want a sequel, so instead of creating 15-20 full games' worth of plot, make one, and keep the rest for later. I've branched out before myself, and eventually cut some elements, and set them aside for later if I get to them. Part of it was just plain over-ambition (I had originally planned on around 1500 dungeons and cities and such to visit. WAY too much for a solo coder/art/design/music/marketing person to handle.)

So I say two or three major branches, set where-ever, with minor variations which only affect smallish portions of the plot adding depth and substance. Major would be choosing a faction which completely alters the outlook of the game from the character(s) perspective, while minor would be something like a certain resolution for a quest leading to repercussions later (new/lost quests, NPCs, etc…) but that doesn't fundamentally alter the outlook.

Wow, I almost understand what I typed. And only made 10,000+ typos.

It was the night before Hogswatch…

I became insane with long intervals of horrible sanity - Edgar Allan Poe
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