I am working on my first text adventure game and I'm looking for some input. I know where are a few ways to write the direction the story takes the player, but I'm wondering what is more preferred. The following are examples that I can think of:
I could write it as the player only moves one direction, forward. They are introduced to the initial setup of the environment and story. From there the player could have different interactions such as reading a poster, or talking to a citizen. The direction the player follows may be limiting, however the player still has the freedom to interact with the surrounding environment. For example, "You come to a village. To hunt down the giant beast that has terrorized the village, you must search the village for clues and information that could help lead you to it's cave." From there the player is pushed forward down a path, progressing the story. The player would not overly have that freedom to return to the village until they have slain the giant beast. I feel that each room description can therefor feel more personal to the character's choices, rather than having a default room description every time they enter it.
Another way is to create an open world and tell the player they need to go here and there for items/information, then to go to a specific location to continue the story progression. "You need to find an ancient sword and bring it to the blacksmith for repairs. After that you need it enchanted. Take it to the ancient runic platform in the old forest for enchanting. After that go slay the cursed undead in the catacombs to the south." In between would have various interactions such as coming across a small cave with a dire wolf inside. You could attack it, though it is irrelevant to the story. Or maybe it's just coming across a nice waterfall view. The player has the freedom to roam about and explore, all the while still being able to progress with the story.
There may be more ways to go about it. I am mostly wondering what people generally like. Does one feel more personal than the other? Is there too little room for the players to feel like their choices matter? Or too much where it becomes confusing? Thanks in advanced for any input.
it depends upon the person playing the game and how well the game itself is done/made (whatever your game design and/or your game's story/plot/progression design)
for me personally, TES:Morrowind, gave a bit too much freedom, though I might be a more old school classic/japanese rpg player with a set/linear path (including sub-quests for the most part). I like having freedom, but not too much freedom.
for me personally in terms of story/plot/progression, I like it jumping around, as otherwise it's just boring (in terms of design, but the story/plot/progression can still be interesting/captivating of course, even if its straight-forward in terms of its design)
You do you, dude. My advice (and before you even think of it, yes I am working on my first text based RPG) is to make what you love. And by that I mean create what you like to play. You won't please everybody, so don't even try. Play some games, and think about why you like them. Incorporate what you liked in your games, and just create what you want to play. Do that and you will most likely create some epic games.