Are linear games ok?

The Squarish Square

Hello, I am making my first Squiffy game. I just wanted to get your guys' opinions about this, Is it okay just to have a linear game? What I mean is to have a game that you don't choose your own decisions. Kind of like "Homestuck" from Mspa. I know that may seem kind of dumb since it takes away the main aspect of text games. But would it be okay to do this?


DarkLizerd

You tell me...
http://textadventures.co.uk/forum/games/topic/lvqlf_s5wk_ltocmahmksa/first-game-the-motel
Actually, it should have been called "The Hotel"
This has no options, other than at the start, to do anything but "Next"...
(yea, mine...)
If by "linear game" you mean:
Solve puzzle #1, IE: Escape from the cell...
Solve puzzle #2, IE: get past the guard...
Solve puzzle #3, IE: exit the building...
and so on...
You are just telling a "story" and forcing the player to think like you did and make them follow you...
If so... then not so much, what you are creating is a walk through...
But... if you open it up so that, after escaping the cell, you provide a maze of hallways for the player
to get through so that several places have a guard that forces you to take another path, then you create
an idea that the player has a choice.... go left? go right? go back?
Even it there is only one safe way out.
But if the player is stuck on a puzzle they can't solve, then they may give-up and stop playing it.
The more choices, the better... But then, that is harder on you because you need to create 9 different
ways to get past the guards, then tie the 9 paths back to your main story, to get the player back to solving puzzle #3...
If done well, and with some random changes, like the guards are in different rooms for every run, then each play through
is like a different game and that works best for replay ability...
(Was this too long of an answer?)


felixp7

In the world of visual novels, linear works with no choices at all are considered perfectly valid and even get a name of their own: kinetic novels. They work because adding breaks for effect is a thing, too -- pacing, it's called. And indeed a lot of text adventures are completely linear, including some of the most famous ever. So do whatever feels right. And if people complain, maybe ask them why they'd rather have an illusion of freedom through ultimately meaningless choices rather than a good story.


The Squarish Square

Wow, thank you so much. That really helped a lot felix.


OurJud

Linear doesn't have to mean 'Continue, Continue, Continue' - these are just a page-turning device in my opinion and don't deserve to be called games.

But true non-linear is an absolute nightmare to construct, so what I try to do is something in between, where the player, for instance, must find fuel and a spark plug before he can use the car he came across earlier, or a key for a locked door.

There's nothing wrong with linear, but please give me some puzzles along the way, otherwise I might as well just go and read a good book.


Regisblackgaard

I think linear is extremely boring.
Make a choice, and if its not what the writer wants, YOU DIE! GAME OVER!!! YAY!!!


crystalwizard

'Continue, Continue, Continue' - these are just a page-turning device

It's called a book

===========

There are lots of linear games out there, and they are all fun. Most people just don't know they're linear when they're playing them. Any DnD module, just about all the so-called RPG playstation games, lots of others, are all linear.

You start with A, you go to B by accomplishing certain tasks, you continue to C, by accomplishing other tasks, until you reach the end of the game. You don't get to choose if you want to go to B, or C, or D - you have to and you have to in that order. And if you fail at a step, sometimes you get to start over at a save point, sometimes you start over completely.

So, if done well, far from boring. Just have to do them well.


TextQuest

If the game is linear to the point where all choices provide the exact same out come, then I would not call it much of a game and you might as well just place a "next page" and a "previous page" on the screen.

However, you can get creative and make dead ends, relationships, different items and equipment to use along the way, even death and then you have to start over and make different choices hopefully for a different and favorable out come. Still linear, but choices.

And DnD may be linear for video games in a sense, but at least they are interesting and provide gaining levels, spells and equipment, usually secrets etc. You can argue levels are forced on the player as well as equipment, but it still makes a differencen otherwise you might as well just read one of their books.

Even sand box games like Grand Theft Auto are linear. In the end, at least up to San Andreas, there are no separate endings. They all end the same way, but getting there is up to the player.

Even real life is linear. We all die in the end, it is just the choices we make which makes it interesting. ^_^


crystalwizard

And DnD may be linear for video games in a sense,

and for the real, original DnD where you roll dice with your friends while sitting around the table. The modules are all in a straight line: The party meets at an inn, they meet a strange man, the man offers them a quest which they take or the game ends. They go to an abandoned mine, they fight trolls, they fight the troll king, they get the treasure, they go back to the inn, they give the man his cut.

Straight line, no side quests, no paths. Along the way they might choose to kill a troll or not, choose to give the man his cut or not, little choices, but no real branching.

Yet lots of game play fraught with danger and excitement.


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