So the story I’m planning on making is in many “Chapters”, some longer than others. I don’t know if it’s better to release them all as individual games, or to work on them all within the same game (or to split the story into two parts but each of them have a number of chapters). I don’t know what the size capability is and I plan to include a load of music tracks (but they’ll probably be uploaded somewhere). I also don’t know how many images I’ll have. Is there a limit that I should know of?
If it’s a single story, I’d go for a single game, for a couple of reasons. You won’t have to worry about “importing” player choices from earlier to later parts; unless you’re aiming for a comp, you can release on itch or elsewhere as “work in progress” and update chapter by chapter, which can actually help build up an audience. I also think bigger games often tend to make a more lasting impression on many players and are also better rated (I noticed this was the case with my own games at least, though it’s definitely not a rule).
I don’t think there’s a hard limit to the size of the story, unless you’re using the online Twine editor, which has a limited space for your library. With very large games, the editor tends to get slow though, which is why many people seem to prefer Tweego (I personally never used it, sticking with the Twine editor, which is why I can report it slows down at around 1600 passages and 2500 links - I think it’s mostly because it has to draw the arrows linking the passages?). As for running the game, even bigger ones can run smoothly, unless there’s a lot of things added to the History, or a ton of story variables in general (my biggest game ran slowly mainly because of this - it was procedurally generated and all the “world generation” data for each playthrough was written into story variables, which get recorded every time you save the game, so saving and loading was… not quick). I have no personal experience with audio/images, but if they’re externally hosted, I don’t think they should cause issues.
So, to sum up, I’d recommend a single game, UNLESS the chapters are more like separate, smaller stories, so the whole thing is more like a duology/trilogy etc. If transferring player choices from one part to another is not an issue, and even when someone just plays one part, it feels complete in some sense, then you could build up an audience by entering separate games in your series into different comps
Zork was to be 1 large game but was divided into 3.
The question to me is, not if it’s too long for the author,
but rather if it’s too long for the player? If too long for
the player it should be sub divided. Different languages
may have different maximum parameters.
But that was because it was too long for the author(s)! They only split it up because ZIL couldn’t handle the full game (on the machines of the time).
Yes, true, also it was more commercially successful as 3. Point the same, I
could not imagine playing it as one long game.
Well, I don’t have to worry too much about player choices since my story is actually a linear one, I just wanted a way to include background music in it. If I did put all the chapters into one or two games, I’d want to have a menu to select chapters so that people don’t have to read through the whole thing (I don’t know if places are automatically saved or not). I like the idea that you can update it by adding a chapter each time, but again, I’d need to know more about how to make a selection menu first.
How you exactly do this depends on the story format, but it is relatively easy to add, in the sidebar, footer or elsewhere, either a complete list of chapter links, or a link/button to bring up such a list.
I think one big, updated file would work nicely for a linear story - if someone picks it up after it’s already completed, they will be able to binge the whole thing without searching for/opening multiple files.
And, at least in the Sugarcube, the format I’m familiar with, you can configure the game to save automatically in selected passages. You can then add a “Continue” link in the menu which will load the autosave, for the players to jump back in where they stopped reading (it loads at the start of the passage, so with long passages it may not be the exact same spot).
Since we don’t have the game in front of us, this is more a philosophical question than a practical one.
The question, though, is practical: What is the desired rhetorical situation of your game?. A game in multiple parts might need multiple arcs, as well as a single all-encompassing storyline. A New Hope has its own arc and climax, The Empire Strikes Back has its own arc and climax, The Return of the Jedi has its own arc and climax. There is, additionally, an arc that spans all three games.
The Zork trilogy is more than a straight port of Zork aka Dungeon. Each game has its opponent: thief, wizard, and Dungeon Master.
These are both ways to write a story in parts that have their own satisfactions. Zork is a good example of dealing with a technical limitation by adding content to fit the new structure.
Lots of stories, on the other hand. are best told in a single installment. If your only concern is technical, and those technical concerns can be addressed, it sounds like a single installment would be preferrable. If you do end up splitting it into parts, I imagine that there would be new narrative demands that might not line up with your goals as an author.
Another consideration: Do you have all installments of the game plotted out? Would you release them all at the same time? Or is it logistical: you want to write the first one and release it before starting the second. Do you have a cliffhanger in the first part you want people to mull and anticipate for the second part?
If you’ve got the entire plot, I’d say put it all together as one game unless it’s literally a matter of an enormous file size or the separate parts could stand as their own individual installments. If they work out-of-order, maybe multiple parts of a whole would be interesting.
That’s an easy choice, then. Just release it per chapter. It’s easy enough to later bundle them together if desired. ITMT, you get valuable feedback on how the story should go, even if you have to go back and edit the beginning.