I’ve made a few terrible games that I’m not planning on sharing with anyone, but as I move on to projects that are actually games rather than tech projects, I was wondering what the rest of you used to plan out your games.
As a writer I make heavy use of Scrivener and Scapple, but I’m not sure these are the best for tracking state changes, variables, and general narrative paths.
I normally use Scrivener as well to plan my pieces, but when things get a little thorny I like to open up some Mind Mapping software (I like XMind) and draw out a more visual representation of the piece. I find that using the arrows with label to be a helpful tool with stuff like variable tracking.
Dokuwiki’s light, relatively fast and has a complex access control so I can close the whole wiki but open some pages for guest reading. My wiki is personal, so no read/write access except for me, no registration, no spam problem.
I recommend installing these plugins: tag (organising to categories), datatables, emoji (emojis are good marks, especially in tables)
zim’s good if you don’t want to dance around online hosting and complexities.
Generally, I don’t write any text outside whatever tool I’m actually using to build the thing (there are no notes or pre-written text for Cape for instance, everything was written directly into the game source code). I use paper to sketch a general structure.
I’m approaching things more along the lines of a gamebook than thinking about a physical map. Dividing the game up into scenes and fragments of scene rather than physical rooms (though of course a given exploratory-focused game might use “rooms” and “scenes” the same way).
So yeah, pen and paper help, but it gets unwieldy and difficult to correct. Mind Map + wiki + scrivener seems to be working pretty well.