I was browsing Steam games yesterday and discovered Choice of Games. It instantly brought me back to my childhood of playing Goosebumps Choose Your Own Adventure books. From Choice of Games website, I discovered ChoiceScript and wrote a proof of concept simple game to learn the language. From there, I found Quest, Squiffy, Inform, Twine. I stayed up all night bouncing around from link to link. Then I closed my browser, opened Sublime Text, and started planning my first game.
My goal is to take the simple UI of a multiple-choice gamebook but with the non-linear spirit of a command prompt IF to create a text-based open-world role-playing game with a focus on survival, character development, and NPC interaction. Features to include inventory, stats, relationships, companions, pets, crafting, farming, combat.
I should back up a bit and explain that I’m a web developer. Writing my own engine is a possibility, but I would be thrilled to find a sufficient one already exists, so I can focus on writing.
The purpose of this post is to seek guidance on how I should write my game; what platform / system / engine, if any, I should look into.
In terms of story, there is no primary objective or path. Only through relationships formed with NPCs will optional goals be formed, which bring about natural rewards, such as new information, new opportunities, increased stats, increased relationships, new items, new skills, discovery of new areas, etc.
In terms of game philosophy, I’m looking for a very organic experience. A game that seems so simple, but reaches so deep. A story that trickles in, always just a little bit slower than the player’s appetite. I want to explore the full spectrum of emotions; I want the player to fall in love with characters and fear characters. I want the player to be capable of real empathy and real cruelty.
It seems to me that as long as the game engine I select has support for variables, conditional statements, math, random, and naturally saved state via local storage I can meet all my requirements to make my game. (The sheer number of variables and conditionals needed may quickly become overwhelming, but this is a secondary concern.) My primary concern is meeting a few additional requirements, listed below. This should help determine if an existing engine will work, or if I’ll need to write my own.
- Real time awareness. For example, restore 1 health per 10 real world minutes while within an Inn.
- Retaining full ownership and rights of game.
- Not being locked onto a limited, walled off, or otherwise potentially dead-end platform.
4) Development Accessibility: Able to work on game from browser or text editor.
5) Distribution Accessibility: Publishable to web or mobile app.
If you’ve read this far, thank you so much. Any insight you can share will be greatly appreciated.