ScreenPlay Update

Posted March 13, 2016, 11:31 a.m.
tags: ScreenPlay

I think I'm finally ready to start making a full-fledged game in ScreenPlay! I've been putting a ton of work into revamping the script syntax to be more readable, added a save system, and added some commands for better communicating stat changes to the players. I also made some games for play testing, and have been trying to get it in front of more people.

One thing I've realized is that even though local co-op is my ideal format for people sharing stories together, it's going to really cut down the number of people who will play anything made in ScreenPlay. Thus, I need networked play! Online stuff scares me, but I'm trying to remind myself that it's just one more thing to learn.

Another thing I've noticed is that people really love screwing each other over when they play this sort of game. I put a prisoners' dilemma into one of the demo games and people reacted to it a lot. I'm betting the tightness of the feedback is what's getting them - the feeling of agency is increased when you can directly affect other players. So as I'm planning this first story, I have a few goals:

  • Provide clear and immediate feedback to choices

  • Provide conflicts of interest, where players have to choose between...

    • what's good for them,

    • what's good for each other,

    • what they think is right, and

    • what's best for the story

  • Include a lot of interrupts so players feel part of the story

  • Have replayability by focussing on what can happen instead of big story reveals

From the beginning of the design of the story, I need to have a world in which intriguing conflicts of interest can occur - multiple parties with their own interests and things to offer in exchange for doing what they want, a grand objective (the conflict of the story), and resource incentives to consider. Obviously, since the main feature of ScreenPlay is that it's multiplayer I should focus on those interactions.

That brings me to my next point - ScreenPlay should probably be renamed to something that communicates "multiplayer visual novel engine" but I'm not sure what. StoryShare? Mulling that one over...
So in short, here's the plan:

  1. Make a full game to show why anyone would want to use multiplayer for storytelling

  2. Get net code working

  3. Sell first game through Steam and whatever consoles will have me

  4. Release engine on Unity asset store. Charge royalties?