Thursday, August 4, 2011

How to write a gamebook part 2b - turning the flow diagram into a gamebook

We now have a flow diagram which illustrates a conversation that we have had with someone.  The flow diagram illustrates who we are talking to, what we decide to say and what they say back.  We need to put this in a gamebook form.

Putting a flow diagram into a gamebook is easy enough.  In this example, everything someone says (in black boxes on my diagram) will be a reference.  Everything we could say (in red boxes in my diagram) is an option on a paragraph.

My basic example to the right, is very simple.  It is a 3 paragraph gamebook.  The first paragraph has 2 options.

1

You call your wife at lunchtime and eventually, the topic of conversation turns to dinner.  If you say that you are feeling lazy and just want a pizza, turn to 2.  If you say that you want some roast lamb, turn to 3.

2

Your wife says that she is also feeling lazy and pizza sounds like a great idea.  She buys a pizza from the shops on the way home.  When she gets home, it is in the oven and ready in ten minutes.  You both enjoy your pizza.

3

You say that you want some roast lamb and your wife says that it will take too long.  She will think of something to get on the way home.  She brings home pizza which is not as magnificent as roast lamb but it only takes 10 minutes to cook and you enjoy eating something quickly rather than waiting for ages to roast some lamb.

You could always have more options for your conversation.  For example, with mine, I suggested a couple of more things for dinner.

I have added a couple of options from the beginning, but that is the simple option.  I could however, have options branching off from a response from the other person, so we can have a conversation going.

For example, from the box where my wife says that lamb will take too long, I could change the suggestion to pizza or go out to buy a super fast roasting machine.

So my gamebook now looks like this:


1

You call your wife at lunchtime and eventually, the topic of conversation turns to dinner.  If you say that you are feeling lazy and just want a pizza, turn to 2.  If you say that you want some roast lamb, turn to 3.  If you say that you want liver and onions, turn to 4.  If you say that you want a big pile of carrots and onions, turn to 5.

2

Your wife says that she is also feeling lazy and pizza sounds like a great idea.  She buys a pizza from the shops on the way home.  When she gets home, it is in the oven and ready in ten minutes.  You both enjoy your pizza.

3

You say that you want some roast lamb and your wife says that it will take too long.  She will think of something to get on the way home.  She brings home pizza which is not as magnificent as roast lamb but it only takes 10 minutes to cook and you enjoy eating something quickly rather than waiting for ages to roast some lamb.

4

Your wife says that she does not like the food and rejects the idea.  On her way home, she buys a pizza which is not much like the food you wanted but it cooks quickly and it tastes nice.  

5

Your wife thinks that that is a a crazy idea.  Turn to 4.  

In this example, I made paragraph 4 deliberately vague so that it fits the choice of both liver and onions and raw carrots and onions.  Alternatively, I could just make 5 an ending and written something similar to 4.  Also, I did not tell the player to go to paragraph 4 in both cases as the player would then know that choosing liver and onions and choosing raw carrots and onions would have the same effect.  Even if they do have the same effect, you should not let the player think that they do.

You could expand your flow diagram to go to different places, like a map.  For one of your options that isn't the first, you can include a decision to go somewhere else or take another action.


Here, I have the option of going to the shops and buying the lamb roaster or ordering the pizza after you suggest the lamb.  The final version of this gamebook is now:

1

You call your wife at lunchtime and eventually, the topic of conversation turns to dinner.  If you say that you are feeling lazy and just want a pizza, turn to 2.  If you say that you want some roast lamb, turn to 3.  If you say that you want liver and onions, turn to 4.  If you say that you want a big pile of carrots and onions, turn to 5.

2

Your wife says that she is also feeling lazy and pizza sounds like a great idea.  She buys a pizza from the shops on the way home.  When she gets home, it is in the oven and ready in ten minutes.  You both enjoy your pizza.

3

You say that you want some roast lamb and your wife says that it will take too long.  She will think of something to get on the way home.  If you suggest pizza instead, turn to 2.  If you decide to go to the shops and buy a lamb roasting machine that roasts lamb quickly, turn to 6.

4

Your wife says that she does not like the food and rejects the idea.  On her way home, she buys a pizza which is not much like the food you wanted but it cooks quickly and it tastes nice.  

5

Your wife thinks that that is a a crazy idea.  Turn to 4. 

6

You go to the shops and buy the latest Lamb-o-roast instamatic.  You buy a large piece of lamb to roast as well as some vegetables to go with it.  You phone your wife and tell her that you will be able to cook the lamb in time.  By the time she gets home, you have prepared a great roast dinner which you both enjoy.  Yum!


To improve on the map method, turn to 2a.

To improve on the flow diagram method, turn to 2b.

To improve on the just write it! method, turn to 2c.

If you have now improved all of your gamebooks using the three methods, it's time to move on.  Turn to part 2d - working with paragraphs.




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