Thursday, April 16, 2015

9. Trim All Excess Fat.

10 Things You Should Know About:
Writing Interactive Fiction
9. Trim All Excess Fat
Keep your Interactive Fiction Firm and Tight!
“...the writer who breeds more words than he needs
is making a chore for the reader who reads."
Dr Seuss
Just because you Can make your Interactive Fiction longer with additional fluff does Not mean you should! Don't make your game a chore for your Players to read. Only keep in what you actually need. Anything more is Excess Fat.

The last complaint you ever want from your Players is: "It was so long!" or worse: "It dragged on forever!" What you Do want to hear is: "I wish it was longer!" That is a sign that you did it just right.

So how do you do that?

The easiest way is--

Plan your Game out FIRST!

Also known as PLOTTING. If you have a set outline mapping out each individual route, and the flags needed to get there, it's far more difficult for Excess Fat to creep in.

However, if you're writing your Interactive Fiction on the fly, literally when you feel inspired or 'by the seat of your pants,' Excess Fat is guaranteed to happen.

Feature Creep: A main cause of Excess Fat.
How does Excess Fat happen? 

It happens because there are always going to be scenes and routes you, the creator, will enjoy writing more than others. Those scenes are where Excess Fat creeps in.

The only way to fix excess fat is with EDITING. That means going though all of your text before you put it in your game and Cutting Out what you don't actually need to make the Interactive Fiction work. 

So how do you recognize Excess Fat? Balance is the Key.

Are certain scenes Longer and More Detailed than the others? Break out the clippers! Those are the scenes that need a trim. Mercilessly cut them down in length to match the other scenes. Balance your scenes by making them all roughly the same length.

"But I like that snappy little dialog exchange!"

Does that particular dialog exchange:
Do something,
Show something
or Make something Happen?

Yes: Keep It.
No: Cut It!

It's that simple, really.

What you Should Not Do is pad out the shorter scenes to match the fluffier scenes. That padding is pure Excess Fat -- and a waste of your time and that of your Players.

Excess Fat is a
Waste of Resources! 
If you already have enough to get your Players from Scene A to Crisis B to Ending 1, Stop! Don't waste your time --or money-- on backdrops, character expressions, coding, sound effects, or music if you don't actually need them.

Keep your Story content trim, firm, and tight without excess fat! Your artists and more importantly, your budget will thank you.

Ookami Kasumi

10. Start with a PLAN!
Time wasted on False Starts is Time Wasted for Game Creation.

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