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Relationship System?

  • Shadski
  • 07/09/2014 03:57 PM
  • 4222 views
I was thinking about going for a relationship system, so like you can get Bianca and Oscar to be in a relationship then get them married and the same for the other characters, I'm not sure if this would be good for the game? Do you think this would take away from the story?

Also, if I do go for this in my final decision, would you like to see a system similar to Fire Emblem Awakening, where you build their relationships from the menu and dialogue or just a normal dating sim style?

~Shadow

Posts

Pages: 1
I'm personally a big fan of relationship value systems, when the character writing is at all good. Obviously though, some implementations work out a lot better than others. Here are some of my thoughts on the subject:

Rather than simply letting the player make one character display signs of preference or attraction for one character over another (such as choices that boil down to a question of "which character do you want to be nice to? Do you compliment her or insult her? Who do you give the gift to? etc.) set up situations where the characters can display their compatibility and build rapport with each other. Maybe they discover a shared love of nature, or have fun trashing a play they both think is terrible, or have an argument where they fiercely disagree with each other but come away with increased respect for each others' intellect and integrity. Make sure the audience sees why and how the characters are into each other, not just that they're into each other.

Try to avoid systems that make characters' attraction seem too mechanistic. Can you improve every relationship with a well chosen gift? It starts to look silly when you can get someone to like you just by piling sufficiently large quantities of stuff on them. Make sure to avoid any situation where you can "farm" affection points by doing the same thing over and over.

Having alternate endings influenced by relationship values is nice, but having continual payoff over the course of the game is better. Try to work in occasional situations where characters interact with each other differently depending on the state of their relationship values.

My favorite framework for relationship values would be something closer to the Private Action systems of the early Star Ocean games, which I described in this comment if you're not already familiar.
@Desertopa
Wow, that's some really neat advice! Thank you so much!
I'm glad if it's of any help to you. Good luck with your game.
nhubi
Liberté, égalité, fraternité
11099
I was going to respond to this 'blog, but Desertopa hit every point I was going to make, and then some. I can only reiterate if you are going to include a relationship system it has to be integrated, not just an add-on for a bit of variety. Relationships are built over time in subtle ways, overt actions, like the 'gift giving' that permeates this dynamic in most games, can't be the only option, and should never be the first. Imagine if someone you just met starts giving you gifts and tokens of affection you'd think creep or stalker. You need to establish a rapport first via interaction, conversation, shared activities or passions and then only use the presents as an adjunct, as either a thoughtful but spontaneous gift , the "I saw this and thought of you" type, or as a physical embodiment of a growing affection .

Oh, oops, I did respond after all.
Personally i would prefer the possibility of developing relationship with one character in form of a sidequest through the game and not visual novel where you can choose from five variants so if Oscar goes with Blanca then it's Blanca only. It also allows to make the story more interesting and well prepared, imho.
author=Growly
Personally i would prefer the possibility of developing relationship with one character in form of a sidequest through the game and not visual novel where you can choose from five variants so if Oscar goes with Blanca then it's Blanca only. It also allows to make the story more interesting and well prepared, imho.


I disagree. If you take it to extremes, with a vast number of options, then yeah, keeping all of them up to a high standard of writing is difficult. But I think that exploring multiple possible relationships is a good way to give the player a sense of personal investment, while exploring multiple interesting relationship dynamics.

If you don't have multiple ideas for relationships you think would be interesting to write, it's better not to shoehorn in more relationships for filler. But if you do have multiple interesting relationships in mind, implementing them all within one game can certainly be practical.
slash
APATHY IS FOR COWARDS
4158
The one quick thing I would add to this would be - please do not tie relationships to any sort of mechanical reward like weapons, items, spells, etc. It tempts players to avoid the character-building choices they really want to make in order to get the best item or whatever.

This usually isn't tied to relationships, but games like Bioshock use it for Good/Evil decisions all the time (Good characters get one spell, Evil characters get another spell) and can actually ruin the experience for players who are torn between story and min/maxing.
Cap_H
DIGITAL IDENTITY CRISIS
6625
Relationships are always good idea. But It can´t be let up to player. Not solely at least. I would prefer some not so obvious relations such love interest in Bianca is.
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