Chance and Choices
I have always been fascinated by the idea that seeminlgy small choices in your life can lead to drastic changes. Misplacing your keys on the day of a car accident….tying a shoelace and delaying bumping into someone from your past. Hell, for all I know if my grandfather forgot to brush his teeth when he first met my grandmother, I may never have been born.
When it comes to choices in games they tend to be of the ‘door number 1, or door number 2’ variety-but what if those subtle choices you made, to pick up something in one room, and look at the scenery through a window, actually influenced the outcome of your game?
Then there comes the idea of moral choices in games. Computer games tend to be black and white…good and evil. But in reality, moral choices arent always so clear cut. Is mercy killing a suffering person good or bad? How does that effect a persons moral compass?
These are two areas Im am going to be exploring in STASIS. Ive taken a look at the story, and developed 4 separate endings, which differ quite a bit. The choice of the endings wont come down to a simple ‘door A or B’ approach, but rather the path of the character will be steered towards those endings depending on how he (or she. 😉 ) plays through the entire game.
Now Im sure that some of the people that come here (all two of you) arent JUST interested in the WHAT, but also the HOW.
Now, learning from past experience, I needed to develop a system that was very simple to use and modify on the fly. I have nicknamed the system C&C (Chance and Choices). Now what C&C does is have 8 separate values. 4 are representative of CHANCE in the game (hanging around for an extra few minutes, opening one door before another, etc) with the other 4 representing CHOICES (actual moral choices). Each value will have influence on the different endings.
Now throughout the game, certain choices that you make will influence the values, either adding to them, or subtracting from them.
The 4 chance values will change based on random acts. Opening a door may change the chance value by 1, or 2. Staying in an area for a certain amount of time may decrease one of the values. Any value can randomly be altered by the chance value.
The 4 choice values are the biggest influences in the system. Unlike the CHANCE values, these will alter based specifically on the choices you make THROUGHOUT the game, and the morality of those choices. Not all choices will be apparent, with there being a ‘good and evil’ choice. The choices provided arent there to let you create an ‘evil’ character, or a ‘good’ character-they are mearly there to drive the story in the direction that you, as a player, want to go. Chances are, if you continue making choices that are ‘wrong’ by moral standards, your ending will reflect that. Making a moral choice in one area (+2), may cancel out an immoral choice in another area (-1). This way, the game is constantly balancing out the choices you make, to ‘customize’ your ending. BUT REMEMBER, that with the randomness of the CHANCE value, even if you play the game in the EXACT same way, you may end up with a completely different final chapter.
Before you get to the final act, the value’s of choice, and chance will be added together. The value that is highest, will be the final chapter that you go to.
Now, Im not going to give away the endings-but they are different enough to warrant a second or third play through. I didn’t just want the endings to be a different voice over with some different screens. Infact, for the 4 endings, the entire last chapter is completely different. Different environments to explore, different puzzles to complete. I’m keeping it to four, so that I can be certain to construct endings that are satisfactory to the player. I dont want the cheat a player out of one excellent ending, with one boring one. Trust me when I say that each ending is completely awesome!