At the start of the game the player gets to choose from three characters (Red Riding Hood (Grimm & Grimm, 1922a), The Golden Goose (Grimm & Grimm, 1922d) or the dwarf (Grimm & Grimm, 1922b). To help them choose they are given an overview of the benefits of each character with a little bit of backstory and motivations. The player will also be given information about each of their resources and how they can benefit them or hinder them.
To create meaningful choices, the decisions that the player makes will change the value of variables depending on the outcome. The main variables in my visual novel will be money/gold, (number of) party members and food/water rations.
When the player reaches a fork in the road they can choose from three different paths with a risk level from high to low. The low risk option means that the player may gain or lose a small amount of these three variables during an encounter and during high risk they may gain or lose a large amount depending on the outcome.
For my submission the Player will go through 3 encounters. During an encounter the player will be given at least one choice of actions to take, each one having a different outcome, and at the end of an encounter the player will be notified how much they’ve gained or lost of a particular resource and how much they have in total.
Using the three main variables the encounter dialogue can be made slightly different, depending on how much of a specific resource the player has, to change the narrative slightly. For example if the player is down to 1 party member (themselves), instead of turning to their party for reassurance they will be met with the silence and discomfort from being alone.
This can be done by using a simple if condition to check the number of people in the player’s party and change the dialogue based on the number returned (Fig 1).
Figure 1. Simple If statement in Fungus
The climax of the game will be once the player has finished all the encounters and reached the final destination in the centre of the forest. What the destination is may depend on the character and the choices that they have made along the way.
Once the player reaches their destination the ending they get will depend on the final value of each of the variables. Likewise if the player loses all of a resource they will start to lose party members until they are the last one left, almost acting as health. The ending will include dialogue that explains what happens to the character that the player picked after they reached their destination.
State 0 : Menu
Allows the player to pause, look at their resources and leave the game.
State 1 : Character Introduction
All three characters are briefly introduced and after the player chooses their character they are given a brief introduction to the game world.
State 2 : Choose Encounter
After the player is introduced to the world they can pick from three different risk level paths from low to high. Once the player has gone down a path and finished the encounter they loop back to this state until 3 encounters have been completed.
State 3 : Low Risk Path
This path has low risk, low reward and contains the Flower Glade encounter.
State 4 : Medium Risk Path
This path has medium risk, medium reward and contains the Swamp encounter.
State 5 : High Risk Path
This path has high risk, high reward and contains the Stone tower encounter.
State 6 : Risk outcome/summary
At the end of each encounter the player will get a summary of what they gained or lost from the encounter.
State 7 : Final Destination
Once the player has gone through 3 encounters they reach their final destination where dialogue will be influenced by how many resources they have left.
State 8 : Prologue
The player is given a bit of information of what happens to the character they played after the events of the forest.
As I have worked in Unity (Unity Technologies, 2020) with the Fungus (Fungus Ltd, 2020) addon before, I decided to do my prototyping / level diagram straight into a Unity flowchart (Fig. 2). Doing this allowed me to think more critically about how I would use variables due to the ease of access and how difficult certain blocks would be to do. For example I found that the main encounters section wasn’t doable using just Fungus flowchart blocks so I ended up creating a script that interacts with the blocks which I wouldn’t have been able to if I were prototyping with a different tool.
Figure 2. Full Level Diagram with variables in bottom left
Figure 3. States 1 and 2
Swamp (Fig 4)
The forest thins and suddenly opens up to reveal a large swamp with wooden planks leading through. While traversing the swamp the planks suddenly stop and four animals appear surrounding you, a frog, otter, carp and swan. To cross the swamp you have to choose which animal to kiss.
Figure 4. State 3
Flower Glade (Fig 5 and 6)
This encounter is roughly based on Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs (Grimm & Grimm, 1922b), however, in this adaptation the woman in the casket appears to be dead but is in a coma induced by insects camouflaged as the white flowers that inhabit the glade.
Figure 5. State 4
Figure 6. Flower Glade Background
Stone Tower (Fig 7)
Based on Rapunzel (Grimm & Grimm, 1922c) the Player stumbles upon an old tower as a consuming darkness comes along with the night. The woman in the tower offers shelter and warns that the darkness will kill many of them if they don’t heed her warning. The player must choose between taking her offer, continue down the path or find another form of shelter
Figure 7. State 5
Figure 8. States 6, 7 and 8
Fungus Ltd (2020) Fungus (3.13.4). [Software]. Available online: https://fungusgames.com/ [Accessed 14/12/2020].
Grimm J., Grimm, W (1922a) Little red cap in Grimm’s fairy stories. Translated from German by unknown. New York. Cupples and Leon Company. Available online: https://www.worldoftales.com/fairy_tales/Brothers_Grimm/Grimm_fairy_stories/Little_Red_Cap.html#gsc.tab=0 [Accessed 16/12/2020].
Grimm J., Grimm, W (1922b) Little Snow White in Grimm’s fairy stories. Translated from German by unknown. New York. Cupples and Leon Company. Available online: https://www.worldoftales.com/fairy_tales/Brothers_Grimm/Grimm_fairy_stories/Little_Snow_White.html#gsc.tab=0 [Accessed 16/12/2020].
Grimm J., Grimm, W (1922c) Rapunzel in Grimm’s fairy stories. Translated from German by unknown. New York. Cupples and Leon Company. Available online: https://www.worldoftales.com/fairy_tales/Brothers_Grimm/Grimm_fairy_stories/Rapunzel.html#gsc.tab=0 [Accessed 16/12/2020].
Grimm J., Grimm, W (1922d) The Golden Goose in Grimm’s fairy stories. Translated from German by unknown. New York. Cupples and Leon Company. Available online: https://www.worldoftales.com/fairy_tales/Brothers_Grimm/Grimm_fairy_stories/The_Golden_Goose.html#gsc.tab=0 [Accessed 16/12/2020].
Unity Technologies. (2020). Unity (2020.1.9f1). [Software]. [Accessed 14/12/2020].