I want to lose a few words about the usefulness of flow charts in game making.
Surprisingly, when I told people on IRC that I wanted to utilize a flow chart to plan and visualize the entire storyline of Scout’s Journey, the response was along the lines of “ugh” and “I hate the fucking things”. This seems to be a typical reaction.
You do not simply deny the usefulness of flow charts.
Scout’s Journey has a small multitude of subsystems and kinky mechanics to keep in mind even just in its main gameplay loop. There are several ways to exchange loot for useful resources, combat, trade, stats and abilities, quests, NPCs, charms, a skill tree and even a friggin’ journal. And everything is connected to everything else, and I have to remember how increasing my skills fits into the loot system which fits into NPCs and… If that sounded like a mess, you got the right impression.
Enter flow charts.
Using this surprisingly handy little program, I was able to click and drag together a flow chart of the entire Scout’s Journey‘s gameplay loop including all important subsystems in the right places, in less than an hour.
And you’ve got everything at a glance. How can you not love this if you’re a person who designs systems? And game design is creating systems.
I have to say that flow chart editor (yEd) is the rawk. So easy to use and effective. Give it a try if you need to visualize some kind of process.
Going to use this for the skill tree, dialogues, and the entire story from A to Z. Makes it much easier to look stuff up and see what connects to what.
Yeah, there is going to be a skill tree with unlockable abilities. I did not want to do this, but it kinda happened naturally. There were suddenly upgrades to Scout’s special skill, and then it came up on IRC and I realized there were quite some abilities conferred by charms or something that would really be more at home in a skill tree. It just made sense to do it, and have it relate to charms in certain ways instead of just slapping on a charm to gain an ability.
So for the fans of “kill things, find the exit” now would be the time to look indignated, because everyone else can don goddess-of-war level leet skills and spout frost novas while wallwalking into the enemy camp with their personal army of zombies on pheromone charms. Just kidding.
Game the system!