Thursday, May 11, 2017

Randomly Generated Visual Novel

Yesterday, I came up with a general template for Sweet Valley High novels. My friend Paul tells me that the videogame equivalent of this is called "procedural generation". Some computer games work like that. They have a basic template with different options, and the computer randomly picks which options pop up. That way, the game is different each time.

A simple example is the password to open the gate in Nancy Drew: The Final Scene. It's randomly determined. Each time you load the game, you get a different password. There are something like 350,000 possible variations.

I haven't seen a visual novel try something like that, probably because it'd be difficult! But I was thinking about writing a visual novel called Love on the Oregon Trail a while back. Is there some kind of template I can make for that? Like...
  • The man is [widow/single] and the woman is [widow/single]. They are [same age] or [man/woman] older by [1-4 years]
  • They [want to be together and are kept apart by circumstances/are total strangers who are forced together by circumstances]
  • The villain is [man's relative/woman's relative/third party]
  • The villain wants to keep them apart because [they are nasty in general/they think the other person isn't good enough/they want to date the other person themselves]
Some of the circumstances can be Oregon Trail specific, like "lack of food", "wagon accident", "crashed while trying to ford a river". Going through the list of storylines from the Oregon Trail romance books I looked over, it seems "hero wants to escape a bad marriage" is the most common circumstance to bring the strangers together, followed by "tragic disaster".

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