Standard Patterns in Choice-Based Games

Getting to know the IF community better. This is an excellent post.

These Heterogenous Tasks

When I was analysing the structures of CYOA works a few years back, I began to recognise some strong recurring design patterns. I came up with some home-brewed terminology, but didn’t ever lay it out in a nice clear way. This is a non-exhaustive look at some of the more common approaches, somewhat-updated (a lot has changed since then).

I should stress that these aren’t discrete categories: while a lot of works will fall very straightforwardly into a single pattern, many will involve elements of multiple patterns. (And yes, I’m aware that you can often simulate one using the mechanics of another. That’s mostly beside the point.) Also, the example diagrams I’m using are smaller and simpler than would be likely in actual works.

Time Cave. A heavily-branching sequence. All choices are of roughly equal significance; there is little or no re-merging, and therefore no need for state-tracking. There are many…

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