Chapter 8. Branching Trees

Everybody Seems To Make the same mistake when they first try their hand at interactive storytelling: They build a branching tree structure. They start off with a beginning, “Once upon a time, there was a handsome young man....” Then, they attach a choice to it, “...and he either (a) went off in search of adventure or (b) stayed home to care for his sick mother.” Next, they attach a choice to each of the first choices, and then another set of choices to those, and then more choices. Pretty soon, they’ve got a huge branching tree that consumed many hours of labor. They’re proud of their work, but when they show it off, nobody likes it.

The reason for the failure of the resulting game is easy to understand with a little ...

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