As players progress through Aurora’s Nightmare, they’ll make a number of different decisions which will affect how the story plays out. Most of the effects of these decisions are immediately obvious, but in some cases the full consequences of a decision won’t come to light until later on.
Flags or switches are variables in the programming. They’re invisible to the player, but certain choices may turn them on or off. Then, later on, their current state is checked. Depending on whether a particular switch is on or off, the player might be given a different set of choices or a decision may be made automatically.
For example, let’s say you reach a point where Ars is talking to Aurora and you can choose to talk about cats, dogs, or fish (this is a not a real conversation in the game). You choose cats, turning on the cat switch (or raising the cat flag, if you prefer). Next time you have a conversation with Aurora, that switch would be checked and you would only be presented with the dog and fish options, since you talked about cats before. Or, alternately, it could be set up so that Aurora’s remembers you talked about cats last time and decides to continue that conversation automatically.
Then you have points. At various places throughout the game, you’ll be able to respond to the characters in different ways. Will you side with Aurora or Tia in an argument? When asked a question, will you respond politely or sarcastically? And so on and so forth. These type of choices may cause you to gain points with one character or another. Points can best be thought of as a representation of the relationship between two characters. The more points, the closer they are (like flags/switches, these values can’t been seen by the plyer). At various places in the story, some characters will react differently based on how many points the player has gotten for them. Sometimes, it may just lead to alternate dialogue. At others, it could lead to a bad ending if a character decides they’re not close enough to Ars to help him out.
On that note, you’d think it would be best to get as many points as possible with every character. And you’d generally be right, but at times you’ll have to choose between characters, so there isn’t always a “correct” decision. On top of that, there may be a few cases where having too many points for certain characters can lead to trouble…