How to Skip

I’ve mentioned in the past that, like any good visual novel, Aurora’s Nightmare will include the option to skip over previously read scenes.  That’s invaluable when you’re replaying individual sections or even the entire game to experiment with different choices.

I’ve encountered two different ways of handling skipping in the visual novels I’ve played.  The most common type of skipping is to basically throw the game into fast-forward until you either reach a decision point or a section of unread text (or until the player simply switches out of skip mode).  The advantage of that approach is that you get to see what’s going on the entire time so it’s easy to keep track of where you are in the game and go back to regular speed whenever you want.  The down side is that, even in fast-forward, skipping through a lengthy section can still take quite a long time.

The other type of skipping breaks the game into scenes.  Then, at the beginning of each scene, you’re given the option to skip it entirely.  Or, if there’s a decision point, skip right to that.  This method has the advantage of being really fast, which is great when navigating a large story.  On the down side, it’s so fast and abstract that it’s easy to lose track of your place in the story if you’re not paying close attention or using a flowchart or something as a reference.  You also can’t just stop somewhere in the middle of a scene, it’s all or nothing.

Both methods have their pros and cons.  Honestly, the best solution would probably be to use a combination of the two, letting players skip scenes or fast-forward as desired.  That said, whether I actually do that in Aurora’s Nightmare is going to depend a bit on my engine since I don’t have the programming skills to create any of those systems from scratch.  So we’ll see how things come together.