Over 180,000 ways your weekend vacation can play out
Now that A Weekend in Puzzleburg is pretty far along in development, I took a moment to sit down and do some math on just how many different ways your weekend in Puzzleburg can play out.
And the number I came up with is 181,440. Here's the breakdown:
7 job classes X 3 books to read X 10 hair color choices X 2^5 for main quests that branch X 3^3 for side quests that branch = 181,440
Each of these impact the game in different ways. Let's take a look at each factor in that calculation individually:
1. Your profession - it wouldn't be an RPG without giving you a choice of character classes, would it? Whichever job your character has back on the mainland (when not on vacation) controls your reaction to certain things, what knowledge you have, and how you interact with people in certain instances. For example, a NASA engineer may be more interested in planetariums vs. an author who is more interested in bookstores.
2. Which book to read - you have a choice of three books to read throughout the weekend. Whichever one you choose, you'll take it out each time you sit down to a meal, and you'll read a new chapter while you eat. By the end of the game, you'll finish reading the book. It's highly recommended to choose a different book each time you play the game. For more details on what the books are and how this works, please see the previous blog post titled "In the demo, I started reading a book - will I be able to read the entire book in the full game?"
3. Your hair color - from the moment you step outside the hotel at the start of the game, you can head over to the hair salon in the Puzzleburg shopping promenade and choose to change your hair color from ten options. You can switch your hair color as many times as you like, including back to the original blue color if you want. Now, if you're thinking that hair color is a purely cosmetic feature that doesn't really impact how the weekend plays out, I am happy to inform you that it actually DOES impact certain things, including what quest branches are available to you and how people react to you, so feel free to experiment with changing your hair color to your heart's content. For further details on exactly what hair color options are available, please see the previous blog post titled "Why is the main character's hair blue? Can I change that if I want? What are the benefits?"
4. Main quests - these can branch in different ways based either on distinct dialog choices you make or based on how you choose to solve a given puzzle
5. Side quests - like main quests, these can branch in different ways based on distinct dialog choices you make, how you choose to solve a given puzzle, or whether you even choose to do the quest at all
Note that this is not an exhaustively list of ways in which your playthrough will vary from someone else's. This is merely intended to capture the major variations, and the quest counts only include those that have branches I consider a major variation (as opposed to other quests which only have smaller variations and so are not included in the above calculation). This judgment is purely subjective from my view as the quest designer, as each person will of course have their own opinion as to what constitutes a "major variation."
It's my opinion that everyone vacations differently, so I hope you enjoy your own tailored experience in Puzzleburg. In addition to comparing your own experience against that of others, I certainly think it's worth revisiting Puzzleburg multiple times for yourself to experience all that the town has to offer. If you're interested in seeing every piece of content, I generally consider five playthroughs enough to see everything in the game. For more details on that, please see the previous blog titled "Can I see everything A Weekend in Puzzleburg has to offer in a single playthrough?"