Working on Don’t Go In There has been an exercise in getting systems to work before realizing what the question you needed to ask was.
That means an unfourtionate amount of re-engineering things.
One of the big assumptions I made in working on Don’t Go In There was that the simulation was going to be continuous. That is to say, if you removed the idea of following a single character it would be able to run nonstop like The Sims. Just teens and ghosts running around the house, uncovering questions and performing dark rituals. The scene system atop that was just going to pause the simulation after following a character through a notable action.
I’m not sure that works. I like the idea of the simulation being independent, but I think sticking with it is a case of following the original intent too closely. The idea was to let play resolve all the difficult-to-generate narrative bits by foisting that work onto the player using emergent narrative.
I’m drifting now towards using scene breaks wherein I pick the pieces up off the board between each scene. It cleans up some of the difficulties I’ve been having with the current scene system. Most notably, it solves the issue of the whole simulation pausing while a character on the other side of the house is mid-action. It also solves the issue of somebody on the other side of the house doing something very important, like picking up the ghost’s locket. There’s some narratively important actions that need to be seen by the player for any of the emergent narrative to take place.
This change means having to come up with a system for setting up scenes, which is a non-trivial task. But I think the change is necessary.