Kickstarted MMO Book of Travels on ‘writing a game like a picture book’


Book of Travels is seriously the serenity I need right now. The latest dev blog details the mini-MMO’s narrative design, which Might and Delight likens to “writing a game like a picture book.”

“One of the major differences between Book of Travels and conventional RPGs is that you won’t be able to converse with the NPCs you meet,” M&D’s Helen Liston explains. “In Braided Shore NPCs speak repeatable, poetic lines – they’ll still do all the conventional work of lore seeding and world building but since they don’t simulate conversation the NPCs work more like two dimensional story characters than limited chabots. We hope that by creating them this way players will have a less wall-breaking and more immersive experience, and with its pop-up book aesthetic and 2D feel Book of Travels feels like exactly the right place to invite the player to encounter text in this bookish way.”

This format also allows the writers to craft NPCs to speak folk wisdom and drop lore nuggets – “glimmers of story” – that aren’t just backdrop but are quest-starters and event chains “with narratives that have the small-magic feel of folklore.”

Source: Steam. This article was updated after running to reflect edits made to the original dev blog, specifically in regard to the section about frustrating scripted NPCs.

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I’m still in the dark about what “mini-MMO” means

I do like the aesthetics of this game though, very cool. Recently replayed FF9 so definitely enjoying the painted backgrounds for the world.


Kind of wary of this idea. If the NPCs repeat the same lines over and over without change, it would seem like ‘immersion’ would be completely destroyed. It just does not fit with any sort of world that I am familiar with. It will especially not work if the actual method of NPCs and characters communicating with each other is normal conversation.

I mean, how does an NPC ask for a loaf of bread? Or payment? More thought needs to go into this, how it works, and what it means in the broader scope.

Ultimately, if all they do is spout canned lines one might as well just have magic books and papers littered about doing the same thing. Why even have “NPCs”. What is it about them that makes them ‘Characters’?