Branching story technique #6: Keep all names descriptive and back-stories lean

Branching stories are simple sims where players make a series of decisions to shape and advance a story. I have found ten surprisingly easy and effective "little" techniques to make them much richer. 

Here is the sixth.

Players hate to learn the names and histories of companies and characters.  While sometimes this is necessary, keep it to the absolute minimum.


Minimize any unnecessary backstory, using variations of amalgamations of  well understood companies where possible.  Use the business case study honored tradition of "Big Search" for a Google-like company, "Temp Workers Inc.", or "SportsWear Corp."  

Use character positions either instead of, or alongside, names.  So use "Jack Jones, the defense lawyer"  or just "the defense lawyer" every time the character is used, rather than introducing Jack Jones at the beginning and expecting people to remember him.  However, don't use this generic naming convention as an excuse to make Jack characterless.   Make him interesting, well illustrated, with a point of view.  

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