How to add narrative to an idle game's design
So, this is more of a share than a true post, but I recently reviewed the light idle game "Fidget Spinner RPG" by Bryce Summer. I did a few reviews of the RPG, and over the course of the edit, I learned a few tricks that might apply to an idle game you're designing on.
Tickers add soul to an idle game: One of my recommendations to Bryce when he first sent me the Fidget Spinner RPG was to take a look at leveraging a ticker mechanic. Bryce implemented the recommendation on a future build and the change gave a layer of depth to the gameplay experience that I didn't expect. The world felt more fleshed out and real, and in the inevitable downtime a idle-like game has, this helped continue my engagement. Oh, and you can use tickers for fun tutorialization as well.
Know the pacing of your game: Is your idle game a passive idle game where one takes a few minutes of action or does it require consistent interaction? Knowing the pacing of your game systems can help you pace your narrative. What's your average sessions per player? This should dictate the type of story you can tell and whether you need to pack that narrative into a short experience or allow for different plot beats to occur at different player login events.
Flavor text is king: Okay, so you probably already knew this, but adding flavor to upgrades, progression, items, everything can add a layer of experiential depth without adding a bunch of new systems and mechanics. Just add an extra string, and let your player's imaginations do the hard work.
Want to see the detailed reviews of Fidget Spinner RPG? Well, here are the two videos. I hope they help you in your development, idle game design, and writing endeavors: