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Character Growth and Stories


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#41 Landfish   Members   -  Reputation: 288

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Posted 21 November 2000 - 05:24 AM

Nazrix was right; a really great story often involves the character CHANGING in some way. Stories where the protaganist starts off badass and stays badass until the last goblin has been mutilated don''t evoke much sympathetic interest from us mere mortals. Many of us (am I authorized to speak for others yet?) feel more attached to a character who makes mistakes.

Much good anime has this down cold. Take Record of Lodoss War for example. The protaganist, Parn, starts off as a young hotheaded kid with some bizzarre notions of how to win a fight (namely charging into battle with your eyes shut tight and swinging your sword arund in a frenzy). Needless to say, he gets his ass whooped repeatedly throughout the story, and eventually he starts to get better.

By the end of the story, when he''s a combat god, we feel like we grew up with him. Every time he does something cool we''re like "That''s my boy..."

This IS very hard to pull off in a game. Players feel cheated if they feel that a linear story is forcing them to make mistakes. Players ALWAYS feel cheated if they realize a story is linear. So this is where "interactivity" as Naz loves it comes in. You don''t let the character make pre scripted, linear errors that they will grow out of. Instead, you let the player screw up, not the character.

It can be done. You need to call attention to the players mistakes. Destroy the notion of character fault if you want a truly interactive game. It''s the player, all the way. you could theoretically have HP and EXP and still have it be the player''s fault, but you''d need a brilliant design. These definitions of character only serve to cripple interactivity by giving the player a nice comfortable layer of fault.

Is this making sense?

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#42 Nazrix   Members   -  Reputation: 307

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Posted 21 November 2000 - 08:08 AM

It's about time, LF!

That's interesting, but what about growth as in personal growth not getting better w/ skills or combat, but personality growth more in the context of the story. So, for this discussion I'm trying to throw the whole concept of fighting being the center of the game out for a second, and talking about the narrative story.

In stories the protagonist often encounters a conflict and at the end of the story the protagonist is not the same person as in the beginning.


Perhaps the answer is in what AP said. Take the pressure off of the player to be the protagonist.


"All you touch and all you see is all your life will ever be --Pink Floyd
Quidquid latine dictum sit, altum viditur.
Need help? Well, go FAQ yourself.

Click here to see my current project.


Edited by - Nazrix on November 21, 2000 3:12:08 PM

#43 Landfish   Members   -  Reputation: 288

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Posted 21 November 2000 - 08:26 AM

quote:
Original post by Nazrix
So, for this discussion I''m trying to throw the whole concept of fighting being the center of the game out for a second, and talking about the narrative story.




Woo!

quote:
In stories the protagonist often encounters a conflict and at the end of the story the protagonist is not the same person as in the beginning. Perhaps the answer is in what AP said. Take the pressure off of the player to be the protagonist.



That will work, but it has it''s weaknesses. Often the player really likes to be the protaganist. If you relegate them to subordinate position (say Horatio as opposed to Hamlet), you''re going to have to deal with JEALOSY for the protaganist. That''s bad. Really bad.

You mention a story-driven, internal change in the Protaganist. This all goes back to three act strucuture, and there are internal reversals as well as external at DEFINED POINTS IN THE PLOT. This means the rules are there, and they can potentially be standardized.

If you''re afraid to draw a thick line between player and character, you''re going to have to find a way to make the PLAYER change his mind at the appropriate moments in the story. Not easy, but not impossible.

#44 Nazrix   Members   -  Reputation: 307

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Posted 21 November 2000 - 08:43 AM

quote:
Original post by Landfish

Woo!



I thought you'd like that


quote:

That will work, but it has it's weaknesses. Often the player really likes to be the protaganist. If you relegate them to subordinate position (say Horatio as opposed to Hamlet), you're going to have to deal with JEALOSY for the protaganist. That's bad. Really bad.



Hmm...I think it may work. It allows the player to freely screw around w/ the plot offering interactivity. The player will suddenly feel as though the world is going on around them (I have heard players complain about story-based games making it seem like the world revolves around them, and it being pretty unrealistic. I agree w/ that).

One thing that we know about games: Interactivity is one of the keys. As for stories: Does a story have to happen to you for it to be interesting?

I believe this method could offer more interactivity and sacrifice less of the power of a good story.

Yeah, players are used to being the protagonist, but players are also used to goblin slaying too. Our players are going to have to get used to something new, right?




"All you touch and all you see is all your life will ever be --Pink Floyd
Quidquid latine dictum sit, altum viditur.
Need help? Well, go FAQ yourself.

Click here to see my current project.


Edited by - Nazrix on November 21, 2000 3:48:21 PM

#45 Landfish   Members   -  Reputation: 288

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Posted 22 November 2000 - 04:46 AM

Well, being a person who (sometimes) likes Linearity, I can hardly make a fair argument against it. However, I will say this.

There are those games where you are not an integral part of the story. There is a good story that''s been put together, but it better be DAMN good if you expect to hold the player''s interest. As it is, the only reason we allow sub-quality video game writing to entertain us is because we get in and change it with our own actions, and that''s cool.

So you put together an nice, intrigue filled plot about the king and his brother and the player''s like, "Yeah..." He sees the story and says, "Hey, I guess this is what the game writer wants me to see... oh well, ignore that...." Congradulations, You''ve just sacrificed divergence for interactivity.

Now I don''t know about you, but I would rather affect the plot than have all the affecting I could get on stuff other than the plot. The model you''ve so far described is much as my REAL LIFE is. Sure, I can pick up/use/do ANYTHING, but I really have a TINY role in the big picture.

(Actually, I don''t hate it THAT much, but I thought if I called it dumb I might further piss off niphty...)




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