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Discovering Data


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#1 Punk Designer   Members   -  Reputation: 137

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Posted 02 August 2010 - 07:36 AM

Hello there,

I'm creating a rather simple game but am trying to give it a deep and well thought out game story and was wondering how you would tackle the following problem, I have a few ideas but these are mostly all too simple and I wanted to go for something more innovative.

The problem is that I have lots of stories/reports/descriptions/art/lore pieces that describe everything from history and culture to characters and technology. Think the Codex in Mass Effect. My problem is that I don't want to just give the information to the player, as in a big bulk I don't think the causal player would read it and I want it to be some what of an achievement to collect/find/achieve all the data pieces. I have the following ideas on how to deal with this;

1 - Data pieces are given along the campaign in small chunks
2 - Data pieces are only given when a player completes a secondary objective (bonus)
3 - The player must look out for data pads through out the main game and collect these
4 - The player must play a hacker mini-game in which they are rewarded with a data piece

None of these ideas seem to appealing to me, there must be another way? Any ideas would be helpful?

Thanks.

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#2 loom_weaver   Members   -  Reputation: 325

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Posted 02 August 2010 - 11:13 AM

I have a similar problem in my game. Here's how I'm going to tackle it.

Data pieces can be found when the player encounters a new area, examines objects, and fights new monsters.

These items will be described with text and if portions are based off historical information I'll have a small indicator that can be clicked on to read an author's footnote.

This footnote will contain any relevant historical information and will likely include an AMA citation.

Discovering a new data piece will unlock it in the main reference that the player has access to. Thus unlocking many pieces can be a sub-goal within the game.

#3 aersixb9   Banned   -  Reputation: 57

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Posted 02 August 2010 - 01:51 PM

Just a thought, if you are a newish lone programmer or even a small group, you might do better with some sort of ez-toolkit, since c-like languages are usually tackled in groups! I can't quite recall all the available toolkits, although I'm thinking of that MMO making program, maybe it was called "RealmCraft" or something similar, and there's a few free and non-free game making packages for different popular styles of games, and it might be way more effective to basically "copy" a popular game style that works well in a good ez-game maker, except since you're personally making all the resources it will be unique and have your own personal touch, and maybe if it's going well you can put a lot of effort into it and focus on polishing it and making it awesome instead of focusing on code and low-level things that would be better left to a highly paid team? This would probably be the way to make the best games possible with few resources, especially if the toolset used is a good one. This might even include things like Microsft XNA game studio, which is technically C#, although they include some nice starter kits for different popular game styles, although this approach is programming heavy compared to some of the other toolsets available that also include c-like and basic-like scripting options and most popular programattic features already available and "easy" (heh) to use.

#4 kseh   Crossbones+   -  Reputation: 1575

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Posted 03 August 2010 - 08:20 AM

I've never played Mass Effect so I'm not familiar with its codex. I suppose it depends on whether the point is to unlock the secrets of the lore to complete the game or if it's just to provide back story.

Why would it have to be the same technique throughout the game? Maybe one piece of data is in a software file, another in an ancient paper book, another hidden in the mind of a deceased, another designed into the architecture of a building. That would seem to be the sort of thing you'd expect in a game filled with art and lore that needs to be discovered. Then perhaps conclusions regarding the art and lore might simply come from characters (including player character) as conversations, soliloque, or more notes.

#5 Talin   Members   -  Reputation: 157

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Posted 03 August 2010 - 10:53 AM

Codex in Mass Effect was only flavour text, nothing gameplay related. Or at least I think it was, because I never read any of it past the first article, and I can't imagine too many people have. Same goes for books in Elder Scrolls games, or the ones back in the Infinity games.

Ultimately, I think it's a waste of (significant) effort. Any information and lore that you can't pack in dialogues, mission briefings or item and ability descriptions (couple of lines at most) is probably not worth adding in the first place. Can't really understand why would anybody want to create additional features just to entice the players to read some more raw text about the game world. It's extra work for both artists and programmers, and their time could surely be better spent on more essential stuff. IMHO at least.

I suggest looking at how Blizzard do it. The three worlds they use in their games are all incredibly deep and rich in lore, but (World of Warcraft aside) you actually get very little of it in the games - just enough to set the tone and keep you informed about what's going on.

#6 Luckless   Crossbones+   -  Reputation: 1472

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Posted 03 August 2010 - 02:54 PM

Quote:
Original post by Talin
Can't really understand why would anybody want to create additional features just to entice the players to read some more raw text about the game world. It's extra work for both artists and programmers, and their time could surely be better spent on more essential stuff. IMHO at least.


A lot of the content in that can actually come from work simply creating the world in the form of random exercises. I do it in general fiction all the time, sit down and just start writing about something related to the main story I'm trying to write. From this I can build off of for my main story, or find new ideas.

Most of the books in games I've seen are really very short, so a team of writers penning notes during lunch should be able to bang out most of it. But the reinforcement of the world for the writers themselves is likely one of the best uses of such writing.




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