Jump to content

  • Log In with Google      Sign In   
  • Create Account


Sci-Fi vs Whimsical Story for 3D Space Game


Old topic!
Guest, the last post of this topic is over 60 days old and at this point you may not reply in this topic. If you wish to continue this conversation start a new topic.

  • You cannot reply to this topic
5 replies to this topic

#1 jsuffolk   Members   -  Reputation: 316

Like
1Likes
Like

Posted 09 March 2013 - 11:32 AM

The StarFox series is largely the inspiration for my current space shooter under development. I currently have about 30 or 40 minutes worth of single player gameplay culminating into a cool boss battle, and while my game's a lot of fun, recently my geek coworker play testers have been suggesting I add a story to give it more "depth".

 

However, since I see StarFox as my game's primary inspiration I suggested that the story take a whimsical approach with similarly cartoony characters. Unexpectedly, my geek coworkers didn't like the idea. They suggested that for the PC/XBox markets where I intend to release my game most players interested in a space fighter game would be more sci-fi geeks, than kids and parents looking for the whimsical family plot of StarFox on the original Nintendo 64.

 

I've never been much of a sci-fi fan (blasphemy, I know) and always thought StarFox's success had lots to do with it's appeal to a broader spectrum of gamers than just sci-fi fans. Any thoughts on the subject?

 

Additionally, an idea I've been toying with is making the game episodic: releasing short episodes 1 to 2 hours in length with compelling cliffhangers rather than an extended 13 to 30 hour game, much as a comic book is to a full book. One motivation is that it's taken me sooo long to reach 30 to 40 minutes of content that a full length game seems nearly unattainable, but at the $5 price point I intend to release my game it seems reasonable to expect less content too. This also would give the ability to focus more on quality than on quantity, which is something I feel strongly about.

 

However, my critical coworkers again find fault: they don't believe a 1 to 2 hour game provides enough time to get players to feel attached to the characters and story, nor to sufficiently advance the gameplay to where the players have enough options for weapons and upgrades that the game feels truly deep and dynamic. Any thoughts here either?



Sponsor:

#2 jsuffolk   Members   -  Reputation: 316

Like
0Likes
Like

Posted 09 March 2013 - 11:46 AM

Also if it impacts the answers, I've been planning on the main means for advancing the story to be comic book style cutscenes (think Max Payne) and in-game text dialogs between players and NPCs (StarFox style). Perhaps if I can find good enough voice acting I could bring back voiceovers for the dialogue, but I originally had some and found them to be intensely annoying.



#3 Stormynature   Crossbones+   -  Reputation: 2727

Like
1Likes
Like

Posted 09 March 2013 - 06:43 PM

Some general advice first.

 

It is probably not wise to phrase your language regarding team members quite the way you do.

 

recently my geek coworker play testers

Unexpectedly, my geek coworkers didn't like the idea.

However, my critical coworkers again find fault:

 

In of themselves the words are not overtly offensive but they have the capacity to be taken so...simply because each time you refer to your co-workers you have attached an adjective as well it would appear bundled every team member bar yourself under those appellations. The last thing you want is to create an unintended insult simply because the language you chose was poor. When referring to your co-workers it might be better to say something along the line of this:  

 

Discussion within the team has led to two differing story approaches with regard the game. [Insert game description here]. The two approaches under considerations are as follows. [Insert story approaches].

 

Don't personalise which story approach is yours as simply it then becomes a question of will we support you against your co-workers rather than concentrating on the strengths and weaknesses of each approach.

 

----------------------------------------------------

 

 

I currently have about 30 or 40 minutes worth of single player gameplay culminating into a cool boss battle, and while my game's a lot of fun, recently my geek coworker play testers have been suggesting I add a story to give it more "depth".

 

You might also consider this from the perspective of the following "Why am I the protagonist who has no name, no story, no purpose spending my time in this starship killing people for no reason". Adding a story is reasonable advice if the lack of it is felt, and is probably needed if, despite your gameplay being fun, it gets asked for by several testers.

 

 

They suggested that for the PC/XBox markets where I intend to release my game most players interested in a space fighter game would be more sci-fi geeks, than kids and parents looking for the whimsical family plot of StarFox on the original Nintendo 64.

 

Have you actually done any market research on this. Don't forget at the end of the day you are making a product for sale and wish to maximise said sales. Have any of you actually stood up and presented facts/figures to support the various assertions made?

 

 

always thought StarFox's success had lots to do with it's appeal to a broader spectrum of gamers than just sci-fi fans.

 

This is opinion, in similar to the previous point. It should not be hard to research why people found this game popular. The web would be populated with many opinions from which you could sift through for a more accurate set of reasons for its success.

 

 

Additionally, an idea I've been toying with is making the game episodic: releasing short episodes 1 to 2 hours in length with compelling cliffhangers rather than an extended 13 to 30 hour game, much as a comic book is to a full book. One motivation is that it's taken me sooo long to reach 30 to 40 minutes of content that a full length game seems nearly unattainable, but at the $5 price point I intend to release my game it seems reasonable to expect less content too. This also would give the ability to focus more on quality than on quantity, which is something I feel strongly about.

However, my critical coworkers again find fault: they don't believe a 1 to 2 hour game provides enough time to get players to feel attached to the characters and story, nor to sufficiently advance the gameplay to where the players have enough options for weapons and upgrades that the game feels truly deep and dynamic. Any thoughts here either?

 

From a written perspective, if you are writing episodically then you don't need to resort to just using cliffhangers. For example in the Perils of Pauline the use of a cliffhangar was not used at the end but rather situations were created from which the rescue/escape then occured. As an opposing example, Scheherazade who was in danger of immediate execution told the persian king a number of tales which at the completion of each night ended on a cliffhangar causing the king to delay her execution in order to hear the rest of the tale. There is a particular style when it comes to writing "comic books" part of which, the thinking behind it must be that you are also "showing the reader as well as telling them" Simply using cutscenes may not be enough for this format as the periods of gameplay would probably need some story development in of itself (but you have explored that within your second post to a degree)...but this is a subjective opinion on my behalf and is flawed by not knowing enough about the actualities of your game as to the best forms of implementing the story (from my perspective that is). Either way there is enough information for how to write episodically on the web. A recent example of an episodic game would be the recent Walking Dead game.

 

The argument that a 1 to 2 hour game is insufficient time to gain an attachment to the character or story is flawed....fundamentally flawed. There are multiple examples in literature incorporating short story or novella formats where attachments can be developed. Children's bedtime stories have multiple small adherents who hang on each word. Film and television consistently present stories in such limited time periods. Portal is one game that comes to mind of not being an overtly large game but one that has a storyline (along with brilliant game design) that still resounds in people's minds...even to the song for the credits (Still alive).

 

I am not really going to go into the reasons why a much larger game will also provide a broader canvas for your story as there is more than sufficient examples available of such games with epic stories/

 

At the end of the day much of this question will come down to market research to help define your answers for you as well agreement/compromise within the team. Both forms of game design have valid approaches and it really does come down to working out which model best suits your needs. Either way if I were you, I would sketch a rough plot for both an episodic and full length scenario.

 

One thing to note. It would not be unrealistic to think that as the team works together on further content that the output level will also increase. What may have taken a long time to create the first 30-40 minutes of your game by all reason should take less time to create further amounts as familiarity with the project increases as well the re-utilisation of assets now created.

 

--------------------------------------------------------  

 

Lastly, and again this comes to back to general advice. If you are the lone voice of dissent in a team, you might want to consider why. I am not saying you are wrong or right, but rather that you may need to vary your approach in dealing with other team members in order to "sell" your ideas as opposed remaining the lone man. Bringing supportive evidence of your point of view is one way to do this but you should also maintain enough flexibility to accept that your idea may not be better (after having researched) and have the strength of character to accept it and move on.

 

 

I hope this helps you and best of luck with the game smile.png


Edited by Stormynature, 10 March 2013 - 06:39 AM.


#4 shay.yizhak   Members   -  Reputation: 167

Like
1Likes
Like

Posted 10 March 2013 - 06:46 AM

Personally, I think your game has to be AMAZING for me to pay 5$ for half an hour of content. Even for an indie (which are usually shorter games) - that's way too short, and way too pricey. For 45 minutes of content I'd be willing to pay 1$, especially for a game with little to no replay value.

 

Any game shorter than 6 hours should mention that as a warning up front. Each and every review of "Dear Esther" mentions it (the game is about 2 hours long). Once your game gets reviewed - it'll be mentioned, and it'll be factored into its general score, probably bringing it down, and thus - bringing down sales.

 

The fact that it takes too long to create viable content - well, that's not my problem, as a consumer. I EXPECT you to invest time and money in it. You want my hard-earned money? Give me something that's worth it.

 

As for plot - you can create a great story in an hour or two. The standard for movies (which is a medium for telling stories) - is 1:45 hours (though today it seems longer).



#5 DaveTroyer   Members   -  Reputation: 1052

Like
0Likes
Like

Posted 11 March 2013 - 01:52 AM

Hi jsuffolks!

 

There has been some sound advice, so I won't go around a beat a dead horse, but...

 

For the story aspect. Do what you (and/or your team) wants. Its a game. Games are meant to be fun. If you (and/or your team) are so worried about what others will like, then it won't be as good as it could be, but that's just my opinion.biggrin.png And chances are, whichever direction you (and/or your team) chose for the game, you'll get some fans as long as its fun.

 

Well, now I'll say "For the Xbox? Are you sure? They dropped XNA support and their indie market is projected to be disappearing by next gen, so maybe aim for PC until you get more demand for your title?". You can't always assume you know who is going to want your game let alone where they are looking and I think if you're an indie dev and you're looking to create something with a whimsical story matched with spaceship dog fights, then the PC is a safer bet. Heck, you'll need to get it running on a PC no matter what, so why bother with the extra console work when you don't even have an hour of game play yet.

 

Last thing I guess I'll say is this. It seems like you're avoiding completing your game if you don't want to extend it past a 1 to 2 hour experience. To me,  what you have is a proof of concept right now at 30 to 40 minutes and you only want to extend it to a playable alpha of 2 hours or so.

 

If you don't want to flesh out your game to make it a reasonable amount of play, then maybe its not worth completing. And there's no shame in that. Tons of devs have a library of unfinished games that they started, really liked one part of it, but didn't really like enough to forge ahead and complete. 

 

You have to decide if there is enough "oomf" in your game and you for you to complete it.

 

Seriously, don't short change your game and expect others to be okay with it. Create the most complete experience you can for your game before you think about releasing it and you'll do fine. If you try to make your game just "good enough" or "long enough", then it will show and that is not good for you, the game, the consumer or your career.

 

Hope I didn't irritate you with my tough love approach, but come on guy, you don't want to put your name on something like a 1 hour game that your trying to sell for $5, do you?

 

Be the dev that gives the player more than they asked for.

Be the dev that has fans that advertise for you because the game is just that good.

Be the dev that goes above and beyond and loves the consumers that support them.

 

Don't be that lazy dev that releases a game when it's "good enough".

 

Good luck and don't disappoint. mellow.png


Check out my game blog - Dave's Game Blog


#6 jsuffolk   Members   -  Reputation: 316

Like
0Likes
Like

Posted 11 March 2013 - 11:16 PM

Firstly, I didn't mean any offense to my team of coworkers, I'm a pretty big geek myself and quite proud. Also, being critical isn't a bad thing in my scenario - just the opposite I find criticism as a refreshingly fresh perspective, which is why I'm here on the forums.

 

I'm aware of dropped XNA support, but I've a lot of time invested and intend to continue, and as you said it targets PC as well. I've been toying with the idea of MonoGame Windows8 port - the game marketplace isn't terribly crowded yet and there's some pretty powerful gaming tablets coming out that could probably run my game. Also the rumor is that the new XBox dev suite is built on the Windows 8 stack, and I suspect I'll have some options available to port my game there (indie marketplace or not). Frankly, I wouldn't count out Microsoft doing something else similar to indie games for the next-gen XBox - it's in their best interest to keep even indie developers excited about developing for their platforms (especially Windows 8) and what better way to get folks excited to develop on the windows 8 stack than to allow for an easy port to XBox. That's just speculation, but Microsoft is no stranger to releasing free tools for indies to get developers excited about their dev stack (BizSpark program, WebMatrix, Visual Studio Express, XNA). In any case, I'm waiting for more information on the next gen XBox development tools before I make a move away from XNA. This is pretty off-topic, though :-).

 

I have been noticing the accelerating development effects of the reutilization of game assets, that's a very astute point. However, I also find that I regularly backtrack to enhance my earlier work and expansion still does require large time investments; for example after about 30 to 40 minutes of gameplay I'm starting to need a drastic change of scenery (e.g. planet surface level) to bring my game to the next level. That'll be a large time investment that'll buy me maybe another 30 or 40 minutes before another major change of scenery is needed.

 

I appreciate the tough love, but to be clear I was thinking a 1-2 hour singleplayer campaign, not 40 minutes (which is what I have now). Also there's some pretty cool multiplayer modes, and the game has had very positive reactions from everybody that's played it so far. Still I appreciate the point that $5 is too much to ask for a short game. In fact I'm now seriously doubting the idea of a short game, seems as though reactions are mostly negative for that format (though stormynature did defend it some).

 

As far as whether I have it in me: game development has been my favorite hobby for a very long time, and my work doesn't disappoint. In fact I've edited out large portions of my game, removed weapons, enemies, etc. because not everything's up to my standards. Let's just hope I can find the time to finish it in our lifetimes


Edited by jsuffolk, 11 March 2013 - 11:30 PM.





Old topic!
Guest, the last post of this topic is over 60 days old and at this point you may not reply in this topic. If you wish to continue this conversation start a new topic.



PARTNERS