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A Question for Writers as well as Game Designers


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#1 vipar   Members   -  Reputation: 170

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Posted 13 March 2013 - 04:22 PM

Hello Gamedev Forums!

 

I am a Computer Science student who is currently learning C#. I would like to sharpen up (see what I did there?) on the language by writing an application that could be helpful to the community (and free of charge too!). If there is enough demand, I could possibly develop a Java version which could be used on Macs as well. My idea came from a conversation with a friend about Lore. I would love to write a Lore Helper tool, which would keep Lore neat and organized.

 

The idea so far, is to have Tree-like structures that would keep the Lore organized. For example creating a Parent that could be called "Humans". In there you could write all the lore about Humans in general and their history etc. Under "Humans" you could have a child called "Factions". In there you describe the human factions. You could also have another child called "Relations", and describe how Humans cooperate with other species etc. Each child could also become a parent for several smaller children.There would of course be Text Editing so that the text could be formatted and prettified. Perhaps even insertion of pictures along the way.

 

All data would be saved for an .LH extension but the data could be exported as PDF and/or DOCX files as well when you are done. My question to the community is:

 

Would you like a tool like this?

And if yes, what other functionality would you like to see?

 

Thanks for Reading!


CEO of Dynamic Realities


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#2 JessieJess   Members   -  Reputation: 251

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Posted 13 March 2013 - 05:04 PM

Oh, so very much like a character flowchart?

That definetly seems like something that would be useful to organize large overarching stories that have their own lore and various complex characters. I'd imagine potential RPG makers would appreciate it.

 

Some two cents that may be good to add would be perhaps to add would be perhaps:

- "Organizations" : For example guilds, clubs, etc. I'd imagine it'd be programmed similar to a visual "list" or "group" to put objects (or "humans") in even when they don't have a direct relationship with one another other then by associations like these.

- "Items" : Comparable to a "human" object, except it would be associated with a "human". Useful especially for example with special objects that perhaps change hands constantly.



#3 vipar   Members   -  Reputation: 170

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Posted 13 March 2013 - 05:10 PM

Oh, so very much like a character flowchart?

That definetly seems like something that would be useful to organize large overarching stories that have their own lore and various complex characters. I'd imagine potential RPG makers would appreciate it.

 

Some two cents that may be good to add would be perhaps to add would be perhaps:

- "Organizations" : For example guilds, clubs, etc. I'd imagine it'd be programmed similar to a visual "list" or "group" to put objects (or "humans") in even when they don't have a direct relationship with one another other then by associations like these.

- "Items" : Comparable to a "human" object, except it would be associated with a "human". Useful especially for example with special objects that perhaps change hands constantly.

 

Ah but the user of the program would specify this themselves you see! They get a clean slate, and then they can just add and name the parents/childs they want.

However your post gave me an idea to add some common Templates perhaps.


CEO of Dynamic Realities


#4 Dragonsoulj   Crossbones+   -  Reputation: 2118

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Posted 13 March 2013 - 06:48 PM

I think it's a great idea. It essentially sounds like you are making a flow chart/tree that can handle large amounts of text with a label for each section.



#5 vipar   Members   -  Reputation: 170

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Posted 14 March 2013 - 01:25 AM

I think it's a great idea. It essentially sounds like you are making a flow chart/tree that can handle large amounts of text with a label for each section.

 

Something along those lines yes :)


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#6 Kylotan   Moderators   -  Reputation: 3338

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Posted 14 March 2013 - 07:25 AM

To be honest, I can't see why I'd want a tree-like structure for this. Trees have been generally found to be lacking when it comes to organisation because it's rare that everything can fit into a strict hierarchy. I would probably prefer either a normal word processor document (which is easier to edit and move things in) or a wiki (which has the benefit of arbitrary cross-referencing).



#7 vipar   Members   -  Reputation: 170

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Posted 14 March 2013 - 08:41 AM

To be honest, I can't see why I'd want a tree-like structure for this. Trees have been generally found to be lacking when it comes to organisation because it's rare that everything can fit into a strict hierarchy. I would probably prefer either a normal word processor document (which is easier to edit and move things in) or a wiki (which has the benefit of arbitrary cross-referencing).

 

If you don't want to share the things you write before it's ready, making a Wiki is not an option.

Abitrary Cross Referencing could be nice to add though, if I can.

 

I'll try and see if I can make a tree structure that works. But thanks for the input!


CEO of Dynamic Realities


#8 Dragonsoulj   Crossbones+   -  Reputation: 2118

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Posted 14 March 2013 - 08:49 AM

If you don't want to share the things you write before it's ready, making a Wiki is not an option.

 

False. You can host your own on your own computer and edit it that way, or on a server only those who need to work on the project have access to.

 

However, having multiple trees would work for the items that don't fit in the regular structure.


Edited by Dragonsoulj, 14 March 2013 - 08:50 AM.


#9 vipar   Members   -  Reputation: 170

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Posted 14 March 2013 - 09:08 AM

If you don't want to share the things you write before it's ready, making a Wiki is not an option.

 

False. You can host your own on your own computer and edit it that way, or on a server only those who need to work on the project have access to.

 

However, having multiple trees would work for the items that don't fit in the regular structure.

 

Well true I guess, but I wouldn't think that it's what the normal user would do.

Multiple Tree Structures would be part of this, yes.


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#10 Kylotan   Moderators   -  Reputation: 3338

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Posted 14 March 2013 - 10:18 AM

Game developers are not 'normal users'. :)

 

If I'm working as part of a team, we'll have internal systems for collaboration, usually including a wiki.

 

If I'm working alone... then maybe I'd find a use for a standalone tool like this, although most likely I'd just use OpenOffice Writer. But if the tool was comprehensive enough in terms of search, cross-referencing, indexing, etc., it could be useful. I still wouldn't want an explicit tree structure though.

 

One thing to bear in mind is that game development documents are communication tools. Is this tool for communicating with the writer, ie. as a memory aid? Or is it to communicate with others, ie. to provide documents to work from? If the latter, what benefits does it offer, given that it will just export to a file similar to that created in a mainstream app?



#11 vipar   Members   -  Reputation: 170

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Posted 14 March 2013 - 12:42 PM

Game developers are not 'normal users'. smile.png

 

If I'm working as part of a team, we'll have internal systems for collaboration, usually including a wiki.

 

If I'm working alone... then maybe I'd find a use for a standalone tool like this, although most likely I'd just use OpenOffice Writer. But if the tool was comprehensive enough in terms of search, cross-referencing, indexing, etc., it could be useful. I still wouldn't want an explicit tree structure though.

 

One thing to bear in mind is that game development documents are communication tools. Is this tool for communicating with the writer, ie. as a memory aid? Or is it to communicate with others, ie. to provide documents to work from? If the latter, what benefits does it offer, given that it will just export to a file similar to that created in a mainstream app?

 

What would you want rather than a tree structure then to keep it organized and/or categorised?

 

It's a bit of both. Nothing stops more members on the team using the tool to view the lore structure as intended by the program. Exporting to PDF or similar is for convenience and if that's how the writer uses the program, it would simply serve as Memory Aid.


CEO of Dynamic Realities


#12 Kylotan   Moderators   -  Reputation: 3338

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Posted 14 March 2013 - 06:35 PM

Sometimes a tree structure works, sometimes tags. But usually it's easier to have everything in one big file which I can easily search through.

 

As for what the team would do, I'm not sure they'd want to use a specialised tool just to look up a bit of lore. It really seems like the sort of thing that should be browser based or integrated into an existing tool (which obviously you can't do).

 

Don't let me discourage you from this project if you want to do it - but I'm just saying that in my experience it wouldn't fit into the typical game development workflow.

 

It might be more useful to writers. I don't know what sort of software they use to keep track of their setting and characters.



#13 EricMarsh   Crossbones+   -  Reputation: 110

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Posted 15 March 2013 - 12:05 AM

There's a program out there very much like this on Steam, though its price tag is a deterrent for most of us who are on a shoestring budget for things we can readily make do without; the program is named articy: draft SE by nevigo.

 

http://www.nevigo.com/?id=47

 

Steam has demo videos of it; so if you'd still like to work on it as a free alternative, I doubt they'd mind much if you used their demonstration as inspiration (otherwise, we'd all be prohibitively in debt to the giants that came before us; upon the shoulders of which we so brazenly stand, using their concepts to strengthen our own).


Edited by EricMarsh, 15 March 2013 - 12:06 AM.


#14 vipar   Members   -  Reputation: 170

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Posted 15 March 2013 - 12:46 AM

There's a program out there very much like this on Steam, though its price tag is a deterrent for most of us who are on a shoestring budget for things we can readily make do without; the program is named articy: draft SE by nevigo.

 

http://www.nevigo.com/?id=47

 

Steam has demo videos of it; so if you'd still like to work on it as a free alternative, I doubt they'd mind much if you used their demonstration as inspiration (otherwise, we'd all be prohibitively in debt to the giants that came before us; upon the shoulders of which we so brazenly stand, using their concepts to strengthen our own).

 

Yeah I know of this program. A guy on another forum suggested if I made a version that costs 5 to 10 dollars or something it'd be a nice market since that program is just so damn expensive.

 

I am still not really sure whether it should be free or low-cost but another alternative to that program wouldn't be too bad.


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#15 EricMarsh   Crossbones+   -  Reputation: 110

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Posted 15 March 2013 - 01:16 AM

Another avenue is releasing the product as a free thing with source material being available to those who want to fiddle around with it themselves while offering your own pre-built addins for a fee. Like how some web theme and javascript sites operate; the base kit is readily available and it's all Javascript or C# or C++, but if the consumer wants to get a package deal that has more functionality, they can pay $5-$20, all based on how much extra functionality there is and how much work you did to implement it.



#16 vipar   Members   -  Reputation: 170

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Posted 15 March 2013 - 02:13 AM

Another avenue is releasing the product as a free thing with source material being available to those who want to fiddle around with it themselves while offering your own pre-built addins for a fee. Like how some web theme and javascript sites operate; the base kit is readily available and it's all Javascript or C# or C++, but if the consumer wants to get a package deal that has more functionality, they can pay $5-$20, all based on how much extra functionality there is and how much work you did to implement it.

 

Ah yes.

So a community edition and a premium edition kind of thing. That could be something.


CEO of Dynamic Realities





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