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Can a "PvP arena" based game have a good story?


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#1 Legendre   Members   -  Reputation: 966

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Posted 05 December 2013 - 09:33 PM

I am making a game that involves player killing each other in a perpetual free for all arena. Its still open whether it will be sci-fi or fantasy.

 

Can this kind of game have a good story? Or is it doomed to have a shallow plot like "Quake 3 Arena" and various other tournament themed shooters?



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#2 JTippetts   Moderators   -  Reputation: 8598

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Posted 05 December 2013 - 10:11 PM

In my experience, the intersection between PvPers and people who play for story is rather small. I'd say you probably could build some story elements into it somehow, but you need to be aware that many players will see them as an impediment to their real reason for playing (the PvP) if you don't give them some way to skip past them. The further in the background you can put the story, the happier they will be.



#3 sunandshadow   Moderators   -  Reputation: 4985

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Posted 05 December 2013 - 10:39 PM

If there are no NPCs at all, it would be really hard to create a story.  Though, if you have equipment with flavor text, that can tell a bit of story, and the settings and characters available also tell a bit of story.  About as much story as you could get in a card game like Lunch Money or Gimmie The Brain.


Phone game idea available free to someone who will develop it (Alphadoku game - the only existing phone game of this type is both for windows phone only and awful. PM for details.)


I want to help design a "sandpark" MMO. Optional interactive story with quests and deeply characterized NPCs, plus sandbox elements like player-craftable housing and lots of other crafting. If you are starting a design of this type, please PM me. I also love pet-breeding games.


#4 samoth   Crossbones+   -  Reputation: 4936

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Posted 06 December 2013 - 02:46 AM

You will probably not need much more story than "The Gamesters of Triskelion" or "Arena" or "Predators" for that type of game, but I guess it probably wouldn't hurt either. The story would need to give the players a significant advantage, however. Otherwise you will be wasting your time since players will not be interested in your story.

 

A player wouldn't be bothered to read about the ancient temple's story and its alien founders, if it only means that he is in the mean time being killed by other players. On the other hand, if it may grant access to a shortcut in the maze or the secret weapons chamber, then it may be worth pursuing the story.



#5 sunandshadow   Moderators   -  Reputation: 4985

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Posted 06 December 2013 - 02:51 AM

You will probably not need much more story than "The Gamesters of Triskelion" or "Arena" or "Predators" for that type of game, but I guess it probably wouldn't hurt either. The story would need to give the players a significant advantage, however. Otherwise you will be wasting your time since players will not be interested in your story.

 

A player wouldn't be bothered to read about the ancient temple's story and its alien founders, if it only means that he is in the mean time being killed by other players. On the other hand, if it may grant access to a shortcut in the maze or the secret weapons chamber, then it may be worth pursuing the story.

If there's a lobby where people are waiting for match-ups they could view the lore then?


Phone game idea available free to someone who will develop it (Alphadoku game - the only existing phone game of this type is both for windows phone only and awful. PM for details.)


I want to help design a "sandpark" MMO. Optional interactive story with quests and deeply characterized NPCs, plus sandbox elements like player-craftable housing and lots of other crafting. If you are starting a design of this type, please PM me. I also love pet-breeding games.


#6 samoth   Crossbones+   -  Reputation: 4936

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Posted 06 December 2013 - 05:14 AM


If there's a lobby where people are waiting for match-ups they could view the lore then?

 

That would even be possible, though not what I would do. In my opinion, this puts the lore too much "outside" the game. Also, seeing how the lore is only meaningful to most people if you get an advantage from it, you consequentially must have some kind of risk or at least "work" associated with it as well.

 

Otherwise you can just as well browse one of the "super top game cheats" sites, and you could as well give the bonus to everyone (or scrap it). It's uninteresting.

 

No, I'd think you should find e.g. a map of the maze which shows a secret passage in game, if you search for it. Preferrably it should be somewhat dynamic, so it isn't easily mappable for a "game cheats" site. Then there should be some clues that you have to follow to actually find it, keys, stone figures to move around, and some other puzzle stuff. All that while other people are running around the place, and someone may spot you and shoot at you.

That way, you have double jeopardy (is that the correct word?), and it's well-deserved if you gain an advantage from running the "lore part" in addition.



#7 samoth   Crossbones+   -  Reputation: 4936

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Posted 06 December 2013 - 05:36 AM

Here's some possible ideas for that approach:

 

You can find some kind of "coins" in the game. They're semi-rare (or maybe dropped by NPC enemies if there are any) and serve no purpose. You can pick them up, but they do nothing. If you do the lore part, your character will eventually learn that they can be put into that little slot next to these strange devices that are spread all around the map. Putting in a coin will give you a 50% instant-heal. If you have not done the lore part, you can still collect the coins, but they're worthless.On the contrary, if you play in a team and you are fragged (dropping all coins) the adversary gets a big advantage.

 

You can pray at altars to get a free 50% heal once every 3 mins. The prayer is a random word (either from a random word generator, or from a list of 20-30 words) individual for every player and session, and using the wrong prayer instantly frags you (the gods are angry at you for insulting them, whatever). Doing the "lore part" means solving puzzles until you eventually discover a writing that conveys the healing prayer. If you continue doing the lore, you maybe learn another prayer that will "taint" an altar for 5 minutes, killing anyone who tries to get healed. Or you learn that the altars are really super advanced alien healing devices which are powered from a hidden fusion reactor (so the "god" that the primitives in this jungle pray to is really a fusion reactor). Finding out where the reactor is hidden allows you to destroy it, depriving everybody of their heals. There might even be two "gods" (reactors) and two factions in game, so you can only destroy the one that works for the other faction.

 

Analogous to the prayer thing, secret passages might open with an individual code word that you must find out. The passage might lead to a weapon/ammo chamber, or simply be a cool shortcut. Or it might lead to an otherwise inaccessible sniper spot.


Edited by samoth, 06 December 2013 - 05:38 AM.


#8 Legendre   Members   -  Reputation: 966

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Posted 06 December 2013 - 09:58 AM

Samoth: I was thinking of the same approach. And my game is slow paced enough to implement a bit of "lore hunting". Its no where near as fast paced as mainstream shooters like Quake or Unreal Tournament.

 

But can an arena type game have a good, coherent plot? Because the game takes place in an arena/tournament, the plot has to be about the arena/tournament, which is usually uninteresting. Games like Street Fighter and Mortal Kombat really struggled with their movie adaptations. Has there been good books or movies about arena/tournaments?

 

The closest I have found to an interesting plot is from a defunct text-based browser game call "Nexus War" that takes place in a version of the afterlife where players become angels and demons locked in eternal battle. I guess I could make the setting post-apocalyptic and players go around killing each other for survival. Or something like "i have no mouth and i must scream" where an evil artificial intelligence enslaved mankind and forced them to fight eternally. 


Edited by Legendre, 06 December 2013 - 10:03 AM.


#9 samoth   Crossbones+   -  Reputation: 4936

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Posted 06 December 2013 - 10:15 AM

Well, arena fighting does not mean much but "somewhat limited space" and "fight". Insofar every PvP multiplayer game that has only one level is a kind of "arena" game, isn't it?

 

The lore should make clear why people are fighting, and then some. Are you gladiators/slaves in ancient Rome? So you fight because your masters want to see blood and bet on the outcome. Same story if you're a Star Trek captain stranded on Triskelion, except it's brains betting for quatloos, not Patricians betting for sesterces.

 

You might have survived Oceanic Airlines Flight 815's crash and find yourself on an isle with limited resources to survive and some "thing" that eats your team mates, and "the others" who are competing for the same resources. Enough reason to kill "the others". Maybe you even want to kill your team members (fewer eaters = more to eat for yourself). There is no limit to how grotesque you can make the lore starting from this scenario, as the Lost TV series has proven. I think you can very much consider the Lost series as some form of "arena fight".

 

Sure, this can be made a good plot. As always, making something good takes a lot of care, but this isn't particular to this setting. Making anything good isn't trivial. I don't see why you couldn't do it and why people shouldn't like it (if it's well-made).


Edited by samoth, 06 December 2013 - 10:19 AM.


#10 conq   Members   -  Reputation: 354

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Posted 06 December 2013 - 12:06 PM

People playing a PVP game won't want to read that kind of suff. What will happen is, they will get a coin and say "Hey guys, what's this coin do?" and someone will respond saying "Put it in that hole and you get a heal"

 

Giving distinct advantages for reading the lore....

"What the hell, how did I die?"

"I triggered the reactor"

"How?"

"Read the lore and say the chant in chat"

"Nah screw that"

 

You have to realize that unless you're building a huge world with lots of content, no one will care about your "perfectly" crafted story. The best you can get away with is themes (Like Unreal tournament), or flavor text/character backgrounds.

 

Your best bet is to tell the story through the map. If you're in an old castle, have part of it destroyed/overgrown with broken down siege weapons on the horizon "Ok, there was a battle here, I get it".



#11 powerneg   Members   -  Reputation: 1463

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Posted 07 January 2014 - 04:10 PM


in a perpetual free for all arena

You can have events(and thus some lore) happen in the arena every now and then.



#12 traghera   Members   -  Reputation: 421

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Posted 17 February 2014 - 06:06 AM

I am making a game that involves player killing each other in a perpetual free for all arena. Its still open whether it will be sci-fi or fantasy.

 

Can this kind of game have a good story? Or is it doomed to have a shallow plot like "Quake 3 Arena" and various other tournament themed shooters?

 

  What a silly question, of course it can! You can give the meeting of a dog and a squirrel an epic storyline, the thing is you don't really need it. The reason Quake 3 Arena had a shallow plot was because it had one at all. It doesn't need it because that's really not important, it's not what drags you in the game and why you play it for, it was more or less a more-or-even-less-plausible-excuse-to-kill-people.
 

 However you COULD add some little context to the world around, such as a bit of a background/new setting.. like a slave caught by an alien race made to fight to the death for the honor of... blah blah... green-ugly-toad-king-thinggye, in the great arena of blah-blah-blah-copyrightinfrigment-the-hut.. And you can ad some atmosphere by using mascot characters, or even announcers/commentators, and you can get away by sending some background story of them in the lore-button thinggy.


Edited by traghera, 17 February 2014 - 06:06 AM.





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