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Sage13

Concept Document; The Mourning Star

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No wonder, nobody has answered yet. Your Document is neather in RichTextFormat (rtf, readable by any good Text Program on any system and smaller than doc), nor you have zipped it.

[edited by - sirko on July 4, 2003 2:03:51 PM]

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Guest Anonymous Poster
I agree with sirko''s comments, the document takes an age to load and I wouldn''t even have bothered at all except that I was bored at work. Anyway you asked, so here goes...
First, it strikes me that ''The Mourning Star'' has been used for no other reason than you think it sounds like a cool name, there is no explanation as to why your bad guy would be known by that name, not that you have to explain it, but I think that other people might think the same.
The concept of chain attacks which you mention could do with more clarification, although it does sound intruiging so long as it isn''t too unweildly.
Story-wise, it all sounds a bit derivative. Your hero, (insert name) is unaware of the fate that makes him/her the chosen one to defeat the all powerful (insert name) of the (insert name) Empire/Army/Race, and to do this he teams up with a few disposable sidekicks - Star Wars anybody? Then again, if people like that genre, then maybe they won''t mind more of the same. After all, Star Wars made a lot of money!
With regard to one of the ideas in your premise, the concept of being able to explore huge cities, containing a complete transport infrastructure, while interesting, sounds dangerously like biting off more than you can chew. You are talking about a hell of a lot of work if you want to do that idea justice. Not impossible of course, particularly if it is a labour of love, but still a lot of man hours (read expense).
Sorry if this isn''t what you wanted to hear, but I think with a bit of tweaking you may possibly have something which of course is why you asked for comments I presume. Anyway remember, people in Hollywood were slagging off Star Wars when it was in production, and boy were they wrong. So say ''screw me'' if you like!
On a more technical note, it''s not normally a good idea to put sub-headers with titles like ''Lock and Load'', or whatever it was you put (can''t remember and haven''t got time to re-open the link) in a rough outline of your concept or pitch, leave that sort of thing for the marketing blurb on the packaging. Trust me on this one, I''m an advertising copywriter by day.
Anyway, good luck with it.

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I am a little bit disappointed by the size of your doc-file, maybe because I downloaded it with my analog 56k-connection.
But I still want to give you my constructive critical opinion of your document, because you took the chance and risk to make it readable. That is uncommon, but it will make us have better discussions and learning from each other. I am sorry, that I actually can''t make public my very first specification, because I think I could learn a bit by the many comments and very much beginners in Game Design could learn from my mistakes and would have a real example. I even haven''t Treatments in the english language.

First I have something to say to one post above. I don''t think, there is anything wrong in what it says, but it is not a game design related point of view. You can easy learn by trying: never think on the possibilities and especially of the limitations of game production and implementation when making game design. It will make games, nobody wants to play. Dream what ever you want, than make a great concept for a great game of it, not having resources in your mind. Just imagine, you had unlimited resources. If you are ready, criticize it by game design aspects. And then, if you think, it will be a very great game, continue and discuss the possibility and problems of making and selling it, being prepared, that it is not possible to make. But never think on such problems when sitting in ypur ivory tower. If you don''t believe it, just try to make a great strategy game, depending on a jump''n''run engine, only having one diletant programmer and one halftime working graphic designer, who cannot make living objects.
So I say, the production and selling problems of your game are not critical aspects that have to be discussed here in the game design forum yet.

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Now my criticism:

Your document starts with three repeating short descriptions of your game, which additionally do not descripe your game excact enough.
With your story and the story overview it is similar. Like the whole document, your ideas are unsorted and listed in chaos, as your document misses important answers on important questions, which is the hard working part of the game designer.
Your whole document is neither a Treatment, Expose nor Specification. It is just a collection of ideas to a game, and even that not good worked out.
The story itself is acceptable while the characters are not descriped. It is a pity but changeable that most of your characters are male. The Earth for example could be a woman while venus could be a even a man.
Your ''combat system'' is except of some basic ideas badly descriped. There are missing most important basics.
The world description would be sufficient for a treatment.
The graphics (thats why I am disappointed about the file size) except balance matrics don''t belong into a game design document. Additionally, the graphical style of your document is very unnessecary. It betters the optical impression, but raises the file size.
Marketing aspects except the marketing discussion preparing feature list don''t belong to game design documents, except Exposes.
The key configuration is less nessecary than the interface and look and feeld description, which is completly missing.

Fazit: Your document is a collection of ideas with less worked out ideas and without a real main concept. It is unsorted, chaotic and unmatured.

If you want to continue in Game Design, try it with a treatment. For this you will find some examples and good help in Game Design Books.

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Hi, Thanks for the feedback sirko! (finally some force feedback)

Its true that this document is a rush job and less than first draft at best. I had to put this whole thing together (with 3 others), in less than a few days. I’m working on revising and cleaning them up now. Here is an updated version:

The Mourning Star v2

I mainly worked on the clarity of the gameplay section. I haven’t added the U.I. Audio and Art information quite yet. (Not changing Earth to a female, sorry

I'll post updates as they are made.

Thanks!

-~-


p.S. Pardon the document size; I’ve been spoiled with a cable modem heh. It should be lighter now.




[edited by - Sage13 on July 5, 2003 9:30:28 AM]

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It has your usual high level of design/presentation but is very unfocused and does not do the job of a concept document.

Too much story
You have Game Concept (which is mostly story), Story and then Story Overview. Merge the Story and the Story Overview into one section but delete the ENTIRE last paragraph of the overview. It is just an overview. If people want detail they can get that from the design doc. Move this merged Story Overview in front of the Game Concept.

Game Concept
Edit the Game Concept to remove all story elements. Focus on describing the game play, espcially the key elements listed in your current Gameplay sections.

Delete all the GamePlay sections (that belongs in a design document). Instead put in a section that lists the five key features of the game.

Five Key Features
You have them under marketing. That is fine but promote them so that they have a heading level equal to marketing.

Gameworld
Delete this. It is yet more story (trying to tell the entire story is the classic mistake people make with concept docs). If the information isn''t vital enough to have been in the original story section then it shouldn''t be in the concept doc at all.

Controls.
Simply not something that should be in a concept document. IF you have some unique control method then you might list it as one of the five key features list. Otherwise it has no place in this doc.

You have missed out
Cost, completion date, team, formats, languages and contact details.

You have also mentioned a key style issue within the doc without including it in your list of key features. You should also describe (probably under the Marketing heading) how this style will be implemented in the game. Just visuals or in more ways.

Dan Marchant
Obscure Productions
Game Development & Design consultant

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Hi Dan,

thnx for the FB. I have to mention though, this isn''t the 1 page concept pitch that is suppose to be a sleek outline. It is the document that expands on the concept pitch yet doesn’t get to the point of a pitch document yet. The 3 to 5 page expansion on the concept pitch you know what I mean?

The things I am suppose to focus on highlighting were:

-Logline
-Premise
-What’s the Story? (in an overview format)
-Overview of the Core Gameplay
-The Market (Overview)

I kind of just threw in the controls and game world section to fill it out to 5 pages. Maybe that brings some confusion though, I''ll just stick it under game description.

thanks!

-~-



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Well first of all i might suggest changing some names? Mourning star? thats just the name of a mace with a chain. Earth is sorta well not very original and neither is Black. Im not trying to nit pick or anything but just an idea. Another thing if you are going to do this link thing(similar to Chrono Trigger in a way) and u want to do the lock on system (Kingdom Hearts) how exactly are you going to be able to have the player control all of the team members if its not turned based? Or did I miss a part that said this game would be multiplayer? It will be pretty difficult for a player to be able to use multiple characters at the same time in a real-time rpg thats not turn based unless you have it somehow either, stop time or have AI for the characters the player is not using? The uhh "hip-hop" thing sort of confused me? I dont really see how this game related to hip-hop or how hip-hop relates to anime? Also one last thing how does this have anything to do with anime?? Unless you are going to have anime sequences or looking characters? I am personally a huge anime fan and I havent seen anything that relates the game to anime?

[edited by - incognet0 on July 5, 2003 4:51:59 PM]

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"It will be pretty difficult for a player to be able to use multiple characters at the same time in a real-time rpg thats not turn based unless you have it somehow either, stop time or have AI for the characters the player is not using?"

Yes, supporting members are controlled by A.I. Also, Valkyrie Profile did a good job of controlling multiple characters at the same time.

"The uhh "hip-hop" thing sort of confused me? I dont really see how this game related to hip-hop or how hip-hop relates to anime?"

The cultural reference in the game is huge. Anime/Japanese Style Animation is where the game is deriving its art direction. I haven't added in the art section yet that explains both of these influences.

-~-

[edited by - Sage13 on July 5, 2003 5:29:31 PM]

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Guest Anonymous Poster
quote:
Original post by iNcOgNeT0
Well first of all i might suggest changing some names? Mourning star? thats just the name of a mace with a chain.
Close, the ball ''n'' chain is a morning star. The Mourning Star is also another name give to Lucifer in the Bible.

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Guest Anonymous Poster
Great stuff... if it wasn''t for X-box, I think I''d be a little more enthused. If this isn''t going to be released on the computer, then I suggest releasing it on all systems, if you truly plan on releasing it.
I like the idea, and the fact that you worked on, or had something to do with, X Squared kinda boosted my interest. By what I saw on the X2 site, it looked cool.
The whole idea is great and I hope you keep with it.

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quote:
Original post by iNcOgNeT0
Well first of all i might suggest changing some names? Mourning star? thats just the name of a mace with a chain.


Hate to go on about this, but isn''t a ball + chain known as a flail?

Sage13:
I read the first page of your design-doc and didn''t find anything in it that sparked interest enough to read on. Maybe I''m just a player not suited for your game (although I''m a great fan of both anime & RPG) or you need to put something in it to keep people reading. If you''re intending to show your design doc to any potential publisher, I don''t think it''s entirly impossible that they just look at the first page then decide wheter it''s worth to read on or not.



-Luctus

Statisticly seen, most things happens to other people.
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quote:
Original post by Luctus
Hate to go on about this, but isn't a ball + chain known as a flail?




This is a misunderstanding among games, due to the weapon's misrepresentation in both book and computer RPGS... But I've also found historical writings make this same mistake. Go find a good collection of weapons at a museum. (There's a REAL good one at the Chicago Art Institute right now!) Or for that matter, any site selling REAL weapons, not showing information on RPG weapons!

The mace is as we all know-- a short weapon around 2 or 3 feet long which was any mass weapon attached to the end of a stick. They can be just a ball, they can be flanged (which were REALLY good at tearing up plate armor), and some even had spikes on them... The Egyptians fashioned a stone disk at the end of a stick so the stick was at the center of the disk, and perpendicular to it. Oddly, there are very few other names for this weapon other than "club" used in common (SCA or RPG).

The flail is any stick with a mass attached to it by a flexible joint-- whether that be by just one loop on the end of the stick and one on the mass, or a chain or rope between the two. (In a way, the nunchaku is a kind of flail-- but there's no distinction between the handle and the mass) Again, the mass can be just a ball, have spikes, flanges, be square, whatever. They are STILL called flails when there are multiple masses connected by independant chains. The origins of this weapon are agricultural-- it was originally a tool used for thrashing wheat. (Or rice in the case of the numchaku) And like all good farm implements, they made REALLY good weapons because they were both easy to fashion and many peasants already had one.

The term "morning star" comes from the German work "morgenstern" which actually translates closer into "meteor mace"... The morgenstern was a long weapon-- not quite 6-8 feet like polearms such as the halberd and glaive, usually around 3-5 feet. Their heads were spiked masses, usually spherical, fixed upon a wooden shaft (where as some mace handles were metal). They were used primarily from horseback, but proved a good on-foot weapon as well. The techniques used by horsemen wielding this weapon worked just like the mace, but the on-foot technique is more like that of a halberd or glaive, not a mace.

There is NO CHAIN in a morning star!!!

I don't know what novel, rpg, historian, or whatever started that idea, but I'd sure like to find out.

-Desco-


[Editted for formatting, and added the sentance of history for the flail.]

[edited by - Desco on July 11, 2003 12:47:23 PM]

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