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superpig

How to tell the story?

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OK, so you''ve got this great story for your game. But how do you get it in there? After a recent discussion on cutscenes, here''s what I thought of:
  • Non-interactive cutscene - the ''traditional'' approach. The game tells, the player listens. Being able to press escape to skip it doesn''t count as ''interactive.''
  • Semi-interactive cutscene - like those in HL. The player can possibly move around, or choose what they say; but ultimately it follows a predetermined course to ensure they get the ''key plot elements.''
  • Fully interactive cutscene - the player can gun down the genious nuclear scientist as he''s about to shut down the reactor core and save the world. The cutscene is still triggered - by walking into a specific area, or a specific time limit, or whatever.
  • The passive approach - like in much of Marathon. The story is there, but the player has to ''look for it'' - reading notices on the walls, computer terminals, just being attentive and aware of the game world.
I''m thinking I missed a few. There''s gotta be more than 4 ways to tell stories in games. Superpig - saving pigs from untimely fates, and when he''s not doing that, runs The Binary Refinery.

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I''d vote on Passive and Semi-Interactive.

However, on the issue of semi-interactive, having text-boxes where the plot doesn''t advance until the player presses some button has about the same effect. What I suggest doing is have the box fit so many lines of text, and have the text gradually scroll away when new text shows up, and have whatever button advances the text also speed it up. It may not seem like it, but this gives the player control over the length of the cutscreen (to an extent).

As for passive, that''s an excellent approach for hiding backstory in a game, like historical notes and stuff.

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It depends on the style of storytelling you want to convey, much like an action-adventure that has strong elements of comedy or instead takes the macho power approach.

Come up with a story, and do whatever feels right, or go down the list of what you provided, imagine how it would appear in each, and pick the one you like.

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Passive certainly lets you have some fun playing the game. You can look around for extra stuff that may not be necessary to understand the game, but sure makes it more interesting. There''s a computer terminal over in the corner? Turn it on! Read some log excerpts from the recently deceased technician. Actually, Last Rose in a Desert Garden was quite interesting in this aspect - it let you click on things (say, a burned up sat dish) and it would give your character''s comments on it (gee, how sad, just another relic of a forgotten time, or something like that) and you could read through the history on the computers (scientists - nuclear? - living out a nuclear war underground, eventually all killed by marine commander). An interesting way to play a game.

However, for the ''main'' story, I wouldn''t think passive would be such a great idea. You''re too likely to miss something important if you just run past a wall or notebook. And I really get tired of non-interactive cut-scenes, even if they''re cool (Halo) just because you can''t DO anything! You have to keep me involved and active, even if its just scrolling through text or moving around.

-geo
red eye is coming back (the old site is still around, albeit in a weird transitional form)

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quote:
Original post by Avatar God
However, for the ''main'' story, I wouldn''t think passive would be such a great idea. You''re too likely to miss something important if you just run past a wall or notebook.


But let''s assume, for a moment, that the player is *trying* to play the game and investigate the story. Provided it''s not too obscure, perhaps we should let them miss things? OK, so that possibly means they can''t make sense of something later on; but if you stop paying attention in the middle of a movie, you''ve nobody to blame but yourself...

Surely there must be ways other than the four I''ve already described?

How''s this - you''re in a conversation with an NPC, and you can walk away. However, if you do, the NPC shouts ''hey, get back here!'' and if you get too far away, stops talking. When you return, he goes ''Oh, there you are,'' and continues from his latest sentence. That would be semi-passive, or something?

Superpig
- saving pigs from untimely fates, and when he''s not doing that, runs The Binary Refinery.

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These are the methods that I''ve come up with for relaying the story to the player. Most everything here can be lumped under the passive approach.

Speech: Characters can speak it. Be they NPCs, or playable characters, perhaps they could say something that reveals the information that the player needs to know.

Thoughts: The avatar (or anyone else whose thoughts the audience is privy to) could think it.

Written material: the avatar reads a sign, a book, something from a computer, etc.

The Environment: if the player needs to know that a village has been burned, he can see it on fire, or see the ashes after the fire is out.

Events: this actually covers superpig''s non-interactive, semi-interactive, and fully-interactive cut-scene methods. Events can occur while the player is in control, or watching passively.

Avatar Actions: The in-game actions that the player takes can be informative.

If the action stems from character motivation, it characterizes.

If an action is required by the game, that action and the information we learn from it seem important. For example, say that the avatar has to help a border village set up a barricade against an advancing army from the neighboring nation. This tells us that a war is starting, and hints at the intentions of the neighboring nation. And if these points relate to the story, we have learned about the story.

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I like both these ideas (superpig, zennith)...

If the whole game was geared like that (passive, semi) then, well, I think I would love the game. Actually, if it was done even somewhat well, I _know_ I would love it.

So... unfortunately I can''t think of any specific examples right now, so I''ll get to that sometime...


-geo
red eye is coming back (the old site is still around, albeit in a weird transitional form)

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I think if you have a complete, highly detailed narrative treatment of the story, where and how best to bring it into the game will jump out at you. I usually draw a big chart on 24" X 36" newsprint with the three act structure as the top bottom line, the sequences within each act as the next line up, the scenes within each sequence next up, and the shots or SPFX I feel I have to have or are essential eye candy or are important exposition points or features next, the point of no return up one more, the climax/anticlimax sequence up one more, and the obligatory protagonist/antagonist meeting scene next, and the denoument at the very top.

Then, I make to the same scale another sheet with the game levels progressing from left to right. Even if you have branching levels that loop back to someplace else or even to another level, that still counts as time and space continuum because of the link they share in spacetime.

Then, I start cutting and pasting, and see if the parts of the story I want to have exposited will work in this level or that one best, and what would be the best method of exposition to choose, object, action, dialogue, conversation, observation, reaction, etc.

The flow and type of exposition that pleases me is the one I put together. I often leave it up on the wall for a time to make sure I just wasn''t trying to please myself only, and will it work best for the player''s comprehension, an objective individual''s interpretation, and so forth.

Soon, the right balance and combinations will work themselves out.

Adventuredesign

-saving superpigs from untimely story point expositions

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quote:
Original post by adventuredesign
-saving superpigs from untimely story point expositions


LMAO.

I absolutely agree with the idea that a well-thought-out plot should present itself in obvious ways. However, that''s not really what I''m wondering about.

Consider it like this: we, as storytellers, have various tools - within the medium of gaming - that we can use to achieve our goals; much like the various brushes and paints a painter has to hand. Rather than asking which tool should be used when, I''m just asking about what we actually have available as storytelling tools, and the advantages and disadvantages of each.

Zennith, concerning the player''s thoughts - what would you suggest as the best way of bringing *those* out? Problem is, if the ''player character'' isn''t thinking the same thing as the player themself, then drawing attention to that difference can severly shatter the player''s identification with their character...

After all, in something like Half-Life, isn''t Gordon Freeman just a convenient name for the representation of the human player within the game world? As such, it''s not an independent entity; it can''t have it''s own thoughts. Can it?



Superpig
- saving pigs from untimely fates, and when he''s not doing that, runs The Binary Refinery.

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quote:
Original post by superpig
After all, in something like Half-Life, isn''t Gordon Freeman just a convenient name for the representation of the human player within the game world? As such, it''s not an independent entity; it can''t have it''s own thoughts. Can it?




I think it depends on how much of a personality the playable character has, and how independant that is from the players personality.(I can''t speak for Half-Life, because I''ve never played it.) In some games, the playable character is more than an extension of the player. Sometimes he he has his own goals and motivations. But sometimes the playable character is just there to represent the player, and nothing more.

You bring up a good point when you say that if the thoughts of the playable character does not match the thoughts of the player, it can be damaging. I argue that it is damaging only if the playable character is supposed to be an extension of the player - if I''m supposed to pretend that the playable character is me, he or she had better not be someone else. And if he or she has his or her own thoughts, it is a reminder that he or she is someone else.

But it doesn''t bother me if the playable character is supposed to be his or her own person. In that case, I expect his or her thoughts to be different from mine.

As to how to get the thoughts across...
If the playable character is nothing but a representation of the player, I do not think that he should have his own thoughts. Frankly, it would seem superficial to me. (He''s had no reason to think before, just been there for me to move him around, then all of a sudden a thought comes from him?) There may be games out there that prove me wrong, but I have not met them yet.
But if you did want this type of character to think, there is the problem with character identification. There is always the chance that the player will be thinking something different than the words that come up in the thought bubble. You could guess what the player would think, even try to guide him or her to think that...But that doesn''t solve this problem completely.

Here''s a question - how do we make thoughts different from words that are spoken out loud? Some games put thoughts in parentheses or brackets. If it''s clear that this means ''thoughts'' then it''s enough for me. But does anyone else have comments about this?

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quote:
Original post by Zennith
I think it depends on how much of a personality the playable character has, and how independant that is from the players personality.(I can''t speak for Half-Life, because I''ve never played it.)

You''re in the game writing forum discussing ways to tell stories and you''ve not played Half-Life? Nurse, 50ccs of Black Mesa, stat!

quote:
In some games, the playable character is more than an extension of the player. Sometimes he he has his own goals and motivations. But sometimes the playable character is just there to represent the player, and nothing more.


Hmm... would that first type be ''role-play'' games - that is, as the words are *meant* to mean? Rather than having the avatar fit with the thoughts of the player, get the player to fit with the thoughts of the avatar. I guess it depends on your player having a half-decent imagination...

quote:

But if you did want this type of character to think, there is the problem with character identification. There is always the chance that the player will be thinking something different than the words that come up in the thought bubble. You could guess what the player would think, even try to guide him or her to think that...But that doesn''t solve this problem completely.


My point exactly.
quote:

Here''s a question - how do we make thoughts different from words that are spoken out loud? Some games put thoughts in parentheses or brackets. If it''s clear that this means ''thoughts'' then it''s enough for me. But does anyone else have comments about this?



My question exactly

Well, until we get computers which can communicate with us telepathically (my god.. just think of the porn industry implications) ideas - thoughts - are going to have to be communicated to us either visually or audibly. So, our guy can say what he''s thinking - perhaps with some kind of DSP effect to make it sound like it''s not part of the game world; his thoughts can be expressed in text and drawn to the screen.

One idea that particularly interests me, now I think about it, is communicating visually but without text. Say he meets a character that he hates - you could see a thought bubble with a picture of him strangling that character. Kinda Ally-Mcbeal-ish...

Superpig
- saving pigs from untimely fates, and when he''s not doing that, runs The Binary Refinery.

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quote:

I''m just asking about what we actually have available as storytelling tools, and the advantages and disadvantages of each.




Ok, I gotcha. Guess I been doing too much writing lately to understand typing.

This is going to be one of my famous subjective posts, but you will be relieved to find out I''m getting briefer at it.

The list of storytelling tools is pretty long, symbology, character action, character speech, character reaction, ensemble (or in this case, NPC reaction, speech or action), object related expostion (e.g.; street sign al the way to letters written in the sky).

Exposition of story advancing or contextualizing content is tricky, and you can get really creative with it. I would not think in term of advantages and disadvantages of each expositional device you choose or desigh, but rather think of it in terms of what will convey this point the best.

You can have a woman running through the village screaming, "It''s coming! It''s coming!!" with sheer terror on her face, and when the good buddy ice cream truck turns the corner and all the kids come running out of the house yelling "YAAAAAY!", then that was not the best choice, and wasn''t really disadvantaged per se, just not effective in personalizing and punctuating.

Those two terms, personalizing and punctuating may be your guides as to which form you choose to use, as qualifying criteria for the tool in the kit.

HTH,
Adventuredesign

Saving writers from excess verbiage though soda overload

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quote:
Original post by adventuredesign
This is going to be one of my famous subjective posts, but you will be relieved to find out I''m getting briefer at it.


Aww... no more bedtime reading!

quote:
The list of storytelling tools is pretty long, symbology, character action, character speech, character reaction, ensemble (or in this case, NPC reaction, speech or action), object related expostion (e.g.; street sign al the way to letters written in the sky).

OK; I wonder if anyone''s put together a sort of ''catalogue'' as far as storytelling tools in games are concerned.

quote:
Exposition of story advancing or contextualizing content is tricky, and you can get really creative with it. I would not think in term of advantages and disadvantages of each expositional device you choose or desigh, but rather think of it in terms of what will convey this point the best.

From a pure storyteller''s point of view, that''s both fine and obvious - tell the story the best you can. But the problem with games is that the story has to coexist with the gameplay; thus, some tools may be too intrusive to be used. The cutscenes I mentioned earlier would be an example - they kill the gameplay to tell the story - and often the same games will then proceed to the reverse extreme, revealing no story details until the player has completed the next level. I''d say that''s a bad way of doing it.

quote:
You can have a woman running through the village screaming, "It''s coming! It''s coming!!" with sheer terror on her face, and when the good buddy ice cream truck turns the corner and all the kids come running out of the house yelling "YAAAAAY!", then that was not the best choice, and wasn''t really disadvantaged per se, just not effective in personalizing and punctuating.


LMAO at that

quote:

Those two terms, personalizing and punctuating may be your guides as to which form you choose to use, as qualifying criteria for the tool in the kit.


Again, good for a storyteller; not always possible/desirable for a game developer.

Superpig
- saving pigs from untimely fates, and when he''s not doing that, runs The Binary Refinery.

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Unless of course the ice cream truck is REALLY filled with evil clones that suck kids'' brains out or something.

Lufia 2 does thoughts nicely though. Normal speech is done in ordinary smooth-edged speech bubbles, and thoughts are done in wavy edged speech bubbles. Of course it''s not so easy to do this with games where they actually speak, although you could do the echoey effect like in soap operas and such. I also like the idea of visual thoughts...take it far enough, and you''d leave the player (and maybe the character) wondering what was real and what wasn''t... *ponders*

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Again, good for a storyteller; not always possible/desirable for a game developer.



I have to ask, how different are the two actually? If you use non-linear as a standard, well then, the game still has a goal, so there is an end to the game. There is also a beginning. Sounds pretty linear to me.

Even if you have big branching interactivity loops between levels all day, you are still going to have to get back to some point of progress, and then you are linearly progressing again. It''s just like a string of pearls as a screenplay as opposed to a plate of pearls for a game design.

Chris Crawford''s new book, the Art of Interactive Design, points out that true interactivity is not achieved (by the actual criteria) as much as we would think, and that a lot of interactive design is not really interactive at all, but just highly structured response designs, and not true interactivity at all. Highly structure responses are exactly what a writer does to a reader or viewer based on the construct of the plot.

If you have no ending or goal to your game, then non-linear is a good definition. Non-linear can also mean just big loops that can jump off or branch to other loops, but no matter how many times, or now sophisticated you do that, you are going to come back to the progression point, otherwise you are going to lose player interest, and then how good is the game you have made?

Thus, even with non-linear storytelling, you are going to start somewhere and end up somewhere, even if the path is convoluted and complex. Then, the tools of storytelling are just as applicable in a script or a game, with a different interpretation of exposition when it comes to demonstrating interactivity. So, I''m just not seeing where you can prove that the tools of one will not work well with another.

I''d like to know if you could explain it to me.

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Story telling depends on the type of game if its character based or avatar based. A character based story needs to highly structed it can have branching paths and all sort complex interations but ultimetly your trying to tell a story and in order to do that effectivly you need very little player involment in key story events. For instance if part of your story involes a love affair between the main character and a young princess, who will ultimately be forced to abadone the man she loves because of duty and honor. You can have some character envolement say letting the player decied how to respond to that outcome,maybe they go off alone never to return or perhaps they remain and the two continue their love in secert. But if its a key element of your story you can''t let the player do whatever they want. Afterall you can''t build up the emotional involment between the two if the player walks away when she starts up a conversation.

But in avatar based games you can give the player alot more freedom and have story take place as notes on walls or emails between the player and certain NPC, In those kinds of games your story tends to be more about the player becomes inovled in a series of events that it advantages for them to resolve, Example I better find away out of this mansion before the zombies eat me.

as far as a true non liner story you would need an no liner game which would be hard to do. But one possiblity would be have one element restricted or finite, such as time. Let me clarifiy with an example off the top of my head. You are Moki the spirt of lust, indulgence and mishief. Normally you are restriced to the rather dull spirt realm however once every hundread years when the planets align and can materilze on earth by taking a human body, but the converagence last only a month at which you will return to the spirt realm. The game could be an rpg, adventure, action or combination and consist of world with which the player can interact and explore they would could as much involed as they wanted in local and gobal events. Then once the month is over the game would generate an ending based on your actions.

There could limitless ending depending on the game makers skill. For instance in one game you maye take a hand in politcs and bring about world peace. In another you might use your powers to drive a casino out of business and then shatter a thousand year old peace between two nations be seducing and stealing the kings bride and on her wedding day. Or maybe you''ll do nothing at all and spend the month working in bakery.

This would defently be an example of a non liner game, the didn''t go on forever. In terms of story that would up to the desinger to decied if what it would or even if there would be mulitple parrel story running.

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quote:
Original post by adventuredesign
I have to ask, how different are the two actually? If you use non-linear as a standard, well then, the game still has a goal, so there is an end to the game. There is also a beginning. Sounds pretty linear to me.

Check your granularity. Sure, if you look at the storyline from far enough away, it''s going to be a line between start and end. But if you truncate that line halfway, then you may see multiple ''endings.'' That would make the first half of the game non-linear, right? If you look at the second half, it''s got one ending, but multiple beginnings. Also non-linear. So in fact, each part of the game is non-linear, but put them all together and they become linear? Hmm...

quote:
Even if you have big branching interactivity loops between levels all day, you are still going to have to get back to some point of progress, and then you are linearly progressing again. It''s just like a string of pearls as a screenplay as opposed to a plate of pearls for a game design.

Well, you don''t *have* to get back to the same point of progress. A properly branching storyline could, in theory, have the player make a choice in the first 5 minutes of the game which puts them into a completely seperate storyline tree, with seperate endings from the rest of the game.

quote:
Thus, even with non-linear storytelling, you are going to start somewhere and end up somewhere, even if the path is convoluted and complex.

Agreed, see my first paragraph.

But where the hell did linearity come into this? I''m not disputing that most games are largely linear - there are a few exhibiting multiple endings (like Deus Ex), but the choice between those endings comes at the conclusion of a linear game...

What I''m asking about is more.. how to stage the story. In theatre, the director has a number of fundamental choices to make - for example, should the play be performed on a traditional stage, or ''in the round,'' or entirely in silhouette, or what? Should it be pantomime-style, get-the-kids-up-on-stage-to-sing-along audience interactive, or reverent drama that no viewer shall interfere with?

As such, a director can build up a set of techniques - his or her ''toolkit'' - for staging plays. But the use of each tool depends on the nature of the play. Having the play happen entirely off-stage, so that the audience can only hear what''s going on, isn''t the best thing to do when the play is a slapstick farce.

And games have their equivalent tools. The usefulness of some of those tools will depend on the game, agreed; but some, like the equivalent of having all characters on the stage face away from the audience and speak through facemasks, would more than likely cause the audience to walk out.

Reread my original post.

The first technique is the ''traditional'' play. The actors act, the audience watches and listens.

The second technique is the pantomime. The audience shout ''he''s behind you!'' at the appropriate times, but they don''t have to. Some get invited up on stage. The actors actually acknowledge their existence.

The third technique... hmm. That would be something like having two actors stage a streetfight, without telling anyone that they''re only acting. The ''audience'' could step in and break up the fight, stand back and egg it on, or whatever; and the conclusion (and successive storyline) would be different.

The fourth technique would be like putting the audience into a house, and just letting them walk around and examine it. Maybe an actor would be ''working'' in the study; various empty liquor bottles and a double bed with single occupant would tell the story to the audience, if they were able to deduce it.

But I''m thinking, there''s got to be more than those four techniques.

Superpig
- saving pigs from untimely fates, and when he''s not doing that, runs The Binary Refinery.
Enginuity1 | Enginuity2 | Enginuity3

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Modes of communication:

-Telling a story with words.. (ie. text dialog boxes or real speech.).


-the silent approach. Not using speech (or at least not understandable language). Using any other form of communication to allow the player to work it out / understand instantly. Ie. Expressive sounds, dogs growling, chicks cheeping for food, *tones of voice*.

*Body language*.

ps. check Disney the illusion of life book for a very interesting page on how they drew half-filled sacks of flour in different ways, that convey an "emotion/state" that the sack is feeling.. ie. Happy, sad, angry, tired etc. So with the least number of lines they could communicate to the audience.

Through the technology, ie. having the player character look at the treasure as he gets nearer to it.
/ using the camera to point out interesting things.

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quote:
Original post by superpig

Check your granularity. Sure, if you look at the storyline from far enough away, it's going to be a line between start and end. But if you truncate that line halfway, then you may see multiple 'endings.'



I see what you are saying here, I think. Indeed you will have multiple endings, and each of them may have different levels of satisfaction and closure for the player whose expectation of outcome was set up by the beginning you specified. But structurally, as a story, you are technically talking here about not one story with multiple endings, but several stories with individual and unique endings, each of which shares many similar elements with the stories in parallel to it, but is not the same story because it ends differently. This would also be the case if you were truncating and looking at multiple beginnings and one single ending.

Having identified that we now have multiple stories within one gameworld (even though the same character and many of the same elements in scene in action in antagonism are involved), in order to find out which methods of telling story data will be a function of a plot analysis of each plot.

Likely, the exposition method may remain the same for each plot analysis in the majority, but will change for the differences between plots.

quote:

Well, you don't *have* to get back to the same point of progress. A properly branching storyline could, in theory, have the player make a choice in the first 5 minutes of the game which puts them into a completely seperate storyline tree, with seperate endings from the rest of the game.



Then, you could identify all similar elements of the multiple plotlines, and eliminate any changes to the exposition tools you've devised that work already, and reduce the amount of work you have to do devising new exposition choices for the differing plot's sequences that arose as a result of the player's choice that changed to a new plot.

quote:

But where the hell did linearity come into this?


Well, each plot that is uniquely developed as a result of a player's choice in the game creates a new progress path for the plot, and since satisfaction with media in general is primarily dependent on closure in the mind of the observer (or interactor), no matter which plot is implemented by the choice. Unless the player thinks that fun is going back where they came from all the time back to the beginning is fun, no matter which plot you switch to, it's going to come to a conclusion. So no matter what ending of what beginning, a relatively sane person (as opposed to the psychotic fragmented personality that interprets the fun in gameplay as going back to the beginning everytime you make a little advancing movement) is going to get to the end of any chosen plot. That's linearity, isn't it?

Now, some sick, perverted, twisted, cruel, henious, evil and generally slacking game designer could theoretically design a game where every advancing movement compelled you to go back to the beginning, over and over, but then, you'd probably have a wildly selling title, and people would say they thought only George Lucas could make money telling stories backwards.

quote:

What I'm asking about is more.. how to stage the story.



To me, having worked with directors in theatre and film, but not having actually done any directing myself except for a few music videos of a very small scale, I can only offer one perspective of opinion. As a writer, that is a function of the motif. Theme always guides presentation. Stand back far enough from each plot, and you are going to say, "oh, this is about this. The best way to stage that is from this array of choices of POV on this theme." You can stage a greek tragedy of the Gods Olympus on a very small stage if the scale of the clouds and Mt. Olympus is right.

Sounds to me like some perusing of Production Design textbooks and some Script Breakdown books would be useful to your choice criteria, and I also would say you could rely on some rather classic and specific techniques to represent where to bring in story via staging, but every director knows that no matter what they choose, they have to put their thumbprint on it, and that is a function of deep and intimate familiarity with the story.

quote:

But I'm thinking, there's got to be more than those four techniques.


There is. These types of staging techniques are found in Production Design and Directing for the Stage and Story into Production Values breakdown texts. Go get some, and I bet your answer is there.

The thing is, superpig, it's your game, and it's perfectly within the perview of any creator in any medium to build the tools that satisfies them artistically, because at the back of your mind all the time, whether you know it or not, you are constantly thinking about your player, just as when I am working on a script of novel, I am thinking about the audience. After a certain point in knowing the rules of staging, you can break them. Ibsen did it all the time, and now we have a hard time not appearing like him because what he did was so amazingly revolutionary. The chances are very high that if something you create really jazzes you, it will do so also for your player. You have to expose it to a criticism process of constructive feedback after the fact to make sure you weren't just mentally mastubating, whick I find a lot in the writing and film game, but another set of eyes (actually lots of them) will really, really help you find what does and does not work with any expositionary element, whether interaction, graphical, audial, dialogue or textual.

Since the process of creating visually and dramatically is so organic to me, and I have been educated as well in it, I can't really say anymore, this is the list of abcdefghijk things you can do. I could if I were going to write an article on it, but like you, I am a doer and not a teacher. What I do know is that when I make a choice from the array of tools that I've learned, I can say, "nah, that doesn't work, I need to do something else, or, that works for me, I dig it." Even then, I still go and get another opinion, so I couldn't help you more unless I was looking at the story in front of me.



[edited by - adventuredesign on July 7, 2003 11:52:51 PM]

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I think each of those aproaches have a different use in the game. They each have a specific purpose. In my opinion they are:

Non-interactive: Cool down period at the end of a level to allow the player to recuperate from stress and learn what will happen next.

Semi-interactive: This is the players extra missions and quests that he can go through which could help him through out the game.

Fully interactive: This is the game itself, the storyline the player makes as he plays.

Passive: This is used for optional information that can become extremely useful later in the game.

Hope this helps.

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quote:
Original post by LtKicker
Non-interactive: Cool down period at the end of a level to allow the player to recuperate from stress and learn what will happen next.


Do we want a ''cool down period'' in our games? If we let down the pressure, don''t we risk losing the player''s attention?

Superpig
- saving pigs from untimely fates, and when he''s not doing that, runs The Binary Refinery.
Enginuity1 | Enginuity2 | Enginuity3

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Yes if pressure constantly goes up with out a relief the game becomes boring. If you notice all the swarming games like space invaders, galaga and centipede have breaks in between levels even though they are very short. Its just a little time to reflect on what you did and feel a little pride.

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quote:
Original post by LtKicker
Yes if pressure constantly goes up with out a relief the game becomes boring. If you notice all the swarming games like space invaders, galaga and centipede have breaks in between levels even though they are very short. Its just a little time to reflect on what you did and feel a little pride.


Though as you say, those are short breaks. Perhaps cutscenes at such times should be kept very short as well, then?

I''m just thinking back to playing Metal Gear Solid 2 on Playstation. The opening cutscene was about 10 minutes long (seemed like it at least), and by the end of it I really couldn''t be bothered to play any more. I stuck with it though, and after 5 minutes I was presented with another overly-long cutscene. I got *bored*.

A lot of it would be timing, I guess - presenting the player with an arresting cutscene just when they''re getting into the flow of things won''t be best recieved.

Superpig
- saving pigs from untimely fates, and when he''s not doing that, runs The Binary Refinery.
Enginuity1 | Enginuity2 | Enginuity3

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Exactly! Non-interactive scenes should be short breaks that are placed after you complete a special objective where stress has built up to its maximum then you can reflect not wait.

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Telling stories through gameplay and the situations that the player encounters. Ie. Setting up the situation and allowing the player to work out the causality themselves.

Ie. They come across a lot of marines running away from a building..

but what are the marines so afraid of?

The player then investigates the building and finds that there is a huge alien there.


[edited by - Ketchaval on July 12, 2003 3:11:45 PM]

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