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AtypicalAlex

Ah, the agonies of the nonlinear design...

6 posts in this topic

Good lord, has anyone else here attempted to write a design doc outlining all the details of a nonlinear adventure game? I''m having tons of trouble with it ... I can''t think of how to organize it! Has anyone here done a design doc for an adventure game at all? Or know of one? I''d love to see it! Any organization tips would also be welcome! End transmission. ------------------------------ Changing the future of adventure gaming... Atypical Interactive
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While I have nothing to offer in terms of personal experience, have you considered organizing your story as a series of nodes in a graph, like a sort of flowchart? Think of the multiple branching universes interpretation of quantum theory. I assume you have no problem with the rest of the game (interface design, game mechanics, etc), for which the usual design approach should suffice.

Edited by - chronos on July 7, 2000 8:34:04 PM
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Ahh, the tree of death... how I fondly remember my sad foray into interactivity. Here''s a few pointers, from my humble experience:

Get a flowcharting program like Topdown.

Try not to include irrelevant options.

You''re welcome.=)
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Non linear games always have events or a series of events that affect/effect the player (as well as AI NPCs) as they travel about, usually triggered by geography (turning up at a location) or meeting someone under the right circumstances. You could document those circumstances.

--------------------------
Carpe Diem
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quote:
Original post by AtypicalAlex

Good lord, has anyone else here attempted to write a design doc outlining all the details of a nonlinear adventure game? I''m having tons of trouble with it ... I can''t think of how to organize it! Has anyone here done a design doc for an adventure game at all? Or know of one? I''d love to see it! Any organization tips would also be welcome!



I use a flowchart and a numbered set of all significant timelines. Write design documentation for each set, and when you''re duplicating you''ve already written say so and refer to the significant timeline number you covered it in.

There are 2 simpler ways of doing it if you''re using specific plotflow structures. If none of your branches duplicate or reunite, use a simple outline form, e.g. I->A->1->a, (I->A->1->)b, (I->A->)2->a2, (I->A->2->)b2.

If all of your plot alternatives weave back into your main plot stream, use a chronological approach for the main plot stream, marking each opportunity to sidetrack with a number. Then, in numbered sections, describe the sidetracks.
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Get seperately colored 3 X 5 cards. Use one color for each divergent path, and one color for the events that MUST happen, regardless of path (The Objective). Then write each scene/objective out on a card. It''s nice and modular so you can move stuff around alot.

I like this technique, because I always prefer pen and paper when working creatively. Computers are too fast for me to rethink everything as I''m writing it, and they don''t allow for happy accidents. Whatever.
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Wow, thanks everyone! Lots of great ideas! I think I''ll be trying out the timeline idea that sunandshadow suggested (since all the divergent paths lead back to the same main plot), or Landfish''s colored card idea (since I also like working off of computers for creative processes).

Thanks again!

------------------------------
Changing the future of adventure gaming...
Atypical Interactive
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