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Time jumps, and background story.

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How about games which cut to different times and are set up so that each mission allows you to infer what happened in the missing time period from clues in the scenery / from hearing other characters. Ie. Aliens start attacking, you get into the house. 1 hour later. As you come out of the attic the doors are boarded up, there is blood on the floor: but is it alien blood? Are there any survivors? ... So you make it so that the level is set up with different clues that help to tell a convincing story of what happened while you weren''t there.

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I''m with red. It''s a neat gimmick, but if you try to build a game just so you can use this trick, it''ll seem contrived. Try to put it into a context. Are you a detective? Are you trying to catch up to the cause of these events? Just seeing blood on the floor and wondering whose it is could be totally ignored if the next cut-scene explains everything.

If you want an example of a game that uses little other than this trick, look at Myst. The only things in the world are obscure clues about what happened ages ago, and your job is to decypher them and take appropriate action.

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I think these kinds of ideas would work better in reverse. So you start at the end and work back to the begining.

So the games starts with 30 seconds left on a cout down, and you running from the reactor room in an unkown facility. Blood spatters stain the walls and security barriers have decended in all paths except one. Secondary explosions rock the facility and as you draw closer to the end of the corriodor you can see a pair of massive hanger doors stuggling to close wedged open by a jeep. You leap over it and land with roll and keep on running, a helicopter sits waiting on the pad it engine already started. Quickly you get aboard and take off. Then turning to watch as the facility is consumed in a massive explosion the shockwave hits the helicopter and....

Bang, the sound of a shotgun blast fills the room and splatters an alien against the wall.

Its now 10 minutes earlier and the player has to figure out what they did before in order to ensure that they can escape, again in the future.

There are all kinds of things that could be done with this, leaving your self items or messages in the past in order to solve your current predicment. It also means that the game get progressivly harder the furthur back you go, since there would be more enemies to deal with in the past.

It also allows for the creation of some very interesting dynamics with a recurring opponent.

-----------------------------------------------------
Writer, Programer, Cook, I'm a Jack of all Trades
Current Design project: Ambitions Slave


[edited by - TechnoGoth on March 29, 2004 2:50:19 PM]

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Its been done. And it worked really well. It was a game on the N64 if I remember correctly. I cant remember the name of it though (will post it if I find it)

You start as a roman hacking the shit out of some monster, then it flashes foward to the current day where a girl finds something of this roman which sparks her interest. You play as around 5 characters, all of which have impacts on the other characters in the game due to the timeline. Each level plays as one character. It was made a very dark, gothic game.

The only thing that let the game down was a really bad combat system, but apart from that the story and style of game got rave reviews.

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Guest Anonymous Poster
the morning-after game.

You awake with a thumping head, look around you and see ...

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You probably could make a few games deliberately around this gimmick, but since this is the writing forum, I was suggesting that this was a trick that could be used to subtly spell out what has been going on and help to create atmosphere.

Ie. Not so much writing as pictorial storyboarding.

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I disagree with TechnoGoth''s ideas...again.

I''d say that stories seem weakly designed and gimmicky if they are simply played backwards in increments like that...and that "leaving yourself clues" thing would be, for the most part, unnessecary, because you''d still REMEMBER what you did.

I like the idea, and, IMO, it''d work out rather nicely if the game was played in chronological order with tangents...like, for instance, the movie Pulp Fiction. For the forsaken souls that have NOT seen the movie, it started (I believe) with two characters in one scenario, and then, when another character needed to interact with that same scene, the movie went off on a bit of a tangent and showed that scenario; if more characters were involved, it kept going. Eventually, it would go back to the original characters, show what they were doing, and you''d have a general idea of how much time had elapsed.

So that''s my idea...sorry if I didn''t explain it very well...or if nobody cares.



"TV IS bad Meatwad...but we f***in need it"

If you''re a girl under the age of 12, and you''re high on marijuana...don''t ride your bike. -TRUTH

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This idea has been discussed here and here and here, and probably in dozens of other threads.

Basically, the conclusion we always come to is that this sort of thing is difficult to implement, and requires a colossal creative investment. I''m sure it can be done, but I''m equally sure that it won''t be easy. Messing with time always causes trouble, especially with writing. Basically, doing this with the story invokes many of the same paradoxes that rule Time Travel. Wow, that''s a lot of links for such a short post.

I''d like to take this opportunity to point out that in the third thread I linked to, yours truly totally comes up with the system that made Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time so cool. Damn, I''m innovative.

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I''d like to go on record as having absolutely hated that game. Slow, linear (excepting a few forks in the plot which served exclusively to unlock new endings) and at times annoying, Shadow of Destiny offered absolutely nothing that couldn''t be had, and had better, from the walkthrough. I wish that I had gone to gamefaqs before renting it and just read four pages of text. It takes less time, and since there''s nothing that really qualifies as challenge in the game (hassle isn''t challenge), reading it would have been just as satisfying.

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