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girl in the box

Fiction Worlds

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ahw    263
Hehehe, basically, once you have been playing a bit of RolePlaying Games, *ANY* book you encounter can make a good setting for a scenario. All it takes is a good GameMaster.

I think the question to decide which book would make a cool game universe is usually : "was the universe that important in the book ?". There are some books where you can''t really feel anything more than what is needed for the scenario. A bit like in a Hollywood movie where the back of the buildings you see onscreen are empty. Some books just don''t have enough details to make an universe. And usually, the attempt at filling the gaps is a bit useless. Mmm, take the "Silence of the Lambs". It''s among my top three. The cool thing about it is the story, and the characters. In this cas I wouldn''t hesitate to take the characters and put them back into another context ... imagine that Lecter is a Vampire, and Clarice, well, a Vampire hunter ...
Quite curiously, most of my favorites movies/books are based on historical periods.
I think we have so many periods of History that can be used as background, and so little has been used ...
the 15th 16th century in Europe, the 16th in Japan, the 15th century and the discovery of America, the travels of Marco Polo, etc...
And I am only refering to the stuff that we European know about. but look at Manga for instance, and you''ll discover a whole different conception of some of the theme we classically use (Apple Seed comes to mind, Akira of course, and other classics)

So much material, and so little time

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Landfish    288
The imagery that most appeals to me in these settings are the ones that are transmuted from older, more archetypal settings. The *earlier* Star Wars movies were very good at this, the light-sabre is obviously a trinket of scifi, but archetypally it is the inhereted sword from the knight/samurai lineage.

I really like it when this is done well, because old archetypal images are there for a reason. Like it or not, swords are an archetypal symbol of power, and conviniently a phallic symbol also. It works really well in terms of psychology. I''ve never met a guy who didn''t think it would be cool to have a light sabre.

Original imagery is the writer''s most powerful tool against cliché. There''s nothing better to evoke personality and originality from your characters and setting than having a really great visual artists who constantly forces you to look at your own characters differently, without actually changing anything. I''m fortunate enough to have one of these...

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runemaster    122
Stephen Donaldson''s worlds from The Chronicles of Thomas Covenant (it''s called the Land), from the Gap, and Mordant from The Mirror Of Her Dreams etc.
David & Leigh Eddings'' world in the Belgariad & Co.
Dave Duncan''s world in The Great Game.I''ll post later to explain why.

Runemaster now working on Acronia : Secrets of Magic
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Wavinator    2017
One of my favorite SF environs that stands w/o story (but is much more awesome because of it) is Dan Simmon''s Worldweb. He lays it out in the excellently written Hyperion series.

Imagine a civilization so advanced that starships are becoming obsolete. People walk through singularity portals from world to world, and the ultra-rich even have houses connected by them with rooms on different planets!!! ("I''m going to Mars to make breakfast!")

Now imagine this universe after that technology collapses! Put as background parasitic AI intrigue, the mysterious destruction of Earth, and the re-emergence of a Catholic Church (!) packing a secret technology for resurrection, and you''ve got quite a strange setting.

To me, both the before and after impacts are *fascinating* and the post apocalyptic setting is my current game inspiration (w/o the Catholic Church, tho'' ).

--------------------
Just waiting for the mothership...

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Ketchaval    186
Most of Robert Heinlein''s novels -> shortstories.

The Puppetmasters
I will fear no evil (nasty twist to it)
Tunnel in the Sky (might be called Hole in the Sky ?)

and many many more.

If someone could make a game which matched a good Robert Heinlein novel in terms of setting, humour, entertaining narrative, action, philosophy etc they would be *The Don of computer games*.

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A. Buza    122
Heh.. ahw is right. After every book I read, I always think up of at least one way to make it into a game. I read 1984 last week, and thought it''d make a good deus ex (with a lot more emphasis on the communication/backstabbing/"trust no one" side) style game...hrm...

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ahw    263
OK, I made some thinking, and here''s one I absolutely loved : the story of Alvin the Maker. by Orson Scott Card. Simply put, it''s based in the 17th century Americas, before the Independance war. The only twist to this historical setting, is the existance of Magic. Some people can see the future, some never got hurt because of some talisman, some know how to thread branches of trees to protect their house, etc. It just kick major ass. It''s the perfect example of how you can take something historical and make it damn interesting to play in.

To extend the example with my previous post. Take an interesting historical setting (is there a period of history that is boring ?), and simply make the beliefs of the people at that time be true. That is, when they used to believe in magic, just make magic exist... when they believed in unicorns and dragons, let there be dragons and unicorns roaming the depth of the forests e.g. Darklands, by Microprose, is based in the Dark ages Germany, with witches, dragons, fairy beings, and Saints that actually help you when you pray them ...

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Guest Anonymous Poster   
Guest Anonymous Poster
Yeah the 1984 idea is not bad, although you''ll have to change it a bit. I would imagine a blend with matrix : that is, a totalitarian world with ministries of love, ministries of peace, etc..., with the main character being some kind of hacker with some special ability that would enable him to break the system, good or bad (that''s up to the player), in a ''red alert 2'' style alternative world. Not a combat game, but with bits of Thief, Fallout, and Jedi Knight. See wot i mean ?
Stealing inner party member uniforms and IDs, being confronted to tricky situations and endoctrinated people, avoiding cameras and telescreens, that could be a good idea.

For rpgs i think that the tolkien universe is great
It''s huge, detailed, with loads of things to do and leaves great room for a good story, great graphics and cool music.
actually i''m surpirsed why there aren''t any rpgs based on it

Mustard

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ColonelMustard    122
Yeah the 1984 idea is not bad, although you''ll have to change it a bit. I would imagine a blend with matrix : that is, a totalitarian world with ministries of love, ministries of peace, etc..., with the main character being some kind of hacker with some special ability that would enable him to break the system, good or bad (that''s up to the player), in a ''red alert 2'' style alternative world. Not a combat game, but with bits of Thief, Fallout, and Jedi Knight. See wot i mean ?
Stealing inner party member uniforms and IDs, being confronted to tricky situations and endoctrinated people, avoiding cameras and telescreens, that could be a good idea.

For rpgs i think that the tolkien universe is great
It''s huge, detailed, with loads of things to do and leaves great room for a good story, great graphics and cool music.
actually i''m surpirsed why there aren''t any rpgs based on it

Mustard

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ahw    263
cf Paranoia RPG, it''s old, but it''s absolutely hilarious.
One of those RPG that can recreate an atmosphere as mad as a Terry Gillian movie (Brazil, 12 monkeys army, etc)

youpla :-P

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sunandshadow    7426
Since this thread looked like it was going to die I decided to revive it and push it in a new direction. The computer game is necessarily a mixed media artwork (i.e. it has sound, graphics, words, force-feedback controllers for some things (no, not what the thread in the lounge is about!)) What parts/percentage of worldbuilding is best done with words, and what with some other media? Should the writer be able to veto artwork that doesn't have the right atmosphere?

Edited by - sunandshadow on October 5, 2000 8:25:04 PM

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ahw    263
Well ... there are two sides to the problem. A picture can illustrate hundreds of words. But what you see is all you get. And you need a very evocative picture to make the player wonder "what is behind, what is this, what does that mean" etc.
On the other hand, words allow each player plays in his own little world, the grail of player customization. The problem is that a computer is not a nice medium for reading... in the sense that you can do much more than that with it. Hence, while reading, you always imagine "they could have done a movie for that, I can picture it"... that''s good, because it means your writing is evocative. But that''s bad as the player always feel like he is kinda losing time. Of course they don''t realise that a movie sequence wouldn''t be so evocative, as it wouldn''t be necessarily what the player is imagining as he read the words.

Personally, I would love Computer games to take a more RPG approach, by providing more reading material on paper. A nice little booklet, describing what I need to know of the background universe, of the characters, and of the plot, to start playing.

Then in the game, and this is probably a heresy for most of you, movies would be much more appropriate, and would probably carry as much information as lengthy texts. Personally, I would rather look at a comic style illustration, with a lighter textual content, than a whole page of text.
I *adore* books. But I just get bored of reading them on a computer.

As for the relationship between writer, and other illustrative media (music, pictures, etc). I see that as a script writer relating to a realisator. Since there is a big chance there are more artists, musicians, etc, than writer. I think the writer should show the way.
But in the end, it''s the guy with the vision you have to follow...

mmm, not an easy answer I guess

youpla :-P

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Wavinator    2017
I think this is one of those fields that demands a director. The director should be the one responsible for keeping the vision. Right now it''s the producer, but I think his economic thinking sometimes overrules creative thinking, and as a result can make a game pale and colorless.

As far as text goes, always remember that it''s one of the cheapest forms of content you''ve got. It''s a lot cheaper than voice acting, motion capture, animation, etc., which means that you''re more likely to see new, original work.

Unfortunately, text is seen as low budget. I think the more brainy / intellectual your work is, the more you can tolerate text (like strategy games can tolerate crappier graphics). Which is great for RPGs!!!

--------------------
Just waiting for the mothership...

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Guest Anonymous Poster   
Guest Anonymous Poster
I agree with ahw - Someone needs to make a Paranoia game, preferably a MMORPG.

The one thing that text can do well ina game is provide information without breaking the illusion of disbelief. I recently played Zork Nemesis where you wandered around an old temple. The graphics and sound were great for creating mood, but much of the details were found in books scattered around. Notebooks from previous residents, sketchbooks and library books that game characters used, etc.

A game character can encounter and use text in the form of a book or note. They can''t easily carry around a cutscene as an object.

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