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Wavinator

Civ w/ story, $50

43 posts in this topic

quote:

With just gameplay you don''t need complex motivations. You play to win, or possibly just because you like the interface . It''s the challenge you''re looking for, not an experience.



You see! You see! __THIS__ is why I think it can''t be done. The whole point of playing Civ is to *win.* The whole point of enjoying a story is for the *experience* of the narrative. Good story is like fun exploration. You don''t know how things are going to go. I think you often enjoy the twists and turns in the story, and really have no idea how it''s going to end. In fact, isn''t a story lame when you know what''s coming and how it''s going to be resolved? Yet, with a game of Civ, it''s either going to be you, or the other guys on top (there are *some* similarities, in that you don''t know how you''ll get there either way... but I see mostly differences).

quote:

If you don''t really care about the events within the game then it''s missing something in my opinion.
Like in chess, you don''t care if you lose most of your pieces so long as you get that checkmate! Still good fun at times, but too dry for my tastes.



But you do care about the events. You care if your industrial cities fall, if tech is stolen, if two of your enemies suddenly decide to ally. But it''s with an eye on winning.

Yet if Stalingrad or Athens or Peking falls, you don''t go all weepy over it because these things are just assets. But in a well crafted story, maybe you would.


quote:

The players write the final narrative, the creator just provides the overall setting, and the NPC''s dialog. Depending on the players, the resulting story is often better than the original concept, and is more rewarding to the players than being forced to do certain theing certain ways to progress in the game. The story becomes the payers'' story.



This gets closer, but still has a major problem: How good would your P&P player story be if it played out like a level of Diablo (thinking medieval fantasy RPG, here). You kill some kobolds. You kill a skeleton. You take damage. You restore your health. You open a tomb. You kill some more kobolds.... etc.

This would be the equivalent Civ story: You found Washington. You research the wheel. You produce chariots. The people are unhappy. You adjust the luxury tax rate. You build settlers. You found New York. Barbarians menace New York. You lose New York. You build militia. They kill the barbarian army. You get 100 gold. You refound New York.

Get the picture? Great gameplay, lousy narrative.

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quote:
Original post by Ratheous

Go Wavinator! :o 4 posts while I formulated my 1




Hahaha!!! Behold the wonder that is CAFFIENE!!!


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quote:
Original post by MSkinn99

Are you really going to give any of us the $50???




Absolutely!

I want to learn something about narrative and gameplay. I believe that these two are on the opposite ends of a linked spectrum. But if someone can give me a credible workup of how you''d take Civ, with the gameplay as it is, and inject meaningful narrative / story, I''d think that''s worth a free game!



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quote:
Original post by Wavinator
You see! You see! __THIS__ is why I think it can''t be done. The whole point of playing Civ is to *win.* The whole point of enjoying a story is for the *experience* of the narrative. Good story is like fun exploration. You don''t know how things are going to go. I think you often enjoy the twists and turns in the story, and really have no idea how it''s going to end. In fact, isn''t a story lame when you know what''s coming and how it''s going to be resolved? Yet, with a game of Civ, it''s either going to be you, or the other guys on top (there are *some* similarities, in that you don''t know how you''ll get there either way... but I see mostly differences).



That''s a very incredible revaltion, Wav. I really think you''re right. It ties together nicely with what I was posting about on the Cheese thread. In a story-based game we should take advantage of the fact that the outcome of events does not have to be beneficial as long as they''re interesting because they''re experiences. In a game where there''s no narrative you''re usually playing to win, so a bad outcome is a failure and is meant to be avoided.


"""" "'Nazrix is cool' -- Nazrix" --Darkmage --Godfree"-Nazrix" -- runemaster --and now dwarfsoft" -- dwarfsoft --pouya" -- Nazrix

Need help? Well, go FAQ yourself.
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quote:
Original post by Ratheous

- it has to have meaning to the player, and while ''orchestration'' does often make for a good book, it does not often make for good gameplay (as I''m sure has been said over and over.)



I think you''d find folks here who disagree. In my view, they''re goals is to lead the player through a carefully orchestrated, linear experience. I have no problem with this per se, the emphasis is on experiencing and observing, rather than doing / decision making. To me, that gets away from what an excellent game is all about.

quote:

If the game were designed to allow the story to be written by the player(s) it would by definition have meaning to them. A very dificult balance, but I believe doable if enough attention is given to it.



I agree with you, and the first person who does this has an advance order from me immediately! But the devils in the details. It''s the difficulty of the "how" that''s the issue, and what I don''t think can be done yet.

Your GM, because he''s equipped with creativity and a thinking process that''s the envy of AI developers everywhere can create narrative in ways a computer can only dream of. And keep in mind that the majority of a Civ game is either fought between human opponents or one human and AI.

Even if you took a multiplayer civ game, though, I don''t see how you''d get great narrative / story without fundamentally altering the game. But I''m open to suggestions.

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quote:
Original post by Nazrix


That's a very incredible revaltion, Wav. I really think you're right. It ties together nicely with what I was posting about on the Cheese thread. In a story-based game we should take advantage of the fact that the outcome of events does not have to be beneficial as long as they're interesting because they're experiences. In a game where there's no narrative you're usually playing to win, so a bad outcome is a failure and is meant to be avoided.




*wimper* *insane laughter* "You see... I'm not crazy... you see?!? Nazrix believes me!"

The fact that story de-emphasizes winning points up a __HUGE__ difference between the two elements (narrative and gameplay). This is part of what I was arguing (in circles? ) about with Shinkage in the Nothing Wrong thread. In fact, the thing that makes story so __AWESOME__ is that either there's no victory condition or, during the course of the experience, it's greatly minimized (you may still have to kill foozle in the end, tho', which is often a win/lose affair)

quote:


"""" "'Nazrix is cool' -- Nazrix" --Darkmage --Godfree"-Nazrix" -- runemaster --and now dwarfsoft" -- dwarfsoft --pouya" -- Nazrix

Need help? Well, go FAQ yourself.



BTW, LOL!!!! Great sig!

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Edited by - Wavinator on October 10, 2000 8:32:00 PM
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Wav,
You're making so much sense that I'm adding you to the sig


BTW, the part about go FAQ yourself is something I saw someone have on a message board for the Elder Scrolls board, so I can't take full credit for it. It was so funny I couldn't resist stealing it


"""" "'Nazrix is cool' -- Nazrix" --Darkmage --Godfree"-Nazrix" -- runemaster --and now dwarfsoft" -- dwarfsoft --pouya" -- Nazrix


""You see... I'm not crazy... you see?!? Nazrix believes me!" --Wavinator


Need help? Well, go FAQ yourself.


Edited by - Nazrix on October 10, 2000 8:59:34 PM
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What the hell... I''ll give it a shot.

First, think heavily of some theme (or themes) that you see runs throughout world history. This is the key. The theme can be something personal, or just something you see as true, in a historical perspective.

Then, after satisfying yourself that it works, write a story. The story must be written to span several millenia. For example, a story of seven immortal sovereigns who were created by The All for the purpose of guiding and developing The All''s seven chosen peoples. Every number of turns, a meeting of the Seven transpires, where you insert a video clip, unfolding more to the story. Video clips are chosen based on the conditions of the game. For example, if two players are at war, play a film displaying that out in some dramatic fashion, keeping your theme in mind.

Finally, have a final video clip (or several for multiple endings) to finish the story, bringing the story''s theme(s) to fruition.

Good luck! I''m actually considering doing something this in my Civ-like game.

CP

"Can't you see it's only life! We can laugh about it!" - Seal
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The question is not "How would you add story to Civilization?" but rather "Why would you add story to Civilization?" (besides getting fifty bucks from you, that is
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quote:
Original post by Chai Peddler

First, think heavily of some theme (or themes) that you see runs throughout world history. This is the key. The theme can be something personal, or just something you see as true, in a historical perspective.
[/qoute]

Okay, let''s say you pick "conquest" as your theme.

[quote]
Then, after satisfying yourself that it works, write a story. The story must be written to span several millenia. For example, a story of seven immortal sovereigns who were created by The All for the purpose of guiding and developing The All''s seven chosen peoples.



Right, Alpha Centauri sort of has this. The characters are actually well developed for a 4X empire game. They have differing goals, differing personalities, and differing philosophies that all give their conflicts character.


quote:

Every number of turns, a meeting of the Seven transpires, where you insert a video clip, unfolding more to the story. Video clips are chosen based on the conditions of the game. For example, if two players are at war, play a film displaying that out in some dramatic fashion, keeping your theme in mind.
Finally, have a final video clip (or several for multiple endings) to finish the story, bringing the story''s theme(s) to fruition.




I don''t think you''re taking into account the repetitive nature of gameplay. How do you get story when you could be fighting someone 50 times?

Having characters and themes may be a start, but it''s really not enough. Alpha Centauri has seven characters and a theme (the settling of a new world). It even has text based interludes where you discover more about the planet you''ve settled. There is even a victory movie.

But playing it doesn''t seem to create a story. It does create a timeline, but because of the freeform nature it''s very hard to get the kind of drama and pacing that makes for good story. Even when things work perfectly and there''s enough tension it feels not like a story, but... (wonder of wonders ) a strategy game.

Maybe I''m not completely understanding what your saying, but it seems to me that to put an story into Civ, you''ve got to take away a lot of the player''s freedom. You could show movies when cities are captured, or technology discovered... in fact, Civ mostly does this now... but I''m having a hard time seeing how they wouldn''t just be disconnected movies as they are now.

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quote:
Original post by Anonymous Poster

The question is not "How would you add story to Civilization?" but rather "Why would you add story to Civilization?" (besides getting fifty bucks from you, that is



To prove me wrong!!!! I think that it can''t be done, that narrative is fundamentally antithetical to the essence of gameplay (which is about making impactful decisions), and that the more you put story into a game, the less "game" it becomes.

I chose Civ because it''s to me the ultimate test of this idea. If someone can put story into Civ, make the story more than window dressing or intermission material, and still keep the fundamental freedom of the single player and multiplayer games, then I''d be happy to fulfill this little contest with a check!



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Wavinator: Quote "I think your definition here bends the notion of what story is into an unrecognizable form. __IF__ your criteria for story is nothing more than a recounting of events, then yes."

What about people who read non-fiction? Chaka Zulu''s reign etc.

I''m not really a fan of Civ, (as it takes so long and there doesn''t seem to be enough Point to play it), but if Civ were taken away from the micro-management state to a "mid-management" state where it was more simplified (like Age of Empires on a big scale), then the type of thing where your city of Azathoth is attacked by barbarian hordes etc, whilst your coasts are neglected would work better.


Wavinator "Civ has this already, but it doesn''t seem to make a story in the traditional sense of an emotionally impactful, meaningfully orchestrated tale." _How many tales are emotionally impactful & meaningfully orchestrated Now or Before... I mean do you really feel that much when Hamlet kills X, or Y ? Hasn''t MTV
stopped people caring .
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Stories can absultely make you care and feel. I watched the movie Titus last night, and when someone is killed it is an incredible emotional experience. I mean, in Shakespeare, emotional experience is not only present but it is practically exaggerated which is a good thing.


"""" "'Nazrix is cool' -- Nazrix" --Darkmage --Godfree"-Nazrix" -- runemaster --and now dwarfsoft" -- dwarfsoft --pouya" -- Nazrix

""You see... I'm not crazy... you see?!? Nazrix believes me!" --Wavinator

Need help? Well, go FAQ yourself.
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I doubt I could come up with a way of adding a narative to Civ. Especially after all the responses so far cover anything close to what I could think of. But I''ll try this argument if only to prove myself the fool.

It seems your position, Wavinator, is that games like FF7 and so forth that take away choices from the user in exchange for a narrative, are less than games. Or at least lesser than games like Civ. You might agree that Civ is a game for similar reasons chess is a game. You might say that FF7 has more in common with a book than a game because the player has very few choices to make. (Here it comes finally.) I say that FF7 has enough in common with hide n'' seek (which has been a game longer than chess) to be considered a game. Where is the next place I have to go? Which of these stupid townspeople have the info I need to change the world''s game state so that I can do something new? Where is that damn save point so I don''t have to do this again? That sort of thing.

I can also say that both have a beginning state and and ending state which the player attempts to reach limited by rules that programmers impose on the player. In Civ there''s one of 2 goals, conquer the world or win the space race. In FF7 it''s pretty much kill the bad guy at the end. The question is the same. How do I get to the end? When I put a puzzle together that''s why I''m doing it. Not for the choices which I can make, but simply to do it. When I play FreeCell I know that the programmers made sure that each game has at least 1 solution (that''s why each game is numbered in case you didn''t know) and I know that the 1 solution may be the only one available. I have no choice but to find it. That''s where the fun, and the challenge, is.

I may not have met the goal you set out, Wavinator, but there''s a (perhaps slim) chance I have at least changed your mind.
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I was a *BIG* Civ2 player for a while so I can really say this is hard. The Civ series is what i''d call the best empire-resource-management games ever. Which makes for great strategy, but not much story. Hmmmmmm. A couple of ideas come to mind about how to intertwine story and strategy.
1.)Give each civilization a patron deity. At intervals, the deity appears and gives a ''state of the empire'' address(preferably in FMV style). This won''t *touch* the gameplay itself, but gives the players a feeling of having some deeper goal.

2.)I''ve noticed that each civilization in Civ2 has its own little perk...the Americans are faster science researching and the Japanese gain production bonuses. So why not turn these perks into seperate victory conditions??? The Americans can win if they can be the first ones to research so many advances or a certain advance. And the Japanese win if they can become however many times more productive than other cultures.(Those are just examples...if you couldn''t figure that out)

More to come when i solve this ''impossible'' problem.
-Run_The_Shadows
-Run_The_Shadows@excite.com
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quote:
Original post by Ketchaval

I''m not really a fan of Civ, (as it takes so long and there doesn''t seem to be enough Point to play it), but if Civ were taken away from the micro-management state to a "mid-management" state where it was more simplified (like Age of Empires on a big scale), then the type of thing where your city of Azathoth is attacked by barbarian hordes etc, whilst your coasts are neglected would work better.



Can you elaborate on this? What difference does the management level make? I''m not quite clear here.


quote:

_How many tales are emotionally impactful & meaningfully orchestrated Now or Before... I mean do you really feel that much when Hamlet kills X, or Y ? Hasn''t MTV
stopped people caring .


Hah! I don''t watch TV, so maybe this is why I''m immune!

Seriously, I think if that were true, much of the film market, particularly the heartstrings and chickflick movies, would collapse!!! (No offense to heartstring or checkflick fans intended!!!)

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quote:
Original post by kseh

It seems your position, Wavinator, is that games like FF7 and so forth that take away choices from the user in exchange for a narrative, are less than games.



Not "less than." That connotes a value judgement that I don''t like. I''d say, rather, that they''re "not quite games." They''ve got some game element, but mostly the focus is story. I wish the term electronic story had caught on. (BTW, much of my agitation comes from having these forms of entertainment marketed to me, under the label ''game,'' when there''s not much replayability to them. I''d rather avoid them, sort of like how fantasy fans might avoid the science fiction books I enjoy.)

quote:

I say that FF7 has enough in common with hide n'' seek (which has been a game longer than chess) to be considered a game.



Hmmm... Is h&s a ''game'', or is it really just a form of play? Take bouncing a ball against a wall and catching it. Is that, completely and totally by itself, a game? I don''t think so. But if you add a score, and a goal ("don''t drop the ball, or hit this spot only"), and maybe another player... then I think it becomes a game.


quote:

I can also say that both have a beginning state and and ending state which the player attempts to reach limited by rules that programmers impose on the player. In Civ there''s one of 2 goals, conquer the world or win the space race. In FF7 it''s pretty much kill the bad guy at the end.



I agree with the broad definition, but I think you lose a lot by cutting out the details. For instance, think about all the steps that it takes to win FF7 vs. Civ. How much do they vary? What resources do you manage? What trade-offs or decisions do you make along the way?

quote:

When I put a puzzle together that''s why I''m doing it. Not for the choices which I can make, but simply to do it.



Yes, but a puzzle is not a game. As Greg Costikyan says, no one would call a crossword puzzle a game.

A puzzle is (usually) static, made of predefined parts that are meant to be solved with logic or experimentation. They tend not to change with the player''s actions, the way a game does. This doesn''t mean that games with puzzles are not games, just that, like story, it''s a continuum made of tradeoffs.


quote:

I may not have met the goal you set out, Wavinator, but there''s a (perhaps slim) chance I have at least changed your mind.


I appreciate the spirit! Perhaps I''ve given you insight as well.



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For an example of management level''s effects on story ?!
The management level affects your involvement and "perspective" on the action / (narrative?). There could be a large difference between the impact of a scene where.. (not taken from Civ BTW).

**(you always lose a battle to a far superior & larger army)**
- In each case you cannot win.

1. You have to manage everything including the supply trails and , the manufacture of 2000 spears, 1000 swords and a large array of individual things.. but your army is overwhelmed and crushed every time. Maybe you save 300 weapons by shipping them elsewhere. Almost all of this would have been a waste of time in terms of dramatic impact & management for whatever small amount of stuff you save, as messing around in all the detail would lose the human factor and immediacy of the action & tragedy.

2. You lead a few of the leaders and make sure that their supply ROUTES remain open. But are crushed with a bloody defeat, your star general''s head is brought to you by the enemy-messenger demanding your obeissance.

3. Very little management. You say attack / retreat etc. and see the bitter outcome. (Maybe less dramatic ?)


So the level of control affects the dramatic quality of the action, thus changing the effect of the game "narrative".. Ie. You can''t focus as much on the dramatic rise of the Emperor Celestus, if you have to micro-manage each City.. Like Caesar 3 , but with many cities.

Of course the amount (time? effort?) that the player has invested in things is also a factor ?
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Wavinator -- I agree, I think the key issue here is the degree of choices. In a typical story game, there are far fewer choices available for the player, thus making it much easier to weave the game with a story. In Civ-like games, there are so many possibilities, you''d have to make hundreds of FMV clips with so many endgame FMV clips, it would take quite some time and resources. But it''s not impossible! Just incredibly involved.

I said there needs to be a theme for a story. Just like in movies, books, etc.. For example, sone themes from The Hobbit by J.R.R. Tolkien:

1) Safety vs. Adventure -- the story demonstrates how it is necessary to leave comforts and the known when there is need for us to enter into the unknown, to take risks.

2) Destiny vs. Free Will -- while we have destined lessons to learn in life, and events unfold to prod us toward our destiny, we have free will to choose, and every choice leads us to experience exactly what is needed for us to learn and grow.

And more, but the point is, to have a good story, there must be a theme or several themes which underly the game. So, in making a Civ-like game with a story, examine what you feel or think are good themes to portray in the game, and stick with it throughout the story.

Again, for Civ, it''s a great deal of effort, since there is such a large number of possible outcomes for every turn, much less in the total game.

I liked making up my own stories as I played Civ.

[i]In your light I learn how to love.
In your beauty, how to make poems.

You dance inside my chest,
where no one sees you,

but sometimes I do,
and that sight becomes this art.[/i] -- Jelaluddin Rumi
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