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Plot or no plot

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I'm almost finished with my game (it's an action based platformer) and I was wondering whether I should throw in some sort of plot. But the problem is it's a simple game, and I think that a plot might subtract from it. (like a big plot for a tetris or breakout clone) Would it really matter too much if I were to just entirely leave out a plot? I've seen other games like mine that just leave out a plot and storyline, but the once the player wins those games and is presented with a screen that says, "You win!" the player will think, "Well that's stupid, all that for a screen that says I win." So, in short, is adding a story to my game really worth it/necessary?

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Does your game have a character? A plot wouldn't work with Tetris because there is no definite characters. However, Mario could have a plot (even if it was a simple one) because it had characters.

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Yeah, it has a character. To give you an idea of what it is like, here are some screen shots. I'm beginning to think I should add some sort of story, but it's going to be quite basic (rescue the fair lady so-and-so who is held hostage by the evil villian so-and-so) due to the fact that pretty bad at this kind of stuff.

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It is more fun to know what the character is trying to accomplish. It adds purpose to the action. If you set a goal for the character to have accomplished at the end, or series of smaller goals, that will probably be all the plot you need. Although some explaination for the characters opposition is also nice.

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Plot != Story

(That may not be relevant, I just wanted to get it out [grin]).

I'd recommend you read this...

I would not recommend trying to 'bolt on' a story if you've not designed with one in mind. It'll feel, well, bolted-on (or possibly duct-taped on).

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I think I would like to see an excesively(sp) complicated plat for a tetris or breakout clone that unfolds with each level up... Like the second "what if" episode of Futurama.

Mods if this is considered spam just delete it and pm me please.

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I'm not sure what type of story you could throw into a Side Scrolling Platformer if you didn't already have one in mind. For example, there are probably no text dialogues. As for making up some Instruction Manual blurb about the character and whats convincing him to steal all the riches of the evil badguy, sure, whatever. Theres not exactly anything to criticize as inconsistant if theres no in-game development as far as the story goes.

Incidentally, did you make all of the meta-tools yourself or is this some form of GCS Game Maker Zeux Pro Verge program helping you?

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I don't think it has to be a strict either/or situation. If the game is interactivity driven, technically no story is required, if it is a story driven game, technically very little interactivity is required.

You might find a happy medium here by simply using story elements as hooks in your cut scenes, showing not definitive reasions for motivation as a specific plot design would dictate, but rather, open empathic motivational writing, where scripting technique allows you to show the character engaged in another activity after the interactive engagement.

An examply could be, after a rather active level, the cut scene shows the player taking a well deserved rest and catching his breath, off screen, the maiden cries help (insert any attention grabbing device you want here), or a loud explosion is heard off in the distance engaging the character's attention. This grabs the characters attention, and subsequently the players if they are engaged with the character/avatar, and off he goes to explore.

Oft times, you can simply use environmental design, not the shape, scale and density/sparseness of a level or cutscene per se, but the environmental ambiance to give the impression there is some sort of action, some sort of motivating driver, without every having to really write a stitch of plot.'

A really great way to show how this is done and was constructed visually and actively (character in scene, in action) is to watch old silent films.

Adventuredesign

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If I were you.. I would make a nice intro about some situation that forced my character to go into the adventure... probably overused but I think it would be better than nothing.

Also you could add some ending scene about how the main character beats the final boss(or whatever he has to do at the end), say a couple of words about achieving his goal, if there is anyone that could be considered a good character(I mean, not enemies or bosses) it should appear at the ending saying something to the main character. Then just a screen saying who made the game and anything else you want to write there.

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Depending on the game you may not need a traditional plot, but you need to give the player a reason to beat each level. When I think about a game like metal-slug, I don't recal much of a plot there. At least not in the sense of a story. Metal slug uses the enemy characters to provide a reason, you know they're bad and need to be defeated, they express it by drawing a comparison to the Nazis. On top of that they keep you interested with high-action and suprises. The desire to see what's going to happen on the next screen can be powerful motivation.

In short, the game has to give the player a reason to keep on, but it doesn't necessarily have to be a "plot" that does so. Give the player something to drive them, but your game doesn't need to be a soap opera.

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Thanks for your ideas. I think I'll probably do something similar to what Coz suggested, but I'll try not to have that "duct-taped" on feel, and make it consistent throughout the game.

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