Jump to content
  • Advertisement

Archived

This topic is now archived and is closed to further replies.

Landfish

Cheese?

This topic is 6429 days old which is more than the 365 day threshold we allow for new replies. Please post a new topic.

If you intended to correct an error in the post then please contact us.

Recommended Posts

You may have heard me use this before: "Amnesiac monster-hunter on a quest to save the world through recovering the four magical doo-dads..." There''s more to this heinous cliché, but we''re just going to address this one for today. What''s with the 4 or 12 or however many doo-dads? They are an inherent weakness in game writing/design, since you are essentially asking the player to do the same thing multiple times. This reflects a problem taht writiers in other media have struggled with for centuries, but "interactivity" has severely magnified it: How do you make the player go where you want? I won''t bore you with a summary of current technique, because current technique sucks. "Railroad your player", they say. Or worse yet, "Give them a choice but have the story be the same regardless of that choice." Can anyone provide me with a plan to put all of these writer-designers in a shack and burn it down? So here''s the problem at it''s core: Cause and Effect. It''s easy to write, isn''t it? If there''s only one thing that furthers the plot, the plot won''t further until that thing happens. So the player goes off on an easter-egg hunt, trying to find the one signpost/NPC hybrid that will tell her what to do next so she can further the story and find a place to kill more powerful monsters, hence speeding the religious experience of leveling. And of course, the designers make this signpost-NPC impossible to find, so they can brag of more gameplay time. Dorks. This is not how things should be. The reverse end of these games are the ones that let you affect everything. As fun as these might be, they inevitably have large plot-holes, or no real plot to speak of. It just doesn''t suit what I want to do: tell a story whilst using interactivity (I hate that word) to enhance, not hinder. So, I come to you guys for some input. Any ideas about how we can break the cause/effect chain?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Advertisement
There are (at least) three types of campaign.

1. Linear, where the DM railroads the players, but their freedom of action slightly compensates for this as does the predetermined stuff.

2. Non-Linear where the players can go wherever they want and do whatever they want at the expense of the plot.

3. something inbetween. Where the players can go anywhere they want to, but they are likely to run into recurring Non Player Characters elsewhere (because the NPCs are nomads, travelling folk, doing jobs). This could probably be implemented relatively well into current games (with a bit of who+where randomisation so that it doesn''t force it down your throat).

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
In one of his two Level design articles at www.gamasutra.com Tim Ryan discusses the basic form of narrative, the "Ur" narrative where the hero has a series of challenges to overcome. Whether they are rampaging lions, cyclopses, rival clans, the hero''s own feelings of inadequacy, or a nagging mother in law.

Ketchaval says...
Ie. When lazy "game designers" set the tasks as recover the four amulets, they are going with a narrative.. but that they are being really boring and not disguising the tasks by making them more diverse : Arguing with a nagging M.I.L (can''t be done?). Also several classic Nintendo games use this formula, but disguise it well enough (+ the main focus of the game is *Gameplay*). Ie. You don''t know about the MacGuffin that you have to save until an hour into the game, and when you collect the MacGuffins there is a plot twist and something changes...

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
I think this feeds more into something else. Game writers up until this point have focused almost exclusively on plot, virtually ignoring other literary elements. What''s funny is that for compelling stories, plot is generally considered one of the least important elements.

The first step toward eliminating current literary woes in the gaming industry is to integrate deep characterization and theme into stories. Writers have been doing it for god knows how long, and a book written without any focus on such things is generally considered to be trash. Game plots that ignore these things should be considered just as much trash.

As long as games focus so much on just plot, it''s always going to be a matter of go to place A, commit act B, obtain object C, etc...

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
I'm not going to try and come up w/ an all-encompassing solution just yet, 'cause I'll probably just fall on my face.

One important tool that we all know exists is letting the player come up with a solution to a problem based on rules set by the game.

Let's say the player needs to obtain an item from a certain NPC. The player could possibly kill the NPC to obtain that item. Maybe the player could invite the NPC to the local tavern, and try to become friends with the NPC to gain his trust...then steal the item.

There's tons of possiblities. The important part of it is to make the possibilities available to the player throughout the game. It would be stupid if the player is meant to do something and it listed a few possibilties and the player could choose what he wanted to do. The better way to do it is to have the possibilities there throughout and the game will be made to react to those possibilities.

The point is that you don't alter the plot, you alter the possibilities of interaction.

This could go deeper if you're using perhaps a skill-based system. Different possiblities could be possible depending on what skills the character possesses. So, playing the game more than once and selecting different skills would present different possibilities of interactions.

This is one way to do accomplish the task without having to diverge the plot much at all. The plot could be made to fluctuate as little or as much as the designers want.

That's just one of the things I think are an important tool. What do you think?


"" "'Nazrix is cool' -- Nazrix" --Darkmage --Godfree"-Nazrix" -- runemaster



Edited by - Nazrix on October 8, 2000 4:45:43 PM

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
I think in a story-based game, well-done, controlled narrative is interesting.

Freedom of interaction is interesting.

The thing is to combine the two.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Story based definitely has plusses. Interactive (non-story) also has its plusses. It is all about your choice in sacrificing one to get the other. You can have a branching story that has some Interactivity in it and less strength in the story or you can have totally linear and can have a strong story. Its more about which suits your game better



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

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Don't you see, dwafsoft? Anyone can say that it's one or the other, and it depends on what suits the designers intents. We are trying to break throught these limitations.


""" "'Nazrix is cool' -- Nazrix" --Darkmage --Godfree"-Nazrix" -- runemaster --and now dwarfsoft" -- dwarfsoft (<-- this is getting insane, but in a good way )


Edited by - Nazrix on October 8, 2000 5:45:09 PM

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
The Sig: LOL!

Anyway, I do believe that you can have a self generating story that holds in interactivity and in story based, but I don''t think that it is really that simple to achieve. I do believe that at some point in the future, the amount of code that we can pack into a game to generate an interesting story will be available... That is not so now. I do think that it is a worthy cause but I think that it is a hurldle that cannot be cleared at the moment... Prove me wrong

-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-
-Chris Bennett of Dwarfsoft
"The Philosophers' Stone of Programming Alchemy"
IOL (The list formerly known as NPCAI) - A GDNet production
Our Doc - The future of RPGs
Thanks to all the goblins over in our little Game Design Corner niche
          

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Well, my previous post is one thought I have to achieve interactivity w/ a well-crafted story.

In short: Have a fairly linear story, but allow the player many diverse ways to achieve the goals along the story. The interactivity and freedom is there because of the many various ways to achieve a goal. The solid story is there because it would be pretty linear. I, personally, would want to diverge the plot a bit, but it wouldn't have to be diverged at all.

I do agree that computers are not to the point where they can intelligently generate stories, and I really think it would kind of suck if they did. It would pretty much negate a potentially interesting part of developing a game.

The thing that I think is misconceived is that interactivity does not have to mean totally manipulating the plot. It can mean that the player can react to situations in the plot in only a set number of ways. The plot can be written to change according to those possible actions of the player. The thing is that you give the player certain things he can do, and then write the story to react to those things. It's up to the writer to make creative use of the player's possible actions.

(BTW, Glad to have you back, dwarfsoft. )




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


Edited by - Nazrix on October 8, 2000 6:40:23 PM

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

This topic is 6429 days old which is more than the 365 day threshold we allow for new replies. Please post a new topic.

If you intended to correct an error in the post then please contact us.

Guest
This topic is now closed to further replies.

  • Advertisement
×

Important Information

By using GameDev.net, you agree to our community Guidelines, Terms of Use, and Privacy Policy.

Participate in the game development conversation and more when you create an account on GameDev.net!

Sign me up!