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RPGx -- First Draft -- General Concept

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I don't know how many people read my journal, but I mentioned that my project for this year is going to be a high quality RPG. As I'm learning the necessary skills to bring this game to life, I'll be working on the story at the same time. I'd like some feedback as to how "intriguing" this teaser plotline will be (it's mixed in with some basic explanation, which will initally be withheld from the player). RPG x -- Initial Story (first draft) --------------------------------------------- The Basic Concept (thus far) -- The beginning: Something strange has been going on in the Galaxy. Not the normal, every day, oddities though. No, this is something more sinister. No one is sure what it is, and a few people have been feeling rather strange lately. Of course, they won't admit to this. Especially not after hearing the ancient tales of an evil that could corrupt people from light years away(1). Even though most people believe that tale to be rather tall, there's no denying the sensations these people are feeling. But why worry loved ones over something that is obviously a tale to scare little children into behaving for their parents? Most people aren't even aware of the constant struggle between the forces of evil (Miantai), and the forces of good (Dertai)(2). This wasn't always the case, however. Now, with improved technology, and a bigger reliance on science rather than myth, people have chosen to ignore the warnings of their ancestors. No longer do the entities of this galaxy communicate with the powers of good and evil, and as far as the entities are concerned they never even existed. In fact, the only reminder of them are a few tales passed down from generation to generation, the above tale being just one example. And yet, something hasn't been right lately. People have been feeling "different." But as I said, no one will admit to it... ---------------------------------------------------------------------------------- 1. The tail doesn't actually say that an evil can corrupt people from light years away. No, that is only the common (and misunderstood) version of the tale. More details to come ;) 2. The player does not learn or know about these forces until a later point in the game. The galaxy the player is brought into does not believe in such things. ---------------------------------------------------------------------------------- So, would you be interested in discovering what exactly is going on? Does this short snippet intrigue you? Should I give up writing and spend my life writing business apps? Here's a short glimpse at what I have planned for the next phase: And then, without so much as a warning, people started turning on their friends and families. It was almost as if something in them had changed. The basic infrastructure of science and technology, which had been the glue of this galaxy, was becoming undone. The mighty Kamikaz (the elite warriors of the galaxy), were all but destroyed while attempting to restore order. These beasts (which could no longer be referred to as "people") slaughtered their way through the heavy defenses of the Kamikaz without suffering a single casuality. Technology simple had no effect on them...

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Well, no in fact. The 'teaser' line does not interest me whatsoever. I think part of the problem lies in the fact that...well...aside from being written like there is a mystery to the whole ordeal, there just isn't. Science fiction can be harder to write than any other story type, mostly because you have to guess at the far reaching consequences of all the problems. Cities get destroyed, people turn on their families...not much that hasn't been done around 300 - 400 thousand times. Anyways, dont worry about actually writing a game until your writing has developed some style, focus on the things that everyone has to focus on first such as grammer, dialogue and structure, then jump into the big projects. Writing an RPG with little or no writting experience is like developing a game with no development experience.

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Honestly, your teaser doesn't draw my attention for two reasons. The first is that you are so vague, and so revealing at the same time. You say "people act strange and don't know why", and then make direct references to the forces of good and evil, which you give absolutely no background on. So its as if you are telling us a little secret, like "Look, there is a real reason here!" ... but you never expand on it.

The second is the way it is written. Who is the narrator? Rhetorical questions and statements like "like the above story" really have no place in this type of writing.

So I decided to take a shot at rewriting it for you, just to give you an example of how I would do it. What really gives me the right to do this? Nothing. In fact, I normally hate writing! But I wanted to give it a shot anyway ;)

Quote:

The powers of Miantai and Dertai have been at war since the creation of the cosmos many thousands of years ago. The people of our land have worshipped these lords since our creation, and praised their magnificent deeds for many years.

But soon a new power came to be. Science, like a plague, began to invade the minds of the people. The people forwent their lords and flocked to this new false idol. Prayer was abondened for invention, and skeptics questioned the evidence of the cosmic powers. The tales of their awesome powers were forgotten, and the new generations were brought up without their ancient religion. But the war still raged on...

Without the tales from the past, the people had no way to explain the sinister forces that they began to feel rising up within them. Science could not prove its existence, but the people could recognize it within themselves. With no reason and purpose, friends turned upon one another, and families upon themselves. Those who still held onto their fragile minds turned to science, but it held no answers to this unexplainable force.

The Kamikaz, peace makers of the time, attempted to restore order to the people. Twisted and deranged, the people fought back, and slaughted the Kamikaz, whose weapons had no effect.

...


Actually, after writing this, I realize what is wrong with the ending. Who is this being said to? Who is reading this? If all the poeple went nuts, why didn't the Kamikaz? Were there some that didn't go nuts? Is this being said to the very few people left who recognize what is happening?

If you clarify that, we can probably work on it to make it better.
Oh, I also recommend you change the name Kamikaz.

But I like the idea so far. Could present some cool opportunities.

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Frankly, judging by that, I wouldn't touch this game/story with a ten foot pole. It reads like a joke, or, at best, a one dimensional kids story. Not mature, well thought out science fiction.

Of course, you didn't say what target audience this is intended for.

One thing that especially bothers me: vast generalizations like "The galaxy the player is brought into does not believe in such things." You won't find such blanket conformity in any place on earth, much less an entire galaxy. Sure, certain beliefs and opinions might be widespread in certain places, but even then there are always exceptions. Maybe you should lessen the scope and focus on a few characters or a certain group of people.

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Damn, I didn't expect such a negative response. Oh well, it was just a test to see if the story was worth developing or not. Seems it's too "bland, childish, and one dimensional." I was just playing with an idea and looking for some feedback. Seems I got that [smile]. Coming up with an /original/ theme/story for an rpg isn't something that can be done in the 10 minutes I spent writing that. Your replies do give me a better idea of what to avoid, though.

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It is very true that it's incredibly difficult to come up with an original, epic storyline to present to people. Yeah, the actual concept behind the story you posted seems a bit overdone and generalized, but the thing that actually hurts it the most (and is the easiest to fix) is the actual way it is presented. Hrm, take for example:

"Even though most people believe that tale to be rather tall, there's no denying the sensations these people are feeling. But why worry loved ones over something that is obviously a tale to scare little children into behaving for their parents?"

What you've done here is relate the writing to layman's jargon (use of idioms) and something akin to fairy tales with the use of an idea commonly used in children's stories (last sentence).
The narrator here refers to themselves ("But as I said..."), which tells the audience that this is an interpretation made by a character, rather than the truth of the matter.

Re-arranging the words a bit, using fewer culture-specific phrases, and basically finding ways to make it all a bit more flowing and pious would help somewhat with the presentation.

Okay, so the concept behind the writing does need a bit of work, as visage noted, there are some ideas which need to be explained better and others that should be left out of an introduction. Ivyn talks of narrowing the scope of the tale, and that may be effective as well (although you were probably planning to do this anyway and were simply setting up a larger context for the specific story to be within... correct me if I'm wrong). However, even if you can't afford to change the actual concept, you can always make more careful word choices (ones with connotations that help your purpose), complicate your sentence structure, etc. Gloss it over, and at the very least it will be presentable.

I'm done now. ;)

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Don't worry too much about making this story completely unique and original. Because it isn't going to happen. In writing, they say that there really is no original story - only original ways to tell it. A battle between good and evil threatens the universe, blah blah blah, we've seen it before. But that isn't really the problem. Make the characters interesting, make the places interesting, add a few little twists to the concept, and it's fine.

My largest complaint with your premise was that it was just too vague. They feel "something" different. That doesn't tell me anything. Explain what is different. Explain what happens. Give the story some detail and focus. Show us exactly what these people begin to experience.

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Why does there have to be "good" and "evil"? Atleast it sounds pretty lame to say that some evil force is threatening the universe.

(Too tired to write a decent post..)

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Well, I made the OP vague for a purpose, but it didn't acheive the result I expected. There actually are no good and evil forces in the story, it's more of a misconception of what good and evil actually is. I didn't hint at that anywhere in the OP, and it wouldn't be hinted at until further along in the story. The OP was written as a description of what the initial story would like like, not the story itself. I was trying to write the description of the story by mixing two styles of narative, which didn't seem to work too well.

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Forgetting the writing style, I just have problems with the content/concepts involved. You talk about the "basic infrastructure of science and technology", and how the weapons of the Kamikaz no longer have any effect on the people/beasts.

Do these weapons still work in any way? Do they lack effect because the people have some inexplicable resistance to some specific weaponry, or because the weapons themselves no longer function the way they originally did? Are all aspects of technology breaking down and no longer working?

Are the "people" able to be hurt? Saying "technology" is way too broad a stroke; a beam weapon is considerably different from a projectile weapon/slugthrower. It isn't clear to me, from what I read, whether "ancient", i.e. conventional, weaponry still works or if ALL the basic principles of known science have broken down.

In which event...we're talking basic physics. Gravity, electricity, you name it. Just how chaotic are things? Is it chaotic because someone's fusion oven no longer works, or because houses are suddenly being ripped from the planet's surface and hurtling off into space, because the gravity beneath it no longer worked? Are their seismic upheavals, radiation storms? If you're going to do a sci-fi setting, you're going to have to be a little more specific about these things.

I'm not going to say the concept doesn't, or can't, work. I'm betting it can, just not with what you've given us. Be vague with your readers/gamers, but if you're asking for opinions here, we can only answer based on what you give us. The less you give, the less likely people are to give positive responses.

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