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Cryo - Between Characters and Story

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Disclaiminer: This is a relic of the collaborative writing project. In addition, I am not claiming that this is a novel idea, although part of it might be. This is one of those 'what do you think about this game story idea' thread. To be specfic, what do you think about the characters and their relations and potential relations to the story? Cryo
    This is a mystery and romance story involving a war fought by three races that had been long frozen and forgotten. While peace was beginning to emerge above, below the thin crust lied the unfinished battle. In this game you play a human recovered from the frozen layer. Because of you, the inhabitants above are starting to question their history and peace. Although you have very limited power, you play a key role in how the history will be interpreted. Will you let the frozen war resume? Will you be able to dissolve the war? Or will you let the world be frozen once again?
Main Characters
    The three races are represented by three main npcs whom you can form a relationship. The descriptions in parentheses are the possibile identities that you can discover. Krystal - An annoying, noisy, nostalgic human girl that has been awakened along with you. While the relationship between you two is unclear, she seems to have retained more memory about the past than you have. (She is your former lover that had sacrificed herself to remind you of your revenge. Now, you have lost any memory of her, and she is trapped in a different body. She wants you to remember her, but doing so would also make you remember the agony of the past.) Shamila - - A kind, warm, lovely researcher from the magical race Cincra. She is involved in the excavation project that has uncovered you. She has way less interest in you than the power within you documented vaguely in the ancient text. (She belongs to a secret bloodline that inherented the forbidden history of the conflict between two of the three races, eventhough her heart is kind and benevolent, she must uphold her inheritance as the most fierce assasin of the Cincrian, in the event that the history would be uncovered. Her target of assault is not you, but Frequency.) Frequency - An short-fused, aggressive, and erratic techno race TaraSuh law-breaker and hardcore racer. She is serving at the excavation site as a punishment, but does not give a damn to the project nor you. She is a vulnerable target and mysteriously dies near the beginning of the story if nothing is done. (She has no hidden identity. She is who she is. She has identity and emotional problems that can be discovered by you, but otherwise no hidden identities. She is most affect by you and the many yous that exist in the realm of parallel possibilities.)
The Characters of Time and Existence
    This game story is a multi-plot story with non-static past, non-static future, and non-static present. The landscape of the plots can be viewed in two aspects: Time and Existence. The Time axis includes past, present, future. The Existence axis includes reality, possibilities, and dreams. Nine characters are used to theme the permutations of these axses: Wyruka - reality of the past. The Cincrian heavy siege units that set most of the inner world aflame. The Wyruka is a flying creatures augmented with destructive magical firepower, they are the zenith of Cincrian judgement. Demon form - possibility of the past. The demon form of you that was taking revenge of the earth destroyed by Cincra and TaraSuh. Templar - dream of the past - The next generation mobile units of the TaraSuh that will withstand and counter the attacks of the Wyruka. It was frozen before it was deployed. Luth - reality of the present. Father of Frequency and the director of the excavation project, a former member of the Cincra in exile. Cherro - possibility of the present. Shamila's grandmother and trainer. Cryo - dream of the present. The 'ice' that has been sealing your memory and dreams. If you break it you will remember what happened. You ordered Krystal before you were frozen to bring you back to the cryo to break it to unseal your power. Angel form - reality of the future. The angel form of you is what already happened in the future that made the past happened the way it happened. Hoplite - possibility of the future. TaraSuh heavy 'infantry' that could not hold the offenses of the Cincra siege nor the demon form. However they are able to finish the war where it left off. Surah - dream of the future. Shamila's dead mother. To be reunited with Luth in the future in the realm of the impossible. Each one of these characters hosts a mystery that are connected with one another to form the three basic endings of the multiplot storylines for the three main characters, where the standard storyline of Krystal represent the string of realities; Shamila represents the string of dreams; and Frequency represents the string of possibilities.
Additional Support Characters
    Gillieon - The seductive, elegant, sentient spy robot belonged to Luth that appears to be another human uncovered from the frozen plane. She has a deep understanding of dreams and seems to be unexplanably attracted to you. In terms of the gameplay, she is the RNPC that the player would most likely end up with if the player has no clue what is actually going on in the story. She also serves as the hint-giver of the game by explaining your dreams. Pluffy - Shamila's pet. A fuzzy little creature that is able to hypnotize. Your relation with this creature accumulates across different gameplays. At a certain familiarity level, you can use it to hyponotize the RNPC to make them do certain things or tell you certain secrets. This is an implementation of an handicap system. Handicap as in 'you suck so much you need some serious help.'
The above is the character design and their relations to the story. Any thoughts? [Edited by - Estok on March 17, 2005 2:29:24 AM]

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My initial impression is that this post should be a good reference for anyone else who wants to present a story on this forum.

I am curious as to what sort of gameplay you envision for it.

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This story is heavily based on mystery and story. The most direct form of gameplay is graphical adventure (lowest cost, highest command of focus, and delivery accuracy.) Any other 3D or 2D forms can be extruded from the basic implementation of graphical adventure. Whether it is 1D, 2D, or 3D, the gameplay can be divided into three general stages:

Stage 1:
    - Discovery, learning, forming alliance, and being confused.
    This is the stage where the player will discover about the world, form initial hypothesis, and learn magics and techno skills that will determine what situations the player can handle later on. As the player get pieces together the events of the game, the player will have a better idea of what skills he should try to focus on next time to improve the outcome. Due to the intrinsic repetition to the way players play a multiplot game story, the training of skills are partially retained across gameplay (you don't need to 'level up' again). The implementation of learning of skills involves action, action puzzles, and puzzles. Discovery at is dictated by where the player chooses to explore. The areas that you can go are restricted by various mechanism such as your skill level and who you are with. Through multiple game play the player will piece together what skills are relevant in unlocking what areas of mystery. Aliances also begin forming at this stage through the player's choice on interactions (who do you choose to be with, your impression, your choice during dialogues and plot relevant decisions)



Stage 2:
    - Continue learning, action, investigation, interpreting the past and the future
    This is the stage where you will actively investigate the mysteries. As you dive into the different restricted areas, there are various enemies, challenges, and puzzles, that you will overcome through combat, skills, knowledge of the races, and logics. This stage can be done along side one RNPC (or you can solo it). As the story unfolds, you will be involved in the interpretation of the artifacts that you find, how you interpret them will affect how the RNPC you are with interpret you and the history.

    For the combat, the attributes of the RNPC are as follow:

    Krystal: The weak enfeebler character, she is more of a reliability then a helper. It might take several game plays before you are strong enough to go with her without facing high risk. If you level her up enough she will have some quite powerful psychic abilities.

    Shamila: The strong support character. Although her actually identity is an assassin, her explicit role is a healer and summoner. At certain situations she would expose her power (in the cases where she loves you and was trying to save you), otherwise she is not the initial damage type.

    Frequency: The damage dealer character. Pretty obvious and straight forward.

    Gillieon: Jack of all trade, well balanced. Her special ability is solving logic puzzles, and giving hints in various restricted areas (aka hack, cheats, hints).

    Pets:
    Pluffy: This is the 'cheat pet' that can hypnotize RNPC after it leveled up. In terms of adventure and combat Pluffy is the rechargeable 'save point'. If you die, you can be revived to the last point when Pluffy hypnotized you (i.e. the events from then to the time you died will be just an illusion.)

    Baby Wyruka: Wyrukas are creatures infused with magical powers as the ultimate destructive force of the Cincra. It is a creature unknown to those above the crust. Throughout the frozen layer, you may find Wyruka at their different maturity stage. If you solve this puzzle on where they were bred based on their attack patterns, you will find location of the Wyruka eggs. You can hatch them and infuse them with your own magics.

    Templar Prototype: If you solve the puzzle of what the TaraSuh hoplites were actually defending, you will locate the secret laboratory that housed the TaraSuh Templar. The matured forms of the Templars are pre-programmed as guardians and cannot be commanded, but you can find their prototype within the lab. After you found the prototype, you can decrypt it and evolve it into various transformations such as equipments, a guardian, or a transportation vechicle, based on your knowledge about TaraSuh technologies. The would have been arch-rivals Templar Prototype and baby Wyruka can be combined.

    The abilities of the RNPC and pets are partially retained across gameplay. (for hardcore implementation, the adaptation of their AI of working with your play style is also retained.)

    Through the adventure together you and your chosen RNPC will build a relationship. You can switch RNPC during this stage for different plot elements, but by switching like this you decrease your chance to develop with a single RNPC. As this stage matures, your relationship will be put on trials, as the way you interpreted the past might create suspision and mistrust.



Stage 3:
    - Declarating of your relationship, finishing up
    At this stage, you will decide what you believe about the identities of the RNPCs, the past, and what you will do about all of it. After that it is the point of no return. This stage features battles at each of the restricted areas. This is the end-game stage where the RNPC may go through some transformations. Shamila may have reveal her identity and attack as the ultimate damage dealer; Frequency may have inherit the true mearning of the Cincra bloodline as the ultimate defense; Krystal may have designed to contain the demon form by freeze the world again as the ultimate enfeebler; and the Cryo may have possessed Gillieon as the ultimate necromancer to resurrect the entire battle field beneath. Depending on the events happpend in stage 2, the ending will reveal whether you have made the correct decision.





[Edited by - Estok on March 16, 2005 7:22:51 PM]

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The Characters of Time and Existence

This game story is a multi-plot story with non-static past, non-static future, and non-static present. The landscape of the plots can be viewed in two aspects: Time and Existence. The Time axis includes past, present, future. The Existence axis includes reality, possibilities, and dreams. Nine characters are used to theme the permutations of these axses:


I'm unsure what you're getting at here, with the time and existence axes.

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Im a big fan of the advise you give people in this forum Estok, however this story seems a bit 'overthought' and if you boil past the overthinking and confusing nature of its presentation you get fancy english sentances that thread into what I would consider a knot; where all the threads meet and innertwine, but generally are only stuck together because someone made a story by pulling character relation over and under every character and plot string they could find, then repeated the process. I know that one thing amateur writters tend to do is overthink the writting process and forget about the actuall writting (or so my english professor's tells us.) Fancy words are no substitute for good writting, and good writting is no substitute for a good story; however, a good story is no substitute for a drug induced psychadelic coma anyway so I guess were all in the wrong boat.

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If you describe a mystery in terms of a puzzle and a solution. 'Time' describes when the solution was lies, and 'Existence' refers to in what way the solution exists.

A mystery of a story can lie in three different times, past, present, and future.

    If I hid a coin somewhere and you are trying to find out where I hid it, this mystery can be classified as a mystery of the past, where the action that created the mystery was done in the past.

    If we are playing a card game, and you are trying to guess what cards I currently have, that is a mystery of the present.

    According to common sense, a mystery of the future does not exist. Because it violates causality, since an event that happens in the future is what causes the mystery in the present. However, this situation exists in this game story, because there exists a time loop. With respect to this loop, past and future are relative to the present. There is no absolute future, the future is also the past of another event.


The second axis classifies the objective of the mystery.

    The objective of a mystery about reality is to uncover the single truth.
    The objective of a mystery about possibility is to uncover the possibilities, the what ifs.
    The objective of a mystery about dreams is to uncover the events with zero possibiity of happening.


The three might look identical to you. They are for classifying the outcomes of a mystery. Each of the nine permutations of mystery are presented through the storyline of nine characters. For example:

    Reality-past is presented by the story involving the queen Wyruka who was trapped in the cryo layer. There was only one truth behind this mystery, which is that the single fact that there was a war, and the wyruka burnt most of the world.

    Possibility-past is presented by the story involving the demon-form. This is a mystery of non-static past, where the player will discover a set of possible intentions and identies of the demon-form. The demon-form could have been a pure evil, a defender, or a avenger.

    Dream-past is presented through the story of the Arch Templar. Similar to the queen wyruka, the arch templar is trapped but conscious throughout the years. However, the solution of this piece of mystery will not answer what happened, but what did not happen.

    6 more...


Each of these nine characters presents a piece of the mystery at different time, location, and race, and with different form of answers. Together they form the puzzle pieces of the overall mystery.

[Edited by - Estok on March 17, 2005 12:26:59 AM]

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Original post by slowpid
Im a big fan of the advise you give people in this forum Estok, however this story seems a bit 'overthought' and if you boil past the overthinking and confusing nature of its presentation you get fancy english sentances that thread into what I would consider a knot; where all the threads meet and innertwine, but generally are only stuck together because someone made a story by pulling character relation over and under every character and plot string they could find, then repeated the process. I know that one thing amateur writters tend to do is overthink the writting process and forget about the actuall writting (or so my english professor's tells us.) Fancy words are no substitute for good writting, and good writting is no substitute for a good story; however, a good story is no substitute for a drug induced psychadelic coma anyway so I guess were all in the wrong boat.
I agree that I need to edit something in the first post. I am debating whether I should edit it directly or edit it somewhere else.

This game is a mystery game where the mystery is quite global. This global mystery is presented using clues from different time periods, from different races, and from different perspectives of the members of the races. The overal mystery is presented through the 9 characters, reflected by the 3 main RNPC that symbolized the three forces of the past. The 9 sub-mysteries represent nine situations about the war where the player can choose a perspective. And the thoughts of the 3 main RNPC reflect those of the three conflicting forces of the past. Depending on how you react to the 9 situations, the identities and decisions of the RNPC will change.

The simplified top-level blueprint:

    1) Pick an RNPC;
    2) Go thru the 9 locations where each one features a moral question
    3) Give your perspective of each question presented by the 9 locations
    4) Now the RNPC think about what you are and what happened
    5) You think about what you are, what happened, and what next
    6) Face the consequence of your actions and decisions.


Now, if you look at the nine questions, you would ask, "hmm, how should I divide those nine questions equally"? The nine characters are there to partition the questions based on the time in which the question originates and the type of outcome of the solution behind the mysteries. In reality the number 9 comes from the permutation on 'time' and 'outcome' catagories, it is not a magic number that I somehow try to satisfy.

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I can see the idea you're getting at, but I'm guessing the player isn't expected to grasp all this at first? I'm curious as to how this will be presented.

Assuming you were trying to introduce the plot of the game without spoilers, I dunno, on the back of the box or something, what would you tell someone?

Also, how do you plan to pace the story within these nine segments, if I understand correctly?

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The player is not expected to grasp any of that. All the player needs to feel is that there are mysteries throughout the game world and story, and that there is a balance and variation among the placement of where the mysteries are, and what outcomes the player can get by solving the mysteries. They are all there so that the player doesn't feel the mystery being lopsided.

On the back of the box it might simply say this:
Quote:
    This is a mystery and romance story involving a war fought by three races that had been long frozen and forgotten. While peace was beginning to emerge above, below the thin crust lied the unfinished battle. In this game you play a human recovered from the frozen layer. Because of you, the inhabitants above are starting to question their history and peace. Although you have very limited power, you play a key role in how the history will be interpreted.

    Will you let the frozen war resume? Will you be able to dissolve the war? Or will you let the world be frozen once again?


The gist of the game is that you are in a sitation to prevent something bad from happening again. The talks about the two axes will not exist on the back of the box. They are shown explicitly for the designer only.


Quote:
Also, how do you plan to pace the story within these nine segments, if I understand correctly?


The player will follow predetermined plotlines. In terms of the game play stages:


Stage 1
    - In this stage, you mostly learn abilities. There is no urgent mystery in the beginning. It is perfectly fine that the player play through the whole game with trying to find out who he was. Depending on where you go, and what you choose to do, you will see suspicious behaviors of the RNPC.

    Excavation Site - This is where you were awakened. There is not much you can do here, except to choose which RNPC you are going to follow.

    NaraSuh - This is the co-habitat city of the races. This is the place you will be if you chose Krystal or Gillieon. You can learn all sorts of lower level abilities here. When you look at Krystal you see flashbacks.

    MarSera - The Cincra capital where Shamila is from. Learn magics here, and observe Shamila's strange behavior, for example she is always absent at night.

    Thu - The TaraSuh city where Frequency lives and races. There you will can learn about technologies and engage in minor events. At this place you will start to see some of Frequency's erratic behaviors.
    West of the Excavation site - This is the place where krystal will urge you to go with her. This is the entrance of an end-game battle. If you stay there for too long you will just get killed at low level.


Stage 2
    - The pace picks up at this stage, where you begins the actual adventures and investigations. The content that will unfold in different locations depends on your level of suspicion on the RNPC and who you are with. This is not just a game of adventure, but also a game of strategy and mystery. There are risks involved at different locations. Any one of the RNPC might backstab you if their suspicion on you goes beyond a threshold.

    Not all the possibilities are shown in the following.

    Beginnings:
    This is the part where you doubts starts to build up, and the mysteries starts to kick in.

    NaraSuh - You may discover that Gillieon has known Luth for quite some time, which makes no sense. Intuition should lead you back to the excavation site to investigate the purpose of the project, and what were actually uncovered. As you explore, you will start making interpretations of what is happening, and other RNPCs will get involved.

    MarSera - You may come to the storyline where she is becoming more and more occupied and absent. You may investigate the objective of her research, which will logically leads you to the academy of magic. Or you may be more concerned about her personal life, which will lead you to discover a lake where her mother's gravestone is.

    Thu - You may discover that Frequency is being pursued (attacked). You may either help her, or ignore her as she told you to. If you are competent, and chose to help her, during one pursue the two of you will crash beneath the Tara capital, where you will discover the outskirt of the old TaraSuh Labs.


    Middle:
    The development of the story follows the logic of the pervious discoveries and interpretation. The tension continues to build up. The 9 segments are presented differently for different plotlines. There are not 9 unchanging modules that can be played in any order.

    Excavation site - With enough suspicion, you and Frequency may be breaking through the tunnels beneath the excavation site, discover the equipments and structures that Luth did not tell you about. Depending on how you interpret the situation, you may break the bond between Frequency and Luth.

    Academy - You may discover a secret structure beneath the academy of magics. You may fight through the archive with Shamila, where her identify was getting exposed. Depending on how strong the bond between you and her, she might be forced to backstab you, or she might decide to turn against the will of the bloodline.

    Hanging Garden - Krystal may have gone missing and you may find her there. It was a crater where the invasions originally began, but through time it had already turned into a beautiful floating garden. Krystal will ask you all kinds of strange questions. Depending on how you answer and what you do, she will decide whether you would continue the revenge herself. At this moment, some RNPCs may be pursuing you after discovering your identity.



Stage 3
    - In this stage the story is finishing up. Each location will have different sets of climaxs depending on the plotline that had been selected.

    Tenrah (underground) - Shamila has gone berserk in her pursuit, while you and Frequency go deeper and deeper into the lab while being attacked by the guardians. The two of you found the arch templar. Depending on the relation between the two of you and your intention, the arch templar will be either an enemy or an ally. As an ally it will give you a way to escape, while holding off the rest of the guards. After getting back to the surface you still have to face Shamila, and decide how it should end. (The arch templar is the object being heavily defended. It had been thinking why it was being defended and for whom it was designed to defend. At the end of the frozen war, there was nothing left to be defended. The Arch Templar was the ultimate defender, but it had lost the reason of existence as a tragic result of the war.)



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I dont think it matters if the player grasps that he is being put through a test of his/her morals, it almost stands that they shouldn't know. This sounds great now estok, good origional thought. You used the interactivity of the medium to make the future story shine.
The idea of choices leads me to think of my favorite scene of '24', where the terrorists first prove that they have a bio weapon, then prove that they'll use it, then they tell the main character, jack, that if he doesn't bring his friend, ryan, to a certain place at a certain time and execute him then they will release the agent to the rest of the city. Great stuff, would be challenging for a player to decide what is best for whom. (Jack ends up shooting ryan point blank in the back of the head...best plot line in any television show ever). Good luck estok, and good job.

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This game concept does not seem unified to me, although I may be biased since I don't like time, war, layered worlds, or demons as general concepts because they usually have bad worldbuilding. IMO the key to making a good mystery is creating a well-defined hole surrounded by coherent worldbuilding which allows the player to logically extrapolate and guess at what the mystery might be - what you have instead is the whole world being inside the hole except for little bits and pieces you can see occasionally through the swirling fog. As a player you cannot make satisfying decisions if you don't have a solid idea of what the world is like to base your decisions on.

I liked the Dreambell idea a lot better.

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Subtle moral and messages
Quote:
Original post by slowpid
I dont think it matters if the player grasps that he is being put through a test of his/her morals, it almost stands that they shouldn't know.

    Your intuition is correct. Everything you see here are not what the player will readily see as they play the story. I was presenting the story from a designer-to-designer point of view. What you see here is the foundation, not the appearance. I believe that it would be a complete nuisance to overtly present the moral question. However, since the story was designed from inside out, the moral of the story runs in the veins of the characters. To the casual players, the underlying moral will permeate subconsciously, and to the discerning players, they will see the complexity and details involved in the design.

    So you are correct, the player should feel that, "why am I being asked all these moral questions? Am I in some kind of moral test?"

    The frontline of the game is mystery, action, and romance, constructed over a subtle network of deeper messages.

    Thanks for the compliment, but I don't think the design between the charactesr and the story is complete. I do want people to continue attack it.



Cryo

Quote:
This game concept does not seem unified to me, although I may be biased since I don't like time, war, layered worlds, or demons as general concepts because they usually have bad worldbuilding. IMO the key to making a good mystery is creating a well-defined hole surrounded by coherent worldbuilding which allows the player to logically extrapolate and guess at what the mystery might be - what you have instead is the whole world being inside the hole except for little bits and pieces you can see occasionally through the swirling fog. As a player you cannot make satisfying decisions if you don't have a solid idea of what the world is like to base your decisions on.

I liked the Dreambell idea a lot better.


<u.>The story does have a unified meaning, which is the Cryo. It is about a past that was frozen, it is about the unfinished battles, it is about a scar that is almost healed but once again revealed. It is the player's decision to let it heal or to continue the revenge beneath.

All top level elements of the story are created based on this unifying meaning. There is the surface of the crust that represents the fragile peace built on the ignorance of the past, and there is the wound beneath represented by the frozen battlefield. Between the Techno and the Magical there was the scar of a war, and between the two races and human there was another scar. The healing process is further represented by the mixing of the two formerly rivaling races, the transformation of earth above the battlefields, the combined strengths of the former rivals (the Wyruka and the Templar), the reunion of the lovers (Luth and Cherro), the reunion of sisters (Frequency and Shamila), time as the medium of healing, and Cryo as the catalyst of the healing.

What do you see that is not unified?



War
    Both Dreambell and Cryo have the theme of Warfare.

    In Dreambell, the war is still going on, but coming to an end, where the hidden tension among the generals intensify (they did fight together, but there is no telling whether one of them would backstab the rest to seize the throne). The gameplay of Dreambell is a mix of mystery and RTS (Think Shogun: Total War where there are mysteries and an underlying romantic plot). The player is actually involved in the battles, and how you fight will affect how the other generals think about you. (Just as you are watching them, the other generals are also watching you.)

    In Cryo, there is no warfare gameplay. There is no battle being fought in the game. The frozen war is analogus to a timed bomb. The moment the war is revived, the game ends. The job of the player is to dive into the intertwined fuses to identify the one that could defuse the bomb.

    In my perspective, the theme of war is less in Cryo than in Dreambell. At least no an active war. What is it that made the war in Dreambell acceptable but not in Cryo?



Demon
    I don't like demons. I think they are total bs. However, at least in Cryo the demon is a symbol, not a mindless horde of invaders. In addition, you almost never see the demon form of you until the end of the game. If you think about what the 'demon' really is in Cryo, it is just a representation of the choice of revenge and the consequence. It is the C4 of the time bomb. You almost don't see it until the bomb blows up. There is no denial that the plotline about the demon is one of those 'save the world from getting blew up by a weapon of mass destruction' stories, where the 'demon' represents the 'weapon of mass destruction'. Is this exactly what you don't like about the demon? Having something that could totally destroy the world is total bs, right?

    Yet I found that it would be quite a waste to have such a beautiful gameworld, but the player has no option of blowing it all up. In Cryo, the player is going to dive into the frozen layer and see all of these relic war machines that are more advanced than the civilizations above. The player is going to think, "Geeze, these things are cool, I wish I can see them in a huge battle." I think that it is satisfying to include those plots and scenes in the story, and let the player to anticipate something shockingly huge to happen at the end. As the player go through the frozen battlefield, I want the player to imagine the power that he is giving up in exchange for peace. I want the player to feel, "I don't care about peace anymore, I just want to feel the power," at least once while playing the game. The huge things happen after stage 3 of the gameplay, as a reward. The player has done enough, it is the time for the game to unleash the crazy power that the player had been waiting for.



Worldbuilding
    You objected to time, war, layeredworld, and demon because you think that they will lead to a bad worldbuilding. I don't object your intuition. But I don't build a game world from that direction.

    "what you have instead is the whole world being inside the hole except for little bits and pieces you can see occasionally through the swirling fog. As a player you cannot make satisfying decisions if you don't have a solid idea of what the world is like to base your decisions on."

    I built the mystery and the world based on the messages that I was trying to convey. It was TDM. The mystery is the world, and the world is the mystery. Nothing in the design is redundant. I don't see why you would assume that the worldbuilding would suffer from because of it. I think you are confused because in Cryo, the mystery is linked to the world. If I translate directly what you have just said, you said:

    "Your design is all messed up because the player is only given the pieces of a puzzle withough knowing what the finished puzzle look like."

    But that was exactly what the game was about, giving the player the puzzle pieces, and let the player piece them together. I think it is an interesting idea, because the player can find a piece that he could find a piece that he could intepret equally as part of an angel or part of a demon. It is like an interactive ink-blot test. Sounds heck of fun to me. Of course the player cannot arbitrarily piece any two pieces together, based on a lot of pieces that are already given (since the world does not start out blank).

    If you look at the final, finished interpretation, the coherence and depth of the world building is preserved. That is the only thing that matters.

    And the pieces are not 'little bits and pieces you can see occasionally through the swirling fog'. The exploration at the frozen layer below the techno capital is a 3-hours action adventure where you will be unlock various chambers, and fight the wakened guardians. It is not little-bits-and-pieces facts, but more like right-in-you-face-what-the-hell-is-going-on facts. In Cryo, pieces are not that hidden, but the intepretations of them can be subtle. The player is expected to look deeper than what is apparently provided. In general, the game tries to make the player to think about a conspiracy. The player needs to look a little harder to see the truth beyond.


[Edited by - Estok on March 26, 2005 3:57:47 AM]

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This game concept does not seem unified to me, although I may be biased since I don't like time, war, layered worlds, or demons as general concepts because they usually have bad worldbuilding. IMO the key to making a good mystery is creating a well-defined hole surrounded by coherent worldbuilding which allows the player to logically extrapolate and guess at what the mystery might be - what you have instead is the whole world being inside the hole except for little bits and pieces you can see occasionally through the swirling fog. As a player you cannot make satisfying decisions if you don't have a solid idea of what the world is like to base your decisions on.

I liked the Dreambell idea a lot better.


<u.>The story does have a unified meaning, which is the Cryo. It is about a past that was frozen, it is about the unfinished battles, it is about a scar that is almost healed but once again revealed. It is the player's decision to let it heal or to continue the revenge beneath.

All top level elements of the story are created based on this unifying meaning. There is the surface of the crust that represents the fragile peace built on the ignorance of the past, and there is the wound beneath represented by the frozen battlefield. Between the Techno and the Magical there was the scar of a war, and between the two races and human there was another scar. The healing process is further represented by the mixing of the two formerly rivaling races, the transformation of earth above the battlefields, the combined strengths of the former rivals (the Wyruka and the Templar), the reunion of the lovers (Luth and Cherro), the reunion of sisters (Frequency and Shamila), time as the medium of healing, and Cryo as the catalyst of the healing.

What do you see that is not unified?


You have dreams, time, magic, religion, and technology elements here. Magic, dream, and religion are somewhat redundant with each other because they are all ways of adding normally impossible things to the world. Now, you can combine any two of them by presenting magic as divine energy coming from a god/gods, magic as an elemental energy that can be added to mortals to make them divine, magic as a human subconscious energy that is expressed through dream, dreams as a natural realm that can be manipulated by magic, or dreams as visions sent by a god/gods; but, how can you meaningfully and coherently combine all three of these elements? And then you want to try to blend in time and technology too? That's like trying to make soup by putting in every ingredient you have in your kitchen. If you want your story to have thematic unity and coherent worldbuilding, I would definitely suggest limiting yourself to 3 of these elements; I think you could thoroughly explore your main idea and accomplish eveything you want the story to accomplish much more powerfully and elegantly without using all of these mis-matched and redundant elements.

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War
    Both Dreambell and Cryo have the theme of Warfare.

    In my perspective, the theme of war is less in Cryo than in Dreambell. At least no an active war. What is it that made the war in Dreambell acceptable but not in Cryo?



I prefer war presented as a strategic activity to war presented as a philosophical symbol. My understanding of war is that it is dirty, painful, and morally ambiguous, and thus not something I personally want to contemplate at length or in detail; war as a strategy game OTOH usually doesn't involve individual death and pain and tragedy, instead it's just like moving pieces around on a chessboard, a fun problem-solving exercise involving effecient use of time and resources.

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Worldbuilding
    You objected to time, war, layeredworld, and demon because you think that they will lead to a bad worldbuilding. I don't object your intuition. But I don't build a game world from that direction.


Well, then I am not in your target audience. To me detailed, coherent, interesting worldbuilding is the second most important ingredient in a story (after character). This also answers the point about demons, since my objection to deamons as a symbol here is that they are not coherent with the rest of the worldbuilding.

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"what you have instead is the whole world being inside the hole except for little bits and pieces you can see occasionally through the swirling fog. As a player you cannot make satisfying decisions if you don't have a solid idea of what the world is like to base your decisions on."

I built the mystery and the world based on the messages that I was trying to convey. It was TDM. The mystery is the world, and the world is the mystery. Nothing in the design is redundant. I don't see why you would assume that the worldbuilding would suffer from because of it. I think you are confused because in Cryo, the mystery is linked to the world. If I translate directly what you have just said, you said:

"Your design is all messed up because the player is only given the pieces of a puzzle withough knowing what the finished puzzle look like."

But that was exactly what the game was about, giving the player the puzzle pieces, and let the player piece them together. I think it is an interesting idea, because the player can find a piece that he could find a piece that he could intepret equally as part of an angel or part of a demon. It is like an interactive ink-blot test. Sounds heck of fun to me. Of course the player cannot arbitrarily piece any two pieces together, based on a lot of pieces that are already given (since the world does not start out blank).

If you look at the final, finished interpretation, the coherence and depth of the world building is preserved. That is the only thing that matters.

And the pieces are not 'little bits and pieces you can see occasionally through the swirling fog'. The exploration at the frozen layer below the techno capital is a 3-hours action adventure where you will be unlock various chambers, and fight the wakened guardians. It is not little-bits-and-pieces facts, but more like right-in-you-face-what-the-hell-is-going-on facts. In Cryo, pieces are not that hidden, but the intepretations of them can be subtle. The player is expected to look deeper than what is apparently provided. In general, the game tries to make the player to think about a conspiracy. The player needs to look a little harder to see the truth beyond.


I don't know how you go about building a jigsaw puzzle, but I always look at the picture on the box first, then find all the edge pieces and build the frame of the puzzle so I have something to use as an anchor, a foundation for filling in the hole. This is the way I suggest mysteries be handled in games and fiction - give the player a frame, a definition of the boundaries of the problem, before you start tossing them random pieces. The Dreambell design had this - your general dissapears, and the mystery is why/where he went, and if/when he'll come back. Cryo is much less organized because the player is wondering who he is and what the world is; one or the other of these things would be good, or one of these things first and the other after the first is resolved would be good, but both at the same time is unfocused and confusing (swirling fog). The final perspective is not the only thing that matters - if the player feels lost they are likely to quit playing long before they get to that final perspective.

Creating an ambiguous situation such that your audience will supply a personal interpretation is an interesting challenge, but you run the risk of the audience being confused and suppling no meanings, or supplying contradictory meanings to different elements such that they don't add up to a sensible final picture. IMO ambiguity should be used sparingly and in a tightly controlled way so that you can predict all the possible interpretations your audience will come up with; because after all, creating satisfying fiction is all about skillfully manipulating your audience's thoughts and emotions, and you can't do that if you don't know what they're thinking.


If your main plot is the decision whether or not to continue the war, this is also problematic. A decision can make for a very powerful scene or short story, but there is just not enough material there to make the novella-length or 5-act-play-length script necessary for a game. Look at the novel _Crime and Punishment_, it has a boring, non-suspenseful middle where the main character waffles over the decision of whether or not to confess that he is a murderer. The story loses all the power and intensity it could have had because the format was too long for the content. Also, a big ethical decision doesn't work well with the interactivity of a game format, because usually one choice or another will seem obviously right to any give player because of that player's philosophy and personality, so the player will immediately know what they want to decide and be frustrated if the game wants them to ponder over it for a long time. Are you reading the Hard/Ugly Choices thread in the design forum? It's very relevant.

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Magics and Technology
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Original post by sunandshadow
You have dreams, time, magic, religion, and technology elements here. Magic, dream, and religion are somewhat redundant with each other because they are all ways of adding normally impossible things to the world. Now, you can combine any two of them by presenting magic as divine energy coming from a god/gods, magic as an elemental energy that can be added to mortals to make them divine, magic as a human subconscious energy that is expressed through dream, dreams as a natural realm that can be manipulated by magic, or dreams as visions sent by a god/gods; but, how can you meaningfully and coherently combine all three of these elements? And then you want to try to blend in time and technology too? That's like trying to make soup by putting in every ingredient you have in your kitchen. If you want your story to have thematic unity and coherent worldbuilding, I would definitely suggest limiting yourself to 3 of these elements; I think you could thoroughly explore your main idea and accomplish eveything you want the story to accomplish much more powerfully and elegantly without using all of these mis-matched and redundant elements.

This sounds like what I told you during the CWP. But your assumptions are wrong. Cryo is much earlier branch of the CGS. The notion of Magics and Technology is very different from the way you are thinking. For instance, the Magicals is not about religion or divine powers, it has nothing to do with gods or immortals. If you remember the twist I talked about between Magics and Technology, that twist is maintained in Cryo.

The magical perspective is derived from the view of intelligence based on strong logic. The Magicals are very rational, logical, and systematic, their efficiency comes from a delegation, command system. You can think of their 'technology' as the age of artificial intelligence matured before the age of computation and information. They do not believe in faith, they do not believe in divine favor, that some entity is watching over them or anything of that sort. They believe that in order to get anything done they must believe in themselves, plan ahead, and work execute them with their determination. They are more like intelligent go players. If there is something they want to do, they will plan many steps ahead in order to achieve it. Althought it has nothing to do about gods, the culture retains a strong sense of duty and hierarchy. In the character design, this culture is reflected by the Shamila, the systematic, intelligent, rational researcher.

The Techno perspective is derived from the view of intelligence based on cellular automata. The Technos is very adaptive and in some sense my religious, but there is still no notion of god. They believe that there is no reason to exert tremendous forces trying to maintain a certain equilibrium. They believe that definition of goodness or well-being of the society is adaptive and changing all the time. No matter what you do, an equilibrium will be achieved, and that equilibrium will in turn define what 'good' is. Their actions are more probabilistic, spontaneous, and without much consideration about what future they are heading toward. (Since no matter how it ends up it will be how it will be, so, what the hell.) They are capable of thinking very far ahead, but they don't think they need to, because they are adaptive enough that they can handle any situation. The Technos are still very logical and systematic on designs, but not on their view about the future. This culture is represented by Frequency, the unpredictable, impulsive, racer law-breaker.

The notion of dream represents where logics and emotion are mixed together in an interdependent and unseparable state. The notion of independent intelligence is dissolved in this realm, where thoughts and emotions are shared among the entities. This is representd by the 'human' race where the strengths could be combined and manifested in the will of a single individual.

You are also correct that there are 3 main elements. What do you think is too mixed with respect to this clarification?



War
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I prefer war presented as a strategic activity to war presented as a philosophical symbol. My understanding of war is that it is dirty, painful, and morally ambiguous, and thus not something I personally want to contemplate at length or in detail; war as a strategy game OTOH usually doesn't involve individual death and pain and tragedy, instead it's just like moving pieces around on a chessboard, a fun problem-solving exercise involving effecient use of time and resources.
The main idea in Cryo is to prevent the war. Shouldn't this match your view that wars should not occur, and make it a favorable idea to include? I understand that what you meant was, if you have a choice you won't go into the topic about wars at all.

The central idea of Cryo is the healing of old wounds. It is unavoidable that pain is involved. With respect to this central idea, war is one of the deepest wound that can occur among humanities. Because of this, I feel very justisfied and logical to include it. What do you think about my reasoning of including it?



Worldbuilding
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Well, then I am not in your target audience. To me detailed, coherent, interesting worldbuilding is the second most important ingredient in a story (after character). This also answers the point about demons, since my objection to deamons as a symbol here is that they are not coherent with the rest of the worldbuilding.
I think what you call worldbuilding, coherence, and details are very important. In terms of TDM, the coherence is intrinsic to the hierarchy, it is never ignored. For worldbuilding, there is a distinction between high level worldbuilding elements and low level worldbuilding elements. The high level elements are symbols directly associated to the message of the story, and from there, the lower level ones are designed following the hierarchy. They are all linked and coherent because of the way they are designed. Details are designed the same way.

Would you tell me exactly what elements are incoherent and why they are incoherent?

(Edit: I realized that you don't know what the 'demon-form' is in Cryo. It has no associations to any religious or mythical creatures. If the word 'demon' has too strong an association to it, you can interchange that word with 'destructive'. The 'demon-form' is the form where your power is concentrated for the purpose to destroy, and revenge. There are no 'high demon', 'doom guards' 'demon messagers' or anything of that sort.)


Clues vs puzzle pieces
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The Dreambell design had this - your general dissapears, and the mystery is why/where he went, and if/when he'll come back. Cryo is much less organized because the player is wondering who he is and what the world is; one or the other of these things would be good, or one of these things first and the other after the first is resolved would be good, but both at the same time is unfocused and confusing (swirling fog). The final perspective is not the only thing that matters - if the player feels lost they are likely to quit playing long before they get to that final perspective.
I don't see why you think that Cryo is less organized. The question about who you were and what the world is are the same mystery. Because of who you were and what you did, the world ended up the way it is. I don't see why you think they are separate. Don't you think that it would actually be inappropriate if the mystery behind who you were has nothing to do with the mystery behind what is happening? If you think about any other mystery games, the initial 'separate' mysteries are always linked together, to yield the overall sense of coherence It would be unsatisfying to ask the player to solve mysteries, where the mysteries have nothing to do with one another.

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I don't know how you go about building a jigsaw puzzle, but I always look at the picture on the box first, then find all the edge pieces and build the frame of the puzzle so I have something to use as an anchor, a foundation for filling in the hole. This is the way I suggest mysteries be handled in games and fiction - give the player a frame, a definition of the boundaries of the problem, before you start tossing them random pieces.
When an intelligent player receive the puzzle pieces without knowing the big picture, the player knows that the pieces need to fit together somehow. The player is supposed to ask questions like, "hmm... I found this, this, and this. Is this what happened? But I don't want to believe that the NPC I am with is the villain. How would I go about making sure that she is not the villain? I will go to this place, so that I can find evidence that she is not involved." For mystery games you need to think the pieces as clues than actual puzzle pieces. The player is really playing the role of a detective.

After this explanation, what flaws do you still see in my design?

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Creating an ambiguous situation such that your audience will supply a personal interpretation is an interesting challenge, but you run the risk of the audience being confused and suppling no meanings, or supplying contradictory meanings to different elements such that they don't add up to a sensible final picture. IMO ambiguity should be used sparingly and in a tightly controlled way so that you can predict all the possible interpretations your audience will come up with; because after all, creating satisfying fiction is all about skillfully manipulating your audience's thoughts and emotions, and you can't do that if you don't know what they're thinking.

You are correct that it is an interesting challenge, but there is no risk of confusing the audience. The basic model is not much different from a normal detective game. Isn't it true that when you find the bloody knife at someone's room, that it can mean that the owner of the room did the job or some one else planted it there? Now, suppose you keep on accusing the owner, then the owner will think that you may be associated with the true murderer. The player will be capable of gathering enough 'evidence' to convince himself that the owner is the murderer. At stage 3 of the game, the player will finalize his thoughts, and face the truth whether he has accused the right person. What do you see that is wrong with this design?

The player in Cyro is not left alone to interpret the events. First of all, the exploration and investigation is done in pair. The player will pair up with an RNPC. The RNPC is going to interpret the events also. Secondly, if the player is really confused he can find Gillieon. She is there for this very purpose.

The interpretations are limited by the dialogue options. The interpretation of the main character is reflected through monologue/thoughts. The player does not have complete freedom on interpreting the situations, since complete freedom is impossible to provide by the designer. You are correct that there is a limit to how much ambigurity will exist. But I think you did not see Cyro as a game with detective elements, therefore you overestimated the risk of having just ambigurity.


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If your main plot is the decision whether or not to continue the war, this is also problematic. A decision can make for a very powerful scene or short story, but there is just not enough material there to make the novella-length or 5-act-play-length script necessary for a game.
Stopping the war is a main idea, but the player will not realize that the danger is of that magnitude until the middle of Stage 2. In Stage 1, everything is calm, there is no indication that a war is on the verge of being resurrected because you were uncovered. But as the player continues to learn more about the world and his past, he will figure it out. The gameplay itself is not about presenting a war and asking the player to bring peace or not. I think what I posted here is a more accurate depiction of what the game is like, where a majority of the game is on figuring out what is happening and what happened. The final decisions are made at Stage 3. In what way is it too short? What would you suggest to add to make it a 5-act play length script?


Elegance
You said Dreambell is more elegant, I think that is true. DreamBell is based on a realistic, historical setting where there was no need for explanation of much of anything. So a short paragraph was enough to show clearly what the game is all about.

If you want to talk about elegance, it might not be fair to compare a fantasy/fiction setting to a historical setting, since the former obviously has many advantages. If you compare the setting in Cryo to other fantasy/fiction settings, there are not much differences. In other words, the world building is only at par to what are already out there. What is not at par, however, is the more involved and elaborated network of mysteries.

If I were to design a gamestory from scratch, I wouldn't have chosen a fantasy setting. First of all I would have chosen a realistic setting, and the scope would be much narrower. However Cryo is to a weak design either. If you consider the overall design, Cryo is taking advantage of each part of the world building, the gameplay, mystery, and the world are as big as one another.

I still don't quite get why you think Cryo is confusing. In a nutshell, it is just a game of CLUE, where the board is the planet, the rooms are the locations, the players are the RNPC and you, and the mystery is who you are and what happened. Now add a little sci-fi, a little fantasy, a little action, a little romance, and you get Cryo. What is there so complicated about it?


Assumptions

Cryo is not that close to Xenallure. And there are a lot of elements that I talked about but never got across to you.

Frequency on her bike, with the PC on the back.
Frequency

For the character design, when the PC and Frequency are put together, she may feel that she is babysitting the PC. A similar effect is there when the PC and krystal are put together, where the PC may feel that he is babysitting her. The situation improves after the PC levels up.

[Edited by - Estok on April 29, 2005 12:35:17 AM]

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Whew, finally I find some time to read and reply to this. Okay, well, if you substitute the word 'demon' for 'destrudo' (destructive urge) or something else with no religious connotations, and otherwise there are no gods or religious elements in the game design, then it's not as overcomplicated as I initially assumed.

I agree that this Cryo idea is not paricualarly similar to Xenallure, that's why I mentioned Dreambell as a comparison instead. Actually Cryo reminds me somewhat of Final Fantasy 8's story, which involves war, time, and magic. I did not like FF8's story, but there are other people who did.

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The story does have a unified meaning, which is the Cryo. It is about a past that was frozen, it is about the unfinished battles, it is about a scar that is almost healed but once again revealed. It is the player's decision to let it heal or to continue the revenge beneath.

...

Stopping the war is a main idea, but the player will not realize that the danger is of that magnitude until the middle of Stage 2. In Stage 1, everything is calm, there is no indication that a war is on the verge of being resurrected because you were uncovered. But as the player continues to learn more about the world and his past, he will figure it out. The gameplay itself is not about presenting a war and asking the player to bring peace or not. I think what I posted here is a more accurate depiction of what the game is like, where a majority of the game is on figuring out what is happening and what happened. The final decisions are made at Stage 3. In what way is it too short? What would you suggest to add to make it a 5-act play length script?


If you want to look at how to stretch a single decision into a whole plot arc, a romance novel might be a good place to look, because they often stretch the decision of two people to become a couple into a whole book. The way they do this is by giving the two people conflicting goals and doubts, then setting out barriers for the people to overcome, such that each time they overcome one barrier and their relationship develops a bit they run into a new, bigger barrier. In terms of a mystery, the barriers are often newly-revealed pieces of mystery, such as a discovery about one character's past or powers. Usually the two characters overcome the last barrier and confirm their relationship before the climax of the book, and then for the climax they face an external threat that they defeat together using the strength of their relationship. Now, this is a very linear, character-centric approach and thus might not work at all for what you want to do. I can't really give you plot advice; we established in the collaborative story thread that I have great difficulty envisioning plots that are not built around a strong character dynamic such as a romance. Particularly, stories about time tend to have complex chronologies which affect how they are plotted, and since I don't like time stories much I have no experience with creating that sort of plot.

You have said that this story is about a process of investigation leading to the decision to stop the war, with a helping of romance on the side. But I'm still not sure what your premise that you want to communicate to your audience is. I can tell it has something to do with war/peace, and human nature as variously exemplified in the magicals, the technos, the main character, and the culture of the past, but what it it all supposed to add up to? Are you actually going to present war and peace as equal choices and let the player choose between them at the climax of the game, or are you going to present peace as the intended choice, or will the moral be that a balance between war and peace is essential to human nature and growth/the future...?



So, why are you working on this design if by preference you wouldn't design a fantasy story? That might be the root of the problem right there - if you are not a fantasy fan perhaps you prefer to design the story in a way that seems mis-focused to me, a fantasy fan.

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The Central Idea of Cryo
The central idea of Cryo is dissolving conflicts. When you look at conflicts, there is a spectrum of it ranging in magnitude from conflicts within the self, to conflicts across races and time. Warfare is at one extreme of the spectrum, while the player overcoming his own vengence is at the other. Although the war is the conflict with the biggest consequence, the story itself also deals with conflicts at the other places on the spectrum. Therefore what you said was correct and was already done. It was not done by only characters, but also in the worldbuilding and mysteries.


"Particularly, stories about time tend to have complex chronologies which affect how they are plotted, and since I don't like time stories much I have no experience with creating that sort of plot."

I am not sure what you have been referring to a 'story about time'. Cryo is not a time travel story or any thing where you can go back and change the past. I don't see where that confusion began. The variable past and variable present are at the design level, not at the presentation level. What this means is that the designer designs several scenarios for the past and the present. From the player's point of view, the story unfolds logically and chronologically. It is not like Wayne's World or anything like that.


"You have said that this story is about a process of investigation leading to the decision to stop the war, with a helping of romance on the side. But I'm still not sure what your premise that you want to communicate to your audience is."

The central idea is dissolving conflicts. War is set to be the final conflict to be dissolved because it is of the greatest magnitude, but before that there are still many more, such as the relations among the characters. It is not a coincident that the conflict of war itself is closely connected to the personal conflict of the player character. It is done this way so that the spectrum closes on itself. In other words, the war is not just any war out there. It is the war within, the war that began the Cryo.


"I can tell it has something to do with war/peace, and human nature as variously exemplified in the magicals, the technos, the main character, and the culture of the past, but what it it all supposed to add up to?"

I think the above answered this. But the idea of how human nature is variously exemplified in the races is not a central idea. I think that is an idea in Xenallure, but not in Cryo. In Cryo, the story does not try to put any emphasis on the differences between the races, although the races are different, and their differences have philosophical basis. It is because the differences are not part of the message of the story.


"Are you actually going to present war and peace as equal choices and let the player choose between them at the climax of the game, or are you going to present peace as the intended choice, or will the moral be that a balance between war and peace is essential to human nature and growth/the future...?"

Peace will be the intended choice. Warfare is presented as an uncurable problem in the past. That was why the world was frozen, because if it was the done, the world would have ended. In Cryo, the war in the past was not way presented as an solution. However, there was a dual concept that while the war was not a solution, it was also unsolvable. The idea here is not to create a balance, (i.e. it is not about 'it is too peaceful now, so let's have a war') but to see and accept the cycle of events. Problems will arise. There are times you will become part of it, there are times you can solve it, and there are times the only thing you can do it to wait. The war has been frozen long enough, that a solution now exists for stopping it.



Fantasy setting
"So, why are you working on this design if by preference you wouldn't design a fantasy story? That might be the root of the problem right there - if you are not a fantasy fan perhaps you prefer to design the story in a way that seems mis-focused to me, a fantasy fan."

Technically I am not working on it. The things I am presenting were done six months ago. I was not asking for plot ideas either, because that was also done. I was writing down the whole plot map including the decisions the player will make, and the featured actions and fightings in FMMass.xls, but I found that would be unfair. I said I would not pick a fantasy setting because the central idea does not require a fantasy setting. I don't think I would call myself a fantasy fan because I have quite low regard for games and animes in fantasy settings. Most of them just choose that setting for superficial reasons. There is a difference between understanding the benefit (at the semantic level) of a fantasy setting and then choosing it, and choosing it just for the sake of having it. A 'fantasy fan' refers to those that would be attracted to a fantasy setting because of what it is, not why it is. I am pretty sure that you are aware of this, that is why in Xenallure there is a 'reason' why the races are like that. But I am not talking about the literal but the semantic reason.

From a fantasy fan's point of view, what do you think are mis-focused in Cryo?

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Hmm. My instincts tell me this design has a fatal flaw that would make it not be any fun to play, but I'm having difficulty finding words to describe what the problem is. But, I'll try.

Quote:
Original post by Estok
Quote:
Original post by sunandshadow"You have said that this story is about a process of investigation leading to the decision to stop the war, with a helping of romance on the side. But I'm still not sure what your premise that you want to communicate to your audience is."

"I can tell it has something to do with war/peace ... but what it it all supposed to add up to?"


The central idea is dissolving conflicts. War is set to be the final conflict to be dissolved because it is of the greatest magnitude, but before that there are still many more, such as the relations among the characters. It is not a coincident that the conflict of war itself is closely connected to the personal conflict of the player character. It is done this way so that the spectrum closes on itself. In other words, the war is not just any war out there. It is the war within, the war that began the Cryo.


Okay, a central idea is not the same as a premise. The premise is a belief which you want to communicate to your audience; the 'moral of the story' if you will. Your premise has something to do with 'accepting the cycle of events' related to 'war within'. What exactly do you want to teach your audience?

Perhaps, "The way to dissolve conflicts is to come to terms with the 'war within' by seeing and accepting the external cycle of peace and war as a fundamental part of human nature."? Just guessing here...


Now, again, neither a premise nor a central idea is the same as a plot. A plot is, in its most basic form, an initial incident which destabalizes the situation, causing the characters to struggle and the audience to feel suspense until the climax re-stabalizes the situation. What is Cryo's plot? Where does the suspense come from? Note that the situation which is destabalized by the initial incident corresponds to my previous mention of the frame of the puzzle, the definition of the borders of the mystery which allows clues and guesswork to be anchored to known information. 'Situation' here usually refers to worldbuilding including the details of characters' social positions and relationships to each other, but in rare cases 'situation' may refer to the main character's knowledge about himself. You have situation referring to both, which is detracts from the focus on either. I will repeat that IMO it is simply a bad idea to have a character simultaneuosly wondering who he is and what his world is. You can do either one, or one first and then the other later, but trying to do both at the same time prevents you from giving either the focus and attention it deserves.

I would define a fantasy fan as anyone who prefers to have unique new worldbuilding to learn about rather than realistic worldbuilding. As a fantasy fan, I expect that the writer will cater to my curiosity by describing the important elements of the worldbuilding in a way that artistically romanticizes them and also analytically explains their function and theory to me. By the end of the story I should understand the invented principles of magic or whatever, and how they shaped the plot and the characters' attitudes and behavior. I expect the worldbuilding as a whole to be coherent and integral to the plot. Any fantasy or science fiction story where the worldbuilding and plot don't make sense by the end is a failure of that genre.

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The big picture
You are correct that a central idea is not the same as a premise. However, it is also not the 'moral' of the story. For example, if you are trying to write a music about a lake, then the central idea is to deliver the essence of 'lake' through music. It has nothing to do with "I am trying to teach the audience something about the lake." I think you are confused when you ask this:

"Your premise has something to do with 'accepting the cycle of events' related to 'war within'. What exactly do you want to teach your audience?"

The first part is wrong, and the question doesn't make sense. The central idea is about dissolving conflicts. Imagine the following conversation:

A: I want to write a game story, what should I write about?
B: How about conflicts? all stories have some type of conflicts.
A: Okay, I will write about conflicts and about how to dissolve them.
B: What kind of conflicts are you going to include in your story?
A: I want to have a variety of conflicts, ranging from personal to global conflicts.
B: That is a lost of conflicts. Are you going to present them in any order?
A: Yes, I will start with the easier ones, and then move towards the two ends. So, in the beginning of the story, the player will face conflicts that are not personal. The player will first observe the problems around him, problems that seem to have no relation to him. Then the connections will be made, and the problems will become personal, and the player will find himself involved in the conflicts.
B: Shouldn't the story start with something related to the player?
A: Yes, it does start with an initial personal conflict, but as the story unfolds, the leads toward solving that conflict will lead to other conflicts that are not immediate to the player. The player is expected to put his self interests aside to help the RNPC. Therefore, the order that the player will solve the conflicts indeed start from the middle of the spectrum and moves towards both ends. The final two conflicts that will be solved at the extremes will be the personal conflict that the story begins with, and a global warfare that is the other side of the personal conflict.
B: So the two extremes meet at the same point.
A: Yes, so that when you look at the flow of the story there is unity, that the story is not just arbitrarily going in two directions. The movements toward the both extremes are on the two sides of the same coin. The two are inseparable.

After reading the above you should know that the comment:

"Perhaps, "The way to dissolve conflicts is to come to terms with the 'war within' by seeing and accepting the external cycle of peace and war as a fundamental part of human nature."? Just guessing here..."

shows a miscommunication. You were focusing on something too small about Cryo and missing the big picture. The 'war within' and the cycle of peace and war are just part of the elements to present the central idea, not the central idea itself.





Cryo's Plot
"A plot is, in its most basic form, an initial incident which destabalizes the situation, causing the characters to struggle and the audience to feel suspense until the climax re-stabalizes the situation. What is Cryo's plot?"

This is the plot. It should sound familiar:

    After being resurrected from cryostasis, you wondered what happened to you and what the world is. The researchers had told you that a global disaster had hit the planet, and that you are a survivor of that tragedy. You have suspicion of what really happened, but you also had no reason to doubt what the researchers had told you. In any cases, you know that this is your life now and you must learn how the new world works and adapt to it. You are given the choices to live with different RNPCs with different perspectives of the new world and different level of interest about your past. While you are with the chosen RNPC, you will discover certain suspicious behaviors and events, that lead you to think that it was not a simple global storm that put you into a cryo.

    (The suspicion of the player starts at the beginning of the story because there is a cutscene before the PC is resurrected, that points to something more than a storm. Or the player can just know by instinct that it can't be just a storm. The initial facts are always lies or partially correct in a mystery game.)

    From that moment on, your suspicion will lead you to adventures above and below the crust to discover the past and the relationship between the races, as well as the identities of the RNPCs, and the purpose of the excavation.





Worldbuilding
Quote:
I would define a fantasy fan as anyone who prefers to have unique new worldbuilding to learn about rather than realistic worldbuilding. As a fantasy fan, I expect that the writer will cater to my curiosity by describing the important elements of the worldbuilding in a way that artistically romanticizes them and also analytically explains their function and theory to me. By the end of the story I should understand the invented principles of magic or whatever, and how they shaped the plot and the characters' attitudes and behavior.
I don't see how Cryo fails this. What you consider as 'important' I consider as 'basic' criteria for any story. Of course the story will have to explain any new functions and theories. I did not spend the time discussing them because they are not where the meaning of the story lies.

You are interested in a new world with new rules. I am not interested in a new world with new rules where the new things have no meanings. Therefore in Cryo the new world and new rules are created based on the meaning, not the other way around. In the end, both designs will have coherent new world and new rules, both will have elements that artistically romanticize, both will have analytical explanations of the inventions and theories, but only one will guarantee delivering the meaning of the story through all of these aspects.


*I think that animal traits make the design worse for a story about romance for mature audience. On top of that you chose the anime style and decided to include BDSM. I don't see how it artistically romanitcises the story, other than making it less mature.

Gillieon - Gillieon is the standard RNPC that the player will pair with with the least effort.

[Edited by - Estok on April 8, 2005 11:08:27 AM]

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You know, sometimes when I talk to you I have the disconcerting feeling that although we are using the same words we are thinking that they mean totally different things...

Quote:
Original post by Estok
The big picture
You are correct that a central idea is not the same as a premise. However, it is also not the 'moral' of the story. For example, if you are trying to write a music about a lake, then the central idea is to deliver the essence of 'lake' through music. It has nothing to do with "I am trying to teach the audience something about the lake." I think you are confused when you ask this:

"Your premise has something to do with 'accepting the cycle of events' related to 'war within'. What exactly do you want to teach your audience?"

The first part is wrong, and the question doesn't make sense. The central idea is about dissolving conflicts. Imagine the following conversation:

A: I want to write a game story, what should I write about?
B: How about conflicts? all stories have some type of conflicts.
A: Okay, I will write about conflicts and about how to dissolve them.
B: What kind of conflicts are you going to include in your story?
A: I want to have a variety of conflicts, ranging from personal to global conflicts.
B: That is a lost of conflicts. Are you going to present them in any order?
A: Yes, I will start with the easier ones, and then move towards the two ends. So, in the beginning of the story, the player will face conflicts that are not personal. The player will first observe the problems around him, problems that seem to have no relation to him. Then the connections will be made, and the problems will become personal, and the player will find himself involved in the conflicts.
B: Shouldn't the story start with something related to the player?
A: Yes, it does start with an initial personal conflict, but as the story unfolds, the leads toward solving that conflict will lead to other conflicts that are not immediate to the player. The player is expected to put his self interests aside to help the RNPC. Therefore, the order that the player will solve the conflicts indeed start from the middle of the spectrum and moves towards both ends. The final two conflicts that will be solved at the extremes will be the personal conflict that the story begins with, and a global warfare that is the other side of the personal conflict.
B: So the two extremes meet at the same point.
A: Yes, so that when you look at the flow of the story there is unity, that the story is not just arbitrarily going in two directions. The movements toward the both extremes are on the two sides of the same coin. The two are inseparable.

After reading the above you should know that the comment:

"Perhaps, "The way to dissolve conflicts is to come to terms with the 'war within' by seeing and accepting the external cycle of peace and war as a fundamental part of human nature."? Just guessing here..."

shows a miscommunication. You were focusing on something too small about Cryo and missing the big picture. The 'war within' and the cycle of peace and war are just part of the elements to present the central idea, not the central idea itself.


In my mind, the definition of 'premise' is 'the moral of the story'. But let's consult an objective 3rd party, the Dramatica theory book. It says:
Quote:

Some writers will tell you theme has something to do with the mood or feel of a story. But how does that differ from genre? Others will say that theme is the message of the story. Some will put forth that theme is the premise of a story that illustrates the results of certain kinds of behavior. Taking each of these a bit farther, a story's mood or feel might be "anger". A message might be "nuclear power plants are bad". A premise could be "greed leads to selfdestruction." Clearly each of these might show up in the very same story, and each has a somewhat thematic feel to it. But just as certainly, none of them feels complete by itself. This is because each is just a different angle on what theme really is.


What I am asking you is, "What is your message or premise? What are you trying to teach your audience? What is the POINT?" Okay, it's about dissolving conflicts. What about dissolving conflicts? Something like, "The way to dissolve conflicts is..." or "Conflicts ought to be dissolved because..." or "Conflicts can only be dissolved if..." or "[Something] is attained by dissolving conflicts."



Quote:

Cryo's Plot
"A plot is, in its most basic form, an initial incident which destabalizes the situation, causing the characters to struggle and the audience to feel suspense until the climax re-stabalizes the situation. What is Cryo's plot?"

This is the plot. It should sound familiar:

    After being resurrected from cryostasis, you wondered what happened to you and what the world is. The researchers had told you that a global disaster had hit the planet, and that you are a survivor of that tragedy. You have suspicion of what really happened, but you also had no reason to doubt what the researchers had told you. In any cases, you know that this is your life now and you must learn how the new world works and adapt to it. You are given the choices to live with different RNPCs with different perspectives of the new world and different level of interest about your past. While you are with the chosen RNPC, you will discover certain suspicious behaviors and events, that lead you to think that it was not a simple global storm that put you into a cryo.

    (The suspicion of the player starts at the beginning of the story because there is a cutscene before the PC is resurrected, that points to something more than a storm. Or the player can just know by instinct that it can't be just a storm. The initial facts are always lies or partially correct in a mystery game.)

    From that moment on, your suspicion will lead you to adventures above and below the crust to discover the past and the relationship between the races, as well as the identities of the RNPCs, and the purpose of the excavation.



That is not a complete plot, it's only an initial incident and some rising action. How is Cryo resolved?

For example, here is Xenallure's plot:
Initial incident: A human is summoned into a strange world
Rising action: The human learns about the world to gain power within it
Climax: The human makes a stand and claims a place for him/herself
Resolution: The human lives happily in whatever role they chose

So, the initial disturbance of the human being moved to an unfamiliar setting is resolved by the human letting go of the old setting and adopting the new setting as their home. The human's helplessness and the world's mysteriousness in the beginning is balanced by the human's knowledge and power to make decisions at the climax. The balance that was disturbed has been restored. What balance is disturbed and how is it restored in Cryo?



Worldbuilding
Quote:
I would define a fantasy fan as anyone who prefers to have unique new worldbuilding to learn about rather than realistic worldbuilding. As a fantasy fan, I expect that the writer will cater to my curiosity by describing the important elements of the worldbuilding in a way that artistically romanticizes them and also analytically explains their function and theory to me. By the end of the story I should understand the invented principles of magic or whatever, and how they shaped the plot and the characters' attitudes and behavior.

I don't see how Cryo fails this. What you consider as 'important' I consider as 'basic' criteria for any story. Of course the story will have to explain any new functions and theories. I did not spend the time discussing them because they are not where the meaning of the story lies.

You are interested in a new world with new rules. I am not interested in a new world with new rules where the new things have no meanings. Therefore in Cryo the new world and new rules are created based on the meaning, not the other way around. In the end, both designs will have coherent new world and new rules, both will have elements that artistically romanticize, both will have analytical explanations of the inventions and theories, but only one will guarantee delivering the meaning of the story through all of these aspects.
[/quote]

I don't understand how you can say, "they [fantasy worldbuilding elements] are not where the meaning of the story lies" and then say, "in Cryo the new world and new rules are created based on the meaning." That doesn't make any sense. Either the 'fantasyness' of the story is meaningful or it isn't, and if it isn't you'd probably be better off not putting it in the story. To me the 'frozen war' seems like a fantasy worldbuilding element where some of the meaning of Cryo lies.

It is also probable that we are using different definitions of the word 'coherent'. To me a 'coherent' worldbuilding is one which makes sociological and evolutionary sense, whereas to you the fact that it is thematically unified is probably more important.


Quote:

*I think that animal traits make the design worse for a story about romance for mature audience. On top of that you chose the anime style and decided to include BDSM. I don't see how it artistically romanitcises the story, other than making it less mature.


What does that have to do with Cryo? I know you feel that way about Xenallure and you know I disagree, so what's the point of mentioning it?

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Beware that u copyright your stories before post them online. Other ppl can steal them. I know because i learned the hard way. I had my ideas stolen from me
as we worked on the game. He even said he has a deal with XBOX to create this game. He then moved away with my ideas, and isnt givin me any credit. I tried gettin in contact, but each time i failed. I am not askin you to have sympathy and play the worlds smallest violin, but i am tellin u to copyright this stuff so the same thing doesnt happened to you.

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Premises
Referring to the main strand of plot of Cryo, the premises are:
1) Sometimes a problem cannot be solved at the time it arises;
2) Problems that are not solved become recurrent in different forms;
3) Old wounds are not meant to be forgotten;

The premises did not change since the beginning of the CWP.


Plot
"That is not a complete plot, it's only an initial incident and some rising action. How is Cryo resolved?"

You are correct that it is not a complete plot. I didn't give the complete plot because there are too many branches. I don't see how what I wrote was different from what you put. If I simply put it in the same format:


Initial incident: A human is resurrected into a strange world
Rising action: The human learns about the world and to adapt to it and to discover the history of the past
Climax: The human makes a stand about what is and what was, and claims a solution for himself and those around him
Resolution: The human faces the consequences of his decision, he may have made a good decision and live happily there after, or made a bad decision which brings chaos back to the new world.

So, the initial disturbance of the human being is carried on and integrated with the discovery and adaptation to the new world. The human's inner conflict is echoed in the aspects of the new world and worldbuilding, since the initial problem that wasn't solved was also carried on in the new world. By solving the unfinished problems and old wounds in the new world, unity is achieved. The keyword here is unity, not balance. Cryo is not about balancing between two unrelated directions, the two direction of movements are integrated and unified. All is one. If this terminology does not hold more meaning to you, just call it balance.


Worldbuilding
Quote:
I don't understand how you can say, "they [fantasy worldbuilding elements] are not where the meaning of the story lies" and then say, "in Cryo the new world and new rules are created based on the meaning." That doesn't make any sense. Either the 'fantasyness' of the story is meaningful or it isn't, and if it isn't you'd probably be better off not putting it in the story. To me the 'frozen war' seems like a fantasy worldbuilding element where some of the meaning of Cryo lies.


Suppose you begin the design with a message, the premise. Before looking at the set premise, you go about designing the fantasy setting. Then, the fantasy setting is not where the meaning of the story lies, because it is created independently. On the other hand, the design of Cryo creates the fantasy setting based on the premise, therefore the new world and new rules are based on the meaning. You are correct that the fantasy setting in Cryo has meanings. And not just any meaning, but the meaning directly related to the premise.

'they' meant [fantasy worldbuilding elements created without the prior consideration of the premise of the story]. Not just the outcome, but the way it was achieved. So your notion that 'either the fantasyness of the story is meaningful or it isn't, and if it isn't you'd probably be better off not putting it in the story' is correct, and at this moment I am not discussing whether to have it or not, but the difference of how a story ends up including it, between the design method of a fantasy fan and my design method.


Unity
"It is also probable that we are using different definitions of the word 'coherent'. To me a 'coherent' worldbuilding is one which makes sociological and evolutionary sense, whereas to you the fact that it is thematically unified is probably more important."

This statement is misleading. Coherence is a must in the story. Thematic unity is higher level of coherence. The design method that I have been describing is all about achieving and ensuring these higher level requirements. So in some sense you are correct that I think thematic unity is more important. But it is more important in the sense that coherence is elementary that can be taken for granted.

To make the story make sense is the first level.
To make everything in the story that makes sense make sense together is the second level.

Cryo was designed systematically based on the second design objective.


*
Quote:
Quote:
*I think that animal traits make the design worse for a story about romance for mature audience. On top of that you chose the anime style and decided to include BDSM. I don't see how it artistically romanitcises the story, other than making it less mature.
What does that have to do with Cryo? I know you feel that way about Xenallure and you know I disagree, so what's the point of mentioning it?

I am saying this because it seems to show the difference between how a fantasy fan would end up including fantasy settings in the story. In your example, it seems that the animal traits are the first thing you want to include in the design, before considering the meaning and the targeted audience. This is not very different from the general notion to 'include bigger guns' in the design. It is almost like a no-brainer to you, like an addiction. Normal romance is not enough, and so now you try to include BDSM. This is how a fanatic would go about including elements in a design.

Take a step back and think about it, will Titanic, Finding Neverland, or any other romance or drama movies be more mature done with animal traits (excluding angels and the like)? That is why I think that you chose the setting to artistically romanticse the story, it actually goes the other way around. You picked the setting, and then find ways to justify it. And I don't see how the resulting justification is valid, unless you are really addicted.

In general there is a trend of how the romaticness of a story correlate to setting. The more realistic the setting is, the more romantic the presentation can be. Realism takes many forms. For example, the animation version of Beauty and the Beast is not as romantic as a live-actor version. (If you don't see what I mean, think Lord of the Rings and the anime version of it.). Now, compare the live-actor version of the fantasy story, to the realisitic drama version of it, the drama version is likely to be more romantic. What is the realistic drama version of Beauty and the Beast? It is the version where the fantasies in the story complete decoded mapped back to a realistic setting (no castles, no beasts, no magics, ...) For example, the realistic drama version of Beauty and the Besat might involve a marriage where both of the couple did it not because of love but of formality. The plot will be about how the couple overcome the barriers and end up loving each other from their hearts.

I am not saying that animal traits have no place in mature romantic works. But the design has to be done unified from the inside out.

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Quote:
Original post by Xenik20
Beware that u copyright your stories before post them online. Other ppl can steal them. I know because i learned the hard way. I had my ideas stolen from me
as we worked on the game. He even said he has a deal with XBOX to create this game. He then moved away with my ideas, and isnt givin me any credit. I tried gettin in contact, but each time i failed. I am not askin you to have sympathy and play the worlds smallest violin, but i am tellin u to copyright this stuff so the same thing doesnt happened to you.


The original idea about Cryo was meant to be a toss up just for the sake of discussion. But I see why you think I need to copyright it.

If I put a copyright notice, it would dictate how I present the story. I might as well put Cryo in a design document.

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You seriously think I am 'addicted' to using animal traits and BDSM in my stories, and use them without regard to my audience or what would best suit a particular story's premise? What an amazing misunderstanding of my writing goals and methods. It is taking a great deal of willpower for me not to be offended by this. It might be legitimate to say that I am addicted to romance, since all my stories are romances and I rarely read anything that isn't a romance any more, but just glancing through my portfolio ought to demonstrate that it is not a 'no-brainer' for me to use animal traits or write about a dominance/submission relationship dynamic. There are 6 stories (not counting Shapers and shaped because it's so short and has no character development) in my portfolio: Jessop's Story, Hearts or Nello, As the Moon Loves the Sun, Facepaint, Uke On Top, and Howl Together. Of these only 2, (Jessop's Story and Howl Together) have any use of animal traits, and only 2 (Facepaint and Uke On Top) have any mention of BDSM.

As for Xenallure, if you will recall, it's premise is, "Different types of people need different ways of life to be happy." The animal traits were chosen to say to the reader, "Hey! Pay attention to this character's personality type, it is like the animal they have the traits of!" and serve the additional functions of making the humanity of the magicals doubtful and making the magicals easily visually distinguishable from both humans and technos. Dominants and submissives are classic examples of people who need an unusual lifestyle to make them happy, and I do not consider a romance with mild BDSM elements to be unusual - in real life couples one person is often the leader and one the follower, one the talker and one the listener, one the caregiver and one the care receiver. In the genre of romance novels it is very common to have one character aggressively insist on a relationship (even to the extent of kidnapping or blackmail) while the other resists or flees. It is also common to have one character be an experienced seducer while the other is an innocent virgin, one have a forceful personality and a dark and violent past while the other is a shy pacifist, one have an inferiority complex or a superiority complex... Romance comes in as many flavors as ice cream does, and I really have to wonder what you are thinking of when you say a 'normal' romance, because I don't think there is such a thing. Romance, as I understand it, is about how characters with opposite personality types come together like yin and yang to make a balanced, dramatic relationship.

At any rate, animal traits, BDSM elements, and an anime art style were all chosen to appeal to an audience of highschool/college-age gamers of both genders who might be interested in romance; of the gamers who like anime I believe you will find that 80% of them like romance (while the other 20% only like mechas and explosions). Of romantic anime fans, I believe you will find that almost all of them like animal traits, with cat ears/tails and angel/dragon wings being the most popular, and most romance fans of all types consider mild BDSM elements to spice up a story, especially when balanced with a little comedy and sap to show that it isn't just a kinky lust thing, the characters' hearts are involved too.

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*+ Off topic
I seriously think that you are addicted to using animal traits, the same as the rest of the 80% of the anime fans. The equivalent accusation go for the 20% that are are addicted to mechas. At this moment I don't see you as a person who would include something you don't like just to please the audience, therefore I would think that you are also in the group of the 80% that loves animal traits.

That was about addiction alone. Nothing wrong with that.

As a designer, however, you should feel offended to be accused of deciding on elements with no consideration to the objectives. Your portfolio does nothing in defending yourself since it can be interpreted as a general trend for increasing intensity. In fact, it says that homosexually is now not enough, you are moving toward characters that are not only bisexual but are capable of physically perform both ways. Besides, all of the descriptions of the stories concern the sexual contents, as if you get excited just talking about it. This is not the way I would see a mature writer highlight their works even though the main topic is sexuality. Not to mention how you use sex as the main hook in each of the non-fanfic story. What did you think the reader is supposed to think when they read that? "Alright! I am going to read something about threesome and hermaphrodites!" Come on. I think your portfolio goes against you in this argument.

From your design doc, Anime fans is listed as the last group of targeted audience out of four groups. Did you pay equal attention to the other groups? Or did the Anime Fans get special attention in the selection of the design elements? I was simply saying that from the Mature audience point of view, animal traits seem unfit. And now you say that your targeted audience is highschool/college gamers. Did you forget the mature audience group? Or did your choice of animal traits alter your design objectives in reverse?

In your design doc you have already said that by 'mature' you meant 16+. At that time I didn't realize that you were lowering the standard of being mature. I thought you were mature when you were 16. At least when I was 16 I didn't go like, "Wings! I just have to have them!" In fact, I was already against those ideas when I was 16. I thought they were low-grade, insulting symbolism.


"As for Xenallure, if you will recall, it's premise is, "Different types of people need different ways of life to be happy." The animal traits were chosen to say to the reader, "Hey! Pay attention to this character's personality type, it is like the animal they have the traits of!" and serve the additional functions of making the humanity of the magicals doubtful and making the magicals easily visually distinguishable from both humans and technos."

This is what I meant by low-grade symbolism and decision. Do you see how you picked first then explain its functions instead of the other way around? Any implementation you pick that is different can satisfy the two additional functions. In what ways did you actually consider the alternatives, or do you just keep the first thing appeals to you and evaluated the rest based on that?


Quote:
Dominants and submissives are classic examples of people who need an unusual lifestyle to make them happy, and I do not consider a romance with mild BDSM elements to be unusual - in real life couples one person is often the leader and one the follower, one the talker and one the listener, one the caregiver and one the care receiver. In the genre of romance novels it is very common to have one character aggressively insist on a relationship (even to the extent of kidnapping or blackmail) while the other resists or flees. It is also common to have one character be an experienced seducer while the other is an innocent virgin, one have a forceful personality and a dark and violent past while the other is a shy pacifist, one have an inferiority complex or a superiority complex...
I am not arguing against this, but when you put this and anime and animal traits together. You are targeting audience that are just wondering and fantasizing in that domain. If you look at any 'normal' romance plots and dramas, the idea that opposite personality attract and Ying and Yan still exist. However, they do not mention BDSM. Why?

The way you have been describing it and presenting it appears to me that you were just getting bored of the common romantic plots. You are correct, you need something to spice it up. What happened before is no longer satisfying, you need something more intense, something different. You need the characters to have animal traits, you want their behavior and emotions be expressed blatantly without restrains. It is this mindset that I was referring to as immature.

What kind of elements were you referring to as 'mild BDSM elements'. Maybe Dreambell, Cardinal Prime, and Cryo actually have some, but I don't see much of a reason to stress that whether there is BDSM, since the story is already intended for mature audience. If there is, then there is, if there is not, there is not. The design does not actively try to include nor rejects it, as long as it does not distract the story.

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Okay I AM offended now. I wouldn't bother to argue with you except that I don't want this stuff that you've written about me hanging around in the forum unchallenged.

There is a total difference between being addicted to something and liking something. If you are addicted to something you do it compulsively, all the time, and can't force yourself to do otherwise. If less than half the stories in my portfolio contain any element, you can't logically say I am addicted to that element. I would think that as a writer you would want to be more careful with your choice of words than that. >.<

Here, just for you, to aid your effort in analyzing how my writing has evolved over time, is The Way Of the Dragon, my first attempt at a novel, written when I was 14-15, and, importantly, before I had ever watched any anime. As you might expect of something written by a 15 year old, it isn't very good. I won't asky you to actually read it. But let me describe to you the elements in it: An introspective main character, characters named after animals, characters with vivid, anime-like appearances, romance and sex in all 3 varieties (het, homo, and bi) plus incest, which I haven't had the audacity to do since. Humans genetically engineering themselves into hermaphroditic dragons, and one of these dragons then getting into a romance with a human who things sie is truly an alien. Not to mention male lactation, telepathic lifebonds, tarot cards, communism vs. capitalism, spies, and government-ordered hormone injections.

So. Maybe I have immature, sensationalist taste. (Since when is trying to write intense stories a bad thing? Of course I'm trying to write stories that create an intense experience for my readers!) But I think it's safe to say that I have not been grasping after more intense elements because I am getting bored or normal ones; I was bored of normal ones and craving intense ones from the very beginning. Maybe when you were 16 you took yourself too seriously to fantasize about wings, but when I was 16 I thought turning myself into a dragon and being able to fly was a damn cool idea, and I believe you will find that 'mature gamers' (16+, highschool and college age), especially the ones who would be interested in a romance game in the first place, are a lot more likely to share my POV than yours.

The descriptions of the stories concern their sexual contents because the are WARNINGS so that people who do not like like that content will not accidently read the story - this is a courtesy to readers and a standard convention of fanfic writing. Mild BDSM is usually considered to exclude torture and rape (yuck) but include bondage, captivity, and voluntary submission (yum, as seen in Skew's subplot).

So if you think I have bad taste, fine, but don't call me an irresponsible writer because I'm damn well not! I am a mature writer, and everything that goes into one of my stories I put there on purpose and with awarness of the consequences of putting it there. If anything I'm too rational and cautious in choosing my story elements, or I wouldn't still be agonizing over my novel's outline, I'd be writing the damn thing. And I think it's particularly rude of you to start insulting me when I was only answering your questions about Cryo. Sorry if you can't take the criticism, but in my honest opinion Cryo is a flawed design that would not be much fun to play, other designs I have seen from you have a lot more potential. If you don't value my opinion or want my help, just quit asking me questions, because I certainly have better thngs to do with my time than try to explain to you how to improve a game design that isn't even what you really want to make.

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