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Estok

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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