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Ketchaval

fate / destiny -- vs. player knowledge

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Okay, imagine a mystery-type game (probably an adventure or Japanese-style RPG). In this very few characters die, but the first time through the player finds out that one of their favourite characters is murdered. Now the player knows when and where it happens they might try to stop it the second time they play, (even though the CHARACTER wouldn't know it was going to happen). So what do we do? The second-time through the player wants to prevent this character being killed, so tries to hang about with them to stop it happening. What do we do? -Do we branch the plot so that the player can stop it in one-game (ie. cheating by PREDICTING the future) but not if they don't know about / are lucky? -Make the player unable to prevent it? If so how? What impact does it have on the character? -Make the player able to prevent it, at first, but when the player leaves it happens. (Are they now a witness)?. Thoughts?

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Awesome puzzle game idea. You shouldn't force death onto them. If they know how to beat the part, let them beat it. OR what you could do is make multiple triggers for death and then randomize it for game replay value.

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Well to me, linear stories where the player is forced into taking a certain position may tell a story, but not tell 2. IE it takes replay ability because you don't expect to change the fact that the game is linear.

It's accepted to not deal w/ this and if it's a sequance of events that they can't prevent (liked forced plot point) then people are accustomed to seeing it happen again. The trick would be creating a branching story revolving around the core characters, but doing this is a multiple of effort instead of doing just one story.

For example, take a text adventure. Most text adventures are rather linear in they're plot, and if you step off that path (knowingly or unknowningly) you usually die and have to restart at last save.

Now I would be nice to move beyond that, but this would mean creating story/content/dialouge in multiple directions that a player may never never come across. The other option is a game w/o plot points, simply a beginning and end, and everything in the middle is just the player exploring until the gather enough information until they can seek the end. (Morrowind etc)

In the terms of branching paths, that is a slippery slope. It's IMO a difficult balancing act. You need to give the player(s) enough freedom to branch the story as they see fit, but to do that, you need to anticipate every direction the player can make a decsion in, and they'll notice if a choice they wish to make isn't represented, and they'll discount the game. Kotor worked this angle, and it did it very well generally. You are pulled up into a destiny to a conclusion, but feel like you have choice for the majority of the game.

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An interesting way to handle this could be to randomly select which character dies for each new game. You still have the problem of save/load predictions and you lose some control over the plot doing it this way (in FF7 there's no real way to justify kiling off anyone other than Aeris)

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Its always nice if the player can make an impact on the gameworld, so it would be good if they could save their friend. Writing these kinds of things is alot like writing a Pick-A-Path book, with each event having 1-3 outcomes.

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