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TechnoGoth

Starting in the middle

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Starting in the middle. How do people feel about games that start in the middle of the story? What about with characters that have pasts and histories that are intertwined that they talk about with each other however the player never learns most of details? For instance to characters forced to work together who hate each other, throughout the game the player can get some idea that something happened between them and that they where once friends but they never learn what happened. The same could be true about the plot, the player finds themselves in the middle of the story where everyone else knows what has lead up to the current situation except them. Does this sort of story telling alienate you as the player? Is there a psychological need to have all your story questions answered by the time the game ends? And what happens when the game ends and you still have questions? How do feel then?

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Well, as long as it's well-worked out, it can be an enhancement to the story/overall game experience i think.
I can't really think of a game in particular which has this feature, but a lot of movies do.
I think it's nice to put that sort of multiple layers in a story, a to let all those layers start at the beginning of the game is just not logical in most cases. But because, for example, the fact that peter's girl ran off with Frank (who was of course peter's bst friend once), that fact is well known, and neither one wants to talk about it. still it does affect the that they interact with each other. So having the gamer finding this, just before or after he has to make a choice around this Frank (in case of rpg for example), will make the choice more difficult and therefore the story will be much more compelling.

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that's only theoretical, since most of the gamers still use the most efficient way anyway, not regarding any emotional linking.

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Welll....

I cite the old screenwriting maxim that queries, "Where does your story start" if indeed you are writing a story into your game.

Starting in the middle gives you backstory expositional requirements I would imagine should the audience need exposition in order to maintain believeability in your suggestion construct. This can be combersome to inject when pace is a factor in linearity and too in challenge design, but not so perception sustainment reliant in the latter.

Without the backstory exposition, you will be alienated almost no matter who you are, and it would be a technical flaw in the design, rather than an individualistic interpretational challenge. I think there is a need psychologically form a complete understanding by everyone of all things in experience, but you can play with the edges by leaving some interpretation open like screenwriters do when they want to leave the door open to a sequel while still giving audiences closure with the conflict and the characters they empathized and engaged with.

Adventuredesign

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More of a Star-Wars themed story way. How they started in the middle of the story going to the end, then to the beginning?

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Quote:
Original post by adventuredesign
Welll....

I cite the old screenwriting maxim that queries, "Where does your story start" if indeed you are writing a story into your game.

Starting in the middle gives you backstory expositional requirements I would imagine should the audience need exposition in order to maintain believeability in your suggestion construct. This can be combersome to inject when pace is a factor in linearity and too in challenge design, but not so perception sustainment reliant in the latter.

Without the backstory exposition, you will be alienated almost no matter who you are, and it would be a technical flaw in the design, rather than an individualistic interpretational challenge. I think there is a need psychologically form a complete understanding by everyone of all things in experience, but you can play with the edges by leaving some interpretation open like screenwriters do when they want to leave the door open to a sequel while still giving audiences closure with the conflict and the characters they empathized and engaged with.

Adventuredesign


I can see your point and I think it depends on the story but I agree the most players might be aliented. But then the question becomes do you bog down the current story by explaining all the back stories that are involved in the current story? Doesn't that detract from the primary story? Especially if the main character is not involved in anyway in those back stories they are merely involved in circumstances and relationships that have arisen as result of those back stories?



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This can be a very good tatic to enhance a story. It all depends on how you use it though. I would highly recommend that you have a main plot that has a beginning and an end, but you can start in the middle with a sub-plot. A story with in a story, or a mere recalling of a previous incendent that has meaning or purpose to the main story.

Trying to start your main story in the middle is often times a very bad idea. The reason is because you then have to bore your audience with background info as to what happened. If you are too vague then they are only going to get confused; if your too detailed then they will get bored. I've seen a lot of commerical games that use this "start in the middle" tactic and if only they had done it right, they would have had a wonderful game going for them. Sadly... they take the wrong route and end up crunching the beginning of the story into an endless dialog of some kind. What's even worse is when the beginning of the story sucks, or is unbelievable, or worse yet... has nothing to do with what is happening now. Sure you could tell about the history of how the gods created the world in which your character lives... but if your character isn't going on an epic battle to fight the devil that threatens to destroy your gods and your world; but merely going on a quest to save a princesse or something, I don't think the gods creation of the world will have much effect on saving a princesse, as it might fighting the anti-christ.

The point is, make sure any part of the story that your user isn't actually playing is relivent!!! Its ok to go off topic a little bit in actual gameplay since it allows room for exploration, but for something the user isn't actually DOING but hearing or reading, then odds are they want to know only the stuff that matters to their overall goal of the game.

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I'm about with Unknown User. Needing to explain things is a sign of bad writing -- backstory should be made evident with subtle clues or "common knowledge", allowing the user to infer the history of the world on their own. If I keep finding artifacts of a war (e.g. destroyed buildings), I'm going to suspect there was a war. But the "clueless new guy" PC is getting a little old, so it might take a little bit of thinking to write in details without explicitly telling the player.

But for me, you'll have to define "middle". In fact, I'd say that most games, especially RPGs, start in "the middle"; there's a backstory, and the world isn't usually just created. The events that happen during the game just happen to be a particularly interesting arc in the story of the game's world.

But I guess if the game starts at the creation of a world, then that would be the beginning.

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