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EMidget

Revelation (My Story, what do you think?)

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This is a story I drew up to put in the design document for a game I hope to be making. The game is a 1st/3rd person shooter featuring RPG elements. More will be explained after the story to avoid spoilers and so you actually know what's going on. Over 1,000 years ago, the world of Auris was crafted by the Deities, in hopes of creating a tranquil world for their people. Auris was formed as a large land mass, with all people living in harmony together. The people prospered and they soon were filled with riches. These riches led to great problems, the people began fighting over the prosperous land, stealing, and pillaging anything they could. The gods greatly feared this problem, for once hate filled the world, they knew nations would soon divide, causing massive wars and the passing of many of their once thriving people. The gods formed together to create a solution, to divide the land mass in two; putting nations to each their own, dividing the land into 2 equal parts, equal of riches and equal of size. Nations were only shortly satisfied with this solution, soon wanting even more. Each nation began building ships and forming a navy to combat and conquer those who stood in their way to boundless riches. These wars between the nations caused issues between the gods as well. The gods began to divide to help a nation of their choice. A great war ensued, humans and gods fighting together against each other. Malice consumed the nation of Odium’s hearts, and their killing became unnoticeable to them. They had no care for what they killed or what they took. The nation of Lucrum soon saw how this greed had destroyed them, and began to attempt to reform the civilizations of Auris. Together, Lucrum and the holy gods fought back Odium and the evil gods advances. Finally, Lucrum and Odium met at one fateful battle. The clash of gods and humans began. In a violent show of bloodshed, Lucrum emerged victorius. The holy gods sealed away most of Odium and it’s supporters on a newly created island which they called “Belligero” meaning to wage war. The gods made this island their home, keeping constant watch on the seals, keeping watch over the wandering evil gods left, preventing “Belligero” to happen once again. 1,000 years have passed, each day continues with the thoughts of the people in the past and the sacrifices made to preserve the future. These sacrifices proving to keep peace over the world of Auris, to keep divine intervention in hold, and to prevent another apocalyptic war. With rumors stirring up among the people of a prophecy that was said to be fulfilled on this 1,000 year anniversary, the people began to argue, the once peaceful world of Auris was once again divided between the war-centered nation of Hilotae and the booming civilization of Curia. The people of Auris began doing as much research as possible on this prophecy, digging further into what truly happened at Belligero, digging further into what only could cause pain and horror to the peaceful world of Auris. Prophecy reads that on the 1,000 year anniversary of the creation of Belligero, the seals holding the evil would open and the person who could disable the seals would create another apocalypse and become all-powerful giving him the power of creation himself. People began to covet this power the prophecy spoke of. The power-hungry nation of Hilotae prepared to take this challenge, unifying their armies and building powerful and destructive weapons. The still lingering evil gods saw this as their opportunity and began to empower special individuals of the Hilotae nation; fashioning these individuals celestial weapons. For each feat accomplished, the gods would use the souls of the fallen to further empower the users weapon. The holy gods of Curia soon saw the plan of Hilotae and notified their people. The gods of Curia began to fashion their own celestial weapons. Instead of being further empowered by evil and death, the selected people of Curia became stronger through the banishment and judgment of evil. Each nation, now prepared for war, sailed of the island of Belligero, one in defense of the world, and one in the destruction. Fate cannot be decided by the gods, only by those whom fight for the gods. Whose side will you choose and how will you determine fate? The game will follow the path of your choice of one of the selected individuals. I estimate around 5 per side that are playable each with an individual backstory and special weapon. (If your wondering about the shooting aspect, it's alot like Unreal Championship 2, meaning, guns and melee, some special weapons maybe be guns as well.) ******SPOILER****** Just in case your wondering, I'll tell you what I plan on happening at the end. Once the character disables all the seals and reaches the inside of the "throne room" (need a name), he/she discovers that it's not a jar of evil or huge evil demon, but a single "atom" (I have a mental picture, but how I describe it, I don't know) which empowers their weapon. The player then makes a "Revelation" (hence the name) and can then choose to take the "atom" (regardless of side) and absoulutely go to work on everyone just for fun (Basically, It's like maxing all your stats and skills) or he/she can choose to destroy the evil, sealing it for another 1,000 years. (I realize it won't be as fun as killing everything with alot of power, but the ended for saving the world will involve going to heaven, transcending, etc.) I realize the ending isn't gramatically correct or sophisticated but it's just a quick outline. *******END SPOILER******** Well, thanks for taking the time to read all this, and if you have any feedback, suggestions, criticism, etc. It is appreciated. Thanks

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So, all of that to justify a shooter?


How can you make all of that directly tie into gameplay? If being on a certain side gives you a special ability or weapon, how does this tie into the story at large? Does this tie into level design?

What is the player's call to adventure (yes, I know, killing things in a simulated 3D world, but really)?

It seems that all of the gameplay takes place on a single embattled island- how does this affect level design and gameplay? Is the island a wide-open area, for the player to freely explore (and kill enemies) on? Or will it conform to a standard level-level-level grind? Perhaps inter-connected levels?

I looked into creating something similar for the "Make Something Unreal" contest a couple of years ago. I scrapped it as too difficult to balance the special abilities (in a short period of time). The idea is feasable, technology-wise, but its one of those projects that will require a sizeable team of experienced individuals (hobbyists that have worked on one game or mod before), at least 10, 18-24 months to complete barring people leaving.


Does story matter at all if it doesn't tie into the gameplay?

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No I don't go to DePaul, and no I haven't heard anything familiar, I've spent weeks or months trying to find something that wasn't greatly familiar to something else.




The story ties into the gameplay for the single-player campaign, each side will have it's own campaign. The character, will have slightly different cutscenes due to his past. They are fighting for their side either to gain pride or to protect their world from evil. (Hopefully, you can tell which side is fighting for which by that.) More will be explained in the campaign, it's tough for me to give a complete story in just a quick backstory/history of what's happening and what you will be playing. I'm also thinking of adding a single reason for that character to fight for his nation, such as a promised reward for the gods (revived family, riches, power, etc.)

Sure, a heavy story doesn't always need to be involved in a shooter, UT works out fine, and it's fairly basic, but why conform to the same old things? I would have loved it if I could have played UT with an engaging story and a purpose to kill the hordes of people I did for any other reason then a trophy and pride. (I understand that's the name of the game, but hopefully you know what I mean)


Thanks for the feedback though, if I didn't explain it to answer your questions, please say so, I'll try my best.

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Cutscenes aren't gameplay. They rip the player out of gameplay. Not to mention the combonatorial problem producing all those slightly different cutscenes based on character and hinted other factors.

Offering a "single reason" for the character to fight may work, if you can tie that into gameplay- one revived family member per "Perfect" victory perhaps?

You seem pretty set on a straight remake of UT, which is itself a remake of Quake 3, but you ask "...but why conform to the same old things?" The only thing you're doing that isn't "the same old thing" is throwing your story into the non-gameplay segments; these are expensive investments that usually don't pay off in terms of player satisfaction (compared to the cost of adding some gameplay in).

For most of my reasoning on this topic in general, see this thread.

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I'm mainly not even talking about gameplay... trust me it won't be very close to UT or Quake. I'm talking mainly story, hence why it's in Writing for Games, not Gameplay design.

What I'm saying is, without a story, it's like playing Final Fantasy with no objectives or story to keep you interested. Sure many people, may go straight to the multiplayer aspect of the game, but I still rather have a strong single-player as well.


The island will be multiple areas where the character is fighting to capture an objective or getting closer to the seals or "throne room." If you want me to talk about gameplay, then be sure to keep your eyes on game design within the next month, where I should have a general synopsis on how everything ties together.

I'm here because I want to see what people think on the backstory for the game, and any feedback they have to improve or to completely bash it. I appreciate your feedback, but right now gameplay is not of my concerns. I don't feel that I can get down each design aspect, without having a story to tie it into because then I have my story adding onto gameplay which makes me mold the story around the gameplay and my sights are set to wide with the gameplay.

If you have any further questions though, please ask.

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"hence why it's in Writing for Games, not Gameplay design"

The connection between gameplay and story design is much closer than you think. In a nutshell, you are dealing with these question:

1) Is the story worthwhile to exist from the player's perspective?
2) Is a player that is interested in the game also interested in the story?

And the most important question:

3) What kind of story will maximize the engagement to the player from a gameplay standpoint? What kind of gameplay will maximize the engagement of the gameplay from the story standpoint?

That last question deals with Integration and cross-anticipation: Does the story make the player want to play more? Does the gameplay make the player want more of the story?

It is called writings FOR games for a reason. It is naive to think that game stories are like normal stories.



The followings are about your story.


A) Intelligence of the Deities

You need to be really careful when you want to include any form of gods in a story. The fatal error of stories involving gods is when the gods sound dumb. Based on your backstory, your Deities had show no understand or insight of what peace is, as if they were playing in a sandbox. This is a fatal blow to any story involving godly races.


B) Thematic Awkwardness

Usually, this class of errors are not serious. But when it is used as a cause of a conflict, it cannot be overlooked. In your backstory you said that the people were prospering when riches led to great problems. That made no sense. Scarcity, not abundance, should be the cause of the conflict. You also said that the gods feared that the nations will divide, but their solution was to divide the land. What is the logic behind that? This goes back to point A:

"These wars between the nations caused issues between the gods as well. The gods began to divide to help a nation of their choice."

Did the gods forget what their own goal? This is an unacceptable plot element. Because the gods are appearing too stupid.


C) Semantic Depth

Greed as a cause of conflict is uninteresting. Especially when paired up with your backstory. Your story is meaningless and trivial. It is the kind of story that makes writiers assume that they should start a story with character designs. Your story is like a plate of old spaghetti microwaved over and over, where the sauce is drying up into nasty patterns.


D) Presentational Detachment

Technically, this is not about your story. But since it appeared in your presentation of the story, it reflected your perspective of the role of the story in the game:

"Each nation, now prepared for war, sailed of the island of Belligero, one in defense of the world, and one in the destruction. Fate cannot be decided by the gods, only by those whom fight for the gods. Whose side will you choose and how will you determine fate?"

I know that you learned this line from reading other reviews or ads. But it does not fit the story and the mood infered by the story. It cheapens your entire presentation greatly. This is the kind of advertisement crap that you should detect and avoid. Most ads you see in the market are not aimmed at matural audience. A line like this is completely classless following the story you presented. It is like trying to sell Ferrero Roche in zippocs (plastic sandwich bags).

Your spoiler also gave out more meaninglessness of the story.




Your story is too bad to simply discuss improvements. My opinion is that before you decide to improve it, first review the easiest ways to make good stories.

Assuming that it is a first-person shooter, there are several features that makes a great story with the least effort:

1) Realism
2) Present
3) Immediacy
4) Powerlessness

Again, these are the easy ways out. These are the shortcuts. This is not a list of qualities to look for in a hard design.


1) Realism

To put it in a simple way, don't create any alternate world if you don't have anything profound to say about it and a way to connect that world immediately to the player. Stick to what the player can infer and identify from the surroundings. Player knowledge and expectations are resources. When you take advantage of the player's thematic expectation, you only need to write a fraction of the story.

2) Present

This is about ignoring the past and the future. This can be counter-intuitive, because I am telling you that to have an easy, good story, don't make a backstory, and don't give the player any long-term directions. A example of this form of presentation is Irresponsible Captain Taylor.

The story is about intergalatic war from the perspecitive of a misfit crew from a lowly destroyer (a spaceship). The whole point of the story is that the crew seemed so insignificant compared to everything else, but it is at that level when the war becomes meaningful.

The story is engaging not because of the backstory or any major decision that the audience looks forward, but the pure existence of the present perspective.


3) Immediacy

This simply means don't let the player think too far ahead in the future. Don't remind the player of the ultimate confrontation when there is still a long way. Because it makes the player feel that everything happening now are just in the way to get to the end. This means that the player cannot know what he can do at the end, but experiences a strong sense of increasing thematic intensity and engagement. This kind of design favors mysteries, because the player is engaged to the immediate situation to discover clues. If the sense of mystery is not enough, the player will feel like a pawn completing detached missions.

The trick here is to build the hook by hiding information. When you give too much information, the player's mind skips ahead. When you give too little information, the player loses the reason to follow the story.


4) Powerlessness

Again, these list are shortcuts. In a simple story, it works a lot better when the player is in a powerless situation. This allows the player to think mostly or just in terms of the immediate situation, and to attach to the character. If you let the player to think big all the time, the character that the player controls will be nothing more than a pawn in the grand strategy. Making the player powerless forces the player to attend only to the player character, thus concentrating the player's attention to the story as it is connected to the PC. It helps the story a lot when the connection between the player and the story is personal through the PC. Your presentation of the backstory did not exhibit this design objective.

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If your story is only cutscenes between the levels, don't bother writing it here. Try a book writing forum.

You should make your story one with the gamplay. For example, the celestial weapons powering. Powering up a weapon after boss fights in a cutscene - bad. Powering up a weapon after a number of kills - good.

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I know you said this is a work in progress, but I think you might want to try to come up with different names for your landmasses and races. I can see why you named the warlike landmass "Belligero," but it is way too obvious that you just added an 'o' to the end of the Latin root "belliger". You might want to try finding a parallel root from a different language that isn't quite so obvious. You might want to investigate Gaelic, old Norse, or find an esoteric Gothic language that might have a root that could parallel belliger. You'll probably want to stay away from Slavic languages unless you want your peoples and countries to sound barbaric. ...Same applies for Odium. Again, way too obvious. The same will probably go for lucrum. Way too obvious that your "rich nation" would be identified by the Latin word for "profit." These examples (belligero, odium, and lucrum) seem too much like their trying to be quippy. If you're really intent on using Latin roots, try breaking them down to simpler roots.

For example, instead of "belliger" (make war), start with "bell" (war)...you'll wanna stay away from adding 'para' before bell unless you can come up with a suffix to add to it to make it sound really unique. Otherwise, people will hear it and think it is strange, because they'll be expecting 'parabellum', but not know that that was what they were expecting. ...that's why it's usually not such a good idea to mess around with multiple latin roots in your names. ...People are stupid, but they're actually smarter than they think they are. Latin roots are way too ingrained in our language (I'm assuming English is your primary language...(the Romans civilized England)) and they've heard all of these Latin roots before, and their brain recalls that they have, but they just don't know where they heard them or why they remember them. Not much of our language is rooted in Gaelic though, so people won't recall the roots as easily. My rule of thumb is, if you want something to sound like it's out of "fantasy" look to Gaelic first. If you want something to sound "old" go with a primitive Germanic. If you want something to sound "rooted in time" go with Latin. If you're wanting a mixture of these characteristics, try finding roots from the different languages that "click" together.

You seem to have a creative story going here, though. It's NOT an original, although it has original characteristics to it. You have to realize that it's nearly impossible to come up with a completely "original" story. The originality comes in the creative touches that are added to it to make it *SEEM* original. I know that the names of your characters and places might seem like a trivial thing, but I guarantee you that they are important. If you are deadset on a particular name, stick with it...it's your story. But it would probably be best to at least investigate finding alternatives.

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