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destiny==freedom

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If someone has a destiny, his freedom is limited, right? Wrong. While this is the case in most sci-fi/fantasy stories involving fate, in video games it works the other way. In most games, you try to tell a story, so you will want certain events to occur. If you give the player the freedom to wander around, those events will have to come to him or to wait for him. This will give the player the feeling that he is trapped by a fate, and that he is not free. If you want to give the player the feeling that his character is free, and that the story events are just happening, then you have to use a linear story line, and the player will not have freedom. Is there any way to have all three of them - story, sense of freedom and actual freedom?

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Original post by someboddy
If someone has a destiny, his freedom is limited, right? Wrong. While this is the case in most sci-fi/fantasy stories involving fate, in video games it works the other way.

In most games, you try to tell a story, so you will want certain events to occur. If you give the player the freedom to wander around, those events will have to come to him or to wait for him. This will give the player the feeling that he is trapped by a fate, and that he is not free.

If you want to give the player the feeling that his character is free, and that the story events are just happening, then you have to use a linear story line, and the player will not have freedom.

Is there any way to have all three of them - story, sense of freedom and actual freedom?


Sci-fi/fantasy stories are much different than games. The story is written and fixed. The author can describe the thoughts of choices, but there is absolutely no choice being made.

Games having a story can't do that. Combining a solid story that you get with a well-written story, while also giving the player freedom to do whatever they want is contradictory. You cannot tell a specific story if the player is free to do everything counter to that specific story. (ahem: "Dost thou love me? [No.] But thou must! Dost thou love me? ...")

You'd have a hard time making a LOTR game that is compelling and tells the full LOTR story if you play Frodo and decide to join the ring-wraiths rather than leave the shire.

Several MMORPGs attempt do have compelling stories and freedom, to varying degrees of success. I don't know of any static single-player games that pull it off.

A single player game pretty much has to have scripted events triggered by the player's actions. It is difficult to have the rest of the world keep moving at the same time in the background. It is difficult to create compelling dynamic content in a fixed story. If you miss a key event in the story, the rest of the game becomes pointless.

Online games have the dynamic world that is always moving. They have some degree of dynamic content, at the very least that is brought by the other players. The story can be updated dynamically by the authors or other players. Games like Everquest did this very nicely.

frob.

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I think your best bet would be a fixed story, but let the player play through it with various archetypes and change various side events.

Again, we come to one of the greatest RPG series ever: Fallout. I'm amazed that I still see posts here referring to how those games "got it right". There's an over all story being told (I: Find the waterchip. II: Find the GECK), which is unavoidable if you want to finish the game and provides a sense of purpose (lacking in so many sandbox games). The player can play just about any archetype you want: Guns blazin', sneaky ninja, silver tongued devil, idiot savant, whatever. The player also has many side stories to be a part of, which often have multiple solutions and multiple outcomes.

You have "the chosen one" storyline and sandbox gameplay. Make the over all story slightly more prominent, and I think you'll have what you want.

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One of the ways that you could achieve this is to have several paths all leading to the same end point. For example:

Mission 1 -------- Mission 4 -------- End 1


Mission 2 -------- Mission 5 -------- End 1


Mission 3 -------- Mission 6 -------- End 1

As you can see, you get the choice of freedom, but at the end the outcome is still the same.

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You could always do GTA style or whatever -- the player is locked into doing the single story, but can explore the world around it as he sees fit. Sure, it soesn't give a total sense of freedom, but as long as the player has a lot to do outside of following the missions, he won't feel trapped.

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