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Interactive story from gameplay

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Interactive story from gameplay This thread is about forming interactive story based on gameplay (instead of dialogues or plots). The context is this version of murder simulation: [ Flash ] In this game, there are 8 NPCs, 10 weapons, and 12 rooms. Your goal is to kill all NPCs before midnight. To kill an NPC, you need to pick up a weapon, hide it in an empty room, then invite an NPC to follow you to that item. Pause - [Space] Pickup Item/NPC -

and

Drop Item/NPC - [Down] Jump - [Up] There are rules that govern whether you are caught. You can discover the rules by playing the game. Interactive story from gameplay: When you play the game, do you feel that there is a story? Do you feel that the story develops as you play the game? Was there a climax in the game?


Rules and Behaviors: You are caught if: 1) someone sees you with a weapon; 2) someone witnesses the killing; 3) someone enters the room right after a killing; 4) someone saw the NPC's following you before you kill her; 5) someone picks up an item that was once belonged to a dead NPC; 6) you attempt to kill someone with a disarmed weapon. After killing someone: 7) the weapon disappears 8) the dead NPC drops any item that she was carrying 9) the room turns red, which indicates that the room cannot be re-entered 10) you may bring at most one item out of a red room. NPC behaviors: 11) An NPC carrying no item will take any item she sees in a room. 12) An NPC discovers a hidden item when she walks near it. 13) When Brandy picks up a food item, she eats it. 14) When Sherlock Holmes picks up a item, he disarms the it. 15) In the basement, there are three doors that bring the NPC back to the roof. [Edited by - Wai on January 29, 2007 3:47:48 PM]

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It didn't feel like it told a story to me. I think there's a possibility with it, if characters interacted with each other. As is the characters didn't really feel alive to me so it was hard to imagine a story.

Stuff that might help:
- characters stopping and having small talk, even if just chat bubbles with icons inside.
- characters actively reacting to things as they move around, in a visual sense... pointing at things or even just the exclamation mark over the head like when you get caught. being able to see when a character is about to pick up and item and run over and stop him would be good.

I had a hard time playing it because the characters moved very quickly and randomly. I got caught so quickly I had no time to get scared. Characters would often just fall into the room before I even noticed they were nearby. It would be more thrilling if I was desperately trying to get out of a room as a character slowly walked to the entrance.

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I think I need to add more dialogues also because the characters are supposed to be making a lot of noise in the mansion. In this version, the characters only speak when there is an event related to the gameplay.

An NPC speaks when:
- it picks up at item ("I love [item] !")
- it catches Way ("Oh my ! [...]")
- it sees the NPC following Way ("Have fun, [NPC] !")

What are some ways to prevent an NPC from getting items?

If the NPCs are conversing, the PC should be able to do something relevant to the content.

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By stopping the NPC I meant inviting them and walking them away from the item they were going to grab.

I did notice the NPCs speaking, but it's hard to connect who is saying what because there are so many characters on the screen. It was easy to tell in the other versions of Way because there were only 2-4 people on the screen.

A way to tell the player that an NPC was about to do something would add a lot more strategy to the game.
- "I'm going to move to that room over there."
- "An item! I want that! I'm going to go get it!"

I don't think that would work as text but it might as icons.

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Changes:

- The NPCs now walk slower in the beginning
- Now the NPCs move in the direction they are facing. You can invite an NPC and change its direction.
- But if the NPC has no item and there is an unclaimed item in the same room, the NPC will move toward the item.
- NPCs no longer teleport items to them, they will only pick up an item when they touch it.
- When an NPC walks to an hidden item by itself, the item is disarmed.
- When an NPC other than Sherklock picks up a disarmed, the item is armed again.
- When an NPC falls one or more levels, its item bumps off.
- In the basement, the rat attacks everyone. An NPC may drop its item when it is attacked.
- When the Mayor picks up his gold watch for the fifth+ time, he will put the gold watch away. (thus, one less item to use)
- If the Teddy bear touches the honey pot with someone present, the Teddy bear eats the honey. (thus, one less item)
- When Brandy picks up the bananas, she eats them and leaves the peel. The peel trips.


[ Flash ]

[Edited by - Wai on January 30, 2007 8:46:23 AM]

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I like it a lot more with the tweaks. Throwing characters to the dungeon to get the rat to take their item is way too much fun. "Rat!" Haha.

Some more thoughts:

The message telling you you set a trap doesn't show up consistently for me. A lot of times Way just drops it without showing an icon or message. It deceived me into thinking traps weren't being set for a long time.

Red rooms can trap you (screenshot) but a game over condition isn't triggered by it. Not sure if this was intended behavior. It would be neat if the red rooms blocked NPCs from entering as well. It would add a lot more strategy as you could kill people in certain rooms to block paths that are dangerous to you (people appearing from the basement suddenly). However, this could cause problems of NPCs getting stuck in areas where you can't reach each other.

It kind of bothers me that you lose when you're carrying around innocent objects, even when nothing has been done with them. I can understand getting caught in the other situations (someone seems me with the item a dead person had, or someone sees me with the teddy bear someone was brutally murdered with).
Just walking with it prior to its involvement in the murder seems a bit unfair though. "Oh my! What are you doing with the chocolate heart!" "I WAS HUNGRY!"

Not having a way to tell if an item is an armed or disarmed state makes it REALLY difficult. There were quite a few times where I was the item was armed but it ended up giving me a sad game over.

[Edited by - SantaClaws on January 31, 2007 6:03:47 PM]

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I finally won! I'm a successful murderer.

Quote:
When you play the game, do you feel that there is a story?
I still don't know about this. The story seems to me to be more about my own process of learning and about the characters than the gameplay.

Quote:
Do you feel that the story develops as you play the game?
Yes, for the characters more than the gameplay, though. After spending more and more time playing it and trying to win I formed a bit of an attachment to the characters. I felt happy to see them when I opened it up again and saw everyone running around.

Quote:
Was there a climax in the game?
The third-to-last and second-to-last kills were very stressful. "I'm so close!!" The last kill was kind of a celebration knowing that there was no way I could lose anymore. I think there was definitely a climax to the gameplay.

Fond memories of gameplay/story:
- Frantically throwing an item across the mansion right before someone walks in to see me holding it.
- Running madly to kill the skeleton with my banana trap, only to slip on the peel Brandy left me, and seeing the skeleton jumping away happily.
- Realizing I could kill someone with the rat.
- Brandy, my last victim, showing the heart symbol and giggling as I was taking her to her death. [bawling]
- Cupid flying away when I tried to get threw him.

Fond memories of characters:
- Brandy: "Way, throw me!"
Me: [smile] *throw*
Brandy: (droplet) "Throw me higher !!"
Me: [lol]
- Characters standing on my head when I ask them to follow.
- Skeleton's energetic jumping.
- Reactions when Way asks them to follow. "Let's go explore the basement!"
- Reactions to the rat. So much emotion in one word.
- Heart icon for item pickup after the stunned pause from falling several levels.

[Edited by - SantaClaws on January 31, 2007 6:56:09 PM]

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Originally, the NPCs cannot enter the red rooms. But the pathing is too hard to code.


Changes:

- When Way is trapped, the game ends.
- You will see the leaf everytime you hide an item
- When you pick up or try to hide a disarmed item, you see the stop sign
- When you pick up an item that belonged to a dead NPC, you see the tomb icon
- You can now carry an item in other NPC's presence. But the item gets disarmed


New items and item effects:

Magnifier - It lets the NPC see (and disarm) all hidden items in a room without touching it.
Halo - If Way picks it up, he confesses his last killing.
Chocolate Heart - It melts
Cheese - Rat eats it
Stop sign - If someone is carrying it in a room, everyone else in the room stops
Moon
Skull

[ Flash ]

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Many people shorten my username to "Way". [smile]

I suck. I'm having trouble killing things, but maybe I'm just not clear on how to do it (I haven't tried for very long).

Quote:
Original post by Wai
When you play the game, do you feel that there is a story? Do you feel that the story develops as you play the game? Was there a climax in the game?


In order:

Yes, we're given a story, it's similar to Doom's story in purpose: It gives some reason for the killing of things.

No, at least no more story than, say, a game of tennis.

Probably, but I haven't gotten there yet. However, it'd be more like the endgame of chess than what we find in a novel.

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