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mancerelectro

Where to begin

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New here, but I'm sure that is obvious. The name I normally use for these was taken as well, so sorry if it seems like an unusual name. What I really want to know is where to begin on writing a story for a video game. Currently I have 2 stories more or less that I have had running through my head on and off for about 3-4 years now, and have only told one person about them. The biggest problem I have is that I like open gameplay and feeling like you are in control of the world, not on a roller coaster with the same inevitable path each time. I'll just get to the 2 stories, or the jist of them. First one I thought of was the original that the other more or less sprouted from. Everyone has played a haunted prison game, or seen a haunted prison movie, or heard of one. Well, this story places a convicted child rapist behind bars at a low security prison. Already public enemy number one for the nature of his crimes, he has no idea that his only enemies aren't those that surround him. He finds, in his sleep, that he has bizarre nightmares that appear to be twisted replays of his day. He soon realizes that should something happen positively or negatively during the day, it can affect him that night in this prison. Worse yet, what happens to him at night can affect his next day as well, or at least him and his cell physically. He has to find a way out before he ends up dead or insane, and he has many paths to take that lead him out. I need to has out a full blood story here but that's story one in a nut shell. Second one is not similar, but still centers around crime. A well known mafia don dies after a long bout with cancer. On his death bed he brings in his top men and leaves them with a message. You must decide who will succeed me. Of course each thinks he would be the best candidate, and tensions flare up. The greatest mafia family of all time splits into four separate groups, each out to prove why they should be the successor. First you have the son of the don who inherited the majority of the money from his father, but lacks the respect of most of the other mobsters since he's young and a bit of a daddy's boy. Second, you have the friend from way back. The don and this guy knew each other when they were in diapers, or so they say. There's no denying it though, they were close, and this guy had the Don and the mobsters' respect. Third you have the guy that saved the don's life. This guy rose through the ranks easily since he had an unwaivering loyalty to the don which culminated in him taking 6 bullets for the don. Why he is still alive no one knows. He has the uncanny ability to charm those around him with stories of his own greatness, inspiring those that do follow him to be the best they can be. The 4th is the don's wife. A major break from tradition, the wife was made a close adviser before she married the don. She had an uncanny knack for numbers, and was able to take the cash flow coming in and turn it into big bucks. She wasn't half bad with a gun, either. She still has that knack for numbers and still able to start the day with a dollar and end it with twenty. All of these people were necessary to create the empire that this don created. Unfortunately, without it's leader to hold it together, the foundation quickly crumbled. The factions openly feud, and no one is safe. The biggest problem I run into is that I have a habit of trying to make the entire game on paper. I have a hard time focusing on a story alone. I try to clearly define what is what so that there is no confusion or "wtf am I doing" factor. I've written these stories a million times in my head but I don't write them out because I'm missing those key factors. How long should a story be, should it be extremely detailed right down to conversations, or should it give a strong general idea of the plot? Since these stories rarely are that alone, should I build on gameplay elements in a separate file? And I do understand that my rough stuff is extremely unpolished, but without having taken that next step it has remained that way. And yes I did read the few rules to writing a story, but some of the questions I have I couldn't find in there.

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Well, first off let me say that the second story is x20 better than the first.

Now for the break down...

In the second game, the story is very good, but I have a hard time imagining what the player would actually do that relates to the story. I'm invisioning a "Grand Theft Auto" type plot unvailing that frankly I'm not fond of. That's not implying that you were going to do that, but that's how those games normally end up.

It's not tough to write the story (you just did it), and it's not hard to design the game... it's hard to write them both at the same time in the same document. How do you fluidly blend the stories together? Here's what I have done a few times in the past. The system isn't perfect, but it's a good fix for most cases. Be warned though, this system was designed for linear gameplay with a little room for free roaming.

1) Make a blank doc in word and divide it into 2 colums. Don't worry about paper margins because you probably not going to print this out.

2) One colum is the game-play, the other is the sotry (as is happening right now).

3) write the gameplay on the left and space it out to leave room for text on the other side.

4) write the story on the right and align it with the gameplay (ie "what will the player be doing the moment that this aspect of the story is revealed to them?")

You can add speech as a third colum (so on-so fourth) as long as it all lines up. I'm thinking for a non-linear game you would just have key events not listed in the order they happen (because that cannot be determined) and then have the story beside them. I honestly don't know though because I've never tried it with a free-lance game.

As for gameplay elements, I usually have them in a seperate doc, or just in a different section. Skills, HUD, types of goals, regulated action, and other things are very hard to fit into the story-doc. What you can do is suggest ways in the story that the player can accomplish things.

Hope this helps and good luck finding the other answers you need!





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Original post by mancerelectro
First one I thought of was the original that the other more or less sprouted from. Everyone has played a haunted prison game, or seen a haunted prison movie, or heard of one. Well, this story places a convicted child rapist behind bars at a low security prison. Already public enemy number one for the nature of his crimes, he has no idea that his only enemies aren't those that surround him. He finds, in his sleep, that he has bizarre nightmares that appear to be twisted replays of his day. He soon realizes that should something happen positively or negatively during the day, it can affect him that night in this prison. Worse yet, what happens to him at night can affect his next day as well, or at least him and his cell physically. He has to find a way out before he ends up dead or insane, and he has many paths to take that lead him out. I need to has out a full blood story here but that's story one in a nut shell.


One of the biggest problems with this concept is that it is going to be nigh on impossible to persuade anyone to care about the main character. Why on earth would I want to rescue this sick bastard? I think I'd probably spend most of my time trying to make him die in the most horrible ways possible.

If you picked a different crime; something that the player might be able to understand and forgive, or at least vaguely relate to in an 'anti hero' kind of way, it might have some potential for an adventure game or story RPG. But child molesting is the sort of crime that very few people are going to want to associate themselves with in any remotely positive way.

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Original post by Sandman
One of the biggest problems with this concept is that it is going to be nigh on impossible to persuade anyone to care about the main character. Why on earth would I want to rescue this sick bastard? I think I'd probably spend most of my time trying to make him die in the most horrible ways possible.


I would have addressed this, but I figured most of it kind of went without saying. I also was thinking that you had tossed that idea in favor of the second one (a wise choice).

Anyway, yes, he has a very good point. Players would much rather rescue a murderer than a rapist, not suggesting you use that as a character trait either.

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Original post by TheKrust
Quote:
Original post by Sandman
One of the biggest problems with this concept is that it is going to be nigh on impossible to persuade anyone to care about the main character. Why on earth would I want to rescue this sick bastard? I think I'd probably spend most of my time trying to make him die in the most horrible ways possible.


I would have addressed this, but I figured most of it kind of went without saying. I also was thinking that you had tossed that idea in favor of the second one (a wise choice).

Anyway, yes, he has a very good point. Players would much rather rescue a murderer than a rapist, not suggesting you use that as a character trait either.


Well, if he's a convicted child rapist, you can always make it so he's been falsely accused...

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Original post by Delphinus
Well, if he's a convicted child rapist, you can always make it so he's been falsely accused...


Good point, but I have a feeling that material and story for the game would be a lot easier to write if a crime had actually been commited. Guilt could play a huge role in the story.

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