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AngeDechu

Show, don't tell.

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I heard, and I agree with this, that one of the best way to present a story is to show it, not tell it I thought about this, and tried to find a way to present my backstory. In this case, it's would be a very popular tale on this world, more or less the equivalent of the Illiad. (Like the Illiad, there are also much variations. It's refered jokingly in universe that there is additions with preachy versions, there are versions for ladies, with knights that often let drop the breastplats to show their virile chests, and versions will a lot of adventures, technically for kids, but very popular for adults) The idea is, this variety of version (the main character of the project love the story, and his actually interesting into collecting books about it. Let's not go much into the details here, but the main character want to teach her ''daughter'' to read, and she thought of that way to teach her-so actually, the reading of the book would not look too much out of place). The idea, explicitely mentionned, is that while the little adventures (say, the heroin arrive in X country) can be a sort of crash course in geography, it's really the start, start start of the tale that matters. Here is the gits of it. I thought to a sort of fairy tale, the ''Dit de l'Ondine'' (Tale of the Ondine), a fairy tale that explains the core concept of this universe. I will make two posts. One the ''full tale'', the other the tale with explanation. The thing is, tell me if the tale (without expplanations) is too obvious. At the end of the Great War, Eden was dying. Only a handful of ships had been able to take onboard some survivors, to take them into Exile beyond the Infinite Ocean. Among those survivors, there is the heroin of our tale. The thousand of names she have is a testimony of the fact that she had actually none. Alas ! The ship that took her onboard was a war vessel, a vessel whose had gallantly fought the Enemy, for long, long years. The name of the vessel was a battle fought long, long before the Great War: while the deeds of the ones who died on that day were impressive, it was ultimately a struggle that had been lost before it was started : not a battle for honour, for conquest, or even survival : merely, a fight against Oblivion. A much fitting name for the situation that Humanity was in. And yet, it must be known : the Enemy of those dark times had been defeated. Maybe such names gave hope to Humans...But whatever illustrious or infamous the name was, the ship was dying : it had fought too many battles to make such a journey. Yet, maybe it was the work of the Providence. Some of the ships that managed to flee Eden had a fortunate journey, a fast one: they could cross with ease the vastness of Infinite Ocean toward a small harbourage, where they could hide from the Enemy. But the Enemy had no need to actually follow them: as the destruction of Eden made mad with grief the crews of those vessels, the corruption, the lies of the Enemy took root among them. To fight the Beast, they became the Beast. And soon, the harbourage was cinders. But the vessel of the heroin of the tale was slow : he could not keep up with the others ships, and it’s travel took more time. He arrived at the harbourage long, long after the other vessels. And when it finally arrived, it was wrecked, on sight of the promised shores. When the heroin of the tale woke up of the dark sleep she had been put up, she was alone, among a sea of wreckage. From her ships, but others too. An Ondine, a mistress of the ships and water, a powerful spirit, had broke from her subjection to the treacherous commanders of the war vessels that were now serving the Enemy. How such a being could have gained the gifts of Compassion and Mercy is beyond comprehension : but the Ondine saved us all : while she had neither soul of conscience according to her so-called masters, she acted like she had. All this was because of the tears, of the distress, of the heroin of the tale. The Ondine took hope with her: maybe all was not lost for Humanity At the end of the Great War, Eden was dying. Only a handful of ships had been able to take onboard some survivors, to take them into Exile beyond the Infinite Ocean. (Terra was falling to the enemy, and only some spaceships managed to perform a minimal evacuation) Among those survivors, there is the heroin of our tale. The thousand of names she have is a testimony of the fact that she had actually none. (The heroin is a figurehead for the hundreds of thousands of Terrans who managed to evacuate) Alas ! The ship that took her onboard was a war vessel, a vessel whose had gallantly fought the Enemy, for long, long years. The name of the vessel was a battle fought long, long before the Great War: while the deeds of the ones who died on that day were impressive, it was ultimately a struggle that had been lost before it was started : not a battle for honour, for conquest, or even survival : merely, a fight against Oblivion. A much fitting name for the situation that Humanity was in. And yet, it must be known : the Enemy of those dark times had been defeated. Maybe such names gave hope to Humans....(The ship name is Varsovie, for the Warsaw Insurrection in WW2-both the ghetto one and the 1944 one. The rest is pretty straightforward: known starships in this universe have names like Shiloh, Gettysburg, Antietam, Kursk, Normandy, Stalingrad, El-Alamein, Vercors, Valmy) But whatever illustrious or infamous the name was, the ship was dying : it had fought too many battles to make such a journey. Yet, maybe it was the work of the Providence. Some of the ships that managed to flee Eden had a fortunate journey, a fast one: they could cross with ease the vastness of Infinite Ocean toward a small harbourage, where they could hide from the Enemy (Several spaceships that evacuated Terra had working hyperdrives, allowing to a relatively fast travel to a remote colony world) But the Enemy had no need to actually follow them: as the destruction of Eden made mad with grief the crews of those vessels, the corruption, the lies of the Enemy took root among them. To fight the Beast, they became the Beast. And soon, the harbourage was cinders. (Here, this would go into the nature of the Enemy-let’s just say that the Enemy is not aliens or mysterious gods, but Humans themselves: totalitarism, specifically the fascist one. A civil war started, and Humans finished the job of the enemy, destroying from orbit their last cities on the colony world, for the sake of repressing dissent, and the like) But the vessel of the heroin of the tale was slow : he could not keep up with the others ships, and it’s travel took more time. (The hyperdrive of one ship was disabled, and he had to go at sublight speed) : he arrived at the harbourage long, long after the other vessels. And when it finally arrived, it was wrecked, on sight of the promised shores. (The last ship was destroyed as it was entering orbit) When the heroin of the tale woke up of the dark sleep she had been put up, she was alone, among a sea of wreckage. From her ships, but others too. An Ondine, a mistress of the ships and water, a powerful spirit, had broke from her subjection to the treacherous commanders of the war vessels that were now serving the Enemy. How such a being could have gained the gifts of Compassion of Mercy is beyond comprehension : but the Ondine saved us all : while she had neither soul of conscience according to her so-called masters, she acted like she had. (as the commander of the remaining Human fleet ordered to open fire on the wreckage of the sleeper ship, an Human AI system went rogue, but in a highly unusual way for mad computers : she did this to protect the last civilians Humans of the universe. She killed the crews of the ships) All this was because of the tears, of the distress, of the heroin of the tale. The Ondine took hope with her: maybe all was not lost for Humanity

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Quote:
Original post by AngeDechu
I heard, and I agree with this, that one of the best way to present a story is to show it, not tell it

The idea, explicitely mentionned, is that while the little adventures (say, the heroin arrive in X country) can be a sort of crash course in geography, it's really the start, start start of the tale that matters.


If the player can talk to strangers, maybe have a dialog option that says "Where do you come from?" Instead of the NPC saying where they come from, a globe zips onto the screen and zooms in super-fast to the country, with it's name. Something like under two seconds.

Sorry, couldn't get into the story. Too many words for video.

The game Mass Effect has a bunch of planets that are time killing filler (can't land on them, or survey them) but someone wrote a paragraph of details for each one. Maybe there's someone who read them. I was busy playing a video game at the time.

[Edited by - AngleWyrm on June 21, 2008 4:16:18 AM]

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It's fairly obvious, but I don't think that's a problem at all. The player will realize soon enough that it was referring to spaceships even if they didn't figure that out from the story. The rogue AI is a little more subtle, but doesn't seem to matter as much.

What I'm saying is, why bother hiding what will become obvious extremely shortly? I'm actually in favor of cutting out the back-story and just telling the player straight out in a traditional narration what happened.

Also, make sure that you get someone to proof read your stories! I get the impression that you don't speak English as your first language, which is fine, but you should definately get someone who does to go over it for you. And I like it when important characters have names. It makes it easier to refer to them.

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