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Improving Expository Event Systems

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I've encountered games* that use a system of describing an event in text and giving you options in response. I was thinking about using the idea heavily to generate events that then generate what the player encounters on the map. The advantage would be giving context to situations that I don't have the resources to design and develop. An example for the space game I'm thinking about would be a message telling you what happens when you dock at a space station or send an away team down to a planet. What I'm unsure about is what kind of content to put into this. The game's a vehicle game, so you don't necessarily have a body. So if you get an event that you got involved in a bar fight while in port, it may ring hollow. What would you do to improve such a system? I was thinking of a way to somehow allow you to invent responses, rather than having only scripted responses. Maybe there would be a formal system for encounters, which explained the situation, gave you default options, but also gave you access to an inventory screen and basic tacks you could take, such as Violent or Sneaky. Thoughts? * = Civilization IV, The Sims 2, Escape Velocity, Strange Adventures In Infinite Space, Galactic Civilization

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I would probably have the vehicle's computer contain a personal log. After the event happens an entry could be made in the log. After describing the situation you could let the player basically finish the log entry by selecting different choices and then after a choice is made, the result of the decision would be entered into the log. The main thing here is that you're going to have to make the writing interesting and give the person who's writing the log a personality and keep that personality consistent between logs or if you want to evolve the character change the writing style of the log entries little by little to show the change.

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Escape Velocity uses this technique pretty heavily. As with your example, the player controls a ship, and has no other body, but the bar fights don't come off as hollow (at least to me). Despite the game being bashed on a regular basis for putting words in the player's mouth, it remains one the story systems I have most enjoyed.

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Original post by Edge Damodred
I would probably have the vehicle's computer contain a personal log. After the event happens an entry could be made in the log. After describing the situation you could let the player basically finish the log entry by selecting different choices and then after a choice is made, the result of the decision would be entered into the log.


Hmmmm... so you would be explaining what you did after the fact, completing the log? So if it's "At the port I met the smuggler. He suggested taht I could spring my father out of jail or appeal to the governor. I told him I'd..."
1) Spring my father out of jail
2) Appeal to the governor

or something like that?


Quote:
Original post by swiftcoder
Escape Velocity uses this technique pretty heavily. As with your example, the player controls a ship, and has no other body, but the bar fights don't come off as hollow (at least to me). Despite the game being bashed on a regular basis for putting words in the player's mouth, it remains one the story systems I have most enjoyed.


EV's been a great inspiration.

Would you have preferred it if you got more choice in the action? Most of the time you just get "Yes" "No" options. I was thinking of breaking such a system up in such a way that you could have more of a say in what it is you do.

But this may not really be relevant, as the main action is out in space.

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Original post by Wavinator
Quote:
Original post by Edge Damodred
I would probably have the vehicle's computer contain a personal log. After the event happens an entry could be made in the log. After describing the situation you could let the player basically finish the log entry by selecting different choices and then after a choice is made, the result of the decision would be entered into the log.
Hmmmm... so you would be explaining what you did after the fact, completing the log? So if it's "At the port I met the smuggler. He suggested taht I could spring my father out of jail or appeal to the governor. I told him I'd..."
Fable does this, and it annoys the hell out of me - mostly because it tells you far more in the log than you ascertained in the cutscene/conversation. In many cases, I spent ages running around in circles looking for something, only to discover that the location had been written in my otherwise useless log, without anyone telling me.
Quote:
Quote:
Original post by swiftcoder
Escape Velocity uses this technique pretty heavily. As with your example, the player controls a ship, and has no other body, but the bar fights don't come off as hollow (at least to me). Despite the game being bashed on a regular basis for putting words in the player's mouth, it remains one the story systems I have most enjoyed.
EV's been a great inspiration.
Would you have preferred it if you got more choice in the action? Most of the time you just get "Yes" "No" options. I was thinking of breaking such a system up in such a way that you could have more of a say in what it is you do. But this may not really be relevant, as the main action is out in space.
TBH, I don't think it would make much of a difference - the plot lines were fairly simple, and wouldn't have benefited from over-complication. If the game were focused on the player, I would say go for it, but with the game focussing on the ship...

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