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Opwiz

Looking for feedback on my plot

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Hello I'm developing a racing-type game where you travel in a futuristic airplane/spaceship and have to destroy crystals that contains musical notes that are trapped inside. I have the following plot: The journey begins in a distant future on earth. The world is asleep. The music is gone. The fate of humanity is closing in. The sound of heavy machines echoes throughout the many square buildings of the world. But the music in the lives of humans has quieten down to a mere whisper. Your spaceship is piercing the sky in the distance. You are humanitys last hope to find the music that has been lost. The epic journey is an emotional experience. Throughout the game you get a sense of curiosity and mystery as you travel into new worlds. The music in the game gives a sense of sorrow and hope, excitement and relief. Finishing the game is supposed to be a transforming experience. Colors in the game is saturated to give a meditative feeling and a feeling of realism. The music in the game is chill-out, electronic, ambient- style. I have a few of questions regarding the plot: 1. What is your opinion of the plot. Is it too vague/abstract? Any other comments? 2. What is the best way to communicate the plot to the player? I can have a scrolling text that reveals the plot in the beginning of the game.. or somehow reveal it gradually throughout the game. What do you think. 3. Is it a good idea to have a kind of slow meditative feeling for a game that is essentially a racing game? Can it work? Thanks for reading, /Opwiz

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I'll byte :). I like the way your going with the game originality wise i mean. I can't say much about the plot of your game, but as a teaser i think it was pretty good. like the few words u see flash in a trailer of a game. Id better describe it as a synopsis.
1. How is the world going to end because theres no music? Have people become dependent on music like the majority of todays vehicles are dependent on gasoline? Giant killer music vaporizing gundam like robots?

Personally if i read just that i would probably have no interest. reading your idea for the game and that has me slightly intrigued. i also like abstract.

#2. star wars style... boring. whether u want to drop the story on them like a ton o bricks in the beginning or stretch it out till the end is entirely up to u and how u want to convey your story. They could have told everyone in the beginning of the movie that Darth Vader was Luke Skywalker's father, but i fail to see how it'd be as great.

3. For that i would say - I remember when ppl thought that trying to splice together first person shooters and rpgs was a asking to fail. or when ppl thought music games in general would never catch on. I say if you think it'll work give it a try. it all depends on how u put it together. if it sounds good in your head and looks good on paper then go for it. if it doesn't turn out quite as good in practice.... well "nothing ventured..."

All my opinion tho, nothing more. hope it helped

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Original post by megaxx099
1. How is the world going to end because theres no music? Have people become dependent on music like the majority of todays vehicles are dependent on gasoline? Giant killer music vaporizing gundam like robots?


Thanks for the reply :). I guess the music is to symbolise the "soul" or heart of humanity. By music is lost I kinda mean that people are loosing hope, getting depressed, loosing faith in that technological advances and achievements will make them happier. Maybe I should spell that out more clearly.

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Original post by Opwiz
I'm developing a racing-type game where you travel in a futuristic airplane/spaceship and have to destroy crystals that contains musical notes that are trapped inside. I have the following plot:

The journey begins in a distant future on earth. The world is asleep. The music is gone. The fate of humanity is closing in. The sound of heavy machines echoes throughout the many square buildings of the world. But the music in the lives of humans has quieten down to a mere whisper. Your spaceship is piercing the sky in the distance. You are humanitys last hope to find the music that has been lost.

It's not exactly a plot that's going to keep the player engaged because they just *must* find out what happens next.
I'm not sure if you can even call it a plot. It's a 5-sentence background setting which doesn't really make sense.
Why would you look for music in space in the first place? There's no sound in space, and apart from that, I doubt separating yourself from the music that is presumably outside by a spaceship hull would do much for the sound quality. Why can't people just put on a cd? Or start a band? What happens if I don't find this music? How can you "find" music in the first place? Isn't it something you make? (And last but not least, what kind of idiot decides, upon realizing that he is humanity's last hope, than he must find music for his people, to build a spaceship? Any sane person would have built some musical instruments instead.)
Yes, it sounds very symbolic and metaphysical, but that in itself isn't going to impress anyone.

So my main question is, why bother? Does your game need a plot? The gameplay sounds sufficiently intriguing to be worth playing regardless of what story-wise "excuses" you come up with explaining it. Tetris didn't need a plot. (Perhaps more relevant, Audiosurf didn't need a plot) Use a plot if you have a story to tell. If you just want the player to experience the game, why bother with a plot?

Anyway, what is the plot? What happens during the game? What is the story? So far, you've only described the setting in which it begins.
The sentence "Some people are sitting in an airplane on the way to an island" isn't the plot of the movie Jurrasic Park. It's just a very brief summary of the beginning of the movie. The plot is what happens during the movie, not what you're told when it starts.
So what is the plot of your game? And how would you even present this to the player before the game? Considering the plot is the story that unfolds as you play, telling the player the entire story before the game can't really work very well.

If you have a plot, then you'll have to tell it during the game.

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3. Is it a good idea to have a kind of slow meditative feeling for a game that is essentially a racing game? Can it work?

I don't see why not. Only way to know for sure is to test it, of course, but I don't see a problem with it.

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Original post by Spoonbender
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Original post by Opwiz
I'm developing a racing-type game where you travel in a futuristic airplane/spaceship and have to destroy crystals that contains musical notes that are trapped inside. I have the following plot:

The journey begins in a distant future on earth. The world is asleep. The music is gone. The fate of humanity is closing in. The sound of heavy machines echoes throughout the many square buildings of the world. But the music in the lives of humans has quieten down to a mere whisper. Your spaceship is piercing the sky in the distance. You are humanitys last hope to find the music that has been lost.

It's not exactly a plot that's going to keep the player engaged because they just *must* find out what happens next.
I'm not sure if you can even call it a plot. It's a 5-sentence background setting which doesn't really make sense.


True, this is more of a background than a plot. I don't think the plot is going to be more complicated than that as the game is not story-driven. It is like super mario, the princess has been kidnapped, mario has an excuse to travel through different worlds.

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Why would you look for music in space in the first place? There's no sound in space, and apart from that, I doubt separating yourself from the music that is presumably outside by a spaceship hull would do much for the sound quality.

The spaceship does not travel in space but rather through the sky (sorry that I was'nt clear enough on that). Notes trapped in crystals does not make much sense in a realistic world, but neither does blocks falling from the sky (tetris) or a plumber eathing mushrooms, hitting blocks to get coins of money (super mario), but I don't think that it has to make sense and it does not hurt the game.

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Why can't people just put on a cd? Or start a band? What happens if I don't find this music? How can you "find" music in the first place? Isn't it something you make? (And last but not least, what kind of idiot decides, upon realizing that he is humanity's last hope, than he must find music for his people, to build a spaceship? Any sane person would have built some musical instruments instead.)

I mention in my second post that the music is more of a symbol for the "soul" of life. The lost music is a metaphor for the humanity's deteriorated decondition - or rather the main characters condition that he projects on the rest of the world. The journey is the main characters persuit to find meaning and reclaiming the "soul" of his life.

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Yes, it sounds very symbolic and metaphysical, but that in itself isn't going to impress anyone.

I don't know if it will impress anyone, but there is a thought and a substance behind the plot.. I don't make it symbolic and metaphysical just to impress people.

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So my main question is, why bother? Does your game need a plot? The gameplay sounds sufficiently intriguing to be worth playing regardless of what story-wise "excuses" you come up with explaining it. Tetris didn't need a plot. (Perhaps more relevant, Audiosurf didn't need a plot) Use a plot if you have a story to tell. If you just want the player to experience the game, why bother with a plot?

The idea is to enhance the feeling and gameplay. I also thought about if the game needs a plot or not. I do want to give the player a meditative experience and I think the plot may help with that.

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Anyway, what is the plot? What happens during the game? What is the story? So far, you've only described the setting in which it begins.
The sentence "Some people are sitting in an airplane on the way to an island" isn't the plot of the movie Jurrasic Park. It's just a very brief summary of the beginning of the movie. The plot is what happens during the movie, not what you're told when it starts.
So what is the plot of your game? And how would you even present this to the player before the game? Considering the plot is the story that unfolds as you play, telling the player the entire story before the game can't really work very well.

You're right it is more of a background than a plot. As the game is not really driven by a story I don't think I need more than a background..

Anyway, thanks for your reply.

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The spaceship does not travel in space but rather through the sky (sorry that I was'nt clear enough on that). Notes trapped in crystals does not make much sense in a realistic world, but neither does blocks falling from the sky (tetris) or a plumber eathing mushrooms, hitting blocks to get coins of money (super mario), but I don't think that it has to make sense and it does not hurt the game.

On the other hand, Super Mario games don't pretend to take place in the real world. They don't talk about humanity or happiness or stuff like that. THeir games are simple. "Rescue the princess". And probably most importantly, the gameplay fits the plot. The plot is that the princess has been kidnapped, and is held in a castle in the Mushroom Kingdom. Given that, it makes perfect sense that Mario has to go through a funny-looking land, and kill mushroom-looking people.
but given your plot, which is basically that people are sad and need a little magic in their lives, how exactly does that explain a guy flying around in the sky shooting crystals? My point isn't that the setting is bad, or that there's not enough thought behind it, but just that it doesn't seem connected to the game. And if that connection isn't there, you might as well remove the plot entirely, and use it in a novel instead. [wink]
If you choose to have a plot in your game, then it should explain the player's goal and actions in the game in a meaningful way. I think my problem is that your plot is clearly not meant to be taken literally, it's full of symbolism and such. But the gameplay sounds strikingly, well, literal. You don't get much more real-world and literal than a spaceship shooting stuff. [grin]
That's something that begs to be taken at face value.

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The idea is to enhance the feeling and gameplay. I also thought about if the game needs a plot or not. I do want to give the player a meditative experience and I think the plot may help with that.

How, exactly? That'd depend a lot on how you present it. My immediate reaction upon reading the above plot would be to try to work out what the hell connects the story about people being unhappy to my spaceship and these crystals.

Apart from that, I think the games that are most effective at this kind of experience are the ones without a plot. Audiosurf would be a fair example here. You don't worry about being humanity's last hope, you just race, listen to the music, and watch the colored blocks. I think a plot would most likely subtract from the experience, at least unless it was presented very subtly, perhaps as images with no text whatsoever between levels, or something in-game, even. Something that gives the player an idea of the thoughts behind it, but without being explicit in speech or text. Leave it open to interpretation.

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Original post by Spoonbender
On the other hand, Super Mario games don't pretend to take place in the real world. They don't talk about humanity or happiness or stuff like that. THeir games are simple. "Rescue the princess". And probably most importantly, the gameplay fits the plot. The plot is that the princess has been kidnapped, and is held in a castle in the Mushroom Kingdom. Given that, it makes perfect sense that Mario has to go through a funny-looking land, and kill mushroom-looking people.

Just like movies like spirited away or crouching tiger, hidden dragon the setting may seem to be real world but it is actually one that follows its own (made up) rules and logic.

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but given your plot, which is basically that people are sad and need a little magic in their lives, how exactly does that explain a guy flying around in the sky shooting crystals? My point isn't that the setting is bad, or that there's not enough thought behind it, but just that it doesn't seem connected to the game. And if that connection isn't there, you might as well remove the plot entirely, and use it in a novel instead. [wink]
If you choose to have a plot in your game, then it should explain the player's goal and actions in the game in a meaningful way. I think my problem is that your plot is clearly not meant to be taken literally, it's full of symbolism and such. But the gameplay sounds strikingly, well, literal. You don't get much more real-world and literal than a spaceship shooting stuff. [grin]
That's something that begs to be taken at face value.


Well, the music is trapped in the crystals.. and the objective is to release the music. So I think it is connected to the plot, it is just that you have to buy that the universe of the game does not follow the same rules and logic as the real world.

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The idea is to enhance the feeling and gameplay. I also thought about if the game needs a plot or not. I do want to give the player a meditative experience and I think the plot may help with that.

How, exactly? That'd depend a lot on how you present it. My immediate reaction upon reading the above plot would be to try to work out what the hell connects the story about people being unhappy to my spaceship and these crystals.

Apart from that, I think the games that are most effective at this kind of experience are the ones without a plot. Audiosurf would be a fair example here. You don't worry about being humanity's last hope, you just race, listen to the music, and watch the colored blocks. I think a plot would most likely subtract from the experience, at least unless it was presented very subtly, perhaps as images with no text whatsoever between levels, or something in-game, even. Something that gives the player an idea of the thoughts behind it, but without being explicit in speech or text. Leave it open to interpretation.

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Audiosurf is a great game and I think a plot in a game like Audiosurf would get in the way. The game is supposed to be easy to get into, you play the game to beat a highscore and not really to get an emotional experience (perhaps adrenaline rush and sense of excitement). It may be a good idea to not spell the background story out though and leave it to interpretation.. It's probably not a bad idea.

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Noticed a flaw in my background. It's never explained how the music got lost in the first place. Also might be a good idea to make the story more concrete. I'll change it to something like:

An evil force has stolen all the music in the world and trapped the music in crystals. Your job is to bring the music back.

The plot is kind of like the plot in the amiga game "Wizball" where and evil wizard has stolen all the colors from the world.

I don't want it to be an evil wizard though as my game has more of a sci-fi setting..

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