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Harmica

How to identify the main character

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Harmica    100
Hello. I'm writing a story about my game which will be heavily RP oriented.
The only problem I have so far is... How will I identify the main character the easiest way?

The game will have a heavy character customization at the beginning similar to Baldur's Gate. But I'm having trouble with the thing mentioned. Warcraft 3 had a nice way of dealing with this since you play you play with solid characters.

Anyway does anyone know any solutions to this?

Help would be appreciated :)

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KazenoZ    152
That's wholy a design oriented question, you have a number of options:
-You can cover the character with a bright auralike outline.
-You can make it significantly bigger in comparison to the others.
-You can make the color scheme on it stand out from the rest(Like, if all the other characters are blue, make it red).

You have a lot of possibilities, it's a question of design and creativity, go wild, see what works best =)

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Harmica    100
Thanks :P But not really what I meant :)
I meant when writing stories for possible sequels... I mean if you are writing about your hero defeating a powerfull boss.
How should I mention that character in the Lore? Since the player will choose his own appearance, race, class and name for the character.

One thing I could think of was to have several "Epic" Heroes accompany the main character through the epic quests, and only mention them in the sequels. But I would rather try other ideas first :)

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DarklyDreaming    367
Look at games like Oblivion and how they did it. Mostly it boils down to not mentioning the character directly (if voiced), mentioning the character like normal (but only in text) or having a pre-determined name and using that instead (Mass Effect)

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JoeCooper    350
Zelda, man. Case study time.

Ocarina of Time: "You are the Hero of Time!"

Majora's Mask: "Whatup, Hero of Time" + Flashbacks to Ocarina of Time

This establishes that Majora's Mask is the continuing adventures even if you give your character a different name and [i]even if you didn't play Ocarina of Time[/i].

Wind Waker: "We're all celebrating that ancient hero who wore that green tunic, let's put it on for hero day or whatever" + Meeting ancient king, etc.

Twilight Princess: "Link, you are the reincarnation of the hero of time, here, wear this green tunic" + ancient ruins of the Temple, etc.

It cleanly establishes that whoever, however you're playing, right now you're playing a character with this relation to that character and game, no matter how you designed or named your character at the time - or if you played at all.

On a final note, "Hero of Time" wasn't just fluff words like "Chaos Rings" in a game about a bureaucratic contest. The Hero of Time time travelled in Ocarina of Time. So if you use an epic title, make sure it has [i]real meaning[/i]. It can also be as understated as "you're that dude who did that thing weren't you".

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Durakken    692
I'm not sure what you're asking...

1. Are you asking how to mechanically identify the main character, as in who the character is playing?
2. Are you asking how to, in dialogue, refer to the player character?
3. are you asking how to decide, when writing, who the main character of story actually is?

1. This is a design issue. In games the main character is always defined by the character you play most and have control over the most. Generally it is established that the character you start with is the main character. There also various other things for design issues like you can make your character be highlighted or you can make it so that in a sea of browns and blacks your character wears yellow. This isn't really that hard but thi can come into conflict with the others which I'll get to.

2. This is both a writing and design issue. This wasn't an issue until voices were introduced into the world of games because when you changed the name of a character it just changed a variable, no biggy. But now we have added voices and we can't have every dialogue with a name in it have several thousands version with our tech today...and the whole forming words via having all the sounds a person can make just isn't there yet. So we have 3 solutions.
A. No one ever refers to any character other than through pronouns any character you have the ability to change the name of.
B. Have your characters have nicknames or variable names that are unchanging that the other characters call them. ie Mass Effect's "Shepard"
C. Disallow name changing

3. This is a rather interesting question and more or less writing issue and not a design issue, in my opinion because some people just have a knack for it or can write to a character being the main character while others I've heard rewrite their story constantly because they are telling this story and suddenly they realize that the prime mover in the story isn't who they are writing about but the secondary or tertiary character, as I've not written any lengthy pieces and I'm more the type that creates the main character as blank slate who is built upon as need be while telling the story and thinking about future ideas for where that story is going. But I want to bring up some examples where the main character "design" wise isn't the main character.

In Final Fantasy VI the main character is Terra, It's her story. However, Locke is the character we spend our time with. We find out very little about Locke through out the game while learning a lot about Terra. This works because we are learning with Terra and viewing the story of Terra through Locke's eyes more or less.

In Final Fantasy VII the main character is Sephiroth. However, we experience Sephiroth though Cloud who is an aspect of Sephiroth. When we're introduced to Cloud he's a blank slate. He is simply doing what he needs to do to get by and what he wants to do at the spur of the moment. He's Reactive rather than Active. Our first meeting with Sephiroth is one of mystery and fear. We can look at it as the main character having a part of his subconscious breaking into his conscious world and at this point he start to become Active. As we progress we have the remembering of trauma and the psyche split where Sephiroth is represented as the one realizing himself, the brown haired dude standing against Sephiroth, and Cloud being tossed aside helpless. We have cloud have an existential meltdown as he can no longer understand whether he is himself or his fear (Sephiroth) and in the climax we have Sephiroth at his most violent and claiming that Cloud is weakest of his aspects, but Cloud overcomes Sephiroth and in so doing becomes a more complete person. Sephiroth is the main character of the story because Sephiroth is the true self while Cloud is the animalistic ego.

In final Fantasy VII the main character is Edea. Edea acts through nations and as a result the character of Squall is not the main character, but rather, a limb of that which is the main character like all the other characters in your party. You all share the same past. The story of 8 is of a person in conflict with them self. They know they are on a destructive path, but don't quite know how to stop it. FF8 is pretty much the story of Edea having a mental conflict where she knows that the only way to stop herself is to kill herself. Your characters represent this realization and the want to make a world a better place, while the rest of the world and the incarnation she shows through out present time represents the survival instincts and the wish to continue on. While Squall and Rinoa represents the ideal, in her mind, of what love and symbiosis of both her sides would be. Hence why at the end you get that scene with the two of them and the world is faded away till it goes to white. This can be seen as Edea's conflict being resolved, finding peace and unity, and then transcending into Nirvana

In Final Fantasy IX the main character is the Zidane. It's again the story about growth from animal to learning you are nothing special to realizing that just because you are the same doesn't mean that you aren't special. It's a cathartic meditation on the importance of self within the group. Interestingly he is scene rejecting the notion of being above and better than the group, while still accepting uniqueness from the group. This is also echoed in the Black Mage Village.

Now we get to the bad stuff...

in Final Fantasy X the main character is... Yuna. The entire story is her journey, her realization of reality, and that she will be dead by the end of this journey. Tidus on the other hand is pretty much just along for the ride and doesn't think certain things are right and fights against those things. He's out of place and more importantly he's imaginary. He quite literally doesn't exist and is part of Yuna. One could argue that this entire adventure is the story of the Hindu reincarnation cycle where Yuna represents the self and Tidus the ego (much like FFVII) and that FFX-2 is Yuna having not died has lost her ego and needs to find it or risks losing herself, the problem with this is that to the western mind Tidus comes off as an arrogant idiot thinking it's his story and western people generally don't associate this with the reincarnation ideas and even when understanding it Yuna and Tidus not being in more conflict and Yuna liking Tidus is contrary to the way of thinking you should be in when looking at this story, further the Sin metaphor is all messed up with western and eastern traditions and confuses the viewer of the story.

In Final Fantasy XII the main character is... The world and the nations of that world. Ashe is a representative of an aspect of that world that has lost her place... She is the character in the story who has the perspective that the player should be viewing the world through. Instead we have Vaan. Vaan has little or nothing to do with anything that is going on and we are forced to view this world through his eyes which are focused on not being part of the world and his connection with Ashe is that of happenstance. We don't even see the world reflected from Ashe as viewed from Vaan. Vaan doesn't grow as he is given everything he wants, face no conflict, and is oblivious to the world that is shifting around him, Again one could make an argument for a metaphor about how the world is changing this way and that and you have the opportunity to be someone important in history, but you are blinded by the immediate too much to realize that true riches are passing you by... However, this is thrown out because you do eventually end up beating the last boss which would thrust you into that into that position which would go more along the lines of a metaphor that says, don't worry follow the temporal and the eternal will see to it that you are recognized as a great being.

In these two example we have the role of main character thrust onto a character that is neither the main character nor a character that the story is well told through. One can make arguments for how good their story/plot is, but in the end it doesn't matter because they are written in such a way you cannot understand what the story actually is because you don't have a proper point of view. it's like if you were to witness a crime, but be separate from it, say you were outside a store being robbed that ended with the store exploding. You are definitely not going to see the criminal's face, The cashier is likely obstructed by the criminal, and both their actions are obstructed the glass, each other, products in the way, and your own position of not wanting to get involved as well as various other psychological effects, like the fact is you are going to associate the building blowing up with the robbery taking place when in reality these events are separate and could or could not be related. Further more the games above have seemingly confusing metaphors that do not work right together because either something is missing from our information or something is wrong... ie in the robbery situation we assume we saw everything right and saw that the cashier blew up the building. This would make no sense to most of us and we would fail understand all of what went. This also brings up that the person best suited to be the main character for the player is the one acting or reacting and not the one viewing off to the distance. The story will always be much better served from the point of view of the Cashier or the Robber instead of the random witness.

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JoeCooper    350
Good, now make a second draft - and try to cut 20% off the word count - then I'll grade it and we can move on.



...Is that smackworthy? Hah. They took off the smack button. You can "like" this post or not.

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Durakken    692
[quote name='JoeCooper' timestamp='1310963618' post='4836636']
Good, now make a second draft - and try to cut 20% off the word count - then I'll grade it and we can move on.



...Is that smackworthy? Hah. They took off the smack button. You can "like" this post or not.
[/quote]

Funny thing... All that stuff from Final Fantasy was the topic of a paper I was going to write for a mythology class. I decided to not do it...or the paper in end cuz Ii didn't need it to pass and got myself into a hole analyzing east vs west rather than how they relate... after 10 hours of Joseph Campbell I was easily able to write all that and could have turned it into a proper paper, much longer... It strikes me that the teacher probably wasn't as good as Joseph Campbell ^.^ and teaching at that level likely would have been impossible for most of the students so meh ^.^ What I wrote is a 4 page college essay lol

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