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pingz

The player character... defined or not?

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pingz    128
I''m debating the merits of a having a main character ( which the player becomes ) which is well defined or very vaguely defined. Most games define the character with a name, look, and backstory and the player is supposed to want to be that character. I''m considering whether i''m better off leaving the player character undefined, putting in some persona creation, and fabricating the delivery of the story line so that details of the main character are never needed. Does anyone have any pros and cons to these approaches? Thanks for the help. Tom

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StrangeFate    170
Depending on the game, you might want to find reasons why the player should do what''s expected from him, or to justify what he knows, or his abilities, whatever.

Take Max Payne, his family got murdered so he goes on a very agressive personal vendetta. I personally without that motivation, would just walk home and have some fish and chips wathcing TV.
It can work if you have a misc char in a misc daily environment that gets involved right then in some stuff, lets say he awakes a morning and someone gives him a blue and red pill to choose from.

Otherwise, dunno if it''s a good idea to throw the player in a new and unknown fantasy/SF enrimonment and say ''THERE you are, now have fun''.

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Guest Anonymous Poster   
Guest Anonymous Poster
it depends completely on what kind of game you are making, and what the story is like.
strangefate has a good point, to have a completely undefined player character, something must happen at the beginning of the game to motivate him to do whatever it is he is supposed to do. otherwise, why would he do anything?
what type of game are you thinking of here? what is the story like?

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pingz    128
It''s a car racing game. Typically these sorts of games have little if any plot to them. So the player has some level of motivation, as he wants to race the car around. At least i hope he does as he''s bought a racing game, but i do see the StrangeFate''s point. My current story line is in it''s very early stages. It takes place over three acts each of which are different evolutions of the player''s racing career. I''m currently considering adding a few alternate acts and changing the direction of the story on the player''s performance. Tom

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Guest Anonymous Poster   
Guest Anonymous Poster
well, for a racing game, it probably doesn''t matter... unless you DO have some storyline. i mean, the character can be as simple as "you decide to sign up for the so-and-so racing league"...
if you do want to create a decent plot, the question is still up in the air, depending on how the storyline goes. would it work better if you defined the charater? or is it a simple enough (or variable enough) plot to easily conform to whatever persona the player creates?

--- krez (krezisback@aol.com)

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pingz    128
That''s the whole point. =) I do want a intriguing plot that ideally could stand on it''s own. I guess the real question is whether the player would rather create their own character ( via an a game feature or in their own mind ) or assume the role of one i''ve defined for them? It seems like it all comes down to the game designers choice here because both types of design have been commercially successful. Tom

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krez    443
why the hell does it keep calling me "anonymous poster"??? oh well...
um, i don''t think the player should be able to change anything that doesn''t affect the game at all... i mean, you CAN let them, but i know i personally would be pissed if i spent 10 minutes making my character the specific way i wanted him, just to find out that the game was exactly the same as if i had used the default options...
you might let them pick what they look like, if the game ever shows the character, but that is all that i can think of for a racing game. everything else in the game would basically be based on the player''s driving skills and reflexes... nothing that the created persona would affect.
so, if you want to use your plot, either (a) say nothing about the character, and let the player assume what they like, or (b) define the character for them, so it fits the story. the only way a "persona creation process" would be necessary would be if there is more to the game than racing.

--- krez (krezisback@aol.com)

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krez    443
ah, another thing:
for a racing game (at least for me), being able to pick a car and customize it (both in the engine and tires, as well as the paint job) is a good idea.
i know that lotsa racing games have this, so it is not an original idea... but as i said before, for a racing game the actual play is based on the human player''s reflexes and control. thus, any player-character attributes are more or less expressed in the game simply by how they drive each race. so, that leaves the car.

--- krez (krezisback@aol.com)

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StrangeFate    170
In that case i''d let it blank and let the player phantasize about his character, if there''s a story just make sure it''s not connected with the character in any way.

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pingz    128
quote:
the only way a "persona creation process" would be necessary would be if there is more to the game than racing.

I agree. If i added persona creation it would serve two purposes:

* As a profile to store on to the memory card or hard drive with the player's cars, save games, stats, and replays.

* Define a look to the player's character which will be seen in the replays and possibly the cut scenes if we do them in engine.
quote:
In that case i'd let it blank and let the player phantasize about his character, if there's a story just make sure it's not connected with the character in any way.

It seems like i'm going to just that, yet i will let the player define a name, gender, and look for their character. Tom

Edited by - pingz on October 13, 2001 11:43:42 PM

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