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Noddy92

Need help with a story

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Noddy92    193
Hi everyone,

So I'm developing a TPS set in the present day, in which you play a criminal. I know what will my game look like, but I have trouble creating a good story. My first concept was:

"After a heist you have been betrayed and left to die. With last bits of strenght, you manage to call your girlfriend, who helps you and takes you to the doctor. After spending several months recovering, you begin searching for person who betrayed tou, and your money."

I have a problem developing a story after this point, because I don't want to create a cliche, or just another stupid crime plot.

So I need your help and advice to make this a good story,

Thanks in advance,
Noddy92 Edited by Noddy92

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Noddy92    193
OK, thanks for the advice. In the begining I though, to make a story that would just be the excuse plot to start shooting, but after reading this, I really got some ideas.

And I thought story to be about the money to pay of debts, like in the Payback. Edited by Noddy92

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Digivance    1724

I have to agree that those two ideas in themselves are cliche and already on the edge of loosing my interest (because I've seen that so many times in movies, games, rap music and real life).  If you are really determined to go with the idea of being a criminal who needs to get dirty to pay off some debts you will need something ground breaking to make the story interesting in the least.  Sorry to sound so harsh but in my opinion it's truth that needs to be carefully considered towards the overall story design.

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Got_Rhythm    559
*raises hand* I have an idea!

What if, your character is the traitor who screwed over the rest of the heist gang, and has to spend the duration of the game evading revenge plots from the other members of the heist?

That could be a slightly more original take on the genre, i mean shows like Breaking Bad and Dexter prove people enjoy following the 'bad guy'.

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Noddy92    193
Hm... that's actually not a bad idea, considering how many games have player do good things through the game. Edited by Noddy92

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Noddy92    193

OK, so I've been thinking a lot about a story, so starting from scratch, how about this:

 

You play a criminal who ownes a lot of money to the boss of the family, so you and your friend come up with a plan to hot a payroll van.

The job goes smoothly, but as just as you are about to take the money, your friends tells you that he has been hired by the boss to kill you and take the money. He then shoots you, take the money and leaves you to die.

 

I just came up with the beginning, and I need your criticism to improve it. I know I never wrote a crime story, so any help will be appreciated.

 

Thanks in advance, 

 

Noddy92

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Zac Andrews    129

 I like Got_rythems Idea about you being the traiter.

Could it have dynamic trust system ?
Where you have teams of criminals on your side and teams that are out to get you. But depending on the players dialog choices and their actions with those different teams he can influence the size of his army and even turn teams against each other. You could create a really nice back stroy with intergang wars using a family tree and timeline.

That could make for a dynamic story and interesting player choice based on greed and moral delemma.

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Shay Yizhak    200

What you have here, is called a premise. It's not a plot, or a story yet, just the beginning of one.

The way I get it - you just want to have a background story, so you can have a reason to start shooting baddies.

 

Well, that's nice and all, but your story will need some kind of progression between levels.

 

How about his:

 

You play a small-time crook who decides to rob a mob-boss to get ahead in life. You get your best friend to help you with the job, since he's already employed as a driver for that mob-boss. At the end of the heist, he betrays you and shoots you, to gain favor with the boss. You drop into a coma.

 

Years pass. You wake up from your coma, bent on revenge. Your loving girlfriend, who has taken care of you all this time had also took the time to gather all the information you need in order to get to the boss.

 

In turns out, that during your coma, your best "friend" is not the boss'es right hand man. But in order to get to any of them, you'll have to find them, and the road to them goes through their henchmen, and loyalies.

 

So you start your journey. You get a gun (or whatever) and goes after the low-level crooks in the mob. As you finish off each of them, they reveal a detail that gets you to your next target, or closer to your real target - the boss, or your friend.

 

From this point, there's a lot you can do. For example, you could reveal during the final showdown with your "friend" that there was no way out of this, and he shot you and put you in a coma cos that was the only way to save your life (otherwise, you'll both be dead). You can have the girlfriend kidnapped by the mob, when they start getting angry and fearful. There are many options. Let your imagination fly.

 

Start writing down the story. It may take a while, but it's the basis for your entire game.

 

Oh, and one last thing: the fact that a story is a cliche doesn't make it bad. Many great games/movies have been based on cliched stories. It's not the premise that counts, but the execution, so don't be discourages if you don't have the MOST original idea.

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Noddy92    193

Thanks for the advice, very nice point of view of the story. Everything is great, something like this I always had in mind, but I always thought, that would be a cliche, and it will look like something else. But I think you're right many games are based on cliches, like Max Payne, GTA, etc.

 

Once again thanks for the advice

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Bruno Primiano    101

OK, thanks for the advice. In the begining I though, to make a story that would just be the excuse plot to start shooting, but after reading this, I really got some ideas.

And I thought story to be about the money to pay of debts, like in the Payback.

Noddy,

 

there are a fill problems in you idea.

 

- first: what's wrong with cliches? There's a lot of stories with common plots. it all depends on how you manage the plot to show your story. This article gives a good idea of the basic plots to start.

 

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Thirty-Six_Dramatic_Situations

 

- Second: you need more details about genre. TPS is too big. It could be something like GTA, wiht a giant story, lots and lots of turn arounds, etc. But it also could be something like Max Payne, with levels, more linear. Without this its hard to give any tip. Anyway, a good start is to define why the character was shot.

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Noddy92    193

first: what's wrong with cliches? There's a lot of stories with common plots. it all depends on how you manage the plot to show your story.

 

I don't have anything against cliches, it just that every time I wrote a draft of the story somone would come and say: "You know what wasn't that in that game that I played, or movie,...."

And I read book on game design and writing, and they all said that your story must be something original, and groundbreaking. But my main problem is finding a good reason for betrayal.

 

 

As for the game it's something like Max Payne, with a strong plot, with levels that aren't all too much linear.

Edited by Noddy92

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Woland    372

Whichever idea you choose, it will always sound like a cliche if it's summed up in 2-3 sentences, so I wouldn't worry about that. Look at Final Fantasy V plot summary for example: there are these 4 warriors that find 4 crystals with powers of the 4 elements. You can't be more cliche than that, yet the story was considered really deep and engaging.

 

I would gladly help you some more, but I know too little about the game - "TPS" isn't exactly the description of mechanics and these need to be taken into consideration when writing a story. Think twice what narrative means you want to use for this game and how story-heavy you want it to be when you are having doubts when putting together a very, very general plot.

 

Remember, that even the worst movie can be sometimes saved by a good actor. Even most cliche story can be saved by a well-thought of character. If you are having a problem developing a main hero, treat it like an RPG - decide on the gender/class/skills/attributes and all that stuff. Do all you can not to make the character OP, give it some faults (just don't make it a bearded alcoholic - Raynor and Payne pretty much stole the show here), also try to give a chance for the player to identify with at least some of your hero's characteristics. For example, f you make it 100% cold-blooded bastard people might find it too abstract.

 

Good luck!

Edited by Woland

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Noddy92    193

So I have been working on the story and the characters, and here is what I created. In game you assume a role of Michael Porter a criminal who has been betrayed. I wrote the story, (its synapsis) so here goes:

 

 

"Owning 150,000 dollars, to the Mafia, Michael Porter made a plan to rob a payroll van. With the help of his girlfriend Sarah Johnson, and his friend Shane Brooks, he managed to rob the payroll van smoothly. There was almost 250,000 dollars, which was more than enough. When Michael finished packing his share of the money, Shane said that he would never payoff that debt. Then he pointed his gun at Michael and explained that if he kills him he would do Mafia a favor, and also would make a name for himself. Michael tries to pull his gun out, but Brooks shoots him twice, and leaves him to die.

After spending six months recovering, Michael gets a gun from his stash and starts looking for Brooks. Sarah tells him that she was tracking Brooks for three months, before he went silent. Now he is nowhere to be found, like he just disappeared. The last she saw him was in the “Archer Hotel”. Michael goes there, only to be ambushed by the mafia that knew his was coming. After the shootout, he finds letters addressed to Brooks with his new address. He heads there when he receives a phone call from Brooks, who tells him that he has Sarah with him and that he is waiting in Michael’s apartment. Michael storms the place kills three goons and finds Brooks pointing his gun at tied up Sarah. Michael enters the room, but Brooks shoots Sarah, and escapes through the fire escape. Michael tries to save her, but she is already fatally shot. He goes through the fire escape and starts chasing Brooks. He eventually corners
Brooks, asks him about the job, and he finds out that he didn’t had choice, and that the mafia ordered him to kill them both. Michael learns where the mafia key people are, and then he massacres Brooks. He first heads for the bosses right hand man Johnson, who he finds in the mafia owned bar. After a shootout and chase he finds out from Johnson, that the boss is the man named Marvin and that he will get to him. Michael shoots him in the leg and picks up his car keys. As he leaves the bar he is captured and taken to the “Archer Hotel”. There he manages to get free and learns that the Marvin is in the top suite. Michael manages to get to the top suite where he confronts Marvin and shoots him. He takes the money from the safe, and in that moment the police arrives and arrests him."  

 

I need you to tell me what you think about this, and give me some feedback. Please be as honest as you can, so I can learn on my mistakes. And also this is my third, or forth draft, just so you know that it's not final.

 

Thanks in advance,

 

Noddy92

Edited by Noddy92

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Woland    372

There are some elements that make me wonder about the overall game design: "Michael shoots him in the leg". Why in the leg is not important. What's important is that it most likely will be a cutscene. There's maybe nothing wrong with that, but when I read the synopsis again, I find out that pretty much everything you wrote there is like a movie script and I am having a really hard time seeing where the player gets to actually do something or decide something as trivial as shooting in the leg or somewhere else...

 

Really hard to help you here, without knowing even the basics of the game's design and how much story-driven it is going to be.

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Noddy92    193

You're right it looks like a movie script, but it's because I don't know how else to write it. I looked at other game design from other people, like Doom Bible, or Fallout, and the story synapsis was always like a movie script. You know what I mean, like when you open wikipedia about a game, and there it is plot, shortened so that everyone can understand. This game is going to be strongly story driven, just imagine Max Payne from a diffrent perspective.

 

But did you liked it? Is it too cliche or not?

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Woland    372

Game scripts are usually really basic and cliche, so I wouldn't worry about it. However, if the game is going to be strongly story-driven, then in my opinion you will have to squeeze in some more original elements. Something people saw only dozens, not thousands of times. Something that will make them stop for a while and think or some turn of events they weren't anticipating or at least wasn't obvious. As a base, your story can be worked with. Depending how you lead it with dialogues and character development, it can either become crappy or nicely told.

 

I don't want to say whether I liked it or disliked, as my opinion is strongly biased. I generally don't like story/dialogue-heavy games. I prefer designs like ICO or Dark Souls, where the story is told by gameplay, not by cutscenes.

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Noddy92    193

Thanks for the advice, man. I really to like when the story is told through the gameplay, but I guess there is nothing wrong with a couple of cutscenes. I'll go now and work on the game and its story. 

 

Once again thanks for your time and advice,

 

Noddy92

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ShiftyCake    729

Ahhhh, you see I'd like to tweak your story a bit. You know what I love seeing in scripts such as this? not the classic "friend betrayal", but rather a betrayal within a betrayal.

Let's do this on Sarah.

Up to the point where Brook gives you  phone call, I won't change. But after that yes.

We'll start with the phone call.

Have Brooke's (you don't know this, it's a mystery man) say something along the lines of "

Here the story will progress where upon he goes back to where his girlfriend is, only to be jumped on by three men who knock him unconscious  He gets blindfolded and taken, and when his blindfold is taken off his girlfriend is standing there.

Except she's standing next to the Mafia Boss (whom you know by now).

At first you are confused, but as the betrayal finally sinks in you scream in agony, where upon someone knocks you unconscious again.

Then the mystery man comes to save you, yelling at you to hurry and leave with him. Soon after that you discover he is Brooks, and learn that it was Sarah who betrayed you all those years ago, and that he had escaped with you and gone into hiding. About a month ago his place was discovered, and he saw the hospital surrounded by mafia. He left, in order to find a way to help me.

Then they get surrounded etc., and find out that letting me live was a way to catch my friend.

 

Don't need to continue, but you get the idea. This twists the plot further, you could take it even further but there is no need.

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Noddy92    193

Nice plot twisting there cool.png, but I wanted in the story to know who betrayed you, to see them betraying you. But I think I can make that the mafia boss betrays you, when you try to payoff your debt. Then I have just one question, if the mafia boss betrays you, wouldn't that be a little clihce? Anyway after reading my story again, I find it increadibly generic and boring, your idea is a nice inspiration, Thanks for the advice.

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Got_Rhythm    559

You say that Sarah helps on the original heist, which makes her sound like cool sexy strong criminal girl, but then she is tied up and murdered very early in the game, which makes her sound like a weak submissive damsel in distress.

Without more information, these ideas clash in my head...

Either she should stay cool and strong and adept and shouldn't be killed early in the story, OR if she is to remain weak and uninteresting and die early then she shouldn't be along for the initial heist.

Both of my solutions are very cliche female roles in a story of this kind though, so feel free to ignore me for the sake of originality.

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Noddy92    193

Well I ment for her to be killed somewhere in the middle of the game, after a fight, but I think you're right. I think I will do what Shifty Cake wrote, and make her look like the bad guy. I noticed that there aren't that many female anatgonists, and this would just fine.

 

Thanks for the advice.

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