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hpdvs2

Dynamic Stories for an MMO RTS...

8 posts in this topic

I am working on an Massively Multiplayer Online Real Time Strategy game.  I'm toying with the idea of individual stories to follow players.

 

1) They will start out building up a city, technologies and troops.  The city is safe.

2) They will deploy troops to other planets, and manage them directly in a Real Time Tactical Strategy.

3) Planets will be won and lost, which affect large numbers of players.

4) The battles for planets will continue until one side wins the entire planet, could be hours, could be months (actual time), with players regularly adding troops to fuel the battles with dozens of other players.

 

 

I've worked on Dynamic content generators before, but I was hoping some of you might have helpful insights that could make this better than my initial thoughts.  (I'm not posting my initial thoughts, and welcome complete flexibility for suggesting dynamic content.)

 

I may not use stories/plots at all.  At the moment, I'm just considering my options, and if a good idea can be done without a lot of work.  Suggest away!

 

Thanks.  :)

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Instead of just a RTS at universe level (which is also quite unique btw), you can think up something in terms of virtual reality.

Which means, not only can you kill to win, you can bribe to win, or assasinate some opposition member(s) to slow down their charge.

That brings in endless possibilities which I can't even begin to summarise here.

In order to create individual stories to follow players, you can use some psychology sketch for each player before their hero gets designated to them. There are sites to do a psychoanalysis for people, like rembrandtsketch, etc. This way player can feel completely in sync with her/his character. Good, bad or ugly, this can bring out the true colours of a player.

All I am saying is, RTS has unfortunately become a saturated genre, with not many new stories comiing up.

Even the 4 points you mentioned seem to be a cover song with new musical instruments.

Since you can use dynamic content generation as well as a match can go on for as long as some human lives, then why not make it "real".

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you should do an alliance system in my opinion. I remember it from WoW and other similar guild-themed MMOs, where multiple players can team up to increase the chance of victory. (Note: I mean this in terms of script, not development)

 

It would be really interesting if you could add the different psychology aspects suggested by NewDisplay. Your character could have specific options for him to be able to do, much like a choose your own adventure system like Mass Effect, but with constraints added to individual character models. You could play as a Morally Ambiguous bounty hunter and your friend could play as an elite soldier fighting for his country. You two would each have your own choices offered by the game, but your choices would be different do to your characters' traits. 

 

With this, not only would team-ups be much more IC involved, but it would be interesting to see how alliances and plots would turn out due to the different variables offered between match-ups. You could even design NPC characters that hunt after characters of specific affiliation, so some teammates will draw whole teams into fights because of their choices, or only work for characters that were born on a certain planet, so people would need to team up with other players in order to accomplish quests.

 

This system would allow for an interesting way of using the MMO feature in a new way, wouldn't it?

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[quote name='Deathbymanga' timestamp='1357708989' post='5019369']
you should do an alliance system in my opinion. I remember it from WoW and other similar guild-themed MMOs, where multiple players can team up to increase the chance of victory. (Note: I mean this in terms of script, not development)
 
It would be really interesting if you could add the different psychology aspects suggested by NewDisplay
[/quote]

 

 

interesting, and perhaps each person's story, seen from their point of view, tells them that they are the pinnacle of the force, the edge that is needed to win, and make your tasks/battles seem more pivotal.  Of course each player gets their own story that tells it as if they were the pivotal element instead.

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[quote name='Deathbymanga' timestamp='1357708989' post='5019369']
You could play as a Morally Ambiguous bounty hunter and your friend could play as an elite soldier fighting for his country. You two would each have your own choices offered by the game, but your choices would be different do to your characters' trait
[/quote]

 

To be clear, this is more like an RTS, with numerous troops under your command, however, this does lead to a very interesting point.  

 

Depending on the starting characteristics you choose, not only will your plot create a story/theme to follow, but it will also give you bonuses in particular directions.  Perhaps tactical advantages because of your history as a soldier, or financial economy bonuses because of your time as a diplomat, or perhaps better weapons due to your connections made and experience drawn from being a good scientist.  And the story would give these along the way, and then try to set you up in battles that bring out that advantage.

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sure, though the reason i agreed with individual traits was to try and work with alliances. Maybe there's a way you could involve alliances in the situation, as this is a MMO, you should make it more involved that just open competition. Most games loose the spark of being MMO by just having people fight, especially if the fighting is not personal, like how you have your character running armies instead of single soldier fighting. You might want to expand on the many other aspects of war than just gathering arms, conditioning soldiers, etc. Maybe you could do it where your character, the leader, also fights in the wars and you can have a map in one corner of the the screen the keep watch over the entire war. You can command your troops while still allowing for yourself to fight in war. 

 

After each war you could have a morality check, like if you lost a lot of soldiers, you would need to give a speech to raise their morale and reveal the spoils of war to them, or if there was a loss, go into how you plan to deal with this loss. Look over which soldiers did the best and promote those soldiers, and fidn soldiers that did bad and reprimand them.

 

These are just ideas on how to make it more unique. 

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First post!

 

I think the key to individual story arcs don't really have to go along with traits that you decided upon early on, as long as you have a good statistics/events tracker on the back end. The goal with this type of gameplay is to allow the player to build their character into someone they would want to be, and therefore I don't think pre-built traits are a good idea (unless this is for text options, but I don't see the need for them due to the Player vs Player aspect of this). 

 

Instead of handing traits out at character creation, try giving them through player action. For example, a player plays a large part in a small strike team that culminated in the capturing or destruction of a very defensible position or city. Those who were apart of that could earn the trait "Gutsy", with a small write up of what happened. "Joe Shmo, along with team-mates RiiSEN and ASSaSSiN struck the compound Carlix Soratis at 14:35, infiltrating the enemies defenses and taking out the power grid. The result was an easy sweep by the reinforcing armies, taking a key position in the war of planet _____." Or being a top active member of a long war (say a month or longer) and getting the trait "Entrenched". Another one, successfully assassinating a dominate figure of the opposing faction.

 

The point is that the character is defined by the actions it has done, not predetermined traits that the player may or may not completely agree with.  

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If this project is going to be aimed on a Multiplayer scale, I found that the best narrative is derived from the players experiences.  Look at Planetside 2 for example, They offer little to no back story directly but players somehow jump into kind of a roleplayer mindset and start making their own stories.  As a reference, a youtuber known as TotalBuscuit, made a "Propaganda" video of one of the game's factions, showing off riveting moments of armored conquest in the mass take over of a continent.  

 

But of course there needs to be some caution in that approach.  If there is no backstory at all, players will feel dejected from the experience and have little to nothing to go on for their own story driven experiences.  This kind of tactic is ballsy, but it has worked well, if not better, than most MMO games with an already pre-set story.

 

 

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[quote name='Deathbymanga' timestamp='1357846407' post='5019967']
Most games loose the spark of being MMO by just having people fight, especially if the fighting is not personal,
[/quote]

 

That's a really good point.  If your only interaction with other players is typically something that can be entirely simulated by an AI with ease, I can see it would lose its personalization.  I'll try to think up more ways to keep the players interactive.

 - Perhaps your squads and be split, and you can have a friend on voice chat controlling part of the squad.

 

[quote name='Reavermyst' timestamp='1358096333' post='5021131']
They offer little to no back story directly but players somehow jump into kind of a roleplayer mindset and start making their own stories.
[/quote]  So perhaps after battles, small stories are associated with it, especially when they breach a new region, win a planet or lose a region/planet.  when ever they were new that event's location and time, then it will happen.

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