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jwoff25

Would people enjoy a hardcore story-based strategy game?

39 posts in this topic

Just thinking...

According to my knowledge, most strategy games don't have a lot of story because of the open and decision based nature of strategy games.  

What would you guys think if there was a more story based strategy game?  Maybe a little more restricted in terms of choice but with more story options.

Maybe the different factions have complicated relationships and you can somehow manipulate that to make things happen.

Also unique lore and cities with different backstories that overall affect the game.

Very underdeveloped idea, but some feedback would be nice:)

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Maybe you can use events or goal achievements to unlock new parts of the story, with a solid background.

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I dunno about hardcore, but I like story-based campaign games, from RTS to time management to tower defense and even some dating sims and adventure games might count.  Starcraft 1, Ranch Rush, Plants vs. Zombies, Vampires vs. Zombies, Disgaea, Harvest Moon: Save The Homeland, and a wide assortment of interactive story games are all examples of good story-based games where gameplay is more or less strategic.

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Oops, didn't mean to include the word "hardcore" in there.

 

 

 

Maybe you can use events or goal achievements to unlock new parts of the story, with a solid background.

Definitely. That sounds like a really solid idea:)

 

 

 

I dunno about hardcore, but I like story-based campaign games, from RTS to time management to tower defense and even some dating sims and adventure games might count.  Starcraft 1, Ranch Rush, Plants vs. Zombies, Vampires vs. Zombies, Disgaea, Harvest Moon: Save The Homeland, and a wide assortment of interactive story games are all examples of good story-based games where gameplay is more or less strategic.

Yeah, somehow the word "hardcore" slipped into the title there.  I've played some of those games (Plants vs. Zombies, Starcraft) but I'll check out some of the other ones for inspiration:)

 

 

 

Starcraft supplements it's hardcore multiplayer mode with a story-based singleplayer mode (which is pretty hard if you choose hard mode).

Even though their story is pretty damn terrible (in SC2) and there's not much meaningful choice (branching), there's enough lore about the factions / relationships / characters to get people really involved in it, spawning fan-fic, spin-off novels, etc...

Agreed. The story wasn't great but it's really easy to get caught up in the lore. Definitely aiming for good story/lore as well as gameplay.

 

Thanks for the feedback and suggestions!

Keep em coming:)

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What would you guys think if there was a more story based strategy game? Maybe a little more restricted in terms of choice but with more story options.


It depends.

To me, the idea of a 'story based game' is a bit of an oxymoron. A game may have a background story that provides some context and theme for a game, but if you try to shoehorn a linear concept such as a pre-written story into medium which is fundamentally non-linear, something is going to suffer.

Sometimes it's the story - the author is forced to try and think of every eventuality, and/or accept the fact that sometimes things will happen that don't make a whole lot of sense. In either case, the effort involved in writing the story balloons as you try and cover all the possible branches, often with the result that overall quality suffers.

Sometimes it's the game. In order to retain the sense of the story, the player is forced onto rails, with limited choice. The player can't even fail - there's no 'win' or 'lose', its more 'finish the story' or 'don't finish the story', usually with boredom or frustration being the cause of the latter. Or perhaps the game is interspersed with an excess of non-game fluffery, long text sequences or cutscenes with no TL:DR option. And once I've sat through the whole thing, what motivation is there to play it again?

Often, it's both, to some degree.

On the other hand, all games have a story - the meta-story the player experiences during his own path through the game. This to me is a far more dynamic and interesting area to explore than a fixed, handwritten plot. If you can establish engaging lore and backstory, and provide the players with the gameplay tools to do so, they will tell their own stories. And those stories will be unique for every player, on every playthrough.

So to answer your question: If you can make an engaging'meta-story' experience, I will definitely play it and enjoy it. Otherwise, I might have a quick play of your story based campaign, but the chances are, unless you can avoid committing any of the Strategy Game Story Deadly Sins, I probably won't finish it, and head off to multiplayer/skirmish instead. Edited by Sandman
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The original Warrior Kings had a fairly definite story that branched out in just sufficiently. I think you might wanna look into that as a baseline.

(Please ignore the slightly cheesy begginning when Artos' father is killed and his home town is burned to the ground...)

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The original Warrior Kings had a fairly definite story that branched out in just sufficiently. I think you might wanna look into that as a baseline.

(Please ignore the slightly cheesy begginning when Artos' father is killed and his home town is burned to the ground...)

Never heard of that game...will check it out when I have time!

 

Thanks for the reply:)

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What would you guys think if there was a more story based strategy game? Maybe a little more restricted in terms of choice but with more story options.


It depends.

To me, the idea of a 'story based game' is a bit of an oxymoron. A game may have a background story that provides some context and theme for a game, but if you try to shoehorn a linear concept such as a pre-written story into medium which is fundamentally non-linear, something is going to suffer.

Sometimes it's the story - the author is forced to try and think of every eventuality, and/or accept the fact that sometimes things will happen that don't make a whole lot of sense. In either case, the effort involved in writing the story balloons as you try and cover all the possible branches, often with the result that overall quality suffers.

Sometimes it's the game. In order to retain the sense of the story, the player is forced onto rails, with limited choice. The player can't even fail - there's no 'win' or 'lose', its more 'finish the story' or 'don't finish the story', usually with boredom or frustration being the cause of the latter. Or perhaps the game is interspersed with an excess of non-game fluffery, long text sequences or cutscenes with no TL:DR option. And once I've sat through the whole thing, what motivation is there to play it again?

Often, it's both, to some degree.

On the other hand, all games have a story - the meta-story the player experiences during his own path through the game. This to me is a far more dynamic and interesting area to explore than a fixed, handwritten plot. If you can establish engaging lore and backstory, and provide the players with the gameplay tools to do so, they will tell their own stories. And those stories will be unique for every player, on every playthrough.

So to answer your question: If you can make an engaging'meta-story' experience, I will definitely play it and enjoy it. Otherwise, I might have a quick play of your story based campaign, but the chances are, unless you can avoid committing any of the Strategy Game Story Deadly Sins, I probably won't finish it, and head off to multiplayer/skirmish instead.

Thanks for your deep insight!

 

I was thinking of going with a non-linear storyline, where you can go around conquering different cities and through that you trigger different story bits which play major parts in the actual gameplay.  I was thinking of putting a heavy emphasis on human relationships, which can be manipulated for tactical reasons.  And through this the story can be expanded beyond what is given to the player.  

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You should look up an older ps1 game called Brigandine.  It's primitive in many respects by modern standards, but it did some of the sorts of things you're talking about.  It was a conquer the world strategy style strategy game.  You marshalled armies, went to war over territories, and fought turn based battles on a hex map.  However, as opposed to a more traditional strategy game, you chose your faction from something in the realm of 7 or 8 rulers.  The ruler you chose had a backstory, friends, enemies, and so on.  As you progress through the game, different story elements come out if given conditions are met, such as two enemies on the same battlefield will have some unique dialogue, or a given character will betray one faction to join another based on some event happening.  Said event would often be player controlled and would not be scripted to happen in every game.

 

Now, don't get me wrong, Brigandine did some neat things, but didn't take them very far.  I think its a good example of starting point for the sorts of things you're talking about, but you would probably want to take the concepts there and go a lot further with them.

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Every game is repetetive in some way, more or less. But one of the things you dont want to become repetetive is the things making you use your brain alot because that can become exhaustive. You woud also be doing the genre a service by adding a good story. Think about how awesome it woud be if your product got noticed for being a RTS game with strong, intriguing and good story!

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You should look up an older ps1 game called Brigandine.  It's primitive in many respects by modern standards, but it did some of the sorts of things you're talking about.  It was a conquer the world strategy style strategy game.  You marshalled armies, went to war over territories, and fought turn based battles on a hex map.  However, as opposed to a more traditional strategy game, you chose your faction from something in the realm of 7 or 8 rulers.  The ruler you chose had a backstory, friends, enemies, and so on.  As you progress through the game, different story elements come out if given conditions are met, such as two enemies on the same battlefield will have some unique dialogue, or a given character will betray one faction to join another based on some event happening.  Said event would often be player controlled and would not be scripted to happen in every game.

 

Now, don't get me wrong, Brigandine did some neat things, but didn't take them very far.  I think its a good example of starting point for the sorts of things you're talking about, but you would probably want to take the concepts there and go a lot further with them.

I actually did some research on that game and I think it's perfect as inspiration for our game.  As you said, I doesn't take things very far, which is where my team comes in:)

 

Thanks for the response!

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Every game is repetetive in some way, more or less. But one of the things you dont want to become repetetive is the things making you use your brain alot because that can become exhaustive. You woud also be doing the genre a service by adding a good story. Think about how awesome it woud be if your product got noticed for being a RTS game with strong, intriguing and good story!

True, hopefully we can keep the gameplay entertaining without giving too many players a headache:)  It indeed would be, might I say, kick-ass.

 

Thanks for the response!

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Although I don't really play story-based games all that much, I like the idea. You mention unique locations with their own lore: One idea that might work for this would be a unique, strategic progression for these locations, maybe based on certain properties or stats. Maybe one location, which was founded in revolution, is described as having religious strife, with battles in the streets a common occurrence. So that city is set to randomize disruptions or delays in construction until some other situation arises (a messiah unit appears on the map). This way the strategic experience lines up with the story and offers better, more defined (even alive) locations than something like a generic civilization map could offer.

Edited by Wavinator
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Although I don't really play story-based games all that much, I like the idea. You mention unique locations with their own lore: One idea that might work for this would be a unique, strategic progression for these locations, maybe based on certain properties or stats. Maybe one location, which was founded in revolution, is described as having religious strife, with battles in the streets a common occurrence. So that city is set to randomize disruptions or delays in construction until some other situation arises (a messiah unit appears on the map). This way the strategic experience lines up with the story and offers better, more defined (even alive) locations than something like a generic civilization map could offer.

This is exactly what we were thinking of doing!  There would be random events going on in the world based on lore and the play can take advantage of these situations.  

 

Thanks for the response:)

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Yes story based strategy games creates interest in player...

Story should be strong enough to engage player.

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Yes story based strategy games creates interest in player...

Story should be strong enough to engage player.

Fosho.

 

Thanks for the response:)

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Are you familiar with King of Dragon Pass? It's, to my mind, the archetypical story/strategy game.

http://a-sharp.com/kodp 

 

The strategy is around establishing a mythical/fantasy tribe in a new land, and the story comes in as you have to manage people as individuals as well as the tribe as a whole.

Edited by sekullbe
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Are you familiar with King of Dragon Pass? It's, to my mind, the archetypical story/strategy game.

http://a-sharp.com/kodp 

 

The strategy is around establishing a mythical/fantasy tribe in a new land, and the story comes in as you have to manage people as individuals as well as the tribe as a whole.

No I am not, but it sounds cool.  I'll check it out.

 

Thanks for the response:)

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Just thinking...

According to my knowledge, most strategy games don't have a lot of story because of the open and decision based nature of strategy games.  

What would you guys think if there was a more story based strategy game?  Maybe a little more restricted in terms of choice but with more story options.

Maybe the different factions have complicated relationships and you can somehow manipulate that to make things happen.

Also unique lore and cities with different backstories that overall affect the game.

Very underdeveloped idea, but some feedback would be nice:)

 

One of my favorite games "Final Fantasy Tactics" is pretty story-driven, though you don't really affect the story much through choices (besides a few minor things). However, I like the idea of story-driven games in general, although I think there are some caveats. If a game is to be driven by story it needs to feature some good story-telling and writing (too many games make basic story-telling mistakes). Also if you plan on having lots of branching story-lines, freedom of choice etc. I think it becomes harder to create a meaningful narrative - where there are layers of story and things tie together, etc.

 

I think story-driven games has the potential to be very engaging and I think there are far too few games that feature a strong story that drags you in.

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What would you guys think if there was a more story based strategy game? Maybe a little more restricted in terms of choice but with more story options.


It depends.

To me, the idea of a 'story based game' is a bit of an oxymoron. A game may have a background story that provides some context and theme for a game, but if you try to shoehorn a linear concept such as a pre-written story into medium which is fundamentally non-linear, something is going to suffer.

Sometimes it's the story - the author is forced to try and think of every eventuality, and/or accept the fact that sometimes things will happen that don't make a whole lot of sense. In either case, the effort involved in writing the story balloons as you try and cover all the possible branches, often with the result that overall quality suffers.

Sometimes it's the game. In order to retain the sense of the story, the player is forced onto rails, with limited choice. The player can't even fail - there's no 'win' or 'lose', its more 'finish the story' or 'don't finish the story', usually with boredom or frustration being the cause of the latter. Or perhaps the game is interspersed with an excess of non-game fluffery, long text sequences or cutscenes with no TL:DR option. And once I've sat through the whole thing, what motivation is there to play it again?

Often, it's both, to some degree.

On the other hand, all games have a story - the meta-story the player experiences during his own path through the game. This to me is a far more dynamic and interesting area to explore than a fixed, handwritten plot. If you can establish engaging lore and backstory, and provide the players with the gameplay tools to do so, they will tell their own stories. And those stories will be unique for every player, on every playthrough.

So to answer your question: If you can make an engaging'meta-story' experience, I will definitely play it and enjoy it. Otherwise, I might have a quick play of your story based campaign, but the chances are, unless you can avoid committing any of the Strategy Game Story Deadly Sins, I probably won't finish it, and head off to multiplayer/skirmish instead.

 

I think you are right so far as you can't really have it both ways - you can't have an interactive story where the player has complete freedom to do whatever, and think you can have a cohesive, unified, engaging narrative. But I think you are wrong when you say that games are fundamentally non-linear. Most games have one beginning, one ending/conclusion and progress in a linear fashion from the beginning to the end (with bubbles of freedom of action along the way).

 

I believe the reason story and games don't seem to mix well is because of 1. bad writing (such as too much exposition, back-story and red herrings), 2. trying to incorporate branching story-lines and multiple endings (mass effect 3 anyone?), 3. story is an after-thought slapped upon the game-play.

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Just thinking...

According to my knowledge, most strategy games don't have a lot of story because of the open and decision based nature of strategy games.  

What would you guys think if there was a more story based strategy game?  Maybe a little more restricted in terms of choice but with more story options.

Maybe the different factions have complicated relationships and you can somehow manipulate that to make things happen.

Also unique lore and cities with different backstories that overall affect the game.

Very underdeveloped idea, but some feedback would be nice:)

 

One of my favorite games "Final Fantasy Tactics" is pretty story-driven, though you don't really affect the story much through choices (besides a few minor things). However, I like the idea of story-driven games in general, although I think there are some caveats. If a game is to be driven by story it needs to feature some good story-telling and writing (too many games make basic story-telling mistakes). Also if you plan on having lots of branching story-lines, freedom of choice etc. I think it becomes harder to create a meaningful narrative - where there are layers of story and things tie together, etc.

 

I think story-driven games has the potential to be very engaging and I think there are far too few games that feature a strong story that drags you in.

I'm a big fan of FF Tactics as well!  Everything you mentioned here is what we're going for; good story telling, branching stories, etc.  Hopefully we can succeed in pulling the audience into the game world.

 

Thanks for the response:)

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What would you guys think if there was a more story based strategy game? Maybe a little more restricted in terms of choice but with more story options.


It depends.

To me, the idea of a 'story based game' is a bit of an oxymoron. A game may have a background story that provides some context and theme for a game, but if you try to shoehorn a linear concept such as a pre-written story into medium which is fundamentally non-linear, something is going to suffer.

Sometimes it's the story - the author is forced to try and think of every eventuality, and/or accept the fact that sometimes things will happen that don't make a whole lot of sense. In either case, the effort involved in writing the story balloons as you try and cover all the possible branches, often with the result that overall quality suffers.

Sometimes it's the game. In order to retain the sense of the story, the player is forced onto rails, with limited choice. The player can't even fail - there's no 'win' or 'lose', its more 'finish the story' or 'don't finish the story', usually with boredom or frustration being the cause of the latter. Or perhaps the game is interspersed with an excess of non-game fluffery, long text sequences or cutscenes with no TL:DR option. And once I've sat through the whole thing, what motivation is there to play it again?

Often, it's both, to some degree.

On the other hand, all games have a story - the meta-story the player experiences during his own path through the game. This to me is a far more dynamic and interesting area to explore than a fixed, handwritten plot. If you can establish engaging lore and backstory, and provide the players with the gameplay tools to do so, they will tell their own stories. And those stories will be unique for every player, on every playthrough.

So to answer your question: If you can make an engaging'meta-story' experience, I will definitely play it and enjoy it. Otherwise, I might have a quick play of your story based campaign, but the chances are, unless you can avoid committing any of the Strategy Game Story Deadly Sins, I probably won't finish it, and head off to multiplayer/skirmish instead.

 

I think you are right so far as you can't really have it both ways - you can't have an interactive story where the player has complete freedom to do whatever, and think you can have a cohesive, unified, engaging narrative. But I think you are wrong when you say that games are fundamentally non-linear. Most games have one beginning, one ending/conclusion and progress in a linear fashion from the beginning to the end (with bubbles of freedom of action along the way).

 

I believe the reason story and games don't seem to mix well is because of 1. bad writing (such as too much exposition, back-story and red herrings), 2. trying to incorporate branching story-lines and multiple endings (mass effect 3 anyone?), 3. story is an after-thought slapped upon the game-play.

I'm going to have to disagree.  I think you can have both an engaging narrative and a non-linear gameplay.  Basically, by throwing out bits of lore and story around in the game world, the player can put the pieces of the puzzle together.  Every action will have consequences, and will have an impact on the story.  By no means will the story be simple; it will be complicated at some points, but that's why it can be so intriguing.  

 

But thanks a lot for your opinion:) Constructive criticism really helps get the brain moving, so it's greatly appreciated.

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What about Advance Wars and Fire Emblem?

Fire Emblem.  Yes.  Advance Wars?  Not so sure.  Will check it out.

 

Thanks for the response:)

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