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mousetail

is this a good story?

6 posts in this topic

A friend of mine wrote this idea for a story in a game. Please comment whether you think this would be an appealing story:

 

The first scene is you defeating the Bad Guy who is ruling the world. The bad guy has 4 pet dragons that have magical power. Can you get yourself and the dragons safely home threw the now lawless world?

 

This obviously needs to be extended some more, but do you think it is good for the basics? (for background: this is a sokoban clone were the boxes are the dragons)

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Is the question whether the story is good, or whether its worth building a game around?

 

If its about whether its good or not, its very early to tell.

Is it worth building a game around? Probably. It really depends on the player you seek to acquire, and whether this playerbase is large enough to your liking.

I'm affraid there is not a direct correlation between a good story and a large playerbase. In fact, a lot of good stories are cramped in niche games... and a lot of AAA games use story as an excuse for action.

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I think it's a good start.

 

Like mentioned above, it's hard to know what the next plot is. What is the lawless land, and just because it's lawless, why are they out to get you?

Are the dragons useful in some way and are they evolving, or are they just luggage? Why are you protecting them? What is your motivation or drive?

 

No that you've written the first scene, try writing the last one. That will help you fill in the blanks in between. :)

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You don't need a story, you need a good premise for a game.
Your premise is a Sokoban variant (more generally, a turn-based square grid puzzle based on moving adjacent pieces, usually in order to reach the exit, with frequent opportunities to fail hard, like Kye or Lasertank) featuring a person (very commonplace) and four magical dragons (unusual, and therefore begging to have a central role).
What can the dragons do? What pieces can the player and the dragons interact with? The game itelf, not an arbitrary tacked-on plot, can take many different directions.
  • Do you want dragons to be faithful animal helpers against monsters and bandits? Then let the player herd moving enemies into the firebreathing range of his dragons, which could be fixed in the map like turrets. It's the main puzzle type in DRoD.
  • Do you want dragons to be a precious thing to transport and protect? Then let them move in stupid and inconvenient ways, with a highly mobile player clearing a way for them and neutralizing traps and hazards. Likely similar to Sokoban (mostly passive obstacles needing accurate rearrangement).
  • Do you want dragons to provide magical effects to the protagonist? Then he can pull them out of his shirt pocket as needed, like Pokémon. Puzzles can involve collecting keys and resources (to fuel spells), and roguelike-style powerful enemies (without random combat mechanics) are a possibility.
  • Do you want dragons to be creepy? Put innocent bystanders in your level, and allow them to be harmed by the player's dragons (more or less intentionally). For extra cynicism, the player could take advantage of their deaths like in Lemmings (e.g. 2 corpses fill a pit trap). 
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You don't need a story,

  • Do you want dragons to be faithful animal helpers against monsters and bandits?
  • Do you want dragons to be a precious thing to transport and protect?
  • Do you want dragons to provide magical effects to the protagonist?
  • Do you want dragons to be creepy?

 

 

These particular questions strike me as being completely relevant to use in a story notwithstanding their value for defining game behaviours. You can argue that a story isn't needed and do so legitimately, but that doesn't imply by default that there shouldn't be one especially in the case where the OP seeks specificity with regard story.

 

Of course sometimes a story might arise after a game's release as illustrated through the Invader (second comic down on the site).

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These particular questions strike me as being completely relevant to use in a story notwithstanding their value for defining game behaviours. You can argue that a story isn't needed and do so legitimately, but that doesn't imply by default that there shouldn't be one especially in the case where the OP seeks specificity with regard story.

 
My point is that any elaboration of scenes and plot about villains and magic and heroism, beyond an excuse to have four dragons to carry from point A to point B, is completely futile because it doesn't actually have anything to do with the game.
The basic idea that "this is a sokoban clone were the boxes are the dragons" isn't "for background" at all: only what happens in the game is important, and the game itself can be worth a thousand words.
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There's a small logical issue.

 

Mr. Bad Guy rules the world and has 4 magical dragons. You defeated him. Assuming that Mr. Bad Guy didn't slip and fall into his sword, this implies that either you alone are stronger than Bad Guy and his dragons (then why didn't you kill the dragons, and why would they follow you now?) or the dragons turned against their master, and you and them together are stronger than Mr. Bad Guy.

 

However, in either case, either you alone,or you plus dragons are now the most powerful entity in the world. If that wasn't the case, Mr. Bad Guy would have been superseded long ago. Therefore, the question "can you make it home safely" is already answered before you start.

 

Now, one could imagine that in order to "restore the balance of nature" (or some similar story), it is necessary to bring the four dragons to the four corners of the world, but the dragons don't want that, for some reason. This would explain why you didn't kill them (it's necessary that they're alive), and why travelling is troublesome and risky (since it's not you and the dragons against the world, but rather you against the dragons and the world).

Edited by samoth
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