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Story Critique and Suggestions

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Hey everybody,


Before I jump into what I have of my story I'll start with a little preface. This is the story for my first full, "real" game and I'm having a bit of trouble fleshing out the full storyline. I've got some basics for the story planned out and I was hoping to get some advice and suggestions to help me out. I'll try to leave as much of the gameplay and design out of this post as I can to focus on the story. So lets get to it.


Here's a brief description of what I'm planning in terms of the game just to give you an idea. This should be the only gameplay-related part of this post. I'm making a 2D platformer similar in style to Super Mario or the original Duke Nukem in terms of how the game is played - the player can roam around the map freely with 4-way scrolling. I've got the basic gameplay programming done so now I just need to focus on a story and on content creation.


With that out of the way, here's what I have of the story.



You, the player, are a scientist and are accidentally irradiated in an experiment. This experiment gives you some supernatural powers like super strength and super speed (think the accident of the Hulk). Over a short period of time you learn to harness these powers but you are unable to use them for extended periods of time. You can use super strength, for example, for a short time but then will need time to recover before you can use it again.


Your Plight

You are a (generally) peaceful scientist and do not want to give the military any more destructive weapons. You remember what the military did after the discovery of atomic power and don't want the same thing to happen with your powers. You don't want the military to be able to use you to create super soldiers. You plan on not using your powers and keeping them secret. However, a colleague of yours discovers your powers (somehow - I'm not sure how yet. Maybe you use them when you think nobody is looking. Suggestions?) and does not have the same intentions. He thinks you should research what happened to you in order to harness this for the government. He alerts the military so they can study you and now you are on the run - using your powers to survive and evade the military.


I haven't gotten to an end of the story really or much past what I have here. Thoughts on what I have so far?


I was thinking it might be cool to have multiple endings. I was thinking 3 possible endings. In one, you tried not to kill anybody (maybe you killed a few people) or be corrupted by your new-found powers. You successfully escape and develop a cure for yourself, ridding yourself of your powers. After this, you destroy all your research into what happened to you to prevent mankind from harnessing this power for evil. In another ending, if you went around and just killed everyone (or a lot of people) you are corrupted by your powers and use them for personal gain. You end up in control of the (country/continent/world/something) after creating a super-army of your own. In the third ending, a neutral ending where you killed some people (somewhere between the good and bad endings, say, half the people) you realize that the powers you possess should not be given to the military but perhaps they were given to you for a reason. You then use your powers to help people.


So that's about all I've got at the moment. I look forward to your suggestions and thoughts on my story and my endings. If you have any questions please feel free to ask.

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How about, you accidentally reveal your superpowers to your friend when there is an accident (car accident?) and you react instinctively to save a life?  Then, your friend might not go directly to the government, but might think you should be researched for possible medical benefits for everyone, but the government finds out from the medical people.  That's less black and white.

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Basically what sunandshadow just said. It's okay to think about the beginning and the end but don't leave the middle parts out either. smile.png


Maybe the other scientist you saved is on your side maintaining your cover since he owes you for saving him. Then the military suddenly ambushes you two having found out about your powers. The two scientists make their escape with the other one also fearing the consequences of his lies but he goes his own path different from you.


Then you could run into the other guy again. Couple alternatives just to show you the possibilities you can use the other character for:


1. He tells you about his escape plan but as you go along he leads you into an ambush. Turns out he was caught by the military when he made his escape and now he's trying to buy his freedom by helping the military to catch you. Since you didn't have to hide it from him anymore, watching you use your superpowers daily made him jealous of you and he was also angry you wouldn't share your secrets in how to obtain them.


2. He made his escape successfully perhaps through hiding and taking big risks but turns out the military was just on the heels of both of you and while you were having a chat they caught up on you. You two join in a grand  escape finale.


3. You find your scientist friend but something is wrong. He seems dark and confident and doesn't seem to be running. He found a way to repeat the experiment on himself in secret and has also gained the powers. Since you didn't have to hide it from him anymore, watching you use your superpowers daily made him jealous of you and he was also angry you wouldn't share your secrets in how to obtain them and now he will take his revenge in crazed power. Perhaps he could be more powerful than you but he has a weakness such as instability which you can use to beat him.

Edited by ShadowFlar3

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I read in a writer's magazine an article about Edgar Allen Poe.

It's Poe's advice to have an ending (or endings in this case) in mind.

This will help divine the path the story must follow to reach that conclusion.

Of course, Poe wrote short stories so his path's were also short and easy to follow.


In the game environment, I've noticed a tendency to have the whole game play EXACTLY THE SAME

with only the player's method of playing it affecting the outcome.  I mean: the scenarios are set up

the same way every playthrough.  Like the Deception series of games for the Playstation for example.

It's a tried and true method of game storytelling.


Being a visual learner myself, my advice is to make a story flowchart of sorts to help untangle the 

different story threads you might have going in your head.  That way you can plan your game around the story.

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Thanks sunandshadow. That could do very nicely. I was thinking a bit about that and thought I could have a prologue cutscene of this life-threatening situation (whatever it ends up being) and your actions. Then you tell your friend about your powers (also letting the player know the basic premise) and he suggests doing research into what happened to you. This is where a tutorial level could go to introduce the controls. Then, another short cutscene of the military securing the lab and all research. Then the levels begin.


After that, the middle of the game takes place and I'm still trying to think about that and get a nice linear progression between the start and end.


Then, at the end of the game, you return to the laboratory that is now locked down by the military. This would lend itself well to being a difficult level which would make sense at the end of the game. Here you encounter some prototype supersoldiers which confirms your suspicion the government would use this research for destructive ends. This also puts you in a great position for the multiple endings I mentioned. You either do away with the supersoldiers and destroy the research or you improve on the supersoldier prototypes to create your own army.



Thanks for the suggestions ShadowFlar3. I'll definitely think about that.



A story flowchart would probably be a good idea. Thanks Meatsack.

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