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Hideyoshi

Gameplay or story first?

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Do you find it easier it design a a story around a type of gameplay you had in mind or design gameplay around a story you had in mind? If you favor one way is there a reason why? There were a few characters that came to my mind and I really want to put those characters into a game but I'm at a loss as to what kind of game mechanics I want to use or what to make the overall plot around the characters to be. I was just wondering in you guys had any thoughts as to what I should focus on first.

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To add to OandO's good reply:

It depends on whether the story is important or not. If you're making a Tetris or Katamari or Sudoku game, story should not even be considered.

But if you're making a character-based game, then the story is important and you should have at least the story outline when planning the game structure.

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I feel that it is always easier to design the gameplay first, and then the story afterwards. It is very difficult to create gameplay mechanics around an existing story, which is perhaps why so many game adaptations of movies or literature don't do so well. By designing the gameplay first, you can incorporate those gameplay elements into the story as you create it. Take for instance, just about all RPGs in which the main focus of the gameplay is combat. The story is created in such a way to incorporate many battles and epic boss fights against characters integral to the story line, and these battles can serve as major plot points. These stories often have a lot of conflict in order to maximize the combat gameplay.

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To add to 0and0's comment... follow your inspiration. If you are inspired by story then use that to get your creative flow going and pattern your game design accordingly, or do it the other way around. The real question is what inspires you the most. Stick with that.

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To add to OandO's good reply:

It depends on whether the story is important or not. If you're making a Tetris or Katamari or Sudoku game, story should not even be considered.

But if you're making a character-based game, then the story is important and you should have at least the story outline when planning the game structure.

here you are assuming you already know the gameplay when you are deciding weather to work on the gameplay or the story first.

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There were a few characters that came to my mind and I really want to put those characters into a game but I'm at a loss as to what kind of game mechanics I want to use or what to make the overall plot around the characters to be.

 

 

so you have NEITHER story, NOR game play mechanics. all you have are characters.   

 

use the characters to come up with a story.

 

use the story to determine appropriate game play mechanics / style / type of game.

 

once all 3 (characters, story, game play) look good, its time to prototype or code, depending on how sure your are about your results.

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There were a few characters that came to my mind and I really want to put those characters into a game but I'm at a loss as to what kind of game mechanics I want to use or what to make the overall plot around the characters to be.

 

 

so you have NEITHER story, NOR game play mechanics. all you have are characters.   

 

use the characters to come up with a story.

 

use the story to determine appropriate game play mechanics / style / type of game.

 

once all 3 (characters, story, game play) look good, its time to prototype or code, depending on how sure your are about your results.

 

 

Yeah, that's about the best you can do. But it's still a wide gap entirely open up to you. Do the characters save the world from alien threat or will they cooperate to wash the dishes?

 

Part of the story that takes place during the game is what makes the characters how you want them to appear. You've decided that your main character is brave and unrelenting, but you need to guide the player through the story with the characters choices in order for the character to truly be that. That being said, I don't think you can have a truly finished character design without a story.

 

For story think it's all about what you want to say with your game and the gameplay genre loosely depends on that. Can you teach a moral about love on RTS? Will FPS give a proper insight to socioeconomic issues you want to underline? Can you deliver the importance of family through a puzzle game?

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If you're at a loss as to what kind of game mechanics you want to use or what to make the overall plot around the characters to be, then its possible these characters are NOT right for a story or a game. I recommend rolling some new characters that inspire a story and game-play the instant you visualize them. If you insist on using these characters, perhaps an online screenplay generator can spark some inspiration.

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