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Bumblefish2

Game opening

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My game I'm making is a 2d sandbox life sim with rpg maker vx, it's kind of a cross between sims and gta in a way. I wanted to know how my idea for the opening sounds and if anyone has any suggestions.

It starts off outside a club in '85 and you're in control of a bouncer, the club is getting full so you have to pick one last person to come in. The guy you choose will later be the father of the character you play as when the game fully starts. Once you've chosen, he enters the club and you have control of him. In the club there's a few different girls, you again talk to a few and then choose one. This girl will later become the mother of your character. After this the screen fades and it later tells you how the two dated for 3 years before getting married and then 2 years later they had a child (your older brother/sister)', you choose the gender and name. Then 8 years later they had another child, your character. After you choose your name and gender and probably some other options, it fast forwards to 15 years later where you start the game as your character.

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Well... it's a backstory, no one cares about these. Also, no action. Plus, everyone has some father/mother so it's unthriling.

 

If you really insist on a backstory I would try something like this:

The opening scene shows a burning castle with dragons scorching it. A lot of screams and chaos. You get a choice of 3 personas (prince, palace guard, gardener). That would be your father (if you really insist on this mechanic). He goes and tries to resque his kids, he sees 2 of them and need to decide whom to resque first (that would be you, it asks for your name) the unchoosen kid falls down and becomes your long lost sibling (the father cries "oh no!, my [player enters the name here]"). Your quest, years later, is to find your lost sibling (who, as you discover later, was adopted by a necromancer and turned into the dark side :D)

 

Tip: you are too obsessed with numbers, ommit the "X years passed", no one cares about the math, the story is what counts.

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Well... it's a backstory, no one cares about these. Also, no action. Plus, everyone has some father/mother so it's unthriling.
 
If you really insist on a backstory I would try something like this:
The opening scene shows a burning castle with dragons scorching it. A lot of screams and chaos. You get a choice of 3 personas (prince, palace guard, gardener). That would be your father (if you really insist on this mechanic). He goes and tries to resque his kids, he sees 2 of them and need to decide whom to resque first (that would be you, it asks for your name) the unchoosen kid falls down and becomes your long lost sibling (the father cries "oh no!, my [player enters the name here]"). Your quest, years later, is to find your lost sibling (who, as you discover later, was adopted by a necromancer and turned into the dark side :D)
 
Tip: you are too obsessed with numbers, ommit the "X years passed", no one cares about the math, the story is what counts.


The opening is important because it's the character creation part of the game and a burning castle wouldn't fit it because as I said it's a modern day setting. The character creation is important because it's pretty much a life sim.

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because it's pretty much a life sim.

 

I would add a lot more action. Even in fallout 3 where you're witness to your own characters birth there's action.

 

Really I don't get life sims. If I wanted to simulate real life I'd step outside away from the pc and uh, experience life...

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because it's pretty much a life sim.

 
I would add a lot more action. Even in fallout 3 where you're witness to your own characters birth there's action.
 
Really I don't get life sims. If I wanted to simulate real life I'd step outside away from the pc and uh, experience life...
There's some stuff some people wouldn't do in real life but would in the game. The action is later, this is just a short opening for the game.

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Ehr.... I don't know if I SHOULD speak for Acharis and Braindigitalis, but the "hidden information" part of their mad ramblings most probably is "what - the - hell - is - your - question?"...

 

Open ended questions like "how does it sound?", "any suggestions?" tend to generate many weird and wonderful ideas like Acharis' (which seemed to not be what you asked for) or very personal opinions like braindigitalis (which most probably are not too helpful for you if you DO need an opinion on something).

 

 

The very fact you come here to ask makes me think that you are not sure that your opening sequence is gonna work, is communicating what it should, is any fun. So what makes you unsure?

 

1. Did you already prototype your idea? Was it fun / did it work?

2. If you didn't prototype it, why not? Always prototype with the simplest possible means (graphics,sounds, maybe just paper prototype) before trying to solve problems... there might be none.

3. If you did prototype but it wasn't fun / didn't worked, what exactly was the problem? Try to analyze the root cause of the problem and ask for solutions to that.

 

 

My gut reaction to the descibed scene is a mixture of "meh" and "sounds interesting", with some "complex problem alert" intermingled.

1) The whole father / mother thing could be interesting (altough I agree, scratch the numbers, you are just gonna bore your audience. If you want to show that "its the 80's", do it with tastless clothing and bad hairstyles... people will "know what time it is", and you get street creds with the old geezers that where there when it happened)...

2) The character hopping... mmh... could be, if you make the characters intersting enough (there is so much fun to be had with a bouncer)... give your characters life, make people WANT to play as the characters.

3) The genetics part sound like a potential complicated coding and story branching problem. If its just for cosmetic changes, yeah, why not. Else, if the amount of possible choices and thus combinations is small, why not.

 

It sound like it could be an interesting introduction to your game, IF you follow Acharis "hidden information" and make the whole thing more flashy. Nothing against your writing up there, but the whole thing sounded pretty boring and mechanic, whereas I would expect the start of a game to be exciting and fun... cut the numbers and overanalytical explanations, bring in the flashiness and humour!

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The guy you choose will later be the father of the character you play...

 

the choice of father and mother must be meaningful. IE affects stats and skills, not just appearance. in other words, they should affect game play, not just graphics.

 

now for the problem...

 

how does the player figure out which ones to choose?, which ones yield which stats? 

 

maybe have the ability to talk to them all, with dialog trees, that reveals what type of person they are.

 

OTOH, when all is said and done, its just a fancy character creation screen. a more straight-forward character creation screen may be a better option than a "pick you parents" mini-game.  is the game so close to completion that you're adding the mini-game cause you have nothing better to do?  is it vital to gameplay? or simply an over engineered UI design for what is essentially just a character creation screen? 

 

note that there's nothing wrong with interactive novels as an intro method. but there's a fine line between "too much", and "just enough".

 

i'm doing a similar game (rpg/person sim hybrid) in a paleo-world setting. i'd probably just use a single charater creation screen until the rest of the game was done first. then add the mini game intro.

Edited by Norman Barrows

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The guy you choose will later be the father of the character you play...

 
the choice of father and mother must be meaningful. IE affects stats and skills, not just appearance. in other words, they should affect game play, not just graphics.
 
now for the problem...
 
how does the player figure out which ones to choose?, which ones yield which stats? 
 
maybe have the ability to talk to them all, with dialog trees, that reveals what type of person they are.
 
OTOH, when all is said and done, its just a fancy character creation screen. a more straight-forward character creation screen may be a better option than a "pick you parents" mini-game.  is the game so close to completion that you're adding the mini-game cause you have nothing better to do?  is it vital to gameplay? or simply an over engineered UI design for what is essentially just a character creation screen? 
 
note that there's nothing wrong with interactive novels as an intro method. but there's a fine line between "too much", and "just enough".
 
i'm doing a similar game (rpg/person sim hybrid) in a paleo-world setting. i'd probably just use a single charater creation screen until the rest of the game was done first. then add the mini game intro.
Yeah that's what I'm planning either it just pops up telling you about them or they talk to you and they tell you about themselves. Mostly it's cosmetic but some of it will affect gameplay slightly, not sure about stats but basically you choose where they move to which will be your starter city, and each parent option has a certain amount of money each which is added up and decides what area of the chosen city you live in and just generally other things about your life.

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Yeah that's what I'm planning either it just pops up telling you about them or they talk to you and they tell you about themselves. Mostly it's cosmetic but some of it will affect gameplay slightly, not sure about stats but basically you choose where they move to which will be your starter city, and each parent option has a certain amount of money each which is added up and decides what area of the chosen city you live in and just generally other things about your life.

 

 

Well, that is nice and all, but why not just make it a character select / starter city select screen? Why go to the length of making it a playable starting scene? Will there be additional meaningful story information conveyed that will become important later on? Will the starting scene be good and fun in its own right, while blending in enough with the main game to not be a jarring depart (which CAN work sometimes)?

 

Why would I as a player care about...

 

1) the story you are trying to tell in this scene?

2) having to go through the hassle of having to play a full scene versus just doing a few clicks in a character selection screen?

3) cosmetics?

 

Now, this is less meant as critique but more as a help to go in yourself and decide wheter your starting scene makes sense, has enough impact to actually make people want to play the game more instead of being bored and turned away from playing it, and what you could do should your starting scene just not be up to scratch.

 

My personal opinions on these points:

1) a story should not be a collection of short sequences, but a whole. If you use the scene to convey story, make sure it matters beyond "this is your father and mother when they were young"... to most people, stories from their parents (or worse, grandparents) childhood are just BORING (which is sad, a lot of what they could tell is actually pretty interesting if you think about it).

Make sure the story told in this starting sequence matters to the later protagonist beyond "how I met your mother".

2) I personally do like the neat integration of UI elements into a game, to a certain limit. If it becomes tedious, it stops being cool. If you want a full length expierience without any way to skip the scene, make damn sure it is more than just an interactive menu!

3) Cosmetics can make a world of difference... but not to everyone. Some people will go to great length to get a cooler skin for their cars and characters, to others only the raw stats are interesting. If you neglect one of those two sides, prepare for a "meh!" reaction to your kind of "player choice" from half your audience. While keeping it purely cosmetic can save you time on playtesting and balancing, at least slight stat differences make sure the choice matters to ALL players.

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Yeah that's what I'm planning either it just pops up telling you about them or they talk to you and they tell you about themselves. Mostly it's cosmetic but some of it will affect gameplay slightly, not sure about stats but basically you choose where they move to which will be your starter city, and each parent option has a certain amount of money each which is added up and decides what area of the chosen city you live in and just generally other things about your life.

 
Well, that is nice and all, but why not just make it a character select / starter city select screen? Why go to the length of making it a playable starting scene? Will there be additional meaningful story information conveyed that will become important later on? Will the starting scene be good and fun in its own right, while blending in enough with the main game to not be a jarring depart (which CAN work sometimes)?
 
Why would I as a player care about...
 
1) the story you are trying to tell in this scene?
2) having to go through the hassle of having to play a full scene versus just doing a few clicks in a character selection screen?
3) cosmetics?
 
Now, this is less meant as critique but more as a help to go in yourself and decide wheter your starting scene makes sense, has enough impact to actually make people want to play the game more instead of being bored and turned away from playing it, and what you could do should your starting scene just not be up to scratch.
 
My personal opinions on these points:
1) a story should not be a collection of short sequences, but a whole. If you use the scene to convey story, make sure it matters beyond "this is your father and mother when they were young"... to most people, stories from their parents (or worse, grandparents) childhood are just BORING (which is sad, a lot of what they could tell is actually pretty interesting if you think about it).
Make sure the story told in this starting sequence matters to the later protagonist beyond "how I met your mother".
2) I personally do like the neat integration of UI elements into a game, to a certain limit. If it becomes tedious, it stops being cool. If you want a full length expierience without any way to skip the scene, make damn sure it is more than just an interactive menu!
3) Cosmetics can make a world of difference... but not to everyone. Some people will go to great length to get a cooler skin for their cars and characters, to others only the raw stats are interesting. If you neglect one of those two sides, prepare for a "meh!" reaction to your kind of "player choice" from half your audience. While keeping it purely cosmetic can save you time on playtesting and balancing, at least slight stat differences make sure the choice matters to ALL players.
The character customisation is a big part of the game, cosmetic and probably stat wise although I'm not sure how I'm handling stats because there's no forced combat it's optional so you only really need to focus on stats if you're choosing to do the fighting. I might add a skill based system, though. Just not sure what skills you'd have in that kind of setting.

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