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Game introductions

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I was thinking about the replies to my game intro - thanks for the help btw - and was wondering what makes a good game introduction. I agree that a lot of people don''t want to be bothered with the intro - they just want to start playing. In some games like an FPS this is probably not a problem. But in an MMORPG where there is more on offer than hack ''n slash there is a need to get players aware of the ramifications of character choice etc.. before they start playing. In this sort of game if the player isn''t immersed in the game world from the start he / she won''t fully enjoy it. So perhaps a short introduction - mine seems far too long - perhaps interspersed with videos of about 15 secs in length. Another way would be to have a game encylopedia - as in Civilisation - so that in character set up the player can click on the name of a tribe or a religous sect to find out more about them. But I still see a need for the longer explanation. In religion for example there should be more than just a creation myth. There should be some theological basis for the religions and their doctrinal disputes - one sect holds the belief that it is impious to depict the form of the God, for example. This gives the game depth but can only be explained in a written document. Anyway - what do you think?

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perhaps you could give a short-short version at the beginning, and show the rest in pieces as it becomes relevent. i didn''t read your other post, so i can''t give you a specific example... but say, for example, there is some historical background that is important to the next segment of gameplay, right then you could show your cut-scene or whatever, about that particular part of the background history.
for those people who want to know everything up front, allow them to view the entire bunch of story-elements from a main menu or something.
just my $0.02...

--- krez (krezisback@aol.com)

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Hello again, Crydee!

I had been wondering what type of game it was that your introduction was for. An MMORPG? That's cool. It's good to see that you're looking for feedback; that's a good sign.

I have no experience designing or programming MMORPGs myself, so I'm not certain how helpful this idea will be. My thought is that you might try creating the MMORPG equivalent of the typical inn of RPGs. The inn is a special place. It is always available, yet the players only enter when they have the need or desire to take advantage of some important feature, such as healing.

I wonder whether it might be good to feature a similar building in your game. Perhaps it could be something like a guild hall. When the player wanted certain important information, he might seek advice from a guild member. Or if you would prefer, the building might be a library, a sage's tower, a military debriefing room, or anything similar which would be appropriate to the setting of your game.

This approach might help to avoid player frustration. Players who already know the information (for example those who have played your game previously) will not be forced to sit through an unneccessary recounting of it. On the other hand, the info is available to players who need it.

Your idea about presenting information through the help system is good. But I think that it would be best to provide only certain types of information in this manner. Basic game instructions should be available to the player at all times. For instance, a player generally wants to know how to pick up an item when he is in the field, with an item at
his feet. Requiring the player to travel back to the inn/guild/library/whatever would not be convenient.

In contrast, important story elements should not be presented through a help system. If the Sniggling Buphrim decimate the entire Quogish civilization, this should be presented in a dramatic fashion!

Good luck!

"Mathematics are one of the fundamentaries of educationalizing our youths." -George W. Bush

"When a nation is filled with strife, then do patriots flourish." - Lao Tzu

P.S.- I've tried to fix the formatting in this post, but it may still look lousy. My library's computers have been set up in a positively whacky fashion.

Edited by - Jonathon on January 14, 2002 3:07:46 PM

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Game related information (rules about what you can and cannot do) should be available in some kind of help, in addition to a printed manual, and maybe some tutorials would be a good idea to help your players learn whatever special things you''re trying to do with your controls and interface.

Story related information (religious history, political factions, etc.) should be presented to the player within the game. So, if it''s an RPG and your player goes to a temple, maybe someone in the temple expounds on the history of their particular cult or order, etc., making the info relevant to the game and not just some long bit of written content presented just for the sake of wanting to write the material.

In my opinion, if you want to present a rich backstory, find a way to intrgrate it into the game. Short intro movies can be effective but many people dislike them. You can do a lot with clever dialogue writing and small descriptions. I''m thinking about the Fallout games as an example.

Hope that helps a bit.


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Many games have a sidekick, who''s job is to introduce the game interface aswell as aiding story progression. Is this an effective way of combining game and story? If done at the beginning, the player becomes used to the shift, and so the interuption becomes unnoticable. Some games do it better than others, but it''s a way of combining the two, rather than having them seperate...

Just an idea...

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I think Total annilation's intro movie was enough for me altho I enjoyed reading your intro. Gamers are more interested in flashy movies. I visted your site, to bad i only have alittle exp or I would join up. Im a beginner(just got to win api, GL to me! ) im working on direct x also.

Age: 16
USA, Indiana
C++, win api, diectx
I love rts and fps or anything with strategy in it(heh)
Senior in Highschool going to college BS in comp sci
If your interested frop me a line @ dieffenbach@smithville.net

O yeah just a thought you should try homeworld out if you havent gameplay is awsome! GL on your project


edit: That would be one big manual!!!

Edited by - IKill on January 14, 2002 8:34:34 PM

Edited by - IKill on January 14, 2002 8:36:32 PM

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Thanks for the feedback.

As this is a space MMoRPG the guild hall idea doesn''t work so well. But it could be done as a wrist computer. Every player gets one when he starts and it accesses any game info the player wants to know. It could double as a notebook even.

Garott - the idea of a sidekick is good too. The player will start in one of our cities. He emerges as a newly generated clone - but with memories of a previous life. The sidekick - a rehabilitation therapist? - accompanies the player until he reaches his spacecraft; after that the wrist comp takes over.

This is even more interesting after looking at the NPC conversation thread on Game Design. Though I''m not sure we will have a MegaHal.

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This is fairly obvious, but to allow you to get the player engrossed in the game it can help to give the player a character that is just as new to your universe and its various problems/perks..

Also the idea of the wrist watch is good. The Feeble Files by Adventuresoft (at times amusing but godawfully long and drawn out game) successfully implemented this with the "Oracle" watch. You were in a universe controlled by a despotic "Omnibrain". The oracle was quite cleverly used - to begin with it contained the Omnibrain''s charter of how to be a good innocent citizen, and gave descriptions of interesting things you encountered. As you progressed through the game, it racked up all the pointless little laws you had broken just to show how strict the despotic omnibrain was. Then you became part of an elite band of rebels - they fiddled with the chips in your oracle, and it now contained things such as the rebels'' manifesto, the rebels'' alternative descriptions of interesting things and err.. other rebellish stuff that I''ve long forgotten. As well as this, the oracle doubled as the futuristic equivalent of Guybrush Threepwood''s amazing bottomless shirt pocket. It beamed objects in and out in traditional star-trek fashion. - Just a few ideas that others have used in similar situations, providing loads of pointless information for those who require it whilst leaving you free to get on with the game at the same time, if you so chose.

Erm.. I''ll shut up now.


"In the beginning, there was nothing... which exploded." - Terry Pratchett

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