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About Estok

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  1. "hence why it's in Writing for Games, not Gameplay design" The connection between gameplay and story design is much closer than you think. In a nutshell, you are dealing with these question: 1) Is the story worthwhile to exist from the player's perspective? 2) Is a player that is interested in the game also interested in the story? And the most important question: 3) What kind of story will maximize the engagement to the player from a gameplay standpoint? What kind of gameplay will maximize the engagement of the gameplay from the story standpoint? That last question deals with Integration and cross-anticipation: Does the story make the player want to play more? Does the gameplay make the player want more of the story? It is called writings FOR games for a reason. It is naive to think that game stories are like normal stories. The followings are about your story. A) Intelligence of the Deities You need to be really careful when you want to include any form of gods in a story. The fatal error of stories involving gods is when the gods sound dumb. Based on your backstory, your Deities had show no understand or insight of what peace is, as if they were playing in a sandbox. This is a fatal blow to any story involving godly races. B) Thematic Awkwardness Usually, this class of errors are not serious. But when it is used as a cause of a conflict, it cannot be overlooked. In your backstory you said that the people were prospering when riches led to great problems. That made no sense. Scarcity, not abundance, should be the cause of the conflict. You also said that the gods feared that the nations will divide, but their solution was to divide the land. What is the logic behind that? This goes back to point A: "These wars between the nations caused issues between the gods as well. The gods began to divide to help a nation of their choice." Did the gods forget what their own goal? This is an unacceptable plot element. Because the gods are appearing too stupid. C) Semantic Depth Greed as a cause of conflict is uninteresting. Especially when paired up with your backstory. Your story is meaningless and trivial. It is the kind of story that makes writiers assume that they should start a story with character designs. Your story is like a plate of old spaghetti microwaved over and over, where the sauce is drying up into nasty patterns. D) Presentational Detachment Technically, this is not about your story. But since it appeared in your presentation of the story, it reflected your perspective of the role of the story in the game: "Each nation, now prepared for war, sailed of the island of Belligero, one in defense of the world, and one in the destruction. Fate cannot be decided by the gods, only by those whom fight for the gods. Whose side will you choose and how will you determine fate?" I know that you learned this line from reading other reviews or ads. But it does not fit the story and the mood infered by the story. It cheapens your entire presentation greatly. This is the kind of advertisement crap that you should detect and avoid. Most ads you see in the market are not aimmed at matural audience. A line like this is completely classless following the story you presented. It is like trying to sell Ferrero Roche in zippocs (plastic sandwich bags). Your spoiler also gave out more meaninglessness of the story. Your story is too bad to simply discuss improvements. My opinion is that before you decide to improve it, first review the easiest ways to make good stories. Assuming that it is a first-person shooter, there are several features that makes a great story with the least effort: 1) Realism 2) Present 3) Immediacy 4) Powerlessness Again, these are the easy ways out. These are the shortcuts. This is not a list of qualities to look for in a hard design. 1) Realism To put it in a simple way, don't create any alternate world if you don't have anything profound to say about it and a way to connect that world immediately to the player. Stick to what the player can infer and identify from the surroundings. Player knowledge and expectations are resources. When you take advantage of the player's thematic expectation, you only need to write a fraction of the story. 2) Present This is about ignoring the past and the future. This can be counter-intuitive, because I am telling you that to have an easy, good story, don't make a backstory, and don't give the player any long-term directions. A example of this form of presentation is Irresponsible Captain Taylor. The story is about intergalatic war from the perspecitive of a misfit crew from a lowly destroyer (a spaceship). The whole point of the story is that the crew seemed so insignificant compared to everything else, but it is at that level when the war becomes meaningful. The story is engaging not because of the backstory or any major decision that the audience looks forward, but the pure existence of the present perspective. 3) Immediacy This simply means don't let the player think too far ahead in the future. Don't remind the player of the ultimate confrontation when there is still a long way. Because it makes the player feel that everything happening now are just in the way to get to the end. This means that the player cannot know what he can do at the end, but experiences a strong sense of increasing thematic intensity and engagement. This kind of design favors mysteries, because the player is engaged to the immediate situation to discover clues. If the sense of mystery is not enough, the player will feel like a pawn completing detached missions. The trick here is to build the hook by hiding information. When you give too much information, the player's mind skips ahead. When you give too little information, the player loses the reason to follow the story. 4) Powerlessness Again, these list are shortcuts. In a simple story, it works a lot better when the player is in a powerless situation. This allows the player to think mostly or just in terms of the immediate situation, and to attach to the character. If you let the player to think big all the time, the character that the player controls will be nothing more than a pawn in the grand strategy. Making the player powerless forces the player to attend only to the player character, thus concentrating the player's attention to the story as it is connected to the PC. It helps the story a lot when the connection between the player and the story is personal through the PC. Your presentation of the backstory did not exhibit this design objective.
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    Re: Wombah My only reply is that my posts didn't start out condescending. This situation does not occur in other sections. It only occurs here because there is a lack of language to discuss the actual issue. There is no reason for me to ask for a paraphrase unless the posters continue to misunderstand after explanations. The posters were not trying to discuss the topic of the thread. They are taking sides and playing politics. You are correct that the questions, "Is it clear now" is condescending and desperate. I don't really see how it can not sound condescending consider how simple the topic was: Is the interactive version of a story more complex than the non-interactive form? Which version of the story takes more effort to design? Which one is more complex? These are very simple concepts. They are simple to the posters involved, but just me. They distorted it meaning in order to justify the side they had taken against an imaginary enemy. For s/s, think about the thread you made about state diagrams. The responses were overwhelmingly telling your understanding of what state diagrams are were wrong. You could understand that because you are able to perceive that it wasn't your field. (The fact was that you were not able to understand the difference.) The magnitude of misunderstanding here is almost comparable to that. When I tell you that your understand is wrong, you are even less likely to accept it because you perceive this topic to be your field. The fields of game writing and writing are not fundamentally the same. When you restate what you know from writing, those concepts do not always apply. Quote:Also, it would be prudent to accept and state that you are conveying your opinion, as opposed to some universal 'Truths'. The problem is that I am quite careful in distinguishing opinions from truths. You cannot use the words, "In my opinion" in vain. The existence of the hierarchy is not a matter of opinion. The placement and the existence of intermediate levels are up to debate, but overall, it isn't an opinion. If something contains all the elements of something else plus more, than it is more complex. True to the definitions. You are correct that truths often form a circle. That idea was included couple times in what I posted: 1) As the design of the prologue gets advanced, the prologue is no longer identifiable. 2)As symbolisms get advanced, they bypass the conscious filters of the reader. They are in other words invisible. In effect, this refers to the perception circle where the 'most advanced prologue is to have prologue that are unperceivable at the time it was presented' to wrap it up in a zen way: The most advanced way to present a prologue is to present it through its absence. Forming a circle is an illusive description, the circle exists when you look at a spiral vertically, the ends look like they connect, but it actually doesn't. It was a description in terms of the projection of its features onto the perception space. The two ends look identical at a certain angle, but they do not meet when you step aside. The statement describes this optical illusion. When you cannot see the depth of the structure, you see a circle. There are ways to discuss truths. The exchange of opinions do not define open-mindedness. Open-mindedness only manifests itself when truths are discussed. The meaning of open-mindedness is not to respect the values of opinins, but to exercise the ability to understand, and integrate ideas from the outside. Having an open-mind is not about letting ideas visit your house indiscriminately, but the having the motivation to evaluate each idea indiscriminately to integrate them in your family. The major obstacle of having an open-mind is the false conclusion that a topic is of a matter of opinion. Re: s/s If you want to talk about symbolism, you need to clarify your definitions, or at least avoid conflicts of the terminology. In my previous post, I defined what depth and shallowness for symbols. You are not using those adjactives in the same definition. You are rejecting a discussion by doing that. It is okay to go with your definitions, but you need to explicitly point out that you are using a different set of definitions. Quote:Of the two, I believe eggs are a deep symbol and dragons a shallow undeveloped one. To me eggs stand for potential, specifically creative fertility and hope for progress, because the egg's shell hides the future inside it, complete with the surprising mutations that will result in future paradigm-shifts and evolution. In your definitions, what makes a deep symbol? what makes shallow symbols? A) The bad qualities of your symbol 1) Thematic Closeness between the symbol and the meaning Egg as a symbol of creation is not deep at all. It contains nothing beyond the expectation of its thematic form. This is the reason why it is shallow. More explanations in section B. 2) Product of love Compared to mammalian reproduction, eggs have a much weaker sense of intimacy. An egg is not a good symbol for a product of love because the normal creation process of an egg is involuntary (you don't ovulate because you want to), impersonal and mechanistic. In fact, egg as a symbol of a product is often associated with undesirable circumstances. Eggs can be artificially inseminated and hatched in factories void of love. Many animes take advantage of this association to express a forced transformation opposing the will of nature, such as a heroine reprogrammed to become a killing machine. Egg is a very weak symbol to represent a product of love. It is more appropriate to represent a product of unnatural ambition within natural cycles. 3) Thematic Discrepancy When the natural mechanism of a symbol is altered, the symbol is weakened, by a lot. Eggs are laid and hatched outside the body. When you say that it is nurtured inside, then the 'egg' in your story isn't really an egg. It weakens the symbol because you are introducing unnatural thematic properties to it. This is a sign that it was a poor choice of symbol. Situations and symbols that sound made-up are really bad, unless it is essential to stress its uniqueness: - A bird without legs, that can only fly, and never rest. In your case, you have no ground to make an egg to be nurtured internally. When you use those properties to subnstantiate the symbol, you contaminate the symbol. 4) Thematic Debt By setting the creation of the egg to occur at the climax, you create a thematic debt, because a egg as a symbol is expected to hatch. In the old discussion, the symbolism, it required a family to hatch the egg. You have degraded your original design. B) The Landscape of Symbolism Quote:I also believe it is appropriate to have Merru thinking about eggs in the prologue because in lacking intimacy he is closed, sterile, unknowingly suffering because he lacks the all-important hope that his future will creatively produce progress. In a parallel way, it would also be appropriate to have the dragons suffering from a plague of infertility to show that their obsession with the past and tradition and their fear of change is stifling any possibility of creative growth. An egg is something which needs to be nurtured inside oneself, and thus requires openness to fertilizing external forces. Both Merru and the dragons fear that this openness will make them vulnerable, and thus they both need to overcome their fear and open themselves to new possibilities before they can transform their spiritual barenness into creative fertility and move out of the past and into the future.You don't understand what symbolism entails. The items you have are the exact reasons why your symbolism is weak and shallow. The concept between 'egg's shell hiding the future' and the egg is a direct thematic association. This was the exact reason why it was shallow, compared to more advanced uses of symbolism. In fact, this particular choice of association is at the level of clicheness, because the association between egg and birth, and possibilities is everpresent. An egg is seldom used to symbolize anything else. Just between this symbol and its association, there exist a ladder of complexity and presentation depth. Your choice is of the bottom rank, compared to this: - The heroine in white curls up [like an egg] in a bed as she pondered the meaning before her ultimate transformation. This is an advanced use of the symbolism of egg with that particular meaning. Even this is becoming cliche because many animes already use this. Your believe that your symbolism is deep is uncompetitive. (i.e. You are free to believe what you want, but your standard is very low compared the actual arena when you compare your work with others.) Another pointer is that when a symbol is too close to its thematic function, it weakens the depth of the symbol: Something will hatched from the egg, the egg symbolizes a hidding future. This kind of presentation is trivial and cheesy because it is so artlessly literal. Compare to this implementation of the same symbol-semantic pair: - There is a painter. Somewhat unsuccessful. Near her desk was an white egg. Around the middle of the story, the egg fell, and it broke. There was no bird, no dragon. Just egg matters. Your choice of symbol was shallow, and the usage of symbol is artless because it is so literal. There are many levels of symbolic depth, many of them are express by not the passive symbolism, but the action of the symbols. In high levels, symbols interact among one another beyond their thematic boundaries. In other words, when a dragon lays an egg, you don't go ahead and say that the dragon symbolizes the nurturer and the egg symbolizes the newborn. Those are very low level understanding of what symbolism is: Slaughter house V: - The protagonist, after the extensive plot skipping back and forth between the past and future, found himself helplessly struggling under a grandfather clock. It is not a grandfather clock's function to crush people. That is the difference between using a symbol and thinking that you are using symbols. It lies on the thematic discrepancy. Although this example is quite cheesy, but at least it was used to symbolize time as a burden, which is outside the thematic associations of a clock. If you want higher class symbols, you need to understand that symbols and their meanings are not established by thematic associations. Think about the symbol between sakura and a samurai. What is the relationship? At what realm does the relationship lies? That symbolism is a catagory 5 symbol, it not only reflected, but defined time and culture. Think about the symbol of the 'half glass of water'. That is another catagory 4-5 symbol. The meaning of a high level symbol are not derivatives of the components of the symbols. They symbolize a meaning outside their dimension, thus the definition of 'symbols'. When you see in this perspective, what you considered to be symbols are really shallow, because the meanings can be found readily by wading on the surface. The meanings you chose, are already attached to the symbol thematically. None of what you explained is beyond a casual inference of the thematic meanings related to an egg, thus your symbols are not semantically stimulating, not to mention the mistakes and distraction associated with your presentation. Overall, the status of the egg as a symbol is very weak. Not only the meaning is not provoking, the association between the symbol and its meaning is shallow, and the symbol itself has lost structural integrity because altered its thematic definitions, rendering it detached as a good candidtate of a symbol, in addition, the presentation of the symbol creates a thematic debt. You have trashed a shallow symbol. Your design was better a few months ago. My opinion is that, don't think about defending your current train of thoughts. Reread what you wrote a few months ago. It was better. You did something to it and it got worse.
  3. Plotting

    Re: s/s Do you know that Biege and Gor-Gor read my posts wrong? They thought that I said things that I didn't say. If you understand that please clarify the confusion. It gets meaninglessly repetitive. Re: Biege This is about complexity. This is not about evaluating a particular work. The notion of audience is still present. This is completely not about trying to do something when the audience is not ready. The hierarchy of complexity exists independent to the design choices you make for a particular work. I am not telling anyone that any design needs to exhibit or try to fully express the hierarchy. This is not that kind of discussion. Re: GOR-GOR Quote:I haven't seen either movie, and if I'm wrong for arguing with you when I think you're wrong, and you think you're right.... This is the problem: I never said that the things you think I said are wrong. You are disagreeing with something that I didn't say. And you don't understand what I am saying. You only see the filtered version of my message, and that message is obviously wrong. It is simple fact that game stories come in different styles and designs. Of course not all stories are interactive. Your accusation that I am speaking of something be all and end all, something with only one option is completely wrong. I am not talking about that at all. This is about complexity. Some maths you solve by using algebra, some maths you solve by using calculus. In terms of the ladder of mathematic complexity, calculus is more advanced because you need to have a decent knowledge of algebra before you can understand calculus and to apply it. The prompt that I was addressing was very simple: Is there a hierarchy/ladder to game story complexity? Is there a hierarchical structure between the properties that a game story may exhibit? This is not a question about whether calculus is better than algebra, but whether calculus is more advanced. You are still thinking that I am talking about quality instead of complexity. In the perspective of game story complexity, a decent structure of the story is the foundation. Everything that s/s said in the first post, you would need. Interaction builds on top of this foundation, where no only the plot and characters are sound, but are interactive. This is an advancement in complexity, because the resulting story has everything s/s considered, plus something more, which is interactivity. What is one step further? What features do more advanced designs exhibit? Anticipation, which requires the existence of a decent story and decent interaction. Beyond that? Flexibility. Beyond that? Mobility? Beyond that? I don't have a full forecast, but this forms a hierarchy of complexity. This is about dimensions and complexity, not design choices. When you mention 'end-all-be-all' you are talking in the realm of design choices. Not the design space. Am I asking all the game stories to be interactive? Of course not. Am I condemning designers that do not aim to introduce interactivity in the story? No. Am I condemning the designers that denies this dimension of possibility? Yes. I responsed to s/s's original post because it was a very narrow view of the design space and its considerations. It was not a response to the design choices. I didn't say that every story needs to be interactive. I am not providing any 'sole' procedure. It was a discussion on the paradigm level, not preferences or requirements. It defines complexity, not quality. The points in a hierarchy is not equivalent to a list of requirements: Quote:This is gamedev. The design of a plot for a game story is not the same as that for a novel. You might as well just consult your writers' group. A hierachy for game story plot design: 1) Interaction - The power to provide gameplay elements 2) Anticipation - The power to allow the player to anticipate gameplay 3) Flexibility - The property that allows events to be encountered in different order 4) Mobility - The support for the engine to use the Flexibility to construct a directed observable plot. The design spaces of a story within the gaming medium is not the same as that for a novel. This is gamedev. The variables and premises are not the same. Take the vector of audiences for example. Is the vector that characterizes an audience the same as that for a player? The fact is that s/s's view is a projection of the design space. By definition, it is narrow. It is as narrow as an architect designing for a clinic by simply following the design procedures for designing a home, and expect the occupants to customize the structure after it was built. The reason that you don't see many interactive stories, is because it is complex to implement, reflecting the existence of the hierarchy of game story complexity. It is not that people don't want more interactive stories, but that no structures could express it fully, nor there was precedents of well-established history of tackling such designs. That is why this is not a task for a normal story writer. The tools that a story writer is familiar with are insufficient to respond to the complexity. A writer that says the design of a game story is no different than that for a novel does not say it due to understanding, but the ignorance of the extra dimensions of the medium. If you are a writer, think about this question: If the story needs to be interactive, what are the principles that enhances the experience due to interactivity? How does that affect the design of the plot? Then we get back to the discussion of the hierarchy of the complexity of non-linear plots: branching stories, modular stories, interlacing stories, stories with changing pasts... These aren't topics normal to stories in non-interactive media. In light of this, the achievements of the current game stories are just the tip of an iceberg. Don't let them blind you from the actual dimension of the design space. The notion that game story and novel story design are fundamentally the same is very uninformed. Re: Childish Designs Quote:Childish Design: Not complicated, superficial, mimics the form of deeper designs but lacks the same depth has its couterpart. How to detect childish designs: Identify symbols that are primarily established by their thematic associations, but forcefully substantiated afterwards in an attempt to infuse the icons with meanings. The common situation: You watched Lord of the Rings and you like it. So you start making a story. In your story you have a elven archer, a drawven warrior, and a wizard with white bread. Someone asks you why you have those characters. There is actually no reason for having them other than your subconscious affinity to them. There are several way you could respond: a) You can make up the reasons on the spot, because you think that it takes a reason for the decisions. b) You can respond by saying, "who cares?" This is completely valid because most works are of expression in nature. c) You can say, "I don't know why I picked them, they seem to have a meaning to me but I still don't know what it is. I think I will find it out as I continue writing." This is also completely valid, because most of the time, a story is not written for an audience, but for yourself, to gain knowledge about yourself. It is like having a lucid dream and desides not to control it so you can observe the symbolisms without altering them. A design is childish when the situation resembles a, because the meanings are forced onto the symbols to 'cover up' the perceived short-comings. A design is shallow when it exhibits situation b, because it is no more than a sequence of events where the writer did not perform the task of design in all directions. Situation c has nothing wrong by itself. That should be the most often case because it is uncommon that anyone would start a design from scratch without following any unexamined semantic templates. There are bound to be symbols everywhere that exist without conscious decisions. The result of this can go two ways, either the writer succeed in identifying the symbolisms in the process, and refreshed the whole design in light of that understanding, or the writer failed. In case 1, the creation of the story turned into a design the moment the writer started editing and highlighting the symbols. In case 2, the product can either turn into an enigma or an immature design. A design is immature when it is not fully developed, such as a set of symbols and ideas halfly cooked or integrated. If you just follow your subconsious, there is no initial reason to believe that the contents conceived were coherent. Without any filters and adjustments, the product is just a spell-checked log of the interplay of the subconscious symbols. Just as normal dreams may not make a lot of sense, the log of it does not necessarily make sense unfiltered and uninterpreted. In order to make it coherent, the writer must at least identify the assumptions the subconscious made beyond the scope of the contents so that the reader has a complete reference to understand the content. But this still doesn't rid the piece of the problem that the content may not be semantically coherent. When you have the eye to see what is coherent and what is not, you are in case 1. Otherwise, the design is immature (hasn't reached its maturity). A creation is an enigma if the existance of the meaning is vivid, but not the actual content. The meaning of the piece might be incomprehensible for the desginer and the audience. But everyone reading can feel the meaning, yet cannot express it. From every angle, you get a feeling that there is a meaning. Your subconscious got the meaning, but not you, as if the meaning of the piece is encoded in the language of the subconscious. The power of an enigma is that it penetrates any conscious defense. You read it once, no matter whether you know what it is about, you are affected. It doesn't matter whether you agree or disagree with the visible content. The message is not in the seeming argument. An enigma can be a product of creation and also a product of design. The design of enigmatic pieces often involves the presentation of strong symbols to make deep impressions that will rally in the target. This is not anything new. This is impressionism. This is a main effect of rereadability. It favors concentrated presentations where the attention of the reader is undivided. The content doesn't need to be abstract, but most of the time the actual message is not verbally present in the content. Detecting childish designs: "Identify symbols that are primarily established by their thematic associations" Quote:Ok... that means any existing symbol which has an existing meaning in our culture right? As opposed to a symbol which you create yourself which doesn't have any meaning until you give it one?No. Thematic association means associations between symbols due to their affinity in forms. I am talking about the association between one symbol to the next, not the association between a symbol and its common meaning. Example of 'thematically associated symbols: Sun and moon - both are celestial objects Sword and warrior - medieval things Book and bookmark - items from the set 'book stuffs' Chess and warfare - things from the strategy set Phoenix and egg - forms of creature in the same life cycle Banana and monkey - I think you get the meaning. These symbols are thematically associated because they are taken from the same thematic set. In your case, dragon and eggs share a thematic association. In general, major symbols of a piece are supposed to be thematically associated, that is the basis of thematic coherency of the semantics. In terms of complexity of semantic construction, it is more advanced to create symbols that are not thematically related, such as: "Life is like a box of chocolate." Symbols like this deals critical damage if it provides a strikingly new but relevant association. When you do something like this you also secure the uniqueness of the symbols. This is why it is a more advanced design. In high level designs we don't talk about the presentation of the meaning, but the induction of its essence. I wasn't talking about what you were thinking. You are supposed to create new meanings as it get more advanced. You thought that I was saying something trivial. The main difference is that the symbols picked for the new association are not from the same thematic set. When you pick items from the same thematic set, and impose on them common variations of their meaning, there is no observable difference between a childish design or a design with very shallow symbols. Shallow symbols - (def) Symbols with meaning of the same thematic set. Example: an hatching egg to symbolize birth or a break through; a sword to symbolize might or leadership; a pen to symbolize a writer. 'Shallow' is an adjective describing the command of the author of the symbol space. The depth of the symbol space is infinite. The command of the author is his ability to get deeply in the space to fetch a meaning. When you just wade on the surface, you get shallow symbols. This is not about clicheness or preference. For instance, sword symbolizing leadership is shallow because that symbol is established by the fact that swords are often carried by people in command (as opposed to footmen with spears, swords take a lot more metal than a spearhead). Although many shallow symbols are also cliche, a symbol that is shallow does not imply that the symbol is commonly known. It implies that it can be commonly infered, easy to get. Adjectives like 'shallowness' are neutral. Different kinds of symbol have different usage. Infrared has a lower frequency than ultraviolet. It obviously doesn't mean that it is a worse wave in the general sense. But when all of the symbols in a piece are shallow, it is a sign that the author lacks the ability to draw deep from the symbol space. "but forcefully substantiated afterwards in an attempt to infuse the icons with meanings" Quote:And that means that whithin the story you specify or reinforce what the symbol means, yes?No. The order is important. When you think about the process of creation, symbols that are thematically associated do not arise due to the choice of the author. They simply exist because they are of the same set. For instance, when I write about a story about warriors, it is hard to dodge the topic on weapons or swords. Similarly, dragons and eggs are from the same thematic set. A childish design is exposed when the author tries to snap meaning onto the symbols that arose not due to intended semantic association. The difference between a childish design and a semantically shallow design lies in the way the semantics are constructed. In a childish design, the designer snaps meanings in an attempt to make it look 'mature'. This is detected by seeing the time of creation of the symbols. Symbols, when they exist, are important for a story. They are almost like characters by themselves, waiting for their turns to show up. When a plot sketch does not contain a symbol that the author claims to exist, it is a sign that the semantics of the symbol did not exist at the point the plot was created. In fact, if the plot sketch contains no symbols at all, it implies that the author did not have any semantical symbols when the plot was created. A plot sketch with no symbols expresses the instantaneous shallowness of the plot. (What you posted was an outline. What an outline documents exposes the considerations of the author. It is unthinkable that an outline does not document the relation between the events and the symbols. The absence of these relations implies the absence of the symbols.) Quote:And then, are you saying that symbols which both start with a cultural meaning and then are further specified and explained in the story are childish? I have no idea why you would think that. o_O Please explain.The topic has nothing to do with culture or explanations. It is about the depth of the symbol, and the construction of its semantics. Can you now paraphrase what a childish symbol is? Can you paraphrase why I think it is childish? Did I give you enough information to rewrite the plot outline so that the symbols do not appear childish? In terms of semantic complexity. How would you score the symbolism here? "Life is a box of chocolate", Childish 1 2 3 4 5 Very Deep How would you score your symbols? Childish 1 2 3 4 5 Very Deep 5 Very Deep - The seamless integration of the symbolism reflects the society, and defines a new paradigm in such conciseness that is going to change many lives that will impact the philosophical, social, and cultural statuses for years to come. 4 Deep - The integrated symbolism is philosophically intense, and encapsulates the arguments intelligently to provide a concentrated thematic representation of the story's semantic cause. 3 Mature - The symbolism provides a new perspective that encapsulates a curiosity or an unique point of reference. The symbols are well-integrated to the piece appropriate to the level of meaning of the piece. 2 Immature - The symbolism has not achieved its purpose to conentrate any arguments or perspectives. It appears scattered or incoherent, although important. 1 Childish - The symbolism seems forced and unrelated to the story, where its meaning and implications are un-integrated or undeveloped in the plot. Its thematic presence overrides the author's attempt to infuse it with meaning, resulting in a thematic design clutted by its imposed meanings. The ill integration of meanings is distracting the thematic core of the piece.
  4. Plotting

    Dimensions of Game Story Design The medium of game story is not fundamentally the same as that of a normal story. To say that the designs are fundamentally the same is like saying that the 2D cartesian plane is fundamentally the same as the 1D x-axis. Interactivity is the dimension that normal stories don't have. To stay on the x-axis is a choice. The understanding that There is the second dimension is not a choice. It exists. In general I don't reply to push a point. I only reply when what I said is being distorted. This is what you are thinking: "A plot for a game doesn't need to be interactive. Non-interactive game stories are still good, they are not obsolete. Flexibility is not important for these stories because they aren't interactive. For these stories, the designs are fundamentally the same as that for the design of a normal story." This is what you think I was saying: "A game story needs to be interactive, furthermore, it needs to be anticipatory, flexible, and mobile. Non-interactive stories are obsolete." I didn't say any of these. I said that your view of what a game story is is too narrow. It is one thing to be content with your own view of what a game story is, it is a very different thing to see your view in terms of the overall roadmap. Just think about this question. Suppose you are writing a textbook on writing plots for game. Would you write this line: A game story is no different than a normal story. In fact, you don't need to know anything about gaming to writing a good game story. How the game works or how interactions work is not a consideration when you are writing the story. Do you dare to say this in a textbook? If not, what exactly are the general differences between designing a plot for a game and for a story? Are all game story plots exactly the same as normal story plots? Of course not. What the the differences? I am not speaking on a narrow subject that you imagined. Reconsider what you said in the begining of this thread, you completely ignored the existence of the second dimension of the design of game story plots. That was unacceptable. In TechnoGoth's post, he said that he wanted to write a game story in 2008. I said that his view was obsolete. His view of what a game story encompasses is obsolete. Linearization is a choice, given that you understand the role of interaction in the higher dimension. But if you don't even see the second dimension, your paradigm is wrong. It is wrong beyond the matter of opinions. If you still think that I am ignoring you, can you paraphrase exactly what I said was 'obsolete'? Immature Semantic Constructs Definitions Immature Design: Not fully developed. Such as a pre-alpha software compared to its beta Childish Design: Not complicated, superficial, mimics the form of deeper designs but lacks the same depth has its couterpart. How to detect childish designs: Identify symbols that are primarily established by their thematic associations, but forcefully substantiated afterwards in an attempt to infuse the icons with meanings. Quote:I don't think it will make the plot appear childish. Eggs are not necessarily related to dragons. I wanted Merru to be thinking about the symbolism of eggs, which would not be specifically dragon eggs. Then there will be no mention of eggs made in relation to the dragons for several chapters because it is not relevant, Merru does not even know they are an egg laying species. The point of the prologue is to introduce the idea that Merru's life is barren even though it's very comfortable, and I believe having Merru think about eggs as a symbol of creative fertility is a clear, powerful, and concise way to communicate that. How to detect semantic forgery: By detecting inconsistencies between the semantic claimed, and the semantics that the plot exhibits. If the semantic claimed by the symbolism is not established in the actual plot, the semantic is forged. Suppose the author didn't have such symbolism in mind, but was accused of having no meaning, the author is likely to make up meanings on the spot by using the obvious symbols. However, the meanings do not necessarily match the serial number of the plot, because the plot wasn't written with those meaning in mind. Quote:His scholar playboy identity will be expressed in the first few chapters through his internal monologue of indignant complaints about being treated like an animal and sneaky attempts to remedy this.You plot didn't support this, because it it was of any significant, it is hard to just say "M4) Merru comes to terms with being thought of as a pet." It made no sense that a conflict with a significant would be downplayed in a plot sketch. It meant that the playboy identity wasn't a conflict at the moment the plot was written. This is a hint that you are not fluent in semantics, because it means that you want it to have meanings, but you can't think in terms of them natively. You are at the stage in which you need to see the plot, and then discover meanings. It is not about whether this is good or bad, it is just the definition of being not fluent--thinking in thematics, then translate them into semantics. In the absolute scale, being not fluent is inferior. Being fluent is not a choice, it is a naturally developing skill. You don't even need to train yourself to be fluent. You are becoming more fluent every day. So this is not an opinion that being not fluent is inferior. The point is not to compare you with someone else, but you with yourself a year from now. And the difference is that you will be more fluent. Prologue Quote:Quote:The art of the prologue requires it to echo before or after the climax. It is about how to shape the plot such that the reader wants to have the prologue rerun. This can only be done if the prologue exhibits replayability, through depth, double meaning, contexts, or perspectives. Higher level construct requires the seamlessness of the prologue (because it is cliche otherwise if every story begins with a quote or a poem. It is just [bad].) Therefore, while the meaning of the story is delivered in the space where there is supposed to be a prologue, the audience get the meaning, but should fail to identify any replayable part until it is 're-run'. This is irrelevant to me. I already explained that my non-interactive stories are intended to be read/played only once, and so should communicate all information to the audience on the first run through.You have confused the topic with rereadability. When a prologue is 'replayable', it means that the same prologue can be displayed two times to induce different meanings in teh same strand of plot line. This is completely not about reading or playing the story more than once. This concept is for designs that are non-interactive and are intended to be read only once. This is the echo effect that exhibits in the same strand when the reader reads the story once. Example (American Beauty): Plot point 1: The monologue by the father that he died, casual enough Plot point 2: Conflicts and stuffs, as the audience start to hypothesize how the father died. Plot point 3: Everyone hates one another, while the father learned that he really loves his family Plot point 4: The father got killed. At this point, Plot Point 1 echoed, with the newly gained meaning of the death. A lot of times I am just talking about simple things and effects. It is differently not irrelevant to your design. You are missing simple things. These are very simple things in terms of semantic construction. Design through Form vs Design through Content Even when you used the guideline, you are still focusing on the thematics. It has nothing wrong with the guideline, but your depth when you applied it. (Although I can assume that the poster of the guideline wasn't semantically fluent neither, because the words are all thematically driven.) It is not good to get excited with these kind of guidelines. I don't know how you will read the following statement, but following guidelines is the first step toward childish designs, because it is exactly what it is--following a form without the derivation from the core. The guideline is a distraction when it draws the attention away from the overall semantic development of the game. This is exactly what happens when someone tries to 'decode' a design without sufficient depth in their perception. They can only decode the superficial form of the design, without understanding the inner mechanisms that make the design alive. It is guidelines like this that make writers unrealistically confident on their abilities, because they blind them from an entire dimension about story writing.
  5. Plotting

    You are not listening. The point is not about any certain type of game. It is a general scale of complexity and advancement. It is not a matter of opinion that Calculus is more advanced than simply algebra. It is not about whether you like the simplicity of algebra or not. It is about complexity, compatibility. Which movie is more compatible to the game medium? Finding Neverland or Peter Pan? I am talking about extremely obvious flaws. You made a mistake when you tried to counter argue. I am not talking about what you assumed I was talking about. The original argument is more advanced than you think. The difference between Plotting for a story and for a game story In general, when you plot for a normal story, you think in terms of conflicts, themes, characters and dynamics. These considerations are not sufficient for a game story. Just take Conflict for example: Conflict: Just merely having a conflict is not enough. Depending on how advanced the design is, the conflict exhibited in a game story plot also need these features: Interactive, coherent with gameplay, integrated with gameplay, and exhibits anticipation. Interactive Conflict A conflict that is not interactive in nature is linear. In some stories, a conflict is portrayed. The characters involved in the conflict move toward a predicted direction. A good plot for a story does not require the conflict to have branches, opportunities for alternatives, nor the capacity to contain the flexibilities. This is not a topic on preference. Regardless whether a linear game plot is favorable, it is of lower level of complexity. It is like video taping the pages of a book to tell a story. It doesn't matter whether you like that style personally, it hasn't used the potential of the medium. Conflict with Gameplay Coherency Conflicts that are not coherent with gameplay are not contained by the gameplay, or are inevitably presented through disjoint modes of gameplay. This usually translates to uninteractive cutscenes, where the hero performs actions that are not part of the gameplay. For example, if most of the game involves killing monsters, but the final boss requires the player to toss a gem or to solve a riddle instead, that is inconsistency. Sometimes this is desirable, especially when the normal gamaplay of combat is painfully boring. But that is a design flaw in the gameplay. Integrated Conflict When the conflict has nothing to do with the actualy content of the gameplay, the player starts skipping the cutscenes and dialogues. For these designs, the game and the story are like two very different things. Example: There is a love triangle of some sort between the three main characters, with no relevance to the gameplay. The love triangle is obviously important from the perspective of the story, but is disjoint from the gameplay. It doesn't matter whether you like the triangle or not, it is a primitive implementation in terms of the complexity. In terms of integration, if the story features a love triangle, it better have some impact on the story and the gameplay. This is about design complexity. It is extremely easy add relationships and personality all you want. That is trivial. It is not as trivial when the additions play essential roles in gameplay. Conflicts with Anticipative Gameplay Anticipation is closely related to coherence and integration. An conflict with anticipative gameplay is a conflict where the player can sense the intensity and development of the story through the gameplay, and vice versa. This is a design where each cutscene prompts the player on upcoming gameplay, and the changes of gameplay prompts upcoming changes of the story. To understand this, compare this with the situations where cutscenes only prompt developments of future cutscenes, where the player either play the game to move the story along or skip the story till the next block of gameplay. Both of these situations occur because the story and the game are not cross-anticipatory. The player either have much more anticipation for the story, or much more anticipation for the gameplay. Cross-anticipation synchronizes the two disjoint threads of expectation and development. This is a feature that higher level game stories exhibit. Designing a game story plot is not just about writing. [Edited by - Estok on October 16, 2005 7:52:50 AM]
  6. Plotting

    Re: s/s I don't know why you are trying to counter that you didn't read what I said. In your post you said flexibility is important. That was exactly what I already said. You said that any movie can be turned into a game but introducing gameplay. That that is what I said, and that Anticipation separates those designs and those that are coherent. My inference is that you are not fluent in semantic construction. Think about this: 1) Suppose Merru read something about eggs or mythology, and then he is suddenly in the world of dragons, this makes the plot appear very childish. This is probably the reason it wasn't included (and shouldn't be included as is). Why is it childish? 2) Think about the scholar playboy identity. That is also pretty bad considering that the original scenes had nothing suggesting that he is a playboy. So if you had put it as a prologue, it would make the meaning seemingly imposed. 3) The lack of intimacy is a better central theme, but it still doesn't fit the situation. If he wants intimacy so badly he won't care becoming a pet. Quote:But I don't know exactly what should go there and I didn't want to include any confusing undecided bits in the outline to make it easier to edit. It is not trivial to find a perfectly fitting prologue if the entire design did not follow a central focus. That is why the absence of a prologue (or the equivalent forms of it) is a very strong indication of mis-design. I am not telling you anything new about prologue. You know all of that. You just didn't do it. The art of the prologue requires it to echo before or after the climax. It is about how to shape the plot such that the reader wants to have the prologue rerun. This can only be done if the prologue exhibits replayability, through depth, double meaning, contexts, or perspectives. Higher level construct requires the seamlessness of the prologue (because it is cliche otherwise if every story begins with a quote or a poem. It is just [bad].) Therefore, while the meaning of the story is delivered in the space where there is supposed to be a prologue, the audience get the meaning, but should fail to identify any replayable part until it is 're-run'. This is a strong design because the viewer has no defense that the original scene had a double meaning. When it comes it catches the viewer by surprise. Some of these effects can be conditioned. For example, in an episodic design, you can start the ending music 15 seconds before the actual ending of each episode. I don't want to explain what it does. It is up to your interpretation. Re: Gor-Gor: You were wrong on the assumption that my method favors hack and slash adventure games. In this forum I posted several designs, almost none of them was of that genre: Quote:Dreambell: A servant impersonating her master in the wake of a seizable imperial power/A loyal and gullible servant inevitably involved in the deceptive power struggle involving a betrayal. Cryo: A person revived int the future to discover the reincarnation of a tragic past. Cardinal Prime: A couple of professional thieves struggling through mistrust and chances through an accidental death of one of them. Thirteen Tails: A group of rebels dancing on the line between peace and terrorism. X-zero: A group of rescue crews discovering the reason behind the abandonment of a spaceship of evacuating comrades. Little Red Riding Hood: A presentation of optimism through the cold attitude of the village and the ridiculous encounter of the curse of the werewolves. The common feature that binds all of these is the use of mystery as the medium for interactivity, where player perception and interpretations are used for the feedback loop as the basis of interaction. TDM wasn't about hack and slash games. On the method of different designs, of course there are different ways. You said that I say there is only one way. I didn't. In fact, I didn't even mention any procedure in this thread. Think about this: 1) Interaction 2) Anticipation 3) Flexibility 4) Mobility This is not a list of procedure or methods. These are features of game stories with increasing complexity. The post wasn't about that every game with a story must exhbit all these features, but that this is the hierarchy that distinguishes game stories of different advancement. You can design a really well-written linear story. Nothing wrong with that. It is a primitive design. But there is nothing wrong with wanting to eat raw egg. The hierarchy defines the features that make a game story more advanced than others. It has nothing to do with preference. You don't like game stories with mobility? I don't care. But those designs with mobility are more advanced. Although you misunderstood what I actually said in this thread, you are correct that I don't think that gameplay should evolve from a story. To me, it is like saying, "I prefer counting the squares over taking the integral." That design choice is an inferior option. It is an option you choose when you have no better alternatives. In order to understand this, you need to know what 'gameplay' and 'integration' are: Gameplay is the set of elements of interactions. Be it action, be it interactive dialogues. Doesn't matter. Anything that makes the player click or to hit a key is gameplay. Integration is the intertwinedness between gameplay and story. You can measure this by measuring how much the story is affecting the player's decision on click the buttons, and how much the clicking of the button affects the story. Does the player slaughter monsters to make money? Does it make any difference in the story what monster is slaughterd? If there is a difference, is the different essential to the meaning of the story? Or is it just some curiosity of economic/ecological balance? Integration measure relevance between each gameplay element and plot element. When you assumed that my approach favors hack-and-slash game, you were probably thinking gameplay in its narrower definition. The truth is the approach didn't originate from action-driven games. It originated from story-driven games, in particular, mystery story driven games, those interactive stories with absolutely no fighting or action. The pictorial interactive stories. You were accusing me from the uncommon end, because the normal accusation is that such approach lacks 'gameplay'. Going back to the topic, I don't think that gameplay should evolve from a story. Think about this intuitively: Is it better to think about the story first, and then design the gameplay, or to keep the gameplay in mind while designing the story? Which one of these seem most likely to make the best game? R1E1.Wedding R1E2.Scientist R1E4.Prison R1E8.Corn Why? Is it because the intro seems to provide gameplay opportunities? [Edited by - Estok on October 15, 2005 2:43:46 AM]
  7. Plotting

    Gor-Gor: We weren't even talking about the same topic. One is about story writing, one is about the consideration of gameplay in story writing. The two methods do not tackle the same problem. The things I said tackle problem beyond the consideration of sole story plotting. Creativity favors the prepared mind. By the time you verbalize the rules of your subconscious, the rules are already integrated. You need no method or procedures, designs that satisfy the requirements come out of thin air. It becomes trivial to design semantically sound interactive stories with integrated gameplay. It is like composing music, when you no longer think about what the next note should be or to 'design' what it should be. They just come by themselves. But if the time comes, you also have the ability to evalute individual notes.
  8. Plotting

    Re: Story plot vs game story plot You are not reading what I posted. Quote:Original post by sunandshadow Quote:The choice to not compete is very logical. Plot sketch is almost completely a topic of design, not writing. I doubly disagree with this. Firstly, I believe that creating plot is at the very heart of writing, not design. The design element only comes into play when you are figuring out how to make the plot playable. Secondly, I'd be perfectly happy to compete in a design contest, I'm a designer as well as a writer. I clearly stated my reason for my decision not to compete in this round: I have no interest in creating a plot to explore the theme of revenge. The design of a game story is not the same as the design of a story. It doesn't matter what you are happy with, I was talking about the design of the contest. The design element come into play way before the completion of the plot. This is the reason I gave the four points in the design of a game story plot. You also didn't read exactly what I wrote about the four points: Quote:Quote:A hierachy for game story plot design: 1) Interaction - The power to provide gameplay elements 2) Anticipation - The power to allow the player to anticipate gameplay 3) Flexibility - The property that allows events to be encountered in different order 4) Mobility - The support for the engine to use the Flexibility to construct a directed observable plot. Again, I disagree with this in several ways. First of all, if you are writing an interactive story the most important part of the interactivity is not the ORDER in which events are encountered, it is the existence of a RANGE OF ALTERNATIVE events, one of which is chosen as a result of the player's actions. Your first point is meaningless, because what you mentioned was Flexibility. This is a hierachy for Game Story not just interactive story. Satisfying level 1 corresponds to a linear plot that is playable. A fully interactive story occurs when you get to level 4. The following showed you your misunderstanding: Quote:Second, interactivity is not the be-all-end-all of game stories; a totally linear plot has its own virtues as the story structure for a game. Any linear plot, such as this one for a novel, can be implemented as a linear game. It wouldn't necessarily be a great game, but it certaily could be a game. Not to mention that there are non-linear novels, such as Choose-Your-Own-Adventure books or books where the action takes place over several repetitions of a time loop (like the movie Groundhog Day) which could easily be implemented as interactive stories.I don't know what you were reading. A story that does not provide opportunities for interaction is not a game story. Interactivity is defined as the 'power to provide gameplay elements', not the power to change the story. I didn't reject linear plots in the hierarchy. You are making assumptions. This is a hierarchy. Interaction is the bare minimum that a game story must achieve. Quote:And where the heck is theme in your hierarchy? The first purpose of any plot structure is to convey an argument and conclusion about a theme - didn't you say this yourself back when you were talking about the TDM? A game plot is not fundamentally different from a story plot, it is just presented through a different medium.Why would theme be mentioned? This is not about plotting, this is about the hierarchy of complexity of game story plot. Theme is clearly independent to this complexity. Your presentation might work for normal stories, but for game stories there are these four major considerations beyond what you said. TDM I mentioned before was about the design of semantics and its presentation, this is about the complexity of interactive game stories. They resid in different level of design. A game plot is fundamentally different from a story plot. In a game plot, the player is not an audience, but a participant. The design of the game story plot is not the design of the sequence of events, but the design of the rules that induces the events. It is like designing a new ball game: How do you design the rules such that each participant experiences a plot through the interaction and that a climax is guaranteed. Since you mentioned TDM: In terms of a top-down design, these four points are of higher level than the selection of the theme. This means, before you even start using TDM on the semantics, you should identify the level of interaction you want in your game: How much do I want the story to be interactive? To what degree should the events of the story be formatted and consistent such that anticipation is created? How flexible do I want the story to be, how replayable do I want the story to be? How active should the engine be in constructing the plot? How automated or active should the engine adapt to the changing plot line? M0 Quote:About Merru's confusion - a confusion such as in your example, is generally a wavering between two opinions. What two opinions do you think Merru is wavering between? I don't care either way, because asking for help on personal novel projects that aren't even related to games is just [wrong]. Objectively, it doesn't matter what opinions the character is wavering. In the scale of a plot strand, it that point of the strand is not conveyed in the first point it is [a failure]. Technically, your plot strand is missing at least one plot point. In all similar designs, there is one addition plot point before this: Quote:M1) Merru finds himself unexpectedly in the body of a dragon, on a planet of dragons whose language he doesn't speak. The missing plot point M0 conveys the identity and personality of the character before the change. Think any story where the character goes to a different dimension. Be it Donnie Darko or Planet of the Apes, M0 establishes the meaning of the transition. The absence of M0 is not a result of negligence, it is reflection of the lack of design depth. It is as serious as 'forgetting' to include the climax of the story. You cannot forget to mention the meaning in a plot outline. The entire outline is the manifestation of the meaning. Every single event exists to shape the meaning, to answer the prompt in M0. When a plot outline lacks M0, it reeks. The absence of M0 is a strong indicator of [immature] design because a casual reader does not have the eye for the semantic thread. And when those reader design stories, their stories also lack the semantic thread. To them the thematics, emotions or characters are enough. But those are no where near the depth of a normal story. It is not that those other stories are better beyond expectation, it is those that lack it are incompetent, by a very large margin. It is like drawing a character with one third of it missing. It is obvious. Quote:I was intending that the meaning of the transition be an initial mystery which is explored throughout the progression of the story and finally explained either a bit before or a bit after the climax.You cannot see this as just an option or intention. This is the heart of a story. Without it, it is just walking fresh. The meaning of the story can be discovered in the story, but the indication of its existence* needs to be present in the first sentence. * The indication of its existence almost always narrow the focus of the reader. You don't need to say what the meaning is, but you need to say what topic or argument is about. For example, the beginning of the M-version of Cardinal Prime features a praying priest bleeding to death, alone, at night before the statue of Mary with a merciful smile. (Cardinal Prime is a psychodrama game involving crimes, religion (it is not about Christianity), mathematics, and networking). Story replayability is a very important feature. The plot element of the beginning scene echos through out the game as the player discovers its meaning and implications. The meaning of the story can be very different depending on how the story progresses, but all of those meanings are bound to the same initial sence. You should start to see that is it not a matter of intention, but integration. It is not a careless decision that M0 is missing. M0 cannot be missing.
  9. Plotting

    This is gamedev. The design of a plot for a game story is not the same as that for a novel. You might as well just consult your writers' group. A hierachy for game story plot design: 1) Interaction - The power to provide gameplay elements 2) Anticipation - The power to allow the player to anticipate gameplay 3) Flexibility - The property that allows events to be encountered in different order 4) Mobility - The support for the engine to use the Flexibility to construct a directed observable plot. re: TechnoGoth on plot design * The choice to not compete is very logical. Plot sketch is almost completely a topic of design, not writing. Quote:We have beginning and a character now, it is up to everyone’s own writing talents to weave them into the story that they want to tell.There are many different kinds of talents and approaches to designs. I personally condemn your view of design. It is not design, it is duct-tape. Furthermore, interactive plots cannot be represented effectively on plain writing. That particular ability is obsolete in the context of game design. re: Presenting plot strands S/S your style of presenting the plot strands is very distracting. You should group them in terms of transitions and delineate the states and the operators, and the plots used to represent those. Example: S0) [Describe the character's initial personality or belief; list plot elements used to present the character's personality of belief] [List the possible transitions; For each transition, list the plot elements (actions or circumstances) that transit the character to its next state] S1) [Described the character's current state; list the presentational plot elements][List the next set of possible transitions and list the corresponding transitional plot elements] ...(and so on) Why do I say this? M1 and M2 are not states, they are presentational elements for the same state. M3 is a transition, where M4 is another presentational element that describes the submissiveness of the character. In short, your way of presenting the elements hid their functions. A modified presentation: Quote:M0) Confused but Rebellious Merru finds himself unexpectedly in the body of a dragon, on a planet of dragons speaking an exotic language. The dragons were treating Merru like a [dog]. Although [Merru] is confused by the situation, [Merru] did not submit easily... Confusion: [List plot elements showing that Merru is confused] Rebellion: [List plot elements related to Merru's contempt or attempts to rebel] M1) Confrontation By various attempts, Merru tries to avoid treatment he doesn't like and created problems for himself and Attranath. Confrontation: [List the plot elements related to the problems] ... The way you presented the strand was distracting. The person reading it is not primarily interested in the actual events, but the states of the character and the transitions. Another note: The actual story is incomplete. You can't just dump a character in a new setting explaining no meaning whatsoever about that transition. Neverneverland has a meaning. Alice's wonderland has a meaning. This is a fatal design flaw when the meaning of such transition is not presented. If you read the four hierarchy in the begining, you should start to see how anticipation and flexibility are coming to player. If it is a game story is interactive, then you can expect that each [List] contains interchangeable elements that serve the same function. For example, player can [encounter] different ways where Merru expresses his confusion. The player doesn't need to hit all the elements, so that you can leave some room for replayability. However, to create anticipation, the gameplay needs to be consistent. This means that the way in which the player experiences the character's confusion and rebellion must be intuitive and integrated through the gameplay. A classic* example: You are an angel and you have a mission. However, a demon had turned you into a teddy bear. You got [kidnapped] by a kid who is not necessarily happy. The kid wants you to stay but you have *more important* things to do. And thus the conflicts, interactions, plots, mystries, and meaning. In this context, anticipation is created by the consistent struggle between solving the kid's problem, the bear's problem, and the mission. * This is a classic because the formula is really old: Involving a hero with a determined goal encountering a different viewpoint in an unexpected situation, thus presenting a meaning through the struggle of the meaning of the original mission.
  10. Writing Competition Round 3

    What are the must-have's from R1E5 and R2E7?
  11. Writing Competition Round 3

    Do the entries need to answer all questions listed in the end of R2E7?
  12. Writing Competition 2005, Round 2 Entries

    TechnoGoth: You seem to have a tendency to over-evaluate. There are contradictions in the way you evaluate the entries. Here is a list of pointers about E7.Arrie: style: - Presentation Flaw: The list of questions (extremely horrible style, turned it into a study-guide) - Presentation Flaw: Mood and tone mismatch - Presentation Flaw: Weak voice for external audience - Presentation Flaw: Lack of transitions between passages makes it distracting Creativity: (I don't evaluate on creativity) Applicability: - Presentation Flaw: No formating - Theme mismatch: Character name - Theme mismatch: Presentation style (too happy and colorful) - Theme mismatch: Substantial meta-theme contents (Daheen) - Character design flaw: (as you and others have pointed out) - Contest requirement flaw: The significant of Tattoo too trivial: Quote:The symbol of the Life Orchid is proudly woven onto her robe, long and flowing; running down her body, though leaving her shoulders, tattooed with some intricately complex family lineage, exposed. If this description is acceptable for the main theme of a contest, you might as well require no theme. For the sake of simplicity, this is just the list of faults without the explanations. You used some of these faults to penalize other entries but not E7. That creates some seeming contradictions. These are the two biggest flaws: The mismatch of the theme to E5 in Round1, and the lack of detail about the tattoo. E7 is very disconnected to E5 and to the contest even though it tried to draw a relation to Shai and included a snapped-on tattoo. Other contestants designed the characters based on E5 and based on a significant tattoo. Your rules appear too trivial. It is almost betrayingly trivial. Tattoo is the contest theme. Technically, we are competing on how well the use of tattoo relates to the theme, the character, and the gameplay when you declare 'secret meaning of tattoo' as a contest theme for character profile. You might not know that there is such implication. I am just letting you know that. The way you treated the theme of a contest made no sense.
  13. Writing Competition 2005, Round 2 Entries

    Re: Plots with drastic changes The clan went from having honor as their code to having no honor. A "very convincing personality" is not very convincing in this situation. When you say that he is able to sway over most warriors quite easily, it creates a loop hole. Because the viewer cannot imagine that a very honorable clan is also vulnerable to be persuaded to act in the opposite direction. I am not saying that Buoge is unreasonable to stand up, but compared to the other warriors with honor, Ghang would have to get through many confrontations before Buoge needs to stand up. What happened to the comrades of Ghang? Those that were trained with him in honor? What happened to Ghang's trainer and the other trainers? To make such drastic change, the leader must be riding on an external cause. It might be a famie, a plaque, or an external threat by another clan or the government. Clans don't become aggresive just for the sake of being aggresive. There needs to be a driving force. Depending on how small you want the semantic circle to me, the cause would either relate to Shai's village, another village like Shai's, or the government behind Shai's village. Side topic: The scene that 5MG described wasn't a pillage. The barbarians were just killing people, they weren't taking things. You can't loot when you are on horseback and when you torch houses to draw villagers out. It was not a pillage. Tactically, it doesn't take warriors to eliminate this kind of barbarians--they have almost no armor, they wear fur, they ride on horses, they come at night with torches--all of these factors go against them. Another consideration: It takes a lot of confidence to decide that revenge is an option. It is unclear where Shai got such confidence. It would make sense if Shai was already a warrior, but she had been out of town. It won't make sense if she was just a villager from a peaceful village, unless Shai is quite knowledgeable about her options.
  14. Writing Competition 2005, Round 2 Entries

    Summary and bios I agree with the hair cutting part is a bit important, but it is not gone, but relocated. It is an item that belongs to personality, not appearance. The attitude is not lost. The attitude will be very apparent when you compare with other character in the set. In addition, you still have the bios to introduce the character personally. Quote:In my opinion, those things are not obvious from a game design or a writing perspective. Unloading supplies to gain mobility would require some art asset changes at least. Using the hunting knife as a tool or a weapon suggests uses for them when you are writing the story. Using the sickle to gather herbs suggests that Chinu-a actually does gather herbs, and probably doesn't use the sickle as a weapon (I probably should have explicitly stated that, because in my view it would spoil the sickle if it got bloody). This kind of information is already in the game design part. For example, if there is herb gathering in your game, it will be listed in the feature (herbs can't be harvested and wild creatures can't be hunted without someone coding those function, in addition, how important are these activities for the game? Will the player be hunting and gathering herbs? Will the player have to take care of hunger in the actual game?). These are major points in the game design portion of the document. If those features are included, your game designer will already know that Chinu-a has to have a sickle (as a required tool to gather herbs) way before the designer read the profile. These kinds of things are very obvious to a designer. It is unlikely that a designer will seek to assign damage to a sickle, or even to treat it as a weapon, although for the sake of simplicity it is usually assigned with arbitrary small damage, so that if the player feels naughty the player can kill rabbits with a sickle. In my opinion, your claim that "using a hunting knife as a tool or a weapon" suggests uses for them for a writer is quite far-fetched. It was a large hunting knife. It is obvious that it is a weapon. And if you are a forester you must have a knife. Otherwise, what do you do with the animal you hunt? You can't cut it with the spear, you can't just tear it apart. It is unreasonable to think that Chinu-a will use the sickle as a weapon. Because the summary will document that herb gathering and simple medicine making are Chinu-a's skills. There will be no confusion that the sickle is for herb gathering. So simply listing those equipments is already enough. Your explanations told nothing beyond their expected usage. It is not that details are omitted, but are reorganized so that they don't appear where they don't belong. One thing a designer would look for is balance between characters. You have to think in the context when you are reading multiple profiles at once. Your style suffers because it buries information that a designer will expect to compare in paragrahs. It is okay to have unique informations in paragraphs, but not for the parts where each characters has their equivalent information. For instance, skills should definitely not be written in a paragraph. It is like asking the designer to overlook the information. From the perspective of a designer, I would either need a hi-lighter, or to rewrite the information as a list. [Edited by - Estok on October 9, 2005 1:34:44 AM]
  15. Writing Competition 2005, Round 2 Entries

    Re: Trapperzoid Quote:Edit mark 2: Also I forgot to add: there was also meant to be an element of a mentor in Chinu-a, to provide an teacher of mercy to Shai, since I was uncomfortable with the whole "total vengence" theme introduced in the introduction. This might be overloading the character with too many qualities, however. This will make more sense actually, because Ghang obvious eliminted Veteran members. So it makes sense if Chinu-a was a former trainer. The age of Chinu-a needs to change. On Profiling style Profile A Quote:Name: Chinu-a Gender: Male Age: 40 Height: 5ft 10in Current Role: A wandering forester Former Role: Warrior and trainer of the Guochuun Clan that destroyed Shai's village Appearance: Wiry but athletic, hardy in build, with slight scars from hunting and combat; black hair roughly cut just below the shoulder; beard naturally short and wispy; right forearm bearing a distinguishing tattoo of a single word "strength"--the symbol of the Guochuun--concealed under a cloth bandage. Equipments: Grey wolf-pelt cloak over a single tunic, with worn boots suitable for long travels; a customized hunting spear, with a large barbed spearhead like a harpoon, and a bladed side like a halberd; a belt around the waist carrying a large hunting knife and a small sickle left and right; waterskins and pouches around the shoulder; and a quiver of javelins on the back. Profile B: Original Quote:Name: Chinu-a Gender: Male Age: 23 Height: average (5ft 10in) *** PHYSICAL APPEARANCE: *** Chinu-a is wiry but athletic and hardy in build, as befits someone who lives off the wilderness. His black hair is roughly cut (by Chinu-a himself) to just below sholder height, and his beard is naturally short and wispy. His body is slightly scarred from life as a hunter and warrior. His main distinguishing feature present on his skin is the large tattoo on his right forearm of the symbol of the Guochuun Clan (the native word for "strength"), the clan that destroyed Shai's village. He keeps this tattoo hidden under a cloth bandage at all times. Chinu-a usually wears a grey wolf-pelt cloak over a simple tunic. In the wild, he carries his distinctive hunting spear, shaped similar to harpoon, with its large barbed spearhead sharpened on one side that allows it to act somewhat like a halberd in close combat. He also wears a belt around his waist, with a large hunting knife for use as a tool or additional weapon slung on his left hip, and on his right hip he carries a small sickle for harvesting herbs and medicinal plants. Around his shoulders he wears several waterskins and pouches for carrying supplies. On his back he bears a quiver in which he keeps several javelins for hunting from a distance. He wears worn boots suitable for long travels in rough terrain. When preparing for battle, Chinu-a leaves behind his cloak and supply equipment for extra mobility. He keeps his hunting spear, knife and javelins, and also carries battle medicine in a single set of pouches. There were information in your original profile that were too obvious, such as the line describing Chinu-a unloading supplies to gain mobility; Sickles for gathering herbs; javelins for hunting from a distant; and a hunting knife for use as a tool or additional weapon. *The personality of the two characters are not the same. That is where I stopped. [Edited by - Estok on October 8, 2005 8:35:02 PM]