### #15Stormynature  GDNet+

Posted 16 February 2012 - 12:39 PM

Interactive fiction or as I remember it from my youth "Choose your own Adventure" books often has a crossroad decision virtually at the start. One decision leads you deeper into an adventure and the other is an immediate end to that story. In a few of these books, that immediate ending usually read something like this: Your next six weeks were spent quietly and then you died to the alien invasion. In seeking to have a game that is interactive you open yourself up to the reality that the path you take is still at the mercy of the writers.

You cannot truly have a successful interactive adventure if the final outcome is immediately one event or another eg. Stopped the aliens or died to aliens. It needs to be a multiplicity of endings some of which are defeats, some are wins and importantly, some are compromises. Moreover the premise will never truly succeed if you imbue absolute opposites i.e. good and evil. Absolutes don't work well for the most part as it very difficult to produce reasonable "compromise" endings which is what I think you are looking for in a game. Either way you still exist at the mercy of the writers.

### #16websmythe  Members

Posted 27 February 2012 - 02:18 AM

In writers terms I think this is called plot development.

The number of times that a game can let a player-created story branch off has to be limited. Which means that there will be some junctures in the story where the player can't branch the story. Like the Assassin's traitor, for example.

Nature exhibits the same approach. I remember watching a documentary on the ecosystem of the North West Coast of North America. In it they said that there were key species in the ecological chain that were critical to the proper functioning of the system. Other species could come and go, but the loss of particular species would destroy the whole environmental life chain itself. Plots and sub-plots could be built and resolved in similar fashion. The Witcher seems to be taking a pretty decent stab at the non-linear user-defined plot thing.
"I am not a number!" - The Prisoner

### #17websmythe  Members

Posted 27 February 2012 - 02:46 AM

Well, personally I think interactive story games have a lot of untapped potential. I would really like to play a game that was like an interactive science fiction or fantasy romance novel. But I've also intensely enjoyed many completely linear movie-like games. Actually the thing I disagree most with is having only a few choices near the end. If the game doesn't branch relatively near the beginning I'm probably never going to play it again to see the other possibilities because it would be boring and frustrating to replay the first part.

Was thinking about the same today. Seems to me the focus could shift to the script & plot, I just finished trawling the free 3D game listing on MMOHut, and got to thinking that the plot lines for most were pretty stale. Might be different graphics, but the same old classes, same old grind. But then how many options are there ever going to be, eh? Still would be nice if there was more stories/plot lines like Fringe or Dark City or something. I know there's a ton of really good sci-fi that isn't just campagin and conquest.

Good comment on the balance of plot vs game play.
"I am not a number!" - The Prisoner

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