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deus ex machina

Discussion in 'General Discussion' started by awake, Sep 14, 2018.

  1. awake


    Dec 24, 2013
    "Deus ex machina is a plot device whereby a seemingly unsolvable problem in a story is suddenly and abruptly resolved by an unexpected and seemingly unlikely occurrence, typically so much as to seem contrived." - Wikipedia

    As a mechanical engineer who has been out of English classes for years I could say I'm less than an amateur writer. I feel like I fall into the trap of coming up with things that don't seem likely to string together level concepts. My story is mainly to help me make environments and characters visuals, but it still feels wrong and I think it will cause issues as I keep developing. Has anyone else here had this issue with writing? Would you rewrite to remove the deus ex machina?
  2. Murgilod


    Nov 12, 2013
    I wouldn't write it in in the first place, honestly. Plan stories out beforehand, don't improvise them.


    Jun 1, 2017
  4. kdgalla


    Mar 15, 2013
    There is a forum specifically for video game writing at

    If you post the details, you might get help to write around your problem.

    If you have levels that seem-out-of-sequence or random, some ways you could explain it might be:

    The level is a flashback: The protagonist is remembering something that happened a long time ago that ties into the plot, even thought it takes place at a completely different time and place. Maybe it's not even something the protagonist is involved with, but maybe something that happened in ancient history, etc.

    The level is a side story: Maybe you play as a different character, for this level. The protagonist will meet this character later, but in the mean time this character is doing something different in a completely different location. Later, you show the audience how it ties into the main story. You could even do several levels where you alternate back and forth between settings.

    The level is not what it seems: The level is an illusion created by a magician or a mind control device to fool the protagonist in to doing something they wouldn't want to do in real life. This could possibly be really cheesy if it does not have strong support from the story.

    Alternatively, you could do something like Cloud Atlas where instead of a single story, there are multiple, separate stories that have a common theme.
  5. neoshaman


    Feb 11, 2011
    Figure out what's the stakes, how it impact the character need and the world, and you can improvise by simply moving around the piece like a chess board, given that having a stakes restrict the possibility space to the problem at hand generated by it.
  6. Kiwasi


    Dec 5, 2013
    Don't approach this like novel writing. Games are a different medium to novels or movies. Game players are mostly used to and accepting of forced story lines.

    First and foremost your levels and gameplay should stand up on its own. Story is mainly just a bit of glue to stick the bits together.