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Official Dialogue and Narrative

Discussion in 'Open Projects' started by Proudrunner, Sep 30, 2020.

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  1. adamgolden

    adamgolden

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    There's no way to keep up with all this.. for me anyway! But something I just thought of after reading some of it - there could be a Tucker & Dale Vs. Evil spin on this (to anyone familiar with the movie), where Pig Chef and presumably Bard Hare have innocent intentions - I mean what's wrong with finding some ingredients or whatever right?

    For example.. Pig Chef rescues a drowning Forest Eye, he's like "I've got ur friend! Hey over here - I've got ur friend!!" and he's misinterpreted as having subdued one of them.. sparking the insanity of the Forest Eyes thinking he's up to something malevolent when all he did was help :D and that could be a running theme for semi-comical relief, where things that are innocent from Pig Chef's perspective are misinterpreted (particularly given it's a wildly different culture unfamiliar with his ways). And the Eye King at the end, having realized how wrong they were about Pig Chef, award the final ingredient (which would be something rare and valuable to them) as a way of making amends.. the catastrophe being averted being Pig Chef, misinterpreted and only seen as cause for alarm ..i.e. it was all in their heads, Pig Chef is in fact wonderful and it turns out the best thing to ever happen was his arrival there.
     
  2. cirocontinisio

    cirocontinisio

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    I'd say, references are ok and so is "fun and silly", but if the references are heavy handed and at the centre of the player's attention (for instance, the song that the Hare recites at the very beginning of the game has a very obvious Halo reference in it), then it kinda break the immersion and also deprives the game of its own soul.
    But small references here and there are fine!
     
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  3. shuttle127

    shuttle127

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    How about this for a bit of gameplay and references? My idea from the cooking gameplay thread:
    If we went the path of BHAR, they’d both be competing to make recipes for the townsfolk to win their approval and earn an invitation to the festival competition for the right to cook for the legendary chef.

    If we don’t need that extra conflict, BH could act as pig chef’s guide and/or hype man, following him on his adventures and talking him up to the townsfolk.
     
  4. neoshaman

    neoshaman

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    Town + quest + hunting critters = monster hunter lol

    More seriously, the progression is kinda loose, right now there is nothing tying the quest together.

    I propose this gameloop based on @cirocontinisio proposition:
    - the chef being a fierce cook he can fight critters to get recipe for meal
    - he get request for meal, Has to hunt down critters, then prepare the meal for people
    - the rewards is tools and equipment that allow him to go further in the island, get previously inaccessible recipe, fight tougher monsters, and fulfill further request.
    - this allow for a logical progression of the gameplay.
    - we can have a push the risk mechanism with alternative recipe for a meal, that is higher quality recipe give a better meal rating.
    - we can aggregate the progression with a chief reputation system, which would allow for the quest order to be relax, and the progression events would be tied to the reputation ranking.
    - recipe are used both as items to heal, baits or buff, as much as elements of a meal, which makes a risk rewards for using them, ie use them to survive or have a better rated meal that makes a better reputation gain? This is true for the rarest recipe.

    This in mind we can further refine the gameplay story.

    Pig chef start at the bottom of the social ladder, being among the poorest islander, but he is fierce and brave and have a love for cooking, he want to be the best chief of the island, which he is often mock for, because he can't afford anything beyond basic kitchen tools. However his fierceness allow him to access recipe others only dream for, as they are either dangerous to obtain or one must traverse dangerous area.

    He will start with simple meal and climb the social ladder toward hard to please members like the one eyed chief and gain the respect of all. As he get more pleased members that unlock more request and some people turn around and start asking request. Not all requests are for meal, in the middle story crisis, the character start hunting recipe to create cure to a strange disease, making him going even further in dangerous area.

    A rival slot neatly with this structure, he can start by taunting him and things get more heated as the reputation grow, can be used as a kind of boss battle, that is the rival have key tools to progress, but to obtain these tools you must make meal better than him, that is with recipe of higher rating, only obtainable in highly dangerous area or from high level critters. In the end they team up to defeat the illness, as the rival offer chief to prepare the cure in his kitchen.

    I'm English, I'm ESL, I used recipe as a synonym of ingredients, is this correct :eek:?
     
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  5. itsLevi0sa

    itsLevi0sa

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    Title: Let’s slowly bring it all together and introduce some basis to discussions - A first attempt. (Inserting recurring concerns so far, updates from the Cooking Gameplay Thread and some from the Level Design Thread while trying to avoid a personal opinion input on this post…what a challenge)

    [This follows the story update just made by @cirocontinisio ]

    FOR STARTERS (thinking in two levels)

    · Macroscopic view (or where we cut our vertical slice from): Our game is part of a bigger game. An island, in a map full of other islands that you will travel to. Or from.
    Macroscopic view’s goal (the full game’s goal):
    What’s the main theme of our story, our destiny?
    Become world’s Top Chef? Do we Gotta Catch Them All (those recipes) together with our Pikachu - Phoenix? Finding/Creating the OneRecipe? (aka OnePiece)
    In every one of these popular shows one thing is for sure: No matter how noble your goal is, how hard you try to achieve it, your journey (each island stop) would mean nothing if you didn’t make good friends along the way. Cliché? Well…It’s the truth, isn’t it?

    · Microscopic view (bringing that bigger picture into our game):
    Lots of discussions have occurred at the start of the thread regarding the potential role of the Phoenix Chick and other initial “helping” characters like the Bard Hare, eventually even drawing links between the two, outgrowing the story outside our Pig Chef and introducing plot twists. With the amount of talent I see here, we could come up with 3 different books, and they could all become best sellers.
    Now we all know that we are discussing things in depth in order to end up with these subtle details that will make our experience feel “real”. We all know that in the end we will just show the tip of the iceberg of these discussions. But maybe now, it’s time to point out some priorities. Which leads us to our….

    MAIN DISH (Form follows fun)

    We need to keep the story flexible and in the background.
    · It needs to be flexible because things are going to change all the time, so the story will be revised constantly, but we should be able to change small parts without a disastrous domino-effect.
    · It needs to be in the background because it’s there to serve the gameplay giving reasons behind actions, and not the other way around.
    Tying a specific story related to one island TOO much with the gameplay, will break cohesion of the overall game. If we would work on the FULL game, we wouldn’t experience a completely different game when reaching another island right? Core game play stays the same, but story bits and sub-goals/new abilities unlocked/new characters met is what would make the overall experience feel different each time.

    So what experience do we want to serve to our players? What do we want our players to feel when playing our game?
    That’s what we are discussing in the Cooking Gameplay Thread but I am bringing some core points here as well since I am attempting a summary.
    Let’s bring back the focus on the fact that our protagonist is above all a cook. Cooking needs:
    1. ingredients + actions to gather them (such as..picking up?harvesting?fishing?trading even?)
    2. techniques (such as chopping, etc)
    3. tools to use
    4. recipes to follow
    Now cooking leads to a product (another ingredient/food/ something irrelevant to eating but relevant to the act of “mixing” things to achieve a desired “outcome”).
    That product can be used for: healing, luring a creature that is a necessary ingredient (combat), keep aggressive creatures away, give power ups/temporary abilities, used in a social way to gain favor/reputation/help/bond with a character, even used to tackle an environmental/combat/quest puzzle.

    So how does all this cooking theme make our game fun? What makes cooking fun? And how can narrative support it?
    Bringing up previous scattered concerns for the narrative part:
    Recipes can carry backstories. It is up to you to make them relevant to our Pig Chef, or an NPC. Every ingredient even can carry a backstory too and the conditions under which you obtain it could be a quest, or an interaction with a specific character etc. Cooking techniques can be learned (or not learned) along the way again by interaction or by leveling up, along with cooking tools which might or might not require it.
    The fact is: these 4 will need to be obtained (as they should make the core gameplay), but the How’s and When’s and Why’s (narrative) are up to you!
    And maybe through all the interactions and backstories we could slowly answer questions regarding some characters such as:
    1. Phoenix chick: How did we get it? What’s its role? What’s its story?
    2. Any important NPC: How do we meet? What’s their role - motives? What’s their story?
    These could in turn provide interesting story plots to accompany the gameplay and leave space for….

    DESSERT

    Subtle details that should be added in the end (last but not least!) – the spices of our story, whose bits and pieces are scattered all around the map and our gameplay experience.
    ------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

    Feel free to correct me and add your perspective on this attempt. Really sorry for the long post.
     
  6. Zold2012

    Zold2012

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    a recipe uses one or more ingredients to make a meal (aka a dish)
    When making a cake: eggs, flour, sugar are all ingredients. A recipe would be the instructions on how to mix and bake the cake. The cake is the dish.
     
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  7. neoshaman

    neoshaman

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    Thanks for the precision !

    Also given the framework I proposed, we could introduce the phoenix character as the first gameplay tool the character obtain. The first level is about stumbling on and saving the phoenix, which then provide heat to cook and various gameplay enhancement, that's the first step into the character achieving his dream, ideally the phoenix could be an opening to bigger mystery, as the only or last phenix, that won't be resolved in the first game but give accordance for potential sequels, aka ratchet and clank.

    The town could be organised as a hills, with the chief being on the top, and the elevation reflecting a social order that allow to visualize the metaphorical progression. The story is the gameplay, the gameplay is the story.
     
  8. roxioxx

    roxioxx

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    The above sounds good!

    I've brainstormed an idea that has these elements: 1) interacting with the townsfolk 2) quest 3)finding ingredients and 4) trying to finish a recipe.

    In this example, Chef Bacon, has a recipe for goodness, but, the first ingredient is rare. So, he asks his friend who travels a lot if he saw the first ingredient which in his story is the fruit from the cashew.
    ca02_1.jpg

    (BTW, I don't have all the time in the world, so these are just doodles. I hate writing novel-length posts in a discussion). Anyways, Bard Hare helps Chef Pig that he saw the fruit from a tall tree in the forest. Chef Pig goes through the environment until he finds the target area. This can include some combat to fight hostiles just so he can get to the tree.

    Once he finds the tree, oh no...
    ca02_2.jpg

    It's a tall tree. He can't climb it to get the fruit from the cashews. This tall tree is an example of an obstacle without using combat. Chef Pig has to overcome it somehow. I still think we need a light combat system because as someone else on this thread pointed out, you might need to hunt.

    However, an NPC in the background (and credit where it's due, this is the frog from the original concept art of the secondary characters). Painter Frog is in the middle of the woods painting stuff. When she notices Chef Pig and his ca03a.jpg despair, there is an exchange.

    We've reached a conflict: A rival wants the same thing as Chef Pig.
    They battle in a cooking like mini-game.

    Pig Chef wins (or else there's a game over) and he gets the item from Painter Frog.
    ca02_3.jpg

    But it's not what he wants!

    Chef pig sees what his Rival has to say.
    ca02_4.jpg

    Oh! If you be the better mammal and give the Rival the item you have no need for, the Rival is overjoyed. In his happiness, he gives you a rare item: the Cashew Fruit! One ingredient done.

    Not sure what would happen if it were a no. Someone else can think about that. Me thinks it's just a loop.

    I'm against Bard Hare as Rival. From a story perspective, the movement doesn't make sense. There's no motivation for the Bard Hare to be competing when he's helping. He's a friend/helper. Not a rival/antagonist. Those are two separate literary functions and this is supposed to be a simple game done in 6 months. Communication is key and I'm pretty sure weaving an overly complicated plot is something that can be done in such a short time. Scope is always an issue and keeping certain elements simple will help speed production up. Then, that can be energy used on things like the awesome climax or ending or something.

    For this scenario, there needs to be a Bard Hare and some sort of Rival Character. They can't be merged.

    Okay, I'm done now.
    ~Rox
     
  9. ArtofRemo

    ArtofRemo

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    Very charming examples @roxioxx ! Humor wise I like the tone you are setting. It paints a world of childlike innocence similar to "Ni No Kuni" and "Zelda". However, part of what makes those worlds special is that despite the charming appearance and behaviour there is always a lurking evil or mystery underneath it. We do not need an elaborate bckground story but small hints (journals, murals, legends told by villagers etc.) could provide this "tension".
     
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  10. shuttle127

    shuttle127

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    @neoshaman Your suggestion should be made in the level design thread. I like that elevation as social status idea, gives a clear path for "getting to the top," although how it ties into the cooking festival idea I'm not sure.

    @roxioxx Love the sketches, kinda scared of that Eastern Nebraskan Murder Pepper. I mean come on, what food has a face and a knife?! :eek:

    Oh, and @itsLevi0sa, maybe this game blows up and spawns a transmedia empire, then we'll need ALL these novel ideas! :) Regardless, thanks for the summary and keeping us on track! So easy to get carried away with this fun story!
     
    Last edited: Oct 9, 2020
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  11. neoshaman

    neoshaman

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    It's just the structure of the town, to help visualize progress, as your reputation grew higher people take order, until the chef "i heard of you, you seems to be quite a cook, i would like the finest meal, do you think you have the chop for that?", the town is where the festival happen, it doesn't change much, these are unrelated. It's not really leveel design per see just a overall direction, though like any story element it impact level design, it's more of a tell of the social structure ie tells about the society, but defined as a way to convey gameplay too. Level design would specify how the lay out is done and the element it contain, that is the actual structure.

    First I'm on the opinion we should always recast elements to serve teh story, else it becomes a disjointed collection of events rather than a story, i'm not against this, but we should justify every elements from a story and gameplay perspective, so if bard hare is an elements in the game, how does it translate concretely?
    - is he a recurring character at key moments like knucles in sonic 3 or kass in botw? or a compagnon that follow the player?
    - what does happen? is there participation in fight, get involve with enemy, appear in the same place than enemy? or is just a special npc in the town? or maybe only happen in progression events?

    second, lirerary function and literary presentation are different things, AND a rival doesn't necessarily mean antagonist (see late vegeta in dragon ball, notably super, to take a quick pop culture reference). For example the way I see the rival is that he actually help the player, set the next goal and guide the player toward it (function), but does so through taunt (presentation) he also set threshold gate (function) that validate progression. It's really not complex. The rival doesn't have to be hostile to teh player, just have presented opposition.

    For example here how I see the beginning of the game (can be done humorously, but I'll stick to the minimalist):
    - establishing shots, island then town, then festival crowd (establish place)
    - someone shout " I want to be the best cook", the camera pan and we see the pig looking up on the cooking podium where bard hare is (establish goal and character)
    - close shot on bard hare looking down from the podium, and with refined mannerism and rhymes tell the pig that he don't even have the tools to cook an omelette (set the first milestone), how can he expect to be best? (set the material stakes)
    - a shadow rise behind the pig, it is reveal to be the chief of the village, the strong one eye, pig is standing on his way to the podium, he just slap the pig out of the way like he is nothing, bard hare shakes his head and sigh, say the pig to not disturb the clients. and bard hare serve the chief the best meal of the town, full of delicate ingredients. (set the emotional stakes, the character start at the lowest point of his journey, can only go up, prime the player in wanting to help the character, hastag relatable)
    - pig is sitting on a dead tree on the beach looking defeated, a big noise happen
    -> transition to gameplay (learn to walk and basic interaction)
    -> things happen and we get stuck in an arena to fight a critter (combat tutorial)
    -> looking for an exit we stumble on a nest with broken eggs, one isn't broken,
    Upon inspecting the eggs, the character open his cook book, (think of the cookbook as a pokedex, reference recipe and and ingredients, menu tutorial) and the egg is referenced as phoenix eggs, a highly rare delicacy meal, the character is happy he will be able to make the best omelette and show bard hare he is worthy to be a cook. But the omelette cracks and he the phoenix chicks get out
    -> transition to gameplay (learn to use the phoenix chicks)
    etc ....

    The bard hare isn't necessarily against the pig, but both of them are trying to make the best meal, that put them in direct competition of the rarest items, which can be done through scene like the cartoon above (excellant touch with the pepper) above where they "fight" over a person or a situation for one ingredient access, which can be notable moments and a way to break the pacing a beat by mixing things up.
     
    Last edited: Oct 11, 2020
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  12. itsLevi0sa

    itsLevi0sa

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    I absolutely loved how you depicted the characters and story elements @roxioxx regardless of whether they are going to be in our game or not. An image is truly worth a 1000 words. Thanks for crushing my stereotypical assumption that the frog is a male when looking at the concept art (funny..all characters in the concept art where male to me even though Unity didn't provide us with any gender info), and your bunny as female on first impression. Totally in for more gender fluid characters and breaking some norms. (hopefully in all aspects)
    Really liked how you sketched the personalities, even on the ingredient. Never thought of having this kind of personification. Nice work on the Murder Pepper and the overall humoristic touch :)
    Also I never thought of having a Recipe for achieving a personality trait or a skillset instead of food. Quite poetic. In this way we could play with symbolisms/metaphors perhaps, and think of what kind of “ingredients” would need to achieve what kind of trait. Might be more interesting than simply assigning a +1 after gaining a Lvl or completing a quest (if we are actually gaining XP and assigning any +1 anywhere). Just a thought.

    PS: Is anyone else starting to relate to Pig Chef? I mean…We are also embarking on a journey, we have a personal (and a collective) goal to meet in 6 months, where by the end we will have gotten a good taste of what the “game” (development) is all about. Which is what makes @neoshaman 's last proposal with Pig Chef just starting out #relatable indeed :D We are making a game, while playing the game we are making already. Starting to feel really meta here!
     
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  13. shuttle127

    shuttle127

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    Instead of more spaghetti mode, here’s my take at curating what’s been said (with a little personal preference added in) to organize @itsLevi0sa’s summary.

    Main Theme: become a world famous chef

    Motivation: Pigs are highly inquisitive and intelligent creatures that are always looking to find new, fun, and challenging things to do. According to this article on enrichment activities for bored pigs, they love adventure and treasure hunts, which is why Pig Chef wants to travel the world in search of new recipes and to make new friends.

    Steps to Achieve Goal (in no particular order):
    1. Build cooking proficiency via learning new recipes and gaining new titles
    2. Become well known and liked by the locals via doing good deeds for them
    3. Accumulate the best cooking utensils via winning cooking competitions like the main event at the festival for this town
    Recurring Characters and Their Roles:
    • Pig Chef: the protagonist who wants to become a world famous chef
    • Bard Hare: Pig Chef’s traveling balladeer friend who is world renowned for singing the tales of other famous people; convinces Pig Chef to come to this town because he heard of the festival and the legendary golden spork prize; travels with Pig Chef on his adventures to create grandiose tales of his deeds to share with the townsfolk before, during, and after the festival
    • Legendary Chef: best chef in town who hosts the festival’s main event, an executive chef cook off for the rights to the legendary golden spork; can be introduced as per @neoshaman‘s story
    • Blake: @roxioxx’s more charismatic chef that’s already on good terms with Legendary Chef but is also there to thwart many of Pig Chef’s attempts at improvement; eventually must work together with Pig Chef to overcome some obstacle/challenge to gather an extremely rare ingredient
    • Phoenix Chick: another Pig Chef traveling companion, stumbled upon via something like @neoshaman’s idea, that helps with light for travel and heat for cooking (to keep it simple)
    • Critters: wildlife on the island that provide challenges for Pig Chef to overcome, whether via combat, exploring, puzzle solving, or placating with food/treats
    Sporadic Characters and Their Roles:
    • Townsfolk: provide quests, recipes, and ingredients for Pig Chef based on his popularity/rank; also help build word of mouth regarding Pig Chef’s exploits
    • Painter Frog: @roxioxx’s first quest idea participant, could maybe be moved to recurring if we find reason to have paintings for lore
    • Other Executive Chefs: mix of locals and visitors who are also competing in the cooking competition; could become recurring if they also have to do quests for ingredients
    To Do:
    Hopefully it’s clear from the roles and how often each character is involved in the story how much dialogue is required. The next step would be to outline a three-act structure, but don’t want to get into those details until we can agree on all the players and start and end goals first.

    A few final questions:
    1. Is there an underlying evil/mystery?
    2. Do any of the title suggestions in the official choose the game title thread even make sense anymore?
    3. What in tarnation is Pig Chef’s NAME??? Do these suggestions inspire ideas?
     
    Last edited: Oct 10, 2020
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  14. neoshaman

    neoshaman

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    I want to add that any story "solution" I'm proposing, are merely illustrative of the methodology I'm trying to convey :here is a problem, here what's needed, here is an implemented solutions to have well form structure. That is any idea is good as long as key questions answer the project needs. Also to have well form fallback in case of dead end, so we have something workable at all times. Indecision has a definitive cost in developing games.

    how long should be the vertical slice anyway? 5mn, 10mn, 30mn, 1h, 3h? How long is a the experiential beats? What are the different type of beat the player go through? His would allow to quantify the work needed. We might not need to answer all story or gameplay questions depending on how long the experience is, just establishing key elements. 6 month is also below short, we need to quantify the number and complexity of elements to put into the game. It might seem unrelated to story, but very often you have to cut down on ambition to meet deadline, because cost become prohibitive.

    For example so far I have the pig, the hare, the phoenix, the chief, generic NPC, generic critters, boss critter, town, beach, cave, to get the minimal intro and tutorial sequence I proposed above, can this very simple sequence be done in 6 month? Let say we are short on time, redoing level design took extra time, we need to cut one character, how do we do so, and how it affect the story? In my case I made sure the story can be done with comic style panel, so we probably only care about the beach sequence, so only pig and critter need a model as priority, what if we absolutely need the gameplay of the town but don't have time, what if a 2d via is enough? Those kind of questions.
     
  15. shuttle127

    shuttle127

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    Back to spaghetti mode to answer my own questions:
    1. Underlying evil is an “evil/mischievous” chef who’s trying to gather all the golden utensils to do something diabolical like make a dish to mind control the world or something. Could also be something as simple as this chef is going around town poisoning the locals and part of pig chef’s quests is to make elixirs to cure them.
    2. New idea: Le Chef Porcine
    3. Pig chef is referred to as simply Pig until he wins the competition because he is unknown and must build his reputation. Upon victory in the competition, the legendary chef dubs him “Le Chef Porcine” and grants him the golden spork.
    More Bard Hare Characterization:
    • His actual name is Gabbot the Garrulous, as he is known for being long-winded and chatty about even the most mundane of activities
    • First example can be seen in the intro song (definitely redoing what I posted before because it needs work to fit better and be more unique) as he and pig chef first arrive on the island/in the town
    • He also provides short poems about the other famous chefs upon first encounter. For example, after the encounter with Blake and the pepper, pig chef asks him, “who was that?” and receives a brief poem in return
    • The townsfolk recognize him everywhere he goes, but they don’t notice pig chef, which makes Gabbot sad and makes him resolve to build up his friend as much as possible; this is also motivation for pig chef
    More Blake Characterization:
    • Full name Blake de BunBun, but he doesn’t use the surname except when he wants to show off or impress someone, as his line is world renown for being connoisseurs of carrot dishes
    • Like the previous characterization above, Blake is a charismatic charmer who’s always looking to share his famous carrot cake with anyone and everyone
    • Starts off dismissing pig chef as a nobody, but comes to respect him after multiple interactions throughout the adventure, eventually teaming up with him to overcome some obstacle/challenge before the final cook-off
    Other Thoughts:
    1. Can we do a variation of the arrival card where Pig and Gabbot are both present during the pan up and Gabbot sings an arrival song?
    2. If we were to go along with the chef titles I proposed in the cooking gameplay thread, could we have 1 quest/recipe per title, that way we only have 10 dishes to worry about?
    3. Curious what the critical path looks like for this project; with all these narrative ideas, how do we agree on what to cut?
    4. Does someone have a good format for the script outline doc and/or dialogue spreadsheet and willing to create and share it in Google Sheets?
     
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  16. cirocontinisio

    cirocontinisio

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    I strongly believe we won't be able to produce more than 15-20 minutes of interesting gameplay. And we shouldn't aim for more exactly for what you said:
    That is... very true.

    I still think Hamlet is a great name.

    Such a cool comic! :D
     
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  17. neoshaman

    neoshaman

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    Do you have a planning of when things should be due? So we can make decisions and lock stuff as early as possible? It's very easy to get stuck in endless loop of cool idea, stuff can always get better, but better doesn't make "done". I think a proper planning would also help people participating have good idea for how to compromise and moved on.

    This is a deadline driven project, where the main content is the process of making games. The actual quality of gameplay is secondary, as much as it can chagrin many of our aspirations. By quality, i mean sales and critical acclaim for easy metrics. Figuring out the gameplay system and implementing them will take a good chunk of time, it's easy to get lost into iterations with them, ie find the fun, though fun isn't mandatory, as like i said, this is a production oriented product good enough is acceptable.

    So basically a kind of tutorial tour. Figuring out the length of the gameplay beat will allow to define how much actual elements we can pack and not overdesign.

    My guess is that zelda is a reference, to narrow down i think we could go for wind waker, by studying a let's play we can see what 15mn represents. What do you think about that?
     
  18. shuttle127

    shuttle127

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    So basically one iteration of the gameplay loop then?
    1. Receive request from NPC
    2. Obtain recipe
    3. Obtain ingredients
    4. Cook recipe
    5. Present to NPC to complete the quest
    This loop assumes the Phoenix Chick is already with Pig Chef, so we don’t have to go into the discovery of it. We also wouldn’t go into showing off any cooking competition just yet.

    Step 3 is where we’d do a combat/exploring/puzzle tutorial. Step 4 is where the ideas from the cooking gameplay thread come into play. And I’d also like to suggest, just for flavor, a Step 6 where Bard Hare sings a victory tune.
     
  19. neoshaman

    neoshaman

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    The loop is the template engine for progression, therefore it's not about to be followed strictly, and even in zelda you have to acquire the sword and shield.

    The reason for delaying introductions of the Phoenix chicks is to introduce gameplay progressively and controlling the flow if information, ie focus on one aspect at a time, all good game do this but hide it with immersive elements to not artificially lock the player. Also narratively, player as no idea what is a Phoenix chicks and what it does, it need proper introductions in one way or another, just starting directly with it is obfuscation. Cinematic are gameplay relevant if they inform about it.

    The witcher 3 intro sequence is a master of that, it introduce looking with the mouse first using yennefer as an attraction point, then has a narrative excuse to make you walk and learn the basic gameplay of interacting with object (look for the key) and reward you with the unicorn scene. It teaches noobs but is invisible and trivial to veteran, all before you touch a sword, it's unskippable, so you have to go through all the step to validate the progression. Even more clever is halo 2 and 3, which not only don't ket let you go without going through a stealth aiming tutorial, with the starting check up, but is also a stealth control calibration, when they say to look up and you push the stick up OR down, it goes up, so the game set up the state of inverse Y for the controller without you bothering to open the option menu to fiddle with that.

    I think you missed a step 6 of get reward that unlock new request (ex tools, dish, information, location, cooking table spots, reputation, etc...).

    You seems to want the bard friend, it would be great if you specify how it fit structurally, ie how it can be implemented. Like does the friend follow the player to adventure? Is just an npc in the town that act as support for the player? Or is this like a kind of "accent character" that pop up into scene to make it livelier?
     
    Last edited: Oct 11, 2020
  20. shuttle127

    shuttle127

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    From the original character card, Bard Hare was a friend/helper who was introduced upon first arrival on the island, and we originally speculated in this thread that he’d pop up throughout the adventure giving hints.

    While I’ve suggested all 3 of those options at different points in this thread looking for consensus, I am leaning towards the first one because we could use his songs/poems as navigation but also as celebration for successfully completing tasks. This fits with the notion that pig chef wants to become world famous, as having someone being with him every step of the way makes it easier to spread the stories of his good deeds.
     
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  21. cirocontinisio

    cirocontinisio

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    Yes, they are not super strict deadlines but we do. Some cards on the roadmap have a deadline assigned, although some of them have been delayed and we're generally behind since we're reworking the story. Once we have the story, I can plan the next steps.

    So, let's focus on agreeing on the core story for now, and on the core gameplay systems that the game will have (I made a new card). I'm more interested in knowing if there are evident gaps, problems, and - especially for the gameplay - if it's fully understandable.
     
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  22. neoshaman

    neoshaman

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    Okay what's the procedure to decide when the story is done then? If time isn't the main criteria, it would be cool if we had another metric that help evaluate a satisfactory point, creative input can be endless pit of refinement and cool idea, I'm going to advocate for a set number of criteria to satisfy that mark the end of agreement.

    I was trying to prompt a discussion about the Pro and con Of the how, since the what has been stated, especially when it relate to give strong outline of the workload needed, so far it's kinda vague and leave options open, it's okay to have option open for creativity, but for production it's best to have an idea about how to close them too, that is each open option must have strong structure, that is when we decided an option we have a good idea of its cost and how to plan it.

    For example, all 3 options can be related to usual guidance character used in typical action adventure, see navi/fey/midna in Zelda, or pimon in genshin impact. Using that we have a good idea of how it could works, what are the limit and what could be refined. They are character that interject personality and allow stronger characterization by having a dialogue foil for the main character, or add banter in downtime gameplay, in a natural way. Bad implementation can feel overbearing or intrusive (hey listen! There is 99% of what I'm saying you already know, Navi/fey).

    However the general direction is to make these characters almost physically removed from the terrain (Zelda type of helper)' so much as having them disappear magically when not needed, or make them functional extension of the main character (jak and faster, banjo and kazooie), with pimon in genshin impact a kind of in-between. The rational being that the less they interfere with the physicality of the world, the less implementation, ai, physics and design problem you have.

    The other end of the spectrum being characters like Ellie in the last of us or Elisabeth in bioshock, which development was hard and the solution not entirely resolved. Their physical presence jeopardizing the gameplay balance by introducing placement and utility issues, but also narratively the have a center stage that other companions character don't have. In some way they steal the focus from the main character gameplay for something more complex. Game that have a great symbiotic relation with the character, like ico and that game with the two brothers, are game that make the thematic of the relationship the center if the story and gameplay.

    Relative to the current project, the bard character is of the same size than the main character, it isn't a mascot style sidekick that either disappear in thin air magically or be located on the shoulder of the main character or float by his side, neither the relation between them the core of the story and the physicality would take away the focus of the gameplay on top of complicated it. So we would need to either redesign it, precise further his functioning, outright cut, or find innovations to use it.

    For example, it's not uncommon in kids cartoon to have side characters poping up in a scene in suspicious way, generally interfering to keep narrative pace either by hindering the main character (through mistakes, being in danger, etc...) Or helping him in critical situation (distracting opponent, giving a key info, etc...). In game that could be implemented with scripted event to trigger and be part of the mise e scene. We could also merge the character with the phoenix chick, to have the helping character be the like the guiding mascot that is an extension of the player character, or both but in specific helping niche.

    The thing is we need to be aware of the cost, mascot character could basically have a banter emote while speaking, but script event turn the part of the game into full blown animation movie, which cost most. Imho I would cast my vote for not having the bard actively follow in adventure area, due to the complexity of interaction happening there, the ideas expressed above ties the character strongly to a social role, having the character greet and follow the main character in town make more sense, as interaction is minimal, we could probably have a simplified Elizabeth like AI (follow ahead, select spot for emote, gaze tracking).

    In fact town people could have 3 states based on the reputation of the main character based on their social ranking, dismissal (look away from the character when close), neutral (no gaze tracking), acknowledgement (gaze tracking), I took that from the last story on Wii...
     
  23. shuttle127

    shuttle127

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    My only story question from this is will Hamlet be doing trial and error with the dishes (i.e. presenting multiple dishes to Fry King and getting continuously shot down), or does he spend the whole demo planning one elaborate dish and voila he wins because he stumps the Fry King? The latter would definitely make for a more epic tale for Bard Hare to sing.

    As for the cooking gameplay, it sounds like the BotW cooking system where you go to a cooking location, pick your ingredients, see a small animation, then poof the final dish. Is that accurate?
     
  24. cirocontinisio

    cirocontinisio

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    It's basically done :) As I said, this is supposed to be a vertical slice and as such it doesn't need a big overarching story reflected in the game itself.

    I'm enjoying the ideas here and we can totally have fun detailing or hinting at more of the story through NPCs' dialogues, quests and item descriptions. We can also introduce this famous "rival" at some point provided we have a good 3D model and animations, or just use the Bard Hare as the evil surprise, whatever...
    But right now we need to have the characters and the gameplay confirmed, so we can move forward with programming and art production.
     
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  25. roxioxx

    roxioxx

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    This has been a fun experience working on a team so full of energy as this. It's really quite rare to see this in my field (I'm in the Heatlh IT space).

    @shuttle127 You've done a wonderful job of reading through and trying to condense posts. I also like the details and ideas you've added. @neoshaman You have a lot of great ideas. Thank you for sharing them with us.

    So going to the core story card, for the most part, it makes sense except for one piece: The Legendary Chef has to be impressed by the new cook. I've seen a lot of cooking competition shows and there is always a third party being judge. Perhaps this is an island elder who is retired or a panel of three colorful characters, who knows, but it is never the participants. The Fry Chef seems to be like an Iron Chef to me and Pig Chef/Hamlet is there to beat him. That's the only funky thing I see in the story.

    For the gameplay systems, it is also mostly good except I don't see a cooking battle mechanic... unless if that's supposed to be cutscenes? Like, say the Pig Chef collects all the ingredients, what next? Does the player make the dish ahead of time and then gives it to the judge/Fry Chef? Or do they cook everything fresh on the spot? I think someone mentioned like Quick Time Events or a Mini-Game type system for the cooking segments.

    Well, those are my thoughts. Take 'em or leave 'em.
    ~Rox
     
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  26. cirocontinisio

    cirocontinisio

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    Wait, who is the second party then? :)
    Can't the island elder be the legendary chef itself? That's the point, no? He's not competing, he is the jury.

    Yes, totally, like also @shuttle127 pointed out just before, we haven't really detailed how does the game decide which one is the recipe/dish that will make the player win.
    And I totally agree that a trial and error system would be the worst.

    One way to simplify things for us, we could have an automated system which, once you craft the right recipe, kicks off a cutscene where we either directly play the ending (i.e. you present the dish to the chef and win) or - better - a character pops up (the bard? a villager?) tells you that that dish is REALLY going to impress the chef because... "of x" (he knows). At this point, the pig could be close to town and holding the dish in their hand, which is now emitting an inviting smell (represented by some particles). For the player there is not much left to do than walk to where the chef is, and that would trigger the final cutscene. This would be nicer because at least the player retains control, even though there is not much left to do than to go and watch the final cutscene.

    ?
     
  27. roxioxx

    roxioxx

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    From the way it's worded in the codedeck card:
    The yearly cooking festival has just started. It is made of different smaller events, and all the people from town are celebrating and showing off their cooking prowess, but the real centre of attention is the contest that revolves around the legendary resident chef, $14x: Fry King. .

    The way it's worded, makes it seem like he's an active chef, and that he would be part of the cooking prowess events.

    The second part from this card:
    The contest consists in presenting a dish to the chef and impress him, to be declared "Grandmaster chef". Many try each year, but with him being so experienced, he hasn't been surprised by any recipe in the last 20 editions of the festival. For some, he was just able to guess all the ingredients at first sight, before even tasting the food.

    For someone to just admit defeat is strange especially if he's committed to cooking. One way to not make it seem like the Fry Chef is an active participant is to say: "He's a retired chef who became a legend by [doing X]."

    You could reword this section like this to be more clear:
    The yearly cooking festival has just started. All the people from town are celebrating and showing off their cooking prowess, but the real centre of attention is the contest that revolves around impressing the legendary chef, $14x: Fry King. He's a retired chef who became a legend by [doing X], now, he's the judge for deciding who gets the title of "Grandmaster Chef." Many try to impress him, but no one has succeeded in the past 20 years. That's because he's so experienced, in some cases, he was just able to guess all the ingredients at first sight before even tasting the food.

    That's just my suggestion.



    I like this idea. There's visual feedback that the character has done something extraordinary and it matches the story line pretty well.
     
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  28. shuttle127

    shuttle127

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    @roxioxx Thanks for the kind words, great comic, and suggestion about rewording that card for clarity, it reads a bit more explicit that way.

    @neoshaman Thanks for the in depth analysis of the decisions we’ve been trying to figure out, it brings a great seasoned perspective to the table. And yes, that was two puns in one sentence on purpose, as a compliment of course. :)
    One more thing about bard hare (and this leads into my response to Ciro below): I’m back on the “popping up randomly” train for him, mostly so it’s a special occasion/celebration and minimizes how much we have to work on for him.

    This idea lends itself to bard hare popping up as soon as chef completes the recipe, and he sings a short tune about a smell he’s never smelled before and how it’s “fit for a king,” which could clue the player in to go looking for the legendary chef. Building off of @neoshaman ’s reputation system, as pig chef walks past the townsfolk with the dish, they all turn their head once the smell hits their nose.

    Can you tell I really want to write some bard hare lyrics?
     
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  29. roxioxx

    roxioxx

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    That's such a cool visual! You enter town and people start looking at you with an amazed look on their faces. They watch in anticipation as you walk up to the Fry Chef and present your dish. A moment of silence... then BOOM! He is amazed!!! You win!

    It's like a visual drumroll. So much tension building towards the climax. I like it.

    :D I can't wait to see what you got.
     
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  30. itsLevi0sa

    itsLevi0sa

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    Title: Figuring out a structure (progression of events) in gameplay + narrative (attempted recap but with personal input this time)

    Main goal: The competition requires you to figure out a fine recipe to impress the FryKing. This “figuring out” points to a problem (the FryKing could feel like something is “missing” from all the dishes and that’s why he is not impressed) that we need to find a solution (find what that could be).
    I think we clearly need to put our focus into what that winning element X would be that would make our dish stand out and win the competition.
    To find that X we need to better understand the townsfolk and gather information. I still think that this interaction could convey better meaning by introducing a problem that they might face (SideQuest) that would link to the FryKing’s disappointment (MainQuest) that our character should help to solve.
    In the initial story, we had an imminent catastrophe as part of a problem that by tackling it we would save the island (SideQuest) AND achieve our recipe (MainQuest). However discussions have reasonably argued about the intentions of a foreigner “invading” a land to achieve a personal goal in opposition to the natives. In the newest story updates, the natives are not hostile to our protagonist and do not fear any danger which has removed those issues. However it has also removed that SideQuest element that could be helpful in figuring out the winning recipe.
    I will attempt to bring it back in, hopefully without ruining the discussion:
    Maybe the townsfolk have already experienced a catastrophe that is irrelevant to our protagonist and they now lead a new life having come in terms with it. But this catastrophe has brought a problem that they can’t solve alone, that ties with the Festival dish failures and with our character’s story.

    Concern regarding the ENVIRONMENT SETTING
    , that could set the tone of what the challenge of this island is and what problems might the Townsfolk face, feeding the gameplay/narrative:
    Macroscopically thinking, I can imagine every island in the full game to have a unique character that reveals the setting of what the cooking adventure will be about. In our island, because of Fry King, I am thinking a lot of smoke and fire. I am imagining the Festival with the Townfolks using frying pans to cook something on top of a fire, with a lot of smoke/smell filling the scene. But why might frying be a core cooking theme to this island?
    Bringing back some recurrent discussions around having a “dangerous” area, and my previous thought on a catastrophe that might have happened, I can easily come up with the idea that this island has an active volcano with lava streams that might run through the town/across the map, but the people have managed to put it under control and actually use them for cooking (frying stuff on top of them). You can think of any other environmental challenge instead.

    Personal NARRATIVE input (introducing the main problem - SideQuest):
    The problem that the locals face is that this previous catastrophe (ie. volcano eruption) destroyed a lot of seeds/ recipes and broke the link the townsfolk had with their past and their culture. Ever since the catastrophe happened, they tried to retrace back to their roots by having this annual Festival, however none of the dishes are able to impress the Fry King because they miss a certain ingredient X that will bring back the old traditions that were lost.

    Personal GAMEPLAY input (reaching answers - achieving the MainQuest):
    Core gameplay revolves around interaction with the townsfolk where you are able to get:
    1. Information
    2. Quests
    to gather ingredients, produce recipes and reach the Final Recipe.

    What kind of information could we gather?
    I am thinking of “hints” that should point toward some “key” areas, characters and objectives. For example:
    Information #1: some lore about the heart of the dangerous area (ie. volcano) and something that lies there (ingredient hint)
    Information #2: there is one NPC who remembers a sauce recipe from the Old Times, but does not have the ingredients because they don’t exist anymore after the disaster.

    What kind of quests could we do?
    • Quest #1: Figure out the basics of cooking: Get a request for a meal where you have to combat with some critters to bring an ingredient (Ingredient no1) back (first map exploration ie. Forest). -> Reward: Get a cooking tool (frying pan) + learn a cooking technique of how this ingredient gets cooked.
    • Quest #2: Introducing creativity to create a custom ingredient: For ingredient No2 maybe you need to find A and combine it with B (building progression in gameplay). Example: a normal pepper + a sarcophagus (aggressive) plant = Nebraskan Murder Pepper
    • Quest #3: Introducing creativity to tackle an environmental puzzle: You get a special fruit from an NPC. You’ll need to find another special fruit (second map exploration, ie Glade) to combine them and gain a special temporary ability by consuming them. -> Tackle an environmental challenge and reach an unapproachable area to gather rare Ingredient no3. Example: Bouncing fruit + Weight-lift fruit -> Long jump to pass above a big stream of lava
    • Quest #4: Finding a long lost special ingredient: For ingredient No4, maybe some conditions will need to be met in order for it to be able to grow. (Environmental conditions?).Maybe that rare Ingredient 3 (ie.rare seeds) need the heat of the heart of the volcano to grow (Ingredient 3 transforms to ingredient 4).
    Finally - Merging quests with information (obtaining ingredient X):
    At the top of the volcano you see something from Information #1 that you should take back to the town (Ingredient no5) and fulfill what Information #2 said: provide the necessary ingredients for the NPC (ingredients 4 +5) to teach you the sauce (ingredient X!) that used to be the Townsfolk specialty that everyone is so nostalgic about.

    So now you end up with: Ingredient no 1 + Ingredient no 2 + sauce = Final Winning Recipe.
    -------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
    I am introducing no characters here. Fill them in as you see fit. Sounds pretty much to do for a 15-20 min gameplay, but I tried to fit everything we‘ve been discussing regarding gameplay/mechanics in order to decide what we should aim for the core gameplay and dress on top with the story.
     
    Last edited: Oct 12, 2020
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  31. shuttle127

    shuttle127

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    What if the flame from the Phoenix Chick was the missing ingredient? If we go with a volcano scenario, the phoenixes all lived there and were believed to have perished in the eruption, but somehow one escaped and made it to wherever Pig Chef was, and was then reborn as a baby and made friends with him.

    Maybe can even find more baby phoenixes upon traveling to the volcano, which no one else had in the past 20 iterations of the festival because it was too dangerous or they couldn't make it past certain obstacle(s)?

    Would be a happy backstory and ending, would it not?
     
    Last edited: Oct 12, 2020
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  32. neoshaman

    neoshaman

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    Linking a volcano incident with the phoenix chick is great! BUT Always think about how to convey the information as clearly as possible to the player with the less contrived way, then adapt the story. If pig knew about the phoenix since a child, you need a way to convey that. We can still introduce saving the island with that takes...

    Looking at the problem, I would say keep the discovery of the chick in the story after the intro, but the ending could be reuniting the chick with her mother hidding inside the volcano, the volcano started erupting because the mother was sad having lost her child, that would ties things up neatly and give an emotional core, the journey could also be how the pig made friends with the phoenix to begin with. I mean a story is strong when things are link logically.

    Speaking of emotional core, we can further ameliorate the proposed ending above by working on the motivation of the fry king, by taking a page from ratatouille, it's kind of prolonging the idea of impressing him with a lost recipe. The fry king was the best, his ideology was always that food didn't matter but people was, he always set out to make food that appeal to each person by learning about them, and he has been looking for a successor for while, someone that would be sensitive enough to continue that legacy. But so far he only met people who think only about themselves bragging about their cooking skills.

    Winning over the fry king would mean pay attention to what people say about him to discover his secret. When fry king was young, there was a certain dish his mother made, his youth was met with hardship and his mother worked hard, he couldn't always see her, so these moments forged memory which are precious to the fry king, these moments where the happiest for him as he shared food with his mother, that's why he became a cook, as a way to call back to these moments and share it with everyone, it's a simple recipe really but look down as unrefined food for poor people, and one ingredient has become extremely rare as exploitation of the land drove some people to destroy it for more high class usage. It's been a while since fry king could taste that dish again.

    This could be interesting as it introduce an opportunity to make more interesting quest. Basically some quest could have straightforward answer and social answer. Basically if we have my ingredients rating system, the straightforward answer is about making the meal asked as recipe are in the book, with better rating for more refined ingredients, however the best rating mean gathering hints about the character making the request and paying attention to what they say, to discover the secret thing that make them happy (feed the souls). Some character aren't making a request but if you pay attention to what they said or is being said about them, you can find the secret request they long for. Ex "when my mother was alive, she use to make cheese donut, that's not how you prepare donut nobody else does it, I miss her, sorry I'm rambling again, that's a cheesy story, hahaha ... Ah... Sigh". We could even resolve dispute that way.

    We could have all standard recipe in the cooking book, with mostly rating varying by using hard to obtain delicate ingredients. And using dialogue hints to discover recipe not in the book, making listening to NPC important, the idea isn't that different from gruntilda quizz in banjo kazooie and her sister gossip. That would add a layer of depth to the characters interactions and deepen the player connection with them by making it have an impact in the gameplay, instead of formalities with flavor text. Extending further, we could have an hidden variable that is chef Fry's opinion on you, has we fill request socially it fills up too, so the chef start opening to you about his past as you remind him of him in his prime. Further tossing a wrench in the gameplay, we could make so that the social solution don't yield the optimal score path in terms of reward, to make more important the theme.
     
  33. shuttle127

    shuttle127

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    The Phoenix Chick's origin is still a little iffy to me if we're going to go the route of missing from its family. I still think it's an idea we should use, just have some concerns that I was hoping we could iron out together.

    If Pig Chef has had the Phoenix Chick all along, then it's been gone a long time (however long 20 iterations of festival is), which begs the following questions:
    • How old is it?
    • Why is it still so small?
    • Has its family been looking for it? If so, why haven't they found it? If not, what's prevented them from doing so?
    Also, it leaves us open for a tiny bit of branching/conditional dialogue:
    • Upon meeting the Bard Hare, he could recognize the Phoenix Chick and explain that Pig Chef shouldn't go into town with the chick, as the townsfolk might think Pig Chef was the cause of the eruption by stealing the chick.
    • If Pig Chef agrees, then the narrative for recipes could be about the missing ingredient and hinting at the other phoenixes in the dangerous volcano.
    • If Pig Chef disagrees and arrives in town with the chick, either the townsfolk make the accusations I just suggested or they could praise him as the savior who found the missing baby. Either way, he now knows about the volcano and will think to look for it on his quest.
    If we take the approach of finding it at some point throughout the adventure, then it doesn't make sense that the mother phoenix set off the eruption because she lost her child because the same questions still exist as in the other scenario that Pig Chef has had it all along:
    • If the mother set off the volcano because she lost her child, wouldn't 20 iterations of festival be a long time for it to be missing?
    • Wouldn't it be bigger/older than it currently appears since it's had all that time to grow up?
    • Why wouldn't she be looking for her child? Maybe she got hurt in a landslide or something and can't fly anymore, thus Pig Chef would have to come "heal" her with some food?
    ========================

    @neoshaman 's suggestion about how to please the Fry King calls out for the Blake character, as he seems to be the vain type, at least according to @roxioxx 's comic depiction. We could introduce Blake when Pig Chef first encounters Fry King by having Blake interrupt the conversation with his "famous carrot cake," to which the Fry King just shakes his head and starts to explain the story about his mother. Bard Hare could even pop in and regale the gathering with a tale of the Fry King's mother, possibly connecting the volcano eruption to her loss.
     
    Last edited: Oct 13, 2020
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  34. neoshaman

    neoshaman

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    Okay we need to define the problem, why do you want the phoenix chick to be already with pig chief? I mean he way I see it is that it complexify the story telling, because that mean more ad-hoc exposition. I'm not against it but it need to be define in term of story need. If you cannot pin point why you want to go that direction, talk about what bother you, try to express your concern so w can infer the real problem and find a solution.
     
  35. shuttle127

    shuttle127

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    The original story card says the chick is with the chef from the beginning, so trying to keep that original thought/premise intact. With the suggestion to have the chef discover the chick during his adventure, that changes the narrative. The problem in my previous post is concerned with being able to explain that narrative change. I see more exposition needed to do that (e.g. answer all the questions I posed) than to simply say “okay this chick has been with chef from the beginning and has no bearing on the rest of the story.”

    I really like the Phoenix flame or something related to the Phoenix in the volcano being important for the final recipe, but without being able to easily answer the questions I posed, I’m not sure it will all fit.
     
    Last edited: Oct 13, 2020
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  36. Temeos

    Temeos

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    Might i suggest to spice up the idea of cooking the recipies, by making it a "Food Wars" style cook-off?
    Maybe start the cook-off with title cards similar to smash bros and then along the way of combining the ingredients some small over the top animations of the characters adding their food in.

    Because to me it sounds like the cooking is the highlight of the game(the main goal is to impress the fry chef) so i think it would be more of a reward if the final goal of the game is not just combining ingredients on a simple UI, but something a little more extravagant.
     
  37. shuttle127

    shuttle127

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    Love the idea.

    In 6 months we’ll be lucky to get 3-4 scenes with items, dialogue, characters, and quests to flesh out the basic story arc, so making things more complex is going to be an exercise in balance. From the sound of the gameplay card, the BotW cooking interface is probably what we’re going to end up using as inspiration.
     
    Last edited: Oct 13, 2020
  38. matrunk

    matrunk

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    Hey what if for the exit condition the player has to pass a cooking test to a pnj so that he can unlock an other location
     
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  39. shuttle127

    shuttle127

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    Fun idea, keep in mind we need to keep the number of PNJ (NPC) down because we have limited time, and based on all the interfaces listed in the official UI wireframing thread, not sure where/how this would fit.
     
  40. dickmendra

    dickmendra

    Joined:
    Sep 1, 2018
    Posts:
    5
    Hi all! Maybe I'm a little late to jump into the conversations, and I'm not sure if the story is fixed and finalized or if this thread is closed. But still, after reading all the posts from the Level Design Thread and this thread, I felt like writing my take on the story. I tried to combine each and every idea discussed on those threads as much as possible along with my ideas of the world-building.
    Also, this is the first time I'm posting such a long message on a forum. In fact, this is only the second time I'm ever posting on an online community forum :)
    But I love to learn and get involved in game development, so here I am posting my take on the story.


    Inspired by ideas from;

    @cirocontinisio , @itsLevi0sa , @GregoryLane , @michaelgrilo , @shuttle127 , @Zold2012 , @gabriellcarpes , @jrz813 , @roxioxx , @neoshaman

    ------------------------------------------------------- Begin the Verticle Slice --------------------------------------

    (If you like, follow along with the concept board I made to get self-inspired: open-project-world-concepts - https://app.milanote.com/1KtNgq1ovSgz4b?p=Bq2ZrYP7y96)

    Premise
    • Hamlet the Pig Chef is traveling around the world exploring different cultures and cuisines, discovering delicious recipes.
    • He is collecting all these exotic and tasty recipes to compile them into the book he is writing, “The Greatest Cook Book of All Time”.
    • Now he has sailed across the sea on his boat, with his magical companion Phoenix Chick, and landed on the beach of a small island.
    Plot

    1. The Beach
    • After exploring the beach for a while, Hamlet the Pig Chef comes across the Bard Hare who lives in a hole at the base of a large tree, singing his bizarre little poems all day long.
    • Hamlet tells the Bard about his intentions to find the greatest recipes of all time.
    • Bard says that he would help the Pig Chef, only if the chef can cook him some delicious meal, he had a craving for and goes on to say: “also I need to know if you are worthy”.
    • Hamlet then gathers few edible things in the surrounding and cooks a delicious meal with the magical fire of the Phoenix Chick.
    • After tasting the meal, rejoiced Bard Hare start singing about a secret recipe possessed by the islanders.
    • Hamlet also learns that the islanders (aka Forest Eyes) live in a small town up the hilltop.
    • Bard Hare suggests that Hamlet being a good chef could easily befriend the townsfolk since they love delicious dishes and get what he wants.
    • After thanking the Bard, Hamlet heads into the woods.
    2. The Glade
    • Stepping down a bit into the woods, Hamlet comes to a glade where he encounters the Forest Eyes for the first time.
    • Apparently, these Forest Eyes are guarding the entrance to their town uphill, and there are four of them.
    • These townsfolk who are carrying blunt weapons such as frying pans and rolling pins mistakenly identifies the Pig Chef as an intruder, and prepare to attack.
    • Hamlet quickly claims that he intends no harm, and goes on to say that he is just a curious chef looking for new recipes and exotic food.
    • Unconvinced Forest Eyes ask Hamlet to prove to them that he is a chef and ask him to prepare their favorite meals.
    • Hamlet then explores the glade area for the ingredients and cook four meals for each of the Forest Eyes.
    • Delighted after the meal, the Forest Eyes grant Hamlet the access to the forest and into their island.
    • Hamlet learns from the Forest Eye guards that there are two paths to the town on top of the hill, one is an easy trail across a grass plain and the other is a bit difficult trek through the woods uphill.
    • Unfortunately, the trail across the grass plain is now permanently closed to keep out danger lurking into the town.
    • When asked about the danger, the Forest Eyes reveal the threat posed by the mischievous troublemaking critters that have recently infested the island.
    • When these territorial critters started consuming all available food sources on the island, the Forest Eyes had to block all entrances to their town and were able to secure some adjacent highlands for their survival. Critters are not able to climb up the mountain, so the town is safe for now.
    • Forest Eyes then point the direction of where the trek through the forest would be.
    • Hamlet thanks to the Forest Eye guards, and enters into the deep and steep forest trek.
    3. The Forest
    • When Hamlet has taken a few steps into the gloomy forest, he starts hearing peculiar noises.
    • Suddenly, the Bard Hare’s head with his long ears pops out from the top.
    • Hanging upside down from a tree branch, the Bard Hare starts singing loudly, playing his instrument.
    • Bard Hare sings that he had forgotten to warn the Pig Chef about the critters.
    • Hamlet tells Bard Hare that he is aware of the critters, but haven’t seen them yet, nor does he know how to defeat them.
    • Bard Hare gets down from the branch and starts walking along with the Pig Chef. He begins to sing again.
    • Bard Hare sings about how dangerous the critters are and how to spot them. He goes on to add that in this forest the plant critters are abundant. Plant critters are easily recognizable as they live in big clumps, biting whatever comes close. But one must be careful because plant critters look like plants. He also mentions the cheeky slime critters which are less common in these areas. He barely mentions the rock critters.
    • When Bard Hare suddenly pauses his song, the two halt their walk up the forest, and Bard Hare points at a clump of plant critters. He then throws a stick at the critters and one critter quickly grabs the bite. Speechless Hamlet stares at the scene.
    • Bard Hare then asks Hamlet “so what goodies have you got for them?” and says that these green plant critters love sweets.
    • Hamlet replies that he has got some wild cherries with him and the Bard says “then what are you waiting for? Toss them a yummy morsel!”
    • The Pig Chef then throws the wild cherries at the plant critters and they all grab their bites.
    • Because of the intolerable sweetness of the wild cherries, the plant critters begin to feel dizzy and pass out on the ground.
    • Then the Bard Hare sings in joy and says, “I think you can handle this my friend”, and wishes the Pig Chef good luck for his journey.
    • The Bard Hare then leaves and Hamlet continues his way up the forest trek.
    • Hamlet comes across more and more plant critters along his way up the forest trek.
    • Soon he runs out of the wild cherries he had brought from home.
    • By exploring the forest along his way up, Hamlet is able to find different wild fruits and vegetables. Some are sweet, some are hot, some are sour and some are cold.
    • With all of these different ingredients, Hamlet is able to make and throw different morsels at critters to keep them out.
    • Along his way up the forest, Hamlet also encounters few slime critters which are much difficult to handle as these guys could slide.
    • After a while Hamlet comes out of the gloomy forest.
    • The forest has come to an end where it meets the steep rock of the hill. Hamlet is now much closer to the hilltop.
    • But Hamlet cannot climb up the rock and the only way up seems to be via a dark cave into the rock.
    • Hamlet steps towards the entrance of the cave.
    4. The Cave
    • Hamlet stares for a while at the large cave entrance.
    • Near the inner wall of the cave entrance, there is a wooden signpost saying: “Beware of the Rocks!”
    • Wondering what the sign supposed to mean, Hamlet slowly enters into the dark cave.
    • Hamlet takes his lantern and lifts it up, and the Phoenix Chick who was sitting on the shoulder of the Pig Chef, jumps into the lantern, glowing up the cave with bright yellow light.
    • The cave is silent with only occasional echoes of water dripping, and Hamlet steps inwards towards the heart of the cave.
    • With the lantern, Hamlet is now able to see the interior of the cave, and a series of stairs carved on to the rock can be seen with several platforms here and there.
    • Soon after climbing several carved steps and jumping across some platforms, Hamlet hears noises of rocks colliding.
    • When Hamlet gets to the edge of a platform, he notices two rocks crashing together in a lower platform. The rocks also have tiny feet.
    • “They must be the rock critters”, Hamlet says to himself. The two critters are banging each other’s heads as if they are playing.
    • Hamlet tries different morsels and successfully get past the two rock critters.
    • On his way up the steps and platforms of the cave, Hamlet encounters many more rock critters as well as few slime critters.
    • In some places of the cave, there is sunlight creeping in through the cracks and openings on the outer rock, creating a habitable environment for plant life. These places are full of good ingredients, but some places are inhabited by plant critters which have to be taken care of. All across the cave a wild mushroom is abundant and can be used as a morsel against the critters.
    • After a while Hamlet is able to reach the top of the cave where a loud noise of falling water can be heard.
    • Realizing the exit of the cave is closer Hamlet rushes forward and sees the light coming from the cave exit. Cave’s exit is covered with a curtain of water from the cascade outside the cave.
    • Hamlet comes out of the cave and is able to witness the glamorous town of the Forest Eyes, placed right in front of the waterfall and spreading all across the top of the hill.
    5. The Town
    • After staring for a while at this glamourous town, Hamlet gets down to one of the streets and starts walking.
    • The townsfolk seem to be quite busy on this day, that they did not even notice the Pig Chef.
    • “Festival! Festival!” are the words on-air as Hamlet walks across the street.
    • Hamlet learns from one of the townsfolk that they are busy with the annual food festival, which is about to happen in a few days.
    • Hamlet is delighted by this news as he will be able to collect some new tastes and recipes at the food festival. “But what about that secret recipe Bard Hare was talking about?” he thought. “Maybe it’s just another one of his bizarre tales”.
    • Hamlet introduces himself as a chef to the Forest Eye he was speaking before and asks if he could join the festival too.
    • Hamlet is then directed to meet the chief of the town who is also a chef, and he learns from the townsfolk that the chief is a legendary chef known as Fry King.
    • Even though the townsfolk are charming people, sometimes they give the correct information only when they are satisfied with a delicious meal. Therefore, to gather information about the Fry King and the festival, Hamlet has to cook delicious dishes for one or two townsfolk. However, these dishes are rather simple and only need a few ingredients.
    • Hamlet then heads to meet the chief of the town, the Fry King.

    6. The Fry King
    • Hamlet meets the Fry King at the town’s temple where the major events of the festival are going to happen.
    • The Fry King who is a cheerful old Forest Eye greets Hamlet with a broad smile.
    • Hamlet then introduces himself as a chef and reveals his intentions for visiting the island, which is to discover new recipes and asks for permission from the Fry King to join the festival.
    • When the chief replies that “anyone is welcome!”, Hamlet goes on to talk about the book he is writing (The Greatest Cook Book of All-Time), and adds that he was informed of a “secret recipe” possessed by the townsfolk. Hamlet says that he would love to have a look at the secret recipe.
    • With those words of the “secret recipe” the cheerful Fry King turns a bit tense.
    • Fry King then replies;
      • Option A:
    “O! you want the secret recipe?! Not so easy boy. You’ll have to Impress me to get that. You can join our culinary contest happening parallel to the festival. There you will compete with great cooks and chefs of the town and if you beat them and climb up the ladder, then on the final day at the main event of the festival, you’ll compete for the title of ‘Grandmaster Chef’. If you win the title then I’ll give you my secret recipe”.​
    • Option B:
    “Oh! You know about it then? Now that you spoke of it, I’ll tell you the real story. Do you know why we hold this annual food festival? Well it is to celebrate and thank our ancestors for the life they have given us. The secret recipe that you are asking for is nothing but a special Medicinal Soup that passed down from our ancestors. Each year on the last day of the festival, everyone gathers and drink one full cup of the soup. No more, no less. This medicinal soup nourishes us and give us strength to live in joy. It is indeed a ‘Soup of Happiness’.
    But this year, I’m afraid that we won’t be able to consume the soup. These critters have infested our island, and most of the ingredients needed to make the soup are now very difficult to find. Not everyone in the town knows of this which makes my situation worse. If you could help us find these ingredients, I’ll give you our secret recipe.
    If you agree to do this, then I can tell you the ingredients, and few townsfolk out there might know where to find them. But It won’t be easy with the troublesome critters living all over the island.”​


    NOTE: Fry King's story can be selected from either option A or option B. Whichever one is chosen, it feels like that the continuation of the story won't fit into 15-20 min of gameplay.

    ------------------------------------------This should mark the end of the Vertical Slice -----------------------


    Gameplay Mechanics
    *Just a basic idea of the example game/combat mechanics used for writing the story. Can be changed.

    Cook Time Event
    • Pig Chef has to cook dishes upon request of the townsfolk to get their help/information.
    • These dishes require several ingredients which have to be found by exploring the surrounding area.
    • Mixing the ingredients in the right order and at the right time will increase the taste of the dish.
    • This can be timed and the more time it takes the less taste it becomes to the consumer.
    • Overall the satisfaction of the consumer governs the winning of the cook time event.

    Morsel Toss
    • To defeat a critter, Pig Chef throws morsel at them
    • Morsel is either a fruits/vegetables/mushroom or any other edible item or a combination of them.
    • Every morsel has different effects:
      • example 1 – throwing a hot pepper would steam up the critter to pass out
      • example 2 – throwing a very sweet cherry would make the critter feel dizzy and slow it down.
    • Some morsels are ineffective to some types and categories (indicated by red, blue, green, brown in concept art) of critters. [TBD]
    -----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
    PS: Whether or not this story will be included in the final game, I enjoyed writing it, and feel happy that I tried to contribute. Thank you unity for hosting this open project!
     
    Last edited: Oct 18, 2020
    cirocontinisio likes this.
  41. mattinjersey

    mattinjersey

    Joined:
    Dec 3, 2016
    Posts:
    42
    I have in mind a system where you go to different towns to gather different ingredients and talk to different people to get recipes. Meanwhile your opponent is doing the same and you can see him doing it. The cooking winner will present the appetizer, dinner desert with highest scores. No story about the colonists and the towns, that is too complicated.
     
  42. mattinjersey

    mattinjersey

    Joined:
    Dec 3, 2016
    Posts:
    42
    F
    for example the yoti berry may be a key ingredient in a dish that will score highly but it is very difficult to reach the town of yoti so the player must decide whether to use the yoti berry or choose an easier ingredient.
     
  43. Soundguy

    Soundguy

    Joined:
    Oct 30, 2009
    Posts:
    49
    such a long discussion.
    I have made a dozen of more games with interactive branching dialogs.
    I've personally used and loved Chat Mapper (not sure what state that software is today) , that exported the dialog data to XML then read it with Dialogue System package from Unity.

    I love branching dialogs and would love to write some if there was an easy tool to create them.

    those tools were nice because you can also add some other dialogue meta data like choose things like emotions to be displayed , or portraits (or even change a variable according to the user's choices) or things like that.

    i've used twine in the past.
    whatever tool is chosen i'd be happy to contribute a bit...
     
  44. shuttle127

    shuttle127

    Joined:
    Oct 1, 2020
    Posts:
    183
    @dickmendra Thanks for your input, as far as I can tell the story is not closed and we're still trying to nail down the high level plot points, which you addressed in your post. Hopefully one of the Unity team members will come in and review this shortly to give a final summary.

    Anyway, here's my feedback on your suggestions:

    THINGS I LIKED:

    • The premise of writing the greatest cook book is something that can be dialogued with Bard Hare to give more purpose to the adventure.
    • Fleshing out the entire narrative of the vertical slice with gameplay in each area.
    • The morsel toss effects are also a nice touch.
    THINGS THAT MAY NEED TWEAKING:
    • Ending with a choice from the Fry King makes the player stay too long on the island, the goal should be did Hamlet impress him or not? To do this, the town would have to be right after the beach and then use all the areas to learn how to adventure and create one final dish.
    • Many people are talking about the cooking gameplay, and while it sounds fun and unique, still not sure it's the main draw of this game. Also, I know I couldn't make that system in 6 months, so timely execution is key.
    @mattinjersey Thanks for your input, that key/special ingredient idea is something that's been floating around to make the cooking gameplay more unique, hope there's a straightforward way to get that into the game in time. As for the multiple towns, keep in mind that means more assets and probably not something that can get done in 6 months. I think the way we're looking at unique ingredients from unique locations is just different locales on the island, i.e. beach, forest, glade, etc.
     
    mattinjersey likes this.
  45. cirocontinisio

    cirocontinisio

    Joined:
    Jun 20, 2016
    Posts:
    884
    This is the thread that never sleeps :D

    Because we might not have time/resources to explain everything that happens in the game and each character's backstory in this short vertical slice. As I said previously, I imagine it having 15-20 minutes gameplay all in all.
    If the Phoenix Chick is not with the chef already, it means we need to insert a new gameplay segment to make it happen.

    Anyway, plenty of ideas here. Again, not sure how much can make it in (but I can definitely tell you we won't have multiple towns :D), but I am slowly reading all ideas and integrating the best into the wiki.

    Please note that what you see on the Game Design wiki is the stuff that we're going to build on (i.e. the gameplay and the game progression will be based on that), even though some of the details you are describing here will eventually still make it in the game through characters dialogues and item descriptions.

    In fact, question: should I lock this thread to put a pause to story-writing, and then we'll kick off a new one for dialogues and quests once we are ready to move onto that?
     
  46. neoshaman

    neoshaman

    Joined:
    Feb 11, 2011
    Posts:
    6,493
    The only reason it is separated is to integrate it into a logical gameplay progression, that is to control the information to not overwhelm the player. 15-20mn is roughly the length of early Zelda dungeon, and they introduce items within. I explained the rational with illustration from over games. You still have to present how to use the chick in a segment, basically separating them was a way to focus more on the chick as a presentation trick, and a lead to motivate progression. I mean I don't present stuff in a vacuum, I focus on function over form. It allow to keep all information within gameplay rather than side exposition that stop the pace. The chick is a non conventional tool, it has to be explained somewhere, it's not like sword we don't expect cook to go around with a phoenix that is a chick too. Conveyance of informations is important! Else you make a sloppy experience. A major design downfall is when creator forget the audience don't know what's in their head, then get sad when playtest happen and player get confused.

    THAT said, I think people really want the chick not separate, when I presented the idea the real focus was the flow of information, it was meant as an example to make people keep in mind good design principles. When I asked the quoted question, the goal was to encourage justifying an alternative with motivated design principles. I think people focused to much on the form and not the function.

    Anyway if there is a stated problem, i'll try to present a solution.

    Problem statement:
    We don't want to separate the chick from the main character, but it's an uncommon element it need to be presented fluidly.

    Rejected solution:
    - have the character walk for "one screen" (just a few second, starting in a dead end toward a noise)
    - introduce the eggs as a landmark ( in a nest, primed by the story with the omelette statement)
    - the character tumble into an "arena", sequence with a critter that defend the nest, combat (30s max, introduce combat and upon defeat reward with ingredients (eggs), linking combat to ingredient as reward, the critter defend the nest)
    - one egg is different and it hatch with the phoenix chick and the chick get attached to the main character
    - super easy puzzle that teach how to use the chick to get out the arena,
    - sequence where the main character cook the regular eggs to show to the rival (introduce cooking)
    -> probably less than 2 minute or two, introduce all major gameplay elements in a typical loot (ie quest, exploration, combat, gathering, cooking) but in their most simplest form (exploration for example is reduce to walking a bit before stumbling) which s fitting for an introduction. It's loosely model on metroid morphball sequence, which is just a few screen long and yet introduce the whole gameplay loop seamlessly.

    Now the issue to to reframe the function presented above but reframe in a way that match teh prefered form cited above. But first a quick analysis of the situation here.

    when I ask @shuttle127 what was the problem he was trying to solve OR to present his emotion, I wasn't trying to shut him down, I was trying to identify the source of discomfort, I believe he isn't the only one feeling it, however I know it's not always easy to identify what cause a feeling. One big tell of it an idea is good is what emotion it elicit, if the emotion is discomfort I must find a way to formulate what is the cause and redesign a solution that satisfy it (i'm a problem solver, I don't believe in ideas, I don't marry them). In another thread (level design) someone shared the same sentiment but this time propose an alternative story. This lead to me to believe that the reason people didn't like my solution is that, because we are in story thread, I applied the typical story template, ie I focus on character development, and I gave the main character a personal and emotional arc, I think that's the key mistake I made, even though it was just an example to present the principle of information flow, and the need to convey stakes, character, fonction, goal, etc ...

    Tell if I'm wrong, but I think one of the big draw in this project is teh main character concept, an adventourous chief going over the world to find rare recipe and he has a unique twist with the phoenix chicks that help him to cook! that's an unconventional character (chief don't go in dangerous land), that is more aspirational than inspirational, ie he is "cool"! And somehow I betray that premise, that's why all proposition after me reject the deep characterization for keeping the outsider going into new lands, which is more in tune with the idea of an adventure. That mean the character need to be a projection for the player to inhabit, the "role" is more important than the character, there is ninja with shuriken, pirates with cutlass and chief pig with phoenix chick the new takes on adventure! That's the core of the experience, ie more pokemon than final fantasy, a world of infinite possibility, and a character arc give too much closure, a structure that allow for "monster of the week" is more akin of adventure, stuff happen outside not inside character first.

    Now I think @dickmendra has done a good job already laying down a good progression, it introduce stuff logically. I think it would gain to be a bit more concise, mostly in the beginning, it read too much like a movie retelling than a game sequencing, with too many explicit satged actions of the main character in what is implied to be gameplay sequences. It's also a bit loose about gameplay structuring, because story should be gameplay (as in broadcast goal, game state, hints, etc...), it's not a movie.

    For example in the beach, the bard is an obvous landmark to help lead the player (we could use the sound to funnel him like kass in botw!), however what prevent the player from going past the bard to head to the forest without making meal? The bard should be an obvious gating point (make meal to pass) however it should be written as part of the story. It seems insignificant, but explaining how the gating works, within the story, is about informations, it signal the player something must be done in order to proceed, it's the state of the game. It's also an introductionary sequence, we shouldn't have the player lost too fast, even when the game aesthetics is to be open, the beach being a close area make sense fonctionally.

    My solution, have the beach sourrounded by cliff, the bard is perch on a cliff, he will tell you a shortcut to proceed if you do a meal (he doesn't trust you, you are a new fella), once the meal is done, he bring down a ladder. Otherwise it would fonction mostly like my example, enough place to walk safely (for new player), to observe critters, to learn combat and gathering (though the actual sequence has to be specified). The meal to do should be explicitly specified too and not too complex.

    Now the other issues is it skip a bit how to present the main character, it start as if we already know everything, which is a typical mistake, we need to set up the stakes and goal explicitely. A simple illustrations, could be enough using the premise as guide, show the pig chief on a sailboat ala wind waker with a caption, "I'm Hamlet the chief pig, I sail around the world with my thrusty phoenix chick to discover new recipe, and write the best cookbook of all time" (set the set the stakes, goal and the character, as an aspirational catch phrase that set the tone), fade to beach sequence, the boat on the beach, exploration start. Which is way more efficient that my character development, and keep the pace going while allowing for further information (through exploration) to be reveal at the right pace (the bard introduce the town, the town introduce the cooking festival, which align with the stakes nicely).

    What do you all think, are my observations right? I still need to think a bit more to solve my initial concern about the phoenix chick within that reframing.
     
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  47. invadererik

    invadererik

    Joined:
    Oct 31, 2010
    Posts:
    148
    random idea: I think it would be neat if the phoenix chick could be fed/powered-up to go through its life stages and every time you use it to cook it dies and is born again as a chick.
     
  48. shuttle127

    shuttle127

    Joined:
    Oct 1, 2020
    Posts:
    183
    Yes please, and also update the Miro board to make sure we understand the different paths Hamlet can take. This should help streamline the dialogue discussion as well.
     
  49. cirocontinisio

    cirocontinisio

    Joined:
    Jun 20, 2016
    Posts:
    884
    Yes, but it can also be explained in a short tutorial made with gameplay actions. We don't necessarily need to put the backstory of how they met in this vertical slice.

    If you want an example of something similar, think Banjo-Kazooie. Nobody explains why Kazooie lives in a backpack or how they met, and it's totally ok. You just get told how to use Kazooie to float and jump, etc. when it's needed.

    One thing to keep in mind which has often been forgotten in this thread is that this is supposed to be a vertical slice, not a full game. As such, there are parts of the full game that are outside of this vertical slice, and that won't be explained, shown, or played. Also, you can imagine this vertical slice to be in media res, not necessarily placed at the beginning of the full game.
     
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  50. neoshaman

    neoshaman

    Joined:
    Feb 11, 2011
    Posts:
    6,493
    That's exactly the purpose of my sequence, I think there is a huge breakdown of communication here, anyway it was meant as an example of integration. I think you guys don't get the core point I'm trying to make. And it's not backstory.

    Given that I spend time explaining to no avail this, I'll refrain to contribute.

    I feel like you all think I'm trying to force ideas, when I trying to attract attention toward design integration.

    Even vertical slice need a structure. It's not about story. AND I basically left the idea for a other one proposed.

    Good luck with the project.
     
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