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I suck at story and need some input

Discussion in 'Game Design' started by Not_Sure, Mar 19, 2020.

  1. Not_Sure

    Not_Sure

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    I know, I never finish anything, but with my limited time I wanted to try and do a rough pass at a script for a game.

    It's a first person shooter, with a metroidvania/souls-like map.

    The basic story : You're a space marine that has been deployed to a colony planet that has gone silent. Once in orbit the ship is attacked by organic xenomorph-esq aliens. The massive ship is in chaos in moments. You put on combat suit and fight your way to the surface of the ship and see that it's overwhelmed with these aliens. It starts to explode and you enter free-fall. It goes dead silent from the lack of atmosphere. The ship explodes. Cue the title.

    You hit the atmosphere and the action starts back up and have to shoot your way down and hit the ground hard. The gravity is low enough to survive terminal velocity but are in bad shape. Debris rains all around you and punches holes in the ground. From the holes swarm more aliens. You rush to a door where other survivors have gathered, while picking off aliens as they reach you in small numbers with a river of them close behind.

    The doors are closing and another marine calls for you. Right as you get about fifty feet away enormous bugs break through ground around you, more aliens are spilling over from the top of the structure. The door shuts it's pitch black.

    One marine is having a freak out and gets shouted down by another in control of himself.

    Someone lights a flair.

    After evaluating the situation you and the other marines journey onward, while one stays behind to watch over an injured one as well as staying in their last known location.

    You explore a small part of the map trying to figure out what happened. At one point you and your team is scanned. You find logs that tell you that they were working on a major research project when the aliens hit.

    Then a marine starts to hallucinate and sees something from his past that haunts them. They run in the opposite direction and confusion sets in. Suddenly you see a little girl. You report it and she bolts. You're told to keep up with her. She runs into a room and there's an ambush.

    Now the actual game starts.

    You explore and get bits and pieces of what happened and come to find out a few things:

    1) The aliens are man made and is part of a defense protocol that weaponizes the colony's terraforming equipment.

    2) The girl is your dead daughter. And she follows you through the game g-man style.

    3) There is a clone of you hunting you. You kill it.

    4) You go on to kill a nest of those aliens as directed by your commander.

    5) You run back into your squad and they freak out and try to kill you. You tell them there was a clone of you, but they don't listen and have to kill them.

    6) You find out the aliens were made to destroy an AI that has gone rogue.

    7) You find out that the hallucinations is the AI messing with you.

    8) You contact the base commander and he tells you to kill the AI. You kill the AI.

    9) It gets REAL trippy and 2001-ish.

    10) With the AI dead you now have to kill off the rest of the aliens and have to release a virus designed to kill them. You do it.

    11) You find the commander and he is horrified of you. Find out that YOU are the AI (DUN! DUN! DUN!!!) and that you are in fact just an empty suit. Take THAT Samus! When you fought your dark self you took control of the evil you and killed the person that you played up to that point. That's why the marines attacked you. And that nest? It wasn't a nest! It was people! You don't except it, but the AI takes over. You kill the commander.

    12) The radio crackles. It's the marines that were left behind at the beginning. "Help has arrived. They're sending the drop ship now!"

    "Headed there now."

    Credits

    So yeah, LOTS of work to make it ambiguous and allow the bits and pieces to be trickled out nonlinearly.

    ALSO, need to drop lots of hints so it's not out of the blue. I'm thinking that you can lose power in your suit and see your face reflect and breath at one point, then disappears after the fight. Also, you can hear the marines refer to finding dead colonists in the location you killed the nest.

    Thoughts?

    I'm thinking there's a better way to let the player know that you are going to escape. Like going up on an elevator while fighting the base commander then getting to the top and having the drop ship arrive.
     
    Last edited: Mar 19, 2020
  2. ippdev

    ippdev

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    Very complex. Like an elevator pitch for a sci fi thriller movie. But here is my gist on it as a game designer and mechanic. How are you going to monkeywrench players into this so the plot plays out the way you have it scripted above. If someone turns left instead of right at a critical juncture, how is the plot non-linear linearity to remain cohesive and forward driven along the speculated timeline of events? I was consulting for a large RPG to produce a game design and mechanics document for them. Their story about warring kingdoms culminated with the prince and princess of opposing realms falling in love and marrying which stopped the conflict and concluded the game in their initial narrative. I asked them what kind of mechanic they have in mind that makes two player controlled characters fall in love. Basically..you have a story that is interactive. You cannot railroad folks into a movie timeline... it has to fork and diverge and the things that motivate the player vary from player to player.
     
  3. Not_Sure

    Not_Sure

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    There's only a handful of plot points that need to happen in an exact order. I can easily set those events to parts of the map that are unlocked by attaining certain items.
     
  4. neginfinity

    neginfinity

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    Definitely overkill.

    I used to read one elderly and angry gamedev elsewhere, and that guy occasionally produced pieces of wisdom. One of those was that interactive storytelling is very different from movie storytelling and it takes time to switch.

    In your case, you're making a movie, and this entire part:
    Is where player has no agency and is being railroaded into predetermined action sequence.

    Basically it feels like you're imaginging modern warfare level intro, and those are very costly. Do you have the budget for this? The sequence requires ton of work but will take between 30 minutes and two hours during which part the player will be moving on rails.

    Small details.
    Similar elements existed in FEAR and Dead Space.

    A scifi fan would start asking "how?"

    Been done in ... The FALL. Not a bad idea, though.

    --------
    You can cut significant amount of work, by not giving the player all the clues, cutting interactive sequences down to minimum or reducing them to radio chatter and dropping pieces of narrative on "notes left behind" and audio logs. By not giving complete story you allow player to imagine who knows what wand that "who knows what" can be more comlex than your original story. That's something to keep in mind.

    Additionally, take a look at amnesia: dark descent. Those guys didn't have npcs, but had a "voice" that interacted with character. Another cost cutting move.

    For further inspiration take a look at "Screamers" the movie (1995).
    ---------
    Basically, I think that "twe twist" you proposed is interesting ("your'e an ai", "you hate humans", "you're coming to earth"). However, a lot of content in your explanation can be cut or shortened, and that will reduce workload and might even deliver bigger impact story-wise.
     
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  5. Not_Sure

    Not_Sure

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    The dead daughter is supposed to be a haunting tragedy, not menacing. I know creepy kids are done to death since The Shinning. But if I'm being honest, I'm ripping off the short movie "Magnetic Rose".

    And the AI is messing with you by learning about it from the scan. That's also how it makes an AI version of you that it can manipulate into doing its bidding, like killing off the survivors.

    AND I want to present the girl BEFORE the showdown with the dark version of you so that you're left wondering when the change happened.

    AND I want the player to wonder if there's a connection between the daughter and the clone of yourself.

    As far as the intro goes, I want it on rails to be my vertical slice.
     
  6. Not_Sure

    Not_Sure

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    What do you think of using mirrors for symbolism?

    Also, birth imagery after killing yourself?

    Too on the nose?
     
  7. neginfinity

    neginfinity

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    I think you're pretty much set on what you want, judging by the response.

    Few questions to ponder.

    1. It seems to be an FPS. How do you show the player that a guy you met is player's clone is not another enemy?
    2. How do you demonstrate the connection to the daughter and build up connection with the character?
    3. What purpose does the girl serve in the story?
    4. Where did the clone come from? Is there indication of this tech being widely available?
    5. Why does terraforming equipment has capability of making monsters that can be mistaken for aliens?
    6. If the tech level is high enough to have autonomous system capable of making new lifeforms, why are there still marines?
    7. What is the technology level of the setting and in which century is it taking place?

    I don't think it matters. It is a detail. The story you presented so far can go either way, depending on how it presented in the game, and how it is executed. It could be atrocious if presented poorly, an it could be decent or even good, if directed well.

    The question you should probably be asking yourself is whether you can direct it well. Trying to make an movie-like action sequence, in my opinion, increases risk, but it is your project and your call.
     
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  8. Not_Sure

    Not_Sure

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    This is why I ask. These are some good questions I wouldn't have asked myself.

    1. It seems to be an FPS. How do you show the player that a guy you met is player's clone is not another enemy?

    THIS! This is where I fit in the mirror imagery! GREAT POINT!

    2. How do you demonstrate the connection to the daughter and build up connection with the character?

    Maybe start off by having the player wake up from stasis with her picture inside the chamber. They can kiss their hand then touch it to the picture.

    Also, I can make a rising short story in dialog where the player becomes more and more desperate and finally boiling over in them admitting the child had died.

    3. What purpose does the girl serve in the story?

    It is a little stunted, huh? I just wanted the AI to have a cruelty to it that can't be expressed otherwise. Like when you get to the AI you could be forced to reenact the child's death. Give it the Sephoroth / Aris moment.

    4. Where did the clone come from? Is there indication of this tech being widely available?

    I was angling for an ambiguous relentless monster, like Metroid 4. There's supposed to be a deliberate parallel / nod going on there.

    5. Why does terraforming equipment has capability of making monsters that can be mistaken for aliens?

    The colony is a research facility as well as terraforming. It was made there. In fact, I probably need a scientist characters.

    6. If the tech level is high enough to have autonomous system capable of making new lifeforms, why are there still marines?

    Because my vision of the future involves having power over others as one of the drives of those in control. They could make a utopia and limitless resources, but commanding people what to do is more important. Also, it's a research colony. The tech is still in development.

    7. What is the technology level of the setting and in which century is it taking place?

    Okay, I had put A LOT of thought into this. Originally I wanted to have lots of themes in the setting. Things like the Fermi Paradox being explained that we haven't found aliens because they killed themselves with a yet discovered technology. In this case, AI. But that leads to wondering where the AI's are.

    Also, I was thinking of having it work that FTL is only possible when there is a gate placed at both ends, and the gate to the colony was destroyed. So the marine left knowing that everyone they knew would die while they traveled there. The daughter dying explains why they would be willing to do this.

    ALSO, also, I was thinking that it would be implied that the gate is only large enough to transmit information and people are basically cloned at the other end, which would be a great red herring for the evil clone.

    Ultimately I decided to land on "Don't think too hard on it", but wouldn't mind peppering it with all these implications.



    LAST THOUGHT!

    What if?

    What if I just go full on nucking-futs and have the player led to believe that the AI is the thing that has killed all other alien civilizations, explaining why none have never been found. But it's not. The tech that kills everyone is that they figure out how to transport actual things FTL, but it actually opens the gates to hell!

    AND YES! I AM okay with it being compared to DOOM. I'm sort of doing that left and right to lots of other things leading up to it.

    So you got aliens, followed by AI machines, followed by hell.

    Be full on crazy.
     
  9. neginfinity

    neginfinity

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    @Not_Sure:
    8. Why is the "Clone" trying to kill the player?

    ((Everything below is my opinion, take it with grain of solt.

    So, full body model, FEAR/Prey style? Or just reflection, like in Doom?

    Do keep in mind that your character apparently is wearing a helmet. So you'll either need to hallucinate the face (given he is an empty suit), or make his appearance really distinct for some reason, as marines would likely be wearing a uniform.

    Alternatively you could show them ID with a photo.

    This might be an overkill to demonstrate cruelty.
    When children are involved, some people experience papa/mama-bear moment (parential instincts kick in I suppose), and some people react to similar degree to in-game dog companions. (no offense intended).

    However, if you want to demonstrate cruelty, this seems to be a roundabout way to do it.

    ... Unless you're trying to have Solaris moment:
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Solaris_(novel)
    Do you need short version of the novel?

    So, does it has agency/motivation of its own? A full clone would be a person with its own personality and reasons. Or are you simply making a doppleganger?
    https://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.php/Main/Doppelganger

    One thing worth keeping in mind is that you can do a story twist where your "clone" is the real you, given that character is an empty suit.

    That could be fun, but, yes, it would resemble Doom AND Warhammer 40000. And "Event Horizon" (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Event_Horizon_(film))

    -------------

    All things considered, right now the primary issue and the main risk is that you might be trying to "bite off more than you can chew" with storytelling and direction.
    Like ippdev said, this sounds a lot like a movie pitch. Something that netflix would turn into 10 episode series, create several amazing episodes and then screw up everything at the end of the season. (they for some reason often do that).

    Given that this is a shooter, a good idea might be to decide on the overall setting/theme, flesh out environments enemies, develop shooter core, and then look how does it all fit with the narrative, because that can be changed.

    Another risk is ending up with an equivalent of Agony. No offense intended. Those guys created an absolutely amazing intro sequence:
    But the rest of the game can't match it.
     
  10. neoshaman

    neoshaman

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    First let me open with, this is not my taste, and people judge this story based on their taste. There is nothing wrong with it from that point of view, I'm more interested in the structure.

    The basic story "beats":

    Part1
    A- You're a space marine that has been deployed to a colony planet that has gone silent.
    B- Once in orbit the ship is attacked by organic xenomorph-esq aliens. The massive ship is in chaos in moments. You put on combat suit and fight your way to the surface of the ship and see that it's overwhelmed with these aliens.
    C- It starts to explode and you enter free-fall. It goes dead silent from the lack of atmosphere. The ship explodes. Cue the title.
    D- You hit the atmosphere and the action starts back up and have to shoot your way down and hit the ground hard.
    E- The gravity is low enough to survive terminal velocity but are in bad shape. Debris rains all around you and punches holes in the ground. From the holes swarm more aliens.
    F- You rush to a door where other survivors have gathered, while picking off aliens as they reach you in small numbers with a river of them close behind. G- The doors are closing and another marine calls for you. Right as you get about fifty feet away enormous bugs break through ground around you, more aliens are spilling over from the top of the structure. The door shuts it's pitch black. One marine is having a freak out and gets shouted down by another in control of himself. Someone lights a flair.
    H- After evaluating the situation you and the other marines journey onward, while one stays behind to watch over an injured one as well as staying in their last known location.

    part2
    I- You explore a small part of the map trying to figure out what happened. At one point you and your team is scanned. You find logs that tell you that they were working on a major research project when the aliens hit.
    J- Then a marine starts to hallucinate and sees something from his past that haunts them. They run in the opposite direction and confusion sets in.
    K- Suddenly you see a little girl. You report it and she bolts. You're told to keep up with her. She runs into a room and there's an ambush.
    You explore and get bits and pieces of what happened and come to find out a few things:
    1) The aliens are man made and is part of a defense protocol that weaponizes the colony's terraforming equipment.
    2) The girl is your dead daughter. And she follows you through the game g-man style.
    3) There is a clone of you hunting you. You kill it.

    part3
    4) You go on to kill a nest of those aliens as directed by your commander.
    5) You run back into your squad and they freak out and try to kill you. You tell them there was a clone of you, but they don't listen and have to kill them.
    6) You find out the aliens were made to destroy an AI that has gone rogue.
    7) You find out that the hallucinations is the AI messing with you.
    8) You contact the base commander and he tells you to kill the AI. You kill the AI.
    9) It gets REAL trippy and 2001-ish.

    end
    10) With the AI dead you now have to kill off the rest of the aliens and have to release a virus designed to kill them. You do it.
    11) You find the commander and he is horrified of you. Find out that YOU are the AI (DUN! DUN! DUN!!!) and that you are in fact just an empty suit. Take THAT Samus!
    L- When you fought your dark self you took control of the evil you and killed the person that you played up to that point. That's why the marines attacked you. And that nest? It wasn't a nest! It was people! You don't except it, but the AI takes over. You kill the commander.
    12) The radio crackles. It's the marines that were left behind at the beginning. "Help has arrived. They're sending the drop ship now!". "Headed there now."


    Imho It's well structured, you have an interesting intro that have a lot of interactivity potential and have clear lead in. Some people don't like that, some do, you don't have to please everyone.

    Now it's more of a synopsis than a story, you can implement each beat in various way. That's IMHO where it can break, because those are general goal.

    First part:
    - Take A for example, it can be done as gameplay, ie the player move around, interact with character and observe environment, and piece back that he is a soldier, that he is on the ship, and that they are deployed to somewhere. This is also a great place to allow the character run around safely and learn basic control with the environment with no stress, introducing an off hand goal (like go meet the commander on the bridge), the character have enough time to explore a small place with bit of set up for mood and world setting. Think the beginning of half life, or even mass effect.
    - B allow to introduce fighting very organically, getting in the suits unlocks new interaction, and you have a clear implicit call to action with a sense of urgency. If you do it in gameplay, you would have to manage the transition to the suit. It can be an opportunity to learn how to move and dodge., then once the suit is put, how to aim and fire. Static enemy can be a good introduction, they can gate place if you have narrow corridor because it's a space ship, and there might not be gravity once you get out so monster are actually grabbing stuff to hold. It allow the player to control its own pace.
    D. Is equally great because now you control the pace with the freefall, so now the player have to aim and dodge on a timing, View should probably be locked in such a way everything happen in view, which teach him how to play. And it's a great set piece.
    - E. It continue the teaching, as the player now can control more of the view, this time he had to learn to turn around to aim (ie learn to control view) as enemy spawn on a timing around him. Teaching him to master spatial awareness.
    - F. is great to end the previous sequence by offering a goal that signal a clear transition of state.
    - G can serves as local climax, almost a boss fight that test everything the player has learn so far, ie kill enemy with spatial awareness. So it's a set piece.

    Part 2:
    HJK is going back to low tension, it's also great to set up the new atmosphere, where we shift from pure action to thriller. It mirror the early part where you are not alone and explore to learn stuff about the world. It's a great moment for that, as it's a down time. JK are great because they forewarn the plot, they set up the new stakes, ie we move from killing alien to sanity problem. 1,2 should be part of the exploration and finding clues. Spatially you are probably in an "open level" probably a hub with branch having part of the lore and small skirmish from the previous attack. The structure is probably a kind of simple parallel lock and key puzzle to control the flow, the hallucination would be based on the absolute number of key trigger you already found, so that the hallucination can happen whatever order you go, and the hub allow you to have these scene be controllable since you have to traverse it every time, which give a controllable environment to place stuff. The order of stuff is key to scan area, hallucination 1, hallucination 2, which is great because it give pacing to the running around and a sense that thing are not static, as it can happen with prolong exploration part. It also end up with a climax with the clone.

    - Now an observation, the little girl doesn't appear back after part 2...
    - It does look cheap and there for no reason, BUT you can use that at your advantage and create an emotional throughline, instead of going for something scary ala gman or alma in fear, why not a better of the child in mass effect 3, first you only see her from the back, then at one moment she look at you and we recognize her from a photo at the beginning (and the character say her name). Then you can have monologue. Then the character reunite with his daughter and realize she is just a memory, and make peace with his guilt, each hallucination being metaphorical to his guilt (probably absent father tropes). It also give you enough feedback as gameplay to the player, so he know he is progressing because he unlock new story bit, that's actually great, they can be in gameplay too, like the girl is close to the next place you need to go, so the player has to move near her, in which some animation can play (she flee, she look back, she get close to him, she fades, whatever), so she double as a lead in.
    - Now about the part where the girl disappear from part 3. Maybe the moment the character make peace is the moment where his humanity is "lost", ie the ai successfully scan and reproduce it to transfer it to a new suits. Which is a nice lead in if executed properly. Having a film "cut" when it happen and the character is in the same general area, probably separated to do some key/trigger/button puzzle from his squad, and we did pass empty suit before that scene happening, and probably have to fight other empty suits before killing the clone.

    Part 3.
    It's pretty straightforward, probably unlocking new zones (with lore about the ai) and traversing old zone you now know better (fighting the squad). Story has good lead for gameplay, clear goal, so it wouldn't stop, the pace probably pick up a bit and have a climax when confronting the ai. The vague part is to define how the player actually learn the ai is messing with him, and what the trippy 2001 space odyssey part really is (probably the ai finishing the initialization and fully breaking free with you as a body instead of remote, so the visual metaphor seems apt, it's literally downloading into a new existence).

    end is straightforward too, clear condition (find virus to release), final boss and L12 is probably non gameplay wrap up.

    In term of environment it can be done cheaply as it's a military theme, you probably just a set of military complex and rocky desert environment stuff on the minimal side, a spaceship and a military base can share elements stylistically. Each zone, area can then be theme further with different micro biomes, and you can ramp complexity to create variety, but that's more polish than requirement so you have a lot of latitude. You have very few character if you go minimalist, you have at worst 3 types of aliens (early xeno, bugs, people as alien), 2 types of marine (commander and squad) and one mandatory little girl.I kept seeing the game as early 1998 3d, and there wasn't a real point where it absolutely need more distinction. The hardest would be the actual level design and information pacing, getting the story trigger well executed, and that fricking free fall sequence is a unique sequence, though that's one thing you can cut and just imply.

    IMHO it's a great plot for a shooter as it keeps things moving, have clear goal, and have clear parts and tension building. I don't have to like it to say that it's holding on his own. Execution will matter, but in good hands it can be done very great!
     
  11. Deleted User

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    I think the OP has been watching/playing lots of games and movies because the above seems to be really a massive amalgamation of various themes from popular sci-fi and horror things. Not a terrible thing. It definitely could use some innovation... I like your idea regarding the AI destroying every sentient alien civilization. That's a clever idea, expand on it, use it!

    If this is a 3d game I think you may have a massive project on your hands. I think a 2d shooter game might be best. You can supplement the player's imagination with pixel art cutscenes and stuff like your opening sequence you illustrated in the first post.
     
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  12. neoshaman

    neoshaman

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    IMHO it's best to not put innovation in it, innovation is a risk, best to finish a project first THEN innovate.
     
  13. kdgalla

    kdgalla

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    Really, I find that having a distinctive visual style and a few unusual details about the setting (world-building) are usually enough to make a game feel fresh, whatever the story. Also, you'd want to make sure that the daughter is an interesting character, since that looks like the only character you have extensive interactive with. Dialog with that character could add lots of detail and flavor to the experience. Basically, what I think I'm trying to say is that the story that you presented so far is all "plot". I think that aspect is pretty solid, so now I would focus on the ... I don't know what you call it ... JUICE! (setting, characters, atmosphere, tone, identity, etc.)

    As neoshaman already pointed-out, you have all of the "beats" and your story fits neatly in to the three-act structure. Now you just need to give that a definite shape? A lot of people feel more comfortable planning everything out ahead of time but if I were in your position, my temptation would be to just start building interesting-to-play levels. That is to say, design the game around your outline, but then let your actual game inspire the finer details of the story.
     
  14. Arowx

    Arowx

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    So the concept is humans use Aliens to contain a rogue AI?

    The thing is you have an AI that is what silicon and electrons and somehow Aliens life forms are going to automatically find it and destroy it?

    I'm not getting how an Alien will automatically be an Apex predator when placed in an AI server room or be drawn to said room as though it is a source of food?

    And said Aliens can be taken out by a virus that the AI has no knowledge of?

    However if the Aliens are nanotechnology based maybe then you could expect them to literally eat technology and AI's, not sure a virus would take them down. You would probably need an EMP which you could use to just take out an AI anyway.

    The why of the aliens needs more work/depth.
    • What if the Ancient Alien Guardians are everywhere and wake up when an AI reaches a critical technology level?
    • What if the Alien Simulation Guardians are everywhere and wake up when an AI reaches a critical technology level?
    • Ditto but Alien Demons, to drag the Bad AI to hell?
     
    Last edited: Mar 20, 2020
  15. Kiwasi

    Kiwasi

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    You have more test before the game starts than you do after the game starts. Think about that for a moment. You've invested most of your time developing non interactive elements for an interactive game.

    The game comes first. The cut scenes come later.

    And to be brutally honest, unless you have a massive budget, you aren't going to get cut scenes.
     
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  16. neoshaman

    neoshaman

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    He doesn't need cutscene though, I showed him it could do everything in gameplay like good old half life. IT all depend on his ambition though, he can express everything with just character placement and movement like in early machinima saison 1 of red vs blue for example), hide mouth with helmets and still get results that works.
     
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  17. neginfinity

    neginfinity

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    Cutscene with ability to walk through it is still a cutscene. Like Half Life 2 teleport scene. SOmeone will still need to script it and put work into it. Having locked camera view actually might be making things easier.

    The cheapest approach is text, but that's not very convincing, and after that it is graphic stills (with voice over), max payne 1 style. When you need to follow an npc, have npcs animate on trigger, that's work similar to cutscene production, especially if animation is unique.
     
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  18. BIGTIMEMASTER

    BIGTIMEMASTER

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    Plot isn't story.

    If you want a good story, educate yourself on how to write good stories. No need to guess at things, there is plenty of instruction out there from the best in the business. If the best in the business are sharing their advice on what to do, that would be the best place to start from right?

    Personal advice because the first thing you said is that you don't finish things : forget everything and make your primary concern to finish projects. Nothing else matters if you don't finish. To that end, if you want to tell stories, I'd consider making visual novels. Hone your story telling craft while keeping all other aspects simple.
     
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  19. Arowx

    Arowx

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    Question: Does story matter so much to an FPS e.g. Battle Royale: how many games answer, why with any backstory?
     
  20. Deckard_89

    Deckard_89

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    It does to me, yes. I don't own a single game without a story. If I hear of a game being announced that is only multiplayer or has no story, I immediately delete it from my mind and pay it no further attention.

    Everybody's different though. Also, remember that story doesn't have to mean 20 minute cut-scenes. This is an interactive medium, after all.
     
  21. Arowx

    Arowx

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    On a side note could you build a prototype version of this using Unity store assets?
     
  22. neoshaman

    neoshaman

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    ^ yes this
    so the stupid version first, then iterate
     
  23. Not_Sure

    Not_Sure

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    I'm not really big on story in games to be honest.

    And I was absolutely thinking of doing popups in game that feature the person talking in a stills.

    Or possibly a 3d face, like in Warcraft 3.
     
  24. unit_dev123

    unit_dev123

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    i would get friend to help. i am useless with story and a friend who writes even for hobby is better options. this is what i did for my text based game.

    Also less talk, more doing is advised.
     
    Last edited: Mar 26, 2020
  25. GazingUp

    GazingUp

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    @neginfinity is right.
    Don't go with the story first route unless you're doing some kind of point n click adventure or visual novel type game. I was stuck there for years...

    Again going back to roots, what is the "hook" in your FPS game? Like portal's portals, half-life's physics based puzzles, borderland's visual style, etc., then make a prototype or like @neoshaman says, "stupid version" of the game based on that hook. Maybe then incorporate those features into a plot/story and voila you should have your input.
     
  26. Arowx

    Arowx

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    If you were to summarise the story using pre-existing movie/games would it be:

    Aliens meets ODST and an inverted Halo AI / Horde mix with some BioShock/Fear daughter vibes and a splatter of a Black Mirror/Twilight Zone Twist.
     
  27. Deckard_89

    Deckard_89

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    I'd maybe throw System Shock & Dead Space in there too.
     
  28. Not_Sure

    Not_Sure

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    Yeah, I’m not trying to pretend that I’m breaking any ground and am absolutely leaning on Aliens, Metroid, and Doom.

    And also Magnetic Rose

    EDIT: And if I’m being completely honest, what I’d REALLY like to do is have the game broken down into two parts, surface and in the base.

    You have a power armor with an AI that you can travel around the surface in and act as the games fast travel, then have you fight it at the end of the game.

    The fact that it’s a good AI trying to kill you, an evil AI, is kind of a commentary on the duality of technology.
     
    Last edited: Mar 28, 2020
  29. kdgalla

    kdgalla

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    This is a crazy idea, but what if you played as two characters- one is on the surface and the other is on the base. They can communicate over radio. That way you could switch the player from one environment to the other whenever you wanted, without having to contrive some circumstance for the same character to go back and forth.
     
  30. Arowx

    Arowx

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    You are missing one element...

    Time Travel!
     
  31. newjerseyrunner

    newjerseyrunner

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    I’d say it’s a good start, but edit it down by a lot. Try animating you’re first scene, you’ll quickly discover what a chore it is and you’ll want to make your scenes as short and to the point as possible. I would put some sort of scripting /playback system in place first. in my own cutscenes very little of it is animation, I can just tell a character to walk to a point and the game object reacts to its own motion with a walking/jumping animation. I even have huge fight scenes, where I just enable a bunch of enemies on a timer and let their AI battle it out.
     
  32. Not_Sure

    Not_Sure

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    Again, no cut scenes. Dialog pop ups.

    And as far as time travel goes, don't think it hasn't crossed my mind.

    I had considered the idea of the events taking place far into the future, past the end of the human race.

    OR, I also considered that the universe is an infinite number of expressions of it's self, time being one of them, but also the very nature of existence. And the technology that was locked down was not just the AI, but it's ability to manipulate the universe's expression of its self.

    And yadda-yadda, the AI is God that humans created who in turn created human, and humanity is a collection of different parts of the AI.
     
  33. Arowx

    Arowx

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    OK What about going a bit more Matrix with the Simulated Reality Hypothesis?

    Or even the Layered Simulation Universe Hypothesis...
     
    Last edited: Apr 3, 2020
  34. newjerseyrunner

    newjerseyrunner

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    I have a couple of questions.

    Do you actually play as two different character? A marine at first, then the AI, or has the AI possessed the suit from the beginning?

    Where does the dead daughter fit into the story. It requires good backstory and setup to make a real emotional connection with someone. If they just show up and you’re given exposition about them, nobody will care. Example of a good relationship buildup with a dead character would be the first few minutes of Ori and the Blind Forest.

    Foreshadowing! You have a major twist as well as some smaller ones. If those hit all of a sudden, it’ll feel chaotic. Writers don’t want the reveal of a twist to confuse the reader, they want things to suddenly click. Good examples is how absolutely nobody ever acknowledges Bruce Willis in the 6th sense, so when you see the bullet hole you’re like “oooooh, I get it.” Fight Club is even better with foreshadowing the entire way through. A good example in a game is the level 343 in Halo CE. As you’re going through the level you’re thinking “where are all the elites?” “Why are the grunts huddled by doorways?” “Why is their blood everywhere?” Then you hit the reveal room and it’s like “oh S*** the elites have been turned into the flood.”
     
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  35. Arowx

    Arowx

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    With Time travel you could become the AI and have to fight yourself from the first half of the game, benefit saves on scenery.

    If the AI you kills you before you become it then the cycle is broken so that could explain why a super intelligent AI can't take down a grunt?

    Would you then be trapped in a time looping endless FPS???
     
    Last edited: Apr 3, 2020
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  36. neoshaman

    neoshaman

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    Arowx, that's feature creep:confused:, that's bad when people ask for advices you should help them with what they already have, not add nor change, just sayin :p
     
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  37. Deckard_89

    Deckard_89

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    The Elder Scrolls Oblivion had a great quest where you ingest some kind of drug / potion, and are then sent to kill a load of goblins. When the effects of the potion wear off, you see that the goblins were actually just innocent people that you have slaughtered. Something similar could be done in regards to the hallucinations / malevolent AI.
     
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  38. Arowx

    Arowx

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    Not really you get to recycle the scenes and add a whole chicken and egg - Donnie Darko vibe to the mix.


    Just in time for easter and you would only need to cyberpunk the suit a bit to make your rabbit/super soldier suit more like this...
     
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  39. Not_Sure

    Not_Sure

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    Love Apple Seed! The OG, never saw the new one. And it's funny you mention it, because a beefier version of that guy is EXACTLY what I had in mind for design of your mech.

    Yes, I had mentioned this. You'd be sent to kill a nest of aliens and have it turn out to be a group of holed up colonist.

    I'm not terribly concerned about feature creep in the conception phase.

    This IS an interesting concept. Maybe the reveal could be that you ARE in fact the suit, but inside is the mummified corpse of the protagonist you start as, who you kill when you have the showdown with yourself.

    At any rate I DEFINITELY want to drive people nuts trying to figure out where one narrative starts and the other ends.

    I guess the real answer would be you were always the AI and everything is a lie from the beginning, but that feels cheap and lazy.

    That's gotten SOOOOOOO tired these last 20 years. I'm more interested in the idea that all of existence is an infinite amount of expressions of its self being observed from tiny individual perspectives, and that this AI is capable of cutting through all of it to understand it perfectly, which in turn makes the AI God created by Humans and the AI creates Humans.

    I guess the question is, do I want the chilling AI escaping ending? Or the 2001 Space Odyssey trip out, vague, figure it out ending.
     
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  40. neoshaman

    neoshaman

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    You should though:
    I even offered a break down, and some idea how to implement them without actually doing cinematic, and pointed aspect that cost the more, and how to reuse asset. Well some implicitly at least. I tried to present it as a beat by beat way that would allow you to jump straight into making stuff. You don't need more, better is enemy of good.



    What you do, is you keep the cool ideas for another project, or a remake ONCE you finished a first COMPLETE pass.
     
  41. newjerseyrunner

    newjerseyrunner

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    This would be a fantastic opportunity for foreshadowing galore. Having parts of the real world slip through the goggles so to speak. An awesome way you could do this is having a few rooms that you model as human living spaces, then texture and decorate with an alien aesthetic. Players will have a very uneasy feeling and never quite be able to articulate "hmm, that pile of corpses and glowing alien stone sure looks like a couch across from a tv." You could have random photographs or devices from human life in it. Nobody would consciously notice a fork and spoon sitting on a pulsing alien landscape, but the subconscious will. Have a random cheeseburger sitting on a platform somewhere or something.