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Should there be a section on storyline or storyboarding...?

Discussion in 'General Discussion' started by Arowx, May 9, 2017.

  1. Arowx

    Arowx

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    Should there be a section on storyline or storyboarding and how many layers should your games story have?

    For instance good TV series and even the Marvel Movies usually have at least two layers or arcs to the story, a big season one then episodic arcs. Often interwoven with returning arc/themes characters.

    I tend to just make a game, in a minimalist (story/theme) world e.g. Sci-Fi / Fantasy / Shooter / FPS or like that movie or game.

    And are the best games story driven, with the best of those having a multi-layered set of interwoven story arks.

    Or to put it another way if your game wrote a book would it be any good?

    I think my games stories would be up there with the best...

     
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  2. Raven000

    Raven000

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    I'm assuming you're talking about a sub-forum on the Unity forums when you refer to a "section?" If so, I'm not sure how much value it would add to the community. Why? Because not every game is going to have a story arc; there exists plenty of games where there is no story at all. Others, especially open-world games, thrive off of presenting a world to the player to explore and to play through their own story, though these games will often times concentrate more on back-story rather than a central main arc. Others will have the episodic format that you described.

    I wouldn't necessarily say that the best games are story driven, as what's considered the "best" is often times held in the eye of the beholder. Some people would say that an online multiplayer, deathmatch game is the best, with little to no story line. My coworker thinks that an open-world, procedurally generated game such as Dwarf Fortress is the best simply because no two games are alike. Others may say that story-driven games such as the Mass Effect series is the best. It just depends on several factors including the genre and your audience.
     
  3. djweinbaum

    djweinbaum

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    The section on game design in general is barely active. I hardly think there will be activity in a subforum which is a subtopic of that topic.
     
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  4. neginfinity

    neginfinity

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    Depends on genre, goals and target audience. There's no single answer.
    • There are Visual Novels, which are pretty much reading all the time.
    • There are text heavy RPGs with a lot of writing, like Shadowrun: Dragonfall, Pillars of Eternity, Planescape: Torment, etc.
    • Then there are less story-heavy games, where story still plays an important factor (for example, Silent Hill, comes to mind).
    • Then there are sandbox games with little to no story.
    • Then there are games which attempt to create emergent storytelling (Dwarf Fortress).
    In my opinion, a good enjoyable experience is when the game drops enough hints, but doesn't explain every single detail to the player. This approach allows player to imagine stuff beyond anything the game designer could come up with. A good example of this applied to practice is Half-Life.
     
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  5. EternalAmbiguity

    EternalAmbiguity

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    This.

    I enjoy discussing game stories, but those threads typically don't get very many replies at all. Most people don't write very well, and aren't particularly interested in doing so. Certainly not for a game.
     
  6. Kiwasi

    Kiwasi

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    This. Story discussion fits in the existing game design and general discussion forums. When they get flooded with too many posts about story, then it will be time to create a subforum for stories. But not before.
     
  7. zombiegorilla

    zombiegorilla

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  8. theANMATOR2b

    theANMATOR2b

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    I think a much better sub-forum would be mobile lighting/shadows - cause I'm struggling with it right now! And most of the lighting threads are focused on highest quality - best visuals.
     
  9. Not_Sure

    Not_Sure

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    I could get behind a narrative section, for sure.

    But I will say that writers tend to not want to hear actual feedback and often just want to talk up their stuff. I think the section would be overrun by people pitching stories and very little feedback.
     
  10. Ryiah

    Ryiah

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    That beats being overrun by implementation questions like Game Design is now. :p
     
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  11. gian-reto-alig

    gian-reto-alig

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    Yes. Yes, I think a subforum for storyboarding and story development would be a good thing. Other game development forums have their story/writing forum seperate from the game design subforum, and while not necessarily getting a lot of traffic, there always seems to be something going on there.

    I feel that writing for games is even less appreciated by many Indie devs than game design or sound creation. At the same time, when you start reading up upon it and watching youtube vids about it, you start noticing just how much there is to learn and say about writing. Writing for video games adding even more complexity like branching stories and adjusting for the interactive element just adds to that.

    +1 for a narrative/story/writing subforum from me.
     
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  12. Samuel411

    Samuel411

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    I agree, it's often overlooked and is the cause of many failures. Are there any channels or articles you can share that are informative about this topic?
     
  13. EternalAmbiguity

    EternalAmbiguity

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    Hardly comprehensive, but an interesting discussion that we had:

    https://forum.unity3d.com/threads/writing-rules-to-be-broken.457552/

    I don't feel the same. I love to write, but I also love to discuss writing. I used to spend abnormal amounts of time every day discussing Bioware game stories and lore. I would also be quite happy to talk about any video game stories that people come up with here.
     
  14. Arowx

    Arowx

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    Has anyone considered a language based analysis of game design, e.g. the actions and interactions in the game are the games language and then to consider how complex a story you could write using your games language?

    e.g.
    Pong: Up/Down/Ball Hits Bat/Goal
    Pac Man: Up/Down/Left/Right/Eat[dot/powerpill/ghost]/Die.
     
  15. TonyLi

    TonyLi

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    Joris Dormans' Machinations is a sort of game design language. There are a bunch of example analyses here for Civ, Tetris, Diablo, etc. And Pac Man:

     
    Last edited: May 10, 2017
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  16. EternalAmbiguity

    EternalAmbiguity

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    I'm not sure the two are related.

    Perhaps more accurately, once you get up to some minimum level of interaction, you have the components for a very diverse range of stories.

    As much as I hate RPGMaker games, you really don't need anymore interaction than their engine provides to write a story of pretty much any complexity. it's just that some of the actions will be things you see rather than do.
     
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  17. angrypenguin

    angrypenguin

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    Yeah, there's plenty of counter-examples.

    Look at the mechanics of Bioshock (shooting things, and upgrading the variety of ways in which you shoot things) and then the story which is told with it (shenannigans arising from a clash of ideology after a bunch of rich elitists decide to build their own city/kingdom).

    In most adventure games you solve puzzles by combining and/or using objects, tangentially advancing an arbitrarily plot. Hey look, I used the paperclip on the water wheel, so now I can walk through the dimensional gate...

    Or what about games like Splinter Cell, where the mechanics are all about sneaking around places you're not wanted and the plots are generally some kind of lite political intrigue.
     
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  18. Arowx

    Arowx

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    Will VR allow for improved interaction with games and therefore better stories?

    Or are text based adventures the most interactive story system games will have?
     
  19. Billy4184

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    I'm not sure precisely what you mean by stories here, but I think VR will create a much more 'physical' and immediate experience, as opposed to an overarching story. I guess 'atmosphere' is the term for what I think VR will be very good at.
     
  20. Kiwasi

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    Probably not. Good stories happen when the control remains in the hands of the content creator. It's why books and movies almost universally have better stories then games.

    If anything VR puts the player more firmly in control of their character. Meaning less control in the hands of the developer. And less opportunities for story.
     
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  21. Billy4184

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    I was just thinking about it though, and it occurred to me that maybe being closer to the action would actually make people take on a more subtle role in the game, because it might turn out that at least for a while - while technology is still behind - there's a sort of 'uncanny valley' of what one might call first-hand experience of the game world. In which it might be actually more pleasant to give the player a more distant perspective rather than a closer one, like a grand-stand view, because it might be more comfortable and easier to match to the rest of the player's senses.

    So maybe it would suit this kind of game for the player to see things 'on the horizon' so to speak, and rather than experiencing it first-hand, they are surrounded by the effects of it, which, because the player is so immersed, can be communicated much more subtly through such things as messages or dialogue with NPCs and other players.
     
  22. TonyLi

    TonyLi

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    To play devil's advocate, Arowx did ask if it would allow for better stories. The distinguishing trait of interactive media is agency. If VR gives the player more control, this forces writers to think more about agency rather than forcing a statically-written story. It won't be long before an NPC in VR checks the player's gaze location to say, "Hey, buddy, my eyes are up here!" (Maybe it's already been done.)

    Also, with the challenges of locomotion in VR, a lot of games keep the player in one place. Instead of defaulting to easy, boring movement challenges (run here, jump there, run here now, push that block), writers will have to think harder about making objects and NPCs in the near vicinity deeper and more interesting.
     
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  23. neginfinity

    neginfinity

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    Rule of the thumb:
    When you ask a yes/no question, the correct answer is the one you don't like.

    .
    .
    .
    .

    Jokes aside, games that create impact similar to text-heavy approach are very rare.
     
  24. EternalAmbiguity

    EternalAmbiguity

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    I'm inclined to agree, but like TonyLi says, games and especially game stories can really increase their impact by giving the player agency. Some games could only work as a game, because of the way they use that player agency in the narrative (would you kindly?). In the same sense, if VR offers anything fundamentally novel (and I'm not convinced it does, but for the sake of the argument let's assume), then it can be used to create stories which hinge on the VR experience.
     
  25. Arowx

    Arowx

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    If you look into novel writing there can be a lot of emphasis on backstory and world building, something that you find in good long lasting IP e.g. Star Trek, Star Wars, Mass Effect. My point is there are two sides to the storytelling, one is the level of plot within a game and another the backstory or depth to the games world.

    Both play off each other. I think deeper games may have both, depth of plot/story and depth of world/backstory.

    Already on this thread people have mentioned the Bioware and Bethesda games both tend to be rich in plot and backstory.
     
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  26. neginfinity

    neginfinity

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    On related note, has VR sorted out walking problem yet?

    The elder scroll games typically have very solid lore, but actual plot in those games is usually quite bad. Bethesda offers sandboxes and virtual playgrounds, not a rich story-driven experience.
     
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  27. EternalAmbiguity

    EternalAmbiguity

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    "Backstory" or lore is really Bioware's strong point too. They really don't create very compelling plots. The Asari's ascension (with the help of the Protheans), the first contact war, the uplifting of the Krogan and creation of the genophage, the seeming symbiosis of the drell and hanar (which is causing the drell to die out as a species) - this is all far, far more interesting than MASS EFFECT 3 SPOILERS
    "hey bro I heard you want to avoid synthetics killing organics so here are some synthetics to kill your organics."
    I defend that plot point, because I don't think it's bad, but it's not near as compelling as everything else about the series.

    Dragon Age is really where it's at. In that series, David Gaider basically wrote out the plot for several games in advance, which allowed them to foreshadow things and introduce lore that would only pay off years later. Seriously, for anyone who's played the series since Origins, the depth of the lore and how it interweaves with the plot of the Inquisition (which is better than normal for Bioware) is a thing to behold.
     
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