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Story Lines

  • Hey All!

    Well I have been working on my game recently and I thought about what I could make the storyline about. Well I finally got around to coming up with something that actually made sense with all of the characters. And it gave me an idea for a topic. Why not share your story lines with the rest of the forum? Well I know a lot of you will think its a bad idea as someone might steal your idea. Well there is a way around that. Think of something you are not likely to use yourself so that someone else can use it if they are having difficulties thinking of their own. It might help a lot of people as I know that it can be quite strenuous thinking of a storyline that makes sense.

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  • Games don't need stories, unless they need a story.

  • Games don't need stories, unless they need a story.

    Stories are often overlooked by indie developers, which is a shame because there is an audience of players that like to dive into a game's story so the game feels like it has some meaning. I am one of those people.

    The premise of the story behind my board game is that you are an infiltration AI activated by a mainframe AI in order to regain control of a system taken over by a rogue AI. However, the interesting thing is that you will find 'logs' after regaining control of certain networks that give insight into the AI that went rogue. Each one of these opened will add a value to an internal global variable named 'roguemeter'. The idea is that as you (an AI) learn more and more about the rogue AI you are fighting, the greater chance you have of becoming rampant yourself.

    At the end of the game, after you defeat the rogue AI, the mainframe AI will congratulate you on a job well done and then proceed to shut you down because you are no longer needed. Depending on how high the roguemeter is, you are either shut down or given the choice to fight back, unlocking another boss fight against the mainframe AI. Defeat leads to you getting terminated, victory leads you to becoming the new rogue AI who has full control over a company's network and its subsidiaries.

  • If your game is scifi and you need an interesting story or concept, my brother has a blog at scifiideas.com which often posts great ideas and concepts.

  • Thank you Onion, I will be definitely having a look at yours and your brthers websites. Thanks for the help.

    Rex

  • Games don't need stories, unless they need a story.

    I agree with Sulli. I bought "To the moon" a few days ago on Steam, it has a beautiful story,it'll make you cry, the problem is that gameplay couldn't be more boring and gets in the middle. It's a game that should be a short movie, a graphic novel or something similar.

    It's great to have a good story but just if you have a good gameplay to support it. If you have a good idea for a story don't waste it on a game with dull gameplay.

    Graphics, music and stories are great, I love art in games and I've bought a couple of soundtracks but they're useless without a solid core, and that's gameplay; the rest is just a dressing.

    Designing comes first, add the dressing and polish it after.

    Yeah, sometimes indie games forget about the story or it's very minimalist (like in Braid), that's just a design choice, some studios have a "pure" style and want to focus on gameplay.

  • Dull gameplay becomes acceptable if the story is engrossing. This is proven financially.

    BioShock is hailed as one of the greatest FPS games because of its story and engrossing atmosphere. But play the game and you will realize it the gameplay itself adds nothing really new to the FPS genre and that the majority of the game is the player performing 'fetch quests' to gather some items.

    The Last of Us, acclaimed by many as possibly the best PS3 shooter to be released this year, has a very engrossing story. However, when it comes to gameplay, there is nothing it adds to the FPS genre (reminds me of Call of Duty), and many of the fights occur in cut-scenes where you have to press some button within a short amount of time in order to win, which is a criticism that is often acknowledged but passed over because the story is just so good.

    Tomb Raider also falls into this category, but I will not include it here because the new Tomb Raider was practically a guaranteed sell due to the massive TR fanbase that has been hoping for a relaunch for some time.

    There are some exceptions, but even those can be argued against. Minecraft, for example, has no built-in story, but because it is a sandbox game where the player can literally do/build anything then there is a purpose created and re-created by the player himself.

    It's personal preference as to whether a story is needed, but in terms of financial success, a great story with average gameplay will pay off more than great gameplay without a purpose.

  • Dull gameplay becomes acceptable if the story is engrossing. This is proven financially.

    BioShock is hailed as one of the greatest FPS games because of its story and engrossing atmosphere. But play the game and you will realize it the gameplay itself adds nothing really new to the FPS genre and that the majority of the game is the player performing 'fetch quests' to gather some items.

    The Last of Us, acclaimed by many as possibly the best PS3 shooter to be released this year, has a very engrossing story. However, when it comes to gameplay, there is nothing it adds to the FPS genre (reminds me of Call of Duty), and many of the fights occur in cut-scenes where you have to press some button within a short amount of time in order to win, which is a criticism that is often acknowledged but passed over because the story is just so good.

    You are confusing innovation with gameplay quality. "Bioshock" and "The last of us" might not be anything new, but they have a fun gameplay, sure, the story helps to avoid noticing how repetitive they are, but that's all. Gameplay is very polished and it'd be fun for Bioshock fans even without the dressing.

    So in "Bioshock" and "The Last of Us" the story helps but there must be a gameplay better than just decent.

    I agree that in those games the dressing is way above the gameplay, that's why I'd prefer to have them as a TV show, book or a movie instead of a game.

    I've played a few games where the story was great but the gameplay was dull, I ended up quitting after a couple of hours(sometimes minutes) and searching for the cinematics in Youtube.

    It's personal preference as to whether a story is needed, but in terms of financial success, a great story with average gameplay will pay off more than great gameplay without a purpose.

    I was speaking about game quality rather than financial success. Sure, if you are focusing on earning money you should really worry about the dressing. But from my point of view those are dirty tricks you can use to cheat the gamer. For example, there are some RPGs where you start with some old clothes and a rusty sword, fighting wolfs, by the end of the game you are a fully equipped-knight fighting dragons; that's ok as long as the gameplay gets deeper, if the core mechanics don't progress at the same pace then you're just using a dirty trick. Smart players will notice this and quit the game. Sure, you'll sell tons of copies, that's what many commercial games do.

    You can choose to learn from most commercial games and make things that look like hollywood blockbusters (which will look awesome and be financial successful) but I'd rather experiment and try to do something I can call quality entertainment; once I've done that I'll worry about marketing and making it more appealing(adding the dressing).

    So basically we differ in the final goal, your point is that financial succes tells us what's right (and what we should do) but I don't feel the same. Everyone has a different point of view of how videogames should be made

    <img src="smileys/smiley1.gif" border="0" align="middle" />

    P.D.: Chess doesn't have a story but it's one of the best games ever made. Its core is so good that it doesn't require any dressing at all.

  • You are confusing innovation with gameplay quality. "Bioshock" and "The last of us" might not be anything new, but they have a fun gameplay, sure, the story helps to avoid noticing how repetitive they are, but that's all. Gameplay is very polished and it'd be fun for Bioshock fans even without the dressing.

    So in "Bioshock" and "The Last of Us" the story helps but there must be a gameplay better than just decent.

    I agree that in those games the dressing is way above the gameplay, that's why I'd prefer to have them as a TV show, book or a movie instead of a game.

    BioShock honestly bored me (and hundreds of others based on Internet searches) because fetch quest followed by fetch quest is not exciting, even with enemies to shoot. To this day, I have yet to find someone who says they can play BioShock for more than a few hours at a time (compare this to Mass Effect series and Deus Ex: Human Revolution, where many people were publicly admitting to no-life-ing the game).

    Please don't make claims about the gameplay quality of BioShock unless you have actually played the game. No, BioShock would not be what it is without the dressing. The gameplay quality of BioShock is exactly decent, nothing more. The developers basically banked on story and setting, and they succeeded.

    The Last of Us, I will admit, is not as dull as BioShock, but it still isn't anything better than the quality of a Call of Duty game, which for most people is acceptable since CoD is still highly popular.

    .D.: Chess doesn't have a story but it's one of the best games ever made. Its core is so good that it doesn't require any dressing at all.

    Chess is also a game that is centuries of years old, was required to learn for millions of people of many different positions of power and wealth, and is today being integrated in many schools as mandatory learning.

    The success of Chess is only loosely applicable to games we could develop as indies.

  • BioShock honestly bored me (and hundreds of others based on Internet searches) because fetch quest followed by fetch quest is not exciting, even with enemies to shoot. To this day, I have yet to find someone who says they can play BioShock for more than a few hours at a time (compare this to Mass Effect series and Deus Ex: Human Revolution, where many people were publicly admitting to no-life-ing the game).

    That's because BioShock gameplay is nothing new to you, it's not trying to innovate at all, but that doesn't mean the gameplay is bad; it's just that you've played similar stuff and are bored of watching the same patrons again and again. Imagine playing Bioshock without having played another FPS before, you'd think gameplay was good. That's all I'm saying, the core mechanics are not that bad, it's just that they are not appealing to you.

    Please don't make claims about the gameplay quality of BioShock unless you have actually played the game. No, BioShock would not be what it is without the dressing. The gameplay quality of BioShock is exactly decent, nothing more. The developers basically banked on story and setting, and they succeeded.

    I played Bioshock and got bored soon but, as stated before, even when I found the gameplay to be dull, I'd not say it's bad.

    You're right when you say that Bioshock would not be what it is without the dressing, I didn't denied it. All I'm trying to say is that, from my personal point of view, that's not what we should be doing, even if you sell millions of copies. In my opinion, the core mechanics should be more important than the story, when it's the opposite I just quit the game, even if it has an awesome story and it's being praised by the press.

    Chess is also a game that is centuries of years old, was required to learn for millions of people of many different positions of power and wealth, and is today being integrated in many schools as mandatory learning.

    The success of Chess is only loosely applicable to games we could develop as indies.

    The age or how many people play a game has nothing to do with quality. It's a deep game that requires no dressing because it has a great design behind it. It'd be great even if it was released yesterday and played by just a bunch of people

  • both things are important

    this kind of discussion are important too because game devs can think of ways to create games with different approaches.

    i really like story in games and nice gamaplay too, but if i dont like the aesthetic or the universe inside the game the gameplay or the story/plot will not make me play it more than once. ex: gears of war, CoD, bioshock, last of us.

    this not make this games good or bad, they just dont work for me.

    i think if you try to make your work appeal to everyone you will be doomed to make tasteless things; ppl who dont like story will not be fond to play a game like 999(9 hours, 9 persons,9 doors) or remember 11; and ppl who dont like specific kinds of gameplay will not be fond to play CoD or Halo.

    a curious thing: i dont like Halo, Halo 2 and Halo 3, but i'v loved Halo Reach JUST because of the customization and the coop

    sometimes i'm hooked by curiosity of some game premise, like yume nikki or Ao Oni and i'm surprised by how the game works, wich is very cool but if you think about why i like it, i think is because i did't have a high spectation about it and i think this is a great factor to make someone play your work: how you present your game?

    your game looks like something that was made before?(comparable with some other games?)

    what you want to tell to the players and how you want then to feel about it before they even try it?

    my conclusion: gameplay and story have different meanings by different persons, both matter even distant of eachother. i think your effort will be more well spent toward how you want ppl to feel while playing your game, happy? sad? angry? want to make a question to the player? want to make it have a good time while playing? want so surprise then? or just want then to stressout?

    no matter what you choose to make, will always be ppl who will love your work and ppl who will hate it.

  • my conclusion: gameplay and story have different meanings by different persons, both matter even distant of eachother. i think your effort will be more well spent toward how you want ppl to feel while playing your game, happy? sad? angry? want to make a question to the player? want to make it have a good time while playing? want so surprise then? or just want then to stressout?

    no matter what you choose to make, will always be ppl who will love your work and ppl who will hate it.

    I agree with that. Take Fez as an example, the main goal of its creator was to create a relaxing experience. Gameplay contributes to that, you have to take it slow and explore stuff but you aren't afraid of dying from time to time. In this game the graphic design is really important because it has a key role in creating this relaxing experience.

    So, as valdarko says, the main thing is how both, story and gameplay, fit together and how the player feels while playing the game.

    Some games try to communicate feelings focusing on the story while others prefer to use gameplay to do so. But in the end gameplay must be a bit more important, a game with no story can still comunicate feelings, a game with no gameplay is also able to communicate feelings, but it'll feel more like a movie, take "To the moon" as an example.

  • I found a video in which this topic is discussed. It's from Jonathan Blow, so it's very interesting, he really knows about game designing.

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  • Games don't need stories, unless they need a story.

    Requesting permission to quote this for the rest of my life

  • The biggest selling games of all time has no story. it has a motivation and solid game play.

    I did not count Wii Sports, but it's 85 million

    en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Super_Mario_Bros. 40 million

    en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mario_Kart_Wii%C2%A0%C2%A0%C2%A034 million

    en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wii_Sports_Resort 31 million

    en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wii_Play%C2%A0%C2%A0%C2%A028million

    en.wikipedia.org/wiki/New_Super_Mario_Bros._Wii 27million

    en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gran_Turismo_5 10 million(PSX)

    en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sonic_the_Hedgehog_(1991_video_game) 15million(Genesis)

    In comparison one of the best story games sold

    en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Final_Fantasy_VII%C2%A0%C2%A0%C2%A010million

    are stories awesome yes. Do stories sell games. yes, do stories define games. no. do games need to tell a story, no. do adventure themes games need a motivation yes. (mario bros has no story, but it does have a motivation)

    Now of course your stuck with the debatable question. Does financial success make a great game? Indeed that is one measure to use. A financial success of 40million games sold must have something going for it to have sold soo much. People, gamers play and play the game with some games becoming classic.

    On the other hand even games that don't sell well can still be awesome games. However there is usually somekind of reason why it doesn't do as well. Marketing, distriution, theme, genre.... however it all comes down to being a whole package and no one factor determines massic success.

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