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Thread: Storytelling in Games Thread

  1. #21
    Fenn
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    Great thread. It's really a challenge to fuse open-ended storytelling with narrative. With open-ended games, one choice can completely alter the direction of the story, forcing the developers to practically design another game in some cases.

    The only way around the "create 1000 stories" model is to create an intelligent world; one that can rationalize the changes and choices made and alter the characters and setting appropriately. But this is really, really challenging.

    I guess it's about finding the perfect number of branches to a story. Not to few, but not too many.

  2. #22
    Super Senior Member CypressDahlia's Avatar
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    Exactly, Clock. That's what the issue is with super-immersive games. They operate under the impression that "immersion" only works if one emulates the dynamic of a real world with a real number of people and events. But immersion can be retained with very few, important characters and events as long as suspension of disbelief is held. So they put all of these things into the game which act as little more than distractions from the main plot. This is not a great design mentality if you consider the real world. If one wants to complete a task in the real world, you don't often need to consult more than a few, relevant people. Having too many people around and constantly stopping to smell the roses (immersion) will act as a distraction. And, even IF we have the option to speak to a million people before we finally go grocery shopping, that does not change the fact that there is still one intended path for us. To truly "progress" in our shopping quest, we still need to perform specific actions at specific times and places. So putting all of these people and events into the game rarely contributes to the open-endedness of the actual plot. Immersion and plot should always be held to equal value. Immersion shouldn't be used as an excuse for lack of plot.

    Often times I tell people I was disappointed with Fallout 3 and they tell me I didn't play it "right". Like I was supposed to stop and smell the roses every few steps, and talk to all of those unimportant people. But why? I had something to do. There was already one predetermined task for me, with one predetermined pipeline of events that would lead up to its completion. There was literally no reason for me to talk to the vast majority of those NPCs, yet supposedly I had to to get the most out of it.

  3. #23
    Palindrome Member ClockHand's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Fenn View Post
    The only way around the "create 1000 stories" model is to create an intelligent world; one that can rationalize the changes and choices made and alter the characters and setting appropriately. But this is really, really challenging.
    ^this

    I have discussed this deal of the open ended story (chosing path) with different people and I always say "I don't believe those games really care about what you chose". The deal is that games like mass effect, give you options, in the moment they give you a option the developers already made a path for that option, which mean I really can't scape from the path developers did.

    Games that are really about choosing are like Minecraft, this is because I (my character) have no motivation, no goals, or anything. When you play minecraft, you can go for an adventure, you can build, you can dig, you can explore and so on, but at the end no one tells to your character what to do, you do what you want. Of course it has limitations, but as doesn't have a story it also give you the freedom to create your own (and end it as you want; ex: destroy everything you created).

    In contra position we have oblivion or fallout 3, those games have a story, but the story is constantly clashing with the concept world idea. I can't have both, I can't go around talking to npcs for mean less quests when the story tells me the world is gonna end in some minute. If in minecraft a npc ask me for help with his goat, I have no problem in helping, because there is no time to lose, I don't have any major quest or anything.

    Of course those games depend in how you play them, which is kinda weird because when you buy a toy (a superman figure), no one in the store tells you how to play with your toy. And if the game doesn't guide you indirectly in the "how should I play the game" then I have no way to play it as it wish.


    Immersion is something that every game should have, because it is the one that motivate the player to do certain things, but there are ways to do immersion and there are way to boring us to death.


    (spoiler argument)
    SPOILER! :

    There is a emotional example of immersion for my (red dead redemption spoiler a head), when I start playing red dead redemption I already knew how the game would end (you die and the shitty character reach happiness), but the game was made for me to care, not at the beginning because every character at the beginning was made to be disliked while the main character was placed in a gray area. But its at the end, because in there the game shows you the family of the main character, it shows you they are a good and nice family, and after all the shitty character you have been forced to see this makes you happy for a while, but then you are faced with the obvious ending you already predicted at the beginning of the game, and when they kill what you liked is when you create a emotional immersion. The final revenge feels as yours as from the main character, you know where to go, you know you will not stop, and you know nothing else matter. Then you get the final revenge and what do you feel? emptiness.

    Yes, I don't believe that everyone who played that part felt as I did, but when I felt it, it was beautifully and I understood it was intended that way.

    If you ask "How did you knew the game would end that game?" the answer is simple, the main character was complete at the beginning (he doesn't evolve, he doesn't need to evolve), which mean he would die eventually (as you have no room for change, then you are destined to die. cruel rule of characters in story), while the secondary character were mostly oblivious to anything else and only care to their own happiness (those characters die or reach happiness, as your character already is gonna die, those are made to success), and also any enneatype on the story was placed to reach the cruel ending of dead (of course, the beautiful twist was the ending).


    Mod Edit: Use spoiler tags for spoilers are you being for real right now
    Last edited by jubeh; 10-31-2011 at 02:12 PM.

  4. #24
    Fenn
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    A game with no goals...never considered that really. It's interesting to think about. You have to make the activities fun enough on their own to avoid apathy.

  5. #25
    Lord of Death jubeh's Avatar
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    Red dead's ending was good.

    SPOILER! :
    I knew it was going to happen but I really wanted it not to happen but that would have betrayed the consistently good writing of the game. I was pretty attached to Marston in a weird way. Ie I'm incredibly out of touch with my old friends who had wildly different goals than me.


    That being said red dead is like the best example of writing and gameplay betraying one another. No matter how awful you are, in the cutscenes marston is always this gentlemen. I'm like throwing bombs into hotel rooms and dropping people on train tracks and he's taking money out of his pocket to free prostitutes from their services. Total disconnect.

  6. #26
    Palindrome Member ClockHand's Avatar
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    Yeap, reason why open worlds can't get along with lineal stories. I'm Adam Jensen, I killed every person on the game but I always chose the moral correct dialogues. I'm Marston I'm a gentle who kill everyone because I'm a douchebag. I'm Niko Belic I suffered in the war I saw my friends dies and I drive like a maniac in the city, killing everything in front of me.

    But, if I'm Batman and hit a hostage/civilian I lose. If you let players to play as they want, you are going to face their douchiness and making incongruence in the story. But if you force them to play as they should, you are blamed to be lineal and killing the idea that video games are about interaction.

  7. #27
    Fenn
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    Quote Originally Posted by ClockHand View Post
    Yeap, reason why open worlds can't get along with lineal stories. I'm Adam Jensen, I killed every person on the game but I always chose the moral correct dialogues. I'm Marston I'm a gentle who kill everyone because I'm a douchebag. I'm Niko Belic I suffered in the war I saw my friends dies and I drive like a maniac in the city, killing everything in front of me.

    But, if I'm Batman and hit a hostage/civilian I lose. If you let players to play as they want, you are going to face their douchiness and making incongruence in the story. But if you force them to play as they should, you are blamed to be lineal and killing the idea that video games are about interaction.
    This reminds me of, of all things, a NASCAR game. Chase for the Cup 20XX, not sure which one. Depending on your actions in the race, you became either a villain or a hero. Bumping and wrecking peeps made you a villain; clean racing and drafting made you a hero. Depending on your rep, the CPUs would react differently when you raced and if you were a real jerk fights would break out after a race, and you could choose how to react: apologetically or aggresively.

    What I'm getting at is the game recognized how you were acting and changed accordingly. You couldn't be an ass on the track and then make one apology and BAM you're a good guy again. It took time and effort to build your rep. Of course there were flaws: I'm a terrible driver and I'd always end up wrecking people and getting in fights accidentally, but there was no "clumsy moron" reputation programmed in the game.

    The key is to make consequences to the gamers actions without making the game too realistic. If the consequences for evil in an open-ended game are too small, they won't outweight the benefits and people's deviant side will dominate. If they are too harsh and realistic, there's no way players can enjoy being the bad guy. It has to come down to player choice and preference: do they enjoy the benefits and drawbacks to being moral or amoral?

  8. #28
    FFVII: Crisis Core had more storytellin than any movie on this planet. Legend of Zelda also has a great back story (all the games are connected, go ahead, look it up and you will see that if link never picked up the Skyward sword and made it the master sword, then in the sanctuary in "ocarina of time" there would be no sword in that stone to begin with). So i can tell you that i would rather watch a movie or read a book based on a game than watch the movies that are coming out now cuz FF has a hell of alot of tellin to its story XD. Rant mode Deactivate.

    If anyone says that they cant stand games that force you down a certain story line then they should just play Madden or some open world crude because storyline in games are awesome. Zack's death really did manage to make me cry and now i cant listen to the music from that scene without crying (Danm you Square Enix).
    Last edited by shadowriku22; 10-31-2011 at 06:10 PM.

  9. #29
    Lord of Death jubeh's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by shadowriku22 View Post
    If anyone says that they cant stand games that force you down a certain story line then they should just play Madden or some open world crude because storyline in games are awesome.
    This is your argument for real. I should play madden because storylines are awesome? Should I write a response in crayon?

    If the gameplay is nothing more than you pressing buttons to get you to cutscenes something is seriously wrong.

  10. #30
    Fenn
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    Quote Originally Posted by jubeh View Post
    This is your argument for real. I should play madden because storylines are awesome? Should I write a response in crayon?

    If the gameplay is nothing more than you pressing buttons to get you to cutscenes something is seriously wrong.
    I think he is saying if people don't like linear storytelling in video games they should play "crude" games with no story like Madden. He's basically in favor of linear stories.

    That being said he decided to knock everyone who doesn't enjoy what he does, destroying his credibility in the process.

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