Dev - Gamemaker Creating Your Game Plot (Read 362 times)

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A question arose just a moment ago that I thought was interesting enough to ask.

Specifically, how do you write the actual plot to your game, and in what form do you direct the plot's flow?

I've heard some people get a basic idea (I want a good guy to find a sword to defeat a bad guy with) and then just run with it. Does anyone write out a game script for dialogue and events before advancing to creating the game? Or do many really just roll with it?

Do you build your plot based around events you want to happen, or do you start with a character and focus the plot on their adventure?

I've personally always held that writing a script before anything, and building any plot around its characters rather than a premise and an event is the best way to go. I can't work without actually scripting out the plot lines so I have something to hold on to, with enough freedom to add events as I so choose provided I do not alter the core events too much.

Working from characters seems natural and easy to me, but I imagine others might disagree.

What are your opinions?
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I think of some music I'd like to use or an atmosphere I think is interesting or some rough ideas I like and then I throw up some characters and scenarios that let me mess around with that stuff and make the plot up as I go along. It's frustrating for everyone.
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I base my plots around a "problem" because that's how everything in the world goes.
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I'll not TAKE ANYTHING you write like this seriously because it looks dumb
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i love working from characters because if you make a character and you know that character well enough, you know what parts of your plot to potentially throw away or rework because they violate that character's personality. not talking like FAVORITE FOOD: MCCHEESE or any of those hokey character trait lists that people get sucked into, but kind of an intuition as a writer about how they would act in a particular situation based on their prior actions (and probably where you want to take the character thematically as well)
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I believe that the best place to start with a plot is the actual setting/theme, and the writer should have a vague idea of what to deal with based on the those two. From there, you could take the snowflake method to writing out a plot, where you start with a single idea and flesh it out more and more, adding characters, plot twists, subplots, etc. An efficient way to go about this is to take a pencil and a piece of paper, and jot down a single, simple sentence that can serve as the foundation for the plot. Do this exercise several times until you have run out of ideas, sift through them and select the one that you feel is the best, and work it that one from there.

One problem that's always plagued me is the habit of choosing a small scenario that I would adore to see make to the actual implementation stages of my game, but I always fell into the pit of building off of that single idea, which isn't how the process should work. Instead, I will take a small notepad and jot down any ideas that come to me throughout the day, no matter what aspect of the game it is relevant to; whether it be a mini-game, CMS idea, puzzle, plot device, event, etc.
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Since I'm doing a non-linear game, the first thing I decided was what kind of world I wanted. I also decided early that I wanted the game to seem realistic, while still being fantastic. That thought flow made me choose to have a game that portrayed a lot of subtle satire at real life. Bad things are easily forgiven, happy moments are laced, rulers are insane but it works, etc. Once I figured out the world I wanted, I mapped it. Then I plotted the cities/towns in locations that would make sense for a non-linear game. (I would do this a lot differently if the game was linear)

Next I created a basic history of each location and of the world itself. I tried to tie a lot of places together. Then I created some current events loosely based off the history. I gave each city its own personality while keeping with the theme of the game.

Now since the player doesn't know this world at all, and is going to be discovering it as they go, why would their character know anything about it to start? No, this is not the amnesia thing again. The character comes from another realm. All he knows is that a wizard brought him their against his will and has asked him to complete a quest, and then you are hurled randomly away to do his bidding without further explanation.

Character development has to come from dialog with NPCs and from choices he makes in quests. The player gets to choose who his is for the most part. I use a deep conversation system to develop both the world and the character. There is a strong outline made, but much of it comes as I go. I made a system that is easy to change globally.

This system would throw a lot of people for a loop. They would get sidetracked and all. I've been following a semi-strict routine for staying on track and not getting too far ahead of myself. For me this works.
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Start with a quickly fading really messed up dream and then only keep the story. As time goes along, pitch only the characters and settings to others and watch as they come up with stories. Take pieces, both the good and the bad, and make them excellent. Character development comes naturally. Have some characters that doubt each other? Have some characters witness deaths? Have characters trip over that sealed evil in a can? Of course they're going to get messed up. Possibly it comes from the fact that I treat stories I hear as real.

When I make open-ended game, they are not open-ended. They be very not open ended because story not very open ended. Story has begin and end. In between not matter, like babies who are dead in ground for many year in Siberia. So, I make begin and end very good. Good like the Vodka. In between focus on game. Story, not so much.

Kidding. The middle is good too. For a game, though, stories must be spotty. If the player has no control, where the heck is the game? If there's no control, aren't you better off making a web comic? In my current game, I didn't get a plot down until too long ago, but it constantly changes as the engine improves. For example, instead of a single evil in a can, now it's like a soda of evil that was shaken up over the course of a few thousand years. The new weapons change the amount of soldiers chasing you down, the dialogue between characters, the reason for not being able to get off an island when the can of evil pops open. The changing of the source of the ruins to a more recent civilization changes the area, the platforms, the secret weapons, the giant clock, and the technology in the ruins. All of this is the middle. None of it is set in stone.

Now since the player doesn't know this world at all, and is going to be discovering it as they go, why would their character know anything about it to start? No, this is not the amnesia thing again. The character comes from another realm.
And, for this project at least, that's another reason why I don't have to set it in stone, as the same exact thing is happening here. From a USA just out of the Civil War, a world with elves ironically without magic, the character I've got is suddenly thrown into a Steampunk style post-apocalypse Old West through the world with a lot of magic, guns, fusion engines, a few shapeshifter beasts that are faster than shadow, and a five person ensemble? Fuck no, not setting any of that shit in stone. Play it by ear. I'll piece together a rough story months before work starts, but if it's not about the player, if it's not working out with the engine, or if it's not fun, I'm not afraid to nerf a storyline that I just spent a couple months setting up. The end, that may be set in stone, but even then, an ending like that no longer seems as shiny.

Half Life 2 anybody? How about even Duke Nukem Forever's storyline over the years? More than several storylines on both of those, very much destroyed completely many times.


Oh yeah, but practicing daydreaming helps insanely. That, and I really like ad-lib-ing stuff.
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I think of some music I'd like to use or an atmosphere I think is interesting or some rough ideas I like and then I throw up some characters and scenarios that let me mess around with that stuff and make the plot up as I go along. It's frustrating for everyone.

i do this a lot too, to some degree. like i listen to a piece of music or maybe read a few words from a book or something, you know, something that sparks a bit of imagination somewhere and then just roll with it! i generally plan a brief outline before i start, maybe just a few words for the direction i want things to flow in, and then start going nuts.

i am not very good at writing characters so i usually just make the world around them and add them in later, just like catamites i guess!
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Storyboarding is a good technique as it helps you keep track of your ideas and to see how they look alongside each other.

If you design your world or history first, at least vaguely, it'll also inspire you to come up with events and ideas in your "modern" setting.

The suggestion of music is also good - like for my current project, I'm doing a kind of MERRY-GO-ROUND thing with ideas. Like I suggest something to my composer, who makes the piece of music, which I then listen to, inspiring me to write more, giving more for the composer to work with (It helps to live with team members ho ho ho).

PS: Here is the cheating easy route that, when used in like ROCK SONGS or NOVELS makes you all metatextual and classy - STEAL FROM HISTORY THERE IS LOTS OF EXCITEMENT FOR TO STEAL!!! MAKE A GAME ABOUT  THE POLL TAX RIOTS IN THE 80s - NO ONE WANTS TO PAY TO VOTE DAMNIT!!
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