Friends read my game's script and said it needed work. Looking for advice!

Doinathing

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Most of what they said was, in my opinion, bullcrap, but they did have some points.

Things I need to improve on:

-Character Depth

-Less Linearity

-Side Quests

-Emphasize Protag's Insecurities through dialogue.

-Pacing

If anyone wants to read my first draft, here's the link,
but in a nutshell, the story is about a traumatized teenage girl trying to be an adventurer and find treasure in the 'Dark World,' but when she gets there, the Dark World isn't that much different than the one she's used to. People are generally nice, and towns are modern and tidy. This doesn't stop her, though, so she decides to try to kill the Dark Lord.

Any advice is appreciated! Thank you!
 

gstv87

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this is not a script, it's a stage play.

this is what you turn the script *into*, after it has been defined.

you're starting from the end..... drop the line-by-line dialogue and write a narrative.
 

Doinathing

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this is not a script, it's a stage play.

this is what you turn the script *into*, after it has been defined.

you're starting from the end..... drop the line-by-line dialogue and write a narrative.
a what
 

KazukiT

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I agree, with @gstv87, this is more character dialogue then the actually story. You could save this for when you write the dialogue for the characters. Do bullet points on what happens here's an example:
- The adventurer enters town asking for directions to a mysterious mountain
- The adventurer looked all day but couldn't find anyone that could help him.
- Then when they were about to turn in for the night they hear some of the local troublemakers.
- He sneakily goes near the where the troublemakers are at and listens in on them
- The troublemakers state they are going to the mysterious mountain and check what's up there.
 

Doinathing

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a *play*.
a collection of lines of dialogue, meant for actors to represent characters in a set.

write *a narrative*
a set of sentences with meaning and context, describing characters, locations and emotions.
Ok, I think I understand. thanks!
 

TeiRaven

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Well this is awkward, one of us is gonna have to change XD I, too, have a place in my current project called Caligo, haha.

I think you have an interesting premise here! I found the plot easy to follow, but I agree on the points you listed above--the pacing is very fast, the characters aren't given a lot of depth and development, and if it plays out exactly as it's written right this moment, it will be a very short game indeed. But that's not a bad thing! The thing about first drafts is they're never polished. That's why they're first drafts.

I don't think that having some dialogue early in your workflow is necessarily a bad thing--but in terms of painting out the broad strokes of what's going to happen, it can sometimes bog you down in the details. (Says me, the master of being bogged down by details.) My design document has some of both, but it's mostly bullet points.

I think that as you add in side quests, it'll help flesh out the characters and bring in that depth that you want. Likewise, as you start giving depth to the characters, side quest ideas will start to pop up. You don't have to write down every line of dialogue as you do this--like gstv87 and KazukiT said, bullet points and descriptions are fine. That, in turn, will slow the pacing of the plot a little bit, while also helping to build up the world.

For example, you can have NPCs remark on some of the other, specific things Simon has done. You don't have to chronicle every detail of how he developed a public transit system (for example) but having an NPC mention that it took, say, 14 years to complete because people kept trying to stop it would demonstrate that he's tenacious. You could have NPCs mention the way adventurers used to come to burn and pillage, and how great it is that that isn't happening anymore.

And Whitly, you could do a lot to build up his character as well. Someone could mention a previous assassination attempt that he foiled, or that he was instrumental in getting the emergency rescue services up and running, that sort of thing. It'll be a little bit harder of a punch in the feelings when the player kills him for real.

Also, getting that wooden stake could be a semi-side quest. One of those things that sounds like a sidequest, but turns out to be main story--though you'd have to frame it in such a way that it's unmissable without it being immediately obvious that you're going to try to stab a vampire later.

Five is an interesting loose end. If I was Mist, I'd be snapping mad with him. I think there's an opportunity there to fit a little more plot before Mist heads home, if you so desired. Or Simon would have some more work to do, convincing her to drop it.

And I like your sense of humor! Mist's exasperation with this very tidy "dark" world, the joys of travel like lines and customs, and I got a particular kick out of "Henry Mason and the Turnabout MacGuffin."
 

Doinathing

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Well this is awkward, one of us is gonna have to change XD I, too, have a place in my current project called Caligo, haha.

I think you have an interesting premise here! I found the plot easy to follow, but I agree on the points you listed above--the pacing is very fast, the characters aren't given a lot of depth and development, and if it plays out exactly as it's written right this moment, it will be a very short game indeed. But that's not a bad thing! The thing about first drafts is they're never polished. That's why they're first drafts.

I don't think that having some dialogue early in your workflow is necessarily a bad thing--but in terms of painting out the broad strokes of what's going to happen, it can sometimes bog you down in the details. (Says me, the master of being bogged down by details.) My design document has some of both, but it's mostly bullet points.

I think that as you add in side quests, it'll help flesh out the characters and bring in that depth that you want. Likewise, as you start giving depth to the characters, side quest ideas will start to pop up. You don't have to write down every line of dialogue as you do this--like gstv87 and KazukiT said, bullet points and descriptions are fine. That, in turn, will slow the pacing of the plot a little bit, while also helping to build up the world.

For example, you can have NPCs remark on some of the other, specific things Simon has done. You don't have to chronicle every detail of how he developed a public transit system (for example) but having an NPC mention that it took, say, 14 years to complete because people kept trying to stop it would demonstrate that he's tenacious. You could have NPCs mention the way adventurers used to come to burn and pillage, and how great it is that that isn't happening anymore.

And Whitly, you could do a lot to build up his character as well. Someone could mention a previous assassination attempt that he foiled, or that he was instrumental in getting the emergency rescue services up and running, that sort of thing. It'll be a little bit harder of a punch in the feelings when the player kills him for real.

Also, getting that wooden stake could be a semi-side quest. One of those things that sounds like a sidequest, but turns out to be main story--though you'd have to frame it in such a way that it's unmissable without it being immediately obvious that you're going to try to stab a vampire later.

Five is an interesting loose end. If I was Mist, I'd be snapping mad with him. I think there's an opportunity there to fit a little more plot before Mist heads home, if you so desired. Or Simon would have some more work to do, convincing her to drop it.

And I like your sense of humor! Mist's exasperation with this very tidy "dark" world, the joys of travel like lines and customs, and I got a particular kick out of "Henry Mason and the Turnabout MacGuffin."
you did WHAT
Did you read the whole thing?!

ok so yeah i'll do those things you said thanks

Seriously, you are awesome. @TeiRaven
 

TeiRaven

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Well, yeah, of course I read the whole thing. How was I supposed to give helpful feedback if I didn't? XD

Glad to be of service! Looking forward to the next draft.
 

slimmmeiske2

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Art, Literature and Music subforum is for all those things unrelated to making our games. Since you're asking for feedback on your game's script, it belongs in Game Ideas & Prototypes.

I've moved this to Game Ideas & Prototypes.



The advice above is all pretty good. I haven't read your script (sorry!), but I'd like to suggest when you write out your story like this to include stage directions/movie descriptions. So instead of you just starting with your dialogue have something like this:
The screen is black, BGM3 is playing, the following white lines of text appear.
Or
The screen shows a world map, the camera moves/zooms in on the starting town. Town map shows, the camera moves again until the waiting line shows. Meanwhile the following text appears.

I'm just mentioning it, since I've had it happen that by the time I start mapping, I've either forgotten what it looked like when I wrote or I map something that doesn't fit how I wrote my cutscene.
 

TheGameBrewery

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Typically, when I am working on a game I approach the story/dialogue/script in several parts.

1) Very brief summary. Beginning, middle, end. Broad themes and critical characters.
2) Detailed summary. The step-by-step of the game. Included all important characters. Extremely limited to no dialogue. No side stuff. Focused on the main game, motivations, and maintaining logical consistency. This part should be redone a few times at least.
3) Glossary. Detail characters, locations, factions, etc. Include all relevant information, Organize! This is for quick reference.
4) First Draft of Main Dialogue and Script Directions. Essentially what you have already shared.
5) Second draft, third draft, etc as needed.

Revision and taking breaks then revisiting is essential. Dialogue and stage directions are least critical compared to making sure everything makes sense and flows well. Try not be too precious about certain ideas. Often times clinging to something that you believe is core but everyone else is telling you it isn't working will sink the entire narrative.

Finally, take notes of your thoughts. Try to keep them organized (I usually go through many notebooks and google documents). if you have a dialogue idea or a story beat but aren't there in the process, write it down. Sometimes these don't work anymore in the original context you envisioned but can be approached from a different angle.
 

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