How do you make your stories in RPG Maker games?

SOC

Be your own hero
Veteran
Joined
Mar 22, 2012
Messages
572
Reaction score
491
First Language
English
Primarily Uses
RMMV
Do you write it down in a word doc? Do you just have it all in your head and write it in the dialogue and cut scene events? How do you brainstorm it and "create" it from your brain? How do you get motivation to create the story when you're wanting to make cool maps and dungeons and boss fights and mechanics? I think story creation is my #1 problem right now, it used to be mapping but now I feel more comfortable with it. Do you create a world and write out the story as you go a long or do you plan a story first and build the game around it?
 

Philosophus Vagus

The drunken bird dog of rpg maker
Veteran
Joined
May 22, 2017
Messages
302
Reaction score
4,727
First Language
English
Primarily Uses
RMMV
You should always plan the story out first, unless you just don't care whether or not the story makes sense or if it is full of plotholes and nonsense (which is actually okay for a surprising number of people, the fact of the matter is more AAA games than not these days are produced with nonsense stories that have no idea what they are trying to say, as sad as that is to a story buff such as myself.)

My first piece of advice on how to keep story flow for a game is to not put it into the game engine as you are first working on it because the engine is just not very conducive to editing and revision and even the best storytellers need to review and revise their work on a regular basis to ensure that the plot is presented correctly and flows together without being mired down by plot holes, unnatural character reactions or weird out of left field progression tropes such as deus ex machina or breaking already established rules of logic on accident.

I guess in all honesty mine started as a daydream, and continues as such when I'm at work or in the car or other mundane tasks with nothing better to do than be in my head. If something I'm thinking grabs me I'll usually write it down in a journal, of which I have several scattered about for that purpose and will revise, edit and reimagine as needed until I've got something serviceable that I like. Then it starts to be produced as a word document, where I try to make everything as consistent as possible and establish the rules that the story is bound by (there are few plot holes worse than those that break the very logic of the established canon with no explanation or a shoddy "I'm the writer I'll write what I want!" one.) and remove and rework anything that goes against those rules. I haven't actually produced anything yet but the game I am working on I worked on for nearly a year before I even started looking at programs, code or anything else that would actually help me physically produce the game. Not saying that you need to do the same but if you care about your game having a story that makes sense you should strive to have as much figured out about the plot as you can before actually committing to it with actual programming/engine work, unless you are just a fan of scraping everything on a semi-regular basis.

I also bought ArticyDraft recently to help me keep everything in order, it has a lot of handy tools and functions for keeping everything chronological and readable, is easily edited and transferring dialogue from it to the engine is easy and painless (a lot more painless than trying to find the specific event you need and reading through everything in engine to edit what you need anyway) but there are plenty of other, cheaper (or free) programs out there that will let you do nearly the same thing if you are looking for something more diverse than just a text editor, I just find the ease and convenience well worth the price myself. But story is the most important aspect for me, so that makes sense, where again many gamers just don't give a damn and gameplay is king. How much effort you want to put in your game's narrative will depend largely on how much you care about story consistency, and/or how much your targeted playerbase cares.
 
Last edited:
  • Like
Reactions: SOC

Lantiz

PunyMagus
Veteran
Joined
Dec 29, 2012
Messages
723
Reaction score
1,075
First Language
Portuguese
Primarily Uses
Other
My games usually have a small plot just as an excuse for the gameplay hehe.
 

Sami-Fire64

Veteran
Veteran
Joined
Sep 18, 2014
Messages
58
Reaction score
127
First Language
English
Primarily Uses
I find myself agreeing with what @Philosophus Vagus up there said. It's very important to know what you're doing storywise, since that ties into gameplay a lot more than you think. For example, it dictates where you go, what you do, what/if you'll be fighting, who you'll meet... very important things to consider (though again, if you're not writing for a story-focused audience, you can be a bit more lax).

To more specifically answer your question, I tend to outline things in a word doc (or google doc); generally I do paragraph scene summaries of what I expect to happen in a given scene, maybe bullet points under that for conditional paths and notes for things to come back to. Though, if you're having trouble getting story ideas period and you're more of a gameplay person, I'm sure you could inquire with a writer or two, and maybe they could at least give you the seeds of an idea to work with that could fit your gameplay. I start with a concept that I really want to play with, and then flesh it out from there.

I admit, I like to write directly into the game engine, as it gives me a better feel for the constraints, appearance, and layout of the text. But the more I hear about this articy draft program, the more I want to check it out, haha...
 
  • Like
Reactions: SOC

OnslaughtSupply

Ssshhh...
Veteran
Joined
May 14, 2017
Messages
731
Reaction score
766
First Language
English
Primarily Uses
RMMV
I start with an idea of where I want the story to go, specifically the end, and the setting. Then do some world building / conceptualizing so I can come up with the rules of the world, i.e. a magical realm set in a feudal time with no technology and monsters roaming the country side. It sets constraints, the "rules" of the world and some lore as well. Because the ending is also being conceptualized, we just need to get there using our lore and "rules". All this I do with good ole fashion pen and paper and can be changed later.

Now I like to come up with mechanics and game play. The more the merrier, and due to limits of the engine, plugins, art, etc can actually start crossing out things that won't work or can't work.

Then I go back to the story and rough draft the plot a few times and then I dive in to character creation, starting with the main antagonist, then the protagonist and main characters. I rough draft their personalities, back stories, and design.

Most of my meat and potatoes I do in the editor to increase my work flow because I a nice draft to follow but I can still stop and make changes, and for me dialogue comes easier while making the scene and I already know where my characters are going.
 
  • Like
Reactions: SOC

.//SnowAlias

Do'er of Things
Veteran
Joined
Mar 11, 2013
Messages
30
Reaction score
38
First Language
English
Primarily Uses
RMMV
To put it simply; you need to have a general idea of the mood and theme you're trying to go for and a solid ending. The game doesn't HAVE to end with your FIRST ending idea, but having a good idea of where you want to go is the guideline for your game. During development you may have one, two, or hundreds of different changes you'd like to make (and that's okay). What's important is that since you've built a foundation for the story, it won't be hard for you to adjust to those changes (with gameplay, mapping style, music, etc.).

If you're having a hard time deciding HOW your story is going to end or WHERE your story is going to go, write down the biggest points of your story on index cards. Envision the maps, and atmosphere the player will experience when going from card to card. If it doesn't 'feel' right, consider a change immediately. Keep doing this until your story flows like water (whether it flows calmly or like a raging river is up to your theme).

Plan out your characters as simply as you can first, then take your time to craft their backstory as you create lore.

It's okay to keep the player in the dark about certain things you want to keep a secret, but don't be careless and leave it until it's too late, the player may think it's too convenient.

Always have a goal. Each time a cut scene ends, the players should almost ALWAYS have a goal or destination, that's what ties a game and a story together. If the player feels lost, your story will lose its integrity.
 
  • Like
Reactions: SOC

Niten Ichi Ryu

Grey Lords Emissary
Veteran
Joined
Jul 27, 2012
Messages
1,321
Reaction score
1,240
First Language
French
Primarily Uses
RMMV
I use Onenote to keep track of everything (it even sync with my phone) and I work a lot on the story itself by writing. I only map or design characters in generators when an idea pops up that needs physical representation to grasp it better.
 

Failivrin

Final Frontiersman
Veteran
Joined
Jan 31, 2017
Messages
257
Reaction score
248
First Language
English
Primarily Uses
RMMV
For me there's a feedback loop in which story informs gameplay and vice versa. For example, I may think the story calls for a hydra monster, so I will find a battler to match. But another time I may like a chimera battler and plan a way to work it into the story. Having that flexibility is important when working with community resources.
I usually write "filler" before narrative. Jotting down lines for NPC villagers helps me get a sense of setting which informs the grand narrative. Too often people write NPC dialogue thinking only, what do my heroes need to get/do in this town? NPCs end up talking about the heroes' concerns rather than their private concerns, and the player does not feel a sense of atmosphere.
For plotting the main narrative, I write sporadically, with a lot of brainstorming and revision sessions, keeping everything in Word documents until I'm sure I've got it right.
And of course there are more nuances to it, but this covers my general apporach.
 
Last edited:
  • Like
Reactions: SOC
Joined
Mar 27, 2015
Messages
22
Reaction score
8
First Language
English
Primarily Uses
For me, the buck always stops at my characters. I build a character, write about their beliefs & values (as a back-end process! For the love of God, do not spell-out these beliefs or values in monologue during a game!) and this gives me my foundation for storytelling. If I know that Rose is someone who wants to get things done NOW, takes her job seriously and always thinks of herself as the prime mover, then I have a pretty good idea of how she'll respond with consistency to a given plot device or what I should show to the player if I want to convey her making a sacrifice / being greedy / being angry / etc.

Plot devices can be interesting & deep lore about them can be engaging, but IMHO this only becomes true once the characters of a given story are empathized with & have made the world of the story a believable space. The One Ring has no intrigue until Bilbo has picked it up.
 

Lihinel

Veteran
Veteran
Joined
Nov 9, 2013
Messages
271
Reaction score
339
First Language
German
Primarily Uses
I once startet a game with the story and added gameplay that seemed to fit, turned out to be a disaster. (Though part of that was that I went with the first implementation, instead of iterating on it)

Since then I started with gameplay elements, then came up with a theme and the main plotpoints/cutscenes.
Everything else gets gradually added/removed as I go.
For example if a scenario can't be done right with the game systems, it gets changed or scrapped.
I have multiple documents with worldbuilding, have multiple dialogues and miniquest scripts ideas lying around, and am currently working on a big 5 personality trait analysis for my main cast
Though, as with the game system, whenever something turns out to be subpar or not working as intended, it doesn't make it into the game.
I've probably erased between 50-75% of all dialogues long before even getting to the point in the game that should have had them in it.
 

AmazingKazuki

Veteran
Veteran
Joined
May 21, 2015
Messages
109
Reaction score
41
First Language
English
Primarily Uses
Do you write it down in a word doc? Do you just have it all in your head and write it in the dialogue and cut scene events? How do you brainstorm it and "create" it from your brain? How do you get motivation to create the story when you're wanting to make cool maps and dungeons and boss fights and mechanics? I think story creation is my #1 problem right now, it used to be mapping but now I feel more comfortable with it. Do you create a world and write out the story as you go a long or do you plan a story first and build the game around it?

As many have probably said, writing it out works the best. For me, I use Google Drive. Everything in one place, multiple tabs, and I have two screens to use so I'm researching on one and writing on the other. I like to write short stories and am working on a novel and I can tell you that, personally, I think writing out ALL ideas is worth it.

My normal process for a game, if I have an idea (any at all) is I write it down in a blank document. While at work, I expand on the idea in my free time. What else can I see going from it, what kind of characters could start up this idea. Then I start on the world. What kind of world do I see this happening in; does magic exist, are there plenty of fighters, wars, factions. Along the way, of course thoughts on mechanics appear. Would a crafting system be necessary, or how about just finding a ton of stand-alone gear. Dungeons, for me, come at the end after I get all those juicy details written down in a concept document.

If you have trouble with thinking of a story, you're definitely not alone. You could also find a peer to explain the start of an idea or bounce some thoughts of a game genre you'd like to do and watch movies or anime in that genre.
 

KayZaman

Brother-Veteran
Veteran
Joined
Jun 26, 2016
Messages
769
Reaction score
1,752
First Language
English & Malay
Primarily Uses
RMMV
Spontaneous. My only weakness/strength.
 

Ebontope

Plays video games too much to be productive.
Veteran
Joined
Oct 12, 2014
Messages
63
Reaction score
43
First Language
Dutch
Primarily Uses
RMMV
I keep a document in Google Drive where I write down practically anything. Characters, classes, abilities, villains, regions, cities and towns... As well as story ideas and a truly written out version of my story.

I'm up to 50 pages now. The key is to first write a solid backbone for things that you want to happen in the game (Go from point A to B to C etc.) and then write the story around it. Maybe add in some additional things as little side stories, so long as you don't deviate too much from the backbone you originally created.
 

Frozen_Phoenix

Veteran
Veteran
Joined
Nov 15, 2014
Messages
134
Reaction score
79
First Language
Portuguese
Primarily Uses
RMMV
Writing it all out is very time consuming and often leads nowhere.

Create the story 'core' point and branch from there, making sure everything is coherent (making backwards when need).
 

Stanley

Nobody, Joystrike Scientist
Veteran
Joined
Jun 21, 2016
Messages
288
Reaction score
1,343
First Language
Malay, Lotudian
Primarily Uses
RMMV
I write them down on Notepad, Word, and my notebooks first before I transfer them to the editor
 

Latest Threads

Latest Profile Posts

Posted some halloween freebies! Grab them while on season :kaopride:
hallow_cat.png
So my birthday was about a week ago! Just forgot to post it. I went to a Golden Corral, and it was soooooo good! :kaojoy: I also got some Animal Crossing in my life! Yay, Animal Crossing!
At this point, "unique and diverse cast of characters" might as well be slang for Every Character is a Human-Sue.
I found an absolutely brilliant lifehack on the internet today.

Screenshot_760.jpg

Forum statistics

Threads
116,141
Messages
1,096,121
Members
151,569
Latest member
mikmak
Top