Let's talk about emergent narrative in your games

Discussion in 'Game Mechanics Design' started by eXalted, Nov 4, 2019.

  1. eXalted

    eXalted Veteran Veteran

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    Emergent narrative - as written in short by TV Tropes - An "emergent narrative" or "procedural narrative" is any Video Game storyline that is not written ("embedded"note ) into the game by its developers, but emerges from the player's interactions with various gameplay subsystems. A good article can be found here - https://multiverse-narratives.com/2015/05/07/emergent-narratives-in-games/ (I have no connection whatsoever with the author of the article, I just stumbled upon it randomly).

    Have you used such systems in your games or do you have any ideas for something like that in an RPG Maker game? Some short examples that I recently came up with:

    - A (random) event in the game makes 2 randomly (or trait based) chosen characters hate each other. Now the player must avoid adding them to the same party. This adds a little narrative in his game and makes his playthrough unique from all others.

    - Random loot that results in no ammunition for the character weapons and guns so now they must use the crafting system to its fullest, scavenge materials and try to escape from the zombie horde. And now this story is a lot different compared to the story of another player who was luckier and just ran through the hordes with his fuel full chainsaw.

    - A random event adds a Brave trait to a character, making it do more damage but be targeted more for the whole game.

    As can be seen, those are some loot or trait/status based mechanics that can really add flavor to the whole playthrough of a player. It would be great if you give more ideas about adding similar systems.
     
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  2. somenick

    somenick Veteran Veteran

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    Game I'm making is partially open world, and it has no specific end goal or even final boss. But, at the start of the game you choose your characters and their class, and as they interact with NPCs around, new areas open up, or even some sort of storyline launches, depending on what you did or did not do.

    Certainly, the mechanics you posted in there are very interesting, so, thanks for the ideas! :)
     
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  3. rue669

    rue669 Veteran Veteran

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    In my game, the plot and characters are very predetermined, meaning you can't change events in the game based on the choices you make. I'm not a huge fan of these types of games, to be honest, as I don't think they can effectively tell a good story. (Just my opinion).

    But, having said that, there's certainly some "randomness" involved in the game, including talking to NPCs with different dialogue trees and loot that is randomly generated.
     
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  4. doriantoki

    doriantoki Enjoying the Ritual Veteran

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    I agree that I don't think they should have a huge impact on story. I think that adding things like relationship, friendship, or intimacy points can make a game more interesting if it impacts things like skill damage, additional "extra" scenes that don't impact the larger narrative, or so on.

    I know it's a beloved series, especially the second game, but I think Star Ocean 2 does this terribly. Because of the amount of combinations of characters with either a friendship or a relationship connection (depending on the amount of intimacy points), the endings just end up being so unsatisfying. It just becomes a gimmick they used to advertise the game, when in reality, you weren't playing through a 30-40 hour adventure just to see a lame 2 minute scene tacked on at the end.

    I perhaps fell into this pitfall with my game as there are 4 (well, 5, technically) endings that entirely depend on the main characters and how close they are to each other (again, affected by a relationship rating which changes as you make dialogue choices throughout the game). The difference here though, is that each ending acts as a sort of piece of the puzzle for a larger narrative, so at least in my opinion, it can be fulfilling and satisfying as each ending has a significant amount of "meat", if you will. Also, I made it super easy to change on the fly with items that increase and decrease the value on demand.

    Going back to the topic somewhat in game play terms, I know some games have lightly touched on this (such as the Tales ... series), but I think a full on skill tree entirely affected by exterior variables (such as weather, status condition, even equipment weight, for example), would be an extremely interesting starting point for an original game play platform.
     
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  5. gstv87

    gstv87 Veteran Veteran

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    having played FTL and Rimworld, I can tell you it can get pretty frustrating for some players if the game just happens to have something unbalanced in the slightest.
    in FTL, I failed a couple of missions that caused me to fall behind in my progression, and this caused a streak of critical scenarios one after another, so I was on the hardest path ever with no chance of escape.
    in Rimworld, I was doing fairly good with my colony, although my colonists were on the brink of a nervous breakdown even though I carefully screened their traits, when a random invasion of animals happened, my main morale booster character got struck, and then died of her injuries.
    the cook, her best friend, suffered a nervous breakdown, went on a killing spree, killed the group's pet, and was struck down by another colonist in self defense.
    the owner of the pet also suffered a nervous breakdown, and went to pick a fight with one of the guards. He died of his wounds a while later.
    how do you deal with that, "random selection" for disaster?
    "oh, so, it looks like you're tipping over the edge... here, let me give you a hand...." *shove!*
     
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