Discussion in 'Game Mechanics Design' started by MyLordRobinson, Jun 27, 2012.
FFT has one of the best stories of the whole PSX series. We can't be friends.
I do agree with previous posters who said they should be balanced... However, you shouldn't really look at the pillars that makes up your game -- Aesthetics, Gameplay, and Story -- as separate entities.
Integrating your story into your gameplay, essentially telling your story through the mechanics of the game, is extremely effective storytelling. You don't see it that often... RPGs especially tend to be guilty of switching between cutscenes and gameplay at predictable points and always keeping story development seperate from actual gameplay -_- Try instead thinking up creative ways for the player to discover the story on their own without you always switching over to a heavy-handed cutscene to explain everything.
For example, instead of a 10-minute intro cutscene with heaps of text describing your world, just drop the player into the world right away and let them read books, signs, talk to people, and discover it for themselves. It's the classic advice of show, don't tell. Consider interactive credits, where the player is actually playing from one credit to the next (LittleBigPlanet does this charmingly) instead of just sitting through a long, stagnant sequence.
Interactivity is what makes games unique, so don't turn your back on that with over-long cinematics, etc. I think weaving your mechanics and your story together is an important and rewarding challenge for designers.
I'm all for show and not tell, but this does not mean I'll let the player walk around and miss entire pieces worth of dialogue. Cutscenes have to be forced, and the player shouldn't be able to avoid them. Show don't tell still works in cutscenes though. A really good example is instead of parroting a long narrative about the history of the world in the intro, like a 100 year old war between two countries, you could open up with a cutscene that shows the king being under attack by said country. That's 'show don't tell', not to let the player skip important pieces of dialogue. But I don't mind adding detail in the world itself through books, NPCs etc. But to let them discover themselves is pretty flawed, especially if you're got a really complicated plot.
It's just like that Final Fantasy XIII movie that came out a few years ago. I really enjoyed the CGI, though I found the actors were forcing their lines. The nice interactive scenes were okay, but it sure wasn't a Spielberg film.
I agree. But you could always rig the game to not progress without dialogue.... forcing the Player to investigate. If they try to progress to a certain area, or certain quest, just have dialogue pop up saying "I should probably investigate more" or something along those lines.
A limitation is not being able to hear things in passing. In a lot of RPGs (Witcher, Elder Scrolls, Mass Effect [if you consider that an RPG]) people talk in the background. So when you're walking around you'll hear "Blah blah blah Quest A this and that"... but in RPG Maker you're forced the either let the player interact with each person, or have forced dialogue.
One thing that could fix this, is to have "proximity" events... where when passing near a person a "Speech Bubble" appears above them that shows the NPC/Event as having something to say. I think this could be worked in a very subtle and effective way. And if it's a branching dialogue, have the Speech bubble on a switch, where it continues to appear above that event until a certain line off dialogue is reached.
Just a thought
We should combine all story vs. gameplay threads into one. Otherwise it's just ridiculous.
I think it depends on the game. A mystery related game tends to rely more on story than gameplay while action doesn't, and also on the game's maker! I've seen a few action games with poor gameplay but great story and a few mystery games with great gameplay but a poor story.
I like to do it something like this, though. You have the main story that is told, all of the key events and everything, so the player understands the story throughout the games forced cutscenese. All the smaller bits of story are told throughout side quests and exploration. Everything that needs to be told is, but if some chaps like exploring, they can get a deeper look at the world they are playing in.
Honestly, I think there's no harm in leaving the option to skip a cutscene behind the player's control, Specially if you're gonna be working with lengthy cutscenes. Sure you can think "I'm not gonna let the player skip cutscenes and I'm gonna force him to watch it because they're important to the plot", But in turn the player can just go "Oh I can't skip this cutscene and it's forcing me to watch it? Screw this game." And close it. Pretty sure some people Just wanna get to actual gameplay and if the game feels interesting enough, they go back to watching the lengthy cutscene, seriously, neglecting such a simple choice implementation can increase or decrease the number of people who will actually sit thorugh your game imo, and I see no real validation behind a "NO YOU MUST WATCH THEM" mindset.
TL;DR, Leave the choice for the players, SPECIALLY if you have long cutscenes.
you're just alienating your game from potential players by not doing so.
^This really is no problem at all as long as the player is enjoying the game one way or the other. If they like the story, they won't skip it. If they prefer to just play, then they'll skip the cutscenes.
Of course you'd want the player to connect with the story and such but hell, they're actually playing the game. I also agree that people like to have more options to the way they play their games.
Everyone likes control of what they're doing. Why do you think there have been so many interactive cutscenes in games nowadays? It gives the player something to do while you tell them a story. So make the cutscens interactive too, while that may require... extra... effort on your part. It can make long events that much more tolerable, cause the player is still playing and has control of what goes on.
I like the idea of characters discussing different things in the background. It makes NPCs seem like they have lives of their own and aren't just there to give the player information for the next quest. You can relate this to battles and puzzles in a game by having the NPCs put them into the context of the story/world. It can be as simple as NPCs having a background conversation about enemies in the area and why they're there, e.g.:
NPC A: Lots of slimes out in the plains lately.
NPC B: Ever since that sorceror summoned them back in the battle of 781, they've been multiplying. Getting to be a real pain.
NPC A: Yeah. At least we can use slime ooze to make anti-venom potions.
NPC B: Good point. Still, too many of them out there these days. I heard they dissolved farmer Fred last week!
Yanfly has a script that allows for background text without the player having to actually speak with an NPC here: Gab Window Script.
Oblivion NPC A: I saw a mudcrab the other day.
Well I certainly agree with the last several posts, but it's also true that it's not always practical to make story scenes interactive. In my current project the player character doesn't appear in most of the story scenes. I could let them control another character just for the duration of those scenes, but then they wouldn't do the things that character would do.
Heh, that disscussion again.
Don't get yourself stuck into a mindset where Story > Gameplay or vice versa, you need both.
You have a lot of different ways to create interactivity in your game, just never forget, it's not a book, it's a game.
If you feel you lack the action (as in, having to do more than reading), then just add something in between.
I don't think story scenes need to be always interactive, not at all.
Best example yould probably be the ending of Metal Gear Solid 4, it's like what, 2 hours long?
You just watch it, like a movie, cause it just pretty much is like that, a movie quality story scene.
If you think the player should focus on story, get imerged in it, then by all means, don't make it interactive.
You don't have to do it one way or another, you can and should do both.
I think there's no problem with one overpowering the other as long the experience has been meaningful and enjoyable. Take for example MMORPGs, they don't really have excellent stories and those that have decent gameplay make the bucks at least for a couple of years, and then people move on. It is up to you how you'll want your game to be remembered either you want your game to be remembered. For me, if it is memorable and amiable, it works.
I think that a game can afford to be a little story heavy in the first 5-20 minutes.
You're setting a stage after all!
Although if its cutscene after cutscene all the way through the game that might be dull, add some battles to mix it up!
Plus you can use events to move around your character's so it's not so dull.
While normally I agree with giving a player choice instead of forcing them to do things, if you're skipping cutscenes in an RPG (and basically ignoring the story,) why are you playing an RPG? If someone was dumb enough to download an RPG and skip the cut scenes because this role playing game has too much role playing, then I don't really mind alienating them.
Also, you misinterpreted her (?) point, which is not about whether or not players should watch cut scenes which is an entirely different discussion. She was pointing out that the concept of "Show, Don't Tell" doesn't equate to "Don't Make Cut Scenes, Your Entire Story Must Unfold Without Dialogue." "Show, Don't Tell" would apply to the cut scenes themselves, where game writers have a habit of spelling everything out instead of letting the reader figure things out implicitly.
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