RMMV Notes on Pokemon Mystery Dungeon: Explorers of Sky


Crusader Masochist
Aug 18, 2020
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I'm sharing my notes so that you too can benefit from them (as if they're any good anyway :kaodes: ) and also any discussion.

I'm not a trained writer, I'm a programmer, but I do think that a story is very important for a game. So, I've been trying to learn how to integrate gameplay with the story. Currently I'm working on a Mystery Dungeon style game in RMMV, so I thought I'd actually have a look at one. I've only played Chapter 1 of this game, and these notes only cover Chapter 1.

Please feel free to comment if you think I have gotten something wrong, or if I have missed something, or to discuss something related.

I have emboldened words that I think make clear, at a glance, the order in which devices are used.

Chapter One
The opening begins with a mysterious circumstance that the player finds themselves in. The player is going to become a pokemon. The player is asked to engage in a questionnaire to determine their aura and therefore the pokemon that they are going to play as. They also choose from a limited list of pokemon to be their partner. This customization frames the experience to follow as being personal; linked to the player's identity. Asking the player who they believe they are is inherently captivating to most people. Think about the apparent popularity of Buzzfeed questionnaires; "which Disney princess are you?"

About 15 minutes is spent mostly passively on the initial setup of the game world and some (characterization) of the ‘partner’ character and what drives them, as well as (foreshadowing) their relationship to the (mysterious) shrine they feel anxiety towards, why are they anxious(?) What is this object that they treat like their “precious”?

A (conflict) is presented quickly, the “precious” is stolen by two unlikables, to lead us into the tutorial dungeon and create a (Macguffin) to motivate the characters for the duration of the dungeon.
(is a macguffin a poor thing to use? Could it have been something more meaningful?)
The core mechanics are not explained in great detail during this dungeon, the player is left to figure it out, although there is a command list to show what each button does. It does explain:
- Use (A) to attack.
- What is the currency of the world, to save it up.
- Oran berries heal HP
- Explains that wonder tiles will heal stat changes (this is not at first obvious)

There is a quick resolution to this dungeon, and it is not challenging at all. It is an introduction, they don't want to create negative emotions like frustration at this point, there's nothing to grab onto to pull yourself back up right now.

The Macguffin, “precious”, that is recovered serves to:
  • Create a (short story) for initial (investment).
  • Take us through the (tutorial dungeon to understand the gameplay loop)
  • Facilitate a plausible dialogue between characters afterward which does the following:
    • (Create an invested relationship) between the player character and another character to form a team. You helped them so you must like them.
    • (Characterize) the ‘partner’ character; what they dream about, what they hope to do, who they are, what their flaws are. They hope to figure out the purpose of the “precious”. Link character motivation to the mystery already established previously.
    • (Foreshadow) further what the purpose of the “precious” is, create further (mystery) around this. (potentially long-term mystery linked to character motive, which can generate the (plot, which is in mind), easily)
    • Partner character wants to form a team with you (short-term motive to push story forward)
    • (Comedic relief)/light-hearted banter to endear the player character to the partner character.
    • Partner character is instantly emotionally dependent on the player character, makes the player feel loved/liked/wanted.
    • To make the sudden intimate relationship between two strangers not seem stilted, meaning against their motivations, they (explicitly state motivations) to make it plausible. The player character does some “(naval gazing)” to explain why they go along with the events, eventually settling on being resolutely for the partnership; enthusiastic.
    • (Resolve the internal conflict) the partner character has at the start, the anxiety with the place seen before the dungeon, they express that they feel resolute because the player character has established a bond with them.
What would I do better?
I can tell that the introductory experience was tailored to meld hooking the player into the story with introducing the gameplay loop. I can’t think of anything I could personally do better to be quite honest, I'm just not that good. But, I do think that someone with writing experience could have made this better.

It seems that every piece of the dialogue in the introduction was not wasted, it had a clear purpose. Also, the tutorial dungeon was not randomized, so as to ensure that certain ideas were introduced.

What do you think?
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I've moved this thread to Game Ideas and Prototypes. Please be sure to post your threads in the correct forum next time. Thank you.



Crusader Masochist
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The way I make notes will not be consistent, let's continue.

Chapter Two

Opening Scene:

*Partner (PNR) and Player (PLR) stand side by side*
PNR: This is Wigglytuff's Guild. *turn to face PLR*
PNR: To form an exploration team, you need to register your team here.
PNR: Then you have to train until you become a first rate exploration team. *turn forward*
PNR: Y-y-yikes! *shakes* *turn to face PLR*
PNR: Isn't there something just a little odd about this place?
PNR: No...! I've got PLR with me this time.
PNR: I have to be brave. *walks onto caged hole*

Voice: Pokemon detected! Pokemon detected!
Voice: Whose footprint? Whose footprint?
Voice: The footprint is PNR's! The footprint is PNR's!

PNR: Waah! *droplets of water fly off* *shake*
PNR: N-no. I have to be strong...

Voice: ...You may ENTER!
Voice: Someone's with you! So get that stranger to stand up THERE!

PNR: They probably meant you, PLR.
PNR: They said to stand up here.

PLR: (...............)
PLR: (There's a grate covering the hole...)
PLR: (It's made so that no one can fall through...)
PLR: (Still, it's really strange...)
PLR: (It looks like it will tickle my feet or...)

Voice: Hey, you! Stranger! Get on the GRATE!
*PLR stands on GRATE*
Voice: The footprint is... um...
Voice: What's the matter?! Sentry! Sentry?!
Voice: What's wrong sentry Diglett

Diglett: Um... err...
*pan down to diglet at bottom of hole*

Diglett: Umm... The footprint is...
Diglett: Maybe PLR's! Maybe PLRs!
Voice: Maybe?!
Diglett: It's not a footprint you usually see around here
Voice: UGH! that's pretty crummy!
Voice: Checking the footprint of visiting pokemon...
Voice: That's your job ISN'T it Diglett?
*Water droplets fly from Diglett*
Diglett: Yes, but... I don't know what I don't know.

*fade back to the top of the hole with PNR and PLR*
PNR: What? Are they arguing?

Voice: Sorry to make you WAIT.
Voice: Well it's true that we don't see any PLR in these parts...
Voice: But you don't SEEM to be bad...
Voice: Ok, good enough! ENTER!
*door opens*

PNR: Yikes!
PNR: I'm so nervous! So jittery!
PNR: But I'm glad we're finally allowed in.
PNR: My heart's pounding though.
PNR: Let's go in.
*they go in*

The partner (PNR) character explains further details about the mysterious place that was first shown, around which they felt anxiety.

They explain the setting's purpose and how it relates to the rules that need to be adhered to in order to achieve their goal of forming a team with the player (PLR) character: this is the place where you form a team and train to become a team.

This is telling rather than showing, but it is acceptable because the rules that are explained are important to know, and that the partner character would explain as much is plausible; not an out of place info-dump.

There is some comedic relief here with Diglett, dispelling the seriousness and anxiety that PNR was framing the area in previously.

PNR often states their feelings, which frames the situation emotionally, and characterizes them. This also allows the slight insertion of information to elucidate the setting or to foreshadow.
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