Tycho X

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I'm having trouble making my story/plot connect since it's an open world


So. I've decided to make my first 'test' RPG an open-world type with a decent story arc. Sadly, I'm having trouble 'connecting' it all... It's not like in a book where you just write the 


next chapter and the story continues, no, the player can do whatever he/she wants, which makes me wonder how I'm supposed to implement any kind of plot. Most of the 'events' so far are just map-based and give some description/lore of the world, maybe a small bat-hunt quest, but in no way does it create a good story. 


What are your tips and suggestions? Should I abandon the open-world idea and make it more like 'The Witch's House' where the player essentially follows a straight line to the end?Screen Shot 2016-03-17 at 18.18.22.png


 

 

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If you know what the over-arching story is, then what you need to do is make sure that the player knows where to go for the next chunk of story. Look at how games like Skyrim tackle it, there is a main story and it keeps track of your progress along that story via an in-game journal you can check whenever. That journal gets updated each time the player goes to an area in the game that advances the main story. However, the player at any point can pretty much choose to go do something else, do side-quests, explore, etc, and not lose track of their progress in the main story.
 

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What you can do for an open world is, of course, allow them to travel wherever they want. Give each of the towns the same items and weapon because let's face it, you don't want a broken system where the player can obtain the strongest weapon, then you'll have to find a system where towns will upgrade their stock after certain events of the story. Also give some places small sidequests if sidequests are available. The sidequests can build upon one another if you so choose i.e. little sidequest stories. The game, Nier, allowed you to travel to the city called Seafront. Although you do go there later, you can go there early for some sidequests.


You can also restrict the player in an open world by having a gated city or town where guards will restrict access. Another way is to have stronger monsters in certain areas of the map. The older final fantasy games did this which told the player to not go there yet until they've leveled up some more.
 

Tycho X

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Thanks a lot for the tips guys. I can definitely see myself implementing some of the afore-mentioned ideas. :)
 

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I advice you to play open world rpg like Witcher 3, it will give a good example.


It has a big open world and is a lot story driven.
 
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Also try playing something like Oblivion, or the aforementioned Skyrim.


Divinity Original Sin, whilst not a true openworld game, had guards at city gites who "advised" you that you'd need to be "a bit better equipped" before you went somewhere else.


I think that fundamentally though, in a true openworld you need to allow for the fact that the player may not even bother with the MQ, thus, so long as you track it within the player's game experience and insert the necessary checks and balances to make sure that the player cannot inadvertently "break" it then you can pretty much carry on with all the other bits, and just reference the MQ when you need to..


The Bethesda games, whilst providing excellent examples of good implementation of an openworld\MQ setup, do also provide equally good example of horrifyingly clunky and intrusive implementation of same - it's worth noting those aspects as well.


Players who play openworld do not like to feel they are being "guided" or "forced" so you'll need to ensure that any implementation is as natural-feeling and organic as possible with the gameworld. That's very important, I think.
 

Tycho X

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Thank you very much. I'll look into it some more. I think I've got a pretty good idea on how to design my RPG around this; it should work fine!
 

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The manner in which you begin the story is also an easy setup for an open world game. You can't put the player character into a situation that immediately demands attention, which is why the Elder scrolls games make me laugh. They're definitely fun, but clearly the world-destroying evil isn't in any hurry to accomplish anything. It will wait for you to explore unrelated ancient ruins, collect flowers, become an assassin, murder everyone in three different towns, become an all-powerful Archmage, and fling yourself down a mountain because ragdoll physics are fun. It's difficult to start your story on neutral ground(I think Morrowind did this best since you weren't really given much incentive to go straight to the MQ) but it gives a good setup for not only giving your player the sense that they're free to do as they will, but you can lay out the starting areas in such a way that you can introduce the main story naturally, perhaps by way of the player stumbling upon it. Making sure they actually do that is another problem to work out, but the foundation is there. For example, I began my game with a knighting ceremony. The player character is being knighted, and is told to go forth and serve the people as a hand of righteousness, blah blah blah, and to return when they feel they are ready for an important assignment. From that point you can wander off somewhere and do whatever, but you've also been given a reason to come back and speak to your commander. 
 
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Tycho X

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For example, I began my game with a knighting ceremony. The player character is being knighted, and is told to go forth and serve the people as a hand of righteousness, blah blah blah, and to return when they feel they are ready for an important assignment. From that point you can wander off somewhere and do whatever, but you've also been given a reason to come back and speak to your commander. 

That's a really, really neat way of doing it. I'm still unsure how to do mine; (Spoilers) the main character will probably awaken from some dream, cast/instigated by 'mother nature', since the MC is a 'child of the forest'. Blah blah blah, you need to save the world, but go wherever you want first. I like that idea. My setup would just be more... 


on the 'unrealistic' side of things, which is fine, because magic blah blah blah. Thanks for giving a great example! 


Although it's not the way I'm going, I've always liked the way Persona 3 did things; an excellent JRPG in my mind. It made you 'feel' like you had a lot of freedom and it did give you some roaming space all the while advancing the story at a steady pace. Ultimately it's a straight line to the finish, but it certainly didn't feel like it, giving a lot of replay value.
 

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Aren't JRPGs essentially the earliest expression of the concept of open worlds? Throwing a player out into the world without so much as a hint of a thread to follow will be frustrating the the player. You're going to have to provide one quest or another for them to pursue which can lead to another/several others to keep them plodding along.


'Go forth and look for one' isn't exactly something any game has ever done, and for good reason: exposition. Text scrolls and huge info dumps at the very start of a game is amateurish and lazy. You'll want to gradually feed a player this information, and the most organic way to do so is through the story itself. You don't have to throw your main character in the middle of a world-ending cataclysm right off the bat, but some story to guide players along mechanically and narratively is important.


GTA5 affords you the freedom to explore its world and pick up missions whenever you feel like it, but the missions themselves do still prescribe to a linear model the same way a JRPG does. Likewise, a JRPG like Chrono Trigger will tell you the next part of the story is at x part of the map, but players are free to play through that part of that story at their discretion.
 
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cmgamesofficial

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I'm having trouble making my story/plot connect since it's an open world


What are your tips and suggestions? Should I abandon the open-world idea and make it more like 'The Witch's House' where the player essentially follows a straight line to the end?


 



Can you really pull such grandeur project? Open-world is very enticing since it can give us the sense of freedom and a never ending exploration. That is the key factor of an Open-world game. Open-world game is a very tedious task to do specially if you are just a one-man team or even a team of 5 members. It can be done but it takes so much time, management, balance, and your game must have a lot of different activities so that the players will never get bored. I also planned to make an Open-world game but I decided to save it to future game making because I want to release more short games for now to improve more.


If you want to pursue an OWG, my suggestion is..in different regions or places, there must be different experiences but the world should still be connected with each other. Meeting new people can trigger new side-stories and a completely different experience. Good luck.
 

Tycho X

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Can you really pull such grandeur project? Open-world is very enticing since it can give us the sense of freedom and a never ending exploration. That is the key factor of an Open-world game. Open-world game is a very tedious task to do specially if you are just a one-man team or even a team of 5 members. It can be done but it takes so much time, management, balance, and your game must have a lot of different activities so that the players will never get bored. I also planned to make an Open-world game but I decided to save it to future game making because I want to release more short games for now to improve more.


If you want to pursue an OWG, my suggestion is..in different regions or places, there must be different experiences but the world should still be connected with each other. Meeting new people can trigger new side-stories and a completely different experience. Good luck.



Yes, of course. It's all tied together via lore, items and with local habitants which you can converse with. And you're right it's going to be a ton of work. But that's how I see this project in the future so I'll aim sky-high if I must. 
 

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Yes, of course. It's all tied together via lore, items and with local habitants which you can converse with. And you're right it's going to be a ton of work. But that's how I see this project in the future so I'll aim sky-high if I must. 



If this is your very first game, I highly suggest you start making short game first.
 

Tycho X

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I'll admit it's my first game in RPG Maker, but I've worked on similar projects before, wether it be solo or in a team. Worst case scenario I trim it down on size, which is also quite do-able.
 

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I second the suggestion on making a shorter game. A lot of people burn out really fast because they don't realize just how much work goes into crafting their glorious, open-world, 50 hour long epic tale of blood and glory. It's usually not done alone.
 

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