How important is choice in a games story?
Posted 26 February 2012 - 09:46 PM
I personally feel that whilst the player must have some choices as to how to play the game and best puzzles and bosses they do not need to have any great choice about the games story.
What do you guys think?
Posted 26 February 2012 - 09:56 PM
Some players like the ability to choose the story's outcome and others do not... people who need to complete everything don't mind it, but we just have to play the game some more...
I think that it's not really all that important, though it is a nice feature for a little piece of it (not the entire story though, that means you have to make the equivalent of like... 10 games)... though it definitely good to give choice on what strategies to use during the game (which weapons are best etc.)
Anyway, just regarding the choices thing, have you ever played Super Paper Mario? At the end of the intro, you are given a choice of a) helping or not helping. In most games, the other person will keep pestering you until you choose to help, so I kept saying no... after 3 tries, I got 'Game over' and had to re-watch the intro... Things like that in the middle of the game would totally suck...
Posted 26 February 2012 - 09:58 PM
Posted 26 February 2012 - 10:25 PM
Zelda was more of a static story and yet still an amazing game.
It can be done well both ways. I would think for the amount of content that will be put in by a small team a strong story without choice would be the superior option.
Posted 26 February 2012 - 11:16 PM
Posted 27 February 2012 - 05:12 PM
Posted 27 February 2012 - 06:22 PM
The player should be able to create his own story through the game, rather than have one imposed on him. For example you might say "Minecraft has no story," but it actually has a different story for every player. You may be saying "lol wat" but you'd understand what I mean if you've played Minecraft or Terraria.
unique and thrilling tales, such as:
"hit some cubes, build things, hit more cubes , build more things"
"walk around, hit some cubes, build a thing"
"hit lots of cubes, build a really big thing"
and the thilling
"hit some cubes, run away from creepers, build things"
My, what engaging narrative, in the world of minecraft.
Posted 27 February 2012 - 07:01 PM
Posted 27 February 2012 - 07:15 PM
Also try to make the choices deep. Most games now use the good/evil system of save the innocent hostage (because you're such a saint) or brutally murder them (but you're a badass who likes imaginary people to fear them because nobody in real life ever would). Infamous only had one good example of a deep choice (save your gf/fiancee or save 6 random doctors). Ultimately I'd like to see the consequences of my actions, not have them be very predictable...
ie you save an innocent hostage - towns people love you, that person gives you a reward back at their house
you kill hostage - towns people hate and fear you; you collect some gold off the slain person
Bottom line: Make choices reflect some realistic choices please!
Posted 27 February 2012 - 09:01 PM
To make it easier on yourself, it is best to use a controlled branching method. Basically, you give the player choice, but have every option converge occasionally, which prevents there from becoming 200 different ending to the game. A really stupified example would be:
Save the Princess?
->You find bad guys and get beat up.
->Go to the king for help
->Princess in kidnapped again while you were sleeping
->Go to king for help
Of course, you would put a couple more steps and a more realistic plot in, but that's the basic idea.
Posted 27 February 2012 - 09:04 PM
Bare in mind that while choices make your game richer, they have their problems. First, you can never predict everything that the player might want to do. You also can't have 20 options for each choice, otherwise the player will be overwhelmed. So you have to balance it out: Don't restrict the player too much but don't give him a lot of similar options, either. If your player is in a dialog (ala Fallout), you can justify why the player can't make a particular choice if for whatever reason that option isn't available. E.g.: if the player has to disable an alarm to get through somewhere and wonders why he can't just shoot it, you can have another character tell him that shooting the alarm will cause the system to go off. This example could just be demonstrated (let the player shoot it and see the alarm going off), but imagine that it's a not so practical choice.
Secondly, they're hard to do and simply require a lot of work. They automatically give you a lot of design choices to make, which is hard because of what I said before. And they simply give you a lot of things to do: you have to design each scenario/quest, design the choices and make sure they all work properly AND that they aren't dull or anything, then test them over and over again with a lot of different people, to make sure they don't want to do something that you didn't think of. And if they do, you have to rethink the whole thing and perhaps add more options for them and finally test it all over again. And in the end, it has to be an interesting scenario with interesting choices that are neither dull nor frustrating to the player and everything has to work technically well (no bugs).
Thirdly, because of their dynamic nature and huge amounts of content, you can never spend too much time on anything. You have to balance quality vs quantity. That's why Call of Duty and Half-life don't give you any choices: those games have amazing cutscenes and are very detailed. Instead of giving you choices, they give you a single path and invest all they've got unto it. For the same reason, you never see any 60000$ cutscenes in Fallout. They spend their time making all these little paths for you, so they can't make sure every single one of them is sparkling polished. Mind you, these are MONSTROUS game companies making these choices, they have hundreds of people and lots and lots of money. An indie developer would be a lot more restricted, of course.
On the other hand, Call of Duty and Half-Life, which I mentioned earlier, are excellent games (although very different from Fallout). Like I said, ditching the choice system altogether lets you focus on a single path, so you don't end up with a sloppy game. This doesn't just mean it will be more polished, but it will be easier to design and make sure everything works. It's harder to tie everything together if you don't know where the player has been when they start a particular quest or get a particular item, things are BOUND to screw up. The bigger it gets, the harder it is to manage, which means you'll have to test an debug the game a LOT.
Also, you shouldn't make it a hybrid. You shouldn't have a game that's mostly linear but from time to time decides to bring out a choice out of nowhere. It will make the player not feel in control at all and confused. If you want to have a few choices, you shouldn't make them sudden or explicit: Instead of bringing out a menu, just let the player choose with his normal controls. Mind you, this is a general rule, I'm sure someone has made a good game that is linear but has a couple of choices here and there. But you shouldn't do it until you're expert enough.
If you're wondering whether to make a choice game or a linear game, I recommend a linear game. They're easier to do (especially if you're alone) and can still be very good. Choice-based games are generally too ambitious, and those that aren't are often too limited.
There's another option, which is even harder than a choice system: procedural generation, which can be insane. If you want to read about it, I recommend you investigate this guy: http://www.quelsolaa...love/index.html
Posted 27 February 2012 - 11:44 PM
That being said, like the other poster said it is probably best to stick to more of a linear game. Fallout New Vegas had a very large team working on it for years. If one person sets out to achieve the same quantity of choice in their game then they are either going to A. Give up because it's too ambitious, or B. Have a lot of pseudo-choices that don't actually change anything.
So if you're making a game by your lonesome, mostly linear with a few choices that affect side stories is probably the best way to go.
Posted 01 March 2012 - 03:01 PM
So for plot branching, you can be how evil and spiteful as you want to, or help as many people as you want; and that's fine. I've seen a guy in my class play Half-Life, and he spent most of his time interacting with scientists killing them with the crowbar. Half-life is INSANELY linear compared to KOTOR or something, but that little bit of optional interaction made his day.
Myself, being a Disgaea neophyte, has found the battle system and character development system super-deliciously fun. I've done my best to make the world-peace-wanting, self-proclaimed "Love Freak" Flonne a better swordsman than the main protagonist Demon Prince Laharl via grinding and selective equipment management, and it's totally wonderful. I have a core party of like 10 characters named from the old manga I drew a few years ago, with appropriate classes and skill mastery, and to put it short: I enjoy every second of the game.
Linearly-wise, the game has 4 different endings depending on your good/evil choices, plus a bundle of extra endings via special stages, for instance you can invade and take over Earth if you'd like to (and are prepared to fight off the Lv 2000 defence robots and stuff). Essentially, the game is completely linear and heavily character driven. But since you can make anything you want with the characters, no matter if the characters are good at it natively or not, you have a lot more freedom that you initially may think. Also, the game has a built-in random dungeon generator called the Item World, and the normal game's final bonus boss is around 50% as difficult as the deepest Item World dungeons, so even when you're done with the endgame, you still have lots of fun crawling to do with your characters.
So... the game has around 40 stages (aka, as many stages as Super Mario Bros. 1 for the NES), each one a matter of 15 minutes to clear and having a cutscene made out of two talking heads and a dialogue box. Plus infinite random bonus dungeons. And a character customization heaven. It's completely linear, but because you can make "your own story" out of the game, especially in the endgame, it gives you loads of choice and is really addicting.
From a game dev perspective, I have to say that Nippon Ichi Software are geniuses coming up with this concept. Lots of player choice with MINIMAL effort from their side; they can actually use the same system for all character classes due to the free setup, and they've saved lots of databasing work on something that's actually a game feature! They've implemented a game feature that lessened their total workload! That's just plain awesome.
Edited by Yal, 01 March 2012 - 03:04 PM.
Posted 01 March 2012 - 11:11 PM
Stories always give a character options. Changing the story changes the options. The story could be boring, yet have consequences.
How important is the ability to make choices which affect the games story?
It could be quite an important ability if it dramatically alters events, otherwise it may be a nice little option.
Hope this helps.
Posted 01 March 2012 - 11:21 PM
But if you're deciding whether to have an open world or closed world, that's entirely up to the kind of game you want. Open worlds tend to have significant lulls in action, so keep that in mind if you want to make an intense game.
Posted 06 March 2012 - 11:41 AM
All real Cave Story players has gone trough Sacred Grounds with 3 HP and an activated Nikumaru Counter. Around 90% of all Cave Story youtube videos are Hellruns, so for a real gamer, Cave Story's replay value is that one final level alone.
just how many people have beaten it or even known about it?
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