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Storytelling (Was Re: Loki...)

Chris wrote:

> This may or may not be interesting food for thought:
> http://www.ttlg.com/forums/cgi-bin/ultimatebb.cgi?ubb=get_topic&f=21&t=000128&p=
> This is a thread on the Cassandra Project public forums (TCP is a DeusEx mod
> headed by Kieron Gillen (I think that's the right spelling) one of PC Gamer
> UK's writers). When Witchboy posted his thoughts on game design we got
> involved in a fairly lengthy discussion about non-linearity, scripting and
> emergent  gameplay. Some it is just a bit of an argument (that's just the
> way a few of them are on there) but you may find some of the points
> interesting. Or not. I found the whole thing fairly interesting anyway.

There were a couple of panel sessions at last year's SigGraph about this.
Once we have nailed photo-realism and game physics, how do we make better

The hoped for answer is to employ people like script writers to add 'plot'
and 'character'...but even when you have a great script writer who knows
how to 'do' plot (Mr William Shakespeare for example) - how does that
make a game?

Level 1:  Romeo & Juliette - The Video Game.

  Player (aka Romeo) takes one look at Juliette and decides that she's
  just not his type.  Instead he flirts with a distant cousin whom his
  family completely approve of.

...now what?

If you want to get away from "the player runs here, jumps there and
gets hit by the 10 ton weight" style of 'forced' scripting, how do you
make the game tell a story that adapts to what the player actually does
without simply degrading into something that's as boring as real life.

So the game needs to be super-smart and think up and execute a plot
on-the-fly in the *style* of Shakespeare. Thinking up multiple plot
lines in advance to cover what happens when the player does or does
not kiss Juliette - including planting characters and events for
future plot possibilities for BOTH outcomes into the story before
it does or doesn't happen.  You can't script this as a forking tree
of plot (like those books where you read a page, make a decision and
are directed off to another page) - because there just end up being
too many 'leaves' to the plot-tree.

The player isn't a trained actor - he/she doesn't have the mental
characteristics of a 'true action hero' - so even if you have an
amazingly clevel plot writing engine, how do you make it come out
as high drama when your hero is some game-playing teenager with
all the personality of a dead slug?   If he continues to make the
same kinds of decisions he would make in the real world, the result
won't be something compelling.

----------------------------- Steve Baker -------------------------------
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