Tuesday, 6 January 2009

Dougal's Train of Thought Now Arriving on Platform 6.

There's no light at the end of the tunnel... No train of thought.
Blog entry is impossible to understand. You fail.


Okay, I understand that I'm not the best blog-author in existence
but I was upset when Mike said he couldn't see a train of
thought in my entries... though, as I knew all along, I'm a story author at heart - so sue me.


Today I will look at storytelling for games. Figures really.
Hopefully you should get some vague grasp of what I'm talking about. If not... then I may as well just quit and go work at Morrisons.

Humans have been telling stories since the dawn of their existence. They tell tall tales of daring-do and keep audiences entranced for hours. They have dreams , they want to LIVE their stories. They strived endlessly for ways to bring their stories to life and share them with the world. From the earliest cave paintings, to Egyptian hieroglyphs and the daily comic in the local newspaper. Then along came film, and with it - a revolution. Cinema slowly developed, allowing them to tell their stories with more and more realism. Sound, colour and more recently: 3D. And then there were games...

Games are unlike films in the way that they need to be flexible. A
film plays out like a film and, likewise, a game should play out, well... like a game. The player is in control and it should feel that way. He is not sitting there watching things happen - he IS making them happen.

A strong storyline can still greatly influence a game. However, games with just a faint whisper of a plot can also be very good. It is all dependant on what you wish to get out of said game. A good game captures your emotions - invokes joy, sadness, anger... makes you want to continue playing and complete the final level (and any bonus stages on offer).

David Freeman published a book, "Creating Emotion In Games." When queried about why the book was not called "Writing For Games" he insisted that it was emotion that makes a game immersive.
For example. A basic rescue game; Hero sets out to rescue Damsel in Distress. Let's face it; it's been done to death. HOWEVER, add in some emotion and the story changes a little.
Imagine that the hero is a lowlife in society, no one wants to know him and he has inner demons. Then along comes this damsel and she sees past everything and makes him feel like he is worth something... only to be whisked away by one of the hero's many enemies. Thus, making him believe it is his own fault and giving him the drive to try and put things right. For the game to work, then the player needs to relate to the hero and WANT to rescue the damsel.
If there is going to be a storyline to a game then the story has to be done well or it risks ruining the entire experience.

I am told that 'Call of Duty 2' and 'Call of Duty 4' both have really good storylines and as such were good games to play. 'Call of Duty 3' on the other hand, had a story that wasn't quite as gripping and the game became less enjoyable as a result.


"As a player, does the story happen to you, or do you make the story happen?"
Surely this depends entirely on the game?
Games built around choice (Fallout, for instance) are driven by the player, whereas in games focussed on story, you have no choice but to sit back and let it happen. CoD4 actually kills you and nothing you can do will change that.

All games have a story of some sort. Granted, some are far more developed than others. World of WarCraft is steeped in lore and has an intense back-story to it for those concerned enough to do their research and it even allows for you to create your own via Roleplay servers.

As a final note, I do NOT think that a good FILM would automatically make a good GAME!


Did the train leave the station this time?

-The dougalBUG.

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