Unit 70 Computer Game Story Development

Our tutor set us an objective of creating our own storyline for a game, even though we may not even have to make an actual game. Our tutor wants us to make sure that the story is based in a realistic scenario with believable characters. We should make sure to avoid placing stereotypes onto our characters when writing stories. But first, we would need to plan out our ideas of how we want our story to come out and develop it based on researching other stories from other games and how they can enhance the gaming experience for the viewer.

Key features

When we are writing a story, we should really understand how to structure the plot and understand how to fit the characters into a scenario to progress the plot even further. It would be simple to start with looking at the following key themes we often notice in interactive games. We can also look into how stories in general are represented to the audience.

  • Cave paintings-Back in the pre-historic ages, our ancestors had made these paintings to visualise the storytelling to show other people had happened.
  • traditional Centuries back and today, stories were/are originally told in from story books or from their parents/guardians.
  •  Character representations Most characters from older stories before had common stereotypes, linking with having a goody-two-shoes-hero, a damsel in distress.
  • themes With storytelling, in storybooks, films or games, we can spot story lines that have to do with vengeance, love, angst, hope, morality etc.
  • approach most stories these days can be represented in different methods such a variety genre of games that involve storytelling ranging from first-shooter, adventure, horror, sci-fi and much more.

Examples of games

facade-An interactive computer game that involves interacting by typing dialogue for the characters to respond back to and how they respond back would depend on what you have typed to them. The story is simple. You’re an old friend of this couple’s house you are visiting and they hint that their marriage isn’t going so well. You can influence the character and the story from interacting with them from text and gain different endings.

The Walking dead-I haven’t really played this before so I’ll briefly explain as much as I understand. It’s a game set in zombie apocalypse (don’t know much about the story) where you are able to select/choose options on what you want to do or where you want to go in the cutscenes. You can also interact with other people for conversations. As the main character, you need to focus on surviving of course.

Planning

To help us with inspiration for creating a story, we had to write continuously for five minutes and we couldn’t stop, even for a minute and from the text below you can see I have made many grammatical errors, but the whole point of this exercise was for our to write/type out our thoughts onto an A4 paper.

“I don’t even know what I’M DOING. wHAT THE HELL IS GOING ON? wHAT AM I EVEN DOING WITH MY LIFE. I DON’T even know anymore. Where is my ideas? What can I do? WHERE IS MY sketchbook.? I WANT TO GO HOME AND UST DO NOTHING! I’ don’t care what I- never mind =, just forget it. It’s just so agrivating for me to just continuously type complete rubbish when I don’t understand what I’M EVEN typing on to the word document. Do you even understand what I’M TRYING TO SAY? Probabrly not. Should it even matter if you do. tHIS IS ALL A LOAD OF SHIT I’M TYPING UP ANY WAY. I WANNA GET ON WITH MY OTHER WORK INSTAED OF THIS PIECE OF CRAP (SORRY MIKR). I don’t even know what I’M DOING WITH MY LIFE. WHAT am I DOING TO my self with this form of torture. Where’s the blacksmith? Fuck if I EVEN KNOW! What else should I TYPE? I don’t know! Arghhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh! sHUT UP MIKE.” – my writing for the exercise.

Story Plan

Possible Intro: What can I do? I’m stuck with what I can do or where I want to go! I still have trouble, deciding where to go! My Aunt is still pestering me, nagging me at how I should become the next Blacksmith in the family name. No thanks! After people come at my doorstep demanding ‘where is the blacksmith?’ it just drives me insane. As much as she cares for my well being, it would be nice for me to take my own step. I often wonder what my parents (though I never knew them) would do. For some odd reason, she would avoid the topic if I ever bring it up in a conversation. There are still mysteries I have to uncover, since my curiosity gets the better of me.

Alternate:

  • She wears casual clothing, but her Aunt wears traditional clothing.
  • An Indian woman (early/mid 20s) who is still struggling to find her purpose.
  • When she was a late teenager, her Aunt suggested becoming a blacksmith.
  • The main character (Young woman) is conflicted about the suggestion.
  • The young woman can be strong-willed, but indecisive at times.
  • But once she makes a decision, she can be quite stubborn about it.
  • She had didn’t do too well at school (aside from Math’s and English).
  • Set in India.
  • She soon gives in and gives the job title a try and goes under training.
  • (Currently) is a blacksmith.
  • Isn’t sure that this’ll be her permanent job.

Background:

  • Wasn’t very strong in academics apart from Maths and English

Another

  • She had been walking back home (on the street) when a flood happens suddenly.
  • She does collapse and slip in the water before coming back up to grab the lamp post look for her Aunt (in fear of possibly losing her only family).
  • She panicking as the currents is getting stronger.
  • She waits for the currents to slow down.
  • Swim away to escape and find her Aunt and feels a lot calmer.
  • She can’t find her Aunt (not in the bungalow either) and is scared because the high chance of her only family dying instantly in a flood.
  • She feels hopeless and frozen as she wanted to live to make her own family safe and happy, but that’s been taken away from her.
  • She feels that she let her Aunt down.
  • She shoves her feelings aside in annoyance, aware that it wasn’t her fault that her Aunt may be gone. She didn’t make the flood happen.
  • A part of her accepts that her Aunt’s may not have survived, but a part of her believes that she’s still out there somewhere.
  • She continues to look for her.
  • She comes back to the bungalow stays and is unsure on what to do, but she knows that she needs food, water and shelter.

My story arc

To help us write the storyline for our characters and settings, we used an eight point story arc. These points are used to piece the storyline together and eventually help us get a story line with a beginning, a climax and an end.

Statis:-My story is set in India where my main character and her aunt live in a bungalow. The main character makes a living for her and her aunt, working as a blacksmith (she took over her aunt’s business). She also has a leopard cat for a pet./(finds the leopard cat later in the story)

Trigger:- When she was walking home, a flood suddenly goes off and she struggled to find her Aunt. She panicks and after the flood finishes, she goes and searches for her. Alt: the flood has already happened.

The quest:- Struggling in the flood from time to time, she travels and looks for her./after the flood, she goes off and looks for her.

Surprise:- While searching for her aunt, she eventually comes across a leopard cat. they try to help her find her aunt. This confuses the character a lot.

Critical choice:- Character indecisive behaviour will be shown in this stage somehow. Does she ignore the cat or follow them to find her aunt?

Climax:- She follows the cat/ignores the cat.

Reversal:- She finds her aunt and tends to her/

Resolution:- They all live together and rebuild the bungalow.

Feedback

When I shared my story with other people, I had received comments concerning on how I should finish my story along with dialogue and names that I should really give to my characters.

Flow charts and concept doodles

I had made a few diagrams analysing characters, planning the layout of the story and also coming up with ideas of characters in my head.

character analysing story flow diagram (new)story flow diagram

character concept doodles
doodles of Sonia (the main character) and John (her best friend)

Written story version

The first thing Sonia took note of when waking up was the broken remains of her home. Memories of her Aunt had flashed before her. She still hadn’t returned. The thought itself had her stomach tied in a knot. What would have happened to her? Part of her grew irritated that she wasn’t with her Aunt at the time to be able to help her. She then left to check outside.

“Aunt Jasmine!” She yelled and quickly looked around, hoping for a distant response from her, but to no avail. “Aunty,” she had repeated in a softer tone. She felt her eyes slowly water, but she did all she could to hold it in and continuing the search around the bungalows and streets. Thank god the currents had slowed down. Other times it would build up again, even if it weren’t as bad as when it had first begun. Not that it would stop her. Sonia looked around and taking in unfamiliar faces of individuals being aided by their loved ones. She felt a tinge of worry and envy, but never the less, she walked along the damp pavement. She felt a tap on her shoulder and looked over. A child was in view, who almost matched herself in height, but with a much more youthful look to him.

“Who are you looking for?” He asked.

“What about you?” She replied, keeping her face void of emotion. “Aren’t you worried about where your parents may be?”

His smile faded at that moment. “I don’t have a Mum and Dad.”

Her expression softened from hearing that response. “I’m really sorry,” she pleaded. “I didn’t know, honest.”

“It’s okay.”

“What’s your name?” He hesitated for a moment before answering. “Alok. Are you looking for your parents?”

“I don’t have any parents either.” She gazed at the ground for a moment before looking up, smirking. “I’m Sonia. Why don’t you come with me? I’m looking for my Aunt at the moment. She’s the only family that I have.”

“Is your aunty okay with me coming?” She saw a look of uncertainty in his eyes and anxiety rose.

“Trust me, my Aunt Jasmine loves children.” She grasps onto Alok’s petite hand, dragging him along.

“What if she’s still here?” Sonia silently shook her head.

“I pretty sure I’ve practically looked everywhere. Wait!”

“What?” Alok asked in response.

“Do you have any Brothers or Sisters we should look for?”

“No.”

They noticed a path leading out of the town. Sonia was a little nervous about going, but determined to find her. She poked Alok’s shoulder and gestured him to carry on their search further away. Sonia’s heart threatened to pop out of her chest, but seeing Alok’s warm smile calmed her. They suddenly stopped in their tracks, inches from an unconscious body. Sonia quickly rushed down in attempt to check for any vital signs.

“Alok, help me carry her.” He nodded, whilst both of them had grabbed her limbs and turned back to her damaged bungalow.

Dialogue Tree

Screen Shot 2015-05-18 at 14.32.20
A basic layout of the choice of dialogue.

For my interactive story, the choice of dialogue is limited of course. When ever a character talks you generally have two choices of how you want to respond, but it won’t always necessary effect the outcome (the story doesn’t exactly have many endings to begin with, it’s a short story). I enjoy story writing, even if it is frustrating.

Experimenting

In order to be able to create and bring my interactive story to life, I needed to take a look at different programs that people have used to make their own interactive games/comics. I had tried to learn and practice coding with HTML coding and I was beginning to understand it fairly well and I didn’t really think that I’d be able to understand anything.

Screen shot 2015-02-24 at 10.35.38
Caw!
Screen shot 2015-03-03 at 10.15.45
Da feelz!!1!
Screen shot 2015-03-03 at 10.52.42
Messing around with codecademy

Screen shot 2015-03-10 at 11.27.51

I tried to have a go at using HTML coding to understand how it works. I was recommended ‘codecademy’ (a tutorial website) by my tutor in order to help me with my coding when I begin creating my interactive comic (yes I decided to make a comic instead of a game).

Evaluation

Through out the beginning to the end, I had at first struggled with coming up with a story which would be used for an interactive game. I only had some experience with story writing from primary and secondary school. Looking at different story-telling methods tips online was helpful for me to write my story and dialogue for the game. I wasn’t very confident with going to  the actual programming due to my lack for understanding of how to do use coding for javascript and CSS. May be if I had looked at more at tutorials, I probably would have had better knowledge of coding. It was still good for me to go on Codecadamy for the tutorials with Google+. It saved me the trouble of having to sign up an account that I’ll likely forget. There were times when I was fickle on what type of interactive media I wanted to create. I had been stuck between a game and a comic. My tutor did show me an interactive comic, which made me want to make an interactive comic. But after seeing a visual novel made by one of my class mates, I suddenly wanted to make a visual novel.

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