March 10, 2015

Ways of storytelling (part 2/2)

Now I will discuss all the elements of storytelling from the previous blog post more in detail (but still very briefly). The examples below are not part of SUBSEQUENTED and serves only to enable understanding of how to implement given elements to the game.


To be able to tell the story of SUBSEQUENTED effectively, I set the rules of narration which I will follow. There are most of them (order is insignificant, they are all of the same importance).

1. The player knows why he acts as he does - When Lensen presses the button, the player must know that she does it because the alarm is triggered, which causes that the guards leave the inaccessible room so the player can get into the room unnoticed.
2. Everything the player does moves the story forward.
3. Shorter narrative parts - The purpose is to uncover piece of the story in a short period of time.
4. Feeling of success - Player is rewarded by revealing part of the story (e.g. for successfully solved logic puzzles, exploration of the location, found objects, or a positive outcome of the dialog).
5. Background story - Story fragments, consistent elements that occur in locations and reveal (fill in) part of the story. E.g. ubiquitous computers, concretely computer records in Alien Isolation.
6. Setting of the gaming system - The actual playability must set certain parameters, a certain set of rules, according to which the player will subconsciously drive. The player finds out step by step the rules of gaming system, he instinctively learns it while playing and then he behaves according it in different situations. It's something that's not written anywhere but you know it (frontal impact gives a lot of seconds - Carmageddon!).
7. It makes sense - Lensen should not be able to create a bomb using marten, beer and LPs.


The main elements of the plot driving you forward. They are ubiquitous and pervade all parts of the narration. Cover most of the chapters.


Major, minor, and all the other lines of the story. They have different lengths - begin and end at different locations (in different parts of chapters).


The story is divided into several large chapters, chapters are divided into several smaller parts. Each chapter and part has its firmly determined narrative and motivational goals (described in a previous post).


When I described the logic (and most used elements inside of it) according to which I tell the story of SUBSEQUENTED, we can move on to the last element - the ways of storytelling.

1. Dialogs - Probably the simplest way of narration, particularly in point & click adventure. E.g. some character comes to Lensen and tells her: "Save your brother." (just an example, but otherwise in this case really badly chosen style of narration).
2. Environment - Locations may contain certain elements which reveal some parts of the story.
3. Characters - The appearance of the characters we meet or behavior and motivation for their various actions may well serve the story.
4. Background story - Placing story fragments into locations.
5. Items - They can be used in many ways. By using an appearance of an item, its purpose, or any other characteristic. Or simply by naming the item (there is difference between the term "Door" and "Lensen Vicky's Office").
6. Puzzles.
7. Quests.

Of course there are other ways how to tell a story such as "Cutscenes" (in a lot, lot of games!), or "The narrator in the background" (The Cave 2013). There are certainly much more ways that I have not mentioned as well.

Currently I am dealing with complex map and quests, as I would like to write in the next posts.