Thursday, July 29, 2010
Wednesday, July 28, 2010
Libraries are an attempt to give a player more information about a game world, in hopes that it'll make it more immersive. Most RPG libraries consist of history, news, and the creator's own version of fan fiction. I barely read history in reality. What makes game creators think I'll read it in a fantasy world where my only goal is to get enough cash to buy that super cool weapon that'll cut through a bus?
Let's take a look at different types of libraries in games.
Examples of Good Libraries:
These are there for two reasons: skills and entertainment. In the Sims 3, this comes in handy because you save a ton of money on buying books for skills. Also, these libraries have computers to perform extra tasks.
Great reference tool. Harvest Moon's library is for what plants grow when. It tells you how to play mini games, how to plant crops, and you can actually meet people in there.
Each book in Lara's Mansion in Tomb Raider: Anniversary has a clue to solving the next puzzle. Without the books, it makes it harder to play the game. The books actually have purpose and are necessary.
Examples of Bad Libararies:
Legend of Legaia
I'm in the middle of a mist-ridden society, trying to find an exit; I'm not going to read your stupid diary. Legend of Legaia's libraries are of little use. They are mainly people's diaries about the mist, or just useless information that I can't do anything with. The only positive point to these libraries is sometimes you find new battle combinations. That's really about it.
Legend of Dragoon
The main library in the game is full of information. Information I care nothing about. I've all ready sat through some elder giving me a “in the beginning” speech, and I don't feel like sitting through more of it. Long narrative CGs + giant libraries = zzzzzzz
Oregon Trail Version 745 (Or however many they have now)
This is a menu option in the game, where you can study different diseases and treatments according to the time period. As informative as this is, HOLY CRAP there's a lot to look at. None of this information, however, is incredibly critical to the game. You still get bitten by a snake and die.
My problem isn't with RPGs trying to get across more information. My problem is how loquacious game creators feel like being when they make libraries. The point of a game is to play. If you want to write fan fiction, put it on the internet like everyone else.
Ways to Get Across Information:
There are different ways to get across game world history in a game without resorting to long winded libraries:
If the information is critical to the story, slip it into the dialogue. Not with a “in the beginning” CG, but with a simple, “Remember how...” or “We haven't had a famine this bad since [this event in history].”
Townsfolk are notorious for useless information. Short bouts of useless information. If you're going to give out non-essential information, the best thing to do it to keep it short and coming out of crazy, useless people.
Instead of having characters find diaries or go to libraries, have them find single sheets of paper in offices and houses that explain things. This increases the entertainment value and still gets the point across.
If you want libraries in your game, I have nothing against you. Just know that I probably won't be stopping by.
Libraries in games should be more for reference then anything. References like synthesizing and alchemy, battle strategy, and simple gameplay are easy to put in libraries without boring the player to death.
Save libraries. Keep them useful.
Wednesday, March 24, 2010
An opening CG scene is tricky. It needs to tempt the player to play the game, it needs to set up the mood for the entire game, and it needs to give an insight into what the game is about.
Your prompt: Rewrite the opening to this FMV from God of War:
Saturday, March 13, 2010
Farah and the Prince of Persia
Games: Prince of Persia: Sands of Time, Prince of Persia: Two Thrones
Nothing like two enemies brought together because everyone else has turned into sand-zombies.
The Prince (who has no name, despite the movie coming out this summer) is a glory-seeker who steals Farah's father's enchanted dagger. Not knowing the power of the dagger, The Prince unleashes a powerful spell, turning everyone into sand monsters.
Farah is the warrior-like (even while slightly anorexic) daughter of the Maharajah, trying to undo the damage The Prince has done. She is just as bold and verbal as The Prince, making her a challenging yet valuable companion.
The tension between these two is incredible. Two rivals with the same goal, with neither really trusting the other. However, due to the circumstances, they are forced to rely upon one another, and fight constantly with their attraction to each other. This makes for an interesting back and forth.
Their personalities make for quite the comedy as well. The Prince is wildly sarcastic and impatient, while Farah is bossy and independent. She is prone to showing her delicate, poetic side, which frustrates The Prince in the current situation. This really brings out their personalities in the game, making them more alive to the player.
What Doesn't Work:
Two things stand out in this game that bother me. I would like to say that one of them is the small amount of time it takes for Farah and The Prince to fall in love, but I can't really say that considering Hollywood can have people in love and married in an hour and a half. My problem with the speed of the romance is not so much in the timing of the game itself, but more or less in the reasons why they fall for each other so fast.
It doesn't take Farah long to call The Prince “my love.” For what reasons, I have no idea. This is what bothers me. Sure, they have chemistry, but if some guy took me captive, stole my father's property, and turned the world into an I Am Legend nightmare, there is no way I'd call him “my love” because he's got a pretty face.
Secondly, when The Prince first meets Farah, he says he trusts no one, then tells her to wait for him. Considering Farah is after the dagger, you would think he would more or less ditch her then tell her to wait for him.
Farah and The Prince work fantastically together because of two major things: their individual personalities and the tension of the plot. Their individual personalities bring about drama and comedy, while the plot makes their situation more suspenseful.
Other Notes: I have to say, Sands of Time has one of the best endings. Dramatic, comedic, and sets up nicely for the sequel. I'm slightly disappointed that Two Thrones didn't have as awesome of an ending as Sands of Time.
Special thanks to dks71 for his awesome walkthrough!
Also, who else is totally excited about the movie coming out?
(Turn down the sound before watching!)
Wednesday, March 3, 2010
Check out Splitreason.com , an apparel site for gamers.
As a customer myself, I can tell you that they have great t-shirts and gift items for all types of gamers.
And if you're an artist with a great idea for a shirt, contribute! You could see your design on their site, up for sale. And if you're not an artist, you can still contribute ideas for an artist to pick up!
Look at some of the great products below:
Shoot Like a Girl baby tee design @ © SplitReason.com
I Hear Idiots t-shirt design @ © SplitReason.com
Linked t-shirt design @ © SplitReason.com
Zombie Pwnage t-shirt design @ © SplitReason.com
CAD - Volume 1 Comic Book design @ © SplitReason.com
Mana mug design @ © SplitReason.com
Check out more at: splitreason.com
Tuesday, March 2, 2010
People have tons of different speech patterns. They're really hard to think of them off the top of your head for new characters though.Ever notice that one public speaker that can't stop saying "um?" Or the little cousin you have that says, "like" every other word? And all of us know-- or are-- that person who can use the F-Bomb as a verb, interjection, and adjective in every sentence.
Your assignment: Make a list of different speech patterns you hear around you.
Talk to your family. Talk to the friends you pretend to like. Evesdrop on people. (Evesdropping is a great tool for writers, just FYI.)
I used to have a teacher that said "Curious" whenever something didn't make sense. I have a friend that says "Frack." Some people add plurals to things that aren't plural.
Speech patterns aren't narrowed down to just phrases or single words used in a sentence. Yoda had that whole word dyslexia thing going on. I tend to use improper grammar and verb tenses on purpose. (If you've met me, you've probably heard me say, "There you is!")
Speech patterns are a great way to make your characters come alive. Make a list and then use it!
Script Frenzy is coming up this April! So it's time to start planning NOW.
For those of you who have never heard of it, Script Frenzy is a free organization that is more or less an incentive to sit on your butt and get some writing done!
The challenge is to write a 100 page script/comic book in 30 days. Even if you can't do it in 30 days, there is still a great community of writers to chat it up with.
I'm hoping to get some articles done this month about writing game scripts, since they do have slightly different details then movie scripts.
Check out http://www.scriptfrenzy.org/ for more details. See ya there! (My username is Deidrea if you want to look me up.)