You want good storyline?
Submitted:|| 23rd July, 2003
Storyline... I'm not talking about a cheap rip from your favorite Square RPG. I'm talking about original, enthralling storyline. Storyline that keeps a player playing. Storyline that... er... IS GOOD!
So you want to know how to utilize your brain and make up a good storyline, eh? First off, we need to know if you suck at making original storylines that keep your perspective players playing. When you think up a story, do you find yourself taking elements from other games? Do you often scratch ideas you've had in a desperate attempt of inserting a plot twist? Do you have plot twists in your games? Do they suck? I mean, is your average plot twist the kind where the good guy becomes a bad guy and kills everything? If so, then your plot twists suck. Anyhow, I'm going to help you get back to keeping your crap interresting. Now sit down and pay attention to what I have to say.
Storylines are only for Role Playing Games.
They are? Last I checked adventure games, fighting games and even some puzzle games had storylines. Best you go back and check your game library. Besides, a storyline adds beef to just about any style game you can imagine. A suck ass story line can RUIN just about any game you can imagine.
So, what shouldn't you be doing when thinking up a story line? Well, you know that Final Fantasy 7 game? Anything that happened in it, DO NOT include in any game you make... unless it's a 2D version of Final Fantasy 7. In which case, I'd like to be alearted so I may mock you. Furthermore, you have to ask yourself... what has been over used and what hasn't. Collecting crystals has been over used. I'm just using that as an example though. There are many things that have been over used both by the game industry and by klik game makers. If we're not talking RPG here and we're on the topic of... say, adventure games then saving a princess is out of the picture. You see what I'm getting at? There has to be thousands of games out there where you save sombody. Be the good guy here and make the one that doesn't suck so damn much.
Ok, let's get serious. When creating a storyline, you always want to create a main theme first. I mean, what's the main character going to do? What is their main goal? Should your main character be looking for an item, questing after gold and jewels, finding his/her way back home? Once your main idea is set, the rest becomes rather open. Remember not to fall into any suck ass brain traps. You know, the kind where you referance Final Fantasy 7? Let's continue, shall we?
From there, you may choose to create side quests, create alternative quests, create psuedo quests or just stick to the original lame ass idea of whatever you decited earlier.
If you choose the later, don't expect people to like your game. I certainly wouldn't. Even if it had the best klik graphics I'd ever seen. Let me explain all these quest off-shoots here...
Side Quests: Little things to do on the way to the main goal. Look... the princess just got captured. Maybe you should save her before you go kill the big bad guy. I use this example because it's lame and you're lame if you copy it.
Alternate Quests: Looks like your main character found the last crystal, just to find out it unlocks a portal to another world where demons have taken over. Looks like for the next 10 hours, you, the player will be kick some satan ass. Again, lame example. An alternate quest is when the player gets to the end of the game... they complete the last goal just to find out there's another. Now thi can be good or bad. If your game is suck ass, the player will drop the controller and sigh before exclaiming "more?" and heading off to stuff their face, all the while leaving your game unattended. If it's a good game, then they'll be all like "KICK ASS!" and bust some heavy loads on all those demon bastards.
Psuedo Quests: These are usually fun to add. Suddenly the main character realizes the princess they were trying to rescue was only a decoy as much to their suprise, they find out she was never taken in the first place and while you were gone, the king of your land has grown in power and has made attempts to take over the world. There really aren't any occasions when this type of storyline development is bad unless you include teletubbies in any fashion or try to make something stupid-ass like metal mario killing everyone ever. If you even think of doing such things I will kill you. Ok... let's be serious here. I WILL KILL YOU!
Along with a storyline, you may need something like character development. Infact, it's a must, unless you're braindead. In which case, why the hell are you a game designer. Shouldn't you be in some over-sized high chair being fed apple sauce through a straw by people in white coats? Har har. Shut up! Character development is a grand thing whether you're working on a RPG, adventure or fighting game. Tell the player where the main character came from. Tell them what they do all the time. Let them in on how your main character lives. Don't bore them with too many details. Just give them a good outline and idea. It's only when the player trully understands the main charcter that any connection can be made, and you DO want that connection. If at all possible, try delevoping all of your characters. Not as intesely as your main character, of course, as that would get to become boring.
Developing a villain is important. Don't over-do things and create another syphilis (you know, the villian from FF7). Keep things normal. Your villain is only human, afterall. Of course, unless they aren't. In which case, be my guest in giving them powers to destroy a whole world. I won't be amongst those that play it... but you have to cut your losses if you decide you're making games for you instead of your audiance.
Make sure you get everything down on paper before implementing it. You don't want to get throught the first quarter of your game and forget how the rest goes, then inserting random crap from that point on. That would make you a dumb ass. Instead, break out wordpad or a simple piece of paper and a pencil and write down all the ideas floating around in your head. Do those little webby idea thigs or the dumb cloud idea things if you want but make sure you have a point to sort your ideas from. After all your initial ideas are all down on paper erase all the stupid ones... then make new ones and erase the stupid ones again. Keep on doing that until you have an incredibly crapped up and wrinkled and ripped piece of paper, then get another and re-write everything so it looks nice. Remember, good penmenship is EVERYTHING. If you're in wordpad, adapt what I just said to what you're doing. Oh, and stop writing on your monitor with the damn pencil, idiot. Yeah? Screw you too!
So, you have ideas. BFD. Time to put them into order. Remember to keep your main goal up top so that it never changes. If it helps, make out a time-line... or make out with your sister if you must. I don't condone such actions, but if you feel it's going to make you relax then have at it. Just don't come whining to me when your a father to your own brothers. Bastard.
Here's the real question to ask yourself at this point. If, somehow, your storyline was turned into a book... do you think people would read it? If yes, then continue. If no, then what you have is suck ass. Throw away everything and try again, dumb fuck.
Now we get to game text. If you're making an adventure or fighting game, there's not going to be much of it, so you best make sure what you have is short, sweet and gramaticly correct. Nothing pisses me off more than playing a fighting game and not understanding what the hell one character just said to the other because some Asian guy that knows CRAP about English versed everything incorrectly. Dialogue can ruin a storyline. Too much of it can cause one to fall asleep, while too little leaves one wondering of plot gaps. Make sure you don'tmake too many people spout absolutly useless crap. Sure, it's realisitc to have everyone in town pretend they have no clue what's going on, but it's not fun. Have somebody say SOMETHING that pertains to the game once in a while.
I think that's it. If you follow all my commands and instructions, wield them correctly and add in enough originality, you'll have yourself a damn good storyline. If you're one of those people that responds to this article telling me how useless it is, then you obviously didn't need my help in the first place... and you blow goats for quarters. Peace!