-Chekhov's Gun- When this performed well it is simply beautiful storytelling. Its when you subtly mention a plot device early on, something seemingly without purpose and only mentioned in passing, only for it later to be the game clincher. Its a very economical method of storytelling (reusing existing elements for resolutions rather than constantly adding new ones), but also appears flamboyant as it suggests everything has a purpose. If this is done poorly however, then its relevance to the text is immediately obvious and the reader is constantly looking for its purpose, ultimately picking up on, and ruining, the twist.
QUOTE ( @ Jul 1 2012, 05:00 AM)
I think two of the most important techniques in writing are pacing/sequencing, and researching.
Pacing: Take your time with your stories. Make sure things happen when they are supposed to, and give it time! Nothing drives me nuts more than a game that introduces the main character's past for 5 seconds, and then abruptly switches to the main character, now 20, breaking into a big name facility. Or a young prince from a kingdom talking to his father one second, then having to go outside and ward off 50 random intruders. Make sure that the key points of your story coincide with one another, and don't be afraid to take your time getting to the meat of the game. I have yet to play a game that took too long to get to the point of the story.
I completely agree with you. Usually, I follow five steps to write down a plot:
1. What if...
The main idea. I've learned you should not seek for it. It just strikes you as a lightning when you aren't expecting it.
As if writing a music score, you can't
program inspiration. You can only help it, reading novels, watching films, travelling by train, looking at the sea during an autumn evening...
2. Set the story
Once the main idea is set, I create the setting. What is the political situation? The world is our world or anything different? Future? Past?
The environment is a main point, since my characters reactions are based on the circumstances they have to deal with.
An accurate environment is helpful, while you haven't any idea on how going on with the plot.
Often, it's the setting itself which helps you writing. (I experimented a lack of ideas while writing Tryadine Effect - Day 3, but I overcame it thanks to the precise description of St. Patrick districts I wrote before...)
A good characterization is mandatory in a good plot. Characters must reveal themselves during the events and, in my opinion, should be not introduced with a long, long flashback on their past. Usually, I let players understand my characters' features by means of events or trivial NPC information and dialogues which seem useless until the end. In the end, players will learn that a large amount of dialogues they had with a NPC hid some information about the characters.
I have a technique in this case. Usually, in my plots, everyone, every NPC knows more about your characters than the player itself, often using phrases like "you perfectly know where this door leads. I can't let you in."
Obviously, your main character knows what that door is supposed to protect, but you, the player, surely don't.
How many cutscenes between the events? How long should videos last?
These are problems anyone has while writing a convincing plot.
Too many scenes, one after another, and your game will become too dense.
Too many encounters without any sort of explanation and your game will become tasteless.
I usually employ short cutscenes and give player some freedom until the next one, usually sending the player searching for someone or something.
Leave some hint about the story, here and there.
Don't tell the previous history in a long, introduction video.
Just let the player discover the truth, little by little.
This is my way of writing.
I'd like to subdivide the story into chapters and for every chapter set a Chapter Boss worth of its name.
It must be central to the plot, or simply be a surprise boss which has a good reason to attack your party.
It's exactly the same for the last boss.
5. The ending
Never forget this point. The ending is something every RPG player
is attached to.
You can write the best plot ever, but if the ending is tasteless, your whole game will be tasteless.
The ending should recollect every hint you have during the game, in dialogues and cutscenes, gathering them and providing a new way of interpreting them. This is the final plot twist. I'd never waste it.
I usually try confusing the player, making him believe
something I know is false, without saying it, and then turning the tables during the last cutscene or after the credits.
I really do like this kind of endings (999, The World Ends With You...) and I really do hope I'll be able to write one myself.
This is all I can add to this topic
I hope I've not bored you all.
This post has been edited by Jens of Zanicuud: Jul 2 2012, 06:36 AM