Category: Writing/Storytelling

An Example Of Storytelling That Isn’t Unique to Video Games Although Some Think It Is

-Or-
“Daniel Floyd Is A Fool And Raven’s Will Peck Out His Eyes”

snake and boss ending

[~1300 words]
#WallOfText

There’s this video posted by Dan Olson on his Folding Ideas youtube channel?/page?/account? It’s Daniel Floyd (writer for Extra Credits) talking about,

“…the very first game that I played that really made me… start thinking and looking for ways that games could do something with the narrative that nothing else could.”

For him, it was the ending to Metal Gear Solid 3: Snake Eater, which he states,

“… was the moment that lit the spark, that games can do something unique here, something that no other medium can emulate this in any way I can think of.”

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Examples of game mechanics that tell stories: Diablo 2, Starcraft’s Demo, Rogue, Star Control 2

riven-ferns-htrone

[~2700 words]

Recently I watched a good video by Mark Brown about the Last Guardian. He analyzes how the game communicates story through gameplay and he looks at one specific moment in the game. If you don’t mind mild spoilers on the Last Guardian then go check out the video, it’s pretty good.

This got me to thinking about other moments in games when story is being told through narrative.

Of relevance is an older post I made about Riven and how it manages to merge narrative and gameplay so that they are one and the same. The image at the top of the post is also for Riven, but there’s no storytelling going on there. I just like that view.

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Rewriting Variks’ stupid dialogue from Prison of Elders

variks-close-up[~15,000 words total]
[~8,300 words for all drafts put together]
[~4,000 words for “final” draft and final thoughts (this is really all I expect anyone to read)]

So, over a year ago I raged against how terrible and stupid Variks’ dialogue is in Destiny’s Prison of Elders. And to put my money where my mouth was I said that I would write my own version of Variks’ dialogue. Then I just didn’t.

For the longest time (over a year) I didn’t feel like going through the effort. Then about a month ago I suddenly felt like accepting the challenge I had given myself. So, I wrote my own version of Variks’ Prison of Elders dialogue which is much better than what actually appears in the game, although that’s not saying much considering the originals (“Kill them dead.”)
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Postmortem of the Seven Tasks: my mod for Lugaru (Part 2/2)

sword-spin

[~3200 words]

Postmortem of the Seven Tasks: my mod for Lugaru (Part 2)

CONTINUED FROM PART 1

Map 7: The desert sandstorm

desert-start

I had fun with this level. People enjoyed it even though it’s very badly designed.

I got the “sandstorm” effect by lowering the view distance, altering the lighting, and altering the tint to the “fog”. The fog isn’t actually moving, but it still gives a good impression of a sandstorm. People thought this was cool.

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Postmortem of the Seven Tasks: my mod for Lugaru (Part 1/2)

city-slashed

[~3000 words]

PART 1 of 2

OH MAN! I have been trying to get through a backlog of ideas so that I could finally get to this. I still haven’t gotten through my backlog, but felt like jumping to this anyway.

I myself have dabbled in game design and modding over the years. I haven’t done much. There’s various reasons for this including that I’ve never had quality, modern PC hardware. For most of my life I’ve only had outdated Macs handed down to me by family.

Nevertheless, I figured that with all the analyzing and critiquing of other games that I do that it was about time I did some postmortems of my own extant work (some of my earlier modding, game design, and programming, as well as games I made on my graphing calculator, have been lost to history).

The first thing I’ll look at will be a mod I made for the indie game Lugaru, by Wolfire Games (aka David Rosen) (the sequel, Overgrowth, is currently being developed). I made my mod way back in early 2009 and the forum post where I posted it still exists on Wolfire’s website.
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Poetic Cartography: the use of decorative, non-utilitarian maps in games

halo-big-map

[~1500 words]

The first image isn’t actually a good example of what I want to talk about; it’s just a cool map in a video game. What I want to talk about in this post are maps that actually represent the level or playable space in a game, but which don’t actually serve a gameplay purpose to the player.

Let’s dive in.
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Using decorative gameplay to add depth in Myth 2

myth briefing

Here’s a brief post about an interesting moment in a level of the real-time-tactical game Myth 2: Soulblighter. The level is called “Into the Breach” and it involves you trying to get your troops to infiltrate the motte-and-bailey castle of a traitorous baron who is creating an army of Thrall (essentially zombies with axes).

In what amounts to the mission briefing, the narrator mentions how in the night he and his comrades saw an army of 1,000 thrall leave the castle and march off towards a friendly village.

This bit of narrative is reflected and reiterated in a moment in the level itself.

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