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Tuesday, September 29, 2015

Storytelling

Something I've struggled with all along.

How to tell the story. A game of our size has a limited budget. That means no cutscenes. Few story cards. No voice overs. So what are we left with?

In-game text? Being a big fan of rhyming, I thought I might shake my brain in that direction. Til a friend said, hey that's what Child of Light did. Two Let's Plays later and I felt pretty discouraged.

But not defeated.

There are some options available. Little poems for the plot might seem heavy-handed. How to keep it subtle?
Poems in Sprouts Tale- not my best work. This has since
 been replaced

  1. Word scrambles. Scrambled words or letters found throughout each level, player must decipher. Fun, maybe tedious. I wouldn't enjoy it.
  2. Subtle clues scrawled into terrain objects like messages from the dead. Sinners say, "Let em starve", victims say "Don't leave me here." I might enjoy this but presents some technical difficulties and makes *actual storytelling* pretty much impossible.
  3. Poems like I've been doing. I like this, but I'm no Dr Suess and it always seems pretentious to use ~poetry~. 
  4. Collecting letters/words. Could be combined with word scramble. Player collects words or finds words throughout a level and must decipher. I wouldn't like this. 
  5. Messages from the dead
  6. Pictures found throughout the world portraying events. These would be simple scrawling, showing perhaps a murder or a building falling or something. 
Really, the choices are 2, 3, and 5. Each of these comes with unique challenges but the drawing one would be by far the most resource intensive. Also, without flat surfaces anyone of these can become a big problem, so I'd need to force little visible flat areas into the design. Over and over.  That could be weird/bad.

I have to be honest, I'm leaning pretty heavily towards the poem option, though I will probably insert some pictographs throughout the game wherever it seems most appropriate. Tell me if you think I'm making a huge mistake.

Scrawled pictures 
Also just about finished level 4. We've now introduced flying enemies, skullhounds, deathzones, and more. Lots left.