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Rebuilding My Fantasy Video Game's Synopsis

Discussion in 'Writing Discussions' started by MrCreativeMight, Sep 16, 2021.

  1. MrCreativeMight

    MrCreativeMight Dreamer

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    Hello, hello, helloooo.

    This is my second post on the forum. My first post was in May, so it really has been awhile since I've posted here. This is a follow-up on my fantasy video game which I talked about in my first post.

    Anyways, here's the situation:

    Between my first post and this new one, I've been doing/figuring out more things for my fantasy video game. Recently, I've decided to scrap my original plot where the four protagonists are sent on a quest where they must slay ancient monsters awakened by a mercenary organization. Now, I have a new plot, and a new synopsis, but I need help trying to rebuild my synopsis after deciding on my new plot. There are some things I've managed to come up with, and other things which I am actually stumped on and need help with explaining (since I'm still new to fantasy writing).

    Here is what I've managed to come up with so far for the currently W.I.P synopsis:

    It is the year 1025. The Kainyth Kingdom is ruled by King Vernrik Kainyth IV who has one daughter, the teenage Princess Sylanna Kainyth. One night, a mercenary organization (no name yet) raids the Kainyth Kingdom in the hunt for Princess Kainyth whom they kidnap as they believe her to be the key to immortality.

    The next day, King Kainyth IV appoints the four protagonists consisting of Klane, a male yeti berserker; Aleen, a female cabbit warrior; Shizuke, a male kitsune mage; and Rava, a teenage dragoness to go on the mission to rescue his daughter, having been considered and previously congratulated for past actions. The four leave the Kainyth Kingdom on the mission to rescue Princess Kainyth from the mercenary organization while the kingdom is under protection by guards.

    At one point in the conflict, an army of demons is accidentally unleashed by the mercenary organization, and attacks both factions, making it harder for the four protagonists to fight their way to the princess. The protagonists manage to fight their way to the mercenary organization’s leader, only to find that it’s too late, and he has used the princess and a captured eye orb (also no name yet) to unknowingly unleash the imprisoned demon Mogoth instead of achieving immortality. Mogoth kills the leader, but he is defeated by the protagonists. Having defeated the mercenary organization, demons, and Mogoth, the protagonists and Princess Kainyth return to the Kainyth Kingdom victorious.

    That’s what I have so far for the synopsis of my video game. There are still a few things that need explaining which I am stumped on and need help/answers/explanations:

    • Why would the mercenary organization believe that Princess Kainyth is the key to immortality? It's like they believe that immortality is achievable, there is a place to achieve immortality, and that Princess Kainyth along with the eye orb they captured is the key to immortality. What convinced the leader and the rest of the organization to believe this?

    • Even though Princess Kainyth and the eye orb were not the keys to immortality, but the keys to unleashing Mogoth, how are they the keys to unleashing Mogoth? What's so special about them? I would compare this to the trope of capturing someone or stealing something because it's the key to something, but I'm not gonna compare instances of this trope in movies for the sake of not alienating those who haven't seen those movies. Also, I’m not gonna go in depth as to why I added an eye orb in my story/game, although the capturing of this eye orb triggered other eye orbs to assist the protagonists in their quest (setting the gameplay mechanic where various eye orbs can be found in certain levels, and they can be picked up, and give players temporary power-ups).

    • How could the mercenary organization have accidentally unleashed the army of demons? Could there have been a place where the demons were contained, and the mercenary organization accidentally discovered and released them? Or, could they have accidentally triggered a portal to the underworld somewhere, and the demons came out? If the demons were all contained in a place in the world, why were they contained alive instead of killed by whoever/whatever (like a god maybe) imprisoned them? (Maybe this god doesn't like killing, but would rather have mortals kill the demons?) Even if the portal was a thing, and Mogoth was imprisoned in the real world, why would he be there instead of in the underworld?

    • Why did King Kainyth IV appoint the protagonists instead of having his own men (army) go after the princess? I thought this was explained before when I was into my previous plot, but now I think there needs to be a different reason for why the king selected the protagonists instead of his men.

    • Where else do the protagonists go in the quest? They would travel from the Kainyth Kingdom to wherever Mogoth eventually gets unleashed, but what other places would they go through? Maybe it includes where the demon army is unleashed.
    If there's anything else in my W.I.P synopsis that needs explaining, please let me know, and maybe give me a possible explanation. I am still a newbie at fantasy writing, especially for fantasy video games, so yeah.

    Thank you, and I can't wait to hear some answers. Also, I am happy to be posting here on this forum again.
     
  2. Rosemary Tea

    Rosemary Tea Inkling

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    • Who is/was Princess Kainyth's mother? Perhaps there's a rare genetic combination involved here, and the princess is the only known living person who could potentially have it. For example, her mother is a fairy (or a selkie, or an elf, or whatever kind of mystical being you want to insert here) and ancient legend has it that if a fairy and a king (or simply a member of the lineage King Kainyth comes from) produce a child, that child will be the key to immortality. If this is the first such marriage in centuries, the princess would be the only existing possibility. And the legend doesn't have to be true. All that matters is that the mercenaries believe it is.
      The legend was both right and wrong. Right: Princess Kainyth and the eye orb are the keys to something. Wrong: that something isn't immortality, it's Mogoth. Or, the mercenaries did the working wrong.
    • Maybe they weren't imprisoned. Maybe they just naturally exist, they've build a home for themselves in the underworld or wherever they came out of, and they hate being disturbed. Maybe the working that unleashed them destroyed their home, and they reacted like hornets whose nest just got destroyed. Hornets leave you alone if you leave them alone, but if you smash their nest, good night. If you don't smash their nest but you're right there when someone/something else does, the hornets will attack you, too, because their reaction is to attack indiscriminately. Perhaps these demons operate the same way.
     
  3. Chasejxyz

    Chasejxyz Inkling

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    So the basic plot/premise seems good. Feels pretty standard RPG-y, but that might be what you're going for.

    1 - Maybe the Kainyth Kingdom was founded by a long-lost people that are super magical/descended from the gods. So sacrificing the princess is taking her magic bloodline or some such. The eye orb can be an artifact from these people, or maybe an object from the gods themselves.

    2 - The merc group did a not-great job translating some ancient scroll/carvings. They surmised that the princess + orb "unleashes true power" or "godly power" and they assume this means immortality. Perhaps to tie in with #1, the magic/people that founded the kingdom could actually be demonic in nature, the royal bloodline, by existing, works as some sort of "seal" to keep the demons at bay. (if the princess needs to die for this to happen, you can have the queen be the person from the Kayinth bloodline and she's already passed away, or maybe the king is secretly a bastard and isn't part of the bloodline at all? There's a couple options you can fiddle around with so that the princess is the only "true" Kainyth left alive).

    3 - The seal that keeps the demons out is weakening due to the various things theyre doing to set up the ritual that will ultimately let out the big bad demon. There's "cracks" and the smaller demons are getting through. As the story goes on, theyre doing more things to complete the ritual, further weakening the seal, and allowing you to have stronger enemies in the game. The seal can be on a literal door like a portal to hell or it can be a more metaphyiscal one that seperates planes of existence. Up to you!

    4 - Maybe he doesn't want people to know the princess has been kidnapped and needs a really small group to do it. Or maybe there's some sort of reason his army is busy (civil unrest, skirmishes on the border). Or maybe he needs people with a very specific set of skills to do this, which only the protagnoists can do (as the army is just run of the mill people)

    5 - A water level, a lava/desert level.... lol no really it's really hard to say at this point. How long do you want the game to be? What are the levels like? Like in 2D Sonic games there's X worlds with 2 stages and 1 boss, but outside of themeing, what goes on in the world really doesn't matter. In Super Mario Sunshine, you're expected to go all over the levels multiple times, so each of them is very different, have different kinds of enemies and gimmicks etc. Making a 2D level with tiles is a lot different than making a big 3D map with sub-zones/maps. What is your budget for art assets? Do you want your characters to explore the whole world like a Zelda game or do you want them always going forward in one direction like Lord of the Rings? What your asking is, ultimately, a game design question.

    I'm pretty new to game writing, too. A lot of my friends are in the game industry and I was pretty close to the game design program in college so I know SOME things, such as writing a game is a totally different beast than writing a novel or a short story. This is what I used to make my game design document (GDD) for my game: GitHub - thylaxene/Scrivener-3-GDD-Template: Game Design Document for Scrivener If you don't have Scrivener or don't know how to make Github work, let me know and I can help you out.

    But anyways, when you're writing a novel, you can do pretty much whatever the hell you want, because the only things stopping you is your ability to put words to paper. Your characters can go to a million different places, encounter all sorts of characters and face many dangers. But when you're making a video game, there's limits. If you want a big multiplayer fight against a raid boss done with other humans, well, there is a LOT you need on a technical level to support that! A visual novel needs all sorts of visual art and sounds, it needs some sort of engine to create saves and do basic logic. Even a text-based interactive fiction needs some sort of place to remember what you've done, so you can't pick up a key twice since it's already in your inventory. If I had a million dollars, my game would have natural language processing and be able to alter the text live as the player changes it...but NLP is really, really difficult. Not a lot of people know how to do that well, and they charge you a lot for that very specialized knowledge. So I have to reign in the scope of what is possible both with the technology of the platform of delivery and my budget (both fiscal and the number of favors I can ask of my friends).

    What is your game going to look like? How does a player play it? What is the UI? What does the first level or dungeon look like? What sort of puzzles or skill-based challenges do they need to tackle? In Zelda games, there's puzzles where you hit switches or push blocks, which aren't too hard to program or to do as a player, but what the hell are they really? Who put them there? Why does every dungeon have the same exact eyeball switch? What exactly is the boss monster? In Twilight Princess, they were normal creatures/monsters that were turned evil/monstrous by a specific magic, so there is a plot-based reason for things to be Like That. There is a plot-based reason for the teleportation portals and why you are a doggy sometimes.

    As they say, the media is the message. As you develop your story, you will figure out the kinds of things your game needs. As you develop the technical parts of your game, you'll figure out things you can do with the story. It goes hand in hand and honestly it's really exciting and fun! But you NEED to keep scope in mind, don't keep adding on little things that take more and more time/money to program or you will end up with a huge mess. Like think of No Man's Sky, it was hyped up with all these little details, but to put ALL of those things in the game at launch was impossible. Which is why everyone was so dissappointed when it came out. And only now, years later, is the game what was originally promised. They went wild with scope and it bit them in the ass. A lot of junior game devs suffer this problem, but there's nothing inherently wrong with a technically simple game. Undertale was made with Gamemaker, Doki Doki Literature Club was made with ren.py, you should look at the limitations of your format/engine/budget and see it as a new avenue to be creative instead of a limitation. You can do a lot with just a little! A good game is more than just a lot of polygons at once!
     
  4. MrCreativeMight

    MrCreativeMight Dreamer

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    I can see the eye orb being an artifact from these people, but my original vision of the eye orb was that it was a living being/entity. I guess my new vision is that while it's a stone artifact from these people, it could also be sentient, but for what reason? If the other smaller eye orbs that would be encountered in the game were also sentient stone eye orbs, what could be the explanation for their existence, sentient status, why they carry power-ups, and why they're present wherever they are in the levels? (In the game, players could randomly come across them in various levels and/or spotted flying out of like a hole in the wall, ceiling, etc. I know I could use potions to represent power-ups, but I have a thing for eye orbs, like the one in the Twilight Zone intro.)

    Like, the princess is either demonic in nature, or is descended from the long-lost people who were demonic in nature, and that's why she's one of the keys to unleashing Mogoth?

    What things would the mercenary organization be doing to cause the "seal" to weaken?

    22 levels? I mean I just picked a random number that I felt conformable with, but if you were designing this game, how many levels would you make it? I'm just asking because maybe listening to what most gamers prefer might help me decide on things for my game. And I am going for the Lord of the Rings direction.

    If you really want to know, I would be happy to explain all of those things either here, or through PMs, but only if you really want to know.
     
  5. Chasejxyz

    Chasejxyz Inkling

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    I still don't think that you've said WHAT KIND of game this is. Making a game isn't easy and you need to know the norms and conventions of the genre/sub-genre in crafting your story. The main POINT of a video game is interactivity. When someone reads a book, everyone experiences everything in the same order, you have full control to the flow of information and you don't have to worry about your reader not knowing what to do next. But they are also fully "outside" of the story, they're just reading something and are along for the ride.

    When you play a game, you are an active participant in the narrative. You are making choices, you have some level of freedom as to how or when you can approach a challenge. Even a incredibly straight-forward game like a 2D Sonic game has this: the main story is going through all the levels, but there's an "extra" story/stages for when you collect all the chaos emeralds. A player might accidentally find the first one in the first world, but they're probably not going to for the later levels. They're going to have to go out of their way, scour the levels, learn some tricks to be able to get to far-off corners of the stage. This requires a lot of conscious effort, so when they get all the emeralds, turning into Super Sonic and fighting the final boss is really satisfying, it's a reward for all that hard work.

    I'm making a game that has branching paths in the story. I need to think of what the player might be thinking at these junctures and why they would make such a decision. The deuteragonist tells you "You need to be really careful with your power, there can be consequences you can't forsee." My original idea was that the main character was a detective, which, by nature, has to be a cop. But as I was outlining the story, I realized that how much/why you use the power will inevitably lead to "good" and "bad" endings, so any narrative that has you, as a cop, interfering with a crime scene/witnesses and labeling it as "good" or "bad" is an incredibly political statement and something I didn't feel like I could handle. I thought I'd totally have to scrap the story but I figured out that if the MC was, instead, a "true crime" superfan, then there would still be good reason for him to deeply know cases and it would give him a better starting place to make decisions about using the power. It is a lot more relatable to the average reader since he's just an average guy and not a grizzled cop. I want the reader to always be in the mindset of "what should _I_ do?" not "What should I make the MC do?" So the story is in first person, I use a lot of deep pov, how you interact with the mechanic/gimmick is YOU doing the action, not you moving the character around a board. The story elements and the game elements are deeply connected, this isn't a story that would have the same effect if it was just a novel, or if it was a 3rd person adventure game or a 2d platformer. They all work together to create a specific experience.

    So what is your game? Is it 2D or 3D? Is it hack and slash, a dungeon crawler, a platformer? Is this going to be on phones, in a web browser, on a ps5? Are there side quests? Is this multiplayer? Can you choose different weapons or what stats you level up? Do you want people drawn to the game because of the characters, the story, the gameplay, the puzzles, the world? Is this a game anyone can play for fun or does it reward players who invest a lot of time into it? How long should it take to finish? Are there NPCs to talk to? Is there a system tracking how good or evil your actions are? Is permadeath a thing? What happens when everyone in the party has their health go to 0, is it a game over screen or do they wake up at the start of the dungeon? Who is your target audience?

    It's entirely possible that you're in a second community talking about these game mechanics, and that's great! But these two halves cannot exist apart from each other. The gameplay is going to mesh with the story, it's going to effect how your players engage in the story, what emotions they'll develop. If Mass Effect was a 2D platformer like Sonic, then characters dying on the suicide mission wouldn't have any emotional impact since there's no dialogue/cutscenes/conversation choices. Magic: The Gathering TECHNICALLY has a plot, but it has almost nothing to do with how you play the card game. Same thing with League of Legends, or Overwatch, or any game where you're supposed to do a bunch of matches with various combinations of characters or cards. So what even is your game? What is the relationship between the story and what the player does?
     
  6. MrCreativeMight

    MrCreativeMight Dreamer

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    To me, it sounds like you really want to know about my game, so I might as well explain to you here:

    My game is 3D, and it can be played in either first-person or third-person (you can toggle between). Maybe it could also be considered hack and slash as the main characters tend to use melee weapons. Maybe dungeon crawler if any of the locations that the main characters go through is a dungeon(s). There could be puzzles in some levels where the player would need to switch to a certain character in order to solve it (Ex: the player may need to switch to Rava the dragoness to fly to the other side of a chasm and lower down a bridge for the other three characters to cross.).

    I consider my game to be played on a PC (with hopefully controller support), and maybe it could also be released on consoles (hopefully). Maybe there could be multiplayer as there could be co-op support for the story mode, a survival mode, and maybe a competitive mode where everyone is playing generic versions of the main characters. Every character has a different signature weapon (Ex: Klane the yeti berseker has a two-handed, two-sided battleaxe), but weapons dropped by enemies or randomly found can be picked up and put in the secondary weapon slot. These weapons can be crossbows/bows, but you would have to scavenge the battlefield for arrows (that might come with an element or no elements at all).

    Honestly, I want people to be drawn to the game because of all of the above you mentioned. This would most likely be a game that anyone can play for fun, although I'm not sure if it could reward players who invest a lot of time into it. How long it should take to finish is something I'm not entirely sure of yet. There is no permadeath, and deceased characters will respawn after maybe 60 seconds. If all characters die at once, the game resets itself to an automatically saved checkpoint. My target audience would be mostly those who are fans of the fantasy genre like me, and maybe those who are into on-foot games (I mean to say first-person/third person). I am not sure about the age range of my audience yet (like it could be T for Teen +13 or M for Mature +17).

    As for the second community thing, I actually have been getting some help from the Reddit community r/fantasywriters for help on my various things for my video game. Basically, my game is a fantasy-themed first-person/third-person, hack and slash, (maybe) dungeon crawler, PC (and maybe console), 4-player game (can also be played alone with bots) with an RPG-y plot.
     
  7. Chasejxyz

    Chasejxyz Inkling

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    How is the story being dispensed to the player? Do they have to walk up to a character to talk to a character? Or does the game take over when you complete a goal (beat the boss or smth) and then it's an extended cutscene and you get teleported to somewhere new when it's done? How much of the story is going to be explicitly told to you and how much do you have to pick up from details in the world?

    When I ask you questions like this, it's not just me wanting to know, it's to get you to start thinking this way. You need to think about your game as a game and how it's going to be experienced. It's not worth the time to write a 100,000 word novel but only a quarter of that makes it into the game due to limits of your budget or skill. Game design is really challenging but also really fun, it requires you to think about a bunch of different things in different ways.
     
  8. MrCreativeMight

    MrCreativeMight Dreamer

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    The story would be dispensed through cutscenes. Straight answer?

    Noted. I'll remember next time. Also, I saw the game design document outline template, and I've considered making one for my video game, but there are some things in the story/world that I still can't explain, like I've put these things in my story/world for a reason, but I have a hard time trying to come up with explanations for them. These are parts of my story/world that I feel like I would need help from either Reddit or Mythic Scribes (or perhaps both) to "fill in", like what I asked in my first reply. When I'm satisfied with my story/world, I will make a document on my game. I'm not sure if the gameplay design itself would also be something I would need an extra pair(s) of hands on. If you ever wonder what engine I plan to make my game on, it's Unreal Engine 4.
     
  9. MrCreativeMight

    MrCreativeMight Dreamer

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    There is a reason why I put stuff like eye orbs in my game/story, but I still can't explain them. My head still hurts from writer's block while trying to come up with explanations for the things I asked about in my first reply. I would appreciate it if anyone could come up with answers/explanations for the above things/things I asked about in my first reply.

    Thank you very much.
     
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