Send News. Want a reply? Read this. More in the FAQ.   News Forum - All Forums - Mobile - PDA - RSS Headlines  RSS Headlines   Twitter  Twitter
Customize
User Settings
Styles:
LAN Parties
Upcoming one-time events:

Regularly scheduled events

Craig Hubbard
Monolith | SHOGO | Jan 10 1999, 20:09:06 (ET) | craigh@lith.com

*** Monolith Production's Finger Server

User name: craigh
Plan modified: Sun Jan 10 17:00:14 1999

Name: Craig Hubbard
Rank: Lead Designer
Project: Shogo-MAD

1/10/99

The inevitable followup to my last followup.

First off, yes, the tone of my initial update was unnecessarily abrasive. Thatís the consequence of writing in the first flush of righteous indignation. I apologize to Geoff for that. Heís been very patient and courteous in his emails. I stand by my opinion, but there was no need for me to be such a prick about it. I loathe that kind of childishness in others, so thereís no reason I should tolerate it in my own behavior.

Anyway, my other motive for this update is to explain what I mean by narrative structure. This isnít intended as a defense of my argument, merely as a definition of terms, since several people have expressed confusion about the distinctions Iím drawing.

Though itís tempting to write an essay on story structure, Iíll try to stay focused. :)

Most story-driven games rely on a linear structure out of necessity, primarily because a story is linear by definition. I wasnít suggesting that the events in Dark Forces change the flow of the game, but they DO affect the flow of the narrative. Pretty much every level in Dark Forces, Outlaws, and Jedi Knight contains some sort of discovery or reversal that advances the storyline. Kyleís first encounter with a dark trooper is a major event in Dark Forces. The boss fights in Outlaws bring Marshall James Anderson closer to the man who killed his wife. In one Jedi Knight mission, Kyle has to find his fatherís data disk in order to locate the Valley of the Jedi, which eventually leads him to the final confrontation with Jerec. There are plenty of other examples.

In each of these cases, the protagonist has a short term objective that is a facet of the larger goal that fuels the central conflict. When the hero meets or fails to meet one of these objectives, the story advances. Whether or not failure is even an option in the context of the game is irrelevant. Iím not talking about gameplay, but about story.

At its most basic, a story is a conflict between a protagonist and antagonist with competing goals. Think of these roles as forces rather than individuals. Most stories rely on a human or personified non-human to fill the protagonistís shoes, simply because thatís what we relate to as human beings. The antagonist, on the other hand, can take any number of forms. It can be anything from abiding grief over the death of a loved one to an elusive white whale to bloodsucking aliens from the planet Bob. In a really good story, the antagonistic force is multi-faceted, with emotional, situational, and physical components.

Obviously, if the antagonistic force isnít menacing enough, the story stagnates because you stop taking the conflict seriously. In fact, the antagonist usually has to seem far more powerful than the protagonist in order to keep your interest. Think of the Empire in Star Wars, for example. Same goes for Sauronís forces in Lord of the Rings, the shark in Jaws, the asteroid in Armageddon, the bandits in The Seven Samurai, Sephiroth in Final Fantasy VII, or Liquid Snake and his cohorts in Metal Gear Solid.

If the motives of the protagonist and antagonist are never fully developed, the narrative withers, which can be fatal in a movie or a novel, but generally makes no difference at all in a game. Ultimately, all that matters is that the PLAYER has a motive to keep playing.

Personally, I tend to gravitate toward games with a strong narrative structure, but I donít discriminate as long as Iím having fun. Shigeru Miyamotoís games are about deep gameplay rather than elaborate storytelling, but theyíre still among the richest, most satisfying gaming experiences you can have.

Anyway, this long-winded explanation just scratches the surface of story structure, but hopefully it clarifies my meaning. I expect Iíll hear about it if not. :)
Monolith...
NOLF Team 01/25
Jason Hall 06/25
AvP2 Team 04/5
Andy Mattingly 02/27
Karen Burger 02/27
John Jack 02/27
Brian Goble 05/4
Bill Vandervoort 05/4
Jeremy Blackman 08/4
Mike Dussault 01/29
Kevin Lambert 08/23
Israel Evans 05/10
Paul Renault 03/24
Aaron St. John 03/10
Spencer Maiers 03/5
Rick Winter 02/18
Benny Kee 02/18
Jay Wilson 02/10
Brian Long 01/29
Paul Butterfield 01/29
Kevin Kilstrom 01/29
Joel Reiff 01/26
Craig Hubbard 01/10
Scott Schlegel 01/5
Kevin Stephens 01/4
Peter Arisman 11/12
Nick Newhard 11/12
Toby Gladwell 11/12
Nathan Hendrickson 11/12
Matthew Allen 11/12
Matt Saettler 11/12
Greg Kettell 11/12
Eric Kohler 11/12
Brian Waite 11/12
Brennon Reid 11/12
Brad Pendleton 11/12
Ben Coleman 11/12
 

Also Today...
 

Yesterday...
 

Full list


Visit Webdog today!

 



Square Eight - Taking over the world and you don't even know it yet! Copyright © Square Eight 1998-2014. All Rights Reserved.
The BlueTracker is provided by Webdog.
We are not responsible for the content of the .plans displayed here.

 



footer

Blue's News logo