Staredit Network > Forums > SC1 UMS Mapmaking Assistance > Topic: Storylines for RPG and RPG-type games
Storylines for RPG and RPG-type games
Mar 5 2014, 9:56 pm
By: Zoan  

Mar 5 2014, 9:56 pm Zoan Post #1

Math + Physics + StarCraft = Zoan

Two questions:

1. I was wondering how long or complex the storyline for these types of games should be. If it is long and has many cutscenes, are the amount of strings it sucks up worth it overall? I mean, do people really pay attention to the storyline in these types of games, and would anything major be lost if there was little story present? Some games like Golden Knight or Labyrinthos have somewhat of a story, but it's easy neglect it and just play the game if you choose to do so, but they also clearly suffer from this as they cannot get too in depth with their stories (i.e. the stories have to be very simple). Is that worth it, or does it depend on the story? Also, are more intricate gameplay bonuses preferrable over more intricate storylines (I'm thinking strings here)?

2. In multiplayer maps, what is the best way to handle cutscenes? Some linear-story multiplayer maps just move all players to certain spots when a cutsecene is activated and center their view, and often players are left wondering "wtf just happened, I was in a fight/leveling/etc?" The alternative to this solution is to require all players to be present for a cutscene to activate, but this also can be bothersome when a few of the players are underleveled and can't make it to the required spot or some are afk. Which is better, or, can you tihnk of a different solution to this?

\:rip\:ooooo\:wob\:ooooo \:angel\: ooooo\:wob\:ooooo\:rip\:

Mar 5 2014, 10:16 pm lil-Inferno Post #2

Just here for the pie

The majority of Starcraft RPGs have story-lines that are worth skipping, mostly due to poor handling of cutscenes (e.g. text going by too fast, text not being aesthetically pleasing or readable, the dialogue being terrible and not worth reading, nothing happening in the cutscene beyond dialogue, etc.). A good deal of these problems can be solved by having a consistent text structure and color scheme, getting the opinions of other people, and including cutscene skipping as well as a way to progress through dialogue at the player's own pace. Sounds can go a long way too, but should be used sparingly due to Starcraft's limitations. If your story is going to be worth paying attention to and make the player feel like they're a part of something and not just a genocidal hero, then I'd say it's worth it to sink a lot of strings into cutscenes and such.

For multiplayer, I believe that Vrael's Tenebrous handles cutscenes elegantly. You may want to take a look at it. On the other hand, a good example of what not to do is MetalGear's Morrowind - it feels like you aren't doing anything notable, just killing stuff to progress and get dialogue that means nothing to you as a player trying to immerse yourself into the game's world.

If your story-line is "go kill this dude and come back for your next task" then no one will pay attention to it. You need to set up a motive for everything, and give characters depth beyond the fact that they're telling you to do stuff, or are the ones doing stuff.

Post has been edited 1 time(s), last time on Mar 5 2014, 10:22 pm by lil-Inferno.

Apr 5 2014, 12:54 am Dungeon-Master Post #3

I've always been terrible to give people a feeling of meaningfulness in a map...

Perhaps is it because I was barely 10 when I started making BroodWar maps?


Apr 18 2014, 5:17 pm FlameViper Post #4

Become a writer so you know how to make lovable characters.
The only story which matters in a game is the one which affects the gameplay. Memorable events such as having to visit the small garden pixies and you have to reduce your size to get to them.(Zelda and the minish cap)

I did have an idea which combines the genocidal hero with all those unlikable characters(which I often see in games) and it also lets you change the world. You go into a town filled with resources, libraries and magical objects, but the townspeople do not put them to use and they have a shit attitude which gets on your nerves. First the thing which would bother any player; bad service. You cannot use much of the shops, heals, teleports, training rooms, etc. second is the personal flavor; the characters being boring and hateable).

Later in the forest you come across a community of likable and useful characters which say they wanted to occupy and restorate the ancient town settlement but the other group was faster than them,(I prefer a more realistic neutral stance so it's not a plain moral 'bad guys obviously steal from the good guys, now go serve justice'') they only hint it, they don't outright give you orders like it's a quest. Though you will be notified that you can now attack the previous townspeople and by doing so you will unlock all the facilities, this is important so the player knows what he can control and what results he'll get. You kill and run off the townspeople from the city and then tell the quality community a sweet lie or something, now you've greatly improved the town.

In the original timeline of my story; you first fight the final boss at mid-game which teleports you to the future and to the starting area, later you see how the town has evolved with your added changes. Though the game would also have to smoothly block your progress before the boss so you don't skip such important content. I always hated it when Rpgs would let me fuck up the world because I wasn't given enough information about what's going on and what can I do, often times I'd lose useful key items and could never recover them.


Apr 21 2014, 8:57 am Oh_Man Post #5

Find Me On Discord (Brood War UMS Community & Staredit Network)

Here is a video of a cutscene in an RPG I am working on:

This is probably one of the longest cutscenes (it goes for 2 minutes). For me, RPGs have always been about story. With Starcraft, the best you can do with storyline is display text on the screen, or, if you're really hardcore, get voice acting. It is very difficult trigger-wise, even more-so in multiplayer, to try and give storyline during gameplay, like during combat for instance. So I've done it basically how you said: all players must be present, cutscene freezes players and centre-screens and forces you to watch. Some players get right into the storyline, others couldn't care less. You can have the best storyline in the world, but, as a friend once said to me: people usually spend their time on a game because they want to be PLAYING the game. If they wanted to read, they'd be reading a novel instead. So I guess the moral of that story would be story should always take a backseat to gameplay.

I messed around with skippable cutscenes, or with text staying on the screen with the player having to press a button to advance it, but I ultimately did away with these ideas. If you have things happening in the cutscene, like a unit moving from X to Y - you can't exactly have that skippable due to the nature of Starcraft (in multiplayer, I mean). The only way this would work is if you have identical cutscene areas for each player, where they are watching their own cutscene that they can go through at their own pace (or skip it entirely). If your RPG is singleplayer, well, you don't have the same problems I have. But with multiplayer it becomes a big pain.

Now, as to the dialogue itself. Well, it depends on your skill as a writer. If you are a bad writer, if your English is poor - this will hamper your story. And even great writers can have boring premises. Also you want to set yourself rules on how you give info to the player. I have constrained myself to dialogue-only, with rare instances of third-person descriptions if the player examines certain items. But when you have dialogue only it's hard to carry across tone or emphasis on certain words, even more so when Starcraft lacks the ability to italicise or bold or underline, etc.

It's also very difficult to give characters personality without throwing in extraneous stuff. You could have all characters just give you the bare bones mission objectives and be on your way (your princess is in another castle), but this makes all characters identical in terms of personality. To give personality you have to sacrifice conciseness somewhat. As you can see from my video, there is some banter and non-essential dialogue that is there that has nothing to do with the mission objectives, it's just there to hopefully make the characters feel more real.

As a result of all this, especially with all my in-game systems, I chewed through the string limit quite quickly. As a result, I've had to split my map into multiple maps. The string limit, at the end of the day, is the main thing that will prevent you from writing some epic novel into your map. It constrains you heavily.

Good luck!

Post has been edited 1 time(s), last time on Apr 21 2014, 9:02 am by Oh_Man.

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[03:36 pm]
Oh_Man -- a program called mapstats I think it's on here to DL
[02:39 pm]
GGmano -- so theres a limit on total triggers on around 80k?
[02:38 pm]
GGmano -- thanks for info anyway
[02:38 pm]
GGmano -- how did you found that out ohh man?
[02:15 pm]
Oh_Man -- mapstats says 80k triggers
[2022-7-02. : 9:37 pm]
GGmano -- maybe its not about the size i guess since its now above 6000 and was saved
[2022-7-02. : 9:05 pm]
GGmano -- just seems like 6000kb is an obstacle not sure
[2022-7-02. : 9:05 pm]
GGmano -- idk it could also be about the map size its like above 6k kb map wont be saved,, 6000kb of triggers no sounds im aware sounds can go beyond that size
[2022-7-02. : 8:51 pm]
GGmano -- heres link for the new release
[2022-7-02. : 8:51 pm]
GGmano -- i now released it after deleting triggers 3 times sadly
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