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Messages - Across-The-Board

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As a world-weary Team Fortress 2 player I look forward to my eventual glowing banana hat for Mercurio!

No but seriously, I look forward to these skins a lot. Sana with leaves in her hair looks so cute :)

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Off-Topic / The use of the narrative curve in episodic games
« on: October 20, 2016, 08:23:43 AM »
This is a little article/workshop item I posted on a game development site. It was pretty well received which is why I wanted share it here as well!


It is very popular to make episodic games, particularly from a indie standpoint. There are smaller and easier to manage and develop for. They also have the added benefit of making fans excited and discuss the next installment. In this tutorial we are going to discuss the use of the narrative curve as it applies to videogames, in particular as it applies to episodic games. It is my hope that this thread will be a sort of workshop where I post an installment at a time.
I think that most people are familiar with the narrative curves as it applies to movies and books. When it comes to episodic games and to some extent television series the curve will follow the same basic idea but will have a few more "repetitions".


While episodic games have a single overarching story each individual installment need a smaller "inner" curve of their own. To illustrate this, I am going to compare two Telltale series that I think uses the inner curve well (Tales of Monkey island) and one that uses it not so well (Sam and Max season 2, although the other two seasons used this very well). Please not that I will discuss these games as well as others in the individual series freely, so there will be spoilers. They will also be compared to a potential game called Alex and Adva by Nooby Mcnooberson (ie me) to show how an idea can grow into a story by use of the narrative curve.



But first, the overall storyline of the three series.

 
Tales of Monkey Island:
While trying to defeat his arch-enemy the zombie-pirate Lechuck Guybrush accidentally makes him human again and releases his evil as a pox that infects the Caribbean. To cure the infected people Guybrush must find the fabled La Esponja Grande to suck all evil voodoo energy into it. Lechuck steals the energy and becomes a pirate god but is eventually defeated by Guybrush.
 
 

Sam and Max season 2:
Sam and Max investigate a couple of seemingly unrelated cases, eventually tied together by a couple of time-travelling mariachis and a takeover of Hell by bit-characters from the first season. Yeah...you could probably tell from the description alone that this season does not have a strong narrative. I actually struggled to try and keep the overarching story sound better, but had to give up.
 

Alex and Adva (my own story idea in its raw form)
Alex and Adva want children but are unable to conceive. As a jackalope it is Adva´s duty to guard the underworld and when Alex hears about a magical plant that can bestow fertility Adva lets him into the underworld so they can search for it together. Turns out the plant is a root from the world tree Yggdrasil. Demons are trying to cut it down and Alex and Adva must protect it.
 
Let us take a look at the three series and how they begin their respective set-ups.


The launch of the Screaming Narwhal

This episode begins in medias res with a Lechuck confrontation, supposedly after an epic quest to create a sword that can banish the evil pirate forever. Gubrush bungles the spell and is stranded on the island of Flotsam. Here the main quest is introduced, finding La Esponja Grande to banish the evil pox and get off Flotsam. The episode is interesting because it has a climax, or at least something imitating the form of a climax, at the very start. The episode also ends with another confrontation being set up with pirate hunter Morgan le Flay, but not taking place in the episode itself. When it comes to the narrative curve the episode feels a little shaky, since the player can solve the puzzles and challenges in any order.

Ice Station Santa

The episode begins with Sam and Max finding out that Santa sends a murderous robot to their office. Deciding to investigate they find Santa possessed by a demon, which they excorsice. Unlike the first season this one seems to be cases unrelated to each other, which need not be a bad thing. The episode, taken on its own, follows the narrative curve well with a setup (collect items for a banishment ritual), a point of no return (portals to other points in times are opened) and a clear climax in the confrontation with Santa and even a resolution that makes fun of sappy christmas specials.

Finally, let us look at my own first attempt.

The set-up, the search for the plant, needs to be introduced. My original attempt stood on its own and concerned house-cleaning, introducing the characters and the game-system. While it was cute, itwas also really slow. My current first episode concerns Alex losing his book of magic and has to find a new one in a hurry in order to impress his employer. Breaking into the house of a magician he learns about the plant. By making the initial quest about something unrelated I can still present the world and its characters in a natural way. And so the adventure begins...
 
This is the first installment, please tell me if this was informative or if there are any points I could improve on? Any specific points I should focus on when making comparisions between the two game series. Did it make sense for me to include my work on my own game in the comparison?

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Feedback & Suggestions / Re: Spirit stones idea
« on: September 20, 2016, 04:57:41 AM »
Perhaps the stones could grant not a combat bonus but rather some sort of defence bonus? That way the player going for rot won´t get curbstomped but at least the spiritwalker can repel someone attacking them for easy health. Or perhaps the person being defeated by the stone bonus will gain additional rot, ultimately helping him or her get closer to a rot victory? This does not make much sense from a storyline point of view and may make rot victory too easy for two players co-operating, but it is a thought.

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Okay I have read a little more and want to give some thoughts on the suggested powers. I think I like Bardolf and Ayla´s the best. Bardolf´s is simple but useful while still being different from scout (just as palisade wall is similiar to Elyssas power but not exactly the same). Having extra means to heal yourself is nice and promotes taking extra risks.

Akane is a really good idea in theory but extremely random due to there only being a single card that makes a settlement terrorised. Ella´s power seems a little...dull, for a lack of a better word.

But mostly I am really impressed with your work here.  :)

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Introduce Yourself! / Re: Just arrived? Say Hi! Introduce yourself!
« on: September 11, 2016, 06:40:22 AM »
Hello, Butter and Faeminx!

@Faeminx
Very cool, crafting is nice. Will you post anything on here? I am currently lodging at a lady who has pretty much the same background as you (up to and including being a furry).

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Introduce Yourself! / Re: Hello There!
« on: September 09, 2016, 06:11:47 PM »
Welcome!

I play Mercurio a lot as well, but my heart will always be with the rabbit clan (Barnaby expecially).

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Hi!
I just did a quick glance and while the characters seem pretty nice (and I  haven´t seriously considered yet how their powers may affect gameplay) a potential balancing problem I foresee is that for all the other heroes the stats for fight, with, spirit and health always adds up to 16. For your characters it goes up to 17 and sometimes even 18, making them seem overpowered.

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Build Notes / Re: Hotfix v1.4.2 [Steam PC/Mac/Linux] (Patch 2)
« on: September 08, 2016, 05:45:04 PM »
Sargon’s hero power still may have some weirdness, we couldn’t reproduce all bugs we received.

Of course the hero who perceives things man was not meant to know causes the most bugs. Nice fixes (I have run into the palisade one myself, pun entirely intended)!

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The War Room / Re: Elyssia strategy
« on: September 07, 2016, 07:47:05 PM »
Elyssia is a real "Magikarp" sort of character. Weak at the beginning and strong late game. She is also the only character with some sort of synergy with coin master. Her main problem is her attack. It is pretty much a prestige victory or not when playing as her (you probably won´t get a spirit stone victory since you won´t finish your quests/more around the map gathering them).

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Feedback & Suggestions / Re: [Suggestion] Divine intervention
« on: September 07, 2016, 07:28:10 PM »
lel git gud

Nah, I´m just kidding I totally get where you are coming from.  The danger with such a system is that the leading player may feel it unfair that the loser get "rubberbanded" back into play like that. Personally, I would like to see more king´s declaration that benefits the player in the back (with an alternative that is bad for the prestige leader). 

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Introduce Yourself! / Re: Greetings people of Armello, I am Tekron!
« on: September 06, 2016, 08:03:40 PM »
Welcome!

Very cool, I play Smite myself (although unfortunately not Bakasura).

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The War Room / Re: Help with Ghor?
« on: September 06, 2016, 05:12:01 AM »
I have found that a rot victory is actually rather easy to get with Ghor, but yeah, you should definately choose wits over the spoil amulet in that case.

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Off-Topic / Re: Fur vs Scale
« on: September 06, 2016, 05:06:40 AM »
Well I think this game is a stunning achievement, failed kickstarter or not. ;)

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Feedback & Suggestions / Re: Mercurio power useless?
« on: September 06, 2016, 05:02:49 AM »
I think it is far from useless. It may not be overly powerful and a use every turn deal like Ghor or Rivers powers but it rather like Amber it is a skill which seems rather plain but has some utility that can potentially get that game-winning card or gold coin.

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Introduce Yourself! / Re: Hello everyone
« on: September 06, 2016, 04:47:44 AM »
Hello and welcome!

I think everybody has a story like that, heh :P

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