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Question: What do you think of the proposed story arc?
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Author Topic: Main Story Arc Idea: "Odin's Six"  (Read 12095 times)
Koobie
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« on: March 02, 2010, 03:51:55 PM »

Hi guys. Here's my proposal for the main story arc.

I know that a lot of work had been put into fleshing out potential storylines and details, but I've decided to take the only one thing that, at least to me, seems to be more or less set in stone (takes place in alt-history Scandinavia some time after a world-wide nuclear exchange) and just run with it.

I think the main point of any game is ultimately to be fun to play, so I've written a story that I think I'd enjoy playing through. It's also little bit more SF than the one on the Wiki, but it's alt-history, so hey.

Also, my feeling is that good RPGs are character-driven RPGs (especially if concerns the Player Character's history, like in PT:T), so I've taken the risk of making the cliche move of giving the PC amnesia. Smiley

Please note that what you'll read below is simply the proposed BACKBONE of the story. I didn't think it's a good idea to start working on all possible locations, quests, or characters just yet. I've only introduced the "main" plot locations with brief descriptions for each.

Consecutively, the actual writing is quite bland - I didn't write it in form of an enjoyable story (although this is what I'd like to see it become), just in the form of an idea proposal. Please vote and let me know what you think!


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MAIN STORY ARC

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Intro - Part 1 - Part 2 - Part 3 - Endgame

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Player: The person actually playing the game
PC: Player Character
NPC: Non-Player-Character

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Intro

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KEY LOCATION: Mercenary Camp
DESCRIPTION: Travel tents, worn-down trailers and other old vehicles in the area. Sandbags around the perimeter. The camp has been set-up in such a way so that it could be re-located on very short notice.

----

The PC starts in a mercenary camp. There are 6 NPCs (the mercs) here, one of them their leader. They will all play a bigger role later in the game.

This is the intro section: the NPCs give location-specific quests, and the Player can learn more about both the game mechanics and his merc buddies. Through dialogue, it is revealed that the PC has no memories of himself or of anything else prior to these mercs finding him lying naked in the snow in the middle of nowhere a month ago.

The PC was found in very good physical condition, and it seemed very surprising that he survived the cold for such a long time. The PC has the number "5" tattooed on the back of his (or her) neck. The PC had been with these mercs since, hoping that with their help he/she can get a chance to learn about his past.

After a few quests, the merc leader says that a big job came up in Odense, the closest to as big city as possible under the circumstances. The mayor "governing" the city needs them to find out the source of the recent surprisingly well-organized attacks on the city. 

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Part 1

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KEY LOCATION: Odense
DESCRIPTION: A post-apocalyptic industrial (or, at least, used to be industrial) city divided into four district, each district ruled by a different individual. There's also a mayor, but the mayor answers to these four people.

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The Mercenary Camp is moved to the outskirts of the city.

Here the PC gets quest from the merc leader to find out the source of the attacks. There's someone in the city helping these attackers who had succesffully raided parts of the city, PC's goal is to find out who. Eventually, after interacting with a bunch of various different NPCs and completing a number of quests, some of which would have the Player learn about the "darker" sides of the city, and some of which would require the PC to travel to other locations on the map, the Player ends this particular part of the main quest line back in Odense.

Player finds out that most of these attackers were from Phoenix Alpha, a CryoPrison-turned-city after the cryo facilities stopped functioning and released all prisoners in an auto-emergency-shutdown procedure. Player also finds out that the leader of the attackers is referred to as "Six" and has the number "6" tattooed on the back of his neck.

The camp stays near Odense to investigate a different lead, but PC travels to Phoenix Alpha.

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Part 2

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KEY LOCATION: Phoenix Alpha
DESCRIPTION: A CryoPrison facility-turned-city, populated by ex-cons and other unpleasant ladies and gentlemen, and is controlled by a very ruthless (yet, relatively fair) man. Trades with Odense and surrounding cities.

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Like in Part 1, the PC has a number of NPCs to interact with here and has a number of quests to complete, some necessary to move the main story along, and some completely optional. Eventually the PC finds out that the man known as "Six" had come here a couple of years ago and managed to get 50 to 60 ex-cons to follow him out. By the best accounts, Six had been speaking about bringing order to whatever's left of the country in the absence of a working government.

The PC then gets access to a pre-war working prison computer that lists important facilities in the area, one of them practically where the mercenaries discovered the naked PC. The Player also finds out that this was where Six had headed with his newly recruited men.

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KEY LOCATION: Compound 77
DESCRIPTION: An underground military research-and-development facility that, amongst other things, used to hold a big armory. Everything here had been badly raided, very little remains.

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What remains of the facility is "controlled" by an unruly, crazed AI that claims to "rememember" the PC.

On the last level of the facility, after the PC succesfully shuts the AI's defenses down with the help of a companion that he recruits in Phoenix Alpha, he gets access to the cloning lab. He finds out that there were six clones, but only two (5 - himself, and 6) had lived. 6's "pod" had opened two years ago. The PC (5) starts remembering how he crawled out of the facility. The fact that he's a clone explains his "above-average" skills and abilities.

He also finds out from the AI that two years ago, Six had raided the facility for weapons, and that the Merc. Leader from the first part of the game was among his Phoenix Alpha recruits.

The PC is advised to return to the merc leader back in Odense to continue the main story.

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Part 3

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KEY LOCATION: Odense
DESCRIPTION: Odense had been conquered, and is now under Six's control. City graphics change to portait the city as if after two infantry battalions had a shootout. NPCs change as well. All the PC's mercenary friends had been captured, and there's no sign of the mercenary leader.

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Through completing quests and interacting with NPCs back from Part 1 and new NPCs, the PC manages to free his mercenary allies. They explain to him that Six had taken control of the city with his goons and had made the Odense Palace (previously owned by the mayor) as their HQ. The PC then has to persuade each 4 of the district leaders to support an attack on Six (as opposed to playing it safe). When this is done, a big fight between Odense's more-or-less armed people and Six's men ensues.

The PC sneaks into the palace to confront Six.

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Endgame

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KEY LOCATION: Odense Palace
DESCRIPTION: Had been transformed to a para-military HQ, with Six planning to continue his operation from here.

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The PC confronts his/her brother Six. The Mercenary Leader is held here by Six. He had deserted Six soon after the raid on Compound 77, but the fact that he knew both about the facility and Six explains the Mercenary Leader's special treatment of the PC in the beginning of the game - the Merc Leader had known that 5 is a clone, just as able and formidable as 6, and was planning on using him for one purpose or another. The PC can either fight it out, persuade Six to abandon his plans of taking control over current population centres and then unifying them under one rule, or join him in his cause after proving his/her resolve and ability to "see the bigger picture" by killing Mercenary Leader.
« Last Edit: March 02, 2010, 07:32:30 PM by Koobie » Logged
zenbitz
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« Reply #1 on: March 03, 2010, 02:49:40 AM »

Well, I am not going to vote... but one of the major "working" pretenses is that the war took place in the "real" late 80s early 90s... so no cloning or cryo prisons, or crazy AIs.  Think much lower tech.  Also, I am personally wedded to the idea of the game taking place only ~20 years or so from the end of the war, so that we can have a realistic "mix" of pre-war survivors and post-war "new bloods"... I just think this is one of the cool parts of post-apoc scenarios.

But still, the story is coherent and sane, so let's try to work with it.

I am personally interested in trying to create a story where there are MULTIPLE player origins... for some reason it chafes me when I get railroaded with the amnesiac at the beginning of the game (to be fair... this worked great in PS:T because THE WHOLE POINT OF THE GAME is that you are amnesiac).

So, summary:
Player meets merc band and joins them (Why? - putting aside for now his "memory loss"  What if he's not the mercenary type? -- either in personality or skill set)
Merc band gets hired to defend "city" Odense?
Merc leader asks PC (& friends?) to investigate source of attacks (WHY him?  What is the rest of the band doing?  Garrison duty?)
PC does adventurer stuff in town, and discovers source of attacks as city-based-on-prison
PC (plus mercs?) go investigate prison-city (I guess because they are too tough to fight?)
PC sneaks around and finds about about secret base
PC investigates secret base, finds secret plot stuff about how PC, Merc Leader, and Bandit Leader are all "related"
while he is doing this, Prison-City army conquers Odense, but leaves major city factions (district leaders) in charge?  Whom did they defeat then?  Sorry, this part is a little incoherent.  Why was the mercenary band captured ?  Were they betrayed somehow?  What if the PC decides NOT to investigate the secret base?  Or doesn't  find the hint?  Do the "bad guys" still attack and win?
Then there is a big confrontation between the three relatives and PC can pick sides.

Still, there is some potential here if you are really interested and are willing to drop the whole clone/brother nonsense.








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Koobie
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« Reply #2 on: March 03, 2010, 12:59:06 PM »

Hi zenbitz, thanks for giving this a look!

To be honest, posting this felt a little awkard for me because I couldn't help the feeling as if I was visiting someone else's flat and then proposing they change their furniture to suit my own taste. Sorry for the long-winded metaphor, but I think you know what I mean. Smiley

Now, again, I've just decided to write out something that I personally would enjoy seeing in a game - clones, cryprisons-turned-cities, etc. The "20 year after" technically remains in my version as well, I've just put a bit more spin the initial alt. history concept.

I'd like to elaborate a little bit on the whole clone/amnesia issue. While it may not look like it from the main plot line I've proposed, the general concept was/is to make the player more interested and engaged in the Player Character's fate - the first half of the game, the motivation is finding out more about the PC's past (given by the game in tiny bits until the big revelation towards the end of Part 2). Then, it's the motivation to find out what -exactly- is going on, and the desire to confront the only remaining clone (nemesis). I felt that it would create for a more emotional impact to make the main "bad guy" the player's brother. I wanted the PC to have some secret history that the Player unravels as they play the game.

I didn't go for the multiple origin stories because I thought that it would make the game a little less tight from the point of story/emotional impact, and would require a LOT of work to see through to the end, even for a mega-pro company (like, say, Bioware).

But obviously, our visions differ, and I don't want you guys to think that I just came in the door to try to push my vision over the vision of the people who are running the project.

Now I'll try to address the questions you've posed about the story, so please let me know if you feel like I've missed something.

Quote from: zenbitz
Player meets merc band and joins them (Why? - putting aside for now his "memory loss"  What if he's not the mercenary type? -- either in personality or skill set)

The PC had been picked up naked in the snow and nurtured back to life by the mercs, mostly because the merc leader had realised the PC's almost superhuman potential - the fact that Merc Leader knows about 6 and Compound 77 is only revealed towards the end.

Quote from: zenbitz
Merc leader asks PC (& friends?) to investigate source of attacks (WHY him?  What is the rest of the band doing?  Garrison duty?)

Sorry if it wasn't clear - the entire merc "band" gets the mission. PC's just a part of it, and gets the assignment to find the "rat" in the city.

Quote from: zenbitz
PC (plus mercs?) go investigate prison-city (I guess because they are too tough to fight?)

Again, sorry if it wasn't very clear in the OP. The other mercs are on some different lead back in Odense, PC's first motivation to go to prison city is to learn about the man with a similar tattoo as his, with the "Save Odense" mission only as a close second.

Quote from: zenbitz
Prison-City army conquers Odense, but leaves major city factions (district leaders) in charge?  Whom did they defeat then?  Sorry, this part is a little incoherent.

Thanks, I see how it can look a bit confusing. The idea behind this was that the district leaders sort of negotiated  with 6 to avoid bloodshed and let 6 take the mayor's position (in a way). Player's main mission in Part 3 is to make them turn on 6.

Quote from: zenbitz
Why was the mercenary band captured ?  Were they betrayed somehow?  What if the PC decides NOT to investigate the secret base?

They were overrun. There was only 5 or 6 of them. In Intro and Part 1, they weren't hired to DEFEND the city per se, but to investigate where the attacks were coming from so that the mayor and district leaders could take appropriate action.

Quote from: zenbitz
Or doesn't  find the hint?  Do the "bad guys" still attack and win?

Then the player can take side-quests, but nothing would really happen to the main plot line (so, no attack happens), in my understanding. Same as if in FO you wouldn't go around finding out about the Master's layer, you would still be able to play - you just wouldn't be making progress on the main story line.

Quote from: zenbitz
Then there is a big confrontation between the three relatives and PC can pick sides.

Two "relatives" (5 and 6), actually, but yeah, that's the gist of it.

Quote from: zenbitz
Still, there is some potential here if you are really interested and are willing to drop the whole clone/brother nonsense.

I've given my justification for using the clone/brother device in the first part of my post, but if you and everyone else thinks that it's a bad idea, than definitely it can be dropped, and perhaps I'll try to come with a different main storyline proposal which would fit the current "big ideas" about where you guys want PARPG to go a little bit more, while still trying to make it something that I would find exciting to play.

Though I'd really like to see more opinions on what people think about this one. Smiley
« Last Edit: March 04, 2010, 12:45:57 AM by Koobie » Logged
Koobie
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« Reply #3 on: March 08, 2010, 10:38:40 AM »

I'm kind of dissapointed by the lack of feedback. I mean, even negative feedback is better than no feedback at all. Don't worry to offend - I've read my lot of crits and rejection letters over the years, so I'm used to taking criticism constructively rather than personally. Smiley
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mvBarracuda
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« Reply #4 on: March 08, 2010, 10:52:00 AM »

I don't want to sound too discouraging but zenbitz is pretty much the only active writer on the project so the lack of feedback is not that surprising but still disappointing for you of course.

This said: the project is in a quite tricky stage at this point and it's not really certain how PARPG development will continue. I'll elaborate on it in a blog update that I'll try post tomorrow.
« Last Edit: March 08, 2010, 10:55:11 AM by mvBarracuda » Logged
Koobie
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« Reply #5 on: March 08, 2010, 11:46:56 AM »

Thanks for the getting back to me, mvBarracuda.

Yes, I've gathered as much from a couple of recent threads. For me it seems that you guys already done so much work over the years (I think since 2006?) on this project that it's just bound to work out one way or another.

To give some background to my motivation, I am planning on getting more SF stories published and then I want to apply for a quest/dialogue writer opening at Bioware (to be rejected, I'm quite sure, but it's worth a try), and I realized that having a project such as this on my CV first would be a step in the right direction.

So I'm rather interested in contributing to the writing department as much as I can. Smiley

I'll be waiting for your update tomorrow. Cheers!
« Last Edit: March 08, 2010, 11:49:54 AM by Koobie » Logged
mvBarracuda
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« Reply #6 on: March 08, 2010, 11:52:05 AM »

Thanks for the getting back to me, mvBarracuda.

Yes, I've gathered as much from a couple of recent threads. For me it seems that you guys already done so much work over the years (I think since 2006?) on this project that it's just bound to work out one way or another.
Work on PARPG has started in late January 2009. You prolly mean FIFE which started in autumn 2005 and is our engine of choice.

To give some background to my motivation, I am planning on getting more SF stories published and then I want to apply for a quest/dialogue writer opening at Bioware (to be rejected, I'm quite sure, but it's worth a try), and I realized that having a project such as this on my CV first would be a step in the right direction.

So I'm rather interested in contributing to the writing department as much as I can. Smiley

I'll be waiting for your update tomorrow. Cheers!
Fair enough :-)
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zenbitz
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« Reply #7 on: March 10, 2010, 01:47:13 AM »


Now, again, I've just decided to write out something that I personally would enjoy seeing in a game - clones, cryprisons-turned-cities, etc. The "20 year after" technically remains in my version as well, I've just put a bit more spin the initial alt. history concept.

There's no problem... but since I am the most invested in the game, I am the guy you have to convince. <grin>... and it's clear that our (your and mine) visions for the game ... differ...

I am really intersted in putting together a game that trancends it's quests -- or at least it's main plot line.  Let's take two examples: Fallout, and PST.  Hey awesome games!  If you don't like them, you are probably working on the wrong project.   But in Fallout - the main quest (waterchip/master) was well... kind of pathetic.  It was hackneyd and dumb, really.  But the game was great <i>regardless</i> of the main quest.    PST, on the other hand is how you say - character driven.  I loved PST ( and I was playing it up until last week) ... until the end.  Where upon you are just railroaded into a series of meaningless combats in order to get the final plot exposition (oh... I was fighting MYSELF this whole time...)..  I think creating a game like PST is incredibly hard... but since you are an author maybe you can do it.

Quote
I'd like to elaborate a little bit on the whole clone/amnesia issue. While it may not look like it from the main plot line I've proposed, the general concept was/is to make the player more interested and engaged in the Player Character's fate - the first half of the game, the motivation is finding out more about the PC's past (given by the game in tiny bits until the big revelation towards the end of Part 2). Then, it's the motivation to find out what -exactly- is going on, and the desire to confront the only remaining clone (nemesis). I felt that it would create for a more emotional impact to make the main "bad guy" the player's brother. I wanted the PC to have some secret history that the Player unravels as they play the game.

This is basically exactly the plot of PST.  Do you really think you can do a better job? 

Quote
I didn't go for the multiple origin stories because I thought that it would make the game a little less tight from the point of story/emotional impact, and would require a LOT of work to see through to the end, even for a mega-pro company (like, say, Bioware)
.

Have you thought of making it a character study that doesn't depend on the origin of the character?  Basically - in what you outlined, you are "solving a mystery" --- the mystery of yourself.   So make it a different mystery (since as I say above, PST already did that one pretty damn well).   I don't really want (in my game) the detailed origin of the PC to be that important... I just want to be able to VARY it so that making different character builds (which to me, is a cool and important part of RPG genre) makes some amount of sense.  Hence my question on "why would you join the mercenaries?"

But obviously, our visions differ, and I don't want you guys to think that I just came in the door to try to push my vision over the vision of the people who are running the project.

Quote
They were overrun. There was only 5 or 6 of them. In Intro and Part 1, they weren't hired to DEFEND the city per se, but to investigate where the attacks were coming from so that the mayor and district leaders could take appropriate action.

Oh.  5 or 6 people doesn't make a "mercenary band" to me... actually seems basically like a "group of adventurers".
What if you keep your story (minus obvious Sci-fi elements which don't fit the setting as outlined) and apply it to an NPC?
So the PC has the option of "participating" in the NPCs story... and learning about his past however... but isn't constrained to being railroaded into a main quest.

Am I making sense?  What I am saying is that I like the elements and plot of your story - but I don't like the details (clones, AIs) and I don't like ramming the PC into this story (seems too close to PST).  I give you huge bonus points for not saving the world though.

So (my version) the PC has some generic origin and has some adventures... at some point in the game, he finds a guy in the snow...  PC (being helpful type) helps the naked dude out and then end up having to shelter out a storm with a "team" of mercenaries... presto, plot hook.  (note that in MY version, maybe he just ignores the naked dude... or fights the mercenaries...  and these events are telling in what happens in the main locations (there is still a battle?)  Who wins? 


Quote
Quote from: zenbitz
Then there is a big confrontation between the three relatives and PC can pick sides.

Two "relatives" (5 and 6), actually, but yeah, that's the gist of it.

I was specifically generalizing that the merc leader was a "relative" -- not literally, but he's a "close friend with inside information regarding the plot"

And as mv_barracuda allluded... there isn't really a community to convince at this point.  Which is both good and bad for your story!  It's bad, because you have to convince ME.  It's good because,  if you WRITE the story and plug the game engine into it... then you might "win" by default...

(Of course... there being the minor issue of a full fledged RPG engine not being finished yet...)
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Koobie
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« Reply #8 on: March 10, 2010, 03:18:36 AM »

Quote from: zenbitz
Have you thought of making it a character study that doesn't depend on the origin of the character?  Basically - in what you outlined, you are "solving a mystery" --- the mystery of yourself.   So make it a different mystery (since as I say above, PST already did that one pretty damn well). 

As did BG / BG2. Smiley

Anyhow, I'm not really interested in arguing with you. I'm interested in writing for a game project. Like I've mentioned elsewhere on the forums, I'll post an alternative story proposal as soon as I get the time, hopefully by the end of the week. Cheers.
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egalor
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« Reply #9 on: May 12, 2010, 07:26:45 AM »

Dammit, it's so painful to re-read these writing efforts knowing it seems to turn into vapourware now.

And, let's be a bit more forgiving and tolerant to each other's ideas, that wouldn't hurt too much.
« Last Edit: May 12, 2010, 10:00:40 AM by egalor » Logged
Dude101
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« Reply #10 on: May 15, 2010, 11:45:23 PM »

You guys really need to pick a plot, and someone needs to make the calls.  I love how you guys are being so democratic, but you need a dictator to get the ball rolling, then you can have committee votes on which way to role it after.

I spoke to a couple of writers recently, and they where scared off of the project as it is up in the air story wise right now.  I considered this project as well, but the lack of direction put me off as well.  That was months ago now, and I don't have the time I could have given any more.

Someone needs to be the bad guy for a few weeks (Zenbits?), and now is the perfect time given the lack of movement.
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zenbitz
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« Reply #11 on: June 10, 2010, 12:35:07 AM »

I was the bad guy.  Maybe too bad, as none of the prospective writers could take an constructive criticism.  Nor did anyone step up and write dialog (I did all that).  Nor did anyone step up and write background (I did a little of that).
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« Reply #12 on: June 28, 2010, 09:39:14 PM »

I was the bad guy.  Maybe too bad, as none of the prospective writers could take an constructive criticism.  Nor did anyone step up and write dialog (I did all that).  Nor did anyone step up and write background (I did a little of that).

Point 1 - I certainly hope I didn't come out as not being able to take constructive criticism. It's just that our ideas on what constitutes a solid story in video games are cardinally different.

Point 2 - I didn't see any requests for dialog, only for the main story arc. Likewise, the main "backstory" of the game is already set (post-apoc nuclear winter Scandinavia).

Point 3 - I did write 1 full story arc version and started working on another one when we've established that the more or less set-in-stone vision for the game does not include a main story with a beginning (intro), middle (conflict) and end (resolution) per se. The first is available in full in this thread, and I believe I've posted the first parts of the second one somewhere here as well.

I have only one semi-pro (as in, actually got payed $ for) publication so far, but please trust me on the fact that I know what I'm talking about when I'm talking about story arcs.

Btw, you can find my published fiction here:

http://maxsalnikov.com/fiction/

And non-fiction (video games reviews) here:

http://maxsalnikov.com/non-fiction/

You guys have a good thing going on here, but I think the biggest problem is that it's a bit too much of a group effort. You should dedicate someone to be the lead writer (zenbitz, for example), and then that person should deliver -- delegating parts to others, if necessary (some dialog or whatnot). But yeah, anyway, good luck with the project. Hope you guys can get it back on its feet.
« Last Edit: July 01, 2010, 02:43:26 PM by Koobie » Logged
Koobie
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« Reply #13 on: February 27, 2012, 07:42:10 PM »

Yo. Koobie here. Please ignore my previous post, I was young and full of hubris.

How's the writing thing going?

ANYWAY, just re-registered because I figured I have a pretty good story there and wanted to ask you guys if you'll be fine with me writing an actual short story of about 5,000 - 7,000 words using the outline I've posted in Post 1.

TBH, I don't think I'm legally obliged to ask for your permission as the ONLY thing my story will share with what you have so far in your project is the setting (post apocalyptic nuclear winter Scandinavia, and I don't think you can really copyright that), but I thought it would be the right thing to ask first...

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« Reply #14 on: February 28, 2012, 09:59:18 AM »

You can do anything with your story - it's yours. The setting alone is not a part of the project from the licensing point of view, but some parts of it (like names) may be. If you're afraid of being sued for using your own outline - if you're the copyright holder, the only way you could be sued is by yourself.

Writing is not going forward at all, there are like three of us doing anything on a regular basis here.

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