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What makes a good plot?

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VoidForce
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What makes a good plot? Jan. 13th, 2013 @ 10:26 AM Reply

Something that I've been thinking of a lot lately is what elements make up a good game plot? How large of scope does a story need to have? What should the characters be like? Things like that. It also comes down to genre a lot whether that be traditional fantasy, sci-fi, western, etc.

So what do you guys think makes a good plot?

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Response to What makes a good plot? Jan. 13th, 2013 @ 10:33 AM Reply

Interesting characters that you want to root for or you want to die in a fiery explosion. A classic tale such as good versus evil with it's on twist on the classic. When it comes to Western's you need at least 1 Mexican standoff. In Sci-Fi you need an alien terror of some kind (or anything alien related, like weaponry, technology, language, alien enemies, alien heroes,). Also the main characters need a good backstory.


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Response to What makes a good plot? Jan. 13th, 2013 @ 10:53 AM Reply

Good backstory
Interesting plot twists
Setting
Characters
Atmosphere


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Auz
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Response to What makes a good plot? Jan. 13th, 2013 @ 01:54 PM Reply

I think it's hard to really define what a good plot is and what it should contain, but things like shallowness, unoriginality, predictability and the overuse of clichés can kill a plot if you ask me. Not having any likeable characters is something that certainly doesn't help either.

At 1/13/13 10:33 AM, J-Rex wrote: A classic tale such as good versus evil with it's on twist on the classic.

That's exactly the kind of thing I'd rather not see because of how overdone it is. Just like side-romance stories between the hero and the obvious love interest.


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unconsidered
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Response to What makes a good plot? Jan. 13th, 2013 @ 03:09 PM Reply

An underlining explanation of why the main characters are doing what they are doing. It could be dramatic so that you feel emotion for the characters like a RPG, it could be minimal like a FPS. But it needs to have strong emphasis on what the character is doing as being justifiable.

But I could be wrong.

VoidForce
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Response to What makes a good plot? Jan. 13th, 2013 @ 03:15 PM Reply

I'd agree that overuse of cliches can be quite irritating in games but without a few cliches here and there the story could turn out to be quite boring. It's like Auron in FFX, he was the trademark man of few words badass and he really made the game what it was. In Mario games there's the typical variations of levels: plains, castles, underground, desert and underwater but they make the levels a lot more interesting.

Although games which adhere to pretty much every cliche in the book like teen protagonist who sleeps the day away, recover the crystals, bad guy wants to destroy the world and such can be very tedious. It's usually a case of "I've seen it all before!" and usually it was much better that time before.

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Response to What makes a good plot? Jan. 13th, 2013 @ 11:48 PM Reply

Interesting or creative plots. For instance, Dycedarg in Final Fantasy Tactics has ties with the Church of Glabados, the Order of the Southern Sky, and even hires Gustav from the Corpse Brigade to kidnap Marquis Elmdore, on top of officially being in the Order of the Northern Sky. He's got his fingers in all kinds of pies... And he's the main character's BROTHER.

Interesting plot devices or 'rules' are always cool, too. I'm not a huge FFVII fan, but I really liked the whole collectivist idea of the Lifestream and Mako.

Interesting political schemes, like all of the double agents in the Metal Gear Solid series, which not only show the diplomacy between countries but also the effect it has on the individuals themselves.

Inner struggles in the playable characters, like having to fight good-intentioned people. Anything that makes a player's competence in a game suffer because they're questioning their own motives. That really takes advantage of the whole interactivity that games have in storytelling.

General magnitude, like all of the different characters and history behind Silent Hill, or universes that are just generally big and have a lot in them.

Interesting monologues on society, ethics, politics, religion, or reality, especially when delivered from villains who don't have to obey any set of rules and therefore speak without inhibition.

Accurately showing what characters go through in the story without being overly brooding. When a character's stats or abilities are tampered with as a result of emotional changes, the effect is amplified. For instance, buggy controls when you have low sanity in Amnesia.

Antagonists that are doing the wrong thing for the right reasons, or vice versa. Examples include Delita, who manipulates everyone around him in order to build up a kingdom for his lover, whom he ultimately manipulates and murders as well, or anyone else whose motives are a topic of debate.


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Jin
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Response to What makes a good plot? Jan. 14th, 2013 @ 12:55 AM Reply

You are a soldier. Your mission is to stop a terrorist invasion/nuclear attack/criminal mastermind.
Your tools consist of UAV, air-strike/artillery, night vision, infrared sensor, high range comms.

During your adventures you'll:
- mount a chain gun on a helicopter
- jump from the exploding helicopter
- snipe a key antagonist
- download mission critical intelligence
- plant c4 on radio towers


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Chdonga
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Response to What makes a good plot? Jan. 14th, 2013 @ 01:45 AM Reply

Consistency.

Too many developers try to gain too broad of an audience and toss in characters or scenarios just to appeal to irrelevant demographics. It ruins potentially good games.
If you're going to make a dark and edgy game, you shouldn't toss in goofy childish elements to it too.


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Dr-Worm
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Response to What makes a good plot? Jan. 14th, 2013 @ 05:40 AM Reply

Most games have shitty stories because they're trying to shoehorn a cinematic narrative into a video game framing, instead of actually using the tools available to video games to tell a unique story that couldn't exist in any other medium. Games are not movies, and game stories that try to develop characters or move the plot along through traditional cinematic methods are doomed to be undercooked or incongruous. Games like Heavy Rain are pointless; it's a game that desperately tries to be a movie and as a result isn't very good at being either. Even though that's an extreme example, I still feel like the prevailing trend in games right now is towards more cinematic and less interactive stories (what with quick time events and linear set pieces and on-rails sequences and whatnot). But despite all that, developers do it anyway, mostly because it's easy. The storytelling techniques of movies are already well established, so developers can use them as a crutch when they don't know how else to convey something.

Video games, on the other hand, don't have much in the way of a unified narrative language (outside of purely functional things like health bars and text boxes), so telling a story through interactivity is more difficult since the developer is basically making everything up as they go along, but at least in my opinion it ends up being much more rewarding because you end up with a story that could only be told as a video game.

You can see bits and pieces of this approach all over the place in games, not coincidentally often in the moments that people like to cite as the best story events in gaming: the incineration of the Companion Cube, the trial in Chrono Trigger, the confrontation with The Boss in MGS 3, the final fights of the Mother games, etc., plus the rare instances where a game conveys virtually all of its story this way, like Another World, Ico, Shadow of the Colossus, or Braid.

As far as I'm concerned these are some of the best stories in games because they could only be games. The relationship between Ico and Yorda (and between Wander and Agro) is established and developed entirely through game mechanics. Braid reaches its climax by subverting the most basic narrative conceits in games that have been around since Super Mario Bros. Chrono Trigger doesn't just tell the player that everyone is sad when Crono is gone, the linear forward momentum of the game actually falls apart.

Things like well-written characters and good aesthetic choices are obviously also really important for a good game story, but the only way to tell a good video game story and not just a story in a video game is to treat interactivity as the game's most important narrative tool, instead of an afterthought.


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Mismo
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Response to What makes a good plot? Jan. 14th, 2013 @ 05:59 AM Reply

. Good characters
. A clear purpose of the story
. No unnecessary plot twist (because those are just dumb)
. Good pacing, like no unnecessary side tracking that brings the story to a halt and makes you loose interest.
. Clear character development. Like a good character is not the same as he/she was in the beginning, for better or worse.


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VoidForce
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Response to What makes a good plot? Jan. 14th, 2013 @ 10:18 PM Reply

At 1/14/13 05:59 AM, Mismo wrote: . Good characters
. A clear purpose of the story
. No unnecessary plot twist (because those are just dumb)
. Good pacing, like no unnecessary side tracking that brings the story to a halt and makes you loose interest.
. Clear character development. Like a good character is not the same as he/she was in the beginning, for better or worse.

The unnecessary plot twist thing gets me big time. One of my favourite games of all time has that stuck right in the middle and it seems so forced in that it makes a big dent in how much I enjoy the story.

littlegonkyboy
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Response to What makes a good plot? Jan. 15th, 2013 @ 04:08 PM Reply

boop... what is plot?

What makes a good plot?


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Dr-Worm
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Response to What makes a good plot? Jan. 17th, 2013 @ 11:56 PM Reply

At 1/14/13 05:59 AM, Mismo wrote: . Good pacing, like no unnecessary side tracking that brings the story to a halt and makes you loose interest.

Yeah, this is why, even though the game is constantly (and in many ways rightly) lauded for its story, I don't really like a lot of the storytelling in Half-Life 2. So much totally arbitrary shit happens to make Freeman take a roundabout path to his goals so the player can go where the game wants them to go.


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Bobbybroccoli
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Response to What makes a good plot? Jan. 18th, 2013 @ 12:22 AM Reply

I like lots of characters, I love mostly how many relationships each character has with another character, where two could be best friends with one character, but hate each other.

That, or a small but ridiculously deep cast of stereotypes that become fleshed out characters, as well as a sense of danger throughout.

The latter paragraph refers to 999.
UltraHammer
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Response to What makes a good plot? Jan. 18th, 2013 @ 02:45 AM Reply

Step 1: Decide what the game is going to be about and what kind of story it will have
Step 2: Lots of effort

Halberd
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Response to What makes a good plot? Jan. 18th, 2013 @ 08:28 AM Reply

At 1/14/13 12:55 AM, Jin wrote: You are a soldier. Your mission is to stop a terrorist invasion/nuclear attack/criminal mastermind.
Your tools consist of UAV, air-strike/artillery, night vision, infrared sensor, high range comms.
During your adventures you'll:

but does it come with quick time events and dubstep music?