Creatively writing Game Story Lines
You remember reading DarkDread's series, right? The first tutorial was about a story, mostly what not to do. Here is a little piece to tell you what to do. Forget every game you have ever played. Why do Mario and Zelda survive on a simple story? In Zelda, look at all the side-plots, like saving the Gorons, Zoras, etc. You get it! Use your imagination (if you still have one) and come up with a great story. Here's how I would start.
Jyla heard a rumbling, shaking his very home, deep in the night. As he woke up, he slipped a simple tunic on and ran outside. The village of Yehan's worst nightmare has been realized. The massive snow buildup started falling from the top of Mt. Yehan, coming straight for them. Yehan's residential area was directly in the path of the snow, ready to get slammed. Soon others start coming out of their homes, realizing doom was near and embracing for the worst. They had no plan, for they were all in denial that this would ever occur.
Jyla knew he couldn't stand there, allowing his doom to arrive. Yet he knew he couldn't stop the snow. It was like an arrow: you can't stop it, and you know it's coming. So what do you do? You try dodging it. He couldn't hide anywhere, he would just get trapped in. He quickly sprinted inside, grabbed his knapsack. Knifes, rations, and a jacket was able to be located but he was too stressed in time to get anything else. He had to leave soon. Now.
No one could be taken with him, it would slow him down. Most people were just started to realize the peril they were in. Some were in denial. Others we praying to their God's, begging for forgiveness. As he started his way out of town, he noticed many fields of corn. Their city rained often, for it was in the path of rain shadows due to the mountain...
Now is the where the multi-linear part would go. You have a great story, with cause and effect, environment, multiple reactions, and a believable (or not too far-fetched) story. The played can now do many things, like stock up on food, see what others are doing, make peace with his God, or get the hell out of there! Obviously there would be more than one option for where to go. You could try to go around the mountain, go up and around the mountain, try to block it, or outrun it... a million things could happen. The limits are what you are willing to do.
Hopefully this has given you an idea of what you can do to create a story other than “The evil wizard stole the princess!Armed with only your sword and shield, you have to train until you are able to save her!” Some important points:
Large area to explore. Hence the explore, not look at a map
A map that records as you have been there
Graphics don't mean everything!
Story makes or breaks a game
Music that relates to the atmosphere, feelings, and actions can be captivate
Don't tell the story, show the story!
Cut scenes should be frequent, illustrative, not hard to make, and to the point. Ever played Grand Theft Auto? Perfect example of illustrative, but way too long cut scenes. They can be simple!
Thanks for reading my article on creative story lines, and I hope it gave you ideas and a new perspective on how you should go about developing game story lines. Remember, your story should take more work than your engine!