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[Tutorial] Wolfenstein Add-on Projects: Telling Your Tale
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PostPosted: Thu Aug 12, 2004 4:14 am
   Subject: [Tutorial] Wolfenstein Add-on Projects: Telling Your Tale
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A Wolfenstein add-on may be easier to make than an add-on for Duke Nukem 3D, Unreal Tournament, Quake and so forth, but the way the add-on is presented is a crucial aspect of it's quality. A study on one of the aspects of Wolfenstein Add-on making, from my own point of view: The storyline plot.

Subsection 1: Compiling small hints to initiate writing a storyline
Usually, an idea for an add-on starts to come in focus after having seen a movie, having read a book, and so forth. For me personally, it starts with looking thru a dictionary. That's right - I grab a dictionary, and start browsing for interesting words. Usually I have something particular in mind, so I search in categories. For example, when you'd like an add-on set in Norway, I make notes of what comes to mind about Norway;
While brainstorming, I wrote:
Snow - Ice - Cold - Forests - Water
Having brainstormed about what I already know about the topic at hand, I search the dictionary for terms having anything to do with the above words. You'll always find something useful, just as long as you keep your creativity as a guide. A certain "don't" nowadays is to stick with the "stein" tag at the end of the title. It's really too much of a good thing after years and years of "This-and-that-stein". And besides, if you translate the title in German, you'll realise it won't make any sense - Thisandthatstone, anyone? The second thing you should never do is make a German title when you are not convinced it is a 100% gramatically correct German sentence or word/word-combination; it looks amateurish and very cheap, especially to those who can understand German as a second language or native German speakers.

Subsection 2: A storyline for your game: Do's, Don't's and Different Views
A normal story is made up of a logical beginning, a bumpy middle and a satisfying end. But a good game plot that ties all your changes to the game, level themes andsoforth together is made up of more than just these three basics.

Plotting a storyline for a full-fledged add-on doesn't need to be a complex task, but you really need to focus on how you are going to show the player the events of your storyline as they are unfolding during gameplay. A carefully crafted plot-line is interwoven with descriptions of the levels you plan to make and the enemies you plan to introduce to the player. An excuse for killing scum is not always satisfactory enough to keep a player's attention, so the best thing you can do is concentrate on offering a more in-depth storyline to sum up the events to be encountered in your game.
Sticking to historical facts is not a must-do when you plan on making a non-realistic add-on anyway, and a game with an alternative version of history can be very interesting when worked out seamlessly, but when you plan on using true World War Two history for your game, you'd better do your homework well. This is crucial for three aspects of your game:

- Localisation of your game (Where's the player going? Is it a castle, a dark forest?);
- Timeframe of the game (Is it in World War 2 or in the Middle Ages? Summer or Winter?);
- Motivation of the game's goal (Is the player sent in voluntarily or has he been captured by hostile powers?)
- Goal of the game (Is the player to escape or to obtain a certain object?);
- Identity of the player (Who is he? What is his role in this game? What is his background?)


A different aspect of your storyline is introducing eventual enemies and adversaries the player will encounter. It's essential the player knows what he's up to, for it's quite unpleasant to open a door and find an adversary that was never mentioned in the first place. As I said earlier, it's a good idea to lend the player an outline of what he's going to face; you don't need to tell everything you know about the enemy - a name and a possible haunting description full of rumours andsoforth can add more tension and excitement to the journey of the player through your game.

It's good to have a good storyline for the levels you've created. Make sure your plot fits well with the level design and theme of your level. If your levels take place in blue-walled dungeons, it'd be good to stick to an escape-mission for the player. Or ofcourse, you can have the player run around in high society Berlin SS pubs with woodwork and relics. As long as you connect these levels to your story, the sense of 'being there' for the player will improve.

Lastly, a few links of interest that may assist you in writing your storyline.

http://www.author-network.com/articles.html
http://debbyalviso.tripod.com/ebooksbydebbyhunt/id11.html
http://www.fictionfactor.com/articles.html
http://hopcott.com/writing-tips/
http://www.cs.bilkent.edu.tr/~david/derya/tywctips.htm

Comments, additions, suggestions etc. welcome. Smile
Ringman
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PostPosted: Fri Aug 13, 2004 4:12 pm
   Subject: Re: [Tutorial] Wolfenstein Add-on Projects: Telling Your Tal
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I think an important part of the story for an episodical game would be cliffhangers. You want to make every episode end with a good cliffhanger to make sure the player wants to play more, and have a little hint here and there as to what's going to happen at the very end. Then put it all together on the finale and clinch it with an ironic climax.

While the episodes may be separate its important to link them all together somehow. A little mystery at the end of each episode that will eventually be all explained and pulled together after they beat the game. You want to make sure you give the player a real sense of accomplishment after they just waded through 6 or more episodes.

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PostPosted: Wed Aug 18, 2004 2:39 am
   Subject: Re: [Tutorial] Wolfenstein Add-on Projects: Telling Your Tal
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Good thinking. Any other thoughts┐
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PostPosted: Mon Aug 23, 2004 8:16 pm
   Subject: Re: [Tutorial] Wolfenstein Add-on Projects: Telling Your Tal
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Not much has been added to this, so I'm going to try to give out some more pointers.

You want to make your main character be someone to care about (even if this is done in second person). You don't want to make him invincible, and unstoppable, (kind of like in the Blade movies). He needs to have some kind of problems that make him human. Marvel Comics have been doing this for a long time, and that was what set their heroes apart from others. Wolverine may seem invincible, but he is tortured within by memories of his past. Iron Man struggles with a drinking problem, Spiderman fights with the memories of his Uncle, and every day life just trying to make ends meet. This gives the reader something to relate to. If you don't want to give them a personal conflict, then make sure the character looks as if he/she has a chance of losing this battle. Don't make it easy. Throw him/her in front of seemingly insurmountable odds where he/she has to use every last ounce of strength to survive and barely makes it out the victor in the end.

Everyone thinks superman is cool, right? However his comic sales don't reflect that, why? Well, sure you may want to be invincible, but do really care about someone who is? If he's invincible, then he can't get hurt, right? Who cares about someone who can't get hurt? To help his comic survive, they've had to give him villians, like Doomsday, who were actually a major threat to his survival. That's what makes an epic story.

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PostPosted: Sat Sep 25, 2004 6:47 pm
   Subject: Re: [Tutorial] Wolfenstein Add-on Projects: Telling Your Tal
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All this must be added.

http://diehardwolfers.areyep.com/viewtopic.php?t=1558
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