Advice about a game

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DarkClaymore
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Advice about a game

#1 Post by DarkClaymore » Sun Jan 24, 2010 5:56 am

I have started working on a new project, and I am working alone.
I take the BGs from other sites and I have all the characters sets from Fate/Stay Night (that's the only one I have found). So I am quite limited in veraity, but I think I have everything I need.

Anyway...
On one hand, I know I am the type of person who usually quits projecs because they are too long. On the other hand, doing a VN alone (without drawing anything) doesn't really require much effort, it's just takes time.

In this VN, the main character commited a crime and must deal with detectives.
My dilemma is whatever adding more detectives to the story or not (you may call it "adding more enemies" if you want).
On one hand, it will make the game less expected and more interesting.
But on the other, it will make the game much longer and I may be forced to do too many possible ending (it may even come to 12 ending!) and I afraid I may quit at some point without finishing the game... Which is sad because I like the idea on which the game is based :?

Can anybody give me useful advice?
I don't have that much experience with making VNs, so I can't think of effective way to deal with the dilemma...

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Re: Advice about a game

#2 Post by SidVanHalen » Sun Jan 24, 2010 10:16 am

If you can solve the problem of drawing charecters then its a big bonus IMO.

About the charecters, well everything depends on you. There are two ways to go about it-
1. Create charecers and a story to go with them
2. Write a story and then design charecters to fit in.
So if you have problem with length you may try the latter approach. Create the protagonist(s) and a few main charecters and then others to go along. Also not every charecter needs to de given equal or similar weightage. You can aways empoy Deus Ex Machina to Wrap story up in some cases, without really hampering quality.
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Re: Advice about a game

#3 Post by number473 » Sun Jan 24, 2010 2:30 pm

DarkClaymore wrote: On one hand, I know I am the type of person who usually quits projecs because they are too long.
Some simple advice is just to break it up. Saying I'm going to make a whole VN can be a bit daunting. You think "I've got to do all that still" and it can seem like so much. The trick is to make a list of everything you have to do, in your case each section that you have to write. You can break it down as much as you like. Then you use the list as a checklist, do step 1, which will be something quite easy. Then step 2 and so on. At the end you've got the whole game and you always know what you've got to do next and you never have to sit down and tackle a whole huge thing at once.
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Re: Advice about a game

#4 Post by AllegroDiRossi » Sun Jan 24, 2010 2:47 pm

SidVanHalen wrote:You can aways empoy Deus Ex Machina to Wrap story up in some cases, without really hampering quality.
Do not do this.
Do not do this.
Do not do this.
Do not do this.
Do not do this.
Do not do this.
Do not do this.
Do not do this.
Do not do this.

He's writing a mystery, for crying out loud!
If you put a Deus Ex Machina ending on a mystery,
no one will ever read you writing again!

Here's what people on the forum have to say about detective mystery fiction

The Ten Rules of Detective Fiction
http://lemmasoft.renai.us/forums/viewto ... =13&t=6447

Edit - It's not just detective fiction, but any story.
Just don't use Deux Ex Machina... Ever.
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Re: Advice about a game

#5 Post by SidVanHalen » Sun Jan 24, 2010 11:33 pm

AllegroDiRossi wrote:
SidVanHalen wrote:You can aways empoy Deus Ex Machina to Wrap story up in some cases, without really hampering quality.
Do not do this.
Do not do this.
Do not do this.
Do not do this.
Do not do this.
Do not do this.
Do not do this.
Do not do this.
Do not do this.

He's writing a mystery, for crying out loud!
If you put a Deus Ex Machina ending on a mystery,
no one will ever read you writing again!

Here's what people on the forum have to say about detective mystery fiction

The Ten Rules of Detective Fiction
http://lemmasoft.renai.us/forums/viewto ... =13&t=6447

Edit - It's not just detective fiction, but any story.
Just don't use Deux Ex Machina... Ever.
WoW!! I dint knew guys detested it that much. I think its more of how the tool is used rather than the fact that the tool is bad. Personally I dont use such things, It's poor technique when used in a short story, but it may be used better in longer versions. Anyway it was just an idea.
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Re: Advice about a game

#6 Post by papillon » Sun Jan 24, 2010 11:58 pm

I think its more of how the tool is used rather than the fact that the tool is bad.
... where have you even heard that term other than in the middle of a big rant from writers/readers/teachers/editors/etc explaining why this is a terrible thing, a sign of bad writing, and should never be done? :)

'Deus Ex Machina' is not a tool - in modern usage, it's a flat-out pejorative.

Unless you're aiming for some sort of ludicrous parody of bad writing, and even then you'd better be pretty good to pull it off. :)

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Re: Advice about a game

#7 Post by AllegroDiRossi » Mon Jan 25, 2010 1:17 am

Even the wikipedia article on it says in its opening paragraph that it's not good. *Emphasis added*
Wikipedia wrote:A deus ex machina (literally, in Latin, "god from the machine") is a plot device where a previously intractable problem is suddenly and abruptly solved, usually with the contrived introduction of either characters, abilities, or objects not mentioned before within the storyline. It is generally considered to be a poor storytelling technique because it undermines the story's internal logic.
In this case, DarkClaymore is writing a story about a criminal attempting to avoid detection and capture by the police. The main conflict in the story is a logical struggle between the culprit and the detective (possibly more than one). A Deus Ex Machina in this situation would be a slap in the face to the reader. It would undermine both the criminal and the detective(s) whose logic is their ultimate weapon, and it would be horribly unsatisfying for a story to end with a Deus Ex Machina when the whole plot had progressed through mounting tension as the detective gets closer and closer to discovering the criminal.

It is the same in any story. Having an ending that is not a logical product of the story's natural progression would be a disservice to your readers and your characters.
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Re: Advice about a game

#8 Post by AllegroDiRossi » Mon Jan 25, 2010 1:34 am

Oh, I feel bad about turning your help thread into a rant though...

As for your concepts, I think that it would be very interesting if you were to put in multiple detectives. You should read The Kubikiri Cycle by Nisioisin: http://bit.ly/6VJhKf Your concept reminds me of that book. Not in a rip-off kind of way, but in a similar-setup kind of way.

Would the story involve romance between the criminal and the detective? How many detectives were you thinking about including?
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Re: Advice about a game

#9 Post by SidVanHalen » Mon Jan 25, 2010 5:41 am

Well, sorry about continuing the rant. But i'll make one last post about it.
Its a question of how it is used. Say there is the criminal trying to steal something from a high security safe, all of a sudden, he is seen by two guards and cornered without any chance of escaping. There are many ways of implementing Deus ex Machina-
1. He takes some super techno device from his pocket and escapes
2. A love interest, who had so far not shown any interest in being an accomplice, suddenly shows up and takes care of the guards
3. He foresaw all of this happening/possibility of this happening and had some safety mechanism in place.
4. A character, barely introduced, comes out and tells the thief that he'll help the criminal if he can get his hands on some documents from the safe.

Now all of these are not equally bad. A literary plot device would be that , a plot device. This one has been abused and misused (and too much actually), but that doesn't mean it can't work interestingly. I only mentioned it as a possible course of action while dealing with the story. Maybe its not the best (actually a well constructed logical story is always best), but
few stories are that good. I would always read and see how it was used rather than rejecting it completely.
I can't believe most of my posts are made in this rant.
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Re: Advice about a game

#10 Post by Jake » Mon Jan 25, 2010 8:38 am

SidVanHalen wrote: There are many ways of implementing Deus ex Machina-
1. He takes some super techno device from his pocket and escapes
2. A love interest, who had so far not shown any interest in being an accomplice, suddenly shows up and takes care of the guards
3. He foresaw all of this happening/possibility of this happening and had some safety mechanism in place.
4. A character, barely introduced, comes out and tells the thief that he'll help the criminal if he can get his hands on some documents from the safe.
Honestly, I get the idea you don't really know what 'Deus ex Machina' means, from one or two of these.

1 is just bad, if that's all there is to it. If you're going to have a super techno device, make sure it's established previously or at least established that the protagonist is likely to have such a thing. Fred Bloggs needs to tell the reader ahead of time that he has a grappling hook, because he's a mild-mannered refuse collection technician and there's no Earthly reason he would own such a thing. If he pulls it out to escape from a predicament, the reader doesn't think "Oh, thank goodness Fred escaped", they think "what the hell is he doing with a grappling hook? That had better get explained!". Batman doesn't need to tell the reader he has a grappling hook because he's Batman.

2 isn't necessarily terrible, but it needs to be explained afterwards, otherwise you essentially set fire to any character development you'd spent on the love interest and they're no longer a believable character. If the story hinges on an unbelievable character, then that catches fire too.

3 isn't even remotely a Deus ex Machina device. If it's pre-planned by the character, it's pre-planned by the character! Again, though, it needs to be obvious to the reader that it was pre-planned and why. It's fine to explain this after the fact, so long as you don't contradict earlier parts of your story ("Oh, yes, I came here five weeks previously to hide this gun here that I need now to escape" "but five weeks ago you were on the moon!" "a minor detail..."). In fact, a large quantity of detective fiction, particularly the archetypical Sherlock Holmes stuff, works in this mode; the detective goes into the room at the end of the story without the reader having a clue what's going on, denounces the villain and the method out of the blue, and then goes on to explain how he worked it out. The important thing is that the build-up - the important clues - were in the story before this point, and the detective doesn't say anything at any point that contradicts the story so far, nothing that's impossible.

4 is fine for the beginning of a story, but totally sucks for the end of one. At the beginning of the story (or at the beginning of a story arc/subplot), you've not got any real set-up to the jam the protagonist is in, and thus there's no mandate to do anything particular with it, you can use it as a vehicle to both introduce the protagonist and his profession, and also introduce this other character, and start the main plot rolling with his request and the debt the protagonist now owes him. At the end of the story, however, the reader has been built up to this moment throughout the plot, and he is owed a decent denouement wherein all the major loose ends of the plot are tied up in a satisfactory manner. "Hey, here's a get-out-of-jail-free card for no reason" isn't a satisfactory manner; your spontaneous character may not be acting out-of-character, but he's an outside party to the contract the rest of the plot has made with the reader, and as such he has no part in the fulfilment of it. After he's helped the protagonist out he's owed a favour, but since the story has ended, there's no way for the protagonist to pay him back.



I'll agree with the other guys in plain terms, just in case there's any doubt: a Deus ex Machina at any important point in the plot is just bad, no two ways about it. It's true that they're not absolutely universally bad, the world has space for serendipity and fortune, but stroy arcs absolutely cannot be resolved by it or you're wasting your time developing them in the first place, and the reader is wasting his time reading them, because they're basically not stories.
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Re: Advice about a game

#11 Post by chronoluminaire » Mon Jan 25, 2010 8:52 am

1) Avoid Deus Ex Machina if you want people to retain any respect for your storytelling whatsoever. If I read something which uses a deus ex machina, I'll avoid reading anything by the same author again. Just saying.

2) To the OP: in order to get your VN finished, it's highly recommended to start with a small VN. Even smaller than you think. Once you've released something tiny - even if it's really tiny - then you'll have experience of pulling together all the parts that are needed to get a VN actually released, and you're much more likely to get your bigger work finished.
There are some twists that occurred to me I could add to Mermaid Liaisons, but I had to cut them back in order to stand a chance of getting that game released. And I've been working on this game for a year already!
On the other hand, there are some options that are making the game significantly bigger, but I'm leaving them in because they're key to my concept of how the game wants to be.
It all depends how vital to the game your potential twist is.
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Re: Advice about a game

#12 Post by DarkClaymore » Mon Jan 25, 2010 12:10 pm

Oh, I feel bad about turning your help thread into a rant though...
Never mind. At least now I know what not to do. :wink:
Would the story involve romance between the criminal and the detective? How many detectives were you thinking about including?
Actually, I don't want to give spoilers...
But since most of it just an idea at the moment (I didn't get that far in making the game yet) and big changes may occur...

I was thinking about 4 detectives.
One of them is a known one and the rest are either hidden or make appearance depending on the player's choices.
About romance. Even though it makes things more complicated to me (more possible endings), there will probably be such thing. Since you (the player) don't know who are all the detectives, you may find out that the one the main character loves is actually a detective (don't worry! there will not be any illogical explanations!).
I actually want to make the idea "if you are an criminal, then emotions are your worst enemies" as one of the main themes of the game.


in order to get your VN finished, it's highly recommended to start with a small VN. Even smaller than you think.
Actually, I already did one... :roll:
http://lemmasoft.renai.us/forums/viewto ... =11&t=6468

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Re: Advice about a game

#13 Post by chronoluminaire » Tue Jan 26, 2010 9:57 am

DarkClaymore wrote:
in order to get your VN finished, it's highly recommended to start with a small VN. Even smaller than you think.
Actually, I already did one... :roll:
http://lemmasoft.renai.us/forums/viewto ... =11&t=6468
Yikes! My apologies, I must have missed that. In which case you can entirely ignore that part of my comment :)
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