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Demo Story

Discuss the story of the game and share your thoughts here

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Demo Story

Post by Roots » Tue Oct 09, 2007 8:31 am

I proposed an idea to Brian that he accepted and I thought we should share it with you all.

One of the problems with the demo right now is that there is no story. You walk around town, have some mostly-meaningless conversations with NPCs, and fight monsters in a cave "for training". It's all pretty non-inspirational, and several people have pointed this out to me and shared their dissatisfaction with it.

So what I proposed to Brian was for him to draft up a screenplay of a short story for the demo, which will probably be a "mini-prequel" to the prologue. My initial suggestion was a scenario where Claudius was still a Karlate (knight-in-training) and the scene begins with him waking up in his bed, going to training, and maybe he goes on a mission to exterminate some beasts that have been troubling the community. We'll have to decide on the technical limitations of the demo (ie, how many maps and what type will we have) so that Brian can create the story under correct assumptions.

So yeah, that's the plan. Share your thoughts. :)
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Post by Steu » Tue Oct 09, 2007 9:59 am

It seems like a good step to me. :approve:
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Post by Jetryl » Wed Oct 10, 2007 12:37 am

Sounds great. :approve:

For obvious reasons, we're going to set this in the "mountain village" tileset, and just pretend for now that harrvah is/was/always-has-been that climate. Let's not make any effort to retcon that, we'll just pretend that's how it's always been, because any retconning is easily seen through and comes off being cheap as shit.

I don't think we should apply this to the tech demo immediately coming up for release, but I think we should use it as a framework to test out major features geared at being able to represent events in the game.

We can go ahead and create several maps; that'll really give us a feel for how this game scales, and when we get a few certain editor features in, it should be easy to make.
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Post by rujasu » Wed Oct 10, 2007 11:11 am

Jetryl wrote:For obvious reasons, we're going to set this in the "mountain village" tileset, and just pretend for now that harrvah is/was/always-has-been that climate. Let's not make any effort to retcon that, we'll just pretend that's how it's always been, because any retconning is easily seen through and comes off being cheap as shit.
I'm not sure I understand. You're saying you want to move Harrvah out of the desert and into a mountain? Even if the desert tileset isn't ready yet, I'd give the :disapprove: to that -- I don't think the demo necessarily needs to be set in Harrvah. They could be somewhere else for training if that's more convenient, maybe a not-too-far-off village.

I'd say get the engine geared up, release tech demo 2.1 with minimal content addition, and then start developing game content for demo 2.2, which will be essentially a game demo rather than a tech demo. We don't have to freeze the engine between 2.1 and 2.2, but we'll take some energy away from that and focus on stuff that the player (or potential developer) will appreciate rather than continued "under-the-hood" work.
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Post by gorzuate » Wed Oct 10, 2007 11:39 am

What's retcon mean?
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Post by Roots » Wed Oct 10, 2007 11:58 am

rujasu wrote: I'm not sure I understand. You're saying you want to move Harrvah out of the desert and into a mountain? Even if the desert tileset isn't ready yet, I'd give the :disapprove: to that -- I don't think the demo necessarily needs to be set in Harrvah. They could be somewhere else for training if that's more convenient, maybe a not-too-far-off village.
I think what he meant to imply was "we'll use the mountain tilesets for the time being, since that's all we have". Now eventually we'll have ourselves a desert town tileset, at which point we should replace the demo town map.


Claudius training somewhere else would be feasible, except for the fact that it is mentioned in chapter 1 that Claudius had never been outside the desert in his life, and had only viewed the mountainous region from a distance. If we're trying to make the demo story blend with the game, that means we can't have him in a mountainous region.
rujasu wrote: I'd say get the engine geared up, release tech demo 2.1 with minimal content addition, and then start developing game content for demo 2.2, which will be essentially a game demo rather than a tech demo. We don't have to freeze the engine between 2.1 and 2.2, but we'll take some energy away from that and focus on stuff that the player (or potential developer) will appreciate rather than continued "under-the-hood" work.
I agree completely. Our technical features added from 2.1 to 2.2 should be nothing but features that the user can actually see (map mode, battle mode, menu mode, shop mode, boot mode). We should talk about this further at our next team meeting, which we should start deciding on a date to have it soon.
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Post by Jetryl » Wed Oct 10, 2007 2:15 pm

Roots wrote:
rujasu wrote:I'm not sure I understand. You're saying you want to move Harrvah out of the desert and into a mountain? Even if the desert tileset isn't ready yet, I'd give the :disapprove: to that -- I don't think the demo necessarily needs to be set in Harrvah. They could be somewhere else for training if that's more convenient, maybe a not-too-far-off village.
I think what he meant to imply was "we'll use the mountain tilesets for the time being, since that's all we have". Now eventually we'll have ourselves a desert town tileset, at which point we should replace the demo town map.
Roots is absolutely right - that's exactly what I was saying.
Roots wrote:Claudius training somewhere else would be feasible, except for the fact that it is mentioned in chapter 1 that Claudius had never been outside the desert in his life, and had only viewed the mountainous region from a distance. If we're trying to make the demo story blend with the game, that means we can't have him in a mountainous region.
And this is what I was saying - you're absolutely right about that, but we're gonna have to let that go. We don't have any desert images, so we just can't do that. And we shouldn't try to come up with some BS explanation, because as you said, it'll break the story, because claudius will have actually been outside of the desert, then; not to mention that any such excuse is easy to see through and see the real problem at hand. For example, if Claudius says, "Yes, I'm training here because all karlates are sent to the mountains for initiation," it's really going to come off as "Yes, I'm training here because this project obviously hasn't finished desert tiles, yet."


So really, this demo is going to be like fan fiction - same characters, a fitting, in-character, story involving them, but it's not part of the canon.
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Post by gorzuate » Wed Oct 10, 2007 2:16 pm

Roots wrote: Claudius training somewhere else would be feasible, except for the fact that it is mentioned in chapter 1 that Claudius had never been outside the desert in his life, and had only viewed the mountainous region from a distance. If we're trying to make the demo story blend with the game, that means we can't have him in a mountainous region.
I don't think the demo story should blend with the game for this exact reason... unless it takes place somewhere in the middle of the game, or is some sort of side quest.
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Post by Roots » Wed Oct 10, 2007 3:24 pm

gorzuate wrote: I don't think the demo story should blend with the game for this exact reason... unless it takes place somewhere in the middle of the game, or is some sort of side quest.
If we didn't have any principal characters (Claudius, Laila, and their parents) in the demo, then it wouldn't matter where the demo took place. But we almost definitely have to use them, unless we get some generic soldier battle sprites (which eventually I think we should have for the initial cave in the prologue).


I don't want to make the demo and the game so disparate that (for example) a player finishes the demo, then they pick up the first release of the actual game and find the characters they came to know in the demo to be in an entirely different environment than they were in the demo and with no explanation. That will just confuse our players. But whatever, I guess you guys don't think its that important.


The only thing I want to decide on soon is under what assumptions Brian can write his story so we can implement that in the demo. The actual implementation won't be for a while yet, so we could potentially have a lot more resources available at that time (ie full desert town and environment tilesets, etc.)
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Post by Jetryl » Wed Oct 10, 2007 5:32 pm

Roots wrote:I don't want to make the demo and the game so disparate that (for example) a player finishes the demo, then they pick up the first release of the actual game and find the characters they came to know in the demo to be in an entirely different environment than they were in the demo and with no explanation. That will just confuse our players. But whatever, I guess you guys don't think its that important.
No, I don't think that's important, and it's a question of goals. I think our goal is to make this demo story so that:
we actually have a decent story+quests+dialogue to serve as test content.


That's all - right now, we have a bunch of thin filler; this turns it into something where we can really put the engine+graphics through its paces, and see what we do/don't need to make this game shine. It's a hell of a lot easier to do scripting when we have final content, and can see the final product of something (like a scripted scene of actions and dialogue) as it was meant to be, without having to imagine that certain things will be this or that way in the final version. It also gives a good list of content to create (I need some images of food on a plate, for the scene in the kitchen, etc), rather than having to just guess and try at making everything.

With the 0.2.0 demo, we were all kinda burned out on creating everything else necessary, that we kinda just threw dialogue/events together to push it out the door - and they looked exactly like that: thrown together.
Roots wrote:The only thing I want to decide on soon is under what assumptions Brian can write his story so we can implement that in the demo.
Basically, about the only constraint I'd lay on, is don't have any quests related to the climate (like restoring the water supply). Other than that, pretty much everything would work between the two potential environments this would be in.
Roots wrote:The actual implementation won't be for a while yet, so we could potentially have a lot more resources available at that time (ie full desert town and environment tilesets, etc.)
Yep.
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Post by Brian » Wed Oct 10, 2007 5:54 pm

What ever you guys decide is fine with me. But the sooner we agree the sooner I can get to writing :)
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Post by Brian » Wed Oct 17, 2007 11:45 pm

Any update on this? I would like to get started on a script for the demo asap.
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Post by Roots » Sat Oct 20, 2007 8:15 pm

I'm not sure if we've reached a conclusion here yet. From what I understand, we've agreed that:

* We'll be using the mountain tilesets initially since that's all we have to use

* Later, we will replace the demo maps with a desert tileset

* We'll have multiple maps (at least three, one town, one cave, and one landscape environment). I think the maps we'll make will also be much larger.


What we haven't agreed on is:

* Whether the demo story should be a feasible mini prequel to the game, or whether we should just hack together whatever without regard to the game's story or environment
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Post by Rain » Sat Oct 20, 2007 10:53 pm

It isn't too important that the demo accesses the important points of the story. Just that it leaves the audience salivating for more while giving a glimpse into each characters personalities and the basic mechanics of the game.

I don't think we need to spend too much time on the storyline of the demo. This is just the appetizer after all, not the main course!
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Post by Roots » Wed Oct 31, 2007 11:22 am

Brian, why don't you go ahead and write up an outline for the demo's story and post it here. That way we can dissect it and make sure that each of your planned events is feasible to implement in the game's state.
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Post by Brian » Fri Nov 02, 2007 5:42 pm

Yessir!
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Post by Brian » Tue Nov 06, 2007 9:25 pm

All right guys, here is the first draft of the demo I'm working on. Keep in mind that nothing is final. I just wanted to post it to get some early feedback and see if anyone likes the direction I'm going with it. Anything can be changed easily, so please give feedback.

Some quick notes: It might seem short, but it's actually 8 pages in word. What I have here is the required part of the demo only. This script isn't taking into account the player wandering around town and talking to people, leveling up, buying equipment, etc...

Enjoy.

Oh, after pasting it here I realize that it's not in the proper format, which I used in word. If anyone wants a copy of the MS word file to read just ask. It's easier to read that way.

Allacrost Demo
FADE IN:
EXT. MEADOW – DAY

Claudius and Kyle are laying on their backs in a grassy field, relaxing.

KYLE
I’m just saying that I’m only doing this because of my father. He was a knight, so now I have to be one. If it was my choice I would be far away from here.
CLAUDIUS
And go where? You should be happy; it’s an honor to serve your country.
KYLE
I can do that on my own, without blindly following orders.
CLAUDIUS
It’s more effective to work together, and our leadership has our best interest at heart.
KYLE
That’s where you’re wrong, Claudius. As far as they’re concerned we’re expendable.
CLAUDIUS
You’re crazy.
KYLE
All I know is something has to give. I can’t keep on like this.
CLAUDIUS
You’ll be all right. Just remember that a knight is selfless, and the well being of everyone is more important than the individual.
KYLE
I just don’t understand you sometimes…
CLAUDIUS
Hey, what time is it?
KYLE
I don’t know, why?
CLAUDIUS
Don’t we have training today?
KYLE
Who cares.
CLAUDIUS
I think we do. Come on!

Claudius and Kyle run back to town and burst into the Harrvahan knights training room. Everyone is already training – all knights to be, sparring their partners with wooden swords.


INT. TRAINING ROOM – DAY

CAPTAIN
You’re late.
CLAUDIUS
Sorry, sir, I –
KYLE
It’s my fault, sir. I dragged Claudius off this morning, and because of it we weren’t able to arrive on time.
CAPTAIN
Very well; Kyle, you will be punished for this later. For now find a partner to train with.

Kyle motions for Claudius to follow.

CAPTAIN
Not him. Claudius trains with me today.

Kyle nods and walks away.

CAPTAIN
Show me your forward thrust technique.

Claudius executes a forward thrust with a wooden sword on a dummy near the wall.

CAPTAIN
Good Claudius. Remember to never take your eye off your target. Now show me the proper form for a parry.

Claudius executes a parry.

CAPTAIN
Nicely done.
CLAUDIUS
Thank you, sir.
CAPTAIN
Let’s see how you fare when the opponent strikes back. Get down here Kyle!

They both look around but don’t see Kyle anywhere.

CAPTAIN
Where’s that friend of yours run off to this time?
CLAUDIUS
I don’t know, sir. (Not again, Kyle…)
CAPTAIN
All right, you’ll face me then.
CLAUDIUS
Sir?

The captain walks to a weapon rack and pulls out a wooden sword.

CAPTAIN
Draw your weapon, soldier.

Claudius hesitantly draws his sword and approaches.

CAPTAIN
Remember what you’ve learned.

The two battle, with the captain going easy on him. It ends with the captain knocking Claudius’s sword away and pressing the tip of his to Claudius’s throat.

CAPTAIN
Well done, Claudius.

He removes the sword and sets it aside.

CAPTAIN
That’s all for today.
CLAUDIUS
Yes, sir.

As Claudius prepares to leave the Captain stops him.

CAPTAIN
Come with me, Claudius, we need to talk.

They walk into the captain’s office. He shuts the door.

CAPTAIN
You and Kyle are close.
CLAUDIUS
We are, sir.
CAPTAIN
This is difficult, but it needs to be said. You have a lot of potential, Claudius, but I worry about you. I know Kyle is your friend, but I fear he is becoming an impediment to you in your quest for knighthood.
CLAUDIUS
Kyle is a good man, sir. He just messes up sometimes.
CAPTAIN
Regardless, I want you to seriously consider your priorities. Becoming a knight takes sacrifice, and sometimes that sacrifice is spending less time with the people we care about in order to be the best knight we can be.
CLAUDIUS
I understand, sir.
CAPTAIN
Just think about it. Now, do me a favor and find Kyle. I need to have a talk with him as well.


Claudius nods and heads off in search of Kyle. He approaches some of his fellow knights in training.

CLAUDIUS
Have any of you seen Kyle?
KNIGHT IN TRAINING
No, sorry Claudius.

Claudius spends a long time searching for Kyle. Eventually he finds him on the outskirts of the city, just outside the gates.

EXT. CITY OUTSKIRTS – DAY

CLAUDIUS
There you are!
KYLE
Oh, hey.
CLAUDIUS
What are you doing? The captain wants to speak with you.
KYLE
He can wait.
CLAUDIUS
…What?

Kyle hands Claudius a piece of cloth. Inside is a slice of cake.

KYLE
I managed to swipe some goodies from the kitchen quarters a bit ago. I saved you some.
CLAUDIUS
You shouldn’t –
KYLE
Oh come on, it’s just a piece of cake. It’s not going to hurt anyone.
CLAUDIUS
I guess you’re right. And hey, thanks for covering for me back there. I appreciate it.
KYLE
Don’t mention it. I’m already on bad terms with the captain anyway, there’s no sense in you getting in trouble too.

Claudius smiles and nods to his friend. It’s dusk. Suddenly and out of nowhere a beast attacks to the two men. They fight side by side and manage to defeat it.
CLAUDIUS
Good job.
KYLE
Let’s go back to our living quarters.
CLAUDIUS
All right.
KYLE
Claudius?
CLAUDIUS
Yes?
KYLE
I just want you to know that no matter what happens we’ll always be friends.


FADE OUT.
FADE IN:
INT. LIVING QUARTERS – NIGHT

KNIGHT
Claudius? Claudius! WAKE UP!

Claudius wakes up. Several knights are standing over him.

KNIGHT
Get your gear and let’s go!
CLAUDIUS
What’s going on?
KNIGHT
The treasury! A thief has broken in and stolen everything. The captain has called a man hunt. Now equip yourself and meet us out front.

Claudius jumps out of bed and dresses quickly.

CLAUDIUS
Come on, Kyle, let’s go! …Kyle?

Kyle is nowhere to be found.

CLAUDIUS
Oh no…

Claudius runs out into the courtyard and assembles with everyone else.

EXT. COURTYARD – NIGHT

CAPTAIN
For those of you who don’t know, a thief has broken into the treasury and stolen a vast quantity of gold. It is up to us to capture the criminal and return what they have taken. It’s believed that the robbery occurred no more than 20 minutes ago, so the thief can’t be far. Everyone split up and comb the town.
CLAUDIUS
Sir?
CAPTAIN
Yes, Claudius?
CLAUDIUS
…Nothing.

Everyone disperses in pursuit of the thief. The manhunt continues with no results until Claudius decides to check the cave. He catches a glimpse of Kyle running out ahead of him, carrying a large bag with gold and jewels overflowing from it.

INT. CAVE – NIGHT

CLAUDIUS
Kyle!

Claudius is unable to give chase due to monsters inside the cave blocking his path. He must battle his way through the cave, right on Kyle’s heels. Eventually he falls behind though, and it is only by the sound of combat that he is able to track Kyle.

CAPTAIN
Stop this foolishness, Kyle. You can’t escape. Lower your weapon and come peacefully and I’ll make sure your punishment is lenient.
KYLE
I’m sorry, but no. I’m doing this for me. I don’t expect you to understand.
CAPTAIN
Then you leave me no choice.

They both draw their swords, and Kyle does his best to parry. They circle each other until the captains back is to the edge of the cliff they’re on. It is then that Claudius comes running around the corner to see them fighting.

CAPTAIN
Claudius? Come help me!

The captain is momentarily distracted and Kyle swings at him. The captain evades the strike, but loses his footing and falls off the ledge, presumably to his death.

CLAUDIUS
No!

Claudius runs to the ledge and looks over.


CLAUDIUS
What have you done…
KYLE
I…I’m sorry. It was an accident. I didn’t mean for him to fall…

Claudius stands runs to the exit, blocking Kyle’s path. He draws his sword.

KYLE
What are you doing?
CLAUDIUS
I can’t let you get away.
KYLE
I’m your friend!
CLAUDIUS
It’s my duty!
KYLE
Don’t do this…
CLAUDIUS
You’ve already done it. I’m just not letting you do it any further.
KYLE
I don’t want to fight you.
CLAUDIUS
Then lower your weapon and turn yourself in.
KYLE
You know I can’t.
CLAUDIUS
And you know I can’t just let you get away.
KYLE
So be it.

The two friends do battle. They’re both of equal skill and neither can gain an advantage. As they fight the sound of knights running through the cave can be heard. As they emerge around the corner one fires an arrow at Kyle, which misses and embeds into the wall behind him. A low rumbling begins, and the ceiling is caving in. The rocks drop between Claudius and Kyle, effectively separating them and blocking off access to the exit. Kyle has gotten away. Claudius collapses to a knee, exhausted from the chase and battle.

KNIGHT
Claudius! Are you all right?
CLAUDIUS
I’m fine…But the captain…He fell…

Claudius motions to the ledge. The knights look over the edge.

KNIGHT
Everyone down to the cave floor! He might still be alive!

The knights run off, leaving Claudius there, staring at the rock pile

CLAUDIUS
You’ve ruined everything, Kyle…I’ll find you, if it’s the last thing I do.

END
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Post by rujasu » Tue Nov 06, 2007 11:51 pm

For a demo, that's great. The whole "hero and his corrupt buddy" thing is an old cliche in RPG's, in fact it's been used as the central plot idea in two of the Suikoden games. However, for a demo or a sideplot to a bigger story, I think that's very good. I can see some places where minor editing would be a good idea, but for a first draft it's good. :approve:
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Post by Brian » Tue Nov 06, 2007 11:58 pm

Thanks. I haven't been keeping up with rpgs lately (sadly) so I didn't realize it was such a cliche. I wanted their relationship to be more complex than just the hero and his corrupt buddy though. I was playing with the idea of The individual vs the community. Obviously Kyle represents the individual and Claudius represents the community, in the form of the knighthood. And I didn't want things to be black and white - The player should have a difficult time deciding who to side with because of the shades of gray. When I was writing it I almost felt like Kyle was becoming a sort of anti hero, and Claudius was more of an antagonist towards him, but that's probably because I side with Kyle on the issues. Still, Claudius, I think, comes off as someone of good morals who is conflicted, which I like.

Anyway, yeah. Thanks for the comments.
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Post by Roots » Wed Nov 07, 2007 12:35 am

I love it. It's just long enough and leaves on a cliffhanger, making me want more. Exactly what we want from a demo. :approve: And the beautiful thing is that we can actually tie this into the main story later, without requiring the player to have played the demo to understand the situation. Ex: Claudius bumps into Kyle on his journey, his companions ask who he is, Claudius retells what happened in the demo. I love the play on the individual versus community. You did a perfect job of taking the character of Claudius that I gave birth to and fit his actions and words exactly.


And from a technical standpoint, this all sounds feasible for us to do.


The only major questions I have is where does the "free roaming" experience factor in? I.e., the player should be able to explore a town, talk to NPCs, shop, and fight some battles to earn drunes and XP. I suppose we could squeeze this in between most scenes without too much trouble.


Anyway, great job Brian. You've exceeded my expectations for the demo's story already :bow:
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