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What's the Story?

posted Oct 21, 2010, 9:27 PM by Jake Spencer   [ updated Oct 21, 2010, 11:49 PM ]
Work on the game we're still calling "Incandescence" continues, and we've taken a slight change in direction that has me very excited. The game is starting to take shape, but there's one crucial element still missing, and that's the story.

That's an incredibly loaded term. There's endless debate to be had regarding what qualifies as story, what place story has in a video game, and how story should be conveyed, and you'll no doubt see plenty of thoughts on those subjects here in the coming months. Right now, I have been tasked with designing a tightly focused student game in an extremely short amount of time, on top of a massive load of work from other college courses. Large, general questions don't matter nearly as much as conclusive answers.

We have a relatively large team, and limited means of communication. Everyone needs to be on the same track in order to create a cohesive game, and a clear, comprehensible story/theme will ensure that are all working toward the same goal.

Keep in mind that we've already been working with some details of the game's world already determined:
  • The playable character is a large, bipedal robot.
  • The game takes place in a bright, stylish city.
  • The player must run, jump, and glide to reach a goal.
  • The city itself is attacking the playable character.
  • The city attacks in time to the music.
  • The player must complete the game before the end of the background song. If the player is stopped or killed, or the song ends before the player completes the game, the game "rewinds," and starts again from the beginning.
In addition to these details, I've been considering the tastes and preferences of each member of the team. For instance, there was talk of creating a hip-hop soundtrack and aesthetic for the game... until a round of interviews revealed that Derek, our sound engineer, hates all forms of rap. In fact, it appears that the only type of music which everyone on the team can tolerate is chiptune.

Is it better to use an aesthetic that half the team loves and half the team hates, or to default to the lowest common denominator? A tough question, but there's no time for questions - we need action!

I'm meeting with the team tomorrow, and I'll be pitching the story concepts which can be found on the Story Concepts page.