Possibility and Probability

Coding Python and making businesses…

27 September 2006

Make your own damn story

by Nick

Like most amateur game developers, I’m inspired to try and create games that I think are cool. And like most game developers I’m influenced by games that I have played. So it follows that if a game really got me going, that I would like to make something like it in the hopes that other people will feel the same way about it that I do. Now a problem occurs when that thin line that separates “inspired by” and “a carbon copy of” gets crossed. There’s a ton of games and mods out there that cross that line. Usually its just a quick little thing by the developers that gets left behind after a while. Other times it gets a lot of attention and then the lawyers get involved, and the project gets canned quickly. Inverted Castle had a great posting about this. The idea that Hunty posted was to make your own story. And I think he is 100% not just to avoid getting sued, but just to make a new and exciting thing. It seems hard to come up with something new and original to base you game on, but if you think about it, it doesn’t have to be. Most movies, books, and games are based on a couple of ideas that have all been used before. They just take a couple of them and mix them together in a new way. Think about this: How many movies and TV shows have you seen that centered around a stolen treasure? And how many books have you read that were set in outer space? And… how many featured a smart ass outsider as the hero of the story? See, combine those things together and you have “Trent and the missing Jewel of Titan”. Need bad guys? Think of 5 typical bad guys (gangsters, thieves, corrupt politicians, etc.) and think of why they would be involved. Pick the two best and put them in the story. Now think about how Trent would react to meeting these people (assume they aren’t going to kill him right away because he seems like he’s not worth the time of day). Imagine the weaknesses of the bad guys, how would this work in Trent’s favor? Where’s a place you’ve always wanted to see? What would Trent say if he wound up there? Answer those questions and it should give you a lot of possible locations and situations for your game. Pick the best few out of the bunch, and use those as your starting points for your levels/adventures. Start with those. If they are working, go back and look at what you threw out. Can it be changed or salvaged? Did you come up with new materials or ideas? Its not hard. You just gotta practice. Take a favorite story, and take the best elements out of it, and scramble it up a little bit. Then branch out and add new elements (the stuff you find yourself saying, ‘it would have been better if X had happened…), the next thing you know, you’ve got an original story!