Game Storyline – To Begin at the Beginning – Or Not

Game Storyline – To Begin at the Beginning – Or Not

Recently I attended a lecture where the speaker stressed that for new projects, it was vital to “Begin at the beginning”. While this is an important notion for many industries and professions, it got me thinking about the implications of such a mentality in the game development world, and in creating an online game. Perhaps instead of beginning at the beginning, we should begin in the middle of the story, where the action already exists. Each time we decide to drop players into our virtual worlds, we have decisions to make about how we treat those players. Do we slowly and carefully lead them into storyline? Do we nurture their progress in the game with hand held tutorials, or throw them directly into the fire? Do we set them up for a roller-coaster ride, or present them with bountiful opportunities and an open road? One of the most important decisions you can make that ultimately decides how a visitor perceives your environment, is to decide how they make their entrance onto the stage. Does your player make a grand entry at the beginning of the show or do they tumble head first into the act, having to think on their feet in order to stay on track?

Each approach ultimately offers different (but valuable) assets to your players and truly shapes the mentality you begin to imprint on the impressionable mind of said new player. Typically when we are dropped into any situation, having to suddenly thing on our feet and make decisions quickly, we feel caught up and immersed instantly albeit usually quite confused and flustered. When we’re slowly led into the game, as if floating down a calm river to our final destination, we’re more often than not instilled with a somewhat contemplative mentality – we are more inclined to think that perhaps the road ahead of us is smooth. Both of these approaches not only instill certain impressions in the minds of players, but they allow you the developer to setup some exciting possibilities.

With our first example, players who are thrust into scenarios like a war at the onset of their gaming experience are being shown up front that the game is fast paced, and to “expect the unexpected” (pardon the cliche). This isn’t to say that games that lead you in slowly with a great bit UFABET of peace can’t hit or foreshadow darkness and chaos down the line – in many cases, scenarios where the game seem too calm often setup a “calm before the storm” feeling. In many cases, games that slowly wind up to climactic chaos and excitement convey a sense of seriousness and depth to many players, where games that suddenly thrust a user into chaos are sometimes apt to turn a gamer off.

I find that the more we delve into online gaming theory here, the more parallels we can draw to the movie industry, for in many ways a game is like a movie that you directly interact with. Composition, music, angles of view, storyline – all of those are important in both scenarios (not to mention dozens of other issues). In this case, the issue of how to begin your story parallels some differing opinions of how you should appropriately pull viewers into a movie. Do you start with an action scene, breaking the traditional conventions of storyline? Or do you follow the traditions, giving players necessary information and clues about the story, while slowly winding up to the climax of the game? Typically games that