Topic: Better distribution of the Backgroundstory

protogenes on March 17, 2012, 02:05:47 PM

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Moved from http://sumwars.org/forum/index.php?topic=388

Many strings won't make sense by themselves. I'm sure you know that the context is important. Also many things are meant to be humorous.
Most of the contributors are neither native English speakers nor advanced in English language in an academical way.
For background information you may take a look at the [background] threads in the story board as this might give you some insight about the overall construction of the world and story. For any advanced discussion or feedback you might also want to talk to kalimgard as he wrote probably all of the story and dialogues so far.
« Last Edit: March 20, 2012, 06:44:28 PM by protogenes »
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Damien on March 17, 2012, 03:20:43 PM
Reply #1

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Many strings won't make sense by themselves. I'm sure you know that the context is important.
I know, I was talking about things in context still not making sense.

For background information you may take a look at the [background] threads in the story board as this might give you some insight about the overall construction of the world and story. For any advanced discussion or feedback you might also want to talk to kalimgard as he wrote probably all of the story and dialogues so far.
Well that shouldn't be needed. Why would you go to the forum to understand the game before actually playing it ? As it is now the story is confusing, at best.

Most of the contributors are neither native English speakers nor advanced in English language in an academical way.
I can see that, and I don't want to rewrite the game just to be able to translate it.
So for now I'll hold back on translating it until this is improved.
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protogenes on March 18, 2012, 01:34:49 AM
Reply #2

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I know, I was talking about things in context still not making sense.
No sense in context is bad. Please point out those parts you have encountered.
Well that shouldn't be needed. Why would you go to the forum to understand the game before actually playing it ? As it is now the story is confusing, at best.
That was for you as a translator to have additional information.
I can see that, and I don't want to rewrite the game just to be able to translate it.
So for now I'll hold back on translating it until this is improved.
That wasn't my point. I was hoping for you to be more precise and describe the problems or strings that need improvement.
As you are the first one who complains about it, we don't know where to improve.
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Damien on March 18, 2012, 04:03:42 PM
Reply #3

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No sense in context is bad. Please point out those parts you have encountered.
It's more about the general feel of it. I'm all for starting in medias res, but when I'm asking myself all along the tutorial "what are the characters talking about", that's going too far.
All this stuff about gods, branded ones, yadda yadda, it may make sense when you read the back story, but when you're just playing the game, you just get too little information.
The character you're playing seems to know all about it, but isn't explaining anything. The PC is supposed to represent the player, and you're supposed to know everything he knows. Here you and the character do not share a single thing.

What would work, I think, would be something along those lines : You start playing as a powerful, fully equipped warrior/mage/whatever, and you're fighting against one of those gods, or one of their most powerful followers. You lose, and next thing you know, you wake up, alive, in a prison cell. Here, someone explains to you that you are now a branded one (or whatever) and starting from there you have to learn everything anew.
That would work, because it would put you in the same position as the character, where you would know just as little as them.
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Lastmerlin on March 18, 2012, 09:41:18 PM
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Ok, I can see you point. Although, I must say, its really the first time that such harsh criticism is expressed. So what may we change about it. The general criticism we usually receive is, that there is too much text. Therefore, adding a lot more additonal information at the start is rather a bad idea.
The central point is, that character and player knowledge do not match. I can see two ways to fix this: Either add more explanation at the start - or reduce the knowledge of the ingame character (lost his memory or whatever). I will discuss this with kalimgard, who is the master of the story.

You are right, that some changes are probable to happen, almost surely in the tutorial. If you still want to help with translations, you can just start with another file. Good choices are menu and sumwars (Gui labels and items names, skill names/descriptions) or willard.po (the first simple quest).
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Damien on March 19, 2012, 12:46:41 AM
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Yeah, that's something else ; if you want the game to be a Diablo-like, it's true that it may not need so much text.
You need either much less text to make it a straightforward hack'n'slash or much more exposition to make it a proper story-driven RPG. As it stands now it feels awkwardly in-between the two. It lacks a strong, clear definition.

I hope I'm not being too critical, but I like the game, I'd like to see it improved. And yeah, I'll translate other bits, then, that's a good idea.
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kalimgard on March 20, 2012, 03:13:40 PM
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Well, you raise some very valid points. Normally I'm all for the "not knowing stranger who everyone has to explain everything too", but in this case it doesn't work with the way I want the world to be. The Branded Ones cannot be "new to being Branded Ones", because everyone in the world knows that Branded Ones are psychos that will kill everyone indifferently (truth aside).
I would like to avoid the highly equipped and loose everything entrance too. In fact it is what happens to the Branded Ones, but in favor of having the party start at the same time I see no real benefit in letting the player play through a war scene or whatever. The basic situation will stay as is.

Nevertheless I admit that the player knows nothing about the world. That is intentional, as I plan(ned) to show what the Branded Ones are about by their reactions and the reactions others have towards them. I can make an attempt to clarify things there a bit (although I think that the basic points come out well enough). Also I'm considering to add background information via bookshelfs etc. The game starts in a research facility after all. That way, the player could choose the amount of information he is really interested in (since you're the first to complain about not enough information, I'm guessing that might be a good idea). I didn't originally intend to integrate "books", but it may just be the thing for this.
The questlog entries could also be made more descriptive. But then people would have to look at a very unintuitive place to get extra information, so better not.

Thank you for your criticism. I will try to change some things and add information. The main problem I see is, that I tend to work really slow.
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Damien on March 20, 2012, 04:44:22 PM
Reply #7

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How about a little scrolling introductory text at the beginning then, to set the background story ?
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protogenes on March 20, 2012, 05:45:54 PM
Reply #8

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I find it very amusing how the figures talk and do jokes and completely ignore the spectator.
I think we should not force the player to read even more, even if it is background story. Instead there could be the proposed books or random people could be talking when the player walks by.
That would add more depth and life to the game and the NPCs.

My two coins.
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kalimgard on March 20, 2012, 06:15:50 PM
Reply #9

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Since the discussion in http://sumwars.org/forum/index.php?topic=388.0 strayed very far from translation and more to the implementation of the story I'm opening this thread.

For a short summary: Damien raised concerns that the NPC's and the PC's know everything about the inner workings of the world while the player itself knows nothing. The main problem is that no exact information about the Branded Ones is delivered ingame.

We are currently discussing additional information in the dialogs, informative NPC's, books with extra background and introductory scrolling texts.

To further the discussion: As Protogenes said I'm against a scrolling text intro. I kinda like the confusion in the first 5 minutes, but that may be my personal preference. What I would like is some kind of intro if the player loiters around in the start screen without doing anything for maybe a minute or two. A lot of games I know start a video giving some kind of ingame footage or intro, so maybe we could do something like that too.
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Tryant on March 21, 2012, 01:26:27 PM
Reply #10

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It's true that the story is quite confusing when you don't know anything from the background (and especially what a Branded One is while it keeps being repeated).
I think you should put the background texts you have in the forum (which made the story a lot clearer to me) in the game to make them easier to find and at some points propose the player to have a look at them so that he get a chance to understand what's going on.
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Damien on March 24, 2012, 03:21:04 AM
Reply #11

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I still think that's not good enough. Most players will not bother reading the backstory if it's not presented to them directly. If you put it in a file separate from the game, like a PDf, or even if you write it in the books at the library, that would do no good.
The backstory is something each and every player should know about, and putting it where only a few players will read it penalizes all the others, because those will always wonder what this is all about.
The backstory should be (more or less) clearly explained to everybody, and extras like books in the lab or whatever should only be about the broader story, and those who read that will get a bit more understanding about the world. Like the books in Morrowind, for example.
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West on March 27, 2012, 09:16:28 PM
Reply #12

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My $0.02.

In my experience, most players aren't overly interested in game storylines. Nor can they be expected to be when we're talking about a game that is advertized as an "action-RPG". IOW I think it's a bad idea force-feeding the player with the storyline. Either by an intro narrative, by lengthy NPC-provided lectures, or whatever non-optional means.

I'd say add some additional dialog options when talking to NPC's. If something the player should be aware of is mentioned, add a "learn more" option to the responses. I.e. if Branded Ones are mentioned, the player can choose "Branded Ones?" and have the whole deal explained to him. (I can just imagine the responses to this in the tutorial... "Wow, you must have really bumped your head in that last fight huh?")

This is how it's normally handled in most good RPG's (Bioware/Bethesda). Let the players who just want action skip their way through the dialogs -- they don't give a hoot about the story anyway, and forcing it upon them will just annoy them -- but provide the "right questions" for the other players to ask. :)
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kalimgard on April 02, 2012, 01:32:47 PM
Reply #13

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Hm... I rather like this option. I wanted to adjust some things in the tutorial anyway...
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