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AIF 101: Events

We have characters. We have a setting. We have a plot. Now, all we need to do is make things happen.

I use the word events here. Events are basically the things that happen in the game, weather initiated by the player or not.

The first thing we should do is make a list of events... of what is going to happen.

There are, more or less, three parts to every story. Three Acts.

Act 1:
Introduce the major characters
Acclimate the player to setting
Start the adventure with the protagonist's initial goal.

Act 2:
Complicate matters.
Throw obstacles in the player's path
The lowest point for Our Hero.
Goal Reversal.

Act 3:

We'll list, as our first event, the intro. The intro can be done in many ways, from a block of text spelling things out for the player to an interactive scenario allowing the player to get used to the game. In any event, before the player enters his first command he should have a good idea of Who He Is and Where She Is... unless you actively don't want them to. Ideally, they should have some sort of goal, even if its only to get dressed and take a shower.

THIS IS IMPORTANT: At no point should the player be without a goal! It can be as simple as going downstairs for breakfast, but unless exploring the game environment is a goal in and of itself, the player is going to get bored fast.

The events that make up any given game are going to depend on the game itself, and its scope.

Every event has two aspects, a trigger and an outcome. The trigger is whatever causes the event to occur, and the outcome is what happens. Your game may only have a linear series of events, each of which is encountered in order, or a matrix of events that can be triggered in any order. A flow chart helps immensely.

Here's an example event:

INTRO: TRIGGERED BY: Start of game

display introductory text. Tell who player is, describe kingdom. You can write the actual text now if you're in the mood, or wait until you're actually coding. If you plan to wait, just summarize it.

So, lets figure out what we want to accomplish in Act I.

  1. Give player mission to find Princess
  2. Have player meet Prince, Queen, King, Sidekick, and Foil

Eventually we want the PC to get his mission. At the start of the game, the Princess has not yet been kidnapped. We need an initial task to set the game in motion and reveal the nature of the characters.

Okay... a royal ball. The player is attending a dreary royal ball, and is informed the Queen wishes to see him. He wanders about, encountering the principal characters (with the option to interact with them) until he finds the Queen (out on a balcony, or in the garden, or something.)

  • EVENT 1: Triggered by: Finding Queen. She attempts to seduce you. The player can either resist or go with it, but then the Dragon attacks.
  • EVENT 2: Triggered by: messing with the Queen, or refusing and leaving. There is an off screen ruckus... explosions, screams.
  • EVENT 3: Triggered by: Player's return to ballroom. Player is hastily informed of events. Charged by King to rescue Princess, despite Prince's desire to send assassin/body guard. Sidekick sent along, as she got the best look at the dragon.

At this point, the player has the goal of finding the Princess. Lets make a note to put the title screen here.

Thats the end of Act 1.

Act 2 will be filled with encounters which may or may not have anything to do with the Dragon and the Princess. For now, lets leave 3 blank spaces, and skip to:

  • EVENT 7: Triggered by: The player catches up to the DRAGON and the PRINCESS. The player hears the gist of things from the fugitives, and must decide to let them go or take them in.
  • EVENT 8A: Triggered by: Letting them go, escorting them to the port. The Prince's assassins have tracked them down. Player has to outwit them and protect the NPCs.
  • EVENT 8B: Triggered by: Not letting them go, making camp. Sidekick, now Foil, helps them escape to tunnels leading to port city. Player has to follow, evading natural dangers and Dragon's traps, then show down with Dragon and Foil.
  • EVENT 9A: Triggered by: Hiding in city with PRINCESS while SIDEKICK and DRAGON are out. Possible romantic interlude if you play your cards right.
  • EVENT 9B: Triggered by: Capturing them, accepting PRINCESS'S body in exchange for freedom. Ends the game. You return empty handed, are disgraced, Prince ousts you.

ACT 3 is the endgame.

  • EVENT 10A: Triggered by: Escaping unharmed to boat. Assassin fights, wounding dragon. You MIGHT save him, if you go back for him (He's been cold to you the whole game) instead of helping SIDEKICK (who tells you to go, she can handle this!)
  • EVENT 10B: Triggered by: Returning Princess unmolested. Given rank advancement by Prince, sex with Queen?
  • EVENT 11A: Triggered by saving Dragon, didn't blow romantic interlude with Princess. 2nd Romantic interlude with Princess.
  • GOOD ENDING: Triggered by end of 11A, skipping 11A You accompany Princess back to her homeland, possibly as her Champion/consort.

So, there we have a basic event listing. You can develop events into scenes:

Scene: Intro

TEXT: You've never been terribly fond of royal balls, but as the King's Champion you are bound by both decorum and duty to attend. You hate the useless ceremonial armour you are forced to wear, hate the disgusting "gourmet" food they serve, and most of all, you hate the looks these soft courtiers give you, a battlefield veteran who earned his position not through an accident of birth but through the spilt blood of the kingdom's foes.

You'd much rather be out in the rain drilling with the guard, performing maneuvers in the mud. Still, for now, you're a soldier, and you follow orders. You may have gone a bit grey, but you're not deaf and the painful whispers that you have passed your prime and should retire still reach your ears.

You're determined to cling grimly to your title until one of the younger knights manages to wrest it from you at tourney, or until your body at last fails you.

Your morbid musings are interrupted by a page.

"Sir Jordan", he politely speaks. "Her majesty desires your presence."

  • Player is in auxiliary ballroom with page.
  • Player looks for QUEEN, encountering PRINCE, KING, SIDEKICK, PRINCESS, and ASSASSIN.
  • Expository text whenever meeting new NPC.
  • PRINCE snootily ignores NPC, maybe subtle jibes.
  • KING is friendly, but senile, in main ballroom.
  • SIDEKICK is awestruck and hero-worshipy, guarding PRINCESS.
  • ASSASSIN is disrespectful and rude, talking with PRINCE.
  • QUEEN is in secluded garden.
  • Random other courtiers, a few guards

So, as above, you can see we've added a minor NPC page, and probably a
few minor npc Courtiers and guards. We have a few location ideas, a
garden and a few ballrooms. We've also established some of the
player's starting gear... a ceremonial breastplate. Note that I wrote
some intro text... that isn't required at this stage, and it'll
probably be revised.

Here's another scene.

SCENE: Queen Seduction

  • Scene begins with initial contact between Queen and PC
  • Queen is lonely, wants to seduce PC.
  • Queen is in secluded side garden
  • Queen will greet PC seductively.
  • Queen will be wearing elegant ball gown as befits the situation
  • Queen's advances will grow bolder and bolder until PC either gives
    in or flees.
  • As soon as either occurs, the dragon attack will commence.
  • We could either work out the queen's plan of attack now, or leave it
    for later.

Next: Dialogue

© 2004 J Freebase - Updated 07/12/2004