View Full Version : The Importance of Narrative Clichés

07-16-2006, 08:18 AM
First some background.

There are some things that you have to assume to get anywhere in the real world. You have to assume that when you inhale, it'll be air and not ammonium chloride. You have to assume that when you go to sleep, you'll wake up in the same body (or at least recognizably so). You have to assume that if you walk down a crowded hall, it won't be tile floored for everyone else but 8' deep vanilla pudding just for you.

A bit silly, but the point is - the same is true for games. Some things are always true -
- if there's a jump you could just barely make, you can make it. Maybe not on the first attempt, but it's there to be jumped - they're not going to put an infinitely high invisible wall in your way. (And MAN does it upset me when they break this law).
- if there's a door halfway up a cliff you couldn't possibly jump to, you'll either find your way there from the inside or wind up with some grappling hook later in the game to get to it.
- there are doorways behind waterfalls. Pretty much every game does this, it hasn't been surprising since Robin Hood Prince of Thieves.
- the villain won't declare himself invincible during Every Attack.
- if there's a door, you can open it.
- if there's a sign, you can read it.
- if there's a rock, you can lift it. You might need gloves, but it can be done.
- if there's a bush, you can destroy it.
- if there's a way in, there's a way out.

The end of the sequence is rather more my point - since the dawn of time, Classic's had problems with doors that lead nowhere, signs that have been left blank, and those little kubol sprouts that are as good as a monolith. So:
What should a player expect on Classic?

My humble suggestions - please, by all means add and edit -
Every doorway should fall into one of the following categories:
A door, which can open and leads to a house.
A locked door, which needs certain conditions met before you can open it.
A boarded-up door, which means it's not really a doorway after all.

Every waterfall should be such that a player can slide down it.
Possibly, every waterfall should be such that a player can slowly make their way back up it too.

Every body of water should have an exit. I found a nice little dead-end in the mountains by jumping where I wasn't expected to jump, and while that's the hazard of exploration, it looks a little cheesy in the final reckoning.

Maybe someday, every body of water should have an Underwater. But that's only if the Zorbi Ring is reintroduced. I'd smile anyway.

Every bowling alley should either work, or be boarded up until it works. I keep getting my hopes up. Maybe that's just me.

Every sign should say something. Even if it's totally innocuous.
Important signs should be visibly different even before you read them. A sign that says "This way to Aieralia", is more narratively important than one that says "Noob's House".

Every grave should say something. I keep thinking the game's glitching up when it doesn't.

Possibly, every well should serve a purpose. Maybe you can drop money down 'em, maybe one in a hundred wells has a questy purpose. I used to secretly configure them so you could fish in 'em and find money.

Importantly, every path that leads off the side of the screen should go somewhere. It looks like a broken link if it doesn't.

A humble suggestion for Masso and Stormy - perhaps certain of the more trusted players could be given an NPCW to board up old houses (via putNPC2). Such placements would flag the server that a more permanent solution is needed and, more importantly, who dared to say so. For safety I'd say a dontblock NPC, just in case it's a local problem or poorly placed. Ultimately, this would leave us with a tidier looking server - no more doors to nowhere.

Anyone agree with me?

07-16-2006, 08:52 AM
I agree with it all. It just seems like common sense toward making a more professional-looking server. Of course, there's no telling if that's actually important to anyone currently working on the server. I've always encountered a lot of "it works, leave it alone" mentality. I personally hate that, and want things to be done properly and neatly.

Oh well, all we can do is hope some people read this and take it into consideration. Good luck on that, however. :P

07-16-2006, 10:15 AM
The way I look at it, it's a division of labor/trust issue, always has been and always will be. The people who generally make it to the LAT are specialists, and generally very good at what they do (with the exception of Zero33, who was very good at applying for jobs). Thus, they have plenty of hard work to do, saving the world and looking at the big picture, and those few who have upload rights are generally the busiest of all - it's nice to Say the door to the playerhouse in modtown1.nw at 32,45 uses the darkgray that blocks instead of the identical darkgray that doesn't block, but when you're revamping the system NPC to handle database access to decrease the overhead-per-player, you don't really have time to open that level, retile that doorway, move the warp, open the interior level and set the warp to be that much smoother, even with the intervening steps of "Save each level, open WS_FTP, connect to the server, upload, go to those levels and say Update Level" removed.

Fortunately, there are lots of people who have plenty of time to do these sorts of things. But we can't all be trusted with upload rights - one of us would go all Chimpy and set a warp over the entire level to send people directly to jail just for mischief. So we just point it out, and maybe, just maybe, if it's easy enough, the next time someone with upload rights happens to be fixing the level anyway - maybe they're adding a playerhouse, maybe they're fixing a sign, who knows? - they glance at the boarded-up doors and go "Oh, right, those". And it's fixed.

Or, now that I think about it, maybe they can just program the weapon to, for the absolutely most trustworthy people, edit, upload, and update the level with the boards permanently adhered. With the necessary checks to prevent misfires, of course - easy enough to detect the tiles around.

07-16-2006, 07:30 PM
Is that Kat I see!?
I most definately see a Kat.

Anywayz.. I'm pretty sure Massokre and Master Storm are the only two with any bit of scripting ability. There are a lot of levels there for only two people. :(

07-17-2006, 05:11 AM
Is that Kat I see!?
I most definately see a Kat.

Anywayz.. I'm pretty sure Massokre and Master Storm are the only two with any bit of scripting ability. There are a lot of levels there for only two people. :(
I agree with what Tyhm says. However, We're definitely in a pretty big construction phase for most things. After that we'll hit the refinement phases (like in the new damage/movement systems).