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Is Rewriting Right?

After months of hard work, Author Adventure appeared to be a game. It still had bugs but it was a fairly steady base to begin crafting an actual product out of. As I neared what I anticipated would be the final stretch of the development time, I realized Author Adventure was still missing one big part: A Story.

Author Adventure did have a story, but it was loose and meaningless. The original design for Author Adventure was very thin in actual story. Basically four authors meet and go on a quest. There were the four locations they visit and they just go to these places. On the way there would be some jokes and such, but most of it lacked any context and had no bearing on the story. The tone of the entire game would be very nonsensical, simple, perhaps a bit over-the-top, very light, and enjoyable.

However, I wanted something more out of the game, so a few weeks ago I decided to try and create a story with depth. Not with the expressed goal of being pretentious or anything, I just simply wanted to make a real story. Also, I felt making an RPG with humor was the last thing that people wanted on XNA, since the vast majority of the RPGs on the system are of that ilk, (Breath of Death, Bonded Realities, the upcoming Doom and Destiny) I wanted to try something new.

What resulted was a combination of melodrama, ridiculous characters, obvious ploys, pretentious symbolism, and a small number of interesting ideas. Basically, it was a mess. If I wanted to continue with trying to make a deep and involved plot, it would take a lot of editing and probably more writing skill than I really have. This brings up the question of the post: is it a good idea to try and make something with depth, something more interesting (and potentially fail), or would it be better to stick with the successful formula of comedy indie RPGs?

While I may have stacked the previous sentence to point toward the former option, that is not my intention. Truthfully, it is still an open question. This is my first game, and I want people to enjoy it. I feel it is much worse to fail with trying to make a dramatic story than a funny one. Frankly, I am not sure if I have the writing prowess to make a properly dramatic story. Additionally, Author Adventure is meant to be a short game, roughly 4 hours. That is not a lot of time to really get a point across in a game. In a play or short story a strong writer can have a dramatic, powerful story in a short amount of time, but there is no “gameplay” in those mediums. With very little time to actually communicate directly with the player (npcs, cutscenes, ect.) I am not sure if it is even possible to do a great story in a short period of time.

I am still not sure what I want to do, probably some combination of drama and comedy, but it is still up in the air. This game may end up taking longer than I expected. I apologize for the fairly boring post, and for the infrequency of updates. I hope to remedy this situation with more consistent ones, but no guarantees. There is a lot I want to say and share, but I would still like to keep some things a surprise for when the game actually launches! (Whenever that may be)

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