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Author Topic: How important is a storyline?  (Read 3983 times)

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Phantom

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How important is a storyline?
« on: 17 Apr 2003, 15:10:17 »
How important is a storyline for a campaign? Does there have to be a plot if the missions are sequential? The same for a single mission, does it have to have a great storyline to be good, or does it just have to be fun?

Comments?

andersgrim

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Re:How important is a storyline?
« Reply #1 on: 17 Apr 2003, 15:39:11 »
A campaign needs a good storyline.
w/o this it could be cool some missions, but it'd get really boring when you just fly around shooting people..

A campaigns storyline doesnt neccessarily need to be very long, you can get very far with one main objective spread over a few missions, but the better storyline is, the better the campaign will be.

Cutscenes and so can add a kinda story-style on the campaign, but all that is just extra stuff....

So start writing a story, man!!  ;)

Phantom

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Re:How important is a storyline?
« Reply #2 on: 17 Apr 2003, 15:59:50 »
i have! as a matter of fact, i'm working on 4 campaigns right now! all with a storyline

max_killer_payne

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Re:How important is a storyline?
« Reply #3 on: 17 Apr 2003, 17:11:50 »
A campaign needs a storyline that'll suck the player in wanting them to know whats happenin or so it keeps them on the edge of the seat.

Offline macguba

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Re:How important is a storyline?
« Reply #4 on: 24 Apr 2003, 13:44:19 »
It's even more important than that.   A good mission is a good story.   Mission making is a branch of story telling.

Sure, yes you can have a fun mission without a good story, but that's not quite the same thing.)

A campaign is only a campaign - as opposed to a series of missions - if it tells a story.
Plenty of reviewed ArmA missions for you to play

bigdog632

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Re:How important is a storyline?
« Reply #5 on: 25 Apr 2003, 10:08:38 »
the story is what binds the missions together to form the campaign if it didnt have a story it would just be a SP mission pack

Captain Winters

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Re:How important is a storyline?
« Reply #6 on: 25 Apr 2003, 20:59:57 »
Exactly wat bigdog said. Here check dis out but forget bout da Global 3D War it dont exst but meh site does:

"Well I'm Not trying to advertise or brag or anything here...

I developed a whole theory for my missions.  I dare you to goto www.freewebs.cpm/sprpcg and check out what I do before I even get on the computer. I select WHICH music I will use, and I actually write a script, one where you're accostumed to the men you fight with. If any of you's tested my Ground Attack IV you would have seen the last level that ended my Steel Skies campaign. I don't want to brag but that campaign played out like a movie. You watched 20 minute cinematics before you even did anything. My friends loved it, a couple even bought OFP JUST to play that campaign. So if you're looking for out of the ordinary missions with a background story, made with heart and mind considered, the is definatly the site for you: www.global3dwar.com. That's where I host my missions along with www.freewebs.cpm/sprpcg (a sub-site of G3DW). I guareentee these are the sorts of missions you's are talking about!

Tanks!"

A storyline is what makes the level. Music, Characters, Drama, Da Mood. You need it all to be good. Just check out one on meh levels from meh campaign "Steel Skies", and you'll see wat I mean. I guareente when u play my campaign you'll see it play out like a movie. Sorry if i be soundin like im bragin i don't mean too that OR advertise. PLay it out and then play through a Campaign with no story and see which you have more fun wit...

l8r

Tanks!  8)  

Phantom

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Re:How important is a storyline?
« Reply #7 on: 25 Apr 2003, 21:10:54 »
seems to me like another shameful product placement

i find it extremely difficult to believe you when you say your not bragging, could you have mentioned yourself more?

RP

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Re:How important is a storyline?
« Reply #8 on: 26 Apr 2003, 00:31:19 »
I think a storyline is essential, and one of the most challenging parts of making a mission or campaign. That's what gets you in the right mood for playing it, and it's how you can make it original and interesting.
As i see it, if you got the plot, sooner or later you'll have the mission.

Offline Messiah

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Re:How important is a storyline?
« Reply #9 on: 26 Apr 2003, 13:43:02 »
i loved the storyline in cold war crisis and resistance - and hey, who didnt shed a tear when Gastovski was remembering Troska? im sure u all had to stop urself crying - lol

neah, even in single player, a storyline is important, not as important as in a campaign, but its needed. If you put a player into a situation where he doesnt know why he is carrying out objectives, then he's lost and loses the idea of the mission....

its hard to tell a story in 1 mission, but good use of short cutscenes (no 20 min films, it gets so tedious) and then a good briefing with background reading on whats happened up to the date and just stuff to set the scene...

once you have set the scene for the mission, then its much more enjoyable... people will play the mission and think 'aaaah, i remember reading about this.... oooh, wonder what happens' its all trying to get the player involved into your mission.... in my current mission im introducing the player to all his teammates... just adding the personal touch... it all comes together in the end to hopefully produce a great mission.

:thumbsup:
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Offline KTottE

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Re:How important is a storyline?
« Reply #10 on: 26 Apr 2003, 15:33:29 »
Also important to remember in a campaign is that each mission has a good story.
It can't just be a segment in the bigger picture, in the world of movie-making there are things called 'transport-stages'.

Places in the movie where you get a breather from the story and action, or places that transport the story and/or cast to different locations.

A perfect example is the very cool place in Snatch, where 'Avi' says he's coming to London. Slams down the phone, hops in the cab, flies to London, hops in a cab, BAM, he's in the office.
That's got to be one of the best transport stages that I have ever seen in my life.

Anyway, now you know what a transport stage is, those should happen exclusively between missions.
Intros/Outros and campaign-cutscenes are where to place transport stages.

Now, a movie, and a campaign too, should be built up in a specific way.

The standard way of doing it, the way 99% of the movies out t here are made, is this:

Intro:
Introduce characters, story, protagonist ('Hero') and antagonist ('Badguy') and different plots (Hero1 might have a quarrel with Hero2 over who makes the best lasagna, things like that).

Tempo-raiser (My own name for it):
This is where you'll see the first encounters between the antagonist and the protagonist, or their underlings. The action and the tempo should rise in a steady fashion.
In a OFP-campaign this would best be done with escalating scale and difficulty in the missions.
So first you are part of a small squad patrolling and nothing really dangerous happens.
Then you go into a larger squad maybe with the support of another and do proper assaults and such, a.s.o. You get the point.

Point of no return (this is actually an 'official' phrase in the world of moviemaking):
This is where the hero's wife dies, or his partner, a.s.o.
Now we know there's no turning back for him before he defeats his enemy.
In OFP this would probably be a large battle to defend a position, and many of the main character's friends die. Suitably followed by the commanding officer going "We'll kick dem bastards' asses now, y'hear" or something to that effect ;)

Tempo-raiser:
This is a shorter version of the tempo-raiser. In cop-movies this is where the cop loads up with weapons and goes to search for the badguys hiding place, killing lots of people in the process.
In OFP this is where the military effort is escalated and you go tear-assing all over the place.

Grand Finale:
You find the badguy and his closest crooks and you battle him and win.
In OFP this would be finding the personal hiding place of the enemy commander (The HQ should be assaulted in the tempo-raiser just before this) and battle it out with his bodyguards.


Now, that recipe is something everyone should follow. Not to the letter of course, and you can make alterations and adding more point-of-no-returns and turningpoints and tempo-raisers.
Making the story a bit more interesting.

But, something you should not forget is that each mission should follow this as well.
But for missions we could break it down into military terms:

Briefing:

You are told what your mission is. You are told who is to accompany you, you are given weapons
and so on.

Intro/Insertion:

Now, lets say there are three characters in the team which are the important ones in the main story, you should try to develop them a little in each mission.
We have Grunt, who wants to go head-on with the enemy and destroy him. "Bring me some gooks and I'll kill them" sort of guy.
Hero, which is "you", should sit on the fence so to speak. He should be able to go into "Grunt" mode, but also "Reason" mode.
Then we have Reason, who always wants to do play it safe.
Now, the mission is to assault a base.
Grunt goes: Lets fly in there with our blackhawks and bust them up.
Hero goes: Hmm, what's the expected resistance?
Reason goes: This plan sounds too dangerous to me.

Really stupid example, but you get my point. Develop the characters, and doing so you can bring important notes to the player, instead of spelling them out in the briefing.
Grunt goes "Why can't we fly in", Reason goes: "Because we have reports of Shilkas in the AO".
Now the player knows there are Shilkas in there.

This they do while they are loading up on trucks/helos/sitting in a C130 getting ready to jump/whatever during the intro mode.
The player can click past it, but it gives you the perfect material for your intro.

The intro ends when they are approaching the AO.

Mission-start:

The mission starts with the people unloading from their transport, getting ready for the mission.
This is the peaceful part. The first tempo-raiser.
You know the enemy is out there, but not where and when he's going to strike.
Lets say the mission is to attack a village.
While moving towards it, you get radio-reports from the scouts, "We have enemy movement in the town" a.s.o.

This phase should be broken by engaging the enemy. Lets say you hit a patrol or something.

Combat:

You engage and destroy the enemy patrol you encountered, but perhaps some of you die.
The squad-leader goes "Alright, they will know about us know, they must've heard the shooting, let's hurry up now so they can't prepare too much".
Everyone rushes into position and wait for the word.

Combat-continued:
The second tempo-raiser you fight the enemy in the village.

Now, if it should end here you just finish it up with the enemy being destroyed and the player taking the town.

You could add a twist however, the enemy getting armoured/airborne support or somesuch.


Now, that's the pattern to follow. Now you need to think of a plausible story.
Notice that it doesn't have to be very original, just plausible.
A four-man spec-ops team would not assault an armoured brigade for example.
The US wouldn't care about a shit-hole town on the north tip of Nogova if it had zero strategic value.
Give it strategic value ("It's the best place to post AA defenses to defend against an aerial attack from the north" for instance) and the mission to take the place would be plausible.

God I write too much.
"Life is not a journey to the grave with the intention of arriving safely in a pretty and well preserved body, but rather to skid in broadside, thoroughly used up, totally worn out, and loudly proclaiming 'WOW What a Ride!'"

Offline Messiah

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Re:How important is a storyline?
« Reply #11 on: 26 Apr 2003, 17:54:15 »
Quote
God I write too much.

he agrees  ;)
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Captain Winters

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Re:How important is a storyline?
« Reply #12 on: 26 Apr 2003, 19:54:34 »
seems to me like another shameful product placement

i find it extremely difficult to believe you when you say your not bragging, could you have mentioned yourself more?

If you say so, Mr. Attitude? lol jesus. To sum it up a story-line is very important, and its what can make or break a campaign or level.

Tanks!  8)

Phantom

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Re:How important is a storyline?
« Reply #13 on: 26 Apr 2003, 20:03:18 »
i agree

RP

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Re:How important is a storyline?
« Reply #14 on: 27 Apr 2003, 22:26:02 »
One of the things i love in OFP is how close it can be to moovie making.
I think KTottE's post can be a great help for guys building up a campaign. Maibe you write to much KTottE, but i'm glad you do it, hehehe...


bigdog632

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Re:How important is a storyline?
« Reply #15 on: 28 Apr 2003, 17:31:10 »
I don't want to brag but that campaign played out like a movie. You watched 20 minute cinematics before you even did anything. My friends loved it, a couple even bought OFP JUST to play that campaign.




20 minutes of cinematics? jeez ya wait 30 min to join a game to watch a 20 min moie before killin people

Offline .pablo.

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Re:How important is a storyline?
« Reply #16 on: 29 Apr 2003, 01:54:00 »
where can i d/l that mission winters? the urls u posted dont work

Frosty

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Re:How important is a storyline?
« Reply #17 on: 29 Apr 2003, 12:21:18 »
This is what I will be attempting to achieve in my Citizen Soldiers campaign. The whole idea has beeb inspired by the late Stephen E. Ambrose, and therefore it will be dedicated to him, and also to the brave fighting men of every nation engaged in the Second World War.

I hope that in my campaign when your comrades make a joke you laugh, and when they die you cry :'(. I want it to be heavily dramatic. Sort of like the Band of Brothers show, and Saving Private Ryan. But I didn't want to use that name because every one knows about it.

Go to Pre 1985 to read my thread. I'm a bit sad no one really cares right now. It is about to hit 100 reads, so maybe you could post your comments there.

Phantom

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Re:How important is a storyline?
« Reply #18 on: 29 Apr 2003, 12:31:40 »
that's flagrant self advertising if i've ever seen it

Captain Winters

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Re:How important is a storyline?
« Reply #19 on: 02 May 2003, 02:27:33 »
please phantom enough chris-bashing already... This weekend im releasin a small preview look for it on this site.

Tanks...  8)

PS- 20 mins i'm just sortas exaggeratin  ;) thats TOO much!

Mr_Shady

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Re:How important is a storyline?
« Reply #20 on: 03 May 2003, 16:15:16 »
The reason for all forms of media, be it book, film, newspaper article or game, is to tell a story. Even though, say, a newspaper article is there to inform rather than entertain, it still tells you a story about something.

So, I think that for a mission or campaign to be succesful, they need a storyline. Personally, I think CWC lost it a little, because the opening missions were great in the sense that you were one of the grunts, and there was bantering between your mates before the fighting. It was like 'being' Armstrong, and when you feel part of a story that your character plays a role in, it's suceeding. In games like Black Hawk Down, which have no real story, it felt a bit... exclusive. Like your part wasn't important, and that you were just a faceless grunt. I think CWC went this way a little bit once it started chopping and changing, with only Gastovski and Armstrong interesting me. The tankie didn't interest me, and the pilot only interested me when he was shot down, and you had to escape and evade the enemy. It's the little twists that make the differences sometimes.

My mod campaign, Hoffman's Luck (sadly defunct) was based on a story I wrote about a disillusioned British soldier who was part of a unit garrisoning a small island. It had it's fair share of characters (a few of which that were to be playable) but each was important to the plot, since their parts all intertwined. CWC seemed to have been written with only Armstrong and Gastovski in mind, then the others bolted on at the end.

I'd write about Res, but I only got up to the bit where you had to ambush the convoy, it was too hard for me  :-[ But, I did like the choices thrown at you, like betraying the rebel, or fighting the Russians, and then having to deal with the consequences of your actions. That was unexpecteldy cool.

So, to summarise:

A mission IS the storyline  :)

RP

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Re:How important is a storyline?
« Reply #21 on: 04 May 2003, 14:49:42 »
Good point Kooky!

Mr_Shady

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Re:How important is a storyline?
« Reply #22 on: 04 May 2003, 15:24:07 »
Thank you kindly, good sir! I knew I was studying A-Level Media Studies for a reason  ;)

Offline Messiah

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Re:How important is a storyline?
« Reply #23 on: 06 May 2003, 00:41:35 »
although resistance didnt use the choices idea well enuff... if you make a new profile and do the campaign cheat... u can see that basically whatever your choice you would end up with reisstance, or die... lol
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Offline KTottE

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Re:How important is a storyline?
« Reply #24 on: 06 May 2003, 07:40:33 »
Yeah, in the end you would come to play as the resistance.
Back when OFP:R was just released, I saw a very good use for the choice-system.
What about a campaign that can be played from both sides?
Exactly the same campaign but you can play either as the russkies or the americans.

Or you could do something else.
Let's say you make a campaign using the BAS-units.
Now, at the beginning of the campaign you get to make a choice, either play as the Deltas/Rangers on the ground, or play as the pilot that provides CAS and/or ferry them to and from the mission.

"Life is not a journey to the grave with the intention of arriving safely in a pretty and well preserved body, but rather to skid in broadside, thoroughly used up, totally worn out, and loudly proclaiming 'WOW What a Ride!'"

delaware

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Re:How important is a storyline?
« Reply #25 on: 06 May 2003, 10:44:24 »
That's eerie, Ktotte.  I was thinking up concepts for missions on Sunday, and the first one I wanted to try was being a Littlebird pilot providing air support during a raid.  I got to thinking and realized every aspect -- Delta assaulters, Ranger security elements, 160th pilots, ground convoy drivers) of that mission would be cool, especially when you saw other units doing what you did last time you played.

I just started learning about making missions, so I don't have the talent to pull that off yet.  Maybe someone else here can give it a shot...?

While we're on the subject of air support, a door gunner campaign in Vietnam would be very, very cool.

Regards,
Chris

Offline KTottE

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Re:How important is a storyline?
« Reply #26 on: 06 May 2003, 11:58:48 »
Yes, I was actually considering a full campaign as seen from the supporting roles.
That means, the guy who flies the helo, alt. mans the gun in the helo.
I could include fix-winged aircraft, but that would be the exception, not the rule. Fix-winged aircraft don't see much combat, just circle-around, get the order to attack, move in at high alt. target the laser designated target, drop your bombs, go home..
Rotary-aircraft can stay close during the entire mission, and will see more action than fix-winged aircraft.

At first, my idea was to make only a campaign as seen from the pilots, but maybe the idea could be extended.
The good thing about this is that once you got one side of the campaign done, it won't be too hard converting missions to play from a different point of view, and also adding the necessary scripting to make it possible to switch between them (though you will have to play the entire campaign from one pov. So you can't do mission 1, helo, mission 2, delta, mission 3, helo.)
"Life is not a journey to the grave with the intention of arriving safely in a pretty and well preserved body, but rather to skid in broadside, thoroughly used up, totally worn out, and loudly proclaiming 'WOW What a Ride!'"

Phantom

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Re:How important is a storyline?
« Reply #27 on: 06 May 2003, 15:27:59 »
HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA(for infinity)

Quote
I was thinking up concepts for missions on Sunday, and the first one I wanted to try was being a Littlebird pilot providing air support during a raid.  I got to thinking and realized every aspect -- Delta assaulters, Ranger security elements, 160th pilots, ground convoy drivers)

hmm....
can anyone say Black Hawk Down?
please.....
oh well, at least i don't have to look at yet ANOTHER BHD topic...

Offline KTottE

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Re:How important is a storyline?
« Reply #28 on: 06 May 2003, 16:48:27 »
Phantom, can that bullsh*it attitude.
Why does it have to be blackhawk down just because he uses HMMWVs, Deltas, Rangers and the 160th SOAR?

If he had said "I'm going to make a mission where the Deltas and Rangers are going to capture terrorist leaders in a town, backed up by the 160th SOAR and HMMWV convoys, and at one point one of the blackhawks get shot down" it would have been a rip off.

If you don't like BHD, fine.
Don't crap on everyone elses good ideas because you are angry you didn't get there first.

"Life is not a journey to the grave with the intention of arriving safely in a pretty and well preserved body, but rather to skid in broadside, thoroughly used up, totally worn out, and loudly proclaiming 'WOW What a Ride!'"