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> [-Writing-] The Guide to Not Failing at Writing, Part 3: Of Sidequests and NPCs
Jonny Roxard
post Feb 26 2008, 07:22 AM
Post #1


Super Saiyan 12
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Type: Designer
Alignment: Chaotic Good




Welcome! This is my third tutorial in the exciting RPG Drama called "Jonny Teaches Hard Doesn't Fail but you Do." I'm here to tell you that writing is pretty important. If you're here reading, you probably suck at it. Maybe you don't. Maybe you're experienced but want to continue to improve. Maybe you're just bored. I don't really care to be honest. But by the time I'm done with you, you should be able to write a decent, solid plot. You won't be making games with breathtaking plots that grabs a player by his very soul and grips him into the game, taking over his life and causing major addiction. That shit is hard.

No, I'm here to teach you the basics. I'll have an advanced tutorial later detailing that. But the basics are always important. So pay attention, as I stop rambling and start the lesson.

Sidequests are a great addition to any game. It's not actually needed, but... they're looked for. Put them in your game. In addition to a reward, a good sidequest should expand on the story. That sounds easy doesn't it? Well I'm here to dissapoint then! It's harder than that. A good sidequest not only has to expand the story, but do it in such a manner that the information given isn't important for the main story. Damn. Thought you were gonna get off easy, huh?

The easiest way to do that is to try to focus on things that either have already happened that aren't as important but sorta cool and minor character development. I say minor because good characters have their character development in the main story. Let's focus on option A: Stuff that already happened.

When writing a sidequest on history, have the reward relate somewhat to the history. Is the sidequest about some ancient Church that was actually a cult that committed mass suicide? Take the player there. Tell the story through the scenery. Have the characters walk through and remark of the church and its condition, and have them speculate on what might have happened in areas of the church. Work the reward in there somehow. Perhaps there was a Knight that tried to stop them, but he was poisoned instead. He could have some awesome sword, like the "Holy Sword" or the "Sword of Justice" or "Slashy." Once the player finishes the sidequest, they should be able to look at the situation that they explored in a new light. It should give the main story some new information, and as I said before, EXPAND the story. Linking sidequests is a great idea here. Just do it in a realistic manner. Not like "hey I found a key that happens to lead to a temple of a different religion halfway cross the world!" "But MainCharacter1, that doesn't make any sen-" "BUT IT WAS HERE"

Seriously, that ruins a story.

Then there's option B: Character Development

Anytime you're developing a character, have a clear beginning and end. How will this character be examined? What will be examined? How will this experience change them? It's important to answer these questions correctly for a sidequest (in the main story it's different, which I'll probably do later.) The correct answers are "focused on mainly, something that hasn't been explained but was probably observed before, and not a lot. In that order.

We'll use a character I RP with. Egris. He's a great guy, isn't he? He's an elven Necromancer that is 600 years old, who has untold of power and potential after centuries of studying and mastering his craft. He has a limp so he has to walk with a cane. When he was still living in his home village, he always liked Necromancy but the others didn't like it. So they tried to make him like other stuffs but he became a Necromancer anyway.

That should be enough to make an example.

Great ideas for sidequests should be pretty obvious here: His limp, his village, and his studies.

Books are boring, and so is injuries that aren't life threatening, so let's hit up the village!

When Egris enters the Village, he'll likely think that everyone will hate him because of his choice of magic. Have him say something at the start. Make it known that this is Egris's hometown. Egris would likely meet with people he grew up with, and they would all ask questions about his magic. Some should be concerned, while others open minded. By the end of meeting everyone, perhaps triggered with a stay at the inn, he could meet with his parents, and they could discuss things. At the end of the day, his parents are still proud of him and everyone there understands his magic and that he is not evil and stuffs. Egris leaves with a rad new accessory from his parents that makes him a god. Or just ups his magic or something. He also leaves changed that he knows his village and parents accept him now.

Those are just examples, sidequests can encompass so many things so it's important to keep an open mind and always push the boundaries. There are thousands of ways to build a sidequest. Your duty is to create a world for your main story. Sidequests are paths that lead the main story to the outside world. With that bit of information, I leave you.

I promised NPCs, but this guide came out really long. So, look for them next, along with an advanced tutorial on character development.


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Hikari_Sword
post Feb 28 2008, 02:20 AM
Post #2



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Type: Designer




The rewards better be worth doing the subquest(s) for. *cough*Radiata Stories*cough*


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Jumbo
post Feb 29 2008, 09:08 PM
Post #3


Highest and Lowest of all Nigel
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Type: Designer




Again, a great tutorial, keep doing them wink.gif


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Hello, I am jumbo!
As you can see, I don't post in RMVX related threads (well, sometimes...).
That's because I don't like VX, I'm staying here just because of some friends I met.
So, you'll only see me in the Fun&Games forum.


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Mavrickindigo
post Apr 19 2008, 05:25 PM
Post #4



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Type: Writer




what if the random key to the different religion's temple was there because of something so mind-blowingly awesome plot-wise? I can't think of anything right now, but it would be interesting to have such a key and then have a deeper side story to explain why its there

of course if the side story is more epic than the main quest, that's a problem...unless, I suppose, if its a secret side quest for after you beat the last boss.
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Jonny Roxard
post Apr 19 2008, 08:18 PM
Post #5


Super Saiyan 12
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Type: Designer
Alignment: Chaotic Good




If the "random" key has a reason to be there though, it's not random.

As for the epic factor, that's not as big of a problem as you'd think. In my opinion, as long as your main plot is memorable and contains enough excitement, the sidequests could be more "epic." In fact, it makes them more desirable in the long run.


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