View Full Version : Intertwined storyline for a platformer

30-10-2006, 01:27 PM
Before telling you the idea, a few sources I used to come up with this idea.
Cave story (great free platofrmer)
Metroid fusion (Gameboy advance)

I haven't thought up a storyline in itself, but here's a general idea of how you can make a great single player platformer. I don't think this exists yet, if it does, please tell me.

Let's say we have 5 different main characters in the game, each with their own strengths and weaknesses.
I came up with the following:
- An agile melee fighter. Can't use ranged attacks like guns, but can move very fast and it has a moderate jump height.
- A shooter. A typical megaman type guy (nuff said)
- A stealth dude. Isn't very fast, but can do a powerful melee attack and it can change into scenery (like a flower on the background or such) and be invincible while changed.
- A flying dude. It doesn't jump or anything, it just flies slowly. and it can shoot in any direction (like a soldier in Soldat).
- A sticky guy. When it jumps and hits an obstacle, it clings to it. This way it can move up a wall or a ceiling. Jumping always releases you from the surface and thrusts you in the opposite direction (ceiling=falling, wall is sideways jump, floor is upward jump). You can also do a jump attack, so you have your basic melee fighter.

That should give you enough diversity in the different characters.
The story starts out with the most basic guy in the game. Let's say the shooter. Like in cave story you can get new guns or upgrade your existing gun as you go.
But.... just to name an example.... you suddenly enter a room where you see a defeated Boss character. Of course the player is puzzled and the answer to his/her question isn't answered.... YET.... A couple of these mysteries occur in the game. Some puzzles are solved allready and you can just walk past a screen without having to do anything.
When you've finished the storyline you can play "Episode 2" and start a new game with a different character. Let's say the agile melee fighter is up next. This guy has different moving abilities so it can reach places the shooter can't and vice versa. In this case this fighter gets to a place the shooter's allready been, but you're there EARLIER in time. The boss is alive now and you have to defeat it. As you leave the room you see a small cinematic of the other guy entering this room, finding a defeated boss.

At some points in the game you can even make a little recoring of the final 10 seconds of your boss battle. When a different character enters at a point it can't be seen, but can see the battle for himself, you can just play the recording from that battle and see how you defeated the boss earlier.

In a way this has been done with halflife. In the first episode you are some scientist who defeats some creatures and has to fight some militairy men along the way. In another episode you play some security guard who happens to pick up some radio transmissions referring to the first episode.

I haven't found any games in which you run through several storylines within the same game. I don't even think the genre exists in which you find parts of your own storyline back.

The easy part of this kind of game is that you only build one world, like in the metroid series. Eventhough many characters start on a different scene, their paths intersect eventually.

This kind of game unravels a huge mystery which is only clear to the player when all episodes have been cleared.

I have a nice piece of intertwining storyline which could make all characters meet up with each other:
4 out of the 5 characters have played their storyline and it basically all ends in the same way. The bad guy of the story manages to capture the heroes and they are all transported to a central chamber where they are trapped in a pod. The bad guy tells them his plan to dispose of them (so you see that bit up to 4 times. After telling him that plan the storyline stops (so you won't see him execute his plan).
Now it's time for episode 5. Surprisingly you are the henchman of the bad guy and you're actually the guy imprisioning the 4 heroes of the previous episodes. But in this storyline you're a person who slowly realises the bad guy is actually not the guy he wants bossing him around.
Somewhere in the storyline you enter the room where the 4 heroes are captured in the pod and again you listen to the badguy telling them his plan. This is the exact spot where you turn good and prevent the heroes from being disintegrated/burned/frozen/sufficated (you think up something) and you press a button which initiates a self destruct sequence and you make a run for it....
Episode 5 can end with the henchman succesfully escaping and making it to some planet.
Now you can add a whole new set of episodes with the 5 heroes with which you just played.
In the very end you can make all heroes meet up with the boss and you can choose one character to fight him.

In the end you can even make a multiplayer game in which you can play these characters (their strengths depending on the choices you made in the singleplayer game, otherwise using a default set of strengths).

Cavestory offers several seperate storylines you can follow, if you do those in a certain way you get different weapons. You can use that here too.

It's a lot of storyline here.. Not saying I want to make a game like this, but I'm just curious of what you think of it.

30-10-2006, 02:13 PM
Sounds like an interesting storyline. I especially like the idea of playing the henchman.. He would have the hardest job of all.. first of all, he faces the wrath of his boss and all the other henchmen if he releases the prisoners. he also risks being killed by the heroes as 'just another henchman', so he has to play a sabotage/stealth mission to sneak past guards, plant bombs and assist the heroes in the downfall of his boss whilst facilitating his own escape.. but this would take quite a lot of intelligence to work so one would have to ask, why's this guy just a henchman in the firstplace if he's so smart?

I imagine this game would be something like a Final Fantasy style (only without the annoying combat system) But like FF it would take a large team with TONNES of resources to make it happen. Just writing that story in a book would take a good writer a long time.. there are a lot of loose ends to tie up and to make it all mesh together would take an act of creativity the likes I've never seen before.

I considered a large interwoven storyline for a game I was considering called Unknown Space, the original idea had different characters taken from different universes, some where gravity was reversed so that those characters could only run on the ceilings. Others were from water worlds and they had to exist within armour plated goldfish bowls with arms and legs.. they were fighting against an emeny who used interdimensional jump technology to abduct people to use as slaves in specific environments. The universe was to be random to save on the content creation, but that in itself can be difficult to work properly. The story had holes in it, but the game play possibilities were quite nice.

31-10-2006, 09:05 AM
Too bad your game never made it. I would have been curious about the results... Do you happen to have some old artwork or screenshots of what you've made so far? I'd love to have a little more insight of your idea.

The original storyline I had for my idea was the following, but I haven't thought it through yet.

The game would be called "Red X". The game starts with a huge battle between lots of soldiers fighting an even greater amount of robots (or different types of soldiers). This battle takes place at the bay of a huge space ship (the game world, how metroid is that?).
All soldiers are wiped out except for one. He's just on the floor unconscious (the lucky bastard). To make the storyline more interesting he'll probably have amnesia so I won't give away too much of the storyline yet. He gets an order every now and then but due to some radio interference he only gets small bits of information. Later on he finds out the one on the radio is a good friend of his (maybe we can make the friend a female to make it more soapish so the game appeals to a greater audience :P ).
In the course of the game the soldier comes to some bio-lab where all sorts of different creatures are encaged. The soldier manages to escape a whole bunch of enemy robots/soldiers by releasing the doors of all cages setting the critters free (of course a huge battle between the creatures and the soldiers takes place).
This storyline ends when the soldier is caught (like I said before).

Storyline 2 begins completely different. An infant creature (maybe fuzzy, maybe ferocious) is living at home with his family. On this planet are several other creatures including this creature's friend. This is some winged creature... pterodactyl like. There is a war going on between his village (more like a set of caves) and the enemy village. The war chief wants to plan some sort of assault on the enemy village, but whilst hunting for food our hero overhears the enemy setting a trap. By using stealth he of course plans to go back to the village and warn his friends. When he reaches the village the tribesmen are gone so he has to follow using a shortcut he knows. At the very last moment he manages to warn his friends and so he prevents his own tribe from being wiped out so easily. A huge battle is about to take place anyway, but our hero tries to stop it by standing in between the two tribes. The tribes ignore the poor little critter and run towards each other anyways. By stroke of luck (or maybe not) a bright beam of light shines on top of the critter. The power of the light forces both tribes backwards (some sort of blast effect) and the critter is sucked upwards towards.... something you can't see. You see a fade to black while the critter heads for the sky unwillingly.
A bit later on our hero wakes up in a cage aboard a huge space ship (for those of you paying attention, it is indeed the same place I mentioned before). He's not alone here. Worse yet... There are other creatures there from his planet including one of the rivaling tribe... Immediately a boss battle occurs. As you almost defeat the boss the doors open. The boss character uses this oppurtunity to flee fighting some guards and passing the soldier of episode 1. As the soldier from episode one leaves the hero manages to escape. This hero walks around the ship a bit recieving new bits of global storyline information after which he gets caught too.

The 3rd storyline is different again. This person is more of an anti-hero. This character (let's call him the warrior) has a personal vendetta against the big bad-guy. Don't know why yet... Maybe the baddies blew up his planet to make way for a hyperspace bypass ;). This guy's story starts when his cloaked ship attaches itself to the huge spaceship and drills a hole in the hull so this warrior can enter. His mission is to assasinate the bad guy and in order to do that succesfully it's best he remains unseen. At some points he has to take out some enemies by force, but mostly he has to anticipate their movement and lay down some traps.
As he passes trough an air vent he overlooks a battle between good and bad soldiers (start of episode 1). A few baddies remain after the battle and they are about to check if any good guys are still alive. The warrior, enraged by the slaughter he just witnessed, immediately jumps out and takes on the remaining soldiers. He manages to do so, but right after that some mysterious shadow comes up to him from behind and knocks him KO. He wakes up somewhere else, but he doesn't know who knocked him out and how he got there. He decides to continue his mission and in the end this person is caught too.

Remember the friend of the critter I mentioned earlier? Well, I didn't do that without a reason. He's the main character of the fourth storyline. Basically he's the best friend of the critter and as good friends do, he wouldn't let him down no matter what. Because he is a flier his story progresses differently. This guy's storyline starts out whith a little conversation between him and the other critter. He has something great he wants to show the critter from ep2. He goes home to get it (fighting all sorts of native animals in the way) and returns only to find out his best friend has gone off to stop some tribal war. He arrives there just as the critter is sucked up by a beam of light. He of course flies after it and manages to enter the ship at the exact entry point the hero from ep3 used. He flies in the stealth ship and goes in via the created hole. He's determined to save his best friend. At a certain point he has to run away from a boss he can't defeat and he bumps into the hero of ep3 knocking him unconscious (yup, the exact same place). Feeling guilty he grabs him and drops him elsewhere. The storyline continues and of course this hero gets caught too.

Now it's time for episode 5. The henchman storyline. His story starts with the bad guy talking to him and giving him orders. Right after that a soldier enters the room and a little discussion starts about why this guy allows the boss to treat him that way. A flashback starts showing him a part of his past where some war just ended as he was a kid. This bad guy took him in and took care of him ever since. He can't remember more.
As the storyline continues he captures the warrior making some heroic statement as to why he fights for the wrong cause. This only raises minor doubt about where his true loyalty lies. Later on he recieves word of some escaped creatures (the very same) and he has to prevent them from leaving a certain hallway. This part of the game becomes some side scroller shooter in which the henchman kills off some creatures. The last creature is of course a boss and as the henchman moves on he finds the empty cages (at this point all heroes who were here have left allready). In the final bit of the storyline he captures all other heroes. Each of these heroes makes a different statement, but the one of the ep2 critter hits him the most. He hears about the bad guy invading his planet and obducting creatures from it. Finally he realizes the same could have happened in his flashback. Returning to the major bad-guy he overhears him monologuing to his prisoners and telling them what he actually did. Of course he's sure of what happened on his planet and he gets a clearer flashback of the battle which took place there. Because of this he decides to press some "CRASH" button because of which the huge spaceship comes hurling down to a nearby planet (the storyline allready explained somewhere this ship was hovering over a planet). As this happens the bad guy sends all available guards after the henchman as he himself tries to escape (This is a nice bit of running action in which I can build a time limit). Finally the henchman reaches a mysterious escape pod, this one looks different from all the others. He gets in and as he heads for the controls he finds a mysterious box labeled "Red X". He has no time to pay attention to that, so he fires up the engines to escape.
Of course a huge space ship crashing down wouldn't be a huge spaceship without some big cannons on it, so in this case the escape pod is shot down, but fortunately it crashes on the planet and of course the ex-henchman is only heavily bruised. At this point you see the henchman lying down and the box labeled "Red X" broken and strangely empty.

Well, this is the starter storyline, if you want to hear more, just ask.

01-11-2006, 11:03 AM
Hmm... neat story idea. :)

You know, imho, there aren't enough platformers out these days. Why don't you get a few artists together a persue this one?

I think the closest I have seen to have come to this sort of concept was 'Castlevania 3: Dracula's Curse' for the NES. (I guess I'd have to think back to my NES days for innovational concepts, after the SNES innovation has seemed to funnel.) Other than RPGs (and this is indeed like an RPG way of storytelling) I haven't really seen too much in the way of detailed story in many other genre, esp. platformers. Save for maybe a few GBA games, but most of those where RPG dual-genre anyhow.

01-11-2006, 12:56 PM
I've taken the basic idea (gameplay, not storyline) from cave story:

Maybe a nice one for you to play.

About pursuing this idea... I'm nearly finished with my studies (IT study) and after I get my diploma it's off to find a job first.... Maybe, just maybe I'll actually make this game.

Nice thing about such a storyline with this amount of characters (grows as the storyline progresses) is the multiplayer ability...
All boosters (better weapons, more speed, better jump, etc...) will form your character in a multiplayer battle. Something like soldat came to mind, but I think I'll rule out mouse control. If someone definitely HAS to aim with a gun, a liero type crosshair should suffice.

02-11-2006, 09:23 AM
I felt like posting part 2 of the story, so here goes.

This storyline starts with a new character in a new setting. The storyline starts with a small resistance group making an attack on a laboratory. Judging the looks of the defending soldiers these guys belong to the same bad guy. This is a totally different environment so you know you're not on the ship anymore. In this case (for a change) the good guys win, but as in every battle there are casualties among the resistance group. One thing which stands out again is the mark of "Red X" plastered all over the wall. You see some weird schematics (wireframes and such) of the letter X on the wall. Since the resistance group knows as much as we do, they plant explosives and get outta there and decide to regroup at their underground base.

Hero #6 is the leader of this resistance group. Having finally destroyed the threat on their homeworld they decide to make sure the enemy is wiped out and the leader has to go out and kill any remaining robot. This is a simple mission in which you just have to kill some robots and defeat some bosses. When he's about to return to base a fast spinning object (UFO or something?) hurls through the sky and nearly hits him. After that, another boss appears and he has to defeat it. This boss is good at throwing stuff so the player should assume this boss threw the spinning object. After defeating this boss a strange rumbling noise comes from the atmosphere. Our hero looks up and sees something huge crashing down.

I'll keep the critter's storyline short. He wakes up outside the ship. He saw his friend when he was in the cage on the ship, so he knows he's somewhere around. He walks around exploring the area around the ship. Just as he sees him, he notices he runs away with the henchman. He fears the henchman took him and he decides to follow. The critter is agile enough to follow the two of them and just when he catches up he notices the rebels talking to them. Critter thinks the rebels are actually the enemy soldiers and moves in for an attack, he then is overpowered and knocked out (again).

Now the story continues with our henchman again. This guy has just woken up and he finds the crate "Red X" was forced open by the crash. Whatever was in there isn't in there anymore. Intrigued by this crate another flashback occurs. He thinks back to a time where he overheard the boss talking to some scientists about "Project Red X". You hear the boss talking to the scientist that the project is finished and stored for shipment. Right after that the alarm goes. Something warning is given over the speakers referring to the very first battle in the game.
The henchman's movement abilities are quite limited so he can't reach many places. He just fights his way through some simple terrain. After a short while he hears an explosion and a bit later he notices some rebels fleeing. Since the rebels are more agile than the henchman, he can't go after them. A little later he sees the ship crashing down and decides to go after it to look for survivors. Once there he notices the flying critter lying there unconscious. A small cinematic shows the henchman dragging him away.

The next storyline continues with the flying critter. He wakes up in a cave with the henchman sitting beside him. The henchman explains his part of the story and says they have to get away. The flying critter insists they find his friend and they partialy head back. The henchman just follows you around and you have to fight some flying monsters with the help of the henchman. You can trigger some switches and solve some puzzles to proceed. The henchman knows how to use technology so he can remove some barriers. The base idea is to get from A to B with the henchman. In stead of finding the critter hero, you find a member of the resistance group. He asks you to follow him and this chapter ends.

Now the soldier wakes up inside a different part of the ship. Near him is a blinking light and it's the emergency emitter. This thingy calls for a pickup when he's in a safe location, but we all know he isn't. Since his radio is broken he has to find some stuff to repair it and warn his fellow soldiers not to come (there's no way they can defeat a robot army this big). Since the ship is pretty busted up after the crash lots of parts are lying around. He has to flick some switches to get to some points easier. One of the switches doesn't do anything (or so it would seem, we'll get back to that one later). Finally he has all parts and he wants to go to the exit hatch, this hatch is broken and he can't get through, just as you think you're not going to get out, an explosion occurs breaking a hole in the hull of the ship. The same spinning and flying object we saw before comes flying through and exits through the other part of the screen. This soldier goes outside to use the found equipment with his radio to make a simple radio tower. Just as he transmitted his message (help won't come), the flying critter appears and tells him to come with him. Carries him by his feet and they fly off screen. End of chapter.

Time for the warrior to make his appearance. He wakes up in the lab in which he was before, only the cage is open now. He notices the big bad guy lying there, so of course he runs towards him to finish this game quickly. But this won't go so easy. A strong boss appears in front of him. This boss can't be beaten (invunerability), so our hero makes a run for it. The boss follows after him shooting some stuff to make it harder for you to escape. At a certain point the chase is suddenly cut off by a cinematic. You see the part where the soldier pressed the useless button. You see the exact same dialogue you saw before, but now you see what the button does, afterwards. The ship's defenses are activated and the lasers mounted on the walls/ceiling shoot down the big boss that was following you. You're safe now, but cornered. On one side there's a wall. On the other side are mounted lasers shooting everything that comes near. You manage to weaken the defense by destroying some nearby power source, but he lasers are still active, but this time you can dodge them. At this point the flying object makes his appearance and bumps into the defeated boss. Finally it stops and you see it standing up. This is the only creature I totally thought out. This is "Red X". It's little more than a red letter X with an eyeball in the center. It's powers are sticking to any surface and making a spinning attack as it jumps away from the surface (I described this in my first post). Right now this Red X is under attack from these lasers. It's the warrior's task to save him by destroying the lasers before red X or his own HP runs out. Because of what happened you're Red X's friend now and you decide to escape. Chapter ends here.

The next chapter continues with "Red X". He escorts the warrior to the hull in the ship he made earlier for the soldier. Just as he reaches it a couple of enemy robots appear along with the bad guy who tries to sway the Red X to join him because, according to the him, it is his destiny. Red X has now made a friend on the opposite side and doesn't want this. some boss monster comes in from behind and captures the warrior within it's own body. Now Red X has to fight this boss without harming his buddy. Mr bad guy flees before the battle starts. The two of them are now outside and a bit further the rebels come again. They manage to convince the warrior to follow, but Red X ran away (let's say he's not a people person).

In the 3rd and final chapter all of the heroes (except for Red X) unite at the rebel base for what may be the final assault.

02-11-2006, 10:13 AM
My final post: Scene 3.

This scene starts off with Red X. Still angry with the bad guy he decides to do a one man attack. He heads back to the ship and finds the bad guy. He talks to him and explains his true destiny. He is in fact a living being, but he's genetically engineered. He's been created by fusing the best genetic traits from various beings. He was to be the first of a race of super soldiers under the bad guy's control. As he tells him this the baddy reveals a curtain behind which there are a lot of creatures like him, only these are the prototypes. These are the "Blue X". He sends them after "Red X". Red X tries to flee because he is simply outnumbered (20 to 1 or so). In the middle of the escape this chapter ends.

The next couple of chapters start out in the rebel base. The rebels explain the plan and some arguements are fought out. The flier proves to the critter that the henchman is in fact a good guy now. The soldier gives technical information about the enemy, the henchman knows the base like the back of his hand. The warrior knows the enemy's attack patterns and the rebel boss proves to be an explosives expert. To make a long story short, they all are important.
Now the story line splits again. The plan is for each person to reach a different part of the base and place explosives on strategic parts of the hull. This should take care of the enemies once and for all.
Each character goes to such a point, defeats a boss there and tharr she blows.
You see a cinematic of the Red X escaping and a fex of the Blue X manage to get out too. The base is blown up. An indestructible pod emerges from the ashes containing the big bad guy. He orders the blue X to merge with the Red X and a huge final boss emerges. The player can choose with which hero to fight the boss (except for Red X himself of course) and put and end to the story. The boss is defeated, causing it to unbind and a group of Blue X and of course the Red X fall down. The warrior takes care of the red X. The soldier army finally comes and captures the indestructible pod. The baddy is finally contained. An ending cinematic of pictures and some credits shows how all heroes back home (or wherever) and how they are very happy now.

So, that would be the main part of the story.