As you can gather from the title of this post, I am going to talk about the narrative for I Will Prevail, the capstone project my group is working on.
For the narrative, I was originally tasked with writing the plot summary to give the game a bit of a backstory. The driving forces of the narrative were the genre we wanted the game to be which was science-fiction and Cameron, the vision holder of the project. Cameron wanted the narrative to feature two warring factions with the player being on the side of ‘good’. We decided to give the factions ridiculously long names to inject humor into the game, after all, the sheer absurdity in the name length would entertain some people (such as ourselves).
Later on, I was asked to write dialogues for short cutscenes that would occur at the start and end of each level. To help me craft the dialogue, I wrote the descriptions for the two factions which included their motivations. I also created two characters who would serve as the generals for their respective factions, with their own descriptions. While the background information would not be seen in-game, it helped serve as a guide for their dialogues in how they would interact and speak to one another.
As I was writing the dialogues, I had realized that having the player in the role of the hero/defender did not make sense. Especially in relation to what I had written for the narrative unless I rewrote the character lines that were already 90% finished. This led me to have a quick chat with Cameron in changing the role of the player from the hero to the unintentional villain, where they are simply a soldier whose following orders.
For the factions, I already knew there would be two factions at odds against one another. Cameron wanted the factions to have a gap in their technology. The attackers would have technology superior to the defenders whose technology is out-dated. For the technological differences, I planned on having it being mentioned via the dialogue where the general of the attackers will make a snide comment about how the defenders are inferior compared to his troops. This would also be reflected in the art assets being created by Cameron.
The two factions were intentionally given long names, as I mentioned earlier, to inject humor and frankly, why not? Here are the faction names below and which side they are being played as
- Intergalactic Nations Space Conservation Confederation – defenders
- Dirty Depths Mineral Ventures Mining Corporation – attackers (player controlled)
Intergalactic Nations Space Conservation Confederation (INSCC)
These are the defenders that the player must defeat. The primary goal of the confederation is: preserving planets as they are, preventing exploitation and environmental destruction.
They are technologically inferior due to much of their resources being put into conservation efforts. Despite their disadvantage, they have an established military known for its discipline with renowned military commanders and tacticians.
Dirty Depths Mineral Ventures Mining Corporation (DDMVMC)
These folks are the attackers that the player will be playing as. Their primary goal is to strip all the usable resources from planets to generate maximum profit. Once they stripped the planet of all its resources, they will move onto the next planet. If they cannot obtain it by legal means, they will take it by illegal methods (e.g. brute force).
Thanks to their questionable business practices, they have managed to amass wealth to epic proportions. They have invested their wealth into constantly creating new and upgrading existing technology, to improve their efficiency. Their army is known for their technological superiority.
For the generals, I wanted them to have different personalities to reflect their factions and personal beliefs. This included them having their own unique military ranking within their factions. I did end up using a name generator, which I will talk about more, later on, to pick a name for the two characters. I ultimately ended up choosing Nomru and Vallo respectively. Nomru would be the commander of the mining corporation and Vallo would play the commander of the conservation confederation.
For the rankings, I essentially gave Cameron a small list of different names for the rankings to let him pick which ones appealed to him. There were two reasons for this. The first was I had trouble deciding between the ones I had liked, and the second was to have the vision holder involved in the writing process. The rankings for the two gentlemen were as follows:
- Nomru – Supreme Warlord
- Vallo – Chief Marshal of Planetary Defences
Nomru was a former soldier of the confederation, under Vallo’s command. Nomru, being ambitious disagreed with the policies of the both Vallo and the confederation. In short, he saw them as being too soft and that instead of using a diplomatic approach, should be taking what they wanted with force. After being dishonourably discharged, Nomru would join the mining corporation’s private army and rise up the ranks until he became the commander. He would later gain the reputation for his brutal efficiency even if his methods would be considered unethical to some. Essentially, a gruff battle-hardened leader who did not let anything stand in his way between him and completing his mission. Everything and including himself is expendable, and he is fully aware of this.
Vallo would be to be his counterpart. Charamastic and diplomatic, he would use his silver tongue to establish treaties with intelligent alien life forms to allow humans to co-exist with them on their native planets. Battles were a last resort for Vallo. Aware of the fact the military for the confederation has the disadvantage using out-dated technology, he employs strategy and tactics to secure his victories earning him the reputation as a brilliant diplomat and military tactician. He values and deeply cares for those who are under his command. Even though he knows that battles and wars come with losses, he takes each loss of troop under his command hard.
I wanted both characters to have a history with one another, which would explain their familiarity with one another in the dialogues. The idea behind their rivalry would be mainly stemming from their differing beliefs and policies.
Cameron asked me later if I could rework the story to include a moral message/dilemma to be introduced.
The moral dilemma will also be shown through the dialogues, primarily at the end of each level. This is what I see will be my biggest challenge for writing, as even though I do enjoy writing in my personal time, I never had to write a moral dilemma before. I am looking forward to the challenge and hope I can successfully convey that. It would require me to reiterate the dialogue, but as I already need to reiterate it to make them shorter overall, I will do both at the same time.
The biggest resource for my writing was actually the random name generators. As a writer, my biggest struggle in writing is coming up with names. Thinking up names is so hard! The name generator I used mainly was Fantasy name generator, which has generators for numerous topics ranging from fantasy names, ‘real’ names, places, others and so forth. I highly recommend checking it out if you are stuck coming up with names. I am fairly sure I did use one more name generator, but I cannot remember at this point. If I can recall which the second name generator was, I will update this post accordingly.
Overall, I am extremely proud of how the story and dialogues are turning out so far. I hope that the dialogues will correctly deliver the message we want players to receive. I would also like to point out that any references in the dialogue found are purely coincidental. I swear. I did not even know till it was pointed out to me!