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Writing Legacy of Plots: Learn how to make GREAT stories for your games

Dragon Warrior

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-------Legacy of the Plots-------
A look at how to make an incredible plot for your game!

All you people probably have played a game that you thought was well thought out. I know I have. In fact, playing these kinds of games give you the idea of how to plan one yourself. They usually start with a basic idea of beginning and ending. What the hero starts out as and where he ends up. Now seriously, don't go into a Super Mario Bros. plot where the hero is off to save the princess from a arch villain. C'mon. I'm not dissing Mario at all, but you can think of something better. I've also seen people plot out something where they go off to avenge a loved one's death. That's pretty good and many of those games turn out nicely done, but it needs more of an idea.

Trust me. You'll find yourself plotting something of that calibur and you find yourself in a jam. My current game isn't about avenging deaths. In fact, it's not even near it. A good way to build a plot is to not even think of what the idea of the story is. I may sound crazy, but trust me. I had no idea what I was doing when making my game NightScape. I had no plot whatsoever. I started with the main character as a slave for some bad guy and I built my castle on that little brick.

To get your story going, you must run into the plot slowly, giving out much detail as you can. Don't give out boring details that will make a person press quit and not play your game 'til 3 weeks later. Improvise, but think smart. Don't go dumbfire on too many ideas. Plus, spreading details makes a bigger game. If you don't want a bigger game, don't go crazy with ideas. But let me jump to the point here. Start small and build on that. You get a basic beginning that suits what your needs are and work into the plot of the story.

Now I shall begin this lesson with more easier steps.

---The Worlds/Setting---

Always, ALWAYS make it your first step. It makes the game run smoother in your mind. Once getting the idea of where your world is, you can basically find what your character can do.

Medieval worlds use old weapons and no technology. Watch this 'cause it has advantages and disadvantages. In our present time, you'll find things more simple since you can relate it on our lives. And of course, the future, where things can happen anytime, anywhere. You can mess with the future a lot more in some places than you can with others. Plus, technology rules in that time. or does it? You decide.

Then, you can have a medieval/futuristic world as I sort of do in NightScape. You'll find out why if you ever play it. You can make it so the sword is medieval yet it can blast a bullet like a gun. You may have seen such in FF8, THE GUNBLADE! Booyah! But as such, the world can have mystical creatures like dragons when you fire huge guns at it. Or a mechanical drake as seen in Chrono Trigger.

Speaking of which, time travel is an excellent way to make a game interesting. Bring your worlds into an utter land of zanniness where your gamers that play it can see their favorite times evolve into some other world. It all falls together like such.

But plainly, the setting and worlds are the first step of making a good game plot and very important to start with. If you have no idea what kind of place your chara is in and you've released your game, I'm sorry to say, but you need to see a doctor. If you don't know the setting after it's done, you better get checked out. But plain and simple, this is ALWAYS first!


You shoukd probably plan this as you plan the settings and all that.The genre of the game always helps with the settings and basis of the plot. Plan which category your game shall fall into and you shall find thinking up the plot is much simpler. Here's some categories to follow:

Serious Action
Mix of Some

You get the idea. My game NightScape is a mix sort of. It's an adventure, but it does have comedy in some places. Not too much 'cause I don't want it to be a comedy. Just a little. It's good to experiment like that.

Then there's the ratings. You need to find your age group. This isn't as important as the type or settings, but it shows where the content of your game will be produced for the viewers. Is your game preschool or is it for those adult people? Here's some ratings. You probably already know them:

KA- Kids to Adults
E- Everyone
T- Teen
M- Mature
AO- Adults Only

The ratings vary on what you have in your game. My game has some swearing (hardly any, but still) so i placed it in T for Teen. It also has suggestive themes. Not sexual, but parts where violence occurs with blood (battles). If you want a younger audience, don't put swear words or violence in it (unless it's for teens) and when I say violence, I'm not excluding battles. That's an RPG's way. If your looking for the older types, go for M or AO. Those are for the naughty people ;) You get the picture. That's how the ratings work as well.


Kind of an everywhere step. You can add or take away the characters you think of anytime. But never begin the game without knowing your hero. That's just crazy. But thinking of your hero's background as well as his partners and the villains are the same as I said before. You can start them in a place where their history begins, but it doesn't nessesarily have to link with the main plot. They could be making a run from the guards because they are an escaped criminal. But that doesn't have to link with the plot. But I'm sure a criminal past will bring up some talk in the game. But that's the character's background in which is what you need.

Then, there's always have a good villain around the bend. And it never hurt to throw in a few other guys to throw the gamer off and make them think that that's the villain when suddenly, they're ambushed by the real thing! A twisted plot. Ah yes. That's the good stuff. But then, you must make clues that could lead up to the main villain. And so, the gamer will find the villain and do the last battle. And just like the hero, a villain need a background. Like why he's doing what he's doing. What went wrong. And what he's doing that causes the victim so much misery. That's a key point in the process of making an excellent villain.

If you want, you can make your hero have partners. Well, no duh, right? But what's a good companion if he's just a blank figure. You need to give him a reason for being in the quest. What the bloody 'ell is he doing with your hero? Get creative and think of ways for the partner to be heroic or whatever they do best.

Personality is always a factor in the line of plotting. If the characters have personality, you have a complete set of incredible charas. Personality helps with their history and future and how they will interact with everything. You don't just come up to a companion and say "Hey" and you get a reply of "Hey" back. You should make it like this:

Hero: Hey! Haven't seen you around here before. Welcome to Greentree Lake!

Companion: Why, thank you, sir. I'm quite happy to be here. But these bugs! They sicken me! Bleh!

Now that's the stuff. And the villain. He/she needs a personality as well. Not another person saying "You shall suffer now." Make it with feeling!

Hero: Now I have you!

Villain: I don't think so. I'm smarter than I look. And I love my hair style, don't you?

Umm... yeah. You don't nessesarily have to give the villain a terrible case of bad ego, but personality hits the spot in the stomach of a gamer that craves good game. Plus, you should give the heroes a team name. Well, you don't have to. It's not gonna kill your game to have or not have one. If you play "The Legend of Dragoon", they're called the dragoons. In FF7, they're the Avalanche team. In my game NightScape, they're the Warriors of Lore.

These team names would be another example of backgrounds. Why are they in this team of heroic warriors? How did they get into it? Was it destiny? Answer some of these questions if you will. I guarentee they will help.

---Names Make a Difference---

And they do! You don't usually wind up finding the hero's name Charlie or something uncreative. You wanna see something that you probably have never heard of and think "Dude, that name is really awesome. I wanna give this game a thousand awards". Well, lookie here, mister. You want some good names and you gotta find 'em. That or think 'em up. Watch! I'll think up one right now. Zogadith! Simple, yes? Of course, that doesn't sound like a hero. More like a companion. But partners need names too. If your having trouble with name plotting, try thinking of their background and name them something that has that meaning to it.

Example: If they like carrots, name 'em Poko because that means carrots in some language I cannot recall -.-

But as said before, what kind of hero would be named Bill or Chuck or something so plain. My name's not plain and hardly seen anywhere. My name is Gavin. That means White Hawk of Battle in Welsh. That may fit some character. Especially if it's a warrior bird or a warrior who likes birds. If you have trouble, here's some examples of names that may get you somewhere. I just pulled them from books and a name generator I downloaded. Others I made up:

Alma (hehe. That's a real name it's the town next to my town)

That's all I should really give you. I only made about four of those, but they'll get you going. I hope. But good names means good games. Though, they're probably one of the least important parts. Still, if you just call your hero "Hero", taht's no good. Unless it's a comedy-based game. Then you can use stuff like Bill, Chuck, and Charlie. And of course, Hero. Yay!


Every game has a beginning, but not all games have a good one. Like a book, you must make everything sound interesting down to the first line said. In a book, the author must make the first line catch a person's fancy or else, they'll loose interest and not pay attention to that book for who knows how long. Ways to get a good beginning are to think simple with rich detail. If you have an idea of the world in the game, you have a good idea where to begin. Think of ways to start the hero's life. Or if it's not thehero and maybe the hero's friend, do the same. Build a history for the chara as you build the plot.

You'll find it simple and difficult to figure a way to start an excellent game. You not always have to have a part of the main storyline to get the game moving, but it can be helpful to get the idea of why the chara is leaving home or why he's escaping from jail or why she quit her job. In NightScape, Zell (the hero) is a slave as I said before. Being a slave have jackshickles to do with the plot and maybe a few lines about that past is mentioned in the game, but I must say, it's definately just the beginning of a grand adventure. Take a look at some games. In "The Legend of Dragoon", Dart (he's the hero) is attacked by a dragon and he fights it. Then running to his town, it's burnt to a crisp. This leads into the storyline later, but the dragon part is hardly anything. I've defeated that game. But that doesn't matter. What does matter is that not all games have a beginning that will immediatly set the chara off on a grand journey.

Pace yourself and make the game last. If you lead right to the part where the hero fights the boss, what good is that? Just picture it like this. I've seen a lot of games start like this and end so quickly:

Hero: Hey! A gem, you guys!

Companion: Really? Cool.

Villain: You have found my gem. Now suffer!

Companion2: Aww crap. Just our luck.

Okay, maybe I exagirated there, but they seem to fly by too fast. Make it last more than 3 hours for God sakes. There are people out there that love to sit down and play a good, short game and that's cool, but you usually can't make a good storyline out a game like that. I doubt you will too. I doubt it very much. Not dissing any short games, but still, be creative and expand the way the game goes. It'll get you farther.


A game's gotta have events. If it didn't, it'd just be a game about a guy walking down the road and bumping into a bad guy in which he battles. Of course, the bumping and battling would be an event. Then it'd have to be a guy standing there. But that's an event as well. Then you won't make the game because making it a blank screen is an event. But not the typ of event you really need. When I say event, I mean sidequests, when you meet new characters, fighting bosses and the final baddy, and the plot! The plot, I say! Plot: That'd be the biggest event of 'em all. Filled with the little plots that build me that brick castle.

Try to be creative with the sidequests. It helps if these sidequests lead to the big quest and make it more interesting. Sometimes, you have no choice, but to accomplish the sidequests. Here's an example. The hero's name is... umm... let's call him Zeke. I like that name. And the companion is MaCarthur (I used that name in my first RM2K game "Circles of Power"):

Zeke: May we pass?

Toll keeper: No.

MaCarthur: And why the heck not?

Toll Keeper: 'Cause I said NO.

Zeke: C'mon. There's gotta be some way we can pass.

Toll Keeper: Tell ya what. You scratch my back and I scratch yours.

Zeke: I'm not touchin' your back!

Toll Keeper: Figure of speech, knucklehead. I mean, you get me a glass of water, I let you pass.

Zeke: Okay. That's a sinch.

Toll Keeper: And another thing. The water must come from the Foutain of Evil.

MaCarthur: O-kay. Still sounds... easy...

Toll Keeper: It's located in The Cave of No Return.

Zeke: OKAY! THIS IS REDICULOUS! Why do you need water from there.

Toll Keeper: (leans forward) 'Cause it's in the game script.

Zeke: Oooohh... right, right.

You don't have to make it like that. Give the toll keeper or whoever a reason to want water from the Fountain of Evil located in the Cave of No Return. Or whatever you want. That's what a good sidequest should make a person do. And the hero crew should have no choice, but to abide to the request. It's all simple. The hard part is thinking up the side quests.

Events should happen often in your game. This is apart of the details process. It lengthens the game to make it more of a challenge. You don't want the people to zip through it with flying colors, do you? Make some events like there's a fair in town (which lead to minigames. Read below) or you must go into the woods to find a boy who was captured by a creature and there's a big reward for it's death. The creature. Not the boy. Heh. Don't even think that way!

But that example is one event that doesn't nessesarily have to lead with the main storyline. You don't HAVE to do that event, but you can. It's all fun and games 'til a monster looses his eye. Or even worse... you loose your eye from staring at this screen too long, reading my bloody guide to good storylines. Yeesh. Ahem... now then...

---Mini Games! Yay!---

The RPG you make maybe not be all fun and games, but minigames make it great fun! You can make a card game, Find the Queen, coin toss or whatever. RM2K has many abilities with minigames and it all depends on the coding. I'm not sure about other RPG makers out there. Minigames can go with otehr types of games as well like adventure. You definately don't catch many tic tac toe games in Metal Gear Solid, I tell you what.

And Minigames are not nessesary. I think you already knew that. But tehy are great fun and make a hard days journey wind down. You could of just finished battling the Beast of Incredible Power and have the erge to sit down with some of your best buds and play backgammon while sipping a cup of jo. Well, I don't know if you can program backgammon into RM2K, but you can make a mean coin toss! Oh yeah! I have a coin minigame in NightScape. You can play it at the Alificandist Fair when you go there. It's all fun and games, my friends. All fun and games.

And I'll repeat myself. These are not that important, but they'll bring out the gaming spirit in the gamer when they just wanna take a break from the normal quests. Trust me. You'll want one.
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Awww crap! We're getting into the part where we start the plot up. You really need to put on a thinking cap here, boys and girls. This isn't something you can pull out of your ear, ya know. It may be one of the hardest parts of the game to think up. You really got to work at it. Don't take an idea that was thought of in 3 minutes (unless that idea is REALLY REALLY good. Heh). Trust me. There does come times when you think of an idea from planning for 3 whole minutes. I thought of a lot of my plot for NightScape in 3 whole minutes. Well, maybe around 10 minutes, but it turned out great. people complimented me on my success in a great storyline.

Person: Bravo, Gavin! That's a fine storyline you've cooked up.

Gavin: Thanks!

Person2: I'll say. It was a great idea.

Gavin: Well, I was too.

Okay, so what if that wasn't their exact words, but they did say stuff like it. They said it was an incredible idea and they couldn't wait to play it. Still, I am good at thinkingup ideas for stories and junk. I'm a writer. Not all people can do that. And if your a person taht can't, sit down and think and don't take the first idea that pops up and sounds good enough and you whip it into a game. Make sure it actually is good. Not some plain old idea like:

"A bad, bad man is about to destroy the world if he doesn't get to be King of BLAH BLAH BLAH!"

You get the picture. The idea takes time. The conflict isn't easy to think of. In fact, the planning of the conflict can be a conflict itself. The conflict can enter anywhere between the beginning and the middle of the game. The true conflict that is. Sidequest conflicts or small problems can enter anywhere really. Just as long as they are actually a conflict.

When making a conflict, figure out how this involves the hero and the villain. Also, try not to make it so the hero finds out that a certain villain is behind the evil deeds right when he learns about them. Give the problem some time to unfold. Plus, as a bonus, if you let it wind down, it'll become a bigger problem and problaby cause many other conflicts along the way. It's a good idea to make the road to victory a bumpy ride. And remember, don't just throw some stuff together and call it "done!" 'cause I tell you one thing, mister (or miss. I'll just say reader), that kind of plot won't hold off in the end. No siree bob! Think about it.


Alrighty. This may just be the most important part of the whole game. And this article. Why would I write an article about plots when there's no section on the main plot itself. Anyways, this should be planned out after you have the conflict in the palm of your hand. Once you've got the idea of a problem, you can piece the whole story together. Mainly the questions like "Why is the hero the one who has to go on this journey?" or "Why is the villain doing what he is doing?" will be answered here. When you have the main plot, you have the beginning and middle and some of the end. Not all of it. Not yet at least.

This is where you start thinking of how the hero gets to his destination and how the villain fails to complete his mission. How does the villain stop the hero from coming is another important part of the journey. What good is the game if you can breeze through it and say "hello" to the friendly neighbors? I'll tell you what it's good for. For breezing through and saying "hello" to the friendly neighbors. That and NOTHING. So that's why you must plan this out nicely. It may not be as hard as the conflict part, but it can be a brain teaser. Watch out for this one.

Sooner or later you'll have a brainfart and wind up with the rest of the game. You have the beginning, middle and the basic plot and conflict, but think it all over again and see if you can make changes to it. If it's not worth the trouble, go ahead and air this game out. It may be good or it may not be good. that's how it works. I'm just saying, look at the plot over and over again until you perfect it that it makes you wanna dance a happy jig... or something of the sort. Maybe just clap your hands. But plan out the plot professionally. Don't be a lazy bum, alright?


If your on this step, you should be wrapping up the plot. Pretty close to finishing up. Proud, you are? You bet! And nothin's more satisfying than finsihing a game that looks like a real winner... and turns out to be one! And don't you dare end it like this:

Zeke: Dark Hanus is dead....


who's up for pizza?

Companions: Alright! Yeah! No mushrooms, though!

Of course, you could end it like that if it's a comedy. That is a pretty funny ending. And mushrooms? Yuck! Not me. I don't want them. But still, planning out the ending and wrapping up a great game with a game finish makes all that work worth while. You don't want people thinking it was a great game 'til THAT ENDING where the guy dies and they do out for pizza. I mean, really. Give the people what they want. A good game with a good ending. Either that or give them pizza. I'm sure they'd want that.
Ways to end a game are to show how the characters' lives go after the defeat of the dark villain. Or, if the villain becomes good and lives with the heroes, show how they got along. Show how the world became happy again and the vil was fanquished.

You can even end it sadly. The hero dies or someone on the good side dies or leaves. A sad ending is always good. Like FF7's ending. Bringing a tear to the gamer's eye works wonders on them. And makes them think your game is a miracle from God's Green Earth! Try it. It's magic!


You'd expect this to be at the beginning of the plot article, but nope. Intro's usually should stay as one of the last steps. After the storyline is planned, you can get an idea of how to start the game off. And therefore, a intro! Pretty simple once you have the plot. It's a wrap up, but an intro in the game. Crazy, right?

To make the good intro, give an event that may lead to something later in the game. For example, my friend is making a game where it's intro has the Dark Emporer killing off all the royals guards (actually, I think he's killing them. I only recall him turning them to stone) and finally killing the king. This leads into the quest of the warrior in that game. It all works out thanks to planning the plot first. He did it right. He had the story already made. Since that was done, he simply thought up the intro and made it come true. See how simple it is?


So what if it doesn't involve the plot, but it is a special addition to a good game. You could have them at the beginning like a FF game or in the end like a Monkey Island game (funny series!). I choose it for the end. Why? I have no freakin' idea. The credits should be made after the game is completed. As you go through the process of creating the game, jot down the people and companies and places you got the stuff for your game from. Then, after the game is done, place them in the credits. Smart, smart. Think wisely, my friend. Think wisely.

That pretty much concludes how to make a fabulous game plot. It may have taken a bit of time to read, but it will help. Trust me. I know. Good luck with any games you may have in production and makes sure you have an excellent plot! I bid you good day!
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[color=red][size=1] Oh dear, I fear you've gone crazy! *Sees men in the white jackets* RUN! J/K! Anyway, nice lesson, but I think someone has too much time on their hands...*stares at D_W* Hmm, I wonder who that is...[/color][/size]
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I don't. I'm just a master at game plotting. Last night, I had nothing to do while 4th of July slowly slipped by. Today, I have NO TIME whatsoever. I have to finish writing a chapter book by tomorrow, make the game NightScape by the end of July, draw a crap load of art and MORE!!! I have no time on my hands. I practically can't be OB right now.
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thanx d_W. Just what i have been looking for. I have been designing a game myself. I was stumped but now i just need to think! (something i dont do very often).

Well i was designing it but do you mean actually programing it?
Cause i have no idea how to do that.Could you tell me? please? *bows at D_W's feet*
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Silly, HyperShadow. No applause. Just money. Ahem... but now for the real stuff, I don't really have to program when making my games. I use RM2K. It's very simple to make RPG's with it. And, it may take a lot of brainpower, but your able to make platform, adventure, puzzle, and all that on the same system. Very easy. In fact, my game NightScape is in production and it's look good.
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uhh now the big question: what is it? and where do i get it?

i'm new to this stuff...

Also if anyone is having trouble naming characters, go to [url]www.cool-baby-names.com[/url] and search for names by origin.
it may sound wierd but thats how i got names for EVERY character in m game.Well maybe not evrye character but a lot.you shoyuld check it out.
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Haha. I'm like you. I get my character names from a baby book my mom got at a garage sale or something. That and I make up names, use a Name Generator on my comp, or just plainly get them from other people.

Now the Big Answer: RM2K is an RPG Maker. RM2K is short for RPG Maker 2000. I have used it for about 2 years now. NightScape would be my next production in it.

Get it here: [url]http://www.rm2k.phantomrpg.com[/url]

When there, go to the side bar, click on RM2K, select setup files, and download them. There are two files. The RM2K one and the RTP one. I'll explain it more in pm if you'd like. Just pm me.
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That's really cool...my friends and I started using RM2k this summer and we're d/ling all the tutorials to see how many ways we can hack at the software to get the engine to do what we want. I'm doing the music and some of the cutscenes...it's looking pretty good...
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