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    coyotecraft
  Wed Aug 02, 2017 5:07 pm
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I'm trying to determine which should be a higher priority to get across at the beginning of a game. The character's personality or the circumstances surround them?

I want to say...personality. For a text reasons, without voice actors to intone the dialogue, it might be better to establish context that a character is a jokester and shouldn't be taken too seriously right from the start. And I think there's more entertainment value in discovering the circumstances of a character that then explain their personality, like a backstory of abandonment or something.

On the other hand, I can think of a few stories that are better off establishing circumstances first. Starting off with a childhood trauma origin story, a burning village ect...that quickly establishes the character's motivations.

I don't know. I think the majority of RPGs start slowly. Meandering around a home or town, giving you a sense of who the character is before anything really starts. At least with Jrpgs anyways. But I guess with Western Rpgs, the character's personality is up to you, if they have one at all, so their stories begin a little more promptly.


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    Xilef
  Wed Aug 02, 2017 10:45 pm
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I actually think the answer is both at the same time, and as quickly as possible.

Two games that I think have fantastic opening sequences are Doom 2016 and Sonic the Hedgehog 3. Both games show how much of a badass the main character is and immediately introduces you to the circumstance they find themselves in. Doom 2016 had a demon that the main character immediately smashes to pieces with one hand and Sonic 3 has Knuckles who takes away what made Sonic all badass, chuckles, and then fucks off leaving Sonic and Tails standing there with a world infront of them to start running through.

You know exactly how cool these characters can be, you know exactly how deep the shit they're standing in is, and then you're given a slap on the ass and are handed the keys to exactly what the game has to offer.

Final Fantasy VII comes close to this formula too. The first dialogue boxes tell you who Cloud is (lol) and what Barret thinks of him. You see badass NPCs kick some dudes, then you're thrown into the first battle and it's "do this shit or die". You got your guy, you got the circumstance, now you're off the leash to dive straight in.


EDIT: Also remember that your game itself has personality that needs introducing, the player will make a lot of assumptions of what type of game they've just booted up in the opening few minutes. If you focus on characters in the opening, then it will be off-putting if that focus is shifted from the characters and onto the current political climate of your world later on. If you don't focus on the characters in the opening but focus on the circumstance, then you've got yourself 99% of all RPG Maker games ever made; a long introductory cut-scene with lots of dialogue boxes to mash through explaining about how two countries started fighting over the gate of the gods but don't worry because 100 years later some sages came along via the trade-routes of Dildonia and bartered for piece by dividing the mana stones between each region of the countries, representing the 16 elements that are held by each of the gods. But now civil war is looming again and the king's death has caused a large uprising amongst the people who wish to take back the gate keys. By the way here's a 12 year old boy, he's an orphan, he has a childhood friend who is a girl and they're psychic and live in the middle of the country side.


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    Greoscot
  Fri Mar 30, 2018 5:00 am
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    Nathaniel3W
  Sun Apr 01, 2018 7:01 am
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I remember watching a GDC talk about characters and stories in video games. I don't remember what year it was, but I remember one of the good examples came from Uncharted (or one of its sequels).

Nathan Drake wakes up in a train dangling from a broken bridge. He's bleeding. He falls toward the back of the carriage and nearly plummets to his death, but hits a railing hard and grabs on. He laughs and says "Oh crap."

A story is "here is something the character wants and here are all the obstacles preventing him from getting it." And a character is "someone who wants to reach the goal and this is the approach he takes." In under 60 seconds of Uncharted we see the first story element and get an introduction to the protagonist. We don't know a lot about him, but we know he's the kind of guy who finds himself in danger then laughs and says "Oh crap."

That introduction didn't tell us anything about the overarching plot or Nathan's background. But it did immediately set the tone and grab the players' interest.

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    coyotecraft
  Sun Apr 01, 2018 5:35 pm
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I don't even remember making this topic.

But I'm going to contradict what I said last August and say circumstances have priority to the story.
Personalities are only important in a large cast of characters. You know, in fairy tales, children are just children and that distinguishes them from everything else. But if you had a class room setting with a dozen children, then you need to give them personalities: The snob, the nerd, the class clown, ect...
And a lot of times its the circumstances that allow the expression of personalities in the first place. You know? A character can't be generous, empathetic, loving, ect...if they are isolated or removed from society.
The character might be "smart" in their character description but to "be" smart requires an opportunity to make deductions or MacGyver their way out of a situation.


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    Heretic86
  Sat Apr 07, 2018 12:24 am
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Id suggest taking a deeper look at this to get started:

Myers Briggs and Character Creation - Psychology in Game Design - Extra Credits
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QKnNO5pxRGQ

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    TaxgerXfrie
  Mon Sep 30, 2019 9:58 am
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I think so


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