Q: How to make the gameplay of story games more captivating and interesting, to therefore keep player’s attention.
I don’t know how to do this. Most of the gameplay in Story Games fall around just spamming obbies and lines of dialogue. Having a generic obby should normally be fine, but when playing a game that in reality you don’t play for that long, you want to make the best possible experience in the gameplay.
Ways I have thought about fixing this problem is making the story plot focused. This will make it where it’s more focused about the events that happened in the story you write, and less about your intuitive game design. But thinking back, most Story Games are already 100% plot focused anyways, so I can’t make it entirely focused on events.
What’s your opinion on it?
tl;dr: Your opinion on how to create engaging gameplay.
There are 4 main pillars of a story:
#1 - Plot vs Story: Plot and Story are not the same thing. Plot are the events that happen(you blow up a spaceship). Story is more about the hidden things behind it and the meaning(that spaceship was your fathers and he was a rebel).
#2 - Characters: Characters are the people in your world. The people who should be the driving force behind the story as they make decisions, but often isn’t. You cannot convey this with dull dialogue, or them just saying something. You need to show what makes them human. They have wishes, dreams, goals, feelings, and react to the things that happen in your world.
#3 - Lore: Lore is everything in the story that makes you believe that this world existed before you did. It’s that feeling making you think there’s so much story and hints and a whole world for you to explore. Even if there isn’t anything.
Break out of the mold. A story-based game doesn’t have to follow the precedent that Camping set; it’s a disservice to actual campaign games. A “story game” does not need to be constrained to the definition of wait and read lines of dialogue, do an obby and make choices that ultimately don’t matter.
A real story game is a game that focuses on a storyline intended to captivate and immerse players into the world you’ve created. Maybe you want to push forward a certain theme or moral or just create a world of your own image. This, you can do in more ways than just following what Camping did.
If you ask me, the first step to making an engaging story-based game is to allow players to progress at their own pace. This means that everything should be based around the player’s choices rather than anchor itself to a specific timeline. There are many campaign games out there if you look outside the scope of what Roblox’s definition of them are. Try to look into them and see what makes them fun.
For me personally, being able to feel an emotional connection to the story is what really pulls me into a campaign game, whether it’s solo or cooperative play. I want to feel like I’m actually inside the game’s world, establishing connections with characters and exploring various environments on my adventure to accomplish whatever my goal might be. I want to be able to interact lots with the world and feel like I’m in control of how things pan out. Even if there is a linear way to follow the story, it moves when I make the necessary steps to make it move, it doesn’t happen on its own (NieR: Automata, great example).
Another big part of gaming for me and probably many other people is accomplishment. Feeling like you’re actually accomplishing feats when you go through the game is a great hook, as is understanding and enduring the weight of my actions in a game (for that, choice-based campaigns like Telltale’s The Walking Dead are great hits for me). There’s very little innovation that can happen on a story game that would actually make me feel accomplished. Field Trip Z was almost able to accomplish that for me but ultimately it just felt like a standard story game with a vote system. Not very hooking.
So? If your intention was to innovate upon a standard Camping-like game, don’t think there’s really much you can do to make things fresh. If you want to bring a whole new campaign experience to the table, by all means have at it. You’d have much more freedom if you were to make a campaign game that moves according to the player’s actions, not a fixed timeline.
Making legit story games in Roblox is hard. They often, on average, make less money then regular multiplayer games and die down in popularity much quicker while taking longer to develop for. There have been plenty of wonderful story based games on Roblox that utilize unique gameplay concepts not seen in other games, but they generally lose player count overtime and become lost.
The reason the camping style story game with obbies works well is because it is replayable. You have to start the entire game over again if you die. Because of this players get hooked on wanting to see the ending of the story and spend a lot longer playing then if there were checkpoints. This also allows for a lot of revenue to come in from players buying an extra life to continue after death.
Tldr; Traditional story games just don’t fit/belong on Roblox, a multiplayer platform with social elements.
Sorry for the late reply.
I sort of agree with this. When I play a story game that has obbies, and I die, I just get angry that I lost because the game is making me use R15 and then I replay it x amount of days later. Especially if the game is long. “A Normal Camping Story” for example, is a very long game with almost 0 GAMEPLAY, and extreme lines of text! I want to go and get the other endings, BUT IT’S 40 Minutes long!!! It’s a good game with nice story, but really only focuses on one sector of what a story could be. For that reason, I’m not sure that I even wanna play the game again!
Edit: I’m not on my computer right now, so sorry if this doesn’t look very professional.
The big issue with a lot of story games imo is that the story and the game are treated as 2 different things which take turns being the focus. Cutscenes that interrupt gameplay, fighting arenas that interrupt plot progression etc etc. Story games are at their most engaging when the two elements are indistinguishable from each other. Game mechanics can tell you a story almost as effectively as words can, and I’ve yet to see a Roblox game attempt to take advantage of the fact.
So, to completely mess with your original intentions: a good plot-driven game mandates intuitive game design. The actions the player takes and is rewarded/punished for can reflect the story’s messages, the challenges put forward to the player and their difficulty can reflect the troubles of the characters, and all of this can be modified as the story progresses. An often used trope along these lines is in party-based RPGs, where a character dying hits home its narrative weight with the mechanical consequence of you having one less party member. Games worth checking out because I think they do this well are Journey, Thomas was Alone and, of course, Undertale.