Game Development Reference
They not only help us move the plot forward, they help us to generate emo-
Remember that the most interesting of villains have valid reasons for the havoc
they create. They aren't just evil. In fact, they are often of the opinion that
what they do is right and just. The difference between heroes and villains on
the battlefield is determined by who wins.
Give your major characters more than one purpose to bring them alive. A
single character can be mentor, sidekick, and villain. Save some money in an
already miniscule adventure game budget: combine character roles!
They do not need to be as fully fleshed out as major characters. Instead, they
can be sketched in vibrant, memorable colors. Have a look at how Charles
Dickens can bring a character alive by focusing on only a few distinctive traits,
Minor characters can—and should—fill more than one role.
They bring the setting of the game to life.
They can also be either obstacles or the solution to a puzzle.
In Evil Under the Sun , a cat and a dog become the obstacle and solution to a
puzzle, as well as a literal running gag throughout the remainder of the game.
The player's avatar dies repeatedly in many types of games. It is a convention. The
player's avatar used to die repeatedly in adventure games as well. These days we're
seeing less of it, and for good reason. Adventure games are more cerebral than vis-
to the gameplay.
In fact, in a game where a player's effort to solve a puzzle ends in his avatar's death,
the game falls into the trap of ”learning by dying” that has plagued video games since
the beginning. It made sense in Dragon's Lair to force the player to find each step in a
sequence to escape death. Every step cost another quarter. But the branching trees of
death in certain full motion video (FMV) games like Silent Steel helped kill FMVs.
To use player character death to raise the stakes, or create suspense, is fruitless.
We've already trivialized it with “Save and save often!” and easy resets. (Remember
when avatar death meant restarting an entire game?) It may be a standard practice