Game Development Reference
so that each fact becomes a relevant event on its own. Remember that moments of
exposition in an FPS can be like applying the brakes to the story's flow. Do it too
much, and you risk spinning out of control.
Seeding. Clues are rewards for the observant. They tell their own story about
the scene through resources in level design. The most obvious, for example,
are things like encountering dead bodies in F. E . A . R . or a destroyed location
in Halo , either of which speaks of a firefight or a massacre. Naturally, the
clues might be more subtle, but they should say something of whatever event
brought the character to said location. They should be a reinforcing element
to the mystery, not the only way to fact find.
Signposts. Signposts are deliberate ways you might lead the player character
somewhere (and further along in the story). They are nudges on where the
character should go, be it as obvious as HUD markings and map flags, or as
subtle as the banter between NPCs. They also reinforce the imperative of the
plot, and they remind the player of what he may have forgotten. Portal 's wa l l
graffiti, which guides Chell through the level, is a fine example of this.
God's voice. Many FPSs use a commanding officer, guiding intelligence, or
some other ally to provide the mission objectives. This technique establishes
character through repartee, and more importantly, the person responsible for
God's voice is there to help interpret the clues, add more pieces to the puzzle,
and vocalize the player's thoughts. God's voice is probably one of the single
most important techniques in navigating the player through the game in real
In-game events. Scripted events allow the scriptwriter to move events for-
ward in-game without breaking the action. At their most obvious, they might
include explosions that cut off corridors, helicopters dropping in with more
enemies, or NPCs running in all directions as in Rainbow Six: Vegas .They
are cinematic as hell, they pump up the adrenaline, and they accelerate the
story while keeping the player involved. They also drive home the fact that
unlike movies, games are all about being inside the action. They allow players
to legitimately participate in the story.
Dynamic cutscenes. Some games lock the character into a cutscene but still
enable him to move around or act. In this case, the cutscene is like a theatrical
set, and it allows the writer to create special moments within the game because
the player is literally both captive audience and participant. Both Rainbow Six:
Ve g a s and Half-Life 2 use this technique.
Inner voice. Inner monologue, better known as the prickly pear of games, is
a legitimate technique made viable by hits like Max Payne .Nothinggetsyou
into the personality and thought process of the protagonist like inner voice.