Game Development Reference
There are countless other kinds of story-ordering devices. Time-based
games like Dead Rising make events occur in the world on the clock at
fixed times. A quest might open up when the player character reaches a
certain level of progression. Even simple arrangements of space can create
a soft story ordering, as players are likely to encounter the nearby pieces
before the more distant ones.
There are countless ways to configure and combine story-ordering devices.
The most basic is the “string of pearls” structure. In this model, each pearl
is an arena in which the player may move around freely and interact with
game mechanics, while each bit of string is a one-way transition to the
This is a classic linear game that proceeds from level to level.
Depending on how “big” the pearls are—how much internal freedom they
allow—this game can feel constrained to the level of pointlessness, or can
feel quite free. This string of pearls structure is how Quake , Super Mario
Bros. , and StarCraft single-player are laid out.
Another arrangement is the “hub and spokes” model:
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