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Story Elements In AOW2 Scenario Design
"Story/Instruction" is one of the considerations in how a map gets rated. What does story/instruction do for a scenario? Firstly, a scenario is a recreation and setting up of a situation by which the outcome depends on the player. Some background or introduction at the beginning of the scenario functions to brief the player on what's happening on the map. As well as giving the players 'objectives', it also gives clues on any future events that pops up during the course of playing the scenario.
Whether you are doing a story heavy 'epic' map or simply want to give a map certain feel of reality, read on, and see how you can use some story elements to enhance your scenario's play environment. This is a five part article:
Part 1: Do we need a story?
As you might have heard or read from previous articles here or from discussions on the forums, sometimes stories do more in hindering gameplay rather than increase fun. Why is this so? To understand this, you have to realise that if you're going put a story in a map that you understand how others play. (In any creative or artistic project, you must know your audience, or in this case, your players.)
In multiplayer, there are two kinds of game play - PBEM and live internet games.
Most league gamers who play it live online prefer to have small or medium size maps which are not too story heavy because they want to concentrate on fighting it out, and they hope to do so within one gaming session. (That means in 2-3 hours usually.) Their first emphasis is on balance, and everything else is secondary, story and instruction are the least of concern most of the time.
If you are making a map for this crowd, always remember to place balance as your first priority and story to be the last. (For cooperative team-play maps, there is usually a fixed extra powerful AI player; this forces players to ally together against the foe. Note that towards the end, alliances tend to break up unless allied victory is selected by the players.)
In PBEMs, human players fight out in FC, and against the AI in TC. PBEM takes one or two days to complete one cycle of turns. The size of maps used depend on how many players and how much long they want the game to last. PBEMs are the best things in turn based gaming because it allow you to play with other people on your own time. Story / epic maps are very suitable for PBEM.
It is very popular for single player maps to have stories. Stories make a map feel more interactive and more interesting. It can also make a map more replayable if you draw out different storylines for each side. And you can do this by having different message events for each side for an example.
Important: Always feel free to break away from said conventions if you feel like it. Through time, you will know what really works and what doesn't. But always remember to have fun.
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