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Comment #56644

Blog: Miasmon's Plot: A follow-up  
hlbeta`s Avatar
Rating Orb hlbeta 22 United States CholericMelancholic 144C 131F
6 years ago | (3)
I wholeheartedly support using Francis as the primary character. He's interesting, makes sense as a hero and lends a spark of uniqueness to the game. His "retired genius" status lends the narrative some echoes of the hero's journey or exiled royalty reclaiming rightful titles but in this case it actually makes sense. He's not just [NAME], the young [GENDER] who was called forth from a humble living to do incredible things, as so many other protagonists in these games are. Francis is a genuinely intelligent and talented individual who has already taken up the call to greatness in the past and no longer wants that life. The narrative shifts from some youngling's development of extraordinary power to the mental and moral growth of someone who was already a hero who must realize that it is their duty to use their existing power instead of squander it in exile. It's a rarer story arc and a far more interesting one.

So what if you did the combat tutorial as something closer to the Ranch areas of the Pokemon games in that the trainer is effectively the active creature? You could have Francis out gardening or something (teaching the player to interact with world objects) when the following occurs:
A HUGE SPIDER appears!
Francis: Woah, that is one HUGE SPIDER! It is so FAST I could not possibly hope to STRIKE FIRST!
Tutorial: (Explain turn order system here)
[HUGE SPIDER wins initiative, automatically hitting and poisoning Francis]
Francis: Those freakishly huge fangs must have injected some manner of toxic fluid into my precious bloodstream! Vision fading... must find... antidote!
Tutorial: Select ITEM from your menu and then select ANTIDOTE or this will be a very short game.
Francis: That's much better, but in the time it took for me to use that antidote the spider seems to have run off somewh- GEDDITOFFGEDDITOFFGEDDITOFF!
[HUGE SPIDER uses AMBUSH, falling on Francis' head for puny damage]
Francis: Die you monstrously large arachnid!
Tutorial: To exact gruesome vengeance on the HUGE SPIDER, select ATTACK and then select WRATHFUL STOMP.
[Overwrought bug-squishing animation ensues followed by the pronouncement that the attack was super-effective]
The player then emerges victorious and better instructed in the ways of combat.
Pseudolonewolf`s Avatar
Rating Orb A β Pseudolonewolf 23 United Kingdom MelancholicPhlegmatic 2257C 559F
6 years ago | (4)
Francis was never really a *hero*, as such... I mean, he was an academic who dug up old bones and ruins, and just happened to stumble upon some old technology, which he reverse-engineered with a colleague of his, suffering a horrible tragedy in the process then retreating into isolation as he released his findings in order to avoid fame. He's just a tired and miserable old archaeologist who's never trained monsters before... and as such the only 'power' that he has is being able to read the Ancients' written language fairly fluently (which is why the other archaeologists would seek him out). He was more 'lucky' than 'talented' in his discovery of the monster-cloning machines, and he never went on great journeys or anything.

The 'rookie archaeologist', while obviously being a hollow gendered shell, would at least have joined an archaeological team for the same reasons that anyone would become an archaeologist in the real world, then when their whole team gets involved in the plot stuff, they get dragged along for the ride. Mostly they'd just be a watcher, a grunt; the bulk of the plot would happen to the people around them while they'd just sort of help out like a lackey, following orders most of the time.

Introducing some kind of battle at the start which doesn't even use the same mechanics would require more and awkward coding (slowing down development; I am really trying to minimise the amount of features and stuff this time since that's one of the biggest things I've learned from previous projects), it'd disrupt the flow (I think), and, well, with your specific example anyway (and I know it was just an example), uh, the whole reason that I include monsters made of miasma is because I don't advocate the killing of any living creature; the fact that monsters aren't 'living creatures' gets around that. So even a battle where you kill an arthropod (something I'd never do) wouldn't be something I'd include, if it wasn't a Monster.
I'm not going to bother with a tutorial battle at all though; the battles are straightforward so anyone who can't figure it out themselves likely wouldn't even be able to get past the title screen in the first place anyway. The reason I want battles (plural) to appear earlier was just to give the game a more exciting and dynamic feeling; I know I've played RPGs before (mostly when younger) and thought 'I wish this talking would be over and done with so I can wander around and battle things!!', and I imagine that the Flash game playing masses are even more impatient than me in that regard.
hlbeta`s Avatar
Rating Orb hlbeta 22 United States CholericMelancholic 144C 131F
6 years ago | (0)
When referring to Francis as a hero and powerful individual, I meant it in terms of intellect. The information given seems to indicate that he was at the top of his field in his heyday. His work with cloning (miasmic printing?) revolutionized the relationship between his people and their environment. He's already changed his world once, probably for the better. By entering into his self-imposed exile he effectively denies the world access to his gifts, which are presumably important considering his involvement in the story. I find that kind of personal growth good narrative fodder, but it's pretty clear that he's not going to be the PC anymore.

The whole tutorial fight thing was meant to just be a scripted battle that would show off a few key aspects of the controls. I assumed mechanics identical to Pokemon and ran with it. Probably best for me to avoid such detail in the future. It amused me at the time.